Skills for Business and Management

by Martin Sedgley

Presentations

Presenting to groups is an essential employability skill for your career in the corporate world. Like any other soft skill, becoming an effective presenter takes time and practice. This is particularly true for your vocal delivery – the way that you use your voice to connect with your audience and draw them into your visual and verbal ideas. Chapter 12 of the textbook provides some vocal exercises for you to practise, and these are reproduced here as audio recordings for you to compare with your own.

Vocal pace – script for Activity 12.4

Vocal clarity – script for Activity 12.5

Vocal skill set – script for Activity 12.6


Summary of key principles for effective presentations

There are two elements to successful presenting: preparation and performance. Key principles of each of these are summarised below. All of these factors are covered in detail, with supportive illustrations and exercises, in Chapter 12 of the textbook.

Preparing your presentation

  • Keep it simple: Narrow your topic down to a realistic focus.
  • Keep it short: Carefully calculate how many slides and video clips you can cover unhurriedly within the total presentation time limit.
  • Maximise visual impact: Create graphics in a majority of slides.
  • Make it readable: Minimal text with simple bullet points in a large font size.
  • Practise, practise, practise.

Performance on the day

Visual

  • Dress in a way that makes you feel confident.
  • Engage directly with the audience – be interested in them.
  • Start with a solid stance – feet shoulder-width apart.

Vocal

  • Keep a steady pace – learn to enjoy regular pauses.
  • Emphasise key points strongly and clearly.
  • Project your voice to the back of the room.

Verbal

  • Hook audience attention with a thought-provoking opening.
  • Explain only the most important point(s) on each slide.
  • Speak from your knowledge – practise, practise, practise.

Finally, what any presenter perhaps wants most of all, is to feel, sound and appear relaxed. This audio file reproduces the simple guided breathing technique to help you restore calmness should you experience any ‘stage fright’ before your presentation.

Be calm – script for breathing technique