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Presentation Points

November 2001 By DMN Staff Writer
In this month's free e-news from Wilder Presentations, I'd like to discuss two ideas for presenters and one for designers. Use the monthly challenge to test out your new skills.

People receive and process information differently. Visual types need to see the information; auditory types need to hear it and say it themselves; and kinesthetic types have to do something in order to really grasp the concept.

Last month we talked about visual types. This month let's hear about auditory types. When operating from an auditory modality, you hear words, tones, and sounds. If a presenter does not have an agreeable voice tone to you, you have an almost impossible time listening to the content. Some auditory people process life out loud. When you ask them a question, they don't just say the answer. They tell you everything "out loud" that led up to their answer. This can sometimes take a long time. Everyone knows people like this:
"He chewed my ear off."
"She talked until she was blue in the face."

So how can you include the auditory modality in your presentation? First, your voice has to be agreeable. That means it cannot be monotone-you need a varied and well-modulated voice. Second, you need to give auditory people time to talk out loud. Some auditory people really only learn when they say the words out loud. No matter how many times you repeat the information, they won't retain it until they say it themselves.

Here are some strategies for auditory types:
Have people talk to one another about the information so they can hear themselves speaking.
Elicit questions so people can say the answers.

Many auditory people really retain what's been said. Statistics and facts spoken out loud are enough for them remember the numbers-they don't need to see a trend line on the screen. Nor do they like a lot of clip art, unless it's appropriate. They will remember spoken detailed descriptions. A visual person really does need to see a map, whereas you don't have to draw your auditory listeners a map. Just tell them. To gain the attention of auditory types, give an organized talk that follows the agenda.

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