Presentation Skills Essay, Research Paper
Everyone knows the value of being able to communicate for a team project or the positive results of a well-written proposal. But in the area of Public Relations, you also need to be able to give an effective, professional presentation and in order to conquer this there are several things you should keep in mind.
First, you must know what the purpose of your presentation is. Then you must realize what the point or points are that you wish to make. Your entire presentation should support these points.
When preparing for your presentation, there are three things you must know inside and out: yourself, your subject and your audience. Knowing your subject is a given you can only speak if you know what you are talking about. Only speak if you have something to say a point of view or something that your audience wants or needs to hear. To know you audience might amount to a little more work and you must construct your presentation to fit them.
One of the most common mistakes that people make when presenting is that they deliver a speech. Although it may be common, it is not a good mistake to make. Instead, talk to people and respect your audience. Don t speak at them, speak to them. Nothing bores an audience more than a presenter who is simply reading words from a prepared speech.
Stick with concepts and keep main points clear. Remember that many points that you might find interesting might either be boring or unrelated to your audience. Be selective in your presentation and speak with passion. This comes easier to some people than to others, but if you don t care about a subject, neither will your audience. Passion is the number one quality that separates speeches from the convincing and informative presentations that audiences remember.
Speak from knowledge, authority and conviction. Your position at the center of attention already gives you authority, but you need to use it. Speak with confidence and make no excuses. Watch the rhythm of your voice and avoid monotones. Make sure you sound like you are interested in what you are saying and what the audience is hearing. It usually helps if you are interested. Avoid humming between words. Constant ums cause all your comments to blend together and it may sound like you are unprepared. Be prepared and know what you are going to say beforehand and you won t have this problem. At the end, don t just let your presentation die or your message will die with it. Finish in some logical way by summarizing your key points or putting your message into some group context.
Visual aids are an important feature to a presentation. The purpose of visual aids is to enhance your presentation, not upstage it. So be careful when choosing your visual aids. Some examples of visual aids include slides, transparencies, and flip charts.
Slides look really professional and can be run during your talk by remote control. However, transparencies can be altered easily and you can speak with the room lights on. This is important because it makes note taking easier for the audience and you remain visible. Also, for small groups, overheads work great.
Although high-tech computer generated presentations seem to be wonderful, the flip chart still continues to be the most effective presentation media of all. The best visuals have been and still are the simplest. For small groups the flip chart is the perfect size. Other advantages are that flip charts don t need electricity, they are economical, color can be added easily and they allow spontaneity. But be aware that preparing flip charts can take a considerable amount of time. Flip charts may not look high-tech but with proper preparation, they can look just as professional.
Your visual aids can also be used as your notes when speaking. If you know your subject well and have rehearsed your presentation, your visual aids should be all you need to jog your memory. You won t have to worry about what you are going to say next because your next visual aid will have your next major idea on it. They allow you to move around the room, which will help you relax and add energy to your presentation. You will be able to have good eye contact with your audience and it will show that you have properly prepared and are following your plan.
Handouts are also a good visual aid. If the handout is a report or plan of what you are saying, then wait until the end of the presentation to hand it out. If you do so before the presentation, people are more likely to sit and read it instead of listening to you. You want to make sure the audience gives you their undivided attention. But if you intend to leave a hard copy of your presentation behind, make sure you mention this to your audience beforehand. That way, the audience knows they don t have to take notes and they can sit back and take in everything you are saying.
Finally, one of the most important things to keep in mind is your appearance during the presentation. You are the focus of the audience s attention. They are not only listening to what you are saying but how you are saying it, and this includes your body language and what you wear.
Your eyes can be used to convince the audience of your honesty, openness and confidence in the objectives of your presentation. You should try and establish eye contact with each member of your audience as often as possible.
Using your voice is also key. A monotone speech is boring, so it is important to try and vary the pitch and speed of your presentation. Remember that the audience will most likely be looking at your face as you speak. If you are looking distracted then they will be distracted. But if you are smiling then they will be wondering why and will listen to find out.
Heavy emphasis can be put on the way you dress. When you are giving a presentation you must dress for the audience, not for yourself. If they thing you look out of place, then you are. A good choice is to always try and look professional. Most businesses and organizations will appreciate this. But there is always a chance that you will be speaking for a group that is more laid back and would rather have you not dressed in business attire. Which is one reason why it is important to know your audience.
One must also remember your stance and posture while giving your presentation. The audience is taking in everything about you so you should be careful about not conveying boredom or anxiety. Stand tall and keep your hands still except when used to aid your speech.
In conclusion, BE PREPARED! Preparation is key to giving a great presentation. Make sure you rehearse your speech, including use of the visual aids and body language, and you won t have any problems being an excellent presenter.