Michigan PP779 Presentation Skills

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Course description

This course will move students to a higher level of connecting content and message to an audience focusing on the mechanics and delivery of presenting. Participants will develop a refined and applied understanding of how their personal style impacts their presentation approach and how to leverage and improve their natural style of presentation. The format of the class will be practice-based, using a studio-style learning approach, which will encompass weekly classroom presentations and coaching; a cultivated environment for a critique-based style of learning; and a culture of active learning. Students will weekly develop and refine their approach and style based on their own strengths and presence and become adept and agile at presenting material to audiences.


Patricia Russo, Fall 2014 (1 credit hour; 1/3 semester-course equivalent)


http://fordschool.umich.edu/sites/default/files/pubpol_779_presentation_skills_wishart_f14.pdf, accessed 29 June 2016.

Link to syllabus uploaded to the Atlas


Additional material from the syllabus

COURSE OBJECTIVES: By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze and strengthen their presentation delivery
  • Gain confidence, ease and efficiency with professional communication
  • Become practiced in methods that engage audiences
  • Develop concise, clear messaging and learn how to adapt that message to different audiences
  • Develop methods for creating persuasive, clear presentations that incorporates media and visuals
  • Employ the use of effective nonverbal communication skills
  • Develop effective visual aids
  • Have a clearer understanding of their own use of language and voice and how to strengthen both
  • Deliver content to non-specialist (lay) audiences
  • Identify standard academic and non-academic presentation types and practices

GRADING: This is a Pass/Fail course. Grade will be determined by the point totals for the assignments.


DESCRIPTION Percentage of grade
Class participation The interactivity of this class makes your participation critical and essential to your enjoyment of benefit from this course. Please come to class ready to observe and think critically, and to participate and interact with your peers. 35%
Written Analysis: Personal Presentation, Strengths & Style You will complete an analysis of your presentation style, strengths and areas for development using your multiple opportunities to present in class and receive peer and instructor feedback.


Class presentation A five minute presentation delivered to the class on the topic of your choice using a visual element such as a slide or Prezi.


Peer evaluation Thoughtful written feedback on your classmates’ presentations using criteria discussed in class.



The studio learning structure fosters an environment for graduate students to learn through practice and critical understanding of their work, which is central to the graduate student experience. The studio classroom functions as a workshop where students are encouraged to test-out newly learned concepts and ideas and provide and receive productive feedback. The aim is for students to come prepared to work out their ideas and strategies each class, and then leave in a different place in their mastery then when they complete the instruction for the day. To accomplish this, studio space constructs a learning environment that allows for students at multiple stages of mastery to participate in a dynamic cross-pollination of skill and insights. The studio culture allows time for individual and group process for learning. The underlying assumptions for this type of learning are 1) Practice-based methods are the most potent method for mastery of behavioral, interpersonal and affective learning; 2) Authority and knowledge for critique lies in all of the participants in the room and not just the instructor.

The Structure

  • Prime, Practice, Critique
  • Priming: Concept and topic framing
  • Practicing: Individual and small group practice and skill development based on daily topic
  • Critiquing: Individual, small and large group practice with peer and instructor feedback

Classroom Methods

  • Daily, ongoing and relentless practice!
  • Content & message delivery analysis by peers and instructor
  • Instructor Feedback – individual and group
  • Peer Feedback – written and group
  • Identifying opportunities for real-world presentations
  • Video Analysis of self and others
  • Non-verbal video analysis
  • Prepared and extemporary presentations
  • Creation of a promising practices class manual (daily, classroom scribing to create a final product)
Week-by-week listing of topics and assigned readings


4-Sept This Week’s Concepts:

• Class structure and approach

• Defining presentations

• Your role as presenter and participant

Studio Practice: Creating a strong introduction, establishing credibility

Analyzing and critiquing method for class

ASSIGNMENT: Begin Presentation Analysis: Complete Questions 1-3. Determine presentation topic. Prepare a one-minute presentation on your topic choice.


This Week’s Concepts:

• Creating a comm strategy

• Establishing a baseline/your presentation style and strengths

• Building credibility and creating a compelling first impression

• Increasing your presentation impact – Getting better, maximizing natural strengths

Studio Practice:

Same message, different impact

Analyzing Personal Style & Strengths

ASSIGNMENT: Continue working on your presentation and written analysis.


This Week’s Concepts:

• Constructing a presentation

• Structuring information

• Creating effective slides

Studio Practice:

Analysis of slides

Presentation Construction Academic and nonacademic talks

ASSIGNMENT: Reworking slides and presentation.


This Week’s Concepts:

• Using visuals in presentation

• Non-verbals

• Voice and body language in the space

• Set-up and use of space and venue

Studio Practice:

Class Presentations attending to non-verbals and your mastery of the presentation space

ASSIGNMENT: Prepare 3 minute presentations with one-two slides.


This Week’s Concepts:

• Extemporaneous presentation

• Lean and persuasive language

• Situations/handling questions

Studio Practice:

Extemporaneous Class Presentations

ASSIGNMENT: Identify one real-world setting in which to present, post-course.



Prepared Class Presentations Applying feedback

ASSIGNMENT: Complete peer-critiques



Studio Practice:

Prepared Class Presentations

Applying feedback

ASSIGNMENTS: Complete peer-critiques in class

Due: Two-Page Written Analysis


Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 29 June 2016.