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Talking about the “micropresentations” for the formal recommendation reports

by Steve Krause on November 9th, 2014

Lots of stuff going on here! I’m planning on getting started on commenting on your resumes and cover letters first thing Monday– and remember, I changed the deadline so the final version of this assignment is due by the end of the day Friday of this week. Also, I took a look at everyone’s first progress report for the formal recommendation report assignment and made a few brief comments. If you have other questions about that, by all means ask, both me and your classmates. And by the way, if you haven’t completed this progress report yet and/or are still struggling with coming up with an idea of some sort, let me know.

Now, one of the things I’m doing differently this semester is the “micropresentation” part of the assignment. Here’s how I describe it in the assignment itself:

Each of you will also prepare and share a “micropresentation,” which will be a short (no more than 3 minutes) video where you give the “elevator pitch” version of your report’s recommendation and proposal. Both the report and the micropresentation will be posted and be available for everyone in the class to review.

And, as I also point out in the assignment, you can of course help each other out on this part of the assignment, along with all the other parts of the assignment too.

So, what are these micropresentations all about? Well, I haven’t done this part of the assignment before, so part of what I hope is we can talk about how this might all work. A couple of thoughts to get things going here:

  • If this were a normal, “face to face” class, you would each give brief presentations in class about your projects. This is more or less a substitute for that sort of experience.
  • Basically, what I was imagining here was something along the lines of a videoed “elevator pitch,” which is a short (and rehearsed!) summary of something– a product, a service, or, in this case, your proposal. I was imagining that perhaps you could video a presentation of yourself at your computer, sort of like what I do for class once in a while. Then we can all watch these short videos and use that as part of the decision-making process on reviewing your entire recommendation report.
  • But I also think that this micropresentation might also include something along the lines of a Powerpoint presentation with some narration to it. It takes a little technical expertise (though not a lot), but you could potentially turn a slide show into a “movie.”
  • Regardless of how you record it, the easiest way to share your videos is going to be with YouTube. And yes, that means that you will be posting your video in a “public space,” but since the link to the video will be shared on this web site (which is password protected) and since there are many hours of video uploaded to YouTube every second, I really wouldn’t worry about it being viewed by anyone outside of our class. Uploading things to YouTube is really easy, but if you want to know more about how to do it, ask me and/or your classmates.
  • Remember that the goal here is to “sell” your proposal to me and to your classmates. You want to convince us to look more into your proposal and to ultimately vote for you. Because also remember: there is a competition element to all of this! The top five proposal ideas will receive “As” on this project, and I have to think that some of that will be based in part on the quality of these presentations.

Okay, so what do you think? What questions do you have? Any ideas for how to make these presentations?

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  1. Kristen Smith permalink

    The overall idea of doing these micro-presentation videos seems like a great idea and a way to get our idea out there in a different form that a written pitch. I wonder if there are any good examples of these elevator pitches done in video? My biggest concern with doing this video is knowing which points are essential to highlight and how to pitch my idea in the best way to grab interest for further inquiry about my idea.

    • Jessica Kane permalink

      I can understand your concern. I guess it would also depend how far into your research you are when you make the video. You probably wouldn’t want to spoil the findings but give enough information to where someone would want to read the report. If the video is at the beginning of the research, maybe an outline of what you’re looking at would be a good place to start?

    • Chelsea Idzior permalink

      I am with you on not being sure of which points to highlight. The reports are to be extremely detailed, but the videos only three minutes so I am not sure what exactly to include and what to leave out.

      • Steve Krause permalink

        Well, three minutes is arguably a bit on the “long-side.” Most elevator pitches are closer to a minute.

        Anyway, deciding on what to include and what to leave out is indeed a big part of the assignment. You’ll have to decide that for the micropresentation and you’ll also have to decide it for the “executive summary” part of the report, too.

    • Natasha Wickenheiser permalink

      While it will be somewhat difficult to decide what to include in the video, I don’t think it will be as complex as we might think. I’m picturing it as a vocal version of my executive summary. Granted, I will not read my summary word-for-word; however, a person should be able to read my summary and know for-the-most-part what I’m proposing. Our videos should do the same thing.

