1 Plan a business presentation that accomplishes the speaker’s goals and meets the audience’s needs.
2 Organize and develop the three parts of an effective presentation.
3 Select, design, and use presentation visuals effectively.
4 Deliver speeches with increasing confidence.
5 Discuss strategies for presenting in alternate delivery situations such as culturally diverse audiences, teams, and distance presentations.
In today’s environment, delivering a successful business report involves not only making an effective spoken presentation but incorporating appropriate visuals as well. The chapter emphasizes timeless techniques of spoken delivery as well as visual and graphic design principles. Because the ability to give presentations using alternate delivery situations is important in today’s workplace, the chapter covers strategies for responding to a culturally diverse audience and effective team and distance presentations.
Extemporaneous presentation 205
Impromptu presentation 205
Internet conferencing 214
Manuscript presentation 204
Memorized presentation 204
Oral briefings 194
PLANNING AN EFFECTIVE BUSINESS PRESENTATION 194
Identify Your Purpose 195
Know Your Audience 196
ORGANIZING THE CONTENT 197
DESIGNING COMPELLING PRESENTATION VISUALS 200
Types of Presentation Visuals 200
Design of Presentation Visuals 202
Design Tips for Audience Handouts and Notes Pages 203
REFINING YOUR DELIVERY 204
Delivery Method 204
Vocal Qualities 205
Delivery Style 207
ADAPTING TO ALTERNATE DELIVERY SITUATIONS 210
Culturally Diverse Audiences 210
Team Presentations 212
Distance Presentations 213
Lecture Slides — Students can review key chapter concepts on the Lecture Slides (found on the companion website (Student’s Resources)). Slides can be downloaded for convenient printing of handouts for taking class notes.
Slide Number and Title
Chapter 12 Designing and Delivering Business Presentations
Preparing an Effective Presentation
Organizing Your Presentation
An Effective Introduction . . .
Crafting an Effective Body
Crafting an Effective Closing
Presentation Design Principles
Vocal Qualities Enhance Presentation Style
Speaking to Culturally Diverse Audiences
Delivering as a Team
Adapting Presentations for Distance Delivery
E-lectures — Slides with engaging narration of key concepts—useful as reinforcement of lectures and exam reviews—are available through the CourseMate site for BCOM3.
Resource Slides — A larger deck of slides for instructors for displaying in the classroom; these slides for class enrichment and solutions to activities and applications are also available at the companion website (Instructor’s Resources) and on the Instructor’s CD.
Slide Number and Title
Chapter 12 Designing and Delivering Business Presentations
Learning Objective 1 Plan a business presentation that accomplishes the speaker’s goals and meets the audience’s needs.
Preparing an Effective Presentation
Identifying Your Purpose
Knowing Your Audience
Learning Objective 2 Organize and develop the three parts of an effective presentation.
Organizing Your Presentation
An Effective Introduction . . .
Crafting an Effective Body
Making Your Presentation Easy to Understand
Crafting an Effective Closing
Learning Objective 3 Select, design, and use presentation visuals effectively.
Benefits of Presentation Visuals
Types of Presentation Visuals
Presentation Design Principles
Using Text Effectively
Ineffective Slide Design: What Does Not Work
Effective Slide Design: Why It Works
Ineffective Slide Content: What Does Not Work
Effective Slide Content: Why It Works
Learning Objective 4 Deliver speeches with increasing confidence.
Learning Objective 5 Discuss strategies for presenting in alternate delivery situations, such as culturally diverse audiences, team and distance presentations.
Speaking to Culturally Diverse Audiences
Delivering as a Team
Adapting Presentations for Distance Delivery
Using Videoconferencing Appropriately
Learning Objective 1
Plan a business presentation that accomplishes the speaker’s goals and meets the audience’s needs.
Planning an Effective Business Presentation
Ask students to relate their experiences with hearing ineffective presentations, whether in a classroom, student organization, or business environment.
Ask them what made the presentation ineffective.
Discuss the importance of getting the audience’s attention. Remind students of the quote, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Discuss the ease of creating and transporting electronic visual aids; ask students whether they think presenters apt to overuse visual aids rather than focusing on content? Why or why not?
Resource slide 4: Preparing an Effective Presentation
Identify Your Purpose and Know Your Audience
Show the visual as you lead a discussion of important considerations when planning an effective presentation.
Resource slide 5: Identifying Your Purpose
Resource slide 6: Knowing Your Audience
Ask students whether the opening or the closing is the most critical portion of a presentation and to provide justification for their opinion.
Ask students how knowing your audience would change your content and possibly your delivery method.
Learning Objective 2
Organize and develop the three parts of an effective presentation.
Organizing the Content
Show the visual as you preview the three-part structure of an effective presentation.
Ask students how long each part should be in relation to the total presentation time. What happens if the introduction or conclusion is missing? Too long?
Resource slide 8: Organizing Your Presentation
Show the visual as you discuss important elements of an effective introduction.
Capture attention and involve the audience.
Establish rapport with the audience. Stress that students should take the time in the introduction to establish credibility and expertise on the topic and to create a connection with the audience.
Present the purpose statement. Make sure the audience knows why they should listen and why the information is beneficial to them.
Preview the points that will be developed. Reveal the points of the outline to help the audience move through your presentation more easily.
Resource slide 10: An Effective Introduction . . .
Show the visual as you lead the class in a discussion of techniques for gaining audience attention and holding interest.
Emphasize that a quotation provides the following benefits: (1) expresses thoughts more clearly, (2) adds a spark to your speech, (3) gets points across (4) adds authoritativeness, and (5) commands attention and respect.
Resource slide 9: Effective Attention-Getters
Emphasize that presenters should avoid (a) unoriginal or overused statements such as “My name is . . .” or “It is a pleasure . . .” (b) apologies for lack of preparation, late arrival, and so on, and (c) potentially offensive jokes and gimmicks.
Ask students to share examples of speeches they recall vividly. What techniques did the presenter use to accomplish the goals of an effective introduction?
Assign Application 3 that requires students to critique a well-known speaker of their choice. Ask students to share their observations.
Show the visual as you discuss techniques for making the body of a presentation effective.
Show the visual as you discuss techniques for making the presentation easy for the audience to understand.
Resource slide 11: Crafting an Effective Body
Resource slide 12: Making Your Presentation Easy to Understand
Show the visual as you discuss the elements of an effective summary.
Remind students to practice the introduction and the close until they can deliver it without stumbling. This extra practice is necessary because the introduction and summary are critical to the overall effectiveness of the presentation.
Resource slide 13: Crafting an Effective Closing
Assign Application 4, which involves giving an extemporaneous presentation. Students may gather their information and outline the topic. Visuals may be prepared after the discussion of that topic occurs.
Learning Objective 3
Select, design, and use presentation visuals effectively.
Designing Compelling Presentation Visuals
Showing the visual as you discuss the benefits of using presentation visuals.
Ask students the advantages of using class visuals. How are students impacted in classes where visuals are not used? How do their experiences relate to other audiences?
Resource slide 15: Benefits of Presentation Visuals
Types of Presentation Visuals
Refer students to Figure 12-1 on page 201 and display the visual as you introduce the choices available in visuals. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each type?
Assign students to organize and research a topic for a presentation and prepare visuals to fit the topic. When students prepare their visuals, have them prepare at least one type other than the common electronic presentation slides.
Resource slide 16: Types of Presentation Visuals
Design of Presentation Visuals
To introduce this topic, show Comedian Don McMillan’s video, “How Not to Use PowerPoint” that humorously uses PowerPoint snafus to stress that computer technology has raised the standards for presentation visuals; however, inexperienced designed often misuse and overuse PowerPoint slides.
Discuss the “docu-points” electability PowerPoint slideshow that the Hillary Clinton campaign emailed to all House Democrats that included nine slides, 275 words, one table, three bar charts, and two pie charts. Ask the students to explain why “docu-points” are usually less effective than a concise, well-designed handout or summary report.
After this discussion, have students complete Activity 5 that requires them to generate a list of additional faux pas that you have observed in the design and use of presentation visuals. Develop a two- to three-minute presentation conveying this information in a workplace setting.
Project the visual as you initiate the discussion of effective design of presentation visuals. Stress that each of these components is important to slide design, and that a flashy slide will not make up for a lack of content. Design principles are illustrated in the ineffective/effective slides in Figure 12-2 (slide content). Additional explanation appears in the discussion on page 204.
Resource slide 17: Presentation Design Principles
Involve students in contrasting the effective and ineffective example shown in Figure 12-2 and provided on the visual (poor example-left and good example-right) as you emphasize each design principle. Refer students to the full explanation on page 204 of the textbook.
Resource slide 19: Ineffective Slide Design: What Does Not Work
Resource slide 20: Effective Slide Design: Why It Works
Stress the importance of clear, concise content including:
Titles that accurately describe the exact nature of the information contained on the slides and using titles that engage the audience to keep his/her attention focused on the speaker and the visual.
Parallel structure in bulleted lists. Also, emphasize that each item in the list should have a common element that is described accurately by the title. For example, each item in the visual is a value of using stories in a presentation.
Discuss that readability is a key criterion for slide design, which requires high contrast between the background and foreground.
