Academic Writing Complete Guide
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Oral Presentations Guide & Tips
This is a talk given to a group of people where one presents their views on a topic that hinges on research he conducted. A group or a single person can do an oral presentation. In many ways, it is like an essay because you have to prepare for it before you start writing, analyses the topic, research on it and formulate an argument. You also need to provide adequate information that satisfies your audience through your research. They also have introductions discussions and conclusions. The major difference between essays and oral presentation is that they are read to the audience, not just submitted to the instructor.
You have to consider your audience when you are preparing your oral presentation. Your audience has different levels of knowledge on the topic. The purpose of your presentation must be clear to enable you to determine the amount of background information you intend to disseminate to the audience. Identify if there are important definitions that the audience might need. Ascertain if they need a presentation plan to enable them to follow the proceedings without getting lost.
When you are giving your oral presentation, you can repeat yourself on key issues to ensure the audience is following you accordingly. You have to be professional as possible because the oral presentation is an important employability skill.
Before you give your talk
Before you give your oral presentation, consider these activities first:
- Consider your audience and their background knowledge to assist you in choosing the content and style of presentation
- Estimate the time for your presentation and decide how much information you will require
- Choose the appropriate resources
- Collate all ideas and information and structure them in a logical sequence
- Decide the amount of information to include
- Identify the major points, then select the explanations and examples that are relevant to them
- Provide clear links between major points, their explanations, and examples
- Make use of keywords to reiterate the importance
- Formulate logical connections between major points and then explain these connections in a clear, concise, and precise manner. All your key points ought to have links. For instance, you can say, “one way X occurs…” or you can use “Firstly,” “Secondly…” as linking words.
- Come with the first set of notes that you are going to use in your presentation and practice your delivery
- Your keywords and phrases are more important when you are practicing, as opposed to using sentences. You do not have to read your notes.
- Time your presentation
- Modify the notes to fall within the allotted time
Oral presentations can be delivered in several ways
- Cue cards
They contain keywords rather than a full script. They are arranged in the order in which the presentation will flow. For cue cards to be more effective, you must a have a good memory and excellent familiarity with your presentation. More so, cue cards make the presentation more natural.
You can use them, as you would key cards, only that you will be advertising your keywords to the audience. However, you do not have to think like the audience, but they should be able to follow you easily. This also does not imply that your notes must be geared towards the audience and not allow some space for you.
- You can use a combination of these until you are sure that you have become proficient in presenting. Make yourself as confident as possible and consider how you can protect yourself.
- A full script
This is very comforting especially when you become nervous. However, you can be tempted to read from it, which is not a good sign. It will hinder the connection between you and the audience. If it is hard to present without a script, try highlighting the keywords using these and use the scrip as a backup.
- Formulate effective and relevant OHPS slides, PowerPoint slides, or handouts and ensure they are free from any mistakes that relate to spelling, grammar punctuation, and typos.
- You can use keywords only in PowerPoint slides, or OHPs slides that you are using
- Your slide must have a maximum of three to four points. Avoid cluttering the slides with too much information
- Your PowerPoint slides should remain clear and professional. This program lacks clever graphics effects and is not ideal for academic nor professional presentation
- Write your text in Palatino, Arial, or Times New Roman font size 16 as the minimum
- Space your lines using one and a half line spacing
- Your graphs, charts, and tables should be clear and simple
- You have to be ready to provide appropriate responses to questions that might come up during your presentation. More so, prepare for questions to which you might not have answers. This will enable you to decide the best way to deal with them.
- You can practice with an audience or use a mirror. Check your stance as you present and use appropriate gestures. Maintain eye contact with your audience.
- Practice severally to overcome nervousness by becoming more comfortable with the content
- If you have a soft voice and a small volume, go to an open field and try projecting your voice
4.3 On the day of presentation
- Arrive early and familiarize yourself with the surrounding, especially the equipment and the layout. This allows you to make any necessary changes.
- Ensure that your overheads focus on the screen and that you do not block the view of the audience
- Speak out loud to warm up your voice and do some relaxations exercises such as deep breaths
- Dress appropriately for the occasion
4.4 during the presentation
Do your best to Perform
- Greet the audience and exude confidence and relaxation
- Wait for the audience to focus on you before you start your presentation
- State your topic and give a clear outline or what you are going to cover
- Use visual aids like PowerPoint to indicate major ideas as you carry on with your presentation
- Maintain eye contact with most members of the audience in different stages of your presentation
- Face the audience as you speak and do not turn your body away from them
- Use your voice by changing volume, pitch, and pauses to indicate that you are moving to the next point. Your intonation should also vary and so should the statements, questions, and emphasis.
- Keep an eye on the people at the back and ensure that your voice is audible all through
- Summarize all major points in your conclusion and suggest future questions or research that can take the topic further.
- You can hand out the presentation material before or after you have finished your presentation. Handing the material midway during presentation will affect the audience’s attention.
Oral presentations have different lessons that you can infer. They include:
- Reflect on the aspects that made your presentation successful or what detracted it from the success
- Use the feedback from your lecturer and students and use it to improve your, future oral, presentations
- Identify a major area of improvement
Degree programs present many chances of oral presentations where you can be the presenter or a member of the audience. Talking in front of an audience is a skill that is developed through practice. Observation can assist you in identifying strategies that effective oral presenters use and adopt them to develop your skills as a presenter.