Presentation Pointers

2018 Keynote Bryan Alexander

Bryan Alexander, Keynote Speaker at Innovate 2018: Forward

To ensure a great conference experience for you and our attendees, we wanted to provide support as you craft a meaningful and engaging session.

At Innovate: Transform, we’ll hear a variety of perspectives on the evolving landscape of teaching and learning, focused around individualorganizational and social change. What story you will share, and how will you encourage others to engage? The tips below will help you develop content, plan activities and polish your presentation.

Find Your Story

What unique perspective or new insight do you bring to your subject? Brainstorm transformative aspects of your experience that convey your message in a powerful way. 

To find your story, consider these questions:

  • Why and how did I get here? What was my motive or the problem I wanted to solve? 
  • What innovative solutions, strategies or tools am I employing?
  • How has this work impacted students or changed my approach to teaching?

To hone your story, keep in mind the following:

  • Connect to your assigned conference thread—individual, organizational or social.
  • Be yourself and use your authentic voice.
  • Support your ideas with data, student feedback or other evidence.

Consider Your Audience

How will you make your story relevant, meaningful and memorable to attendees? Frame your content so it has broad appeal for a diverse audience.* 

  • Spark interest - Hook attendees at the start with an attention-grabbing lead. Pose an intriguing question or share a personal anecdote.
  • Provide concrete takeaways - Identify goals at the beginning of your session. What do you want participants to walk away knowing?
  • Be engaging - Break the traditional lecture mold! Incorporate active learning strategies, a response tool like Top Hat or collaborative and hands-on activities.

*In 2019, over 750 people attended Innovate from 180+ organizations. Three fourths of participants were from higher ed insitutions, while others joined from K12 schools and various education-related organizations. About 40% of attendees were in faculty or teaching roles. You will find instructional designers, technologists, administrators and other staff at Innovate as well.

Plan for Your Space

Check the schedule to find your assigned room, and consider the layout of the space when planning your activities. Keep in mind that many Innovate sessions have over 100 attendees!

  • Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom, West - 270 seats, banquet rounds
  • Cartoon Room - 170 seats, banquet rounds
  • Interfaith Prayer and Reflection Room - 84 seats, classroom tables
  • Ohio Staters Inc., Traditions Room - 72 seats, classroom tables
  • Performance Hall - 340 seats, banquet rounds
  • Senate Chamber - 76 seats, auditorium with fixed tables

What to bring? Consult the Ohio Union's  Audio Visual Presenter Guide for the available technology and A/V capabilities in your space.


Know Your Session Type

Make the most of your presentation by following these specific tips for your Innovate session type.

Inform & Engage

These 45-minute information sessions present excitng work related to conference threads. Whether you're planning a traditional presentation, an interactive workshop or a panel discussion, you should set up participants to implement similar approaches in their own work.

  • Stay organized - Ensure your presentation has a clear and easy-to-follow structure.
  • Build in variety - Though this session type is a more "classic" presentation style, you're still encouraged to break up your slides with time for activities, discussion or individual reflection.
  • Take questions - Consider setting aside time for Q&A at the end of your session.

Lightning Ideas

Three fast-paced and exciting 15-minute presentations are grouped into one session with a central theme. Presenters deliver their content and give the stage over for the next presentation.

  • Align to your topic - Check the schedule for your session's theme and assigned conference thread.
  • Be energetic - Hit the ground running and pace yourself. These mini-talks should start with an exciting hook and keep the energy high.
  • Hit the highlights - You have just 15 minutes... What key ideas will you impart? Create a handout or online resource for additional information.

The Imaginarium

The Imaginarium is a hands-on learning space where attendees can interact and network while exploring new tools and ideas. Promote collaboration, ideation and active discussion through your presentation type.

  • Tech display or demo - Show off the features of your technology at your station and encourage experimentation!
  • Tabletop presentation -  Share a digital presentation, lead a hands-on demo or facilitate lively discussion at your table.

Find more guidance in the Presenter's Guide to the Innovate Imaginarium (2020 guide coming soon).


Put It All Together

When you're ready to compile your presentation, consider using this optional Innovate-branded slide template to organize your content. Our design team has embedded best practices, accessibility guidance and design tips to assist you.

  • Keep it simple - Don't overcrowd your slides with text. As they say, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
  • Mix it up -  Incorporate a variety of graphics, audio and video to add interest and convey your message. 
  • Consider diverse learners - Follow accessibility best practices, such as using alt text for images, captions for video and high-contrast text. Use the microphone when speaking, and print a few copies of your slides in case an attendee requests them.
  • Share your slides - Provide a shared link for particpants to access your presentation material during and after your session.
  • Prep additional materials - What resources (e.g., handouts, web links, promotional material) will enable participants to recall and implement ideas from your session? Consider providing resources digitally (e.g., QR code, shared box folder).
  • Practice, practice, practice - People know when you're presenting for the first time. Schedule a run-through with your co-presenters to work out the kinks.​
  • Send us your slides - Upload your presentation materials by emailing an attachment named Last Name_Session Title to our InnovateX box folder. Contact us for alternate arrangements if your file is too large.

Contact Us

  • Get feedback - An Innovate chair is happy to help you brainstorm your session or provide feedback on your plans. Contact us to set up a consult. 
  • Find help - If you have any questions or concerns about your session or the conference program, do not hesitate to reach out to

​Share About Innovate

  • Post on social - If you're on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, share that you will be presenting. Use #InnovateOSU in your message to join the conference conversation. We may retweet or feature you!
  • FInd your marketing contact - Reach out to communications contacts in your college, department or organization. Let them know you are presenting so they can promote your session in upcoming communications.
  • Invite your colleagues - Word of mouth is one of the best (and sometimes most trusted) ways to get information out. Tell friends who are interested in teaching, learning or technology that there's something for everyone at Innovate!