What is a Presentation?
A presentation is the process of presenting a topic to an audience. It is generally a demonstration, introduction, lecture, or speech meant to inform, persuade, inspire, motivate, or to build good will or to present a new idea or product to a group of people.
If you are given the responsibility to conduct a Presentation and if you want it to be a successful one it is essential for you to Prepare and Train yourself for it.You can prepare by asking yourself the right questions and coming up with good answers and solutions.Let’s see some of such questions a Presenter should ask himself to Prepare well for the Presentation.
One of the key question any presenter should ask himself is:
♦ Why am I here?
Few people are asked to give a presentation because their audience likes the sound of their voice.The majority of presentations are given for a purpose. The key is to make the purpose of the presentation that of the individual members of the audience, not the purpose of the presenter.
Unconsciously, members of an audience ask the following questions:
♦ Why am I here?
♦ What will I get out of listening to this talk?
♦ Will what the presenter is saying help me?
The secret of a good presenter is to hook into what the audience wants from the talk and give it to them. You must answer the WIIFM: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?
If I Can Get ( My Audience) To Agree That (My Plan/ Proposal) Will
Help Them (In Their Jobs) Then They Will Agree To ( My Proposal).
For instance, if I can get Presentation Techniques for Impact course participants to agree that this training will help them in their jobs, then they will agree to take part in the activities of the next two days.
Before undertaking any presentation – or for that matter going into any meeting – ask the WIIFM question. This way you can get into the minds of the audience and thus turn your knowledge and thoughts into the items that they need to help them with their jobs.
As well as the WIIFM statement you must also answer the Because questions:-
I Am Standing Up Here Because…
They Are Listening To Me Because…
This way you will be allowed to say your piece and the audience will listen to you as opposed to just hearing you. For instance,
♦ I am standing up here because whoever books your training heard what a great course this was and how good I was as its presenter and then contracted me to provide this course for your company to answer your requests for help with presentations.
♦ They are listening to me because they applied to come on this course having already identified their own needs for help in giving more effective presentations.
The worst case scenario is:
♦ I am standing up here because I was told to and you are listening to me because your manager sent you ..
If you ever get to that state – panic.
The key to a good presentation is to get through to the audience as
someone whose ideas can help them do their jobs more efficiently.
Training: Training is where the audience are actively involved in acquiring skills or knowledge from the trainer.
Meeting :A Meeting is an occasion when two or more people discuss and agree actions.
Essentially the audience is “passive” during a presentation. The secret of a good presentation is to involve the audience, but not be driven by it.
End Result of a Presentation
Giving a presentation is like selling something – an idea, a concept, some equipment. It allows a number of people to listen to the arguments of the presenter then to ask questions. From the perspective of the presenter, it allows you to influence a number of individuals at once.
Sometimes a presentation is not the answer: individual meetings may be the better choice for delicate subjects.A presentation is always intended to get results. This means that the presenter must be aware of their end goal. If you are unclear of the purpose of the presentation, so too will be your audience.
WIIFM -What is in it for me?
TIME: 30 minutes
•Take a presentation that you are scheduled to give soon, and
Using some scrap paper briefly state
What your presentation topic is
Who your audience is
Take a piece of Flip chart paper and write on it
Your WIIFM statements
Your Because statements
Your audience’s Because statements
Stick your Flip chart up on the wall of the room
When giving a presentation, the total composition of the audience unknown to you in less than 10% of cases. In most other instances you know something about some members of the audience.The key is to try to get to know enough about all the members of the audience and to try to get them onto your side – before even going into the presentation.
Research and Questioning:
You need to research and question to find out about your audience and their receptivity to your ideas. You want to get the best possible reactions from them and this is best obtained by trying to get to know them beforehand.
Use who/ where/ why/ what/ how/when questions to find out the answers you need to know.
You are trying to find out about your audience’s :-
♦ Attitudes towards your topic
♦ Prior knowledge of your topic
♦ Influence with the decision makers
This prior knowledge will put you in a position to amend your presentation to fit into the experience and expectations of your audience.
The most influential individual is the person that invited you to give the presentation. Consider them and ask yourself:
♦ Why were you invited to give the presentation?
