The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

Activities and Strategies for Teaching Effective Presentation Skills

Christine Burns, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong)


The ability to communicate effectively is a crucial life skill and an expected outcome for many university graduates. Delivering a short persuasive presentation, such as a “3-minute pitch”, is useful in many career contexts and situations. Powerful communication encompasses the speaker’s body language, voice and interactions and can be enhanced by rhetorical devices. Scaffolded learning activities, combined with practice and feedback, can enable students to become more proficient, more persuasive, and more positive speakers.

In this session the presenter will share several activity ideas, strategies and tips based on a curriculum for teaching persuasive presentation skills to engineering undergraduates. These theoretically-grounded activities are based in genre, Kolb’s experiential learning and rhetoric theories and informed by neuroscience. Students engage in critical thinking as they analyse and evaluate persuasive speaking techniques while applying them to their own presentations. Practice, feedback and reflection aid students in improving, and in some cases transforming, their speaking.

Many activities can be done easily with minimal set-up and materials. Youtube, other online resources, and online learning platforms can be exploited for optimal benefit. These exercises can inject energy and motivation into the classroom as students witness their improvement and gain more confidence in their speaking. 

Keywords: Active learning; classroom techniques ; presentations; oral communication; delivery; experiential learning 

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