4.2(b) Taking the mike


To be able to deliver the presentation to a range of audiences.

You need

About an hour, copies of the presentation from activity 4.2(a) Listen To This and, if you have them, a video or tape recorder.

What to do

This activity looks to equip you to be effective communicators, by being able to present your message as a prepared speech to a range of audiences. The next activity helps you practise responding to unexpected questions.

a) To practise using your presentation, work in pairs or small groups and choose one of the audiences below, or your own more relevant example.

  • Potential funders.
  • A school or youth group who might have most to gain from your campaign and who you may want to join your group.
  • Elected members of the council or trustees of a voluntary sector organisation – people who often have a lot of clout.
  • Staff in the council or voluntary organisation. You know some will be supportive but need you to put a strong case to convince the more sceptical amongst them.
  • A group in which you know some have particular communication needs. They may have learning difficulties, or have sight or hearing loss. The group may be of very young children.

b) Look at your presentation. Does it need adjusting for your specific audience? Use the information you gathered in 3.3 Building alliances. What might help get them on side? What might you want to go softly about? If you can work from the computer, PowerPoint has a clever trick called slide sorter. Open the presentation and then save it again with a different file name, perhaps that of the group you are going to speak to. Now go to view – slide sorter. This brings up all the slides at once and lets you sort them into the order that best suits your audience. You can then tweak slides, add or take some out. Remember to save it again. Get practising and have fun. The more of you who feel okay about using the presentation, the better.

c) Remember these tips:

  1. Practise, practise, practise.
  2. Do a sound check in the room beforehand if you get the chance: ‘can you hear me at the back?’
  3. Try and stay calm and relaxed and speak from the heart.
  4. Speak to the audience, not to the big screen. Speak clearly.
  5. If you are using notes, use them to make sure you get the key points across, rather than trying to read them word for word.

And if you produce the slides for an overhead projector, two final tips:

  • Don’t fiddle with the slides when you have placed them on the glass.
  • Don’t use pieces of paper to cover up part of the slide. If you don’t want the audience to read something straight away, save it for the next slide.

What do you think?

How did it go? Did it get easier, or did some simple mistakes creep in after the first go because you thought you knew it? Share any techniques in the group to help you keep calm, on time and on top of the situation. Some classics include testing your voice in the room before hand, concentrating on your breathing and making sure you slow down and do not go too fast.

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