As a graduate of a renowned university in Nigeria, with distinction in seminar presentation and an overall score of over 80%, you can take it from me that I am informed when it comes to seminar presentations. Based on my experience and with interaction with friends who had distinction too, I have been able to put together factors I believe you need to put into consideration when preparing your undergraduate seminar presentation.
1) A good topic: the most important thing is to have at least three good topics. I would advice you research properly before taking these topics to your supervisors for approval. You may want to sit down to consult the internet and textbooks to find topics you would be able to work on and also comprehend easily. Don't just get any topic approved. Make sure you get good topics, there is nothing more pleasing than getting your topic approved once and even with good comments too. It could be frustrating if none of your topics fail to get approval on three or more occasions, so do your research properly.
2) Sourcing for materials: after your topic has been approved, the next thing for you is to research on the topic properly. In this era of technological advancement, if you know how to use Facebook, twitter, instagram and so on, definitely you would know how to download PDFs, DOC and PPT files from the internet. However, the internet is not your only source of information, you can consult the library for books, journals or other materials. The only problem is that, if you are presenting on a topic that involves statistical data, you would want to supply data that is most recent. Although, textbooks or materials from the library can still help widen the scope of your knowledge.
3) Interaction with supervisor: to some people, this is not an important factor but take it from me, I would say have a solid rapport with your supervisor. The reason is very simple. They know most of these things and they are in the best position to give you advice based on their experience. Remember, many have passed through that route, so they know better. Take for instance, I believed in story telling which was becoming apparent in my powerpoint presentation but my supervisor looked at it and said, "you don't need all these, just make it simple". Let me point out that your attitude to work would really determine your level of interaction. Combining lectures with supervisions, research amidst others could make them very busy, so don't get frustrated when you are told to come back several times. You know what you are looking for, so just keep going till you get it.
4) Concise powerpoint slides: now that you have all your materials ready and also having good conversations with your supervisor. It's time to prepare your slides for the presentation. There are different ways of preparing your powerpoint slides, you can prepare your report from materials sourced from the internet or other sources and harness your points for the slides from the report or harness the points directly from the materials and prepare the report later. For me, the first option is a better one because it would save you from unnecessary stress later. When your slides are ready, you could have 30 or more slides but that is not a problem. What you need to do is to sit and remove what is not needed. You can reduce it to between 15 and 18 slides. I have witnessed presentations of 11 slides and that of up to 30 slides. Time is a crucial factor. You could be given between 10 and 15 minutes. You would not want to load yourself with numerous slides. Let me say this, the time given to you is not the time to display your grammatical prowess. Nobody is interested in listening to long words that have just been added to the dictionary. Just teach, impart and leave. If you want to add a little bit of humour, that is fine but be snappy with it and get back to business. Remember, you are only doing that to ease off boredom from the audience and not trying to kick start a comedy show. Your powerpoints should have a clear and not a dull background. Your abstract is a summary of your work from beginning to the end. It should not be too lengthy, usually between 200 and 350 words, depending on the departmental format. Make sure you justify your abstract and maintain a font size of 12, Times New Roman and 1.5 line spacing. Your conclusion should be short and simple. Infact, a conclusion of 5 lines would do. Reference is a top priority. Usually, there are several standards for referencing a work; APA, MLA, ISO, Chicago and so on. Your choice of reference style would be based on the departmental format. So obtain a departmental format before you proceed. Reference correctly and be consistent. It is an academic offence to have a poorly referenced work. Also your in-text reference must all be cited in the bibliography.
5) Confidence level: Be as confident as possible. Be very knowledgeable on the topic. Do your research properly by reading wide. Questions from the audience or lecturers could come from anywhere, although most questions would focus on your presentation. Be well prepared. The issue of being confident to face a crowd could sometimes be a difficult thing. But you have to get over it. You could be a shy type of person or have the fear of public. They could easily be overcomed after a long habit of presenting to a large crowd. However, extreme cases may involve the help of a psychologist or counsellor. Practice before the presentation day, present aloud to yourself and to your friends. Let them access you. Know your mistakes, correct them and proceed to the big event. While presenting, carry your audience along. Do not stand still, looking at the slides. Do not back the audience. Make yourself flexible and relaxed. Make use of gestures and point to the slides. Illustrate your diagrams, tables and graphs properly.
I have been able to highlight few points above. In addition, your dress code and your language is very important. Dress decently and avoid the use of slangs or informal words. A suit would be best but not a must that you is also good. Do not sag or wear baggy or oversized wears. Be warned! Also note that your overall seminar is into two parts; your presentation and your report. You would be graded while presenting and when you have finally submitted the reports. An average score would be calculated to determine your score in percentage. I wish you all the best.
If you are an undergraduate or a postgraduate who had delivered a seminar before, please share your experience with us below. We would also welcome opinions on what we may have left behind.