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Presentation Tactics (Prepare to Speak)

Your group has been asked to give a presentation. You are to assume that your fellow students are managers in your company who need to be informed about next year’s departmental budget.

Don’t start writing down what you expect to say. Instead, ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your presentation. Will you be asking for a budget increase, or presenting a plan showing how you can operate on less money? Think about your specific objectives in relation to your audience before preparing your presentation.

Can you imagine building a house without a set of plans? Before anyone can build a house, he or she needs plans to guide the purchase of the materials and to show how these materials will be used. In the same way, a plan for your presentation will make the actual work of putting it together much more efficient. A two-step process—developing objectives and analyzing your audience will help.

Should your presentation be persuasive or informative? Are you simply going to give a status report or a project update (informative)?

With a persuasive presentation, the speakers tell the audience what changes are requested. With an informative presentation, speakers imply that some action should be taken.

What are the values of the group? What are their needs? What constraints might hold the audience back from doing or knowing what you want them to do or know? Are the constraints political (internal politics), financial (asking for money), specialized (knowledge bases)—familiar with the terminology? What are the demographics?