Grissom's Grammar and Composition

This blog is for any student writing papers for college, for current and former students in my Communications Cluster at Lindenwood University, and my students at St. Charles Community College.

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I write for myself, for the web, and for everyone who gets me. I've been on a fasting liquid diet, traveled to Europe, and raised 2 kids. And I'm directionally challenged - I get lost a lot.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Oral Presentation Tips

1. Don't Try to Cover Everything
Students are often worried they won't have enough information to speak for five minutes or longer, so they try to cover everything in their paper. You don't have enough time. Take it from someone who has seen many presentations. You must summarize your paper - hit the highlights for us.

2. Have an Introduction and Conclusion
You've already written an introduction that gets our attention - use it for the oral presentation also. The same goes for your conclusion. "I guess that's it," as a conclusion isn't as satisfying to your audience as a technique that wraps it up for us. You also need transition words and phrases, just like in your writing: "After I crashed my car...", "When I realized what happened....." ,"The second step...", "In contrast...." Highlighting the transitions in your paper or writing them on notecards helps you remember them for your speech.

3. Talk So We Can Understand You
Speak loudly enough, clearly enough, slowly enough, and grammatically enough to make your presentation understood.

4. Practice
Off the cuff speeches usually show that they are. You also don't want to go way over or under the time requirement, so practice it at least once keeping in mind you usually speak slightly faster in front of an audience.

5. Visuals Are Appreciated
A visual can be as simple as a photograph or as complicated as a power point presentation (we have equipment at our site; you must have it on a flash drive or CD to use it). It also gives your audience something to look at besides you. So if you are self-conscious when speaking, a power point presentation can help divert attention from you.

6. Show Enthusiasm
Hopefully you picked a topic you love. Now show us that enthusiasm for the subject. People passionate about their topics make them more interesting to their audience. Do you want to listen to a speech by someone who is bored with what they are saying? I don't.