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Training Course Outlines

Assertive Communication Skills
Customer Care
Defusing Hostile Customers
Diversity
Meetings Skills
Minute Taking
People Management
Presentation Skills
Project Management Awareness
Recruitment and Selection Skills
Report Writing
Stress Management
Time Management

Articles

Creating a great presentation
How to write a presentation
Using visual aids effectively
How to lose your audience
Why fear public speaking?
Will they remember you?
Your body language
10 most common mistakes
Public speaking communication
Good speech topics
Public speaking objectives
Basic public speaking skills
What you must do to have an effective presentation

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How to Guarantee They Remember
What You've Said

The work place today is a different environment than it was even 10 years ago. Very few of us have escaped some impact from the downsizing around us. Most of us have experienced the "do more with less" business climate. Companies have tightened up performance management systems. And time, more than ever before, is of the essence. With this kind of climate in place, let's assume you've been assigned to give a presentation at work. And given the kind of lean climate most of us function in today, there is a real reason for your presentation. Let's make sure you are fully aware of what that reason is, and how you can guarantee your audience knows it, too.

Let's start with public speaking objectives. Different reasons exist for different business public speaking events. Some presentations or speeches are geared to "sell" an idea, or a product so the audience can make a decision on that idea or product. Others may be designed to inform of a coming change in the work place. Still others may be designed to elicit a change in work place behaviour. Your first step in making sure your message is "heard" is to be absolutely sure yourself what the purpose and objectives of your presentation really are. Let's assume you are explaining a change in the benefit plans at work. I bet you already know your next step. It's to figure out where your audience is in regard to the information you have to present. Your audience has a real stake in the message you are providing about their benefits. They will not be interested in flowery or artful presentation design. They will be interested in what changes are coming.

Have you ever heard the old saw about basic public speaking skills? This is the one which says, "Tell them what you are going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them." Most of the time, "old saws" become "old saws" because there is considerable truth or value to them. In other words, this kind of public speaking structure will make your presentation or speech far more effective. You begin by explaining what the content of your message is. This could include a SHORT rationalization as to why the changes are coming, what the changes are, and how the changes will impact different populations of employees. You may also explain at this point that you will summarize the changes at the end of your presentation and give the audience a chance to answer questions and provide them resources for more specialized information. One more advantage to using this technique is that you may deflect questions which are directed at things not within the scope of your presentation. You may have an audience member who wants to argue about what drugs are approved for particular conditions. But your outline makes it clear that you won't be covering that topic today.

Next, you actually present what the coming changes are. A word about your slides at this point---while this information may be VERY familiar to you, it will not be familiar to your audience. And this is information which is critically important to them. So it is incumbent upon you, the expert, to make it understandable to your audience. Stay away from jargon. Spell out abbreviations. Don't make assumptions about what your audience understands about the technical side of your world, whatever it is. Make your information clear, jargon-free, and simple to understand. A great way to insure that you have succeeded in this part of your task is to ask someone else to look over your presentation before you give it. And this someone else should have the same level of understanding of the topic as your audience will have. The idea is to make sure your message will be clear to the people who need to hear it. Using this public speaking technique to sort of test your message will point out areas you need to clarify or elaborate on for audience understanding.

Once you have presented the information, it's time for the third part of your speech. This is the "tell them what you told them." You should have a summary slide in which you recap the topics you have covered. This is also a great place to ask your audience what questions they have. And take note of the structure of that last sentence. If you say, "Any questions?" many audience members will sit on their hands. They don't want to look "dumb" or to appear to be somehow lacking in their understanding. But if you phrase your question differently, your response will be different. Say, "I know this is a lot of information. What do we need to go over again? What questions do you have about what I've told you today?" Do you see the difference? If you use this basic public speaking skill regarding audience questions, you've given your audience permission to have questions in the first place, and you've deflected the feeling some may have that their questions will be regarded as "dumb" questions.

What if they ask questions you can't answer at this point? No matter how well-prepared you are, this is likely to happen. If you don't know the answer, SAY SO! But you are the expert! Won't this impact your credibility? Sure it will. People will see right through a blustery or overly generalized answer. Don't go there. Simply record the question, do the research to find the answer, and get the answer back to your questioner. Your audience will regard you as honest, helpful, and willing to help them understand the topic if you employ this public speaking tip for handling questions you don't have a ready answer for.

Now it's time to end your presentation. You have told your audience what to expect, you have delivered to those expectations, you have encouraged questions, and you have provided additional resources where necessary. Congratulations! Your audience will remember what you said.

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