Giving a Presentation

Reviewed Sep 17, 2016

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Summary

  • Define the purpose.
  • Assess the audience.
  • Compose your speech and practice.
  • Keep visual aids simple.
  • Smile and be confident.

Whether giving an informal speech at a local garden club meeting or a presentation to a roomful of business executives, public speaking for some people can be a daunting experience. The following suggestions can make the task of organizing a public speech more manageable, and get you on your way to delivering an effective presentation.

Define the purpose

First, identify the purpose of the presentation. Think about what you want the audience to do when the speech is over, and what points you want them to walk away with. In his book, Making Successful Presentations: A Self-Teaching Guide, Terry C. Smith suggests you answer the following questions before writing a speech:

  • Why am I giving this talk?
  • Who is going to be in the audience?
  • What am I going to say?
  • Where will the meeting be?
  • When will the meeting be?
  • How am I going to do it?

Assess the audience

Unless you are giving a business-related presentation and the speech topic has already been determined, keep your subject matter tentative until you have considered the audience members. Analyze the audience to gain a sense of how they will react to the subject matter. You may find it easier to decide what to include in the speech if you try to determine how much the audience already knows about the topic, how interested they are in hearing about it, and what they may believe in and value.

Compose your speech

A speech should be comprised of the following three components:

  • Introduction. Give the audience a reason for listening by capturing their attention. You may want to start off with a quote, statistic or story relevant to the main idea.
  • Body. Tell the audience about the topic by dividing the main idea into separate points and expand on the theme.
  • Conclusion. Revisit the introduction and summarize the main idea by referring to specific points in the body of the speech.

Design visual aids

While visual aids may not be mandatory, they can aid listener comprehension and memory, arouse interest, encourage participation, and explain the inaccessible. When preparing, think about where the speech will be given, room arrangement and size, your budget, the number of times the visuals will be used, and the length of the speech.

Developments in technology have forged the way for more sophisticated visual aids such has video teleconferencing and electronic presentations using computers. But no matter how advanced technology becomes, some things still remain the same: Keep visual aids simple. In his book, Presentations Plus: Techniques That Work From the Experts' Expert, David A. Peoples recommends the following:

  • Have only one key point per visual. There is one exception: If the information is familiar to the audience, you can combine several points.
  • Use bullets. Don't use complete sentences or paragraphs.
  • Don't show a page full of numbers. Translate complex numbers into pie charts, line graphs, or bar graphs.
  • Use actual objects if possible. If you can't use the real thing, show a picture of it.

Visual aids should not be used as a crutch. They are there to complement the speech and to serve as a checklist of ideas that you will expand on during the speech.

Deliver with confidence and enthusiasm

Memorization may not be necessary, but it is important to maintain eye contact with the audience. Other tips to remember while delivering a speech include:

  • Pace yourself. Don't talk too quickly, and remember to clearly enunciate words.
  • Emphasize important points in a sentence by stressing certain sounds and syllables and pausing throughout the speech.
  • Maintain good posture. Don't slouch, speak with your head down, rock from side to side or front to back, hold on to supports such as a lectern or table, or stand rigidly.
  • Smile. Facial expressions are another way to convey your meaning to the audience. If it appears you are having fun and are enthused about the topic, the audience will become interested and show enthusiasm, too.

Tips for nervousness

You have everything ready for the presentation, but maybe you're nervous about speaking in public or fear you will make a mistake or forget to use a visual aid. Relax. Take deep breaths and picture yourself giving the speech in a confident manner. When you visualize yourself as a successful speaker, you will be successful.

Icebreakers such as games may be helpful to ease nervousness and allow you and the audience to become acquainted with each other. It's sometimes easier to speak to a group of friends than to a roomful of strangers.

Perhaps the best tip to ease nervousness, according to Peoples and Smith, is to practice. Practicing helps you memorize the speech and get comfortable using your visual aids.

Resources

The Exceptional Presenter by Timothy J. Koegel. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2007.

Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons From the Masters by Jerry Weissman. FT Press, 2011.

By Amy Daugherty
Source: Presentations Plus: Techniques That Work From the Experts' Expert by David A. Peoples. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1992; Making Successful Presentations: A Self-Teaching Guide (second edition) by Terry C. Smith, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1991; Principles and Types of Speech Communication by Bruce E. Gronbeck, Raymie E. McKerrow, Douglas Ehninger and Alan H. Monroe, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1990.

