The past week has been a whirlwind as the Green Scene Design Team wrapped up our DAP (Distinguished Achievement Project) Ventura Project. We had the honor (and stress) of being the first team to present, and are very happy with how our work paid off. But more on the actual presentation later- today I’ll be explaining how we were prepared for our presentation (it took a little more work than pasting some pictures onto a presentation board).
To make sure everything was ready to go when we presented last Monday (March 4th), we met frequently outside of class. Last week we met on mornings before school, during school in lunch and advisory, after school, and on Sunday afternoon. During these meetings we first focused on setting up our tri-fold board with all of our diagrams, pictures, budgets, and models, then moved on to creating our PowerPoint presentation, and finally rehearsed our speaking parts.
To make all of our jobs easier, we decided it was logical for everyone to be in charge of presenting the part of the project they created. Our parts were already split up pretty evenly: Stephanie was in charge of the electrical system and the Pinterest page, Idalis was in charge of the water system and the green materials, Sara was in charge of the budget and interior SketchUp model (and the introduction/conclusion), and I was in charge of the propane system, exterior SketchUp model, and physical model.
In preparation for our tri-fold poster I purchased some coral and mint scrapbook paper (our color scheme) from Hobby Lobby. I also printed out my propane diagrams and screenshots of my SketchUp model, as well as all the titles and general information for our poster (the project title, our team name, the project overview, and the headings for each section). At school I helped cut, paste, and arrange everything on our board, along with the rest of my group.
As part of our homework we each wrote out a rough draft of what we would say for our individual speaking parts. From here I consolidated what I had written in my draft onto four notecards. When we practiced our oral presentation together we made sure everyone said their part in the correct order, and we also helped each other refrain from using the forbidden “um”, “uh”, and “oh” words. The night before my presentation I also presented my portions of the project to my parents, and they helped make sure I made lots of eye-contact and wasn’t talking too fast. On my own I ran through my presentation notecards dozens of times, and by Monday morning I had them nearly memorized.
Going into my final presentation I felt eerily calm. Besides the butterflies I got when I first walked into the presentation room to set up, I felt ready to show the judges what the Green Scene Design Team is capable of. I’m pretty sure if I had been given a similar presentation when I was in seventh or eighth grade I would have been hyperventilating from nervousness. Instead I felt calm, prepared, and confident that our team would do well. We had a well-organized presentation board, a concise PowerPoint presentation, a physical model and a board showcasing our samples, and had everything we needed to present- down to a wireless mouse and iPads with PDFs of our PowerPoint for the judges. All of us had practiced our oral presentations on our own and as a group with our PowerPoint. I was confident that everyone’s oral presentations would go with a limited number of stumbles and that our tri-fold board and our physical models would be well put-together and visually appealing. The aspect I was most worried about was the question and answer portion of our presentation. I think the reason this made me so concerned was because no one knew what kinds of questions the judges would ask. Would they be technical, like how we did a certain calculation, or personal, like how this project will help us in our careers later in life? The Sunday before our presentation we asked each other sample questions, like the challenges we faced and the definitions of certain techniques and products, but the uncertainty still left us a little apprehensive.
The most important part to remember about oral presentations is that the judges want you to do well. They like when you speak up and act confident. If you smile, they will smile. If you don’t act like they’re there to tear you down, speaking in front of them becomes a lot easier. Another important aspect to keep in mind is that everyone can tell whether you’ve practiced or not. If you are well prepared, you’ll rarely need to look at your notecards and instead will have more freedom to make eye contact, move around, and project your voice. While perfection may be a tad unrealistic, practice sure does make you a million times better!
*all the pictures in this blog post are from my own camera