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Presentational Skills


MANAGING STAGE FRIGHT

* Alcohol and pills don’t work.  If they wear off before you speak, you’ll be even more nervous.  If they don’t, you’ll be incoherent
* Channel nervous tension into your performance – use broader gestures, more movement and more excitement in your voice
* Work through nervous energy by taking a few deep breaths
* Leave time to go to the toilet shortly before you speak
* Try not to look nervous – you have to look like you’re under control
*Nervousness is most intense just before you start talking, so write down your introduction.
*Double-check your equipment to make sure everything works properly.  Then you can stop worrying.  

INTRODUCTION
– Starting out with style

Your introduction is important as it sets the audience’s expectations.  It has to gain attention and lead into the rest of your presentation.  To grab your audience, make sure it addresses the following items:-

* If the person introducing you does not do this, explain who you are and where you are coming from
* If you are using notes, make sure they are easy to read
* Gain attention, for example, you could use a quotation
* Create rapport – first impressions are everything
* Describe what you’ll talk about

WHAT DOES YOUR AUDIENCE EXPECT

* Are they interested in my topic?
* What do they expect to learn or see or hear?
* What do they expect me to say or do?
* Are they open to surprises?

DELIVERING A PRESENTATION

* Don’t get talked into making a presentation that you don’t want to make
* Organise your information/images in a simple pattern that the audience can easily recognise
* Use various types of material, e.g. stories, statistics and quotes, to maintain audience interest
* Have a special conclusion ready that you can go right into if you run out of time
* Anticipate the questions you will be asked and have answers ready
* Practice out loud and time your presentation.

PERFECTING YOUR DELIVERY
    
* Try to establish eye contact with your entire audience, as well as the image you are presenting
* Vary the rate, pitch and volume of your voice, as well as its tone
* Speak clearly and don’t mumble, waffle or repeat yourself
* Don’t stand with your hands clasped in front of you
* Don’t pace back and forth, or jingle change in your pocket
* Convey enthusiasm for your subject. It’s contagious

HEADING OFF PROBLEMS

* Anticipate things can go wrong – usually the computer – and have a funny line ready
* Repeat any questions you receive to make sure everyone in the audience hears them
* If an audience member is sending your presentation off track with a long question or comment, offer to talk with him one-to-one after your presentation
* Check your visual aids to ensure they can be seen clearly by everybody
* Get to the room early and make sure it’s set up the way you want it
* Find out exactly where you’re presenting and how long it takes you to get there

USING HUMOUR

* Make sure that your humour relates to a point in your presentation
* Avoid sexist, ethnic, racist and off-colour humour
* If you can’t tell a joke well, use humour that doesn’t require comic delivery, a personal anecdote, a funny quotation, or an amusing analogy
* Build rapport by poking fun at yourself – appropriately

VARY YOUR PACE

* If all your sentences are the same length your audience will fall asleep. So vary the pace.
* Remember that pausing in appropriate places can add drama to a presentation.

CLICHES – are worn out, overused phrases.  Instead of using the usual clichés such as
                      ‘a point in time’, or, ‘a well seen image’ :-     

* Come up with something fresh.
* Just take a few moments to think about what you’re really saying. 

JARGON

In photography we have a lot of jargon which most club members will understand.  But you must remember to tell new members what it means. Instead of using jargon, draw a true picture with descriptive power words that grab and hold the audience’s attention

HONING YOUR TONE AND STYLE

Don’t forget that tone and style are important – they have a major effect on how your ideas are received.

Power words make powerful points

Blah words – nice, lovely
Colour words – generate an emotional reaction. e.g.  atmospheric, irritating and disturbing
Power words – interesting, unusual, decisive, hot and exciting.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
– Use transitions.   

* You have been living with your presentation for quite a while and are intimately familiar with it; your audience isn’t.  You need to give them guidance about how your presentation is structured and where it is going.  Examples of overused transitions are –

‘and’,  ‘a close runner-up is’,  ‘in addition’

* Try not to use the same couple of transitions over and over again.  It gets boring.  Here are a few:-‘Now let’s take a look at’, ‘Let’s change direction for a moment’, ‘The next point is’

 CAMERA CLUB PRESENTATIONS

As Lecturers you should set a good example, otherwise Club members will not take you seriously.  For example:-

* Know your subject
* Ensure your images are well mounted with colours that complement the image
* Mounts are clean and tidy
* Don’t show images you are not happy with

CONCLUDING YOUR PRESENTATION

This is important as it will determine how your audience will remember you and your message.

* Summarise your presentation – this will remind the audience of your attitudes toward the points and ideas you have expressed
* Provide closure – people need a beginning, a middle, and an end
* Give an opportunity for questions – always make yourself available

Conclusion options – you can, if you wish –

* Use a quotation if it is related to your message
* Recite a poem – it should be short and must tie in with your presentation.

Look out for Conclusion problems

* Don’t go overtime
* Don’t ramble
* Don’t say you forgot to mention something.  It makes you look disorganised.
* Don’t be wishy-washy.  Leave your audience in no doubt that you believe in what you are doing.

TAKE QUESTIONS

Remember that the audience wants you to succeed.  You have knowledge that they want.

Jennifer Cox
Judges and Lecturers Secretary
September 2008