Giving an Effective Presentation

Once you’ve learned exciting new information at a conference or in a class, the next step might be to share with colleagues or members of your chapter. However, no one wants to be the person at the water cooler who won’t stop talking about their exciting experience; instead, you can arrange an opportunity to present this information to everyone at once through a special training or education session. But how can you be sure your excitement and the reasoning behind it are successfully conveyed? Here are some tips for giving an effective and memorable presentation.

Think Like an Entertainer

The first step to giving an effective presentation is deciding your overall point, or thesis. Maybe you want to share the information to solve a problem, or help others be more efficient, or because it’s highly relevant to the future of your industry. Whatever the reason you want to catch the attention of the crowd, try to think like an entertainer as you decide on the structure, order, and content of your presentation.

Lead with a Hook: The best presentations are stories that give us an “aha” moment, according to Forbes. If you frame the presentation as a mystery that you and the audience are on the journey to solve, they’ll be waiting for the answers to fall into place.

            Self-Edit the Narrative: It’s essential not to overwhelm your audience with information or try to summarize a huge lesson in one presentation. You might be able to share the content of one session at your conference, or one learning unit from your class, but hitting the audience with a full “brain dump” is likely to cause them to tune out. Research has shown that one week after a presentation, audiences only remember 10 percent of the information on average. Consider this as you decide what to include and emphasize.

Create Supportive Visuals

One study from the University of North Carolina found that presentations given in an audio-only format with no visuals might lead to higher recall in the audience. With that said, many presenters and audience members alike expect and rely on tools like PowerPoint and Prezi to keep the flow moving. If you plan to use visuals during your presentation, here are some more tips to consider.

Don’t Overuse Charts, Graphs, and Data: According to presentation guru Nancy Duarte, who has assisted executives in delivering amazing business presentations since 1988, it’s important to share just the right amount of data in a chart or graph. “You need to highlight the most important items to ensure that your audience can follow your train of thought and focus on the right elements,” she writes on the Duarte company blog. “Using a lot of crazy colors, extra labels, and fancy effects won’t captivate an audience. That kind of visual clutter dilutes the information and can even misrepresent it.” Instead, be sure the visuals enforce your key concepts, and then provide the finer details in a handout the audience can take away with them.

            Mix Up the Provided Templates: From the colors and layout of the slides to the content itself, it’s important to break the mold of a typical presentation if you want better-than-typical results in your audience. For instance, one study published in Technical Communication magazine demonstrated that using a full sentence as the slide headline versus just a few key words led to significantly higher audience recall. Refer back to our blog from last year about preparing for a presentation for more insights about presentation formats and styles, as well as some public speaking tips.

Reinforce Information Through Audience Interaction

Lastly, a great way to ensure your presentation is memorable is to involve the audience. On a basic level, this means you need to memorize the presentation as much as possible, according to Harvard Business Review, and maintain eye contact with the audience. If you aren’t engaged with and focused on the audience, they won’t have any reason to focus on you in return. Additionally, there are some insights to share about rethinking audience interaction that will take your presentation to the next level.

Go Beyond the Show of Hands: Asking people to raise their hands or shout out a yes-or-no answer is not full engagement, according to Forbes contributor Nick Morgan. “You need to make the audience do some of the work. That way, the audience will feel like it owns, at least in part, the result,” he advised in a blog for the publication. Some of the specific activities he mentions as alternatives are getting the audience to tell a story to their neighbor or asking them to handwrite or hand-draw something relevant to the core concept.

            Ask for Feedback After the Show: A final way to help the audience retain what they learned and help you at the same time is to ask for feedback. Whether they complete an online survey or answer a few questions on paper, even a few responses will give you enough insight to review and improve before the next presentation.

Sharing information with others in a way that helps them learn, retain, and apply the concepts isn’t an exact formula. Overall, your audience wants to hear from you about the solution or insights you are bringing to the table. Remember the classic quote from Maya Angelou: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” If your audience feels better equipped to solve or cope with a problem after your presentation, they will remember.



