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It is inevitable that at some time you will be faced with the challenge of giving a presentation or a speech. The more successful you are, the more frequently this will arise; the better you present, the more successful you will become. The ways and means of compiling and delivering excellent presentations are not a secret, passed down from father to son.

As you will see in our time together, it is not difficult to learn what is needed. It is indeed a little more challenging to perfect the skills (to ride the bicycle with ease and grace), but you could take comfort from the fact that whatever effort you choose to put into practising will be rewarded with enhanced capability and recognition of this growth by important people in your life and career.

A presentation is not a speech, nor is it a training session; it falls between these two. We tend to think of a speech as an occasion for someone to stand up in public and make an announcement or say a “few kind words” in a tribute or a dedication. Politicians make speeches. Presentations, however, are speeches that are delivered in a business, technical, professional or scientific environment, usually accompanied by the use of visual aids. The topic of a presentation, as we will describe later in more detail, is likely to be one of: persuading, challenging, informing, instructing or delivering bad news. The members of the audience are likely to belong to the same organisation or have similar professional interests as yourself. Training, by contrast, is a presentation with a focus on learning by means of modifying in some way the participants’ knowledge, skills or attitudes.

Being able to give a good presentation is an indispensable part of a successful career. As soon as one achieves a level of authority in an organisation, it becomes necessary to develop subordinates and to motivate and manage performance. At higher levels one has the opportunity to present new ideas and to influence products, processes, policies, procedures and strategies within the company. It is a well-known fact that giving speeches and presentations is something that fills many people with fear, but the best medicine for such fright is the confidence that arises from having thoroughly prepared and practised beforehand. In this course you will learn how to prepare and deliver an excellent presentation.