In COMM 273: Professional Presentations, we explore key principles that will facilitate your move from competency to excellence in professional presentations. To do this, we emphasize strategy in the planning, creating, designing, and delivery of a variety of realistic presentations in a range of professional settings.
This course is based on the assumptions that people learn by doing—by getting their hands dirty—that learning to learn is a priceless skill in a changing world, and that people thrive in environments where they have autonomy.
The presentations will demand your best, multitasking will be a necessity, and your instructor's expectations for all of you are sky-high. We definitely work hard and play hard.
Your goal for this course should be mastery of the concepts so that you will be an outstanding presenter in many settings. During the course, you will need to do the following:
- Plan, create, and execute a variety of effective professional presentations.
- Apply principles of information design and cognition to achieve audience attention, comprehension, and retention.
- Demonstrate versatility and the ability to analyze and adapt to audience and situational requirements.
- Demonstrate proficient technical skills using software and hardware to complement the design and execution of professional presentations.
- Demonstrate ethical behaviors in the creation of messages and presentations.
- Be present and curious about finding answers.
- Challenge yourself to a higher level of performance.
- Dress professionally for all presentations.
- Live worthy to invite the Spirit and maintain an atmosphere of learning.
- Be prepared. Complete all required reading and assignments by their due dates. Late = great effort, but no credit.
- Work hard and have fun!!
- Prepare completely and carefully.
- Live worthy to invite the Spirit.
- Teach in a personal manner.
- Maintain clear and high expectations.
- Maintain a high level of communication.
- Provide timely and detailed feedback.
- Serve with heart.
You are responsible for obtaining the following two textbooks for this course:
- Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte (ISBN-10: 0596522347)
- The Naked Presenter by Garr Reynolds (ISBN-10: 0321704452)
The following two books are rich in helpful information for designing presentations. You may wish to purchase them as well, but they are not required for the course. They are also available online through the BYU-Idaho library.
- Advanced Presentations by Design by Andrew Abela (ISBN-10: 0787996599) (Full text on ProQuest)
- Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds (ISBN-10: 0321525655) (Full text on ProQuest)
Compare prices for your textbooks through the University Store Price Comparison site. They will show you all of the options from the University Store plus several online options to help you find the best price.
- Access to a laptop
- Access to a webcam
- Access to a digital recording device (not a webcam or phone camera)
- Access to a microphone for your computer
- Access to an AV station or projector. Projectors might be available at your church meetinghouse, public library, chamber of commerce or a hotel. Please note that you will likely not be able to use such projectors off site so you might wish to schedule your presentations that require a projector at a place that has one.
- Access to Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel
- Flash drive
- Any accessories you need to connect your laptop to an AV station or projector (for example, a pigtail for Mac users). You will be responsible to find out what accessories your computer need to work with the projector and how to make it work. Some computers will need to install software in order to make the laptop and the projector work together.
- Access to relevant news, good information, and cool stories (for example, New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, etc.)
During the semester, you will give five presentations to various audiences in a variety of settings. We start right away with a three minute story-to-make-a-point during the introduction week of class and then progress through four other presentations. Venues will include a conference room or meeting room, a lecture hall, and a local organization. You are responsible for deciding where you present and who you will present to. Make sure you give yourself adequate time to accomplish the setup of these presentations. It is recommended that you read the presentation instructions and prepare your venues and equipment right away. Dress professionally for all presentations. Your five presentations are the following:
Story-to-Make-a-Point You will tell and record a personal 3-minute story. It should be a story that teaches a lesson and can be used in a professional setting. A small audience is optional.
Stand-Alone Slide Presentation This is a problem-solution presentation. You will begin by learning both presentation and slide design principles. You will first design your presentation and then apply it to your slides. It is a stand-alone presentation and will be posted online.
TED Web Meeting This is a 3-minute presentation where you teach your group the assigned principle and discuss how you will incorporate passion, proximity, or play into your presentation.
TED.2 TED.2 gives you an opportunity to share an idea that will change the world with an audience of at least 20 people. You will also deliver, record, and post it online.
Business Presentation: Practice Presentation You will contact a local business of your choice and give a 10-minute presentation on a topic relevant to the business, with an audience of at least 3 people. You will first deliver to a "practice" audience of 3 and record it for the instructor.
Business Presentation After receiving feedback, you will prepare, practice, and deliver your final presentation to the business. The business will evaluate you on your level of professionalism. This presentation will not be recorded.
Assignments and Participation
The assignments come in small and large packages and serve as stepping stones in creating presentations. Reading, discussing, and doing are integral components of this course. The real point is to digest, use, and apply resources while developing professional-level skills in content, delivery, and slide design.
There will be several assignments that you will be asked to complete as steps towards completing a larger goal, but you won't necessarily have to turn something in for these smaller steps. You will be held accountable for the outcome of the larger project, instead.
Self and Peer Evaluations
You will complete peer and self-evaluations for each presentation. You will also work in different groups throughout the course to share ideas, give and receive feedback, and teach one another.
Providing honest, accurate, and detailed feedback to your classmates is a critical aspect of the class. It will help your classmates improve their preparation and presentations, plus, it will help you to gain exposure to other ideas and approaches to presentations. Everyone in the class should learn how to give and receive positive feedback as well as suggestions for improvement. Be kind in your feedback, but be honest. Be willing to receive the "gift of feedback" from your classmates.
Quizzes and Exams
You will be assessed on your grasp of presentation and design principles and concepts. You are better able to apply them if you know and understand them!
Sightings means that you will share ideas, information, skills, and techniques as community. This aspect is a vital key to this course. Research on public speaking confirms that gains in skill as well as greater comfort while presenting is made in a group of supportive friends. Therefore, some group work will be assigned.
A large part of this class experience is the giving and receiving of feedback to and from your classmates as you develop your presentations. This will help you in your creative process and make you a better presenter. To facilitate this, the instructor will assign class members into groups. The groups will change often according to the needs of the course.
When you post to the class discussion board (not the one set up for your group to talk to each other) you will be asked to:
- Make an initial post to your group by the Beginning of Week.
- The post should reference the weekly reading or the discussion board topic and invite further conversations by asking a question, explaining an insight, and sharing your thoughts.
- Post four additional replies following this criteria:
- these posts should respond to each others' posting
- reference the weekly readings or the discussion board topic as addressed in the post to which you are responding
- seek to learn and teach
- further the conversation
- response posts should address points made by your classmates
- Response posts should be made throughout the week so others can respond
- posting just to complete the assignment by the due date will not allow you to converse with your classmates.
- if all other posts are left until End-of-Week you will not receive full points for this assignment.
- do not leave all your other posts until the End-of-Week due date.
- Be supportive where possible, but honestly seek to improve your own and others' learning.
- This may sometimes require lovingly correcting erroneous understanding.
- Posts such as "I agree," or "That's a great idea," or "I've never thought of that before" are not sufficient or substantial enough responses for the following reasons:
- They do not teach.
- They do not reference the course material/lesson topic.
- Such posts will not receive full credit for the assignment.
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Important to Know
Plagiarism: Plagiarism (to steal or pass off the ideas of another as your own without giving credit) of any kind will not be tolerated. Any form of plagiarism, cheating, or attempt to deceive will result in a failing grade and possible university disciplinary action.
Disability Statement: In compliance with the disability law, qualified students with a disability may be entitled to "reasonable accommodation." It is the student's responsibility to disclose to the professor any special need she/he may have before the end of the first week of class.