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Effective Presentation Methods

By Author: Tim Decken
Total Articles: 1

Everybody has their own presentation style: some like to speak freely, in direct interaction with the audience, while others prefer to stick to a written script, holding their speech like a lecture rather than a dialogue. Some tend to tell a lot of stories and anecdotes, some prefer sticking to facts and figures. There are various ways to hold a successful presentation, and a lot depends on the target audience as well as on the speaker. However, there are methods that all of them use, methods that are essential to gain success for a presentation, no matter in which domain.
First, there are four factors that need to be fulfilled: the presented topic itself needs to be covered sufficiently, followed by a call to action. For this, the relation to the audience as well as the personal investment need to be cleared. How dedicated is the speaker? Are they really convinced of their own topic? And what are they trying to reach with their presentation? Questions such as these are essential in order to convince the audience of the presented topic.
Interestingly, the components that are decisive for the overall success of a presentation do not only cover structure and content, but body language and way of speaking likewise. Even if the supportive material is chosen properly and the statements are well worked out, they will be very unlikely to be successful if the speaker does not deliver them convincingly.
This is why it is important to make use of specific stylistic devices, such as rhetoric questions, metaphors, repetitions, hyperboles or anaphora. These can help giving the speech a greater variety, making it less monotone and more interesting for the audience to follow. The use of quotes by famous personalities can also contribute to this matter, not only giving the presentation a greater credibility, but also conveying some sort of prestige, giving the impression that the speaker has a high level of common knowledge.
Moreover, it has been proven that speeches using short, well understandable phrases, avoiding overly complicated technical terms, were considerably more successful than those with exaggerated, long sentences. Even though some speakers might assume that using a large amount of technical terms will help them gain a confident, intelligent impression – however, in most cases, they damage their presentation more than improving it.
A further attempt to improve personal presentation strategies is to become aware of the own voice. A lot of information can be conveyed simply by the way it is delivered – which is why it is of high importance to rehearse the own text, focusing on the matter of pace, intonation and pauses. Recording the own voice can also help noticing personal flaws while speaking – is the topic presented in an appropriate pace? Are the various sentences and units of meaning clearly distinguishable? Does the speaker use too many filler words such as “uhm”, “like”, “so”, etc.? It is easier getting aware of the own style of speaking if observing the own behavior.
An aspect that goes into the same direction is that of body language. Watching videos of personal presentations can help the speaker notice whether they appear confident or whether there are points that they have to change about their behavior. How do they use their arms or hands? Do they act too stiff or wave around their arms freely? Moreover, facial expressions also contribute to this factor. Does the speaker make a friendly appearance or do they keep a poker face? Showing feelings is not a flaw during presentations, on the contrary – the audience do not want to be confronted with an emotionless robot, they want somebody human, somebody they can relate to. Showing facial expressions is one key to gaining the audience’s trust.
Last but not least, the use of additional material should be checked. What kind of devices does the presenter use to underline their arguments? A whiteboard, a PowerPoint presentations, or maybe none at all? There are some speakers that tend to rely on their own skills rather than on supportive material. However, it should be kept in mind that listening to a speech for 20 minutes or longer can be tiring for an audience, and without sufficient supportive material, it might become challenging for them to keep track of the main arguments.
There are various aspects that a speaker needs to regard in order to improve their presentations. Did you consciously focus one of these aspects before?
Source: http://www.berufsstrategie.de/bewerbung-karriere-soft-skills/praesentationstechnik.php (DE)

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