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PROJECT ON:“Individual Presentation”

BB-306 Seminar & Executive Communication

Submitted to: Ms.Rupinder Kaur


Submitted by:
Nand Kishor Sharma
BBA 3rd semester
University Roll No.-80911320023
S.No Title Page No.

1. Introduction 1-2

2. History 3

3. History of individual T.V. presentation 4-8

4. Types 9-13

5. Presentation requirement 14

6. Sample for evaluation form 15-16

7. Tips for oral presentation 17-19

8. All you need to know about giving presentation 20-25

9. Representation check out 26

10. Presentation prepare and practice 27-30

11. Question and answer sessions 31

12. Individual presentation skills 32-35


Figure. No. Title Pages

1. Introduction 1

2. History of T.V. Presentation 7

3. History of T.V. Presentation 8

4 History of T.V. Presentation 9

5 Informative 13

6 Arousing 14

7 Decision making 15

8 Templates 25

9. Clip art 27

10. Humour 30

11 Eye contact 31

12. Question and answer session 34



Presentation Training Quote

"You only get out of it what you put into it. If you are a sheep
in this world, you're not going to get much out of it."

Greg Norman
Individual presentation is the method is telling about your strengths. It contents
information about personal skill, core skill, personal qualities, qualifications etc.
You may have existing documents such as a CV, personal statements, action
plans and reviews of work related activities. These documents need to be up-
dated or renewed at regular intervals to:
• Include the latest information about your skills, qualities, knowledge &
understanding and qualifications.
• Highlight particular personal strengths that show your suitability for a
course, training programme or job.
In the individual presentation don’t worry, have confidence. Before you speak,
think twice that the point you r going to present is logically, relevant to subject,
genuine, situation and time is very right for this point. Recognise that
nervousness can be a positive motivator.

“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity
opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social
environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such

Albert Einstein

A history of presentation

Self presentation of the anthological art. I believe that to understand art we must
know history from Stone Age to the present-day. Primitive men-unable to draw-
used to make hieroglyphs which were found in the places where the early
inhabitants of the earth lived. As time passed men learnt to draw and
represented what they saw. This is the Palaeolithic, a time when men discovered
tools and started to carve wood and use earth to paint. They slowly improved
their way of expression, history went on to reach middle age, then renaissance
and thanks to Brunelleschi and Leonardo da Vinci; we reached the knowledge
of perspective and proportions. After renaissance we entered a period of decay
due to over-decorated figuration but with impressionism art could also
communicate various feelings. Cezanne went through subjects and started post-
cubism which - I believe - was an important step forward to modern art,
expressing intimate feelings rather than exterior valves. Picasso understood the
change that Cezanne had brought and gave birth to cubism with which art
entered modernism. In the past we aimed to the perfection of shapes, now we
want to express intimate feelings also coming from UN conscious. I want to add
that even ancient Greeks studied intimate values while nowadays everybody is

after exterior valves. New technologies conditioned options and tastes to allow
industry and political power to make profit. Television and atom fission were
big discoveries which were not thought of as a mean of destruction. They did
not think that television could interfere with the perception of reality, changing
thus the aesthetic conception of art and thoughts allowing the creation of an
artificial-self. Wend we look at that art representing consumer goods or interior
decoration which derive from conditioning of mass-media, we are not facing art
but a substitute of mass-media. Works were there only because the experts who
chose them were conditioned by the market or by the dealer who had business
interests, and if also the choices of sure works of art are of dispute, they also re-
enter always in the literal description and not for artistic expression, but the art
has necessity of descriptive inner values and therefore they re-enter in the
literature. I don't believe that art is dead as some art historian say because as
long as human beings have interior valves to express, art will not die. The artist
must have found his own intimate self to express it. The one who is able to find
his own self is enlightened, the others are in the shade. An artist, when he places
himself of its work in order making art, bring with him all the genetic evolution
and also that acquired one historical.

History of Television Individual Presentation

Since Television is said to have been
officially introduced into British society in
1936 presenters have been used as tools to
introduce, front and control the different types
of programmes transmitted onto the screens.
The television set, and what one is able to
offer has changed dramatically since they first
became available. It first offered simply one
channel, named. The BBC Television Service.
Fig.No. 2
After the times of war in the country, during which television was shut down as
the few programmes on offer were replaced by the Home Service, this channel
split and became two - BBC-1 and BBC-2. This started a continual rise in the
number of channels and services the public could pick up through their
television. As advances in technology continued, more people
gained the use of a television and more stations were introduced to
rival those that existed.
My aims to look back over the years of television, to focus upon

the function of the Presenter on the screen and to investigate whether the
meaning of what this role involves has altered with regard to the advances in
television itself. Whether appearing in a drama, debate, on a chat-show or any
kind of television production, a person could be seen to be presenting
themselves? as they know a factor of their role includes being watched by an
audience of some number. By the word presenter in the context of this project, I
mean those who are specifically instructed to be at the forefront of the action on
the programme and usually look directly into the camera at some point in an
attempt to directly acknowledge those viewing. The actual definition of what a
presenter may be considered to be can be seen as follows;
Presentable: fit to be seen or introduced.
The main role of a television presenter when the service
commenced, was that of the continuity announcer or later known as the station
host.These presenters played an important role in running and advertising the
Station they worked for. The continuity announcer would appear initially alone,
although as television developed it became more common to see two continuity
announcers on screen simultaneously, and their main role was to appear in-
between programmes and announce details of the programme to be aired next.
When the television service by the BBC resumed after the war in Britain, the
continuity announcers remained in their role as
before. As BBC Television screens became alive again in 1946, after the dark
war years, the BBC initially decided to continue with bow-tied men and
beautifully dressed women to link the programmes.
The continuity announcers were given more responsibilities on the
stations as they became an integral part of their transmissions. They were used
by the BBC to present trailers for forth coming television attractions and on the
TV Network in the 1950s and 60s to apologise
or fill in when the channel experienced programme disruptions.
The typical continuity announcement, at perhaps 45 seconds, would
include not only timing information, but tit bits of information about
productions still planned, stars to be engaged and gossip from the sets.
No announcement would be complete without the closing words can be seen
later tonight/next weekend/later this season on the TV region with this
As rival channels began broadcasting, competition was created, as a
result of which, the way in which the continuity announcers were
presented on a channel began to clearly represent the image the station
wanted to give to their audience. The BBC television station in the
Midlands, for example, used their continuity
announcers in a way in which helped to portray them
as the family station. This was done by ensuring that
their male continuity announcers were always dressed
smartly in blazers, even during the summer months.
The way in which their announcers positioned

themselves in front of the camera was another way in which the station
attempted use them to appeal to their
family audiences. They would sit at a distance from the camera, to give a more
formal impression.
Fig.No. 3
The announcers themselves and the surroundings they were viewed within, on-
screen, were often adorned with the channels name or logo in an attempt to
advertise the station. They became a symbol of the channel they worked for and
their presence became a tool used entirely for promotion. Westward, a television
station that began in 1961 in the South West of England, employed a regular
team of station hosts and these functioned as a productive tool in familiarising
viewers with that station.
Continuity announcers became an important part of the package a station
was offering viewers. If a station changed the presenters who filled
these roles, and the viewers didn’t like them, the results could be disastrous. An
example of this is a company called Harlech Television, who, in an attempt to
give their station a more modern edge, replaced their announcers with ones they
considered to be more with it?. The results were that people switched over to
other channels in their droves.
What can be seen in the Harlech example is that viewers build a very
personal relationship with continuity announcers over time, and come to
treat them as friends. When six or seven disappear overnight then the effect is
shocking, unpleasant and the relationship between the channel
and the viewer is severed.
Perhaps just as important in creating an image on a television channel
as what it broadcasts, is what it chooses not to. For example, the delay in
apology or complete lack of one when a programme is disrupted, by a fault, can
give the impression that the channel cares less about its viewers than it should.
It could be assumed that as the number of television channels grew, the
less stations cared about keeping their viewers at home happy and the
more they cared about making a profit.
Around 1961, the BBC decided to remove their in-vision continuity
presenters from their prime time service, and by 1963 they were no longer to be
seen at weekends or off-peak times. The majority of time during which a viewer
used to see an announcer was to be replaced with a growing number of
advertisements. For most television companies, this loaning of time on their
channel for others to advertise their products/services, meant an increase in
The days of the bow-tied male announcer, or his female counterpart in
her ball gown were doomed. The once fledgling Independent Television was
growing in audience terms.
TV retained the use of their continuity announcers for some
considerable time after the BBC finished with theirs, and they could be

seen on their channels until the 1980s. After this time, the cost required to
maintain this regular feature or the view that this type of presenting was now
old-fashioned, had prevailed over the decision to continue to use them.
On television channels today, in-vision continuity announcers are few
and far between. One channel can be found that still features them and
that is an ITV regional company in the United Kingdom-the station is named
Ulster Television.
Announcements with similar information to what the in-vision
announcers stated are still to be heard between programmes on most channels,
and in-vision continuity announcers are still used on most childrens channels,
such as Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel. They are a presenting technique
thought worthwhile keeping on such channels, to help focus childrens attention,
so it is less likely that they will get bored and switch the channel over to
Now a presenter tends to be employed via
show not to represent an entire television channel or
station. Presenters are now used as an integral
part of a programme, they do not stand-alone, and
they have to fit with
the type of show they are working on as a pose to
the station.Presentation is now the package a
presenter must fit into, not create. Examples of in-
vision Fig. No. 4
continuity presenters that moved from linking programmes to working within
them are Judith Chalmers who now presents holiday programme .Wish you
were here and Michael Aspel who now presents the news.
The formal presentation that was often a requirement in the dress of in-
vision continuity announcers has continued in another area of presenting on
television and that is the news. However, as new channels are created, many
offering their own news bulletins, attempts to change the style of news-reading
in order to attract and keep viewers are being
The requirement of presenters to posses such characteristics as clear
diction and a smart image, has dramatically changed over recent years, largely
due to the change of presentation techniques used by television programmers.
An example of this is the channel MTV, on which traditional presenting
techniques have been abandoned since the channel launched, with more
emphasis being laid upon image. Kelly Brook is a presenter who has fronted
programmes on MTV. She was well known in society as a typically attractive
and trendy female personality. Due to her lack of successful presenting
experience, one can only conclude that it was her image in society rather than
the possessing of skills once thought necessary to become a presenter, that
secured her this position on MTV.
Donna Air in another example of a presenter whose image clearly seems to

have prevailed over the attributes of experience and ability in a television-
presenting role today. She had little experience of presenting before being
installed as a presenter on MTV, however she was well known by teenagers
across the country having starred in a teen drama. MTVs viewing audience
would be similar to that of this teen drama. It would be conceivable therefore, to
assume that it was for these reasons alone for which she was offered this
position, on a channel whereby image and status are of primary importance.
The uniqueness of MTV lay in its abandonment of linear logic.
Instead of presenters and continuity announcers soberly leading viewers through
a day’s viewing, MTV adopted the aesthetic of its own videos: the
jumpcut, the replay, the abandonment of narrative structure.
The function of the presenter on our screens has clearly changed
since television began. The reasons for this could be mainly attributed to the
advancement in technology. This is because when television as first introduced
in Britain, it was a commodity almost exclusively available to the wealthy. As
technology advanced, television itself became cheaper to own and therefore
became available to a wider number of classes in society. Also, due to these
advances, many rival companies such as Sky and Cable arose, providing a wider
selection of channels, each specialising in different subject matters. As a result
of this, the need to reform presenting techniques was a fundamental requirement
in order to attract the ever-increasing and diversified audience. Therefore it
could be understood that the single most important motivator for change within
presentation techniques in Television is that of the general public.
By sticking to current issues, even in comedies and soaps,
programming emphasises its commitment to the present The time of almost
every police show or soap opera is now. Television seems to have made a
determined effort to have programming, like marketing, refer itself as directly as
possible to the audience.

Types of Presentations

The first step in preparing a presentation is to define the purpose of your


The following is an overview of several common types of presentations and

their purpose. Each presentation type requires a specific organization technique
to assure they are understood and
remembered by the audience. The
suggested organizational structure
is also provided.

1. Informative

Keep an informative presentation

brief and to the point. Stick to the

facts and avoid complicated information. Choose one of the following
organizational structures for an informative presentation:

Fig.No. 5

• Time
o Explains when things should happen
o Works best with visual people or people who can see the overall
organization or sequence of events
o Use words like "first," "second," "third," to list order

• Place
o Explains where things should happen
o Works best with people who understand the group or area you are
talking about
o Use words like "Region 1, 2, 3, or 4" to explain order

• Cause and Effect

o Explains how things should happen

o Works best with people who understand the relationship between

o Use phrases like "Because of ____________, we now have to

• Logical Order
o Simply list items in their order of importance
Works best with people who are accustomed to breaking down
complex data into components in order to digest the material

2. Instructional

Your purpose in an instructional presentation is to give specific directions or

orders. Your presentation will probably be a bit longer, because it has to cover
your topic thoroughly. In an instructional presentation, your listeners should
come away with new knowledge or a new skill.

• Explain why the information or skill is valuable to the audience

• Explain the learning objectives of the instructional program
• Demonstrate the process if it involves something in which the audience
will later participate using the following method

o Demonstrate it first without comment
o Demonstrate it again with a brief explanation

o Demonstrate it a third time, step-by-step, with an explanation

o Have the participants practice the skill

• Provide participants the opportunity to ask questions, give, and receive

feedback from you and their peers
• Connect the learning to actual use
• Have participants verbally state how they will use it

3. Arousing

Your purpose in an arousing presentation is to make

people think about a certain problem or situation.
You want to arouse the audience's emotions and
intellect so that they will be receptive to your point
of view. Use vivid language in an arousing
presentation-- project sincerity and enthusiasm.

• Gain attention with a story that illustrates (and

sometimes exaggerates) the problem

Fig No. 6

• Show the need to solve the problem and illustrate it with an example that
is general or commonplace
• Describe your solution for a satisfactory resolution to the problem
• Compare/contrast the two worlds with the problem solved and unsolved
• Call the audience to action to help solve the problem
• Give the audience a directive that is clear, easy, and immediate

4. Persuasive

Your purpose in a persuasive presentation is to convince your listeners to accept

your proposal. A convincing persuasive presentation offers a solution to a
controversy, dispute, or problem. To succeed with a persuasive presentation,
you must present sufficient logic, evidence, and emotion to sway the audience to
your viewpoint.

• Create a great introduction because a persuasive presentation introduction

must accomplish the following:
o Seize the audience's attention

o Disclose the problem or needs that your product or service will
• Tantalize the audience by describing the advantages of solving the
problem or need
• Create a desire for the audience to agree with you by describing exactly
how your product or service with fill their real needs
• Close your persuasive presentation with a call to action
• Ask for the order
• Ask for the decision that you want to be made
• Ask for the course of action that you want to be followed

5. Decision-making

Your purpose in a decision-making presentation is to move your audience to

take your suggested action. A
decision-making presentation
presents ideas, suggestions, and
arguments strongly enough to
persuade an audience to carry out
your requests. In a decision-
making presentation, you must tell
the audience what to do and how
to do it. You should also let them
know what will happen if they
don't do what you ask.

• Gain attention with a story

that illustrates the problem Fig No. 7
• Show the need to solve the problem and illustrate it with an example that
is general or commonplace
• Describe your solution to bring a satisfactory resolution to the problem
• Compare/contrast the two worlds with the problem solved and unsolved
• Call the audience to action to help solve the problem and give them a way
to be part of the solution

Presentation Requirements

• Your presentation should be a total of 15 minutes, including 1-2 minutes

at the end for questions.
• Your presentation should be done in either Microsoft PowerPoint or Web-
based and will be delivered via the laptop and LCD projector in the
classroom. You should come to class with a floppy of zip disk containing
your presentation. To save time try to arrive a few minutes early so we
can preload your presentation on the laptop. Or, you can email me your
presentation before class, and I'll load it on the laptop.

• Your presentation should have a multimedia component, which means
that you must have graphics and at least one video clip integrated with the
presentation. I realize video clips will not be readily available for each
topic, but nonetheless you must include one. Try to make it as relevant as
possible. Possibilities include interviews or news clips about the incident
or the people involved, or "stock" footage of something related to the

Tips for Good Presentations

• Do not put too much text per slide and use big fonts.
• Do not read your slides. Face the audience and paraphrase the ideas on
the slides, using the slide bullets as reminders.
• Use graphics and multimedia effectively to help make your points, but not
just for flash.
• Know everything you present. Be able to explain in detail any aspect of
the information you present.

Presentation Grading

Your presentation will be graded on the following aspects:

• Presentation quality (including multimedia component)

• Delivery
• Coverage of topic
• Knowledge of topic
• Critical evaluation of topic


Individual Presentation Evaluation Form


Evaluator's Name:

Presenter's Name:


Briefly describe video clip:

Overall Rating (circle one):

Excellent Good Fair Poor

Suggestions for improvement

Tips for Oral Presentations

This guide is intended to give a few tips for your presentation. It is neither
complete nor precise. You must decide what is appropriate for you and your
topic, then go with it. What is important is that you plan!

Timing. An individual presentation is allocated 30 minutes (this could be an

hour if you are in a large team, in which case scale the timings up). This
includes about 5-10 minutes for questions. You should plan on 20-25 minutes
for your presentation, and you must not take more than the total allotted time.
After your prepared presentation, you will lead a short period of discussion and
entertain questions. You should plan on interacting with your audience during
this period (perhaps during the entire 30 minutes). If, when you finish, no one
has any questions or comments, it is your responsibility to stimulate some
discussion. One way to do this is to leave out something in your talk that you
expect them to question, then turn the question on the audience if they are silent.

You are expected to rehearse your presentation, so you do not finish extremely
quickly, and you do not run overtime (in which case you will be cut off). Speak
at a normal pace (not too fast, and not too slow to bore the audience). Usually, it
is effective to use cadence to emphasize a key point: a slowdown brings
attention to the point, especially if there is a visual aid on which to focus. This
could also work against you if you inadvertently change cadence over a minor

If possible, get someone to hear you and give you feedback (in exchange for
your doing likewise). Use a stopwatch to time yourself in at least one rehearsal.

Content. Your objective is to communicate with your audience; oral

presentation has a different associative mechanism than a written report
(gestures and tones, for example, are important).

Your basic outline should be the following:

1. Introduction - tell them what you are going to say;

2. Background - introduce necessary terms (illustrate complex ones with
3. Main Results - tell them what you have to say;
4. Conclusions - tell them what you said.

The Introduction should be a succinct description that prepares your audience

for what follows. It should take about 2-3 minutes and use 1 or 2 overheads. The
Background should present the key elements of what you have to say and
should take about 3-5 minutes. Together these should take about 6-7 minutes.

The Main Results should take about 15 minutes. The beginning should be
smoothly entered, having prepared the audience adequately. Similarly, there
should be a smooth transition, as you begin to present your conclusions. The
Conclusions should take about 2-3 minutes.

I shall use 5-7 minutes for evaluations by your fellow students, so you have the
full 30 minutes to use. If you finish early and there are no questions, you must
elicit some discussion from your audience. One way to do this is to ask them
some questions, which you might have expected them to ask.

Form. What you have to say - i.e., content - is communicated by how you say it
- i.e., form. Prepared overheads are very effective visual aids when they are
designed and used properly. Blackboard writing is not suggested, except for
answering a question, because it takes time and will not communicate as well as
a carefully designed overhead.

Although there are some advantages to spontaneity, you are urged not to deviate
from your prepared presentation (until the discussion period). If you do, you are
likely to run into trouble. Let the audience know right away if you welcome
questions during the presentation, or whether you prefer that they wait until the
end. If someone points out a mistake, thank them. Answer all questions
honestly; if you do not know an answer, say so and ask if someone else can
answer the question.

Make each overhead clear and uncluttered. Use the visual aid quite literally and
do not spend space on words. Your aim is to highlight, reinforce, focus and
illustrate a point (perhaps 2). Miller's magic number, 7+-2, describes a limit (of
chunks of information) of how much one can retain in immediate memory.
Without going into this, it suffices to note that you could overburden your
audience if you require them to see too much at one time, or if you require that
they remember too many terms from earlier overheads.

Be sure to speak clearly and distinctly. Avoid filling pauses with "uhm", "like"
and "you know". Humor can be very effective, but do not tell a joke that might
offend someone.

Your presentation is an amalgamation of your communication skills that uses all

senses (primarily vision and hearing) and wit to gain attention. Keeping the
attention of your audience is not done by content alone! (This is not to say that
you should make entertainment a priority over content. I take for granted you
have something useful to say, and now you must share that knowledge with a
receptive group of peers. Simple utterance is not enough!) Plan your talk
accordingly. Given your time budget, think about each thing you say:

• Does this contribute to my communication?

• Does this inform my audience?
• Does this fit with what I've said and am about to say?
• Does this make a relevant point?

One final suggestion: relax! Some nervousness is not only expected, it is a force
for productivity. One way to relax is to meditate (or use some other preparation)
in the late morning or early afternoon. If you have not done this, try it. If you do
not choose to try specific exercises to relax, think about how far you have come
and that you have something to say that no one else in the room knows. Exert
your knowledge ability with confidence.

Some class time will be allocated to review this guide and other tips. Please feel
free to share what you know about presentations at that time, and talk with your
Clinic teacher anytime.

All You Need to Know About Giving Presentations

The audience that you are going to present to will play a large part in the format
and presentation of your talk. If they are all employees of the company that you
work for then you will at least have a clear idea of the interesting and key issues
internally which you can include in the presentation. If you are giving a talk to a
range of people from different backgrounds you will need to give more thought
to the features and benefits of what you are presenting as they may all have
different needs and your key points must convince ALL of the audience that
they should "Buy into" your product or service.

If you know your material well and you are happy with what you are presenting
this is a good start. However please remember that you want to get the KEY

FEATURES AND BENEFITS over to the audience and the structure, content
and presentation have to ALL come together to leave that lasting impression of

My favourite method is what I call the "NEWS AT TEN METHOD". Put

simply, take all the key points:-

1. Tell the audience what you are going to tell them.

2. Tell them!.
3. Tell them what you have told them!

If you think of the news that is exactly what they do and they have been in the
presentation business for longer than most!.

Other pointers before you start in earnest on the presentation:-

• Where will it be given? – Are you familiar with the layout? Is the room
going to hold all the people? Will it be too big?
• What equipment will you be using? This is most important as with a
Multimedia Projector you will probably want to prepare many more slides
than if you have to use an overhead projector.
• If using a Multimedia Projector do you have access to it before hand to
practice before the day (This is where our Hire Service scores over the
hire from a local venue as you have the projector the day before).
• Do you have any practical examples that you can illustrate you key
points. These are often most effective as you will see from examples later
• Do not be afraid to use examples of where your product is superior to a
named competitor. This should be done carefully and not as an excuse to
run down competitor service but should focus on key definable benefits
of your product. Done properly and professionally it can send out
powerful messages, especially if your competitor is selling on price. Your
audience deserves to know why they should buy your product over
another company and this is your chance.

Once you've set the
presentations basic structure and
you know what to say, it's time
to develop the visuals to get your
message across.

A computer slide show has

many advantages over other
media. You don't need lengthy
lead-time for film development.
Once created, you can display it immediately-and make changes fast if
necessary. The room does not have to be darkened for viewing. You can use a
mouse pointer to call attention to information. And you can add professional-
looking effects, Fig No. 8

such as transitions and builds, and easily place sound, multimedia and movies
into your presentation.

Decide on a basic design and be consistent throughout. Give your presentation

an attention-getting title. Try to incorporate the key benefit you want the
audience to remember. You could also develop a corporate image and include
this in the background on all or some slides.

• Use bullets and numbers to organise ideas in lists.

• Use outlines and don't copy exactly what you plan to say on the slides.
• No more than 5 lines per frame; no more than 6 words per line.
• Use the same verb tenses, same voice for verbs, same cases and same
number (singular or plural).
• Avoid hyphenation as it interrupts the continuity of the message.
• Proof read carefully! Errors give the audience the impression you don't
care much about them or the material you are presenting. If possible, have
someone else proof read for you. If you have made a mistake you are
likely to make the same mistake if you read it yourself.
• End your presentation with a closing message that you want the audience
to remember.

Builds, or reveals, are effective in keeping the audience from prematurely

moving ahead of your presentation, keeping them focused on your point of
discussion. For example; establish your main point and introduce additional
information to build to a conclusion. If using an overhead projector use a piece
of card to hide the points that are below those that you are talking on.Transitions
set up different ways for slides to appear and disappear during a presentation.
Smooth transitions between slides add a more polished effect. Transition effects
might include dissolves, fades, wipes, implodes and explodes vertical or
horizontal blinds in which segments of the slide are revealed to viewers, and
more. Most of you will be familiar with Powerpoint from Microsoft which is a
very easy to use presentation tool which
includes all the effects mentioned above.


Templates contain the basic design elements

that form the background for your
presentation. They simplify slide creation and
provide a consistent appearance. Before you start, list the elements you want to
include, such as company logo and colours. Think about how graphics,
drawings or other objects might make your presentation unique and memorable.
Incorporate set margins for

Fig No.8

each frame good guideline is to leave equal margins at the top and sides and a
slightly larger margin at the bottom. Most presentation graphics programs come
with professionally designed template formats that can be used as is, or edited.


