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Making Effective Presentations
What is a presentation?
• It is the process of presenting the
content of a topic to an audience
consisting of one or more persons.
• It utilizes some visual aid.
• It is generally a PowerPoint file
containing all the slides for a given
speech.
4 basic steps in making
effective Presentations
■

Strategy – formulate a strategy for the specific
audience.

■

Structure – develop a flexible and flowing
structure

■

Presentation style – how you present is as
important as what you present

■

Handling questions – confident and informed
responses to questions and challenges
Step 1: Formulating a strategy
■
■

■

■
■
■

It is critical to know the purpose of
communication.
Knowing the audience and expectations of the
audience is very important to decide what to
present and how to present.
Tailor your presentation to the audience w.r.t
to their needs, desires, knowledge level and
attitude towards the topic.
Be concrete, specific, practical, and relevant.
Be clear about your objective – is it to
motivate, inform, persuade, teach?
Research your topic thoroughly.
Step 2: Developing a flexible
and flowing structure
■

Once you know what you want to say, you need
to organize all the information in a structured
manner.

■

Do not assume that the information will speak for
itself.

■

The audience might interpret the information in
different ways based on your organization and
presentation.
Step 2: Developing a flexible
and flowing structure – Contd…
The audience needs to have the following basic
questions answered:
■

Why should I pay attention to you when I can think
about more interesting things?

■

Now that I am listening, why should I care about this
issue?

■

I agree with the significance of the topic, but how are
you justifying your ideas?

■

So, now that I am convinced, what do you want from
me?
Step 2: Developing a flexible
and flowing structure – Contd…
Some pointers while organizing your ideas:
■
■
■
■
■
■

begin by placing your topic in context; you might want
to provide an outline or a road map.
provide the intended, expected benefits, organization
of the presentation, and ground rules.
organize the body of the presentation logically - make
it easy to follow - go from the simple to the complex.
when appropriate, plan ways to encourage audience
participation.
maintain credibility: discuss the pros and cons.
conclude on a "high note" - include an overall
summary and proposed actions or options.
Step 2: Developing a flexible
and flowing structure – Contd…
Some pointers while organizing your ideas
(contd…)
■
■
■

incorporate visual aids effectively – graphs, pictures,
etc
prepare for contingencies - practice your presentation
and prepare for contingencies – rehearse.
think about what might happen and prepare - what if
the overhead bulb blows out... what if the audience is
more prepared than you expected... what if there is
an unexpected question - if a disruption is particularly
obtrusive, you might relieve the tension with a joke or
humorous comment
Step 3: Presentation style

Presentation style and personal
confidence are as important
as the actual content of the presentation
itself.
Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…)

■

■
■

Effective presenters recognize that
communication is both intellectual and
emotional.
Organizing your ideas is one important
task.
The other most important task is to
gain and maintain the attention of the
audience.
Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…)
Techniques to gain and maintain attention:
■ Convey ‘controlled enthusiasm’ for your
subject – the audience will forgive a lot if the
speaker is enthusiastic.
■ Pay attention to posture and tone.
■ Your audience will mirror your attitude –
radiate confidence without preaching.
■ Don’t confuse enthusiasm with loudness; try
to convey a range of emotions from concern,
anticipation, excitement, dismay.
■ Where appropriate, candidly discuss pros and
cons; explain advantages first and then the
risks and challenges.
Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…)
Gaining audience interest
■
■

■
■
■
■
■
■

provide variety and relief if possible; novelty and
uniqueness will increase the impact.
Alternate moving and standing still, speaking and listening,
doing and thinking; use physical space and body
movement to enhance your message.
try to add stories, anecdotes, testimonials, analogies,
demonstrations.
use humor appropriately - make it in good taste.
presentations are movies not snapshots; prepare the space for
movement.
try to position yourself to enhance rapport with the audience.
eye contact is your primary tool for establishing audience
involvement; look at your audience in random rotating order.
use gestures naturally; do what is natural to you: some
gestures are wrong - jingling change in a pocket, toying with
notes, shifting from one foot to the other; or any repeated
gesture.
Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…)

