by Jacinta Sherlock

If we want to spread a meaningful idea on food or nutrition, then presentation matters: Lessons learnt from observing AdvAPD Glenn Cardwell

Ensuring I wasn’t going to be a mushroom left in the dark about how to deliver engaging presentations, I was delighted to attend the recent APNA conference.

Whilst primary care nurses were indulged with a delicious mushroom-themed breakfast prepared by Better Homes and Gardens’ chef, Fast Ed, I embraced the opportunity to observe AdvAPD Glenn Cardwell doing what he does best – telling stories. Learning how to step away from text heavy presentations to deliver meaningful nutrition education presentations with pictures and stories.

Once upon a time… so I thought not … but not quite so….

As a new grad dietitian who dreads delivering presentations (yes I’m the one who’s heart feels like it’s jumping ten miles out from my chest, my throat becomes that dry I can drink my 8 glasses of water in 30min), I am keen to learn the insights and wisdom from those who have overcome similar obstacles or are just fortunate to be born presenters (I’m sure it can be put down to genetics – or perhaps epigenetics). It also proved to a brilliant opportunity to sit around a breakfast table and listen to other healthcare professionals and gain an understanding of the landscape of the healthcare system and a real world perspective of food, nutrition, nutrients and food products through the lens of primary care nurses (learning opportunities galore).

Take home lessons:

– People have a natural tendency to dispute facts and argue with them. When we use a story, we take the listener along and we can illustrate the facts and truth. Nobody comes back to you and disputes the facts you present within the story

– Story telling takes many forms and there are different techniques based on the aims, audience and desired outcomes. – Using images and creating a story in an incredibly powerful communication platform, enabling us to transcending barriers such as low literacy and numeracy levels, gender, and culture.

– As dietitians we have a story to tell about food not nutrients. In this case it was the tale of how the Mighty Mushrooms teamed up with Dynamic Dairy are “Legendairy” in supporting bone health and Vitamin D levels. – Just because we are a wealth of information about food and nutrition, we don’t need to overwhelm people with all the information. Choose two or three main points your audience wants to know about and communicate them practically and meaningfully within the story.

– Don’t be afraid to ask more experienced Dietitians or healthcare professionals for their advice, insights or to observe them deliver a presentation. Use your networks – Team up with a chef who can help create an experience for the audience by preparing yummy food (and who will have a dig at the person who walks into the room with a green smoothie for breakfast).