Home Blog Presentation Ideas The Power of Audience Engagement: Strategies and Examples

The Power of Audience Engagement: Strategies and Examples

Cover for guide on the power of Audience Engagement for Presenters

Engaging your audience is vital to effective presentations, business interactions, and media communication. It’s a powerful tool that fosters connection, enhances knowledge retention, and drives action. Research conducted on audience engagement informs us that physiological factors like cardiac synchrony can be appreciated when the spectators feel a deep emotional connection to the event they are attending. 

This article explores the importance of audience engagement in presentations, offering practical strategies, rules, and tools to captivate your audience with real-life examples and methods to measure engagement. 

Table of Contents

What is Audience Engagement?

Strategies for audience engagement in presentations, rules of audience engagement, real-life examples of audience engagement, tools for boosting audience engagement in presentations.

We can define audience engagement as the degree of interaction and involvement of individuals in a particular activity or event. It’s not merely about having an audience but cultivating a dynamic relationship with them. This engagement is gauged by the level of attention, interest, and emotional connection an audience has towards the content they are consuming. 

Audience engagement is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It varies based on the nature of the audience, the platform used, and the goals of the engagement. However, at its core, it’s about creating a two-way communication that values the audience’s input and encourages them to interact, participate, and connect – a point of particular interest in motivational presentations. This engagement is beneficial and essential in today’s digital age, where attention is scarce . A high level of audience engagement signifies that your message resonates with your audience and that they are invested in your content or cause.

The Role of Audience Engagement in Business, Education, and Social Media

Audience engagement is pivotal in various sectors, including business, education, and social media. For business professionals, it translates as the cornerstone of customer relationship management. Engaging customers is not just about making sales; it’s about building relationships, cultivating loyalty, and creating brand advocates. Businesses prioritizing audience engagement tailoring their advertising efforts to attend to the customer’s driving factors , often enjoy increased customer retention rates and higher profits. 

Engaging the audience in business environments also involves high-level meetings between organizations and potential investors, as the closer the speaker connects with the audience, the better impact tools like a business pitch may have. 

Business pitch slide designed for maximum audience engagement

Moving on to academics, educators strive to captivate their students’ attention, stimulate their curiosity, and encourage active participation in the learning process. Engaging students leads to improved comprehension , better retention of information, and a more enjoyable learning experience. It’s not just about imparting knowledge; it’s about inspiring a love for learning and nurturing critical thinking skills.

Human Anatomy Infographics in school lesson for audience engagement

We can guarantee that audience engagement is the key to visibility and influence on social media platforms, as experience does tell. The algorithms of most social media platforms prioritize content with high engagement rates, making it more likely to appear in users’ feeds. Therefore, influencers, brands, and individuals wishing to maximize their reach must create content encouraging likes, comments, shares, and other forms of engagement. 

First Impressions and Relevance

The relevance of your content to your audience’s interests or needs determines their level of engagement. To achieve this, understand your audience’s demographics and preferences, then tailor your content to match these. This strategy not only grabs attention but also fosters a lasting connection.

Presenters should research techniques for how to start a presentation to ensure a great first impression with the audience. Our expertise tells us that over 60% of the success rate of the presentation is granted during that first introductory minute, so don’t neglect the first opportunity to connect with your attendees.

Utilizing Practical Information

To engage your audience effectively, provide practical, actionable information. This boosts your credibility and empowers your audience, making them more likely to interact and relate with your content. Remember, the more value you offer, the greater the engagement rate you’ll receive.

A presentation slide with visual aids to boost audience engagement

Applying Tools to Raise the Impact of Your Speech

To amplify your speech’s impact, leverage tools like visual aids, storytelling , and rhetorical devices. Visual aids such as infographics can simplify complex ideas , while storytelling can evoke emotions and make your message more memorable. Rhetorical devices like repetition can emphasize key points, ensuring they resonate with your audience.

The Power of a Familiar Environment

To enhance presentation performance, create a familiar environment. Use common language, relatable examples, and shared experiences to establish comfort. This strategy nourishes connection, encourages participation, and promotes audience engagement, thereby boosting the impact of your presentation.

Understanding Audience Needs

There are techniques you can apply prior to your presentation to ensure your content is tailored for the target audience. Conduct demographic research to understand their age, gender, occupation, and interests. Next, engage with them through surveys (via email if they signed up for the event online) or social media to grasp their desires and pain points. 

Analyzing their behavior, such as purchasing habits, can also provide valuable information. Consider their cultural and social context to understand their perspectives. Remember always to be open to feedback: this will not only show your audience that you value their opinion but also help you tailor your approach to meet their needs.

Maintaining Authenticity and Consistency

Presenters are often blamed for trying to emulate successful examples rather than using their own voices. First, be genuine. Authenticity resonates with audiences, making your message more compelling. Avoid pretense and remain true to your character, values, and beliefs. Second, maintain consistency. Your message should be coherent and consistent throughout. This includes your speech, visuals, and body language (and yes, this can be pretty evident in your interest in the topic you present). Inconsistencies can confuse your audience and weaken your message. 

Consistency also extends to your brand or personal image. Ensure that your presentation aligns with your established image. This will reinforce your credibility and build trust with your audience. Lastly, practice regularly to maintain a consistent pace and tone. This will help you avoid sudden changes in speech that can disrupt the flow of your presentation.

A compelling example of audience engagement in the IT sector is the transformation of Microsoft under the leadership of Satya Nadella . Before Nadella’s tenure, Microsoft was losing its grip on the market, with dwindling audience engagement. The company was perceived as outdated and unresponsive to customer needs. However, Nadella implemented strategies to reinvigorate the brand and boost audience engagement. He prioritized open communication, encouraging employees to listen to customer feedback and respond promptly. He also championed using social media platforms to interact with customers, providing quick solutions to their problems. This strategy increased audience engagement and improved the company’s reputation. 

The impact of these strategies was measured using social media traffic and lead generation results. Microsoft saw a significant increase in followers on their social media platforms, and the lead generation rate also improved. The positive customer feedback and the measurable results motivated the team to continue pursuing excellence. They realized that their efforts were not in vain and that they were making a difference in the company’s performance. This example reveals the power of audience engagement in transforming a brand’s performance. It also highlights the importance of measuring results to motivate the team and ensure the effectiveness of the strategies implemented.

PowerPoint Presentation Templates by SlideModel

SlideModel PowerPoint and Google Slides templates are a game-changer for presenters, offering a comprehensive solution to design dilemmas. These templates simplify the process of creating visually appealing presentations, allowing presenters to focus on delivering their message effectively. The beauty of these templates lies in their complete editability. Presenters can customize each element to suit their unique needs, ensuring their presentation aligns with their brand and message. Moreover, SlideModel offers a vast selection of templates designed to cater to various business tools. Below you can find some examples of what these templates can do for you.

1. 5W1H Framework PowerPoint Diagram for Collective Thinking Audience Engagement

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

This framework counting with 5 why(s) and 1 how question is ideal to encourage team members to look for solutions as a group, as it requires a deep understanding of the causes behind a problem, plus an iterative technique of cause-and-effect analysis to reach for an answer.

Use This Template

2. Evaluation Scale of 1 to 10 Graphic for Engaged Presentations

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

We can imagine meetings where we need to evaluate the conditions created after the impact of some of our choices. This scale of 1 to 10 PPT template helps teams to give a visible score and give the reasons behind their scoring to address the importance of certain topics. Ideal for in-team meetings where we have to determine the priorities for future work sessions.

3. Pros & Cons PowerPoint Template for Activities to Engage the Audience

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

Present the pros and cons of situations in a format filled with visual aids. By implementing the weighting scale metaphor, the audience can quickly understand why some decisions may have a bigger impact than others, or in case of products, why certain choices shape out the market performance of a product or service.

4. Team Introduction Template to Engage Listeners

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

Who said that team presentation should be a boring part of the event? By using this striking colored presentation template for PowerPoint and Google Slides, each team member can introduce themselves in a blast, offering a clearer picture of their capabilities for the role they perform. Additionally, presenters can explain the relationships on a hierarchical level of each team member, how they contribute to the project, etc.

5. Customer Journey Storytelling Template for Audience Engagement

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

Take the typical approach to customer journey analysis and convert it into an engaging storytelling experience with this Mountain Customer Journey PowerPoint Diagram. It allows us to evaluate the progress, challenges, and changes to implement by taking the ideal customer persona or real-life data and evaluate in monthly periods.

Whether you’re presenting a SWOT analysis , a business plan , or a marketing strategy , there’s a template tailored to your needs. This variety enables presenters to choose a design that resonates with their topic, enhancing audience engagement. In a nutshell, SlideModel’s PowerPoint and Google Slides templates are indispensable tools for presenters, allowing presenters to use powerful graphics without requiring knowledge of graphic design.

The Power of Storytelling

Storytelling is a potent tool for audience engagement. It captivates listeners, stimulates their imagination, and fosters an emotional connection. By weaving a compelling narrative, you can effectively convey your message and make it memorable. Stories resonate with people personally, making them more receptive to your ideas. They also encourage active participation, as audiences often see themselves in the narratives, leading to a deeper understanding of your message. Whether you’re presenting a business proposal or educating a class, harness the power of storytelling to captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression.

Open-ended Questions

Open-ended questions stimulate thought, spark conversation, and encourage active participation. Unlike closed-ended questions, which limit responses to specific options, open-ended questions invite a wide range of answers, allowing audiences to express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas freely. This fosters a deeper connection and provides valuable insights into your audience’s perspectives, needs, and preferences. Whether you deliver a business presentation, teach a class, or host a live social media session, incorporating open-ended questions can significantly enhance your audience engagement strategy.

Open-ended question for boosting audience engagement

Polls and Surveys

These tools provide a platform for your audience to express their opinions, cultivating a sense of involvement and importance. They also offer valuable insights into your audience’s preferences, enabling you to tailor your content to their interests. 

Real-time poll results can create a dynamic, interactive experience, keeping your audience engaged and eager for more. Remember, the key to successful audience engagement is making your audience feel heard and valued; polls and surveys are excellent tools.

Group Activities 

Group activities promote collaboration and stimulate critical thinking. You can facilitate in-depth discussions, problem-solving tasks, or brainstorming sessions by dividing your audience into smaller groups. This not only keeps your audience actively involved but also encourages them to share their ideas and perspectives. 

Furthermore, group activities can be designed to be entertaining, adding an element of enjoyment to the engagement process. Remember, an engaged audience is more likely to absorb and retain the information you present, making your event or presentation a resounding success.

Wrapping up, the power to captivate your audience lies in your hands. The techniques shared in this article are not just theories but practical strategies proven to boost audience engagement. From understanding your audience’s needs to maintaining authenticity, the impact of these strategies is undeniable. So, don’t just read and forget. Take action. Implement these strategies in your next presentation or event. Remember, the more engaged your audience, the more successful your message delivery. So, get started today and see the transformation in the lasting impact of your talk.

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The Best Presentations Are Tailored to the Audience

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how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

Nine questions to ask before you open your mouth.

When preparing a presentation, we all remember to think about the basics: what you want to say, the data you need to back it up, any visuals that might help. But what about the people you’re presenting to? The following excerpt from the book Presentations   will help you better understand your audience and cater your message to their needs.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

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Oral Presentations

Presentation basics, key elements of good presentations.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

There are three key elements of good presentations: Content, Organization, Delivery.  Your audience needs interesting and appropriate content in order to pay attention, especially at the start of a presentation.  Logical organization helps retain your audience’s attention – they need to be able to follow your train of thought and predict where you are going with your ideas.  Delivery also is important, as your own engagement with the information helps your audience engage.

Content deals with the substance of your presentation. Your ideas and information should be original and significant.  Use accepted and relevant sources in your research, and reference those sources as needed.  Offer a clear analysis that’s comprehensive and concise at the same time – strive for the right amount of information for your audience’s needs and the allotted presentation time. Make sure that your content is relevant to your audience, so that they understand immediately why they should pay attention to your presentation.