Summary

  • Define the purpose.
  • Assess the audience.
  • Compose your speech and practice.
  • Keep visual aids simple.
  • Smile and be confident.

Whether giving an informal speech at a local garden club meeting or a presentation to a roomful of business executives, public speaking for some people can be a daunting experience. The following suggestions can make the task of organizing a public speech more manageable, and get you on your way to delivering an effective presentation.

Define the purpose

First, identify the purpose of the presentation. Think about what you want the audience to do when the speech is over, and what points you want them to walk away with. In his book, Making Successful Presentations: A Self-Teaching Guide, Terry C. Smith suggests you answer the following questions before writing a speech:

  • Why am I giving this talk?
  • Who is going to be in the audience?
  • What am I going to say?
  • Where will the meeting be?
  • When will the meeting be?
  • How am I going to do it?

Assess the audience

Unless you are giving a business-related presentation and the speech topic has already been determined, keep your subject matter tentative until you have considered the audience members. Analyze the audience to gain a sense of how they will react to the subject matter. You may find it easier to decide what to include in the speech if you try to determine how much the audience already knows about the topic, how interested they are in hearing about it, and what they may believe in and value.

Compose your speech

A speech should be comprised of the following three components:

  • Introduction. Give the audience a reason for listening by capturing their attention. You may want to start off with a quote, statistic or story relevant to the main idea.
  • Body. Tell the audience about the topic by dividing the main idea into separate points and expand on the theme.
  • Conclusion. Revisit the introduction and summarize the main idea by referring to specific points in the body of the speech.

Design visual aids

While visual aids may not be mandatory, they can aid listener comprehension and memory, arouse interest, encourage participation, and explain the inaccessible. When preparing, think about where the speech will be given, room arrangement and size, your budget, the number of times the visuals will be used, and the length of the speech.

Developments in technology have forged the way for more sophisticated visual aids such has video teleconferencing and electronic presentations using computers. But no matter how advanced technology becomes, some things still remain the same: Keep visual aids simple. In his book, Presentations Plus: Techniques That Work From the Experts' Expert, David A. Peoples recommends the following:

  • Have only one key point per visual. There is one exception: If the information is familiar to the audience, you can combine several points.
  • Use bullets. Don't use complete sentences or paragraphs.
  • Don't show a page full of numbers. Translate complex numbers into pie charts, line graphs, or bar graphs.
  • Use actual objects if possible. If you can't use the real thing, show a picture of it.

Visual aids should not be used as a crutch. They are there to complement the speech and to serve as a checklist of ideas that you will expand on during the speech.

Deliver with confidence and enthusiasm

Memorization may not be necessary, but it is important to maintain eye contact with the audience. Other tips to remember while delivering a speech include:

  • Pace yourself. Don't talk too quickly, and remember to clearly enunciate words.
  • Emphasize important points in a sentence by stressing certain sounds and syllables and pausing throughout the speech.
  • Maintain good posture. Don't slouch, speak with your head down, rock from side to side or front to back, hold on to supports such as a lectern or table, or stand rigidly.
  • Smile. Facial expressions are another way to convey your meaning to the audience. If it appears you are having fun and are enthused about the topic, the audience will become interested and show enthusiasm, too.

Tips for nervousness

You have everything ready for the presentation, but maybe you're nervous about speaking in public or fear you will make a mistake or forget to use a visual aid. Relax. Take deep breaths and picture yourself giving the speech in a confident manner. When you visualize yourself as a successful speaker, you will be successful.

Icebreakers such as games may be helpful to ease nervousness and allow you and the audience to become acquainted with each other. It's sometimes easier to speak to a group of friends than to a roomful of strangers.

Perhaps the best tip to ease nervousness, according to Peoples and Smith, is to practice. Practicing helps you memorize the speech and get comfortable using your visual aids.

Resources

The Exceptional Presenter by Timothy J. Koegel. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2007.

Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons From the Masters by Jerry Weissman. FT Press, 2011.

By Amy Daugherty
Source: Presentations Plus: Techniques That Work From the Experts' Expert by David A. Peoples. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1992; Making Successful Presentations: A Self-Teaching Guide (second edition) by Terry C. Smith, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1991; Principles and Types of Speech Communication by Bruce E. Gronbeck, Raymie E. McKerrow, Douglas Ehninger and Alan H. Monroe, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1990.

