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Presentation Skills Handouts v5

Presentation Skills Handouts
Handout P-2
1. Organise
Lack of organisation is one of the major causes of anxiety. Learning and
applying appropriate presentation planning is critical and will give you more
2. Visualise
Visualise yourself giving a successful presentation. Imagine yourself walking into
a room, being introduced and delivering your presentation successfully, feeling
confident and leaving the room feeling like you have done a great job. Mentally
rehearse this sequence with all the details of your particular situation, and it will
help you focus on what you need to do to be successful.
3. Practice
This is the most important factor in banishing those nerves. Don’t just practice
mentally, run through your presentation verbally and with your visual aids. Make
sure that you know the order of the topics.
4. Breathe
When your muscles tighten and you feel nervous, you may not be breathing
deeply enough. The first thing to do is to either sit-up or stand-up erect. Now,
relax and inhale deeply a few times.
5. Focus on Relaxing
Instead of focusing on how tense you are, focus on your breath. As you breathe,
tell yourself on the inhale “I am” and on the exhale “relaxed”. Clear your mind of
everything except the repetition of this statement and continue the exercise for
several minutes.
6. Release Tension
As tension increases your muscles tighten. This may cause your hands and legs
to shake. Before your presentation, it’s a good idea to release some of this built
up tension by doing the following simple exercise. Starting with your toes and
calf muscles, tighten your muscles up through your body finally making a fist
(i.e. toes, feet, calves, thighs, stomach, chest, shoulders, arms, and fingers).
Immediately release all the tension and take a deep breath. Repeat, until you
feel the tension drain away.
7. Move
Speakers that stand in one spot and never gesture experience tension. In order
to relax, you need to move your arms and legs. Move naturally as if you are
having a one on one conversation.
8. Eye Contact
Give your presentation to one person at a time. Relate with your audience as
individuals. Look into people’s eyes as you speak, and connect with them. This
makes your presentation more personal and helps you to relax because you feel
less isolated from the audience. As you progress, it also enables you to gain
valuable feedback from your audience.
© 2002 Success Builders International
Version 4.0
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Presentation Skills Handouts
Handout P-3
Computer Hardware and Software
 Check immediately before presentation starts.
 Have a backup plan in mind should you have a breakdown.
Overhead Projector
 Is the bulb working and is there a spare bulb?
 Is the projection glass clean?
 Do you need extra transparencies and projector pens to create overlays?
Flip Chart
 Is there enough paper?
 Are there enough pens and do they work?
 Are handouts easily accessible and in order, so you can distribute them with
minimum disruption?
 Have you arranged for assistance in handing them out if necessary?
 You will probably need one if you are speaking to more than 50 people.
 Request one that enables you to move around.
 You may need one for you audience too, check if this is necessary.
 Do you know where the light switches are?
 Try to leave as much light on as possible. Dimming lights can contribute to
people dozing off, especially after lunch.
Air Conditioning
 Do you know where to adjust the temperature in the room.
Seating Arrangement
 If you have control over seating in the room exercise it. If possible arrange the
seating so that the exit and entrance to the room are at the rear. In this way if
people come and go, it will cause the least amount of distraction.
 If you know approximately how many people are going to be present, try to make
sure that there are about as many seats as people. That way you won’t have
your audience sitting in the back of the room. Keeping the audience closer will
focus their attention where you want it.
 Make sure that you know where the toilets are so that you can direct any queries
from the audience
 Make sure that you know where the refreshments, if provided, are being served.
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Presentation Skills Handouts
Handout P-4
Here are some rules of thumb to consider when designing visual aids
Use slides sparingly
One of the biggest problems in technical presentations is the overuse of slides.
Use one slide every two minutes.
Make slides pictorial
Graphs, pictures of equipment, flow charts, etc., all give the viewer an insight
that would otherwise require many words or columns of numbers.
Put your titles to work
Whenever possible, the title of a slide should state the conclusion you want the
audience to reach or the action you want people to take.
Present one key point per slide
Keep the focus of the slide simple and clear.
Make text, numbers, pictures and diagrams easy to see
Minimum font size in a classroom setup is 20 pt. Check that the audience can
read everything. If they cannot, be prepared to provide extra explanation.
Font styles
Use sans serif fonts (fonts without strokes or “feet” at the ends of the letters), as
some people find them easier and faster to read when projected from a slide.
E.g. Arial or Helvetica rather than Times New Roman
Use colour carefully
Use no more than three or four colours per slide to avoid a cluttered look. The
colours used should contrast with each other to provide maximum visibility.
Use builds and animation very sparingly
They can be disruptive and interfere with the content of your message.
Use the “5 x 5” guideline for bullet-point slides.
Limit the content of each slide to a maximum of five bullet points (including any
sub-points) and a maximum of five words per bullet. Keep the grammar and
style of bullet points consistent, and use a parallel structure for each point on a
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Presentation Skills Handouts
10. Use phrases and key words rather than long sentences
Carefully choose your words for each slide. Long sentences and explanations
should only be used in your handouts.
11. Capitals
Capitalise only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns. This prevents
the slide from looking cluttered
12. Slide numbering
Number every slide. This can help viewers catch up if they join the
presentation late, or if they lose the thread of the discussion.
13. Colour schemes and templates
Adhere to colour scheme or style guidelines used in your company. If you can
choose, use dark backgrounds or objects and light colours for text.
14. Have backups
If you are not sure that you will be able to project your presentation from your
laptop, have printed copies as a backup.
Remember, the slides are not the messenger – you are! Your slides are just a
communication aid.
© 2002 Success Builders International
Version 4.0
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Presentation Skills Handouts
Handout P-5
Tips on introducing a speaker
Pave the way for the speaker
 Create an atmosphere of anticipation. Your introduction should have an
impact on the audience and have them wanting to hear from the speaker.
