The two settings I have chosen are a high school classroom and a grant review board. Both can be considered tough crowds with each requiring a different presentation style to be successful.
It is not uncommon for criminal justice programs, whether primarily government funded or non-profit, to apply for funding from outside sources to supplement or initiate programs. Many times these grants may require a brief presentation of 10-15 minutes which outlines the need for the funding and justification for the program. Providing a summary of any supporting research and local statistics, as well as a personal story where funding either helped or could have helped will effectively communicate the need. Should this be a request for continued funding, offering specifics regarding how fund expenditure will show fiduciary accountability, providing reassurance of the program being a good investment. Rehearsal suggested by Menzel & Carrell (1994) is beneficial for this type of presentation to ensure key points are covered within the specified time frame.
Engaging high school students in a presentation requires a completely different style and a time frame of 45-90 minutes. The advantages are that the format offers more flexibility to use audio-visual aids and activities to communicate your message, motivate for change and create enthusiasm for the topic. Methods I have found effective in classrooms are using activities where students express their opinion or can work in small groups, and relating real cases to emphasize points. This type of presentation can be more challenging due to the time frame and interaction within the group does not lend itself to rehearsal but the ability to respond to the group adjusting as needed.
Comfort in each of these settings depends largely on the presenter. Anxiety can often result in grant presentations as success can be tied to funding; however, the advantages can be seen in the short time frame and the ability to rehearse even to the point of memorization. Anxiety in presenting to classrooms can be the length of the program as well as the unpredictability of audience responses; advantages are the flexibility in choosing how the subject matter is conveyed and that audience participation lessens speaking time. It is not uncommon to have preferences or settings where a speaker excels; but research has proven that success in each is possible through preparation and practice (Menzel & Carrell, 1994).
Menzel, K. E., & Carrell, L. J. (1994). The relationship between preparation and performance in public speaking. Communication Education, 43(1), 17–26.
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