Presentation and Group Work

Successful Groupwork

The aim of attending university is not solely to gain a degree. It is also (as you have probably heard many times) a life experience. This doesn’t only mean living away from home, being responsible for yourself in many ways but also preparing you for employment. This is not just through internships and summer jobs but also through your degree.

It is likely that your course will require some group work and/or presentation. Whatever your chosen career, you will likely not only have to do presentations but also work as an individual as well as part of a group.

Photo by Premasagar on Flickr

Group work can be tricky, so here are a few ideas:

  • Sit in a circle so no one is left out and everyone can contribute.

  • Determine your aims and objectives.

  • Allocate tasks and roles.

  • Discuss as a group what the roles and tasks are.

  • Different people have different strengths and weaknesses, allow people to discuss why they feel they should have a specific role.

  • Decide on action points which need to be achieved for the following meeting.

  • Conflict is inevitable and even shows that a group is working well. It’s how you choose to deal with the conflict that matters.

  • Participation can also mean listening. Some members of the group will be more vociferous than others.

  • Avoid disagreements that become personal.

  • Communication is key.

  • Regular catch-up meetings may prove to be difficult but emails, Facebook groups (you can always make it private!) and texts/phone calls can be useful

  • It’s likely that you may have a ‘free-rider’ or an individual who is impossible to get hold of, use action points to ensure these individuals contribute.

The University of Hull has further information, tips and guidance on group work.

A Good Presentation

Presentations can also be a cause for concern whether you have to do it alone or as part of a group. Alone gives you the flexibility and the opportunity but all of the responsibility, group work means less pressure (perhaps) but more organisation and correspondence with your group.

To be honest, as a student you can pretty much say what makes a presentation good or bad solely based upon different lectures by different lecturers, but when it gets to your turn it’s not always that easy.

This video is brilliant at telling you what makes a good presentation by focusing on Steve Jobs (the Apple man). Just bear in mind that it is very commercial and Americanised but the points made are useful.

10 Steps to Presentation Glory

  • Emphasis – work out where and when you would like to emphasise points

  • Pace it – we think quicker then we talk and we talk quicker then we hear, so not too fast (but not too slow either!)

  • Speak to the back of the room (not the floor in front of your feet)

  • Powerpoint is great; just don’t overfill your slides (with content, animation, colour, sounds or images) only key points are necessary. Don’t just read out what’s written on the slides.

  • Practice and prepare. Make sure you do this out loud as this gives you ideas of timing, length, emphasis etc.

  • Keep breathing.

  • Have a confident tone. The way you feel on the inside (nervous, anxious, uncomfortable) is not visible to your audience.

  • Be energetic. Giving a presentation requires more energy than normal speech, a louder voice, and bigger gestures.

  • Be wary of sloppy articulation as this can result in words being misheard or misinterpreted.

  • And of course, smile!

Just as a little bit extra, if you want to practice a few tongue-twisters (to help remove any sloppy articulation) have a go at these:

  • The sixth sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick

  • Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager, imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?

  • She stood upon the balustraded balcony inexplicably mimicking his hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in.