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August 03, 2012

P4 Follow–up 4: The Final review of “Delivering effective presentations”

Follow-up to Follow–up 3: The final academic presentation and nearing to career presentations from Melvin's blog

“Presentations done! Whats to come?”

“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future” - Steve Jobs

cpskNow that all the academic presentations are done, it is the perfect time to reflect on and assess the steps I took, hurdles faced and most of all the results I achieved. It would pave the way for me to develop the optimal strategy for the surprises the future might harbour.

So first things first, my action points formulated subsequent to the workshop are as follows:

  • Tackling initial nervousness with concentrated and calm breathing
  • Ensuring a thorough filter of all the research available to ensure a flowing story with correct and only enough information to match the time available.(MUST, COULD & SHOULD know technique).
  • Obtain correct preparation: with a systematic personalised but flowing structure alongside other tools.
  • Practise is also another point ( few sessions with loud presentations in front of the mirror or other people, as similar conditions as possible to the real thing)

Nerves are my biggest downfall. Correction they were my biggest downfall, however with different techniques I have found my own way to handle it. Definitely breathing has always helped, but ensuring all of the action points are handled built the overall picture which helped handle the nerves, and in one way helping me use the nervousness to my advantage.

Refraining from being too conscious of my speaking has really helped. Rather than worrying about how I will speak, keeping focus on the information and knowledge as well as my image, hand gestures all helped in being less self conscious. Additionally, it was then I would give little focus to how I am speaking with respect to changes in tone, intonation etc. As I am generally a good speaker with respect to clarity, power and emphasizing ( tone), however it is when I get nervous that all of this goes down the drain. Probably resultant of a bad experience I once had, where I was so nervous that I felt my knees wobbling and in turn being conscious the visous cycle of self-conscious negative feedback started.

I must say at the start of the year, I was trying to make my own methodology to tackle presentations. It did help me progress a little but I still had issues. This was reflected in the marks that I got as initially at the start of the year I obtained a mark in the late 50s, which was poor considering the amount of work I had put in.cwajdf

Following the workshops I was able to develop significantly to the point now looking back I myself can’t believe the person I have become. The workshop on “Assertiveness” did significantly support my development with presentations .

Following the procedure of assessing the content “MUST, COULD & SHOULD” has helped me in regulating the amount of information I put into the presentation, thus helping me get a thorough understanding of the topic and not being overwhelmed with the information. To add to this was the highly important issue of script. At the start of the year when I did not modulate the amount of information properly I always had 3-4 pages full of text ( what I was going to speak during my presentations). I had never realised having a script really did add to issue of nervousness, as I was always worried “ DID I SAY EVERYTHING?”. This always mean I looked at the script, lost my flow, poor eye contact and pitch, all leading to increased nervousness. I soon started to use small flash cards, particularly ever since a particular presentation I had.

There was a specific occasion whilst in a group when we tried to come up with the slides. However, due to language barriers and other issues a number of members didn’t contribute enough hence I had to stay up the whole night without any sleep. THe next morning the 2nd presenter had intense stage fright and wouldn’t go on for the “BUSINESS PLAN” presentation asking me to play the role of the second presenter. On the spot last minute without any preparation I went on with my colleague. Luckily as I had made the presentation I had a thorough understanding of the topic. At first I was nervous but because I was sleep deprived and annoyed at the other person for pulling out at the last minute, I somehow did not come across nervous at all. This was the first time I actually implemented the 5 Ps of presentation without realising. It was only after the PPT, that I realised I spoke well covered all aspect and spoke only what was needed, without the need of a script.

pwrEver since I was exuberant at the prospect of presentations, thanks to that one success. Using these action points and the techniques taught, especially the two finger rule, I have ever since only improved on my presentational styles. Most of all, it has changed me into a presenter that can talk without a script with confidence. One significant feat was the presentation I gave in the workshop as it was then I was taking my baby steps into becoming a good presenter. Using the nervousness energy/power to do anything, rather than for worry has helped me with confidence and my ability.

