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Higher Education Insight: Tips to Help You Prepare for an Oral Presentation

At Walden University, recommended reading assignments help students in bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree programs learn to deliver more professional and effective presentations.

The speaker approaches the podium to a welcoming round of applause from the audience, which is gathered to hear a talk on lifelong learning. He greets the crowd and elicits laughter with a lighthearted remark. He and the audience are at ease as he begins his presentation. The lights dim so he can show his first slide. There’s a glitch. The deck won’t advance past the title page. He makes several attempts, trying to mask his growing frustration and embarrassment. Finally, he asks for the lights to come up. He’s going to continue his lecture without the slides.

You may have witnessed a scene like this—or one similar. And while feeling empathy for the speaker, you may also have been silently vowing that it would never happen to you. As a working professional and adult learner earning a degree, you may have the need to make oral presentations now and in the future. Presenting like a pro takes planning, preparation, and practice. When you earn a degree online, Walden University provides abundant resources to supplement your academic coursework—readings such as Oral Presentation and Powerpoint, recommended for students in an IT capstone project. The following tips1 may help you prepare more effective oral presentations:

Higher Education Insight: Tips to Help You Prepare for an Oral Presentation

  • Practice your talk straight through, and as you go, jot quick notes to yourself about how to improve it. If you cannot manage to practice your talk straight through, perhaps you are not yet ready to offer it.
  • Ideally, practice your talk under conditions similar to those in which you will give it, considering such factors as acoustics, distance from the audience, lighting, and room size. Lighting becomes especially important when computer equipment is involved. Be mentally prepared to adapt to the environmental conditions.
  • As a draft, present your talk to a friend or two first and have them critique it. If you’re really gutsy and can tolerate the unforgiving lens … videotape your practice talk and critique it afterward.
  • View all of your visuals from your audience’s perspective prior to your talk. Be sure that your audience can easily see all that you want them to see, especially material that appears in the lower half of the screen.
  • When you give a talk professionally, always request presentation guidelines from any relevant organizations and conform to them explicitly. It would be embarrassing for you if you were expected to present units in metric, for example, and you did otherwise because you failed to request or follow the available guidelines.
  • As part of your preparation, choose an appropriately snappy and helpful title. You are expected not to come off as stodgy. Which talk would you rather attend: “Specific Geometrical Objects With Fractional Dimensions and Their Various Applications to Nature in General and the Universe at Large as We Know It” or “And on the Eighth Day, God Created Fractals”?
  • Become highly familiar with any technology you’ll be using. Practice with the actual hardware or type of hardware you’ll be working with, making sure that compatibility or speed issues don’t get in your way. To facilitate faster computer speed, load your presentation onto the desktop if possible. … If websites are needed as part of your presentation, check connection speeds and make sure all URLs are up and running.

Following these tips can also help if just the thought of public speaking makes you anxious. And if it does, you are in good company. Many of the most practiced speakers and professional actors confess to getting the jitters before taking the stage. As Mark Twain once famously said, “There are only two types of speakers in the world: 1) The nervous and 2) Liars.”2 Preparation and practice won’t magically dispel anxiety, but they can go a long way toward bolstering your confidence.

How Can You Learn More About Online Education?

Continuing your education at an accredited university can help further your career or prepare you for an entirely new professional challenge. Walden offers more than 80 degree programs with more than 400 specializations and concentrations. Areas of study include health sciences, counseling, human services, management, psychology, social work, education, public health, nursing, public administration, and information technology.

At Walden University, online courses make it possible for working professionals to complete their degree on their schedule. When you join Walden, you’re joining students from all 50 states in the U.S. and more than 150 countries who are pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates. Find the program that works for you and become a pathfinder. Let your talent and passion take you and your students to new heights.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


1Walden Curriculum Source: www.e-education.psu.edu/styleforstudents/c7_p4.html
2Source: www.azquotes.com/quote/661749

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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