Giving Presentations


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Make thyself a craftsman in speech, for thereby thou shalt gain the upper hand.
Inscription in an Egyptian tomb,1000 BC

The ability to deliver an excellent presentation is not simply a question of natural talent, it is an acquired skill. A skill that is much easier to acquire than most people think. Modern learning techniques clear the way for all who seek to achieve excellence at the speaker's rostrum.

How often does a well-intentioned speaker lose his or her most important message in a morass of confusing detail? How often have you struggled to grasp the essentials when the speaker has obvious knowledge, but not the ability to communicate it? How often have you been the victim of a presentation that was just plain boring!

The simple truth is that we are all experienced communicators. Sadly, and unnecessarily, we are not all skilled communicators. The good news is that wonderful presentations are not, contrary to popular belief, the result of a divine gift. Rather they are the result of a commitment to success.... plus a little know-how!

Traditional training has focussed on the structure of the presentation and its basic rules - the Do's and Don'ts of presenting. Communications Counselling, however, takes an holistic view and nurtures the skills, talents, desires and physiology of the client. So that we may more readily understand how this works, let us look at one of the hottest debates among presenters. The use of humour.

Traditional training has said, "If humour does not come naturally, avoid it". Yet without humour most presentations are, at best, hard on the audience. Humour lightens the load and accelerates the recipient's ability to absorb your message. Humour is probably the most powerful tool in the presenter's kit-bag, So, how do we overcome the dangers of using humour inappropriately? Simple! Recognise that humour is not about being funny. Humour is about saying - or doing the appropriately unexpected at exactly the right moment. If you do so g different, keep it in context and time it well, you will be humorous. You can be deadly serious, yet still humorous. Wow, what power in your message now!

In today's world of tight budgets and growing competition, happy customers are essential to success. This means that every employee and associate has a responsibility to the customer, if not for the product, then at least for the company image. If that image is not of the highest quality in every respect competitive edge certainly will be eroded. Often speakers take the view that they are required merely to convey information to an audience, and all that is required to do that successfully is to obey the rules. If, as a result, neither the speaker nor the message have impact then the message will have been lost. It would be better not to have made the speech.

So, why is communications counselling different to presentation skills training? Your relationship with your communications counsellor is the key to rapid development. It is one of mentoring and facilitating, as opposed to straight training. You discover your own natural talents and learn how to develop your own unique style. Through self awareness your personal confidence is enriched, thus ensuring optimum performance. Your presentations - and you - will be remembered as excellent, and different. That is the difference!

Harold Straker
/ Telephone: +44(0)1329 845035 / Fax: +44(0)1329 845035

Copyright Harold Straker 2000


This page was last updated on 2 February 2000