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|special feature section they need to follow your talk.


n Be consistent with font and design. n Consider giving them out at the end, otherwise people read them during your presentation.


n Save a tree – make handouts available electonically.


And remember: n Talk to the audience, not to your slides. n Reading your slides or handouts screams: ‘I’m not prepared.’


n Check spelling and grammar. Mistakes appear even bigger up on that large screen.


STEP FIVE: Structuring your presentation Choose a structure that logically presents your content. Here are three ideas:


1. Past – Present – Future This timeline approach makes your points easy to remember. For the example, imagine you are presenting a business idea.


Past: Begin with what or who initially sparked your business idea (something from childhood; a trip that you took; a cause you got involved with etc.).


Present: What does your organisation do? What is its purpose? What does it produce or support? What are its achievements?


Future: What are your plans for the future? What do you want? How can the audience help you?


2. Persuasive structure for persuasive presentations.


Beginning: Hook: start with a quote, joke, story, rhetorical question, etc.


Main message: tell the audience what your presentation is about, the position you will be taking on it and the three points you are going to cover.


Middle: Your three points: for each example include your point, proof and comment. You may want to put your strongest point


first, your weakest point second, and end with your second strongest point.


End: Summarise your three points and end with a question, or by challenging your audience to do something.


3. For and against Show both sides of the argument before putting forth your preferred choice.


n Start by outlining the idea. n Provide reasons in favour of the idea. n Provide reasons against the idea. n Outline what you think should happen.


STEP SIX: Delivery skills Your listeners want to hear information. They also want to see your personality. This brings us to your secret weapon... you. Get ready to enhance your strengths.


Eye contact: Forget everything you’ve been told about looking above people’s heads or staring at their eyebrows. The only way to make a connection with your audience is to look them in the eye. Try:


n Scanning the room with a ‘z’ formation.


n Dividing the room into four sections, and hit each section.


n Make extended eye contact with people around the room.


Voice: the 5Ps n Projection: speak so everyone can hear you.


n Pitch: use the ‘melody’ of your voice. Deeper tones show seriousness and higher tones show enthusiasm. Match your pitch to your message.


n Pace: too fast and you lose people; too slow and people lose interest. Keep a steady pace, and then add variety by slowing down or speeding up at appropriate times.


n Pronunciation: enunciating your words helps your audience understand you; it also helps you to slow down. Remember an accent can make your memorable, so make yours an advantage. When presenting to people who are unfamiliar with your


accent, ensure that you pay extra attention to your pronunciation and speed.


n Pause: the pause is probably your most powerful voice tool. Pausing gives your audience the chance to reflect on what you have said and it gives you a chance to breathe. It is also a fantastic substitute for words like ‘um’, ‘err, ‘like’, ‘basically. Saying nothing says you are in control.


Body language: Gestures show your personality. Some presenters like to be still, while others have got to move. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way, but there are some general tips.


Do: n Get ‘centred’ before you move. n Steeple (bring your hands together with just the finger tips touching).


n Count on your fingers to demonstrate points.


n Make the size of the gestures match the room. (For example, aim for smaller-sized gestures for a small audience and go for bolder and large gestures for bigger spaces and more people).


n Move, but then make sure you stop before speaking.


Don’t: n Put your hands in pockets or touch your face.


n Make ‘windmill’ gestures with your arms.


n Rock, shuffle or pace aimlessly.


A word about practice. Many people are happy to ‘wing it’ and give their presentation without having practised it. Great sportspeople and musicians don’t get great by winging it. A lot is riding on your presentation, so give it the practice it deserves.


The pause is probably your most powerful voice tool...Saying nothing says you are in control


studentfocus A MAGAZINE FOR ABE STUDENTS | MAY 2011 | PAGE 15





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