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Activities and Exercises for Chapter 06: Making business presentations

Activity 6:1

You can learn a great deal about public speaking and making business presentations
by critically observing the way others make speeches and presentations.

Attend a public speech of any kind. If you liked it as a member of the audience, ask
yourself why. Analyse the speech with the following questions:

Did the speaker choose ideas that suited the audience well?

Did they sequence the ideas logically?

Did they deliver the speech in a lively, striking manner?

Was the language concrete? (Colourful as opposed to dry, abstract)

Did they answer questions from the audience in a satisfactory way?

Consult Chapter 6 of BCS for a detailed picture of the star strategy and what is
meant by each of these questions.

Activity 6:2

Watch on television some speeches and presentations made by world leaders.

American politicians are among the best in making TV speeches. Record and replay
the speech or presentation and figure out what is good about it and what is no so
good, or how it could have been improved. (Not everything a world leader does is
good. They are made of flesh and blood, too. Their position helps people ignore their
faults. Or brilliance in one aspect might make faults in some other aspects

Do the watching and critiquing in a group if possible; that will be far more valuable
than your individual attempts at critiquing because you will get insights into how
different people respond to the same performance. You can keep the group’s views in
mind when you plan your speeches and presentations.

Activity 6:3

When you are impressed by a talk or a presentation, meet the speaker and ask them
pointed questions about the techniques they used to make the presentation
interesting and persuasive. Don’t forget to start by saying that you were impressed
by their performance. Your praise is taken as genuine if you can identify one or two
specific aspects of the talk or presentation that particularly impressed you. You will
be amazed at some of the things successful speakers do in order to maintain a high
standard of performance. While you accept tips from successful speakers, don’t
forget that not everything that has worked well for them may work for you. You
shouldn’t ape anyone but it is good for you to know what makes others tick.

Activity 6:4
Offer to make a speech or a presentation in your class or office. Prepare yourself
thoroughly. Then the day before your performance, call a few of your classmates or
colleagues or friends and make a mock presentation in front of them. Video it if
possible. If that is difficult, at least audio-record your presentation.

Seek the audience’s detailed feedback without the help of the recording. Then watch
or listen to the recording and make changes in your plan or delivery style
accordingly. You will find considerable improvement in your planning and delivery of

Activity 6:5

You can’t go very far on your own in practising public speaking and presentations.
You must practise in front of people.

Join an informal group that is interested in public speaking and presentations. If you
are in a big city, there may already be an organization such as Toastmaster’s
International. If you can’t find one in your town or in your part of the city, start one.
Meet regularly – at least once a fortnight if not once a week.

Speak and critique other people’s speeches. You will soon find that your confidence
has grown tremendously and that many things that you thought were impossible for
you, you can do quite comfortably.

Resources on the Web

And here is a site from which you can buy a variety of visuals.