Presentation Skills

   Today while taking presentations of the 1st Year B.Tech students, I realized that these children who seem to be very intelligent find it very difficult to speak before their classmates. Despite of giving them the instructions umpteen times; I wonder why they do not pay heed to them? There were barely 1-2 outstanding performances. Despite of making them aware of the kinesics, proxemics, paranlinguistic and chronemic features there were hardly a few who mastered the art. It was not that I had declared the dates of the presentation overnight. But these students always end up keeping things for the eleventh hour. Whatever is done in the eleventh hour never yields you the required result. Yet they always end up procrastinating things.
   Public speaking is an art which one needs to master. One needs to practice a lot before the D day. You may feel I am good at talking to people; but talking to people does not make you an effective speaker. To be a successful speaker / presenter you need to be mindful of the demons that are within you. Fight them and give your best. There will be nervousness, anxiety, fear and what not; but you have to keep these all at the backdrop and focus as if you are the only person left on the universe and the whole world is eagerly waiting to listen to you. But that does not mean you sound arrogant and consumed by your self. A presenter has to be humble, attentive to the audience and focused. Do not be conscious that you are being heard or being looked at. It is your turn to speak so do it like a pro. Rehearse well over the content and focus on the kinesics - your body language, proxemics - the usage of the space that you have while presenting, your paralinguistic features - voice, tone, volume, rate of words, the voice modulations, clarity of words with the appropriate pronunciation and above all the chronemic factor - the time limit you have been allotted to speak.
   Do not make yourself small; at the same time do not open too much. Maneuver the space wisely by making shifts in your position. You do not need to be rigid and erect in your posture. Make mild gestures while using your hands and other parts of the torso. See to it that you have appropriate facial expressions while delivering. Here is where the rehearsals help because most of the time we are not aware and we throw such expressions at the audience that it really looks funny. Be aware of your vocal features - appropriate volume, not too fast nor slow, inflections and pleasant tone help a lot. Be audible to your audience otherwise they are not going to listen to you at all. Do not use the time of others. Use your time to speak and use it wisely and fully. 
   It is not easy to speak before an audience but remember life itself is never easy. When you can battle the issues of your life; this is just a 10 minute presentation. Learning to fight this small battle will prepare you for the big battles ahead in life. Practice is the key; the more you practice the best result can be yielded.


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