Chapter 7: Communicating in Oral Presentations and
- when planning an oral presentation, you should first identify your purposes for communicating;
analyze your audience to identify its values, beliefs, interests, concerns, and objections; consider the
context of the communication; and choose a channel
- The tactical elements to be applied in oral presentations can be broadly categorized as follows:
1. Planning and organizing
2. Developing the content
3. Designing the visual aids
4. Practicing the delivery, including the reduction of presentation anxiety
5. Giving the presentation, including handling the question-and-answer session
- Presentations are good for the following situations:
• Inspiring and motivating others: If the presenter is able to bring enthusiasm and energy and an
inspirational message to the situation, then oral message delivery is highly appropriate.
• Demonstrations of products or for training purposes: Oral presentations work well when
audience members are able to view how a product works and better understand its functions.
• To introduce a persuasive written message (generally a report or a proposal). This helps
increase audience interest by emphasizing the key benefits of the proposal in an engaging manner
and allows the presenter to answer audience questions.
• As a follow-up to a persuasive written message (generally a report or a proposal). The personal
presence of an advocate can help establish goodwill and credibility and move the persuasive process
forward. In these cases, the oral message should generally emphasize the benefits of
the proposal and answer audience questions.
• To deliver bad news to a large audience. In some circumstances, the personal presence of an
organizational representative helps to establish or maintain goodwill and credibility and, by
extension, the image and reputation of the firm.
- Presentations are often not good for delivering a large amount of complex information, simply
(1) audience members won't remember it all and
(2) they will likely become bored and tune out.
Planning and Developing the Presentation
Planning the Presentation
- To make presentations more engaging, some time should be spent identifying the key message or
theme and considering other aspects of a strong oral message such as:
• Simplicity: In presentations, you should aim to achieve or communicate one idea. The first
question to ask is, What is the idea or theme of my presentation?
• Interest: You need to engage your audience and keep them engaged. One way is to raise questions
that your audience wants answered and then answer them as you proceed through the presentation.
What are the questions that your audience may have? How might you use these to organize your
message? Can you tie them to your theme?
• Stories: Incorporate stories into your presentation. Stories help engage your audience if its
members can relate to them. They are more likely to respond emotionally, which increases the chances of you being persuasive. Stories also make your presentation easier to follow and your
message often more concrete and vivid.
• Vividness: Generalities are boring and, in some cases, unclear. To avoid this problem, use concrete
and vivid language and descriptions that bring your presentation to life and make them memorable.
- Doing research to provide relevant, concrete details can make the presentation more interesting
because details such as examples and anecdotes make points more vivid and clear than
generalizations and abstractions.
Select theAppropriate Structure
- Depending on the purposes, the audience, the situation, or the information you are providing, the
ordering of your message may affect its success. Several strategies are available to make your
messages more logical and understandable for your audience. You can choose to put information in
different types of order, including these
1. Present old information before new: One organizational strategy is to present information that is
known to your reader or listener before you present new information.
- This strategy makes the new information easier to understand because your reader or
listener has a basis of understanding—the old information—on which to draw to comprehend the less
2. Organize information chronologically: Chronological ordering presents ideas in the order of
their occurrence. Such a pattern might also be used to explain the steps for a procedure.
- In this case, each step must be performed in a particular order to achieve the desired result.
- Chronological ordering is easy to achieve, easy to recognize, and easy to follow
3. Use a geographic or spatial pattern: The spatial pattern organizes ideas conceptually, according
to an actual spatial arrangement or a physical metaphor or analogy.
- This pattern can also be used to arrange topics in a spatial pattern such as a pyramid or
4. Use a general-to-particular pattern: Another common organizational strategy is to arrange ideas
from the general to the particular. General to particular is a common organizational arrangement in
- The general statement is considered your claim. For example, you might state, "Our
company has made a number of changes to benefit our employees."
- The particular information would then include the specifics of those changes as well
as the benefits.
- Another way to think about the general-to-particular strategy is in terms of levels of
abstraction. In other words, the general statement is more abstract than the particular information,
which is more concrete.
5. Use a problem-solution pattern: The problem-solution pattern is common in business because it
is highly persuasive and can include other patterns of reasoning such as question and answer.
- When using this pattern, the communicator begins with a shared, recognizable problem,
situation, or question and progressively moves to a solution supported by information or evidence.
