Keeping Up Public Appearances: Master the Fine Art of Public-Speaking and Give a Great Presentation Every Time

Article excerpt

You've worked hard and your boss is so impressed that you've been chosen to make a quarterly presentation before your peers and company higher-ups. What do you do next?

"To be a strong presenter you have to give your audience something they didn't have before they walked through the door," says Janice Powell-Rollins, director of public policy at U S West Inc. in Denver, who makes frequent presentations to government and business leaders.

Presentation skills are vital for the simple fact that more organizations are having meetings and conferences. Two hundred corporations and associations responding to a recent Meeting Professionals International/National Speakers Association survey estimated they would plan more than 7,600 meetings in 1996-97, consisting of training seminars, sales meetings, professional/technical seminars, management/board meetings and conventions/trades shows. Patricia Ball, president of the National Speakers Association and author of Straight Talk Is More Than Words (Knox Publishing; $20), says an effective presentation has these elements:

* An attention grabbing opener.

* Good content interspersed with humor and anecdotes that relate to the presentation's main point(s).

* A closing that is hard-hitting, inspirational or a call to action.

* Strong delivery skills--vocal variety, movement techniques, gestures, facial expressions, believability and passion.

Gather twice as much information as you think you'll need, and use the most interesting and dynamic points. Research your audience as well to determine the key players and their levels of expertise. Ask yourself:

Will there be any strong advocates or dissenters? Why is this audience coming together to hear you? What information can you give that they don't already know?

With research completed, work should begin on content, which represents 80% of your presentation. It's essential that this portion of the presentation flow--with the theme or main point emphasized at the beginning. …