Overall suggestion for developing yourself as an outstanding presenter:

Watch TED talks, taking notes on specific techniques the speaker applies that enable him or her to give an outstanding presentation (e.g., how the speaker initially catches the audience’s attention, connects his or her topic to real life, uses supporting visuals/gestures/nonverbal cues, communicates passion for the topic by variation in volume and the rise and fall of his or her voice, eye contact, etc.). Then review each technique used by the speaker, thinking about how the talk would have been different (less effective?) if this technique had not been applied. Finally, brainstorm specific examples of how/when/where YOU could apply each of the techniques for powerful presentations that was modeled by the speaker to your own teaching or presentations at department seminars or conferences in order to increase your teaching/presentations’ effectiveness.

 

3MT Presentation Feedback

Does your presentation help the audience understand your research? (44%)

  • Does your presentation make clear the significance of your research question/topic? (Perhaps by providing an understanding of the background to the research question/topic you address)

    • Yes, well done
    • Not really —

      • Use 4/3/2 to practice:
        • Introducing any background information that your students/audience need to benefit most from your lesson/presentation
        • Demonstrating the significance of your topic via interesting examples (especially real-life examples from your own life or everyday student/human experiences!)
    • X, sorry I didn’t manage to write any notes on this before your time was up (maybe because your presentation was a bit short!), so I’m afraid I’m not very sure how well you succeeded regarding this question. Hopefully, your classmates provided you some feedback on this point!