Garr Reynolds, in his book Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery , identifies characteristics of presentation content that create what he calls SUCCES(s): [1]

  • Simplicity – reduce information to key points and essential meanings
  • Unexpectedness – pose questions, offer interesting statistics, “make the audience aware that they have a gap in their knowledge and then fill that gap”
  • Concreteness – use specific language, provide real-life examples
  • Credibility – use sources, facts, statistics to back up your content; deliver information confidently; know your information well
  • Emotions – engage your audience to feel something about your content
  • Stories – use examples and illustrations to create a “story element” to the presentation

Finally, to make your content effective, repeat key information throughout your presentation. A memory research pioneer, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, found that we forget approximately 50 percent of new information within 18 minutes, with retention falling to 35 percent after a week. However, Ebbinghaus also discovered that repetition of the new information at key intervals can change this trajectory, a discovery known as the spacing effect. The lesson for presenters: work repetition into your presentation content.

Organization

Good organization requires a clear beginning, middle, and end. Link your ideas logically throughout the presentation to lead to an ending that resolves the problem or summarizes the situation you presented at the start. If you’re presenting based on a formal report or proposal, you may want to follow the order of the longer written document, but you don’t have to; as long as you include main ideas, it’s up to you to determine your presentation’s organization based on your audience and purpose. Strive for clear transitions between individual points, slides, and topics.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

Delivery involves a range of factors from body language and word choice to vocal variety. A good presenter has a passion for the subject and an ability to convey and perhaps elicit that emotion in the audience. Audience engagement through eye contact, facial expression, gestures, and/or vocal tone contributes to an effective presentation. Delivery also deals with the confidence and professionalism with which you deliver the presentation.  Hesitations, “ums,” and other types of vocal fumbling will distract your audience, while a clear, confident presentation helps to engage them.

Content, organization, and delivery work together and are equally important aspects of presentations.

The following two videos provide basic tips for creating effective presentations in terms of content, organization, and delivery.  As you view them, consider their similarity of information and dissimilarity in presentation style. What can you infer about the presenter and intended audience of each presentation?  Which video resonates more fully with you personally, and why?  In terms of conveying information to a general audience, which video do you think is most effective, and why?

Planning Presentations

As you can see based on the video examples, presentations always require a situational analysis in the planning stage.  Identify your audience, purpose, context, and all of the communication variables that you need to consider in order to make choices that will result in an effective presentation for your purpose and audience. For example, your purpose – the one, main idea that you want to convey through your presentation – can influence your content, organization, delivery, and overall approach.  Identifying your audience can help you with what may be the most critical aspect of your presentation, making your information relevant to your audience.  Analyzing communication variables for your presentation also will help you determine if you need supplemental materials or handouts, how to arrange a room for an in-person presentation, how best to structure a virtual presentation, and more.

Even if you are creating a presentation based on a formal report or proposal for which you have already done a situational analysis, do another situational analysis for your presentation, as your audience, organization, language, and overall approach may differ based on the different communication mode.

Planning Online Presentations

In addition to doing a situational analysis, online presentations may require some additional planning time in terms of how you present information.  A real-time, in-person audience may pay attention to your presentation simply because you are present, and you may be able to adapt your presentation to audience reaction.  However, it’s more difficult to capture the attention of a virtual audience, either real-time or asynchronous, so online presentations need to be thought through very deliberately in terms of their content, organization, look, and approach.

The following video, while written for online instructors, nonetheless offers important points to consider for any type of virtual, online presentation.

Understanding Presentation Audiences

Audiences are egocentric, meaning that they operate under the principle of WIIFM: what’s in it for them. Don’t expect your audience to meet you where you are; meet them where they are and then take them where you want to go together. According to Lucas, audiences “pay closest attention to messages that affect their own values, beliefs, and well being. Listeners approach speeches with one question uppermost in mind: ‘Why is this important to me?’ … What do these psychological principles mean to you as a speaker?  First, they mean that your listeners will hear and judge what you say on the basis of what they already know and believe.  Second, they mean you must relate your message to your listeners–show how it pertains to them, explain why they should care about it as much as you do.” [2]

Also, audiences have relatively short attention spans, and often decide whether or not to give you their attention within the first minute or so of a presentation. Various research studies indicate a five – twenty minute attention span for any type of presentation (note that results of studies vary). An article titled “ Neuroscience Proves You Should Follow TED’s 18-Minute Rule to Win Your Pitch ” discusses the concept of “cognitve backlog,” or the idea that the more information you provide, the more information your audience will tune out and not remember. [3]

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

These audience characteristics lay the groundwork for presentation strategies identified in the videos, strategies such as starting with and continuing a story, engaging attention with an interesting statistic, and more.  The point to remember is that you need to make conscious, reasoned decisions about ways to engage your audience.  Keeping audience attention span and egocentrism in mind, strive for the following presentation basics:

  • Conciseness
  • Connection with audience

Expectations for Presentations

The 10/20/30 rule, generally attributed to venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, is a good guideline to help you achieve a “just right” balance in your presentations. Geared for entrepreneurs pitching their business, his advice is a discipline that would improve the quality—and, effectiveness—of most presentations. In brief, 10/20/30 translates to a maximum of 10 slides, a maximum of 20 minutes and a minimum of 30 point font. [4]

A visual representation of the 10/20/30 rule as described in the text.

While this rule is a good starting point, it does not overrule your audience analysis or understanding of your purpose. Sometimes, you may need more slides or have a more involved purpose—like training people in new software or presenting the results of a research study—that takes more than 30 minutes to address. In that case, go with what your audience needs and what will make your presentation most effective. The concept behind the 10/20/30 rule—to make new learning easy for your audience to take in, process and remember—should still be your guide even if you don’t follow the rule exactly.

One last way to gauge presentations is to consider most audiences’ expectations for good presentations:

  • main ideas are compelling and relevant
  • information is organized with a clear beginning, middle, and end; audience can follow where the ideas are leading
  • delivery shows the presenter’s enthusiasm and engagement
  • visuals apply good design practices
  • presentation length is appropriate for audience, purpose, and context

The following video summarizes characteristics that create effective presentations.

[1] Reynolds, Garr. (2012) Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. 2nd ed. New Riders, Pearson Education. Information from pages 78- 81. http://ptgmedia.pearsoncmg.com/images/9780321811981/samplepages/0321811984.pdf

[2] Lucas, Stephen E. (2020) The Art of Public Speaking (13th edition).

[3]  Gallo, Carmine. “Neuroscience  Proves You Should Follow TED’s 18-Minute Rule to Win Your Pitch.”   Inc. ,  https://www.inc.com/theupsstore/small-biz-ings.html

[4] Kawasaki, Guy.  The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint . December 2005.  ↵

  • Presentation Basics, original material and material adapted from Business Communication Skills for Managers, see attributions below. Authored by : Susan Oaks. Project : Communications for Professionals. License : CC BY-NC: Attribution-NonCommercial
  • Making a Presentation for a Meeting. Authored by : Nina Burokas. Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-businesscommunicationmgrs/chapter/making-a-presentation-for-a-meeting/ . Project : Business Communication Skills for Managers. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • image of professional making a presentation. Authored by : rawpixel. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : https://pixabay.com/photos/agreement-brainstorming-business-3408113/ . License : CC0: No Rights Reserved
  • video Create an Effective Business Presentation. Authored by : Nick Morgan. Provided by : Harvard Business Review. Located at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTRt0zkD73M . License : Other . License Terms : YouTube video
  • video How to Give a Great Presentation - 7 Presentation Skills and Tips to Leave an Impression. Provided by : Practical Psychology. Located at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnIPpUiTcRc . License : Other . License Terms : YouTube video
  • video Teaching Tip: Designing Online Lectures and Recorded Presentations. Authored by : Greg Steinke and Jill Zimmerman. Provided by : CCAPS Teaching Tips, University of Minnesota. Located at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCAaRZJFJAU . License : Other . License Terms : YouTube video
  • image of businesswoman presenting to an audience. Authored by : rawpixel. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : https://pixabay.com/photos/analyzing-audience-board-3565815/ . License : CC0: No Rights Reserved
  • Visual Aids. Authored by : Nina Burokas. Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wmopen-businesscommunicationmgrs/chapter/visual-aids/ . Project : Business Communication Skills for Managers. License : CC BY: Attribution
  • video Five Simple Rules for Creating World Changing Presentations. Authored by : Nancy Duarte. Provided by : Duarte Inc.. Located at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT9GGmundag . License : Other . License Terms : YouTube video

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Powerful and Effective Presentation Skills: More in Demand Now Than Ever

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

When we talk with our L&D colleagues from around the globe, we often hear that presentation skills training is one of the top opportunities they’re looking to provide their learners. And this holds true whether their learners are individual contributors, people managers, or senior leaders. This is not surprising.

Effective communications skills are a powerful career activator, and most of us are called upon to communicate in some type of formal presentation mode at some point along the way.

For instance, you might be asked to brief management on market research results, walk your team through a new process, lay out the new budget, or explain a new product to a client or prospect. Or you may want to build support for a new idea, bring a new employee into the fold, or even just present your achievements to your manager during your performance review.

And now, with so many employees working from home or in hybrid mode, and business travel in decline, there’s a growing need to find new ways to make effective presentations when the audience may be fully virtual or a combination of in person and remote attendees.

Whether you’re making a standup presentation to a large live audience, or a sit-down one-on-one, whether you’re delivering your presentation face to face or virtually, solid presentation skills matter.

Even the most seasoned and accomplished presenters may need to fine-tune or update their skills. Expectations have changed over the last decade or so. Yesterday’s PowerPoint which primarily relied on bulleted points, broken up by the occasional clip-art image, won’t cut it with today’s audience.

The digital revolution has revolutionized the way people want to receive information. People expect presentations that are more visually interesting. They expect to see data, metrics that support assertions. And now, with so many previously in-person meetings occurring virtually, there’s an entirely new level of technical preparedness required.

The leadership development tools and the individual learning opportunities you’re providing should include presentation skills training that covers both the evergreen fundamentals and the up-to-date capabilities that can make or break a presentation.

So, just what should be included in solid presentation skills training? Here’s what I think.

The fundamentals will always apply When it comes to making a powerful and effective presentation, the fundamentals will always apply. You need to understand your objective. Is it strictly to convey information, so that your audience’s knowledge is increased? Is it to persuade your audience to take some action? Is it to convince people to support your idea? Once you understand what your objective is, you need to define your central message. There may be a lot of things you want to share with your audience during your presentation, but find – and stick with – the core, the most important point you want them to walk away with. And make sure that your message is clear and compelling.

You also need to tailor your presentation to your audience. Who are they and what might they be expecting? Say you’re giving a product pitch to a client. A technical team may be interested in a lot of nitty-gritty product detail. The business side will no doubt be more interested in what returns they can expect on their investment.

Another consideration is the setting: is this a formal presentation to a large audience with questions reserved for the end, or a presentation in a smaller setting where there’s the possibility for conversation throughout? Is your presentation virtual or in-person? To be delivered individually or as a group? What time of the day will you be speaking? Will there be others speaking before you and might that impact how your message will be received?

Once these fundamentals are established, you’re in building mode. What are the specific points you want to share that will help you best meet your objective and get across your core message? Now figure out how to convey those points in the clearest, most straightforward, and succinct way. This doesn’t mean that your presentation has to be a series of clipped bullet points. No one wants to sit through a presentation in which the presenter reads through what’s on the slide. You can get your points across using stories, fact, diagrams, videos, props, and other types of media.

Visual design matters While you don’t want to clutter up your presentation with too many visual elements that don’t serve your objective and can be distracting, using a variety of visual formats to convey your core message will make your presentation more memorable than slides filled with text. A couple of tips: avoid images that are cliched and overdone. Be careful not to mix up too many different types of images. If you’re using photos, stick with photos. If you’re using drawn images, keep the style consistent. When data are presented, stay consistent with colors and fonts from one type of chart to the next. Keep things clear and simple, using data to support key points without overwhelming your audience with too much information. And don’t assume that your audience is composed of statisticians (unless, of course, it is).

