I talked about this before in a more stand-alone context. Here’s another go at more or less the same point.
At my old middle school the annual “talks about the mandatory research you did” evening happened. I went because my sister would be presenting, and a friend was going to show up for her brother too. I sat through a couple of talks of varying quality, and realized they all have a thing or two in common. And those things aren’t even that specific to the kind of presentation they’re giving or the topics they’re about!
I saw it happen almost every single talk. PowerPoints. With too many fucking words on them. Presentation setups that hadn’t been tested beforehand. Presenters pointing at each other mid-talk to determine whose turn it was to speak. Those are all very basic things that are surprisingly easy to get right. Yes, not dumping your exact words onto the slides may take a bit of getting used to, but remember, you’re giving the talk, your slides are there to complement you.
Weird thing here is that I don’t think the students ever actually get any real feedback on their presentations? Even in the lessons (way back when) that were dedicated to doing these kind of things, it was always all about the “what are you saying” instead of “how are you delivering it”. Teachers need to either find a balance between those two, or try and introduce a side-course in giving talks. It’s 2015, a piss-ugly PowerPoint is the last thing you want to show up with.
I’ve plugged it here before, I’ll do it again because it’s great and there’s now a Talk on Talks video. Speaking.io.