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presentation training Basic techniques p4


You may be presenting a case to a board or committee, or explaining a process to a group of trainees, or to a single student, or to a thousand in an auditorium. If you are to leave a good impression of yourself, or of your company, you need to be able to speak well in public.

To have the gift of the gab is not good enough. Wind can capsize a sailing boat, but skill and technique will keep it sailing. You must learn the skills and techniques of effective speaking.

First, you can develop skills with your voice and gestures. The spoken word is much more flexible than the written word, so let’s use it.

When speaking to people, you have apart from the words



Helping you get your message across to them. A great temptation is to spend your whole time preparing a script. But tone and body language are powerful aids – use them in your presentation.


Most people talk too quietly. Speak louder than you would for carrying on a conversation with a person in the back row. Speak UP to give an impression of authority and enthusiasm. Project your voice so people at the back of the room hear clearly.

A poor and nervous speaker will use dreary monotone. Varying the pitch will add life to your talk. Emphasis points by sharp increases in volume, or by decreasing volume to invite careful listening. Vary intonation and use inflections to maintain interest. Speak clearly and distinctly, paying particular attention to your diction.

There is a great tendency to talk too quickly, especially if you are quiet. Speak SLOWER than you would in everyday conversation. It will give your audience valuable time to reflect on what you say. But vary the pace and concentrate on clear diction.


This is one of the most effective tools at your disposal. Pause to dramatise or emphasise the point you have just made – or are about to make. A good pause should be longer than you think necessary. Avoid “ums” and “errs”, use the pause instead.

The body never lies Martha Graham

Make sure you stand, or sit up, showing confidence in yourself so that the audience realize you are in charge. Keep your head up and look at the audience.

Make use of your hands and arms, and make your gestures confident and bold from the shoulder, not the elbow. Whether you are sitting or standing, don’t loll or have your hands in your pockets, on your hips, or arms folded. Don’t fidget with hands or pencils. If your hands embarrass you, put them easily behind you back for the first few moments. When you have got into your stride, start using them to emphasise your points.

Use gestures to underline key points. Use them to make your talk attractive and help your audience remember your message.

Avoid distracting mannerisms, such as adjusting your notes, fidgeting from one foot to the other, folding and unfolding your arms, hands through the hair, etc. Mannerisms are very obvious to the audience, not so obvious to yourself.

Energy and Enthusiasm
Use your body language to good effect, showing the audience you are confident and enthusiastic about the subject.

Audience Contact (eye contact)
You will never gain the attention unless you look at them and into them. Don’t gaze up at the ceiling, down at the floor or out of the window. Don’t transfix one particular member of the audience – it will embarrass, however sympathetic they may be. Distribute your favours evenly, and let everyone feel you are talking to them personally.

It is a sound idea to start a sentence looking specifically at person or group, and finish looking at another as if you were making the point to that group. This applies whether you are standing or sitting.
Now I lay me back to sleep
The speaker’s dull, the subject deep
If he should stop before I wake
Give me a nudge for goodness sake

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