Presentation skills are must for students of any level these days. Students need to present project reports,
seminars, just-a- minute sessions, poster presentations and etc. The following are the four main building blocks
of a presentation.
The Presentation must have a rich content with well-defined structure so that the audience is able to
follow the content without difficulty. The content must match the needs of the audience.
Opening: An impactful opening sets the tone for a successful presentation. The presentation can be
opened with a question, quotation, startling statistic, a captivating story etc. The introduction should
accomplish 3 things:
1. Establish a relationship with the audience
2. Arouse the interest of the audience in the topic
3. Provide a preview of what would be discussed during the presentation
Closing: The conclusion needs to be as impactful as the opening. It should accomplish 2 things:
1. Summarize the key points covered in the body of the presentation
2. Provide a sense of completion
The body of presentation can either be broken down into sub-topics and each sub-topic can be
discussed individually or the topic can be discussed in a sequential flow with statements and facts
leading to the final conclusion.
The Pyramid structure increases audience receptiveness and provides flexibility to the speaker to alter
the length of the presentation.
Visual aids significantly improve the impact of a presentation. However, they must be relevant to what
is being said. A PowerPoint slide should not be cluttered with pictures or text.
An effective presentation is always listener centric. The preparation, presentation and content of a
speech must therefore be geared to the audience.
Appropriate use of humour keeps the audience interested throughout the session.
Do not read out your speech; make extemporaneous delivery; use cue cards if required.
Beginning the presentation with an interesting remark, quotation or punch line captivates the
Ending the presentation with summary of the main points leaves the listeners with a positive
impression and sense of completion.
2. VOICE MODULATION
The vocal quality is an essential element in an effective presentation.
• The flow of speech and thought should be clear and coherent and the speed should be moderate.
• Voice modulation sustains interest of the audience and avoids monotony.
• When the size of the audience is large conversation style needs to be enhanced with higher volume,
more vocal variety and more emphasis.
• Pauses contribute significantly to comprehension and retention by allowing the listener time to
absorb and process the message.
• Refrain from using verbal pause fillers like “you know”, “umm”, “well”, “okay”, “like”, “what you call”
• Articulate well. Avoid the use of slang, colloquialisms, jargon etc.
3. BODY LANGUAGE
Body Language is a combination of posture, gestures, movements, facial expressions, eye contact and
grooming. More than half of the impact of the presentation depends upon the body language. Strong,
positive body language is an essential tool that conveys conviction and confidence. It helps the speaker
build credibility. It makes the listeners focus intently on what is being presented. Poor body language
conveys nervousness and inexperience.
A steady posture with feet, knees and shoulders all in a straight line is appropriate for presentations.
Gestures are used to emphasize the spoken words. They give power to the impact of the message.
Unnecessary and distracting gestures like – fidgeting with the pen or spectacles, fixing the hair or
clothes, placing the hands in the pocket – should be controlled at all costs.
Facial expressions convey the feelings of the presenter – passion for the subject, depth of knowledge
etc. The face should emote in harmony with the message and should not be mechanical or
Beginning with a smile eases the tension and helps build rapport with the audience.
Eye contact with the audience communicates sincerity and credibility. It connects the speaker directly
to the listener. Eye contact should be made to each member of the audience. Eye contact
Movement on the stage should be controlled and punctuated with stillness for maximum impact.
4. AUDIENCE MANAGEMENT
It is vital that to know the audience and their basic characteristics:
Who will be attending and what is their level of understanding?
Is their initial attitude likely to be positive or negative?
How intelligent and well informed, are they?
What will they be expecting from you?
How can you present your material to encourage a positive response?
Greeting the audience with a smile and introducing oneself with confidence goes a long way in
establishing a rapport.
tell the audience what you are going to tell them;
then tell them, and
at the end tell them what you have told them.
Audience feedback determines the success of the presentation. To get feedback the members of the
audience can be surveyed while speaking and their body language cues can indicate to the speaker if
they are attentive or confused.
Often audience members will start to quietly discuss a point with each other if they are confused. If
the nonverbal cues from the audience indicate that the message is not getting across, the speaker will
need to be creative and get the attention of the audience back by asking questions, using humour or
intervening eye contact.
The most important preparation factor is to rehearse. Read through the text and memorize the
opening; conclusion and key points in the body of the presentation. Work at being relaxed. Practice
making eye contact with the audience.
A tape recorder or videotape or cell phone is the most useful tools for feedback.
Look for distracting mannerisms – avoid them.
What you say should be readily understandable to the audience. Pay strict attention to diction; it is
essential that you speak clearly and distinctly. Practice is the single most important factor contributing
to a good presentation.
Your voice is one of the most powerful tools of influence. If you want to improve your communication
skills, you must focus on your voice and understand the various facets of your voice. In order to have
better control over your voice, there are a few factors that you need to focus on. To make it easy to
remember, use the acronym PAMPERS
P – Projection
A – Articulation
P – Pitch
E – Enunciation
R – Repetition
S – Speed
1. Voice Projection.
Projection is the strength of speaking or singing whereby the voice is used loudly and clearly. It is a
technique which can be employed to demand respect and attention. The correct way to project your voice
over a distance is to speak from your diaphragm. When you do it the right way, your voice will be heard
over a great distance even though you are speaking softly. Place your hand on your tummy. If there is a
slight vibration as you speak you are speaking from your diaphragm. Not only does your voice cover a
greater distance, by speaking from your diaphragm, you can speak for hours without straining your voice
or vocal chords.