To reinforce the design principles, use the following activities:
Resource slide 21: Ineffective Slide Content: What Does Not Work
Resource slide 22: Effective Slide Content: Why It Works
Assign Activity 4a-c that provides students individual and team practice in improving presentation visual design and content. Project the solutions as you reinforce slide design principles. Assign 4c if students have not completed it earlier.
Learning Objective 4
Deliver speeches with increasing confidence.
Refining Your Delivery
Ask the class which of the four presentation delivery methods they think is used most often by professionals in their field. Use their input to lead naturally to a discussion of memorized, manuscript (scripted), impromptu, and extemporaneous presentations.
Resource slide 24: Types of Delivery Methods
Assign Activity 3 and allow class time for students to critique their speaking ability after presenting an impromptu speech.
Show the visuals as you lead a class discussion on the qualities of an effective voice.
Have students read the case and complete the activities as directed.
Lead a discussion of how accent will likely affect the chosen career paths of individual students in the class. Take a poll as to whether students feel their accent will be a positive influence, a negative influence, or no influence on their career progression.
Before the presentation
Lead a discussion of techniques for practicing effectively.
Discuss public speaking anxiety and ways to alleviate that anxiety, including PRACTICE!
Use these teaching suggestions to help alleviate fear:
Emphasize that fear of public speaking can be overcome with time and practice.
Present the following baseball analogy that Bert Decker cites in You’ve Got to Be Believed to be Heard. Major league baseball players are considered successful if they bat above .300—if they hit the ball 30 percent of the time. Your chances of delivering an effective speech are much better. Why jeopardize your career by not even attempting public speaking?
Ask students to work in a small group to list their fears related to public speaking. Through discussion, compile one master list. Point out to students that their fears are common to virtually everyone.
Learning Objective 5
Discuss strategies for presenting in alternate delivery situations such as culturally diverse audiences, team, and distance presentations.
Adapting to Alternative Delivery Situations
Discuss situations business presenters face where they have to adapt quickly and easily to a different situation. Remind students that audience consideration should be a major factor in planning a presentation. Using these considerations, presenters should be able to respond to the special needs of a culturally diverse audience, deliver a presentation as a team, and deliver in a distance format, such as through web interface or videoconferencing.
Culturally Diverse Audiences
Show the visual as you lead a discussion about guidelines for speaking to an intercultural audience.
Review guidelines for writing to an intercultural audience. (See slides provided in Chapter 6.) Discuss the similarities between adaptation for writing and for speaking.
Relay that in Japanese and Chinese cultures, business cards are extremely important and must be handled with care because damage to the card represents damage to the individual. Remind students to keep these cultural differences in mind when presenting to a culturally diverse audience.
Resource slide 28: Speaking to Culturally Diverse Audiences
As you show the visual, lead a discussion of why it is not advisable to “wing it” in a team presentation.
Ask students to comment on how a news broadcast team (made up of one or more newscasters, a sportscaster, and a meteorologist) presents a seamless delivery in a 30-minute news program.
Lead a discussion as to whether an individual presentation or a team presentation presents more challenges.
Resource slide 29: Delivering as a Team
Lead a discussion as to why distance presentations are growing in popularity and discuss how travel policies for companies have changed in the last five years.
Discuss various changes in the way presentations are delivered:
Many presentations are now made available over the Internet, so presenters must be aware of how the presentation will be used or distributed in the future.
Discuss the podcast as a new option for distance delivery of information. Remind students that a podcast may include visuals and voice or voice only. Emphasize the need for a conversational style in podcasts that make the listener “see” the subject. Much of podcasting appeals to the imagination in the way that radio broadcasts did in its heyday.
Discuss some of the communication challenges posed by distance presentations and show the visuals as you discuss guidelines for adapting a presentation for distance delivery.
Resource slide 30: Adapting Presentations for Distance Delivery
Resource slide 31: Using Videoconferencing Appropriately
If facilities to videotape presentations are available, schedule team presentations so that other teams constitute the audience. Videotapes should be made available for student review (feedback). Refer students to the Check Your Communication checklist as a guide for planning as well as evaluation of their presentations.
A suggested grading sheet for the oral component of a report project completed collaboratively is available at the Instructor’s website.
Team presentations are usually less threatening than individual ones. Three- and four-person teams can be assigned to prepare and make presentations.
Additional business topics that might be used for individual or team reports include the following:
Officers’ reports to a corporate shareholders’ annual meeting. Each team may select its own corporation from any available annual reports. Students play roles as officers making financial, marketing, social responsibility, production, or long-range planning reports.
One person serves as moderator, and the other three, as panel participants.
Presentation of the advantages and disadvantages of financial investments. Team members should plan the discussion around common stocks, corporate bonds, tax-exempt instruments, bank deposits, and federal obligations such as Treasury bills.
Ask students to complete selected activities at the end of the chapter. Remind students to study the suggestions in the “Check Your Communication” checklist when planning and delivering a speech or oral report and designing visuals.
