Presentation and Public Speaking

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1 Presentation and Public Speaking A guide for BASW members The guide is designed to help BASW members give presentations or talks. There is a short section on presenting material prepared by others Joe Godden Professional Officer England

2 Public speaking can be quite daunting. Many people are worried about public speaking. Others think that all that s needed is confidence, but this can lead to problems. There are definite skills that help with public speaking. The good news is that they can be learnt. This guide aims to highlight the key things that you can do to improve your public speaking, or if you have not done it before to come across as competent the first time and then develop. Do not be put off by this guide, it can take years to make a really good public speaker and you will not achieve anywhere near excellence at the beginning. The guide is designed to point out some of the pitfalls and help you deal with them and to give you ideas for improving on a continual basis. Public speaking covers a whole range of activities, from giving a thank you at an event, through to giving an hours lecture at a conference and lots of things in between. The things in between could include giving a talk about BASW to students, or facilitating a session that is part talk and part interactive workshop. It is impossible to cover all eventualities and it is anticipated that you will want to pick up aspects of this guide that seem appropriate. We all vary in our experience and confidence, so again please use the tips as you think fit, however even if you feel confident and experienced there is always room for improvement and there is the danger of getting complacent. The guide covers: Planning Timing Content Overcoming nerves Delivery Tips on using Power Point and other aids Tips when using someone else's presentation

3 Planning Planning It takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Mark Twain If you are going to give a speech or presentation that you haven t delivered before you need to start planning several weeks before and you need to allow plenty of preparation time. Even if you are speaking at an event where you feel you know the subject well time invested before hand will pay off and if you skimp too much on the planning it can lead to a minor disaster Before you start you need to know: Why you are doing this? This is vital. If your perceptions and the perceptions of the person who asked you to speak or the perceptions of the audience are out of sync you will be in trouble. Seek clarity and if you are not happy with what you have been asked to talk about then say no, or say you will talk, but on your terms. How long you have got? be very clear on this see slide 5

4 Getting started We all have different ways of doing things, but if this is a topic that you have not presented on before then letting your brain wander is a good first step for some people, for others you may need to think through in a very ordered and rational way. However if you gravitate towards one way, do have a go at the opposite way as each way can complement the other. So if you are a very structured person try writing whatever comes into your head in long hand. Also use mind maps - The audience Without them there would be no point in speaking How many of them are there? Is there a microphone are you familiar with using microphones can you have a trial go? Who is in the audience? What do they know already? What are their expectations of the talk and of you? Will the audience have any pre existing prejudices about the subject, or the speaker? What else will they have heard about particularly in preceding talks? - Find out what the content of other presenters is What age range, knowledge range, gender? What is the cultural mix

5 Timing How long have you got? Einstein s theories of relativity apply when you are talking a short time can feel like a long time and vice versa. You have to have several practice sessions to work out how long your talk will take and if it is too long cut it down! Most adults attention span is no longer than 45 minutes, frequently it is less, you have to be good to maintain most people s attention for more than 20 mins. Your audience will only remember a small part of what you say, so have an maximum of 7 points you want to get across. It is better to get 2 or 3 points across well than more half remembered, or forgotten If someone asks you to speak for 30 mins and your topic is better done in 15 mins say so. What time of day are you going to speak? How awake will the audience be?

6 A quart into a pint pot! You will probably have more information for your presentation than fits the time so you will need to select what is most important.

7 To script or not to script? From your mind map, or long speech write out what it is that you intend to say fairly comprehensively. (Never read out your long speech to the audience) Write down the key points that you want to get across and write these in headings, with text underneath Reduce the key points to two or three points on a prompt card, or if using Power Point print off the slide with the points on ( I think cards are better because you can drop A4 sheets more easily and also it is harder to hold A4 than cards). Have no more than 7 or 8 cards. Write big and in clear writing. Write numbers on the cards / pages and fasten together, (in case you drop them) Cards about 4 by 3 are big enough Use the prompt cards to practice what you are going to say. If you are not used to public speaking this needs practicing many times. Record yourself or do a practice session with a friend. (But a good friend needs to be confident enough to give you feedback). Have a go in front of a mirror

8 Structuring your talk (Also see Timing slide 4 ) You need a beginning, middle and end. Get a logical flow: from beginning to middle to end. Will you need to start with basic issues in order to get all the audience to a certain point? If so explain, but don t apologise! Beginning Introduce yourself and if at all relevant your credentials for talking about the subject. Don t get into apologising. Say you are pleased to be here Practice your introduction so you are word perfect this will help with confidence and nerves Introduce the topic make sure that the audience are clear about what the topic is and what the aim of the talk is. The aim of the session is to explain. State whether you are going to take questions as you go along (you need to be very comfortable with your timing and flexibility to do this) or at the end.