♦ What’s their WIIFM?
♦ Are you part of their hidden agenda?
♦ How can you get this out into the open?
♦ What help can they give you?
♦ Is their success dependent upon your success?
♦ Arrange to talk with them about the presentation – their purpose for inviting you
♦ Ask them to lobby for you amongst the rest of the group
♦ Ask them about the composition of the rest of the group and their “views” on your topic
♦ Ask them if it could be possible for you to talk with some others – get them to arrange and/or smooth the meeting path
♦ Ask them to identify the Group Leader’s trigger points
The Group Leader
This is the second most important person to influence. Try to get to see this person and to get them on your side before the presentation. If others look up to this person, then they will be more inclined to agree with their views on your presentation. Consider them and ask yourself:
♦ What’s their WIIFM?
♦ How do they feel about the person who invited you?
♦ What is their trigger point?
♦ Do they lead or rule?
♦ Make sure you hook in their trigger points
♦ Be prepared for questions about their trigger points
♦ Don’t aim your presentation solely at the Group Leader – this will alienate the rest of the
♦ Can you meet them before you finalise your presentation?
♦ Failing meeting, can you call them on the phone before you finalise your presentation?
♦ Failing the above, can you have 5 minutes with them before the presentation starts?
The Powerful Others
These are people who have influence on the decisions and who may be at the presentation, or may have briefed others who will be at the presentation. Consider them and ask yourself:
♦ What are their WIIFMs?
♦ How do they feel about the person who invited you?
♦ Are you treading on their turf?
♦ Are you helping them with a problem they’ve got?
♦ Can you talk their language without taking too much of a tangent?
♦ Try to have answers ready for their trigger points
♦ Avoid getting caught into helping them trip up other members of the group
♦ Can you meet with them before the meeting – individually – and talk to them about your
If you sense in your discussions beforehand that everyone is against your proposal then cancel the presentation (unless you like being a martyr). You need to find some friends in court to get through the blockages in the rest of the audience so ensure you deal well with these people acknowledging their contributions as you go along. They should be on your side, so keep them
sweet and they will step in to help you when the discussion goes to the audience.
Use talks with the audience beforehand to establish the extent of prior knowledge in your audience. Where you have a mixture of knowledgeable and ignorant in the same audience then you have the responsibility of getting them up to the same starting point. You can do this by
♦ Sending out some pre-reading (but be aware they may not have done it or never received it)
♦ Preparing a brief summary of the key points in a short sharp slide and form to distribute at the time of the presentation
♦ Have a poster/model/diagram in the presentation room to view
♦ List complex words on flip chart and put definitions beside them as you talk
If you know the dynamics of the group then you can predict how they are likely to react and then you will be able to judge your words accordingly. Group pressure can be quite dramatic when used and often group pressure can alter the most fixed views. Try not to get yourself into a
position of being the catalyst in a witch hunt.
Others may fear to agree with you if that seems to be against current policies so watch for those who were strong in one-to-ones but now seem to be backing off. If you sense that the discussion is going this way then propose a realistic solution which may not lead to direct confrontation at
Influence with the Decision Makers
When you look at the composition of the audience, ask yourself:
♦ Are the audience the cheque signers?
♦ Can they give final approval of the project or are they in a strong position to influence the
There is nothing so self-important than a committee that has no power – and nothing so time wasting .
♦ Will the decision makers be there in the audience?
♦ How are they influenced by the rest of the group?
♦ How are decisions made – by consensus or by individuals?
Try to test out the culture of the organisation before presenting to it – if it is your own then you have an advantage if you step aside and observe the organisation to see who are the decision makers and how they make decisions.
Power and decision making authority should be linked but may not be. Some of the powerful are the “gateholders” – holders of information or resources that they control although they cannot make decisions but can make or break them. Examples here are the finance bodies who control
expenditure but do not decide how the monies are to be spent – the relationship between Treasury and other Government Departments is a classic case of this in action. Other powerful people are those who form natural leaders and whose actions get mirrored by the rest.
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
Suggested allocation of time:
10 minutes individual work
10 minutes per individual on audiences
•Work individually on your audience, as identified in the previous exercise. Go through the questions and actions that have been mentioned in this section and write down all you currently know about your audience.
