Practical Tips & Tools

Preparing to Present: It’s Easier Than You Think

May 4, 2022

This article by New Readers Press sales rep and adult education consultant Rebecca Eller-Molitas was originally published at 

Last year, I gave 18 professional presentations about teaching, learning, and adult education.  

Recently, I received a text from a friend who is a phenomenal teacher. She wanted to know where I get my topic ideas and how I learned to create and give presentations. 

This is one of the most common things educators ask me, so I’ll share some tips here in case they can help others.  


I’ll admit I was scared beyond all reason the first few times I presented at conferences, but now it’s something I love.  

As an educator you plan learning experiences and speak in front of groups every single day. You’ve absolutely got what it takes to do this! Start small with an event where the audience contains friendly faces. Your college’s professional development days or a small meeting inside a membership organization are ideal launch points.  


You do not need to be the world’s leading expert on a topic in order to give a great presentation on it. 

In fact, sometimes being a leading expert prevents others from connecting with you. Would you have wanted to learn physics from Einstein in a one-hour conference session? I wouldn’t have. His ideas are so advanced that I wouldn’t have been able to grasp much in one workshop.  

Think about a problem you had in your classroom within the last 1–3 years. How did you improve that situation for yourself and for learners? There’s your topic.  

Remember, this is a lot like lesson planning. No need to stuff everything you know into that hour. Include only what you can cover well, and build in interactions and opportunities for new ideas to be applied by attendees.  


We are teachers, so I know that some of you have a little voice in your head screaming that you need formal training to do this.  

I understand because I’m one of those people. Toastmasters did wonders for me. There are groups all over the world and many of them offer online meeting options. It’s affordable and works with lots of schedules.  

If you want something a little livelier, consider taking a local theater or improv class. This is the next step for me.  

For my fellow book nerds out there, here are the presentation books I keep at my desk.  

  1. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds (for those of us who have trouble keeping it simple)
  2. The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach workshops that work every time by Rob Fitzpatrick and Devin Hunt (for those of us who struggle with the design process)
  3. Presenting Virtually: Communicate and Connect with Online Audiences by Patti Sanchez (for those of us who want to master virtual presentations)

If you prefer to get your tips in bite-sized chunks, I recommend following Rosemary Ravinal on LinkedIn. Her tips are easy to understand and apply, and she has an inspiring presence along with a generous spirit.