Saturday, March 7, 2009

What Makes a Good Academic Presentation?

According to Burns and Sinfield (2003), the key to a good presentation lies in the four Ps: Plan, Prepare, Practise and Present, and in a clear structure rather like an essay (Introduction & Agenda, Body, Conclusion, Questions & Answers). You can ask yourself questions to help focus on what is important:
1. Plan: How can I fit the topic into the allotted time? How do I suit it to my audience?
2. Prepare: Do I need a script? How do I transform this into prompts?
3. Practise: Who could I rehearse in front of?
4. Present: What do I do on the day?

Remember, a presenter is usually judged by three things:
1. The way it is delivered:
• rapport with the audience
• eye contact
• loud enough voice
• variety in the voice
• relaxed look
2. The way it is organized:
• concept and support are easy to follow
• information mixed with interesting examples and stories
3. The way the presenter feels about the topic, the audience, and himself/herself:
• excitement and passion about the topic
• confidence
• positive attitude
• enthusiasm about the topic
• interest in the audience

There are many important things to remember in preparing any good presentation. Here’s five of them:
1. Understand and respect your audience. Putting the audience’s needs upfront and concentrating on what they need is an absolute requirement for a strong presentation. Jerry Weissman, in “Presenting to Win” calls this the process of indentifying the audience WIIFY (What’s In It For You), or their stake in the presentation. Of course, this requires some work, to assess what is important to an audience, what level of knowledge they possess and perhaps most importantly, how not to bore them. All of this takes work and planning.
2. Trust yourself. No two presenters are ever the same. And they shouldn’t be. If you work on building your individual strengths and trusting in your own abilities, you’re on the road to success.
3. Know your content. Business professionals give presentations about information they are experts on, typically information they have been working with for a long time. If you know your stuff, you are less likely to be nervous about talking about it.
4. Have a passion for the subject. “Effective communication is 20% what you know about the subject and 80% how you feel about what you know.” –Jim Rohm
5. Practice. Like anything else worth doing well, practice is important. As Aristotle tells us.”That which we learn to do, we learn by doing.”

Source :

Tips For Q & A Session
1. Pay attention to the question
2. Give direct answers
3. Be complete, but don’t ramble
4. Keep your cool
5. Try to strike a balance:
 Defend without becoming defensive
 Be confident, but not arrogant
 Accept fair criticism, but don’t cave in
6. Don't forget to take notes on the comments given to you.

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