Assign the interactive quizzes for Chapter 12 that appear on the student website and in your online course. Assure students that completing this assignment will be an excellent review for an objective test on the material and for completing future writing assignments successfully.
Use Case Assignment 1, “Now About that Accent,” to prepare students for an analytical writing assignment. Have students complete the activities and use the writing assignments as preparatory practice in writing about a multi-faceted issue or in writing an argument for a particular point of view.
1. How does the purpose of a presentation affect the process of planning a presentation? What two techniques can you use to condense the purpose of a presentation into a brief statement? (Obj. 1)
As a speaker, you must know what you want to accomplish during a presentation before you can begin planning. Two ways to condense your purpose are (a) ask yourself, “What is my message” and then develop a phrase, single thought, or conclusion you want the audience to take with them; and (b) imagine the members of your audience are leaving the room and are asked to summarize what they heard in as few words as possible.
2. What important facts should a speaker know about the audience when planning a presentation? (Obj. 1)
The speaker should know (a) who requested the presentation and general characteristics of the audience; (b) why the topic is important to the audience; and (3) what environmental factors affect the presentation.
3. What is the basic three-part structure of an effective presentation? What are the purposes of each part? (Obj. 2)
The three-part structure of a report is: (a) Introduction—tell the audience what you are going to tell them; (b) Body—tell them; and (c) Close—tell them what you told them.
4. What does a speaker hope to accomplish in the close? What suggestions will help a speaker accomplish this goal? (Obj. 2)
The close should support and refocus the audience’s attention on your purpose in a clear and memorable way. A speaker should (1) commit the time and energy needed to develop a creative, memorable conclusion; (2) tie the close to the introduction to strengthen the unity of the presentation; (3) use transition words that clearly indicate you are moving from the body to the close; (4) practice the close until you can deliver it without stumbling; and (5) smile and accept audience applause.
5. Discuss general guidelines for preparing an effective presentation visual. (Obj. 3)
Guidelines for preparing an effective presentation visual include: limiting the number of visual aids used in a single presentation; including only one major idea on each visual; keeping the design simple and clean; designing the graphic to avoid distorting facts and relationships; assuring that the visual can be read by everyone in the audience; and proofreading carefully.
6. Briefly explain the provisions of the Copyright Law of 1976 as it applies to multimedia content (graphics, sound, and video). What steps can presenters take to ensure they are complying with copyright law? (Obj. 3)
The Copyright Law of 1976 fixes copyright at the moment an original work is tangibly expressed. Copyright owners have the right to control how their work is reproduced, distributed, and performed. Presenters should be familiar with the law, seek any necessary permissions, and understand the provisions of fair use so as not to violate them.
7. Which delivery methods are used most often by business speakers? What are the advantages and limitations of each? (Obj. 4)
Four presentation methods are available: memorized, manuscript (scripted), impromptu, and extemporaneous. Impromptu and extemporaneous are useful for business presentations. Memorized presentations are useful for quotes and other material that must be accurately delivered; they lack spontaneity and naturalness. The manuscript (scripted) method is useful in situations where careful following of a script is in order (legally sensitive information, etc.); it is generally boring to the audience. Impromptu delivery is necessary for situations that demand spontaneous response but can result in nervousness. Extemporaneous presentations require planning, preparation, and rehearsal but allow natural conversation and gestures and a genuine connection to the audience.
8. What ethical responsibility does a speaker have when planning and delivering a presentation? (Objs. 1, 4)
The speaker is ethically obligated to have something worthwhile to share with the audience and to be well prepared to do so, while staying within the designated time limit.
9. What can a speaker do to ensure that a presentation is understood and not offensive to audience members of various cultures? (Obj. 5)
The speaker can do the following to ensure effectiveness with a cross-cultural audience: (a) use simple English and short, clear sentences; (b) avoid acronyms, slang, jargon, figurative expressions, sports analogies, and emotional trigger words; (c) seek feedback to confirm audience understanding; (c) enunciate precisely and slowly; (d) use humor and jokes carefully; and (e) adapt to differences in preferred organizational patterns, nonverbal communication, presentation style, gift-giving practices, and appropriate greeting customs.
10. What strategies are recommended for delivering an effective team presentation? (Obj. 5)
For an effective team presentation: (1) select a winning team; (2) agree on purpose and schedule; (3) plan seamless transitions between segments/presenters; (4) deliver as a team; and (5) field questions as a team.
Teaching Suggestions and Possible Solutions
1. Preparing a Top Ten List for Effective Business Presentations (Objs. 1–5)
Generate a list individually of the top ten mistakes presenters make and share the list in small groups. Groups may be asked to share this information with the class in an informal presentation. Have students contribute individual thoughts to a blog related to business presentation success strategies.
