QUESTION 1 Discuss one personal strength and one weakness you have regarding professional presentations. Name one method for improvement for each of these, and discuss why it is important for you to work on these skills if you want to present your findings in a more formal setting.
RESPONSE 1 If there is one strength that I have is that I am of the minority in that I actually enjoy doing presentations. To do so, however, I have to feel passionate about the subject that I am speaking on. I have had the opportunity to present presentations from nursing and EMS groups to Boy Scouts. I have been blessed in that I was able to do a presentation for the Minister of Health and the Governor of Kalifi, Kenya. The crazy part of that presentation is that I had almost time to prepare and hand to ‘wing it’.
Some of the tricks I learned along the way is that you must prepare and rehearse. Presenting to a practice group before the presentation is very helpful. For me the best idea was to choose people that would be honest in their criticism. Someone who actually counts the number of times you say “Um” is humbling but valuable. Videotaping or recording yourself and doing playback is also helpful to help identify weaknesses in regard to language, enunciation and body language.
You also need to know your material. If you have to read a powerpoint to your audience, then you either need to change you powerpoint or change your presentation. You should always elaborate on what’s on the screen, not read it to your audience. They can already read.
My weakness is that I tend to talk too fast and thus lose clear enunciation. I also have to be careful about linguistics. Being from the Midwest I tend to say, “you betcha” which doesn’t come off as being very professional.
North (2018) offers ten tips on how to improve your public speaking:
- Being nervous is normal. Practice and prepare.
- Know your audience, the speech is about them, not you.
- Organize your material in the most effective manner.
- Watch for feedback and adapt.
- Show off your personality.
- Use humor, tell stories, use effective language
- Don’t read unless you must. Use an outline.
- Use your voice and body language effectively, omitting nervous gestures.
- Grab their attention early and have a dynamic ending.
- Use audiovisual aides wisely.
- Remember, practice does not always mean perfect.
I’m happy to see that I was already using many of these steps to prepare myself but reviewing them still comes in handy.
North, M. (2018). 10 tips for improving your public speaking skills. Harvard Extension School, Harvard University. Retrieved from https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/10-tips-improving-your-public-speaking-skills
My personal strength when providing a professional presentation is that I talk loud enough for everyone to hear. I also have no problem looking my audience in their eyes as I scan through the room. I also would say that I am comfortable with my body language that I use enough hand gestures and facial expression, although I tend to not walk across the room.
My weakness is that I always get nervous before the presentation. But nervousness before presentation is healthy, because it shows how important the presentation is to you, and that you want to do well in the presentation (University of Washington, 2018). Below are some tips to not let anxiety take over the presentation:
- “Use nervousness to your advantage—channel it into dynamic energy about the topic.
- Remind yourself that you and the audience have the same goal, and, therefore, they want you to succeed as much as you do.
- Speak about what you know. Keeping your presentation within the realm of your knowledge and experience will build confidence and minimize nervousness.
- Focus on delivering your message, not on how you feel.
- Smile. Be relaxed, poised, and at ease on the outside, regardless of how you feel internally. Acting relaxed can help make you relaxed.
- Keep presenting! Your anxieties decrease the more presentations you give”. (University of Washington, 2018, para. 4)
It is important for us to work on our weaknesses on public speaking because we want to get our message across with confidence, so the audience may be influenced.
University of Washington (2018). Presentation tips. Retrieved from https://www.washington.edu/doit/presentation-tips-…