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SIOP Presentation Suggestions for Workshops

The primary purpose of the workshops is to provide interactive learning opportunities for attendees. For example, workshops might provide updates on specific content areas (e.g., updates on legal issues or trends), discuss new techniques, processes, procedures, or methods (e.g., delivering selection tests online; innovations in test development or delivery, coaching, talent management; statistics; etc.), or describe how knowledge from another discipline can be applied to a problem or topic (e.g., from other branches of psychology; certification testing industry; psychometrics; etc.). Although topic suggestions are strongly encouraged from the membership during the planning phase, workshops are invited sessions. Topics and speakers are selected by the Workshop Committee. Note that workshop topics for the following year are finalized on the Tuesday before the Conference; in other words, workshop topics are finalized more than a year prior to the Conference. Speakers are invited shortly thereafter. In most cases, continuing education credit (CE credit) will be available to those who attend workshops. All workshops are 3.5 hours, include one 15-minute break, and cover 3-4 learning objectives.

 

Suggestions for Effective Workshops

Planning is Paramount (See Guidelines Useful for All Types of Sessions) 

The best workshops are those that 1) are interactive, 2) are focused on a few key learning points that attendees can deeply explore, 3) provide at least one tool or technique that attendees can use or apply immediately in their own organizations, and 4) have engaging, dynamic presenters. 
 
Most workshops have multiple presenters who must work together to ensure a coherent theme and flow for the workshop and an appropriate level of interaction. Because of the complexity of most workshops, presenters should begin thinking about the content, flow, and activities that will be included in the workshop as soon as they have agreed to lead a workshop. Presenters will be asked to provide a draft of their presentation to their workshop coordinator and the Workshop Chair in February. The presentation must be in the SIOP branded workshop presentation template. The workshop coordinator and Workshop Chair will review the presentation and provide feedback. Although the primary purpose of this review is to ensure that presenters are making good progress on their workshop, it has the added benefit of having someone who is not closely involved in its design and development provide feedback on the workshop scope and planned level of interaction among the attendees. 
 
Preparation of workshop materials

·          Visual aids can greatly improve the effectiveness of a presentation. While increasing an audiences’ interest, well-prepared slides can be extremely useful for clarifying and supporting key points in the presentation.
·          Plan the flow of the workshop. In what order will the information be presented? What interactive activities will be included; when will they occur? What information is each speaker presenting? How will you transition between speakers?
·          Plan the use of time during the workshop. Each workshop is 3.5 hours with one 15-minute break. Although this is especially important for workshops with multiple presenters, single presenters should consider have a plan for the flow and timing of the workshop as well. How much time will be spent on each portion of the presentation and each activity? Who will be monitoring the time (workshop coordinator or one of the presenters)?
o    As ageneral rule of thumb, plan on spending roughly one minute per slide. Be sure to account for interactive learning activities that will be part of your workshop. These activities may take a few minutes while others will require more time.
·          A picture is worth a thousand words. When feasible, including figures or graphics will more effectively communicate your message than a large, extensive table or words. 
·          Avoid text filled slides. If you would like to provide more detail on a particular topic, include this detail in handouts that are available during or after the workshop. 
·          If you need to refer to a particular slide more than once, prepare duplicates of the slides so that you do not need to scroll back and forth during the presentation.
·          For each slide or graphic that is included in your presentation, ask yourself, “What’s the point?”
o    A visual serves one main purpose: to help make a point. This concept is sometimes forgotten, and tables, charts, and other information are included in the presentation for no apparent reason. Identify your key learning points, and then determine the best way to share them in your presentation. 
·          Provide specific examples of how the content of the workshop can be applied in real world settings. How does it apply? When? Where? Under what circumstances?
o    As the presenter, you are the expert on the subject being discussed. Your job is to use your expertise and insight to help attendees understand the information and how they can apply it in their work. 
·          Building on those specific examples, provide interactive learning opportunities that allow attendees to practice or discuss the skills and ideas being taught during the workshop. “Hands on” experience will reinforce learning in positive ways.
·          At the end of the workshop, summarize the key learnings and skills that the attendees should have obtained from the workshop. Some attendees may have been engrossed in one particular element of your presentation and missed other key points. 
·          Prepare a back-up form of your visual aids. Sometimes technology does not work. If you are planning on using PowerPoint, prepare handouts in case you encounter a technical problem (note that handouts are strongly recommended for workshops, in general, as attendees expect to walk away from workshops with something tangible).
·          Workshops events are scientific, non-commercial forums. No direct promotion is allowed. Direct promotion is defined as using your session to develop a mailing list, discounting others’ views, models, or products in a presentation, and/or product and service endorsements.
Handouts

