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Oral presentation is the speech or talks that being presented in front of people, for a particular topic interest. The basic component of oral presentation will be the speaker, audience, topic to be discussed, material, and time. Those combining factors will create a good presentation, but it depends on many other factors such as skills, preparation, and knowledge of the topic presenting.
Nowadays, English become a global language which is extremely important. Any of the daily activities such as education, and business are using English as a medium of communication. Realizing this situation, thus Malaysian government announced that English is a second language after Bahasa Malaysia, which implies the importance of English. In academic purpose, can be said that all higher education in the Malaysia are using English in the learning process. Malaysian currently still have difficulties in learning English, thus many programs and efforts are being conducted in order to exposed more to people about English.
There are some elements that we need to give an attention in preparing and organizing a successful oral presentation. Technically, oral presentation in any field consists of three mains part which is introduction, development of points, and conclusion. Introduction will always deal with preparation and planning on the topic being discussed. Development stage consists of climax of the presentation, where all the point needs to be stress in an appropriate manner. For last stage which is conclusion, it usually ends with the summary of the presentation, and question session from the audience.
However, all these three main parts does not work on its own. All the elements need to be used and delivered by combination of skills, enthusiasm, efforts, and person involved. In academic purpose, oral presentation should be easily organized, and the presenter needs to have a deep knowledge about what they want to present. Presenter also should clear the purpose of the topic, and make sure that people can understand on what is being delivered. Many speakers are lack with the skills and confidence level to make an effective presentation. Feeling of stage fright, speech anxiety, or talking error is a common situation happened to the speakers especially for those who are not presenting regularly.
In order to overcome the situation, all basic things in presentation also need to be carefully determined. The points like when is the presentation, how long, where is the place, what is the function, who is guest attend, and many more must be carried out before the presentation begins. All these can improve the quality of the presentation.
SPEAKING IN A FORMAL ACADEMIC CONTACT
A good and effective presentation definitely depend on how well it being structured. Presentation in academic purpose is actually same as other presentation, but different in certain aspect. As be mentioned before, presentation needs to have three important parts which is beginning, the middle, and the end. Beginning process always starts with an appropriate greeting to the audience. Example of greeting – ‘good morning ladies and gentlemen’, is one of the greeting always being said. Beginning process also includes introducing of the speakers, to introduce who are you, from where, and the purpose of the presentation. The greeting part can be applied each time presentation, but if we are presenting to the same group of audience for many times, introducing part can be skipped.
Currently, the most famous ways of presentation is by the aid of power point slide show. Thus it will be a good medium of delivery so that all points can be pointed out clearly. In academic purpose, the slide show will begin in what are the topic will covered, the objective of the subject, and also the brief outline on what the presentation will talk about. This is to make an understanding among audience and could remember certain important information. Purpose should be divided by two, which are general purpose and the specific purpose. General purpose only gives the overview, to present, to summarize, and to discuss the current topic. For specific purpose is the points that we want the audience to take away with them after listening or attending the presentation, or in other word something that really important which needs to be remember.
3.0 PREPARING AN ORAL PRESENTATION
In order to have a good communication skills and effective oral presentation in academic purposes, there are some points that can be a guideline. The five key points of the successful oral presentation are as follow:
Know your audience
Use your voice
Practice what to be delivered.
3.1 Know Your Audience
In oral communication, the most important thing is we know who our audience is. By knowing the audience, we can know what is the suitable and reasonable points should be put in our presentation. Audience in oral presentation can be a public people, students, employees, or professional team. Thus, in order to prepare this presentation, we need to suite the audience and the content of the presentation.
For example, if our audience is a group of secondary student, then we can put some interactive diagram or use simple example which can attract them to listen on the presentation. This is because this type of audience is usually easy to get bored and lost their focus, which only stand for the first part of the presentation. But, if the audience is the professional group like teachers, lecturers, or government officers, the content of the presentation need to be more specific and details as they are the one who have an interest to the topic presented. The presentation need to be more academically, as they want to know details about the particular topic
Audience also consists of two types, which is active and passive audience. Active audience will always involve in the presentation, for example answering question that we ask and give their opinion or question in the middle of presentation. It will be lucky if we get active audience which makes the presentation more interesting and others will also get there information from the ask person. But in current situation for most cases of presentation, there will be hard to find audience in this type.
For passive audience, they always keep silent although question or opinion being asked. However, we can change this passive audience to become an active audience. In handling passive audience, more attention need to be given, and if possible just pointed to someone and ask for their opinion about the topic being discussed. Another ways is by giving some rewards for those who standing and give their question or opinion. By this way, we encourage them be active and involved in the presentation.
