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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Clinical Support Center (CSC) "Leading Indian Health Care Education"

Office of Continuing Education

Generally after you have asked someone to participate as faculty in your activity, you will need to follow up with a letter that confirms the logistical arrangements and other details. This letter should include the learning objectives for that presentation so that the speaker will know exactly what he or she is expected to accomplish. Please refer to the sample faculty letter that we have provided in the following pages. In many situations, the speaker plays an important role in defining the objectives -- for example, a sub-specialist to whom you often refer patients may have the best insight into what your staff needs to learn about early diagnosis and pre-transfer management of your patients. At other times, your staff or planning committee will have an exclusive role in defining the objectives. In either case, the statement of the objectives in the letter assures there will be no misunderstanding. In fact, most presenters place so much stock in the objectives that if they are poorly considered or carelessly written, you may find that the session did not turn out as you intended or assumed it would.

Be certain to consider the following items, when appropriate, in your faculty letters:

  • Name of the educational activity and overall goals or purpose
  • Date, day of the week, and time of their presentation(s)
  • Duration and format of presentation(s)
  • Location of facility and meeting room; offer directions if necessary
  • Target audience, numbers, and their characteristics or background
  • How their contribution fits in with the larger meeting (enclose agenda to clarify this)
  • Whether they will be expected to respond to questions
  • The objectives, and perhaps how the need was determined
  • How the meeting will be evaluated
  • Request that they complete the Disclosure Form and the reverse side with biographical data and audiovisual needs and handouts
  • How honorarium, if any, or reimbursement of expenses will be handled
  • Faculty contact information (i.e. e-mail address, phone number and mailing address).

Guidelines for Faculty and Speakers
The following are several tips and guidelines we feel will make your planning easier and your presentation/s more successful. Please share these suggestions with faculty/speakers you have identified for your educational activity.

Presentation Design

  • Know the size and composition of your audience. Material must be tailored to the background, needs, and abilities of that group.
  • Follow the objectives that have been presented to you. These objectives are based upon the needs of the audience and are stated in terms of what the audience should be able to do as a result of having attended your presentation.
  • Utilize adult learning principals when designing the presentation style.
    1. Learning occurs when the learner perceives a problem; adult learning is problem centered.
    2. Adults prefer to participate actively and need to be able to express themselves freely.
    3. Learning applied immediately is retained longer.
    4. Use the knowledge of the entire group, not just the instructors.
    5. Create a friendly environment of mutual respect.
    6. Case studies are an excellent way to involve the group and utilize these principals.
  • Construct an outline to organize your thoughts.
  • Limit important points to a few, making sure that you cover the intended objectives.

Designing Effective Visual Aids

  • Make certain that you practice your presentation with your audiovisuals to be sure it is appropriate for the environment and setting in which you will be presenting.
  • Keep it simple. Limit amount of information on each overhead or slide. You should use only one figure, one table, or a few lines of text to emphasize a single idea.
  • Use the visual aids as a guide. Do not read the information to the audience.
  • Be aware of problems when using colors. Avoid colors that blend together.
  • Avoid too many slides or overheads. Use them to enhance the presentation; do not overwhelm the audience.
  • Know how to position and operate the audio/visual equipment.
  • Presentation Software
    1. Use appropriate software techniques that enhance participants learning; ex. PowerPoint™, Internet and/or web-based packages.
    2. Remember to budget your presentation time and interact with the audience – technology requires this.
    3. Do not allow technology to dictate the educational content of the presentation.
    4. Do not read screens verbatim; use them to drive discussion of the educational content.
    5. Some common problems include: too much information per slide, busy background, multiple backgrounds in the same presentation, misuse of color, illegible font sizes and/or styles, and excessive animation or graphics.

Presentation Guidelines

  • Be aware that using a lectern or podium makes a lecture more formal.
  • Introduce the presentation in a manner that commands attention. You have only about two minutes to capture the audience.
  • Explain at the beginning what the audience can expect and what they will be able to take back with them.
  • Ask the audience what they expect to learn from your presentation.
  • Make eye contact with the audience and be aware of your body language.
  • Make the presentation sound like you. Use a natural tone of voice, simple language, and avoid speaking rapidly.
  • Reinforce key points throughout the presentation and summarize at the end.
  • Allow time for questions.
  • Prepare handouts to summarize key information so audience can focus on speaker rather than taking notes.
  • Evaluate your progress throughout the presentation by asking for audience feedback.

If you have an interest in more advice about any aspect of preparation or presentation, please contact the Clinical Support Center at (602) 364-7777.

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