Chapter 6: Developing Presentations
Your audiences, circumstances, and physical contexts for presenting will vary, but will arise regularly in any business environment. Being prepared to deal with different presenting situations will help reduce anxiety you may have about giving a speech, so let’s look at some common factors you need to keep in mind as you prepare for a typical business presentation.
Using Lecterns: Lecterns add formality to the presentation situation, but it can be tempting to hide behind it. Use it to hold your notes only. This will enhance your eye contact as well as free up your hands for gesturing, and give the appearance of confidence.
Large spaces: auditoriums or other large spaces can be intimidating. Preparation and practice will prevent poor performance; a rehearsal, if available, can also ease nerves. Slowing your speech to allow for echo, and adjust visual aids so they can be seen by those in the back of the hall.
Small spaces: these are usually easier to manage for presenters, but use note cards and visual aids carefully, as your audience will be able to see everything. Ideally, arrive early to set up your presentation material to prevent fumbling and delays.
Outdoors: Noise (cars, wind), insects, weather, sunshine and other environmental factors may be hard to control. Do your best to project your voice without yelling, and choose locations that are quiet and sheltered, if possible.
Using a Microphone: you can avoid difficulties with microphones by doing a rehearsal or test ahead of time. Ensure you enunciate clearly and give a few inches between your face and the microphone.
Small Audience Size: A small audience will allow for greater contact, but may invite interruptions. Deal with any questions politely and say you’ll try to answer that question at the end of the presentation. Or, set the agenda at the beginning so that the audience knows there will be a question and answer period at the end.
The following web pages provide some additional concepts and strategies for presentations: