YOU’RE LOST IF YOU LOSE YOUR AUDIENCE

Any presentation requires a clear strategy or plan to help you reach your objectives. The aim is not to spend twenty minutes talking non-stop and showing a lot of nice pictures. It is to convey a message that is worth hearing to an audience who wants to hear it. However, how many speakers really hold an audience’s attention? What is the secret for those who do? First, find out about the audience and what they need to know. Plan what you’re going to say and say it clearly and

concisely.

A good speaker uses various signals to help hold the audience’s attention and make the information clear. One type of signal is to introduce a list with a phrase like “There are three things we have to consider.” The speaker then says what the three things are and talks about each one at the required level of detail.

For example:

“There are three types of price we have to think about: economic price market price and psychological price. Let’s look at each of these in more detail. First, economic price. This is based on production cost and the need to make a profit.” ……and the speaker goes on to describe this type of price. After that, he goes on to talk about the market price and so on.

Another signaling technique is to give a link between parts of the presentation. Say where one part of the talk ends and another starts. For example a well organized presentation usually contains different parts and progression from

one part to the next must be clear, with phrases like “That’s all I want to say about the development of the product. Now let’s turn to the actual marketing plan.” This technique is very helpful to the audience, including those who are mainly interested

Unit 7

in one part only.

Another type of signaling is sequencing of information. This usually follows a logical order, perhaps based on time. So a project may be described in terms of the background, the present situation and the future. Key words in this sequencing information are: first, then, next, after that, later, at the end, finally etc.

Still another technique which helps to emphasize key point is careful repetition. Examples are: “As I have already said, there is no alternative but to increase the productivity by 100%” or “I’d like to emphasize the main benefits of the new design.”

A final point concerns timing and quantity of information. Psychologists have suggested that concentration is reduced after about twenty minutes without a break or change in activity. Furthermore, audiences should not be overburdened

with technical details given too many facts to remember It is claimed that to ask people to remember more than three things in a five minute talk is too much. Some say that seven is the maximum number of any length of presentation. Any such calculations are probably not very reliable, but every speaker needs to think about exactly how much information of a particular type a specific audience is likely to absorb and to plan accordingly.

Six recommendations:

1…………………………………………………

2…………………………………………………

3…………………………………………………

4…………………………………………………

5…………………………………………………

6. ……………………………………………

Task 3. Read the passage again and answer the questions below.

1. What does the speaker talk about?

2. What does any presentation require?

3. What signals to hold the audience’s attention are mentioned in the passage?

4. Why do you think it is important to give a link between parts of the presentation?

5. What words can be used in sequencing information?

6. How often do psychologists suggest to have a break?

7. You are a presenter. You’re going to speak about climatic changes.

How many technical details and facts are you going to give?

Task 4. Look in the passage to complete these word partnerships.

1) signaling …………………

2) talking ……………………

3) convey a …………………

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4) well organized ……………

5) logical …………………….

6) key ………………………

7) specific …………………….

8) audience’s …………………



Task 5. Write a set of guidelines on speaking technique (based on the passage) for discussion at the next meeting (the Russian language is possible).

STRUCTURE OF THE MAIN BODY

1. Read the following text and identify the following:

a) the relationship between the main body of the presentation and the introduction;

b) a recommendation how to divide the main body of a talk.

The main body of the presentation contains the details of the subject or themes described in the introduction. All the above techniques are especially useful in making the main body easily understood. They help the audience to follow the information and to remember it. They also help the speaker to keep to the planned structure and to know exactly what stage has been reached at all times during the presentation. Clear structure doesn’t just help the audience! In many presentations the main body can be usefully divided into different parts. The main parts, each with a main heading, are referred to in the Introduction. Clearly there are many ways to divide the main body of a presentation and often different parts will themselves be divided into smaller sections of information.

2. Look at the following scheme. Is it based on the previous text?

Why? Why not?

Introduction --------------- Main body of presentation

First part Second part Third part

-a -a -a

-b -b -b

-c -c

-d

3. Read the presentations of the same information about climatic change.

Which is easiest to understand? Why?

