Would you be interested?

The other day I stopped a student’s presentation. Why? Because he was reading word-for-word from what sounded like a Wikipedia page. The faces of his audience were completely blank. No comprehension. He didn’t notice. 

I try to remind students that talking at (not “to” or “with”) their classmates in this way is a complete waste of everyone’s time. (See recent posts: October 19 about visuals and October 21 about comprehensibility) It seems so obvious to me. But the “Read quickly with your head down. Finish ASAP. Say thank you. Sit down” style of speech-making and presenting seems to have been practiced to perfection by many students in junior high and high school. 

So here’s a reminder. 

“How to make a really awful, boring presentation”

I don’t generally like to focus on the negative. But sometimes a bad example is more effective than a good example.

So how should you make a speech? Do the opposite. I’m not sure I completely agree with the last one, though. A sincere “thanks for listening” is a nice way to end a presentation. The point may be that you don’t really need a slide for that. 

Finally, don’t forget:

The laziest, most unoriginal, most difficult to answer discussion question:

“What do you think about my topic”?

As you’re practicing your presentation, imagine yourself in the audience.

Would you be interested?

Even better, record yourself practicing and watch it back to see if there’s anything you need to change before the big day.


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