Suggestions for Effective Presentations
What is the Goal for your audience?
I want my audience to:
Make the goal very specific and feasible to achieve in the time you have.
Who makes up my audience? (The goal needs to be appropriate for your audience, so defining the goal and the audience are related steps.)
Define your intention: Goal + Main Point/Thesis (two examples)
· I want to engage my audience and then change their minds or at least prompt controversy. First, Ill suggest they agree with common idea A. Then, Ill convince them that idea B is more compelling. Here are a couple of openings as examples:
Alas, Wadjas Danton shows us that film cant capture the complexities of historical events. Right? (Audience nods in agreement.) And yet, Danton evokes historical complexity in other important ways: the music, the sound, the sets, the color, the symbolsall evoke an emotional dimension that written histories cant match. Consider this . . . .
Frankenstein! Think a minute. . . . What comes to mind? Boris Karlof? . . . . A Monster? . . . . Right. The image is everywhere. . . . Poor Mary Shelley would turn in her grave to see what Hollywood has done to her novel. There Victor Frankenstein is the villain and the creature is the victim who was brutalized by social prejudice.
· I want to lead them to understand something quite complex or subtle.
How many of you know how Hitler came to power? By coup detat? By dumb luck? Not sure? . . . Well, in my view he come to power via three big steps. First, . . . .
In sum: when you are working on your presentation, ask yourself at each step whether your main point and supporting details fit your intention. If not, revise.
Time: How much time do you have to make your point? Time yourself beforehand; shorten where necessary.
Does your use of visual aids--handout, outline on a flip chart or board, web page, etc.--enhance your intended goal and message? Or will it confuse? Typically "less is more." Try to avoid "overloading" your audience.
Voice and Eyes: How can you use your voice and eye contact to enhance your presentation?
Variation in voice to underscore significance, for example. Keeping eye contact with the audience helps keep them engaged. (Try scanning a quarter of the room at a time.)
Know your beginning and ending:
Prepare an introduction that helps connect you with the audience and gains their interest and attention.
Prepare a conclusion that summarizes and leaves people thinking about your main points. Commit these parts to memory so you know this part of your ''script." This will give you confidence at the critical opening and concluding of your presentation.
Practice: Practice your presentation by giving it to a friend who can coach you or to yourself in the mirror.
Structure of a Presentation
Two important aims:
The first point is essential; the others may vary according to time allotted and the purpose of the presentation.
Explain in progression
Summary and Closing
For a 5 minute presentation: