DELIVERING EFFECTIVE PRESENTATIONS Developing an opening • The introduction to your presentation is crucial. • It is your first point of contact with your audience; you can either capture or lose your audience’s interest in a matter of seconds. Developing an opening • introduce yourself • state what you will be talking about (a title or subject area) • state how you will be talking about it (e.g. by comparing test results or reviewing the supporting literature) Developing an opening • state what you intend to be the outcome of your presentation (an informed group, a lively discussion); • state what you expect your audience to do (listen, take notes, read a handout, ask questions before/during/after). Developing a conclusion • a review of your title or subject area “In this presentation I wanted to explore the relationship between X and Y.” • a summary of your main points “We have discussed the following points…” Developing a conclusion • a conclusion clearly drawn from your main points (this must be supported by the detail of your presentation) “It is clear that there can be no substantive relationship between X and Y” • a parting statement to stimulate your audience’s thoughts (this might be a question or a bold comment). Designing PowerPoint slides • Ensure that all of your slides have the same or similar colour schemes. PowerPoint’s design templates can be used for this. • Prepare slides that use a bold colour contrast, e.g. black or deep blue text on a cream background. • Avoid using red or green for text or highlighting as it can be difficult to read. • Avoid using too much text. • A useful guideline is the six-by-six rule (slides should have no more than six bullet points and each bullet point should be no more than six words long). • Create bullet points which are clear summaries of key points. • It is not necessary for bullet points to be complete sentences. • Don’t mix up your fonts and font sizes. Too many variations in font size and type can be visually confusing. • Ensure that your text is at least 24pt otherwise it may be difficult to read on screen. • Choose left align for all text to make it easier to read. • Avoid using too many slides in your presentation, as this will be distracting for your audience. • In general you should use about one slide every two minutes, so a ten-minute presentation should have around five slides. • Don’t just read out the text on the slides, they should be a summary or a supplement to the content of your spoken presentation. • Don’t leave your screen saver on, as this will distract your audience • Give your audience time to assimilate material on your slides. • If, for example, a slide contains a quotation or a diagram – introduce the slide, give them time to read and understand it and then explain its relevance. Eye contact • Making eye contact is one of the most powerful techniques for involving your audience. • If used well, eye contact can serve to make your address much more personal and thus more effective. • If eye contact is avoided, the presenter can appear to be nervous and unconvincing. Eye contact • Avoid making eye contact only with the person assessing you or only with the people you know well. • Make sure to make eye contact with each person in the audience. • If audience is very large, then make it with SECTIONS of people. Eye contact • To build your use of eye contact focus on people’s foreheads so that you are at least looking in their direction. • This sounds silly but is much better than looking at the ceiling, floor or your notes Managing the performance • When you have written the content of your presentation, map out how it will be delivered. • Make notes or cue cards • A clear plan of when you’ll be giving out handouts, where you’ll be taking questions and the precise moment at which you’ll be changing visual aids. Managing the performance • On your own notes, mark the point when you will stop to change slides or when you will distribute handouts etc. • When practising your presentation, try to replicate the actual delivery as closely as possible. Managing the performance • Simply running through the words in your head is not enough to accommodate all aspects of the performance. • Ideally, try the presentation out in a seminar room or lecture theatre where you can practise integrating all the elements of your talk, and time the whole thing.
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