Oral Presentation Skills: a Practical Guide

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Oral Presentation Skills: a Practical Guide

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Oral Presentation Skills: a Practical Guide
Storz, C. (200-)
Paris: INT.

This text, the result of years of experience and research, is intended to be an aid for anyone wishing to speak in public to fellow students, colleagues or other interested groups.  This text provides the essential elements and some tips on preparing and organizing a successful oral presentation in English or any other language. The same structure can also be used to some extent in the context of a written text, i.e. dividing the text into three parts – introduction, development and conclusion. Other useful elements for the written text include expressions to indicate lists, narrative, links and examples.

This short paper is divided into several sections, each one being based on a particular point which is important to think about in preparing for and giving an oral presentation. The first one deals with preparation and planning, the most important stage. The second one deals with the structure of the speech and necessary language. The third speaks about visuals and how to make the best use of them. The fourth discusses how to create interest and establish and maintain a relationship with the audience. The fifth deals with body language and finally, the sixth contains a few comments on using the voice and correct pronunciation. Actual language used to express the above is given in italics. Comments and questions you could ask yourself in preparing each part are also included. At the end, you will find a bibliography of materials available in the Resource Center of the Department of Languages and Humanities at the INT for further work on oral presentations or listening practice.

It is also important to remember that there are perhaps several formulae for an oral presentation, this being just one.1 Are you explaining a procedure, trying to convince or persuade, give information or outline possible courses of action? What you are trying to do in your presentation should have a bearing on how you present. There are also cultural aspects to take into consideration in that different communities will react differently to the same presentation: English-speaking as against a French-speaking audience, a scientific forum, a literary group or an assembly of business managers. Each one will expect and react in various ways according to the linguistic, scientific, academic or business culture it is familiar with. Different people speak in different ways in different languages and different conventions depending on to whom, where, when and why they are speaking. All of these questions are, of course, vital to take into consideration during the preparation.

 

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