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Creating an Effective Presentation

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1 Creating an Effective Presentation
Briar Cliff University Writing Center Heelan Hall

2 General Information You are now ready to begin work on the presentation of your research. Unlike a written paper, giving a presentation has a built-in audience, those sitting right in front of you. You will know immediately if your audience is responsive by their expressions and their body language. You will know whether they are paying attention or losing interest. You will see them actively listening or passively falling asleep. Some of the most effective planning you can do for a presentation is to be aware of how much you can say, what you might show in a visual, and how to organize a tentative script. You will not be reading your script, but it will be a reminder for the important parts of your presentation.

3 Audience Analysis Audience Awareness
At this point, you should identify who might be interested in the information you gather and interpret. That is, who would most likely be affected by your topic? It is a good idea to select an audience with which you are very familiar, such as a group from your workplace or a group who is involved in this particular issue, or the general public. Within these larger categories, you should identify a smaller group who will be relatively easy to access.

4 Know Who You’re Talking To

5 Audience Analysis (cont.)
How To Determine Your Audience Interest In order to prepare a speech that will interest a particular audience, you need to describe your audience, which may differ from the audience of your research paper. To make this task as authentic as possible, invite someone to listen to your presentation. If you are not able to invite someone, imagine and plan concretely about who you might want to present your research to. Just keep in mind that you will need to have at least one adult in your audience for actual presentation. Questions to Consider: Is this audience likely to be interested in your topic? How might you increase their interest? What does your audience already know about this topic? What else would you like them to learn from you? What concepts or key terms will need to be explained? In what ways might your audience disagree with you? What questions might your audience ask after your presentation? After you have answered these questions about your intended audience, think of a different audience to whom you might present. How would your responses to these questions differ for this second audience?

6 Checklist for Audience Analysis
Have you noted the following directions: “In order to prepare a speech that will interest a particular audience, you need to describe your audience, which may differ from the audience of your research paper?” Have you kept in mind that you can prepare your presentation for an “ideal” audience--not necessarily for the audience that you will actually have while performing your presentation? Have you provided a description of your audience and the level of their expertise for the presentation? Have you described your audience's attitudes, your tone, level of approach, style and need for formality/informality in regard to them? Have you provided an explanation of your desired audience response? Have you provided an explanation of your audience expectations regarding demeanor, approach, and level of formality in your presentation? Can you name an alternative audience that might be interested in your presentation? Can you predict what differences you would make between the two audiences you might present to--the actual audience and an alternative audience? Does your work contain any incomplete sentences and any mechanical and grammatical errors?


8 Presentation Outline To continue preparation for your presentation you will need an outline or script that you will refer to as you speak. This outline or plan will have some cues for you embedded in the margins or some large-typed words to remind you what to say at a certain point. You will give yourself cues to turn to the audience to emphasize a certain point or to ask them if they are clear on a certain complex concept. In other words, the script tells you exactly what to do when you going to face an audience, with all the possible anxious moments that might accompany you.

9 Differences with Paper Outline
It is not the same as your research paper outline because it will need to include more detail to prompt you to important points. It should contain key words or phrases to refresh your memory as well as essential statistics and quotations that you do not want to risk forgetting. Remember that if your notes are too detailed, you will have difficulty maintaining eye contact with your audience, so you should make your outline as brief as possible to prevent yourself from reading rather than presenting to your audience. You should also give yourself cues for delivering the presentation—when to speak more softly or more slowly, when to pause, etc. Keep in mind that your presentation should be within the range of time you are required to fill.

10 What To Do Include 3-4 main points with supporting details, examples or facts, and memory cues. Remember, you will still have in-text citations and an accompanying reference list since presentation, like paper, is based upon research (depending on assignment). Use either a Roman numeral or Arabic number system. Type your presentation outline into a word processing program and save it as an acceptable file (or put it on note cards)

11 Creating the Presentation Outline
To create your script, follow these steps: 1. Start by making a list of the key points of your research paper.  Once you have a list, think about the best order for presenting your key points. 2. Next, plan your introduction. How will you capture your audience’s attention at the start?  How will you introduce your topic?  How will you convince your audience this is an important topic for them?  How will you introduce your main idea or thesis, and how will you forecast the direction of the rest of your speech?