•Questions you will need to answer include:
Who are they?
Who are friends?
Who are gatekeepers?
Who has the power?
What is their pre knowledge?
What is their attitude to your topic?
Who can you influence beforehand?
•Pair up with another participant and discuss your audience work with them.
•As the listener your role will be to help your partner refine precisely the audience’s characteristics and see how they can be influenced in advance.
You – The Presenter
Your Introduction is where you hook your audience, where you present them with a key message that makes them sit up and decide to stay awake, where you establish your credibility.
Initially you will need to break the ice with the audience – to get them on your side. This can be done with a funny remark; some comment upon the weather or such like; saying how nice it is to see so many familiar faces; – some way of establishing rapport before going into the meat of your
presentation. We will look specifically at establishing rapport later.
Your own introduction should be
…and include the action that you want the audience to take as a result of listening to your presentation.
Your opening statement needs to get to the root of the matter. A presentation is not a strip tease there is no magic in not revealing all until the last moment – that moment may never come.
Pertinent statements include:
“My name is Pat Yokes and I’m here to show you how to save 20% from your next telephone bill and the next one and the next one…”
“Hi. I’m Jan Smith and I’m here to discuss passion with you.”
“I’m Syd Wright from XYZ Company and my job is to give away money.”
You need to sell yourself; your credentials for being in front of everyone and your purpose.
This is where your B COZ statements come in – why are you there ?
It is not the time for a lengthy life story taking you from the age of 2 to your present age – just a brief statement that justifies your right to be in front of the audience and taking up their valuable time.
“I’m District Sales Manager for ABC telephone company and we sell the most modern telephone exchange systems on the market.”
“I’m a quality consultant for PQR consultancy and believe that quality is too important to be left to IS9000.”
“I’m Dealer Marketing Manager and created the dealers award scheme that I want to introduce to you.”
You may also include here a brief summary of your capability to talk to the subject in question.Your title may suffice but you may like to add some time dimension – or research dimension – to your work.
“I’ve been with ABC for 5 years having started with B.T. and have never seen such advanced switching technology as in the new range of exchange systems that have been designed for us by Lexiter University’s Research department.”
“Prior to joining PQR in June I spent 10 years with M&S firstly as a buyer then in designing and running their quality programme which as you know has been awarded their ISO certificate.”
“I used to work for the Super special dealership and know how frustrating some of the complex dealer incentive schemes can be, that’s why I was attracted to my present company and the idea of working on their dealership schemes.”
This has to be in short sharp sentences, not lengthy prose. It is enough to give the audience a taster for what is to come “I’m here and I mean business.”
Your Introduction is the advertisement for your product – your presentation – think of a favorite magazine advertisement and base your introduction on that.
Call for Action
The action that you want from the audience as a result of the presentation needs to be made clear up front so that they can weigh your words against this request – if you just talk then at the end ask for £x thousand or to spend another 3 days with them then this can come as a shock. Warn the
audience beforehand what you want from them – tell them your WIIFM.
“At the end of this presentation I will be asking you to approve a 3 months feasibility study into our telephone system.”
“What I will be asking you is to agree to introduce a quality improvement program in the Northwitch factory as a trial for the rest of the group.”
“Finally I will be showing you how to sign up to become one of our approved resellers and benefit from our generous marketing pay back scheme.”
TIME: 20 minutes + Recording and Feedback
Preparation of Introduction – 20 minutes individual work
After 20 minutes we will record everyone’s introductions and WIIFMs onto video tape.
This will be followed by tutor feedback to individuals.
•Work on your introduction to your presentation keeping it
Devise a way of establishing your credentials with the audience
Produce your call to Action
Structure of Presentation
The basic rule of any presentation is:
Tell Them What You’re Going To Tell Them
Tell Them It
Then Tell Them What You’ve Just Told Them
You will have many points you want to make to state your case. Select those that are
♦ Key for your audience – WIIFM
♦ Key for your WIIFM
♦ Most likely to have an impact now
Then rank the points into order and always put your most important point first. If your presentation is cut short you must ensure you have said the most important item.
