Some strategies to give an effective PowerPoint presentation for the 4th year student of English Faculty, Hanoi Open University

TABLE OF CONTENTS DECLARATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TABLE OF CONTENT PART A: INTRODUCTION PART A: INTRODUCTION Rationale We are living in a modern society where communication skill is indispensable. Among different communication skills is public speaking skill which probably is the most difficult one. Ability of giving a good presentation is extremely important for those who want to success. When you are still on the school-desk, you need presentation skill to discuss or argue some point of vi

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ew with your classmate. When you are at work, in the future, you need this skill to report your work to your colleagues and manager, or introduce and sell some product to your customers. If you are manager, presentation skill is even much more necessary. It helps you to success in negotiating with your partners or inspiriting your staffs. Together with technology development, MS PowerPoint program has also been developed. Today, it has become so popular. MS PowerPoint is a very strong tool supporting for presentations. A PowerPoint presentation delivers a message much more effectively than a normal oral presentation because it is a combination of words, pictures and sound. However, it is not everyone can give an effective PowerPoint presentation. A person who is able to make a good oral presentation can make a bad PowerPoint presentation due to his design mistakes. As a student at Faculty of English, Hanoi Open University, I have given several PowerPoint presentations before classmates and I have also been an audience for many times. I see that even when we are senior students, we still rarely make an effective PowerPoint presentation. Hence, in this study I would like to focus on finding difficulties which senior students often meet and common mistakes they often do. “Some strategies to give an effective PowerPoint presentation for the 4th year student of English Faculty, Hanoi Open University” is a very helpful and interesting topic so I decided to choose it for my Graduation Paper. Aims of the study The objective of the work is to bring out some strategies which are helpful in giving an effective PowerPoint presentation for senior students of English Faculty, Hanoi Open University. There are many strategies for giving an effective PowerPoint Presentation but in this study, I would like to focus on finding what difficulties senior students usually meet and which mistakes they often do when giving a PowerPoint presentation, then bringing out some effective strategies to help students of English in general and the 4th year students of English at HOU in particular to overcome difficulties and avoid making mistakes. My study focuses on 3 steps: - Step 1: Overviews basic PowerPoint presentation knowledge. - Step 2: Presents a survey to get what exactly students find hard and which mistakes they often do when giving a PowerPoint presentation. - Step 3: Proposes effective ways of giving a PowerPoint presentation based on the result drawn from the survey. Scope of the study PowerPoint presentation is not a small field for research. Therefore, I would like to draw out some strategies of giving an effective PowerPoint presentation only. My research aimed at senior students at Faculty of English, Hanoi Open University. Method of the study In order to accomplish this thesis systematically and adequately, I have acquired all the literature resources from many sources of data such as the internet, magazines, newspapers and books in the Library of Faculty of English and Modern Languages, Hanoi Open University as well as the National Library. I implemented a survey with subjects who are senior students of English Faculty, Hanoi Open University. Personal observation consulted and discussed by my supervisor in the process of researching also contributed much to the completion of this thesis. Design of the study My study is divided into 3 main parts: Part A: Introduction Part B: Development Chapter 1: Literature review Chapter 2: The study Chapter 3: Some strategies to give an effective PowerPoint presentation. Part C: Conclusion CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW 1.1 Definition of PowerPoint presentation - What is a presentation? There are many definitions of presentation. Following are some typical definitions: - A presentation is a practice of showing and explaining the content of a topic to an audience or learner ( - A presentation is a way of communicating ideas and information to a group. A presentation carries the speaker’s personality and allows immediate interaction between all the participants ( - What is a PowerPoint presentation? A power point presentation is a presentation which is carried out with the support of PowerPoint, a presentation software program. 1.2 The structure of a PowerPoint presentation Like other kinds of presentation, a PowerPoint presentation includes three parts: The introduction: Greeting the audience. Tell your audience the topic of the presentation. Tell your audience the purposes of the presentation. Show your audience how the presentation will be developed. The body: Present the first key points. Use supporting ideas for this point. Present the second key points. Use supporting ideas for this point. And so on… The conclusion: State the main points again. Evaluate the importance of the information. Formulate some conclusions and/or recommendations. 