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Presentations to Social Clubs

How to make presentations to social groups such as churches, Lions Clubs, Rotary, and other similar groups.

By Clifford A. Schaffer

How to find them.

Many of them will be listed in your local phone directories. If no chapters of a particular group are listed in your area, it doesn't necessarily mean they don't exist. You can also look in the Encyclopedia of Associations, at your local library, to contact their national headquarters and ask for any chapters in your area.

What kind of groups typically have meetings where people can make presentations?

Here are just a few examples:

Lions, Rotary, Elks, Moose, churches, synagogues, Chambers of Commerce, Business groups, other social clubs, political parties, etc. Any place where more than a few people gather for nearly any purpose may be an opportunity to make a presentation.

How to get a date to speak to their group.

First, put together a coherent, sensible presentation of material pertinent to your area of interest. It is best to present factual, interesting material, rather than political diatribe. Visual displays and graphics are always good to help keep the audience's interest.

Second, call them. You will be surprised at the number of social groups which are looking for, or receptive to, speakers. Calling them is the toughest part for many people, but it is really easy. The worst that can happen is that they will say no, and you have heard that before.

What is interesting to these groups?

Many of these groups want speakers for their regular luncheons.all the time for their lunch and, therefore they cover a wide variety of topics over the year. You will often find a situation where there is someone who is designated to find good speakers for the meetings who invariably has a hard time finding enough interesting speakers to fill the bill. Therefore, in many cases, there is a wide degree of latitude in what these groups would like to hear. The facts about hemp are usually interesting to these groups, but there are any number of other subjects which would also get a good reception with a good presentation.

Dress and act conservatively.

The people in these groups are business people for the most part, and will expect and appreciate a business like demeanor and approach. Whether you like it or not, they are most likely to respond favorably to conservatively dressed and "normal" looking and acting people, as opposed to the "hippy" look.

Use Visual Aids

Charts, graphs, pictures, and other visual aids can be very helpful in getting your point across. There are a number of charts and graphs on these pages as samples of things you might use.

Read the Persuasive Strategies and Debate Materials

These social groups tend to be politically and socially conservative so wild-eyed arguments about how it is everyone's right to get loaded will not get a good reception. The best approach is a soft, factual approach which presents some part of the vast amount of information which most people don't know about drugs. Don't promote or even defend the use of drugs, drug dealers, or anything else that your audience will find hard to accept. You will often have a long way to go to convince them, so don't try to bring them too far, too fast.

But I am afraid to make presentations to groups.

What are you afraid of? That you will look like a fool? (As if that hasn't happened before.) Seriously, speaking in front of a group is one of the items which produces the highest levels of fear in many people. They realize everyone is looking at them and they get nervous and freeze up. The more nervous they get, the more they worry about it, and the more nervous they get.

Forget it. If you are afraid of embarrassing yourself and looking like a fool, don't worry. In the first place, most people don't have to stand up in front of a group to look like fools, so looking like a fool is nothing new. Get over it. Everyone looks like a fool now and then. The truth is that most members of most audiences are so awestruck by anyone who can get up in front of an audience and speak (because they know they couldn't do it themselves) that they will never notice that you are nervous - at least not to the degree that you feel nervous.

Experience will get you over it. The first presentation is the roughest, and from that point it gets progressively easier. By this time I have done so many, and encountered all the questions that come up so many times, that I could do these things in my sleep. There are a lot of other people who are also quite adept at presentations and they started out as shy wallflowers just like you. Give it a try. You will find it is a lot of fun.


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