|Some classes require that you give a
presentation as a part of classroom participation or sometimes
for extra credit. This can be intimidating and even frightening
to some students, especially those who are not experienced in
public speaking. We have collected the best information we could
find on the subject, distilled it, added tactics garnered from
our own experience and present it to you. Preparation leads to
heightened confidence which leads to success.
Preparation: Things to do before the
- Choose the Topic:
Develop your presentation's topic to a few main ideas. Strike
a balance between the amount of time allotted for the
presentation and the amount of material that you want to cover
so that you neither present a bland overview or overwhelm your
audience with trivial details. If the topic is assigned by the
instructor, don't hesitate to ask questions or seek
clarification so that your end result meets the instructors
- Become an expert:
Relax. If your subject is "The Cat in the Hat", you don't have
to know everything about the life and times of Dr. Seuss. You
will be expected to be fully versed on the book in question
and this expertise will help to relieve nervousness.
- Practice: Rehearse the
presentation by recording it, or reciting it to a few friends.
The basic elements of
classroom presentations are:
- The Thesis statement:
State where you are going and what you will prove.
- The Argument: Convince
them with facts and logic. Give a complete and detailed
presentation of the subject matter including all of the main
points and essential details, the pros and cons of the problem
using illustrations and examples. Show your complete
understanding of the subject.
- The Review and Summary:
Summarize what you've told them.
- Questions and discussion:
Someone will invariably throw you a curve and ask a
question that you can't answer. Have an answer ready for such
an event like "That's a bit outside the scope of my topic so I
don't have a definitive answer." or "None of the sources I
used for this presentation addressed that topic so I can't say
- Put your audience at ease with a relevant anecdote or
joke, or get their attention with a dramatic gesture or event.
- Use personal pronouns in your delivery.
- Make eye contact with the audience.
- Present your report with a conversational voice though
vary it for emphasis.
- Use transitions to signal the audience you're moving to a
- Direct questions to your audience to get them more
visual aids or media:
- Call early and make sure hardware is compatible with your
software and software versions of your documents are
compatible with versions of their software
- Have several versions of computerized files on your hard
drive, disk, web site, and overhead and/or paper just in case.
- Come early and make sure everything works and that any
media (audio, visual, computer) can be seen, heard, understood
- Keep all visual materials simple in large text for
- Have supportive materials for each idea.
- Do not distribute handouts, even outlines, before your
speech or the audience will focus on the reading material
instead of listening to you.