Board of Directors 2020 Election Results

The Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity would like to announce the election of Mike Dickerson and Miriam Tomaselli, and the re-election of Alexander Sultan to its Board of Directors.

Dickerson, Tomaselli, and Sultan will serve 3-year terms. Dickerson and Tomaselli will be eligible for election to a second term upon the completion of the first term, while Sultan will be serving his second, and final, term under the current bylaws. They will be installed as directors on August 8, 2020, at the next scheduled board meeting.

The Alpha Kappa Psi Board of Directors are elected by representatives of all currently recognized chapters in the fraternity. The responsibilities of the board include making all policy and strategy decision for the organization in between sessions of the chapter congress (every two years) and providing oversight to all organizational operations.

Dickerson and Tomaselli will be replacing Nancy Huebner Ghizzone and Richard Battle, who have both served two 3-year terms on the board.


Mike Dickerson-Virginia Tech ‘04
Mission Manager for Intelligence, Joint Chiefs of Staff
AKPsi Fraternity President, 2017-2019

Mike Dickerson is a highly experienced, passionate, and innovative volunteer leader, having established a reputation for advancing collaboration, executing paradigm-shifting programs, and developing countless alumni for leadership positions within AKPsi during nearly two decades as a volunteer leader at every level of the organization. He is a recognized expert in the history and execution of the The Ritual of Alpha Kappa Psi.

As the 41st Fraternity President, he was responsible for overseeing the activities of 600+ volunteers around the world, serving 250+ student and alumni chapters, including
representing all chapters and volunteers to the Fraternity Board of Directors, and establishing new initiatives like the Strategic Advisory Councils and Fraternity Managers. From 2015-2017 he was the Fraternity Executive Vice President, overseeing the Alumni Chapter Region, managing Management Team (MT) finances, and leading the Fraternity Ritual Team, which he founded in 2014. Prior to his term as EVP, he served as the first Vice President for Area III, overseeing 60 chapters in four regions. From 2009-2014 Mr. Dickerson was the Mideast Regional Director, expanding the largest region in the history of Alpha Kappa Psi by nearly 20% in chapters (both student and alumni) and 25% in membership. As a regional director, he became known for expertise in developing volunteers for higher positions in the organization, establishing efficient and effective management structures and processes, and mentoring countless student members in professional
development. Prior to being elected a regional director in 2009, I was a section director and served as the founding chapter advisor for three chapters.


Alexander Sultan-San Diego State ‘93
Senior Manager, Deloitte & Touch LLP
AKPsi Board of Directors – Secretary, 2017-present

Over 18 years of expertise in the areas of management consulting, information security and risk management, information technology (IT) strategy, cyber mergers and acquisitions (M&A), compliance, and management consulting for high-profile global clients in Public Sector, Telecommunications, Media Entertainment, Financial Services, and Technology. Earned an MBA from London Business School. Worked on international engagements in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Belgium, China, and South Africa.


Miriam Tomaselli-Marist College ‘97
Vice President and Program Director, Klick Health
Commonwealth Leadership Alliance (AKPsi-affliated) –
Director, 2015-present

Skilled in building integrated project management departments, from the ground up, to manage projects from planning to completion. Adept in scaling agency operations (delivery management procedures) during rapid growth cycles, in handling operational challenges, and in developing organizational structure. Successful in grooming top notch talent to fulfill job roles, training first time managers, motivating teams for high performance, and development/governance of standard operating procedures.


Click here to see all three of their full resumes.

Alpha Kappa Psi Inclusivity Statement

Dear AKPsi Brothers,

As our fraternity celebrates the end of another academic year and the accomplishments of our members and chapters from across the world, there are those also experiencing the tough reality of lives lost to racially motivated violence. Recent incidents across the US have caused feelings of sadness, frustration, hopelessness, and anger throughout our membership and in our wider communities.