12 Creating the Presentation Outline (cont.)
3. Then work on the body of your presentation. What will be the main points of your presentation? How will you organize the body of your presentation? What theories or research will you present in this section of your presentation? 4. Think about how you might conclude.  Remember, simply summarizing what you’d said can be dull.  To end on a strong note, think of an idea, image, or example that your listeners will be able to remember.  This idea, image, or example should bring them to think about your main point after your speech has concluded.

13 Creating a Presentation Outline (cont.)
Then, don’t forget about: 5. Have you included three possible questions your audience might ask during your presentation? 6. Have you attached a reference list of your resources? 7. Have you indicated memory cues on your script, to remind you of times to look at your audience, point to your chart, or take a step forward?

14 Memory Cues One big issue that always comes up deals with creating memory cues. For the memory cues, these are informal reminders to yourself in your script, so things like, "look at the graph" or "look at the audience" or "ask audience questions."  Consider putting the cues in boldface so they stand out                         They are "stage directions," essentially: notes to yourself that will not be read aloud. They won't need to be cited. What will need to be cited is any information you have used to develop your ideas--just like your paper outline. Be sure to plug in in-text citations and have a corresponding reference list (if required).

15 Some Additional Resources
The University of Wisconsin/Madison has some tips for presentation effectiveness at There are suggestions for a script and even an example of how to give an ineffective presentation. Here is a sample presentation script from the University of Washington at


17 The Visual Aid Keep in mind that whatever visual support you choose, it should be informative and not just decorative. Use PowerPoint! PowerPoint may seem like a good solution for a visual aid, but if you’re trying to project it on video, it won’t work very well Why? PowerPoint slides require the use of a laptop projector or school ―Smart Board‖ in order to be seen on video. If you have these, great; if not, avoid PowerPoint. Do Use the following: charts, graphs, posters, and photos that can be documented in appropriate style (must be published). These options may seem low-tech, but they show up best on film (if using video). Do not use a prop as your only visual aid; if you want to include a physical prop, you must also include another visual aid of the type listed above.

18 Additional Tips/Suggestions for Visual Aid
Observe the ‘6 by 6’ rule which means no more than six lines, no more than six words per line. Always proofread--typos can be distracting. Use high contrasting colors --dark text on a light background is best. Avoid using distorted enlarged visuals. Avoid visual elements which might distract from the presentation of your content. Presentations that include a lot of special effects but little content are ultimately ineffective.

19 Additional Resources to Examine
Media at Purdue University is an actual course on how to use visuals effectively at A set of tips from the University of Newcastle gives you some important pointers for visuals, posters and presentation skills at

20 Checklist for Outlining & Visual Aids
Have you created a clear outline for your presentation that contains four main points to support your argument? Does your outline format consist of a topic sentence with keywords? Have you provided an introduction to your presentation that captures the audience's attention? Have you written your thesis statement within the presentation script? Does your outline contain enough details for each main point but not every detail that your paper contains? Have you provided a conclusion that provides an effective closing to your presentation? Does your outline contain memory cues? Have you provided a list of more than three relevant potential questions that the audience may ask during the presentation? Have you proofread your outline for grammatical and mechanical errors? Have you described your visual aid(s) and how it (they) support(s) the main points of your presentation? Is/are your visual aid(s) easy to understand and have you provided a good explanation why you chose to use the visual(s) and how it/they will be incorporated into your presentation? Have you provided a citation(s) for the source of your visual aid(s)? Have you decided how you will photograph and/or do screen shots in order to submit your visuals for the assignment? Have you checked all these assignments for grammar, appropriate style, punctuation, and all writing conventions?


22 Video/In-Person Presentation
Presentation Delivery In order to deliver your presentation in a natural and engaging way, practice is critical. It is also important to practice your presentation so that it fits in a given time frame. Therefore, it is best to practice or rehearse as if you were doing the actual presentation. The more you practice, the better you’ll perform. Keep in mind that you need to be conversational with your audience rather than reading to them. It can be advantageous to use stories, narratives and examples to illustrate main points of your presentation. Remember to forecast what you are going to cover in your introduction. Focus on your main points by incorporating your visual aids and using voice inflection. Stop and make eye contact, and stand as you present. When it is appropriate, use gestures to emphasize your points. Think about speaking clearly and loud enough for your audience to hear everything you say. Finally, summarize your main points and leave your audience with an image, example or key idea to remind them of your thesis

23 Key Points Keep your presentation simple.
You will be evaluated on body language and delivery, as well as your presentation content. Maintain eye contact with the camera or audience. Don’t read your presentation—use note cards or cue cards to help you remember main points.