■
■

■

Once audience interest is gained, you
must help them to retain it.
Members of the audience may drift in
and out without paying attention at all
times.
You need to help the audience refocus
periodically – reiteration, conclusions.
Step 4: Handling Objections /
questions
■ ask "friendly" questions - don't use questions to
embarrass or badger; avoid known "sore spots"
■ avoid asking risky questions - that is, questions that
may imply lack of knowledge or intelligence
■ make the interchange a mutually satisfying
experience; give respondents time to think and
phrase their answer; help people save face by
summarizing what they have said so far and asking if
anyone else has something to add
Step 4: Handling Objections /
questions (Contd…)
■ don't let respondents wander or attempt to take
control of the presentation; a polite "thank you, that's
what I was looking for" can get you back on track
■ if extensive audience discussion is desired, avoid
isolated one-on-one dialogues with specific
individuals
■ when challenged, be candid and firm but avoid over
responding
■ maintain control of the session
■ be firm and assertive without being aggressive or
defensive
■ don't let interruptions disrupt your composure
■ avoid circumstances that require an apology
Step 4: Handling questions and
challenges
■ anticipate questions and prepare responses;
rehearse answers to difficult questions
■ if necessary, offer to obtain additional information and
follow up
■ use questions to strengthen your main argumentsanswer questions candidly but positively link
objections to attractive features
Step 4: Handling questions and
challenges (Contd…)
■ avoid rhetorical questions - ask interesting questions
that are thought provoking but not too difficult to
answer
■ ask some open ended question with no right or wrong
answers - encourage sharing experiences, feelings,
opinions
■ put "you" elements into questions - make them
relevant to the audience's personal experience
■ prepare key questions prior to the presentation; it is
difficult to think of good questions on your feet
Step 4: Handling questions and
challenges (Contd…)
Guidelines for answering questions
■
■
■
■
■
■
■

■

Anticipate Questions: think of the ten most likely questions and
plan out your answer.
Understand the Question: paraphrase it if necessary; repeat it if
needed.
Plan the Answer: particularly if you anticipated the question.
Do Not Digress.
Be Honest: if you can't answer the question, say so.
Reinterpret Loaded Questions: if attacked try to show the
similarity to other situations.
Control Interchanges: if a member of the audience becomes
a heckler try to enlist the audience; if a questioner digresses,
try to remind the audience of the goal of the presentation
Use the Last Question to Summarize.
Conclusion: Checklist for an
effective presentation
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■
■

Start preparing early; don't wait until the last few
days to prepare.
Think about Your Audience.
Be clear about your purpose.
Use an effective introduction.
Organize your presentation clearly and simply.
Use supporting material to support your point.
Create an effective conclusion.
Sound spontaneous, conversational and enthusiastic.
Use body language effectively.
Use visual aids to enhance the message.
Check the physical environment in advance.
Finally, cope with stage fright by remembering that it is
normal and everyone feels it.
Thank You

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Effective presentation skills

