Module 17: Making Oral Presentations
March 7 2012
What kinds of Presentations are There?
- Informative presentations inform or teach the audience.
Secondary purposes may be to conform to legislation to meet ISO standards, to persuade
employees to follow organizational procedures and to orient new employees.
- Persuasive and sales presentations motivate the audience to act or believe.
Giving information and evidence persuades through appeals to credibility and reason.
Speaker must build goodwill by appearing to be credible and sympathetic to the audience’s
- In business presentations, speakers want to persuade the audience to buy their product, proposal or idea.
- Sometimes the goal is to change attitudes and behaviours or to reinforce existing attitudes.
- Goodwill presentations entertain and validate the audience.
May be designed to stroke the audience’s egos and to validate their commitment to
- The best presenters plan, prepare and practise.
What decisions do I need to make as I plan a Presentation?
- Choose your main point, the kind of presentation, and ways to involve your audience.
- Identify the one idea – or critical takeaway – you want the audience to take away.
- Then phrase your idea so that it offers a specific benefit to the audience.
- Your purpose is NOT the introduction of your talk; it is the principle that guides your decisions as you plan your
- Now reinforce that idea through clarity, repetition, and emphasis: simplify your supporting detail so it’s easy to
follow; use visuals that can be taken in at a glance; choose concrete words and brief sentences so they’re easy to
- Before you begin planning your presentation, you need to know for how long, where and when you will be
- Your time and audience’s expectations shape both the content and the kind of presentation you will give.
Choosing the kind of presentation
- When you identified your purpose, including the results you want to achieve, analyzed your audience’s needs
and considered your time, you can decide on the kind of presentation you will give.
- In a monologue presentation the speaker functions as an expert, speaks without interruption, and solicits
questions at the end of the presentation.
The speaker plans the presentation in advance and delivers without deviation.
May represent the most common educational situation, but it’s often boring for the audience.
- Guided discussions offer a better way to present material and encourage an audience to really engaged. Speaker presents the questions or issues that both speaker and audience agree on.
Speaker serves as a facilitator to help the audience tap its own knowledge.
Works well for adult training and for presenting the results of consulting projects, when the
speaker has specialized knowledge, but the audience must implement the solution if it’s to
Need more time than monologue presentations but produce more audience response, more
responses involving analysis and more commitment to the result.
- Sales presentation A conversation, even if the salesperson stands up in front of a group and uses charts and
Uses questions to determine the buyer’s needs, probe objections and gain temporary and then
final commitment to the purchase.
How Should I organize a Presentation?
- Usually you start with the main point.. Then choose one of five standard organizational patterns.
- Be honest about your goals, and prepare your opening to demonstrate that your goal dovetails with the
- In a persuasive presentation, start with your strongest point, your best reason.
Put your weakest point in the middle and end on a strong note.
- Based on your purpose and audience analysis, use one of the 5 standard patterns of organization:
Start with the past, move to the present and end by looking ahead.
Explain the symptoms of the problem, identify its causes and suggest a solution.
o Exclude alternatives.
Explain the symptoms of the problem.
Explain the obvious solutions first and show why they won’t solve the problem.
End by discussing a solution that will work.
Give all the reasons in favour of something, then those against it.
Discuss three aspects of a topic.
- Early in your talk – perhaps immediately after your opener – provide an agenda or overview of the main points
you will make.
- An overview provides a mental peg that hearers can hang each point on. Can also prevent someone missing
what you are saying because he/she wonders why you aren’t covering a major point that you’ve said for later.
- A signpost is an explicit statement of the point you have reached.
How can I adapt my ideas to the audience?
- Remember that people can only take in so much information before they shut down!
- If your audience is indifferent, sceptical, or hostile, focus on the part of your message the audience will find
more interesting and easiest to accept. - Make your ideas relevant to your audience by linking what you have to say to the audience’s experiences,
interest, and needs.
- Example: Twelve of our customers have cancelled orders in the past month.
How can I create a strong opening and close?
- Use your introduction and your conclusion as points of emphasis.
- The beginning and the end of a presentation, like the beginning and end of a written document, are positions of
- Your introduction is partially important. To catch and hold audience attention, try these strategies:
o Stand still
o Focus on your audience
o Attract their interest with a dramatic statement, story, question, or quotation.
o Make the hook or grabber relevant to them.
- Example: Are you going to have enough money to do the things you want to when you retire?
- Example: According to towers perrin, the profits of Fortune 100 companies would be 25% lower – they’d go
down $17 billion – if their earnings statements listed the future costs companies are obligated to pay for
retirees’ health care.
- Your opener must interest the audience and establish rapport.
- Never use humour that’s directed against the audience.
- Smile at your audience before you begin, let them see that you’re a real person and a pleasant one.
- For your close, do one or more of the following:
o Restate your main point.
o Refer to your opener to create a frame for your presentation
o End with a vivid, positive picture.
o Tell the audience exactly what to do to solve the problem you’ve discussed.
- When preparing your presentation, apply the KISS formula: Keep it short and simple. How should I use visuals?
- Use visuals to emphasize your main points. Keep them simple and specific.