Effective Public Speaking
Effective Public Speaking

Effective Public Speaking

Lead Author(s): George Griffin and Contributors

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Designed to teach the skills and build the confidence your students need to become effective public speakers.

This content has been used by 6,007 students

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Top Hat has reimagined the textbook – one that is designed to improve student readership through interactivity, is updated by a community of collaborating professors with the newest information, and accessed online from anywhere, at anytime.


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Key features in this textbook

Effective Public Speaking gives students the confidence and competence in preparing and presenting speeches with real student videos, a comprehensive glossary, up to five in-class activities per chapter, and a full chapter on controlling speech anxiety.
Using Bongo for Top Hat, students can practice their oral communication skills and get feedback from instructors or their peers.
Built-in assessment questions embedded throughout chapters so students can read a little, do a little, and test themselves to see what they know!

Comparison of Public Speaking Textbooks

Consider adding Top Hat’s Effective Public Speaking textbook to your upcoming course. We’ve put together a textbook comparison to make it easy for you in your upcoming evaluation.

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device

$121.80

Hardcover print text only

$99.29

Hardcover print text only

$114.52

Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Content meets standard for Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology course, and is updated with the latest content

In-Book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Only available with supplementary resources at additional cost

Customizable

Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform

Pricing

Average price of textbook across most common format

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

Up to 40-60% more affordable

Lifetime access on any device

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

$121.80

Hardcover print text only

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

$99.29

Hardcover print text only

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

$114.52

Hardcover print text only

Always up-to-date content, constantly revised by community of professors

Constantly revised and updated by a community of professors with the latest content

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

In-book Interactivity

Includes embedded multi-media files and integrated software to enhance visual presentation of concepts directly in textbook

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

Customizable

Ability to revise, adjust and adapt content to meet needs of course and instructor

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

All-in-one Platform

Access to additional questions, test banks, and slides available within one platform

Top Hat

George Griffin, Effective Public Speaking, Only one edition needed

McGraw-Hill

Stephen Lucas, The Art of Public Speaking, 12th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach, 9th Edition

Pearson

Beebe & Beebe, Public Speaking Handbook, 5th Edition

About this textbook

Lead Authors

George Griffin, Professor of SpeechKeiser University

George Griffin earned his degrees at the University of West Florida and Auburn University. He has been teaching college, business seminars and workshops for over 30 years, while still doing public speaking engagements for non-profit organizations. Currently, he is serving as the Professor of Speech at Keiser University, Orlando, and as Adjunct Professor at Stetson University. George is also the author of “STAGE FRIGHT! A Student-Friendly Guide to Managing the Jitters.”

Contributing Authors

Wade CorneliusNew Mexico State University

Kathryn DederichsUniversity of St. Thomas

Morgan GintherInstructional Designer at Texas A & M

Luke GreenSt. Cloud Technical and Community College

María Elena BermúdezGeorgia State University

Daryle NaganoEl Camino College

Wendy YarberryFlorida State College at Jacksonville

Allen DavisIndiana University

Jasmine RobertsOhio State University

Krista MacDonaldDoña Ana Community College

Explore this textbook

Read the fully unlocked textbook below, and if you’re interested in learning more, get in touch to see how you can use this textbook in your course today.

Chapter 13: Technology and Public Speaking

Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson gives a TED talk on rocketry. [1]​


“If your numbers are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant.” 
-Tufte, 2003

Table of Contents

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to: 

  • Identify multiple types of presentation aids.
  • Determine what presentation aids will work best for a particular speech.
  • Explain how to develop, design, and deliver a successful presentation aid.
  • Describe the common types of online presentations.
  • Identify the advantages to online presentations.
  • Describe the challenges of online presentations.

Introduction

Good work, Jack! Jack was asked to give a short workshop as part of his upcoming research project. He was well-prepared for the speech, he worked at least twenty hours to conduct research, organize his main ideas, design an engaging PowerPoint slideshow that included several short motivational video clips, and he also practiced, practiced, practiced. Jack arrived twenty minutes before his scheduled workshop to make sure the room was set up, and to get the technology he was using for his speech up and ready to go. Unfortunately, the room he was presenting in didn’t have a computer and projector set up. In case of any technology glitches, Jack had a back-up plan. He brought with him a packet of handouts already printed that he could share with the audience to help them follow along with his speech. Thank goodness he was able to call tech support and get the equipment he needed before his audience started to arrive. While it wouldn’t have been the end of the world, if Jack had presented without his PowerPoint and video clips, he knew his workshop would be greatly improved using those tools to explain his message and engage his audience.

If you plan to use a PowerPoint slideshow or video technology as part of your speech, it will add several more elements that could go wrong with your presentation. As the speaker, it is ultimately your responsibility that the audience can see your slides, hear the audio coming out of your speakers (if you have speakers), and that links to video clips are working. It is unprofessional for a speaker to have to apologize or complain to the audience about blurry images, unclear audio, or hard-to-read text. When you go to a stadium concert, you don’t hear professional musicians complaining about their lighting or sound system when performing in front of an audience of 50,000 people. Why? Because the musicians got to the stadium five hours earlier to do a rehearsal and sound check. If you plan to use technology in your presentation, it is important to use it well.

What Types of Technology Are Used in Public Speaking?