Body of Presentation
We have already dealt with your introduction in the previous session; where you have an opportunity to make an impact on the audience. Now we come to the presentation proper.
Each of the major points that you are making in your presentation needs to follow a pattern reflecting the above “Tell them” statement. Each theme needs to flow as follows:
From theme statement…
to invitation to comment…
to restatement of theme
This is the hook for each section of your presentation – the main point of this section. What is the key point you wish to get across to your audience?
“With an annual turnover of £7.2m a switchboard like your current one is probably losing you £30,000 worth of business every month.”
Proofs for this statement
Having caught the audience’s imagination with your theme statement, you must prove what you have just said – using facts, figures, graphs, charts – anything factual to show you have done your homework. This is the evidence for your comment, the reason why you have made such a bold
“Current research shows that:
85% of telephone callers who are not answered after 4 rings hang up
70% of callers will ring back later and of those
30% will try to contact a company 4 times
20% will not try again but ring another company
10% will have buying intentions
5% will actually buy goods from that phone call”
State the problem
Explain how the problem could have arisen. Avoid blaming anyone or anything, just explain that times have changed; business has changed. Be careful about pouring scorn on someone’s pet project.
“Your switchboard is the FGH version that can only cope with a volume of 30 calls at a time. Monitoring it for 2 weeks we found that it operated at 99% capacity for 6 hours a day therefore you will be losing callers every working hour of every day.”
Ask if this accords with the audience’s own experiences. At this point you are inviting the audience to comment but ensure you are in control of the question. You are asking here for confirmation or negation about the problem as you see it; not opening up the presentation to as full discussion. In some instances you may feel that a show of hands could prove the point.
Remember, if you can get your audience to argue your case for you and accept that there is a problem then you have almost won.
“Yes… Every time I try to phone in from a customer site its really embarrassing. I can never get through…”
Restate the theme statement
You are now at the ‘Tell them what you have just told them’ stage and need to re-state the theme statement. Use different words to get the message across again and re-emphazise your point.
“So from this you can see that without any extra selling effort you could add up to 5% to your bottom line with a more efficient telephone system.”
To you it may seem very repetitious and tedious to keep on going over
the same information; however, this will be the first time your audience
have heard your arguments and therefore this gentle repetition will not
be upsetting to them.
Now you are ready to move onto the next theme – but remember to bridge between one statement and the next.
These make the link between one proof and the other. They make the presentation flow rather than being a series of disjointed phrases and show the overall picture of the presentation.
“Now if we look at your sales effort…”
Theme statement two
“1 in 3 of your sales team cannot make their first outgoing phone call to a customer because they cannot get an outside line.”
Proofs for theme statement two
“In two week tests each salesperson was asked to record the number of times they got ‘not available’ when dialing for an outside line. In ten working days the figure was two hundred approximating to roughly one in three salespeople.”
State the problem
“So you have the problem of customers not being able to phone in and sales teams having difficulty phoning out.”
“I was asked to ring an important customer at 3.15 exactly as they had only 10 minutes before going into a meeting to get the latest details from me and I couldn’t get an outside line. In the end I went to the call box on the corner to ensure I got through…”
Restate the theme
“200 wasted attempts to phone out in 10 days leading to frustrated sales teams.”
“…and talking of frustration…”
By the time you have told of the turnover in telephonists, number of repair calls for the existing switchboard when you come to the call for action your audience will be anxious to agree to it.
Call for Action
This is where you ask the audience to take some specific action – the result of their listening to your presentation is that they will do something. So ask them for that Action:
“Finally ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to agree to my company, ABC Phones, setting up a detailed feasibility study of your system with your Facilities Manager with a report back in three month’s time complete with cost figures.”
Each theme should run through
invitation to comment…
then bridge into the next theme.
invitation to comment…
…then bridge into the next theme
During and at the end of your presentation there should be discussion
from, with and between the audience, but remember it is your
presentation. Ensure that you always have the last word – and this is the
call to action.
Structure of Presentation
TIME: 30 minutes + Video time
After 30 minutes individual work we will again record individuals on video
•Determine your theme statements for your presentation
•Rank these in terms of most important to least important
•Work on your most important theme statement and organize it into
•If time allows, start working on the other theme statements in declining rank order
Organizing Supporting Materials
‘I Hear And I Forget; I See And I Remember, I Do And I Know’ -Chinese Proverb
Try to get your support materials to work as far as possible towards the “Do” and “Know” end of the spectrum.