- Such a pattern typically begins with a definition of the problem that proceeds to an analysis
of the problem or an evaluation of the solutions, and then concludes with a redefinition of the
problem or a suggestion for action. 6. Use a cause-and-effect pattern: The key to using the cause-and-effect pattern successfully is to
build a case that supports your claim of cause and effect.
- In other words, this pattern forces you to make and support an inference that one event
caused or will cause another.
- The fact that one event followed another (the chronological ordering discussed earlier) does
not prove that one event caused the other.
7. Use a comparison-and-contrast pattern: In a business presentation, this type of pattern might be
used to compare an organization with its competitors to illustrate where it stands in the industry.
- This pattern should be used strategically to show that your company clearly is the best in all
regards to the competition. If the pattern is not used wisely, however, it might backfire.
Develop the Presentation
- generally involves developing the three parts of the presentation the beginning or introduction, the
middle or body of the message, and the end or conclusion.
-After identifying the main topic of your message and its subtopics, you should develop an
introduction that provides an attention-getting statement, gives the purpose of the message, and
provides an overview of those subtopics.
-An introduction should get the audience's attention and indicate why it is important to listen to your
message. It should also provide your audience with a road map of what the message contains to help
it better follow the logic or contents of your message.
- In oral presentations, many techniques exist for gaining your audience's attention at the start. These
• Showing the product or the object. If you are going to be speaking about a product, show it and
perhaps demonstrate its use.
• Highlighting the benefits. Briefly state the benefits your audience will receive from your proposal.
• Asking a question. Invite your audience to participate by asking relevant questions about the
audience itself or your topic.
• Opening with a relevant video or sound clip. These might include slides containing pictures or
other images, a short film or video, and music or a sound clip.
• Telling a relevant story or personal anecdote. Arouse audience curiosity by telling an engaging
yet related story, perhaps about the history of the company or an experience that illustrates the theme
• Stating a striking fact or statistic
• Delivering a relevant quotation. On a speech about the organization's strategic plan, for example,
you might deliver the following quotation from the baseball player Yogi Berra: "You've got to be
very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."
- you should make sure that you use all available means to "connect the dots" or provide a road
map for your audience. Two of those elements that can be used in an oral presentation are forecasting
- Forecasting - Elements of a text or oral presentation that tell the audience what the reader or
speaker will cover next. Summaries and preview statements or overviews are effective forecasting
- Transitions - Elements that assist the audience in moving from one topic to another through words and phrases that link the ideas the writer or speaker is developing.
- In oral presentations, a transition should clearly and thoroughly link the topic you are
moving from to the one you are moving to.An example of a complete transition is the following:
"Now that I have explained why we should adopt a policy allowing flex-time scheduling, I will tell
you about some of the benefits such a change would provide to the company and its employees."
- In oral presentations, it is particularly important to fully link the topic you have just discussed to the
one you are about to discuss
- it is often necessary to restate information briefly yet in a slightly different way to ensure that your
audience receives your message successfully.
- your audience will be more likely to remember the conclusion because of the recency effect (the
principle that the most recently presented items or experiences will most likely be remembered best)
- 3 basic types of conclusions:
1. Goodwill -> not appropriate for a presentation
2. Summary -> used for informative messages
3. Sales -> used for persuasive messages
Summary Conclusions for Informative Messages:
- you should create a summary conclusion in which you restate the subtopics of your message
inn a slightly different manner
- sate your info differently with additional explanation
Summary Conclusions for Persuasive Messages:
- your conclusion should focus on restating the benefits your listeners will receive from
adopting the proposal
- in some persuasive situations, it may also be appropriate to conclude with a call to action
=> a conclusion to persuasive message that is intended to convince the reader to fully consider the
writer’s or speaker’s proposal and, ideally, commit to a decision or take the next step
- Using graphics appropriately provides three main benefits:
• Information is more easily understood than with the use of words alone.
• The use of visuals helps make the information conveyed more memorable.
• The use of visuals enhances your professionalism and credibility.
- not a way to deliver content
- Visual aids are thus useful to help you more clearly and quickly communicate your message, as
well as make your message more interesting.
- presentation software, like other visual aids, should be used for two primary purposes:
(1) to indicate the main ideas you will cover or the structure of your presentation, and
(2) to convey information that is more easily understood visually.
Designing Powerpoint Presentations
- When designing presentation aids, make sure all their elements are visible from anywhere in the
room. Presentation aids should emphasize the main points of your speech. Visuals should therefore
be simple, and each one should make only one point. The basic rules for creating PowerPoint slide presentations follow.
