1. Getting Ready for the Presentation
When you have developed your presentation, practice, practice and practice your delivery. Rehearse (practice) using a tape recorder, and listen to both content and delivery. Practice your presentation in front of a mirror or have your presentation videotaped. Hold a "dry run" (rehearsal) of the presentation; your peers (colleague) can provide feedback (criticism) to help you see the strengths and weaknesses of your presentation. After the dry run, revise your presentation or your delivery based on reviewer comments.
- Before your presentation, go to the room where you will be speaking. Verify (confirm) that it has the equipment you need (for example, VCR (videocassette recorder) and monitor, overhead projector, extra light bulb (tuber), extension cord (string, cable), microphone, or lectern (bôc ging).
Review your visuals using the equipment provided to be sure that they can be seen from everywhere in the room. Locate the light switches (button), power sources, etc., so that you are not searching for such things during the presentation.
2. Giving the Presentation
The success of your presentation will be determined by the content of your message, your delivery, and your overall stage appearance. Let the audience know the rules of your presentation; for example, tell them whether you will answer questions at the end or whether they can interrupt you to ask a question.
Consider the following tips when giving a presentation:
Talk directly to individuals in the audience; direct eye contact with the audience is essential.
Vary the pitch (tone) and volume of your voice and your rate of speaking.
Be enthusiastic! Enthusiasm may overcome a certain lack of presentation skill because audiences usually respond well to it.
Be aware of your nonverbal message. Try to appear relaxed yet controlled; this will communicate competence.
Be dynamic--use your hands and body to illustrate or emphasize your points.
Always complete your presentation on time and allow time for questions. Audiences begin to tune out when you have gone over your allotted (chosen) time.
3. Handling Questions
To prepare for the question-and-answer session, anticipate (expect) questions in advance (what's the toughest question someone could ask?) and practice answering these questions. Consider the following tips for "remaining cool under fire":
Repeat the question. You are responsible for communicating with the entire audience, not just the questioner. Repeat the question so that everyone understands it; this technique also gives you more time to phrase your reply.
Clarify confusing or complicated questions. Be sure you understand the question. If you are in doubt, rephrase it and ask the questioner if that is the question.
Watch out for multiple questions. Questioners often ask more than one question, and presenters often blunder when they try to answer two or three questions in one response. Let the audience know which question you are answering, and tackle the questions one at a time.
Don't be forced into "yes or no" answers. Watch out for loaded questions. Take time to carefully phrase your answer.
Don't be tricked by multiple choices. Questioners often pose choices between alternatives (for example, "a" or "b". It is perfectly appropriate to answer "c" and explain why "a" or "b" is not the best choice.
Answer the question completely. If you are not sure you have completely or exactly answered the question, ask the questioner if the answer was satisfactory. If a complete answer would require more time than is available, offer to discuss the subject after the session.
Treat every question seriously. Never dismiss any question, even if you have covered the subject in your presentation. Don't put the questioner on the defensive; you will lose credibility with the audience.
Keep your answers brief.
Don't be drawn into debates.
Keep your message intact. Be sure that the question-and-answer session reinforces your message. Find an opportunity to reiterate your message before you close the session.
Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." If the question falls outside the context of the presentation or outside your area of expertise, say, "I don't know."
(Adapted from TALKING POINT)
Useful Language for Structuring Oral Presentations
- Good morning/ afternoon/ evening. Ladies and gentlemen.
- Shall we begin?
- Let's begin/ get started.
2. Introducing the topic
- Today I am going to talk about …
- I intend to talk about …/ My topic is …
- My presentation/ seminar paper is concerned with …
3. Method of presentation
- I intend to divide this talk into … parts: a. b. c and d…
- I propose to present my paper in several stages: firstly, a review of a, then an analysis of b, and finally a comparison between c and d.
- I will give examples as I go/ along the way.
4. Starting the Content of the Paper
- Right. To begin (with)…
- Well. To start at part a
- OK then. Let’s to go back and start with the first point.
5. Connecting the Parts of the Paper
- Well. That's all I want to say about a. Now let’s turn to part b.
- Unfortunately, time is moving on and I will have to leave part a there and go on to b.
- You may wish to question me about this later. But for now I’ll have to move on to b.
- Finally/ In conclusion/ To sum up …
- So, as you can see, my research has covered these areas …
- The final point I wish to make is…
7. Inviting questions
- I’ll be happy to answer any questions now.
- Do you have any questions or comments?
- If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.
8. Asking Questions from The Audience
- Thank you for your (interesting) presentation. I’d like to ask you about …
- I found your presentation/ talk very interesting. Could I ask you a question about …?
- I enjoyed your talk very much. I was particularly interested in what you said about …
- … but I don’t agree with what you said about…
- In your talk you mentioned/ said that…
- Could I make a comment about…?
9. Answering question/ comment. I think…
- Thank you for your question/comment, I think …
- That's a rather difficult question to answer here - it might require more research.
- Yes, perhaps. Although in my opinion…
- It's an interesting point, but I don't really agree with you on that.
- Yes, quite. Thank you for pointing that out. (I should have mentioned it in my talk.)