LM2DM Project of Lee Clowning Ministry

(Based on the presentation titled, "General Guidelines - How To Develop And Conduct A Presentation©" June 1999.)

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Value of planning a presentation Things to consider when developing a presentation Use good speech development concepts
Terminology How the human senses influence what a person remembers Equipment and supplies needed for the presentation
Value of the audience How to get people to do what you want them to do Benefits of practicing the presentation
Types of presentations Answering questions before they are asked Individual practice
Prayer Answering questions that people ask during the presentation Group practice & dress rehearsal
Why select a topic and title What to do when you get writer’s block How the presenter can establish the atmosphere for the presentation
Basic questions a writer needs to answer before starting to write Working with Bible verses Evaluating the presentation
Length of time allowed for the presentation Write and review the content several times Your comments are wanted
Understand the topic and how the audience relates to the topic

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Planning prepares you and your organization to be more effective. Planning will increase your chances of achieving success than you would if planning was not done.

Planning requires time and effort. Make yourself plan each activity even when you do not think it is needed. The more you plan, the easier it becomes. Planning will become a part of your normal method of approaching each project, large or small, in your life.

Planning ahead helps reduce the impact of the “I forgot” factor. Have many times have you found yourself wishing you had not “forgotten” to do something. Have you after hanging up from a telephone call, realized that it would have been better if you said something else? Have you left a grocery store and realized that you did not purchase an item that you wanted to buy? Have you ever started to prepare a recipe and realized that you did not have all the needed ingredients?


It seems that people are oriented to “planning” for the big activities in their life and let the “little things” take care of themselves. This article supports the idea that all activities will benefit if planning is done. Planning helps to ensure tasks are performed at the appropriate time and sequence.

Some of the following activities are large and require planning to perform the activity. Other activities are common everyday activities. A few seconds of planning can make the common activity more interesting and more productive.

Getting married. Buying a house. Conducting a telephone call.
Baking a cake. Buying a shirt. Preparing to teach a Sunday School class.
Planting a garden. Eating out. Asking a person to help you move.
Moving to another house. Washing dishes. Returning a broken food chopper to a store.
Preparing a speech. Delivering a sermon. Visiting a person in the hospital.
Asking your boss for a raise. Buying a DVD player. Inviting a person to attend your church’s
Sunday morning worship service.

The content of this article is oriented to a formal presentation, but the concepts apply to any situation through which you want to communicate with a person.

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Audience - The people that see and/or hear the content created by the writer and delivered by the

                    presenter. Depending on the setting, the audience can be called students, learners,

                    congregation, members, team members, clients, customers, etc. An audience can be

                    one person, several people, or many people.

Content - The words, ideas, body movements, visual display, audio sounds, presentation design, etc.

Presentation - Any action through which a person attempts to communicate with another person.

Presenter - The person or persons that deliver the content to the audience.

Writer - The person(s) that selects and writes the content. A writer can be called a designer.

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The audience is the focus of the planning of a presentation. No audience; no presentation.

The script or content is written to cause the audience to respond to the performance in the way that will cause the desired results to be achieved. Approach the topic as if you are a typical member of the audience. Do not write according to how you relate to the topic.

A poorly designed and conducted presentation is not the fault of the audience. The audience will often stop listening to a poor presentation. What happens when the audience cannot see, hear, or understand what is being presented to them? They will stop paying attention to the presenter and the desired results from the presentation will not be achieved. Pay attention to the comfort of the audience and make it easy for them to see, hear, and understand. Some people may show their opinion about the presentation by leaving the presentation.

What are some reasons a person is interested in your presentation?

            Personal interest.

            Personal need to know more about the topic.

            Value the person places on knowing more about the topic.

            His paid or volunteer position requires him to know more about the topic.


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There are different types of presentations, and each type of presentation may require some special planning that does not apply to other types. A drama skit is not developed and presented in the same way a sermon is developed and presented.

Some types of presentations are:




Drama skit

Singing a song

Bible study


A date


Working lunch

Phone call


Pastoral visit




Printed booklets

One page printed flyers

Sunday School class lesson

Sharing your testimony

One-on-one witnessing

Computer based training

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A Christian should always include prayer when planning, writing, practicing, and conducting a presentation. A prayer is to be used when working with any topic and presentation. Do not forget that prayer is a resource for every Christian.

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The topic identifies the general subject of the presentation.

The title defines the specific sub-section of the topic that will be covered by the content of the presentation.

A topic and title:

         Establishes a purpose and gives direction to selecting the content.

         Gives clarity and organization to the content.

         Unites the content.

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1. What is the topic?
2. What is the title? Some people will wait until the end of the writing of content to select a title. If a title is not selected at the beginning of the writing process, the defined desired results to be accomplished by the presentation become very important. The results become the guide for the writer.
3. What are the results you want to occur as the result of the presentation?
4. What is the target audience?
5. Will Bible verses be included in the presentation? If yes, what verses will be used, and what Bible translation will be used?
6. How much time is allowed for the presentation?

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The time allowed for the presentation is very critical to the planning of the presentation. Trying to put too much content in the allowed time will cause a rushed presentation, uncomfortable presenter, and often unclear portions of the presentation which results in the audience being confused.

