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Part IV: Preparing and Presenting the Sl... > Learning the Elements of Effective P... - Pg. 272

272 Chapter 16. Learning the Elements of Effective Presentations In this chapter · · · · · Find out ways to size up an audience Learn the importance of objective-driven content Explore ways to grab and keep an audience's attention Learn how colors and fonts are part of the message Discover ways to assess the impact of a presentation An effective presentation is one that achieves its objectives of communicating ideas, teaching con- cepts, or convincing or motivating listeners. This book presents PowerPoint features and procedures with an eye toward helping you create successful presentations. But all that has come in bits and pieces. This chapter brings together some of the key ingredients in creating and presenting effective presentations. However, you should also know what this chapter doesn't do. It does not provide a comprehensive treatment of public speaking, learning theories, motivational psychology, or the like. There are plenty of other books out there that can do a much better job with those topics, partly because their authors are experts in those areas and because they've got a lot more pages to cover the topics. So does that mean you've got a rookie here, trying to tell you what to do? Not at all. I've got plenty of teaching and presenting experience. Take what you can from these pages, and, like I do, continue to observe other presenters. Some day you'll be able to compile your own list of what makes an effective presentation. Understanding an Audience Some time ago I spent two years in Argentina. I've always loved to tell jokes, especially those that involve puns. I found that my Argentine friends often wouldn't laugh at my jokes but would instead try to correct my Spanish. I had to explain that I knew what I was saying and that what I said was a pun. By that time, of course, the moment was lost. The problem wasn't that my Spanish was bad or that I was saying anything wrong. It was that I didn't understand that the listeners didn't expect me, a newcomer, to have the ability to play with words the way I could. As a presenter, you also have to determine who it is you're speaking to and what kind of "filters" they have as they listen to you. How do you determine who your audience really is? The following are some considerations: · Age-- Are you presenting to children, teens, young professionals, or seasoned veterans? Speaking down to young adults can be as disastrous as speaking over the heads of children.