Keep your composure

Thankfully, nervous reactions can be controlled or minimized in two powerful ways. The first is to change one's state of mind. The other is to prepare, organize, and deliver the presentation in ways that reduce anxiety.

Exercise 4.1. Slide presentation format

A. Organize this text in traditional slide format with a short-phrase title and bulleted sentence fragments.

"Carbon dioxide dissolves readily in water and forms small quantities of carbonic acid. The salts of carbonic acid and simple carbonates usually account for the largest part of the electrolytes in aquarium water. This means the absorption of carbon dioxide by plants is closely linked to the complex system of aqueous carbonic acid and carbonates."

B. Organize this text in Alternative Design format. Suggest a graphic aid that would be helpful.

"Twenty-one species in the order Crocodylia are known around the world. Of these, only the American Alligator and the American Crocodile are native to the United States. However, a third species, the Spectacled Caiman, has been introduced in extreme southern Florida."

C. Match the numbered and lettered items to identify optimal visual elements for an effective computer-generated slide.

1.

Good font for body text

a.

All capital letters

2.

Preferred typeface for

b.

Complex spreadsheet

headings

c.

14 point type

3.

Minimum type size for

d.

San serif font such as Arial

body text

or Helvetica

4.

Good type size for

e.

Vertical

projection in large room

f.

Serif font such as Times

5.

Worst kind of slide graphic

New Roman

6.

Preferred graphic

g.

White letters on blue

orientation

background

7.

Preferred color

h.

Decorative image with

combination

sound effects

8.

Alternative Design slide

i.

28-30 point type

title

j.

24 point type

9.

Best kind of slide graphic

k.

Visually based support for

the title's claim

10.

Worst style for headings

l.

Horizontal

m.

Dark letters on a light but

not white background

n.

Complete sentence

Although it may not feel like it, state of mind is a choice. You can dwell on personal shortcomings, or you can take an optimistic, enthusiastic view about the excitement of talking about something you enjoy to an audience that is on your side and wants you to succeed. As Gurak (2000) points out, your audience can't tell whether you are nervous inside, but only whether you show it outside. She notes that anxiety and confidence are a cycle. Feeling anxious causes you to lose confidence and losing confidence causes you to feel anxious. However, feeling confident lessens anxiety, and lowered anxiety increases confidence.

A speaker actually should feel some intensity in order to be alert and enthusiastic. This is far better than sounding tired and bored with the entire presentation! Don't let these feelings frighten you. Confidence will soon take over if you are well prepared.

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