Maria Thaman, Graduate Student, University of Cincinnati
September 27, 2016
Presenting at the BACCHUS General Assembly is a huge task, no matter who you are or how many times you have given a health education presentation in the past. Now, imagine you are offering this same information, but along with two or three other students (or groups) with whom you have never met and about whom you know nothing. This is a BACCHUS Showcase Session.
While I am happy to report that my own Showcase Session went off without a hitch during the 2015 GA, I am also here to tell you I put an extraordinary amount of work into making it a success. Not only does it take copious revisions to fit your original, lengthier presentation into a 15-minute timeframe, but your first in-person meeting with the other students in the session is likely at the General Assembly, maybe even at breakfast the day of your event. Folks, organization was the key to my success.
The Showcase Sessions are not meant to provide an arena for competition between the students of the different health education groups. The presenters are all likely speaking together because they have similar topics of interest and can expound on one another’s information. They may be giving their audience several different approaches to solve the same problem within the sphere of health education. My cohorts and I presented about social media, technology, and health education; however, each of us talked about our schools’ demographics and campus sizes.
Speaking from my own experience, it is best that the individuals involved in a particular showcase session meet as soon as they have arrived at General Assembly. This meeting allows the individuals to consolidate any PowerPoint presentations, as well as work out the order and timing of the session. One person must have access to each school’s presentation, so as to save time loading the PowerPoints during the actual session.
Seeing as the presenters will only have 10-15 minutes each to cover their topic, it is best to elect on individual to keep time in the back of the room and cue the presenters when 10 minutes has elapsed. This person ensures that the presenters are within their timeframe and that each topic is fully covered. It is better that the audience has the opportunity to hear from every group participating than to have one group monopolize time. Remember, individuals presenting together in a Showcase Session are a team. They want to convey similar information and are all working for the benefit of health education.
The toughest aspect of the session is maximizing the 10-15 minutes during the presentation. While background information about schools and peer health education groups is important, speakers must keep in mind that the audience wants take-home strategies for their institutions. Though presenters for General Interest Sessions are able to go into profuse details about specific programs, the Showcase Sessions succeed by giving the audience a variety of perspectives on several different topics. Keep in mind speakers are always able to expand on the information in their presentations with handouts and by independently answering audience questions at the end of the session.
Collaborating with the other students was the highlight of my Showcase experience in 2015. Each of our approaches to utilizing technology in health education was slightly different, so our audience gained a host of new information for their own campuses. The preparation for the session definitely seemed chaotic at times, and it was daunting to work with students I had never met, but, ultimately, the result was rewarding.
Before giving your presentation at General Assembly, heed this advice from Lars Sudmann: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdRuBRR6xOU
Note: The author was an undergraduate peer educator at Butler University during 2015 General Assembly.
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