      • If you feel you were weak regarding this criterion, in the future use 4/3/2 to practice:
    • X, your presentation would have been more powerful if you had begun with the story of
    • Yes, except that when you started your talk by saying “We all know that phase transformation is part of our daily life,” I actually had no idea what  your technical term “phase transformation” referred to until I read your slide. (However, maybe your classmates, because they weren’t taking notes like I was, were able to read your slide earlier and so didn’t have as much trouble with this as I did!)
    • X, your presentation was a good summary, but in the extra minute you had left, I think it would have been helpful if you had shown us more clearly the significance of your topic, e.g., via an example — Make sense?
    • Yes, but because of your pronunciation issues with multiple key terms (see my list below), honestly it was sometimes hard for me to follow your presentation — so DO try to work on your pronunciation! (particularly if you’re hoping to get a job in the U.S. after graduation)
  • Does your presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
    • Yes, the sequence of your presentation was very clear
    • Yes, definitely
    • I’m afraid I got a little confused when
  • Does your PowerPoint slide enhance your presentation – Is it clear, concise and easy to read (even for audience members at the back of the room!)?
    • Yes, fantastic slide!
    • Yes, good slide!
    • Yes, your PowerPoint very clearly communicates your presentation topic
    • Much of the text on your slide was too small for audience members at the back of the room to be able to read
      • X, the text on your slide is too small — basically, the only thing I can read is the title
      • X, it would have been better if you had increased the resolution of your pdf before starting to present. I could only read the title, your name, and “Why Concrete Tower?” The rest of the text on your PowerPoint was too small
      • X, are all the components included in your slide necessary? I don’t think you managed actually to talk about everything included on your slide (probably because it contained so much information that it was impossible for you to cover it all in just 3 minutes!)
      • Your images were too small for those of us sitting at the back of the room to see clearly —  it wasn’t till around halfway through your presentation that I figured out based on your pronunciation + images that the key term you kept on saying was “night owl” (If your images had been easier for me to see, however, I would probably have figured this out earlier!)
    • X, overall your slide is very good, but unfortunately, it contains three easy-to-correct punctuation errors (1 missing apostrophe and 2 missing commas). This is a serious problem because when presentation slides/posters (or any kind of professional/research writing) include easy-to-correct errors in capitalization, spelling, or punctuation, it suggests to an audience/editors/reviewers that an author has put only minimum effort into preparing these professional documents — and since laziness in one aspect of life is frequently correlated with being lazy generally, it therefore also suggests that the author has put minimum effort into his/her actual research and therefore probably has nothing of substantial value to contribute to this journal and/or the field! Thus, it’s very important to your professional/research credibility that you carefully self-edit your slides/poster/research writing. Make sense?
    • X, your PowerPoint was mostly clear, but it would have helped us as listeners to more easily follow your presentation if you had used a pointer to point to each image when you talked about it — Make sense?
  • Do you spend adequate time on each element of your presentation – or did you elaborate for too long on one aspect or was your presentation rushed?
    • Yes, well done
    • Perfect timing — GREAT job!
    • You started out speaking very quickly, but later your speed was good
    • You spoke very quickly — you’ll want to work on slowing down and making sure you pause at logical points to help readers follow the ideas you’re communicating
    • X, in an Indian context, I’m sure your speed of presentation would have been perfect — however, in the U.S. context (where Indian accents are unfamiliar), it will help your listeners if you pause a little more frequently/a little longer at logical points in order to help them follow the ideas that you’re communicating (because increased pauses/pause length provide listeners’ brains with the increased time needed for processing unfamiliar accents).
    • Your presentation was a little too short (2:38)
    • X, your presentation was a good summary, but in the extra minute you had left, I think it would have been helpful if you had shown us more clearly the significance of your topic, e.g., via an example — Make sense?
    • Your presentation was a little too long (3:30 +)
    • X, you started out speaking very quickly, but ended nearly a minute over — so you probably tried to cover too much information in just 3 minutes (though you also sometimes paused like you forgot for a second what you were talking about or temporarily lost your place mentally in your presentation, so maybe this is why?)
      • The best way to avoid forgetting in the middle of your presentation what you’re talking about is to practice your presentation many times, ideally over a period of several days — and particularly, over several days in a row) until you can give your presentation fluently and basically automatically while focusing on your presentation’s information (because your brain has already figured out and become fluent at the — usually several — good ways of phrasing this information). Make sense? You can move toward fluency/automaticity in phrasing by practicing each slide of your presentation via 4/3/2. That is, first practice talking about just slide 1 via 4/3/2, then practice talking about just slide 2 via 4/3/2, and finally practice talking fluently about both your first and second slides 3 times. After that, practice talking about just slide 3 via 4/3/2 and then practice fluently talking about your first, second and third slide 3 times. Continue practicing this way, day by day, till you can fluently give your entire presentation. Make sense?
        • Note: When you practice your presentation as described above, be sure not to spend a lot of time looking at your PowerPoint when you aren’t pointing to something on your slide. . . . Always remember “Your PowerPoint is for your audience, not for you!” (FYI: Teachers who make inadequate eye contact in the U.S. often experience student behavior problems because American students tend to believe that teachers who appear not to be confident do so because they’re not competent, i.e. they often think “If she herself doesn’t believe she’s qualified to teach, why should I think so!?! Such students may also wonder “Is she not confident because she doesn’t know her field or because she doesn’t know how to teach? — and because they don’t know the answer to that question, they tend not to trust even the content you’re teaching! (FYI: This can severely impact American student politeness toward you because in U.S. culture — unlike many Asian cultures — respect is viewed as something that must be earned and most definitely not something given merely because you happen to have a particular job position. Thus, if students think based on your apparent lack of confidence that you yourself don’t believe you’re competent enough in your field to teach them, they will feel angry that they’re in/paying for your class. . . .and they will probably not hide these feelings! Therefore, work hard regarding apparent confidence to “fake it till you make it” — Make sense?)
    • X, you sounded very nervous and not very fluent. That is, you paused very, very often and unfortunately, sometimes these pauses were in “illogical” places (i.e. in the middle of a grammatical phrase rather than at its boundaries), making your audience have to work very hard to build an understanding of your presentation. You’ll want therefore to work on breaking your talk into thought groups only at grammatical phrase boundaries, e.g., using Fluency Buildup or 4/3/2 to practice:
      • Beginning your presentation with an attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters and how today’s lesson connects to real life
      • Introducing any background information that your students/audience need to benefit most from your lesson/presentation
      • Demonstrating the significance of your topic via interesting examples (especially real-life examples from your own life or everyday student/human experiences!)

Does your presentation communicate your research topic (or aspect of your field you find interesting) and its significance in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience? (11%)

  • Do you avoid using technical terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate your points?
    • Yes, your presentation was easy to understand
    • Mostly, except what is “bone resorption”?
    • What is “bone resorption”?
    • You used a lot of technical vocabulary without clearly explaining its meaning to your nonspecialist audience, e.g.,
    • Sometimes you gave us a key term and only later defined it — in oral communication, especially to an audience of nonexperts in your area, usually first explaining an idea and then giving the key term referring to that idea is more effective — Make sense?

