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CMN 124 Lecture Notes - Narrative Structure, Sexual Orientation, Impromptu Speaking

Course Code
CMN 124
John Burry

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The Two Rules of Successful Presenting
1. Know Your Audience
2. Know your Medium
What does the Audience Want to Hear?
"There is nothing that people are so interested in as themselves, there own problems, and the
way to solve them. That fact is basic...its the primary starting point of all successful public
-- Harry Emerson Frosdick
Studying the Audience
1. Demographic analysis:
Sexual orientation
Group membership
Racial, ethnic, or cultural background
2. Situational Analysis:
Audience size
Why are they there- what are they expecting from you?
What is their attitude towards you and the subject? Will there be resistance? How will you
counter it?
Are there tensions or conflict within the audience?
Is your rank in the organization above or below your audience? What is the level of
Are there decision-makers in the audience? Their concerns?
How knowledgeable are they in the subject area?
What question will they want you to answer?
Three questions for the speaker:
"to whom am I speaking?"
"Whats my purpose? What do I want them to know, believe, or do as a result of my
"What's the most effective way of composing and presenting my speech to accomplish my
About the Audience:
Audience perception is selective. People hear what they want to hear.
2. Know your medium
An aural medium is always 'the present tense'/
Content can't be reviewed so it must be simple &clear.
Ideas and information must be easily and quickly comprehended and retained.
An effective presentation is designed around a specific (single) purpose. That means you
should have something clean and definitive to say and a reason for saying it
Giving the Presentation Structure:
Content is simply organized
Arranged around a specific purpose (just one)
Clearly identify the main idea listeners are meant to retain
Supporting details should be simplified
Three common presentation structures:
1. Logical structure:
Organized so listeners know clearly how each point relates to your central purpose.
Use signpost words (my first point, my next point) to guide audience through the
2. Narrative structure:
Information related as an accurate, credible and compelling story. To work, must be well-
told interesting and relevant.
An effective way to make you and your ideas memorable.
3. Formal structure: **
the most commong presentation structure
Three standard parts - introduction, body and conclusion
Repetition aids meaning and retention
The introduction:
(Tell them what you are going to tell them)
1. Arouse interest (in 90 seconds: story, question, statistic, quote, visual, joke..)
2. Identify yourself - establish your credibility
3. Clarify your purpose
4. Preview your main points
The body:
Develop your main theme and focus your audience's thinking
Always use most recent data available (gets attention)
Balance your information with context and analysis - don't make it a torrent of facts
Provide examples and use vivid language to create memorable images (think 'story-telling')
Use transitional expressions for continuity
The Conclusion:
End by helping audience understand the significance of your presentation(specific purpose/central
Be brief. Consider:
Restating the main issues
Restating the point you started with
Issuing a challenge or a call to action (ask for the sale?)
Ask a though-provoking question
a. Device to gain attention
b. Establish creditbility
c. State the purpose
d. preview
a. First main point ________
Supporting details 1. ___
a. Summary of main points
b. Closing points
Methods of Delivery
1. Manuscript method ( when presenting extensive or complex data with no margin for
2. Memorization (not recommended)
3. Impromptu Speaking (short, unprepared, improvisional)
4. Extemporaneous (thoughtful preparation + spontaneous, natural delivery)
Practise with your visual aids.
Time yourself. Deliver the speech aloud.
Master your topic - keep notes to just an outline (use the improvisional style). Don’t write your
speech or memorize it.
Record yourself; practice in front of a mirror or a friend.
The Delivery