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Presenting at AMC 2015: A How-To Guide - NEACAC

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Presenting at AMC 2015: A How-To Guide
Thank you for your interest in presenting at NEACAC’S 2015 Annual Meeting & Conference! This how-to guide was created alongside
“Submitting Your AMC Session Proposal” to help guide you through the presentation planning and proposal submission process. For
additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact the AMC Programming Subcommittee Chairs Heather Zeman
( and Christina Berardi ( for assistance.
Step One: Choose Your Topic
The first step to presenting at the AMC is to choose a topic. A session topic could be a subject area you are well-versed in, a duty you are
responsible for in your office, or something you are currently studying. Don’t be afraid to explore a topic you don’t consider yourself to be
an expert on. A great topic idea can be one you don’t think gets presented on often enough or an issue you encounter in your job and
would like to collaborate on.
Need some topic ideas? Here are requested topics from the 2014 AMC evaluation: Financial Aid, Student Success Plans, Work/Life
Balance, Event Planning, High School Visits, Issues of Access & Diversity, Professional Ethics, Working with Student Populations
(International, First Generation, Low GPA’s, Transfers, Veterans, Undocumented, Athletes).
Step Two: Construct a Dream Team
The great thing about presenting at a conference is you don’t have to do it alone! Once you have determined a topic you want to present
on, think about what type of presenters are needed. Then, consider who you know that has experience in your topic area. A great team is
made up of people from different types of institutions and possibly different sides of the desk. Think about including professionals with
varying experience levels on your team. Once you have identified potential team members, communicate with them before submitting your
topic to make sure they are on board and can help you create your session proposal.
Don’t know who to ask? Email Heather and Christina for suggestions on potential presenters.
Step Three: Pinpoint Your Target Audience
Is your presentation geared toward College Admission Counselors, Secondary School Counselors, or both? Is it best suited for new
professionals, mid-level or senior staff? If you choose a broad audience, make sure to represent each of those areas in your content and
within your team. Presenting to a narrower group can often lead to a more in-depth presentation and discussion and shouldn’t be avoided.
Regardless of the approach you take, make sure to keep the needs and interests of your audience in mind when structuring your
Step Four: Define Your Objective
What is the intended outcome of your presentation? With what information would you like your audience to walk away? Keeping your topic
in mind and drawing from the knowledge and experiences of each member of your Dream Team, decide what the overall message and the
end goal of your presentation is.
Possible outcomes could include: To teach your audience something new, to collaborate with colleagues and brainstorm a new idea, to
expose an issue within the profession for further discussion, or help other professionals based on experiences you have had.
Step Five: Propose Your Topic
Refer to Session Proposal Submission Tips for more information.
Step Six: Structure Your Presentation to Support Your Objective
Keeping your topic and objective in mind, which presentation format will allow you to be engaging and reach your presentation goals? Will
you need a PowerPoint, handouts, or any other source of information for your audience? Most people are familiar with a traditional lecturestyle presentation. When planning your presentation, we ask that you also consider some other possibilities for the structure of your
Here are some examples:
Traditional lecture format- PowerPoint and handouts are very useful.
Panel- a small group of people brought together to discuss a particular topic often driven by questions from the audience.
Round-Table- a discussion lead by presenters with collaboration from the audience.
Project Based- when the audience is given a scenario or case study and the presenter leads the group in solving the project.
Alternative Medium - films, articles, or case studies to build your discussion around.
After choosing a structure that you feel will be engaging, look back at your objective and make sure the structure supports your group’s
goals. Also, confirm with all presenters involved that they feel comfortable using the chosen format. At this point, circulating an outline of
how you feel the presentation will run can be very helpful for group members to understand the approach and vision for the session.
Step Seven: Make it Interactive
Think back to some of your favorite presentations or classes - what exercises helped you relate to certain topic areas. Every person learns
differently, some people learn best by hearing, seeing or doing. Integrating various teaching techniques and visuals aids can help your
audience understand your presentation better.
Consider incorporating case studies, doing an exercise that put people in someone else’s shoes, and something that encourages people to
talk and collaborate. Some people will find it helpful to have some time during the presentation to formulate thoughts individually while
others will enjoy working on a topic with a group. Incorporating these different learning styles and preferences will help people become
more engaged in your presentation.
Step Eight: Touch Base with the AMC Programming Committee Member Assigned to Your Session
Shortly after your presentation is chosen for the conference you will be contacted by a member of the AMC Programming Committee. This
person will act as your liaison and can be a great resource for any questions or concerns leading up to and during the conference.
Step Nine: Rehearse!
Get together with your group members to run through your presentation. Practice with any technology or visual aids you are utilizing to
prevent hang-ups or slow-downs. Time your presentation carefully during this rehearsal to ensure you will fill the time allotted, but not run
over. Allow extra time for questions and discussion while recognizing that most people speed up their speech when in front of a group.
It is often helpful to have a person who is not involved in your presentation watch the rehearsal. They will then be able to comment on
pace, diction, transitions and content without bias. Holding the rehearsal ahead of time gives your group an opportunity to incorporate
changes that might be needed prior to your assigned session time.
Step Ten: Present
Your hard work is done! Come to AMC 2015 ready to wow your audience with the best presentation yet. Consider what you will wear to
present. Although the AMC conference is casual some presenters choose to kick it up a notch for their presentation. Bring business cards
for audience members who would like to follow up with you after the conference. Also, look at which room your presentation will be in so
you can arrive on time (and consider dropping off materials ahead of time if necessary). Break a leg, and thank you for presenting!
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