Words will not and cannot reconcile these emotions, but at the same time, we do not feel it’s right or just to remain silent. We feel it is important to affirm publicly that all humans have value and that we must stand in solidarity against injustice, racism, and violence at all times, but especially when our fellow brothers and families are suffering.

We must acknowledge and respond to the negative effects which injustice, racism and violence have on our organization, on our brothers, on our families, and on society as a whole.  In AKPsi, we aspire to be principled business leaders. In order to be true to our values – brotherhood, integrity, unity, knowledge, service – we must find ways to enact those values at this critical time.

To this end, we are organizing a task force to develop a plan of action for our fraternity to be a model of inclusivity and equality. By doing so, we will aim to be a model for other organizations who aspire to spurn injustice, discrimination in any of its many forms, and violence.  The work will begin immediately and the initial draft plan of action will be released within the next 30 days.

We understand our words and our call to action may not lessen the current emotions; however, we are committed to taking the first step toward long-term change in our organization on behalf of our members and beyond.

If you are interested in sitting on the task force or being kept up to date on progress being made, please sign into the MyAKPsi Community and apply through Volunteer Central ( Please choose the preferred vacancy “Inclusivity, Equality and Diversity Taskforce member” and complete the information requested. You can mark the “I am interested in learning and leadership development positions” checkbox of Special Interest Project.

Finding Your First Internship

College internships are a tried-and-true way for students to gain real world experience in a professional setting. According to data from the NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition, students who pursue these positions during college are more likely to find employment after graduation. These experiences are about more than just applying the skills and techniques learned in your classes; internships also provide a glimpse into what certain industries and job titles resemble on a day-to-day basis. Let’s examine some of the best ways to not only land an internship, but also make the most out of your time there.


Getting a Head Start

Due to limited openings, student internships are often a hot commodity. If you’re interested in applying for an internship at a large or well-known company, you might find yourself turned away if you cut it too close to the deadline. In fact, many internships have early deadlines. Companies could begin recruiting for a spring internship as early as November of the previous year. Getting a head start is also a good idea because it allows you to create a balanced and long list of possible choices. That way, if one doesn’t work out, you still have several others to pursue.

Recruiting for Internships at Career Fairs and Networking Events

Though they might seem old-fashioned in the age of online applications and networking, career fairs have long since been the single most popular professional event for colleges. The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 90 to 95 percent of universities host at least one career fair, with the average number being four per year. Additionally, an average of 208 companies attend each of these, meaning there countless opportunities for face-to-face conversations and networking. Bring a resume or CV, and be prepared to give an elevator pitch about yourself, one that highlights your strengths, interests, and career objectives.


Using Online Job Sites

Employers often use the same websites to post their internships as they would their salaried, full-time positions. These listings will indicate what requirements they have for an internship, like whether they’re offering only to this year’s graduating class, if there are prerequisites, and if it’s an in-person or remote job. When seeking online internship listings, consider trying:

  • LinkedIn
  • com
  • Monster
  • Glassdoor
  • YouTern

It’s also time to become familiar with interviewing best practices. Make sure you have a well-organized and succinct resume, and always write a fresh and personalized cover letter. These small but important details show employers not how hard you work, but how much you desiree and respect the internship opportunity.


Succeeding In Your First Internship Position 

An important goal of any employee should be to perform to the best of their abilities. Though you might not be a full-time team member, there are always excellent ways to stand out to your internship manager and prove that you would be a valuable addition. First, remember to introduce yourself and make an impression on everyone you meet. Even if you’re only taking notes on a call or assisting in a presentation, don’t be afraid to leave a good impression on others around the table.

Second, put in the work to understand the expectations and requirements of your position, and then seek to exceed them. Anyone can do the bare minimum at a job, but this is really your chance to sharpen your instincts and gain confidence at work. Requesting one-on-ones with managers or asking your seasoned office neighbor for specific advice is a surefire way to get a clear picture on where you excel and where you can improve.

