Make your presentation real!

It is that time of year when English language students at our university are starting to think about presentations which they have to do as part of their coursework. Most university students have to do presentations at some point. There are lots of things to say about presentations in English, but my one piece of advice in this post is to make your presentation real. What do I mean? There is nothing worse than sitting through a lot of presentations when you know what the speaker is going to say. What is the point of the presentation if no new information is given to the audience? The presentation becomes a meaningless English language exercise which can be very boring indeed! So my tip for my students who are starting to think about presentations is: think of your audience (your fellow students and your lecturer) and try to tell them something they don’t already know. Students who treat their presentation as just another exercise to get through are likely to give a poor lecture. Think about the whole point of a presentation: to inform, to persuade, to convince, to sell, …there is a big list of reasons for giving a presentation. Make sure you know why you are giving the presentation and think carefully about the message you want to leave the audience with. If the only reason you can give for your presentation is ‘because my teacher told me to do it’ then you are not going to give a real presentation and it won’t be a convincing one. The BBC has some very useful exercises on presentation language which your teacher will be expecting you to use here.