Guidelines for Oral
Presentations are brief discussions
of a focused topic delivered to a group of listeners in order to impart
knowledge or to stimulate discussion. They are similar to short papers
with an introduction, main body and conclusion. The ability to give
brief presentations is a learned skill and one that is called on frequently
in the workplace.
of the Audience
Preparation is the key to giving
an effective presentation and to controlling your nervousness. Know
your topic well. You will be the expert on the topic in the classroom.
Good preparation and the realization that you are the expert will boost
your self-confidence. After your research, you will find that you
know much more about your topic than you will have time to present.
That is a good thing. It will allow you to compose a good introduction,
to distill out the main, most important points that need to be made, and
to finish with a strong conclusion.
Know your topic
– become an expert
Learn as much about
the topic as you can to boost your self-confidence
Have an idea what
the background is of your audience is so you will know how much detail
to go into and what kinds of things you may have to define
Prepare an outline
of topic. Bullet or number the main points
An 8-minute talk
is roughly equivalent to 4 double spaced pages in 12-pt. font and 1” margins
- however, never read a presentation. Write out your presentation
if you need to organize your thoughts, but then outline this text for the
Visual aids (maps, photos, film
clips, graphs, diagrams, and charts) can enhance a presentation.
If you use PowerPoint, you must send your presentation file as an email
attachment to Dr. Krygier at least 24 hours in advance of your presentation!!
Keep visual aids
simple and uncluttered.
Use color and contrast
for emphasis but use them in moderation
Use a font large
enough to be seen from the back of the room
A rule of thumb:
slides are readable from the back of a room if they are readable at a distance
of 9 feet from a 15” monitor
For an 8-10 minute
talk use no more than 10 slides or overheads
If using PowerPoing,
strongly resist the temptation to use sound effects and dramatic slide
Dr. Krygier can arrange for transparencies to be printed but, you must
get your original art to him at least 24 hours in advance of your presentation!!
Handouts provide structure.
They can provide supplemental material, references, a glossary of terms,
and serve as a record of the presentation. The handout should be attractively
laid out and inviting to read. Leave enough “white space” on the
handout for the listener to take notes.
A handout should be 1-2 pages
long and consist of:
A handout is optional for the Geography111 presentation. If you would
like to provide a handout, Dr. Krygier can arrange for duplicating but
you must get it to him at least 48 hours in advance of your presentation.
Title of course
Date of presentation
Title of your presentation
Brief abstract (50
word summary of your presentation)
A brief outline
of your presentation including the major points
A bibliography of
references used to inform the presentation
Practice giving your presentation
to yourself. Speak out loud and time yourself. Practice using
your visual aids. It is absolutely important that you adhere to your
time limit. Your professor knows that you know more about your topic
than you will have time to share. Your goal is to inform, not overwhelm.
In this case, less can be more.
To deliver your presentation you
will have to overcome your nervousness and deal with room conditions.
Good preparation should allay most of your nervousness; realizing that
everyone feels nervous before a presentation should also help. Your
presentation will never go exactly as you think it will – fortunately,
they usually go better than you expect. However, if you are using
any kind of technology (overhead projector or PowerPoint) be prepared for
something to go wrong and have a backup plan.
with equipment before the day of your presentation
Know how to operate
the equipment you choose to use
If you are using
PowerPoint, have a backup copy on a disk
overhead transparencies of your PowerPoint slides in case there is a problem
with the technology
print duplicates of your slides or transparencies in case there is a problem
with electricity or bulbs
Do not expect a
network connection to work when you need it. Have any web sites you
hope to show available as offline copies on a disk. Work offline
whenever possible to avoid slow network response
Begin your presentation
by telling your audience what your topic is and what you will be covering.
Audiences like to have a guidepost.
Avoid reading your
Dress neatly and
appropriately. The rule of thumb is to dress one level nicer
than the audience will be dressed.
Do not wear a hat
of any kind
Speak in a clear,
audible voice – loud enough to be clearly heard in the back row.
Never, ever mumble
Stand up straight,
don’t slouch or drape yourself around the podium. Don’t be afraid
to move around the room – moving around is good, it causes the audience
to pay attention
Don’t rock back
and forth on your heels, don’t tap a pencil or play with pencil or pointer
– don’t do things that will distract from your content.
to your audience for the state of your knowledge or your degree of preparation.
The audience wants to have confidence in you – you are the authority, do
nothing to undermine your authority.
Never mention anything
that could have been in your talk but wasn’t
Make frequent eye
contact with the audience. Really look at the audience as you talk
to them. Engaging them directly with your eyes transfers a bit of
your energy to them and keeps them focused on your content. Making
eye contact says that you are in charge of the room and for a presentation
– that’s what you want.
If you use slides
or PowerPoint avoid the tendency to speak to the screen instead of to the
audience. Be so familiar with your visual aids that the only
reason you look at them is to point something out.
Never turn your
back on the audience and try to avoid walking in front of the projector
to your time limit. Organize your main points and rate of speech
so that you speak for your eight minutes. You will be surprised how
quickly the time goes.
At the conclusion
of your presentation ask for questions. Encourage questions with
your eyes and your body language. Respond to questions politely,
good-humoredly, and briefly. Take a quick moment to compose
your thoughts before responding if you need to – but do not fill the moment
At the end of your
presentation, summarize your main points and give a strong concluding remark
that reinforces why your information is of value.
Show some enthusiasm
note on fear and nervousness
Accept nervousness for what it
is – part of the preparation for speaking and it is a good thing.
It heightens your senses and gets your blood pumping. You will think
clearly and move faster. Everyone will feel nervous. A good
preparation will increase your self-confidence. Once you get going,
your good preparation will kick in and before you know it, your presentation
will be over.
role of the audience
Presentations involve both a speaker
and the audience. People in the audience play a role in how well
a presentation goes. People in the audience have an obligation to:
eye contact with speaker
Take notes or jot
down interesting facts
Control bored body
Do not put your
head down on the desk or tilt your head back to sleep
Control the impulse
to constantly check watch
Expect a Question
& Answer period to be part of the presentation
Participate in Question
& Answer period – either by listening or by posing a question.
Prepare to remain
attentive throughout the Q&A – speakers will dismiss their audience
Remain seated until
the speaker is finished
Presentations always undergo some
type of evaluation. You may receive a grade, you may “make the sale”,
or your performance may be reviewed by your colleagues. The following
is a set of evaluation criteria (D'Arcy, 1998) that are commonly used.
Keeping a possible evaluation in mind is a good way to prepare for your
presentation. Your goal is to be effective and evaluation criteria
can give you a roadmap for measuring your effectiveness.
and Development of Content
Evaluation criteria from:
statement gained immediate attention?
Purpose of presentation
Main ideas stated
clearly and logically?
pattern easy to follow?
explained or proved by supporting points?
Variety of supporting
points (testimony, statistics, etc.)
summed up main points, purpose?
“owned the space” and was in control?
with audience throughout speech?
to everyone in audience?
and meaningful gestures?
clear and visible to entire audience?
emphasized main points?
unobtrusively and focused on audience?
included everyone in dialogue?
D'Arcy, Jan. 1998.
speaking: a guide for communicating
complex informaton. Columbus:
Battelle Press, p. 160.
This page prepared
November 15, 2001