Friday, October 26, 2012

Oral Presentation

Your presentation material should be concise, precise and to the point. In addition to the obvious things like content and visual aids, the following are just as important as the audience will be subconsciously taking them in:
Your voice - howyou say it is as important as what you say, so be expressive
Body language - your body movements express what your attitudes and thoughts really are.
Appearance - first impressions influence the audience's attitudes to you. Dress appropriately for the occasion.

Prepare the structure of the talk carefully and logically, just as you would for a written report.
What are: the objectives of the talk? the main points you want to make?
Make a list of these two things as your starting point  
Write out the presentation in rough, just like a first draft of a written report. Review the draft. You will find things that are irrelevant or superfluous - delete them. The structure must be consistent and flows smoothly. If there are things you cannot easily express, possibly because of doubt about your understanding, it is better to leave them unsaid.
Never read from a script. It is also unwise to have the talk written out in detail as a prompt sheet - the chances are you will not locate the thing you want to say amongst all the other text. You should know most of what you want to say - if you don't then you should not be giving the talk! So prepare cue cards which have key words and phrases (and possibly sketches) on them. Postcards are ideal for this.
Rehearse your presentation - to yourself at first and then in front of some colleagues.

Presentation ( introduction, body , conclusion )
Greet the audience and tell them who you are.
Get attention (remember that the first part of influencing your audience is to get their attention.
This function is critical)
Establishing credibility (Apply these nonverbal techniques to your introduction: Look at your audience, speak up, be energetic, be personal, and smile, if appropriate.)
Mention your purpose, findings, result, recommendation, suggestion, remarks etc
Stick to the plan for the presentation, don't be tempted to digress - you will eat up time.
Conclude appropriately.
Leave time for discussion - 5 minutes is sufficient to allow clarification of points. At the end of your presentation ask if there are any questions - avoid being terse when you do this as the audience may find it intimidating. If questions are slow in coming, you can start things off by asking a question of the audience - so have one prepared.

Speak clearly. Don't shout or whisper - judge the acoustics of the room.
Don't rush, or talk deliberately slowly. Be natural - although not conversational.
Deliberately pause at key points - this has the effect of emphasising the importance of a particular point you are making.
To make the presentation interesting, change your delivery, but not too obviously, eg: speed, pitch of voice, use your hands
Look at the audience as much as possible, but don't fix on an individual - it can be intimidating.
Don't face the display screen behind you and talk to it.
Move about but not too much.
Use appropriate humour.
Keep an eye on the audience's body language. Know when to stop and also when to cut out a piece of the presentation.

Visual aids significantly improve the interest of a presentation. However, they must be relevant to what you want to say. A careless design or use of a slide can simply get in the way of the presentation. What you use depends on the type of talk you are giving. Here are some possibilities: PowerPoint slides, charts, posters.

Thank the audience, show your appreciation.

Reference: Newcastle University, United Kingdom

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