Making Presentations

Presentations: It is the dissemination of information or news to the audience.

Making a successful presentation requires preplanning of various aspects. A presentation is different from a conversation. A presentation is more serious and has an objective. Successful presentation results in the achievement of the objective of the presentation. The objective of each presentation may be different, but every presentation has a common goal and the common goal is to communicate the contents of a presentation to the audience effectively.

Every person has his own unique style of communicating, but while making a presentation most of the people shed this natural style and try to put an act on the stage. This should not be done. Even while making a presentation, one should adhere to one’s own natural style of communication. This reduces tension and improves confidence. In order to know whether there is any difference between one’s natural style and presentation style, both the styles have to be analyzed. If there is any difference, it shows that one is not communicating in one’s natural style. While making a presentation one should not worry too much about breathing and gesturing as this will add up to anxieties. To become an effective speaker some basic techniques have to be followed. These are:

Personality Projection:

While making a presentation a speaker is also projecting his personality. The presenter should project his true personality. He should not change the way he comes across and speaks. If the presenter is different under such circumstances he will look phoney, boring and lacking in personality. As a result, the audience will not be convinced by the presentation. Smiling will reduce tension during a presentation, but one should smile only when it comes naturally.

Pauses and Silence:

A presentation should be mixed with the right dosage of pauses and silence to create an impact on the audience. The message should be segregated into separate and discrete thoughts and then punctuated with silence to have the right impact. The listener should, be given adequate time to process and digest the message. The listeners’ brain needs time to sort out, process and memorize the message. Silence should always accompany oral communication to allow time for thought by the listener. Pauses are necessary before each and every new thought to give the listener adequate time to assimilate what is being said.

Eye Contact:

Eye contact reinforces the thought in the listeners mind. The speaker should try to establish the reaction of the listener to the speech. If a speaker looks away while stressing or finishing a point, listeners tend to discount or dismiss the value of the thought. The presenter should make eye contact while starting and ending the thought and he should not be looking down at notes, feet or anything else which might suggest he is not confident. The audience attention will improve dramatically by the speaker’s ability to pause and make eye contact. At the same time, too many pauses ands continuous eye contact should not be used.

Preparation and Usage of Notes:

People think that it looks impressive to stand up and talk without consulting any notes and papers, but it is untrue and in reality, there are very few people who can speak effectively without any notes except in the most informal situations. The truth is that the audience appreciates if a speaker has made some notes as it will give credibility to the presenter’s effort. Notes also help the presence to stick to the main stream of presentation. Some people fear that their brain may let them down at the most crucial moment, but this is not so, unless the speaker is very unfamiliar with the subject. While preparing the notes, the key messages the speaker aims to put across should be identified. They should not be more than five. Too many ideas fail to gather the attention of the audience and generally the speech should revolve around three o four core messages. If the topic is complex, written material can be prepared and handed over the audience at the end of the speech. Additional points can be added to the main points which act as complimentary to the main points.

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