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Use Technology

 

Techniques Public speaking > Speaking Tips > Use Technology

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

In presentations, do make best use of technology but do not over-use it. Always remember that the goal is communicating with and changing the minds of your audience.

A common tool is Powerpoint (or other slideshow software) coupled to a computer projector which shows slides on a large screen. This can be used as presentation enhancement, adding visual information to the presentation.

Other technology that can be useful include:

  • Wireless mouse to advance slides from wherever you are.
  • Laser pointer (beware of over-using this).
  • Stage microphones and speakers so everyone can hear in a large hall.
  • Roving microphones, so everyone can hear what audience questioners ask.
  • Autocues (for politicians who do not have time to read carefully prepared speeches).
  • Stage and audience lighting.
  • Music that puts people into a receptive mood.
  • Live connection to the internet for real-world information.
  • A side screen containing the Twitter stream for the presentation, showing audience comments, etc.
  • Technology used as a part of a demonstration.

Example

I regularly use a wireless mouse with a built-in laser pointer. For large halls, I have a portable radio mike and speaker system. I use Powerpoint carefully and intersperse it with videos and just-me talk (blank screen). Depending on the audience and subject, I will sometimes use music as an introduction and fade-out.

Discussion

Technology is a boon to the effective speaker who can use it to enhance their presentation. It can also be over-done and used for impact only, much as some movies are all special effects and no story.

There is a danger with PowerPoint in that it can be used as a presentation crutch, propping up the ill-prepared speaker. In a worst case, the slides are dense text that the speaker simply reads out.

Some audiences expect the latest technology to be used -- most notably those who work in the technology industry. Others are more than happy with pure oratory with no technology at all. And the best speakers do not need technology (no, not even PowerPoint) to make a significant impact on their audiences.

A final tip: technology can fail, leaving you high and dry. It's a good idea to have a backup plan, for example by taking printed handouts.

See also

Powerpoint Tips

 

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