ORAL PRESENTATION GUIDE
COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL PRESENTATION OF CAPSTONE PROJECTS
The following comments and suggestions are given in light of expectations in industry of the elements of an effective technical presentation.
There is an old adage that says that every presentation to inform others should contain three parts:
It is referred to this as the ABC method.
- Introduction: Tell them what you are going to tell them.
- Body: Tell them.
- Conclusion: Tell them what you told them.
A. ANNOUNCE: (introduce) what you will say. You can give an outline of the talk if you wish, but you must tell the audience the main purpose of your presentation. Example: "My purpose is to introduce a better mousetrap to the world.≈
The introduction is critical to making an effective presentation and contains three elements: (1) and introduction to subject matter; (2) rational as to why the audience should listen; (3) the introduction should overview the entire presentation.
B. BODY of the presentation. Present the background of the technical work and the analysis, data, design, test results, etc. that supports the main purpose stated in A.
C. CONCLUSION. In this portion, you should summarize the major points of the presentation, which in turn, support the stated main purpose. For example, you might say, "I have shown how to make the world a better place with a new approach to mousetraps. A design for the new mousetrap was presented. The test results showed this design to be 30% more efficient, and the cost is no more than for a conventional mousetrap.≈
The conclusion is critical to making an effective presentation. Do not finish your last word and stop. The last 30 seconds or so, people really pay attention when you say, ≥Now, in conclusion...≈or ≥Now, I would like to review....≈. To give your presentation cohesiveness, closely tie your conclusion to the introduction.
The most common shortcomings observed in the Senior Projects come in the A and C portions.
Failure to clearly state the main purpose in part A. You are generally trying to sell the audience on an idea; your design, your approach, your work is better, faster, and cheaper, revolutionizes the world or such like. Tell the audience the main conclusion you want them to reach as a result of your presentation. Do not leave them to draw their own conclusions.
Including all the background of your project in portion A. Background belongs primarily in the Body of the presentation. Part A should only include a brief background statement to gain the interest of the audience.
Launching straight into the Body without a statement of purpose.
SUGGESTIONS ON MAKING ORAL CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTATIONS
- Opening: A few presentations did not use a title overhead to open the presentation
- Organization: An early slide (probably the second one) should give an outline of the presentation. Be sure to include any assumptions made.
Problem statements are an excellent way to begin the actual presentation (after the outline). However, problem statements should describe the need not the solution. The solution is best presented in the objective of the design. ALCOA teaches a problem solving technique known as the "Alcoa Eight Step Quality Improvement Process". Problem statements are an important part of this process and the description of a "Problem Statement" from that training is presented in Table A.1.
- Slides: Limit the amount of information on a slide and use large print (presentation-sized fonts). Usually, typed material will be too difficult to read from a distance.
Do not read a list from an overhead word-for-word to the audience. Just summarize the points being presented.
- General: Limit "jargon" as much as possible.
- Be tolerant of questions. Most reviewers do not have intimate knowledge of your project and may even be a different discipline than your own.
- Do not try to cover too much detail, just enough to describe the design process.
- Be prepared before standing up. Sorting through papers slides or setting up a demo while opening a presentation is too much of a distraction.
- Practice enough so that you do not have to constantly refer to notes. This allows you to judge the time required for your presentation. Stay within the time guidelines provided (less than 20 minutes).
- Include cost analysis information if your project involves construction or manufacturing. These cost estimates should include labor to build or assemble and not just be a summary of the cost of part.
A good problem statement:
- States the specifics of the problem - who, what, when, and where.
- States the effect, but not the cause - what is wrong, not why it is wrong.
- Focuses on the gap between what is and what should be. The gap may be a change or deviation from a norm, standard, or reasonable expectation.
- Includes some measurements of the problem - how often, how much or when.
- Avoids broad categories like moral, productivity, communication and training since these tend to have different meanings for different people.
- Do not state problems as questions, since this implies that the answer to the questions is the solution to the problem.
- States why the problem is important.
ORAL PRESENTATION OUTLINE
- GENERAL IMPORTANCE OF THE WORK
- SPECIFIC MOTIVATION FOR THE WORK
- OVERALL SCOPE OF THE WORK
- SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
- DETAILS OF THE WORK
- FUTURE WORK
THE SUCCESSFUL ORAL PRESENTATION MUST PROVIDE THE MEMBERS OF AN AUDIENCE WITH THE ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
What is the title of the work?
What is the name of the presenter and his or her affiliation?
Why is the work important?
What is the presenter≠s motivation for the work?
What related work exists?
What is unique about the presenter≠s approach?
What is the overall scope of the work?
What are the specific objectives of the work?
How was the work performed?
What are the results?
Safety and security requirements?
Did the results meet the objectives?
What happens next?