In this chapter, you will learn how you can use technology to enhance your presentations in person as well as online. A variety of types of technology can be used in public speaking, ranging from presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Doc Presentations, and Prezi, to interactive presentation apps like Poll Everywhere, fully online webinars, and digital presentations. Technology can be used to enhance a speech and it can be used to present a speech.

Vice Admiral John G. Cotton​ gives a speech at the Naval Station North Island theater. [2]

Technology: In-Person Presentations

Public speakers can use technology to create professional and creative presentation aids, like slideshows, posters, or multi-media presentations. However, if used poorly, technology can be distracting, alienate audiences, and weaken a speaker’s credibility. Successful presentation aids enhance a speaker’s credibility and can even increase the persuasiveness of a message (Seiler, 1971).

Why Should You Use Presentation Aids Within Your Speech?

Using presentation aids can help increase audience understanding of your topic. Think about your own learning experiences: How do you best learn difficult concepts? Do your favorite teachers simply lecture, expecting you to absorb every word and concept? Or do they tell stories, provide examples, and use visual tools like illustrations, maps, and photos? Good speakers know that presentation aids can make a speech more engaging, increase audience understanding of complex topics, and potentially help the audience retain what they heard. Here's a TED talk given by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. As you are watching, think about how different his presentation would be without the use of visual aids. Could it have been nearly as moving? 


Common Types of Presentation Aids

Now that you know the value of presentation aids, let’s look at the most common types used by presenters:

  •  Objects or models
  •  Flip charts
  •  Transparencies
  •  Visual images like maps, diagrams, cartoons, photographs, other forms of art
  •  Graphs: bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts
  •  Flow charts
  •  Audio: music, sound bites, quotes
  •  Video clips
  •  Slideshows

Although there are many useful presentation aids, you should not attempt to use all of them within a single speech. Your presentation aids should clearly work together to enhance the content of your speech. For instance, if you decide to use a handout and a slideshow with charts, graphs, and key phrases, all of these visual aids should make use of the same type font and basic design.

Deciding what Presentation Aids to Use

Presentations aids vary from low tech to high tech. You can include props to help you demonstrate how to do something. For example, if you are demonstrating how to make guacamole, you could actually bring in the prepared ingredients to show the audience the steps to making your recipe. When deciding on what presentation aids to use in your speech, be sure to consider the location, size of the audience, expectations regarding professionalism, and what would best help you communicate the main purpose of your speech.

Be wise when deciding to use low or high tech presentation aids. When preparing your speech, think about the pros and cons of using different types of technology. Should you collect different types of presentation aids like pictures, graphs of data, video, audio, or lists, and present them using a digital slide show? Or would it be more effective to use a handout or flip chart? It is important to analyze your audience and the context of your presentation to best determine what types of presentation aids and technology would improve the communication of your message. (Review audience analysis and adaptation in Chapter 7.)

When selecting aids to use in a presentation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the selected presentation aids support the thesis and objectives of the presentation?
  • Do the presentation aids complement and enhance a presentation without taking it over?
  • Can you easily use the presentation aids? Are they easily viewed by the audience?
  • Do the selected presentation aids help maintain audience interest?
  • When you present, will you have access to the technology you need to successfully use your selected presentation aids? Do you have a back-up plan in case the technology doesn’t work?


Q13.01

You are presenting an informative speech to an audience of thirty people about the Boston Marathon. Which of the following presentation aids engage the audience and help them to better understand your topic? Select all that apply.

A

A pair of running shoes

B

Clipart of people running a race

C

A map showing the route traveled for the race

D

A flowchart showing the steps to qualify to run the race


Speakers often use presentation software to create mixed-media presentation aids in the format of a slideshow. Slideshows typically include charts, graphs, bullet points, video clips, audio clips, and images like photographs, cartoons, or illustrations. Speakers can find media online under the creative commons license to use in their slideshow. Speakers can also use digital cameras or their cell phones to record, download, and share their own video, audio, or images.

Mixed media presentations can greatly enhance your speech. Be creative! [3]​

Technology Resources for Creating Presentation Aids

Presentation Software


Infographic Applications

  • Piktochart - Design an infographic in less than thirty minutes with Piktochart. The website is user friendly and there are several free templates to choose from.
  • Easel.ly - Easel.ly is an application you can use to create infographics. It is also a place where you can share your work online. Visual.ly hosts a blog that posts the latest contests, tools, designs, storytelling, conversations, and more.


Finding Images

  • Flickr - Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application. Presenters can use Flickr to locate images to use within their presentation aids.
  • YouTube - YouTube is a video-sharing website. Presenters can use YouTube to share videos as part of their presentation aid.
  • Google Images - Google Images is a search service created by Google that allows users to search the Web for image content.

How to Create Successful Presentation Aids

When creating your presentation aids, be sure that the message is clear and easily understood. If the audience spends too much time trying to read or understand your presentation aids, they will spend less time listening to you. Instead, keep your presentation aids simple and meaningful. Focus on the content, design, and delivery.


Content

Public speakers should use technology to improve the audience’s understanding of the presentation’s message by engaging the audience, supporting the main points, and generating interest in the topic. Strong content is the most important element of a good speech and also the most important element of a successful presentation aid. Public speakers can use presentation software to create engaging presentation aids that add depth to the content of their speech.

“Presentations largely stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbers are boring, then you've got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won't make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure.” 
-Tufte, 2003


Design

Technology is a tool to improve communication. Adding extra bells and whistles can be distracting and take away from the main message of the speech. Make sure your presentation aids follow the principles of good design:

  • Keep your audience in mind.
  • Keep the format simple and clear.
  • Keep presentation aids engaging by limiting text and increasing visuals.

Be sure to keep your audience and location in mind when deciding how large your presentation aids should be. Think about how far away your audience will be from you. Will each person in the audience be able to see a photo that you hold up, or would it be better to project your image on a large screen? It is also important to consider the readability of your presentation aids. Keep in mind the font size of any text you use. You want your audience to be able to see your presentation aids as well as be able to clearly read the text.

To further help your audience view your presentation aids, be sure to create contrast between the background and any text, images, or videos. It can be very hard to read light-colored script on light backgrounds or dark-colored script on dark backgrounds. To avoid this design mistake, be sure to create high contrast by using a dark background with a light content color. 


Q13.02

A slide is too complex if it takes the audience more than a few seconds to process.

A

True

B

False



Q13.03

How could you improve the bad slide in the image above?


Here's a video of what one professor thinks are things that should never be done when using a powerpoint during a presentation and a TED talk on how to avoid them:

Death By PowerPoint:


How to Avoid Death By PowerPoint


Q13.04

Death by PowerPoint can be avoided by which of the following?

A

Keeping format simple and clear

B

Using text only slides

C

Incorporating an abundance of animation

D

Using fun clip art or visuals that have nothing to do with the presentation topic


Four PowerPoint slide layouts that always look good:

In addition, use a simple and clear format for your presentations. Many presenters recommend designing slides that have only one message. It can be tempting to use bullet points to list several topics on a single slide that you plan to discuss. This technique is common, but it is not the most effective strategy. Instead, use individual visuals with impact to support your message and add depth to your content. By limiting text, you will avoid saying and showing the exact same message.


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Delivery

Presentation aids should add value to a presentation; they should not deliver the speech for the speaker. The presenter is the center of attention, not the slideshow. As such, remember that your presentation aids are there to enhance your speech, not dominate it. Avoid reading your slides or handouts. Instead, engage the audience by using the effective delivery strategies you learned in Chapter 11.

Click here to see the script for Video 13.01.

Q13.05

What could the speaker have done differently to better engage the audience?


Technology: Online Presentations

You might be asked to deliver an online presentation for school, your job, or in your community. Online presentations can be given as mixed-media presentations, online conferences/webinars, or as a digital video recording. It is important to note that online videoconferencing is becoming more and more common. In 2014, the global videoconferencing service market was valued at $7 billion (Video Conferencing Market: Global Opportunity, Trends, Forecast 2015-2019, 2015). 


Online Presentation Formats

Online presentations can be categorized as asynchronous (pre-recorded) or synchronous (real time). An asynchronous, or pre-recorded, online presentation is a public speech recorded for later viewing by one or more audiences. For example, you could create a video of yourself presenting and post the video online via YouTube for others to view when they chose. Or, the video could be required for a class via Blackboard or other Internet-based course management system. Common asynchronous communication tools include discussion boards, blogs, and video recordings. 

There are many ways to conduct online speeches. What are some of the difficulties you might encounter? [4]

A synchronous, or real time, online presentation is delivered directly to an audience gathered online at the same time, but located remotely. For example, a speaker could present using Adobe Connect or Skype to a small group during a video conference. Synchronous online presentations have many similarities to in-person presentations, except for one key difference—the audience and the speaker are not located in the same place. When people communicate synchronously online, they communicate from different locations at the same time using tools like instant messaging, chat, or web conferencing.

Often, the format of an online presentation will be either assigned or stated within directions from your teacher, boss, or community leader. If not, keep in mind your purpose, audience, and context when choosing your format. Let the situation guide your technology choices.

Q13.06

If online public speaking students give a speech to a small audience, digitally record it, then upload those same presentations to YouTube for their professor to grade, what type of speeches are they delivering?

A

An in-person presentation

B

An asynchronous online presentation

C

A synchronous online presentation

D

A recording of an in-person presentation shared online asynchronously

E

A recording of an in-person presentation shared online synchronously




Click here to see the script for Video 13.02.

Q13.07

Watch this short online presentation. Identify what format is being used.


Advantages and Challenges of Online Presentations

Online presentations range from professional presentations, as seen via TED Talks, to casual video blogs, email activism, online tutorials, and more. Whether you are posting a YouTube video of your latest school project for your teacher, uploading a video of you sharing your latest opinion to your blog, or posting a professional presentation as part of your online resume, you are using technology to enhance your presentation. People are using technology and communication in the workplace, education, and a variety of social contexts. As you can see, technology is playing a greater role in public speaking in many settings across a wide range of platforms.

You need to be aware of both the advantages and challenges of using technology to present online. In-person communication is considered "rich" because communication occurs through multiple channels. In other words, both the speaker and the audience can see each other’s nonverbal clues like facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. In contrast, computer-mediated communication is a "lean" medium because less information is transmitted, typically due to the type of technology used. For example, if a speaker decides to present online using a podcast, the audience is able to hear the speaker’s words and tone of voice, but would not be able to see any of the presenter’s facial expressions. As such, you need to be aware of both the advantages and challenges of using “lean” technologies to give online presentations.

Q13.08

An asynchronous mixed-media presentation is a “lean” medium of communication because it lacks many of the nonverbal messages associated with in person communication.

A

True

B

False


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Advantages of Online Presentations

There are two main advantages of online presentations: flexibility and access.