9 Beginning ctd. People will want to know about hand outs are you going to provide hand outs? If so are you going to hand out at the beginning or at the end, or say the presentation will be available on a web site. If you hand out hand-outs at the beginning make sure that they are just minimal notes you do not want people reading throughout your session. Have your contact details on hand-outs if you want people to contact you. Signpost what you are going to talk about. Remember the adage Tell em what you are going to tell em, tell em and then tell em what you have told em. (G.B. Shaw) The Middle This is where you can elaborate on the key points that you want to get across. What examples can you use? Are there concepts that would be best conveyed in visual form, or as an allegory? Can you use emotional engagement examples of real situations, service user views, case examples, vignettes, story telling? The End Allow time for this! So many speakers run out of time and not only they, but the audience start getting stressed and there is a great danger that the key points you wanted to get across get lost Summarise the key points End on a firm positive note Leave time for questions if that is your intention.

10 Questions These can be a key part of your presentation. It can be a great opportunity to engage your audience, or it can be an awful time because a bore dominates. Another worry is that no one will ask a question, if no one does that is OK, alternatively you an ask a friend in the audience to ask one, which usually prompts others Be authoritative so if someone is dominating thank them and ask for someone else to comment Consider asking for several questions first to see what the range is If a question is complicated take a few brief notes Do not spend more than a couple of minutes answering a question - longer is embarrassing Use the audience ask the audience what they think? The End Thank the audience, be positive and if you want the audience to contact you after the event give them contact details.

11 Audience participation It may be that you want your talk to be followed by audience participation, or that this is included at key stages in the talk. Getting audiences to participate engages other skills, but these are skills of facilitation that social workers will use in their practice, so reflect on the transferability of these skills. If you are asked to talk for more than twenty minutes, thirty at the outside serious consideration should be given to having specific time for audience participation. Examples of audience participation will vary on practicalities a large lecture theatre will mean using different methods than with 20 people in a room with space to move about. Even in a large lecture theatre it is possible for people to discuss with those on either side of them Questions for people to consider are a good way to get engagement. However it is important to be very clear about what it is that you are asking and make sure that people can either see the question (s) on a screen, or that that you have a hand out with the question. Be clear about how long people have got to consider the question and if you are asking for feedback how that will take place. You will need to have the confidence to interrupt people to say time is up, be assertive. Having several such times for audience engagement can really enhance your talk, but don t forget that you will need to remind people of where you are up to in your talk and it does make time management more difficult.

12 Your voice If you don t know what you sound like listen to yourself and listen to people who are good speakers. What is it about their voice that makes them good? Good speakers: Vary their tone Vary their delivery speed. Slow may get a point across better than quick Use pauses Speak up! (unless you are using a microphone and depending on the microphone you may need to speak up). If using a microphone make every effort to have a test run before your speech and ask someone how best to hold it / how close to stand Speak clearly Pauses Pauses can be good. It is fine to check your prompt cards and say that you are doing that. Giving the audience a moment to pause can help them absorb the information. Your non-verbals These points are things to aim at, if you are not used to presentations you will not achieve these things at the first go. However experienced you are the great thing is there is always learning that takes place every time you present. Do you come across as calm, in control, panicky, disorganised? You may feel nervous, but you don t have to present as nervous. The main thing you can do to look as if you are in control is to be in control and the best way to be in control is to have a structure, be organised and to have practiced. Do you wave your hands about too much? Are you someone who likes to prowl around the stage? This can be off putting. Smiling and facial expressions are important. Where do you look? It is important to look at the audience. Sweep your eyes across the audience, make short pauses looking at individual people. Some audience members may be nodders it is important to acknowledge them, but don t just look at them because others will feel excluded.

