— Eye contact, facial expressions, posture, movements, gestures.Why is it useful? It is natural and a part of communication. to clarify meaning;
it is very visual
to vent nervousness
to maintain interest
to emphasize The golden rule is “Be natural and relaxed!” |
* Positive body language
* eye contact
to keep audiences’ attention (Asian audience might feel aggressed.) facial expressions should be natural and friendly:
raise eyebrows to show surprise –
open eyes wide –
squint your eyes –
curl your eyebrows
* the hands
Lots of possibilities to emphasise, to enumerate.
to express sincerity or reflexion
Be conscious of what you do with your hands
If you are unhappy, hold notes or cards to occupy them
arm – movements back and forth to suggest flow.
Open arms to include or welcome ideas
* body movement
to indicate a change of focus
keep audience’s attention
move forward to emphasize
move to side to indicate a transition gesture
up and down head motions are movements to indicate importance or acknowledgement pen or pointer to indicate part, place (on a transparency)
shrug shoulder to indicate I don’t know or care
stand straight but relaxed
(do not slouch or lean sideways)
Lean forward to emphasize however
No hands in pockets
Negative body language
Failing to make eye contact
Do not look at your notes all the time
Looking at the screen/board means your back is turned to the audience cutting contact Don’t stare, or look blankly into people’s eyes
Avoid swaying back and forth like a pendulum
Avoid leaning against walls
Be aware of your nervous tics
Do not fold your arms like a barrier
While one hand in a pocket gives a very relaxed pose, both hands in pockets looks too casual and should be avoided
The voice is probably the most valuable tool of the presenter. It carries most of the content that the audience takes away. One of the oddities of speech is that we can easily tell others what is wrong with their voice, e.g. too fast, too high, too soft, etc., but we have trouble listening to and changing our own voices. There are five main terms used for defining vocal qualities (Grant-Williams, 2002): * Volume: How loud the sound is. The goal is to be heard without shouting. Good speakers lower their voice to draw the audience in, and raise it to make a point. * Tone: The characteristics of a sound. An airplane has a different sound than leaves being rustled by the wind. A voice that carries fear can frighten the audience, while a voice that carries laughter can get the audience to smile. * Pitch: How high or low a note is. Pee Wee Herman has a high voice, Barbara Walters has a moderate voice, while James Earl Jones has a low voice. * Pace: This is how long a sound lasts. Talking too fast causes the words and syllables to be short, while talking slowly lengthens them. Varying the pace helps to maintain the audience’s interest. * Color: Both projection and tone variance can be practiced by taking the line “This new
policy is going to be exciting” and saying it first with surprise, then with irony, then with grief, and finally with anger. The key is to over-act. Remember Shakespeare’s words “All the world’s a stage” — presentations are the opening night on Broadway! There are two good methods for improving your voice:
1. Listen to it! Practice listening to your voice while at home, driving, walking, etc. Then when you are at work or with company, monitor your voice to see if you are using it how you want to. 2. To really listen to your voice, cup your right hand around your right ear and gently pull the ear forward. Next, cup your left hand around your mouth and direct the sound straight into your ear. This helps you to really hear your voice as others hear it… and it might be completely different from the voice you thought it was! Now practice moderating your voice.
Keep cool if a questioner disagrees with you. You are a professional! No matter how hard you try, not everyone in the world will agree with you! Although some people get a perverse pleasure from putting others on the spot, and some try to look good in front of the boss, most people ask questions from a genuine interest. Questions do not mean you did not explain the topic good enough, but that their interest is deeper than the average audience. Always allow time at the end of the presentation for questions. After inviting questions, do not rush ahead if no one asks a question. Pause for about 6 seconds to allow the audience to gather their thoughts. When a question is asked, repeat the question to ensure that everyone heard it (and that you heard it correctly). When answering, direct your remarks to the entire audience. That way, you keep everyone focused, not just the questioner. To reinforce your presentation, try to relate the question back to the main points. Make sure you listen to the question being asked. If you do not understand it, ask them to clarify. Pause to think about the question as the answer you give may be correct, but ignore the main issue. If you do not know the answer, be honest, do not waffle. Tell them you will get back to them… and make sure you do! Answers that last 10 to 40 seconds work best. If they are too short, they seem abrupt; while longer
answers appear too elaborate. Also, be sure to keep on track. Do not let off-the-wall questions sidetrack you into areas that are not relevant to the presentation. If someone takes issue with something you said, try to find a way to agree with part of their argument. For example, “Yes, I understand your position…” or “I’m glad you raised that point, but…” The idea is to praise their point and agree with them as audiences sometimes tend to think of “us verses you.” You do not want to risk alienating them. Preparing the Presentation
After a concert, a fan rushed up to famed violinist Fritz Kreisler and gushed, “I’d give up my whole life to play as beautifully as you do.” Kreisler replied, “I did.” To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail
The first step of a great presentations is preplanning. Preparing for a presentation basically follows the same guidelines as a meeting (a helpful guide on preparing and conducting a meeting, such as acquiring a room, informing participants, etc.) The second step is to prepare the presentation. A good presentation starts out with introductions and may include an icebreaker such as a story, interesting statement or fact, or an activity to get the group warmed up. The introduction also needs an objective, that is, the purpose or goal of the presentation. This not only tells you what you will talk about, but it also informs the audience of the purpose of the presentation. Next, comes the body of the presentation. Do NOT write it out word for word. All you want is an outline. By jotting down the main points on a set of index cards, you not only have your outline, but also a memory jogger for the actual presentation. To prepare the presentation, ask yourself the following: * What is the purpose of the presentation?
* Who will be attending?
* What does the audience already know about the subject?
* What is the audience’s attitude towards me (e.g. hostile, friendly)? A 45 minutes talk should have no more than about seven main points. This may not seem like very many, but if you are to leave the audience with a clear picture of what you have said, you cannot expect them to remember much more
than that. There are several options for structuring the presentation: * Timeline: Arranged in sequential order.
* Climax: The main points are delivered in order of increasing importance. * Problem/Solution: A problem is presented, a solution is suggested, and benefits are then given. * Classification: The important items are the major points. * Simple to complex: Ideas are listed from the simplest to the most complex. Can also be done in reverse order. You want to include some visual information that will help the audience understand your presentation. Develop charts, graphs, slides, handouts, etc. After the body, comes the closing. This is where you ask for questions, provide a wrap-up (summary), and thank the participants for attending. Notice that you told them what they are about to hear (the objective), told them (the body), and told them what they heard (the wrap up). And finally, the important part — practice, practice, practice. The main purpose of creating an outline is to develop a coherent plan of what you want to talk about. You should know your presentation so well, that during the actual presentation, you should only have to briefly glance at your notes to ensure you are staying on track. This will also help you with your nerves by giving you the confidence that you can do it. Your practice session should include a live session by practicing in front of coworkers, family, or friends. They can be valuable at providing feedback and it gives you a chance to practice controlling your nerves. Another great feedback technique is to make a video or audio tape of your presentation and review it critically with a colleague.