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presentation training Presentation language p13

“Jargon appeals to the illiterate, plain English to the wise”

• Any fool can make things sound complicated. It’s a clever speaker whose audience all understand the talk. Be yourself and avoid pomposity.

• Use a short word rather than a long one if the meaning is the same. Use precise words rather than woolly ones. Avoid abstract nouns such as situation, position, etc. As a general guideline if you use words that you yourself use in everyday conversation you won’t go far wrong.

• Do not use technical jargon without explaining it, unless you are 100% sure that 100% of your audience understand its meaning. You may have grown up with jargon without realizing it is peculiar to occupation.

• Try to avoid statistics and figure unless you have simple, clear visual aids that reinforce the spoken word.

• Use the active rather than the passive voice wherever possible.

• Use words to build pictures; metaphors, similes and rhetoric.

• Use anecdotes and analogies relevant to the audience.

• Repetition of words and phrases can be effectively used to increase input.

• Use magic words; you, we, us (not I)

• When making your point:

Rhetorical techniques
e.g. “Your turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning”

Puzzle solution formats
e.g. “President Reagan did a very wise thing. He dismissed all the academic economists.”

e.g. “So the business we generate is not just valuable to us. It’s also valuable for Britain’s economy.”


Explaining Complex Ideas
“All speech is a dead language until it finds a willing and prepared hearer”

Robert Louis Stevenson

• Ask who are the audience? What is their level of competence?

• Do you really need to explain this idea? If so, explain to your audience why you are doing this.

• Prepare by:-

- Mapping out the logical flow.

- Breaking the idea into smaller parts.

- Checking the vocabulary for ambiguity or woolliness.

- Using short sentences. If you use jargon or long words, keep the other words simple.

• Communicate by:-

- Telling your audience what you are about to discuss and, if necessary, the subsections of the complex idea you will cover.

- Ending with a short recap.

- Using examples or analogies to make the idea clear.

- Backing up with visuals – a diagram or flow chart can often replace a volume of words.

- Using the vocal pause to help the idea sink in.

- Speak slowly.

- Checking understanding as your proceed and at the end. Be prepared to rephrase more slowly, or to give examples.


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