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ENVS 110: Introduction to Environment & Sustainability: Presentation Skills

Preparation

Know your topic well, and become an expert. Prepare an outline composed of the main points in a bulleted or numbered list, but never read a presentation. Include a good introduction, all the main points, and a strong conclusion in your outline. If visuals/media are used, keep them simple and uncluttered. Using color and contrast is acceptable, but moderation is key. Make sure to use a large enough font to be seen from the back of the room. Handouts can be great supplemental material for the audience. They provide references, glossary of terms, or simply serve as a record of the presentation. There should be enough space on the handout for the audience to take notes. Practicing your presentation is important. Make sure to run through it using your visuals/media and handouts, and time yourself to ensure the presentation is within the allotted time limit.

Delivery

Be prepared for things to not go as planned on the day of the presentation, and have a backup plan if using technology. Start your presentation by telling the audience what the topic is and what will be covered during it. Make sure to speak in a clear, audible voice that is loud enough to be heard in the back of the room. Feel free to move around the room because it often grabs the attention of the audience. Try to appear confident in your knowledge of the topic, and make frequent eye contact with the audience to show your enthusiasm. Avoid the tendency to speak to the screen if using visuals/media or other forms of technology. It is perfectly acceptable to point things out on the screen, but just make sure to mainly talk to the audience. After covering all the main points of your presentation, deliver a strong conclusion that will leave a lasting impact on your audience. Make sure to adhere to the allotted time limit. Once the presentation is over, ask the audience if there are any questions. Give yourself a little time to compose your thoughts, and then respond briefly and politely to any questions.

Evaluation

Your presentation will be evaluated by the audience. Pay attention to the organization and development of your content, delivery of material, visuals/media used, and your voice because these are all aspects of the evaluation. Audience comments are also included in the evaluation of your presentation. The audience should always listen politely, and make occasional eye contact with the speaker. Controlling negative facial expressions and bored body language are also important for the audience to keep in mind. The audience should try to participate in the Question & Answer part of the presentation, either by listening or asking a question.

Source: Guidelines for Oral Presentations