The basics of getting ready for a presentation are etched into me, as I want to excel and obtain something once I was so worried was my biggest weakness. These techniques and steps are becoming a habit in preparing for a ppt. Specifically ensuring the structure is interesting and logical for not only myself but others helped me in getting my points across well. Always making sure the structure is different and creative has helped me see presentations as a performance, my unique performance. I have always seen if I am not happy and santisfied with the structure it affect how I actually relate it to the audience, as a doubt in my mind creates a doubt in my tone and speaking while relating it the audience. Thus always during preparation the “STRUCTURE” comes first, and only when I am happy with that will I go forwards. Kind of to the point, I am slightly fussy about it. However you have to fussy about something that will affect your delivery. As previously mentioned “FILTERING OF THE INFORMATION” is another key aspect, as you can always overload the information. Especially being a masters student, a critical approach is looked for by others. It is also key for me to keep a track of time. On the occasions , where I used long scripts I always had issues with time or whilst trying to keep in time I would be speaking at the speed of a train. All of these have affected my prior presentations negatively. However throwing the script aside and keeping only key words as reminders has helped significantly. Particularly being a part of group presentations where I opted to take the second half of the presentation and finish it, meant I had to be critical with the information I provide. Having done this a number of time, especially the first time I tried it by keep a eye on a friends IPAD, I have the learnt the art of assessing the amount of time left, amount of information left to talk about and thus formulate best means of keeping on track with time whilst exuding the optimal amount of data. The first time I tried this I came down to the last few seconds where I gave my final concluding remark and finishing statement.

Practice is another key feature for delivering effective presentations, however the technicality of how you practise comes down to each person. As I mentioned in my previous post (follow up 4) practice in front of a mirror does not work for me, but is after getting into the right mid-set for the presentation, going through the whole presentation whilst doing other things really takes the daunting factor away whilst also being a practise session. Personally, I would practise anywhere except in front of people and/or mirrors J. Common places for me would be in the shower, whilst working out or even whilst listening to music.

On the whole these aspect of presentations are key into effective delivery, it is always breaking the ice and tackling the first ppt with focus and direction that helps you develop and pave the path for success in all others. Other important areas I had not mentioned are confidence, Props and the SLIDEs.Presentation_Skills by Melvin Jose Alumni University of Warwick

A key feature of all successful presentations are confidence. I have come to learn that the single most important criteria for delivering effective presentations- can be faked! Because it’s all about the body language; stand straight, shoulders up, own your grounds by positioning your legs parallel and a bit away from each other, and speak in a strong tone. However, I also have seen the effect of true confidence, which you can obtain if you see a presentation as a performance, where you are educating someone on a particular topic. Confidence can also be true if you are truly proud of your slide design or content use etc. Points which you know will set you apart from others. Also if you truly see the topic from a “Curiosity and interest” point of view, your enthusiasm and confidence can be passed to the audience. This is what sets you apart as an interactive and confident speaker. This was something I realised during the business plan presentation (mentioned earlier) where I was asked to present at the last minute (10minutes before the seminars started). After giving the PPT, the professor did mention my enthusiasm and trust in the product I pitched was a singular factor that changed their minds on whether to invest in this product or not, it showed my confidence in myself and my product.


Moreover, using props are a good way of interacting with the audience, making your ppt stand out and memorable. This woks like magic. I remember myself implementing this into the paper plane I made for the ppt during the workshop, as well as using the highlighter as a flower to say 5 traits like the 5 petals of a flower make Coventry truly the place to be J.

I know for a fact presentations are not only formal for academia, but is an aspect of yourself everything you do, conversation or meeting someone for the first time and most important of all at interviews. The techniques I have learnt will play a key role in the areas stated above. Not always feasible, as you won’t implement all at all times, but with practice this is becoming a part of me, my personality, a habit.

Delivering effective presentations are not only useful for presentations you give but helps you to be the free and confident public speaker you always dreamt of being.

A very big thank you to Bev for this immensely insightful, helpful and personal character developing workshops. It has played a very very big role for the change I wanted, from the person I was to who I am now.

Kind Regards


July 26, 2012

Follow–up 3: The final academic presentation and nearing to career presentations

Follow-up to Follow–Up 2: Presenting With Confidence from Melvin's blog

This update focuses on my last action point; accommodating it in preparation and the pros and cons faced. My last and final action point to tackle was as follows:

Practise is also another point ( few sessions with loud presentations in front of the mirror or other people, as similar conditions as possible to the real thing)

Today was my final presentation for this MSc at Warwick, my final opportunity to implement everything I learnt, whilst also tackling my last and most ignored action point ‘PRACTICE IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR’. For this preparation was focussed on a lot, as the professor was quite specific about the way he approached presentations. This presentation was a confidence filled one, thanks to previous ones where being assertive whilst presenting produced good results. I must say all of the approaches and techniques I have learnt are beginning to become a second nature to me whilst presenting.

