Giving an Effective Technical Presentation: Planning
Presentations are critical to engineering projects, in college and in the “real world.” Present Research Make Proposals Update Progress Give Instructions Solicit Feedback Make Recommendations
Presentations Make Information Come Alive! Species differentiation
Planning Listening vs. reading Talking vs. writing Different retention rate Listeners not in control Audience not all technical Presentation linear Thinking not linear Easy to get off target Use an outline Divide into 3 parts Build in visuals Introduce yourself Don’t stop in tracks at end
Valiela says, “giving talks is theater.” How can he say that? You’re telling a compelling story to a live audience. What else would you call it?
Giving a talk -- even a technical one – is giving a performance. Your information is the story. Your delivery and visuals are the entertainment.
Before you begin planning... Think about the realities of listening vs. reading and talking vs. writing. We spend so much of our time reading and writing, we forget how people listen.
Before you begin planning, remember: We hear differently than we read. Because listening is more passive, we retain information at different rate. Listener is in less control then reader. Talk is linear; thinking is not.
Be aware of your audience’s capacity to remember! People retain only about of information. The Solution? Plan to say it AGAIN! 28%
As you plan, be aware of how quickly time goes by. All you have time for... 3-5 main points
Who is your Audience? Who is your Audience? You may be speaking to technical, semi- technical, and non-technical people, all at the same time. Even at an academic conference, attendees tend to be from multiple disciplines.
Preparing a Successful Presentation Preparing a Successful Presentation 1. Plan your talk 2. Create visuals 3. Rehearse your talk 4. Relax (especially just before the talk)!
1. Plan Your Talk 1. Plan Your Talk Know your audience. Choose 3-5 main points to highlight. Divide talk into three sections: Repeat main points in each Repeat main points in each Decide where visuals will be useful.
Outline for 20-25 Minute Talk Introduction (4-6 mins.) Introduce yourself or acknowledge other’s intro. Introduce yourself or acknowledge other’s intro. Motivate audience Motivate audience Explain purpose of work Explain purpose of work and of presentation Preview main ideas Preview main ideas Establish key concepts Establish key concepts
Outline (con.) Body (13-15 mins.): Don’t put them to sleep. Use easy-to-follow organization Use easy-to-follow organization Use transitions Use transitions Provide supporting data Provide supporting data Bring in key concepts Bring in key concepts Conclusions (2-3 mins.): Wrap it up. Comment on significance of results Comment on significance of results Don’t just stop in tracks! Don’t just stop in tracks! Ask for questions Ask for questions
Planning: Recommendations Plan your talk. Organize. Organize. Repeat important information. Repeat important information. Integrate visuals from the start. Highlight 3-5 main points – build your talk around them. Repeat most important points at end. Give us the “moral” of the story.
3. Rehearse your talk. Don’t memorize a “speech.” You may want, however, to write out the introduction and the conclusion. You may want, however, to write out the introduction and the conclusion. With good visuals, you may not need prompt cards. If they seem useful for keeping numbers and details at your fingertips: Use 3”x5” note cards. Use only a few and don’t put many words on each. Use 3”x5” note cards. Use only a few and don’t put many words on each.
Rehearsing Practice using transitional statements to connect main points. Rhetorical questions work well: “So, how did we use all this research?” Rhetorical questions work well: “So, how did we use all this research?” Ideally, rehearse several times Time yourself – better yet, get someone else to time you. Dress rehearsal Ask someone to watch and give feedback Ask someone to watch and give feedback Use final visuals and equipment Use final visuals and equipment Use actual location, if possible Use actual location, if possible
Body Language and Choreography Think about how to use your voice, gestures, and movement to stress important points and maintain interest of audience. Voice must be loud enough – all the way to end of sentence. Voice must be loud enough – all the way to end of sentence. Avoid fidgeting, distracting movements. Avoid fidgeting, distracting movements. But DO move around. Don’t stay glued to one spot. But DO move around. Don’t stay glued to one spot. Maintain gentle eye contact. Maintain gentle eye contact. Sweep the room with your eyes. Notice responsive faces and return to them!Sweep the room with your eyes. Notice responsive faces and return to them!
Checklist for Your Reviewer Is the structure of the talk evident? Does the speaker sound enthusiastic? Are the visuals clear and compelling? Does the speaker maintain eye contact? Is the subject matter clear and compelling? Does the speaker move naturally, without fidgeting? Does the pace seem right? Can you hear every word? Do the speaker and the talk hold your interest?