Pace Yourself: The Art of Going With the Flow

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Theatre directors are responsible for how a play is supposed to flow. If a scene drags on too long, the audience will get bored and demand their tickets back. If a scene rushes too fast, the audience will get confused and will also demand their tickets back.  The director finds the perfect flow that presents the play in the best possible way. He or she understands the most important parts of the play that need emphasis and the parts that don’t. This tactic proves successful for plays and can also apply to presentations.

A presentation can go to waste if the pace is not balanced. Presenters who often speak too fast hinder the audience’s ability to absorb the message. Vice versa, presenters can drag on unimportant points that will bore the audience and lose their attention. Presenting in a nicely balanced flow will make your presentation look polished and perfected.  A great way to find your presentation’s perfect flow is by following these steps:

Plan it out

Using the time frame you are given, divide up your presentation into blocks. Each block should focus on a specific point. List each block as to the most important to the least important. The most important points should be given more time, while least important points should be given less time. Plan pauses and breaks for better impact.  Planning out your timing is crucial because you are now focusing on the important messages the audience needs to receive. Write this plan down on a piece of paper as a reference when rehearsing.

 Transitioning

Transitions can make or break the flow. This is where you can lose your audience and can make your presentation fall flat. When moving on to the next slide or topic, make sure you have a line that leads into your following point. Transitioning keeps the flow going and ties your points neatly together. For transitions you can use appropriate jokes, stories or a common thread between all points. Transitions are the traffic directors to your presentation that keeps everything moving along.

 Testing, testing 1-2-3

Test your timing. Record your presentation and listen to it. Listen for what areas of the presentation need to be expanded upon and what needs to be shortened. Act as an audience member yourself and critique each area. Hearing the presentation out loud will allow you to recognize any rough spots. Listening will also help you hear any rambling or unnecessary information that can be cut out.

Let others be the judge

Rehearse in front of other people and ask them if there are any areas that need to be expanded upon or shortened up. This will be the most helpful because you are seeking the opinions of real people. This would also be a good time to test out any jokes or non-scripted parts and see the reactions from your audience. Ask for their opinions; see if they feel bored or confused in some areas. Use their critiques for any final adjustments to the presentation.

       Every play has important lines or scenes that need emphasis, just like every presentation has important points and topics. The best parts of a play should be shown off and that is exactly how a presentation should operate. Speeding through the best parts spoils any play or presentation. The audience won’t get a chance to see your best shot and a flow helps them to. By planning out your points, prioritizing them, practicing transitions, testing and rehearsing in front of a small audience will help you find that perfect flow for your presentation.

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