1.3 Types of presentations 1.3.1 Based on the presentation’s purpose - Informative presentation: An informative presentation is a presentation on a realistic factual matter destined to raise the informative and cultural level of listeners. An informative presentation should be based upon a wide range of adequate and credible sources. - Persuasive presentation: A persuasive presentation is a speech aimed at influencing values, ideas, beliefs and attitudes of the audience. Pragmatically, a persuasive presentation is used to convince people to get a different idea, attitude and belief, react to something, consider doing things they were previously unwilling to do. - Entertaining presentation: Entertaining presentation focuses on the overall theme of the entertainment speechwriting occasion. The presentation is oriented to entertainment, so that the audience could get relaxed, react to the presentation in a hearty way, and enjoy every minute of the entertaining speech. - Inspirational presentation: Inspirational speech is a speech presented by a professional speaker or by a renowned authority/leader in front of large homogeneous audiences such as corporate staff, etc. in order to encourage them, reveal the true sense of leadership and enrich them with some approved formulae of commercial and professional success. ( 1.3.2 Based on the presentation’s manner - Written presentation: Written presentations may include story, manual, report, book, newspaper article, letter, diary (for one person), scroll, booklet, pamphlet (for small group), questionnaire, survey (for small or large group), advertisement and chart (for large group). - Oral presentation: Oral presentations may include interview, report, conversation (for one person), discussion group, seminar, debate (for small group), advertisement, lecture, talk show, song, debate, choral speech, lesson (for large group). - Visual presentation: Visual presentations may include project cube, page sized chart or diagram (for one person), cartoon, photographs, display (for small group), poster, timeline, web page, map, large diagram, puppet show, overheads (for large group). - Multimedia presentation: Multimedia presentation is a combination of written, oral and visual presentations, for example, a computer presentation such as Power Point presentation. ( 1.4 The importance of PowerPoint Presentation skill In today’s world, PowerPoint presentation skill is synonymous with presentation success of any kind! Thanks to Bill Gates and his team of professionals who developed MS PowerPoint, today most of us have access to what is considered a basic and most staple tool to effective presentations. No matter if you are a student or a professor or a business professional or even a scientist, if you are out there in this world, you need PowerPoint presentation skills to be successful. - PowerPoint Presentation skill for students These days, it is important for students to learn PowerPoint skills right from high school. With practice, by the time they reach university, they will have mastered the art of making effective presentations. Today, whether you are a graduate or an undergraduate student, most classes demand that you write papers and present them in front of the whole class. If you do not use effective tools to make presentations, you can forget getting great grades. Most professors expect you to know how to use the PowerPoint tool. This is especially important if you are a doctoral student. No thesis is marked complete without a final presentation to the faculty. Not knowing how to present effectively using this tool, could cost you your degree. - PowerPoint Presentation skill for professors In the event you are a professor, the importance of PowerPoint skills cannot be stressed enough. You need to know how to present effectively in order to keep the attention of the class. Using monotonous presentations will bore the class and affect their attention levels. Presentations need to be stimulating and interesting as students learn maximum though a combination of visual and auditory mode. Only then will students respond and retain information you wish to impart. - PowerPoint Presentation skill for business professionals Success in the business world depends mostly on presentation skills. The reasons for this are simple. Most businesses run on presentations. Be it internal presentations to your management about the status of a project or a sales presentation to a potential client, failing there could end up costing you your job. Business professional from all departments need to know how to present effectively. Whether you are training a group of new recruits or holding an advanced training session for a technical team; effective presentation is a key to success. These days’ professionals also have to use PowerPoint to relay information to their own team mates and colleagues. CHAPTER 2: THE STUDY This research focuses on the way senior students of English Faculty at Hanoi Open University give a PowerPoint presentation. Due to the course’s demand, each student must give PowerPoint presentation several times per school year. How to make an effective PowerPoint presentation is a problem that most students take care of. 2.1 Survey on senior student’s habit of presenting 2.1.1 The subjects 100 senior students (K13) of English Faculty, Hanoi Open University were randomly chosen for the project. All of them have ever given some PowerPoint presentations. 2.1.2 Data collection The survey which aims at collecting necessary data for the project consists of three steps: - Handing out questionnaires to subjects. - Deleting invalid cases. - Collecting the final number of the remaining valid and reliable cases. After deleting invalid cases, the number of remaining cases is 95. 2.1.3 Questionnaire This questionnaire is designed to survey the student’s habit of presenting: from the way they preparing, designing to giving a presentation. The first two questions of the questionnaire focus on finding which way students prepare for their presentation. The next three questions aim at finding out the way students design their presentation slides. The next three questions help me know their habit when giving presentation. And the last two questions will discover the difficulties student often encounter in presenting process. Through this survey, I can know exactly student’s difficulties as well as their common mistakes in giving a PowerPoint presentation. 