Hope you are all doing well so far. The second term honestly has moved along so quickly, I always get to week 5 and think what have I actually done in the past 5 weeks?
I recently completed my dissertation presentation and it was the most uplifting experience. Having the chance to talk about a topic which I love while explaining to others the relevance and the struggles of my journey made this an unforgettable and rewarding experience. A few tips I think I should mention for those who are delivering presentations.
- PRACTICE! This means actually stand up and speak out loud, it is so easy simply to read off the slides and think to yourself that you know the slide well and ‘oh, I know what I am going to say here’. You know the content but you have not practised it. Creating sentences and understanding how your ideas flow on the spot is very different to writing your essays or simply taking notes. Say it out loud, know where your jokes can be used, when you are going to change the slide. This easily gives an impression that you are organised and passionate because you are speaking from the heart but in a concise and engaging manner.
- The layout of the slides- powerpoint is great and is updating itself all the time, but try and use other programmes. I love prezi, simply because you do not have to worry about taking your memory stick everywhere because you can access it online. The transitions are so much more fun and the colour schemes are vibrant. Give it a go and see what you think. Keep the number of words on a slide to a minimum, but not too little where your audience cannot follow what you are saying with ease. Plenty of images and pictures help, even if they are clip art, something visual helps the audience to understand your point of view.
- Time management- Think about the amount of time you are given and what is relevant to the presentation. This is why it is key to practice the whole thing with time restraints because I always end up going over the time limit. Do not think that you have to include everything that you know about the topic, simple observations and the targets you have set yourself is enough. Remember is question time within the time given to you or is it classed as additional time.
- Dealing with questions – if you asked a difficult question that you do not understand, do not be afraid to ask the questioner to elaborate on what they are curious about. If you do not know the answer, try and suggest ways you would approach in finding an answer. I was asked about the metres in Greek epic in comparison to Indian. My knowledge on it was limited, so I offered what I could, but I also suggested that I would take the time to listen to the original texts and research how the epics were taught and recited. That not only helps to provide context to the question but also shows that you are aware of how to find the answer.
- Do not assume that the audience has read your bibliography – define simple things, I even took time to define my dissertation question because I wanted to ensure that my audience could appreciate the angle I am taking of this topic. Explain simple plots, and describe your primary data briefly just to help set the contexts. When you explain things briefly, the audience can identify what is the important aspects you want them to consider.
Hope this helps! Enjoy the rest of your weeks!