The group comprised of five colleagues where we presented a swot analysis of the Irish clothing company, Primark. The group presentation was successful due to the utilization of various presentation strategies. It was also coupled with a few challenges that required room for development. The essay is a reflection of the process utilized during the group presentation with the inclusion of strategies employed and areas for improvement.
PowerPoint slides are one of the strategies used during the presentation. The decision to use this mode of communication culminated from evidence from many studies that cite the relevance of PowerPoint slides in enhancing student learning. According to Nouri and Shahid (2005), the use of PowerPoint slides in the classroom aids in note taking and helps to structure the presentation in a manner that is easier to understand. Additionally, the authors argue that human information processing theories indicate that the use of graphics, animation, and appealing colors in PowerPoint presentations enhance student learning. Moreover, the graphical nature of the PowerPoint slides arouses students' imagery systems. Despite the numerous advantages of using PowerPoint slides in presentations, our group faced different challenges utilizing this mode of technology. The group relied too much on PowerPoint; we relied on wizards to structure the content, and overloaded the space provided in each slide with many bullet points. The too much reliance on PowerPoint can be addressed by incorporating other visual aids such as charts, whiteboards, and print handouts to diversify the learning materials instead of focusing on designing the whole project on the PowerPoint software.
Equally important, the group utilized Aristotle's persuasive appeals to make the presentation engaging, educating, and entertaining all the time. According to Legett (2005), the three Aristotelian rhetorical models are ethos, pathos, and logos. Ethos is the use of relevant facts to ensure the audience views you as a credible speaker. The group achieved ethos by performing a swot analysis of Primark and describing each section of the report using data collected from research. Besides, pathos is the effective deployment of audience psychology. It focuses on bringing the audience to the right state of emotion. The group began the presentation with a warm and entertaining introduction that attracted the class to the topic. Moreover, in the course of the presentation, some of the group members utilized storytelling to help the students connect with the material presented. Nikitina (2011) posits that people might forget what you were presenting be it either graphs, charts, and statistical data, but they cannot forget the stories that you told them because storytelling has a hypnotic effect on the listeners. Logos is the use of deductive and inductive logic to invent arguments and to prove cases (Legett, 2005). The group achieved logos by using relevant empirical data and counter-arguments to provide a swot analysis of Primark.
Another strategy that helped during the presentation is the incorporation of Cicero's five canons of rhetoric. The five principles included invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. According to Nikitina (2011), the invention is the development and refinement of arguments. The arrangement is the process of structuring the arguments coherently. Style is the use of proper words and rhetorical devices to reach out to the audience. Memory is the process of memorizing the facts to make them sound natural during the presentation. Delivery is the use of voice and body language to make the presentation effective and engaging. The group did an impeccable job by researching and organizing facts that were relevant in describing the swot analysis of Primark. The presentation was arranged in an organized way. Group members also practiced for several days and memorized all the facts to prevent too much reading on the PowerPoint slide instead of talking to the students. Group members had gained confidence due to continuous practice and delivered the presentation as the rest of the class anticipated it.
It is essential to note some areas of improvement to prevent particular errors from arising in the future. The group needs to avoid using more than one story on the same topic. During the presentation, each member gave an account of a different story to connect the students to the material; however, the tactic seemed efficient during the presentation, but after close evaluation, it came to my attention that it is a strategy that can confuse the audience. Body language is another aspect that requires improvement. Some of the members did not utilize gestures or move around the class to illustrate their confidence in the subject matter. It is critical that all the members revise on body language tricks to use during presentations and master at least two of them, for instance, moving hands and making short movements in front of the class. The group also needs to work on some paralanguage aspects such as intonation and speed of speaking. During the presentation, some members were fast speakers while others used moderately to intense pitch and speed of talking. The group should work towards having a moderate and a uniform manner of communication to agree on points that require much emphasis, higher intonations, stress, and repetitions. Deciding on a proper mode of speaking ensures the presentation has a seamless flow that is easy for the students to capture.
In conclusion, the group presentation was exceptional and engaged the classroom to the subject matter, which was the swot analysis of Primark. Albeit there were some errors made during the presentation, a few recommendations for development have been raised to ensure the members improve their skills.
Legett, B. 2005. A rhetorical approach to communication. Occasional Paper, 05: no.17. 1-12.
Nikitina, A., 2011. Successful public speaking. Bookboon.
Nouri, H. and Shahid, A., 2005. The effect of PowerPoint presentations on student learning and attitudes. Global Perspectives on Accounting Education, 2, no. 1, pp.53-73.
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