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Presentation Skills

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Giving a presentation is an important academic skill. Properly approached, a presentation should enable you to develop a deeper learning of your subject and to acquire valuable transferable skills for future employment.

Giving a presentation is an important academic skill. Properly approached, a presentation should enable you to develop a deeper learning of your subject and to acquire valuable transferable skills for future employment.

PRESENTATION STRUCTURE

A good presentation will identify and discuss the main issues/arguments surrounding the topic. Don’t assume you have to cover everything. The key to a good presentation is selectivity. Avoid information overload, as too much depth or technical detail means that your audience may lose concentration. A focus on the main areas of debate should encourage the whole group to enter into discussion following the presentation and you should aim at giving them the information they need to do this.

MAKING A PRESENTATION

Decide how you are going to introduce the presentation and how you are going to emphasise your key points. Simple and well laid out visual aids can be used to good effect to introduce and emphasise key points, present statistical data, to make comparisons and introduce new concepts. They can increase audience retention by up to five times.

Now consider how you are going to present - what visual aids you may want to prepare.

The conclusion is a very important and should recap the main points and message/arguments you want to get across.

Finally, rehearse it and check the timing and whether it comes across as a unified piece of work.

PRESENTATION DELIVERY

If you deliver your talk from cards in note form there will be more chance to look up and make eye contact with the audience. It’s best not to have your talk written as an essay and try not to simply read something out - you should appear confident with the material.

Speak slowly and clearly and slow down further when emphasising important points.

Linking sentences or phrases will also help you to pace the delivery and keep the audience in touch with your argument. For example – ‘my second point is’ or ‘I’d like to finish with…’

If using visual aids remember to face and talk to the audience not the visual aid and to keep visual aids covered till you need them.

Finish with conviction - conclude with a decisive paragraph or sentence.

AFTER THE PRESENTATION

This is your chance to enter into a dialogue with the rest of the group and pick up some feedback. Challenging questions from the audience will show that you have stimulated some thought and that people have been listening. Acknowledging difficult questions by saying, ‘I will have think about that’ will give you time to think!

 

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