All the aspects of VOICE, ITONATION and PHYSICAL STANCE were all implemented smoothly. There was however a point where my throat ran dry. However, I was ready for this as I had a glass of water at hand. So, as I realised my throat was running dry a slight nervousness did set in. Seeing that this was occurring I used ‘ITONATION’ to set apart an important aspect of the pace ‘ The biggest advantage is there is complete collaboration without any conflicts’. Following emphasis on this aspect I created a pause to let the point to be emphasised, whilst also taking a quick sip of water. Thus tackling the issue smoothly.


Now specifically talking about the last action point of ‘PRACTICING IN FRONT OF MIRROR’, I realise that more I did that more I became nervous. I tried standing in front of the mirror and presenting, however somehow it made me more self conscious. I tried practicing with a group of friends and the result was the same. What I realised was, more I did an official practise session, ie. By standing up in front of everyone, more I became nervous. However, by doing a less official practise runs, that is when music running in the background or even talking whilst in the shower works better J.

Personally I thought this was strange, but is something that works for me. When I think of a presentation in a more relaxed setting, as a performance rather than an serious assessment, I perform much better. So, in the case of this presentation I practised thoroughly, however with music playing or whilst working out in the gym. One thing I definitely do is make sure I see and know the place where I am presenting beforehand. Additionally, whilst practicing I do picture myself there, though only once or twice. Another excellent lesson I learnt is the art of making nervousness a weapon in my arsenal. By seeing the nervousness as a precursor to success ( I’m not sure how to put this into words, but seeing the nervousness as an energy to perform well; as in the case of a boxing match seeing nervousness as a feeling that you can do anything). It is a sort of self motivational technique to put myself in the mindset to perform to the best. Overall the presentation turned out to be really good with the professor actually telling us in person that he loved out presentation and also hinted at a possible ‘Distinction’.

I must say even though the last action point was not literally suited to me and probably might be suitable for others, modifying and still suiting the practice session for individual needs and situation is vital. Thus is the end of academic presentations and begins the wait for corporate presentations to come.

My drive to presentation is seeing it as a performance, not an aural communication of words but an art in teaching, entertaining and interactively involving the audience. The famous words of John McTiernan (American film director & Producer) “The entertainment is in the presentation” is a view I implement to present with drive and confidence.

Kind regards



July 04, 2012

Follow–Up 2: Presenting With Confidence

Follow-up to P4 Delivering Effective Presentations from Melvin's blog

Follow-up 2: “There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” ~ Dale Carnegie

The past weeks being quite busy led to my late update on my progress. However, these 4 weeks provided me 2 great opportunities to practise and hence subsequently improve my technique and presentational skills. During the time following my last blog, I tackled my action points in two distinct scenarios. Through the 2 presentations I worked on the 2 initial actions points:

  • Tackling initial nervousness with concentrated and calm breathing
  • Ensuring a thorough filter of all the research available to ensure a flowing story with correct and only enough information to match the time available.(MUST, COULD & SHOULD know technique).
  • Obtain correct preparation: with a systematic personalised but flowing structure alongside other tools.

Subsequently, over the weeks I was exuberant at grabbing every opportunity to apply the principles in everyday life, conversing in a presentational manner with friends and family at times. Thus enabled me to work on my other action points:

  • ‘Practise is also another point ( few sessions with loud presentations in front of the mirror or other people, as similar conditions as possible to the real thing)’


Firstly, during conversations with friends and family, I ensured the full use of my mouth ( as you had taught the two finger approach). This helped me focus on my voice and understand the stability and power it gave to the words I spoke. Adding on to this I also added intonation and tone modulation to emphasise my point or add feeling to it, thus make my point of view more understandable. Building on this I ensured eye contact with an ‘ASSERTIVE POSTURE’ and smile, all valuable reflected in the way the audience responded positively by listening meticulously and giving their full attention Hence by using friends and family as the primary stage for practise I was able to prepare myself even before being presented with a need for a formal presentation. Nevertheless, being fortunate to have 2 presentations over these weeks allowed me to develop and actively implement these skills.

Secondly, preparing for the presentations was something I ensured I gave ample time to ( every time remembering the on the spot presentation on ‘Coventry’ I had to give during the workshop). The need for preparation was vital and so I ensured I was at least 60% ready 2 days before the presentation. Something that I have always found useful every time I become nervous was thinking back to when I had to stand on the bridge in front of the library and hum aloud. Always when I go on to present I remember the words ‘ Relax, Breathe and Smile’ prior to speaking. I must add it really has helped me to gain composure when I am very nervous. The presentations have also provides the perfect platform to use the voice intonations and modulation. Putting the experience into words is a little tough, thus I would like to share my words from a presentation, one opportunity where I spoke in the following manner:

 I understand to make our strategy a reality a lot of hurdles have to be overcome’…..PAUSE….EYE- CONTACT…….POSTURE …..’But we believe in it and we urge you to share the dream we believe in.’…..BRIEF PAUSE…..‘Thank you’ .