Know your subject well enough to be able to deliver presentation without electronic presentation; relax and don’t worry about it
Using humor inappropriate for audience
Conduct a thorough audience analysis beforehand
Not making eye contact
Make eye contact with audience members from one side of the room to the other and from the front to the back
2. Focusing on an Effective Introduction and Close (Objs. 1, 2)
In a small group, develop a captivating introduction and memorable close for the COPE presentation discussed in this chapter or for a topic your instructor provides. Be prepared to present to the class and discuss the techniques you applied in each of these important sections of a presentation.
Sample Introduction: After three days of participating in mentally and physically challenging activities with your employees, you will know them better than ever; they will know and trust each other better, and they will trust you more. As a COPE leader, I have seen our program work, and I will show you the three ways our program can bring your company managers and employees closer together: (1) by promoting trust through group and paired activities, (2) by providing social times to get to know each other better, and (3) by minimizing the outside distractions of the normal workday.
Sample Closing: As a manager, you need to book a COPE program for your company today. We can help you trust one another more and know one another more through programs that minimize outside distractions.
3. Presenting an Impromptu Presentation for Self-Critique (Objs. 1, 2, 4)
In groups of four assigned by your instructor, select four topics from the following list of questions provided by your instructor. A group leader may randomly assign a topic to each member or allow the members to select a topic. Following a brief preparation time, each member will give a one to two-minute presentation to the group. After all presentations are given, the group will briefly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each presentation and strive to provide each member with a few specific suggestions for improvement.
What is the best career advice you’ve received?
What communication abilities are especially important during uncertain times?
How do social networking sites such as MySpace and Twitter affect your marketability?
What are the top three goofs made by [new hires, student interns, job applicants, presenters, or others]?
Who is the CEO you admire most and why?
Why is being a team player (or global thinker) important in today’s economy?
Which technology has had the most effect on your day-to-day life? Which do you expect to have the most impact on your work life?
What do you consider to be the distinction between management and leadership?
Project the Solution slide and discuss the answers in class, or assign the Student Handout (at the end of this guide and online) as homework.
These exercises provide a way to get the entire class involved in group work, speaking roles, and the development of meaningful content. You may encourage each team to develop a critique form for use in evaluating each presentation and providing feedback for improvement.
4. Improving Presentation Visuals (Obj. 3)
Evaluate the effectiveness of the following slide and offer suggestions for improvement following the design principles presented in the text. Be prepared to present your analysis to the class. Your instructor may ask you to revise or build slides. A downloadable version is available at your companion Web site.
Revise the slide content shown above and select an appropriate template and graphics to support the topic.
In groups, brainstorm strategies for preparing an effective team presentation. Collapse your ideas into five memorable points that capture key success ideas. Revise the list for parallel wording, clarity, and brevity. Display your list on a slide using a format that includes more than a basic bulleted list; add an engaging title and an appropriate template and graphics. Be prepared to present your slide to the class for critique; incorporate suggestions received and submit to your instructor as an email attachment.
In groups, design slides to support one of the following topics or as directed by your instructor. Include a title slide, at least one bulleted list, and one direct quotation. Be prepared to share the slides with another small group and then revise, incorporating suggestions received.
Present an argument for the continued use of electronic presentations in your company. Include succinct advice for using the communication tool effectively.
Present an argument for the importance of a highly demanded workplace skill and strategies for developing it. You might choose a key team skill such as trust or collaboration, or a new technology skill such as social networking or social bookmarking. Conduct a search of an online database or the Internet for assistance in selecting a topic of value to the class.
Possible solutions follow:
a. See Solution slide.
In groups, develop a list of strategies for preparing effective team presentations. Revise the list for parallel wording, clarity, and brevity. Create a slide that displays the list using a format that includes more than a basic bulleted list; add an engaging title and use an appropriate template and graphics. Have the class critique the slides created by groups; require each group to revise the slide incorporating class suggestions and email the revised slide to the instructor.
In groups, design slides based on a topic provided by the instructor. Topics can include one of the following: (1) Present an argument for continued use of electronic presentations in your company. Include advice for effective use of the tool. (2) Present an argument for the importance of a highly demanded workplace skill and strategies for developing it. Each group should create slides that include a title slide, at least one bulleted list, and one direct quotation. Share the slides with another group, critique, and make revisions.
5. How Not to Use PowerPoint (Obj. 3)
Assign students to view Comedian Don McMillan’s YouTube video, “How Not to Use PowerPoint.” In small groups, ask students to list common mistakes in using PowerPoint. Develop a short presentation conveying this information in a workplace setting.
