During your time at university it is inevitable that you will have to take part in at least one group presentation, and having a good idea about what to expect will be very helpful.
Sometimes, you’ll be able to choose who you work with, but on other occasions it will be decided for you – in this situation it is paramount that you try your very best to get on with (or at least tolerate!) your group members, for the sake of your marks! Working in groups can be fun and very beneficial if you do things the right way, so here are my five tips on a positive and organised group presentation.
1. Take a Register
I can’t recommend this enough. There’ll be at least one occasion that a member of your group is unable to attend and this can make completing the task in hand a lot more difficult – therefore, keeping a register allows all of you to see if someone isn’t pulling their weight.
2. Be Calm and Considered
Stress won’t help any of you. Make an action plan from the start, this way you’ll be able to set deadlines together and delegate work efficiently.
3. Distributing Work
Although sometimes the topic of your presentation may be dictated by your lecturer, you will almost always have scope to expand this topic in ways that interest you and the rest of your group. In your first meeting, you should discuss each others personal interests and areas of expertise in the topic you are working on. This allows you to then create sections of your presentation and choose who works on which part and it also ensures that each group member is happy with what they will be focusing on.
“In my first presentation at uni, other people in my group sorted out what work people were doing. This made it so much harder because I wasn’t working on the parts I was really interested in” Gemma – Criminology student.
4. Time Management
We’ve all been known to leave things to the last minute, but there’s nothing more awkward to watch than a presentation that has obviously been thrown together an hour before. It isn’t too difficult to put together a really great presentation if you make sure you follow your group’s deadlines as well as setting personal ones for when to complete your own research and slides before meeting up with the group. This way everything will run much more smoothly and you will achieve better marks.
“It is important to get started on producing the presentation early and spend time putting it together and rehearsing it so that it isn’t rushed. I think it’s also important that if it’s a group presentation that you work with people who have a similar way of working to yourself or problems can develop” 2nd year Criminology and Psychology student.
5. The Presentation Itself
In terms of the actual presentation, there are a few tips that I have from doing and being part of the audience for a lot of presentations over the last year and a half. Whatever you do, do not copy and paste huge chunks from the internet onto your slide – this is so obvious to everyone in the room (most importantly who’s marking it!). It’s fine to use quotes from relevant sources, but say where you got them from and try not to use quotes that are too lengthy.
Keep the slides brief as it is far better if you have a page of notes in your hand that prompt you on what you are going to say – people can read the slides themselves so tell them things that aren’t on the presentation.
Following on from this, one really important point is to not read everything off the slides. The whole point of a presentation is to present information, so do not just read large paragraphs from the screen. Your presentation should usually be a mix of relatively short points, pictures, videos, graphs, and whatever else is relevant to your topic – you should then vocally expand on what is on the slides in order to really put across your information to your audience. Let other people speak – interrupting people is unfair and won’t get you better marks.
“Another member of my group interrupted me in a presentation once and it completely threw me! I lost my train of thought and found it really difficult to get back on track”
Gemma – Criminology student.
Another thing that I have seen done is people giving out hand outs during their presentation – this gives the audience even more information on your topic. These hand outs could be anything from a factsheet, to government legislation, to a newspaper article, and as long as they are relevant they could be a very useful tool in your presentation. Keep the slides brief, relevant, and thought provoking – good luck!
- What other tips would you add to my five?
- What have your experiences been when working on a group presentation at Leeds Met.
Blog post by Zoe Cox
Photo courtesy of freedigital photos.net – artist: ddpavumba