Other than that, we also need to know what the level of knowledge of the audience is. If we are presenting in front of people who are new in the topic, then the presentation needs to be more basic and a bit details. However, if the level of knowledge of the audience is the same or higher, then the presentation needs to be more ‘complete’ and straight to the point.
Thus, to know the audience before the presentation is one of the requirement and necessary. It will help a lot especially in the preparation of material for presentation to the target group. The presentation will be more effective and what we want to deliver can be presented in the most convenience way.
3.2 Use Your Voice
In presentation, voice is the medium of communication between speaker and the audience. A good voice in presentation will have a variable intonation in their ways of delivery. Intonation will reflect on the points that being stress out. A loud intonation can be used in stressing on important points and fact, which is things that audience need to be carefully listen and understand. By saying loudly the points, it will attract audience and they will focus on the speaker’s words.
Soft intonation then can be used for the points that are general, or less important. By applying soft intonation, calm condition can be created and this will give some opportunity to the audience in controlling their focus. Speaker also must know to control their voice, and make sure horizontal voice is not being used.
While saying something important points, it is also encourage to stop talking for a seconds after the points. This is to create a situation to show that point stated are really important and the speaker show that by silence. However, there are a lot of technique of intonation can be used in order to catch attention, but for an academic purposes, right intonation must be correctly use to prevent lost focus by the audience.
3.3 Body Language
Other than a good setup of content and voice tone, body language also plays an important role to the audience. It can communicate and deliver an important message between people which cannot be reached by other method. Body language can be seen in some ways which is:
Facial expression are varies according to the content of the talk. For academic purpose of presentation, the common expression by the speaker is serious expression. Actually, academic purpose is not always dealing with serious and straight expression. A good speaker knows when to apply several of facial expression in order to stress out the point. Expression like smiling, thinking, and confuse expression can create a good psychological effect to the audience.
Eye contact to the audience also needs to be controlled. Speaker need to look at the audience from time to time and not looking at the presentation slide or notes in the hand. Any notes or book can be place on the table and can be use as reference, but not for most time. It is not allowed to speaker holding the notes as it shows that speaker are not ready or not sure on what being presented. It is really advisable to the speaker to move around in some radius in the stage. Speaker can move from one side to another slowly in between deliver one points to another. This is to indicate some changes on focus, and keep attention. The transition also can emphasize some points and to clear some points.
Body language also is useful to overcome nervousness. While put some expression, we will not feel stress and just do like a normal speaking. In addition, body language can maintain the interest of audience, as they will see variable action and keep focusing. Body language should be natural and friendly, not pretending or force. Body posture can be setup to straight but relaxed, not too technical. Pointing by hand or pointer can be used to indicate part of explanation, in the diagram or table.
Negative body language should be prevented. Action like yawning and leaning will indicate speaker is boring. Standing with hands on hips, or arm folded is defensive action and make the presentation not in the right pathway. Other than that, looking at the notes, keep looking at the screen, white board, or floor are also need to be avoided. Speaker also needs to remember to not back turned to the audience, or put a hand in the pocket. Some speaker or presenter also sometimes likes to sway like a pendulum, which is a bad habit. It becomes an annoying action to the audience.
3.4 Presentation Aids
In oral presentation the delivery of our idea is one of the most important criteria during the presentation. This is because we want to make sure the audience gets what we want to say and get the basic concepts of our presentation. To make the audience and the spectator pay concentration and follow along the presentation, few different types of presentation aid should be used during the presentation. These aids will increase and gain the audience interest towards the presentation. From help of the presentation aid we are able to make sure that the audience clearly understood what we are going to deliver during the presentation.
There are few different types of aid that can be used during the presentation. This aid can be in many different form and types. This is because to make sure that the audience will not get bored with our oral presentation. Among the different types of aid in presentation are the visual aid, video aid, white board and pointer.
The uses of the visual aid can enhance the focus of the audience’s attention, thus this will make sure that the audience will stay focus during the presentation time. Plus this will help to make our presentation more attractive. Furthermore the visual aid can be used to illustrate points in a easier manner this is because it is easier to understand in visual form but difficult in a verbal form. The visual aid also can be used to reinforce of our ideas during the some part of the presentation. Visual aid also can be used to change focus from aural that the changing the focus of the audience from the oral form into visual form. The visual aid can be very helpful in the oral presentation that involves the motivation; this is because we are able to deliver the idea more easily with the visual aid. Next visual aid also saves time this is because with the visual aid we are able to implement graphics during the presentation. Thus this will reduce the time needed for the explanation for the certain points during the oral presentation. This will also reduce the usage of the white board and information to be put on a board. Different types of visual that can be used to convey our ideas are the graphs, maps charts, drawings, images and objects. Avoid putting the full sentences during the presentation with using the visual aid.
