- Reading: many speakers write out their entire speeches and read them out before the audience. The greatest advantage of this method is that accuracy is best maintained in it. Winston Churchill is reputed for using written scrip. But he was a master orator who would frequently glance up from the scrip and maintain eye contact with his audience. But not many speakers can do that. Most or us, in fact, do not read aloud well. Most readers sink into dull monotones, miss punctuation marks and fumble for words. So, this method has more disadvantages than advantages.
- Memorized Presentation: Many speakers are known to write and memorize entire speeches. They have memory powerful enough to remember even the pauses. But, then, very few have been able to do so effectively. The greatest disadvantage of this method is that the speaker may forget some important point/part of the scrip. Trying to locate it in the script, if it is with the speaker at the moment, spoils the entire effect of the presentation. That is why most such speakers memorize key parts and use notes to help them during the presentation.
- Extemporaneous presentation: This is the most popular method used by really effective speakers. They have carefully planned their speeches, but then they speak as if they were getting the ides, coherently arranged, on the spur of the moment. Whenever they need any help they look into their notes that they keep handy. They don’t waste time in memorizing the speech as it is a strenuous exercise. On the other hand, looking into the notes, serially arranged, seems quite natural and the speech delivered in this way also sounds spontaneous.
- Rehearse The Presentation
As a necessary part of preparation rehearsal is very important. It is a private practice session to gain confidence and work towards self improvement. But it is best to rehearse as part of a team and invite suggestions for improvement. The best part of team –rehearsal is mutual constructive criticism that gives the speaker the advantage of feedback. In this way it goes a long way in training the speaker to be effective communicator.
Rehearsing the speech part of the presentation is not all. It also gives the speaker a clear idea of where, when, and how to introduce/bring in visual aids to support his presentation. Only a rehearsal can ensure coordination of effort. Moreover, the team can also check the location, seating arrangements, lighting and acoustics, the working of the electronic equipment and so on.
- Consider Personal Aspects
It is an absolute necessity to analyse oneself before going on to make a presentation. As has been said so succinctly, the speaker himself is essential a part of the message. The audiences first see the speaker, and then listen to the spoken words. Hence the importance of a presentable appearance cannot be over emphasized. Since a presentation is a formal occasion, the speaker must be for molly dressed, but certainly not overdressed. If the speaker is well prepared and properly dressed for the occasion he will not only look but also feel confident. And confidence is the primary characteristic of effective oral reporting/presentation.
Confidence is clearly reflected in a clear, strong and well modulated voice. It may require endless hours of preparation. But usually two or three rehearsals are enough to gain confidence while working as part of a team. While rehearsing alone, the best way is to look at oneself in a mirror.
Rehearsing in front of a full length mirror is of immense help in improving one’s body language. One can always train oneself in establishing effective/appealing eye contact, acquiring the correct and confident posture, and learning meaningful gestures. There is also immense scope for improvement in facial expressions and manner of walking. The way one walks before one’s audience at once conveys an impression – that of confidence or otherwise..
Thoroughness in the subject of the presentation, sincerity and friendliness towards the audience are indispensable. It is not only the question of the speaker’s confidence but also that of the audience’s confidence in the speaker. Hence, these qualities must not only be looked forward to, but also be carefully cultivated, day after day, and in every possible way. In a presentation one has to ‘win’ the audience. Every effective presentation is an event of triumph.
- Overcoming Nervousness
Every is not born a confident speaker. But everyone does run the risk of becoming nervous when asked to face an audience. The very consciousness of being asked to speak before an audience, especially a select and well – informed audience, makes many a speaker nervous. History is full of numberless examples of great speakers who, after one or two initial stages of nervousness, trained themselves to overcome this state. Felling self – conscious even in the face of audience known to us, having a dry mouth and sweaty palms, breathlessness and palpitation, experiencing difficulty in finding the right word, forgetting what we really want to say or feeling that the mind is going blank, fumbling for words or playing with a button – all these are well known signs of nervousness. They can be easily overcome by (a) repeated rehearsals of a thoroughly prepared speech, (b) breathing deeply, (c) looking straight at the audience seated all over the place, (d) breathing deeply again (e) talking slowly, giving yourself as well as the audience time to relax. (f) Moving about slowly and gracefully in front of the audience and (g) pointing at the visual aids whenever it is needed to make a point.
