English 11 Presentation tips

English 11 requires you to do several public presentations, including the group generated real-life monster report, the individual Book --> Film assignment, the multi-structural narrative, and the vision of success presentation in the Spring. Making them successful will mean using digital media and visual displays effectively. And while there are plenty of digital communication tools out there (including Powerpoints, videos, Tumblr pages, Prezis, wiki pages, etc.), there are some general rules to follow when using them to accompany your public speeches:

  • Remember: media is your servant, there to help you get your ideas across more effectively. The moment your presentation starts to draw attention to the media and away from your message is the moment it fails. So practice gaining control of your media tools BEFORE you get up and speak.
  • Keep words to a minimum in your media, images to the max. Remember, YOU bring the words to the presentation, not the media.
  • Organize it like a good essay, with a clear claim backed up by reasons, evidence, explanations, and ending with a satisfying conclusion.
  • Begin strong. Make an introduction that engages your listener with a question, an interesting story, or something surprising or attention-getting. Sometimes using media--a poem, video or image--can be an effective opener.
  • Keep it focused and simple. Elaborate speeches with too many words and diversions from claim lose an audience.

Breaking these rules with powerpoint is dealt with humorously in the famous "Death by Powerpoint" video.

  • Maintain a clear, enthusiastic voice with adequate volume. And don't speak in a monotone. If you don't seem to care, your audience won't either.
  • Establish and maintain eye-contact with your listeners. Your audience will not trust you if you do not look them in the eye.
  • Be careful with your body language. Hands in pocket means you're nervous and not gesturing
  • Watch your pace and build in pauses. You do not have to be talking every available second. Let audience absorb your information with brief, well-placed pauses.
  • Conclude with a restatement--if possible go "full circle" to your opener.

Here is an article by Visual Learning expert Lynell Burmark on making effective presentations