      • Kourtney Lovett permalink

        I agree with you on this. I imagine that our videos will basically serve as a long commercial that will help us sell our idea. I think I’m going to make bullets points that are essentially the main parts of my proposal and elaborate on them in my video. I think that’ll make the process a bit easier.

    • Leah Touchstone permalink

      The main idea here is to basically sale your idea. The cover letter seems to have the same intent. In that specific assignment we are trying to convince the reader in believing that we are fit for the applied position. Here we are trying to convince the reader of our proposal. I think this should be a fun experience.

  2. Jessica Kane permalink

    The video would be a great way to capture interest but I’m not nearly as tech-savvy when it comes to these sorts of things as I would like to be, especially in a competition setting. If this is strictly an elevator pitch, I’d probably keep it simple, just describing the basics and what I hope to achieve in the short and long run. If it’s more of a free-for-all, I would love to make this video with images/shots of the subjects of my proposal. Unfortunately, for my topic, I may need clearance for by the UHSRC to be able to record children and/or sensitive populations, and I may not get that clearance in time for the video. I feel the use of Powerpoint would give the proposal a professional edge but also feel that may not be the best route to sell the idea. I’d much rather show those who could benefit from this mixed in with a little math…however, as I mentioned in a comment to Kristen, this also depends on how far into our research we will be making these videos and whether I can get board approval.

    • Steve Krause permalink

      I think keeping it simple is the way to go generally here, Jessica. I’ll post a few links to some examples of elevator pitches (and if you do a search for “elevator pitches,” you can see some examples easily yourself, too), but if you do something that basically includes you talking into a camera and/or adding a voice-over to a slide show, then you are probably in good shape on this.

  3. Chelsea Idzior permalink

    I like the idea of the video and also the idea of a “narrated slideshow.” After fooling around a bit with iMovie, I’ve discovered that it’s not as complicated as it seems, so the idea of making a video doesn’t sound overly intimidating. My question would be how detailed do you want the video to be? You said a pitch so would it just be a basic overview of our idea and a quick summary of how it will be executed? The reports are super detailed so I wasn’t sure how in depth this video is required to go.

  4. Carly permalink

    I’m actually really excited for the video part of this. It feels like a finishing touch to the project– a good way to sell our ideas and put faces to the classmates we’ve been working alongside this whole semester. I feel like while we can all be convincing in text, there’s a entirely different art to being convincing in person, and it’s a great medium to explore!

    The struggle will be making this into a very professional video. I think unless you’re somebody who makes vlogs regularly and is comfortable in front of a camera, this could prove challenging. Personally, when I’m in front of a video I get silly-smiley because I get nervous, and nothing I say sounds convincing. And this video will be all about convincing the audience, so I have some concerns on how this will go.

    Although, on the other extreme, we don’t want to be making Sarah Mclachlen videos for the ASPCA either. (Look it up, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.) So finding that careful balance will be an experiment.

    • Natasha Wickenheiser permalink

      I agree, Carly! I think the video will be a fun way to close both the project and the semester. It will be interesting because every proposal idea will lend itself to different persuasive strategies in film. I’m really excited for the creative elements we’ll be able to incorporate.

  5. Melanie Waller permalink

    Since I don’t have a smartphone or any tech gadgets I don’t even know how, where or when to begin a video or powerpoint presentation.
    You guys all sound like you have done this before or some version of it, so just do a basic outline and hit the high points. Practice, practice, practice. It will be okay.
    I on the other hand will struggle to complete this assignment.

    • Steve Krause permalink

      Two basic thoughts on this, Melanie:

      * If you have a computer that is less than five or six years old (maybe even older), you almost certainly have a camera in your computer that you can use to shoot a video. This is a pretty standard feature on computers and it has been for a long time. Are you sure you don’t have this?

      Also, most standard digital cameras can record video and audio. Maybe you have one of those?

      * I’m going to guess you know someone who has a computer or camera that will work for this. Maybe you can get help from them?

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