Understanding good colour relationships IS VITAL in developing a successful

presentation. But don't get carried away with the millions of colours available in
today's applications. Using too many lessens the impact of each colour and
confuses your audience. Drowning your slide in vibrant colour may produce the
opposite reaction of what you intended Keep it simple. Limit your colour
choices to two or three on a contrasting background, and keep them consistent
throughout. Plan the colour scheme for the whole presentation before choosing
colours for individual elements. Use distinctive contrast between text and
background. The most effective method is to use your company’s colour scheme
to all the "Corporate Image" stamp.

Tailor colour schemes to the crowd. Is it a foreign audience? Try using their
national colour as the background. If it's a corporate audience of sales and
marketing people, try striking colours. If it's a board of directors, you may want
a more conservative approach. Colour brings out different emotional responses.
For example:

• Red backgrounds heighten the emotions of the audience. For many, red
means deficits and financial failure.
• Blue backgrounds indicate a conservative approach
• Black backgrounds are often used in financial presentations. Black
represents what has already happened or what is in the past that cannot be
• Green stimulates interaction from the audience.

Try to avoid red-green colour combinations because they don't offer enough
contrast. If any members of your audience are colour-blind, they will be unable
to read the slides. At this point you will spot that we use a colour that is not
recommended. When the colours were chosen we overlooked this factor that is
the honest answer!

Another rule: Keep your presentation large and legible. Type size should reflect
the importance of the various ideas in a slide~ Main points should be larger than

secondary points. To make your words more readable, limit typefaces, type
sizes and weights to one or two and retain these throughout the presentation.
Don't be tempted by all the font choices available. When in doubt:

• Don't use all caps for large blocks of type they are hard to read.
• Use simple block and sans serif typefaces and avoid fancy or ornate
• Use boldface type instead of underlining to emphasise a word or phrase.
• For readability, don't place words over graphics.
• Projected images need to be clearly seen from a distance. This means the
text must be large and the amount of data limited.

Using Clip Art and Graphics

Charts and graphs clarify information by taking statistics, which are often
intimidating or confusing, and putting them into a visual format that is easily
understood. A chart is any graphic representation of information. A graph is a
more specific kind of chart that represents a series of changing quantities. Keep
elements, lines, segments, colours, and textures to a minimum.

• Bar graph - shows relationship between specific time periods. You can
compare amounts of several items in a series, with each quantity
represented by an individual column that indicates by its height the
number of units being counted.
• Pictograph Icons, rather than columns, used in bar graphs.
• Line graph shows change of one or more variables over a period of time.
• Flow chart - shows the specific steps in a process, or certain
• Pie chart shows the components of a 360-degree whole, segmented into
"slices" which represent a percentage of the whole. Pie chart data must
add up to 100 percent.
• Table shows relational data in a precise form

Clip Art

Most presentation software comes with

a variety of professionally drawn
pictures or clip art, which you can
easily add to your slides. You can also
import pictures from other sources. For
example, by using a scanner with
special software, you can scan your
organisation’s logo in a bitmap (.bmp)
for PCX format, and include it in every
frame. Photographs can be scanned or

downloaded from many of the stock photography sources.
Fig No.9

PowerPoint in the Office 97 Version has a comprehensive range of pictures

included (Assuming that they have been installed on your hard disk).


A variety of multimedia effects and applications are now available, including

full-motion video and portable CD-quality sound, which can captivate your
audience. But multimedia is only as good as the planning and content that go
into it. A little goes a long way-be aware of your audience and determine
whether the effects will enhance or distract from the message you're trying to
convey. Most projectors offered have a video capability option, which lets you
toggle, via the remote that comes with the projector, between a VCR and your
computer data presentation. It's a very simple way to add video to your
presentations and doesn't drain memory resources from your computer.


Sound adds mood to your presentation and is a great attention-getter. Sound

cards are available for recording voice, sound effects and music at near CD-
quality levels, but they are resource-intensive. Sound recording, or sampling,
can take up to 10 MB of hard disk space for one minute of sound, which isn't
practical for general presentation use. Try using lower-quality sound files or
much shorter sound bites in your presentation to avoid problems. The common
sound file standard has the *~WAV QNaveform) file extension

Music, when used sparingly and tastefully, is a welcome element in a

professional multimedia presentation. When adding any kind of music, be aware
of copyright issues. There are many top-quality production music libraries you
can use to keep your organisation within the law. You will also find a large
selection of shareware with sound effects that can be used.


Before your audience arrives, check the room layout to make sure everything is
in place lectern, microphone, and audio-visual equipment. Find out where you
will be seated prior to your presentation, and the path you will take to get to the
podium. Set the lectern back a few feet so you can walk in front of it. Check the
height and adjust, if necessary

Make sure it's not so tall that only your head shows! Place your notes on the
lectern in advance (also keep an extra copy with you), and keep a glass of water
at the lectern. You may want to have someone act as trouble-shooter to round up
extra chairs, adjust lighting, keep noise down, and usher latecomers.

You want to make a real connection with your audience. Try to avoid stages that
are so high you intimidate your audience. Have the first row set close to the
stage. Too much space between the speaker and the first row creates a lack of
chemistry with the audience. One trick for getting the audience to fill the front
rows is to mark off back rows with masking tape.


If using on-site equipment, discuss your needs with a technical person who
knows the required interfacing. If a LCD panel is provided, ask in advance
about the type of overhead projector; it must be transmissive, one with the light
coming from the bottom. You can't use the reflective type with the flat bottom

and the light in the head. Make sure there is a screen or a light-coloured, flat
wall to project your image. The screen should be positioned at an angle off to
one side. Carry two copies of your presentation on disks; have one set up for
printing to a colour printer or film recorder, if an emergency requires you to
change to another medium.

Allow yourself plenty of set-up time. A couple of hours is usually adequate,

although a trial run the day before can't hurt test the microphone, speakers and
other sound equipment-never wait until you start to determine sound levels.
Sound checks distract and irritate the audience If possible, assign responsibility
for the sound system, lighting, and visual aids to an assistant.


Most people who give presentations agree the number one rule to remember is
know your subject. Inside and out. Your audience expects no less. Prepare
thoroughly; the more you do, the more confidence you'll have in your content,
methods and skills-and the better your results will be.

You may know your subject and believe in it, but if you don't present it
effectively, all of that can be lost. So practice, practice; practice! For a polished
delivery, rehearse your material, but don't memorise it. Good speakers rehearse
enough so they get up with ease, giving the impression they are speaking
extemporaneously. Get comfortable with the timing.

Be positive. Imagine the audience giving you rousing applause. Picture them
cheering you for the best presentation they've ever heard. Your audience really
does want you to succeed. Most people understand how difficult it is to appear
in front of a group and they appreciate your efforts:-

• Warm up your vocal cords with simple drills.

• A warm beverage works wonders in relaxing the throat and vocal chords.
• Eat some chocolate, it produces natural endorphins in your body that can
relieve stress.
• Force yourself to yawn, which stimulates the salivary glands and relieves
dry mouth.
• Do some stretching to relieve the tension in your neck, shoulders and

Making an Impact

• Use quotes The best ones are short, memorable and applicable.
• Startle or surprise to draw attention to the point you are about to make.
• Tell a short story it lets the audience visualise the action of the story in
their minds.
• People tend to remember stories long after forgetting most other things.
• Humour laughter can endear your audience to you, but be cautious.
What's funny to one person can be offensive to
another. Don't embarrass people by using
ethnic, racial, or religious jokes, dialects, or
ones with profanity. Unless you've previously
tried the joke or anecdote with a similar
audience and know it gets laughs, don't risk it.
Some examples that illustrate the
points above:-
Fig No.10

(Q) Imagine the power of the press on an alien coming to earth for the first time
and listening to the radio/television and reading newspapers. What impression
would they gain?

(A) Very poor all they would hear about is Crime, Murder, Scandal, Corruption,
Global Warming and Economic Problems. Remember that you cannot believe
everything that you hear as you seldom hear the good!

(Quote) Upset one customer and they will tell ten people. Do an outstanding job
and you will be lucky to get three recommendations.

(Quote) 30% of advertising works – the problem is that nobody knows what
what 30%!!

(Quote) If you do what you always did , you will get what you always got!

(Quote) 0.5% of people will only buy the most expensive, 13% of people will
only buy the cheapest. The main market is "Value for Money"!!

(Story) Dealing with constant rejection is a major problem in telesales. Richard

Denny a Management Consultant tells a story of how he got sales up in these
circumstances where people were starting to go off sick, take longer breaks etc.
and sales were falling.

