Public Speaking Skills: Presentation Tips, Techniques, and Advice
Public Speaking Skills: Presentation Tips, Techniques, and Advice  
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Presentation Skills: Style

Speech or Presentation? Knowing the Difference

Knowing when to make a speech and when to make a presentation may be more important than you think.

Recently, we saw a top executive speak passionately about issues important to her, only to dampen the impact of her remarks by putting up PowerPoint slides laden with technical data. The effect was to dilute her passion and conviction.

So, when do you speak and when do you present? First, it helps to know the difference. A presentation typically employs visual aids to convey data; a speech relies on words alone to create feeling and imagery in the minds of the listeners.

How do you choose? Determine what's best for each occasion, each audience, based on their needs, their concerns and expectations. A presentation is generally the best vehicle for conveying specific, detailed information. Ideally, clear, uncomplicated visuals display the data that prove or support the presenter's points. A speech is more appropriate for striking larger themes and conveying emotion, with a greater dependence on language to convey ideas "visually."

Part of understanding the difference between a speech and a presentation hinges on understanding the needs of your audience. During turbulent times, a speech that conveys your commitment to your workforce may be far more important than keeping them informed of every number to the nth decimal place.

We worked with one CFO who developed an unusual reputation during a time of rapid growth and change. He is the only CFO we've known who did presentations of quarterly results with no visuals. He's now CEO and his company is now at the top of its field. While there was more propelling his success than his commitment to communication, he remains dedicated to effective communication and has made certain that his entire organization has shared his values and training in communication.

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If you would like to learn more about speeches and presentations, please contact ECG or click on a link to learn about presentation skills seminars or private coaching that can help.

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