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Public speaking and presentations

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					Public Speaking and Presentation skills By C. Kanthi Basnayake

Introduction:

At the usual Monday assembly, I was listening to a speaker who was talking
about inspiration and motivation to staff members. My mind was not with
the speaker and my eyes were roaming around the gathering and going back
towards the speaker’s legs that were trembling hard.
I know that I should listen to him so that I can learn something useful, but
my eyes were reverting to his legs. I was very curious and was juggling
several questions in my head? Does he fear the audience or the topic? Can’t
he control the shaking? If the role were reversed would I face the same fate?
I am sure the others would have gone through the same thoughts as me on
that day.


No matter how eloquent or how well informed the speaker is, in public this
might happened to most of the speakers .How would we overcome the fear
of public speaking (stage fright) and be a brilliant presenter are the million
dollar questions. The answer is to learn to deliver a speech, a warm
connection that is undoubtedly sincere to your audience.
Creating and delivering an effective public speech and avoiding stage fright
are a skill that some have born with and others have cultivated and
developed through learning. Powerful, memorable addresses are the result of
a deep passion and thorough analysis of information that the speaker has or
his subject and following several steps in delivering and managing the event
as discuses below.




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 Step 1 -Pre-preparation
 Any talk to be delivered before a group of people deserves careful
 preparation. Just as one takes time to go over drafts and re-drafts of a written
 report, must allocate significant amount of time to preparation of your
 speech. Prior to designing your speech/presentation, be sure that you have
 determined the following basic information.
    1 The type of talk
           a. Informal chat/a seminar discussion or more formal
               presentation?
           b. Is there a specific purpose?
           c. Will you be presenting novel concepts to this audience or
               building upon their existing knowledge?
    2 The composition of the audience
           a. Who are they?
           b. What is there relationship to the topic?
           c. What do they expect from the presentation?
    3 The time allotted for the speech
           a. Would you have more freedom of time?
           b. Is question time included?


 Step 2- Preparation


i. Out line-
 Once you establish the pre preparation, start the outline of you speech
 beginning with a key message and limit it to the primary goal you plan to
 accomplish. It should be clear, relevant to the audience, time bound and not



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  too technical and not too simple and should be able to prove the facts you
  have stated. Gather the material, ideas and data to support your argument.
ii. Develop effective visuals
  You can use visual aids to help your audience maintain attention, remember
  facts , ideas technical details and statistics. Research shown that 75% of
  what people know is acquired visually and people respond better to visuals
  than to spoken words alone. words and pictures together are Six times more
  effective than words alone.
iii. Content
  This section is probably the most important part of the presentation for
  bringing your audience around to your point of view. For this reason it
  would be best to flow the presentation from the general to the more specific
  and from the known to the unknown. Use transition elements, which will
  help your audience to follow the link from one issue to the other. Keep your
  factual evidence to the necessary minimum and your main argument to three
  of four at the most.
   Anticipate objections to your argument and give a hearing to opposing
  points of views. See through the eyes of understanding and develop your
  empathic listening skills to meet these challenges from your audience.


iv. Conclusion
  The conclusion of your speech should appeal to the audience for its
  understanding , its action and its approval. Certainly the impression which
  the audience will carry away with them will be strongly influenced by what
  happens in the last few minutes of the talk. So the essential aim is to round
  off the presentation on an up beat.



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v. Practice and perfect
 In the days leading up to your presentation, practice and perfect your speech
 like Steve Jobs, the legendary Apple CEO, who is well know for his
 electrifying presentations. The secret is, the sense of informality come only
 after grueling hours of practice. Nevertheless he prepares his speeches for
 hours and reviews every slide and demonstration before every presentation.
 Try the speech in front of your colleagues, friends and family and get the
 feedback, revise and improve as needed.


 Step 3-Delivering the presentation
      i. Before delivering the presentation
 Studies reveled that certain elements of physical environments such as
 sounds, light, audio and video equipments, arrangement of seats and desks
 and temperature will contribute to capture and retain the attention of the
 audience and affect the alertness and the mood of a person. Arrive at least 30
 minutes before the presentation and check the complete set up including the
 technology. If necessary the presenter should make arrangements to create a
 learners environment by re-arranging and familiarized with the usage of the
 equipments.
      ii. Look at your audience
 Without your audience, you are speaking to an empty room. So look at them
 and maintain eye contact with each person if possible and addresses each
 listener personally on some mater of special interest to that listener or to his
 or her department/organization. If not you will lose your connection to your
 audience
     iii. Check their body language



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As a presenter a simple technique of self evaluation is to check the body
language of your audience. Do they have their arms crossed? (Hint: they are
disinterested),are their hands on their hips? ?(Hint: they are impatient),Are
they leaning away from you rather than towards you? ?(Hint: they are
detached from your message).
If the audience is exhibiting optimism, boredom or antagonism check your
tone, gestures and your message to enhance, revise and to mesmerize.
   iv. Using sound and music in your presentation
.In a recent world marketing conference in Philippines the key note speaker
Mr. Hermavan Kartajaya ended his speech by playing “What a wonderful
world” by John Leann. Any experience presenter knows the power of songs
as tools for motivation, breaking the ice and conditioning. It gives your
participants to stand up (if necessary) stretch , move ,sing and have fun in
general. Research has shown that music and sounds does stimulate the brain
and when use in action 90% is retained in the memory.
    v. Using Humor effectively
The sound of laughter from the audience assures the speaker that s/he was
able to break the ice and facilitates amore comfortable learning environment.
This also enhance the credibility of the presenter because it shows s/he is
confidant and in control. Draw stories from real life rather than Emails and
canned jokes. Keep it short and sweet and if possible animate your voice,
gestures, facial expressions and body movements. Having fun is vastly
different from “Making fun” of some one. Also avoid sarcasm. People
always feel uncomfortable with a speaker who demeans others.


Step 4 –Dealing with stage fright



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Mark Twain has said that “There are two types of speakers: those that are
nervous and those that are liars”. Fear of speaking is the first category. Even
the experienced speakers have some fear or anxiety about speaking in
public. As stated by the Harvard Business Essential ,pack your presentation
with ideas and facts about which you are enthusiastic and confident. When
Martin Luther King spoke about “I have a Dream” he followed the same
rule. Use breathing techniques and tension reliving exercises to reduce
stress. Just be your natural self and best technique is to build rapport with
your audience by adding humor, story or narrating a personal experience.


Final thoughts:
No matter how good your martial is, if it doesn’t fit the situation and the
audience you will not be able to break through the glass ceiling of public
mind set. Hence avoid the following common mistakes of public speaking.
    Talking only about material not people
    Treating the audience disinterestedly
    Disregarding the value of an opinion
    Having “Know it –all” attitude
    Not dressing up appropriately
   More than any thing you have to practice, have a smile on your face, be
   confident and look confident and face the audience with a positive look.
   This might open the gates greatness of been a super star in public
   speaking.


To be an effective public speaker practice and adapt simple gestures witch
speaks more of you. Have a smile on your face, be confident and look



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confident and face the audience with positive attitude. This might open gates
of greatness and you can be a super star in public speaking.




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posted:8/6/2010
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