When presenting qualitative data, brief videos provide a way to engage your audience and create emotional connection and impact. Word clouds are another way to get qualitative data across.

Practice makes perfect You’ve pulled together a perfect presentation. But it likely won’t be perfect unless it’s well delivered. So don’t forget to practice your presentation ahead of time. Pro tip: record yourself as you practice out loud. This will force you to think through what you’re going to say for each element of your presentation. And watching your recording will help you identify your mistakes—such as fidgeting, using too many fillers (such as “umm,” or “like”), or speaking too fast.

A key element of your preparation should involve anticipating any technical difficulties. If you’ve embedded videos, make sure they work. If you’re presenting virtually, make sure that the lighting is good, and that your speaker and camera are working. Whether presenting in person or virtually, get there early enough to work out any technical glitches before your presentation is scheduled to begin. Few things are a bigger audience turn-off than sitting there watching the presenter struggle with the delivery mechanisms!

Finally, be kind to yourself. Despite thorough preparation and practice, sometimes, things go wrong, and you need to recover in the moment, adapt, and carry on. It’s unlikely that you’ll have caused any lasting damage and the important thing is to learn from your experience, so your next presentation is stronger.

How are you providing presentation skills training for your learners?

Manika Gandhi is Senior Learning Design Manager at Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning. Email her at [email protected] .

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Blog Beginner Guides

How To Make a Good Presentation [A Complete Guide]

By Krystle Wong , Jul 20, 2023

How to make a good presentation

A top-notch presentation possesses the power to drive action. From winning stakeholders over and conveying a powerful message to securing funding — your secret weapon lies within the realm of creating an effective presentation .  

Being an excellent presenter isn’t confined to the boardroom. Whether you’re delivering a presentation at work, pursuing an academic career, involved in a non-profit organization or even a student, nailing the presentation game is a game-changer.

In this article, I’ll cover the top qualities of compelling presentations and walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to give a good presentation. Here’s a little tip to kick things off: for a headstart, check out Venngage’s collection of free presentation templates . They are fully customizable, and the best part is you don’t need professional design skills to make them shine!

These valuable presentation tips cater to individuals from diverse professional backgrounds, encompassing business professionals, sales and marketing teams, educators, trainers, students, researchers, non-profit organizations, public speakers and presenters. 

No matter your field or role, these tips for presenting will equip you with the skills to deliver effective presentations that leave a lasting impression on any audience.

Click to jump ahead:

What are the 10 qualities of a good presentation?

Step-by-step guide on how to prepare an effective presentation, 9 effective techniques to deliver a memorable presentation, faqs on making a good presentation, how to create a presentation with venngage in 5 steps.

When it comes to giving an engaging presentation that leaves a lasting impression, it’s not just about the content — it’s also about how you deliver it. Wondering what makes a good presentation? Well, the best presentations I’ve seen consistently exhibit these 10 qualities:

1. Clear structure

No one likes to get lost in a maze of information. Organize your thoughts into a logical flow, complete with an introduction, main points and a solid conclusion. A structured presentation helps your audience follow along effortlessly, leaving them with a sense of satisfaction at the end.

Regardless of your presentation style , a quality presentation starts with a clear roadmap. Browse through Venngage’s template library and select a presentation template that aligns with your content and presentation goals. Here’s a good presentation example template with a logical layout that includes sections for the introduction, main points, supporting information and a conclusion: 

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

2. Engaging opening

Hook your audience right from the start with an attention-grabbing statement, a fascinating question or maybe even a captivating anecdote. Set the stage for a killer presentation!

The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power – check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience.

3. Relevant content

Make sure your content aligns with their interests and needs. Your audience is there for a reason, and that’s to get valuable insights. Avoid fluff and get straight to the point, your audience will be genuinely excited.

4. Effective visual aids

Picture this: a slide with walls of text and tiny charts, yawn! Visual aids should be just that—aiding your presentation. Opt for clear and visually appealing slides, engaging images and informative charts that add value and help reinforce your message.

With Venngage, visualizing data takes no effort at all. You can import data from CSV or Google Sheets seamlessly and create stunning charts, graphs and icon stories effortlessly to showcase your data in a captivating and impactful way.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

5. Clear and concise communication

Keep your language simple, and avoid jargon or complicated terms. Communicate your ideas clearly, so your audience can easily grasp and retain the information being conveyed. This can prevent confusion and enhance the overall effectiveness of the message. 

6. Engaging delivery

Spice up your presentation with a sprinkle of enthusiasm! Maintain eye contact, use expressive gestures and vary your tone of voice to keep your audience glued to the edge of their seats. A touch of charisma goes a long way!

7. Interaction and audience engagement

Turn your presentation into an interactive experience — encourage questions, foster discussions and maybe even throw in a fun activity. Engaged audiences are more likely to remember and embrace your message.

Transform your slides into an interactive presentation with Venngage’s dynamic features like pop-ups, clickable icons and animated elements. Engage your audience with interactive content that lets them explore and interact with your presentation for a truly immersive experience.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

8. Effective storytelling

Who doesn’t love a good story? Weaving relevant anecdotes, case studies or even a personal story into your presentation can captivate your audience and create a lasting impact. Stories build connections and make your message memorable.

A great presentation background is also essential as it sets the tone, creates visual interest and reinforces your message. Enhance the overall aesthetics of your presentation with these 15 presentation background examples and captivate your audience’s attention.

9. Well-timed pacing

Pace your presentation thoughtfully with well-designed presentation slides, neither rushing through nor dragging it out. Respect your audience’s time and ensure you cover all the essential points without losing their interest.

10. Strong conclusion

Last impressions linger! Summarize your main points and leave your audience with a clear takeaway. End your presentation with a bang , a call to action or an inspiring thought that resonates long after the conclusion.

In-person presentations aside, acing a virtual presentation is of paramount importance in today’s digital world. Check out this guide to learn how you can adapt your in-person presentations into virtual presentations . 

Peloton Pitch Deck - Conclusion

Preparing an effective presentation starts with laying a strong foundation that goes beyond just creating slides and notes. One of the quickest and best ways to make a presentation would be with the help of a good presentation software . 

Otherwise, let me walk you to how to prepare for a presentation step by step and unlock the secrets of crafting a professional presentation that sets you apart.

1. Understand the audience and their needs

Before you dive into preparing your masterpiece, take a moment to get to know your target audience. Tailor your presentation to meet their needs and expectations , and you’ll have them hooked from the start!

2. Conduct thorough research on the topic

Time to hit the books (or the internet)! Don’t skimp on the research with your presentation materials — dive deep into the subject matter and gather valuable insights . The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel in delivering your presentation.

3. Organize the content with a clear structure

No one wants to stumble through a chaotic mess of information. Outline your presentation with a clear and logical flow. Start with a captivating introduction, follow up with main points that build on each other and wrap it up with a powerful conclusion that leaves a lasting impression.

Delivering an effective business presentation hinges on captivating your audience, and Venngage’s professionally designed business presentation templates are tailor-made for this purpose. With thoughtfully structured layouts, these templates enhance your message’s clarity and coherence, ensuring a memorable and engaging experience for your audience members.

Don’t want to build your presentation layout from scratch? pick from these 5 foolproof presentation layout ideas that won’t go wrong. 

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

4. Develop visually appealing and supportive visual aids

Spice up your presentation with eye-catching visuals! Create slides that complement your message, not overshadow it. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean you need to overload your slides with text.

Well-chosen designs create a cohesive and professional look, capturing your audience’s attention and enhancing the overall effectiveness of your message. Here’s a list of carefully curated PowerPoint presentation templates and great background graphics that will significantly influence the visual appeal and engagement of your presentation.

5. Practice, practice and practice

Practice makes perfect — rehearse your presentation and arrive early to your presentation to help overcome stage fright. Familiarity with your material will boost your presentation skills and help you handle curveballs with ease.

6. Seek feedback and make necessary adjustments

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek feedback from friends and colleagues. Constructive criticism can help you identify blind spots and fine-tune your presentation to perfection.

With Venngage’s real-time collaboration feature , receiving feedback and editing your presentation is a seamless process. Group members can access and work on the presentation simultaneously and edit content side by side in real-time. Changes will be reflected immediately to the entire team, promoting seamless teamwork.

Venngage Real Time Collaboration

7. Prepare for potential technical or logistical issues

Prepare for the unexpected by checking your equipment, internet connection and any other potential hiccups. If you’re worried that you’ll miss out on any important points, you could always have note cards prepared. Remember to remain focused and rehearse potential answers to anticipated questions.

8. Fine-tune and polish your presentation

As the big day approaches, give your presentation one last shine. Review your talking points, practice how to present a presentation and make any final tweaks. Deep breaths — you’re on the brink of delivering a successful presentation!

In competitive environments, persuasive presentations set individuals and organizations apart. To brush up on your presentation skills, read these guides on how to make a persuasive presentation and tips to presenting effectively . 

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

Whether you’re an experienced presenter or a novice, the right techniques will let your presentation skills soar to new heights!

From public speaking hacks to interactive elements and storytelling prowess, these 9 effective presentation techniques will empower you to leave a lasting impression on your audience and make your presentations unforgettable.

1. Confidence and positive body language

Positive body language instantly captivates your audience, making them believe in your message as much as you do. Strengthen your stage presence and own that stage like it’s your second home! Stand tall, shoulders back and exude confidence. 

2. Eye contact with the audience

Break down that invisible barrier and connect with your audience through their eyes. Maintaining eye contact when giving a presentation builds trust and shows that you’re present and engaged with them.

3. Effective use of hand gestures and movement

A little movement goes a long way! Emphasize key points with purposeful gestures and don’t be afraid to walk around the stage. Your energy will be contagious!

4. Utilize storytelling techniques

Weave the magic of storytelling into your presentation. Share relatable anecdotes, inspiring success stories or even personal experiences that tug at the heartstrings of your audience. Adjust your pitch, pace and volume to match the emotions and intensity of the story. Varying your speaking voice adds depth and enhances your stage presence.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

5. Incorporate multimedia elements

Spice up your presentation with a dash of visual pizzazz! Use slides, images and video clips to add depth and clarity to your message. Just remember, less is more—don’t overwhelm them with information overload. 

Turn your presentations into an interactive party! Involve your audience with questions, polls or group activities. When they actively participate, they become invested in your presentation’s success. Bring your design to life with animated elements. Venngage allows you to apply animations to icons, images and text to create dynamic and engaging visual content.

6. Utilize humor strategically

Laughter is the best medicine—and a fantastic presentation enhancer! A well-placed joke or lighthearted moment can break the ice and create a warm atmosphere , making your audience more receptive to your message.

7. Practice active listening and respond to feedback

Be attentive to your audience’s reactions and feedback. If they have questions or concerns, address them with genuine interest and respect. Your responsiveness builds rapport and shows that you genuinely care about their experience.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

8. Apply the 10-20-30 rule

Apply the 10-20-30 presentation rule and keep it short, sweet and impactful! Stick to ten slides, deliver your presentation within 20 minutes and use a 30-point font to ensure clarity and focus. Less is more, and your audience will thank you for it!

9. Implement the 5-5-5 rule

Simplicity is key. Limit each slide to five bullet points, with only five words per bullet point and allow each slide to remain visible for about five seconds. This rule keeps your presentation concise and prevents information overload.

Simple presentations are more engaging because they are easier to follow. Summarize your presentations and keep them simple with Venngage’s gallery of simple presentation templates and ensure that your message is delivered effectively across your audience.

how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

1. How to start a presentation?

To kick off your presentation effectively, begin with an attention-grabbing statement or a powerful quote. Introduce yourself, establish credibility and clearly state the purpose and relevance of your presentation.

2. How to end a presentation?

For a strong conclusion, summarize your talking points and key takeaways. End with a compelling call to action or a thought-provoking question and remember to thank your audience and invite any final questions or interactions.

3. How to make a presentation interactive?

To make your presentation interactive, encourage questions and discussion throughout your talk. Utilize multimedia elements like videos or images and consider including polls, quizzes or group activities to actively involve your audience.

