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Preface

Preface

The study of how to give effective speeches dates back to ancient Greece. Around 350 B.C. Aristotle wrote his famous Rhetoric, now considered to be one of the finest formal books on the subject. Now 2,300 years later, we are still struggling with the same problems the Greeks encountered and that speakers have struggled with throughout the ages.

The advent of technology has both complicated and simplified the task of the speaker. For example, today it is possible to produce complex graphs on a computer, display them electronically with a projector, or present them via the Internet. But how much information should be put on that graph? And, most important, where does that graph fit into the organizational plan (if there is one) of the presentation?

Effective Presentation Skills attempts to answer the fundamental questions of how to prepare and deliver an effective speech. Proven techniques are presented that will give a reader the necessary skills to give more confident, enthusiastic and persuasive presentations. Topics covered are how to use body language effectively; how to organize thoughts and data for maximum impact; how to develop and use visuals and graphics, as well as (of course) how to deliver what you have prepared.

This book provides some theory but more often presents simple and practical suggestions on how to give more effective presentations.

Definitions

The terms “speech” and “presentation” are often used interchangeably. For our purposes it is useful to understand the difference.

A presentation is a type of speech. Typically, when we think of a speech we think of a dedication speech, a political speech, a speech of tribute, or some similar event that is more public in nature than a presentation would be.

Presentations are speeches that are usually given in a business, technical, professional, or scientific environment. The audience is likely to be more specialized than those attending a typical speech event.

Although the difference between speeches and presentations is slight, this book leans toward helping those who give presentations. But, because a presentation is a type of speech, there are ideas and skills in this book that will also be helpful to any speech-maker.

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