Research and Academic Skills Presentation Skills

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Identify key elements of an effective presentation
  • Examine the key steps towards formulating a presentation
  • Apply your presentation skills
  • Conclude what makes an effective presentation

What makes a good presentation?

Why is this a good speech?

  • Using an example / story: creates interest
  • Simple message
  • Clear voice
  • Appropriate tone and speed
  • Practiced
  • Passionate
  • Eye contact: no reading from slides/ notes
All of these are essential elements that you should strive to include in your own academic presentations!

How to Develop an Effective Presentation

Step One: Formulating a Strategy

  • It is critical to know the purpose of communication
  • Knowing the audience and expectations of the audience is very important to decide what to present and how to present.
  • Tailor your presentation to the audience; their needs, desires, knowledge level and attitude towards the topic
  • Be concrete, specific, practical and relevant
  • Be clear about your objective – is it to motivate, inform, persuade or teach?
  • Research your topic thoroughly - not enough of students do this!!

Step Two: Developing a flexible and flowing structure

  • Once you know what you want to deliver, you need to organise all the information in a structured manner
  • Do not assume that the information will speak for itself - An effective structure is essential to allow for this information to be communicated well.
  • The audience might interpret the information in different ways based on your organisation and presentation.
  • Incorporate visual aids effectively – graphs, diagrams, pictures video clips. But…don’t over kill!!
  • Prepare for contingencies – practice your presentation, rehearse and rehearse again.
  • Think about what might happen and prepare – For example, an unexpected question or a group member not attending.

Step Three: Presentation Style

Presentation style and personal confidence are as important as the actual content of the presentation itself.
  • Effective presenters recognise that communication is both intellectual and emotional - You need to make the audience believe in your presentation.
  • Organising your ideas is essential. Organisation is the spine of your presentation and allows you to formulate your ideas into a concise and coherent presentation.
  • Another important task to remember during presenting is gaining and maintaining the attention of the audience.
How can we gain and maintain the attention and focus of our audience?
  • Eye contact is a primary tool for establishing audience involvement
  • Pay attention to your posture and tone
  • Position yourself correctly for the audience to enhance rapport
  • Don’t confuse enthusiasm with loudness; try to convey your passion for the subject through your communication style.
  • Where appropriate, candidly discuss pros and cons; explain advantages first then the risks and challenges – critically analyse.
  • Provide variety and novelty if possible; uniqueness will increase impact
  • Alternate moving and standing stilll; use the physical space and body movement to enhance your message
  • Always try to include relevant examples to give context to your presentation
  • Avoid using notes if possible - Those who use notes tend to spend more time reading them than engaging with their audience.
  • Use gestures naturally; do what is natural to you BUT avoid bad gestures E.G. Fidgeting when talking or toying with notes.

Step Four: handling questions and challenges efficiently

Answering questions at the end of a presentation is a common student fear however by following these simple steps you should feel more at ease when be asked questions
  • Prior to the presentation day, ask your peers to review the presentation and ask questions - This will give you an idea if there are any areas of the presentation that are unclear or bring up a range of questions
  • Use the questions to strengthen your main arguments - Answer questions referring back to your slides or provide evidence of research - This will display wider knowledge/reading.
  • Remain in control of the presentation - Do not let nerves get the best of you when answering questions, take your time and think about the answer you are giving
  • Be honest if you can't answer the question
It's now your turn to put this information into practice!

Using all of the information we have covered in both the lecture and seminar please create a 5 - 10 minute presentation on a sporting discipline of your choice.

You can either record your presentation via PowerPoint or create a video of your presentation. You then must submit your presentation to the turnitin link on learnzone.

You should now be able to...
  • Identify key elements of an effective presentation
  • Examine the key steps towards formulating a presentation
  • Apply your presentation skills
  • Conclude what makes an effective presentation

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