What is the difference between a presentation and a speech?

Definitely, a presentation should not have a paper script that you are reading from. That’s one of the biggest problems for students in my classes. They often write a very nice speech but there’s no eye contact with the audience so it is really important that it is natural. A presentation should be confident and more spontaneous. Sometimes students might not do that exactly, like a robot so it has to have emotion. A speech is kind of less emotional, and it’s more fixed. You can still memorize a lot of things for a presentation but it doesn’t have to be so disciplined for a presentation. Actually, if you react to the audience sometimes, that can be really useful. They might be surprised. They might be laughing. You need a little bit of flexibility. Basically, a speech is much more fixed.

What is the point of using videos, pictures, charts and so on?

Only use pictures, videos and charts, if it helps people to understand your points, so it must be connected to the topic or your idea. If it is not clear why you will use that picture or if you don’t even explain it, then basically it’s useless. It’s just something which will confuse the viewer. So, everything that you use should be planned, and it should contribute to the presentation as a whole. Again, that is such a big problem with some students. They pick pictures because they are pretty or cute but if it doesn’t help people to understand anything, then don’t use them. And there’s too much focus sometimes on making things look nice. Just because it looks pretty or colorful doesn’t make a presentation better.

How about tips for students’ Q&A session in the final round?

There are a lot of issues here with this question. Q&A, can really draw out and explain to the viewers more about your ideas so it’s an opportunity for the viewers to gain a clear understanding or more information about the presentation. This is your chance to convince, persuade and to help the audience to clarify and make clear any explanations.
In the first round, you get questions from the audience which put pressure on the presenter which is a bit tricky and kind of cheating a little bit, but people do this because they want to win. So, sometimes it’s actually useful because they answer very well. If you don’t answer well, it can also look bad. Being prepared for possible questions is really important too so you almost have to predict what the viewers and what the audience will ask you because they will usually ask you about your weak points, so you have to analyze the weak points of your idea first, and then prepare answers for these possible questions.

How important do you think teamwork is for group presentations?

That is tricky because you have so many people, so the first thing is to try to be as calm as possible, so don’t rush. Make sure that you understand the question one hundred percent so you can ask again, maybe “please could you repeat?” But if you ask too many times, that might actually be a little bit rude so you only really have one chance to ask them to repeat the question maybe in front of the big audience because it doesn’t look confident if you ask many times. That is important for listening skills and your presentation skills. That sometimes also shows the presenter’s weakness. Maybe they practice very well and make a very good presentation but if their English listening skills are not so good, that can cause problems.

What is important to prepare for before the presentation?

The first thing that comes to mind is that it should generally be balanced. So sometimes we see presentations and there is very clearly one speaker who is very strong and then, one speaker who is weak and they only speak for maybe 10 seconds or something. That’s not good. In that case, probably the speaker should be an individual applicant or they should try to find a speaker/presenter who is better. It just doesn’t feel like a good presentation if it is not shared and it wouldn’t have a lot of variety, so you should be quite careful. One of the biggest tips, if there is a strong speaker in a group, could be that the stronger presenter should start, so they make a big impact. Then, the first impression is really good. A good first impression is very important in most cultures. And, you could even also end with strong speaker again, so they leave a positive feeling and a positive atmosphere at the end. Maybe some problem in the middle would just be forgotten too. Always try to create a good first impression but also always leave or end the presentation with a positive atmosphere.