Zapping the presentation virus away

Legally Blonde’s Presentation Review: NUS Law curriculum: A Revolution.

(In this blog post, I will share some learning points in the course of my preparation for this presentation. )

10% Content

To prepare our oral presentation, I took some time to search for presentation videos to gather some presentation tips from the experts. I came across this video about presentation skills and it said, ” How important is each of the following components in a presentation? Style ( 50%), Delivery ( 40%), Content (10%).”

After all, how much information can the audience absorb? Our sole purpose of the presentation is to convince the audience to accept our proposal.We are not exactly giving a lecture on legal industry here. We kept our slides clean and simple.Less is always more.

“I am going to electrify you”

Communication coach, Carmine Gallo shared his views on Steve Job’s presentation style in his YouTube video. He mentioned that Steve Jobs used positive words which “sugar-coat” his presentation about his products and ideas thus making his presentation sounded more enticing and fascinating to his audience.

Using words like ” surprising”, “unbelievable” and “extraordinary” helps to paint a positive picture of your recommendations.

At the same time, these words trigger excitement among the audience and buzz in the atmosphere, building up a climax during the presentation. There is a huge difference when you say ” we have collected some results” as compared to ” we have garnered surprising survey results”. You need to create an element of surprise to grab the attention of the audience.

Memorise the slides,not the script

Memorise the sequence of the slides, not your lines! Initially, I prepared a script for my slides but later I have decided to give up on the idea of writing a  script. If I knew the details of my project at the back of my hand, why do I even need a script? Instead, I spent time memorising the sequence of my slides before the actual presentation. Just stare at the slides and visualise yourself going through these slides in your head.

” I wish I had….”

I started my presentation quite abruptly, not quite smooth. I had to admit that I was not a fast thinker who could react fast to difficult situations. For instance,if there was a technical glitch, I might not be able to handle the situation. In addition, I had difficulty in stringing sentences in my head accurately and quickly. Blame it on my genes. My neurones don’t seem to work as efficiently as other people who could think and act fast on their feet. Hence, some of my sentences might sound grammatically incorrect. Sometimes, I wish I had a spell checker and a grammar editor at the back of my head. If only my neurones can fire much faster….

Speak like an old granny

But I was not on the verge of giving up and by acknowledging the fact that I was not born to be a good speaker. As the saying goes, “when they is a will, there is a way”. Instead of saying “oops! ” to those mistakes which I have made, I simply speak slower and try to buy time by emphasizing the words very slowly. Then, I would take these extra milliseconds to compose myself. Finally, I would give the audience a smile which translates,” I am only human. I have made a mistake. But who cares? Now, let’s move on to the next point”.Hopefully, at the end of the presentation, no one remembered the flaws I made during my presentation.

An inversely proportional relationship

It would be way “cooler” if I did not turn to take a look at the slides each time I clicked on the remote. I believe that the number of times you turn to face the slides is inversely proportional to the number of times you rehearsed. I must admit that I did not have many rehearsals with my teammates because it is difficult for us to find a suitable to meet.

With the vast number of assignments due during this week, I did not have the time to rehearse individually with the presentation slides right in front of me. But this wasn’t supposed to be an excuse.

In this dog-eat-dog world, your petty boss is probably not going to hear your excuses. So, the only way for me to familiarise myself with the presentation is to rehearse my presentation mentally in my brain during my long bus rides back home. I was even dreaming about it before I go to bed. Instead of counting sheep, I think I was counting the number of points I had to cover during my presentation. What a nightmare!

Ermmmm….okay…Hmmm….. Ya…okay?”

I gathered some positive and negative comments about my oral presentation during the peer teaching session. I remembered our lecturer, Brad and some of my classmates felt that I had included too many interjections during my speech. I knew I had to get rid of that habit. They are like bacteria that needs to be flush down with chlorine in order to kill it. No superfluous words!

Have you zapped away the bacteria?

At the end of the presentation, you have to ask yourself this important question: “Have I made an improvement ?” I took note of the previous comments made by my peers and teachers and worked on it.However, I am not sure how successful I am in zapping away the “presentation bacteria” but at least I knew I was on the road to recovery.

Blonder than ever, bolder than ever

Kellyn has finally attained a heart pacemaker which slows down her heart rate thus appearing less nervous and speaking much slower. Tiffany has managed to amplify her voice such that her ideas came out stronger than before.

During the presentation, the mood changes when Shih Han came in and was almost screaming ” You gotta believe me or you will regret!!!” to the audience, delivering her ideas so strongly and convincingly, trying her best to sway the audience to believe her. I swear I could even hear her heart pounding loudly.

Our pace in improving our communication skills might be different but at least all of us have stepped up to the challenge to complete the final race as a team.

Do you really want to live in their shadows?

The source of motivation to be a good speaker is the ability to challenge oneself , thriving to perform better in each round of presentation.The motivating factor should not be focused in attempting to attain Steve Job’s standard of presentation or to imitate his style of presentation. It is more important to develop your own style of presentation after gaining presentation tips from the experts and professionals. I certainly would not want to live in his shadows.

Our genetic makeup makes us unique

There is simply no point in making comparison of oneself with the best communicators in the world. The level of performance of each team should be judged upon their previous performances and their preparation work. We should avoid assessing the level of performance of one team based on the performances of other teams. The “bar” which each team needs to “leap across” should be set by the respective teams, not by the outstanding team. You can’t really place a student side-by-side with stellar presenters like Steve Jobs who had numerous years of experience giving presentations. Nothing is quite similar. Not even in our DNA.

Give thanks to our lifeguard

Initially, our team was heading in the wrong direction. Our presentation slides were too flamboyant and with the inclusion of unnecessary chunks of information. Thank goodness Brad came to our rescue with safety jackets and life buoys when we were almost drowning in our powerpoint slides. He provided us with advice that helped to keep us afloat during this “life-and-death” situation.

Medicine to zap the virus away :  

Carmine Galo’s youtube Video on Steve Job’s presentation skills.

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