Academic

One of the most difficult situations for leaders to handle is a graduate-level course presentation. As a graduate student, giving a satisfying presentation is a rather stressful task to do, especially when you have curious colleagues and erudite professors.

Under such demanding circumstances, you can find a safe refuge in the tips and strategies below that I could develop over several doctoral courses of trial and error which have proved promising.

Keep the Syllabus in Mind

Some meticulous professors provide their students with detailed description of their preferable way of presentation. They are usually clear about the timing, and sometimes the format, of in-class presentations. They stress on using a particular delivery style, whether it’s lecturing, discussion, debate or any other form. They like seeing their rules observed.

Resist the Temptation

At the graduate level, intricate questions are meant to be posed and responded to by presenters, students or professors. So get ready to tackle difficult questions about analysis, interpretation, and connection.

However, the demands of the colleagues are usually different from those of the professors.

Your colleagues look for clear, definitive, conclusive answers to help them for the exams or to get to the bottom-line of the issue, while your professors try to find something new in terms of either fresh understanding or application.

Here comes oversimplification or reduction as the trap that most serious students try to escape due to its alluring conclusiveness.

You should not sacrifice the profundity of your topic just to “appear” neat, crystal-clear, and well-connected.

Less Reading, More Improvising

Reading out from a handout or a lengthy, typed presentation cannot be anything but boring to tears. Remember that the more interactive your presentation is, the better satisfaction you will get because of the variety of opinions and the attentiveness of your listeners.

In this respect, you should assume the role of the presenter, facilitator, debater, and note taker as well. But never forget that rules help things get done.

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Tell your colleagues not to interrupt you while developing an argument in order not to get distracted. Otherwise, the disturbed flow of the presentation will critically affect your performance unless you are a well-trained presenter to take advantage of this opportunity.

Appreciation and Acknowledgment

Every single comment and contribution to your presentation should be valued and welcomed because, in doing so, you encourage your audience to feel free to develop the topic further and help the reserved people to speak up for themselves.

If anyone says a good point that you have missed, just admit it and thank them for adding up to the discussion. Of course, your professor is already there to watch you developing a solid argument, leading an engaging discussion, and also observing academic integrity through acknowledging your sources as you should.

A Way In, Not a Way Out

As a presenter, you are expected to know more in your topic than most listeners do. This is why they look for more help and practical advice regarding your topic. In fact, good presentations trigger further investigation in the topic rather than concluding it.

Serious colleagues usually resume the discussion with you even outside the classroom, asking for key figures related to the topic or sometimes reference books and websites.

Help them in the topic, not out of it, and get ready for the hard talk after the presentation finishes.

How Can You Lead Academic Discussions?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Feras Muhaidat
Feras Muhaidat is currently teaching English as a second language at the IEC_ Jordan. He is also a senior PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Jordan.
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