Online presentations allow for a great deal of flexibility. [5]

Increased Flexibility

Online presentations offer increased flexibility for both the speaker and the audience. In order to attend an in-person speech, you need to be at a specific location at a specific time. In comparison, online video conferencing allows speakers and audience members to attend from multiple locations. Asynchronous online presentations allow for even more flexibility, encouraging audience members to watch the speech from different locations and at different times.

North ​American detail map of Flickr and Twitter locations. [6]

Increased Access

Presenters can use technology to increase access to their speeches. Since the use of technology in public speaking is not confined to a classroom, office, or auditorium, speakers can reach a diverse and often unknown audience in a variety of locations throughout the world. Attendance at an in-person speech is limited by the size of the venue and availability of audience members to be at that location at a specific time. In addition, it can be expensive for both private individuals and organizations to cover the costs of traveling to attend an in-person presentation or training session. Since online presentations can be watched by audiences in different locations and, if they are asynchronous, even at different times, speakers have the opportunity to reach a greater audience at a lower cost.

In addition, you can use technology to share your speeches without knowing who the eventual audience will be. For example, if you post a digital recording of a presentation publicly to YouTube, you could reach a small audience of mostly friends and family members, or the speech could go viral and be viewed by interested people from all around the world. Whether you are teaching elementary school kids how to do basic math, telling a story, or sharing a persuasive business presentation, you can give your speech from a location of your choosing at a time that works well with your schedule. Likewise, the audience can watch from a location of their choosing at a time that works well with their schedule.


Challenges of Online Presentations

It is especially important for online speakers to engage the audience. The main challenge with online presentations is that you run the risk of decreased, and often eliminated, physical presence and naturalness, which, in turn, can decrease a speaker’s chance of establishing a connection with an audience. Online presentations tend to lack social presence and immediacy, include less nonverbal communication, provide fewer opportunities for feedback, and experience increased technological difficulties. 

Social Presence and Immediacy Challenges

It can be a challenge for online presenters to establish credibility and find common ground with the audience because the online interaction feels less natural than in-person communication. After all, you are making eye contact with a camera lens rather than real, live audience members!

When delivering an online presentation, it is important that you attempt to build a connection with the audience by establishing and communicating a social presence. Social presence is the ability of a speaker to use computer-mediated communication to develop an interpersonal connection with an online audience. Social presence involves the extent to which the communication channel conveys the “presence” of both the speaker and the audience and recreates the characteristics of in-person communication. Characteristics of a face-to-face communication include facial expressions, voice inflections, body language, eye movement, gestures, and physical proximity. Many of the face-to-face characteristics are not available within computer-mediated communication. It is up to the speaker to engage the audience and make every effort to create a more personal experience. For example, when giving an online presentation, you can add a mirror and/or photos of people around your computer to remind yourself that you are presenting to real people even though your message is being recorded by a camera. 


Click here to see the script for Video 13.03.

Click here to see the script for Video 13.04.

Nonverbal Communication Challenges

In-person communication includes a variety of nonverbal messages (See Chapter 15 for a fuller discussion of nonverbal communication). Since we know that we will be losing much of the face-to-face naturalness when we do an online presentation, we need to make the most of what we do retain. In many online presentations, the characteristics of the speaker’s voice are the only elements of nonverbal communication that are available. Online speakers must learn to use their voices effectively and include vocal variety (a speaker’s use of tone, pitch, rate and volume). For example, imagine you are participating in a webinar. It helps to stand up when recording, and use body, hand, and facial gestures as you talk on the phone or Internet, even though no one can see you; perhaps even set up a mirror to watch yourself talk. Your voice will naturally include more vocal variety and come alive. You do not want your audio recording to sound like you are reading your presentation word-for-word, you want it to sound conversational and natural.

Click here to see the script for Video 13.05.

Q13.09

How could this speaker improve his or her vocal delivery?


In addition to vocal delivery, eye contact can also be a challenge in online presentations. Speakers cannot look audience members in the eye during online presentations. Even in synchronous presentations, the audience and the speaker are both looking at each other on screens. Yet, audience members will notice where you are looking, so be sure to always look toward the camera. It may be helpful to put a photograph, or even a stuffed animal, near the camera to remind you to look there, instead of letting your eyes roam absentmindedly.

Click here to see the script for Video 13.06.

Lastly, gestures and movement are often an important part of delivering an online presentation. If your online presentation includes a digital recording of yourself presenting, it is important to note that, because you are being displayed on a screen, your gestures (or lack thereof) will be more obvious to your audience. You will want to be sure your gestures and movements stay within the camera frame. You do not want to move in and out of the screen. You may want to speak from a single, fixed location.


Feedback Challenges

While doing in-person presentations, feedback from the audience lets you know if you are speaking clearly and if the audience understands your message. By paying attention to both the verbal and nonverbal feedback shared by an audience, effective public speakers will know if they are on track, if additional elaboration is needed on a particular point, or if the audience is losing interest. Online presentations can feel impersonal. It is hard for listeners to provide the same quality of feedback to a speaker who is presenting online. If a speaker is giving an asynchronous presentation, the audience has no chance to provide real-time feedback. There are more opportunities for feedback within synchronous online speeches. Audience members may be visible to the speaker and can use nonverbal communication to indicate agreement, confusion, or attention. Speakers might be able to ask synchronous audience members quick questions to determine if the audience can hear them, see a particular part of a presentation aid, or conduct a quick opinion poll.