The reason for wanting to introduce appropriate support material is to help those members of your audience that relate to pictures and real objects as opposed to listening to information. There is a surprisingly high percentage of individuals who need to either see or touch something for it
to have an impact, therefore all good presenters try to work with visual and real materials as well as relying on their spoken word.
Some examples of types of support material to consider are:Real things
♦ Would real objects help? Bringing in the product to let the audience see/feel/test it? Is your product attractive compared with the opposition?
♦ How complex is your proposal? Would it be aided by an illustration? What about posters?
35mm slides? Photographs?
♦ Can you use the overlay facility to build up your argument? What about the use of color?
An overhead can magnify considerably when projected onto a screen and this will make complex detail clearer than could perhaps be seen in a photograph.
♦ Here you can list up specific words or concepts that can stay as a permanent reminder during your presentation. You can bring along pre-prepared flip charts or you can make them up as you go along. Do ensure that they are visible to all.
♦ These are very dramatic but remember to note factors such as scale. Take care with the number of lines and ensure that they are easy to understand. Also be sure to put dates on the graph.
♦ The requirements here are similar to graphs. Pie charts can be easy to understand, but do make sure that the segments are labelled appropriately and clearly.
♦ You need to ensure a high degree of audience sophistication before employing too many
formulas or you will be in danger of confusing them at best and at worst, be appearing to use formulas to prove your point rather than to illustrate it.
♦ How does this add to your presentation? What of the length and cost of preparation. Would your presentation suffer if you could not play the video? Is it compatible with most forms for video-playback machines? Can you ensure you have the attention of the audience when you show a video?
♦ These are very effective and relatively cheap to produce these days but again make sure that they add value to your presentation and do not take over from your message. Ensure you are familiar with the technology and that the connections at the presentation site are working.You should always have a paper copy of your presentation available in case of machine failure.
The key is to know your materials; know how the technology works; practice writing, talking and reading from the materials whilst still maintaining eye contact with your audience.
♦ Use bullet points
♦ Use colour: variety, clear, restrict to primary colours
♦ Indicate items with pointer (hand, stick)
♦ Print or write clearly
♦ Standing to side of chart
♦ Looking at and talking with the audience not the flip chart
♦ Write items on page in pencil so know what is next
♦ Writing on flip chart while you talk to and look at audience
♦ Write bullets in pencil to extract from audience
♦ Printing not joined-up writing
♦ Tearing off sheets cleanly
Try the following: rip a corner gently then pull or score with a penknife
or sharp item then pull.
♦ Use bullet points
♦ Use color: variety, clear, take care with non-primary colours
♦ Indicate items with pointer (hand, stick)
♦ Print or write clearly
♦ Stand away from the light source thus avoiding a shadow on the screen
♦ Changing the bulb
♦ Putting overheads on straight
♦ Printing on transparency whilst talking
♦ Turning off OHP whilst asking questions
♦ Sliding new transparency on whilst removing old one
♦ Using pen as pointer
♦ Color and variety
♦ Check for interest of audience
♦ Check for timeliness of slides
♦ Stand away from projector
♦ Stand away from screen
♦ Changing the bulb
♦ Setting up the projector to correct elevation (legs, books)
♦ Installing the cartridge
♦ Putting in slides correct way round
♦ Know the order of slides – in the dark…
♦ Using the remote control
♦ Pointing to the screen and talking to the audience
♦ Retrieving a jammed slide
♦ Putting the room into darkness then light again quickly
Preparing Support Materials
TIME: 30 minutes
Consider the presentation that you are preparing.now:
•What support materials will you need? Justify each item of support material in terms of what it will add to your presentation.
•Prepare two different types of support material for your presentation.
•Check the prepared material for KISS
Preparing the Presentation
This is how the area in which the presentation takes place is laid out – the stage set for your presentation. You may not have many alternatives but you can and should adjust things if you want your presentation to succeed.
♦ Are the OHP, Flip, slide, set exactly where you want them ?