He tells how the word "NO" was tuned into a positive. They gave prizes for the
most rejections every day. Calls when up and rejections did as well – what fun
but "ooh dear" occasionally a person insists on buying. End result more sales
which shows that if you can overcome rejection the results will come through

Try to strive for the Five C's of platform excellence. You should look and

• Confident
• Credible
• Competent
• Convincing
• Comfortable

Maintain good eye contact. Find a person

in the audience and establish eye contact.
Only talk when you're looking at someone.
Maintain frequent eye contact with the
entire audience; work the whole room,
Fig No.11

but don't do it mechanic never turn your back on them.

Vary your speaking volume. When you practice in an empty room, adjust your
voice level accordingly for a full room. Deliver the presentation just slightly
above the conversational mode, louder than you think you should. As you
increase volume, you automatically increase inflection.

For effect, try lowering your voice, so people will strain to hear. Then repeat
your point at normal or higher volume. Vary the pitch of your voice to keep
your listeners interested. It will make you sound more enthusiastic. (Don't be
afraid to exaggerate this.) Say a phrase and pause, then say a phrase and pause.
Each pause gives you a chance to make eye contact, to breathe, or to take a
moment to think. When you slow down, you gain control.

highlight points you want to make, and use them as memory joggers, not script.

An exception to this reading rule is when your words must be absolutely correct
and you cannot risk a misstatement. In this case, try turning your reading into a
special segment.

Make a connection. Successful presenters enjoy their topic and share their
enjoyment with the audience. Establish a personal connection with your
audience. Example, if you know a person's name, use it when you reference that
person. If you nod your head to someone in the audience, they will probably nod
back to you. Use phrases such as "Am I correct?" or "Do you agree?" to get the
audience involved. You won't get enthusiasm from people unless you give
enthusiasm to them. You can't get a smile unless you smile first.

Add body language. Body language, such as hand and arm movements, can
reinforce your message and emphasise a point. Don't hide your hands from the

audience or point a finger at them. Use natural hand gestures extend your palm
outward to be friendly. If it's a large group, try more exaggerated movements
than you're used to.

Timing is everything. Know your time limits and what is expected of you. Be
sure you don't have too much material to get through. Don't look at your watch
your audience might do the same and miss what you are saying. Instead, have a
clock placed on the lectern so you can check your time. Highlight the points that
have to be made. Md when you come to a transition point, try to be in mid-
sentence as you move from one slide (screen) to the next. It adds smoothness
and continuity to the presentation.

Don't read your presentation. When you write your presentation, make sure
it's written for the ear with shorter sentences, action verbs and simple grammar.
Get comfortable with your material so you aren't dependent on notes or reading
a script. If you use notes, keep them short,

Good handouts enhance your audience's understanding and recall of your

material. To avoid distractions, be sure to distribute handouts all at once, rather
than throughout your presentation. My personal preference is to give them out at
the end as the audience are not then looking down. You do however need to
ensure that they have a pen an paper for notes. Powerpoint has a very good print
facility which enables you to compress the slides and they can make notes

Here are some ideas:

• Provide an outline so your audience can take notes.

• Hand out a summary of your talk.
• Distribute brochures and fliers.
• Make available a copy on CD-ROM or disk.
• Provide speaker notes on each of the visuals for people who can't attend.
• Include your name and phone number on every page.
• Keep handouts simple and readable, and use dark type on a white
background. Your audience is more likely to go back and review
information if the amount of material doesn't overwhelm them. Skip the
builds/reveals in your handouts-just provide the final versions with all
relevant points. Have enough handouts to go around-that's where your
pre-presentation research will prove valuable.


Effective question and answer sessions can

be choreographed right into your
presentation and can help emphasize key
points. For example, begin the Q & A
session five minutes before the end of your
talk, then transition from one of your
answers to the real conclusion of your
presentation. But limit Q & A sessions. Go
over what questions might be asked so you
are prepared to answer. Always repeat
questions, so everyone can hear; it provides
an opportunity to clear up any
miscommunication. Fig No. 12

Individual Presentation Skills
Planning a Presentation
1. Think about your audience
2. Determine the purpose
3. List the details and then group and prioritise them
4. Name the topics and sequence them
5. Write the thesis statement (What is the main idea?)
6. Plan the paragraphs, topic sentences, transitions and
7. Write the piece
8. Plan the visual aids (if any)
9. Practise, tape, and edit

Presentation Planning Checklist I

1. Is the topic interesting to my audience?
2. Is the topic too narrow or too broad for an oral presentation? Do you know
enough about it?
3. Are my main ideas in a logical order which is easy for
others to follow?
4. Have you included your ideas, details, reasons, and
examples that support and develop your topic?
5. Have you chosen words and terms which are
appropriate to the topic, to the audience, and to the
setting? (appropriate language choice/
communicative competence

Presentation Planning Checklist II

6. Have I defined terms my audience might not know?
7. Have you had an attention-getting introduction and a
conclusion that relates to the introduction?
8. Do your note cards only have signal words and phrases
rather than sentences and paragraphs?
9. Have you rehearsed IDEAS rather than words at times?
10. Are you going to speak fluently and confidently?

1. Introduction
_ Don’t start with something boring such as:
“My name’s …”, “Today I’m going to talk to you about …”
_ Instead, you could:
- Grasp their attention (usually by being indirect).
- Greet the audience and introduce yourself.
- Then you may identify the topic and purpose of your talk.

- Then provide a brief overview of your talk.

An attention-getting Introduction:
- Quote someone else.
- Share a story/anecdote/analogy.
- Get the audience to interact.
- Ask a rhetorical question.
- State noteworthy facts.
- Shock the audience by surprising facts/statistics.
- Make a list of common items linked to your theme.
- Give an interesting example.

2. Body
_ Possible ways to organise it:
- Problem to solution
- Chronological
- Past (what once was) to future (what needs to be)
- General to specific
- Less important to most crucial
- Logical topic flow
- Benefits and features
- Persuasive flow
NB: Make sure your transitions are clear.

3. Conclusion
Possible ways to conclude:
- Recap the main points
- Restate the core message
- Make a ‘call to action’
(e.g. When you leave the room today, make sure you get a copy of my book.)
- Quote something/somebody
- Ask a rhetorical question
(something to create an effect or a mood)
- Tell a story to wrap things up
- Compliment
- Question and option
(NB: A conclusion should complete a circle.)

Tips for your verbal and non-verbal cues I

1. Make eye contact and smile: look at everyone
2. Use hand gestures: go with the flow of what you are
saying; vary your gesture
3. Control your posture and body: stand tall; stand

steadily and comfortably (Don’t fidget!). When seated,
sit up; look relaxed
4. Project loudly and clearly; convey a tone of respect
and importance; show enthusiasm; vary your voice for
5. Pace yourself: go at a steady rate; vary it for effect; use

Tips for your verbal and non-verbal cues II

6. Use visual aids (e.g. colourful graphs/charts, photos
and real objects)
7. Use discourse markers as transitions:
- Clarification: I mean, actually
- Contrast: on the other hand, mind you, whereas
- Dismissal of previous discourse: anyway, whatever
- Change of subject: by the way, okay, whatever
- Consequence: so, then, as a result
you know: rephrasing, focusing (general ideas to
specific list of questions), introducing some examples,
ending a topic/ shifting the frame
okay: back channeling, introducing a new topic (or it
cannot be a discourse marker: it really means ‘okay’)
eh/umm: hesitation marker: signaling a ‘trouble talk’
anyway: bringing people back to the frame

Tips for your verbal and non-verbal cues III

8. Avoid your distracting gestures. Don’t crew, rock back
and forth, play with earrings/hair/fingers, pull at your
clothes, etc.

Overcoming stage fright

1. Come prepared, come prepared, come prepared!!!
(The presentation should not be your first time.)
2. Recognise that nervousness can be a positive
3. Prepare notes/cards/signal outlines (but not
reading them).
4. If you make a mistake, move ahead!
5. Smile. If you make a mistake, use humour and
move on.

Giving Individual Responses:

Responding to Examiner’s Questions

1. Listen closely!
2. Show the questioner that you are happy with
her/his question.
3. Be direct and concise in your answers.
4. Use your answers to reinforce your key points, if
5. Be positive, verbally and non-verbally.
6. NEVER make it up if you do not know the answer!

Do NOT read directly from your note card.

Interact with your audience.
Use both verbal and non-verbal cues.