In need of inspiration for your next presentation? I’ve got your back! Pick from these 120+ presentation ideas, topics and examples to get started. 

Creating a stunning presentation with Venngage is a breeze with our user-friendly drag-and-drop editor and professionally designed templates for all your communication needs. 

Here’s how to make a presentation in just 5 simple steps with the help of Venngage:

Step 1: Sign up for Venngage for free using your email, Gmail or Facebook account or simply log in to access your account. 

Step 2: Pick a design from our selection of free presentation templates (they’re all created by our expert in-house designers).

Step 3: Make the template your own by customizing it to fit your content and branding. With Venngage’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor, you can easily modify text, change colors and adjust the layout to create a unique and eye-catching design.

Step 4: Elevate your presentation by incorporating captivating visuals. You can upload your images or choose from Venngage’s vast library of high-quality photos, icons and illustrations. 

Step 5: Upgrade to a premium or business account to export your presentation in PDF and print it for in-person presentations or share it digitally for free!

By following these five simple steps, you’ll have a professionally designed and visually engaging presentation ready in no time. With Venngage’s user-friendly platform, your presentation is sure to make a lasting impression. So, let your creativity flow and get ready to shine in your next presentation!

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Presenting Science: A practical guide to giving a good talk

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Presenting Science: A practical guide to giving a good talk

254 Identifying the Context of the Presentation

  • Published: December 2009
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The context of a presentation determines, or should determine, how you approach its preparation. The context includes many things, the audience, the purpose of the presentation, the occasion, what precedes the presentation and what follows from it. It will define what you expect from the audience, and will influence how you prepare yourself for the talk. A simple example. Suppose that you have been invited to give a series of lectures at a summer school. What more do you need to know, other than the topic? Here are a few of the questions that you need to have answered before you can start planning the course. 1. Is it an introductory course aimed at graduate students in their first year, or is it an advanced course more suited to graduates in their final year and young postdoctoral researchers? 2. Are the participants expected to ask questions during the lecture, or wait until the end? 3. Will there be any problem classes or discussion sessions? 4. Will lecture notes be handed out to participants before or after the lecture? 5. Will the proceedings be published, and if so, when? 6. What are the other lecture courses going to cover? 7. Will the basic theory already have been covered, or are they expected to know it already, or should you spend half of the first lecture going over it, just in case some have not seen it before? 8. If it is your job to give the basic introductory lectures, should you follow the standard approach in the usual text books, or should you assume that they have already covered that ground and try to give them more insight into the subject? 9. Will any of the lectures that come later in the school make any assumptions about what they have learned in your lectures? 10. Is there a social programme? If so, are you expected to participate in the activities and discuss the subject informally with the participants (which, from our experience, is always much appreciated), or can you spend most of the time in your room writing the next lecture?

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How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples

August 3, 2018 - Dom Barnard

For many people the thought of delivering a presentation is a daunting task and brings about a  great deal of nerves . However, if you take some time to understand how effective presentations are structured and then apply this structure to your own presentation, you’ll appear much more confident and relaxed.

Here is our complete guide for structuring your presentation, with examples at the end of the article to demonstrate these points.

Why is structuring a presentation so important?

If you’ve ever sat through a great presentation, you’ll have left feeling either inspired or informed on a given topic. This isn’t because the speaker was the most knowledgeable or motivating person in the world. Instead, it’s because they know how to structure presentations – they have crafted their message in a logical and simple way that has allowed the audience can keep up with them and take away key messages.

Research has supported this, with studies showing that audiences retain structured information  40% more accurately  than unstructured information.

In fact, not only is structuring a presentation important for the benefit of the audience’s understanding, it’s also important for you as the speaker. A good structure helps you remain calm, stay on topic, and avoid any awkward silences.

What will affect your presentation structure?

Generally speaking, there is a natural flow that any decent presentation will follow which we will go into shortly. However, you should be aware that all presentation structures will be different in their own unique way and this will be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Whether you need to deliver any demonstrations
  • How  knowledgeable the audience  already is on the given subject
  • How much interaction you want from the audience
  • Any time constraints there are for your talk
  • What setting you are in
  • Your ability to use any kinds of visual assistance

Before choosing the presentation’s structure answer these questions first:

  • What is your presentation’s aim?
  • Who are the audience?
  • What are the main points your audience should remember afterwards?

When reading the points below, think critically about what things may cause your presentation structure to be slightly different. You can add in certain elements and add more focus to certain moments if that works better for your speech.

Good presentation structure is important for a presentation

What is the typical presentation structure?

This is the usual flow of a presentation, which covers all the vital sections and is a good starting point for yours. It allows your audience to easily follow along and sets out a solid structure you can add your content to.

1. Greet the audience and introduce yourself

Before you start delivering your talk, introduce yourself to the audience and clarify who you are and your relevant expertise. This does not need to be long or incredibly detailed, but will help build an immediate relationship between you and the audience. It gives you the chance to briefly clarify your expertise and why you are worth listening to. This will help establish your ethos so the audience will trust you more and think you’re credible.

Read our tips on  How to Start a Presentation Effectively

2. Introduction

In the introduction you need to explain the subject and purpose of your presentation whilst gaining the audience’s interest and confidence. It’s sometimes helpful to think of your introduction as funnel-shaped to help filter down your topic:

  • Introduce your general topic
  • Explain your topic area
  • State the issues/challenges in this area you will be exploring
  • State your presentation’s purpose – this is the basis of your presentation so ensure that you provide a statement explaining how the topic will be treated, for example, “I will argue that…” or maybe you will “compare”, “analyse”, “evaluate”, “describe” etc.
  • Provide a statement of what you’re hoping the outcome of the presentation will be, for example, “I’m hoping this will be provide you with…”
  • Show a preview of the organisation of your presentation

In this section also explain:

  • The length of the talk.
  • Signal whether you want audience interaction – some presenters prefer the audience to ask questions throughout whereas others allocate a specific section for this.
  • If it applies, inform the audience whether to take notes or whether you will be providing handouts.

The way you structure your introduction can depend on the amount of time you have been given to present: a  sales pitch  may consist of a quick presentation so you may begin with your conclusion and then provide the evidence. Conversely, a speaker presenting their idea for change in the world would be better suited to start with the evidence and then conclude what this means for the audience.

Keep in mind that the main aim of the introduction is to grab the audience’s attention and connect with them.

3. The main body of your talk

The main body of your talk needs to meet the promises you made in the introduction. Depending on the nature of your presentation, clearly segment the different topics you will be discussing, and then work your way through them one at a time – it’s important for everything to be organised logically for the audience to fully understand. There are many different ways to organise your main points, such as, by priority, theme, chronologically etc.

  • Main points should be addressed one by one with supporting evidence and examples.
  • Before moving on to the next point you should provide a mini-summary.
  • Links should be clearly stated between ideas and you must make it clear when you’re moving onto the next point.
  • Allow time for people to take relevant notes and stick to the topics you have prepared beforehand rather than straying too far off topic.

When planning your presentation write a list of main points you want to make and ask yourself “What I am telling the audience? What should they understand from this?” refining your answers this way will help you produce clear messages.

4. Conclusion

In presentations the conclusion is frequently underdeveloped and lacks purpose which is a shame as it’s the best place to reinforce your messages. Typically, your presentation has a specific goal – that could be to convert a number of the audience members into customers, lead to a certain number of enquiries to make people knowledgeable on specific key points, or to motivate them towards a shared goal.

Regardless of what that goal is, be sure to summarise your main points and their implications. This clarifies the overall purpose of your talk and reinforces your reason for being there.

Follow these steps:

  • Signal that it’s nearly the end of your presentation, for example, “As we wrap up/as we wind down the talk…”
  • Restate the topic and purpose of your presentation – “In this speech I wanted to compare…”
  • Summarise the main points, including their implications and conclusions
  • Indicate what is next/a call to action/a thought-provoking takeaway
  • Move on to the last section

5. Thank the audience and invite questions

Conclude your talk by thanking the audience for their time and invite them to  ask any questions  they may have. As mentioned earlier, personal circumstances will affect the structure of your presentation.

Many presenters prefer to make the Q&A session the key part of their talk and try to speed through the main body of the presentation. This is totally fine, but it is still best to focus on delivering some sort of initial presentation to set the tone and topics for discussion in the Q&A.

Questions being asked after a presentation

Other common presentation structures

The above was a description of a basic presentation, here are some more specific presentation layouts:

Demonstration

Use the demonstration structure when you have something useful to show. This is usually used when you want to show how a product works. Steve Jobs frequently used this technique in his presentations.

  • Explain why the product is valuable.
  • Describe why the product is necessary.
  • Explain what problems it can solve for the audience.
  • Demonstrate the product  to support what you’ve been saying.
  • Make suggestions of other things it can do to make the audience curious.

Problem-solution

This structure is particularly useful in persuading the audience.

  • Briefly frame the issue.
  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it ‘s such a problem. Use logos and pathos for this – the logical and emotional appeals.
  • Provide the solution and explain why this would also help the audience.
  • Call to action – something you want the audience to do which is straightforward and pertinent to the solution.

Storytelling

As well as incorporating  stories in your presentation , you can organise your whole presentation as a story. There are lots of different type of story structures you can use – a popular choice is the monomyth – the hero’s journey. In a monomyth, a hero goes on a difficult journey or takes on a challenge – they move from the familiar into the unknown. After facing obstacles and ultimately succeeding the hero returns home, transformed and with newfound wisdom.

Storytelling for Business Success  webinar , where well-know storyteller Javier Bernad shares strategies for crafting compelling narratives.

Another popular choice for using a story to structure your presentation is in media ras (in the middle of thing). In this type of story you launch right into the action by providing a snippet/teaser of what’s happening and then you start explaining the events that led to that event. This is engaging because you’re starting your story at the most exciting part which will make the audience curious – they’ll want to know how you got there.

  • Great storytelling: Examples from Alibaba Founder, Jack Ma

Remaining method

The remaining method structure is good for situations where you’re presenting your perspective on a controversial topic which has split people’s opinions.

  • Go into the issue in detail showing why it’s such a problem – use logos and pathos.
  • Rebut your opponents’ solutions  – explain why their solutions could be useful because the audience will see this as fair and will therefore think you’re trustworthy, and then explain why you think these solutions are not valid.
  • After you’ve presented all the alternatives provide your solution, the remaining solution. This is very persuasive because it looks like the winning idea, especially with the audience believing that you’re fair and trustworthy.

Transitions

When delivering presentations it’s important for your words and ideas to flow so your audience can understand how everything links together and why it’s all relevant. This can be done  using speech transitions  which are words and phrases that allow you to smoothly move from one point to another so that your speech flows and your presentation is unified.

Transitions can be one word, a phrase or a full sentence – there are many different forms, here are some examples:

Moving from the introduction to the first point

Signify to the audience that you will now begin discussing the first main point:

  • Now that you’re aware of the overview, let’s begin with…
  • First, let’s begin with…
  • I will first cover…
  • My first point covers…
  • To get started, let’s look at…

Shifting between similar points

Move from one point to a similar one:

  • In the same way…
  • Likewise…
  • Equally…
  • This is similar to…
  • Similarly…

Internal summaries

Internal summarising consists of summarising before moving on to the next point. You must inform the audience:

  • What part of the presentation you covered – “In the first part of this speech we’ve covered…”
  • What the key points were – “Precisely how…”
  • How this links in with the overall presentation – “So that’s the context…”
  • What you’re moving on to – “Now I’d like to move on to the second part of presentation which looks at…”

Physical movement

You can move your body and your standing location when you transition to another point. The audience find it easier to follow your presentation and movement will increase their interest.

A common technique for incorporating movement into your presentation is to:

  • Start your introduction by standing in the centre of the stage.
  • For your first point you stand on the left side of the stage.
  • You discuss your second point from the centre again.
  • You stand on the right side of the stage for your third point.
  • The conclusion occurs in the centre.

