Presentation skills

Presentation skills

During their study period learners may have to make different presentations – individually or as part of a group. You may wish to discuss with your learners the importance of the following presentation elements:

    *the goal of the presentation (aim and/or objectives)
    *plan; structure (introduction, main body, conclusion)
    *introduction – how to engage your audience from the start
    *conclusion – how to summarise the content.
    *the audience – their specific characteristics, expectations, interests and attitudes, previous knowledge and skills
    *the room – does the room layout impact on where you stand to make your presentation?
    *the time limit – how long is available to present the information?
    *supportive materials – visuals, tools or equipment, office materials,handouts
    *communication skills – clear audible voice, body language
    *group interaction/management – will the audience be involved, and if so, what skills are required to manage the exchanges?

Good presentation skills development and improvement is based on continuous feedback, so it is important to give your students constructive feedback.

A Sample Presentation skills feedback form

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When developing a presentation, learners may find it helpful to work through the following steps:

Step 1. Assess your presentation skill level, by answering the questions:

    *How do you see yourself as a presenter? What is your style of presenting?
    *What are your strengths in presenting? How do they fit into how you see yourself as a presenter?
    *What kind of presentation do you have trouble with and why? How do you feel when faced with them? How do you handle them? How would you like to handle them?
    *Which presentation skills do you wish to grow and develop? What changes would you like to make to your current presentation behaviour? What new strengths in presentation behaviour would you like to develop? What new presentation skills would you like to acquire?

Step 2. Consider the audience:

    *What does the audience already know? Have they seen previous presentations on the same subject?
    *What is the behaviour of the participants likely to be?
    *What is their attitude to listening and participation likely to be?

Step 3. Define your objectives in maximum details:

    *how much time will you need for everyone’s activity: to speak, to write, to communicate, to get feedback, for brainstorming, demonstration, etc. (make a detailed time log)?
    *what are the results you want to achieve?
    *gaining general information (new knowledge)
    *acquiring a new skill
    *reaching a common decision
    *imposing personal position (idea)
    *other

Step 4. Determine the content of your presentation according to aims and audience.

Ensure yourself that the content is:

    *interesting
    *relevant to the topic
    *clearly understood
    *appropriate
    *could be presented in the time available
    *relevant to the aim and objectives

Step 5. Prepare visual aids (don’t forget: stickers, markers and other technical aids).

Think about:

    *the aim of the visual aids
    *size
    *size of letters and pictures (for overhead transparencies)
    *colours
    *originality (why not joke?)
    *enough quantity of materials
    *variety of material

Step 6. Notes – these are to remind you of key points and the logical sequence of your presentation. They are not for reading out loud.

Step 7. Structure of the presentation

A) Introduction ‘Tell them what you are going to talk about’

    *Take their attention starting in an attractive way
    *Connection with the previous presenter (it’s not obligatory, but it’s good)
    *Convince people, that it’s important to listen to you
    *Introduce the order (main elements) of presentation
    *Define the question
    *Inform about outcomes – what the people will know or will do at the end of your presentation

B) Main body of presentation – Problem presentation in the best way:

*the problem and the way it will be presented
*presentation of information – step by step – logicaly and consequentialy
*applicability – connection with audience needs (or with a part of it), with practice as well

C) Summary – Tell learners (or ask them to tell you) what you have spoken about – what you tried to do and what has happened.

Step 8. Behaviour during the presentation:

Verbal communication

    *speed of talking
    *monotony
    * voice

Non-verbal communication:

    *appearance
    *body language
    *eye contact
    *physical contact
    *distance – as physical quantity and as a communication feeling

Interaction with audience by:

    *questions – don’t leave any question without attention
    *answer/comments, which you will require from the audience

Step 9. Practice of the presentation

Explain to your learners that they need to do a practice presentation to ensure that it will go as planned. This is particularly important when giving team presentations.

Remember:

    *Don’t read!
    *Put your information into short manageable blocks
    *Allow time for unplanned situations!
    *Don’t be put off by provocations!
    *Smile!
    *Don’t overrun your alloted time
    *Practice, practice, practice!
    *Be sure you are the best specialist in this topic and the best presenter at this moment!

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