Online presentations can feel impersonal. It is hard for listeners to provide the same quality of feedback to a speaker who is presenting online. If a speaker is giving an asynchronous presentation, the audience has no chance to provide real-time feedback. There are more opportunities for feedback within synchronous online speeches. Audience members may be visible to the speaker and can use nonverbal communication to indicate agreement, confusion, or attention. Speakers might be able to ask synchronous audience members quick questions to determine if the audience can hear them, see a particular part of a presentation aid, or conduct a quick opinion poll.

It is important to note that online audience members have a greater tendency to be distracted. For example, when presenting in person, it is often considered disrespectful for audience members to text, visit social media sites, complete other tasks, or even talk to others. In comparison, when audience members watch a speech on a screen, it is easier to give in to these distractions, much like watching a movie on TV. 

Technology Challenges

If you are using a powerpoint, or giving an online presentation, be sure to test all your equipment. Even if you are only using a mic, test that too. [7]

Online presentations come with an additional set of challenges for the speaker as compared to in-person presentations. Speakers should use technology to connect with the audience, however distant or unknown, rather than letting technology isolate the presenter from the audience. It is important to anticipate technology issues such as camera and microphone problems, downloading and uploading large files, or unreliable Internet access. If you have trouble with your recording device, difficulty posting or submitting a speech, or trouble accessing a particular website, contact the help team for those tools. Be sure to have important technical support and contact information written in a planner, a notebook, or even on a piece of paper taped to your computer. That way, if you accidentally lose access to the Internet or specific websites, you have technical support information handy.

Technological difficulties can be experienced by both the speaker and the audience, and just like when delivering an in-person speech, practice is essential. It is always a good idea to practice your online speech with the technology you plan to use before you begin presenting. If you or a camera operator is recording your online speech, be sure that you or this other person has a chance to record a practice speech and become familiar with both the equipment as well as your presentation. For instance, does the camera need to zoom in on your presentation aid at a specific moment in your speech, pan to a live audience, or get a closer shot of you speaking? After you record your practice speech, be sure to watch the recording and observe where you could improve. Consider the following questions:

  •  Can you, the speaker be seen? Does the lighting and background provide a clear picture of you?
  •  Is your vocal delivery effective? Can the audience hear you? Are you speaking naturally at an appropriate volume and an appropriate pace?
  •  Does it look like you are making eye contact with the audience?
  •  Are all of your gestures and movements within the camera frame?
  •  Can your presentation aids be seen clearly?
  •  Does the audience have time to process the content of your presentation aids?
  •  Does the setting of your speech look professional?
  •  Do you engage the audience?
  •  Did you remember to cite your sources both orally and within your presentation aids?

Practicing your online presentation before you give it or record it will help minimize technology problems. You will want to allow plenty of time for potential “takes” in case you experience issues while recording. Be sure you have a quality recording before you share or submit your final online presentation. Also, remember to save your speech in multiple places (USB drive, external hard drive, email it to yourself, etc.).

Recording Online Presentations

After you have prepared your presentation and practiced using your chosen technology, it is time to record your online speech. When recording your presentation, be sure to refer to these tips on background, lighting, camera view, and noise. These suggestions will help you when recording classroom speeches as well as scholarship applications, business presentations, trainings, or community speeches.

Background

When preparing an online video presentation, the speaker should set the scene to increase audience interest. Background elements can increase or decrease the speaker’s credibility and professionalism. Imagine you are watching an online presentation on the topic of professionalism in the workplace and the speaker is presenting from a messy bedroom with dirty clothes, snacks, and a few pieces of trash in the background. How would their background influence your perception and understanding of the speech? If you are preparing your computer-mediated speech at home or at work, plan to spend some extra time making sure the background is appropriate for your audience and topic.

Lighting

Online speakers need to select appropriate lighting when preparing an online video presentation; poor lighting can hide the speaker from view. As every movie star knows, good lighting can both showcase a speaker’s delivery and hide flaws.

  • Lighting from different angles
  • Too much lighting (washed out) vs. too little lighting
  • Direct and indirect lighting


Camera View

When preparing an online video presentation, it is important that the camera record the speaker and additional key elements of the presentation from an angle that helps the digital audience view the speech.

Noise

When recording an online audio or video presentation, it is important to capture the speaker’s voice at an appropriate volume. Also, be sure to record the online presentation in a quiet environment. It is important for the audience to focus on what the speaker is saying; the audience should not be distracted by extra noises. While it makes sense to hear applause after a performance or cheers after a sporting event, for other topics it might be distracting.

Click here to see the script for Video 13.07.

Q13.10

How could the speaker improve the quality of this online presentation?


Presentation Aids Within Online Presentations

Be sure that the content, design, and delivery of your presentation aids enhance your online speech before making your final recording. It is also important that all audience members, both in person and online, can view your presentation aid(s).

If you are giving an asynchronous audiovisual presentation, it is possible that the audience may never see you. The only element of your delivery that the audience will experience is your voice. In this type of computer-mediated presentation, the audiovisual aids stand in for the speaker and play a larger role in the success of the presentation. For example, if you are asked to give a brief introduction speech in person, you might decide not to use a presentation aid. In an online introduction speech, however, your presentation aids would not only help establish your social presence, but they would be absolutely necessary to provide the audience with a similar level of information and visual stimulation. To do this you could include a series of pictures of yourself at different times in your life, photos of places you have lived, as well as a recording of your voice telling the story of these key moments and places.