Self-Presentation Processes in the Online Dating Environment Nicole Ellison
Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media Michigan
State University Rebecca Heino McDonough School of Business Georgetown
University Jennifer Gibbs Communication Department Rutgers University
Abstract This study investigates self-presentation strategies among online dating
participants, exploring how participants manage their online presentation of self
in order to accomplish the goal of finding a romantic partner. Thirty-four
individuals active on a large online dating site participated in telephone
interviews about their online dating experiences and perceptions. Qualitative
data analysis suggests that participants attended to small cues online, mediated
the tension between impression management pressures and the desire to present
an authentic sense of self through tactics such as creating a profile that reflected
their "ideal self," and attempted to establish the veracity of their identity claims.
This study provides empirical support for Social Information Processing theory
in a naturalistic context while offering insight into the complicated way in
which "honesty" is enacted online. Introduction The online dating arena
represents an opportunity to document changing cultural norms surrounding
technology-mediated relationship formation and to gain insight into important
aspects of online behaviour, such as impression formation and self-presentation
strategies. Mixed-mode relationships, wherein people first meet online and then
move offline, challenge established theories that focus on exclusively online
relationships and provide opportunities for new theory development (Walther &
Parks, 2002). Although previous research has explored relationship
development and self-presentation online (Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons,
2002; McLaughlin, Osbourne, & Ellison, 1997; Parks & Floyd, 1996; Roberts &
Parks, 1999; Utz, 2000), the online dating forum is qualitatively different from
many other online settings due to the anticipation of face-to-face interaction
inherent in this context (Gibbs, Ellison, & Heino, 2006) and the fact that social
practices are still nascent. In recent years, the use of online dating or online
personals services has evolved from a marginal to a mainstream social practice.
In 2003, at least 29 million Americans (two out of five singles) used an online
dating service in 2004, on average, there were 40 million unique visitors to
online dating sites each month in the U.S. (CBC News, 2004). In fact, the online
personals category is one of the most lucrative forms of paid content on the web
in the United States (Egan, 2003) and the online dating market is expected to
reach $642 million in 2008 (Greenspan, 2003). Ubiquitous access to the
Internet, the diminished social stigma associated with online dating, and the
affordable cost of Internet matchmaking services contribute to the increasingly
common perception that online dating is a viable, efficient way to meet dating
or long-term relationship partners (St. John, 2002). Mediated matchmaking is
certainly not a new phenomenon: Newspaper personal advertisements have
existed since the mid-19th century and video dating was popular in the 1980s
Although scholars working in a variety of academic disciplines have studied
these earlier forms of mediated matchmaking current Internet dating services

are substantively different from these incarnations due to their larger user base
and more sophisticated self-presentation options. Contemporary theoretical
perspectives allow us to advance our understanding of how the age-old process
of mate-finding is transformed through online strategies and behaviors. For
instance, Social Information Processing (SIP) theory and other frameworks help
illuminate computer-mediated communication (CMC), interpersonal
communication, and impression management processes. This article focuses on
the ways in which CMC interact ants manage their online self-presentation and
contributes to our knowledge of these processes by examining these issues in
the naturalistic context of online dating, using qualitative data gathered from in-
depth interviews with online dating participants. Literature Review In contrast
to a technologically deterministic perspective that focuses on the characteristics
of the technologies themselves, or a socially deterministic approach that
privileges user behavior, this article reflects a social shaping perspective. Social
shaping of technology approaches acknowledge the ways in which information
and communication technologies (ICTs) both shape and are shaped by social
practices. As Dutton points out, "technologies can open, close, and otherwise
shape social choices, although not always in the ways expected on the basis of
rationally extrapolating from the perceived properties of technology" . One
specific framework that reflects this approach is Howard's (2004) embedded
media perspective, which acknowledges both the capacities and the constraints
of ICTs. Capacities are those aspects of technology that enhance our ability to
connect with one another, enact change, et cetera; constraints are those aspects
of technology that hinder our ability to achieve these goals. An important aspect
of technology use, which is mentioned but not explicitly highlighted in
Howard's framework, is the notion of circumvention, which describes the
specific strategies employed by individuals to exploit the capacities and
minimize the constraints associated with their use of ICTs. Although the notion
of /circumvention/ is certainly not new to CMC researchers, this article seeks to
highlight the importance of circumvention practices when studying the social
aspects of technology use.1 Self-Presentation and Self-Disclosure in Online and
Offline Contexts Self-presentation and self-disclosure processes are important
aspects of relational development in offline settings especially in early stages.
Goffman's work on self-presentation explicates the ways in which an individual
may engage in strategic activities "to convey an impression to others which it is
in his interests to convey. These impression management behaviours consist of
expressions /given/ (communication in the traditional sense, e.g., spoken
communication) and expressions /given off/ (presumably unintentional
communication, such as nonverbal communication cues). Self-presentation
strategies are especially important during relationship initiation, as others will
use this information to decide whether to pursue a relationship Research
suggests that when individuals expect to meet a potential dating partner for the
first time, they will alter their self-presentational behavior in accordance with
the values desired by the prospective date. Even when interacting with strangers,
individuals tend to engage in self-enhancement .However, research suggests that

pressures to highlight one's positive attributes are experienced in tandem with
the need to present one's true (or authentic) self to others, especially in
significant relationships. Intimacy in relationships is linked to feeling
understood by one's partner and develops "through a dynamic process whereby
an individual discloses personal information, thoughts, and feelings to a partner;
receives a response from the partner; and interprets that response as
understanding, validating, and caring" Therefore, if participants aspire to an
intimate relationship, their desire to feel understood by their interaction partners
will motivate self-disclosures that are open and honest as opposed to deceptive.
This tension between authenticity and impression management is inherent in
many aspects of self-disclosure. In making decisions about what and when to
self-disclose, individuals often struggle to reconcile opposing needs such as
openness and autonomy. Interactants in online environments experience these
same pressures and desires, but the greater control over self-presentational
behavior in CMC allows individuals to manage their online interactions more
strategically. Due to the asynchronous nature of CMC, and the fact that CMC
emphasizes verbal and linguistic cues over less controllable nonverbal
communication cues, online self-presentation is more malleable and subject to
self-censorship than face-to-face self-presentation (Walther, 1996). In
Goffman's (1959) terms, more expressions of self are "given" rather than "given
off." This greater control over self-presentation does not necessarily lead to
misrepresentation online. Due to the "passing stranger" effect (Rubin, 1975) and
the visual anonymity present in CMC (Joinson, 2001), under certain conditions
the online medium may enable participants to express themselves more openly
and honestly than in face-to-face contexts. A commonly accepted understanding
of identity presumes that there are multiple aspects of the self which are
expressed or made salient in different contexts. Higgins (1987) argues there are
three domains of the self: the /actual self/ (attributes an individual possesses),
the /ideal self/ (attributes an individual would ideally possess), and the /ought
self/ (attributes an individual ought to possess); discrepancies between one's
actual and ideal self are linked to feelings of dejection. Klohnen and
Mendelsohn (1998) determined that individuals' descriptions of their "ideal self"
influenced perceptions of their romantic partners in the direction of their ideal
self-conceptions Although self-presentation in personal web sites has been
examined, the realm of online dating has not been studied as extensively and
this constitutes a gap in the current research on online self-presentation and
disclosure. The online dating realm differs from other CMC environments in
crucial ways that may affect self-presentational strategies. For instance, the
anticipated future face-to-face interaction inherent in most online dating
interactions may diminish participants' sense of visual anonymity, an important
variable in many online self-disclosure studies. An empirical study of online
dating participants found that those who anticipated greater face-to-face
interaction did feel that they were more open in their disclosures, and did not
suppress negative aspects of the self (Gibbs et al., 2006). In addition, because
the goal of many online dating participants is an intimate relationship, these