Teaching Suggestions and Possible Solutions
1. Assign students to read the following article, which offers suggestions for developing business presentations for an international audience:
St. Amant K. R. (2005, May). Presentations for international audiences, Intercom, 13–15. Available from Business Source Complete Database.
After they’ve read the article, have students prepare a grid that compares presentation practices appropriate for audiences of the same culture as compared to international audiences. They should research further as necessary to complete the informational comparison. (Obj. 1–5) A sample grid that compares cultural groups follows:
Don’t like gestures; Don’t like close physical contact; Decision-makers do not always attend presentations; Don’t like white in visuals because symbolizes death
Prefer slower paced delivery; Like detail and documentation; Don’t like close physical contact; Prefer questions at the end; Don’t like speaker to move into audience
Like fast-paced delivery; Are comfortable with close physical contact; Don’t like yellow in visuals
Like fast-paced delivery; Prefer interaction throughout;
Like speaker to move into audience
2. Have students read the presentation code of ethics for professional communicators and a related article:
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC): IABC code of ethics for professional communicators. Available at www.iabc.com/about/code.htm; Zielinski, D. (2002, August 10).
The presenter’s pledge: Do presenters need a code of conduct? Presentations, 16 (8), 24+. Available at www.allbusiness.com/services /business-services-advertising/4246997-1.html.
After they’ve read the articles, ask students to consider the ethical challenges presenters face and the behavioral guideposts presented in these readings. Have them write their own presenter’s pledge to ensure honesty and integrity in their professional presentations. Students should also be prepared to explain to the rest of the class their rationale for the actions included. (Obj. 1–5)
Student responses will vary but should focus on (1) showing honesty and integrity by not attempting to mislead the audience; (2) using only quotes and statistics that can be verified and that are not products of “somebody once said”; (3) always citing sources and never violating copyright; (4) practicing multiple times prior to delivery; and (5) knowing the audience and being sensitive to the cultures, values, and beliefs.
3. Assign students to evaluate the speaking skill of a well-known television newscaster, political figure, or a recognized speaker on your campus. Propose students locate a Webcast or podcast of their most admired CEO or company spokesperson at the company website or at the Wall Street Journal Online or BusinessWeek Online. What are the strengths and weaknesses? Students can use the “Check Your Communication” checklist on their Review Cards to direct their attention to the various components of effective speaking. Ask each student to draft a proposal offering suggestions for improving the person’s spoken communication skills, including paying special attention to vocal qualities, audience eye contact, audience rapport, and organization. (Obj. 1–5)
Encourage students to discuss these analyses with the entire class or in a group discussion. Summarize students’ comments by generating a list of strengths and weaknesses in spoken communication skills.
4. Provide students with specific instructions for presenting a proposal to management. Each student should select a topic from the following list of suggested proposals topics or use them as a springboard for other in-house presentations. (Obj. 1–5)
a. Proposal to develop a policy that provides up to five paid days annually for volunteer work.
b. Proposal to implement an in-house recycling program.
c. Proposal to a local business to enhance the customer experience without increasing costs.
d. Proposal to the board of directors to forge a strategic alliance with another company. Choose two likely companies and present the concept and the benefits that could be derived for each company.
e. Proposal to extend your company’s domestic retail market into an international market of your choice.
f. Proposal to management for creating a joint venture with another company to offer a business-to-business (B2B) exchange for online commerce and supply-chain services. Choose two feasible companies that could take advantage of the benefits of supply-chain management (e.g., HomebuildersXchange links suppliers, distributors, and trade contractors and builders to bring efficiencies to every participant in the construction process).
For this assignment, select from among the proposal selections presented in the text, those you wish students to include in their proposals. This is an excellent team assignment.
5. Divide the class into small groups and ask each student to present a one- to two-minute presentation to his or her group explaining a key concept or new development in his or her career field. You should offer a brief period of time for preparation; however, the purpose of the activity is to prepare for impromptu spoken presentations. After all presentations are given, ask each group to briefly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each presentation and provide each member with a few specific suggestions for improvement in delivering an impromptu presentation. (Obj. 1, 2, 4, & 5)
This assignment can be completed in conjunction with any team project with which your students are involved. Evaluation can be informal and peer driven.
1. What is the single, most important piece of advice you would give for making an effective business presentation?
Student responses will vary. They should support their opinion with information from the chapter. One response might be: “Considering the audience is the most important step in organizing a presentation. If the topic and the delivery are not interesting to the audience, the content does not matter. If the presenter cannot make that initial connection with the audience, the rest of the presentation is in vain.
2. With current advancements in technology, how has the business presenter’s role been simplified? How has it become more difficult?
Current technology has made presenting slides or overheads and handout much easier because presentation software is readily available and simple to use. However, this same software has made presenters lazy in researching and organizing their presentations. Too many presenters start with their slides and not with research. Preparation of slides should be the last step occurring before practice and delivery.
