Best Practices: Global Connections Presentations
Global Connections gives schools, community groups, organizations, and after school programs access to returned Volunteers – free of charge – to serve as guest speakers. Consider the tips below to help ensure the success of your planned speaking engagement.
Before Your Presentation
Once we receive a request for a virtual or in-person speaker, the Global Connections program will reach out to RPCVs in the area who may be interested in participating. We also send the request to the local Peace Corps recruiter. If you receive an email asking you to participate in a Global Connections exchange, and you are interested in sharing about your service, please reach out to the requestor as soon as possible via phone or email to begin planning your event.
It is good practice to get as much information as possible about the audience you will be presenting to, such as size of audience, age, grade, and subject. Set expectations for the length and content of the presentation, as well as the format of the session (large group, assembly, class, or small group). Let the requestor know what technology you may need (projector, audio etc.) and determine ahead of time what is available.
Prepare for the visit:
Before you present, brush up on your knowledge of the Peace Corps and where Volunteers serve. You may also want to review the Ethical Sotrytelling Toolkit before presenting on your country of service. If you're looking for lesson plan ideas you can visit the Educator Resource page, or consider teaching a lesson about intercultural understanding.
During Your Presentation- Presentation Tips
- DO have fun. Think of a presentation as simply a conversation with friends who want to learn about your experience. Be sure your answers are animated and engaging, yet concise.
- DO speak about personal experiences, and feel free to talk about what motivated you to serve.
- DO ask questions of audience members. Say something like, “I had an amazing experience in Zambia. Is there anything specific you would like to learn from me about the Peace Corps or Zambia?”
- DO bring photo albums, artifacts, and/or articles of clothing for display.
- DO select 10-20 photos when creating a presentation. The presentation should last no more than 20 minutes. Select photos that walk the audience through your experience using the Customizable PowerPoint Template.
- DO weave colorful glimpses of the Peace Corps experience, utilizing at least three snippets of anecdotal material. This adds emotional depth to the presentation.
- DO remember that you are someone who is fun and interesting to listen to. You are an expert on the Peace Corps! Your audience probably doesn’t know anything about the country where you served. Your personal stories inspire.
- DO keep in mind that audiences will see you as a representative of Peace Corps, a person who—in the words of founding Director Sargent Shriver—”personifies our best qualities and deploys to the world the vision of what the United States stands for.” What you choose to say—and how you say it—matters.
- DON’T read your presentation slides word-for-word. The audience can read your slides while you talk about an experience related to the subject.
- DON’T generalize about the Peace Corps experience. What you experienced is unique to you. Each volunteer has a different experience. Say, “This is what I experienced,” or “I can tell you about what it was like in my village.”
- DON’T use Peace Corps acronyms like RPCV, PCV, IST, TDY, and COS. These terms are meaningless to someone who has not served in the Peace Corps.
- DON’T try to explain everything about the culture or the history of the country where you served. The details will be lost. People remember a personal story more than a history lesson.
- DON’T overshare horror stories. It’s alright to share stories about getting sick or giant bugs, but try to seek balance in your content. If you speak at length about being ill and briefly about your work, then your audience will take away the negative parts of your experience instead of the positive. How did you receive help to overcome the difficult situation? Why would you join Peace Corps again despite these hardships?
- DON’T cite statistics unless they are particularly relevant to anecdotal material you happen to use. Only cite statistics from reliable sources.
After Your Presentation
Share your experience:
We always appreciate photos and stories about your event. We also appreciate feedback about our program to help us understand our successes and areas of improvement so that we can continue to provide a relevant program. Feel free to email us any time at [email protected] with feedback or questions, and don't forget to log your engagement in the RPCV Portal.