Better Presentations

Master of Architecture student presents her thesis project.

Master of Architecture student presents her thesis project.

During the architecture program masters thesis presentations, the issue of taking up space to be more powerful came up. Truly, stretching out, putting your shoulders back and chin up, puts you in a more powerful pose, and the act of maintaining a powerful pose actually causes you to behave more powerfully.
For anyone making a major presentation – Masters Thesis, Capstone, PhD dissertation defense, course lecture, – this is useful information.
You want to be the person who is viewed as an expert on your topic. This may have personal relevance and or teaching relevance as something to share with students as they work on their presentations skills.
I am including links to a Ted Talk, Wired Magazine article, and Harvard Researcher bio so that you can continue this exploration.

Ted Talk:

Wired – Power Postures Can Make You Feel More Powerful:

Cuddy Bio:

Power Pose for your Presentation

Architecture students have to make presentations several times for each design studio course. Getting up in front of your professors, invited architects and even your peers can be stressful, raising your cortisol levels. However, social psychologist Amy Cuddy has done research that shows if a person adopts a powerful pose, even for just two minutes, cortisol levels drop, testosterone levels rise and you will actually behave more powerfully, as if you really are in control, you really are the expert on your own design.

Example of a powerful pose.

Just to start off, stand with your feet slightly apart, arms at your sides, on your hips, or even hands clasped behind your back, shoulders back, chin up.

Or raise your arms up over your head in victory. Do this for two minutes, before your presentation.

When you are in front of the jury, keep your shoulders back, look at your audience, chin up, keep your hands out of your pockets, and remember, you know your building the best.

You are going to give a great presentation.

Oral Communications – Prepare your Speech

Mid–semester reviews approach next week for Arch 401 and Arch 403.

Last week you all participated in an oral communications workshop.

Today I would like to review and reinforce the ideas of preparing your speech.


Speech Outline

  1. Introduction
    1. Attention getter
    2. Orient your audience
  2. Central Idea – Purpose
  3. Body – remember broad to narrow specificity, and parallel structure for your speaking phrases
  4. Conclusion
    1. Summary
    2. Clincher


Let your drawings inform your outline. There should be an order to the drawings on the wall.

Remember that your audience is our faculty, maybe some invited guests, and your classmates. Include all of them.

Make eye contact as you speak, and smile once in a while.

Practice what you will say, even if it is in front of a mirror.

Good Luck.