Presentation: Approach Prior to Production

Introduction

Most of us can quickly bring to mind examples of people who are excellent public speakers and even more that exhibit poor public speaking skills.  Better speeches are organized, easy to follow, engaging, and easy to listen to without distractions.  Poor speakers do not seem to connect with the material for the audience seem unprepared, are difficult to understand, and generally cannot get their points across.  In the end, the goal of the oral presentation must be to have the core message received by the target audience in a given situation in order to attain the desired goal of the creator of the communication package.

Approach Prior to Production: Content vs Delivery

When creating written or oral communication, the content reflects what is presented while delivery reflects the methods of presentation.  However, effective communication requires more than just these two areas.  Clear central idea or argument lost in a jumble distracting images or poorly spoken sentences cause as much trouble as well-spoken materials disconnected from a core message a clear flow.  This becomes even more important when the created crafts an oral presentation as the communication package. 

Presenters Portion of the Package

Speeches, unlike written work, include the presenter as an integral part of the package and in many media, allow for instantaneous feedback.  Thus, the creator of the package must consider more than just the content and delivery to achieve effective presentations.  As part of the package, other key concerns arise related to the integration of the content with the methods of delivery aimed at increased overall effectiveness. Creating the communication package demands consideration of the desired goal, the target audience it is aimed at, and the situation in which the interaction will occur.

Leading the Process

Too often speakers only consider the elements of good content and delivery as they envision standing in front of a room as the central focus.  Others only consider the metrics that will judge and criticize the presentation.  However, if the presenter conceives of the creation of the package as an opportunity, the integration of the content with delivery becomes more important.  By practicing these skills and building human capital around the vital skill of oral communication, all presentations become a means of increasing overall effectiveness and enhancing the experience of the targets and the presenters.  

Integrating Content and Delivery

When presenting material orally, there are many factors that must be considered.  The presenter serves as the conduit through which the ideas and content merge with the methods of delivery to allow the target to successfully receive and understand the message in that given situation. Thus, presenters connect with the audience on their level to convey content.  When the presenter is familiar with the content and comfortable with the methods and medium of delivery, he or she becomes more confident and composed, assisting with making the connection.  When crafting and delivering the package, presenters must keep the target audience and given situation in mind.  Leading the experience allows each presenter to more effectively attain their goals by getting the target to understand the core message and, hopefully, act upon is as desired. 

Self-reflection: Goal, Target, and Situation.

To do this you must consider the goal you seek for the target audience selected in the given situation.  In this way, the package will include the integration of content and delivery to most effectively attain the goal for the desired target in the given situation.  When first learning to present, few novices will consider all the parameters.  As each person gains experience and measures the situation of each potential production, the approach may change as it considers more of these five parameters.  Eventually, when all are considered and integrated seamlessly, the presenter creates a communication package that provides an experience for the target audience.  The table below shows some of these progressions. 

Matrix of Overall Effectiveness vs the Presenter´s Approach.

DimensionParameters consideredLevel of effectivenessStylesInstruction
Content focusNo considering any factors (one)LowBeginner, Administrator, Script ReaderContent driven instruction
Multi parameter presentationSome factors are considered (two to four)Medium Coordinator of experiencesAdditional parameters adjust the focus for example considering “target” may lead to student center instruction
Integrated presentationAll factors are consider to engage the target (Five)HighIntegrated PresenterConsidering aspects of all parameters to leverage relevant components to increase effectiveness for example: Personalized learning
Table of the Overall Effectiveness vs the Presenter´s Approach Matrix.
Logic model representation of the table.

“BASIC” Approaches

Though some people may be able to naturally be better presenters, being consciously aware of the typology listed below will help those who want to work to develop a specific style and be more prepared for different speaking situations.  Remember the acronym BASIC which stands for:

  • Beginner
  • Administrator
  • Script-Reader
  • Integrated Presenter
  • Coordinator of Experiences

The Beginner Approach

Typically, the approach of a beginner to the presentation seeks to limit risk, deal with fear, and cover content.  Many beginners rely heavily on whatever they normally do when speaking in conversations, lacking much planning or consideration of other factors.  He or she usually sees speeches as a more formal version of what is done in daily life when talking with anyone else though there is pressure from accountability and so exhibits many of the common flaws in both the content and delivery.  The beginner’s mindset often sees the risk of failure rather than the opportunity for success and so is nervous and relies heavily on the coverage of materials with reliance on facts or the words of others.  Tools and technology are used to draw attention away from the speaker rather than to make the speech more effective for the targets to understand the message being presented.  The beginner is not aware of or misuses techniques of oral oration and does not link what is said with how it is being said.  The content is often poorly organized for the listener and   the target is rarely the focus of decisions about the presentation

The Administrator Approach

One way of improving presentation effectiveness utilize planning and integrations of additional factors.  The Administrator relies on the content but approaches the delivery by planning what will be shown by managing delivery through a visual aid like a slide deck.  However, the presenter uses it to hide behind and support them rather than as a means of aiding the engagement and understanding of the target audience.  Rather than hold the attention of the group on themselves they direct it to the visuals and make statements that move the presentation forward.  In this approach, the allows relinquishes control and works to force the viewer along while they read to them often with slides filled with text and bulleted lists.  Taken to an extreme, so much is written on the slides that removing the administrator would not impact the actual level of content coverage since everything is written out and they read to the audience. 

