ASSESSING ORAL CLASSROOM PRESENTATIONS DAVID W. KALE, PH.D. PROFESSOR OF COMMUNICATION, MVNU
WORKSHOP OBJECTIVES • That you will have a fuller understanding of effective communication principles; • That you will have a rubric to use in assessing oral presentations in your classes. • You will have practiced using the rubric with some actual classroom presentations. • You will have seen how the presentations would have been scored in a Public Speaking class. • You will see how to adapt the rubric for your unique classroom situation.
WORKSHOP OUTLINE • Principles of effective oral communication • Introduction • Body of the presentation • Conclusion • Supporting material • Language • Delivery
PRINCIPLES • Written communication needs to be ultimately intelligible; oral communication needs to be instantaneously intelligible. • Not only should we ask whether a presentation can be understood; we also need to ask whether it can be misunderstood. • Listeners can process spoken English at a rate at least three times faster than most people speak.
PRINCIPLES 4. Two days after an oral presentation, listeners remember at most 25% of what was in the presentation. 5. The good news is that the speaker can have some control over the content of that 25%.
INTRODUCTION There are three general purposes for an introduction. 1. To introduce the topic to the audience; 2. To stimulate the audience’s interest in the topic; 3. To let the audience know how the speaker intends to develop the topic.
INTRODUCTION • If you had to condense the whole presentation into a single sentence, what would that sentence be? That sentence should occur several times in the presentation and first of all in the introduction. • Sometimes, with controversial topics, the thesis sentence is left until later in the presentation.
INTRODUCTION • The introduction should answer the question, “Why should I exert the energy it takes to shut out all that I have on my mind and pay attention to what you have to say?”
BODY OF THE SPEECH • The purpose of the speech’s body is to develop the thesis. • Major points should be very obvious and clearly related to the thesis. • In a longer presentation, the body should contain an internal summary to (1) review for the listener what has already been covered and (2) forecast what is to come.
BODY OF THE SPEECH • The thesis is so important in a speech that there should be no content, no jokes, no asides, etc., that are not clearly related to it. This is how we try to be sure our thesis ends up in the 25% of the presentation that the audience remembers. • It helps the listener if a clear pattern ties together all major points.
BODY OF THE SPEECH • Perhaps the major points are organized by time, by space, cause-effect, problem-solution, etc. • Sometimes the order is topical in nature such as the major components of a successful marketing campaign. • A really top-notch presentation will have transitions between the major points.
BODY OF THE SPEECH • An effective transition (1) reviews previous material, (2) forecasts what is to come and (3) shows how the two relate to the thesis.
CONCLUSION • Many presentations just come to an end after the last major point has been developed and don’t really have a conclusion. That shouldn’t happen. • Speakers who do this pass up another important opportunity to influence what turns up in the 25%.
CONCLUSION • Effective conclusions can occur in a variety of forms. • 1. The conclusion can be a review of the major points with an emphasis on the thesis. • 2. The conclusion could give an application of principles discussed in the presentation.
CONCLUSION • 3. Another effective ending is to tell a story which serves as an example of the major ideas developed in the presentation. • 4. What ever is done in the conclusion, it is a very critical point at which the speaker can make his/her presentation truly memorable for the audience.
CONCLUSION • Who can forget “until day when all God’s children will be able to say in the words of the old Negro Spiritual, ‘free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last’”?
SUPPORTING MATERIAL • Supporting material has three major roles to play with regard to the ideas and major points of the presentation: • To help the listeners understand them; • To help the listeners remember them; and • To get the listener to accept them, particularly in a persuasive presentation.
SUPPORTING MATERIAL • It is so tempting for presenters to tell stories they think are funny or engaging, but have no direct bearing on the thesis or topic of the presentation. Don’t let them get away with that. • Presenters should also be held accountable to giving the sources of their information.
SUPPORTING MATERIAL • Effective supporting material is necessary to manage the audience’s attention. An endless stream of statistics or facts and figures is not going to keep your audience focused on the presentation. • A mixture of expert opinion, statistics, specific instances and anecdotes is necessary to hold the audience’s attention.
SUPPORTING MATERIAL • With each major point, ask yourself: • 1. Did the student fully develop that point? • 2. Did the student show how that point was related to the thesis? • 3. Did the student show how that point related to the other points in the presentation?
LANGUAGE • There is a lot of difference between written language and spoken language. • As we said at the beginning, spoken language has to be instantaneously intelligible. • Effective presenters learn how to create pictures with words. • We tell students their language should be conversational within a professional manner of presentation.
LANGUAGE • Like, and, uh, you know and stuff like that. • I am sure that one of these days a students in public speaking is going to come up with something like that believing that it is really a sentence that has meaning. • Hold students accountable for grammatically correct, clear, concise language.
LANGUAGE • “She could care less” • “Everybody didn’t make the team.”
DELIVERY • When the great Greek orator, Demosthenes, was asked what were the three most important ingredients to great oratory, he said, “Delivery, delivery and delivery.” • When we talk of delivery we are referring to tone of voice, eye contact, facial expression, rate of speech, use of gestures, pronunciation and articulation.
DELIVERY • When students say “revelant” for “relevant”, that is a pronunciation problem. • When we don’t hear the “t” at the end of “Jesus Christ”, that is an articulation problem. • When we had the professors of the Communication department rate to the speeches on the DVD, we had the most differences on delivery. We had very similar assessments in the other areas.
PRACTICE • Now you are going to see some actual presentations students made in the Public Speaking class. • All students whose speeches we are using have given us permission to use the speeches in training faculty. • Let’s get on with our practice!