Good preparation is very important. Good
preparation and planning will give you confidence. Your audience will feel your
confidence and have confidence in you. This will give you control of your
audience and of your presentation.
Consider these points when preparing:
'Why am I making this presentation?'
Your objective should be clear in your
'Who am I making this presentation
How many people? Who are they? Business
people? Professional people? Political people? Experts or non-experts? A small,
intimate group of 4 colleagues or a large gathering of 400 competitors?
'Where am I making this
A small hotel meeting-room or a large
conference hall? Facilities and equipment? Seating arrangements?
Time and length
'When am I making this presentation
and how long will it be?'
Will it be 5 minutes or 1 hour? Just before
lunch, when the audience is hungry, or just after lunch, when the audience is
'How should I make this
Formal or informal? Lots of visual aids or
only a few? With or without anecdotes and humour?
'What should I say?'
Include only relevant information. Create a
title for your presentation. The title will help you to focus on the subject.
Prepare your visual aids, if any.
Organise your presentation in a logical
structure. Most presentations are organised in three parts, followed by
welcome your audience
introduce your subject
explain the structure of your
explain rules for questions
2 Body of presentation
present the subject itself
summarise your presentation
thank your audience
Try to appear as
spontaneous as possible. Do not read your presentation. Reading a text is
boring and will send your audience to sleep! Use notes to remember everything
you need to say. Some people make notes on small, A6 cards. Some people write
down just the title of each section of their talk. Some people write down
keywords to remind them.
Practise your presentation two or three
times so that you:
become more familiar with what
you want to say
identify weaknesses in your
can practise difficult
can check the time that your
presentation takes and make any necessary modifications
Your most important piece of equipment is
YOU! Check your personal appearance carefully.
The overhead projector (OHP) displays
overhead transparencies (OHTs or OHPTs). It has several advantages over the
35mm slide projector:
it can be used in daylight
the user can face the audience
the user can write or draw
directly on the transparency while in use
The whiteboard is a useful device for
spontaneous writing - as in brainstorming, for example. For prepared material,
the OHP may be more suitable.
The duster is used for cleaning the
Markers are used for writing on the:
whiteboard (delible - you can
remove the ink)
flipchart (indelible - you
cannot remove the ink)
The flipchart consists of several leaves of
paper that you 'flip' (turn) over. Some people prefer the flipchart to the
whiteboard, but its use is limited to smaller presentations.
A slide projector must be used in a
darkened room. Most slide projectors take 35mm transparencies or slides, but
projectors for 6x6cm slides are also available.
The notebook computer is often used with an
overhead projector, to project an image from the computer screen onto the wall
Handouts are any documents or samples that
you 'hand out' (distribute) to your audience. It is not usually a good idea to
distribute handouts before your presentation. The audience will read the
handouts instead of listening to you.
'Delivery' is the way in which you actually
deliver or give your presentation. Delivery is at least as important as
Most speakers are a
little nervous at the beginning of a presentation. So it is normal if you are
nervous. Pay special attention to the beginning of your presentation. This is
when you establish a rapport with your audience. During this time, try to speak
slowly and calmly. After a few moments, you will relax and gain confidence.
You need to build a warm and friendly
relationship with your audience. Be careful to establish eye contact with each
member of your audience. Each person should feel that you are speaking directly
to him or her.
What you do not say is at least as
important as what you do say. Your body is speaking to your audience even
before you open your mouth. Your clothes, your walk, your glasses, your
haircut, your expression - it is from these that your audience forms its first
impression as you enter the room. Generally speaking, it is better to stand
rather than sit when making a presentation. Avoid repetitive and irritating
If we imagine a German working for an
Israeli company making a presentation in English to a Japanese audience in
Korea, we can see that there are even many possibilities for cultural
misunderstanding. Try to learn about any particular cultural matters that may
affect your audience. Cultural differences can often be seen in body language.
To a Latin from Southern France or Italy, a presenter who uses his hands and
arms when speaking may seem dynamic and friendly. To an Englishman, the same
presenter may seem unsure of his words and lacking in self-confidence.
Your audience must be able to hear you
clearly. In general, you should try to vary your voice. Your voice will then be
more interesting for your audience. You can vary your voice in at least three
speed: you can speak at normal
speed, you can speak faster, you can speak more slowly, and you can stop
completely! Silence is a very good technique for gaining your audience's
intonation: you can change the
pitch of your voice. You can speak in a high tone. You can speak in a low tone.
volume: you can speak at normal
volume, you can speak loudly and you can speak quietly. Lowering your voice and
speaking quietly can again attract your audience's interest.
80% of what we learn is learned visually
(what we see) and only 20% is learned aurally (what we hear). This means that:
visual aids are an extremely
effective means of communication
non-native English speakers do
not need to worry so much about spoken English since they can rely more heavily
on visual aids
is important not to overload your audience's brains. Keep the information on
each visual aid to a minimum - and give your audience time to look at and
absorb this information. Remember, your audience have never seen these visual
aids before. They need time to study and to understand them. Without
understanding there is no communication.
from photographs and drawings, some of the most useful visual
aids are charts and graphs.