  • 2. What is a presentation? • It is the process of presenting the content of a topic to an audience consisting of one or more persons. • It utilizes some visual aid. • It is generally a PowerPoint file containing all the slides for a given speech.
  • 3. 4 basic steps in making effective Presentations ■ Strategy – formulate a strategy for the specific audience. ■ Structure – develop a flexible and flowing structure ■ Presentation style – how you present is as important as what you present ■ Handling questions – confident and informed responses to questions and challenges
  • 4. Step 1: Formulating a strategy ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ It is critical to know the purpose of communication. Knowing the audience and expectations of the audience is very important to decide what to present and how to present. Tailor your presentation to the audience w.r.t to their needs, desires, knowledge level and attitude towards the topic. Be concrete, specific, practical, and relevant. Be clear about your objective – is it to motivate, inform, persuade, teach? Research your topic thoroughly.
  • 5. Step 2: Developing a flexible and flowing structure ■ Once you know what you want to say, you need to organize all the information in a structured manner. ■ Do not assume that the information will speak for itself. ■ The audience might interpret the information in different ways based on your organization and presentation.
  • 6. Step 2: Developing a flexible and flowing structure – Contd… The audience needs to have the following basic questions answered: ■ Why should I pay attention to you when I can think about more interesting things? ■ Now that I am listening, why should I care about this issue? ■ I agree with the significance of the topic, but how are you justifying your ideas? ■ So, now that I am convinced, what do you want from me?
  • 7. Step 2: Developing a flexible and flowing structure – Contd… Some pointers while organizing your ideas: ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ begin by placing your topic in context; you might want to provide an outline or a road map. provide the intended, expected benefits, organization of the presentation, and ground rules. organize the body of the presentation logically - make it easy to follow - go from the simple to the complex. when appropriate, plan ways to encourage audience participation. maintain credibility: discuss the pros and cons. conclude on a "high note" - include an overall summary and proposed actions or options.
  • 8. Step 2: Developing a flexible and flowing structure – Contd… Some pointers while organizing your ideas (contd…) ■ ■ ■ incorporate visual aids effectively – graphs, pictures, etc prepare for contingencies - practice your presentation and prepare for contingencies – rehearse. think about what might happen and prepare - what if the overhead bulb blows out... what if the audience is more prepared than you expected... what if there is an unexpected question - if a disruption is particularly obtrusive, you might relieve the tension with a joke or humorous comment
  • 9. Step 3: Presentation style Presentation style and personal confidence are as important as the actual content of the presentation itself.
  • 10. Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…) ■ ■ ■ Effective presenters recognize that communication is both intellectual and emotional. Organizing your ideas is one important task. The other most important task is to gain and maintain the attention of the audience.
  • 11. Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…) Techniques to gain and maintain attention: ■ Convey ‘controlled enthusiasm’ for your subject – the audience will forgive a lot if the speaker is enthusiastic. ■ Pay attention to posture and tone. ■ Your audience will mirror your attitude – radiate confidence without preaching. ■ Don’t confuse enthusiasm with loudness; try to convey a range of emotions from concern, anticipation, excitement, dismay. ■ Where appropriate, candidly discuss pros and cons; explain advantages first and then the risks and challenges.
  • 12. Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…) Gaining audience interest ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ provide variety and relief if possible; novelty and uniqueness will increase the impact. Alternate moving and standing still, speaking and listening, doing and thinking; use physical space and body movement to enhance your message. try to add stories, anecdotes, testimonials, analogies, demonstrations. use humor appropriately - make it in good taste. presentations are movies not snapshots; prepare the space for movement. try to position yourself to enhance rapport with the audience. eye contact is your primary tool for establishing audience involvement; look at your audience in random rotating order. use gestures naturally; do what is natural to you: some gestures are wrong - jingling change in a pocket, toying with notes, shifting from one foot to the other; or any repeated gesture.
  • 13. Step 3: Presentation Style (Contd…) ■ ■ ■ Once audience interest is gained, you must help them to retain it. Members of the audience may drift in and out without paying attention at all times. You need to help the audience refocus periodically – reiteration, conclusions.
  • 14. Step 4: Handling Objections / questions ■ ask "friendly" questions - don't use questions to embarrass or badger; avoid known "sore spots" ■ avoid asking risky questions - that is, questions that may imply lack of knowledge or intelligence ■ make the interchange a mutually satisfying experience; give respondents time to think and phrase their answer; help people save face by summarizing what they have said so far and asking if anyone else has something to add
  • 15. Step 4: Handling Objections / questions (Contd…) ■ don't let respondents wander or attempt to take control of the presentation; a polite "thank you, that's what I was looking for" can get you back on track ■ if extensive audience discussion is desired, avoid isolated one-on-one dialogues with specific individuals ■ when challenged, be candid and firm but avoid over responding ■ maintain control of the session ■ be firm and assertive without being aggressive or defensive ■ don't let interruptions disrupt your composure ■ avoid circumstances that require an apology
  • 16. Step 4: Handling questions and challenges ■ anticipate questions and prepare responses; rehearse answers to difficult questions ■ if necessary, offer to obtain additional information and follow up ■ use questions to strengthen your main argumentsanswer questions candidly but positively link objections to attractive features
  • 17. Step 4: Handling questions and challenges (Contd…) ■ avoid rhetorical questions - ask interesting questions that are thought provoking but not too difficult to answer ■ ask some open ended question with no right or wrong answers - encourage sharing experiences, feelings, opinions ■ put "you" elements into questions - make them relevant to the audience's personal experience ■ prepare key questions prior to the presentation; it is difficult to think of good questions on your feet
  • 18. Step 4: Handling questions and challenges (Contd…) Guidelines for answering questions ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Anticipate Questions: think of the ten most likely questions and plan out your answer. Understand the Question: paraphrase it if necessary; repeat it if needed. Plan the Answer: particularly if you anticipated the question. Do Not Digress. Be Honest: if you can't answer the question, say so. Reinterpret Loaded Questions: if attacked try to show the similarity to other situations. Control Interchanges: if a member of the audience becomes a heckler try to enlist the audience; if a questioner digresses, try to remind the audience of the goal of the presentation Use the Last Question to Summarize.
  • 19. Conclusion: Checklist for an effective presentation ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ Start preparing early; don't wait until the last few days to prepare. Think about Your Audience. Be clear about your purpose. Use an effective introduction. Organize your presentation clearly and simply. Use supporting material to support your point. Create an effective conclusion. Sound spontaneous, conversational and enthusiastic. Use body language effectively. Use visual aids to enhance the message. Check the physical environment in advance. Finally, cope with stage fright by remembering that it is normal and everyone feels it.