Does your style of presentation make your audience want to know more? (44%)

  • X, during your presentation, you were at first moving (rocking) back and forth (left and right) a lot. Because this movement did not at all match/support what you were talking about, though, it was pretty distracting to me as a member of your audience. In the future, therefore, you’ll want to practice your presentation trying to avoid such meaningless movements — make sense?
  • Do you start your presentation in a way that immediately captures viewers’ attention?
    • You did an excellent job beginning your presentation with a real-life example students can relate to —
    • A self-introduction isn’t necessarily the most powerful way to start, but it is very common for presentations to academic/professional audiences, so I won’t take points off for it here
    • X, it would help you to use 4/3/2 to practice:
      • Beginning your presentation with an attention-getting story, statement, question, etc. that helps students see why today’s topic matters and how today’s lesson connects to real life
  • Do you speak loudly enough that your entire audience (including those seated at the back of the room!) can easily hear and understand your presentation? (= Do you look/sound confident while presenting?)
    • Yes, well done
    • X, you spoke a little bit quietly for the size of our classroom and the distribution of people in our room (probably your volume was on the edge of “okay”). FYI: Low volume can make you sound less confident (and therefore not trustworthy as a presenter) and also less interesting — make sense?
    • X, you spoke very quietly for the size of our classroom and the distribution of people in our room. This made you sound less confident (and therefore not trustworthy as a presenter) and also less interesting — make sense?
      • To improve your volume for presentations in the U.S. context, practice your presentation via 4/3/2  in a large classroom, pretending you’re speaking to someone in the back of the classroom who is very interested in what you’re saying, but is a little deaf
  • Do you make eye contact with your entire audience (not just with your teacher!)? (= Do you look/sound confident while presenting?)
    • Great eye contact!
    • Good eye contact much of the time, but you also spent a lot of time looking at your PowerPoint when you weren’t pointing to something on your slide (so you didn’t need to be looking at your slide) . . . . Always remember “Your PowerPoint is for your audience, not for you!” (FYI: Teachers who make inadequate eye contact in the U.S. often experience student behavior problems because American students tend to believe that teachers who appear not to be confident do so because they’re not competent, i.e. they often think “If she herself doesn’t believe she’s qualified to teach, why should I think so!?! Such students may also wonder “Is she not confident because she doesn’t know her field or because she doesn’t know how to teach? — and because they don’t know the answer to that question, they tend not to trust even the content you’re teaching! (FYI: This can severely impact American student politeness toward you because in U.S. culture — unlike many Asian cultures — respect is viewed as something that must be earned and most definitely not something given merely because you happen to have a particular job position. Thus, if students think based on your apparent lack of confidence that you yourself don’t believe you’re competent enough in your field to teach them, they will feel angry that they’re in/paying for your class. . . .and they will probably not hide these feelings! Therefore, work hard regarding apparent confidence to “fake it till you make it” — Make sense?)
    • As far as I can tell, you looked at my X’s side of the room, but not Y’s side of the room
  • Do you communicate enthusiasm for your research/topic?
    • Good job using the rise and fall of your voice to make your presentation sound interesting!
    • You do an excellent job of using the rise and fall of your voice to make your presentation sound interesting
    • Your intonation was a little flat, i.e. your voice didn’t rise or fall quite enough, making your talk sound a little boring.
    • X, you could definitely increase your apparent enthusiasm for your topic by using greater volume and having a greater range of intonation (high vs. low) to help express your meaning. However, VERY good use of gestures
      • If you feel you were weak regarding this criterion:
        • Work on developing an English-appropriate range of intonation by shadowing a variety of TED talks that you find interesting

 

Work on your pronunciation of the following word(s):

  • “flat” sounded like “flight
  • “usually” sounded like “urally” — Ask me how you can work on this (I can tell you a trick for practicing this)
  • X, you really, really, really need to learn how to pronounce your key term “odors” correctly!!!
  • (Sorry I didn’t immediately catch your pronunciation of “bone fracture”! — In the future, you can make your presentation topic clearer to your audience, though, by indicating it in writing on your slide as well as in speaking during your presentation. Then your listeners can support — via reading — their listening to your pronunciation of your presentation’s key terms. Make sense?)

Work on your English phrasing regarding:

X, English speakers use the phrasing “This is [my name]” only on the phone, so your “This is X” should be “My name is X” or “I am X” — Make sense?

 

X, you need to think about and be careful to speak to who your audience members really are. Otherwise, as soon as they realize you are in fact speaking to a different (perhaps nonexistent) audience, they are likely to think “Oh, he’s not talking to people like me” — which will probably lead them to 1) ignore everything else you say afterward and 2) give bad feedback on your presentation because they feel they were unfairly forced to listen to a presentation not really intended for them. Make sense?:

  • Do we know the specific topic of your field? You said, “As you know, my major is. . . .” However, I seriously doubt that all of your classmates know/remember what your major is — Make sense?