Basics

Oral presentations require specific skills. They are usually about 15 minutes long. The presentation should be directed to all the participants in the seminar and not only to your lecturer (try to keep eye-contact with the entire audience).

Purpose

Apart from a clear outline and a good performance, oral presentations depend on your ability to inspire and structure a discussion among the participants of the seminar. Depending on the topic, presentations are used to deploy the relevant material (literary texts, theoretical or methodical approaches) in a problem-oriented manner. Complex lines of arguments need to be reduced to their central theses and these, in turn, need to be critically assessed.

Consider the following basic questions while preparing an oral presentation: to what extent does your presentation contribute to earlier discussions in the seminar? Do some of the results of these discussions have to be modified based on your approach? What are further problems, questions or solutions resulting from the material you deal with in your presentation?

Group presentations

When it comes to group presentations, it should be clear to the audience that the presenters have dealt with the topic together in teamwork. One way to realize this is a dialogue or a discussion that demonstrate the possible different or complementary points of view. Preparation for the class along the lines of “You sum up one article, and I will deal with the other one; then, let’s talk about everything else half an hour before the thing starts” is completely inacceptable.

Handouts, Presentation Software

Handouts or presentation software can be used to summarize your main points, to represent the outline of your talk and to provide the listeners with the most important quotes and bibliographical references. 2 pages, downscaled and copied on A4 paper is usually enough. Presentation software is usually the best option when it comes to graphics, images, film or music clips.

Templates

Templates for PowerPoint slides designed by Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf can be found here. (Access only via VPN-Client).

Office Hours

Attend the office hours of your lecturers to discuss in detail how to prepare and realize your presentation.

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