Using technology effectively as a public speaker can increase your confidence and increase the overall success of your online presentation. Whether you are preparing graphic/multimedia presentations, online conferences or webinars, or digital video recordings, you will want to use a well-developed, well-designed and well-delivered presentation aid as part of your computer-mediated presentation.

Technology Necessities and Reference Guide

Make sure you have the necessary technology available to you to successfully deliver your speech. [8] ​

Available technology for both the speaker and the audience is a key factor an online speaker should consider when deciding what type of computer-mediated presentation to use.

Smartphone, tablet, or computer: To deliver an online presentation, it is essential to have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The smartphone, perhaps the most convenient, is really useful for a quick recording, but often less helpful when preparing a PowerPoint or graphic computer-mediated presentation. There are numerous helpful presentation apps for tablets including Google Drive, which has free presentation tools. Lastly, computers may not be as portable, but they often have more storage, faster processing speeds, and more software.

Storage (30-50MB): You use storage space to keep items you have downloaded on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Storage is important for online presentations. There are two main types of storage. Local storage keeps the file on your device, and remote (cloud) storage keeps files on servers located around the world. If you don’t have enough storage (local or remote), you will not be able to keep an online presentation you’ve recorded.

Most computers come with 250-2000 GB of local storage. Tablets and smartphones typically come with considerably less, typically between 8 and 64 GB. If you plan to use remote storage to save your online presentations, you can use either public or private options. For example, YouTube is a site that allows you to store your videos online so they can be viewed by others. Private remote storage services include Google Drive and Dropbox. If you store files in private remote storage, you have control over who will be able to access them.

Platforms for sharing presentations and videos: After you have prepared your online presentation, you will need to share it with an audience, either synchronously or asynchronously. Many asynchronous presentations are uploaded to the Internet for viewing. Common platforms for sharing and viewing computer-mediated presentations include your school’s learning management system (LMS), textbook companion websites, and public platforms like YouTube, Slideshare, and VoiceThread. Common platforms for sharing synchronous presentations include Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and AdobeConnect.

Broadband connection to the Internet: Technology is a useful tool but it can also be a hurdle to those who don’t understand its functions or potential, so think ahead when planning your computer-mediated presentations. Whether you are delivering a synchronous or asynchronous presentation, you will need access to a broadband, high speed Internet connection. Avoid dial-up Internet, if possible, since you will have a slower connection to the Internet, causing you to lose access to your synchronous audience. When presenting to an asynchronous audience, a slow Internet connection can cause difficulties in downloading or uploading your presentation files. If you do not have access to high-speed Internet at home, you might consider going to a public library, school campus, or workplace for access.

Software: There are several types of helpful software for preparing, delivering, and sharing computer-mediated presentations (PowerPoint, Prezi and PowToon are a few examples). Presentation management software often includes tools for designing and using slides as well as tools for preparing and using speaking notes. If your device does not already have presentation management software, you can download packages from a trusted source on the Internet like Microsoft, Apple, or Google.

Microphones: Most laptops, tablets, and smartphones come with microphones, but if you have an older laptop or a desktop computer, you may need to purchase one. You will use a microphone to record your voice when delivering computer-mediated presentations.

Camera/Webcam: While both cameras and webcams are used to take pictures and record video, they differ in what they do with that information. A camera will store pictures and videos to its local storage. However, a webcam does not typically store pictures or videos; instead, it sends them in real time to somebody else for viewing. Cameras and webcams are essential tools when preparing and delivering computer-mediated presentations.

Cameras can be used to take pictures to add to presentation slides. They can also be used to record videos that will be uploaded or shared at a later date. For example, if you are preparing a presentation about your school, you may want to use your camera to take pictures of different locations around campus to include as part of your presentation slides. In addition, you could record a few short video clips of students commenting on their favorite spots for studying, parking, or meeting up with friends.

Webcams are typically used to deliver synchronous presentations and allow for participation in video conferences. When working on a group project, it can often be hard to get everyone together in one place at the same time. Your group might decide to meet online for a quick video conference call using Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. 



Summary

In this chapter, we discussed how you can use technology to enhance your presentations in person or online. Technology is a tool that can be used to develop and deliver presentation aids that add value to your speech and engage your audience. Speakers can also use technology to present their speeches online in a variety of contexts, such as online webinars or digital presentations for your class or job.

Effective presenters know both the advantages and the challenges of using technology when presenting. They strive to maximize increased flexibility and access, while minimizing concerns regarding immediacy, nonverbal communication, feedback, and technology errors. Speakers need to be sure they are using technology for a purpose, not just for technology’s sake.

End of Chapter Checklist

After reading this chapter, you should be able to say: 

  • I can identify multiple types of presentation aids.
  • I know how to determine what presentation aids will work best for a particular speech.
  • I can explain how to develop, design, and deliver a successful presentation aid.
  • I can describe the common types of online presentations.
  • I am able to identify the advantages to online presentations.
  • I can describe the challenges of online presentations.
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Video Scripts

Video 13.01

Do you ever text and drive? Do you know the risks? Did you know that at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.  Did you also know that although 46 states currently have laws banning texting while driving, the poll notes that 62% of drivers said they still like to keep their smartphones within easy reach when they are behind the wheel.

