Presentations: School vs. Work

Near the end of summer 2015, I delivered a presentation about my summer internship. It was an open invite for the whole company––and it was great to see so many employees from every department come and see the work the interns had done over the course of the summer.

When preparing for my presentation, I thought, this is going to be a piece of cake. I’ve been doing presentations ever since kindergarten at show-and-tell. What I didn’t realize is that presentations in the workplace are a bit different than in an academic setting. They both involve preparing, planning, and delivering information to an audience, however, the experience and takeaways are not going to be the same. Here are some notable differences I learned:

The Purpose
School: To get a good grade
Work: To efficiently communicate your key points

The Setting
School: Bored students and a teacher with high expectations
Work: Engaged coworkers listening and responding

The Rules
School: No “um’s”, 7 minutes exactly, must cover listed topics
Work: None (maybe smile though)

The Reward
School: A grade
Work: Making an impact

So really, in the workplace, presentations are for a true purpose that will make an impact on the company, and in school – when it comes down to it – it’s mostly just to get a good grade. Now, I admit there were some presentations in school that I was passionate about, but there were a good bunch that I just wanted to get that A+. Presentations at work are so much more exciting, and even though there is no grade or expectations of a job well done, they are more rewarding and offer a great experience.

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