24 What Your Video Should Look Like
A simple approach is best. Aim your camera so that it films you from the waist up, preferably with your visual aid attached to the wall next to you. Make sure AHEAD OF TIME that your visual aid is readable. Film in adequate light. Do not show the audience. Use a close-up of YOU and the visual aid

25 Looking the Part You do not need to wear a suit or dress clothing for the presentation Please wear something that you would wear to work or to a restaurant. As long as your clothing is not distracting from the presentation (like wearing a swimsuit!), you should be fine. Consider the audience and venue, though: if this presentation is formal, then you may need to dress up!

26 Elements of Your Presentation
Start with your “attention-getter” and introduction. Make sure your thesis is clear and main points are previewed. Present the body of your presentation and your visual aid. End with your conclusion, which re-states your thesis and main points. Ask the audience for questions and respond.

27 Verbally Citing Your Sources
Your presentation outline contained in-text citations, some of which you will want to mention during the presentation itself. Include a verbal citation for all direct quotations, statistics, and major examples. Generally you will not need to announce the date of the publication, just the author/corporation/website and the name of the article or study. And since you used outside information to create your visual aid, announce the source there as well.

28 Time Requirements Practice, Practice, Practice! Suggestions:
Spend the first few minutes on the material you planned on your outline. Leave the last couple minutes for audience questions.

29 Choosing a Camera You should use a camera that records at the lowest resolution possible while maintaining “decent” sound and audio quality (which means you can be clearly seen & heard, and visual aid is readable) Most students already own a camera they can use for the presentation. These are the best options, in order: Web camera (costs around $30) Audio/video feature on a still-shot digital camera Disposable digital video camera (costs around $30) Digital video camera Tape-based video camera (will require a DVD transfer)

30 Preparing Your Camera First, set your camera at the lowest possible resolution. You might want to run the camera for 8 minutes to see what file size is produced. The file size of your video will determine how you submit it.

31 Recording Your Presentation
Practice, Practice, Practice! Make sure you know ahead of time how long your presentation will last. Be prepared to re-shoot the presentation if your sound or audio is faulty, if you forget to include audience questions, or if you run over the time allotted. Your audience member can be the “camera person.” You must be SEEN and HEARD at all times in the video.

32 Uploading Your Video: General Info
Options Elluminate (can just utilize web cam and synchronous sharing audience) YouTube (can provide a unique password so only you and instructor can view it, or anyone you give info to) FaceTime (for students with iPhone or iPads) Skype

33 Uploading to YouTube Set up an account, then click on “upload.” You can then browse and choose your correct video to upload. Once uploaded, you will name your video. If you do not want others to view your presentation, simply give it a nonsense name (like “lkjadfoolfj”) and it will not appear in search results. You can also use the “private” feature described on the site to block your video from search results.

34 Uploading to Snapfish Click “Start here,” set up an account, and go to your home page. On the right you will see an orange box—Click on upload photos; you will then need to name your album and follow the instructions. (You can choose to have a free “home video” account for 1 month.) Your video must be in MPG format. Use the “Any Video Converter” program at if you need to convert your file type. Remember to discontinue your video account when your task has passed so that you will not incur any charges in the future.

35 Video Recording Checklist
Have you provided a video-recorded presentation that is within appropriate time frame? Have you used an attention-getting introduction in your presentation? Have you previewed the main points of your presentation in your introduction? Have you effectively discussed at least three main points in your presentation? Have you provided details for your main points in the presentation? Have you provided an effective conclusion to your presentation? Have you incorporated an effective visual aid(s) in your presentation? Have you responded to at least three audience questions? Are you clear and speaking loud enough for your presentation to be clearly recorded? Did you pace yourself throughout the presentation? Did you use effective emphasis to enhance your presentation when discussing major points? Did you use appropriate gestures and body language throughout the presentation? Did you use appropriate eye contact throughout the presentation? Did you plan ahead and procure a video camera to use for your presentation? Did you ask a friend or family member to listen to your practice presentation? Did you videotape your presentation with a friend present to handle the mechanical aspects so you are not distracted? Did you compress your videotape, upload your presentation (to a site like YouTube or Snapfish etc.) and send a link, username and password for your presentation?



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