Key slides for your presentation

Slides are a useful tool for most presentations: they can greatly assist in the delivery of your message and help the audience follow along with what you are saying. Key slides include:

  • An intro slide outlining your ideas
  • A  summary slide  with core points to remember
  • High quality image slides to supplement what you are saying

There are some presenters who choose not to use slides at all, though this is more of a rarity. Slides can be a powerful tool if used properly, but the problem is that many fail to do just that. Here are some golden rules to follow when using slides in a presentation:

  • Don’t over fill them  – your slides are there to assist your speech, rather than be the focal point. They should have as little information as possible, to avoid distracting people from your talk.
  • A picture says a thousand words  – instead of filling a slide with text, instead, focus on one or two images or diagrams to help support and explain the point you are discussing at that time.
  • Make them readable  – depending on the size of your audience, some may not be able to see small text or images, so make everything large enough to fill the space.
  • Don’t rush through slides  – give the audience enough time to digest each slide.

Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and author, suggests that slideshows should follow a  10-20-30 rule :

  • There should be a maximum of 10 slides – people rarely remember more than one concept afterwards so there’s no point overwhelming them with unnecessary information.
  • The presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes as this will leave time for questions and discussion.
  • The font size should be a minimum of 30pt because the audience reads faster than you talk so less information on the slides means that there is less chance of the audience being distracted.

Here are some additional resources for slide design:

  • 7 design tips for effective, beautiful PowerPoint presentations
  • 11 design tips for beautiful presentations
  • 10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea

Group Presentations

Group presentations are structured in the same way as presentations with one speaker but usually require more rehearsal and practices.  Clean transitioning between speakers  is very important in producing a presentation that flows well. One way of doing this consists of:

  • Briefly recap on what you covered in your section: “So that was a brief introduction on what health anxiety is and how it can affect somebody”
  • Introduce the next speaker in the team and explain what they will discuss: “Now Elnaz will talk about the prevalence of health anxiety.”
  • Then end by looking at the next speaker, gesturing towards them and saying their name: “Elnaz”.
  • The next speaker should acknowledge this with a quick: “Thank you Joe.”

From this example you can see how the different sections of the presentations link which makes it easier for the audience to follow and remain engaged.

Example of great presentation structure and delivery

Having examples of great presentations will help inspire your own structures, here are a few such examples, each unique and inspiring in their own way.

How Google Works – by Eric Schmidt

This presentation by ex-Google CEO  Eric Schmidt  demonstrates some of the most important lessons he and his team have learnt with regards to working with some of the most talented individuals they hired. The simplistic yet cohesive style of all of the slides is something to be appreciated. They are relatively straightforward, yet add power and clarity to the narrative of the presentation.

Start with why – by Simon Sinek

Since being released in 2009, this presentation has been viewed almost four million times all around the world. The message itself is very powerful, however, it’s not an idea that hasn’t been heard before. What makes this presentation so powerful is the simple message he is getting across, and the straightforward and understandable manner in which he delivers it. Also note that he doesn’t use any slides, just a whiteboard where he creates a simple diagram of his opinion.

The Wisdom of a Third Grade Dropout – by Rick Rigsby

Here’s an example of a presentation given by a relatively unknown individual looking to inspire the next generation of graduates. Rick’s presentation is unique in many ways compared to the two above. Notably, he uses no visual prompts and includes a great deal of humour.

However, what is similar is the structure he uses. He first introduces his message that the wisest man he knew was a third-grade dropout. He then proceeds to deliver his main body of argument, and in the end, concludes with his message. This powerful speech keeps the viewer engaged throughout, through a mixture of heart-warming sentiment, powerful life advice and engaging humour.

As you can see from the examples above, and as it has been expressed throughout, a great presentation structure means analysing the core message of your presentation. Decide on a key message you want to impart the audience with, and then craft an engaging way of delivering it.

By preparing a solid structure, and  practising your talk  beforehand, you can walk into the presentation with confidence and deliver a meaningful message to an interested audience.

It’s important for a presentation to be well-structured so it can have the most impact on your audience. An unstructured presentation can be difficult to follow and even frustrating to listen to. The heart of your speech are your main points supported by evidence and your transitions should assist the movement between points and clarify how everything is linked.

Research suggests that the audience remember the first and last things you say so your introduction and conclusion are vital for reinforcing your points. Essentially, ensure you spend the time structuring your presentation and addressing all of the sections.

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1 Audience, Purpose, & Context

Questions to Ponder

Discuss these following scenario with your partners:

Imagine you are a computer scientist, and you have written an important paper about cybersecurity. You have been invited to speak at a conference to explain your ideas. As you prepare your slides and notes for your speech, you are thinking about these questions:

  • What kind of language should I use?
  • What information should I include on my slides?

Now, imagine you are the same computer scientist, and you have a nephew in 3rd grade. Your nephew’s teacher has invited you to come to his class for Parents’ Day, to explain what you do at work. Will you give the same speech to the class of eight-year-olds? How will your language and information be the same or different?

Thinking about audience, purpose, and context

Before we give the presentations in the scenarios described above, we need to consider our audience, purpose, and context. We need to adjust the formality and complexity of our language, depending on what our audience already knows. In the context of a professional conference, we can assume that our audience knows the technical language of our subject. In a third grade classroom, on the other hand, we would use less complex language. For the professional conference, we could include complicated information on our slides, but that probably wouldn’t be effective for children. Our purpose will also affect how we make our presentation; we want to inform our listeners about cybersecurity, but we may need to entertain an audience of third graders a bit more than our professional colleagues.

The same thing is true with writing. For example, when we are writing for an academic audience of classmates and instructors, we use more formal, complex language than when we are writing for an audience of children. In all cases, we need to consider what our audience already knows, what they might think about our topic, and how they will respond to our ideas.

In writing, we also need to think about appearance, just as we do when giving a presentation. The way our essay looks is an important part of establishing our credibility as authors, in the same way that our appearance matters in a professional setting. Careful use of MLA format and careful proofreading help our essays to appear professional; consult  MLA Formatting Guides for advice.

the rhetorical triangle: author, purpose, context

Before you start to write, you need to know:

Who is the intended  audience ? ( Who  are you writing this for?)

What is the  purpose ? ( Why  are you writing this?)

What is the  context ? ( What  is the situation,  when  is the time period, and  where  are your readers?)

We will examine each of these below.

AUDIENCE ~ Who are you writing for?

Your audience are the people who will read your writing, or listen to your presentation. In the examples above, the first audience were your professional colleagues; the second audience were your daughter and her classmates. Naturally, your presentation will not be the same to these two audiences.

Here are some questions you might think about as you’re deciding what to write about and how to shape your message:

  • What do I know about my audience? (What are their ages, interests, and biases? Do they have an opinion already? Are they interested in the topic? Why or why not?)
  • What do they know about my topic? (And, what does this audience not  know about the topic? What do they need to know?)
  • What details might affect the way this audience thinks about my topic? (How will facts, statistics, personal stories, examples, definitions, or other types of evidence affect this audience?)

In academic writing, your readers will usually be your classmates and instructors. Sometimes, your instructor may ask you to write for a specific audience. This should be clear from the assignment prompt; if you are not sure, ask your instructor who the intended audience is.

PURPOSE – Why are you writing?

Your primary purpose for academic writing may be to inform, to persuade, or to entertain your audience. In the examples above, your primary purpose was to inform your listeners about cybersecurity.

Audience and purpose work together, as in these examples:

  • I need to write a letter to my landlord explaining why my rent is late so she won’t be upset. (Audience = landlord; Purpose = explaining my situation and keeping my landlord happy)
  • I want to write a proposal for my work team to persuade them to change our schedule. (Audience = work team; Purpose = persuading them to get the schedule changed)
  • I have to write a research paper for my environmental science instructor comparing solar to wind power. (Audience = instructor; Purpose = informing by analyzing and showing that you understand these two power sources)

Here are some of the main kinds of informative and persuasive writing you will do in college:

How Do I Know What My Purpose Is?

Sometimes your instructor will give you a purpose, like in the example above about the environmental science research paper ( to inform ), but other times, in college and in life, your purpose will depend on what effect you want your writing to have on your audience. What is the goal of your writing? What do you hope for your audience to think, feel, or do after reading it? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Persuade or inspire them to act or to think about an issue from your point of view.
  • Challenge them or make them question their thinking or behavior.
  • Argue for or against something they believe or do; change their minds or behavior.
  • Inform or teach them about a topic they don’t know much about.
  • Connect with them emotionally; help them feel understood.

There are many different types of writing in college: essays, lab reports, case studies, business proposals, and so on. Your audience and purpose may be different for each type of writing, and each discipline, or kind of class. This brings us to context.

CONTEXT ~ What is the situation?

When and where are you and your readers situated? What are your readers’ circumstances? What is happening around them? Answering these questions will help you figure out the context, which helps you decide what kind of writing fits the situation best. The context is the situation, setting, or environment; it is the place and time that you are writing for. In our examples above, the first context is a professional conference; the second context is a third-grade classroom. The kind of presentation you write would be very different for these different contexts.

Here’s another example: Imagine that your car breaks down on the way to class. You need to send a message to someone to help you.

AUDIENCE : your friends

PURPOSE : to ask for help

CONTEXT : you are standing by the side of Little Patuxent Parkway, 10 minutes before class begins. Your friends are already at the campus Starbucks or in Duncan Hall.

Do you and your readers have time for you to write a 1,000-word essay about how a car works, and how yours has broken down? Or would one word (‘help!’) and a photo be a better way to send your message?

Now imagine that you are enrolled in a mechanical engineering class, and your professor has asked for a 4-page explanation of how internal combustion works in your car. What kind of writing should you produce? This would be the appropriate audience, purpose, and context for the 1,000-word essay about how a car works.

Activity ~ A Note about Tone

As you consider your audience, purpose, and context, you will need to think about your word choice as well. For example, say these two phrases out loud:

  • very sick kids
  • seriously ill children

Do they mean the same thing? Would you use the phrases in the same way? How about:

  • lots of stuff

The words we choose help determine the tone of our writing, which is connected to audience, purpose, and context. Can you think of other examples using formal and informal tone?

Is this chapter:

…about right, but you would like more detail? –> Watch “ Audience: Introduction & Overview ” and from Purdue’s Online Writing Lab. Also, view “ Purpose, Audience, & Context ” from The Ohio State University.

…about right, but you prefer to listen and learn? –> Try “ Thinking About Your Assignment ” from the Excelsior OWL and “ A Smart Move: Responding the Rhetorical Situation .”

…too easy? –> Watch “ Writing for Audiences in U.S. Academic Settings ” from Purdue OWL.

Or, how about watching a funny video? In this short (3.5 minutes) video from the popular children’s program Sesame Street , Sir Ian McKellen tries to teach Cookie Monster a new word, but at first, Sir Ian doesn’t really understand what his audience knows (or doesn’t know), so Cookie Monster doesn’t understand.

Portions of this chapter were modified from the following Open Educational Resources:

Saylor Academy under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License  without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensor.

CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

“ Audience ” and “ Purpose ” chapters from The Word on College Reading and Writing by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear, which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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ENGLISH 087: Academic Advanced Writing Copyright © 2020 by Nancy Hutchison is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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II. Getting Started

2.3 Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content

Kathryn Crowther; Lauren Curtright; Nancy Gilbert; Barbara Hall; Tracienne Ravita; Kirk Swenson; and Terri Pantuso

Now that you have determined the assignment parameters , it’s time to begin drafting. While doing so, it is important to remain focused on your topic and thesis in order to guide your reader through the essay. Imagine reading one long block of text with each idea blurring into the next. Even if you are reading a thrilling novel or an interesting news article, you will likely lose interest in what the author has to say very quickly. During the writing process, it is helpful to position yourself as a reader. Ask yourself whether you can focus easily on each point you make. Keep in mind that three main elements shape the content of each essay (see Figure 2.3.1). [1]

  • Purpose:   The reason the writer composes the essay.
  • Audience:  The individual or group whom the writer intends to address.
  • Tone: The attitude the writer conveys about the essay’s subject.

A triangle with the three points labeled Audience, Tone, and Purpose. Inside the triangle, two-headed arrows are between the three points and the word Content in the center.

