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Communication Skills

Communication Skills

This section hosts articles related to public speaking, writing articles/webcopy & presentation skill development. 

Enjoy the articles!

Monday, 21 November 2016 01:53

How do I prepare for my presentation?

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Be the ExpertYour question is a little short on details. The type of presentation that you will be delivering may require different preparation.

I’ve prepared two different, two-hour presentations, for two completely different audiences in the past week. They shared common logistics: [not in any order of preference, just the way I thought of them!]

· Research the topic

· Create a Powerpoint presentation

· Use more graphics than text on your slides. [If your audience can read it, they don’t need you]

Monday, 21 November 2016 01:47

What are the best topics for seminars?

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SeminarsAs in many questions I see here on Quora, there likely isn’t a one-size fits all answer to this question.

Taking a look at the last part of the question first, it might be helpful to elaborate on exactly what a seminar is in the first place. They differ from workshops in that they explore a topic from a more superficial perspective.

Questions are asked. Facts are given. Teaching points are offered. Solutions may be provided. The length of time for the seminar may vary. What usually doesn’t happen is that the audience has time to work on a problem or to create a solution within the time frame of the seminar.

They may be provided with the ‘how to’ but not necessarily the ‘do it now’ part. That’s where the ‘work’ portion of workshop comes in. It tends to be a one-way data flow from the presenter to the audience.

Each Time We Face Our FearI screwed up with the initial few slides and stuttered a lot. Though I felt that the rest of the presentation went good. I can't seem to keep the blunder out of my mind. The organizers said that the presentation was good. I feel otherwise. What should I do?    

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There seems to be several interdependent issues at play here.

Firstly, the presentation was important to you, by your own words. This tends to put pressure on you and can magnify the intensity of your self-critique. We’re not always the best evaluator when evaluating ourselves.

Your question doesn’t provide whether this is your first ever presentation, at least one that is important to you.

You say you screwed up in the beginning, stuttering a lot. Your question also doesn’t provide whether you stutter a lot in everyday communication, or if you were stuttering in the beginning of your presentation due to nervous tension.

Knowledge is PowerThree minutes on any topic won’t allow you to go into any great depth.

Your question doesn’t provide who your audience will be or what the purpose of your speech is.

Some good topics have been offered. I wouldn’t mind hearing a presentation on any of the topics. Three minutes would barely scratch the surface though.

Every speech should have a purpose i.e. to entertain, to inform, to motivate etc.

Never let the fear prevent striking outI would expect that the answer lays in how much time you are allowed to deliver your speech and who your receiving audience would be.

Here are some brain-stormed ideas:

1. Focus the life and times of a specific athlete. What made them successful. What were their trials & tribulations?

2. Focus on the history of a specific sport. How has it developed through the ages? For better of for worse?

3. Focus on the rules of the sport. If there are judges or referees, what is their role and how do they do their job.

4. What best-practices does a particular athlete undertake to maintain their proficiency?

It seems that pupils who learn to speak confidently do better in life.

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Communication Works for those who work at itIt depends on whether you are referring to adding more activities that require oral presentations by students as individuals or part of a group presentation or the inclusion of the actual teaching of public speaking skills and suitable practice.

Its been a long time since I was in school but I do recall my first speech in Grade 7 where I spoke about a fellow in the southern US who alleged that he was kidnapped by aliens. I recall the teacher looking at me in disapproval, probably due to the topic.

I recall a particularly nasty English teacher in high school who made us stand up and answer questions about the literature we were studying. It didn’t matter what my response was “no you’re wrong! Sit down and listen up!” As a rebellious youth I started prefacing my essay questions response with “In your opinion I think … “

Monday, 21 November 2016 01:10

What are some examples of public speaking?

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Speak in Such a WayAny time that you are speaking to somebody else, you are public speaking.

Many people tend to think of public speaking as standing up on the proverbial soapbox and delivering a stressful presentation to a large group of people.

We public speak almost every day, unless we are a hermit, to the people we meet. We speak to get our needs met. We speak to share our beliefs, our wants and our desires. We speak to others, perhaps, so that we don’t go crazy.

Public speaking runs the gamut of communicating to one individual at a time or to larger numbers, with or without the soapbox.

You have to give a presentation along with other people / groups. Would you rather be the first or last? What are the benefits of your decision?

The reason I ask this question is because I have to give a presentation about a technology project my team and I have worked on.

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Unless your presentation is part of a contest i.e. where somebody is judging you, there is probably no tactical advantage to going first or last.

A Leader Takes PeopleI would start by developing the conclusion first. What is the purpose of your speech? What do you want your audience to take away from your speech? Do you want to inform them about some social issue?

Do you want to get them to take action on some social issue?

Once you determine that, start crafting a story that takes your audience up to your closing.

Next, develop your beginning. Why should the audience listen to you? Where is your credibility?

Monday, 21 November 2016 00:52

What are some examples of a disorganized speech?

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The Success of Your PresentationThere used to be a module on Speech Organization in the Toastmasters Better Speaker Series. I’m not sure if they still use this example.

A young, city-slicker, travelling salesman was delivering a sales pitch to a group of older farmers.

After his pitch was over, he waited … and waited. Eventually, one of the farmers stood up, cleared his throat and said “Well young fellar, you sure know a lot and you had an awful lot to say but we prefer a fellar that bales his hay before he delivers it!”

That story has stuck with me over the years.

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