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James Dyer
Professor of Geography

GUIDELINES FOR AN EFFECTIVE ORAL PRESENTATION

Specifics about the length of presentations and their scheduled times can be found on the course syllabus. In an effort to make the experience more beneficial and enjoyable to all, however, I offer these suggestions.

  1. DON’T READ YOUR PRESENTATION!!! Nothing is more boring than watching someone read (I can read it myself just as easily). Talk from an outline, note cards, etc. You should know your work well enough to speak extemporaneously on the topic.
  2. You do not necessarily have to address all topics covered in your paper in your oral presentation. It may be more effective to cover certain highlights in your oral presentation, or only deal with certain aspects of the larger paper.
  3. A picture is worth a thousand words: don’t underestimate the importance of overheads or other visual aids, not only for tables and graphics (including maps!), but the outline of your talk, definitions of terms, etc. Be sure they can be read by the nearsighted person sitting in the back row!! The use of PowerPoint is highly encouraged.
  4. Make sure the format of your presentation is well structured, and let the audience know what the structure is that you will be following (an outline on an overhead is useful here - see #3 above). The outline will be presentation-specific, but might include headings such as Introduction to the problem, Background information, Methods, etc.
  5. Given the time limit (see #6 below), you may be presenting material faster than your audience can take effective notes (remember they are held responsible for the material).  Consider a one-page handout to facilitate note-taking.
  6. Practice your presentation before giving it, and make sure that it adheres to allotted time.
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