individuals may be more motivated to engage in authentic self-disclosures.
Credibility Assessment and Demonstration in Online Self-Presentation
Misrepresentation in Online Environments As discussed, online environments
offer individuals an increased ability to control their self-presentation, and
therefore greater opportunities to engage in misrepresentation .For instance,
MacKinnon (1995) notes that among Usenet participants it is common practice
to "forget" about the relationship between actual identities and online personae.
The online dating environment is different, however, because participants are
typically seeking an intimate relationship and therefore desire agreement
between others' online identity claims and offline identities. Online dating
participants report that deception is the "main perceived disadvantage of online
dating" (Brym & Lenton, 2001, p. 3) and see it as commonplace: A survey of
one online dating site's participants found that 86% felt others misrepresented
their physical appearance (Gibbs et al., 2006). A 2001 research study found that
over a quarter of online dating participants reported misrepresenting some
aspect of their identity, most commonly age (14%), marital status (10%), and
appearance (10%) (Brym & Lenton, 2001). Perceptions that others are lying
may encourage reciprocal deception, because users will exaggerate to the extent
that they feel others are exaggerating or deceiving (Fiore & Donath, 2004).
Concerns about deception in this setting have spawned related services that help
online daters uncover inaccuracies in others' representations and run background
checks on would-be suitors (Baertlein, 2004; Fernandez, 2005). One site,, conducts background checks on their users and has worked to
introduce legislation that would force other online dating sites to either conduct
background checks on their users or display a disclaimer (Lee, 2004). The
majority of online dating participants claim they are truthful (Gibbs et al., 2006;
Brym & Lenton, 2001), and research suggests that some of the technical and
social aspects of online dating may discourage deceptive communication. For
instance, anticipation of face-to-face communication influences self-
representation choices (Walther, 1994) and self-disclosures because individuals
will more closely monitor their disclosures as the perceived probability of future
face-to-face interaction increases (Berger, 1979) and will engage in more
intentional or deliberate self-disclosure (Gibbs et al., 2006). Additionally,
Hancock, Thom-Santelli, and Ritchie (2004) note that the design features of a
medium may affect lying behaviors, and that the use of recorded media (in
which messages are archived in some fashion, such as an online dating profile)
will discourage lying. Also, online dating participants are typically seeking a
romantic partner, which may lower their motivation for misrepresentation
compared to other online relationships. Further, Cornwell and Lundgren (2001)
found that individuals involved in online romantic relationships were more
likely to engage in misrepresentation than those involved in face-to-face
romantic relationships, but that this was directly related to the level of
involvement. That is, respondents were less involved in their cyberspace
relationships and therefore more likely to engage in misrepresentation. This lack
of involvement is less likely in relationships started in an online dating forum,

especially sites that promote marriage as a goal. Public perceptions about the
higher incidence of deception online are also contradicted by research which
suggests that lying is a typical occurrence in everyday offline life (DePaulo,
Kashy, Kirkendol, Wyer, & Epstein, 1996), including situations in which people
are trying to impress prospective dates (Rowatt et al., 1998). Additionally,
empirical data about the true extent of misrepresentation in this context is
lacking. The current literature relies on self-reported data, and therefore offers
only limited insight into the extent to which misrepresentation may be
occurring. Hitsch, Hortacsu, and Ariely (2004) use creative techniques to
address this issue, such as comparing participants' self-reported characteristics
to patterns found in national survey data, but no research to date has attempted
to validate participants' self-reported assessments of the honesty of their self-
descriptions Online dating participants operate in an environment in which
assessing the identity of others is a complex and evolving process of reading
signals and deconstructing cues, using both active and passive strategies The
connection, or warrant, between one's self-reported online persona and one's
offline aspects of self is less certain and more mutable than in face-to-face
settings (Walther & Parks, 2002). In online settings, users will look for signals
that are difficult to mimic or govern in order to assess others' identity claims
(Donath, 1999). For instance, individuals might use search engines to locate
newsgroup postings by the person under scrutiny, knowing that this searching is
covert and that the newsgroup postings most likely were authored without the
realization that they would be archived (Ramirez et al., 2002). In the context of
online dating, because of the perceptions of deception that characterize this
sphere and the self-reported nature of individuals' profiles, participants may
adopt specific presentation strategies geared towards providing warrants for
their identity claims. In light of the above, our research question is thus: *RQ:*
How do online dating participants manage their online presentation of self in
order to accomplish the goal of finding a romantic partner? Method In order to
gain insight into this question, we interviewed online dating participants about
their experiences, thoughts, and behaviors. The qualitative data reported in this
article were collected as part of a larger research project which surveyed a
national random sample of users of a large online dating site (N=349) about
relational goals, honesty and self-disclosure, and perceived success in online
dating. The survey findings are reported in Gibbs et al. (2006). Research Site
Our study addresses contemporary CMC theory using naturalistic observations.
Participants were members of a large online dating service, "" (a
pseudonym). currently has 15 million active members in more
than 200 countries around the world and shares structural characteristics with
many other online dating services, offering users the ability to create profiles,
search others' profiles, and communicate via a manufactured email address. In
their profiles, participants may include one or more photographs and a written
(open-ended) description of themselves and their desired mate. They also
answer a battery of closed-ended questions, with preset category-based answers,
about descriptors such as income, body type, religion, marital status, and alcohol

usage. Data Collection Given the relative lack of prior research on the
phenomenon of online dating, we used qualitative methods to explore the
diverse ways in which participants understood and made sense of their
experience through their own rich descriptions and explanations .We took an
inductive approach based on general research questions informed by literature
on online self-presentation and relationship formation rather than preset
hypotheses. In addition to asking about participants' backgrounds, the interview
protocol included open-ended questions about their online dating history and
goals, profile construction, honesty and self-disclosure online, criteria used to
assess others online, and relationship development. Interviews were semi-
structured to ensure that all participants were asked certain questions and to
encourage participants to raise other issues they felt were relevant to the
research. The protocol included questions such as: "How did you decide what to
say about yourself in your profile? Are you trying to convey a certain
impression of yourself with your profile? If you showed your profile to one of
your close friends, what do you think their response would be? Are there any
personal characteristics that you avoided mentioning or tried to deemphasize?"
The Director of Market Research at initially contacted a
subsample of members in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas,
inviting them to participate in an interview and offering them a free one-month
subscription to in return. Those members who did not respond
within a week received a reminder email. Of those contacted, 76 people
volunteered to participate in an interview. Out of these 76 volunteers, we
selected and scheduled interviews with 36 (although two were unable to
participate due to scheduling issues). We chose interview participants to ensure
a good mix on each of our theoretical categories: gender, age, urban/rural,
income, and ethnicity. We focused exclusively on those seeking relationships
with the opposite sex, as this group constitutes the majority of
users. We also confirmed that they were active participants in the site by
ensuring that their last login date was within the past week and checking that
each had a profile. Fifty percent of our participants were female and 50% were
male, with 76% from an urban location in Los Angeles and 24% from a more
rural area surrounding the town of Modesto in the central valley of California.
Participants' ages ranged from 25 to 70, with most being in their 30s and 40s.
Their online dating experience varied from 1 month to 5 years. Although our
goal was to sample a mix of participants who varied on key demographic
criteria rather than generalizing to a larger population, our sample is in fact
reflective of the demographic characteristics of the larger population of's subscribers. Thirty-four interviews were conducted in June and
July 2003. Interviews were conducted by telephone, averaging 45 minutes and
ranging from 30-90 minutes in length. The interview database consisted of 551
pages, including 223,001 words, with an average of 6559 words per interview.
Data Analysis All of the phone interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and
checked for accuracy by the researcher who conducted the interview. Atlas.ti, a
software program used for qualitative content analysis, was used to analyze

interview transcripts. Data analysis was conducted in an iterative process, in
which data from one informant were confirmed or contradicted by data from
others in order to refine theoretical categories, propositions, and conclusions as
they emerged from the data (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). We used microanalysis of
the text (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) to look for common themes among
participants. The data analysis process consisted of systematic line-by-line
coding of each transcript by the first two authors. Following grounded theory
(Glaser & Strauss, 1967), we used an iterative process of coding. Coding
consisted of both factual codes (e.g., "age," "female," "Los Angeles") and
referential codes (e.g., "filter," "rejection," "honesty") and served both to
simplify and reduce data as well as to complicate data by expanding,
transforming, and reconceptualising concepts (Coffey & Atkinson, 1996). New
codes were added throughout the process, and then earlier transcripts were
recorded to include these new conceptual categories. All of the data were coded
twice to ensure thoroughness and accuracy of codes. The researchers had
frequent discussions in which they compared and refined coding categories and
schemes to ensure consistency. During the coding process, some codes were
collapsed or removed when they appeared to be conceptually identical, while
others were broken out into separate codes when further nuances among them
became apparent. A total of 98 codes were generated by the first two authors as
they coded the interviews. Findings These interview data offer insight into the
self-presentation strategies utilized by participants in order to maximize the
benefits and minimize the risks of online dating. Many of these strategies
revolved around the profile, which is a crucial self-presentation tool because it is
the first and primary means of expressing one's self during the early stages of a
correspondence and can therefore foreclose or create relationship opportunities.
These strategies are intimately connected to the specific characteristics of the
online dating context: fewer cues, an increased ability to manage self-
presentation, and the need to establish credibility. The Importance of Small
Cues When discussing their self-presentational strategies, many participants
directly or indirectly referred to the fact that they carefully attended to subtle,
almost minute cues in others' presentational messages, and often seemed to take
the same degree of care when crafting their own messages. As suggested by SIP
(Walther, 1992), subtle cues such as misspellings in the online environment are
important clues to identity for CMC interactants. For instance, one participant
said she looked for profiles that were well-written, because "I just think if they
can't spell or… formulate sentences, I would imagine that they're not that
educated." Because writing ability was perceived to be a cue that was "given
off" or not as controllable, participants noticed misspelled words in profiles,
interpreting them as evidence of lack of interest or education. As one female
participant put it, "If I am getting email from someone that obviously can't spell
or put a full sentence together, I'm thinking what other parts of his life suffer
from the same lack of attentiveness?" These individuals often created their own
profiles with these concerns in mind. For instance, one participant who found
spelling errors "unattractive" composed his emails in a word processing

