Advice for oral presentations

Giving oral presentations requires preparation. Audiences gratefully listen to a well-prepared presentation. With preparation, you can capture their interest within minutes and share your knowledge. Here are some advice to get the attention of the audience:

  • Who is your audience? Keep the lecture on a suitable level: Your presentation must begin where the audience's knowledge ends, which is difficult. What is now obvious to you is new to others.
  • Make sure they can hear you well. Use a microphone if available.
  • Introduce yourself, as well as any employees.
  • Feel free to hand out summaries of what you are going to say, especially if you are going to show complicated characters.
  • Keep eye contact with the audience and perhaps ask questions.
  • Start with the most interesting, and repeat your main message at the end.
  • Present the necessary background and methodology together with the results, and discuss what this means right away. The audience easily loses the thread if you organise your presentation as if it were a written report.
  • Simplify. Short speeches cannot give the whole story – but the best part of it.
  • Viewing materials (the human body, models of molecules, instruments, etc.) are nice. Just be careful not to waste time during the viewing.
  • Use written support words. Reading word-for-word in a natural way is extremely difficult. Watch out for unnecessary sounds (“er”, “uhm”, “like”) and use an everyday language without slang words. Feel free to add a personal touch and "spice it up" in your own way with jokes, opinions, and thoughts in reasonable amounts. It can greatly improve a lecture.
  • Avoid holding a ballpoint pen, to avoid unconscious “clicking”.
  • End in time to allow for questions.
  • Practice several times and time yourself. Ask somebody to listen to you.
  • Do not speak too quickly!

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