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Unformatted text preview: Making Effective Oral Presentations Introduction While hard work and good ideas are essential to success, your ability to express those ideas and get others to join you is just as important. Much of this verbal expression will be one on one or in small groups but periodically (and for some of us often) you will be involved in more formal and public speaking in front of larger numbers. If this thought makes you nervous you are not alone. Many speakers lack the skills and confidence to make effective presentations. We have all been victims of speakers (eg. teachers) who put us to sleep. Despite knowing how ineffective many speakers are, many of us have found that, despite the best intentions, we haven't fared much better. We knew the topic and the ideas were written down, but the presentation still didn't go well. Was it the way you delivered the speech? Was it because the audience didn't seem interested? Podium Panic Everyone experiences stage fright, speech anxiety, or talking terror. Surveys show that fear of speaking in front of groups is one of the greatest fears people have. Some surveys find people actually claiming that the thought of giving a speech is more frightening than falling off a cliff, financial difficulties, snakes, and even death. The following lists some techniques people use for coping with this fright: • your audience understands your nervousness; they know what you are feeling and will forgive it; similarly they will forgive honest mistakes • nervousness is usually invisible; most will not notice the small changes in your voice or occasional mistakes; most speakers who describe themselves as nervous appear confident and calm to the audience • be yourself; let the real you come through; relax, practice some deep breathing techniques; • begin in your comfort zone; practice with friends; share your fears with friends • check out the room first; check out the space, the equipment, the lights • concentrate on the message • begin with a slow, well-prepared introduction; have a confident and clear conclusion • most important: be prepared and practice The problem of poor communication is complex and cannot be solved by a single book, a course, and certainly not by this short guide. We will point out the critical elements and questions to think about. The approach presented here is predicated on the notion that there is a speechmaking process that involves a few basic steps and within each are particular strategic decisions. FOUR BASIC STEPS • formulate a strategy for the specific audience • develop a flexible, flowing structure • combined prepared material with an enhancing, not distracting, presentation style ; it is important to remember that how you present is as important as what you present....
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- Fall '08