Oral Presentation Skills for Students and Teachers

Oral Presentation Skills for Students and Teachers

Intonation 4 – Pitch Dynamism Quotient — 11 April, 2017

Intonation 4 – Pitch Dynamism Quotient

Pitch Dynamism Quotient is a measure of the variation a speaker has in the pitch of their voice over a length of speech. It can be considered as a measure of the ‘liveliness’ (Hincks, 2004) a speaker puts into their voice when making an oral presentation.

Pitch variation can be measured using the standard deviation, but since males and females normally have different pitch registers, a normalised value of the deviation is necessary in order to make valid comparisons.

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Intonation 3 – Use of pitch range — 7 April, 2017

Intonation 3 – Use of pitch range

When making an oral presentation, a skilled presenter will use the full pitch range in order to structure and segment their monologue. Pitch can be useful in a presentation to highlight, among other things, the division of the talk into spoken paragraphs (paratones). Less skilled presenters often use a narrower pitch range which gives them less headroom in which to show these divisions.

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Some Presentation Tips — 10 January, 2017

Some Presentation Tips

So, you’ve chosen to do Language in the Mind for your final year in university. (Either that or it was one of the mandatory modules you had to do if you chose the Language and Literature route). Good for you. I mean that with the most sincerity. There is a lot of work to be done in this module; a lot of reading will take up your time, but it is definitely one of the most intriguing modules I’ve done in my years here and has shown just how complex our minds really are.

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One Experience, Different Perspectives — 27 July, 2016
Oral presentation by random French girl —

Oral presentation by random French girl

I am here in Britain for the summer school experience in Coventry and I really got impressed to see that some topics are universal. I have known through my linguistics courses in France that the body language could be, in some way, a national way to express ourselves. But sometimes some gesture will not convey the same message according to the country from which you are coming from. Just to give you an example, I met a girl from Czech Republic and we had this little talk about how to wish for luck. In France we cross the fingers and in her country they just do a fist and shake it.

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How to hit your audience attention! — 26 July, 2016
Oral presentations, Erasmus and my piece of advice — 3 December, 2015

Oral presentations, Erasmus and my piece of advice


My name is Maria and I am an Erasmus student from Spain. This year I have been studying at Coventry University, this means that I have had to attend to classes which are taught in English, as well as the assignments. Because of this, I have had to work with English students and do my presentations in English. At this point, I would like to share with you my experience, and see if this can help other Erasmus students in order to be prepared when coming to study to Coventry.

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Handling Questions — 11 August, 2015
Intonation 2 – the tone unit — 28 July, 2015

Intonation 2 – the tone unit

In my previous post on intonation, I talked about the phonological paragraph and how intonation can be used to segment these in a presentation. This is an important device that an expert presenter will use to give their talk structure and coherence

In this post, I’d like to discuss in more detail about how intonation develops over a group of words, usually termed the tone unit. A tone unit is the minimal unit which can carry intonation. It can be one syllable long, but usually extends over a few syllables. (A tone unit can also be called an ‘intonation unit’ or ‘foot group’.)

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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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