·          Attendees expect something to take home from a workshop. At a minimum, you should bring copies of the presentation to share with attendees, leaving sufficient space for notes. 
·          Bring enough copies for all attendees. Your workshop coordinator will be able to give you an estimate of the number of attendees who have registered for your workshop in late March/beginning of April. Because attendees can register for workshops on the morning of the workshops, you should bring a few extra copies with you to accommodate any late registrations. If you have additional resources and references materials that you’d like to share with attendees, you should put them on a thumb drive, CD, or post online. If doing the latter, please include the Website in your onsite handouts or bring a card containing the website’s URL. Participants will make mistakes if they are asked to write down long URLs during the workshop. 
o    If you ask attendees to print their own copy of your handouts and bring it to the workshop, you should bring additional copies for attendees who forget or those who register on the morning of the workshops.
·          Ensure that all materials are easy to read.
o    Handouts with black print on white paper are generally preferred. If possible, have a few large print copies of your presentation available for those who might request them. 
Presenting the workshop

·          Show enthusiasm for your workshop topic. If you cannot be excited about your topic, how can you expect anyone else to be? Your first few comments will set the tone for the entire workshop. If you can show excitement for the workshop immediately, it is more likely that the audience will as well. 
·          Don’t read from your slides. Your visual aids should highlight your key points rather than acting as a script for your presentation.
o    Remember, that your presentation is only a visual aid. The most important part of the presentation is you, the presenter who is an expert in the topic area. Visual aids are a very important tool, but your words and presentation style are more important. Be particularly careful about the amount of information in your visuals. After all, if the entire message is on the visuals, why do we need a presenter?
·          Encourage active audience participation. Although you may have some prearranged points to discuss, involve the audience from the beginning. If possible, ask them some general questions at the beginning of the workshop, and try to tailor your presentation to their interests. 
·          Questions should be encouraged during the workshop, but be aware of how much time you spend answering questions or debating concepts because time spent doing this may take away from time needed to present the workshop concepts or planned interactions/activities. While some attendees may find value in these discussions, many do not unless the discussion leads to key learnings that they can apply in their work. If attendee questions and discussions seem to be sidetracking the workshop, tell the attendee(s) that for the sake of time, you’d be happy to discuss further over lunch or at the evening reception.
o    Repeat each question or comment before responding so that all can hear. 
·          A 15-minute break is planned near the middle of the workshop time. Because snacks and drinks are provided during the break, it is important to take the break at the scheduled time—too early and the snacks will not yet be available; too late and the snacks may be gone. The workshop coordinator will provide cues letting you know when scheduled break time is approaching, but it is a good idea to plan for this break when designing the workshop, so that you can build in a natural stopping point that doesn’t impact the workshop’s flow.
·          LCD projectors will be available in each workshop room. However, you will need to bring your own laptop to use the LCD projectors. Coordinate with other presenters to ensure that at least one of the presenters brings a laptop that can be used for the workshop and be sure that the all presentations are on that laptop. For a consistent flow, each presenter’s slides should be incorporated into one presentation. In case of unforeseen technical difficulties that might occur during the workshop (e.g., failed hard drive), presenters should have a back-up copy of their presentation saved to another laptop if possible and/or handouts containing the necessary materials for a successful workshop.
·          Arrive at the workshop room 15-30 minutes prior to the morning session to set up and ensure presentation, visual aids, and any other tools that will be used during the workshop are working properly. You may want to quickly run through the presentation to be sure everything is displaying as intended. There is nothing so distracting to a presentation than presenters fumbling with technology (e.g., LCD) while the attendees patiently wait.  
Accessibility of the presentation
 
·          SIOP is committed to ensuring that conferences are accessible to people with disabilities. Each and every member of your audience deserves the opportunity to benefit from your presentation. Please help us with this effort by using the following guidelines: 
o    Assume that there will be some members of your audience with disabilities. Remember, disabilities are not always obvious. Some people will likely have difficulty seeing your visual aids and/or hearing your presentation. Be prepared. Design presentation materials that will be user-friendly to your whole audience. 
o    Help the audience “see” the information by describing and summarizing what’s being presented. 
o    Ensure that all materials and visual aids are easy to read.
§   Handouts with black print on white paper are generally preferred. If possible, provide large print copies of your presentation when requested. 
o    Make yourself visible to the audience.
§   For the benefit of those who are deaf or hard of hearing, your mouth and face should be in direct view of the audience throughout the presentation. When speaking, avoid turning your back to the audience and standing in dimly lit areas of the room. 
o    Use the microphone if one is provided. Even if many audience members can hear you without it, the hearing limited may not. 
o    Turn audio/visual off when not in use. This will reduce background noise that is potentially distracting to your audience. 
o    Allow extra time for reviewing information presented on visual aids. Assume that some members of your audience will need time to look at the visual aids and then focus their attention on you for further information.