Oral Presentation Skills

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Oral presentations are a powerful medium for conveying information, influencing opinions, and leaving a lasting impression on your audience. If you are a student, professional, or someone just looking to improve your public speaking skills, mastering oral presentations is extremely important.

In this blog, we will explore the different skills required to master oral presentations and how you can opt for the correct style of presentation based on various situations.

What Are The Essential Oral Presentation Skills?

An oral presentation is highly dependent on five major skills: verbal communication, nonverbal communication, voice modulation, storytelling, and emotional intelligence. Each of these skills works its magic to convert your presentation into an exploration.

What you do not say to your audience can be as impactful as the presentation itself. It’s essential to be mindful of both verbal and nonverbal cues to effectively convey your message.

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Let’s understand these skills in detail.

1. Verbal Communication

How you speak and deliver your message greatly influences how your audience perceives your presentation. Speak clearly and confidently, pausing when necessary, and adapt your language to resonate with your audience.

You want to ensure that you effectively convey your message and engage your audience in a meaningful way that you may be remembered long after your presentation ends.

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Focus on maintaining the 7Cs of verbal communication:

  • Clarity – Keep the message conveyed to the audience clear with no jargon or complex language.

  • Concise – Keep the content brief and deliver in less time to retain attention.

  • Concrete – Support your statements with data, facts or evidence to show that your content is concrete.

  • Correct – Keep in mind grammatical accuracy, correct pronunciations, and avoid syntax errors in your speech.

  • Coherent – Organise your thoughts and presentation in a way that everything flows smoothly without any interruption or obstacle.

  • Complete – The message you are presenting must be comprehensive and detailed. There should be no scope for ambiguity or multiple interpretations.

  • Courteous – Lastly, keep the communication polite, understand the audience’s mentality and ensure cultural sensitivity in your presentation.

2. Non-verbal Communication

Non-verbal language includes body language such as posture, gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions. Body language can instantly transform a dull presentation into a dynamic one. Pay attention to how you present yourself and remain open, upright, and adaptable.

To use body language effectively to help convey your message, consider it as a powerful form of communication that complements your verbal delivery.

Make sure you maintain eye contact with the audience. If the audience is huge, form an imaginary triangle in the crowd and try to focus from one corner to another to provide equal attention to everyone. Use illustrative hand gestures, like pointing out, counting, etc., to draw attention or emphasise a point.

3. Voice Modulation

Projecting your voice efficiently requires some voice modulation. An appropriate tone modulation ensures everyone can hear your message and boosts confidence. Stand comfortably, take deep breaths, and enunciate every syllable clearly.

Modulation of voice means increasing or reducing the pitch of your voice while speaking to emphasise certain points to the audience. You can modulate your voice by changing the pace of speaking, taking strategic pauses in your speech, or being louder or softer from time to time.

4. Storytelling

Incorporating storytelling brings your subject to life and engages your audience. Use personal anecdotes, build suspense, and end with a positive takeaway to drive your point home.

The ‘ False Start Technique ‘ is an effective way to tell a story. A ‘false start’ story is when you begin to tell a seemingly predictable story before unexpectedly disrupting it and beginning it over again. You lure your audience into a false sense of security and then shock them by turning the tables. This technique is a quick attention-grabbing hack but needs some practice to implement it efficiently.

5. Emotional Intelligence

The next presentation skill is emotional intelligence. In the modern-day scenario, emotional quotient (EQ) is more important than intelligence quotient (IQ). Being able to understand and consider the emotions, needs, and perspectives of the other party can help you customise the information you are willing to present. It is important to develop emotional intelligence as a skill to build trust, demonstrate genuine interest, and find solutions that address the concerns of all involved.

These are the most common oral presentation skills you need to develop to become a good presenter. Now, based on different situations, you need to adopt a unique style for your presentation. In the next section, we will explore the different styles for an oral presentation.

What Are The Different Types Of Oral Presentation Styles?

When it comes to delivering your presentation, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Your presentation style can greatly impact how your message is received. Here are some distinct styles you can consider using for your next oral presentation:

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Instructor Style

Similar to a university lecture, the instructor style focuses on sharing information with an audience in a structured and educational manner. The presenter takes on a role of authority, delivering information in a clear and organised fashion. This style is effective for situations where the goal is to educate and impart knowledge, such as training sessions or academic presentations. You can use visual aids in this style to ensure you get the attention of an audience and improve the quality of your presentation.

Coach Style

Your presentation in this style will be characterised by an energetic and inspirational approach, aiming to excite an audience about a particular idea. It emphasises using inspirational vision and the potential impact of the idea, leaving the details for later discussions. This style is ideal for situations where the purpose is to influence the audience to take action.

Lessig Style

The Lessig style was coined by Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University. This style helps create a synchronised oral presentation – your presentation plus visual aids such as PowerPoint slides – by using short information on the slides. It prioritises brevity, with each slide receiving a short amount of attention (around 15 seconds). This style is suited for situations with strict time constraints, such as rapid-fire presentations or sales and investment pitches.

Takahashi Style

Sometimes, the best way to present something is to give only enough information to the audience to cling to while concealing the context. The Takahashi style of presentation, named after Prof. Masayoshi Takahashi, suggests you prepare slides with one to three words on each slide written with large fonts on a solid background. The purpose is to deliver the key message impactfully through a word while explaining the details orally.

Freeform Style

This style often involves narration and no rigid structure throughout your presentation, allowing for a more relaxed and conversational tone. Ideal for shorter presentations, the freeform style gives the presenter flexibility to adapt based on audience reactions and engagement.

Choosing the right style depends on your message, audience, and the nature of your presentation. Experimenting with different styles can help you discover what resonates best with your unique communication style and objectives.

Conclusion: Improve Your Presentation Skills

An oral presentation with visual aids and slides is an effective way to convey your idea and retain the attention of the audience. However, you will not get an opportunity to prepare slides every time. Think about an impromptu investment pitch or your manager asking you to present a product you mentioned a few weeks ago. For all such situations, it is essential to be an expert at oral presentation, hone the necessary skills and choose the right style to present.

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By Ashish Agarwal

Ashish is a content writer at Kapable. A dynamic lawyer, experienced educator and content writer, he blends his legal expertise with a flair for storytelling. He has a passion for writing compelling articles and strives to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to diverse audiences. He is dedicated to writing on contemporary topics and topics related to soft skills development. His articles showcase a deep understanding of the topic and reflect his commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity.

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