Re: Technical Presentation Skills

Subject: Re: Technical Presentation Skills
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 19:54:05 EST

Henri J. Blits (INTERNET:HenriBlits -at- AOL -dot- COM) says:

> I am a Business and Technical Presentations Instructor/Consultant.

In that case, I bet you already know the answers to your questions :-)

> I am looking for highly innovative ways to teach proper presentation
> techniques to students in my classes; specifically, creative ways to convey
> technical material to heterogeneous audiences. Also, I'm looking for some
> good ideas for dealing with students who are frightened to death of getting
> up and sharing information with audiences...especially ones who are the ONLY
> experts in the area and who need to share this technical information.
> If you would like to share those ideas with me I would be humbly
> appreciative.

Okay ... I'll see if I can get this discussion started ....

First, the best advice you can give to anyone who's frightened about
giving a presentation is this: Know your subject cold. Know it
backwards and forwards. Know it inside out. Nothing cures stage fright
better than having complete confidence in your knowledge of the subject.

Believe me, I know what stage fright is like. Although many people who
know me now would have a hard time believing this, I used to be a shy
person. Whenever I had to speak in front of a group, my knees knocked,
my voice quivered and, if I was holding a piece of paper, it rattled!
I was determined to overcome my shyness and improve my speaking skills,
so I took acting classes and performed in theatre productions in order
to get over it and, once I learned that I could be outgoing (and even
outrageous) as a character on stage, it became much easier for me to
feel more comfortable AS LONG AS I KNEW MY LINES OR MATERIAL. That's
the key.

Whenever I wasn't confident that I knew my lines cold, backwards &
forwards, and inside out, I generally suffered from the typical "actors
nightmare" -- dreaming that I was on a stage, but I didn't know what
play I was in, what character I was playing, what my first line was,
who the other characters were, or where to find a script.

A few other tips on giving presentations:

1. Give yourself a little pep talk beforehand, and remind yourself
that you know your subject matter, you look great, you're clever,
and your audience is going to love you. If you believe that,
chances are, your audience will believe it, too.

2. Practice controlling your voice. Be sure you're projecting
enough for your words to bounce off the back wall. Ask early
on if everyone can hear you. If you find yourself getting
tongue-tied, slow down and concentrate on enuciating your words.

3. Remember to smile warmly as you're introduced or as you
introduce yourself. You'll feel much more confident when
others smile back at you. Also, if you have a chance to
chat informally with some of your audience before your
presentation, do it.

4. Maintain eye contact with your audience. That doesn't mean
you should deliver your presentation to just one person.
Make it a point to scan the audience and read their body
language. If some of them are nodding off, that's your cue
to do something different -- move around a little, tell a
little story related to your topic, ask if there are any
questions, or pick up the pace of your presentation.

5. Don't be afraid to ad lib. It gives your presentation a more
natural style, and it can put you more at ease. Just be sure
to stay on the topic.

6. Early on in your presentation, tell your audience whether you
want them to hold their questions until after your presentation
or whether you're willing to answer questions at any time during
the presentation. TIP: You'll feel much more confident after
answering the first question.

This advice is off the top of my head. I'll probably think of a dozen
more tips as soon as I click on SEND. Anyway, I hope this is helpful
to you.

Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808
Georgetown, CO 80444

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