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Stage Presentation

Presentations and reports are ways of communicating ideas and information to a group. But unlike a report, a presentation carries the speaker's personality better and allows immediate interaction between all the participants.
A report is the orderly presentation of the results of a research that seeks truth and interprets facts into constructive ideas and suggestions (Gwinn, 2007). It is normally built on research that finds, develops, or substantiates knowledge. Once all the facts are collected, they are organized and presented in a report designed to meet a need for specific information.
A presentation is created in the same manner as a report; however, it adds one additional element -The Human Element.
A good presentation contains at least four elements:

  • Content - It contains information that people need. But unlike reports, which are read at the reader's own pace, presentations must account for how much information the audience can absorb in one sitting.
  • Structure - It has a logical beginning, middle, and end. It must be sequenced and paced so that the audience can understand it. Where as reports have appendices and footnotes to guide the reader, the speaker must be careful not to loose the audience when wandering from the main point of the presentation..
  • Packaging - It must be well prepared. A report can be reread and portions skipped over, but with a presentation, the audience is at the mercy of a presenter
  • Human Element -A good presentation will be remembered much more than a good report because it has a person attached to it. However, you must still analyze the audience's needs to determine if they would be better met if a report was sent instead.

The voice is probably the most valuable tool of the presenter. It carries most of the content that the audience takes away. One of the oddities of speech is that we can easily tell others what is wrong with their voice, such as it is too fast, too high, or too soft, but we have trouble listening to and changing our own voices. There are five main terms used for defining vocal qualities (Grant-Williams, 2002):

  • Volume - How loud the sound is. The goal is to be heard without shouting. Good speakers lower their voice to draw the audience in, and raise it to make a point.
  • Tone - The characteristics of a sound. An airplane has a different sound than leaves being rustled by the wind. A voice that carries fear can frighten the audience, while a voice that carries laughter can get the audience to smile.
  • Pitch -: How high or low a note is. Pee Wee Herman has a high voice, Barbara Walters has a moderate voice, while James Earl Jones has a low voice.
  • Pace Element -This is how long a sound lasts. Talking too fast causes the words and syllables to be short, while talking slowly lengthens them. Varying the pace helps to maintain the audience's interest.
  • Color -Both projection and tone variance can be practiced by taking the line "This new policy is going to be exciting" and saying it first with surprise, then with irony, then with grief, and finally with anger. The key is to over-act. Remember Shakespeare's words "All the world's a stage" -presentations are the opening night on Broadway!
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