Magazine article Security Management

Delivering Power Presentations

Magazine article Security Management

Delivering Power Presentations

Article excerpt

Public speaking can be one of the most intimidating experiences in life, but successful managers learn to overcome their fears and communicate like the pros. With a little practice, preparation, and commitment, anyone can give a polished presentation.

Practice. Proficiency in public speaking takes practice. Good speakers are made, not born. The would-be elocutionist should seek out opportunities to practice speaking. One can begin by offering to be the master of ceremonies at a civic function. Security professionals could volunteer to give presentations on security and safety issues at local schools or colleges. And speaking groups, such as Toastmasters, offer additional practice forums.

Practice helps the nascent orator adjust to being the center of attention. It is natural at such times to feel anxiety because the body produces epinephrine (also called adrenaline). It may help to remind oneself that the body releases this natural hormone to enhance its performance during a crisis. Through repetition of the experience, the novice can learn to regulate such nervousness and channel that energy into the presentation in a positive way. The secret is to control the tension, not eliminate it. (A speaker who is too calm puts the audience to sleep.)

Speakers should beware of annoying bad habits that may distract the audience. Examples include jingling coins, clicking pens, and repeating expressions such as "uh" or "okay?" There is nothing wrong with pausing to consult notes or gather thoughts, but the presenter must not fill those pauses with distractions.

One common habit that can distance the audience from the speaker is using audio-visual equipment incorrectly. When using a projection screen, the presenter should never talk while facing away from the audience. In addition, the speaker should never point at the screen itself but rather should use a pointer. Speakers must remember that visuals are simply a teaching aid - the tool should never dwarf the message.

Before an important presentation, experienced speakers visualize the presentation going well mentally before the real performance. By doing this several times, using as many senses as possible and imagining that the outcomes are always perfect, presenters can improve their speaking proficiency.

Speakers should always arrive early for the presentation and find the room or area in which they will be performing. They can take that time to visualize a good performance one last time to condition the subconscious mind for success and prepare it to take over automatically if the conscious mind panics.

Preparation. Before making any presentation, speakers must do some research. They should learn as much as possible about the audience and the location. The speaker must also be physically and mentally prepared.

With regard to the audience, a presenter will want to know determining factors such as the present knowledge and experience levels of participants. This information helps the speaker give a presentation that is appropriate to the audience's level of understanding.

Vantage point is also critical. Though everyone in the room may be interested in the same general field, they may be on opposite ends of the industry. For example, giving a speech on buying the right access control system to an audience of sales associates would not make sense. Presenters should also ask the event sponsor how many attendees are expected.

As for the location, speakers should ask about the layout of the room and determine in advance that essential items will be present. These include functioning audio-visual aids, note-taking supplies, and water. …

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