Texting while driving is dangerous. Next time you get in a car, think again about using your phone when driving. Today I will describe the dangers of texting and driving, identify a few reasons why we text and drive, and provide techniques for stopping this high-risk behavior.

In conclusion, don’t text and drive. I described the dangers of texting and driving, identified a few reasons why people text and drive, and provided several helpful techniques to help stop this high-risk behavior. 

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Video 13.02

Our quality of life is greatly affected by our use of technology. Please take a moment to think about the different forms of technology you used today. Because technology is such an integral element in our day-to-day life, it is hard to imagine that there are people in our world who have never used a cellphone or a computer. Educational differences in productivity, economy, innovation, and sharing of ideas occur between communities around the world that have technology and those that do not (AayushWho, 2012). The term “digital divide” refers specifically to the gap between people who cannot access the Internet or computers and people who can.

To begin, bridging the digital divide is important to education in the United States and worldwide because equitable access to information and knowledge is a human right. It is essential for educators to narrow the digital divide and increase access to technology, not just for technology’s sake, but to improve access to knowledge for all learners. Johnson (2011) states “our job must be about giving our students personalized, relevant instruction that develops their ability to make meaningful sense of the information-rich world they live in” (p. 4) in order to narrow the digital divide.

There are many tools and resources available for free or little cost that educators can integrate within their curriculum and pedagogy to increase student access to knowledge and better address 21st century challenges.

In this speech, I discussed how it is essential to narrow the digital divide so all students have access to technology. It is clear that educators need to begin using e-tools in the classroom to help all students, students new to technology and those that are already tech savvy, collaborate and communicate using e-tools. Imagine what our classes would be like if our educators used e-tools to enhance curriculum and pedagogy through active, collaborative learning activities that address Bloom’s higher levels of learning. Using e-tools purposefully not only prepares students for their future, but also creates a learning environment that is engaging and relevant.

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Video 13.03

I am up here to speak to you today about my goals for the future. Although I’ll be talking about what I want to do with my life, the main focus of my speech is to encourage you to think about your own goals. I hope that after this speech, you will be motivated enough to start working to make your dreams and goals a part of reality. That is what goal-setting is all about: taking ideas that were previously unattainable and turning them into very real possibilities. 

There are two kinds of goals in the goal-making process. The first, and most common, is the short term goal. These are the types of goals that are made every day and usually involve the immediate future only. Goals such as finishing a small math assignment, catching your bus in the morning, or even jogging around the block are all examples of these.

There are also other things important to the goal-making process. As John Lennon said, "I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Lennon’s point is that nothing will ever be accomplished unless you believe in yourself. Sometimes undying self-confidence is the only thing I have to go on. For example, when I moved to a new school in 6th grade, I was very nervous about coming to school on the first day. I didn’t know anyone in the entire school, and I was really scared. 

To conclude, only you can decide what to do with your life. If you decide not to set your sights high, you will never be motivated enough to accomplish anything at all. You have to take the bull by the horns, and decide for yourself what needs to be done. You need to challenge your own summit!

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Video 13.04

I am usually pretty good about following the rules at work. In fact, I would say that I adhere to more rules than most of my work colleagues. It shouldn’t surprise you that the first and only time I broke a rule at work, I got caught. One day I was so hungry that I took an apple from the decorative fruit bowl in the lobby of our office building. As I was taking a bite of that illicit apple, I turned around to find my boss standing behind me. She stared at me darkly and I knew I made a huge mistake. The look my boss gave me is an example of nonverbal communication. 

First, let’s increase our understanding of nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication is more than just how we use our hands when we talk. Communication scholars have identified several channels of nonverbal communication: facial displays, eye behaviors, movement and gestures, touch behaviors, vocal behaviors, the use of smell, the use of space, physical appearance, the use of time, and the use of artifacts. There are six characteristics of nonverbal communication that everyone should know.

In conclusion, nonverbal communication is very important in our daily lives. Nonverbal communication heavily influences how we understand each other. It is helpful to have a more in depth understanding of what nonverbal communication is and how to decipher nonverbal messages. We can learn so many things by increasing our awareness of nonverbal messages and practicing our communication skills. Learning to improve our nonverbal communication can be very effective in our everyday lives. I think Mark Twain said it best when he said, Twain (2007), “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.”

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Video 13.05

Chills, Headache, muscle pain, weakness and a low-grade fever, what seems like traditional flu symptoms are then followed by bleeding from your eye, nose, mouth and ears. These are the symptoms of the Ebola Hemorrhagic fever virus (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Based on the evidence I gathered from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, Washington Post, and CNN, Americans should be aware of the virus but not afraid of a high mortality rate or an outbreak. 

In an article published in the Washington Post, the borders of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone were closed after the rise of Ebola cases. According to Nabarro, “The U.N. will be working with neighboring countries affected by the virus to help transport supplies.”

Based on the given evidence from CNN, Center for Disease Control and prevention, Washington Post and LA Times, the Ebola virus is a public health concern. Americans should be informed, but not afraid. Fortunately, people around the world are working to make sure Western African countries receive the needed medical supplies and treatment needed to contain the outbreak. The experimental drug Zmapp has been successful in trials and, with further research, could prove to be the key to stopping the Ebola virus. 

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Video 13.06

 Listening. Are you listening to me? We have all heard that phrase because there really is a difference between listening and hearing. The definition of listening, according to Duck and McMahan in Communication in Everyday Life 2015, is the process of receiving, attending to, interpreting, and responding to symbolic activity. Among the many activities that a person does in 24 hours, listening is by far the most demanding with up to 12 hours a day devoted to it.

