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Effective communications: delivering presentation.

[check] This checklist is intended for anyone giving a presentation, whether formal or informal. It assumes that you have spent time in preparing an effective presentation (see Related checklist) and are now ready to deliver it.


For the purposes of this checklist, a presentation covers any talk to a group, whether formal or informal, from giving a team briefing to delivering a major speech: the same rules and principles apply.

Action checklist

1. Choose the right style The size of your audience and the purpose of the presentation will determine its style. Obtain precise information about audience size: a large audience for one presenter is but a small group to another.

* For five to ten, aim for an informal style with few visual aids. Sit or balance on the edge of a table or desk. Plan to establish relationships immediately and engage each individual.

* For ten to thirty, you need a more formal style but you can still establish relationships. Stand up and expect to use some visual aids.

* For thirty to a hundred, you will need good presentation aids and a formal style; it will be difficult to engage with individuals.

* Over a hundred, view this as a theatre style presentation: you will be 'on stage' and performing with a microphone. Your facial gestures and body language will need to be exaggerated to be effective.

2. Check the venue

Do a last minute check on equipment: can you use the microphone, the projector, are your visual aids visible? Who will introduce you and when? Is there a glass of water to hand?

3. Check your appearance

Ensure your appearance doesn't detract from your message. Dress conservatively and tidily. Check your tie, shoes, make-up. 4. Establish your presence

Once you have been introduced, pause; take a deep breath; look at the audience; make eye contact and acknowledge their presence. Relax your body and stand tall. Smile!

5. Establish your credentials

Explain why you are there and what gives you the authority to speak. Confirm the audience's expectations by announcing what you will speak about. Resolve any confusions or queries immediately: it is always possible you are in the wrong place!

6. Involve your audience

Get their attention initially using a visual aid or something unexpected. Ask a question, even if it is rhetorical. Say something that shows you understand their concerns or expectations. Deflecting attention to the audience removes some of the attention from you and helps with stage fright.

7. Let your personality show

Remember that feelings, not facts, convince people. Put genuine conviction behind what you are saying and allow your emotions to show through. This will also help you to overcome stage fright.

8. Use positive body language

Remember to stand erect. Don't lean on the lectern and don't play with your hair, tie, jewellery or clothing. For those who talk better on the move, walk around naturally and use your hands as you would in conversation for emphasis. Use ordinary facial expressions and, where appropriate, smile!

9. Take control of your voice Project your voice through standing straight and breathing deeply. Speak clearly and more slowly than usual. Speak naturally but lower the pitch of your voice if you are nervous. Be aware of your speech mannerisms and consciously avoid repeating them. Avoid hesitating: if you have lost your place or your nerve, just pause, but don't "um" or "er".

10. Introduce variety

Vary the timing of your delivery and the pitch of your voice. Speed up or slow down and change tone in different sections. Use inflections and emphases even if they sound exaggerated to you. Occasionally pause or stop completely in a long presentation--the audience need time to absorb the content and you need time to reflect: are you going too quickly; have you put your hands in your pockets without realising it?

11. Build on your rapport with the audience

Maintain eye contact and play to the cheerleaders--people you know or sense to be sympathetic. Show how your presentation is relevant to them and avoid using 'I' or 'me' too often.

12. Introduce humour

If you are confident, use humour to lighten or vary the mood. Use it only to support the text, not in its own right. Don't be cruel to anyone in the audience.

13. Face up to the unexpected

The audience will notice disturbances or mistakes but you will only remember how you handled them. Acknowledge rather than ignore interruptions and try to deflect or make light of them through humour.

14. Improvise

Although thorough preparation is essential it may be inappropriate to come over as too 'prepared', slick or clinical. Remember to adjust to the mood and atmosphere of the audience.

15. Conclude

Bring the presentation to a conclusion. Be brief, don't repeat the main text and end on a high note, in tone, energy and content. Leave the audience wanting slightly more.

16. Be positive about questions

Actively encourage questions. Repeat the question so everyone can hear it. If you don't know the answer, admit it but offer to take a name and address to reply to later. Don't get into debate or argument.

Dos and don'ts for delivering effective presentations

Do</p> <pre> Be yourself: allow your personality to come through rather than try to emulate presenters you admire. Start and finish on time--or before time if there are to be questions--otherwise you will lose the audience's sympathy regardless of how good the content is. Use handouts to convey detailed or complex ideas rather than cramming them into your presentation. </pre> <p>Don't</p> <pre> Try to cover too much in one presentation and end up rushing to finish by talking faster. Use humour inappropriately or use it against your audience: you are the only legitimate target in the room. Use too many visual aids: they distract the audience and rarely add value </pre> <p>Useful reading

Lend me your ears : all you need to know about making speeches and presentations, Max Atkinson London, Vermilion 2004

Presenting numbers tables and charts, Sally Bigwood and Melissa Spore Oxford, Oxford University Press 2004

Communication skills for effective management, Owen Hargie, David Dickson and Dennis Tourish Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan 2004

The ultimate business presentations book: Martin Yate and Peter Sander London, Kogan Page 2003

Thought starters

* Does each part of the content of your speech match up to the title and purpose?

* Do all your visual aids really add something to the spoken word?

* Have you tried your presentation out on guinea pigs for length, humour or interest?

* Have you ever used the particular visual aid you will be working with before?

* Do you know who your audience will be or how many there will be?
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Title Annotation:Checklist 031
Publication:Chartered Management Institute: Checklists: Personal Effectiveness and Development
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Previous Article:Managing your time effectively.
Next Article:Effective communications: preparing presentations.

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