13 Managing nerves Good preparation prevents poor presentation and helps with the nerves Be positive think about what can go wrong with your presentation way before the day and then plan how you will overcome it. On the day think positive thoughts. If possible: stand where you are going to speak before you speak Try out your voice from where you are going to speak and the microphone if there is one Before it is your turn to speak distract yourself by doing something else, or by really listening to the previous speaker. Use relaxation techniques Develop a routine for speaking Breathe Before you speak do some breathing exercises Shallow breathing means you restrict the fullness of sound and range your voice might have. It will sound squeezed or strained because you are talking off the top of your lungs with a tight throat, jaw, mouth and face. Practice your breathing, so when you talk you breathe well and therefore sound good. Always have some water handy during your talk. Taking a sip of water gives you and the audience a pause

14 Passion and emotions Most people remember things if they are emotionally engaged. To emotionally engage an audience consider: Using examples that will emotionally engage Be passionate about your subject most people like to listen to people who are excited about their subject Talk about your own emotions if relevant If you know that you may become emotionally upset by some of the content of the talk beware and think about how you can convey your emotions without grinding to a halt. Humour Humour can be great, but can easily backfire and make your audience your enemy. If you are not good at telling jokes don t use humorous quotations instead. Beware that you may find yourself trying to be funny because you are nervous, this can fall flat. Engage your audience In addition to the tips on slide 6 pick up cues from the audience and respond to them? Are you loosing them, or some of them? If some are misbehaving (talking, texting, fidgeting) gently say that this is distracting. Are there people showing agreement or disagreement with what you are saying? You can ask rhetorical questions? Do you agree, or questions that you actually want a response to who agrees / disagrees.

15 Rules for PowerPoint PowerPoint is a tool, it is a means to an end, not an end in itself. If you don t feel confident using it don t use it. Ask yourself if you really need to use PowerPoint? If you do decide to use PowerPoint do not use it to give out lots of information the audience will spend their time reading and not listening PowerPoint should be used like your prompt cards a few key points as a signpost for the audience and to use visuals pictures, diagrams etc. Use a large clear font size 36 is a good size Three or four points on a slide is enough Keep to one font size for all the presentations if you can Power Point can be good for diagrams, but they have to be simple ones can people at the back see? Don t get too fancy with the colours black on white is good. Fancy designs distract Pictures and video clips can add variety to your presentation, but make sure you know how to use the video clip and it should be short and easy to see Do not use too many slides 15 would normally be an absolute maximum 5 or 6 is preferable less is more Still use your prompt cards Practice using the PowerPoint do you know how to up load your presentation, start up the computer, is there definitely someone there to help you? if not make sure you really know how to use it and have a plan B if you can t get it working. Is there an extension cable? A good plan B is to hand out hand-outs and use them as if they were being projected, or just talk using the prompt cards you have.

16 Alternatives to PowerPoint There is nothing wrong with just talking, but if you have no visual aids then remember people will have to hold key points in their head. You can assist with this by having a hand out with the key points on it. It is not wrong to give this out before the talk as people can use it to make notes. Your hand out should not be the content of your talk it should just be the information on your prompt cards Are there ways that you can present visuals objects for example? If you are talking about segmenting you could have an orange and segment it. If you talk about cutting layers cut a cake. Like a knife through butter you get the point You may find it difficult to provide an elephant for talking about The elephant in the room. However be creative a picture of an elephant maybe? Flip charts can be helpful, but people need to be able to see at the back You can use music However with all of these things remember they are designed to illustrate a point and should not be an end in themselves and should not become so prominent that they dominate, so that people remember the illustrations and not the content.

17 Using other people s material If you are presenting someone else s material make sure that you are familiar with the content and happy with what is being presented. It can be very difficult to present someone else s material and do not be shy about making changes to fit with your knowledge, experience and skills. Go over the material in detail before the talk so that you feel comfortable, or if you are not comfortable then talk to the person who has asked you to do the presentation and discuss with them what can be changed. - If this is too much of a problem for the person who has asked you then seriously consider declining. If you are going to use someone else s material then practise using it.

18 Final thoughts Don t be put off by the guide and find it overwhelming. You may want to concentrate on a few points to start with and then as you progress look at some of the other points Think of all the public speaking that you have done, but don t consider as public speaking maybe leading a meeting, presenting information at a meeting, involvement in organisations in your life outside work. All those things are forms of presentation / public speaking Do not forget to be comfortable about yourself and go with your personality, not against it Most people come across better than they think they do Don t hesitate to ask advice from a BASW member of staff Good luck and enjoy

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