Preparing your presentation

CSBA is pleased to have you participate in the 2018 Annual Education Conference and Trade Show Thursday, Nov. 29 - Saturday, Dec. 1. Please note: All session presenters must be pre-registered. Any additional panelists will be required to register at the onsite rate.

The following information has been compiled to help you prepare for your presentation:

Your Target Audience

A helpful tip to make your presentation more effective is to keep the governance role in perspective. You’ll be interacting with board members, superintendents and senior-level education leaders. They may ask questions in a model program workshop presentation along the lines of the following:

  • What is the intent of the program/effort featured?
  • Why was the program proposed? Or what challenges did it resolve?
  • How did the governance team know this was the most effective way to accomplish their purpose?
  • Was this approach successful?
  • How much did it cost, one-time and on-going?
  • What was the source of funding and was something given up to gain funds?
  • How did the governance team measure success?
  • What are the session's learning objectives?

These questions should give you a general idea of what attendees are hoping to gain from conference breakout sessions. 

Effective PowerPoint

PowerPoint presentations are clearly important when helping an audience learn and understand you (see the below audio/visual retention rate). See below for some helpful tips.

  • Make sure your text is big enough. Anything below 24 points is too small
  • Use contrasting color schemes
  • Use fonts that are easy to read
    • Italics are harder to read on-screen
    • Use bold or color for emphasis
  • Don't read your screen
  • Avoid long sentences
  • Use images to communicate...not to decorate

Workshop Handouts

Please provide handouts through the AEC App for attendees to view before, during and after the conference.

  • Email all handouts with the corresponding workshop title to
  • Handouts cannot exceed 10 MB per document.
  • All handouts must be a PDF or Word document. 
  • Please note, AEC attendees will be able to view handouts on the AEC App as well as export them for use after the conference.

Engaging your Audience

There are some simple ways to create powerful, interactive experiences at your session. Today’s audience members struggle with information overload, as well as many things pulling them in different directions. The very first thing you should do is to ask your audience to turn off their cell phones, and if they absolutely need to take a call, to step outside of the room. Often times, audience members simply forget to do this and need a simple, yet friendly, reminder.

Touch the participants’ emotions and help them relate to you with humor. No need to go overboard on the jokes, but as they say, comedy is the great equalizer. Keep it friendly, laugh at yourself, use inside anecdotes, and defuse tension by making your audience comfortable.

Keep in mind that the goal of your session is to teach, train or inform the audience so they can return to their local districts and county offices and make positive change. Check out this standard effective learning matrix which shows typical rates of retention:

  • Listening – (you the presenter simply talking) = 5% retention
  • Reading (a handout without explanation) = 10% retention
  • Audio/Visual (presenter talking with PowerPoint) = 20% retention
  • Demonstration (video or you demonstrating) = 30% retention
  • Group discussion (you asking audience members to discuss a certain topic) = 50% retention
  • Practice by doing (audience members role playing) = 75% retention
  • Teaching others (this one would be tricky at the conference, but may be possible) = 90% retention

Remember, attendees want to leave your session with a plan of action. What will they do with the information they have learned? What resources have you provided to them that will enable them to replicate a program or concept in their own district? What questions do they need to ask of their district staff and community to decide if a program is replicable in their district?