♦ Can you be seen clearly by everyone?
♦ Have you room to move?
♦ Are your papers and materials arranged near to hand and professionally ?
♦ What about the seating – do you want to re-arrange the audience?
Good presenters always check their equipment before starting their
Appearance of the Materials
The way in which you have prepared for your presentation indicates your seriousness and professionalism to the presentation. Try to ensure:-
♦ Consistent overheads – not a mixture of hand-written and typed
♦ Same font in overheads
♦ Same font in any written material
♦ No hand-written pre-prepared material
♦ 35mm slides in the correct order
♦ Correct information on the slides/ohp/flip
♦ Easily read graphs/pie charts
♦ No spelling mistakes ..
♦ Clear distinctive colors
When faced with giving a presentation, people tend to over-concentrate on what they are going to say and pay little or no attention to how they are going to say it (para verbal communication) or what they look like when they say it (body language). Although words are the main focus of attention
when preparing for a presentation, getting these other factors right is vital to its success.Research by Mehrabian in 1969 showed that we take in information in the following percentages:-
♦ 55% – Body Language
♦ 38% – Para Verbal Language
♦ 7% – Words Spoken
♦ How are you standing?
♦ What are you wearing?
♦ Where are your hands?
♦ What are your feet doing?
♦ What are your eyes doing?
♦ What does your posture say to the audience?
♦ Avoid hiding yourself or hiding the OHP screen. Stand in the audience and come into the body of the room when you are talking. If nothing else, moving around means that you keep the audience’s heads exercised by looking at you.
♦ Avoid slouching, or standing so erect that you look like a soldier on guard outside Buckingham Palace. Try to be natural.
Look the part:
♦ What is it appropriate to wear?
♦ Where are you ? A university? A business meeting?
♦ With your colleagues? With your peers? With others from the same firm?
♦ At an off-site meeting – if so, why have you been invited?
If in doubt wear a suit.
♦ This includes such simple things as ironed clothes, polished shoes, no hems in need of mending or slips showing, clean and ironed ties…
It is very difficult to decide what to do with your hands in front of a group of strangers but at all costs avoid:
♦ Sticking them in your pockets – trousers or jacket
♦ Putting them on your hips
♦ Fiddling with “tools” – pens, pointers – or loose change
♦ Holding them in prayer
♦ Holding them folder across your chest If you usually talk and use your hands then do this too – gestures help convey meaning.
♦ Try to avoid dancing around the room – or even do little shuffles on the spot. If your feet are anchored firmly to the ground and your head high you will present an air of calmness – even if you do not feel that way at all inside.
♦ Your eyes reflect your emotions in a way that you cannot control easily. What is important therefore is that you maintain eye contact with the audience and do this equally with all members of the audience so that no-one feels left out. If someone appears not to be listening then staring at them for just slightly longer than “usual” will make them feel uncomfortable and turn their attention back to you. Looking at people makes them feel recognized as human beings and also enables you to judge the effect your presentation is having on your audience so you can fine tune it if necessary.
♦ If you are calm, reassured and confident in the way you look then the audience will believe in you and what you are going to say. A slouching back and nervous hand movements will not help your presentation – neither will arms folded like a fishwife and a thrusting chin and frown.
Non verbal language
This is the sound of your voice. It is difficult to alter your voice but try the following tips:
♦ Try to talk deeper than your own voice (especially for women)
♦ Talk more slowly than usual – what you are saying is new to the audience so they need to take it in slowly and understand it so – go slow
♦ Avoid sarcasm – unless among people you know very well – it often backfires
♦ Be enthusiastic about what you are going to say – it comes across in the voice
♦ Remember that what you hear is one stage less aggressive than what your audience hears when you speak
Try to avoid specific mannerisms:
You know….you know….. you know….. you see….you see….you see……
basically … essentially …….actually
If you are not sure if you have any mannerisms or not:
♦ Watch yourself on tape
♦ Record your presentation into a tape recorder and listen for them
♦ Ask your best friend
These annoying mannerisms get to the state where an audience will count the number of times you say “you know” rather than listening to what you are saying .