The Script-reader Approach

Similar to the Administrator, the Script Reader, as the name suggests, prepare a written outline or even word-for-word transcript of what is to be said and shown during the presentation.  Though in many cases, this preparation leads to more effective presentations, it comes with potential issues.  Often the adherence to a  rigid script makes the presentation seem stiff and unnatural.  Moreover, the flow and timing do not match especially if there are any issues with technology or environment.   Some will read from a paper or note cards while others will memorize the material.  Even so, like the Administrator, the Script Reader steps back and allows the content to be the center of attention so that they are just the one orchestrating the presentation rather than a vital part of it. 

Integrated Approaches

The above approaches can yield effective presentations, especially when the goal is to convey content or review the work of others as in many classroom presentations.  It is important to note that using technology or referring to notes or a script is not necessarily bad things.  However, if this creates a barrier between the presenter and the targets is weakens the presentation.  These two approaches are often seen as better than the beginner but are only steps on the way to highly effective presentations.  To move to the next level, it is important to see that the content and delivery must work together in the presentation.  

The Integrated Approach

The Integrated Approach recognizes and considers target and stakeholders as well as the tie between content and delivery to make the presentation more effective. By following the integrated approach, the presenter seeks the most effective way to deliver the content so it attains the goal and conveys the core message.  By considering the needs of the target and the demands of the given situation, the integrated approach works to increase the likelihood of success.  The presenter gain depth of knowledge about content to increase the ability to deliver it effectively and allow targets to internalize the materials.  With the integrated approach, technology and other tools of presenting become the means to the effective delivery of the message and a way to keep the targets engaged rather than distracted.  

Types of Integrated Approaches

Just because a presenter considers all the factors when planning a presentation,  it does not mean they will emphasize or even have the skill to utilize that plan.  If you think of an accomplished actor performing, they are not just delivering lines.  It is their job to make you believe that they are the person they are portraying and integrate themselves into the setting to create an experience for the audience.  Not everyone will seek to attain these levels of ability or ever need to assume these roles.  However, if you have seen experts in these roles presenting, you will most likely identify them as some of the best presenters.  Moreover, you may feel as if the experience you had was more than just a means to have content transmitted at you.  Highly effective integrated presenters engage the target and create a connection on an individual level.

Master of Ceremony (MC)

The MC is usually more disconnected from the material and is more involved with the orchestration and organization of the presentation.  An MC has excellent oration skills and does not need to be concerned with the content being presented.  Engaging the audience and keeping them focused while the material is covered is more important than deep knowledge of the material. In school, many students might see someone who is an MC as being a great speaker but experts in what is being presented might see that the content is lacking even though it was presented well.

Subject Expert

Integrated presenters who have a depth of knowledge of content can focus on the delivery and the needs of their audience.  Though only knowing content will not create effective presentations, mastery of the needed knowledge paired with an ability to integrate it effectively with the needs of the target allows for much more effective overall presentations.  

This leads to the expert speaking effectively and persuasively about advanced content at the level of the target.  This might be seen in larger lectures or video presentations.  Though things are done to attain goals effectively, the presenter invests a great deal of time and effort to make the experience happen for the audience in the given situation,

Conclusion

Integrated presenters design experiences that transcend simple content transfer by mindfully constructing experiences for the targeted groups to create an experience that accomplishes the desired goals.  The presenter seeks to understand the various impacts on the targets.  Often the targets feel a personal connection with the speaker and are fully engaged with the experience.  However, this relies upon many intangible to allow a presenter to connect, generate buy-in, and enthusiasm in the targets.  In the end, students must be aware of their approach and the factors they are considering when utilizing the P3 model and the various roles of production.

Citation

If you want to cite this blog article, please use the following:

Lipuma, J., & Leon, C. (2020, August 31). Presentation: Approach Prior to Production. James Lipuma´s Blog. https://www.jameslipuma.com/presentation-approach-prior-to-production/

Accessibility

If you want to download an accessible PDF copy of this blog article, use the following link https://www.jameslipuma.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Presentation-Approach-Prior-to-Production-James-Lipuma.pdf