We all know that presentations play a vital role in both study and work environments. With a hope of knowing how to make an effective presentation, I met with Donna Weimer, professor of communication, and talked about the qualities of a top presentation.
Is it true that some people are born to be presenters, while others are not?
It’s not true that some people can present perfectly because they have natural talent. Effective public speaking occurs by desire and anyone can become a productive presenter. The more you practice, the better you become.
What is the most important factor in making a successful presentation?
Organization. The best way to ensure that your audiences remember what you want them to remember is to have clear organization. Your audience can’t remember everything that you say. So, remember to tie your main points together, repeat and come back frequently during your presentation.
Even when you do not really feel passionate about what you say or you don’t have a good audience analysis, a well-constructed organization can help your audiences understand what you are talking about and remember the key points about your presentation. Good organization lets you keep going even when you get into trouble with computers, visual aids or any other problem.
How about other factors?
You should pay close attention to your audience. Who are you talking to and what they understand is really important. Good audience analysis helps you know how to use their language and ideas. For example, if you talk to children, your language and content should be easy to understand. On the other hand, if you are presenting for your college, you need to realize what they want to hear from you.
What should I do if I say something wrong or something that I don’t really want to say?
The best thing to do is to keep going. If you miss something, remember that they won’t know about it. Take a breath, look up again on your notes and go over that point. Remember don’t rush. Don’t draw attention to a mistake, keep going. The more attention you call to it, the more anxious you make yourself.
My first presentation didn’t go well and now I’m scared of presentations, what should I do?
The best way for them to overcome that is to find a way to get back and slowly correct their mistakes. They can start with small steps such as to answer questions in class or begin with a short presentation, where they don’t have to speak for very long. Remember the more you practice, the better you become, and public speaking is a skill that ANYONE can develop.
-Thanh Nguyen’ 14, Juniata Online Journalist