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Effective Technical Presentations

“Effective Technical Presentations”

How to do effective technical presentations?

“Most presenters are very knowledgeable in their field of expertise and can converse well within the framework of the company or industry.

Fear of public speaking

However, they may be reluctant to and/or are uncomfortable with giving presentations in front of an audience.  Others may be comfortable in giving presentations, but they want to refine and improve their presentation skills so they can be more effective and/or persuasive.

The following article “Effective Presentations For Technical Professionals” written by Frank S. Adamo is for technical (and non technical) professionals who would like to understand how to become effective presenters.”

Enjoy!

Practice is the key to helping you improve on your communication and presentation skills. Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speeches in a friendly environments.  You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.

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Effective Presentations For Technical Professionals
By Frank S. Adamo

Though visual aids have changed tremendously since the late ’60s when I gave my first presentation, the presentation style, in my opinion, has not significantly changed – especially for professional techies. As a chemist and as a business/computer consultant for many years, I have given and have seen many technical presentations at conferences, at work, and elsewhere. The presentations were generally quite informative, technically enriching, and the presenters were very knowledgeable on the subject matter. However, many of them (and I include my own), were rather unexciting and ineffective. I have also seen many exciting, motivational, and inspirational presentations for the general public and also for the technical audience. You don’t need to be a professional speaker to spice up your presentation but by both knowing and understanding some of the same principles professional speakers use, you can enhance your presentations.

WRITING YOUR SPEECH

If you are doing a presentation, most likely you’ve written a report or submitted an article for publication. Perhaps you have used the text for your speech and created PowerPoint slides to help outline the structure. However, I would suggest you write your speech from scratch with emphasis on simplicity and conciseness. Continue reading

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How to Use Hand Gestures in Public Speaking?

How to Use Hand Gestures in Public Speaking?

Do you know how to use hand gestures in public speaking?
What do you do with your hands?

Have you ever watched someone’s hand gestures when they are talking? Open hand gestures tend to make a person appear open and honest. Bringing hands together to a point can accent the point you are making.

Wringing your hands or excessively moving your fingers and hands will give away nervousness.

public speaking hand gestures

Read the article written by Jena McGregor and Shelly Tan dated November 17, 2015  (The Washington Post). It is a good reference for what to do with your hands while speaking in public.

What to do with your hands when speaking in public?

Here are the key points:

  1.  Keep hand movements descriptive.
  2.  Use open palm gestures to build the audience’s trust.
  3.  Keep your hands in the strike zone when possible.
  4.  Don’t point. Just don’t.
  5. Politicians love to use the “Clinton thumb.” Most people shouldn’t.
  6.  When you don’t know what to do, drop your hands to your sides for a moment.
  7. Avoid drawing attention to the wrong places.
  8. Conducting is for orchestras, not public speaking.
  9. Keep objects out of you hands.
  10. If behind a lectern, show your hands.
  11. Avoid “spider hands.”

The following youtube videos demonstrate how to use your hands – and how not to – while giving a presentation. I find these videos useful and would like to share with you.

Communication does not just consist of words. Less than 10% of the words we use in speaking gets through to others. On the other hand, over 55% of our body language is communicated to others very clearly. Whether you are trying to sell your product or service to a client or you are trying to persuade a group of people to change their behavior, it is critical that your words and gestures match. Many people have sabotaged their messages because their words were saying one thing, while their bodies were saying the exact opposite.

Can you think of a time when someone told you that he would be able to do something while his head was shaking no? Which did you believe, the words or the gesture? When your body movements are congruent with your words, your message will have a very powerful impact on your audience.

Gestures include your posture, the movement of your eyes, hands, face, arms and head, as well as your entire body. They help to support or reinforce a particular thought or emotion. If our gestures support our statements, we are communicating with a second sense. People tend to understand and remember messages better when more than one sense is reached.

Winston Churchill was a master at using gestures to powerfully bring home his point. During World War II, Churchill rallied the citizens of Great Britain to continue their fight against overwhelming odds. He often visited the neighborhoods of London, which had been devastated by bombs and walked through them with his fingers held up in the sign of a “V”. This victory sign accompanied his famous message, “Never give in. Never, never, never give in.” This gesture so powerfully communicated Churchill’s message that soon people gained greater resolve to continue fighting whenever they saw the victory sign.

People naturally use gestures in conversations. They are not on the spot, so they easily move their arms and hands and make facial expressions to illustrate the points they are trying to make. However, an amazing thing happens when people stand up in front of a group to speak. They suddenly think, “Oh no! What am I going to do with these things attached to my shoulders?” and they either don’t move them at all or they move them awkwardly. Gestures should be a natural extension of who we are. Presenters should strive to be themselves. They should be as spontaneous with their movements as if they were talking to their family or friends.

What are you doing with your hands? If you get nervous in social situations, you may feel that no matter what you do with your hands, it’s the wrong thing. Many people who cross their arms in front of their chest are probably doing so at least in part because they don’t know where else to put their hands.

You should never cross your arms in front of your chest unless you really don’t want anybody to approach you. That is the message this gesture sends out. If you want to look open and approachable, keep your arms at your sides. Holding your arm in front of your body can be seen as a signal that you want to defend yourself against other people.

Practice Makes Natural.
A good way to be comfortable with gestures is to know your speech well. Several of the most outstanding speakers offer the same piece of advice: “The key to effectively using gestures is to know your material so well, to be so well prepared, that your gestures will flow naturally.” Practice your speech and know it well so that you can enjoy sharing your message with others.

Join Toastmasters and find a club that you like to practise your speeches in a friendly environments. You are welcome to visit our Kampong Ubi Toastmasters Club if you are living in Singapore.

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