Re: Technical Presentation Skills

Subject: Re: Technical Presentation Skills
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 23:50:39 -0700

Henri wrote:

> Also, I'm looking for some good ideas for dealing with students who are
> frightened to death of getting up and sharing information with
> audiences...

My hobby is public speaking. I have prepared a half-hour presentation
which deals with some aspects of this topic. As others have already dealt
with the need to master your material, I will not belabor that point other
than to add my strong support to it.

Other points that I cover in my presentation include the importance of
wearing appropriate clothes--preferably not brand-new. You should have
worn them enough to be comfortable--to know they fit right, look ok, and
that you can then forget about them.

Prepare cheat sheets. I like to use well designed visual aids, not so
much because they claim audience attention away from me, as one respondent
mentioned, but because they both reinforce my points and provide me with
unobtrusive notes to cue my about what I am saying.

It is important to stress key words rather than trying to write out too
much detail. This helps you avoid getting lost.

A few deep breaths before starting can help you relax. So can some simple
isometric exercises. You can even do these while your are speaking if you

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Don't try to memorize the whole
presentation--but it may help to memorize an opening quote or anecdote.
If you know your material thoroughly, you can use the key words or the
cues provided by your visuals to speak knowledgeably on the topic.

Some people find it helpful to imagine the audience is sitting there in
their underwear. The important thing is to be aware that underlying the
surface differences, we all have the same basic needs.

I encourage students to take a speech class or join Toastmasters. Nothing
helps you get over fear so much as practicing in front of a nurturing

RoMay Sitze A musician must make music, an artist must
rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu paint, a poet must write, if he is to be
ultimately at peace with himself.
-Abraham Maslow-

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