HOW TO BECOME RHETORICALLY FIT FOR YOUR POWERPOINT PRESENTATION

Rhetorikübung - Sprechblase

The most beautiful PowerPoint slides are of little use if the presenter cannot express himself properly. If a speaker shines with excellent rhetorical skills, you can be sure that he has practiced for it. With a little rhetoric practice, you can significantly improve your skills as a presenter. We will show you what you need to do for this.


All people who are in a position of responsibility need a minimum of rhetorical skills. Executives and presenters in particular depend on being able to express themselves convincingly and clearly. Speaking freely in public is part of almost everything today. It starts with team meetings or PowerPoint presentations and goes all the way to financial press conferences of international corporations. Those who are convincing with their public speaking can achieve more. For career and business success, it is advisable to specifically train your skills in this area. We will give you a few tips on how to improve your rhetorical skills step by step. The exercises may feel strange at the beginning and cause some stress. But that’s not uncommon when entering new territory. Cut yourself some slack and take each exercise in stride. 

RHETORIC EXERCISE 1: SHORT EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEECHES


Ask one or more colleagues or friends to help you with this exercise. Have them spontaneously give you a topic of their choice, about which you must now speak for 3-5 minutes, completely unprepared. You are not supposed to give an expert presentation. The exercise is primarily about reducing speech inhibitions, concentrating and getting into a good flow of speech.

RHETORIC EXERCISE 2: DON’T BE THROWN OFF TRACK 


Ask your colleagues or friends to help you with the exercise as well. Prepare a presentation on a topic of your choice of about 10-15 minutes in length. While you are giving your presentation, at irregular intervals give them a slip of paper with a call to action. This may be opening a window, cleaning the whiteboard, or moving your jacket to another hanger. It doesn’t matter what action you are asked to perform. The point is to keep you talking in a focused manner despite the interference while they complete the tasks. This is how you learn to stay focused, no matter what the disruption is to your speech.

RHETORIC EXERCISE 3: SUMMARIZE AND REPRODUCE TEXTS


A variation on the impromptu exercise. Find an interesting article from your newspaper, a magazine, or the Internet. Select a text that is somewhat longer and read it carefully. Afterwards, take 3-5 minutes again and summarize the most important content points in a short presentation.

RHETORIC EXERCISE 4: BRAINSTORMING EXERCISE 


You don’t need an audience for this exercise. The point here is simply to speak freely for 15-20 minutes. No matter what goes through your mind, speak it out. At first it will seem silly, but you will soon get used to it. You will find that you get better and better at following a thought for a longer period of time and talking about it coherently. This exercise will slowly overcome your inhibition to speak aloud.

RHETORIC EXERCISE 5: QUICK CHANGE OF TOPIC 


The point here is to quickly adapt to new things. Pick 3-5 topics in which you are not an expert. Take whatever comes to mind. Maybe pasta recipes, Egyptian death cults, railroads, and famous fashion designers. Write down the topics on a piece of paper each. You can also ask someone to choose some topics for you. Now draw the first slip of paper and start talking spontaneously about the topic you drew. After 5 minutes, draw the next slip of paper. The transitions should be reasonably smooth.


Conclusion: Speaking in front of an audience is like learning a foreign language. You need to put aside your inhibitions and just start. The foreign language learner who wants to cram more vocabulary and grammar before he starts speaking runs the risk of never finding the courage to address a local on vacation with his imperfect skills. Putting yourself in front of an audience and speaking in public can cause discomfort, but without taking the plunge, it won’t work. The rhetoric exercises will help you lose inhibitions and present your topic at the next lecture or PowerPoint presentation in a concentrated and at the same time relaxed way.  

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