So today I’m going to explain how effective listening will result in more productive communication. We are going to look at three areas of listening; active listening, critical listening, and finally obstacles in listening.

We have looked at a couple of ways to listen however knowing how to listen is not the only thing that we must understand. Obstacles are distractions that can occur when listening to someone talk. There are many obstacles to listening. In this presentation, we will discuss only three: environmental, selective listening and experiential superiority.

This is an obstacle due to the fact that you will not listen to the message in its entirety. Instead, you will only hear the points that are important to you and miss out on other key details. 

We do not want to be the person hearing someone say “are you listening to me?’ because you are watching television or playing on your phone. Again listening takes a lot of work. We spend up to 12 hours a day listening and it would benefit all of us to limit obstacles, listen actively and listen critically. Thank you for listening.

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Video 13.07  

A poem by Mary Oliver in 2006 goes “The arrowhead, which I found beside the river, was glittering and pointed. I picked it up, and said, “Now, it’s mine.” This poem reminds me of being a little girl and how I felt when I found my first arrowhead. It was exciting! Hidden artifacts from the past surround us. Adventure is calling! Looking for ancient artifacts like.. CHRISTIAN! How's it going man? Hey can you turn that light on? Come on over dude, have a seat. You can be my audience. Tell me how I do.

I have hunted for arrowheads with my family ever since I can remember. Hunting for arrowheads instills a respect for nature and for the past. I will begin by giving a chronological sum up of the history of arrowheads, then I will discuss how to find them, and, lastly, I will describe the dangers and benefits of going arrowhead hunting.

Arrowheads are fascinating objects. Paul Hothem (2011) studies the history of arrowheads and notes that people began making them as far back as 14,000 years ago.

In “Safety and Ethics,” found on Nativewayonline.com it states, “the best places to hunt for artifacts are places that have been dug up or naturally disturbed already. Places that have been bulldozed, fields that have been deeply plowed, and creek beds that wash artifacts along provide environments that are not so threatened by casual collectors.” I agree. It is an especially good idea to begin your search beyond places commonly visited. In addition, I have found that early morning is the best time to look for arrowheads, specifically if they are made from flint.

In conclusion, knowing the history of Native Americans and what they used arrowheads for adds to the importance of finding them. Even though hunting for arrowheads is tricky at times and requires patience, it’s always great to be outdoors and enjoy the scenery and nature. Always be aware and respectful of your surroundings. Don’t forget the benefits of arrowhead hunting, the fun, the workout, and the money of course is sometimes important and makes it more exciting. So now you know the ins and outs of arrowhead hunting and hopefully inspired you to one day go search for some yourself. Happy hunting!

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References

Finkelstein, E. (n.d.). From Death by PowerPoint to Life by PowerPoint. Retrieved from:

Kedney, D. (2015, May 13). Why dial up Internet isn’t dead yet. TIME Magazine. Retrieved

Seiler, W. J. (1971). The Effects of Visual Materials on Attitudes, Credibility, and Retention.

Speech Monographs, 38(4), 351.

Tufte, E. (2003, September 11). PowerPoint is Evil. Wired Magazine. Retrieved from:

Video Conferencing Market: Global Opportunity, Trends, Forecast 2015-2019. (2015, June 24). Retrieved from: http://www.technavio.com/report/video-conferencing-market-global- opportunity-trends-forecast-2015-2019 

Image Sources

[1] Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson under CC BY 2.0.

[2] Image courtesy of Journalist 1st Class Greg Cleghorne in the Public Domain.

[3] Image courtesy of gfpeck under CC BY-ND 2.0.

[4] Image courtesy of Murray 1010 under CC BY-SA 3.0.

[5] Image courtesy of Raysonho in the Public Domain.

[6] Image courtesy of Eric Fischer under CC BY 2.0.

[7] Image courtesy of ​Jeff Hoard under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[8] Image courtesy of Jeremy Keith under CC BY 2.0.

Presentations Aid
Presentational aids are tools speakers use to better communicate their message. Presentation aids can improve an audience’s understanding of the message, improve an audience’s retention of the message, increase audience engagement, and enhance the speaker’s credibility.
Asychronous - adj
Computer-mediated communication that occurs intermittently over a period of time. When people communicate asynchronously online, they are communicating from different locations at different times using tools like blogs, discussion boards, or digital recordings.
Synchronous - adj
Occurring at the same time; in real time. A synchronous, or real time, online presentation is delivered directly to an audience gathered online at the same time, but located remotely.
Computer-mediated communication
Human communication that occurs through the use of two or more electronic devices. Many face-to-face communication characteristics are not available within computer mediated communication.
Naturalness
Genuineness; The ability of the speaker to communicate in an authentic manner and decrease ambiguity.
Social Presence
Social presence is the ability of a speaker to use computer-mediated communication to develop an interpersonal connection with an online audience. Social presence involves the extent to which the communication channel conveys the “presence” of both the speaker and the audience and recreates the characteristics of in-person communication.
Vocal Variety
Online speakers must learn to use their voices effectively and include vocal variety (a speaker’s use of tone, pitch, rate and volume).
Local Storage
The space used to store files on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Presentation Management Software
Presentation management software often includes tools for designing and using slides, as well as tools for preparing and using speaking notes.