The topic and title have to be selected to match the time allowed. It will be impossible to explain how to build a house in thirty minutes, but it is possible in thirty minutes to explain how to select the paint used to paint a room.

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The data obtained by preparing the following lists will create a good overview of what people think about the topic. When preparing the lists, be sure to consider the differences between a mature Christian, a growing Christian, a new Christian, and a non-Christian.

List the words people associate with the topic.

List the attitudes people have about the topic.

List the emotions the topic generates.

List the opinions people have about the topic.

List the three most common attitudes, emotions, and opinions the audience will have about the topic.

List potential Bible passages that relate to the topic.

List the ways society is currently reacting to the topic.

List the questions people have about the topic.

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What is the topic?

What are the number of presenters?

What is the age range of audience?

What is the age of target audience?

What is the education level of the target audience?

What is the anticipated number of people that will attend the presentation?

What is the topic knowledge level of audience?

What is the time allowed for the presentation?

What are the desired results?

Will handouts be used, and what is their purpose?

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The more human senses a person experiences during the presentation have a direct impact on how much of the presentation will be retained by the audience members. The five human senses to be considered when developing a presentation is what will the audience during the presentation see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.

A student can learn some things about painting a room by having a person describe (hear) what is done. The student can learn more if the presenter actually paints a wall (see). The student will learn even more if he gets to paint (touch) a wall after having seen a wall being painted. While painting the wall, the student will get to smell the paint. In this example, tasting is not recommended.

A room that is too warm or cool can have a “touch” impact on the audience that is not part of the presentation. Four or five fire trucks with sirens going strong will have a very strong hearing impact on the audience. They will probably forget what the presenter said when they heard the sirens and thought about what could be happening to cause that many trucks to be on the street.

The atmosphere of the meeting place is part of the curriculum associated with the presentation. Do not forget this factor.

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The presenter needs to utilize the power of “telling” and “suggesting.” If you have some authority over the audience, you can get things done by telling them what to do or suggesting what they are to do. Often the presenter does not have any authority. He can still use the power of telling the audience what to do. Part of the audience will do what the presenter tells them to do. You can suggest that people do specific things which can be a way of getting people to do what you want them to do.

The “power of suggestion” works through the subconscious which will remember what is said and can actually influence what a person does without the person knowing it.



      Tell the students what you want you want them to do.

      Give the students a reason to do what you want them to do.

      Tell the student why it is in their best interest to do what you want them to do.

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When planning the presentation, anticipate questions people may have and provide the answers to the questions during the presentation. By answering the questions, you demonstrate to the audience that you understand the topic. In the presentation, you may actually ask the question and then give the answer.

You can answer questions by not specifically announcing that you are answering the question. You can answer the unspoken question by giving the answer without having indicated that you were responding to a question that people often have.

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Not all situations in which a presentation is made allow for a question and answer time. An example is a sermon. When possible, give the audience the opportunity to ask questions. This is not the accepted way of conducting a sermon, but what is wrong with having a question and answer time during a sermon? The preacher may be able to address questions he did not think about while preparing the sermon. Try it. Surprise the church members.

Be sure to state at the beginning of the presentation when questions can be asked such as a specific time can be set aside for questions to be asked by the audience or questions can be asked at anytime. If questions can be asked at anytime, do not allow the questions asked to alter the design of the presentation. If the question applies to what is being said at the time the question is asked, you can answer it when asked. A good way to handle questions is to wait and answer the question when the presenter is at the time in the presentation that the content relates to the question.

When a question is asked, write down the question so you will not forget to answer the question at the appropriate time. It does not look good if the presenter does not answer a question after it has been asked.

Some people will use a question to try to get the floor to talk about something he has done or show that he thinks he knows more than the presenter. When this occurs, state that it is not part of the presentation, and if there is time at the end of the presentation, the topic could be discussed. This type of person can be very persistent and give the presenter a problem by taking time away from the planned presentation. Stay alert when a person during a question starts talking about what he has done.

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It is common for a writer when developing the content of a presentation to reach a point when he cannot think of any good ideas for the presentation. When this occurs, perform some other activity or write about another topic. Working on another topic or performing another activity will free the mind and allow the mind to be ready to start thinking about the original topic.

Sometimes a writer can experience the writer’s block on one part of the presentation. He may find that if he moves to another part of the presentation, the ideas will start flowing.

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After selecting the Bible verse(s) that will be used in the presentation, study the Bible verse(s) using resource material. Make sure the meaning of Bible verses when taken in context of the surrounding verses supports the message you want to convey. Stay true to the meaning of the Bible verses you use. Do not force a Bible verse to say what you want it to say.

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After completing the first draft of the material, read the material and evaluate each word that you have used. Ask yourself, “Is what I have written communicating what I want?” Have several people read the material and comment about what it says to them so you can obtain other opinions about the content. If the people that read the material get a different meaning than what you intended, review the material and make the appropriate changes.

At times, it is good to have people with different levels of knowledge about the topic to review the material. Also, have a person to review the material that has the same topic knowledge level of the target audience.

