Presentations are generally considered either an exhilarating chance at per formative lecture giving by those interested and well versed in public communication, or the first sign of impending apocalypse by everyone else who isn’t plain unusual. (In defense of this claim, I like very much to give public presentations.)
But whatever respective camp you find yourself in, there is absolutely no doubt everyone can improve on their abilities as a public speaker. Whether it be improving on eye contact, audience engagement, or vocal intonation, there are a surprisingly high number of factors that can positively or negatively affect any oral presentation.
Transylvania University seems to understand this very well, and, in an effort to improve our on- and post campus careers, has designed a “Presentation on Presentations” to exemplify what Transylvania first years need to do in order to successfully present information in the classroom or otherwise. The presentation, led by professor Gary Deaton, is for all first years Pioneers and lasts about an hour. In his presentation, Deaton sums up the three major areas of focus Delivery, Organization, and Content. Through these three broad categories he examines individual strategies that will improve all three.
Being that Professor Deaton is in fact my father, I am deplorably biased. In fact, it would be hard to believe anything I will or have said about this presentation without first thinking my writing is little more than nepotistic dribble, oozing from a tactless shadow-liver attempting to gain ethos by vicariously espousing the exploits of a close relative. IF, of course, my sentiments weren’t echoed by everyone else on campus. 😉
And let me just say, as Gary’s biggest critic and the person who is at liberty to most honestly evaluate his performance, I will say he is amazing at what he does.
In the presentation itself, Professor Deaton juxtaposes serious, topical content with light-hearted delivery and clever quips of humor that keep the pace lively and the audience engaged. As he uses anecdotal evidence as to why NOT memorizing long speeches is critical, (lest you mimics one of his former students, who upon loss of all memorized recollection of a speech repeatedly banged his head against the lectern) students seem to almost forget they are being instructed. And the results speak for themselves. Those who have witnessed the differentiations between first semester freshman presentations, before this presentation is held, and second semester, after this presentation, are palpable. Succinct articulation and general confidence exude from many first years after the course, and getting to hear one of the funniest men on campus talk for an hour isn’t too shabby either.