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A. Example 1.

….and so climatic changes in the Northern hemisphere may have been the result of volcanic activity. The 1991 eruption may have contributed to ozone damage causing the unusually high world temperatures in 1992.

Also, industrial contamination puts important quantities of noxious gases like CO2, SO2, CO and NO2 into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels. These gases contribute to the so-called “greenhouse” effect and global warming. Another main area of industrial pollution of the atmosphere is the release of ozone-damaging chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons and polychlorobiphenols. These are used in refrigerators, some manufacturing processes and in fire extinguishers. Another source of damage to the environment is car and plane engines because they release the so-called “greenhouse” gases such as CO2.

B. Example 2.

….climatic changes in the Northern hemisphere may have been the result of three types of effect on the environment: first, volcanic activity, second industrial pollution, and thirdly transport.

Let’s look at these in more detail. First, volcanic eruptions. The 1991 eruption mat have contributed to ozone damage causing the unusually high world temperatures in 1992. The second key area is industrial contamination. Industry puts important quantities of noxious gases and Chemicals into the atmosphere. There are four important gases released by burning fossil fuels. These are CO2, SO2, CO and NO2. They contribute to the so-called “greenhouse” effect and global warning. The second main area of industrial pollution of the atmosphere is the release of ozone-damaging chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons and polychlorobiphenols. These are used in refrigerators, some manufacturing processes and in fire extinguishers. Finally, the third source of damage to the environment is transport. Car and plane engines are a problem because they release the so-called ‘greenhouse’ gases such as CO2.




UNIT 8.

THE END OF THE PRESENTATION

Summarizing and concluding

Questions and discussion

Task 1. Discuss the following questions:

a) What does the end of a presentation contain?

b) What is the difference, if any, between a summary and a conclusion?

Compare your answers with the following:

a) the end of the presentation may contain:

*recommendations

*summary

*conclusion

*questions

*discussion

*thanks

(in business thanks are fairly standard at the end of a presentation, as are questions.)

Summaries restate what has already been said.

Remember the maxim: “In a presentation, say

what you are going to say, say it, then tell them

you’ve said it.” Some are like this, but not all.

A conclusion is different: it often contains a message which

grows out of the information described in the main body

of the talk It may contain lessons learnt, recommendations, next steps.

Task 2. In which of the following situations do you think “a discussion” is more appropriate than ‘questions’?

1. A sales representative’s presentation of a new product.

2. A CEO’s statement on corporate policy.

3. A politician’s speech on transportation policy.

4. A team leader’s talk to colleagues on the next phase of a project.

5. A manager’s proposal to a group of senior executives on improving

productivity.

Task 3.Read the end of the presentation by Ben Seznec, Marketing Director of Foss, an agricultural machinery manufacturer. His talk is about company valuation. Answer the questions:

a) What is his key message?

b) Is this a summary or a conclusion or is it both?

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So, that brings me to almost the end of my talk. I’d like to end with a short restatement of the main point. The key issue, the key understanding is that it is … in valuing a company’s assets, perhaps the key thing these days is the value of brand names. Most acquisitions are in effect attempts to take over brand names. Traditional valuation, based on tangible assets, is no longer sufficient.

So, what are the lessons that we can learn from this? I think most importantly we have to build up the power or our brand names. We have to establish greater brand identity. This requires a radical approach to marketing, making our brand name the focus of all our efforts. This policy will best boost the company’s assets. Thank you for listening.

Task 4. Read the following two presentations with different endings and decide

if they are:

a) invite he audience to ask questions;

b) are a lead-in to a discussion;

c) request comments.

a So, I’ve described how the system works. Now, any questions?

b I think that covers the main points I wanted to tell you about.

Thank you for letting me talk about the Storo System. Now, I’d like

to invite you to tell me about the needs that you have to .., to suggest

any specific qualities you need in a warehousing system… and at the

same time, if there is anything you are not clear about, please ask…

if anything needs clarification.

Task 5. Read the following text and find an answer to the questions below:

1. What is a potential problem at the end of a presentation?

2. What are three ways to avoid the problem?


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