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Chapter 22

Presentations

Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Presentations
Help solve problems by communicating with your
audience face-to-face, in-person

Are an essential part of the workplace Use many of the same techniques of effective
written communication

Often involve interaction between the speaker and


audience
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Informal Presentations
Make up the majority of workplace presentations Often occur without a great deal of preparation
or rehearsal

Are sometimes spontaneous


Can also be improvised

Are generally not supported by sophisticated


written or visual aids
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Formal Presentations
Could be the principal factor in determining
whether your ideas, products, or services are used and accepted

May actually be the service you and your


company provide

Are generally longer and more complex than


informal presentations

Are usually delivered in a set-aside place


Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Formal Presentations
Are usually supported with various tools,
ancillaries, and equipment

Usually includes computer-supported slideshows

Are often delivered to potential clients, members


of your own organization or profession, supervisors or managers, and sometimes the general public
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Preparing for a Presentation


Requires careful planning and preparation Requires knowing the purpose for the
presentation

Understands the audience

Knows the physical context for the presentation


Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Appropriate Visual Aids


Are influenced by audience, location, the time
available

Are even more important the longer and more


formal your presentation will be

Make the audience perceive speakers as more


professional, more persuasive, easier to understand, and more interesting when they include visual aids
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Appropriate Visual Aids


Should be higher-quality
Mesh seamlessly with the material Reinforce and strengthen information
presented, not overwhelm or take the place of quality information

Are those that explain, emphasize, interest,


and guide
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Handouts
Can be duplicates of written material or
slides, summaries of key points, supporting matter in graphs, charts, or tables, or other supplementary information

Should be distributed to each member of


your audience

Can be easy and inexpensive to prepare and


can reinforce what youve said
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Posters and Flipcharts


Can be effective methods for displaying visual
information to smaller groups

Can be written on by the speaker, which


keeps audience members interested and involved in the presentation

Are especially useful in brainstorming


Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Boards
Can be used to display and create information Range from the basic chalkboards and erasable
dryboards to wireless, digital smartboards

Allow presenters to create graphics and charts


on the fly

Are best suited to small groups


Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Slides and Overheads


Are readily available in most offices, easy to
use, and inexpensive

Can project texts or images onto a blank wall or


a screen

Are seen as outdated and plain when compared


to computer projections

Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Computer Projections
Are the primary visual aid used in
presentations today

Can use web-based or presentation software

Can import content, graphs, and charts from


other programs

Can incorporate sound, video, and web links Are becoming ubiquitous and user-friendly
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Creating Effective Visuals


Enhance an audiences interest and
understandingnot inhibit it

Depend on the context; effectiveness is the


product of circumstance

Consider the five principles of effective visual


design

Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Principles of Effective Visual Design


Signaling groups information together using headings Segmenting presents information in bite-sized
segments

Narrating describes the visual rather than just reading


from a slide

Showing and telling combines text and images for a


more effective presentation

Streamlining keeps visuals concise, simple, and to-thepoint


Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Additional Suggestions for Creating Slides


Use text and visuals that can be read and seen at the
back of the room

Use bulleted or numbered lists that contain phrases and


keywords

Be consistent with font styles, sizes, spacing, and


backgrounds

Dont read text word for word from a slide

Avoid the excessive use of enhancements in slideshows


Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Plan Your Speech


By deciding what you will say By writing a formal speech if it is a highly
stressful presentation

By creating an outline that is highly organized


or loosely structured

By using notes to guide you through the


presentation
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Organize Your Presentation


By including an introduction, body, and conclusion By realizing that listeners have less attention for
detail than readers

By understanding that listeners generally require


more overlap than readers

By knowing that listeners generally require more


explicit signals than readers, like transitions and summaries
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.

Deliver the Presentation


Using effective vocalization: moderate volume,
varied pitch, steady pace, and clear articulation

Avoiding filler phrases and non-fluencies Using effective body language: face the
audience, make eye contact, and use movement and gestures

By fielding questions
Dobrin / Keller / Weisser : Technical Communication in the Twenty-First Century. 2008 Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458. All Rights Reserved.