Mistake #1. Opening weakly
Solution: Get attention! Invite the audience in immediately with a startling statement or image, a communal action (singing, chanting, clapping in rhythm) – anything that commands attention and shows the kids that the program is in your capable hands.
Solution: Learn to “read” the room. Are kids getting restless? Beginning to chat? Turning away from your presentation? Time to switch up the content or pace and get them refocused.
Mistake #3. Speaking too softly, quickly or monotonously
Solution: Practice breathing, projecting, slowing the pace and speaking with lots of expression. Even if you think you have a voice like a foghorn, it will sound strained to those in the back of the multipurpose room. Be sure to use a microphone. And don’t talk to the screen or easel – face your audience.
Mistake #4. Using visuals or props that are hard to see
Solution: Aim for the kids in the back of the room. Make props oversize. Be sure everyone has a clear view of your props and the screen
Mistake #5: Going overtime
Solution: Appoint a timekeeper to give you warnings at 10 minutes, 5 minutes and the end. Keep your eye on the clock so that you can adjust your pacing.
Mistake #6. Failing to create an ending with impact or with a call to action
Solution: If you like to incorporate a Q & A into your assembly, don’t end with it – place it just before the ending. Wrap up by sending the group out with one last anecdote, a summary of the points you made in your presentation or an appeal for them to do something (Be sure to read! Write! Start a book club!)