Remain calm and polite if you receive
difficult questions during your presentation. If you receive particularly
awkward questions, you can suggest that the questioners ask their questions
after your presentation.
If you want your audience to understand
your message, your language must be simple and clear:
use short words and short
do not use jargon, unless you
know that your audience understands it
talk about concrete facts
rather than abstract ideas
use active verbs instead of
are much easier to understand. They are much more powerful. Consider these two
sentences, which say the same thing:
Sentence 1: Toyota sold two million cars
Sentence 2: Two million cars were sold by
Toyota last year.
Which is easier to understand? Which is
more immediate? Which is more powerful? Sentence 1 is active and
Sentence 2 is passive.
When you drive on the roads, you know where
you are. Each road has a name. Each town has a name. And each house has a
number. You can look at the signposts for directions. It is easy to navigate
the roads. You cannot get lost. But when you give a presentation, how can your
audience know where they are? They know because you tell them. Because you put
up signposts for them, at the beginning and all along the route. This technique
is called 'signposting' (or 'signalling').
your introduction, tell your audience the structure of your
presentation, for example:
"I'll start by describing the
current position in Europe. Then I'll move on to some of the
achievements we've made in Asia. After that I'll consider the
opportunities we see for further expansion in Africa. Lastly, I'll
quickly recap before concluding with some recommendations."
member of the audience can now visualise your presentation like this:
explanation of structure (now)
your presentation, put up signposts telling him which point you have reached
and where you are going now. When you finish Europe and want to start Asia, you
"That's all I have
to say about Europe. Let's turn now to Asia.
When you have finished Africa and want to
sum up, you might say:
"Well, we've looked at the three
continents Europe, Asia and Africa. I'd like to sum up now."
when you finish summing up and want to give your recommendations, you might
"What does all this mean for us? Well,
firstly I recommend..."
are some useful expressions to signpost the various parts of your presentation.
Introducing the subject:
"I'd like to start
"First of all,
Finishing a subject:
"Well, I've told
"That's all I have
to say about..."
"We've looked at..."
Starting another subject:
"Now we'll move on to..."
"Let me turn now
Analysing a point and giving
"Where does that lead us?"
"Let's consider this in more
"What does this mean for ABC?"
"A good example of this is..."
"As an illustration,..."
Dealing with questions:
"We'll be examining this point in more
detail later on..."
"I'd like to deal with this question
later, if I may..."
"I'll come back to this question later
in my talk..."
Summarising and concluding:
"Right, let's sum
up, shall we?"
"I'd like now to recap..."
with...later...to finish up..."
THE PRESENTATION ITSELF
Most presentations are divided into 3 main
parts (+ questions):
As a general rule in communication,
repetition is valuable. In presentations, there is a golden rule about
"SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY, SAY IT,
THEN SAY WHAT YOU HAVE JUST SAID."
other words, use the three parts of your presentation to reinforce your
In the introduction, say what your
message is going to be.
In the body, say your real message.
In the conclusion, say what your
Use the introduction to:
Welcome your audience:
ladies and gentlemen"
Introduce your subject:
"My purpose today is to introduce our
new range of..."
"I am going to
Outline your structure:
"To start with
I'll describe the progress made this year. Then
I'll mention some of the problems we've encountered and how we overcame them. After
that I'll consider the possibilities for further growth next year. Finally,
I'll summarise my presentation (before concluding with some
Give instructions about questions:
"Please feel free to interrupt me if
you have any questions."
"I'll try to
answer any of your questions after the presentation."
The body is the 'real' presentation. If the
introduction was well prepared and delivered, you will now be 'in control'. You
will be relaxed and confident.
body should be well structured, divided up logically, with plenty of carefully
these key points while delivering the body of your presentation:
keep to your
polite when dealing with difficult questions
Use the conclusion to:
"I'd like to sum
"In conclusion, my recommendations
"I would suggest / propose / recommend
the following strategy."
Thank your audience:
"Thank you for
"May I thank you all for being such an
"Are there any
"Can I answer any
You may wish to accept questions at any
time during your presentation, or to keep a time for questions after your
presentation. It's your decision, and you should make it clear during the
introduction. Be polite with all questioners, even if they ask difficult
questions. Sometimes you can reformulate a question. Or answer the question
with another question. Or even ask for comment from the rest of the audience.
In this seminar, you have learned:
to allow plenty of time for
to ask the all-important
questions: why? who? where? when? how? what?
to structure your presentation
into introduction, body, conclusion and questions
to write notes based on
to rehearse your presentation
several times and modify it as necessary
to select the right equipment
for the job
to use equipment effectively
to make use of clear, powerful
visual aids that do not overload your audience
to use clear, simple language,
to use active verbs and
to explain the structure of
your presentation at the beginning
to link each section of your
to signpost your presentation
from beginning to end
to say what you are going to
say, say it, and say what you have just said
to overcome your nerves
to establish audience rapport
to be aware of your body
to understand cultural
to control the quality of your
to maintain interest by varying
the speed, volume and pitch of your voice
to deal with listeners'
to respond to your audience