The Dartmouth Observer

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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A great many Dartmouth students - upperclassmen even - either don't know how to make effective presentations, or else can't be bothered. I say this having taken three presentation-intensive classes this term, all of which featured seniors or juniors doing the following:

1) Going beyond the time limit, thereby depriving others of their opportunity to present. When the professor says 10 minutes with 10 minutes for questions, so that three people can go within the hour, don't take 25 minutes to say your stuff. Rehearse your presentation before hand and time it. Doesn't take that much effort.

2) Not speaking clearly, sending everyone except the professor to sleep. You are not chatting with a close friend. Speak with conviction, in a clear voice, and neither too quickly or too slowly. Don't mumble. Do your utmost not to pepper your sentences with annoying Americanisms ("like"). Write out your speech if you have to (I always do) - just don't recite it.

3) Not structuring one's presentation. It may be all clear in your head, but we can't read your mind. Like an argument on paper, your presentation must flow logically from point to point. Have an outline, and write it on the board, or prepare handouts. Don't improvise unless you're supremely confident of pulling it off.

Take some advice from this guy.