We will be looking and listening for the words you are going to say during the course but take care with:
♦ Technical jargon (bits, bytes, mips)
♦ Abbreviations (LANs, WANs)
♦ Talking over the heads of your audience (judge their level of understanding)
♦ Talking down to your audience (judge their level of understanding)
♦ Using double negatives (no-one can disagree with…)
♦ Too complex sentences – you are speaking this presentation, not writing a report (“Howsoever, when we take the first hypothesis with the second it is clear that unless one conceded to the possibility of an intervening second clause, that…”)
♦ Too many conditionals (should this not happen then unless the sun shines we will…)
The best advice for presentations is to KISS: Keep It Short And Simple.
♦ If you can bring some stories and anecdotes into your presentation then you will enable the audience to relate to you. Facts and figures are important as back up material, but a story or anecdote give a succinct picture and generally is retained longer in the audience members’
♦ As with stories, a metaphor is a very powerful tool to get your message across to the audience. A metaphor is a symbol that represents reality. For instance, you can talk about a budget as “The map that guides your financial way into the future.” Think of a simple way of explaining your point and try to find a metaphor.
♦ Use silence occasionally for impact. Let the importance of your words sink in. Remember you have heard the words several times – this is your audience’s first time so take it slowly and allow silence for people to think and assimilate the information.
Putting Impact into a Presentation To have impact, a presentation must be
♦ Have actions clearly indicated
♦ Present facts clearly
♦ Be simple
♦ Be easy for your audience to understand
♦ Use stories and metaphors where appropriate
You need to develop and maintain rapport with your audience throughout the presentation. Do this by regarding each member of the audience as a friend and therefore smile at them, establish eye contact with them and move towards them as you speak.
Eye contact is essential since it is through the eyes that we communicate the most. You must ensure that you have established eye contact with every member of the group. In a very large auditorium with large numbers in the audience you achieve this by letting your eyes describe a ‘M’ and ‘W’ around the room. Take care to do this slowly otherwise you may go dizzy.
Go to the audience
Go into the body of the audience. Try to get close to them as you would with a group of friends.
Physical space can impact acceptability. Coming into the ‘U’ of a board room layout is very effective. You will know what is an acceptable space but the greater the distance between you and the audience, the harder you will have to work to overcome the coolness that the distance creates.
Using people’s names
If you know people’s names, use them. For instance ‘James told me that’ In a large auditorium when taking questions you can ask that the questioner identifies themselves before asking the question. This can help to personalize an answer despite the numbers of people involved.
Mirroring and matching
This is best achieved by watching the body language of the audience and copying it. In presentations it is probably better to match the pace and tone and volume of the audience. Some may be fast and quick and loud; others quiet, slow and soft. You should match their tones or else your contrast may be too much for your ideas to be accepted even where the ideas themselves
In the next exercise you do you will be discovering that people use different senses when trying to describe their world. These senses split into
♦ Auditory digital (factual)
When you are giving a presentation you need to ensure that you use all these types of descriptors so that you can appeal to every member of the audience at some time or another. When replying to a question, listen out for any words that may identify the questioner’s sense type as this will
establish quick rapport between you.
Relax with the audience – they can be just as nervous at a presentation as
you are giving it ..
♦ Special techniques
You will have an agreed time allocation for a formal presentation. Check if that time is still appropriate and be prepared to shorten your presentation if necessary. You should be able to get the key message over in five minutes.
For less formal presentations set your own time limit of, say, 15 – 20 minutes presentation and 10 minutes discussion.
If you waste your own time for 30 minutes …you suffer.
If you waste 10 other people’s time for 30 minutes, you’ve wasted 5
hours of their collective time…
♦ Speak loud enough to be heard; slowly enough to be followed and clearly enough to be understood. Speak to the level of the audience – not above or below it and illustrate your talk with examples, facts, figures. Use personal examples from real life.
♦ Ensure your body language reflects your words – try to calm your nervousness.
♦ Use pictures, graphs, images – the eyes take in information five times as fast as the ears. Use this fast information flow to the brain.
♦ Establish and maintain rapport by talking with the audience members, looking at them and smiling. Your enthusiasm in your topic will encourage theirs.