The assignment’s purpose, audience, and tone dictate what each paragraph of the essay covers and how the paragraph supports the main point or thesis.

Identifying Common Academic Purposes

The purpose for a piece of writing identifies the reason you write it by, basically, answering the question “Why?” For example, why write a play? To entertain a packed theater. Why write instructions to the babysitter? To inform him or her of your schedule and rules. Why write a letter to your congressman? To persuade him to address your community’s needs.

In academic settings, the reasons for writing typically fulfill four main purposes:

  • to classify
  • to synthesize
  • to evaluate

A classification shrinks a large amount of information into only the essentials , using your own words; although shorter than the original piece of writing, a classification should still communicate all the key points and key support of the original document without quoting the original text. Keep in mind that classification moves beyond simple summary to be informative .

An analysis , on the other hand, separates complex materials into their different parts and studies how the parts relate to one another. In the sciences, for example, the analysis of simple table salt would require a deconstruction of its parts—the elements sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Then, scientists would study how the two elements interact to create the compound NaCl, or sodium chloride: simple table salt.

In an academic analysis , instead of deconstructing compounds, the essay takes apart a primary source (an essay, a book, an article, etc.) point by point. It communicates the main points of the document by examining individual points and identifying how the points relate to one another.

The third type of writing— synthesis —combines two or more items to create an entirely new item. Take, for example, the electronic musical instrument aptly named the synthesizer. It looks like a simple keyboard but displays a dashboard of switches, buttons, and levers. With the flip of a few switches, a musician may combine the distinct sounds of a piano, a flute, or a guitar—or any other combination of instruments—to create a new sound. The purpose of an academic synthesis is to blend individual documents into a new document by considering the main points from one or more pieces of writing and linking the main points together to create a new point, one not replicated in either document.

Finally, an evaluation judges the value of something and determines its worth. Evaluations in everyday life are often not only dictated by set standards but also influenced by opinion and prior knowledge such as a supervisor’s evaluation of an employee in a particular job. Academic evaluations, likewise, communicate your opinion and its justifications about a particular document or a topic of discussion. They are influenced by your reading of the document as well as your prior knowledge and experience with the topic or issue. Evaluations typically require more critical thinking and a combination of classifying , analysis , and synthesis skills.

You will encounter these four purposes not only as you read for your classes but also as you read for work or pleasure and, because reading and writing work together, your writing skills will improve as you read. Remember that the purpose for writing will guide you through each part of your paper, helping you make decisions about content and style .

When reviewing directions for assignments, look for the verbs that ask you to classify, analyze, synthesize, or evaluate. Instructors often use these words to clearly indicate the assignment’s purpose. These words will cue you on how to complete the assignment because you will know its exact purpose.

Identifying the Audience

Imagine you must give a presentation to a group of executives in an office. Weeks before the big day, you spend time creating and rehearsing the presentation. You must make important, careful decisions not only about the content but also about your delivery. Will the presentation require technology to project figures and charts? Should the presentation define important words, or will the executives already know the terms? Should you wear your suit and dress shirt? The answers to these questions will help you develop an appropriate relationship with your audience, making them more receptive to your message.

Now imagine you must explain the same business concepts from your presentation to a group of high school students. Those important questions you previously answered may now require different answers. The figures and charts may be too sophisticated, and the terms will certainly require definitions. You may even reconsider your outfit and sport a more casual look. Because the audience has shifted, your presentation and delivery will shift as well to create a new relationship with the new audience.

In these two situations, the audience —the individuals who will watch and listen to the presentation—plays a role in the development of presentation. As you prepare the presentation, you visualize the audience to anticipate their expectations and reactions. What you imagine affects the information you choose to present and how you will present it. Then, during the presentation, you meet the audience in person and discover immediately how well you perform.

Although the audience for writing assignments—your readers—may not appear in person, they play an equally vital role. Even in everyday writing activities, you identify your readers’ characteristics, interests, and expectations before making decisions about what you write. In fact, thinking about the audience has become so common that you may not even detect the audience-driven decisions. For example, you update your status on a social networking site with the awareness of who will digitally follow the post. If you want to brag about a good grade, you may write the post to please family members. If you want to describe a funny moment, you may write with your friends’ senses of humor in mind. Even at work, you send emails with an awareness of an unintended receiver who could intercept the message.

In other words, being aware of “invisible” readers is a skill you most likely already possess and one you rely on every day. Consider the following paragraphs. Which one would the author send to her parents? Which one would she send to her best friend?

Last Saturday, I volunteered at a local hospital. The visit was fun and rewarding. I even learned how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. Unfortunately, I think I caught a cold from one of the patients. This week, I will rest in bed and drink plenty of clear fluids. I hope I am well by next Saturday to volunteer again.

OMG! You won’t believe this! My advisor forced me to do my community service hours at this hospital all weekend! We learned CPR but we did it on dummies, not even real peeps. And some kid sneezed on me and got me sick! I was so bored and sniffling all weekend; I hope I don’t have to go back next week. I def do NOT want to miss the basketball tournament!

Most likely, you matched each paragraph to its intended audience with little hesitation. Because each paragraph reveals the author’s relationship with the intended readers, you can identify the audience fairly quickly. When writing your own essays, you must engage with your audience to build an appropriate relationship given your subject.

Imagining your readers during each stage of the writing process will help you make decisions about your writing. Ultimately, the people you visualize will affect what and how you write.

While giving a speech, you may articulate an inspiring or critical message, but if you left your hair a mess and laced up mismatched shoes, your audience might not take you seriously. They may be too distracted by your appearance to listen to your words.

Similarly, grammar and sentence structure serve as the appearance of a piece of writing. Polishing your work using correct grammar will impress your readers and allow them to focus on what you have to say.

Because focusing on your intended audience will enhance your writing, your process, and your finished product, you must consider the specific traits of your audience members. Use your imagination to anticipate the readers’ demographics, education, prior knowledge, and expectations.

Demographics

These measure important data about a group of people such as their age range, their ethnicity, their religious beliefs, or their gender. Certain topics and assignments will require these kinds of considerations about your audience. For other topics and assignments, these measurements may not influence your writing in the end. Regardless, it is important to consider demographics when you begin to think about your purpose for writing.

Education considers the audience’s level of schooling. If audience members have earned a doctorate degree, for example, you may need to elevate your style and use more formal language. Or, if audience members are still in college, you could write in a more relaxed style. An audience member’s major or emphasis may also dictate your writing.

Prior Knowledge

This refers to what the audience already knows about your topic. If your readers have studied certain topics, they may already know some terms and concepts related to the topic. You may decide whether to define terms and explain concepts based on your audience’s prior knowledge. Although you cannot peer inside the brains of your readers to discover their knowledge, you can make reasonable assumptions . For instance, a nursing major would presumably know more about health-related topics than a business major would.

Expectations

These indicate what readers will look for while reading your assignment. Readers may expect consistencies in the assignment’s appearance such as correct grammar and traditional formatting like double-spaced lines and legible font. Readers may also have content-based expectations given the assignment’s purpose and organization. In an essay titled “The Economics of Enlightenment: The Effects of Rising Tuition,” for example, audience members may expect to read about the economic repercussions of college tuition costs.

Selecting an Appropriate Tone

Tone identifies a speaker’s attitude toward a subject or another person. You may pick up a person’s tone of voice fairly easily in conversation. A friend who tells you about her weekend may speak excitedly about a fun skiing trip. An instructor who means business may speak in a low, slow voice to emphasize her serious mood. Or, a coworker who needs to let off some steam after a long meeting may crack a sarcastic joke.

Just as speakers transmit emotion through voice, writers can transmit a range of attitudes and emotions through prose –from excited and humorous to somber and critical. These emotions create connections among the audience, the author, and the subject, ultimately building a relationship between the audience and the text. To stimulate these connections, writers convey their attitudes and feelings with useful devices such as sentence structure, word choice, punctuation, and formal or informal language. Keep in mind that the writer’s attitude should always appropriately match the audience and the purpose.

Read the following paragraph and consider the writer’s tone. How would you describe the writer’s attitude toward wildlife conservation?

“Many species of plants and animals are disappearing right before our eyes. If we don’t act fast, it might be too late to save them. Human activities, including pollution, deforestation, hunting, and overpopulation, are devastating the natural environment. Without our help, many species will not survive long enough for our children to see them in the wild. Take the tiger, for example. Today, tigers occupy just seven percent of their historical range, and many local populations are already extinct. Hunted for their beautiful pelts and other body parts, the tiger population has plummeted from one hundred thousand in 1920 to just a few thousand. Contact your local wildlife conservation society today to find out how you can stop this terrible destruction.”

Choosing Appropriate, Interesting Content

Content refers to all the written substance in a document. After selecting an audience and a purpose, you must choose what information will make it to the page. Content may consist of examples, statistics, facts, anecdotes , testimonies , and observations, but no matter the type, the information must be appropriate and interesting for the audience and purpose. An essay written for third graders that summarizes the legislative process, for example, would have to contain succinct and simple content.

Content is also shaped by tone . When the tone matches the content, the audience will be more engaged, and you will build a stronger relationship with your readers. When applied to that audience of third graders, you would choose simple content that the audience would easily understand, and you would express that content through an enthusiastic tone.

The same considerations apply to all audiences and purposes.

This section contains material from:

Crowther, Kathryn, Lauren Curtright, Nancy Gilbert, Barbara Hall, Tracienne Ravita, and Kirk Swenson. Successful College Composition . 2nd edition. Book 8. Georgia: English Open Textbooks, 2016. http://oer.galileo.usg.edu/english-textbooks/8 . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

  • “The Rhetorical Triangle” was derived by Brandi Gomez from an image in: Kathryn Crowther et al., Successful College Composition, 2nd ed. Book 8. (Georgia: English Open Textbooks, 2016), https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/english-textbooks/8/ . Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . ↵

The bounds, limits, or confines of something.

A statement, usually one sentence, that summarizes an argument that will later be explained, expanded upon, and developed in a longer essay or research paper. In undergraduate writing, a thesis statement is often found in the introductory paragraph of an essay. The plural of thesis is theses .

The essence of something; those things that compose the foundational elements of a thing; the basics.

A brief and concise statement or series of statements that outlines the main point(s) of a longer work. To summarize is to create a brief and concise statement or series of statements that outlines the main point(s) of a longer work.

To give or relay information; explanatory.

The fusion, combination, or integration of two or more ideas or objects that create new ideas or objects.

To copy, duplicate, or reproduce.

To organize or arrange.

The process of critically examining, investigating, or interpreting a specific topic or subject matter in order to come to an original conclusion.

The subject matter; the information contained within a text; the configuration of ideas that make up an argument.

The choices that a writer makes in order to make their argument or express their ideas; putting different elements of writing together in order to present an argument. Style refers to the way an argument is framed, written, and presented.

To interrupt, stop, or prevent someone or something from coming to pass or getting from one place to the other.

Clear or lucid speech; the expression of an idea in a coherent or logical manner; the communication of a concept in a way that is easily understandable to an audience.

The person or group of people who view and analyze the work of a writer, researcher, or other content creator.

Qualities, features, or attributes relating to something, particularly personal characteristics.

Taking something for granted; an expected result; to be predisposed towards a certain outcome.

Consequences; the impact, usually negative, of an action or event.

Writing that is produced in sentence form; the opposite of poetry, verse, or song. Some of the most common types of prose include research papers, essays, articles, novels, and short stories.

A short account or telling of an incident or story, either personal or historical; anecdotal evidence is frequently found in the form of a personal experience rather than objective data or widespread occurrence.

Verbal or written proof from an individual; the statement made by a witness that is understood to be truth. Testimony can be a formal process, such as a testimony made in official court proceedings, or an informal process, such as claiming that a company’s product or service works.

To express an idea in as few words as possible; concise, brief, or to the point.

The feeling or attitude of the writer which can be inferred by the reader, usually conveyed through vocabulary, word choice, and phrasing; associated with emotion.