3. How does the advice “communicate a lot, using a little as possible” relate to the design of presentation visuals?
Student responses will vary. They should support their opinion with information from the chapter about the use of design and content. Provide example to support points.
Teaching Suggestions and Possible Solutions
CASE ASSIGNMENT 1: Now About That Accent…
Most individuals “pick up” the accent spoken in the region in which they live, and those who learn English as a second language typically retain some elements of pronunciation that are indicative of their first language. When you leave your native area, your accent may be a subject of interest, humor, or even ridicule.
Studies have indicated that salespersons with a standard accent or dialect are often perceived more favorably by customers than foreign-accented salespersons. The U.S. media promotes the acceptance of “general American standard dialect,” and the seeming lack of accent among public broadcasters is often the result of extensive retraining in vocal delivery. Corporations often also desire to enhance universal acceptance by cultivating “standard English” among their management. Corporate accent-reduction speech clients have included executives from Beech Aircraft, Mitsubishi Bank, NCR Corporation, Union Carbide, and Wells Fargo Bank.
Not everyone, however, feels that accents are detrimental. A countering opinion is that an accent may at times serve as an asset to the speaker. It reflects personhood and adds dimension and interest to the individual. Furthermore, the “best English” is often dictated by audience expectation and the circumstances in which a speaker functions. Regardless of the charm value of an accent, your audience must be able to understand you. The following guidelines are suggested when the speaker’s dialect is different from that of the audience:
Speak more slowly and distinctly than usual during the opening minutes of your presentations, to allow the audience to adjust to your speech patterns and style.
Don’t apologize for your accent. The audience will likely not find it offensive once they can understand your speech patterns.
To avoid emphasizing the wrong syllables, ask someone fluent in the dialect of the audience to pronounce unfamiliar words, names, etc. Devise a kind of shorthand for marking the pronunciation and accented syllables in your notes.
Try not to let your concern over dialect interfere with your interaction with the audience. Be enthusiastic and let your personality show through.
Sources: DeShields, O. W., Kara, A., & Kaynak, E. (1996). Source effects in purchase decisions: The impact of physical attractiveness and accent of salesperson. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 13(1), 89–101; Stern, D. A. (2005). Speaking without an accent. Dialect Accent Specialists, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.dialectaccentspecialists.com/accent_reduction.shtml
Ask students to respond to the following questions and activities:
1. Locate at least one additional website on the subject of accents that you found interesting. What was the URL of the site? Summarize the important aspects of the information in outline form.
Answers will vary with the article located; however, the outline should be correct in form and style and an adequate reflection of the article’s content. Ask students to attach a printout of their selected article.
2. Analyze your own accent, responding to the following questions: Of what region is it typical? What distinguishes it from others? Is your accent stronger at certain times? If so, why? Email your instructor with your self-analysis.
Answers will vary and should indicate a reflective review of the students’ personal accent.
3. How are accent and dialect different yet related? Prepare a chart that illustrates the relationship.
While some people use the terms accent and dialect interchangeably, experts differentiate. Accent is concerned with the way language is pronounced; it includes the variation in stress and intonation. Dialect reflects differences in grammar and in word choice.
Accent and Dialect Compared
Pronunciation of words
Choice of words
Stress and intonation
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a regional accent? How can accent work either to enhance or worsen a businessperson’s communication? Write a one- to two-page summary of your position on the issue.
Student summaries may include some of the following ideas. Language is something common to all, and everyone speaks with an accent. Those with a non-regional accent sometimes think they have no accent, precisely because it is not associated with any particular region, but rather with the standard dialect of English used in education, government, and media. Unfortunately, accent and dialect are ripe fields for prejudice and stereotypes. For this reason, professionals in some fields seek accent reduction. Some advantages and disadvantages of accents and dialects are summarized below:
Advantages of a regional accent and dialect:
They are a part of one’s personality; they add variety to our communication.
They identify an individual as being part of a group, an insider.
They can be icebreakers among strangers.
Disadvantages of a regional accent and dialect:
They serve as a basis for stereotyping an individual, often negatively.
They can interfere with understanding.
They identify an individual as not being a part of a group, an outsider.
CASE ASSIGNMENT 2: Sun Microsystems—Technology Advancements Revolutionize Business Presentations
The following case highlights Sun Microsystems and the exciting visual capabilities offered by its Java programming language.
Sun Microsystems was originally involved with the manufacture of computer workstations; now it is most associated with Java, one of the most well-known Internet-based programming languages. Because of the capabilities of Java, Internet sites, cell phones, and home game players can effectively offer splashy graphics, animation, and real-time data updates. Scott McNealy, chairman of the board at Sun Microsystems, characterizes the current consumer phase as “The Participation Age,” emphasizing that consumers not only desire information but also the ability to interact with it.
