Making a presentation is essentially having a conversation with your audience. Think about presenters who have engaged and held your attention. Do you feel that they are actually talking to you? Does the presentation feel personal? Does the presenter seem natural and easy? Does it feel that that the presentation is happening for the first time?
Actors research, prepare and rehearse to bring a character and performance to life.
Presenters need to do the same – they research their audience and content so that a presentation is tailored to the specifics of their audience. The content may be the same, but the audience may vary – from having a great deal of knowledge on the subject or product to being introduced to something for the first time.
Presenters need to prepare their presentation taking into account the given circumstances of location and time. The material may be the same but it would be presented in an entirely different way if it was in a large convention room or at a more intimate round table discussion. The energy level of the presenter needs to be different, the vocal projection is adjusted and the body language is changed if a presenter is seated.
The time frame of the relationship with the audience has an impact on a presentation. There is a variance in the energy level of your audience if it is the beginning of the day or, for example, immediately after lunch. It is the responsibility of the presenter to make the necessary adjustment. An established relationship also has a different tone to a new relationship.
Presenters need to rehearse so that their words come naturally. Written work does not always translate well to the spoken word. Presentations should be rehearsed out loud because it takes time to make the words the presenter’s own.
It takes time, thought and rehearsal to bring a presentation to the point where it feels like a personal conversation that engages the audience.
All views expressed are authors own.
About this author: Lyn Lee, Course Manager & Training Consultant, NIDA Corporate
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