In almost every profession, presentations or speaking in a group setting have become a requirement. The ability confidently and effectively ideas or concepts to your peers, superiors, clients, or workplace team is essential to a successful business. When students enroll in the Workshop in Presentation Strategies, students learn four key aspects of a successful presentation such as:
- The importance of knowing your presentation setting: The room in which your presenting can have a large impact on the form of the presentation itself. Whether it determines your use of visuals, what other materials you use, or how much detail you include, knowing your setting is a key aspect of an effective presentation.
- Maintenance of eye contact with your audience: Maintaining eye contact is an easy way to ensure your audience stays engaged and involved in your presentation, if you’re simply reading from the screen or from cue cards, you will lose your audience.
- In-depth knowledge of presentation software such as PowerPoint and Prezi: Nothing throws a presentation off track quicker than a technical issue, master the different presentation software to ensure you avoid any technical issues, and that your presentation goes smoothly.
- Memorization of presentation content: Knowing exactly what you’re going to say is an easy way to improve any presentation. If your preparation is thorough, you will seem more credible to your audience, not to mention that sheer preparation is the best way to combat stage fright.
Through the implementation of all four of these presentation strategies, students learn how to properly present an idea or concept in a business setting. These strategies help prepare students for the business environment, giving them experience that will be very valuable once they enter their profession.
Upon entering the Professional Writing major, I had little experience in writing other than mandatory essays from high school classes. But from completing Professional Writing: Process and Practice, I learned a number of important things that gave me a base knowledge in the field of professional writing, and prepared me for the later years of the course. Students in this course will be:
- Exposed to prolific and influential writers like George Orwell and Virginia Woolf: The best way to become a better writer is by studying the great ones. By familiarizing yourself with these important works, you will discover how to write effectively, and even learn about your own writing tendencies.
- Expected to examine key aspects of a piece of writing such as plots, sub-plots, and symbolism: Identifying these key features in literature is important, as every effective piece of narrative contains these aspects. By knowing how to identify these parts of writing, you can then incorporate them into your own.
- Forced to examine other types of narrative writing such as film and television scripts: Clearly, novels are not the only type of narratives that exist today. By studying other forms of narrative, you can familiarize yourself with different styles, and broaden your own writing abilities.
- Expected to collaborate with their peers to produce one singular piece of writing: Not all forms of writing are done by one individual, by learning to collaborate with other writers, you will be able to brainstorm a greater number of ideas, and this ability to work in a team will help you in your writing career.
- Taught to recognize themes in writing such as modernism and post-modernism: These themes are important in the world of literature, and being able to identify them will allow you to incorporate them into your own work.
This course gives students a number of important skills that will be necessary in the later years of the Professional Writing major. It also gives students experience in recognizing and identifying important aspects of writing such as themes and plots. Most importantly, it helps students transition from the type of writing that is expected from high school teachers, to the type of writing that is expected from university professors.
Regardless of what type of writing; whether it be narrative, scientific, institutional or academic, research is essential. In A Writer’s Introduction to Research, students are taught to utilize all possible resources to perform effective research. This research is useful for a number of reasons, such as:
- Providing contextual relevance to your piece of writing: The context of your writing has a large effect upon how it received by the reader, detailed research will provide you with the information you need to make your writing contextually relevant.
- Bolstering the arguments in your writing with facts: Being able to provide proven facts or expert quotations will add a very persuasive element to your argument. Scour the online scholarly databases for articles that will support your point.
- Increasing the credibility of your writing through accuracy of information: Few things hurt a writer’s credibility more than inaccurate information. Thorough research can prevent this and ensure your readers see you as a credible source.
By learning to utilize a variety of resources such as printed sources as well as online sources in their research, students are able to strengthen their writing, ensuring that regardless of what genre they’re writing, it will be relevant, succinct, and effective.
Rhetoric’s history can be traced all the way back to ancient Athens, thousands of years B.C.E. Because of this long history, many believe that rhetoric is an outdated concept with no real
use in modern society. However, in Rhetoric: Strategy and Application students are taught the deep history of rhetoric, and how it is prevalent in contemporary life in numerous ways, such as:
- Everyday verbal persuasion and argument tactics that are based in rhetoric: You probably already use many of these tactics without knowing them, but this course will teach you the names of many argument styles such as juxtaposition and comparison to help improve your argumentation skills.
- Rhetoric that is present in visual media such as film and television: Visual rhetoric is a huge part of all visual media, and the placement of a particular object or person in a frame can completely change how it is perceived by the viewer.
- The use of rhetoric in persuasive papers and essays and how to utilize them in your own writing: Many of the verbal argumentation strategies can also be applied to written works, and can help you prove your arguments in the most effective way possible.
- Workplace-related uses of rhetoric, i.e. presentations, memos, resume/cover letters: It is easy to forget that a resume or presentation is simply an attempt to persuade others into believing your ideas, or believing in you as an employee. Persuasive rhetoric can be a useful too if it is applied in the workplace.
Aside from teaching the value of rhetoric today, this course also teaches students practical skills of persuasion in academia, such as how to properly use examples in an essay, and how to structure a strong and sound argument in an academic paper. These numerous skills taught in this course prove to be very useful in the later years of the Professional Writing major, making this course a very valuable for first year students.
Upon entering my third year at York University, I had taken numerous courses that dealt with the intricacies of writing and how to effectively write for specific media. But until I began the Fundamentals of Editing course, I had no knowledge or experience of editing practices and potential career opportunities as a copyeditor. This course taught me what copyeditors look for in pieces of writing, and how to use copyediting symbols to signal to the writer what changes need to be made. Some of the ways that learning to edit can improve your writing include:
- Proper use of the clearest and most concise language possible: Wordiness is one of the quickest way to lose a readers attention. This course will teach you to get to the point as quickly as possible and keep the readers eyes on the paper.
- Consistent diction and proper word usage: Simple spelling difference such as offense and offence can make a huge difference in the connotation of your sentence. This course will teach you to use the correct word, and use it consistently.
- Proper use of stylistic elements such as bold or italics: Knowing when to emphasize can help you make your ideas much clearer to the reader. Knowing how and when to use these points of emphasis will make you a much more effective writer.
- Effective use of modifiers for sentences and words: A misplaced modifier can completely shift the meaning of your sentence. Catching an out of place adjective will simplify your writing, and will make sure the reader is not confused by it.
By knowing what copyeditors look for, as well as the expectations of the Canadian Press Style Guide, you can preemptively add these strategies into your writing and ensure your writing is concise and requires little editing.