Have an oral presentation assigned as part of a final project? Looking to improve your public speaking and learn how to better use visual aids? On Tuesday, April 7, Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors Quin and Ben presented a special workshop on how to prepare for oral presentations, utilize visual aids, and maximize the impact of public speaking. Couldn’t make it? Wondering what you missed? Read on for more information.
While participants enjoyed some delicious snacks, Quin and Ben engaged the audience in an activity designed to help them get their ideas about upcoming presentations out in an informal way. Participants pair-shared with one in another in a speaking version of free-writing, identifying how they wanted to narrate their presentations and talking things out. Participants were then asked to write down the ideas that came out in sharing as a starting point for their preparation, and were urged to begin formalizing their thoughts and determining how they would go about giving the presentation. Quin and Ben went on to discuss the use of visual aids, especially Powerpoint, displaying and critiquing sample slides and discussing best practices.
What We Learned:
- Giving an oral presentation is NOT the same thing as reading a paper aloud. Your presentation should be treated as a separate event in terms of how you prepare, what content you include, and your overall approach. Think critically about what you want the audience to take away and make sure that the pieces you include are serving your end goal.
- Visual aids, especially Powerpoint, should play a supporting role in your presentation. Trying to use Powerpoint as a timer or as a place for notes is generally unsuccessful, and can be a detriment to your presentation. Pay attention to your titles, images, and the amount of text you use. If the text you plan to use is more than four lines, it might be too much for the viewer to digest. Have a limited amount of time? Make sure to budget time for film clips and other slide transitions!
- Make sure to take technological constraints into consideration. Is your computer charged? Do you need an adapter? Are you sure that the projector is functional? To prevent any surprises, consider testing your Powerpoint in the room in which you’ll be presenting beforehand.
- Practice (and not just the night before)! Consider filming yourself, presenting for friends, or practicing your talk in the mirror. The more familiar you are with your material, the less likely you are to struggle with it in front of an audience.
- Presenters also shared a super helpful handout on using Powerpoint. Find it here!
Get In Touch:
Want to connect with the Transformative Speaking Peer Mentors? Check out the Transformative Speaking Program website for information, and like their Facebook page for details on office hours at the InfoBar. You can also join their Moodle page for lots of great tips on a variety of different speaking topics.
Have questions? Need more information? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to help!