Presentation Skills Short Introduction
- University of Birmingham
- Date first submitted:
- 30 Jul 2009
- Date last modified:
- 21 Oct 2010
- Relationship to RDF:
- Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities
- Domain B: Personal effectiveness
- Personal Qualities
- Professional and career development
- Domain C: Research governance and organisation
- Domain D: Engagement, influence and impact
- Communication and dissemination
- Personal effectiveness
- Research project skills
- Postgraduate researchers
- Doctoral researchers
- Research masters
Rationale, aims and outcomes
What is the rationale for doing this?
How does it fit with institutional strategy?
What are the main features of the provision?
What are the aims and expected outcomes?
One of the main aims of the Graduate School is to promote the development of transferable skills that will aid postgraduate researchers during their time at Birmingham and beyond. Good presentation skills enable postgraduate researchers to present their research effectively at seminars or conferences and improve their general oral communication skills.
The Short Introduction to Presentation Skills forms the first step in a suite of sessions covering different aspects of presentation skills at varying levels. It was developed in response to the over-subscription of the current presentation skills training provision (an intensive two-day course). This caused a lot of frustration among postgraduate researchers. It is purposely shorter than the other presentation skills workshops to allow time-poor postgraduate researchers to attend. If further presentation skills training is needed then participants are also able attend the longer workshop sessions.
As an introductory session, the programme covers:
· Structuring the presentation
· Tips on tone, posture and body language
· Using supporting elements such as flipcharts, whiteboards and PowerPoint
· An innovative section on how to look after the voice.
· Dealing with questions and interruptions
· Identifying and facing fears
· A round up of further training options for presentation skills
The training takes the form of a two-hour session in which participation and questioning is encouraged. The focus is on identifying what makes a good presentation, drawing on the participants’ own experiences and behaviour as examples, as well as encouraging participants to talk about their fears and find ways of overcoming them.
The session aims to give participants a good grounding in basic oral presentation and communication skills, and to make them aware of further options in the suite of presentation skills training we offer.
Are there any pre-requisites for engagement, e.g. levels of skill, years of experience, essential pre-activities?
How many participate in each 'activity'?
There are no pre requisites other than being a postgraduate researcher at Birmingham. The maximum number per session is 25.
Evaluation: benefits, challenges and next steps
How do you monitor effectiveness?
Who do you seek feedback from?
Do you have benchmarks?
The course serves as an introduction to presentation skills which can then be built on in following years. It enables the development of skills that can be drawn on in academia and out, thus increasing the employability of postgraduate researchers. It also allows researchers from different Colleges to meet each other and network.
This year we have added a section on looking after the voice and vocal warm-up techniques. This is not something standard presentation skills courses cover. As many participants hope to continue to an academic career where lecturing will be expected, learning how to look after to voice and develop great volume and clarity will be a useful skill. The vocal warm ups are also a way to relax before giving a presentation, something many participants indicated they had trouble doing.
The fact that it is a short course means that even researchers with other commitments (paid work, families) and part time researchers can attend without having to sacrifice too much research time
One challenge is ensuring that researchers are aware that the sessions are available. The courses are being entered on the Graduate School Website and included in the training booklet which will raise their profile for the coming year.
The course will continue in its current form, but this year it will be complimented by the pilot of a blended learning package in presentation skills that will combine online elements with face to face training. This blended learning package will give participants the chance to give short presentations and receive feedback, which is something feedback indicated was missing from our existing provision.