2.2 The finding and discussion The following table shows us a clear result of the survey: Question Number Answers a b c 1 40 55 2 5 50 40 3 7 55 33 4 60 25 10 5 3 18 74 6 15 80 7 12 75 8 8 90 5 9 5 90 - Nearly half of the students (40 out of 95) create an outline after choosing a topic while the rest carry out materials collection immediately. All of them do not find it important to determine the purpose of their presentation. This is like that they are going without a destination. Their presentation without a specific purpose will be discursive and boring. - More than half of the students (55 out of 95) think that it is not or not too important to create an outline. Even when they have had a destination (a specific purpose), if they have no map (outline), they can not reach their destination in the best way. In case that they do not have both destination and map, where will they go to? - Only 7 students rarely use font styles. More than half sometimes use it and 33 one always. This is also a problem! Using no font styles make your presentation less interesting but abusing them can break the presentation. - There are still 35 students (out of 95) think that more backgrounds more interesting the presentation is. They have put slide decoration at a higher position than delivering their message. - More than half of the students (74 out of 95) always use illustrations. This makes a problem! Although illustration enhances the message, using them a lot can distract the audience. - Almost student (80 out of 95) thinks that it is most important to introduce clearly the topic in the introduction. Just 15 students know that getting the audience’s attention is more important. Introducing the topic is important, but if you do not get the audience’s attention right after starting, you can lose them. - Just 8 students always use signpost language during their presentation, the rest rarely or sometimes use it. Signpost language is very important for the audience to catch what you say. Therefore, the students should learn how to use signpost language to deliver their message more effectively. - Most of the students (90 out of 95) do not know what to do with their hands and afraid of looking at the audience. This means body language is one of their weak points. They should pay more time to learn this skill. - More than half of the students (55 out of 95) often forget what to say while the rest often stammer. This is because they do not have enough practice. We can draw out from the result of the survey the following things: - The common mistakes that senior students often do are preparation, design, starting the presentation. - The difficulty that senior students often meet is using body language. CHAPTER 3: STRATEGIES TO GIVE AN EFFECTIVE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION Efficiency of a PowerPoint presentation depends on three main elements which are: Content Design Delivery Effective PowerPoint Presentation Content Delivery Design The content of your presentation should be relevant, convincing and clear. This depends on your preparation. The design of your presentation should enhance the message and visually please. Your delivery should be relaxed, confident and engaging. This depends on your ability to use both verbal and nonverbal language and your practice. 3.1 Good content As I mentioned above, good or bad content depends on your preparation. If you fail to prepare, you are prepared to fail. Unlike everyday conversation, presentations have a clear purpose and a logical structure. Therefore, in order to give an effective presentation it is necessary to prepare carefully. Thorough preparation will also reduce ones anxiety during the actual presentation. The survey’s result shows that the preparation of most students includes only two steps: choosing a topic that they like and collecting materials. They rarely determine the aim of their presentation as well as create an outline. This makes their materials collection not effective and their presentation not have a focus. How can the audience get the message when the students themselves do not know exactly what they want to deliver? So what steps should you take to assure a successful talk and to make it worth the time of the audience and yourself? Following is what you need to do: 3.1.1 Determine the aims of the presentation - Analyzing the audience Audience analysis is important because: Audiences are egocentric. They do not care how important what you are saying is, but whether it is related to them. Audiences will judge a speech based on what they already know and believe. Therefore, you should try to collect information about the audience as much as possible to choose a right topic and collect suitable materials. It helps you to know how to meet the audience’s demand and how to draw their attention. To do audience analysis, you need to collect information to answer these questions: - What is your audience’s needs/interests? - How much they know about the topic? - What misconception might they have? - What terms and concept will they probably not understand? - Choosing and narrowing topic. You have had your audience’s information about what their needs/interests are. Now you can decide what your presentation is about. Don’t try to include too much information in your presentation because your audience has a limited memory. You should narrow the topic. For example: Choose a topic: My presentation is about divorce rate. Narrow it: My presentation is about divorce rate in Vietnam. Choose a topic: My presentation is about finding job. Narrow it: My presentation is about finding job for fresh-graduated students. - Determining the purpose Even when you have narrowed the topic, your presentation will not have a clear focus if you do not determine the purpose for it. It is like that you decide to go shopping but do not know what you need to buy. You will probably waste your time. For example: To analyze the main reasons of high divorce rate in Vietnam. To give out some tips for fresh-graduated students in finding job. 3.1.2 Create an outline A speaker is like a guide, leading the listener through a cluster of ideas. An outline is like a map showing the best path. Therefore, creating an outline is a necessary part of the presenting process. Creating an outline will result in better quality, well constructed and more effective presentation. To create an effective outline, you should follow these steps: Developing centre idea. Generating main ideas. Gathering supporting material. For example: Centre idea: Some strategies to give an effective PowerPoint presentation. Main ideas: Prepare carefully. Supporting materials: Analyze audience Determine the purpose Create an outline Make a good design. Supporting materials: Slide structure Fonts Colors Background Graphs Delivery effectively. Supporting materials: An attractive introduction Use nonverbal language Use signpost language Rehearsal 3.2 Good design 3.2.1 Slide Structure Many students do make mistakes of slide structure. The most common mistake is that they always try to fill the slide with text. This makes the audience concentrate on what they write, not what they are speaking. There are some certain rules that you must follow: - Use 1-2 slides per minute of your presentation. - Make your 1st or 2nd slide an outline of your presentation, then follow the order of your outline for the rest of the presentation. Remember to place only main points on the outline slide. - No more than 4-5 bullets per slide, and keep bullet points to no more than five levels. - Use key words and phrases only, not complete sentences or paragraphs. You should also limit the number of words per line (normally no more than seven words) and the number of lines per slide (normally no more than seven lines). For example: Slide structure – Good No more than 4-5 bullets per slide. Use key words and phrases only. Not use complete sentences or paragraphs. Slide structure – Bad This is an example of a bad slide structure. It looks too complicated. It makes your audience not concentrate on what you are saying. You use too many bullets. You use complete sentences instead of key words. You use paragraph. This makes it difficult both for your audience to read and for you to present each point. Too many words look too complicated. In short, your audience will spend too much time trying to read this paragraph instead of listening to you. Example for slide structure 3.2.2 Fonts Font types: Serif fonts are the ones with little tails attached to each letter. Times New Roman is an example of a serif font. Serif fonts were designed to be used in documents filled with lots of text. Serif fonts are said to be easier to read at small point sizes, but for on screen presentations the serifs tend to get lost due to the relatively low resolution of projectors. These types of fonts can be suitable for headlines. Sans serif fonts are fonts that look more like “stick letters”. They are plain and simple. These fonts are great for body on your slides. An example of sans serif fonts is Arial. Avoid script type fonts - always. These fonts are hard to read at the best of times. In a darkened room, and especially at the back of the room, they are almost impossible to read. Some students do not take note of consistency of font types. They choose different font types for different slides. Although those font types are easy to read or readable, it makes the audience’s attention lower. So, you should use two, or at most, three fonts for the whole presentation, use the slide master before you start entering text to establish the chosen fonts on the slides. This avoids having to change each slide individually. Tips: Use different fonts for headlines and bullet points. Choose a different font for the headlines and the bullet points. This makes text slides a little bit more interesting. Font size: Certainly everyone knows we should use different font sizes for headlines and main points, but not everyone knows that we should also use different font sizes for main points and secondary points as well as lower levels. As my observation, most students use the same font size for both main points and lower levels. This distracts the audience from the really important points. Following is the guideline for choosing good font sizes: Headlines: 35-45 points Bullet points: + Level one: 30 points + Level two: 28 points + Level three: 24 points + Level four: 22 points + Level five: 20 points Font style: There are different styles such as Bold, Italic and Underline for you to use for emphasis. But some students abuse them. They apply font styles not to some key word but many on a slide, even a sentence. Bold, Italic or Underline pose the same problems as script type fonts – they are often hard to read. Capitalizing is the same. You should use a combination of upper and lower case and avoid using all capital letters – even for headings. All caps are perceived as shouting, and the words are more difficult to read. For example: Fonts – Good Use a simple font. Use one size for main points and smaller size for lower levels and smaller size for lower levels Use a combination of UPPER and lower case. Use different styles for Emphasis. Example for good fonts Fonts – Bad Use script type fonts. It is hard to read. Abuse font style. CAPITALIZING ALL LETTERS IS ALSO DIFFICULT TO READ. Example for bad fonts 3.2.3 Colors Choosing colors seem to be easy. It is true. But there are still small mistakes made by students that reduce presentation’s efficiency. Sometimes students do not pay attention at color combination between background and font. No or weak contrast between the background and font color makes it hard to read. Even students use color for decoration. They use different colors for different points or for lower levels. This is distracting and annoying. Here are some tips to use colors effectively: - Use a color of font that contrasts sharply with the background. You should use dark text on a light background for presentation in a bright room, and light text on a dark background in a darkened