Presentations seem to go hand in hand with being a student at Salt Lake Community College.
Standing in front of your peers as the teacher looks on and grades your presentation can be nerve-racking, especially if it’s a new experience.
That’s where the Presentation Skills Lab comes in handy.
The lab started about four years ago to offer students and faculty a way of honing their presentation skills in a low-risk and comfortable environment. Lab sessions provide one-on-one instruction with experienced tutors to help students succeed in upcoming presentations.
Raymond Bingham, a skills lab coordinator and tutor, says most classes, especially those outside of communications, don’t come with instruction on how to present.
“Professors [don’t] offer the skills needed for presentations,” notes Bingham, who has been with SLCC for 20 years.
The lab, directed by communications professor Sarah Billington, focuses on helping students with different elements of a presentation, including software, visual aids, outlines, content, organization and delivery.
“You need to practice your presentation to do well, and this is the perfect place to do it,” says Joshua Anderson, the lab’s public relations intern. “We can give feedback that will improve your presentation and it is the most helpful thing to students.”
Anderson, who also helps tutor during sessions, notes that the lab has gained a lot of traction.
“We have a constant room and tutors. This [program] is just starting to take off,” he says.
Consistency, Bingham says, is key to growing the program. Anderson adds that the group is “trying to push it more so it can [pair] with the writing skills lab and more programs included at SLCC.”
Tutors with the lab also do presentations in classes to spread the word across campuses. According to Anderson, they have “spoken mostly to communication classes, but are looking to expand into other programs.”
Anderson has some presentation tips for students who want help but haven’t been able to attend a lab.
“You have to bring your subject down to the thesis and go deep with it,” he says, adding, “make your thesis statement a single, simple full declarative sentence.”
Anderson also says confidence is key and offers the KISS acronym as a reminder to “keep it simple stupid” when it comes to visual aids.
The Presentation Skills Lab is held at Taylorsville Redwood and South City campuses, as well as online. Visit the SLCC website for more information.