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Muslim Speakers 2009

Tips for Effective Presentations

A GainPeace.com
Presentation

An Outreach Project of Islamic Circle of North America


Introduction
Alhamdulillah, as the need for Muslim presenters grows, due to the increase interest in Islam by the general
public, we as Muslims need to better equip ourselves to make our presentations effective and our message
eloquent and receptive to our audience.

We need to remind ourselves that when we are speaking about Islam; our audience will judge Islam by our
conduct. Therefore, the Muslim presenter is not only representing themselves as a Muslim, but also the religion
of Islam and other Muslims. We hope and pray that the practical tips presented below would be of benefit to
you and will assist you to properly share the message of Islam and clear up common misconceptions.
Before the Presentation
1. Obtain details about the topic, venue, time, audiences’ age, and number. This will assist you in mentally
preparing yourself. Also, if you need special arrangement like a microphone, extra chairs, more
handouts, etc, can be accommodated easily when the above details are known.
2. Forward your biography to the host. Print out and carry one with you in case the host doesn’t have this
handy on the day of presentation.
3. Make sure that the following are arranged for the presenter:
a. Microphone
b. Podium
c. Power Point projector – try to buy one and take one with you if you are a seasoned presenter.
d. White screen (white wall may do when screen is not available).
4. Prepare a presentation based on the above details
5. Understand the demographics of your audience, a presentation given to 5th graders will be different
than the one to college students.
6. Contemplate on the possible questions the audience may inquire, then respectively prepare the
answers.
7. Memorize references to be mentioned during the presentation.
8. Practice several times, alone and in front of others. Be sure to both critique yourself, and obtain your
practice audience’s critique.
a. Br. Khalid Yasin, a well known orator, writes down his entire speech and practices it several
times.
b. Dr. Zakir Naik, writes down or dictates his entire presentation, word for word, on a paper.
9. Video record your presentation if possible and allowed.
i. Video recording is also beneficial to review and enhance your presentation.
ii. This is important in case of a dispute or misunderstanding
iii. If the quality came out good, then hosting it on the YouTube may benefit a larger
audience.
10. Audio record all presentations. Small digital recorder goes in your pocket and again will be good
documentation for future reference and benefit to others. Newer laptops also have the capability of
audio and video recording.

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11. Avoid shaking hands with people of opposite gender and politely mention that ‘my religion discourages
me from doing so’. When asked why, then explain the concept of modesty in Islam. Be sure to stay
professional as you are representing the Muslim Ummah.
12. Prepare handouts:
a. Outline of the presentation with references, resources (website, books, CDs, DVDs) and contact
information.
13. Information booth. When allowed, request for and host a dawah booth consisting of brochures, one
minute cards, translations of the Quran and other items as needed.
14. Request a Muslim to moderate the lecture. Moderator’s job is to do crowd control, especially during Q
and A, so discussion stays on topics.
15. Practice exercising your mouth. Do this, it really helps to loosen up any tension and makes your face
more relaxed and natural and not rigid and monotonous.
16. Try to inculcate the following characteristics:

Characteristics of a Presenter
1. Pray for success before the presentation
a. “(Moses) said: My Lord! Relieve my mind, And ease my task for me, And remove the
impediment from my speech, So they may understand what I say”. (Quran 20.24-28)
2. Pure Intentions
a. We are doing this solely to please Allah (swt), not for name, fame, pride etc. ‘Verily, my Salât
(prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah…’ (Quran 6.162).
b. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a
person will get the reward according to his intention.’… (Bukhari)
3. Be Mild
a. Your audience may use harsh words and unfair criticism of Islam and Muslims. Try to maintain
your composure and be mild. You can win a debate, but purpose is to win hearts. Even Prophet
Musa (as) was commanded by Allah (swt) to be mild in his speech when interacting with
Pharoah, the tyrant of his time: ‘"And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition
or fear Allah." (Quran 20.44)
4. Patience
a. At time the audience may not be able to comprehend the point or concept you are trying to
share. Repeat it, reword it, provide examples, analogies, but don’t lose temper, or appear
frustrated, maintain composure. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "…whosoever would be
patient, Allah will give him patience, and no one is granted a gift better and more
comprehensive than patience". (Bukhari)
5. Friendly
a. Be friendly and relaxed. Have a smile on your face. First impressions count and people judge
others by appearance. Abdullah ibn Haarith, radi Allahu 'anhu, said,"I have never seen anyone
who smiled more than Allah's Messenger." (Tirmidhi)
b. Br. Shabir Ally, a presenter and debater from Canada, is a good example of maintaining a smiling
and friendly composure about himself.
6. Health

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a. No health, no dawah, period. Therefore, for the sake of sharing Islam, a daee, a presenter,
should go out of his/her way to take care of his or her health. This is an often neglected topic,
but how many times we see people in their late 30s and early 40s requiring a stent to open their
heart vessels. Avoid eating that extra samosa or additional slice of pizza for the sake of dawah.