Summary

  • Define the purpose.
  • Assess the audience.
  • Compose your speech and practice.
  • Keep visual aids simple.
  • Smile and be confident.

Whether giving an informal speech at a local garden club meeting or a presentation to a roomful of business executives, public speaking for some people can be a daunting experience. The following suggestions can make the task of organizing a public speech more manageable, and get you on your way to delivering an effective presentation.

Define the purpose

First, identify the purpose of the presentation. Think about what you want the audience to do when the speech is over, and what points you want them to walk away with. In his book, Making Successful Presentations: A Self-Teaching Guide, Terry C. Smith suggests you answer the following questions before writing a speech:

  • Why am I giving this talk?
  • Who is going to be in the audience?
  • What am I going to say?
  • Where will the meeting be?
  • When will the meeting be?
  • How am I going to do it?

Assess the audience

Unless you are giving a business-related presentation and the speech topic has already been determined, keep your subject matter tentative until you have considered the audience members. Analyze the audience to gain a sense of how they will react to the subject matter. You may find it easier to decide what to include in the speech if you try to determine how much the audience already knows about the topic, how interested they are in hearing about it, and what they may believe in and value.

Compose your speech

A speech should be comprised of the following three components:

  • Introduction. Give the audience a reason for listening by capturing their attention. You may want to start off with a quote, statistic or story relevant to the main idea.
  • Body. Tell the audience about the topic by dividing the main idea into separate points and expand on the theme.
  • Conclusion. Revisit the introduction and summarize the main idea by referring to specific points in the body of the speech.

Design visual aids

While visual aids may not be mandatory, they can aid listener comprehension and memory, arouse interest, encourage participation, and explain the inaccessible. When preparing, think about where the speech will be given, room arrangement and size, your budget, the number of times the visuals will be used, and the length of the speech.

Developments in technology have forged the way for more sophisticated visual aids such has video teleconferencing and electronic presentations using computers. But no matter how advanced technology becomes, some things still remain the same: Keep visual aids simple. In his book, Presentations Plus: Techniques That Work From the Experts' Expert, David A. Peoples recommends the following:

  • Have only one key point per visual. There is one exception: If the information is familiar to the audience, you can combine several points.
  • Use bullets. Don't use complete sentences or paragraphs.
  • Don't show a page full of numbers. Translate complex numbers into pie charts, line graphs, or bar graphs.
  • Use actual objects if possible. If you can't use the real thing, show a picture of it.

Visual aids should not be used as a crutch. They are there to complement the speech and to serve as a checklist of ideas that you will expand on during the speech.

Deliver with confidence and enthusiasm

Memorization may not be necessary, but it is important to maintain eye contact with the audience. Other tips to remember while delivering a speech include:

  • Pace yourself. Don't talk too quickly, and remember to clearly enunciate words.
  • Emphasize important points in a sentence by stressing certain sounds and syllables and pausing throughout the speech.
  • Maintain good posture. Don't slouch, speak with your head down, rock from side to side or front to back, hold on to supports such as a lectern or table, or stand rigidly.
  • Smile. Facial expressions are another way to convey your meaning to the audience. If it appears you are having fun and are enthused about the topic, the audience will become interested and show enthusiasm, too.

Tips for nervousness

You have everything ready for the presentation, but maybe you're nervous about speaking in public or fear you will make a mistake or forget to use a visual aid. Relax. Take deep breaths and picture yourself giving the speech in a confident manner. When you visualize yourself as a successful speaker, you will be successful.

Icebreakers such as games may be helpful to ease nervousness and allow you and the audience to become acquainted with each other. It's sometimes easier to speak to a group of friends than to a roomful of strangers.

Perhaps the best tip to ease nervousness, according to Peoples and Smith, is to practice. Practicing helps you memorize the speech and get comfortable using your visual aids.

Resources

The Exceptional Presenter by Timothy J. Koegel. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2007.

Presentations in Action: 80 Memorable Presentation Lessons From the Masters by Jerry Weissman. FT Press, 2011.

By Amy Daugherty
Source: Presentations Plus: Techniques That Work From the Experts' Expert by David A. Peoples. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1992; Making Successful Presentations: A Self-Teaching Guide (second edition) by Terry C. Smith, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1991; Principles and Types of Speech Communication by Bruce E. Gronbeck, Raymie E. McKerrow, Douglas Ehninger and Alan H. Monroe, HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1990.

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