Presentations, Presentations, Presentations

I know, I know: that joke just isn’t funny anymore. In any event, here’s another brief post that I’ll eventually fatten up with advice and links to more advice on oral communication and the presentation of ideas. There’s life after ‘Death by PowerPoint’, and salvation can be yours.

Presenting on an Assigned Reading

Here’s a Presentation Template you can use when your assignment is to present and critique a single reading.

Grading Rubric

  • A = You are well organised, and you finish your presentation on a high note (as opposed to, ‘Uh, well I guess that’s all I have…’). Your presentation style is polished, with lots of eye contact and few pauses or verbal tics. Your speaking style is conversational, but without lapsing into language more suited for the street, the locker room, or a rhetoric teacher’s nightmare (‘I feel like…‘). The content of your presentation goes far beyond mere summary or presentation of the bare facts of the case, and there is ample evidence of careful research above and beyond the call of duty. You’ve put a lot of thought into your images and their visual impact, and you even exercise good judgment regarding the aesthetics (‘the look’) of your presentation, eschewing cheesy PowerPoint clip art and lame attempts at humour (careful with those cartoons and Internet memes!). Excellent.
  • B = You did what was asked of you. Solid work!
  • C = You’re clearly unprepared, or crucial elements of the presentation are missing.
  • D = You’re clearly unprepared, crucial elements of the presentation are missing, and you’ve committed several major ‘don’ts’ when it comes to oral presentations. Did you look at any of the presentation tips below?
  • F = You’ve ignored/overlooked crucial instructions, and you weren’t prepared. But hey, at least you went up there.
  • 0 = You weren’t ready when you said were supposed to be ready.

Further Reading/Notes Toward a Personal Canon

Dieker, Nicole. 2017. ‘When Public Speaking, Look at Individuals Instead of the Entire Group’.

Howard, Philip N. 2015. ‘A Dozen Slides’. Inside Higher Ed, 16 September. This is advice about giving an academic job talk, but some of the advice works across presentation scenarios (if you’re presenting a research proposal, for example, or presenting on someone else’s work, obviously you’ll need to adjust accordingly). I think the author is too quick to make the same claim about Orwell’s [1946] dicta regarding writing, but that’s a discussion for another time…

Kim, Joshua. 2015. ‘3 Advantages of Giving A PowerPoint-Free Talk’Inside Higher Ed, 22 October. Just because you’re giving a presentation doesn’t mean you have to use PowerPoint (or Prezi or Keynote or Google Slides or whatever), and Kim discusses some of the advantages of going analog. But I think the real lesson here is that there are moments when you might want to mute the projector and connect with your audience more directly.

Male, Christopher. 2017. ‘So, Um, How Do You, Like, Stop Using Filler Words?’New York Times, 24 February.

Watts, Reggie. 2011. ‘A Sendoff in Style’. Pop! Tech 2011. This sendoff is a brilliant send-up of the TED Talk Style.

Worthen, Molly. ‘Stop Saying “I Feel Like”‘. How you speak at the podium should be different — more polished, more professional, and more assured — from how you speak on the street.



Orwell, George. 1946. ‘Politics and the English Language’. Originally published in Horizon 13, No. 76, pp. 252-265.



7 Responses to “Presentations, Presentations, Presentations”

  1. For the Final Exam (12/18/15) | Preyer 207 Says:

    […] knowledge stuff since 2008. « Replication, Replication, Replication Presentations, Presentations, Presentations […]

  2. For Friday, 5/27 (Final Exam) | Preyer 207 Says:

    […] Presentations (here’s some how-to advice) […]

  3. Oral Presentations (SOC 303) | Staring into the Middle Distance Says:

    […] You must use some kind of presentation software (e.g., Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, Prezi, etc.). You can find some general advice on presentations and links to other bits of advice here. […]

  4. For Monday, 9/18 (SOC 3250) | Staring into the Middle Distance Says:

    […] mentioned that I would post a template you can use for your in-class presentations; you can find it here, under ‘Presenting on an Assigned […]

  5. Pecha Kucha Oral Presentation Guidelines (SOC 1102) | Staring into the Middle Distance Says:

    […] George J.A. 2015. ‘Presentations, Presentations, Presentations’. Staring into the Middle Distance, 14 December. You can find various bits of advice on presenting […]

  6. For Monday, 12/4 (SOC 3250) | Staring into the Middle Distance Says:

    […] Review: Presenting on an Assigned Reading […]

  7. For Friday, 2/9 (SOC 303) | Staring into the Middle Distance Says:

    […] Lab: Sample Proposal Presentations. Organise your presentation around your answers to the following prompts (general advice on giving presentations can be found here): […]

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