Communication and Presentation Skills Associate Professor Martin DaviesCentre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) firstname.lastname@example.org
Quotes about Public Speaking“There are two types of speakers: Those that are nervous and those that are liars” Mark Twain“Peoples Number One Fear is Public Speaking.Number Two Fear is death. Death is Number Two!!!Now, this means, to the average person, if you have togo to a funeral, youre better off in the casket than doingthe eulogy!!" Jerry Seinfeld
Outline• The Art of Public Speaking – What we value in a communicator – A Fail-safe Structure • Introductions • Body • Conclusions• Tips for “Making an Impact”• Preparing for a presentation
Common Mistakes• Not preparing well• Rushing one’s presentation• Not looking confident and ‘in control’• Bad eye contact and gesture• Disorganised structure, rambling delivery• Reading one’s speech• Pitching the speech too high or low• Complex overheads
The Art of Public Speaking• It takes years to be a good public speaker, but you may never become excellent• Few people are “naturals”, most need to learn by practise and from experience (practise alone is not enough)• Take every opportunity—it is a crucial skill for gaining employment and for life• Consider joining Rostrum or Toastmasters – http://www.rostrum.com.au/ – http://www.toastmasters.org.au/
What we value … (1)• Directness: make your point and move on, no rambling or verbosity• The main claim: Get to this quickly. The whole talk hinges on it. Make it relevant to the audience• Simplicity: Any intelligent person in the field should be able to follow you.• Confidence: direct eye contact and good gestures, no “false modesty”
What we value … (2)• Planning: Well structured, 3 part presentations: Introduction, Body and Conclusion• Organisation: Use of connector language to guide audience through speech – Following on from this…. – My main point is… – The central argument is.. – The evidence points to… – There are three main issues here… firstly, secondly, thirdly – What this suggests is… – Finally I want to…
The golden rule• Tell them what you’re going to tell them• Tell them• Tell them what you told them
A Fail-safe Structure (1)• Introduction – Gets interest of audience – Gives main point/model to be tested – Flags the structure of the talk• Body – Gives details, main evidence and arguments• Conclusion – Sums up main point(s) – Ends with general remarks/implications/suggestions about future work needed (10: 80: 10)
Introductions1. Appetiser/Attention getter – Can be interesting fact/dramatic comparison/quotation/ surprising statistic etc2. Main point(s)/argument: “Today I am going to …” (this will short and precise)3. [Justification of talk: Why talk is needed]4. Outline of content of speech: “The talk will cover 4 main points. Firstly … Secondly …
Language: formal or less formal?• Perhaps we should begin • OK, let’s get started• Good morning, ladies and • Morning, everyone gentlemen • Thanks for coming• For those of you who don’t know me already, my • As you know, I’m… name’s… • What I’d like to do today is• This morning I’d like to talk to you about / show discuss / report on / you… present….. • Feel free to ask any• If you have any questions you like as we go questions, I’ll happily along answer them as we go• Perhaps we can leave any • And don’t worry, there’ll be questions you have until the plenty of time left over for end questions at the end
Make it interesting “Many empirical studies have focused on tests of the Expectations Hypothesis (EH) relating interest rates at different maturities. … “Recently there has been lots of media attention on interest rates. The PM has indicated his belief that interest rates should not go higher (pause). The Opposition has foreshadowed “doom and gloom” (pause). So what are practical implications of rises for people with mortgages? (pause). Well, a number of studies suggest that…”
Body of Talk• Use connector language to guide the listener AND TO MAKE TRANSITIONS THROUGHOUT TALK• Identify each point and the follow with supporting – Arguments – Facts – Evidence – Examples
‘Signpost language’• First of all… • To move on …• Which brings me to my second • Allow me to recap… point… • To turn to…• Most importantly… • The result of all of this…• On the other hand... • To digress…• To be more specific… • If I could just elaborate…• Let’s look at an example.. • To summarize…
Example• “The third point I want to make is this. (pause) That XXX. This can be seen in the following example, … (pause) It is clear from this that … (pause) Let’s look at this chart to see why. (pause) As you can see …. (pause) Now let’s move on to the last point.Summarise occasionally:• “We have just looked at X,.. So now let’s go on to discuss how X has an impact on Y”Modulate your voice:• Let your voice roam and have peaks and troughs.
