Advanced Presentation Skills
You are familiar enough with the situation… ” John, can you say a few words?” It’s one thing to say something ad-lib, it’s something else to be thrown in at the deep end to ad-lib and no notice.
So how do we master this situation?
The first thing to do is to recognise that this is the highest-risk form of presenting. The chances of you saying something you don’t want to or not saying something you do significantly goes up. So in terms of mitigating the risk, there are a number of things you can do:
Avoid it if you can: A few bullets of your key thoughts is better than total ad-lib speaking.
If you can’t avoid it:
Prepare – Just because it is ad-lib doesn’t mean it is unprepared. Bearing in mind the points that follow, you may need to prepare more than for a normal presentation.
Keep it short – The more you go on the greater the risk of boring them or making a fool of yourself. If you say less people find it more interesting.
Keep it simple – Your audience like simplicity. Unless you have the photographic memory of a Shakespearean actor, we would recommend a three-point plan.
Use a mnemonic to aid recall for structure e.g.: For a leaving speech, TAP: Thank you, Acknowledge great contribution, Please keep in touch.
Use stories or a chronology to give you a handrail.
Rehearse – Go to a room with a video camera or to a park in the early morning and practice.
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