The presentations also gave me an opportunity to ensure a flowing story with correct and only enough information to match the time available. Whilst in a group presentation (30 minutes, 3 people) I used this tool thoroughly to ensure time keeping(as the markers were strict) and getting across the message well. As I was presentation the latter half of the presentation and thus finishing I had to reassess and filter the information needed to be conveyed without going over time.

The effect of the usage of all the tools POSTURE,PERFORMACE, PITCH, POWER and PACE etc was clearly visible as other students on numerous occasions chose me as a speaker for the group, as well as achieving a distinction for my presentation from the professors. Thus since the workshop I have put in hard work and effort into presenting with confidence. The results has changed my attitude and confidence considerably as following the workshop, over the weeks, I have become exuberant about the prospect of presenting. It has changed me as a person, making a significant difference to my life

Finally, I do believe the results are not limited to presentations, as in the case of standing up and talking, and believe these tools as well as measures will be very handy in personal branding at interviews as well as trying to convey ideas (Important as in the case of meetings with the supervisor for my thesis) something which I will be doing a lot of in the next two weeks. Even though I have downs every now and then I strive to practice, bettering myself at every chance I get because…………

“All the great speakers were bad speakers at first’’~Ralph W. Emerson


Melvin Joseman-jumping-joy-2159708.jpg


June 03, 2012

P4 Delivering Effective Presentations

Follow-Up 1: Self Reflection and Road to change

Although eager to improve my presentational skills, initially I was unsure as whether to book this workshop. However Bev through her 'Assertiveness' workshops, provided the motivation and determination needed to take the 'step for change' with confidence. Even though the idea of presentations to be made in front of an unknown audience seemed daunting, confidence was the first milestone that needed to be covered. Thus it made me book this workshop and in turn make progress on the path for change and personal development.

The workshop provided a very dynamic, challenging and solution driven environment to tackle myp4.jpg presentational skills and tackle my nervousness. Supported with the ‘Becoming More Assertive’ workshop, the need to maintain good non-verbal communication (posture, feet position, shoulder level) was just reinforced. The importance of posture was illustrated with practical demonstrations, illustrating the correlation of posture with breath supply which feeds to good voice production, something that I have to focus (as deeper the breaths, calmer it makes you feel).

Non-verbal communicational means also encompassed the ‘EFFG’: eye contact, facial expression, focus and gestures. All of these together builds a picture of yourself before, during and upon finishing the presentation. Thus giving me a clearer picture on the steps needed to present and perform effectively. The remainder of the P’s, Power/Pitch/Pace have all been previous knowledge, though the clear implications and characteristic reflections of the variations in these were not and thus has illustrated to me the importance the 5 Ps play in a presentation.

Key to professionalism and clear transfer of the presentational knowledge from presenter to presentee focuses also on the varied need for pockets of silence that emphasise and clarify points whilst also giving a touch of professionalism, the '2 second pause' Rule. Having previous experience with presentations the importance of structure, content and delivery was prior knowledge, though the detailed points of action for each was something novel and rather helpful.

Thus by having to perform 3 different presentations to a group of unknown individuals, as well as go out to the bridge and hum loudly the 5 Ps were tackled alongside a careful dissection of the presentational parts, structure or content or delivery.


Therefore in short, in succession to this workshop I have reflected on myself and my presentational skills, illustrating a set of key action points, central to tackling my prime weaknesses in presenting; nervousness and effective time management, the latter a resultant of poor filtering of data to suit the time limit provided.

With a new module on the horizon from next week, specifically one which carries 40% on a presentation, it provides a crucial opportunity to put into place everything I have learnt. I plan to meticulously follow the developed ‘Action Points’ , which include

  • Tackling initial nervousness with concentrated and calm breathing
  • Ensuring a thorough filter of all the research available to ensure a flowing story with correct and only enough information to match the time available.(MUST, COULD & SHOULD know technique).
  • Obtain correct preparation: with a systematic personalised but flowing structure alongside other tools.
  • Practise is also another point ( few sessions with loud presentations in front of the mirror or other people, as similar conditions as possible to the real thing)

Thus I will ensure a smooth start allowing for a steady beginning as well as ensure the right amount of information is presented for the time given. Hence these action points will be thoroughly implemented in the next 2 weeks prior to the presentation day and any issue faced tackled, in turn improving my presentational skills.

Thanking you Bev for a thorough, challenging and highly useful workshop

Best Regards

Melvin Jose

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