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Presentation Skills: Your Presentation Body [Part 2]

Posted by on December 13, 2011

Presentation BodyLast time we got you started on your presentation body, discussing the need for a main point and its supporting evidence. That was a good start, but since the body is the “meat” of your presentation, we still have a lot to cover. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you because I know you can take these skills with you wherever you go!

Okay, let’s get to it. Once you have decided on your point, or message, you need to present evidence to support it. But although you may know something, how do you put together supporting information in a way that speaks to your audience? Here are some specifics for each of the 5 types of evidence:

  1. Personal Experience: A specific firsthand situation in which you participated that supports or clarifies your point.
    • The personal experience should always be communicated in the first person. For example:                  I said “                       .” He said “                       .”
    • This allows you to use actual dialogue which adds an emotional dimension to the incident, makes it more interesting to the listener and is easier for you to relate. Literally relive the experience.
    • Remember, to most listeners the personal experience is the most interesting and unique form of evidence. People remember stories long after they have forgotten the storyteller.
  2. Analogy: A similarity between things or situations otherwise unlike.
    • This can be a very creative form of evidence and when presented visually, can be quite dramatic.
    • For example, to communicate the concept that we only see part of something and do not have the whole picture, the iceberg can be an effective analogy. To communicate the fact that we do not have the proper equipment, an analogy might be “like trying to keep a football field dry with a box of tissues.”
    • A good analogy allows the speaker to graphically exaggerate a point without offending the intelligence of the listener.
  3. Judgment of Expert: A statement made by a person the group will recognize as an authority on the subject.
    • The statement should be supportive in either a positive or negative manner. If the source is not readily known to the entire group, credentials, qualifications and accomplishments should be identified prior to using a quote. Some sources for judgments of experts are newspapers, journals and trade magazines.
  4. Example: A specific situation where various key factors are similar to those that support your point.
    • Examples make a presentation more interesting and help your audience understand your point.
  5. Facts/Statistics: A fact is something that already happened or a condition that exists.
    • Statistics are a quantification of a fact and are used primarily for comparison. Statistics are used to report on a past activity or to predict the results of future activity.
    • When using statistics, ask yourself:
      • What do they represent? (Results? Predictions?)
      • What do they tell the listener? (Comparison? Conclusion?)
      • How do they support or clarify my point?

It is most important to use visual aids to display statistics. Be graphically dramatic; you will be amazed at the amount of statistical information your audience is able to retain!

Delivery Tips for the Body

Use a flip chart for each key point. This will keep you organized, emphasize points to your audience and allow you to speak from the chart without looking at your notes.

What next? Oh yes, the dreaded conclusion. Let’s leave that for next time

It is essential to get hands-on, practical training in the classroom to bring these concepts to life.

Presentation Skills

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as  Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.


Presentation Skills: Your Presentation Body [Part 1]

Posted by on December 5, 2011

Presentation BodyLast time, we talked about creating your presentation introduction. Now it’s time to work on the body, which will consist of your key points and the evidence you will use to support each key point. Evidence makes your key points more interesting and helps you emphasize them more strongly. By providing evidence, you clarify and expand your point and answer any questions you anticipate your audience might have.

When developing the body of the presentation, you should use the following format:

  • State the point (the message you want your audience to receive)
  • Back up each point with evidence (information the listener needs to know about that point to understand it and take action)

To help you develop your supporting ideas, discuss each point with yourself. Keep your audience in mind and remember your objectives. Imagine yourself conversing with your audience. You know the subject. Each point will probably trigger another related point. By talking each point out, you will see in which direction your thoughts take you. Decide which thoughts you need. Look for details. Be concrete. Avoid generalities. Reinforce ideas with specifics.

Evidence can take many different forms. There are five forms of backup evidence we will cover in this program:

  1. Personal Experience
  2. Analogy
  3. Judgment of Expert
  4. Example
  5. Facts/Statistics

This is an excellent beginning to your presentation body, but there’s a lot more to it. Don’t worry…we have all the tips and tools you need! Next time, we’ll dig deeper into how to create your presentation body. Before you know it, your presentation will be ready for the real world, and you’ll be ready to shine!

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as  Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.


Presentation Skills: Your Presentation Introduction

Posted by on November 14, 2011

Your Presentation IntroductionLast time, we talked about organizing your presentation. Now you need an intro!

Your introduction can make or break your presentation. Sound drastic? It is! If your presentation introduction is good, you’ll capture your audience’s attention. If it’s weak, you could lose them in the first two minutes, and possibly never get them back. The introduction is the most critical piece in your presentation skills toolkit.

A good introduction contains the Three A’s:

  • Arouse Interest
  • Agenda
  • Action 

Arouse your audience’s interest right from the start. Make them want to listen to you. People come to your presentation with their minds on their concerns (that last phone call, the upcoming meeting). They may come in with a preconceived notion that this will be boring. You must capture their attention! Your “interest-arouser” should refer to their problems or concerns. The following list may assist you in developing an interest arouser:

  • outline an incident
  • ask for a show of hands
  • ask a question
  • make a promise
  • get them laughing
  • make a provocative statement
  • use an arresting statistic

Next, state your agenda. Audiences don’t like to be kept in the dark. It detracts from successful communication. Your agenda should be a clear, concise outline of the key points you will be making in your presentation. An agenda helps your audience listen to you because it keeps them organized.

Finally, your audience should be told what action you want them to take. Busy people become impatient with mystery stories. They want to know how the story will end before they take the time to listen. Always state your requested action (your recommendation) at the beginning of the presentation.This also helps them to be better listeners because they can evaluate what you are saying against the decision you want them to make.

Credentials are optional in an introduction. If this it the first time you are talking to this group, you should give them a brief description of your background. If you include your credentials in the introduction, you should do so right after the Interest Arouser and before the Agenda.

When you include the Three A’s in your introduction, you will have an effective introduction, one that captures your audience’s attention and tells them what you’re going to tell them.

Since the introduction is so critical to your presentation, it is recommended that you write it out word-for-word so you will know exactly what you are going to say. Once you have written it out, you can condense it into key words, or an outline. You should never read your introduction to the audience, but you should know exactly what you are going to say. There are two good reasons for this:

  1. The very beginning of your presentation is when you are the most nervous. Knowing exactly what you are going to say will alleviate some of the fear and help make you feel calmer.
  2. Initial impressions are lasting. You want the initial portion of your presentation to be outstanding.

Delivery Tips for the Introduction

Before you begin to speak, pause for three seconds. This gives you time to organize your thoughts, lets your audience get ready to listen, and makes you appear extremely confident.

  • Look down at your notes, look up and then begin to talk. Never begin talking while looking at your notes.
  • Outline your agenda on a visual aid. It helps clarify the points for your audience and keeps you and them organized.
  • Do not rush through the introduction. It is probably the first and only time your audience will hear these remarks.
  • Practice, practice, practice your introduction before the actual presentation.

Remember…good first impressions are critical to your success!

Please tune in next time to learn about Your Presentation Introduction.

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as  Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.


Presentation Skills: Organizing Your Presentation

Posted by on October 31, 2011

Organizing Your Presentation resized 600

Last week, we talked about how to plan your presentation. Now you need to organize your material to add clarity to your presentation. It’s important to create a structure that helps your audience understand your message. If your presentation isn’t organized, your listeners will have to search for that message. But that’s hard work, and most audiences won’t do it. If you force them to search, you will lose your audience’s attention. But organizing your presentation will keep them right there with you.

There are two ways in which you can organize your key points:

  • most to least important
  • natural progression

Most to Least Important

Look through your key points. Think in terms of what is of most interest to your audience: What is their primary concern? This is your most important point and should be the one you present first. Organize the remaining points in terms of what is most important in conveying your message, which points help people take the action you want them to take. When you are finished with this process, your key points will end up in a most to least important order.

Your most important points should be stated first because people are most attentive at the beginning of a presentation. Also, if there is a time limit, you don’t want to be cut off without having made your most important points. What a tragedy that would be!

Natural Progression

If there is a natural progression to your topic, present the material in its natural order. Natural progression include chronological order (past, present, future), time sequences (an unfolding schedule), cause and effect, advantages and disadvantages, etc.

Well-organized material helps your audience get the message!

Presentation Skills

Please tune in next time to learn about Your Presentation Introduction.

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.


Presentation Skills: Planning Your Presentation

Posted by on October 24, 2011

Last time, we discussed how important it is to decide on your presentation objective. Why, after all, are you presenting in the first place? Now that you know how to create your objective, we can move on to the next step: Planning Your Presentation. How are you going to get your point across?

Planning Your Presentation

A well planned presentation follows the old adage, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you just told them.”

Benefits of planning your presentation include:

  • Forcing you to define the purpose of your presentation
  • Increasing your understanding of your presentation

When you plan your presentation, you must decide what you are going to tell your audience. To do this, look at your objective and ask “What does my audience need to know to act on this?” Write down every point that comes to mind. List anything that could be relevant to your subject. Use single words or phrases, don’t write sentences. Don’t question anything you’ve written until you are finished. Making these rough notes should take only a few minutes. Then look through the list and weed out all irrelevant facts, being sure all your major points are covered. Limit yourself to essential points. You want to give your audience just what they need to know, no more and no less. Remember, don’t cloud the issue with too much information. The points that remain on your list after the sorting process are your KEY POINTS.

Review your objective. Be certain that the key points you have selected are the ones your audience needs to know in order to take the requested action. You are now ready to organize your presentation.

Please tune in next week to learn about Organizing Your Presentation.

Karen Holmes is a CGWA Senior Consultant and Trainer, based in the U.S. and delivering programs such as  Coaching, Positive Power and Influence, Presentation Skills, and many more.