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36 Rules For Better Verbal Presentation

  • by Igor Grushko

36 Rules For Better Architectural Verbal Presentation During PinUps

By Igor Grushko, Studio Alternativi

In most architecture schools, project PinUps are a weekly routine, but not every architecture school gives you the right tools to make these presentations go smoothly. 

Based on my tutoring and guidance experience, I’ve figured out and came up with a list of 36 rules and tips for a verbal architectural presentation, to make you communicate your project’s ideas in a smoother, less stressful manner and make your project’s inner depth reach the audience. Hope these will help you.


Let's start:

1.
Drink no alcohol, use no medication to treat attention deficit (Ritalin and same).
That may cause the opposite effect you are aiming for. 

2.
Pay special attention to the first part of the verbal presentation. Once you’ve started smoothly, there is a big chance the rest will go the same positive way. 

3. 
Fake it - Even if you hadn’t prepared enough or you’re just super nervous, don’t talk about it and don’t show it out. 

4.
Remember the first and the last sentence of your speech, without the need to look into your notebook.



5.
A day before presentation - make a list of potential questions that might be asked during your PinUp, write the questions down and find a good answer for each one of them. Questions that you are worried about the most, will be asked somehow, you need to be prepared.



6.
Sounds silly, but works - Present to yourself (in front of the mirror) or in front of your friends a day before. Try to fit in 80% of the time you will have during the real thing. Make 5 rounds at least, use the same voice strength as will be used during the real thing.



7.
Every piece of information that can be communicated with a visual, should be communicated with a visual. Never talk about something that can be shown with an image.



8.
Never make changes to the structure and the content of the presentation on the day of the PinUp.



9.
Don’t read from the project boards or the digital presentation. Everything you say should be an addition or an extension to what is already seen and obvious.



10.
If it’s a physical presentation, get used to the space you're going to present in. Visit the auditorium/ class room in advance, learn what is special about it.



11.
Create a set/ stack of heavy paper notes and write/ print bullet hints in the right order on them. Holding the papers in your hands during the PinUp will give you extra confidence.



12.
Try to spy for the names of the critiques that will review and comment on your project, you need to know what to expect.


13.
Ask your friends to be part of the audience - it will give confidence.


14.
Appear at the PinUp auditorium/ studio class room before others.

15.
Strange, but helps - Make some stretches to make your body move freely and less sore.

16.
Breathe - Several minutes before, make 10 inhales/ exhales. You’re entering a state of inner calmness and self control. 

17.
Your verbal presentation is best absorbed when communicated in a form of a story. Don’t bother to write down the entire text in your paper notes, use only hints and bullets.

18.
Don’t over prepare, don’t make “ self mirror presentations” on the PinUp day. 

19.
Pay attention to the final part of your presentation. It should leave the audience with a positive “Aftertaste”.


20.
At the beginning of your monolog, make sure to talk about site location and the planning challenges you’re dealing with. 


21.
Use infographics for any quantitative information. Images communicate information better than text.

22.
During preparations ask your friends if everything seems and sounds legit.


23.
If you are the one responsible for the presentation space arrangements, make sure everybody sits strictly in front of you, never with a side to you. 

24.
Make sure the projector screen is by your left side. 

25.
Make sure natural and artificial light do not make it difficult to see what is projected. 

26.
Try touching with your sight every pair of eyes in the audience. That makes people concentrate. 

27.
Try to slow down your talking, in many cases we talk faster than the audience is able to comprehend.


28.
Play with the strength and the tempo of your voice, monotonic talking makes everybody want to fall asleep. 

29.
Talk with your hands, rich body language is a sign of high self confidence.

30.
Don’t cross your legs while presenting. 

31.
Don’t put your hands in the pockets (one hand might be acceptable). 

32.
Keep your back straight. 

33
Avoid the “Cow Syndrome”, avoid “Ehhh…”, “Mmmm…”, “Mooo…” between words. 

34.
Get rid of “Like…”, “You know…”, “Kind of…” and similar parasite words.


35.
Never react with antagonism to a negative critique.


36.
Never trust the internet, always keep your presentation backup on a flash drive in your pocket.
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