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Papa Joe  ~  Stuff & Things

Preparing a Story was written to the Students at Sanborn Regional High School while I was providing a residency program.


I thought you could use a handout. Here's an excellent way to prepare for an oral presentation.

Whether the source is oral or written, a list can be made of all essential elements. The items listed should be short terms with only the most important, if any descriptions. The items should be listed in the order you wish to use them.

Next, visualize a picture, in your mind, of what the item looks like. It should be a vivid picture and include any other of the senses possible. Example: a rose could be imagined as a red flower with many petals from a single axis on a green stem with green leaves and imagine the softness of the petals, the sweet scent of the flower, and the sharpness of the thorns. Each item on the list should have its own complete picture. If the item is an action, the visualization can be like a film clip.

Next, you will need to review the items in order, visualizing each in turn, at least three times during a single study session. You need to bring back the picture or film clip with all the details each time.

Any special parts of the presentation such as poetry or complex phrases can be remembered through rote and/or print them out on que cards for reference. The more you repeat them out loud, the easier it will be to say them, whether you memorize them or not. By the way, anything can be memorized for life if you repeat it three times a day for at least1 days. After that you'll only need to refresh your memory by reading the lines out loud once or twice before you want to use it.

Next, find a friendly audience. A mirror wouldn't do, but one or two persons will do. Give your presentation to your audience, not to the group, to each person in the group. Use your own words. That way you don't have to remember what to say. Make sure you give each person your personal attention for at least the time it takes to deal with one item on your list. Describe the item to that person. Make sure they understand what you're trying to say. Make eye contact. Watch how they react to each statement you make. The more attention you give to a person, the more attention they'll give to you.

Consider what parts of the presentation were misunderstood. Remember to pay closer attention to those items on your next practice session. You may use your list during practice, but it's better to do without, then check your list afterwards to see how close you were. If you find some items were out of order, consider whether you should revise the list to improve the flow or if you should try to stay with the order as listed.

If you practice your presentation three times, you will find it runs rather easily. Just review the list before each presentation, ensure that you have your visualizations down, and remember to talk to each person, one at a time, not try to talk to the whole group at once. Try for a different audience each time if you can find one. That way they won't know what you're trying to say until you've told them.

More hints? Breath. Don't forget to take a couple before you start. Be comfortable with how you look before you go. Speak loudly enough to be heard by all. Have fun with the presentation. If you don't like what you have to say, no one else will. Everything you feel shows. So feel good. An audience wants to feel good too. Don't worry about being nervous. The more you get into your presentation, the more you'll forget to be nervous. So be part of it. Get into it. Sometimes I recommend being loud and crazy, but that depends on what your subject is. Don't do that at a funeral. BIG HINT: Do plan ahead. It saves a lot of frustration later. Finally, practice, practice, practice and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite are the keys to success.

You can always call and leave me a message if you need anything.


Papa Joe


Papa Joe  ~  Stuff & Things

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