The content may require several rewrites after the first draft copy is completed. Continue to rewrite the content until the quality is such that you are proud of it.

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When planning a presentation, use good speech planning and presentation techniques. It is good for all people that work with people to be trained in preparing speeches and making speeches. Books on writing and presenting a speech is available at retail bookstores and public libraries.

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After you have developed the presentation, make a list of the equipment and supplies you need when making the presentation. The type of presentation you make will determine what you need. When you practice, make the practice as realistic as possible.

Some things you may use while making the presentation is:

Speaker’s stand. Easel with paper pad. Chalk or white marking board.
Easel with paper pad. Eraser. Chalk or marking pens.
Overhead projector. Table. Note pad and ink pen.
Water to drink. Pointer. Electrical extension cord.
Sound system. Handouts. Tissue paper or handkerchief.
Throat lozenges or cough drops.

A list of the needed materials can be used as a check off list before each presentation to make sure you have what you need. It can be embarrassing when you find out that something is missing when you start to use it.

Check off lists are valuable to help keep people from forgetting what they are to do. It is good to have a check off list that includes what needs to be completed before the presentation is started and what needs to be completed after the end of the presentation.

Be specific when defining what you need when someone else is providing the materials you will use during the presentation. Why? You may tell a person that you need a table without mentioning the size of the table. You may have some problems when you need a six foot by three foot table and the table that is provided is two foot by three foot. Be specific. Do not make assumptions!

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Why is practicing important to the presenter? It makes him very familiar with the content, knows what he is to do, and confident. A confident presenter has a different attitude than a presenter that is unsure of himself and unsure of what he is to present.

Be sure to perform a live practice with costume, props, music, sound system, lights, etc. This activity can point out problems that can be changed which will improve the presentation.

Time your activities while practicing. It is good to know the length of the presentation. If it is too long, you can reduce the content. If it is too short, you can add more content. It is not good when a presenter is given a specific length of time for a presentation and he takes more time.

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There are two methods an individual can practice a presentation. 1) Physically conduct the presentation. 2) Close your eyes and visualize yourself conducting the presentation.

When practicing, perform every activity, all body movements, and every spoken word. A person can practice his portion of a presentation even if more than one person is involved in the presentation. If possible practice in front of a mirror or video camera so you can actually see what you are doing and your actual body movements.

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Make sure each person involved in conducting the presentation knows what he is to do in each phase. When practicing, each person is to be present and participate in the practice.

Make the practice as realistic as possible. A dress rehearsal means the practice will be conducted as if it is an actual presentation including wearing the clothes that will be worn during a presentation.


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There are expectations that the audience has before the presentation starts. The audience uses these expectations to evaluate the presentation even before the presentation starts.

The audience will want:

         To see everything that occurs during the presentation.

         To be comfortable with the design of the room or performing area.

         The temperature of the room to be comfortable.

         The seats to be comfortable.

         To hear and understand what is broadcast through the sound system at a reasonable volume.

The audience may have a negative attitude even before the presenter says the first word.

Start on time and end on time.

If possible have all equipment set-up and tested before the audience starts arriving.

Before the presentation starts, the presenter needs to make sure he can read his notes and see the overhead display if one is used.

It seems that the chairs in most rooms are set-up so people will sit behind each other in rows. This can create problems when a tall person sits in front of a shorter person. When possible, have the chairs staggered so they are not in a row running from front to back of the room.

If a presentation is conducted for five audiences, each audience will have its own personality and challenges for the presenter. Some audiences will be very responsive to the presentation while some audiences will not be as responsive. The presenter will obtain energy and encouragement from a good audience whereas a “poor” audience will cause the presenter to have to draw from within himself what is needed to generate the energy level he will portray to the audience.

Drawing energy from within yourself requires a lot of personal effort and can leave the presenter mentally drained.

A presenter with a low energy level will generate low interest in the audience and will enable the attention span of the audience to decrease. A high energy presenter will have a better chance of keeping the audience’s attention than a low energy presenter.

A presenter that reads his script will look like he does not know his material. A presenter that reads a script will help create a low energy presentation and cause part of the audience to lose interest.

The first two or three minutes of the presentation are important to the process of engaging the minds of the audience. A poor start can lose the audience for the entire presentation. The end of the presentation is important in that it is the last thing the audience will hear and remember. Make sure the presentation’s beginning (First Impression) and ending (Last Impression) is effective.

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An often ignored activity is the evaluation of the presentation. Each presentation should be evaluated even if it has been conducted several times. The audience always evaluates a presentation.

When evaluating the presentation, some things to consider are:

        Were the desired results achieved?

        What activities did not occur as planned?

        What conditions existed that caused problems?

        What problems did the presenter experience?

        Did the audience respond as expected?

        What could have been done that would have enabled the presentation to be more effective?

        What needs to be changed before the next presentation is conducted?

Plan to receive an evaluation from the members of the audience after the presentation. If possible, try to obtain an evaluation from each member of the audience. For a large audience, getting an evaluation from each person may not be feasible. In this situation, try to get an evaluation from a cross section of the audience. Be sure to take the audience’s evaluation seriously.

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Express your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this page’s content to Dale Lee.

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