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Oral Presentation

Effective presentation can be as important as good engineer work itself. To help develop quality presentations, this assignment is broken down into a number of steps. Make sure to review the presentation content, logistics, along with each step and deliverable involved.


Review Lecture slides on: How to Give Winning Presentations



  • Section meets in the computer lab, EBU2-239. We will start oral presentations right away.
  • All presentations should be done in Google Slides, and should be uploaded along with the CAD animation and Video to the MAE3 Robots page 10 minutes before the beginning of class.  
  • Print out a copy of the presentation slides to hand in to Dr. Delson before your presentation. Include the name of each student presenting at the bottom of each slide they will present. Every member of the team is required to present a portion of the presentation, do not jump from one presenter to the other too much; instead have the same person present a complete section.
  • Loudspeakers will be brought to the lab if teams would like to add audio to videos or CAD animations.
  • Make sure that each team meets with Dr. Delson after their oral presentations, so you can explain the details of your machine in person. Also I will provide my evaluation of your oral presentation.


Draft Presentation, Worksheet, and Dry Run

It is essential that each team complete the presentation worksheet that summarizes the presentation objectives. Otherwise the team is likely to make the mistake of trying to cram too much into their presentation without focusing on the key points they want to convey. Get together as a team and decide what are the main points of the presentation and the key messages you want to get across.

  • Review the Presentation Content listed below as well as the complete presentation requirements.
  • Complete the Oral Presentation Worksheet
  • Prepare 10 slides. The CAD models do not need to be complete at this point, but hand sketches of what the CAD drawings will be should be made on separate pieces of paper. Show blank areas where figures will go (every slide should have a figure). Print out the slides and have them ready for review with your section tutor.
    • At least 50% of the slides should have "Action Titles"
  • Review the draft presentation with your tutor during section (ninth week).
  • A timed dry run should be done at least two days before the final presentation, to allow time to implement changes.

Presentation Content

Each team will have 8 minutes (timed!) to make an oral presentation. The presentations will be held in the computer room (EBUII-239). Use Google Slides. Include in the presentation:

  1. An explanation of how your machine works (30 pts)
    1. A common presentation mistake is to delve into the details of a machine, before the audience understands how it operates. The audience will not be able to follow the details of a machine unless they first understand how it operates.Explain how your machine works at the beginning of your presentation!
    2. Include step-by-step CAD figures with annotations (text labels pointing to robot parts) of your robot at key positions of completing its task. CAD models are easier to understand than photos, and are a requirement of MAE3. You can add annotations from within Inventor Drawing or through a program like Photoshop . Do NOT use explosions of an assembly since you are not discussing how to assemble your robot, but how it works.
    3. Animation of machine working
  2. Key features of your design (20 pts)
    1. Identify the key points that are unique about your machine and want you want your audience to remember about your machine.
    2. Imagine yourself in the audience; what aspect of your robot would be most interesting to them?
    3. Clearly explain these features and the design decisions that went into them.
  1. Describe one element of the design process that was important to your design process, such as risk reduction, concept generation scheduling, teamwork. Describe it’s role in your design process  (15 pts)
  2. Choose one area where analysis was applied to the design (15 points)
    1. Include how analysis was applied (typically include Free Body Diagram)
    2. Include numerical results, and a discussion of their relevance.
    3. Comparison of experimental results to theory.
    4. Typical topics include: Speed of a robot component, force/torque that a component can generate, gear ratios, or mechanical advantage.
    5. ALL TEAM MEMBERS should review the analysis for correctness.
  1. CAD should be used throughout the presentation (15 points)
    1. 3D CAD – useful for showing how complete machine
    2. 2D CAD – useful for showing how components work
    3. At least one CAD animation of a component of the robot. An animation of the whole robot is nice, but not required.
  1. Summary of machine performance (5 pts)
    1. List how many points your scored without an opponent
    2. Video of machine working (can be part of explanation of how machine works)


Extra Help

  • If you feel nervous or concerned about your oral presentation, let your tutor know 1 week ahead of time to schedule extra assistance.


Some Tips for Oral Presentations

  • Create a rough draft with hand drawings first. This will identify which figures you need to create. Also a rough draft will force the team to narrow down the presentation to the 10 to 12 slides that will fit into a 8 minute presentation. A rough draft will save significant time, since it will eliminate un-needed material before you type it up.
  • Use CAD to explain how your machine works, and use photos and movies as proof that the machine actually does perform its task. CAD is much easier to understand than photos, since the object being discussed can be highlighted and isolated.  Do not hold the robot in front of you during the presentation, all points of the presentation must be understandable from the slides alone!
  • Almost every slide should have a graphic (CAD, Photo, or hand sketch) that corresponds to the topic covered in the slide. It is OK to repeat figures, since the audience will not remember a figure form on slide to the next.
  • Use bullets and limit the amount of text


Common Presentation Mistakes

  • Because designers are so familiar with their project, they forget to provide the background of their design, and the audience does not understand the context of their design.
  • The presenters do not clearly explain how their machine works early in the presentation. Once the audience understands the general nature of how the machine works, then they are much more interested in the detail design and decision making process that went into it.
  • The graphics are not shown on the same slide as the text about the graphic, or the oral discussion occurs without the display of the proper graphic. Remember, almost every slide should have a graphic.
  • One tries to cram too much into the presentation. Choose the best points of your machine to present; adding all the points dilutes the quality of the presentation
  • One gives a chronological retelling of the design process, i.e. we started in week 1 ... It is tempting to describe the complete story ending with your final design, but you will loose the audience. Instead start with your main results first, and present some key development steps afterwards. It is ok to spend the first one or two slides on historical development if it is relevant to the final design, but not more.
  • The analysis involves too much hand waving. Show concrete results with numbers to backup calculations (i.e. actual car speed, point scoring potential, or force values)
  • Be honest. If you overstate the capabilities of your design, you may loose credibility. But be proud of your work, emphasis its advantages, and be honest about its disadvantages.


Action Titles

The title of a slide is a valuable and memorable part of a presentation. To make best use of this space use words that concisely describes the main point of this slide. Action Titles make best use of a sliders header and reinforce the main message of the slide. Action Titles should be used in at least 50% of the slides in an MAE3 type presentation. See table below for examples:


Regular Title

Action Title (Best Practice)

Machine Component

Robot Claw Grabs Rings


High Power Spring Launches Projectile

Company Income

Income Rises in Last Quarter of Year


Reliability Improvements