Internships are more than just another requirement in college. This is about opportunity and practice, and knowing how to set goals and achieve them. Make sure you give it your all, whether you’re in the early process of research, the urgency of applying and interviewing, or making the best of it after landing the job. Be sure to communicate, ask questions whenever you don’t understand, and remain open to feedback to get better at your job before you even graduate.

Finding the Right First Job

After graduating college, there is both internal and external pressure to quickly find a job. While securing employment is obviously important, this is the beginning of a new career for you. You absolutely deserve to find something that appeals to your sensibilities and piques your interest. So, rather than rushing into something that’s not a good fit, here are four ideas for figuring out what job might be the perfect one for you.


What Interests Are Important to You?

When beginning the job search, it’s important to consider which of your interests are most important to you. You have spent four years exploring different areas of a major, taking classes in a variety of focuses as they apply to your study. Rank these courses and think about how each one impacted you. The goal here is to find out not just what you’re good at, but what engages and inspires you to do it. For instance, a marketing major will be entering an incredibly wide and varied field with all kinds of industries and chances to put their talents to work. Why not leverage those differences, and enjoy a chance to be choosy for once?

It’s also a good idea to consider your own personality traits. Maybe you’re a people person, someone who likes to engage on a personal level; you might consider doing field research, focus group testing, or social media marketing. If, instead, you prefer working alone, it may be better to consider doing market analysis or consulting. Again, it’s really a matter of what rings as important and true to you.


The Value of Internships 

After four or more years of college, it’s suddenly time for you to give up the student life and become something entirely different: a professional. All the classroom discussions, late-night studying, and the detailed notetaking were just practice for the real thing. Naturally, it can be a bit daunting to go pro for the first time. However, it feels a lot less stressful when you take advantage of an internship while in college. Not only is it real-world experience, it’s also a lower-stress setting to make first-time mistakes and learn from them.

Internships are also a perfect way to test the waters of a particular job or industry, and the experience can help you better understand what an actual day looks like. Though some of the jobs you perform at an internship might be more administrative, these positions also give you an insight into the inner workings of a company, as well as how these organizations fit within a particular industry. Much like a film preview, internships are a great way to catch a glimpse of what lies ahead with a specific career choice.

Internships also provide you with a chance to make valuable connections that serve you going forward. A study performed by the NACE Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition found that students who participated in multiple internships were more likely to find employment within six months of graduation. Be sure to engage with management or other professionals with whom you work during these internships, as any of these contacts could potentially lead to a career opportunity after graduation.


Talk to Others in the Field

Another resource for figuring out the right career path is to speak to those who know it first-hand. During your time in school, you undoubtedly met a fair share of these experts in the classroom and office hours. Your professors are there to provide guidance and point out a few important landmarks to look out for along the way. They also know you on a personal level and can discuss where you excelled in class and how that might apply to a chosen career.

Another option is to attend professional networking events as a chance to speak face-to-face with established professionals. The great thing about these events is that they often cover a broad industry or area of interest, such as cloud computing or medical technology sales. Don’t be afraid to approach and introduce yourself to others on the floor. A recent study found that 85 percent of positions were filled through networking, so asking questions and learning from your fellow attendees is an excellent way to show interest, as well as establish some important connections once you’re ready to start applying.


Making Interviews Work for You

Once you’re ready to sit down with employers and start the interview process, it’s vital that you’re learning about their company while they do the same about you. Find out about work style, such as whether people are sitting at desks in the office or working remotely. Ask about benefits and salary, even if it feels awkward to do so. Lastly, do what you can to find out about the culture in the office. In a recent study by Jobvite, 46 percent of applicants reported culture as the most important aspect of a job fit. Even if a position is in the right field, be sure the specific company you choose has the qualities you desire.

Whatever path you choose in your professional life, it is the start of a new era. You’re just getting out into the world, so don’t second guess or settle for something that seems like a bore. Remember to prioritize your interests, build connections through internships and networking, and don’t be afraid to put employers to the test during an interview. If you’re still unsure, don’t forget Alpha Kappa Psi’s amazing alumni network, and let us know if you need assistance getting connected to someone who has been in your shoes.