How to improve your public presentations
Thanks to methods such as the 6W, we are going to avoid going blank in front of the script and see how to easily approach our presentations
“Horror vacui” is a well-known concept in Art History to describe artworks that fill every inch of the canvas, as if any gap left could cause the artist an incurable pain. Something similar happens when we are preparing our public presentations. That fear of a blank piece of paper. That sense of vertigo before the void leads us to resort to all sorts of techniques in order to find the right words. In this entry we propose a working methodology that will help you become more eloquent in your interventions. A method extracted from journalistic techniques.
The 6W rule is the first lesson imparted in any faculty of journalism. By answering to 6 basic questions, the writer offers the necessary context in order to guide the reader and to get on with the subject.
In our case, the 6W will allow us to set all the aspects that we need to take in account when preparing our public presentations. So try to remember these 6 questions and try to answer them each time you face a blank paper:
The 6 W questions
1.- WHAT: What is the presentation about? What do I want to explain? Don’t be too extensive. Imagine you are writing a tweet. You must be capable of synthetizing your main idea within two sentences, within 140 characters.
2.- HOW: How is the presentation going to be? Are you in front of an audience? Is it a conference video-call? How large is your audience? This is not a minor issue. The answers to this HOW will dictate the technical and formal guidelines you must take in account, such as the adequate tone you should apply.
3.- WHOM: Who is my audience? It is not only a matter of quantity, but also about who is going to be listening. Before a specialized audience you will have to adapt your speech to live up to its expectations, maybe by focusing on technical aspects or finding elements to differentiate yourself. Before an audience expecting to be enriched with your teachings however, you can be slightly more informal, renouncing to the technical concepts and relying on the wow factor.
4.- WHEN: When is your presentation? Think of the time factor. It is not the same doing a presentation in the morning than right after lunch. Adapt both your tone and the content of your speech to make sure your listeners don’t fall asleep.
5.- WHERE: Where is your presentation? Is it in front of 10. 50, 500 people? Is it in your comfort zone or in unknown territory? The answer to these questions will help you taking in account matters such as the used volume, searching for reference points and deciding whether you need more or less time to previously check out that everything works properly. This is especially important if we are going to a facility we don’t know. Make sure you are there before time, double-check everything and become familiar with the site.
6.- WHY: Why are you doing the presentation? What is your objective? You could be presenting a project to a client or carrying out carry out a conference cycle. This question shall determine your stance during the speech.
Improving your presentation skills is not only a practical matter. Taking in account these and many other theoretical aspects whilst preparing a speech or a company meeting, is going to help you generating effective presentations that will convince your audience and meet the expected results.
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