2.3 Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content Copyright © 2022 by Kathryn Crowther; Lauren Curtright; Nancy Gilbert; Barbara Hall; Tracienne Ravita; Kirk Swenson; and Terri Pantuso is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Effective Research Presentations: Tips for Engaging Audiences

Effective Research Presentations: Tips for Engaging Audiences

Research presentations are a fundamental part of academic and professional life. Whether you are a scientist sharing groundbreaking discoveries, a student defending your thesis, or a business professional pitching a proposal, your ability to engage and captivate your audience is essential. In this article, we will explore key strategies and tips for delivering research presentations that leave a lasting impression.

Why Effective Research Presentations Matter

Effective research presentations are not just a formality or an academic ritual. They play a crucial role in academia, business, and the broader professional world. Here, we delve into why mastering the art of research presentations is essential and explore the far-reaching impacts of effective communication.

At the heart of any research presentation is the desire to disseminate knowledge. Whether you are a scientist sharing groundbreaking discoveries, a student defending your thesis, or a professional pitching a proposal, your presentation is a vehicle for conveying important information to your audience.

In academic settings, research presentations are a fundamental way of sharing findings with peers, instructors, and evaluators. Your ability to articulate complex concepts and research outcomes can directly influence your academic success, securing better grades, research funding, and opportunities for further study.

The impact of effective research presentations extends beyond the classroom. In academia, delivering compelling presentations is a crucial skill for students, researchers, and faculty members alike. It can determine the success of grant applications, research proposals, and conference participation.

For students, the ability to present research effectively is often a requirement for graduation, and it can influence future academic and career prospects. It is a skill that can set you apart in a competitive job market and is highly valued by employers in various industries.

In the professional world, research presentations are a means of driving change, securing investments, and winning clients. Business professionals often need to present market research, product proposals, and strategic plans to colleagues, stakeholders, and potential partners. Effective presentations can be the difference between a successful pitch and missed opportunities.

Consider the role of research presentations in industries such as pharmaceuticals, technology, and finance. Researchers and professionals must convey complex data, findings, and strategies to diverse audiences, from investors to regulatory agencies. An impactful presentation can lead to critical decisions and substantial investments.

For scientists and researchers, research presentations are a conduit for engaging the public and garnering support for scientific endeavors. Whether discussing climate change, medical breakthroughs, or space exploration, scientists must communicate their findings in a way that resonates with non-expert audiences.

Effective presentations help bridge the gap between scientific research and public understanding. They can inspire curiosity, generate interest, and foster trust in the scientific community. Public engagement through presentations is vital for addressing global challenges and securing support for research initiatives.

Research presentations are not just about sharing facts and figures; they are about shaping perceptions and influencing opinions. How you present your research can impact how it is received. A well-crafted presentation can make complex information more accessible and relatable.

In academic settings, the way you present your research can influence how your peers perceive your work. In business, it can determine whether your proposal is accepted or rejected. In public forums, it can sway public opinion on critical issues. Effective presentations have the power to change minds and create a lasting impact.

Mastering the art of research presentations also has personal benefits. It can boost your self-confidence and communication skills. Overcoming the fear of public speaking and delivering successful presentations can be empowering and lead to personal growth.

Confidence in presentation skills extends beyond research presentations. It can enhance your ability to communicate ideas, collaborate effectively, and lead teams in various professional settings. These skills are highly transferable and can contribute to your overall success.

Effective research presentations are not one-way communication; they are a catalyst for collaboration and discussion. Presenting your research opens the door to feedback, questions, and opportunities for collaboration with peers, mentors, and experts in your field.

In academic conferences and seminars, presentations often lead to valuable discussions, networking, and collaboration opportunities. In the business world, presentations can initiate partnerships, joint ventures, and innovative projects. Effective presentation skills can be a catalyst for productive collaboration.

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Key strategies for engaging research presentations.

The art of delivering an engaging research presentation involves a combination of skills and techniques that transform your content into an impactful experience for your audience. Whether you're presenting to peers, potential investors, or the general public, these key strategies will help you captivate your audience and convey your message effectively.

Understanding your audience is the foundation of an engaging presentation. Before you even start crafting your content, consider who will be in the room. Are they experts in your field, or are they laypeople? What are their interests, needs, and expectations? Tailor your presentation to address their knowledge level and interests. This ensures that your message resonates with your audience, making it more engaging and relevant.

Structure is the backbone of any successful presentation. Start with a clear and concise introduction that sets the stage for your talk. Follow this with the main points or key findings, supported by evidence and examples. Conclude with a summary and a compelling closing statement. A well-organized structure not only helps your audience follow your presentation but also adds to its overall impact.

Visual aids, such as slides, diagrams, and infographics, are powerful tools for enhancing audience engagement. However, it's crucial to use them effectively. Keep your visuals uncluttered, using concise text and high-quality images. Use visuals to complement your spoken words, not to duplicate them. Visuals should enhance understanding and provide a visual context for your content.

The importance of rehearsal cannot be overstated. Practice your presentation multiple times until you are familiar with the content and the timing. Rehearsing allows you to refine your delivery, identify potential stumbling points, and build confidence. Practice in front of a trusted friend, mentor, or colleague who can provide valuable feedback.

Start your presentation with an attention-grabbing opening. You have only a few seconds to capture your audience's interest, so make it count. You can begin with a compelling story, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a thought-provoking question. An engaging opening sets the tone for the rest of your presentation.

Storytelling is a potent tool for making complex information relatable and memorable. Weave narratives into your presentation to illustrate key points or findings. Stories have the power to evoke emotions and create a deeper connection with your audience. They can also help clarify abstract concepts and add a human element to your research.

Engage your audience by incorporating moments of interaction throughout your presentation. Pose questions, conduct polls, or include interactive exercises that involve your audience. Interactivity keeps people engaged and helps them retain information. It also creates a sense of participation, making your presentation more memorable.

Simplicity is key to effective communication. Use plain language and avoid jargon whenever possible. If technical terms are necessary, explain them in simple terms. Ensure that your message is accessible to everyone in your audience, regardless of their background or expertise. Clear communication fosters engagement and understanding.

Your body language plays a significant role in engaging your audience. Maintain eye contact with your audience to establish a connection. Use gestures to emphasize important points, and vary your tone of voice to convey enthusiasm and conviction. Your body language should reinforce your message and project confidence.

Nervousness is a common experience before presenting, but it can be managed. Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness, to calm your nerves. Remember that a certain level of nervousness can actually enhance your performance, keeping you alert and focused.

Respect the time allotted for your presentation. Avoid rushing through your content or exceeding the time limit. Practice pacing to ensure a smooth delivery. Staying within your time frame demonstrates professionalism and consideration for your audience.

If you are using slides, pay attention to visual design principles. Choose readable fonts, use contrasting colors for text and background, and incorporate high-quality visuals. Avoid cluttered slides with too much information. Visual design should enhance the understanding of your content.

Anticipate questions your audience might have and be prepared with thoughtful answers. While you can't predict every question, being ready for common inquiries shows that you are knowledgeable and confident in your research.

End your presentation with a strong closing statement or a call to action. Summarize your key points and leave your audience with something to remember. A compelling closing reinforces your message and ensures that your presentation makes a lasting impact.

After your presentation, seek feedback from your audience or colleagues. Constructive feedback can provide valuable insights for improving your presentation skills for future talks. Embrace the opportunity to refine your abilities and become an even more engaging presenter.

In conclusion, effective research presentations are a valuable skill that can significantly impact your academic and professional journey. By understanding your audience, structuring your content, and incorporating engaging strategies, you can deliver presentations that inform, inspire, and leave a lasting impression. Remember, presentation skills can be honed with practice, so seize every opportunity to refine your abilities and become a compelling presenter.

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7 Presentation Skills to Wow Your Audience

7 Presentation Skills to Wow Your Audience

We’ve all been there, sitting in a presentation or speech, struggling to keep our eyes open as the presenter drones on. Maybe the content is interesting, but the delivery is lacklustre. Or maybe the delivery is fantastic, but the content is disorganised or hard to follow. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that effective presentation skills are critical to captivating and inspiring your audience.

So, whether you’re a seasoned speaker or a novice presenter, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your skills. That’s why in this blog post, we’ll be covering seven effective presentation skills that are sure to wow your audience. From knowing your audience to engaging with them, these skills will help you deliver powerful presentations that leave a lasting impact.

So, let’s dive in and explore these seven effective presentation skills that will take your speaking abilities to the next level. And to help you hone these skills, we’d like to introduce you to our specialised effective presentation skills training  programs.

Skill 1: Knowing Your Audience

One of the most effective presentation skills is knowing your audience. Understanding your audience helps you tailor your presentation to their needs, interests, and expectations.

Knowing your audience allows you to focus on the topics that are most relevant to them and speak in a language they can understand. Failure to know your audience can lead to a disengaged and uninterested audience, which can ultimately derail your presentation.

Tips for Identifying and Understanding Your Audience

When it comes to delivering a presentation, understanding your audience is essential. Identifying their needs, interests, and expectations can help you tailor your presentation to keep them engaged and interested throughout. Here are some tips to help you better identify and understand your audience:

1. Research your audience

Before your presentation, research your audience to understand their demographics, interests, and expectations. This can be done through social media, surveys, or by asking the event organisers for details about the attendees.

2. Ask questions

During your presentation, ask questions that engage the audience and help you understand their needs and interests. This can help you tailor your presentation to meet their expectations.

3. Analyse non-verbal cues

Pay attention to non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. This can help you gauge the audience's level of engagement and adjust your presentation accordingly.

4. Consider the occasion

The type of event can affect the expectations of your audience. If you're presenting at a formal event, your audience may expect a more polished and structured presentation. On the other hand, if you're presenting at a more casual event, your audience may appreciate a more relaxed and conversational tone.

5. Use social media

Social media can be a great tool for understanding your audience. Look for groups or hashtags related to your topic to see what people are saying about it. You can also use social media to ask questions and get feedback from your audience.

Skill 2: Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can make your presentation stand out from the rest. It can help you engage your audience emotionally and make your message more memorable.

A well-crafted story can take your audience on a journey, creating a connection between you and them. In a world where attention spans are short, storytelling can be an effective way to hold the attention of your audience and keep them engaged.

Tips for crafting a compelling story for your presentation

Crafting a compelling story for your presentation takes some effort, but the result can be powerful. Here are some tips to help you create a story that resonates with your audience:

1. Start with a clear message

Before you begin crafting your story, identify the key message you want to convey. This will help you structure your story around the central idea and ensure that it aligns with your overall goal.

2. Use a simple structure

A simple structure can help you keep your story focused and easy to follow. Consider using a traditional story arc, which includes an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

3. Create relatable characters

Characters are an important part of any story. Create characters that your audience can relate to, and make them feel human and believable. This will help your audience connect with your story on an emotional level.

4. Use sensory language

Sensory language can help bring your story to life. Use descriptive words to paint a picture in the minds of your audience. This can help them better understand and remember your story.

5. Incorporate humour

Humour can be an effective way to engage your audience and create a memorable presentation. However, be sure to use humour that is appropriate, relevant and not sexist, ageist or ableist. 

Skill 3: Visual Aids

Visual aids can be a powerful tool to enhance your presentation and improve its effectiveness. They can help you convey complex information in an easy-to-understand way and make your presentation more engaging and memorable. 

The human brain processes visual information much faster than text, so incorporating visual aids in your presentation can help your audience understand your message more quickly and effectively.

Tips for creating effective visual aids

Now that we've covered the importance of visual aids, here are some tips for effective presentation skills :

1. Keep it simple

Visual aids should be simple and easy to understand. Avoid cluttered or complicated images, and use clear and concise language. Your audience should be able to quickly and easily understand the information you are presenting.

2. Use high-quality images

Low-quality images can be distracting and detract from your message. Use high-quality images that are relevant to your message and enhance the overall tone of your presentation.

3. Avoid too much text

Visual aids should be used to support your message, not replace them. Avoid using too much text on your slides or graphs, and instead, use bullet points or brief phrases to convey your message.