In order to improve your voice projection, use a technique I call "Loud Whisper". Ask your friend to stand
more then 10 meters way from you. Have a conversation with him but make sure you are whispering at all
times. If your friend cant hear you then push more air out of your mouth while you speak.
This essentially means that you need to break a work into syllables as you speak. All you need to do in
order to articulate is speak a little slower. Art-ic- ulation will help your listener better un-der- stand what
you' re saying because of the emphasis on keywords. Just remember, the key to good articulation is
This is the change of frequency on a word to word bases. It keeps each sentence interesting for the
listener. It is used to add emphasis and subtle meaning to certain words.
• To make a sentence sound like a question, increase your tone/frequency at the end of your sentence.
• To make a sentence sound like a command, decrease your tone/frequency at the end of your
• If the tone/frequency is constant, it is a statement.
If you are in a high emotional state i.e. energetic, excited, happy, sad, angry, irritated, authoritative,
determined etc. you'll notice that you naturally modulate your voice to reflect that emotion.
The difference between pitch and modulation is that modulation is the change in frequency on a word to
word basis whereas pitch change in frequency on sentence-to -sentence basis. It is also the overall
frequency of your voice. When people are excited, happy, afraid, defensive they speak in a high pitch
voice. When people are serious, depressed, authoritative they usually speak in a low pitch. While speaking
to a large crowd, varying the pitch helps maintain the attention of the audience.
This is the pauses between words in a sentence. Enunciation along with infliction helps in emphasizing
certain words and can even change the meaning of the sentence.
• RAVI… went to college by bike today
• Ravi went to COLLEGE… by bike today
• Ravi went to college by BIKE… today
• Ravi went to college by bike TODAY!!!
Each of the above statements is the same except the subject in the sentence varies depending on what
has been emphasized. People often use Umm, like, ahh, ok etc. instead of pauses. These are called verbal
ticks (fillers). Although they are used when we are thinking in-between a dialog, it distracts the listener if
done to frequently. Be aware of your verbal tick and replace it with a silent pause.
When the modulation of your voice follows a repetitive pattern, it create a subtle trance in the mind of
listener. That’s when your listener feels he is "in-tune" or "in-sync" with what you are saying.
Repetition of words is uses to emphasize a point you are making. "By purchasing this product today, you
will 'save' money of delivery charges… You will 'save' on your electricity bills. You will also 'save' on
maintenance charges". Repetition of a sentence in different ways help people understand better. If you
repeat a point 3 different ways, your listener will have clearly understood its meaning and interpretation.
Usually the medium speed of talking is 4-6 words per second. However this may vary depending on
language and culture. If you speak too fast, your listener will miss out on what you are saying and he will
be left wondering if your tail is on fire or if you are in a hurry to be someplace else. If you are too slow, he
will get bored of hearing you speak. The best way to improve your voice skills is to pick a speaker who you
think has exceptional voice skills and imitate them. Use delivery speed to manipulate the audience; fast
delivery to excite and stimulate; slow delivery to emphasize, inspire, dramatize and control.
Making your Presentation Effective
• Jokes or humorous stories
• Interesting news
• An incident from your life or from the life of your known ones
• Shocking statements
• Provoking Statements
• Facts and figures
• Rhythmic speech
• Sentences that end with rhyming words,
• Highlighting the important messages
• Enumerating(ordering points)
• Pampers technique
Tips to Great Visual Aids
Use keywords, not full sentences.
VAs must be easy to see from the
back of the room. When in doubt,
make them larger.
Use graphics.“ A picture is worth a
Only use VAs that support and
enhance your speech, not ones that
are there “just for show.”
Practice using VAs BEFORE using
them in presentation.
Don’t give handouts before your
presentation because the audience
will read the handout and not pay
attention to you. Distribute
handouts after the presentation, or
make “fill-in- the-blanks”style
handouts the audience can follow
along with as you speak.
Always have a backup plan for your
VAs in case they don’t work properly
– especially with technical VAs such
as Power Point.
Reading VAs to the audience leads
to a boring presentation! Use the
VAs just to highlight what you are
Avoid writing words in ALL CAPS. ALL
CAPS ARE DIFFICULT TO READ.
Add color to your VAs to keep them
more exciting, but only use dark
colors for text (words).
• Localizing the language.
• Flip Charts
Involving the audience
• Ask the audience to visualize,
• Ask the audience to imagine
• Ask the audience to repeat what you have said
• Ask the audience to predict the consequence or result
• Ask the audience yes or no questions
• Ask the audience funny questions
• Ask the audience to role-play
• Ask for a volunteer to do or say something
• Ask the audience to raise questions
• Ask the audience to debrief
• Ask the audience to pay attention
• Ask the audience to laugh
• Ask the audience to applause
• Ask the audience to wave/raise their hands
• Use ice-breakers or Energizers
Above all Practice. Practice. Practice.
We judge your success by the confidence you exude.
You need a system to succeed. Talent is never enough.
You have all the confidence you will ever need inside of you. It may be hidden deep – you
must give yourself permission to let it out.
The more we see you speak in public – the more we believe you to be a leader.
Public speaking is not a talent – it is a skill.
Your audience is always right in the way they feel and think.
If the speaker sends a message that the receiver does not understand – then who needs
We love to hear stories. We don’t need another lecture. Just ask your kids.
Murphy said that whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy loves computers,
especially PowerPoint presentations.
The only person who listens to every word of your speech is you.
P. Venu ( Chairmen of Apoorva Institutions )