♦ Respect your audience’s right to be there, to ask questions and to want to hear what you have to say. Avoid talking down to them, and work on an adult to adult communication basis.
♦ If one member of the audience is going to prove difficult then see if you can arrange beforehand for a supporter ( or two) in the audience to sit beside them.
♦ If one member of the audience keeps interrupting or asking trap questions then walk round to stand near them. This ‘blinds’ them from your vision and also your physical presence close by can be threatening and will quieten them down.
♦ Use any expert in the audience that you know to back up your statements by asking them direct questions such as, ‘how does that fits in with your analysis, Jack?’
♦ Look for signs of commitment and interest – move in close, arms in steeple position and smile at these people to encourage them.
♦ Look for signs of boredom and disinterest – shuffling, arms folded, and stare hard at these people – it can disconcert them and get them to try to pay attention.
You need to both ask and answer questions as your presentation proceeds but must be careful not to fall into a dialogue with one or two individuals nor to go so far down rat holes with questions
that you are detracted from your main purpose. At the same time some members of the audience may be out to trap you with certain questions for their own purposes. To try to avoid these happening here are some question types to consider:
•These open up discussion and answers and are preceded by:
What ? Where? Why? How? When? Who?
Whilst these are excellent for interviewing techniques, they are not so good for use in presentations as you do not want to get the audience talking at great length.
•These require one word – or short – answers.
Have you ever..? Does this happen..? Is this the case..?
These are very useful in getting and maintaining audience involvement without letting them get too much of your “airtime”.
•Questions that are answered at the time they are spoken.
…isn’t it? Don’t you agree? Correct? …right? You must be thinking, “Is this really the case?”
A good ploy is to ask the questions your audience may be silently thinking, then answer them in your own words to add to your proofs.
“Is training is expensive ?”
“Not when you consider the alternative of buying in trained people at higher basic wages”.
Information seeking questions
•Information seeking questions are asked either because something you have said needs clarifying, or because more details is required.
•Answer both with a quick example – if the person wants more detail then commit to deal with their points ‘off-line’ and remember to do so.
Any questions of this type from the audience indicate they are interested in what you are saying – they are listening to you .
•These pre-empt something you are due to deal with later on in your presentation.
•Acknowledge the question and state that you will be looking at it later in your presentation. Once you have covered the topic, check that it covers the point that the questioner wanted to know. If not, then deal with their question immediately.
These fall into four main categories
•This is when you are asked to choose between two impossible alternatives. For example,”So we either have to give up half our profits for training or increase our wage bill by 50% to get trained staff?”
•This often starts with “are you satisfied…”
•This question expects you to take the blame or answer for the actions of the whole of your industry
“All banks are charging exorbitant rates to small businesses. Why should we borrow from yours?”
•This starts with “Given the fact that…” which may well not be a fact and often is not a question.
Handling trap questions
•Recognise it as a trap question
This is not always easy to do but comes with practice.
Often by paraphrasing the question back to the person you can see the trap in it and then be in a position to calm it down.
•Calm down the anger in the trap as follows…
“I’m not asking you to make such a difficult choice. I am asking you to think longer term about the implications behind cutting training budgets in the short term.”
“My satisfaction is not really important here but the success of your company is and one way to make it more successful is to install an XYZ system as has been proved by…”
“I cannot answer for the whole of the banking industry but my bank found out that only 2% of our 5,000 small businesses nation-wide were dissatisfied with their charges.”
“I cannot comment on those facts without seeing some proof but I know that our company has only had two cases brought against it for unfairness at Industrial tribunal.”
•It can be hard not to snap back or make a reply that makes the questioner look stupid. Try to avoid this at all costs. If you diffuse the question and give a reasonable reply then you will earn the respect of the rest of the audience – if you make the questioner look silly then the group will react against you and defend their own.
•Proceed with your presentation.
•On Day Two you will present to your fellow participants the presentation that you will give to your final audience and which will be videoed
•This should last about 15 to 20 minutes.
•Your presentation should be built upon all the stages of the course and will be critiqued by the other participants both as possible audiences and on presentation style.
•You should therefore have some of the support materials with you that you may need to use in your actual presentation.
•It will also be recorded on video and played back for general comment. You will be able to keep the copy of your video.