Unlike conference attendees, most students do not have the faintest idea what your presentation will discuss, so do not get cute and get in over your head. Keep it simple and stick to the facts.
Read My Lips: Engage The Audience
The key to successful oral presentations is to engage your audience as opposed to drubbing them with a monotonous tone that will put them to sleep. The best professors are the ones that pull you into their lecture as opposed to those that push their rhetoric on you. You should do the same thing when the mike is in your hand. Talk to your audience as opposed to speaking over them. Communicate ideas, ask questions, use common examples, read their eyes and adjust your presentation on the fly. This may be tough for first time presenters, but with time, you will be able to adjust the tone, speed and even the message of your presentation to win over the audience. This is key because in business, you may be able to present key material but if you are going too fast or not fast enough, your message will get lost and your audience will lose interest.
Take Your Time
Unlike professional meetings and industry conferences, class presentations have audiences that are not very familiar with your topic. Rushing through your presentation will only do one thing: make your audience sit there and say ''come again?''
In all likelihood they may even dose off as you ramble on. You must strike a perfect balance between addressing your audience as a panel of experts or a group of inexperienced amateurs. Professors often lose control of their classes because some students are downright lost while others feel that the professor is going too slowly. The speaker must act like a conductor of a symphony. Adjust the rhythm and pace to make sure that everything flows and keeps people attentive.
Yet when it comes time to answering questions, students feel like they are in the hot seat and often fudge answers. And speaking of hot seat, TV recently set adrift from shows playing music videos or sports to focus on reality programming and game shows. The reality was that the cost of playing music or sports was too steep. Reality programming such as Survivor or Temptation Island were primal or hedonistic. Game shows emerged as well. Two of them were Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Weakest Link. To show how taking your time makes a difference, it is interesting to note that on the former, host Regis Philbin would give the contestant as much time as possible and more often that not, the contestant would come to the right answer. On the latter, host Ann Robinson would either insult or ridicule contestants on the spot. As a result, many contestants would fudge seemingly easy answers. The lesson is to bide your time and answer at your own pace to avoid foolish mistakes.