Tips for Oral Presentations
The following tips from the PLTC Oral Presentation Peer-Tutors will help guide you in the development of your oral presentation.
- Keep it simple!
- Keep to the time limit. ( presentation + Q&A)
- What is my purpose?
- Who is my audience?
- What do they already know about the topic?
- What information will they find relevant? interesting? amusing?
- If the information is controversial, what is the audience’s position, attitude or reaction likely to be?
- What information might I include/leave out?
- Engage the audience with your first sentence; don’t mistake your first sentence for your introduction.
- Use clear and simple topic sentences and transitions.
- How might I organize the material?
- Use scientific format to your advantage
- Introduction (catch attention, set up problem, broad/specific questions, hypothesis, etc.)
- Method (experimental design, set-up, etc.)
- Results (what did you find, statistical significance, graph/table?)
- Conclusion (explain what it all means, future directions, limitations, etc.)
- Have I made the structure of my talk clear to the audience?
PRACTICE AND DELIVERY
- Practice enough so you avoid reading aloud.
- Nerves: if you know your material, nerves can only give you an extra boost of energy.
- Make sure you know how to use your visual aids with your presentation; practice on the technology you will be using.
- Look enthusiastic, confident, and sincere—don’t use weak words (just, really).
- Make eye contact in slow sweeps of the room (make “M” or “W” scans across the audience).
- Stand still; balanced on both feet.
- Any gestures or movements should appear natural and fit with what you are saying.
- Voice: watch for Volume, Clarity, Variety and Inflection!¬¬¬
- Watch for fillers: ah, umm, like, you know, OK.
- Talk slowly, remember the power of the silent pause—write in pauses if it helps.
- When giving a group presentation:
- Pay attention to the transitions
- Look interested and attentive when your team members are presenting.
- Anticipate questions: what are the weak points of your argument?
- When answering questions:
- Don’t be defensive or roll your eyes.
- Don’t rush to answer—remember, pauses can be powerful.
- Smile your way through your mistakes
USING A POSTER
- Follow the guidelines of your instructor (clear colors, spacing, visuals, etc).
- Give the audience a second to take in the poster and skim through it before beginning (to decrease distraction).
- Reference the poster in a logical fashion
- Don’t make your audience have to read everything
- If pointing, make it exact. Turn towards the poster, find the spot, turn back, and then begin talking while facing the audience.
- Other ideas: Props from experiments, model, handout, etc.
- Summarize quotations in your own words, drawing attention to their specific significance.
- Sum up the 1 or 2 main points you wanted to make.
- Recapture your audience with your final statement; end on a high note.
- Prepare an outline or note cards.
- Use single key words.
- Number them!