Chapter 11 Presentation Skills
11.5 Chapter Review and Activities
This module on how to prepare for and deliver well-executed presentations examined the aspects of interpersonal presentation skills, such as your own verbal and non-verbal presentation behaviours. This knowledge allowed you to move on to planning the presentation strategy. You did this by using tools such as FAST and AUDIENCE, respectively. With these frameworks in place, you began to brainstorm and keep track of your ideas using an outline to write your presentation. This included writing an attention-grabbing intro, a body to develop your main point or theme, and a conclusion that ended on a high note.
Presentation Aids were introduced by focusing on visuals or other tools that can aid your presentation by lending emphasis, clarity, and support. You learned about several tools and techniques, such as how to to use slide decks (e.g., PowerPoint) and colours effectively to support your presentation. Lastly, you read the section on delivering the presentation, which included learning how to prepare to present, how to manage anxiety, and how to cope with mistakes.
What you’ve learned in this module will serve as good preparation for future presentations, whether they be at college, university, work, church, or in many other circumstances.
In this assignment, you will need to prepare and deliver a presentation following methods you have learned in this module.
Your first step will be to choose one of the scenarios listed below for your presentation, or you can choose one with your instructor’s approval, or perhaps your instructor will assign one to you. These scenarios form the basis or purpose of your presentation, so please read them carefully.
Once you have analyzed your scenario, determine the main function or purpose for the presentation and then begin the process of developing it. You may want to review the module sections on developing a presentation strategy for guidance. Start thinking about the main point in the scenario and identify key factors that you need to address. Plan the information you will need to include into each section of the presentation as you do this.
Research and compile the necessary details, evidence, statistics, etc. that will support your message. Your presentation cannot simply be what “you” believe is a good response. The information you present needs to be accurate and credible based on your inclusion of valid and reliable details. This also speaks to your credibility as a presenter.
Develop a clear plan and delivery strategy. Rehearse and rehearse again so that you are comfortable and commanding in your delivery. Your goal here is not on memorizing but rather developing an intuitiveness with your presentation so that it comes off as being natural and authentic.
Your instructor may provide a grading rubric to help guide you in this assignment.
- Carefully analyze the scenario that you will present on and identify the main topics that you will need to cover.
- Develop a “big picture” framework for your presentation using the strategies outlined in this module. This will help to guide your planning and development.
- Plan and outline a logical flow and progression, remembering to include all standard elements of a good presentation. You may want to use the outline template for this. As you work on this plan, identify any relevant sub-topics.
- Research relevant facts and information to support the main topics and any sub-topics. Remember to use credible evidence.
- Identify presentation aids that you could use to add value to your presentation. Review the key purpose and design elements for creating visual aids.
- Once you have organized your presentation, rehearse it and get feedback. You should rehearse several times, focusing on timing as well as the logical flow of ideas. Do they make sense to others and not just you? Is your speech clear? Are you speaking at a rate that is too fast? Are body movements and expressions compromising your presentation? These and other key questions will help in preparing for a quality presentation. If it is difficult to have people watch your presentation for feedback, create a self-video and critique it yourself.
Your instructor will indicate when and where you will deliver your presentation. This is a timed presentation. To be successful, you need to present well and cover all of the expected points indicated in the scenario.
Keep the plan, outline, handouts, and visuals you created as part of your preparation work. Your instructor may want you to submit them as part of the assignment.
The Student Association has asked you to make a short presentation at Student Orientation for new students. They want you to present about options for online learning and increase awareness. They have asked you to deal with some key questions to be included in your presentation.
- What are the most accessible options for online learning?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of taking online courses?
- Would you recommend students try taking an online course?
They would like you to allow time for a question period at the end to get students actively engaged. You will be given a total of 15 minutes to make your presentation including a Q&A session. You will have access to a classroom which has a large selection of presentation devices, including a computer and digital projector, whiteboards, teleconference equipment, and high-speed internet access.
There is a long history of student complaints about the price of books at university and college bookstores. Many students have mentioned web-based booksellers as possible alternatives. As a representative of your student government, you have been asked to make a presentation on the issue of book prices, including using alternative sources of supply.
Your presentation needs to answer the following: What are some alternative supply sources? What about book rental programs or using open educational resources? Which is the best alternative for students at your school? You decide to compare these alternatives by considering price, availability, book buyback programs, and students’ thoughts about purchasing books. You are not asked to provide a recommendation, but a good conclusion should be included in your presentation.
Your audience will consist of invited students representing each of the academic program areas, the institution’s bookstore manager, and members of student government and student services. The total number of attendees is expected to be up to 50.
You will be given a total of 15 minutes to make your presentation including a Q&A session. Your presentation will take place in a large room. Equipment, such as computers and digital projectors, can be made available; however there is no internet or cable TV access in this room.
Scoring Feedback Guide
This scoring guide can be used to provide constructive feedback to speakers on their presentations. It can also be used as a checklist as you prepare for and practice your own presentation. The criteria included align with major elements already discussed in this module. It can be used to provide feedback based on your impression of how well speakers have addressed the criteria (Presence, Language, Organization, Subject Mastery, Visual Aids), as outlined in the scoring criteria table. There is also a section in the table to indicate your overall impression of the presentation.
Much of the feedback provided will be subjective; however, if different peers participate, the aggregate of the feedback should become a reliable indicator of the performance quality related to each criterion. Presenters can then use this valuable feedback to hone their skills and improve their performance as they prepare for the course presentations that will be assessed formally.
If you are using this chart to evaluate others, you are encouraged to be honest and professional with your feedback. Also, you should not identify yourself if several people are evaluating. There is no need to include your name or other identifying markers. It is the feedback that is important here, not who provides it. If you are practising your presentations to others, have them use this to get useful feedback. If you are practising your presentation in front of a video camera, use this chart to evaluate yourself in your practice runs to improve your performance.
All the best to you as you practice and improve your presentation delivery. Hopefully, your marks on the above chart will go up each time you practice.
Finally, never give up the opportunity to make a presentation. It’s natural that your first instinct is to say no, but the more you make presentations, the more comfortable with it you’ll become making them. It is actually a pretty nice skill to develop.
Delivering a good presentation involves many factors.
- Interpersonal skills required include: physical presence, speaking skills, engaging the audience, using a variety of visuals, and facilitating questions and answers.
- Forward planning is key. First presenters need to decide on the type of communication format. Planning the presentation also includes: an effective outline, a strong introduction, a functional organized body, and a strong conclusion.
- Presentation aids should be developed to portray professionalism and increase impact on the audience. Visual aids should be chosen to fit well with the topic and vibe, and should enhance the quality of the presentation.
- During the delivery of the presentation, considering the audience’s needs will help make the presentation more relevant. Dealing with mistakes and misfortunes is part of the process and should be handled with flexibility and humour.
- Invariably something in a presentation doesn’t go as well as you would have liked. However, you likely did many things well and still pulled it off. The mistakes are factors to learn from, and help your next presentation go even better. You only get good at delivering presentations by delivering presentations – and critiquing, evaluating, and improving each time.
This chapter was adapted from the following chapter:
- “Professional Presentation Skills” in Professional Communication OER by Olds College OER Development Team. Adapted by Mary Shier. CC BY.