What techniques are commonly used?
“It really depends on the intent of the speaker and the expectations of the audience. Scholars rely heavily on structure techniques: they declare what they are going to say, they use signal words and summarize. You see politicians doing it often. And when they build, they use the circuit technique: at the end you point back to an example From the introduction. You don’t explicitly state the end, but a good listener will notice. TED speakers are also a lot more structural, but less clear. They want an inspiring story and use many stylistic tools. They don’t say “I’ll finish” but “There’s something else I want to give you.” “
Are all advice books equally useful?
Little research has been done into presentation or rhetoric in this sense. It is largely an area of expert analysis and judgment. This is valuable research, but it often focuses on case studies of specific discourses. Perhaps you check out two books with two completely different tips on the same technique. For example, should you announce the conclusion of your presentation? This closure is often associated with better retention. Some books say you have to advertise because then the audience’s ears will get closed. Others say you shouldn’t do this because everyone is already going to be packing their bags.
What advice really works?
In one experiment, we tested three versions of the same presentation: a version without a summary, one with an informative summary that repeats all the main points, and a third short summary that doesn’t repeat the content, but says, for example: “Given” but doesn’t say what those solutions are. Our experience showed that the media summary had the greatest impact on audience keeping and was also of the best value. An indicative summary is just as effective as non-summary. So if you’re summarizing, do it right.
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