Yesterday, I attended a workshop of presentation skills training.
A global competition of research presentation, named "Three Minute Thesis" is upcoming. This workshop was held to let the competitors in Kings College London prepare for the stage. I will not join in the competition, but I was just interested in this lecture.
This workshop took three hours. I have learned some ideas essential to make an attractive presentation. Here I note some tips about it.
1. Presentation is a physical activity
It is what I was the most impressed. The presentation is like an exercise, rather than examination. You have to keep your body flexible to make an impressive presentation. Eye contact, body language, facial expression, and clear voice should be united during the speech. No matter how completely you remember the content of the speech, you cannot perform it without repetitive challenges.
Indeed, I failed to keep an eye to the audience' faces in a trial session, although the lecturer gave a caution again and again. It is not enough to know how to make a good presentation at all. When I slipped the word to say the next, I was frozen for some seconds.
2. Eye contact to all audience is essential
It is the thing the lecturer emphasized the most. Continuous eye contact makes the audience feel that the speaker is concerned to them. It creates strong bonding between the speaker and the audience. Otherwise, the audience feels they are ignored.
It is more difficult to look around the whole audience than I expected. It requires calmness and confidence. In contrast, if you can remember the faces of the audience, it means that you are relaxed and focusing the stage effectively.
3. Make your friends critical
Exercise makes your presentation more sophisticated. However, you have to choose the mock audience wisely. Most of your friends never criticize your performance. Their admirable messages will delight you, but do not improve your skills. Before the exercise, ask your friends to check the shortcomings of your presentation seriously.
In the workshop, I made my presentation twice, each of the time I was given feedback from the listener. It was quite helpful for me to improve my performance. At first, my presentation did not make sense. But the second time, the listener could understand the content easily.
4. Do not try to express all your knowledge
The most important thing is that the presenter is the most familiar person to his presentation. It is obvious, but important. We tend to explain anything about out research to the audience. However, it may be too much for most audience to understand completely. The audience is willing to learn about what they have not known. At the same time, an excessive amount of new information makes us exhausted. You should control the balance.
It was difficult for me to perform a good presentation in English. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this session, and it gave me many things to consider in enhancing my skills.
My past entry: Presentation secrets in lecture