Presentation Skills

Guidelines and Tips for Effective Presentations

Background of Presentation Skills Module

Coaching in this area will focus on enhancing the following skills:
  • Communicating thoughts and ideas to large groups of people, colleagues, clients and co- workers with assurance and confidence.
  • Structuring your presentations for maximum effect.
  • Structuring your thought process and ideas to discard ambiguity.
  • Using body language to persuade, influence and enhance your overall verbal communication.
  • Creating a sensitivity to the needs, feelings and emotions of the audience.
  • Establishing nervousness control and coping mechanisms.
  • Acknowledging and applying creative alternatives to expressing your ideas and making your presentations memorable.

Importance of Effective Presentations

Effective presentations and public speaking skills are thus an imperative skill to acquire in order to enhance your ability to achieve desirable outcomes in business, sales, training, teaching, lecturing, and generally feeling comfortable speaking to clients, co-workers or a group of people.

10 Guidelines Effective Presentations

  1. Determine the “Why”

    You cannot effectively create a presentation without first determining why you are delivering this presentation and what you want to achieve with it i.e. ask yourself what the objective of the presentation is. An example of an objective is ‘to inform an international audience about developments in South Africa’ or ‘to persuade a client to buy a new product’.

  2. Determine the “Who”

    An effective presentation needs to adapt itself to its audience. Once you have established your objective, you need to analyse your audience. Examine any demo-graphical details of your audience that may have an influence on your presentation, for e.g. socio-economic status, level of education or age, and determine how these details will affect your presentation.

  3. Determine the “What”

    Once you know the why and the who of your presentation you can determine what you are going to say. Your information needs to have a close relationship with your audience and objective.

  4. Wear the White Hat

    Dr. Edward De Bono developed a technique that will help you to think about your presentation in different ways. You can examine your topic from six different perspectives, which De Bono refers to as 6 hats: white, red, black, yellow, green, and blue.

    If you ‘put on’ the white hat, you adopt a neutral, factual attitude to your topic. From this perspective focus on the information, facts and knowledge that you will need to deliver your presentation

  5. Put on the Red Hat

    If you wear the red hat, you examine your ideas according to the passion that you feel for the topic and the reasons why you are delivering this presentation. From this perspective you should focus on your objective, what you want to achieve from the communication. Also refers to accommodating the needs and feelings of the audience.

  6. Put on the Black Hat

    The black hat represents caution and risk assessment. When you adopt this attitude to your presentation, you should focus on the values associated with what you want to say.

  7. Put on the Yellow Hat

    The yellow hat represents positive logic. When you view your presentation according to this perspective focus on the benefits of your presentation for your audience: what will they get out of it? Also refers to having a solution orientated outlook.

  8. Put on the Green Hat

    When you adopt the green hat, you should think about your presentation creatively. For example, allow your mind to freely associate your ideas and see if you can come up with something new that you didn’t think of before. It does not have to be “death by PowerPoint”. Find alternative ways to communicate your thought processes and make yourself and your ideas memorable.

  9. Put on the Blue Hat

    The blue hat represents the panorama: the bigger picture. Once you have explored all the other perspectives, put them together to form a holistic approach to your presentation.

  10. Use Positive Nonverbal Communication

    Human beings are more stimulated by nonverbal behaviour than verbal or linguistic behaviour. Therefore, make sure that you not only sound, but also look enthusiastic about your ideas and thought process. Use open palms when you speak, smile, open up your shoulders and use metaphorical gestures to show people what you are thinking.

Reflection statement: The embodiment of these elements will not only enhance your ability to communicate your ideas and thought processes with impact, but also increase your persuasion and influencing skills.