Hello everyone. You’re all been given an assignment for you Sociology course which will involve giving a presentation to the rest of the group. And so, today. I’m going to be giving you a few tips on how to prepare your presentations.
This should help you with your current assignment - but a lot of the principles I’ll be putting across will be general principles which woll, of course, help you with all your future presentations.
So first of all, the most important thing to consider is your audience and in this instance, your audience are the other students in your group. There are three points to bear in mind.
Firstly, you need to ask yourself what they need to know secondly, it's useful to consider whether they'll be supportive or not; and thirdly - will it be a small group, say three or four, a moderate gathering of twenty or so people (as for your current assignment) or will there be hundreds of people?
Having said all that, what I'm about to tell you will apply equally to any audience.
So - how do you structure your presentation? Right at the beginning, you should tell them something that forces them to pay attention.
This could be something surprising or even shocking but it needs to be relevant! After that, you need a list of items or topics showing them what you'll be covering - rather like an agenda - and then the main part of the presentation will follow.
This main part will be the detailed information you'll be presenting and could include facts, statistics, personal experiences, etc. After this you should summarise what you've presented and close with what I call 'next steps’.
For this assignment, you could simply point the group to other Sociology reference material. In other cases, you may want to suggest some actions that people can take.
Now what about the design of the slides for your laptop? Well the important thing here is to be consistent. You need to have the same type of font and use the same colour and size for the same elements.
For example, all headers need to look the same, all bullet points need to be presented in the same way. And don't just stick to words. Bring the presentation to life by adding graphics. These could be in several forms such as pictures, flow-charts, diagrams, histograms and so on.
And so – let's move on now to presenting. You have your presentation prepared and you're ready to start. Well - it's important to give a good impression from the start. So take three deep breaths, look at the audience, no matter how frightening they may be, and be enthusiastic and energetic.
As you go through the presentation remember to provide some variety in the way you speak. So, for example, you can talk fairly rapidly for information that may be familiar, but then slow down for more unfamiliar sections.
And change your tone as you speak - don't keep it at the same level all the way through. As I mentioned, look at your audience. Er, a good tip is to pick people out and look at them for around five seconds. Not looking at the audience gives the impression that you're either not interested in them or terrified of them.
Looking too long at one particular person may make them feel rather uncomfortable. There may be points in your presentation that you want your audience to really absorb and in order to make important points stand out you may consider adding silence right after these.
It will give people time to reflect on what you've just said. Also - you may be presenting complicated ideas or technical details but try to keep everything as simple as possible. Use simple words and as few as possible.
And be clear. If you say something like this appears to be', it implies uncertainty. So using weak verbs such as 'appears, 'seems', 'could be', etc. needs to be avoided.
I'll just finish off with a few thoughts on questions and interruptions from the audience. You may choose to invite questions from the audience as you go or ask them to wait until the end. Either way, questions should be encouraged as it provides you with some feedback on how interested the audience is and how well they're understanding you.
When a question is asked you need to provide an answer that is as accurate as possible. So initially, my tip is to repeat it. This will ensure you have heard it correctly and will give you a few seconds to gather your thoughts.
Interruptions, on the other hand, can be unwelcome and you may get them for a variety of reasons. It's likely, however, that's there is something in your presentation that's unclear or confusing.
So my advice is to reduce problems by reading through your presentation beforehand and predicting potential points which could cause interruptions. You may then want to change that part of your presentation or at least, you will be prepared if someone does interrupt you.
Now, do you have any questions ...