Appearance:
1. Dress in formal and Islamically acceptable attire. Make sure clothes are ironed and clean. People judge
each other by appearance. Jeans or sweat pants are not acceptable attire on stage.
2. Avoid any body odor or bad breath. Chew gum, use breath fresheners, mouth wash, etc, to treat bad
breath.
During the Presentation
1. Come on time – Start on Time – Try to come 30 early for parking, finding the room, settling up projector,
Islam info table etc.
2. Welcome and greet the audience with peace.
3. Thank them for coming. This is especially true when it is a night time or weekend when people could be
home or outside if the weather is good.
4. Don’t lean on the podium.
5. Maintain eye contact, that means, read as little as possible from notes or slides.
6. Keep a good posture; it makes you look more confident.
7. If you have an accent, speak clearly. This might mean you will have to slow down, but remain patient.
8. Don’t play with your beard, hair, hijab, this can distract the audience.
9. Don’t move around too much – this may distract the audience and may lose their focus on what is being
presented. This is where video recording of the presentation is beneficial, you can watch along with your
spouse or friends and help them identify your strong points and weaknesses.
10. When appropriate, bring and show items: Copy of the Quran, model of the Kaaba, prayer rug, etc. This is
very effective for both children and audience members who are visual.
11. Provide audience with specific and relative examples. For students, examples and concepts such as
school, classroom environments, tuition, texting and analogies to iPods, Facebook, PCs, etc will help
them both comprehend and absorb your presentation. The same applies for adults, be sure to provide
comparative examples that they can relate to as well: jobs, marriage, family, homes, taxes, etc.

12. Have a format to your presentation, preferably in the form of an outline as provided below:
a. Opening
i. Introduction of self
1. Name, education, brief background - create that personal touch.
ii. Mention the topic and share the outline of the presentation with the audience and the
time frame.
iii. Capture audience’s attention. This can be done by giving a 3 question quiz to engage
your audience for example: ‘all Arabs are Muslims and vice versa’ or ‘Muslims don’t
believe in Jesus – true or false’?” or ‘Islam was started by Prophet Muhammad (s), true
or false?’

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b. Body
i. As the main topic is presented, do present the three important concepts within it.
1. Concept of God – Tauheed
2. Guidance of Allah (swt) through sending messengers and Prophet Muhammad
(s) as the last one.
3. Hereafter
c. Summary & Conclusion
1. Make sure this is done since audience tends to remember the last words.
Quranic verses and/or hadith to use here:
a. “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a
female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each
other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured
of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And
God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Quran
49.13).
b. Prophet Muhammad (s) said: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an
Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any
superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black
nor a black has any superiority over a white - except by piety and good
action.” (Bukhari).
c. As you conclude, once again thank the host and the audience and
mention the 800-662-ISLAM number for further questions about Islam.
Display this number and info@GainPeace.com on the last slide.
d. Conclude the presentation with the greetings of peace and ‘May God
guide and bless us all, thank you’.

13. Things to avoid


a. Avoid using the bible as much as possible, unless you are dragged into it. Even then, just touch
on it and move on to Islamic sources. If your knowledge of the bible is little, then avoid going
there altogether, there is more harm than good. A polite way to stay away from indulging into
the bible is to mention: “I’m not too familiar with the biblical texts; therefore, I would be doing
an injustice referring to it ineffectively.
i. As a footnote let me add that in the field of dawah, an effective Muslim presenter
should familiar him/herself with a working knowledge of the bible. A good example is
Dr. Zakir Naik and his teacher Ahmed Deedat.
b. Don’t mention ‘Old testament as the Torah and New Testament as the Injeel’, they are not
synonymous.
c. Don’t bring up bible contradictions or illogic of the Trinity etc. Audience will become defensive
and will not be receptive to your message.
d. Avoid using too many Arabic words. If used, always translate them, don’t think that the
audience will remember the translation, but translate every time.

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e. Avoid topics related to Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan. Even if asked questions, then mention
Islam’s take on suicide bombing, killing of civilians, terrorism etc without getting into the details
of the current conflicts. Differentiate the teachings of Islam verses the actions of a few Muslims
and mention that it is not fair to judge the religion of Islam based on the actions of a few
Muslims just like it is not fair to judge Christianity for the action of the crusaders, apartheid,
colonial powers or inquisition.
f. Don’t interject material not needed or may distract you and audience from the main points. For
example, when speaking of Hajj during a presentation of the five pillars, don’t mention that
‘non-Muslims are prohibited to enter Makkah’.
g. Don’t make the presentation too long. 20 – 30 minutes for the presentation and 20-30 min of Q
& A.
h. Make answers brief and to the point. This will enable you to take more questions.

14. Things to include:


a. Make presentations interactive if crowd is between smaller like 10-25 individuals.
b. Ask if the students or audience have specific questions to be answered. This is usually the case
with school children audience. Try to attend to as many of these questions so they get to
complete their assignment.
c. Make the slides interesting by including pictures and video clips.
d. When asked a question by an audience member, repeat it before you answer. This is important
because it gives others in the audience an opportunity to hear the question. This is especially
the case when there is no separate microphone for the audience and the room is large.

After the Presentation


1. Go up to the host and thank him/her/them again for inviting you.
2. Share your business card. If you don’t have one, make one!
3. Write a personalized letter to thank the host, attendees, school for inviting/visiting you.
4. Keep a log of each of your presentation:
a. Place, title, contact person.
b. Type of questions asked. If you didn’t knew answers to any question, try to research and
prepare an answer for the future.
5. Save, edit and share the audio/video of the presentation with others.
6. Watch your video or listen to audio and critique yourself. What are some improvements you can make?
7. If you need more assistance in your speaking ability, then enroll in an organization that assists speakers.
a. Toastmasters, a non-profit organization is recommended. Visit www.Toastmasters.org for a
chapter near you.
8. Thank Allah (swt) for providing you the opportunity to share the beautiful message of Islam with others.

Prepared by:
Dr. Sabeel Ahmed - GainPeace.com
For comments, corrections, additions, contact: info@GainPeace.com.