One of Java’s most noticeable abilities is the delivery of small programs, called applets, over the Web. Java applets have wide applicability because they are system independent and can be used by Windows, Mac, or Unix computers. This flexibility has attracted many developers around the globe to use Java to enhance their websites and wireless communication capabilities. In Japan, Java-enabled cell phones allow users to access calendars, expense reports, email, and more. In Brazil, Java offers doctors instant access to the medical records of 12 million people, ensuring accurate information wherever residents need care.
Before the Web was widely regarded as a viable business tool, presentations were created with smaller audiences in mind. Presentation choices came in the form of slides, handouts, or an automated slide show that could be saved to a single computer. Now, however, you can upload your presentation to a website and let viewers watch at their leisure. Java-enabled webcams let you see the world in real time from the comfort of your home or office. The Java website illustrates this technology by allowing you to view live shots of London, Moscow, Tokyo, and other exciting locations. Java runs virtually everywhere, across networked technologies, servers, and handheld devices.
Special considerations in design help assure that graphics are delivered quickly, accurately, and effectively. As with face-to-face delivery, the web presenter must relate ideas clearly and keep in mind that lesscan bemore. When posting presentations to the Web, keep graphics small, since the larger the image, the longer it will take to appear. In addition, using universally available fonts such as Cambria and Calibri ensures that your audience is able to view what you intended. No matter how nice your presentation looks on your own PC, you will want to visit the site and view the show, ideally on different computers and using different browsers.
Why limit a presentation to the number of people that can fit in a conference room? Technological advances such as those developed at Sun Microsystems makes it possible for companies to expand their training program or sales pitch to appeal to thousands or even millions.
Sources: Ewers, J. (2006, January 23). A jolt of java. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from General Businessfile database; Glinert, S. (1999, December). Presenting on the Web. Home Office Computing, 114.
1. Have students visit the Java site at www.java.sun.com. Students should read about applets and how they are being used to enhance visual communication on the Web. Then have students locate and read the following article and prepare a short oral or written report that presents guidelines for effective presentations for today’s technology-centered audiences:
Gallo, C. (2009, April 8). Making your presentations more relevant. Business Week Online, p. 16. Available from Business Source Complete database.
Advantages of Web-delivered presentations that student reports might include are the following: your presentation can reach a wide audience; presentations are relatively simple to create; and PowerPoint includes templates specifically tailored for the Web. Disadvantages include: slides might load slowly, small fonts may not show up well, images may project differently on various types of equipment and browsers.
2. Ask students to read the following article, which summarizes the advice of Edward Tufte regarding using a PowerPoint presentation to enhance speaking. After reading the article, have students compile a list of advice for effective use of PowerPoint.
Avoid the inflictions of PowerPoint. (2006, March). The Practical Accountant, 38(3), 16. Available from Business Source Complete database.
The assigned article discusses McNealy’s reasons for downplaying use of PowerPoint at Sun Microsystems. Ask students to find an article on the effective use of PowerPoint. Discuss the issues of (1) creating unique designs rather than canned templates; (2) organizing information creatively instead of relying on bulleted lists; (3) using appealing color schemes; (3) using animation and sound/video effects in moderation; and (5) using appropriate delivery for different types of information depending on the audience. The key is that the content is the most important part of a presentation, not the software used by the presenter.
3. Following directions from you, have students electronically post their responses to this statement: “No visual aid has ever been developed that will change a weak presentation into an excellent one.”
Student responses should focus on the need to research and outline the presentation before sitting down at the computer to design the visuals. Students should also discuss not using software features only to “show off” proficiency rather than improving the delivery. Although visual aids are valuable, they cannot enhance a poorly researched and ineffectively organized presentation.
Student Handout, Chapter 13
Activity 3: Presenting an Impromptu Presentation for Self-Critique
In groups of four assigned by your instructor, select four topics from the following list of questions. A group leader may randomly assign a topic to each member or allow the members to select a topic. Following a brief preparation time, each member will give a one- to two-minute presentation to the group. After all presentations are given, the group will briefly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each presentation and strive to provide each member with a few specific suggestions for improvement. a. What is the best career advice you’ve received?
b. What communication abilities are especially important during uncertain times?
c. How do social networking sites such as MySpace and Twitter affect your marketability?
d. What are the top three goofs made by [new hires, student interns, job applicants, presenters, or others]?
e. Who is the CEO you admire most and why?
f. Why is being a team player (or global thinker) important in today’s economy?
g. Which technology has had the most effect on your day-to-day life? Which do you expect to have the most impact on your work life?
h. What do you consider to be the distinction between management and leadership? Presentation Outline: