Llunio Cyflwyniad: Arweiniad ar gyfer Strwythuro

Yn ystod dosbarthiadau ac apwyntiadau sgiliau cyflwyno’r Rhaglen Llwyddiant Academaidd yn aml bydd pobl yn gofyn i mi am eiriau o gyngor i wella eu cyflwyniadau. Fy ymateb mwyaf aml yw ‘meddyliwch am y strwythur yn ofalus’. Bydd y mwyafrif o bobl yn ceisio cynnwys llawer o ffeithiau a gwybodaeth ddiddorol yn eu cyflwyniadau heb feddwl am y fframwaith er mwyn cyfleu’r wybodaeth honno i’r gynulleidfa. Mae hon yn broblem oherwydd oni bai bod y strwythur yn glir iawn bydd pobl yn mynd ar goll yn gyflym ac nid oes modd iddynt ddehongli’r wybodaeth yr ydych yn ei chyflwyno mewn ffordd ddefnyddiol.

silhouette of man presenting

Yn aml byddaf yn gwneud cyfatebiaeth yn fy meddwl rhwng adeiladu adeilad a llunio cyflwyniad. Ar gyfer adeiladau, yn gyntaf mae’n rhaid i’r pensaer ddylunio fframwaith cadarn a deniadol cyn i’r adeiladwyr osod y deunyddiau. Pe bai’r adeiladwyr yn defnyddio’r deunyddiau cyn i’r pensaer gael cyfle i ddylunio unrhyw beth yna pentwr o bren, briciau a sment fyddai gennych chi. Yn yr un ffordd mae angen bod cyflwynydd wedi llunio fframwaith ar gyfer y wybodaeth cyn ei gysylltu ynghyd er mwyn i’r negeseuon fod yn glir a chofiadwy.

Wrth gwrs, mae llunio fframwaith ar gyfer cyflwyniad yn llawer haws na dylunio adeilad. Mewn gwirionedd, mae’n gwestiwn o fod ag adrannau amlwg â chyfeirio clir rhyngddynt. Fel arfer, mae cyflwyniadau sydd wedi’u strwythuro’n glir yn rhoi rhagymadrodd sy’n cyflwyno’r siaradwr, yn disgrifio’r mater ac yn bwysicaf oll yn cynnwys datganiad amlinellol sy’n disgrifio beth fydd prif bwyntiau’r cyflwyniad. Yna bydd y siaradwr yn symud i’r prif bwyntiau, tri ohonynt fel arfer ar gyfer cyflwyniad 10 i 15 munud er gellid cynnwys is-bwyntiau hefyd. Yn olaf bydd y siaradwr yn cynnwys diweddglo sy’n crynhoi’r prif bwyntiau ac sy’n cynnwys rhywbeth i’w feddwl amdano ar y diwedd gan obeithio atgyfnerthu pam bod yr holl wybodaeth hon yn ddefnyddiol mewn ffordd ddiddorol.

Rhwng y rhagymadrodd, pob un o’r prif bwyntiau a’r diweddglo bydd y siaradwr yn defnyddio pontio clir. Fel arfer y mae’r rhain yn cynnwys ychydig o frawddegau sy’n crynhoi’r wybodaeth flaenorol ac sy’n arwain y darllenydd i brif bwynt newydd. I wneud cyfatebiaeth arall i adeilad, y prif bwyntiau yw lloriau’r adeilad, yna y pontio yw’r grisiau rhyngddynt; maent yn caniatáu i’r siaradwr fynd â’r gynulleidfa o un pwynt i’r llall. Mae pontio rhwng adrannau mewn cyflwyniad yn union fel ceisio cysylltu paragraffau mewn traethawd fel bod y wybodaeth yn glir ac yn hawdd ei dilyn. Heb bontio clir gall y gynulleidfa fynd ar goll. Os nad ydych yn sicr o ran pa fath o iaith i’w defnyddio, peidiwch â phoeni ceir llwyth o ‘ymadroddion pontio’ sy’n cael eu defnyddio’n helaeth gan siaradwyr er mwyn cadw’r gynulleidfa ar ben y trywydd cywir wrth iddynt symud rhwng adrannau. Edrychwch yma fel man cychwyn: http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/speech-transitions/

Nid gwyddoniaeth rocedi mo’r pethau fy mod wedi’u trafod yma, mewn gwirionedd maent yn bethau syml iawn ond cewch eich synnu faint o bobl sy’n methu â dilyn y rheolau syml hyn wrth draethu ond yn hytrach cyflwynir llwyth o wybodaeth anamlwg sy’n achosi i’r gynulleidfa deimlo’n rhwystredig. Felly, y tro nesaf y byddwch yn llunio cyflwyniad, treuliwch amser yn meddwl am eich prif adrannau a’ch pontio a siŵr o fod y daw eich cyflwyniad yn llawer cliriach.

Os ydych chi’n dymuno dysgu mwy am roi cyflwyniadau neu hoffech ymarfer cyflwyno i grŵp yna dewch i ddosbarthiadau Sgiliau Cyflwyno’r Rhaglen Llwyddiant Academaidd.

 

Designing a Presentation: Guidance on Structure

In the ASP presentation skills classes and appointments people often ask me for quick tips to improve their presentations. My most frequent response is ‘think carefully about the structure’. Most people try desperately to cram their presentations full of interesting facts and information without thinking about a framework to deliver that information to the audience. This is a problem, because unless the structure is very clear, people quickly get lost and can’t interpret the information you’re presenting in a useful way.

silhouette of man presenting

In my mind I often make analogies between constructing a building and designing a presentation. For buildings, the architect first has to design a strong and appealing framework before the builders apply the materials. If the builders stuck the materials together before the architect had a chance to come up with anything, then you’d just be left with a messy pile of wood, bricks and cement. In the same way, a presenter needs to have designed a framework for the information before sticking it all together for the messages to be clear and memorable.

Of course, designing a framework for a presentation is much simpler than designing a building. Really it is just a question of having obvious sections with clear signposting between them. Typically, well-structured presentations give an introduction that introduces the speaker, describes the issue and importantly has an outline statement that describes what the main points of the presentation will be. The speaker will then move onto the main points, which normally number around three for a 10-15 minute presentation, although there may be some sub-points too. Finally, the speaker will have a conclusion that recaps the main points and offers something to think about at the end, hopefully reaffirming why all this information is useful in an interesting way.

Between the introduction, each of the main points and the conclusion, the speaker will use clear transitions. These normally consist of a few sentences that summarise the previous information and guide the reader onto a new main point. To make another analogy to a building, if the main points are the building’s floors, then the transitions are the stairs between them: they allow the speaker to take the audience from one point to another. Transitions between sections in a presentation are just like trying to link paragraphs in an essay so the information is clear and easy to follow. Without clear transitions, the audience can get left behind. If you are not sure what kind of language to use, don’t worry, there are loads of ‘stock transition phrases’ that speakers frequently use to keep their audience on track as they move between sections. You can look here to start: http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/speech-transitions/

The things I’ve talked about here aren’t rocket science, they’re really quite simple, but it is surprising how many people fail to follow these simple rules when speaking and instead deliver a heavy mass of indiscernible information that leaves their audience frustrated. So next time you design a presentation, take time to think about your main sections and transitions and you’re presentation will probably become a lot clearer.

If you want to know more about giving presentations or would like some practice of delivering a presentation to a group, then come along to the ASP Presentation Skills class.

Confidence Tips for Speaking in Class

boy skateboarding

by Dean Hochman @ flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As a student, what’s your greatest fear? Failing exams and assessments would probably come at the top of the list for many. But what about anxieties in day to day student life? Perhaps one fear that would be quite common is speaking up in class, whether it’s answering or asking questions. This was certainly true when I studied in university, the fantastically awkward silence during question time in our chemistry lessons being a testament to this. And although I think most lectures aren’t likely to be an overly intimidating place to be, I think it is still common that many people are nervous about speaking out. This is a shame because asking and answering questions can be a useful part of a lecture. Questions give you the opportunity to clarify anything you don’t understand. Speaking up in lectures and interacting with the lecturer can also make the lecture more enjoyable and help the lecturer get the point across to the audience.

So what can you do to feel more confident about it? On the ASP presentation skills course we discuss how to gain confidence and reduce nerves when presenting. Some of the actions that can be taken to reduce nerves when presenting can also be applied to asking and answering questions in a lecture (after all, this is just another form of public speaking). One useful action is to see the question time at the end of the lecture as an opportunity and not a threat. You’ve worked hard to get to university, why not make the most of it? There may be few other times in your life when you are able to question and learn from an expert in a subject area you’re interested in. Preparing a question in advance might be a useful action to take. Also, it’s important not to worry too much about how a question will be perceived. The maxim of ‘dare to be dull’, which I’ve borrowed from Matt Abrahams talk on communication techniques, is perhaps appropriate here. Although we often feel threatened by the risk of saying something silly and being judged as foolish, it is likely to be more useful for most of us to ignore this risk and ask a question rather than to stay silent. What’s more, even if you do say something a bit off topic, don’t worry, we are all human, and everyone gets a bit lost at some point. ‘The School of Life’ video on ‘how to be confident’ talks about human error and confidence in a bit more detail.

Another thing that may help you answer questions is to have some sort of framework for structuring an answer. If the answer requires an explanation, a good way to structure your answer could be to make it like a paragraph: introduce the topic; provide an explanation and/or evidence; conclude. Following this structure should help you produce a coherent answer.

Once you start to ask and answer more questions, you’ll probably start to see more clearly the opportunity you have as a student in a lecture hall, and you’ll probably start enjoying lectures more. It is also likely that the more you speak out the more confident you will feel, a benefit not only for your studies, but for your professional life too.

That all said, one final point to mention about attending a lecture and asking questions is to listen. The best questions come from the people who are listening and have prepared for the lecture most effectively. If you’re going to make the effort to attend, you may as well make some effort to prepare and listen too.

If you want to learn more about presenting and speaking in public, or if you want to practise giving presentations in a supportive environment, then please sign-up for the ASP Presentation Skills Class.

3 Quick Tips to Make the Most of Presentation Images

Images can add to a presentation by helping to explain a point or making it more memorable. They also make your presentation more attractive and interesting to look at. However, at times images can detract from a presentation due to things like poor placement or poor image quality.

There are a large number of resources available online that give information on what makes a good PowerPoint slide and how to best present images, but here are three quick and easy tips to make the most of the images that you decide to use.

 1: Consider putting images in frames

Putting a line and/or shadow frame around your image can help it stand out more.

 

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  2: Consider using the image as a background

This can make your slides look more attractive and professional. It may also be useful if the image is representing the point on the slide in a more abstract way. However, you have to be careful to make sure the text is still readable. One option to help you make the text stand out is to add a transparent rectangle in-between the background image and the text. You can alter how transparent the rectangle is to make the text stand out more from the background.

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 3: Align the image to draw attention

Photographers often frame their images by splitting them into thirds and situating the main object in the picture along one of the vertical or horizontal lines. You can do the same for slides. The points where the lines cross gain most attention.

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Slide design is subjective, but I think these tips can help you use images in a better way. Try them out on your next presentation and see how it changes.

If you would like to learn more about designing good slides and delivering presentations then please sign up for the ASP presentation skills class.