• The colors for the slide background and the text should have high contrast: light on dark or dark on
• The type size should be large enough to be read from the back of the room (generally 28 points or
• Slide text should be limited to informative phrases (bullet-list format).Avoid presenting tex tin
sentence or paragraph form.
• Bullet lists should be grammatically parallel in structure and, whenever possible, begin with or
contain a verb so that list items are more informative. In other words, you should avoid list items that
contain only one word because one word often does not convey much information and is more
like a placeholder.
• Each slide should contain no more than five to six bullet points.
•Avoid clip art. Most of it will not be clearly related to your topic, and much of it is cartoonish in
character. In other words, it creates an unprofessional impression.
- Potentially, the best design element you might use on a PowerPoint slide is your company logo to
add interest and name recognition.
Organizing Powerpoint Presentations
The introduction should include two slides:
• Opening title slide. This slide contains the title of your presentation, the name of the presenter, and
the organization he or she represents.
• Overview slide. This slide lists the main topics covered in the presentation.
- For the body of your presentation, you should include at least one slide for each of the main points
of your presentation. In addition, you should include slides that convey the information that is best
communicated visually in the form of graph, table, diagram or drawing
1. Graphs. Sometimes called charts, graphs are used to compare the value of several items:
- the amount of advertising money spent on different media.
- The bar graph is typically used to emphasize comparisons or contrasts between two or more items.
-Apie graph is often used to indicate the distribution of something or the relative size of the parts of
2. Tables. Tables are useful for emphasizing key facts and figures.
- They are especially effective for listing steps, highlighting features, or comparing related facts.
-Atable presents data in words, numbers, or both, in columns and rows.
- Tables easily convey large amounts of numerical data and often are the only way to show several
variables for a number of items.
3. Diagrams and Drawings. Diagrams are two-dimensional drawings that show the important parts
of objects. They are useful for conveying information about size, shape, and structure.
- Types of diagrams include drawings, maps, and floor plans.
-An organizational chart is a form of block diagram that indicates lines of authority and
responsibility in an organization. The Conclusion
The conclusion of your presentation should include two slides.
• The conclusion slide. This slide should summarize your main points or, in the case of a persuasive
presentation, highlight the benefits of your proposal to your audience.
• Ending title slide. Ending with the slide you began with provides closure for your audiences
because it indicates you have come full circle.
- In addition, this slide acts as a subtle sales message, much like giving your audience your business
card, which contains your name and the name of your company. It is a better backdrop for a
question-and-answer session than a slide that contains the single word "Questions" or the
phase "Thank you" because it enhances name recognition.
Using Powerpoint Slides
- Presentation aids should be skillfully integrated into the presentation. That means that a visual
should not be displayed until you are ready for it and it should be removed after discussing it.
- The use of visual aids should be practiced so that their use does not distract from your presentation
or adversely affect your credibility by making you look unprepared.
Delivery In Oral Presentations
- nonverbal communication enables us to make that personal connection and establish our credibility
by demonstrating confidence and composure.
- By varying the volume, rate of delivery, pitch, or inflection of your voice and message delivery, you
can easily change the meaning of your message
- Vocal delivery can also affect your relationship with the audience and your credibility.
- The elements of vocal delivery are described below:
• Volume. The volume of your speech must be loud enough to be heard but not so loud as to be
overwhelming. When speaking before a group, you generally need to speak louder than you do in
• Rate of delivery. The rate of delivery refers to the speed at which you speak. For a speech to be
effective, vary the rate of delivery to reflect changes in the content of the material being presented or
its desired effect. Serious material calls for a slower, more deliberate rate, while fighter topics need a
• Pitch. Pitch ranges from low and deep to high and squeaky. Optimal pitch is the level at which you
can produce your strongest voice with minimal effort and also allow variation up and down the scale.
Pitch is an issue that deserves some attention; those with high, squeaky voices or breathy ones may
be judged as being less competent, serious, and credible.
• Vocal variety. Vocal variety refers to the varying use of the vocal aspects of volume, rate, and
pitch. Speaking in a monotone without such variations sends the message that the speaker is not
interested in his or her topic, is nervous, or lacks confidence. Making any of these impressions can
undermine your credibility as well as make your message less engaging.
• Articulation. Speakers should articulate words c