room. For example: blue/black font on white background - Use color to reinforce the logic of your structure. For example: light blue title and dark blue text - Use color to emphasize a point, but only use this occasionally. - Ensure the color consistency. Use the same color for similar elements. Example for colors 3.2.4 Background Some students choose different backgrounds for each slide. They think that it makes their slides more attractive. In facts, different backgrounds just distract the audience. They will not concentrate on what the next point is, but how the next slide’s background looks like. Other students try to find out a lively or eye-catching background. They forget that the slide is just a tool enhancing the content, not the focus of their presentation. Moreover, a complicated background also makes it difficult to read text on it. So, there are two things to remember about background: - Use simple background. Avoid backgrounds that are distracting or difficult to read from. - Use the same background consistently throughout your presentation. For example: 3.2.5 Charts We all know that using charts better than just words because data in charts is easier to understand and remember than raw data. Trends are also easier to visualize in graphic form. Obviously, these visual methods can make the point much stronger than simply describing the data. There are many types of charts such as pie, bar, line, etc... You can choose one of them to display the data. However, each type of graph is suitable for different type of data. - Pie charts: used to show percentages. For example: Communication Pie charts - Vertical bar charts: used to show change in quantity over time. You should limit the bars to 4-8. For example: Import reaches $90 million Vertical bar charts - Horizontal bar charts: used to compare quantities. For example: Sales for June, 2009 ($Million) Horizontal bar charts - Line charts: used to demonstrate trends. For example: Continuously increasing sales, 2009 Line charts 3.3 Good delivery 3.3.1 Audience’s attention There is no second chance for you to make first impression. You need to grasp your audience's attention within the first 30 seconds of your presentation. If you don't grab them in that short space of time, you could lose them. The people you are speaking to could simply look at you, but be thinking of the next coffee break, the shopping they need to do or that attractive person sitting in front of them. Without gaining the immediate attention of the audience the moment you start to speak, you could effectively be talking to yourself. There are many ways to get audience’s attention: - Question You should try to think of a good question related to your presentation that your audience will want answered. This will immediately get your audience thinking about the subject. Some may even have their own views. You can then go on to give your presentation finishing with your conclusions and answering your initial question. For example: - Have you ever wondered how to give an effective PowerPoint presentation? - Do you know what are the main factors affecting successful application for a job? - Quotation Starting a presentation with a quote is simple, yet can be very effective. The quotation should of course be relevant to your subject, and preferably from a well-known person familiar to the audience. For example: You should not say: - One of my friends has said that “Communication skill is indispensable for those who want to success”. The audience does not know who your friend is, so this quotation will not be strong and persuasive enough. You should say: - Bill Gates had a famous speech that “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose”. - Everyone knows the famous speech of Uncle Ho that “Nothing is more precious than independence”. - Facts and figures Giving some relevant facts or statistics can sometimes be a good way when starting a presentation. However, you should keep the facts simple, accurate and to the point. Contrasting facts often have the biggest impact. For example: You should not say: - The number of divorce in Vietnam was about 21.000 in 1995, 34.000 in 1998 and 51.000 in 2000. It reached over 60.000 last year. Too many facts and figures will not impact your audience. They just distract the audience. You should say: - In 1995, the number of divorce in Vietnam was about 21.000. It reached over 60.000 last year. - Anecdote The anecdote is among the more common devices. A well told anecdote can often be a good way to start a presentation. This simply is any interesting story based on a real incident or event. Again, a few general rules apply: keep it brief and relevant to your presentation. It will be better if the anecdote is from your personal experience. For example: - Three years ago I was a first-year student. Once day, when I was walking around the Sword Lake, a foreigner came to me and asked for the way instruction. I understood what he was asking but I could just keep silent and use gesture to show him. I knew what to say after he had left. I’m sure that many first-year students were ever in the same situation. - Relevant story If you like the idea of starting the presentation with a story, but are uncomfortable with an amusing anecdote, try to find a relevant story from the news or from somewhere else that is relevant and will lead into your presentation. For example: - Yesterday I read an interesting story on ABC newspaper. It was about a second-year student of XYZ University. She took a part-time job as a cosmetic seller. And now she has become a manager and got a very high salary of about 10 million dong per month after one year of working. - Controversial statement Try starting a presentation with a controversial statement relating to your subject. Then immediately follow it up with a clarification that you can build your presentation on. For example: - Start with a controversial statement: “Getting a part-time job while you are._.

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