Since we live in a world where we rely so much on visuals to help us make our point, it is hard to imagine how one would be able to keep the audience engaged and interested with a paper presentation. We have PowerPoint, we have Prezi, we can show YouTube videos and TED Talks, and other dozens of options to make our presentation memorable. But what about the old times when all you had at your disposal were some sheets of paper and your words? Imagine this: because of some unfortunate event, you can’t use any technical equipment. How are you going to charm the audience? We have some tips for you.
How to Deliver an Awesome Paper Presentation
Step 1: Know Your Audience
This advice goes for any kind of presentation. Before you decide on the tone you should use, the jokes that work or not, and what information you should include, you have to know who your audience is. If you start your presentation with a joke that is not to the liking of the audience, for instance, you might compromise the rest of your speech as well.
Step 2: Create a Script
Let’s clear something out: your presentation should not entail you reciting your paper word for word. That is extremely boring for the audience. Especially if it sounds like you have memorized the words and you’re not actually thinking about what you’re saying. Not to mention you risk forgetting everything if someone interrupts you to ask a question. Instead of doing that, create an interesting and interactive script, and always be ready to improvise on the side.
Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Preferably at home and in front of the mirror. You should always practice the speech out loud and time yourself. That will give you an approximate time frame that you have to stick to. Another great idea would be to film yourself presenting. That way, when you watch the video, you can take note of what you’re doing wrong and try to correct it.
Step 4: Tell a Story
Your presentation should sound natural, not like you’ve simply memorized it. That is why it is important to structure it like a story, with a beginning, middle, and end. Of course, this is just an outline. You have to keep in mind that most often than not, things will not work out the way you planned. But this should not stop you from delivering a great presentation. Just make sure that your message is clearly structured and easy to understand.
Step 5: Engage the Audience
Since you don’t have any visuals at your disposal, you have to find other ways to keep your audience interested in what you have to say. And that is why the way you draft your script is paramount here. Don’t use long sentences or complicated terms, and make sure not to present in a monotone voice. Include witty jokes or word puns every now and then (but not too often), and most importantly, ask your audience questions. If they will have to participate and be active, they are more likely to remember your presentation.
Even if the days of delivering a paper presentation are long gone, sometimes it is nice to go back to basics and see if you can still charm the audience without any technological help. If you do a good job, people will appreciate the effort even more.
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