Giving definitions in your presentations

OK, so I’ve been going on and on about presentations for some time so I promise that this is my last comment on presentations (not ever, just for a while). I’ve noticed that lots of students give definitions in the first part of their presentations – in the introduction. For example I watched one student presentation on the topic of ‘A Letter of Credit’ and he gave the dictionary definition of this by saying:

According to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary a letter of credit is a letter addressed by a banker to a person to whom credit is given authorizing drafts on the issuing bank or on a bank in the person’s country up to a certain sum and guaranteeing to accept the drafts if duly made. Now I I will talk about….

Now hang on! How do I know that you have any idea of what this definition meant? The student has got some information from somewhere, put it into his presentation, and now has moved on to the next part of the presentation without showing his understanding of what he has said or reworking it any way.

Imagine if he said this:

According to the Mirriam-Webster dictionary a letter of credit is a letter addressed by a banker to a person to whom credit is given authorizing drafts on the issuing bank or on a bank in the person’s country up to a certain sum and guaranteeing to accept the drafts if duly made. So let, just take another look at what that means in practice – a letter of credit is a letter from a bank which shows that the person or business has good credit. It is frequently used in business when companies are ordering goods from another country….

Can you see that the student shows his understanding of the concept by reworking it into his own words after giving the official dictionary definition. Remember a presentation is not just a presentation of information you got from another place, it has to be your reworking of information.

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