Psychologists call “primacy-recency effect” to the fact that the audience shall essentially keep the beginning and ending of our oral speech. The implications for teachers in charge of preparing the oral defence of a FL syllabus and the presentation of a didactic unit are more than obvious. In the real exam situation, the Board of Examiners will have to keep their attention for long hours on different candidates. In other words, your oral presentation is not the only one they shall evaluate, so being original and creative shall always be an added value.
In previous posts we remarked the relevance of a strong opening as a strategy to cause a good impression; however, the conclusion is certainly the most important part of a speech. Delivering an effective presentation requires grabbing the audience´s attention from the very beginning and cause a lasting impression at the end. Of course there is not one single formula, nevertheless, you may find interesting to take these tips as springboard for your own presentation script design:
Using a quote is always a winning horse when it comes to leaving something in the audience long after we leave the room. Notwithstanding, we must also be aware of the potential risk of quoting ineffectively, which may transmit a sense of “amateur” to the examiners. Similarly, the quotation should not appear from nowhere, rather, some information about the author contributes to make it more natural and effective.
A short compelling story, especially if it is personal, can enhance your message and make it more memorable. It is the speaker who must “read” the situation and decide if this technique is appropriate; or if the formality of the exam context is more prone to a “call to attention”.
A “call to action” sentence that expresses the essence in your educational proposal, kind of: “We have great challenges in the field of modern FL teaching, but also great opportunities for those teachers who keep up with information and communication technologies as indispensable tools to develop our students´ communicative competence”.
Whatever the option you choose, remember that an oral speech is somehow a performance where we have to act and communicate not only with words, but also through non-verbal language, managing the pace and rhythm of the presentation so that it does not decrease in intensity. And above all, remember to be personal and creative, the audience shall appreciate that.
Video by Carl Kwan.