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CHAPTER 31 Oral Presentations

Delivering Your Oral Presentation

Before your presentation, try to relax: Take a few deep breaths, drink some water, or step outside for some fresh air. If someone is to introduce you, give that person information about yourself and your presentation. Otherwise, begin by introducing yourself and your title or topic. These guidelines will help you make a professional impression:

As you speak, try to make eye contact with the people in the room.

If you are behind a lectern, avoid slouching, leaning on it, or gripping it tightly throughout the presentation.

If you are using visuals, be careful not to block the audience’s view of them. After introducing a new visual, resume making eye contact with audience members; talk to the audience, not the visual.

Try to avoid distracting vocal mannerisms, such as repeatedly saying “uh,” “like,” or “you know,” or fidgeting with your hair or clothes.

Speak loudly enough that all members of the audience can hear you, and speak clearly and distinctly. Nervousness may cause you to speak too rapidly, so watch your pace.

Do not speak in a monotone. Instead, let the pitch of your voice rise and fall naturally, especially when giving a scripted presentation, and use your hands naturally, gesturing as you would in a conversation.

Dress appropriately for your audience and the formality of the situation in which you are speaking. The focus should be on your message, not on how you are dressed.

End the presentation by thanking your audience for giving you the opportunity to speak. If appropriate, offer to answer any questions in a question-and-answer session following the presentation, in a private conversation, or in a follow-up correspondence.

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