Your audience and time

When the day finally arrives and your turn has come, don't be in a rush to start and get it over and done with. Take your time to set out your stall. Ensure your notes are in order, your visual aids in place and that the environment is as you want it. This will give you confidence during the presentation. Give some thought to:

  • your audience
  • the time
  • your voice
  • your body
Your audience

Remember that the audience are a group of real people who are on your side (not the enemy). They have a genuine interest in what you have to say. This goes a long way to helping you communicate with them effectively. It also helps calm nerves. 

“If I were asked which was the main advice I would give a novice speaker, I would choose these three:
- Trust and like the audience, do not fear and confront them;
- Look at them;
- Smile.
The second and third of these are, of course, the ways in which the first is expressed.”

The time

It is important that you keep to time - especially in an academic setting where marks may be deducted if you talk for longer than allocated. Before you start, make a note of your "stop time", keep an eye on the clock and if you run out of time, stop. Audiences welcome talks that finish on time - or a bit before. Remember - when rehearsing you tend to talk faster.

Reference: Turk, Christopher. (1985) Effective Speaking: communicating in speech. London : Spon. p.39

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SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University, GCU SCEBE Learning Development Centre and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.