Language Used• Public speaking experts refer to a heightened conversational style.• In-between “formal” and “informal”• Do not read your speech. Only use “headings” or lists of points to guide you.• Practise it
More Golden Rules DON’T APOLOGISEDON’T READ DON’T RUSH Get to the point quickly Show enthusiasm
Conclusions1. Cue the audience you are about to end: – “I have just have one more point I want to make before finishing ..” – “Well, I have covered my main points and I just want to conclude by …”2. Sum up the points (no details). Don’t waffle on and don’t rush!3. Hint at implications/further work4. Smile. Pause. Thank the audience for their attention and invite questions. Remain standing.
Making an Impact (12)Welcome Questions from Your Audience• Treat questions as an opportunity to get your message across better.• Questions will often remind you of things to say.• Give yourself time to think: “Thank you for that question. Can I paraphrase it so I am clear? You are asking if …. Is that your point?• If you can’t answer a question: Thank the questioner and tell them you will investigate the issue further and get back to them
Making an Impact (1)Leave Nothing to Chance• Check everything before you are due to speak – room, seating, visibility, acoustics and equipment.• Does everything work! (have backups)• Do you know how to move from PP to OHP to visualiser?• How do you use the whiteboard effectively?
Making an Impact (2)Know Exactly How to Start• Plan the first minute of your presentation down to the last detail.• Try to memorize your opening words. This helps you to sound confident and in control. However don’t sound “scripted”.• Start and finish are MOST important
Making an Impact (3)Get Straight to The Point• Don’t waste time on long boring introductions.• Try to make at least one powerful statement in the first two minutes.• Connect your topic to a current issue and make it relevant to the audience.• Move from general to specific: – the importance of the reserve bank to the economy to interest rates; – personal hygiene to the use of a particular hair product
Making an Impact (4)Make it Relevant to your Audience• “Recently there has been lots of attention about interest rates in the media. The PM has indicated that he thinks that interest rates should not go higher (pause). The Opposition has foreshadowed “doom and gloom”. (pause) The issue of rising interest rates has real practical implications for people with mortgages. (pause). …Today I am going to talk to you about the threat of rising interest rates in the Australian economy… My presentation will cover four areas: 1) 2) 3) 4)….
Making an Impact (5)Talk to Your Audience• Many of the best presentations sound more like conversations.• So, refer back to your audience – ask them questions – respond to their reactions• Rhetorical questions (that you answer) are effective – “So what can be concluded about this kind of evidence? (pause) Well …” – “Can anyone see what might be wrong with this data?” (pause) One problem is …• Interaction is good but ask open not closed questions.
Making an Impact (6)Know What Works• Certain things are always popular with an audience: – personal experiences, – stories with a message, – dramatic comparisons, – Interesting facts they didn’t know
Making an Impact (7)Be Concise• Keep your sentences short and simple. Use deliberate pauses to punctuate your speech. • ‘What I want to talk about today is X (pause). There has been a lot of interest in this recently (pause)… • The first, (pause) and most important point (pause) is this:… (pause)• Speeches are NOT like assignments• Write your speech out in simple sentences and read them aloud into a tape recorder/ use Flashcards to remind you
Making an Impact (8)Speak Naturally• Don’t be afraid to hesitate when you speak, but make sure you pause in the right places.• A certain amount of hesitation is quite natural.• You will have the natural tendency to “race”. This must be controlled.• Getting practical experience in presenting is the best way to overcome this.
Making an Impact (9)Take Your Time• Whenever you make a really important point, pause and let the full significance of what you have said sink in … before you move on.• Pausing is very effective in speeches (helps you as well as the audience)• You will tend to RACE because you are nervous – you MUST control this
Making an Impact (10)Common Beginners’ Problems:• You will speaker faster than you think you are!• You will over-prepare content! (and try to rush through)• You will find that it is hard to keep the central idea clear! – Use rhetorical questions: • “So how does this relate to X? …” – Summarise occasionally: • “We have just looked at X,.. So now let’s go on to discuss how X has an impact on Y” – Be sure to keep the main message in focus during the talk
Making an Impact (11)Visuals• Don’t put boring tables of figures and long lines of text on the overhead and read them out.• NO LESS than 20 point font, and no fancy transitions or sounds• Use simplified diagrams• Experiment with three-dimensional charts, cartoons, clear typefaces – anything to catch your audience’s attention.• BUT keep visuals simple and clear
Visual supportDON’T:• use fonts smaller than 18pt• use fancy transitions or sounds• show and read boring figures or text• hide behind the equipment
Visual supportDO:• show only the main points• keep visuals simple and clear• use visuals to augment
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Preparing for a Speech (1)• Write your speech in full in short sentences, keeping a conversational style• Convert them to prompts and key words• Write them on small “flash cards”• Practice until you only need the flashcards• Conceal the flashcards in your hand.
