Chap12 - 12 Presenting and Defending your Work Orally This...

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12 Presenting and Defending your Work Orally This chapter helps you in preparing for presenting and defending your work orally, as well as acting as an opponent. 12.1 Oral Presentation What characterises a good oral presentation? One of the main difficulties with planning a good oral presentation is how to find the right balance between (1) including enough detail to make the project understandable to the audience, and (2) not including so much detail that the presentation fails to fit within the time assigned for it. To succeed in striking the right balance, you must plan your pres- entation thoroughly. In particular, you should carefully select which details to be included in the presentation, and which to leave out. You should also think about how those details should be presented so that the audience can grasp them as quickly and clearly as possible. A good oral presentation is characterised by being clear, to the point, interesting, and, of course, inspiring. All of these characteristics can be achieved only by planning the presentation well. Planning not only allows you to be clear and to the point, it also makes helps you to be at ease and comfortable during the presentation. Feeling confident in the quality of your presentation is the key to being able to convince and inspire the audience. However, it should be kept in mind that academic presentations are meant to communicate a message, rather than merely to entertain. In other words, you can usually get away with being boring, if what you say is well-organised and clear; but you cannot get away by being entertaining without a well-founded and well-communicated message. In this book we assume that you will use slides for your oral presentation. You can either use a slide projector and transparencies or a computer connected to a video projector. Slides are convenient to use as they help you to communicate and emphasise your message to the audience. 92 M. Berndtsson et al. (eds.), Planning and Implementing your Computing Project - with Success! © Springer 2008
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12.1.1 Before the Presentation The first two key steps in planning a presentation are to decide what to say and in what order. Thereafter you can proceed with the details of how to say it. In other words, you should begin thinking about your key message(s) and developing a structure for your presentation, and then fill in the details. One of the advantages of developing the structure first, is that you will know beforehand approximately how many slides you will have time to present. The structure makes it much easier to keep track of how much space you can use for each part of the presentation. Another advantage of developing the structure first, is that it makes it much easier to discuss the presentation with your supervisor. By having the structure in mind, you are more clearly aware of what things you want to say and in what order, and can therefore more easily discuss what to leave out, how to reorder, or which parts to change. Keeping the structure in mind helps you see any consequences of a par-
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Chap12 - 12 Presenting and Defending your Work Orally This...

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