Member Exchange - Presentation Skills

Presenting information clearly and effectively is a key skill to get your message or opinion across and, today, presentation skills are required in almost every field.

Many people feel terrified when asked to make their first or subsequent public talks, but these initial fears can be reduced by good preparation which will also lay the groundwork for making an effective presentation.

Below we consider skills and a simple process that can assist you in being an effective presenter.

Components of a Message

Studies have shown that the total impact of a message breaks down into 3 broad components:

1.Word Content

This refers to the actual words used

2.Vocal Content

This refers to the vocal component of speech apart from the word content. It includes:

 

 

 

 

3.Non-Verbal Content (including Body Language)

This refers to very clear messages that are communicated without the use of words. Examples are:

 

 

 

 

Interestingly when deciding if a person is motivating when giving a presentation the following impact of each of the components is so:

 

It is important that we consider this dominance on nonverbal and vocal content and do not just focus on the words content of presentations.

 

 

 

Principles of Learning and Recall

Studies show that when people attend a presentation they recall parts of it more vividly than others:

  • The beginning and the end
  • Unusual elements or events
  • Repeated material
  • Personal involvement

 

5 Keys to Audience Recall

1.Begin Powerfully

2.Repeat regularly

3.Emphasise unusually

4.Maximise involvement

5.End powerfully

 

10 Steps in Planning Effective Presentations

Step 1: Develop Objectives

  • Write in a simple sentence what your objective(s) might be

Eg. To inform my audience about a new product. To inform my audience about the operation of my department.

Step 2: Analyse the Audience

  • What are the values, needs and constraints of your audience?
  • What is the knowledge level of your audience?
  • What will work with this group and what won’t work?

Step 3: Organising Your Presentation

  • Brainstorm main ideas
  • Edit ideas             - Combine thoughts

- Classify

- Sequence

- Identify Must, Should and Could Knows

- Highlight the benefits

  • Plan breakdown sheet and timing
  • Decide a creative introduction. Consider using a short story used to illustrate a point, humour to break the ice that is connected to the topic, rhetorical questions or a gripping statement.
  • Decide an appropriate conclusion. Consider returning to the material in your introduction and a ‘call to action’ statement.
  • Include principles of Learning and Recall detailed above

Step 4: Develop Handouts

  • Decide of what handouts you will use and when you will hand them out

Step 5: Develop Visual Aids

  • Use visual aids when you need to focus attention, reinforce your verbal message, stimulate interest, illustrate factors that are hard to visualise.
  • Types of visual aids include PowerPoint presentations, Whiteboards, Flipcharts, DVDs etc.

Step 6: Controlling the Environment

  • Check the venue carefully – lighting, ventilation etc
  • Ensure all equipment is available and working
  • Check all of your handouts and visual aids
  • Decide on the best seating arrangement

Step 7: Practice your Presentation

  • Practice your presentation as close to realism as possible – use all visual aids etc.
  • Check for timing
  • Audio tape or video if possible

Step 8: Develop Strategies to Manage Your Nerves

  • Be fully organised – planning reduces anxiety
  • Visualise – imagine a successful presentation
  • Practice
  • Use breathing techniques
  • Relaxation exercises before you speak
  • Move – be animated in your delivery
  • Maintain eye contact with the audience

Step 9: Whole Person Delivery

  • Speak clearly audibly and naturally – use your notes
  • Use non-verbal signals, tone and emphasis where appropriate
  • Make eye contact
  • Pause when necessary

Step 10: Evaluate Your Performance

  • Consider using a feedback survey where appropriate
  • Solicit verbal feedback
  • Self-reflect on how you performed 
  • Presenting information clearly and effectively is a key skill to get your message or opinion across and, today, presentation skills are required in almost every field.
  • Many people feel terrified when asked to make their first or subsequent public talks, but these initial fears can be reduced by good preparation which will also lay the groundwork for making an effective presentation.
  • Below we consider skills and a simple process that can assist you in being an effective presenter.