No matter how old you are you’ll
have to make presentations to some people at some point in your life.  Making presentations is one of the ways that
enables you to achieve your goals. 
Taking oral exams at school, lecturing in front of people, introducing
yourself while being hired, explaining matters concerning your job to others
may trigger anxiety.  One should cope
with anxiety by thinking that each and every presentation could be a test. 

 

As a matter of fact we make
presentations throughout our lifetime. 
We try occasionally to present ourselves, our knowledge or skills and
expect our presentations to be appreciated. 
This is because the way we present the things we possess is more often
than not more important than what we actually possess.   Expressing ourselves accurately and
efficiently makes us understood by others. 
Presenting our knowledge and skills correctly gives rise to appreciation
and acceptance. 

 

There are some essential
requirements for being able to make presentations.  First of all, the thing we are about to
present should have a reason and purpose. 
Being well versed in the subject we present is important for a good
presentation.  Finally there are
communication methods and tools required for making a presentation.  It is important to find out what the people
listening to your presentation expect and require. Therefore the person making
the presentation should be able to identify such requirements of the audience.  Presentation also has a meaning for the
person who is making it and this, too, has influence over the presentation
itself.  The person making the
presentation should make it clear whether he/she is doing it for fun or out of
duty or as a means of getting a promotion or the sheer altruism of sharing his/her
knowledge with others.   Presentation
requires knowledge.  But as to how much
of that knowledge you will convey affects the overall quality of the
presentation.  Informing the audience
excessively makes for an unsuccessful presentation just as giving less
information on the subject would.  Things
presented should be believable and convincing. The way the presenter talks and
uses his/her body language as well as the communication tools he/she makes use
of all contribute to the overall success of the presentation. 

 

 

Valid rules for a successful
presentation: 

 

1-     
When you are
anxious you feel that all the ill thoughts you experience are detected by the
audience as well.  And this makes you all
the more anxious. However when you get anxious during the presentation the
audience catches on only some portion of what you experience in your head.  That is the audience does not sense the exact
level of your anxiety as high as you do and thus the quality of your
presentation is not affected by this fact. 
On the other hand when you get anxious by realizing some of the tiny
mistakes you have made you actually make a big deal out of them.

2-     
The way you
present a subject is more important than the contents of that subject.  Imagine that you say “I am so happy” with a long
face and resigned voice and stooping.   
How convincing can you be?  Your
body language and tone of voice attracts more attention than the stuff you are
talking about during a presentation and therefore carries more weight. 

3-     
Identify the
characteristics you need to develop regarding a presentation.  These may be the characteristics that you use
while preparing or making a presentation. 

4-     
There are
differences in making a presentation for your colleagues, classmates or
clients.  For this reason, be sure to
make a good audience profile. 

5-     
Identify the
purpose of the presentation and what kind of target audience you’ll be
addressing while preparing a presentation. 
While some presentations are made for informative purposes others are
made for promoting a project or product. 
Similarly some of the audience attends the presentation for keeping up
with the latest developments on a subject they are already well informed, while
some of them come to the presentation for learning a thing or two about a
subject or project they have never known before.  

6-     
If you have a
small group of audience then you may conduct a presentation that allows the
exchange of ideas for the most part and give the floor to the audience more
often.  On the other hand, when making a
presentation to a packed crowd, it is important that you make sure everything
is easily and clearly understandable.

7-     
Write up a
draft of your presentation. Embellishing such notes with your own style of
narration, along with a sufficient amount of technical support, will help you
conduct a successful presentation. 
Memorizing a written text makes for a dull and ineffective presentation.

8-     
You should
always bear in mind the duration while preparing your presentation; you should
aim not to exceed such duration during both the preparation and presentation
stages. 

9-     
As is the
case with all narratives, a proper presentation should consist of introduction,
body and conclusion chapters. It is important to mention the purpose of the
presentation in the introduction chapter.  In addition to a few broadly comprehensive
sentences to be said on the subject in the introduction, an intriguing start to
the presentation will grab the attention of the audience.   To this end, you may start the presentation
with a story or joke or question or even a cartoon or a heads-up depending on
the subject of your presentation.  Making
use of satire serves to make you relax while warming the audience to the
presentation and attracting their attention.

10-  
You may turn
to cartoons or stories later on, but excessive use of the same may bore the
audience.
 If the
audience you are facing is the one that needs to be convinced (such as clients
etc.) then you will need to use as much concrete evidence and data as possible.

11-  
At the end of
you presentation, make an overall summary of your presentation and remind the
audience of the main points that you have dwelled on.

12-   When asked questions, listen to the question in its entirety and
think well on it before attempting to answer it.  Thinking while being asked a question may
make you miss out some of the aspects of the question. 

13-  
Kindly
interrupt the questions that do not seem to end and sum them up.

14-  
Do not
conduct the Q&A session with only a handful of the audience while mentally
alienating the rest of the crowd.   When
somebody asks you a question, answer it while looking at the rest of the
audience, less so at the asker.

15-  
If you have
no answer for the question you have been asked, do not attempt to answer it by
putting together the bits and pieces that you have in mind.  State outright that you do not know the
answer but let the asker know that you will get back to them first thing when
you have the answer to that particular question.  And make sure you actually do that. 

16-  
Observe the
body language of the audience.  If they
seem to be bored or sleepy do a few moves to grab their attention.  Change the tone of your voice or tell an
anecdote or story to get them interested.

17-  
No matter
what happens do not ever start your presentation by apologizing for the mishaps
that happened and finish it by once again apologizing for the same
mishaps.  Try your best and put your
faith in what you do. 

 

 

Prof. Dr. Bengi Semerci

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