Making an Effective Class Presentation – Some Advice

August 7th, 2017

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MAKING AN EFFECTIVE PRESENTATION

Provide an introduction.

  • Company or Topic being analyzed Objectives of the presentation or study.
  • Organization of the presentation
  • Provide a brief background
  • For group presentations: Provide a brief introduction of team members and who will address which aspect of the presentation. Involve all group members in the presentation activity. This is a learning experience; everyone should use it as such!!

State the problem/issues being addressed clearly.
Identify the problem area(s) or topics that your talk will address. The idea is to communicate effectively to the audience without being superficial or hedging the crux of the technical issues involved. An ideal presentation would have a balanced emphasis on the analytical, technical and business aspects involved.

Pause between major topic/issue shifts
in your presentation. Reestablish the context of your presentation at each pause without repeating material already stated. Clearly try to achieve the objectives stated at the outset. Use relevant humor to liven up the presentation, but avoid rambling and avoid tangential extremes.

You are the expert on the topic or target business or business initiative, at least, for the time you are making the presentation. Be confident and assertive in making your point without sounding condescending. Avoid statements that begin with: “I guess….” or “I think…” KNOW YOUR SUBJECT!!

Visuals are for the benefit of the audience.
Avoid reading from overheads — they are not an appendage for you; it also suggests (to the audience) that you are not comfortable with the subject. Use media (audio/video/overheads) to emphasize the point(s) you are making in the presentation. If overheads (slides) are unclear or not understood by you DON’T show them. Use bullets, short sentences or paragraphs not
detailed descriptions or essays when making overheads with “textual” material. Generally, keep text within the top three-quarters of the overhead. If you use hand drawn/written transparencies be sure to make them neat and clear. Remember not to get in front of your projecting equipment while making the presentation — the audience can’t see through you!! Use pens or pointers to direct attention to items on the projected transparencies, not at the overhead on the machine itself. The bottom-line: Do not read from overheads or a paper. Whenever possible, use them as guides to make your presentation in your own words. Consider using index cards to help you with your presentation.

Be conversational (as much as possible) with your audience. Instead of keeping hands in your pocket, use hand gestures and/or gesticulation to make your points. Show your commitment and involvement with the topic you are presenting!! Use nuances of voice to emphasize points. Make frequent eye contact. Look for people who seem to be in tune with you for comfort. Do not distract your listeners with personal behavior: e.g., Playing with your hands or pencil or marker or transparencies; Pacing too much; Hiding behind a podium.

Provide a conclusion. Summarize and link to the original objectives of your talk. What did you set out to present? Did you achieve it? How? Are their any limitations? Do you have any personal
insights you got from the analysis or topic researched? Finally, ask for questions from the audience. The bottom-line for the conclusion of your presentation: Leave the audience with a summary of ideas that you believe to be the essence of your talk. This will lead to questions on areas you are completely confident about. Why? Due to the immediacy of memory of the audience.

A final comment: Practice, Practice, Practice!!!