An oral presentation is an art of disseminating information verbally. It is more advanced than merely talking. Even when the delivery is based on a written text, the aspect of the presentation that concerns us here is the means of delivery, that is, the verbal mode.
The elements of oral presentations are identified. Then, the place of visuals in oral presentation is highlighted before attempting to distinguish speech-making from speech-writing.
Generally, there are some characteristics of an oral presentation, which may be regarded as its elements since they ensure its quality. These are appropriateness, clarity, adequacy, and fluency.
Appropriateness may be identified as the provision of a requirement in the dosage or amount expected in a given situation.
It is, therefore, a great yardstick for measuring the success or otherwise of the ensured communication process (i.e source, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback, and context) Instead, all the elements of oral presentation may be used to evaluate various aspects of the entire communication process.
However, appropriateness is the underlying current that runs through all the other elements of oral presentation(s) (i.e. clarity, adequacy, and fluency).
For instance, even when the ‘source’ is clear, is it appropriate on this occasion? Or when the decoding is adequate, is it appropriate on this occasion?
Clarity, as a feature of an oral presentation, may be viewed from two different perspectives on, the one hand, language choice, and use, and on the other, the message.
As far as language choice is concerned, the oral presenter must ensure that his or her competence in the chosen language is unquestionable and that he or she can function very well in it.
The clarity of the message itself is also important. If at the end of an oral presentation, the audience does not get the essence of the message, then the exercise, as a whole, has been futile. Sometimes, simplicity is the key to clarity.
An oral presentation should use simple, clear, and concise language to enhance coding and decoding obligations on the part of the sender and receiver respectively.
Other factors that may enhance clarity include adequate presentation (based on the perceived needs of the entire communication process) rehearsal (may be dressed, in situ), and self-appraisal by the oral presenter.
Adequacy is a measure of sufficiency. In an oral presentation, the adequacy of the preparation, delivery, and feedback comes into play.
There should be no shortfall. Neither should there be an over-supply in the quantity of each contributory factor to the overall communication process.
Adequacy in terms of coverage (i.e. executing the delivery within a specific timeframe) needs to be given special attention. For instance, gauging the attention span of the audience, its taste, and its mood is all-important in ensuring effective delivery.
Fluency is a measure of the rate of flow. Inconsistency in the rate of flow of speech signals breaks in transmission.
And who likes to listen to the disconnected speech? Nobody! Connecting the new information to the old, inconclusive one may be hard on the listener, who may have been forced to swim in ignorance for some time.
To maintain a smooth ride for the train of thought of both speaker and audience, therefore, delivery should be vivid and smooth, rather than bumpy.
The Visual in Oral Presentation
Technically, an oral presentation is primarily meant to be decoded through listening. However, since the ultimate aim of communication is to get information as accurately as possible across, there is nothing wrong with exploiting the other human senses of perception, especially sight, to get the job done fully.
The oral presentation is greatly enriched by visual aids since the later latter essentially performs a reinforcing or demonstrative role.
Conventional Visual Aids
The long history of visual aids dates back to the beginning of oral presentations when drawings were made on rocks and other large surfaces to serve as illustrations.
In modern times, especially since the advent of paper, cardboards have been extensively used in classrooms as well as at other public functions to complement the traditional blackboard.
At a certain point in the evolution of the cardboard, flashcards emerged and were hailed as a visual aid pe excellent, given their multi-functionality and interactive use.
Nowadays, props (live objects of various sizes, such as oranges, chopsticks, loaves of bread, and even a hammer, may be brought to an oral presentation and used as aids to address such themes as simplicity experimentation, basics of life, and power respectively.
Posters and flip charts too come in handy both in the regular classroom and in corporate board rooms. The case with which they can be presented, amended, and recalled makes them very appealing to the average oral presenter.
Electronic Visual Aids
Electronic devices have continually offered man great opportunities to perfect his dreams of visual aids.
From the early days of film projectors and slide projectors to the more recent times of extremely more and more complex appliances, such as close-circuit television and Internet conferencing, electronic visual aids have made an impressive mark on oral presentation.
Indeed, PowerPoint presentation has gained prominence as the most powerful visual aid ever developed by man to date.
This is because it only permits one to create slides that contain digitalized images and texts, but also makes room for alternations, allowing additional charts and images, sounds, and motion pictures.
On the whole, then, visuals are a great presentation-enhancing tool. However, care should be taken not to allow them to divert attention away from the presentation itself.
Visuals should be strictly limited to the supplementary role they are supposed to play in enhancing the delivery.
Speech Making and Speech Writing
Speech making and speech writing are two contiguous activities, which may not necessarily be performed by the same individual within the same context. This means that an individual could perform either of the activities without necessarily performing the other.
In a logical sequence, speech writing precedes speech making. Speechmaking may be classified as either closed or public.
Whereas the former is less formal, the latter is very much so. In closed speech making, the audience is usually limited to a few individuals who are reasonably familiar with one another.
A speech at a family dinner or a cabinet or board meeting may be regarded as closed. Even when made at a public forum, a speech may still be considered closed.
In conclusion, we have learned far about elements of oral presentation. If this article helps, kindly comment on it.