 Remember to prepare. Interview the speaker beforehand. Ask the
speaker what they want you to say.
 Ask the speaker for their topic name. If technical ask for the layman’s
 Qualifications – what qualifies the speaker to speak on the topic? This
establishes speaker credibility.
 Get the details right. Make sure you have their name, spelling and
pronunciation of it correct.
Last words
 Last words you say as you leave the stage is the speakers name.
Keep it short and simple.
Be sure
 Always check that the speaker is happy with your introduction. Let them
change it as they see fit.
 If its your own introduction, you write it and hand it to your host.
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Presentation Skills Handouts
Handout P-6
At one time or another, your boss has probably said to you, "Don't get caught sitting
down on this one." The problem is, many presentations are made while you're doing
exactly that - sitting down.
It's more difficult to be impressive and in control when making a seated presentation
than when standing. People who don't adjust their delivery style inadvertently put
themselves in the hot seat.
Fortunately, the problem is easily remedied with a few simple modifications. Here
are a few suggestions:
1. Work hard to appear energetic.
Sit on the front half of your seat, and sit up straight. If you don't, you may be
tempted to let yourself collapse in the chair or lean over the table; both of
these positions make you appear less confident and also hinder voice
2. Keep your voice strong.
Many people use an "intimate" or "social" voice when they are seated: this
lessens your credibility.
3. Don't move around in your seat.
If you tap your foot or wiggle your knees under the table, your upper body is
likely to move as well.
4. Keep your hands on or above the table.
Don't hesitate to use hand movements - they make your presentation more
energetic and expressive. Don't, however, fidget or cover your mouth.
5. Maintain eye contact.
This sounds rudimentary, but it's more difficult to maintain eye contact while
seated in close quarters than while standing. And since only the upper half of
your body is visible when you're behind a table, a wandering gaze will be
even more noticeable.
6. Don't allow a "we/they" seating arrangement in which adversaries sit
across from each other.
Try to intersperse key people around the table. Put a briefcase on a chair you
don't want occupied.
7. Don't get stuck in a low, soft seat.
In a one-on-one meeting, you may be offered a seat on a couch. The solution:
Claim a bad back and take a straight chair. The reason: It's impossible to look
professional when lost in a sea of cushions.
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Presentation Skills Handouts
Handout P-7
Most presentation disasters are not fatal; they can be resolved comfortably if you
1. Keep smiling
2. Know exactly what you want the decision maker to do (your main point)
What do you do if...
The decision maker is forced to leave before you have gotten to your key
If you follow the old rule "Tell 'em what you are going to tell 'em, tell 'em, tell 'em
what you told 'em," you won't get caught this way. Always mention your main
point and major supporting points within the first few minutes of any presentation.
If you are using visuals, you always have a visual that has the main point and the
key points. If, however, you have made the fatal error of trying to save the
"zinger" for last, and the decision maker must leave, ask for a moment to
summarise (anyone will give you a moment if you ask with a smile) and state, in
one sentence, the one point you want the decision maker to remember and, if
you have a chance, the two concepts that best support that point.
You find you have 15 minutes instead of the 45 you planned on.
Talking fast won't work. Decide quickly what percentage of 15 minutes each
part of your presentation should take. Keep your eye on your watch and limit
yourself to the key concept in each portion. Next time, be prepared. Think
about what you'll leave out if your time is halved, if you are given 5 minutes.
Someone asks a question about an issue you plan to discuss in detail later.
Answer the question briefly, and say you plan to go into detail later. If person
asking the question is the decision maker, ask if the short answer is sufficient
for now. Do not ask people to wait until you reach the point at which you
originally planned to cover the material. If you do, everyone will focus on the
unanswered question instead of listening. And, in a meeting setting, do not
ask people to hold their questions until the end. Making that request suggests
you are not confident enough to deal with interruptions.
You lose your train of thought mid-sentence.
Smile, say "excuse me" and start again. Keep in mind that everyone in the
room has lost track of an idea at least once. People want you to succeed and
are sympathetic. Keep smiling.
You plan to work through a handout page by page; people are moving ahead
at their own pace.
The risk in giving people printed material is that they will read it at their own
pace. If at all possible, don't provide handouts until after the presentation is
over. If you must walk through a printed booklet, tell people what it contains
and give them a rough idea of where different parts are located before you
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Presentation Skills Handouts
begin. If possible, hold your copy up as an easel and point to parts of charts
or graphs. People are also more likely to stay with you if you occasionally say,
"And you can see on page ___ that..." If the decision maker insists on moving
ahead quickly, you'll do best to pick up the pace, perhaps skip pages, and, if
necessary, focus on the pages that are important to her. (If you are going to
hand out materials, don't try to bury anything at the end - like cost or fees. If
people don't find what they want at the beginning, they go immediately to the
You expect to speak to 3 people and arrive to find 20.
If you were planning to work from one set of handouts, forget it. Ask for a
flipchart and pens; decide quickly how much you can rough sketch as you talk
(key points, if nothing else). Stand; it is easier to maintain control. Remember
that you are the expert. Keep smiling.
Your throat dries out.
Make sure you have a glass of water with you.
Several people start a side conversation while you are speaking.
In the following order: Ask if there are questions. Ask if you can do anything to
clarify. If they will not stop and you are standing, continue your presentation
but try to move nearer to them. Lower your voice or pause. Hope that
someone else will stop them. When all else fails, try to acknowledge that
things are out of control and ask the group whether a new meeting should be
You drop your notes on the floor.
Make a joke about your clumsiness, pick them up and take a few moments to
put them in order. (Now is the time to be grateful you have numbered them.)
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