Preparing for a Speech (2)• Practise in front of a mirror• Better still use a tape recorder (sound or video)• You’ll feel quite nervous, at first.• If you make regular practice recordings, your nervousness will leave you (a little)• Important: Then practise in front of an audience, your family or friends.
Preparing for a Speech (3)• Nervousness: – Some call it “excitement”. Symptoms are the same. – You need it to perform well – Make the mental jump from: “I can’t do it” to “This is an opportunity too good to pass up”. – Use positive visualization. Imagine the audience. – No-one wants you to fail or do a bad job.
Preparing for a Speech (4)• What to do with your hands and body – Open-handed gestures (not fists, leaning or pointing) – Gesture twice in each sentence when practising – Move your torso to face different parts of the audience (movement is more interesting) – An occasional steady, confident walk – Don’t hide behind equipment! – Moving between different visual media is good, but don’t overdo it
Final Tips …• Dress appropriately (it does make a difference!)• Use a lot of gesture for emphasis (overuse in practice)• Use constant eye contact which ranges across the entire audience (3 places in audience)• Use connector language to mark out the parts of your speech• Smile (VERY IMPORTANT!!!)
Final Tips …• Use examples which your audience can relate to• Use surprising facts and statistics to gain interest• DONT HIDE BEHIND THE EQUIPMENT. Move around a bit (but DONT pace nervously)• DONT walk in front of your powerpoint slides• Make sure that you summarise your main points and do NOT just say: "well thats it" and walk off!• Conclude appropriately by asking for questions.
Prepare• Create flash cards• Consider using a mirror or tape recorder• Be aware many speeches run over time: does yours?• Practise: again and again and again and again and again and again and again
Group Presentations• Opportunity to do much more than an individual can do. – Planning – Practice – Execution / Delivery• Every stage is important as a team: – MENTAL: the way you think, structure information, etc. – VISUAL the way you look – VOCAL the way you sound – VERBAL the way you talk
Creating a Group Presentation: PLANNING• Build your line-up- identify the strengths and weaknesses of each member and determine best role fit – Who is the best “opener”? – Who is most confident? – Teams do not have to “give all speakers a go”. Some team members might do more research for the presentation.• Decide on presentation style - it is ONE presentation! – How is it going to be pitched? – How will each presenter contribute? – What is the “Team Line”?
Creating a Group Presentation: PLANNING• Be a team, look like a team, sound like a team: – dress similarly, match the event – Avoid a mixture of strong and weak presenters. Work on uniformity of delivery: in tone, length, style• Transitions between speakers – Don’t do a “your next” transition: “That was my bit, now here is Xu”. This is unprofessional and boring. – Transition to the next speaker: I have just outlined X and Y, now we are going to hear from Dong about Z. OR – Sum up the point of the previous speaker: “We have just heard Xin talking about X and Y, and making the point that Z. (pause) Now I am going to elaborate on the Y point and look at …”. – “Round off” by having the first speaker come back to finish.
Creating a Group Presentation: EXECUTION/DELIVERY• Set-up and test – equipment, positioning• Introduce team and topic• Give overview• Pay full attention to team-mates• Monitor time• Handle questions well• Note: Teams do not have to use all team members in the same way! Consider: – Role plays – Props – Involvement of audience in games or activities
Creating a Group Presentation – PRACTISE • Recognise the difference between spoken and written language. • Learn to work from bullets, don’t read notes. • Not a theatre performance where all lines are learned. • Use and test aids and props – laptop, microphone, visuals, positioning • Give honest feedback to each other • Positive imaging – imagine your success !
In Conclusion• Good communication skills, including presentation skills, are vital for your studies, your future work, and your life• Follow the tips for good public speaking• Prepare well and make a conscious effort to learn the art of public speaking• Take EVERY opportunity to practise• Some of this material is published in:Martin Davies (2011) Study Skills for International Postgraduate Students. Basingstoke: Palgrave, MacMillan.