Monthly Archives: February 2008

Vary your tone of voice

The difference between a boring presentation and an exciting one is the tone of voice used by the presenter. Never use a monotone. At various stages of your talk, your tone should go from slow to fast, loud to soft, humorous to serious and melancholic to joyful.

Try to use plenty of interesting and out-of-the ordinary examples throughout your presentation. A speaker once discussed the boring topic of aerodynamic equations by citing the example of the flight of a bumble bee. Examples like that can keep your audience’s attention focused on your presentation.

The difference between a presentation with variety and one without is like the difference between a rive and a canal. If you are floating down a river, it offers you different surprises at every bend. You may go from farmland to gorges to forest just by floating along a river. A canal, on the other hand, is a man-made ditch that is straight and not very interesting.

A good presentation is a river. A bad one is a canal.

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Be forceful and concise in your presentation

Your audience does not want to hear a mousy or timid speaker. Whatever you do, don’t let them see you sweat. You may be the world’s expert on the topic at hand, if your audience sees you sweat, some of them will think that’s because you are not sure of your subject.

This judgment is probably unfair to you. But perception is reality.

Your audience will always expect you to have more knowledge than they do on your presentation topic. After all, that’s why they show up to hear youn give a talk on your ideas. When they sense that you are nervous and seemingly unsure of yourself, they will tune you out and reject your ideas altogether.  Remember that people seldom buy an idea without first buying the originator of that idea. They will judge your ideas by the way you present them.

Another tip: It is not necessary for you to cover all possible combinations and permutations in your presentation. You employ a technique known as “cognizant omission” used by many professional speakers. For example: You start by telling your audience that you have looked at all possible scenarios and you have narrowed them down to three that are worthy of further discussions. In that way, no one in the audience is going to think that you have ignored or overlooked some salient points of your argument.