Ten Minute Presentations

I love the 10 minute presentation. You have enough time to get your points across to the audience without boring them. There is enough time, but it concentrates your mind on cutting out the waffle and making it snappy. Remember nobody ever complained about a presentation being too short. —Jonty PearceTen Minute Presentations (Presentation Helper)

Site suggested via an e-mail from Jonty Pearce. Some great tips on Jonty’s site, though I notice with its references to testosterone and advice about bringing a spare tie, the advice isn’t exactly gender-netural. The site is focused on business speeches and has some tips on social speeches (particularly those at weddings), but none of the resources seem focused on academic presentations, in which the presenter is being forced, as part of an educational experience, to present on a topic that may be brand new to the presenter, to a mixed audience of mostly peers (who need to be entertained and, one hopes, at least somewhat enlightened) and one expert (the instructor, who already knows the subject matter, and who must needs to be convinced you did your homework).

I showed my freshman comp class a video and then asked them to speak for four minutes about the video, as a dry run for a later six-minute presentation. A few students over-prepared and read from papers (zzzzzz), but most students were underprepared, tried to “wing it”, and ended up finishing a minute or two early. They all did much better for their six-minute presentation, but even then, my main goal was to just to expose them to the amount of preparation a speech requires. Next term we’ll spend a lot more time on the genre of oral presentations.

Hmm… I really ought to add a “Rhetoric” category to my blog.