4. Use colour strategically

Colour can be a powerful tool to help emphasise important information, but it should be used strategically. Avoid using too many colours or bright colours that can be distracting.

5. Incorporate multimedia

Videos and audio can be effective tools to help engage your audience and make your presentation more interactive. Just be sure to use multimedia that is relevant to your message and supports the overall tone of your presentation.

Skill 4: Body Language

Body language is a critical aspect of effective communication skills for presentation , especially in a presentation setting. The way you use your body can have a significant impact on how your message is received by your audience. 

Your body language can convey confidence, interest, enthusiasm, and many other emotions and attitudes that can affect how your audience perceives you and your message.

Tips for using effective body language

Here are some tips for effective presentation skills :

1. Stand up straight

Good posture is key to projecting confidence and authority. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and your feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Make eye contact

Eye contact is a powerful way to connect with your audience and build trust. Try to make eye contact with different members of your audience throughout your presentation.

3. Use hand gestures

Appropriate hand gestures can help emphasise your message and make your presentation more engaging. However, be careful not to overdo it or use gestures that are distracting or inappropriate.

4. Avoid fidgeting

Fidgeting can be distracting and convey nervousness or anxiety. Try to stand still and avoid pacing, tapping your feet, or playing with objects.

5. Use facial expressions

Your facial expressions can convey a wide range of emotions and attitudes, from enthusiasm and interest to boredom and disengagement. Use appropriate facial expressions to match the tone of your message.

Skill 5: Voice and Tone

The way you use your voice can have a significant impact on how your presentation is perceived by your audience. 

Your voice and tone can convey a range of emotions and attitudes, such as confidence, authority, enthusiasm, and interest. Your tone can also indicate the level of importance or urgency of your message.

Tips for using effective voice and tone

Now that we understand the impact that voice and tone can have on a presentation, let's explore some tips for effective presentation skills:

1. Practice speaking with intention

Before your presentation, take some time to practice your speaking with intention. Think about the key messages you want to convey and how you want your audience to feel while listening to your presentation. This will help you deliver your message with a clear and purposeful voice and tone.

2. Vary your pace

Varying your pace can help keep your audience engaged and interested in your presentation. Slow down during important or complex points, and speed up during lighter or more exciting parts. By varying your pace, you can also create a sense of urgency or importance in your message.

3. Use pitch to convey emotion

Varying the pitch of your voice can help convey different emotions and attitudes in your presentation. For example, a higher pitch can convey excitement, while a lower pitch can convey seriousness or importance.

4. Pay attention to your volume

Be sure to project your voice so that everyone in the room can hear you. However, be careful not to speak too loudly, which can be distracting or overwhelming for your audience.

5. Pause for emphasis

Pausing at strategic moments can help emphasise important points and give your audience time to process your message. Take a breath and pause before making an important point to give it more weight.

Skill 6: Engaging Your Audience

One of the most important aspects of giving a presentation is engaging your audience. Without audience engagement, your presentation can quickly become boring, forgettable, or even frustrating for your listeners. Engaging your audience is a crucial skill that can help you build rapport, gain trust, and effectively communicate your message through your communication skills for presentation .

Tips for engaging your audience throughout your presentation

Engaging your audience is a crucial skill that can help you build rapport, gain trust, and effectively communicate your message using your communication skills for presentation . In this section, we will explore some tips for effective presentation skills .

1. Use storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can help you capture your audience's attention and keep them engaged. Use personal stories, anecdotes, or case studies to illustrate your points and make your presentation more relatable.

Asking questions can help you create a dialogue with your audience and make them feel like they are part of the conversation. Use open-ended questions to encourage participation and discussion.

3. Use humour

Appropriate humour can help lighten the mood and create a sense of rapport with your audience. Use jokes, puns, or funny anecdotes to break up the monotony of your presentation and keep your audience engaged.

4. Use visual aids

Visual aids, such as graphs, charts, or videos, can help illustrate your points and make your presentation more dynamic. Use them strategically to support your message and keep your audience engaged.

5. Use audience participation

Incorporating interactive elements, such as polls, quizzes, or games, can help keep your audience engaged and create a sense of excitement or competition. Use them strategically to break up your presentation and keep your audience engaged.

Skill 7: Handling Questions and Feedback

Handling questions and feedback is a critical skill that can make or break a presentation. It provides an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, address any concerns, and show your audience that you value their input.

Tips for handling questions and feedback effectively

Handling questions and feedback can be daunting, but with some practice, it can become an opportunity to showcase your expertise and engage with your audience. Here are some tips on how to handle questions and feedback effectively:

1. Listen carefully

Listen carefully to the question or feedback, and take a moment to think about your response. This shows that you respect the person asking the question and value their input.

2. Repeat or rephrase the question

This ensures that you have understood the question correctly, and it also helps the audience hear the question clearly. Rephrasing the question can also help clarify any misunderstandings or confusion.

3. Be concise

Keep your answers concise and to the point. Avoid giving long-winded answers that might confuse or bore the audience.

4. Use real-life examples

Using examples or stories can help illustrate your points and make them more relatable to the audience. It can also help keep the audience engaged.

5. Be honest

If you don't know the answer to a question, it's okay to say so. You can offer to follow up with the person after the presentation or suggest resources where they can find more information.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, effective presentation skills are an essential part of being a successful communicator. Knowing your audience, storytelling, using visual aids, body language, voice, and tone, engaging your audience, and handling questions and feedback are all key skills that can help you deliver a powerful and impactful presentation.

By following the tips and strategies we've shared, you can improve your communication skills for presentation  and leave a lasting impression on your audience. And if you're looking to take your skills to the next level, some.Education provides presentation skills training that can help you develop and hone these skills.

Remember, a great presentation isn't just about the content - it's also about the delivery. By mastering these skills, you can engage your audience, build your credibility, and leave a lasting impression. So go out there and wow your audience!

Useful Resources :   10 importance of speech communication |  Communication skills presentation |  Grapevine communication

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IMAGES

  1. 6.1 Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content

    how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

  2. The 6 types of presentation (And why you need them)

    how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

  3. Audience Targeting Options, Examples And Tips In Digital Marketing

    how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

  4. 5 tips to turn your presentation from good to great

    how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

  5. the best ways to engage your audience when presenting

    how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

  6. Focus on Your Presentation Audience for Especially Powerful Impact

    how presentation content is influenced by audience and setting

COMMENTS

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  2. Presentations considering your purpose and audience

    Knowing your audience. You probably wouldn't speak to your lecturer the same way you speak to your friends. Delivering a presentation is the same; you need to tailor the tone, style and content ...

  3. Audience Analysis

    The setting of a presentation can influence the ability to give a speech and the audience's ability and desire to listen. Some of these factors are: the set-up of the room (both size and how the audience is arranged), time of day, temperature, external noises (lawn mowers, traffic), internal noises (babies crying, hacking coughs), and type of ...

  4. The Psychology of Presentations: Understanding Your Audience

    Effective presentations go beyond creating captivating and visually appealing slides. To truly win the audience's hearts, presenters must invest much of their time and energy in trying to understand them and their psychology. This entails researching the audience's backgrounds and tailoring the presentation according to their needs and requirements. This article delves into the details […]

  5. Connecting with Your Audience Through Presentation Content

    1. Helps Set the Right Tone with the Audience. Effective content reflects the audience's interests, needs, expectations, and concerns. It creates a sense of connection and relevance, keeping the audience intrigued. Moreover, the content clarifies the purpose of your talk and supports your communication with the audience.

  6. The Power of Audience Engagement: Strategies and Examples

    A compelling example of audience engagement in the IT sector is the transformation of Microsoft under the leadership of Satya Nadella. Before Nadella's tenure, Microsoft was losing its grip on the market, with dwindling audience engagement. The company was perceived as outdated and unresponsive to customer needs.

  7. The Best Presentations Are Tailored to the Audience

    But what about the people you're presenting to? The following excerpt from the book Presentations will help you better understand your audience and cater your message to their needs. This story ...

  8. Presentation Basics

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  9. Powerful and Effective Presentation Skills

    Effective communications skills are a powerful career activator, and most of us are called upon to communicate in some type of formal presentation mode at some point along the way. For instance, you might be asked to brief management on market research results, walk your team through a new process, lay out the new budget, or explain a new ...

  10. Communicating with impact: Presentations that influence

    Step 1: Figure out what your main point is; e.g. the message that you want to get across to your audience. Step 2: Decide on several supporting points that will assist you in delivering that main message. Step 3: Gather research that will help you develop those supporting points. Step 4: Write a talk based on the above and transpose key points ...

  11. How to Make an Effective Presentation (Guide, Tips & Examples)

    To make your text stand out, you need to use contrasting colors. For example, you can make the background black and your text a bright shade of green to make it stand out, or vice versa. Just be sure that your text is easily readable for your audience. 22. Proofread and polish your presentation.

  12. Audience Analysis for Presentations: How to know your audience and

    1. Knowing your audience helps you speak their language and gain their trust. Audience analysis makes it easier to form a connection with the audience since you already know what they are looking for. Effective communication is about both speaker and audience being in sync in terms of their motives and actions.

  13. How To Make a Good Presentation [A Complete Guide]

    Set the stage for a killer presentation! The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power - check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience. 3. Relevant content. Make sure your content aligns with their interests and needs. Your audience is there for a reason, and that's to get ...

  14. What Are Effective Presentation Skills (and How to Improve Them)

    Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images. You'll make presentations at various ...

  15. Identifying the Context of the Presentation

    The context includes many things, the audience, the purpose of the presentation, the occasion, what precedes the presentation and what follows from it. It will define what you expect from the audience, and will influence how you prepare yourself for the talk. A simple example.

  16. How to Structure your Presentation, with Examples

    It allows your audience to easily follow along and sets out a solid structure you can add your content to. 1. Greet the audience and introduce yourself. ... This is totally fine, but it is still best to focus on delivering some sort of initial presentation to set the tone and topics for discussion in the Q&A. Other common presentation structures.

  17. Audience, Purpose, & Context

    Your primary purpose for academic writing may be to inform, to persuade, or to entertain your audience. In the examples above, your primary purpose was to inform your listeners about cybersecurity. Audience and purpose work together, as in these examples: I need to write a letter to my landlord explaining why my rent is late so she won't be ...

  18. 2.3 Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content

    Purpose: The reason the writer composes the essay. Audience: The individual or group whom the writer intends to address. Tone: The attitude the writer conveys about the essay's subject. Figure 2.3.1: The Rhetorical Triangle. The assignment's purpose, audience, and tone dictate what each paragraph of the essay covers and how the paragraph ...

  19. Effective Research Presentations: Tips for Engaging Audiences

    Your body language plays a significant role in engaging your audience. Maintain eye contact with your audience to establish a connection. Use gestures to emphasize important points, and vary your tone of voice to convey enthusiasm and conviction. Your body language should reinforce your message and project confidence.

  20. How to prepare for a Presentation: A Simple Guide

    Make your friends talk over each-other, practice without notes, or put some loud music on. Whatever it is that distracts you the most. Try to remember your presentation in full detail in those conditions before you come out in front of an audience. This is a surefire way to radiate confidence during your delivery.

  21. 7 Presentation Skills to Wow Your Audience

    2. Ask questions. During your presentation, ask questions that engage the audience and help you understand their needs and interests. This can help you tailor your presentation to meet their expectations. 3. Analyse non-verbal cues. Pay attention to non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language.

  22. 2.4 Purpose, Audience, Tone, and Content

    Purpose: The reason the writer composes the essay. Audience: The individual or group whom the writer intends to address. Tone: The attitude the writer conveys about the essay's subject. Figure 2.4.1: The Rhetorical Triangle. The assignment's purpose, audience, and tone dictate what each paragraph of the essay covers and how the paragraph ...

  23. Explain in two to three sentences how presentation content is

    Presentation content is tailored based on the audience's prior knowledge, expectations, and the presentation setting.It's key to deliver information in a way the audience can understand, potentially requiring robust reasoning or evidence. The setting, including the formality and accessibility considerations, also influences the presentation content and delivery.