As part of the assessment process, you may be called for an oral interview/examination or presentation on your dissertation. The objective of the oral presentation is to describe your work to an audience comprising staff and researchers plus some of your own colleagues. Your intention should be to present in a clear, informative and logical way the work you have done in your project. This is a scientific presentation; it should therefore contain the main thrust of your work. Like the thesis, a talk is not simply judged on aesthetic character but on logical and accurate presentation of data.
You will not be able to include all aspects of your dissertation. Your ability to filter out the most important aspects is essential. The use of Microsoft PowerPoint for your presentation is encouraged.
Structure of the Talk
Given the broad background of the audience (your colleagues also will not have an in-depth knowledge of your work), you should aim to present the "broad picture": what is required is an overview of the work, not the fine detail that only your Supervisor is likely to understand. Note that your project supervisor may not be among the assessors for the oral presentation. Keep the talk succinct and snappy.
Your talk should contain the following identifiable elements:
- Title of project, your name, the name of your Supervisor
- An introduction to the nature of the project. The strategy you have adopted. What are the key points of methodology? (What are the milestones and goals of your work?)
- A brief description of necessary background, to enable the audience to follow your ideas. This should use a minimum of mathematics. Unless you are developing a new mathematical theory then derivations of equations are unnecessary. If you are using equations to describe what you have are doing then quote the equation, define all the terms and explain where it comes from and what it means.
- A description of the work, the heart of your presentation. What have you done? Make suggestions about future work that might be done.
- Conclusion. Summarise the main points.
- Speak clearly, confidently and (if you can!) in a relaxed manner. You should be able to be heard throughout the room or theatre you are in.
- Face your audience. Point to the screen using a pointer where necessary, but avoid turning your back to the audience.
- You should avoid reading from a prepared script: this is usually tedious to the audience. It is better to use your slides to guide you as to what you want to say. If you need prompts with more detailed material, write these on a series of cards that you can scan quickly and obtain the material you need efficiently.
- Avoid just reading from the slides, your audience can already read. Use the slides to guide you into the detail and expansion of the points you wish to make.
- The slides should be legible from the back of the room.
- A good point size for visibility is 16.
- Do not cram too much detail onto one slide. A set of well-thought out bullet points will get the message across better than a lot of elegantly written sentences.
- Make use of diagrams. A good, clear, well-annotated diagram can be far more informative than text.
(Source - University of Aberdeen School of Engineering Project Guidelines for Students)