- Using Visual Aids
A presentation is meant primarily, to convey information that is the first and foremost function of communication. And in order to make this function effective e the communicators/speakers making presentations have to rely on visual aids like chart, chalk boards, film slides, transparencies, diagrams, maps pictures etc. there is quite a large range of visual aids in use. They can also be devised according to the need/purpose of the message. So it must be clear that there is no one visual aid to suit all purposes. That is why we should have flexible attitude towards visual aids.
Whatever the visual aid used in the presentation, it should be positioned in such a way that it is easily visible to the audience. It should also be made sure that the speaker, while speaking and moving, does not obstruct the view. A suitable position can, therefore, be like the model shown below:
Visual aids are used to convey the key part of the message, i.e., they are meant to emphasize the most vital points of the presentation. As every presentation is a unique communication event, no hard and fast rules can be laid down for the use of visual aids in all presentations. Much depends on the individual’s choice. However, some instructions in this regard can serve well for all speakers.
- As has been said above, it has to be made certain that everyone in the audience is able to see the visual aid.
- The speaker must explain the visual aid if there is any likelihood that the audience may not immediately understand it.
- The visual aids must be fitted well into the presentation. They must be an essential part of the plan of the presentation.
- Proper emphasis must be laid on the visual aid. The speaker must point to it with bodily action and with words.
- Sometimes a long stick or pointer should be used to draw the audience’s attention to a serial number or a chart, or a city/location on a map. So a pointer must be kept handy.
- The speaker must look at the audience more than at the visual aid.
- If the speaker is using slides he must make sure that they are clearly numbered in the correct sequence and are kept right way up. Any confusion in their order/arrangement will simply damage the presenter’s image.
- No visual aid should be kept on for too long.
- The speaker should use pictures, drawing and color for interest. One must remember, “A picture is worth a thousand words”
- A slide should carry only essential information.
- The content of the information on the slide should be kept limited to twenty five words or the equivalent in figures.
This is not all. A presentation has the potential to open up unlimited possibilities for the organization. If, for examples, a new product is to be launched, the best visual aid will be either to display the product itself or a replica of the product as is sometimes done by motor/engineering/aircraft companies. They either hold exhibitions backed up by presentation or display replicas of their products at selected places. Screenings of films on their products also attract audience who are, then, engaged in presentations/question – answer sessions. Presentation made in this way serve the purpose to inform – charm – convince – persuade – ask for further information – act and so on. It is for the organization to decide how best to make their Presentations ‘deliver’ their goods.
The term ‘interview’ has been derived from the French Word ‘entre voir’ that means ‘to glimpse’ or ‘to see each other’. By definition it means a meeting for obtaining information by questioning a person or persons. In this way an interview is a classic example of communication that takes place through “the process which meanings are exchanged between people through the use of a common set of symbols”.
Interviews are held for various purposes as, for example, the ones stated below:
- Job or employment interviews for the selection of suitable persons on the basis of their qualification and experience.
- Interviews held by some companies for periodic evaluation of workers.
- Exit interview that is held to determine a person’s reasons for leaving the organization.
- Interviews conducted by company personnel to gather information on matters like worker’s attitudes, working conditions, managerial effectiveness etc.
- A meeting or conversation between a journalist or radio or television presenter and a person whose views/ideas are sought for broadcasting.
- Admission interview of a candidate for admission to a course in higher education/professional training.
- Interrogation of a person by the police about some happening:
- An interview given by a celebrity in a question – answer session to a selected audience.
As we have seen above, there are different purposes for which we have interviews. But all of them have the following features in common:
- There is a definite purpose, and it is known both to the interviewer and the interviewee.
- Both the parties need to prepare for the communication event.
- All interviews are prearranged. The only possible exception is the dismissal interview.
- There are at least two participants in the event – an interviewee and an interviewer. But in common practice there is one interviewee facing more than one interviewer.
- There is clear exchange of information. The information exchanged may or may not be kept secret.
Like every communication event an interview has a rather well defined structure. In other words we can say that an interview is a formal communication event the aim and outcome of which is understood by both the parties. They have, therefore, to proceed accordingly. Both the parties have mutually to take care of the three stages – beginning, middle, and end, just an in a presentation the speaker alone has to manage these stages. Each of these stages requires effective communication skills as stated below: