What should you do?



Tell stories

If a doctor offered you pills, you’d probably take them. If a friend gave you the same pills, you may have doubts: are these the right tablets? are they safe? are they still in date? is this legal? If a stranger offered you those pills, you’d surely walk the other way. In the same way, people will not accept your presentation material and ideas if they do not accept you; your credibility and honesty are everything.

For that reason, stories from your work experience are vital. They connect you to your material and make it come alive. Stories are also engaging and memorable and are the oldest communication tool known to man. This short video is compiled from interviews done with expert communicators on the importance of stories in oral presentations.


Be visually clear and simple

A great example of the show-and-tell nature of a presentation is the weather forecast. This video offers some comments on the visuals used in a two-minute weather bulletin, and explodes some of the myths on how many words there should be on a slide, how many slides in a presentation and what a presentation is actually good for.


Don’t assume everyone thinks the way you do

We tend to think that everyone else understands things the way we do. However, this video provides a startling example of how people, even from the same discipline, can see things very differently. It features a short extract from a conversation between two materials engineers (who had worked on a project together) and a professional engineer from the same field.

In just two minutes, the professional engineer asks ten questions and the students have disagreements on three occasions. I have marked each question with red ‘?’ and each argument with a yellow ‘A’. This video should make you stop and think when you are rushing through the introduction your next presentation – does everyone really understand you? – and should prompt you, at all times, to seek questions from the audience.


Speak in the concrete not in the abstract – use examples and analogies

Communication is an exercise in linking what you know to what the listener knows. This is best done with examples and analogies, tools that we use in conversation all the time. This short video shares some of the expert’s tips on using examples and analogies in presentations.


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