Next is the video aid in the oral in the oral presentation, video usually contain all the graphics and the image that can stimulate the understanding and gain the interest of the audience. Usually video will come together with the audio which can be very helpful in the brief of the presentation. Sometimes the usage of the video aid can be very helpful, because with the video we are able to understand what are being conveyed easily. Plus there are many different types of graphics that can be used to generate the interest and can make sure the audience stay tuned with the presentation. The video aid can be used for the help of speaker; this is because with the video aid we can reduce the time that is spend during the explanation of the certain points in the presentation. Furthermore the content in the presentation can be very brief and contain a lot of information that can be delivered easily to the audience and the spectators. But avoid using the heavy animation and graphics during the video aid this is because it will cause the audience to lose the interest in the presentation and can lead to confusion.
During a presentation the white boards are used to convey the idea in the simplest form. In addition the white board also is used to give some additional points that are not included in the presentation. The white board are also is used to draw the mind maps and show formulation about something. This will give time to the audience to grasp what are being presented during the oral presentation. Different color marker pens can used to convey the idea by drawing the maps and shortcuts. The usage of different color marker will enhance the memory power the audience, thus this will make sure the audience can remember the each points that are being presented. By using white board also will give extra time for the audience to jot down the important points that are being presented. But the writing of the presenter should be neat and clean this is because neat hand writing will make the audience understand what the points that is being delivered. Another important point is that avoid turning back to the audience when about writing on the board.
The pointer is one of the important tools that is used as aid during the oral presentation. There are few different types of pointer that can be used such as the laser pointer, stick and even pen. With the usage of pointer we are able to show clearly what are the important point that are being showed in the presentation. This will enable the audience to know about the important point. The pointer also will reduce the movement of the presenter and this makes sure the presenter can present well the presentation. Thus this will also ensure they will not waste energy on walking and can make sure the presenter is comfortable during the presentation period. Apart from that this will reduce the presentation during.
3.5 Practice Points to be Delivered.
Practice makes perfect. That phrase should be used in order to have a perfect presentation. For those who are use to give a speech will do not have a problem, but people who are going to present for the first time need to practice a lot. In the presentation, we need to organize and practice especially time frame, fluency of speaking English, any aids to be used, and expected question on particular topic that may be asked.
Practicing in front of the mirror or friends can manage to handle with the time frame. Time management is very important in order to deliver points and know where to give more explanation. Practicing also could increase self confidence level as we are prepared on the condition and for the whole presentation.
Fluency in English also needs to be alert. There are some words which have difficulties to pronouns, and jargon must be us in limited. This is because some audience will not familiar with the jargon being use, unless the jargon is commonly use and we highly confidence audience understand the phrase or jargon that we use.
Question and ask session also need to be practice. The expected question need to be focus on as speaker will don’t have any difficulties to answer in the real situation. Some question also need to be asked to the audience to know level of understanding on the topic presented. But do not force audience to give an answer. If possible, find any volunteer to answer the question, and this will create more convenience ways in this session. In explaining some points, rhetorical question can be asked. Rhetoric question is the question being asked without expecting it to be answer. For example, ‘Have you ever heard about…’, or ‘What does this phenomena imply to us..’. These questions are asked just to show the problem and need self interpretation about the question.
As a conclusion, making an effective oral presentation in English in academic context is not something that too heavy to done. By combining all the factors and points given, a successful presentation can be made. What needs to be focus on is the choice of topic, the way of the presentation, skills in presenting, and the content of the presentation. All this may required certain period to prepare and practice, but as efforts be given in the presentation, there will be easy on the real situation and condition.
A good presentation should consist of story line, which determined what should be put in introduction, problem definition, an approach to the problem, findings of the solution, and also recommendation or suggestion to the particular topic. In addition, storyboard also could be used as it consist the same things as storyline, but all points are under the same theme.
Presentation in English must be always implemented in the daily life, not only for academic purposes, but also for the other context. This is to ensure that English language can be practiced more often and increase the level of English knowledge. Before going to present, it necessary to double check all the information in the slides, finalize the data, clarity of the visual or diagram use, logical aspect of the information, and also correct English grammar being used.
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