Presentation Skills for the Middle Primary Student
It is important to be able to clearly express one’s ideas and convey them effectively to your audience. In Singapore, most kindergarten students would have their first taste of Show-and-Tell sessions where they bring an item to class and share their thoughts on it with their classmates. This continues in the lower primary classes where students find themselves having similar sessions.
By the time the child reaches Primary Three, he will need to have the confidence to stand in front of about 30 – 40 fellow students, present a specific topic and answer queries that the audience might have. Today’s article hopes to provide several tips to making an effective presentation.
Tip #1: ADAPT
It is always good to have ample preparation before the actual presentation. Just remember not to start preparing the night before the presentation. During the presentation, many unforeseen events can occur. Here is a list of 3 examples and the suggested ways to adapt to them.
(a) Technical difficulties make that PowerPoint presentation redundant
It is best to always have a set of non-IT based presentation materials on standby. E.g. summarise the key points on small cards. Rehearse and be familiar on how to use them should the need arises.
Another example could be the lack of Internet connectivity. Always come ready with a hard copy version of online resources that you are using in your presentation. You can prepare newspaper articles in place of the online video that you have prepared to show in your presentation. You never know when the Internet might be down.
(b) In the case of a group presentation, it is important to have a copy of every member’s presentation materials.
Those after-school rehearsal sessions will come to naught if a member fails to turns up on the day of the actual presentation. Hence, it is vital that every member, not just the group leader, has a set of everyone else’s presentation materials. In the event that a member fails to turn up, another member can at least go through his slides and share them with the audience.
(c) Prepare additional materials or know exactly what to remove from the presentation materials if needed.
Time management is always crucial. There might be situations that require you to remove content in order to complete on time. An example is when a member previously presenting before you fails to end on time. Another likely situation is when you are doing a solo presentation and that you have completed your last slide well ahead of time. The additional materials can be an extension to an area that you have presented earlier.
Tip #2: CONTROL
(a) Audience Control
Do not forget that you take up the role of the subject expert in the room where you are presenting. ACT like one!
- Manage your audience’s expectations by providing a clear outline and time frame for the presentation.
- Handle questions by first paraphrasing it clearly for the rest of the audience before answering it. Always try to create an association between the question and any specific slide if possible. Do not answer the question in a hurried manner (even though you are on a tight timeline)
- Always try to involve your audience. You can thank them for their questions and attentiveness or invite them to share similar experiences.
(b) Content Control
- Sometimes, the audience may have raised a point that you intend to cover on a later slide. You can thank the audience for the contribution and subsequently omit the slide.
- Always cite the sources of your information. This tells your audience that you have done research for your presentation and that you give credit to the original author’s work from which the ideas you have found useful.
(c) Voice Control
- Volume and Tone: Vary it so that you draw attention to selected points for emphasis. You can increase it to infuse enthusiasm at specific points or reduce it before you get the audience to answer a question you have prepared.
- Pacing and Pauses: Pay attention to the facial expressions of your audience. Furrowed eyebrows or animated discussions between participants could be signs that you could be too fast. On the other hand, a fidgety audience could be telling you that your delivery needs to speed up slightly.
TIP #3: ENGAGE
- Aim to build rapport with your audience. Don’t keep speaking and looking at your slides. State a “fact” and ask the audience how many of them think it is true or false by raising their hands.
- As much as possible, create an association between your content and them. Is there anything that you can relate your content to them?
In conclusion, we hope that the skills of Adapt, Control and Engage will help you ace your next presentation. Stay tuned to more articles from us.
About the Author
Mr. Nicholas Ee has more than a decade of experience in teaching English from Primary Two to Primary Six in local primary schools. He is presently, in his free time, having immense enjoyment experimenting with the Nimzo-Indian Defence in chess and trying out the Apacs Lethal 9 in badminton doubles.