Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Confidence Sheets and Confidence Cards for business presentations

One of the pressures that concerns many of those who are  nervous about delivering a presentation at work to colleagues or to an external client audience is how are you are going to remember all the information you wish to put across to you audience at a presentation.

Such concerns can make a presenter feel very nervous and concerned about 'drying up' or 'losing the plot' and thereby losing their audience's respect .

how do you deliver your presentation? 

We need employ some technique to calm down and carry on. It is all part of the preparation ahead of the presentation since few of us are that good at 'ad lib'  and 'off the cuff' speeches.

Here are some methods which are open to you.
First, you could read your script to the audience. 
  Unless you are an exceptionally good writer, it is likely that your written words will be much too formal and stilted than your spoken vocabulary. 

 In conversation we use more spontaneous language - language which is more interesting and natural than our written words.  An audience will usually be able to detect this lack of spontaneity in the way  and tone we deliver the presentation.

Another disadvantage of reading is you will lose eye contact with your audience and your voice will be directed downwards to the script instead of outwards towards your audience.

For these reasons it is probably advisable that you do not read your script to your audience. 

 There may, however, be occasions on which you have no alternative. 

 This may be the case where, at short notice, you have to deliver someone else's presentation from their script or where, even more unusually, you have to ensure that what you say is exactly what has been written in a prepared presentation.  ( e.g. Company policy, or regulatory material)

 On such occasions, the best advice is that you practise reading your script as often as you can in order that you are able to read it with understanding and conviction.

It is a good tip to print it in large font so that you can read it at arms length.

Secondly, you could make the presentation without any notes, at all having committed your script to memory.  But how many of you have memories which are that good?  And what happens if your mind suddenly goes blank - where do you turn to for help?

 A third option is the BEST - either  confidence cards or confidence sheets ( PowerPoint Handouts 3 slides per sheet) . 

These cards or sheets will combine spontaneity of delivery with the reassurance of knowing that you will not forget what you intended to say.

Here is an explanation on the advantages and use confidence sheets.

Example from my own presentation confidence sheets
 for a presentation course for corporate banking delegates

See Numbers on the slides in yellow highlight on the 3 slides per page handout
Tip: The numbering that you can insert in PowerPoint for those of us with poor eyesight is too small to read.
 So I find it easier to write the numbers long hand as in the example

Step by Step guide to generating and printing your own Confidence Sheets using PowerPoint Handouts
'Home' tab

Click on 'View'

Click on 'Handouts'

Select three slides per page

The print out produces 7 lines for additonal
 handwritten notes and ideas per slide

Another method are confidence cards

TACK International's Confidence Card System

Here is an explanation of how to use cards:

·         The first thing to do is to read through your script and divide it into sections.  One section, for example, may consist of one of the main points you wish to make, together with the examples and illustrations which support that point.

·         Having identified each of these sections, you will now need to transfer each section onto a confidence card.  In order to do this, you must first search out the sentence which will remind you of all the other points you wish to cover in that section of your presentation.  This is the sentence we refer to as the `Key Sentence'.  Having decided on this sentence, now print it in full at the top of your confidence card.  (Polish it, hone it, until it is exactly right for you!).

·         Now look for the other thoughts, examples, facts and figures which you wish to introduce within this section.  Look at each of these and carefully choose a few words which will remind you of those items.  These are your development points which you can then write at the bottom of your card.  Ensure that your card does not become too full and limit yourself to only three or four development points on each card (the idea is lots of lovely white space!).
·         In order to ensure that you do not forget to show a transparency or an item you wish to display to your audience use the `Exhibits' column of the card to remind you of the point in your presentation when you wish to use such a visual aid.

·         Finally, number the cards in the top right hand corner to ensure that chaos does not ensue if you drop all your cards during your presentation!

Now you have written your cards, re-examine them to make sure that you have not produced a mini-script and that if you hold the cards out at arm's length you can easily glance at them and quickly pick up the words you have written.

If you place the cards on a table or a lectern, turn each card over as you `pick up' the last development point.  This will enable you to glance down at the key sentence on the next card, so that you will flow more smoothly into the next section of your presentation.  By turning over the cards you will ensure that you do not have two cards staring up at you when you glance down at them!
You may not, however, have a table on which to put your cards, or you may prefer to walk round the front of your table to be nearer to your audience.  In this case you can hold the cards in your hand but do remember not to play with them, point with them, or worst of all - shuffle them!

Confidence cards do require practise if you have never used them before.  Used properly, they will provide you with that vital reassurance that you won't forget what you intended to say; whilst still ensuring that you express your ideas in a fresh and spontaneous manner.
Related Links

Tips to control nerves  at business presentations
Use of VOICE in Effective Business Presentations
Tips on resenting with PowerPoint in business
Presentation Skills

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