Oral Presentation Skills for Students and Teachers

Oral Presentation Skills for Students and Teachers

To steeple or not to steeple? — 22 June, 2015

To steeple or not to steeple?

I often give advice to my students on body language when they are preparing for oral presentations. One important aspect of body language is gestures: what we do with our hands and arms as we speak? Do we put them in our pockets, behind our backs, in front of ourselves, or what?

The convention wisdom these days is that the steeple gesture is the most positive and confident starting position for the hands and arms when making a presentation. The steeple gesture, in case you didn’t know, generally involves the tips of the fingers on each hand being held together and the hands in front of the body, as shown in the picture below.

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Intonation — 17 June, 2015

Intonation

Intonation can be defined as the rise and fall of the pitch of the voice over a group of words, usually called a ‘tone unit’. A tone unit is a group of words (but can be a single word) under one single intonation contour. Tone units are combined to form paratones or ‘phonological paragraphs’. The phonological paragraph is similar to the paragraph that we observe in written language. It is assumed that when a (expert) speaker delivers a monologue in the form of an oral presentation, they break their talk up into paragraphs and these paragraphs are demarcated chiefly by pausing, discourse markers and intonation.

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The art of public speaking — 16 June, 2015
Doing a presentation can be… —

Doing a presentation can be…

… incredibly nerve-wracking and stressful, especially if you’re the kind of person (like me) who hates standing up in front of people. In fact I believe it’s more worrying to stand up in front of people you know, because as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. And nervousness. However, there can be times when you have to present in front of those you don’t know and everyone has a different strategy for this. I remember someone telling me that if they had to present like this, they imagined everyone was naked. Not sure how that would have helped…  I know I would crack up laughing! You probably are looking for a different strategy which is why you’re reading this. I don’t have a strategy as such but I do believe that you can overcome any obstacle with one thing

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ErHelloEveryone — 10 June, 2015
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