No one would eat a well cooked food served in unwashed dishes. Presentation is the finesse of conveying information in an engaging manner. We are going to learn different captivating techniques at this point in the course. Let' begin
The Three Talk Styles to Avoid
1. The Sales Pitch: Give as much value as possible. Don't try to take from you audience. For instance, Don't go up there telling the audience to buy your book. You can refer to it in passing or let them know you are teaching from the book, if you are. People can tell when you are reaching for their pockets instead of their minds. Build a reputation as someone who gives so much value in his/her speeches and people will willingly buy your books off the stand or contribute financially in appreciation.
2. The Ramble: Time is the most valuable gift anyone can give. Your audiences make sacrifices to sit there for however long to listen to you; don't waste it by sounding unprepared. Ensure you offer tangible solution to a given problem, state clear directions or call to action. Avoid unnecessary oohs, aahs and umms. Be cautious to give value such that they beg you to speak on when you are done.
3. The Organisation Bore: No one cares about your organisation, how the team built seven sky scrappers or that your hard work paid off in millions of dollars. People are more interested in knowing the secrets or solution. Give them that not the history of your organisation.
Chris Anderson (2016) in his book “Ted Talks: The official guide to public speaking” gives the two statements below to illustrate the difference between an organisation bore and an interesting speech.
The Organisation Bore
“Back in 2005, we set up a new department in Dallas in this office building [slide of glass tower here], and its goal was to investigate how we could slash our energy costs, so I allocated Vice President Hank Boreham to the task . . .”
The Interesting Speech
“Back in 2005 we discovered something surprising. It turns out that it’s possible for an average office to slash its energy costs by 60 percent without any noticeable loss of productivity. Let me share with you how . . .”
Can you see the difference? The skill is in finding an interesting way to pass the message about your organisation while giving tangible value.
TECHNIQUES TO USE
We learnt in the previous lesson that your speech should have a main idea. The rest of the talk should be to support the main idea. Six common forms of supporting your main idea are the use of
All of these can be used in various degrees in the following presentation techniques.
Story telling is an important part of our lives. From Nursery school to University, we engage life experiences and share same via stories. If the goal of your speech is to inspire or enlighten, narration is a good technique to consider. Anderson (2016) advises that speakers remember to emphasize these four things:
- Base it on a character your audience can empathize with.
- Build tension, whether through curiosity, social intrigue, or actual danger.
- Offer the right level of detail. Too little and the story is not vivid. Too much and it gets bogged down.
- End with a satisfying resolution, whether funny, moving, or revealing.
Boundless states the following directives on how to best use a narrative
· Story telling points toward a single goal. Your story should not be forced, but should come across as a natural part of your speech. If your audience thinks you’re telling a story just because you read that it was a good idea to do so, your story won’t work.
· The task of a story is to make the audience care. Your narrative should be something that your audience can easily understand and relate to.
· Keep it short and sweet. Limit your narrative to three or four minutes at the most. Remember, you are using it to support or clarify your point. Once you’ve done that, move on.
· Your story is not there to replace information. It is there to put something you have said into perspective.
· The best stories paint a picture. They allow your audience to visualize what you are saying.
· Make sure your story builds over time and doesn’t get boring. Keep your audience interested until the end.
· Don’t overuse stories. Of course, as the old adage says, “use what you know.” Stories are not just about facts—they’re also about communicating what you have experienced and what you personally know, and feel, to be true.
If you seek to build on an idea which you expect the audience to embrace, then explanation is the best technique for your speech. The following are core elements of a perfectly crafted explanation.
- Clarify what your main idea isn't about
- Start with the present, something the audience can relate with or readily connect with from their everyday lives.
- Spark curiosity
- Introduce one concept at a time
- Use a metaphor to buttress the main idea
- Use relatable examples to establish your main idea.
If the focus of your speech is to introduce an entirely new idea to your audience, persuasion is the best technique to consider. Persuasion involves convincing your audience that the way they see a subject presently isn’t "quite" right. It is practically about convincing the audience to accept your point of view.
Persuasion could be applied to get the audience to change their belief, behaviour or attitude.
People will always have a mind of their own, no matter how amazing a speaker sounds. However, the success of a persuasive speech is often determined by the extent to which the audience is willing to consider your argument. To effectively persuade an audience, you need to apply Aristotle's Triad of Persuasion-
- Ethos: An appeal to Authority.
- Pathos: An appeal to Emotion
- Logos: An appeal to logic
Persuasion with Ethos
The Greek word ethos means “character”. When used in the context of rhetoric, it refers to the authority or credibility of the speaker. Whenever anyone presents an argument, we first evaluate whether or not we can trust them. Engaging character to gain trust in other to persuade people is what persuasion with Ethos is about. Here is how to make that happen
1. Share personal stories that show you have experience with the topic. Refer to your qualifications if applicable.
2. Show that other people trust you. Use referrals or testimonials to prove this.
3. Shed concern. People need to know that you genuinely care for them. Make them see that you are getting them to believe, see or do is for their good.
Again, Share, Show, Shed.
Persuasion with Patheos
The Greek word pathos means “suffering,” “experience,” or “emotion. This approach is used to evoke emotions in your audience. Pictures, videos or vivid descriptions of what you intend to convey can help evoke emotions in your audience such that they become persuaded.
Martin Luther King, Jr. used pathos in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. At the end of his speech, he employed descriptive language to envision a country where racism was no longer a reality: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” 2
Persuasion with Logic
Logos means “word” or “reason” in Greek. It involves appealing to reason or logic. It’s the proof you present to show that your method works, that your position is rock solid, that your claims are accurate. 2
In applying this, use facts, figures and statistics to persuade your audience
In 1789, William Wilberforce made a speech before the House of Commons in England in which he called for the abolition of the slave trade. In his speech, he utilized logos, presenting specific details of the “savage” conditions aboard slave ships. At the beginning of his speech, he noted, “I wish exceedingly, in the outset, to guard both myself and the House from entering into the subject with any sort of passion. It is not their passions I shall appeal to. I ask only for their cool and impartial reason; and I wish not to take them by surprise, but to deliberate, point by point, upon every part of this question.2
Resource 1: Presentation Analysis
1. Boundless communication"Using life experience" https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-communications/chapter/using-life-experience. (Accessed June 4, 2010)
2. Nicole Bianchi ”How to Use the Four Modes of Persuasion to Make Your Writing Irresistible" https://nicolebianchi.com/modes-of-persuasion/ (Accessed June 18, 2020)