Ms Kovacevic started off by reminding her audience that even in everyday life we find it difficult to express ourselves in public. Let alone when delivering an oral presentation! The first three suggestions she made are as follows:
- Keep it simple and sexy ("sexy" meaning attractive, and this is the greatest respect to show to your audience)
- Use common sense
- Believe in self
To present successfully, she claimed, one must Inform, Persuade and Entertain. To achieve this, you must:
- Take control of your material
- Take control of yourself
- Take control of your audience
Then she presented some maxims that apply to all presentations and presenters. As a presenter you need to “Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell’em, tell’em, then tell’em what you ‘ve just told’em”.
Before any presentation, REHEARSE!!
Some principles: Be yourself, be structured, be present and not absent
Before the presentation, regulate your breathing and relax your neck muscles. During the presentation, first make eye contact with your audience and make sure you hold it throughout. It’s important to deal with your nerves and control your body language. You need to take control of your audience and keep it, to manage your mannerisms, to use gestures appropriately, as well as facial expressions; you must use your position in the room consciously
Keep in mind that a presenter is a manager!!
When it comes to your voice, project it rather than shout, and vary it in volume, emphasis and pace. Use repetition and pause until it hurts: remember “the right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a well-timed pause.
Your visual aids (and it is good that you use them as they provide an extra sensory stimulus to the audience) must be of good quality, arouse curiosity, be creative and economical.
Questions during and after the presentation are useful as they allow the audience to connect and participate, not feel they’re somehow preached at, so make sure you allow time for questions.
During your delivery, keep your sentences short and simple, use the active rather than the passive, use familiar words, use familiar ideas, ideas that have to be concrete rather than abstract.
All in all, Ms Kovacevic’s presentation followed all the advice she gave us, it was clear and entertaining and she kept us captivated all along. She was well prepared and gave her audience time for questions in the end.
By George Raptopoulos
Interview by Lana Lemeshko