Delivering a presentation for the first time, whether in the form of a lecture or part of a workshop, is not an easy task. Very few people are born presenters, however the good news is that presentation skills can be learned / acquired with practice and everyone improves with experience. Entire books have been written on effective presentation techniques so it is impossible to go into great detail here, however the following points outline some tips which will stand you in good stead for presenting:
Have confidence in yourself:
- It helps to plan well and know your material inside out.
- Write a lesson plan. This is a good way of detailing the outline of your teaching; how long will you present for, how much time is designated for tasks / activities etc. Even if you overrun / underrun or never look at the notes during your teaching, you’ll have a good idea of how the session should run.
- Practise your delivery.
- Speak clearly, loudly and at a steady pace.
- Don’t be fazed by mistakes.
- Try to relax!
Be clear and coherent:
- Let your audience know what to expect by outlining aims and objectives at the beginning of the session. This can be a good time to manage the audience expectations of the session, for example you could state that you will welcome questions throughout, or only at the end.
- Don’t assume your audience will be familiar with basic points of reference; try to avoid using technical language and where necessary give an explanation.
- Repeat key points and provide a summary to end the teaching.
- Be inclusive and involving.
- Use questions, activities such as using clickers and online polling and relevant memorable examples in your presentation.
- Use observational skills to assess whether students are understanding; do they look confused? Are they answering your questions? Are they all successfully working through worksheets? If not, can you rephrase your explanation or work 1-2-1 with those students who are struggling?
Be time conscious:
- Start and finish in the allotted time.
- Use timings from your lesson plan, but be prepared to be flexible with these.
- Be alert to signs of restlessness, as a type of indirect feedback on your teaching.
In the next section we offer some pointers on teaching international students.