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Demonstrations

One of the best ways to communicate information of a "how-to-do-it" nature to children or adults is by a good demonstration. Demonstrations can range from showing simple skills such as hammering nails, sawing a board or planting a seed to those showing more complicated, detailed skills like caring for a baby or contour plowing a field. There are a number of points that should be kept in mind when carrying out any demonstration.

- Follow a plan. Select and organize the ideas to be communicated in terms of the specific audience and objectives.

- Perform the demonstration smoothly. Be sure all necessary demonstration materials are at hand before the demonstration is scheduled to begin. A full rehearsal is necessary to foresee possible problems.

- Catch the audience's attention and focus it on key points. Try using a flannel board, flip chart or chalkboard to list important points.

- Emphasize Important points. Use supplementary visual materials or try repetition. One often-quoted rule of speechmaking that applies to demonstrations is "felt them what you are going to tell them; tell them; then, tell them what you told them." Take-home leaflets are useful as reminders of important points in the demonstration.

- Involve the audience. Involve a member of the audience who is skilled at the activity being demonstrated. Have him carry out all or part of the demonstration. Meanwhile, describe what he is doing. Ask questions or have members of the audience repeat steps in the demonstration. Not only will this help them feel involved, but also details that might have been misunderstood can be clarified.


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- Follow - up. Shortly after the demonstration, check to see if the audience is making use of the techniques demonstrated.

Evaluation Questions

Could all members of the audience see and hear adequately?

Could the demonstration have been improved by a different organization? by slower pacing? by additional emphasis of important points?

Was sufficient attention paid to the slower learners?