CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – JULY 24th
It is extremely important to be sure of your facts. If you make even one factually incorrect statement, some people will doubt everything you say. This is something that holds true wherever you are, including in some of the highest courts in the land.
A lawyer will be much in demand if he or she can take one small inaccuracy in a witness’ statement and turn it to the advantage of his or her client by using it to paint the witness as unreliable. In terms of a presentation, the stakes may not be as high, but all the same it is wise to make sure that you have authority behind what you tell people. This begins with how you present yourself.
It is often said that you cannot judge a book by its cover, and the truth is that that it absolutely correct. Some fine minds are to be found behind faces which appear, to many people to suggest docility.
But if you want to keep the audience’s attention on what you are saying, it is advisable to appear businesslike and efficient at all times. You should be tidily dressed, and should be aware at all times of what you have just said, what you are currently saying, and what you will say next. If this involves referring to flash cards on occasion, then there is no problem in doing so – much better to have the information to hand than have it disappear from your mind.
It is also worth bearing in mind the fact that the audience have not come to be told things they already know. If they had, then any one of them could be giving the presentation. It is much better to think about things from another angle.
You know what they think, so some of this presentation can be about what you think. The bits of the presentation that they remember may well be the moments when their opinions were challenged and potentially changed. Doing this will involve arguing a point and backing it up with sound reasoning, facts and figures, and the impact it has on an audience can be genuinely impressive.
You should use whatever is at your disposal to make your points in a presentation as efficiently as possible. Known statistics, testimonies from respected individuals and documentary evidence are all extremely helpful when it comes to making your point effectively.
Each person in the audience may have a different “convincer”. The more complete your presentation is, the more people you will convince. Unless you are preaching to the converted, do not assume that you will carry all before you with the same arguments that sounded right to you.
The Importance of Citations
Some groups or individuals are so trusted that citing their statements can be the deciding factor in getting people to agree with you. Some examples:
The Centers for Disease Control
The Congressional Budget Office
The Census Bureau
The Journal of the American Medical Association
The point that unites these groups listed above, and others like them, is that they are considered to be a leading authority in their specific field. When it comes to discovering information on any subject, going right to the leading authorities to find it out is always a sensible move.
If you are giving a presentation, going to a leading authority in the area you wish to discuss is very wise indeed. Sometimes in a presentation you will find that some of your listeners are skeptical and will challenge the statistics you mention. If you can mention that those statistics have come from a leading authority, and cite that they are up to date as well, then you will advance your case much further.
It has become common practice to begin sentences in presentations, essays and speeches with the phrase “Everybody knows that…” or “It goes without saying that…” when often this is very far from being the case.
This is a rhetorical device which can be used appropriately and inappropriately. In the first case, if it is something everyone does know, then it prevents you from having to go over well-worn explanations. In many other cases, however, it may be used because the speaker has not been able to source direct proof for an assertion and simply wants their audience to accept it. After all, if “everybody” knows something, not many people will happily be the one to disagree.
When it comes to backing your points up, it is best that you go to the experts.
The more evidence you can back up a statement with, the more confidence you can have in asserting it. Furthermore, the fact that the information comes from a trusted source means that you can immediately trump skeptical listeners who wish to make your presentation seem less informed than it is.
Make It A Champion Day!
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