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3 learning types | The learning cycle | Confucian wisdom | Use of presentation media

Use of presentation media

People like presentation media as they are entertaining. But if we think about the endless discussion on whether or not children should be allowed to watch TV, it becomes apparent that the possibility of using presentation media does not imply that this should necessarily be the way information is conveyed. Hence, when we discuss the use of presentation media in the context of public speaking, the focus is set on how it can support our message and how it can help the audience remember it. This requires some strategic thinking from you. The following information starts to outline the three key-points concerning the relation between the speaker and the technological support. In the following an introduction to different types of presentation media use will be given starting with the omnipresent PowerPoint Presentation and ending with the advantages of using nothing.

Use of computers:

Nowadays the use of modern technology has become a common means of supporting a presentation. Google would easily provide you with thousands of ‘tips and tricks’ on how to create a vivid, interesting and informative presentation. While most of them are just about style (e.g. should I use a dark font on a white background or the other way around), there are two core points that every speaker should think about before and during the presentation:

  1. Technology is technology
    Never trust technology too much. Make sure to take a couple of minutes before your presentation starts and check if the file works properly on the device you are using. If you have planned to play any videos during your presentation, double-check the sound system and make sure that you know where you can find the responsible for technical support for the room you are presenting in.
  2. Speaker first
    You have spent hours on creating the perfect presentation, it is well-structured and looking great, you have done the technical check-up and everything should work perfectly. However, there is one main thing you should not forget while preparing the presentation – yourself; you, your voice, your body language, your confidence and experience, your improvisations and reactions, your jokes. You can find tips about this in the other sections of our webpage.
    Without a speaker, a presentation is nothing more than a couple of sentences and a few colourful pictures. However, the combination of a good speaker and a well-prepared presentation are the ingredients for a WOW-reaction from the audience.
    We have listed some of the ways to help your presentation reach the audience through various types of presentation media.
  3. Types of presentation media:
    • Traditional – PowerPoint:
      Talking about computers and presentations, most people would think of PowerPoint. A well-established, trustful and functional program, PowerPoint is the first-choice presentation program. Important are the following points: keep it simple, do not use too many effects and animations, and do not forget that less information and colours on the slides do actually have a greater impact on the audience.
    • New spirit – Prezi.com:
      If you want an alternative to PowerPoint, Prezi.com is the answer. This program is accessible online and provides an interesting design that is very impressive for most of the people in the audience. Zoom in, zoom out and always keep their attention. Be aware that here the same rules apply – do not exaggerate!
    • Old school:
      Flipcharts, white/black board: Here you are the boss. No internet, no sound, broken projector – nothing can stop you on the way to present your speech. You just need a tool to write, clear handwriting and a couple of simple but creative drawings. If you have some more complicated matters to present, better prepare the flipcharts in advance but do not miss the opportunity to add more information while speaking and make the audience think along with you.
    • Real items:
      Pick a hat or a book, show them to the audience. These can serve as tools to support a story you are telling (e.g. http://www.sunnyskyz.com/feel-good-story/111/A-teacher-s-life-lessons-using-a-jar-and-some-golf-balls ). If they are not necessary for your presentation, do not use more than one item for a presentation. Too many would rather distract the audience and they would stop listening, waiting for the next rabbit to come out of your hat.
    • Handout:
      Distributing a handout containing the most important information people should take home from your presentation is a good tool but a handout is no must-do. A printed handout can be costly and a simple waste of paper if not necessary. Giving a task on the handout can make it a useful tool for keeping the audience’s attention. If this is not the case, sending out the most important information per email in the next two days is a useful option as well.
    • Nothing:
      Above we have listed different tools, programs and interaction possibilities. Sometimes, however, leaving everything aside and standing in front of the audience alone with your words can be the most efficient option.

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