Presentation Myths - Managerial Communications

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                Presentation Myths

Presentation Myths

Al Henry

Managerial Communications COM/515

Brian E. Polding, Ph.D.

September 4, 2003

Presentation Myths

        This paper, discusses the key points from the article, “Presentation Myths”, written by Becker & Keller-McNulty.  The article was written, to address complaints the American Statistical Association (ASA) was getting about the quality of presentations at their annual meetings.  The authors, solicited suggestions from attendees at an ASA meeting on “common presentation techniques that impede rather than facilitate, communication with audience” (Becker & McNulty 1996).  From the suggestions, the authors discuss a few of their favorite “presentation myths” and ask readers to avoid the common pitfalls.

        The single most important observation is that the objective of communication is not the transmission but the reception. The whole preparation, presentation and content of a speech must therefore be geared not to the speaker but to the audience. The presentation of a perfect project plan is a failure if the audience does not understand or are not persuaded of its merits.  The main problem with this objective is, of course, the people to whom you are talking. The average human being has a very short attention span and a million other things to think about. Your job in the presentation is to reach through this mental fog and to hold the attention long enough to make your point.

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        In Myth 1: Presentations Require a Magic Number of Visual Aids, we a warned of the inappropriate use of visual aids.  Each slide should contain just the main bullet points of the topic discussed.  The speaker can elaborate more on each point during the actual presentation.  Detailed slides, as they put it, should be prepared but only used to answer or illustrate questions from the audience.  Which leads to Myth 2, the audience cannot read.  When detailed slides are used, the presenter has a tendency to read what’s on the slides to the audience.  This practice, Becker and McNulty (1996) ...

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