Making Effective and Professional Presentations

Topics: Nonverbal communication, Audience, Communication Pages: 9 (2883 words) Published: August 6, 2008
Making Effective and Professional Presentations
Most people have a fear public speaking which is almost greater than the fear of dying. Jerry Seinfeld spoke about this fear in an episode of Seinfeld “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. The number two fear is death. Death is number two!!! Now, this means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!!!”(Seinfeld, 1993) On the bright side for any type of presentation you can reduce your apprehension and discover the groundwork for making effective and professional presentations. This paper will discuss the three “P” process: planning, preparing, presenting. Throughout life we will all have to give a presentation at least once, here are four objectives that will be explored in this paper: Preparing for a Presentation, Organizing Content, Building Audience Rapport, and The Delivery.

Preparing for a Presentation
In the preparation phase of developing a presentation there are three things to be conscious of (a) developing a purpose, (b) relating to your audience, and (c) delivery to your audience.

Knowing your Purpose
Deciding your purpose is the most important decision in preparing your presentation. It is essential to be clear in your communication on what your purpose is. A clear, gripping and electrifying purpose can make a significant difference in accomplishing your objectives. Purpose gives the presenter a solid foundation on what to communicate to the audience. No one should leave your presentation not knowing what the purpose is.

Two Types of Popular Presentations
There are two popular types of presentations. The first which is the most common is used to report, inform, explain and announce. Often when presenting information, facts and number are involved. The more disciplined you are about sticking to the facts, the more successful you’ll be at providing complete information.(Pincus, 2006) When numbers are involved it is important for the listener to “see” them as well as hear them, this can be achieved through a visual aid i.e. multimedia slides or handouts. The next most popular type is the persuasive presentation, the purpose of a persuasive style is to convince your audience of something they didn’t believe before you confronted them. The energy and atmosphere level should be upbeat. To be convincing, the presenter should accentuate the positive and quickly move on from objections. Visual aids can add value too, “Research has shown that oral presentations that use visuals are more persuasive, more interesting, more credible, and more professional.”(Rice, 2007)

Delivery Strategies to Relate to your Audience
Another key component in preparation is analyzing your audience. Through anticipating your audience you can have a better idea of how to organize your presentation. Audiences fall into four categories: friendly, neutral, uninterested, and hostile. Creating a strategy to friendly audience members is less apprehensive because the audience likes you and your topic. Many organizational styles will work, when captivating this audience type involve the audience, smile and make a lot of eye contact, and include personal examples and experiences. Presenting to neutral audiences will often be the calmest of audiences. Both sides of the case should be presented. A good technique is to include both pros and cons of the subject matter. Facts should be the bottom line in presenting to neutral audiences. Often neutral audiences will have questions, so leave time at the end of your presentation to address them. The next type is an uninterested audience which may have no interest and/or may have been forced to attend. For example, you are in a group and there are weekly mandatory meetings, but this week’s topic has nothing to do with your responsibilities within the group. Be straight and to the point, avoid pros and cons this can seem lengthy to the...
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