1. Identify a topic of personal interest to you that you would enjoy presenting. (It is best to choose a topic you already know something about.) Create a brief, informal presentation—about three minutes and no more than five to six slides. You may conduct some research if necessary, but this exercise does not need to be extensively researched. Instead, focus on summarizing your main points concisely and using visuals effectively. If possible, share your presentation with a partner and evaluate each other’s work.
2. Conduct an Internet search to find examples of strong and weak slideshow presentations. Determine the reasons why each presentation is or is not successful. Consider the following elements:
- The number of slides and the amount of information presented overall
- The amount of information on each slide and how well it is organized
- The ratio of text to graphics
- The clarity and appropriateness of the graphics
- The use of special formatting, sounds, slide transitions, and so on
3. It is sometimes difficult to evaluate one’s own speaking skills. It is very helpful to rehearse and record yourself. Use the questions from the following list that to determine if your presentation needs additional work. If possible, have a partner evaluate your presentation.
- Is the presentation clear, concise, and organized? Would your audience understand your main point and supporting points?
- Are your visual aids relevant, appropriate, and effective? What changes (if any) are needed?
- Is your vocal delivery effective? If possible, have a partner evaluate your presentation on the following criteria: resonance, enunciation, volume, pitch, pace, and tone.
- Are you using your body language effectively? If possible, have a partner evaluate your eye contact, facial expressions, posture, movement, and gestures.
4. View one or more television infomercials. Evaluate the presentations using the following questions:
- Does the presenter deliver information clearly and engage the audience? Does the infomercial fulfill its purpose—to convince the audience to buy the product?
- Does the presenter use visual aids effectively? How?
- Is the presenter’s vocal delivery effective? Why or why not?
- Is the presenter’s body language effective? How does the presenter use body language to connect with the television audience and to emphasize the product’s value?
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