program to check spelling and grammar. Many of the individuals we
interviewed explicitly considered how others might interpret their profiles, and
carefully assessed the signals each small action or comment might send: I really
analyzed the way I was going to present myself. I'm not one of these [people
who write] all cutesy type things, but I wanted to be cute enough, smart enough,
funny enough, and not sexual at all, because I didn't want to invite someone who
thought I was going to go to bed with them [as soon as] I shook their hand. In
this case, the participant "really analyzed" her self-presentation cues and
avoided any mention of sexuality, which she felt might indicate promiscuity in
the exaggerated context of the profile. This same understanding of the signals
"sexual" references would send was reflected in the profile of another
participant, who purposefully included sexually explicit terminology in his
profile to "weed out" poor matches based on his past experience: The reason I
put [the language] in there is because I had some experiences where I got
together [with someone], we both really liked each other, and then it turned out
that I was somebody who really liked sex and she was somebody that could take
it or leave it. So I put that in there to sort of weed those people out.
(imdannyboy, Los Angeles Male) Participants spoke of the ways in which they
incorporated feedback from others in order to shape their self-presentational
messages. In some cases, they seemed genuinely surprised by the ways in which
the digital medium allowed information to leak out. For instance, one male
participant who typically wrote emails late at night discussed his reaction to a
message that said, "Wow, it's 1:18 in the morning, what are you doing writing
me?" This email helped him realize how much of a "night owl" he was, and
"how not attractive that may be for women I'm writing because it's very clear
the time I send the email." Over time, he also realized that the length of his
emails was shaping impressions of him, and he therefore regulated their length.
He said: In the course of [corresponding with others on the site] I became aware
of how I had to present myself. Also, I became quite aware that I had to be very
brief. More often than not when I would write a long response, I wouldn't get a
response¦. I think it implied that I was too desperate for conversation, As one
male participant said, "I'm not going to email somebody who hasn't been on
there for at least a week max. If it's been two weeks since she's logged on, forget
her, she's either dating or there's a problem." Overall, the mediated nature of
these initial interactions meant that fewer cues were available, therefore
amplifying the importance of those that remained. Participants carefully
attended to small cues, such as spelling ability or last login date, in others'
profiles in order to form impressions. In a self-reflexive fashion, they applied
these techniques to their own presentational messages, carefully scrutinizing
both cues given (such as photograph) and, when possible, those perceived to be
given off (such as grammar). Balancing Accuracy and Desirability in Self-
Presentation almost all of our participants reported that they attempted to
represent themselves accurately in their profiles and interactions. Many
expressed incomprehension as to why others with a shared goal of an offline
romantic relationship would intentionally misrepresent themselves. As one

participant explained, "They polish it up some, like we all probably do a little
bit, but for the most part I would say people are fairly straightforward."
However, as suggested by previous research on self-disclosure and relationship
development, participants reported competing desires. At times, their need to
portray a truthful, accurate self-representation was in tension with their natural
inclination to project a version of self that was attractive, successful, and
desirable. Speaking about this tendency towards impression management, one
participant noted that she could see why "people would be dishonest at some
point because they are still trying to be attractive in the sense they would want
this other person to like them."“Ideal Self One way in which participants
reconciled their conflicting needs for positive self-presentation and accuracy
was to create profiles that described a potential, future version of self. In some
cases, participants described how they or others created profiles that reflected an
ideal as opposed to actual self: "Many people describe themselves the way they
want [to be]… their ideal themselves." For example, individuals might identify
themselves as active in various activities (e.g., hiking, surfing) in which they
rarely participated, prompting one participant to proclaim sarcastically, "I've
never known so many incredibly athletic women in my life!" One participant
explained, For instance, I am also an avid hiker and [scuba diver] and
sometimes I have communicated with someone that has presented themselves
the same way, but then it turns out they like scuba diving but they haven't done
it for 10 years, they like hiking but they do it once every second year…I think
they may not have tried to lie; they just have perceived themselves differently
because they write about the person they want to be...In their profile they write
about their dreams as if they are reality. (Christo1, Los Angeles Male) In two
cases, individuals admitted to representing themselves as less heavy than they
actually were. This thinner persona represented a (desired) future state for these
individuals: "The only thing I kind of feel bad about is that the picture I have of
myself is a very good picture from maybe five years ago. I've gained a little bit
of weight and I feel kind of bad about that. I'm going to, you know, lose it
again." In another case, a woman who misrepresented her weight online used an
upcoming meeting as incentive to minimize the discrepancy between her actual
self and the ideal self articulated in her profile: I've lost 44 pounds since I've
started [online dating], and I mean, that's one of the reasons I lost the weight so I
can thank online dating for that. [Because] the first guy that hit on me, I checked
my profile and I had lied a little bit about the pounds, so I thought I had better
start losing some weight so that it would be more honest. That was in
December, and I've lost every week since then. (MaryMoon, Los Angeles
Female) In this case, a later physical change neutralized the initial discursive
deception. For another participant, the profile served as an opportunity to
envision and ideate a version of self that was future-focused and goal-oriented: I
sort of thought about what is my ideal self. Because when you date, you present
your best foot forward. I thought about all the qualities that I have, you know,
even if I sometimes make mistakes and stuff…. And also got together the best
picture I had, and kind of came up with what I thought my goals were at the

time, because I thought that was an important thing to stress. (Marty7, Los
Angeles Male) Overall, participants did not see this as engaging in deceptive
communication per se, but rather as presenting an idealized self or portraying
personal qualities they intended to develop or enhance. Circumventing
Constraints In addition to impression management pressures, participants'
expressed desires for accurate representation were stymied by various
constraints, including the technical interface of the website. In order to activate
an online profile, participants had to complete a questionnaire with many
closed-ended responses for descriptors such as age, body type, zip code, and
income. These answers became very important because they were the variables
that others used to construct searches in order to narrow the vast pool of
profiles. In fact, the front page of includes a "quick" search on
those descriptors believed to be most important: age, geographical location,
inclusion of photograph, and gender/sexual orientation. The structure of the
search parameters encouraged some to alter information to fit into a wider range
of search parameters, a circumvention behavior that guaranteed a wider
audience for their profile. For example, participants tended to misrepresent their
age for fear of being "filtered out." It was not unusual for users who were one or
two years older than a natural breakpoint (i.e., 35 or 50) to adjust their age so
they would still show up in search results. This behavior, especially if one's
actual age was revealed during subsequent email or telephone exchanges,
seemed to be socially acceptable. Many of our participants recounted cases in
which others freely and without embarrassment admitted that they had slightly
misrepresented something in their profile, typically very early in the
correspondence: They don't seem to be embarrassed about [misrepresenting
their age] … in their first reply they say, "oh by the way, I am not so many
years, I am that many years." And then if I ask them, they say, well, they tend to
be attracted to a little bit younger crowd and they are afraid that guys may surf
for a certain age group of women, because you use those filters. I mean, I may
choose to list only those that are between X and Y years old and they don't want
to be filtered away. They are trying to be sort of clever so that people they tend
to be attracted to will actually find them. (Christo1, Los Angeles Male) If lying
about one's age was perceived to be the norm, those who didn't engage in this
practice felt themselves to be at a disadvantage (see Fiore & Donath, 2004). For
instance, one participant who misrepresented his age on his profile noted: I'm
such an honest guy, why should I have to lie about my age? On the other hand,
if I put X number of years, that is unattractive to certain people. They're never
going to search that group and they're never going to have an opportunity to
meet me, because they have a number in their mind just like I do. … Everybody
lies about their age or a lot of people do So I have to cheat too in order to be on
the same page as everybody else that cheats. If I don't cheat that makes me seem
twice as old. So if I say I am 44, people think that I am 48. It blows.
(RealSweetheart, Bay Area Male) In the above cases, users engaged in
misrepresentation triggered by the social norms of the environment and the
structure of the search filters. The technical constraints of the site may have

initiated a more subtle form of misrepresentation when participants were
required to choose among a limited set of options, none of which described
them sufficiently. For instance, when creating their profiles, participants had to
designate their "perfect date" by selecting one from a dozen or so generic
descriptions, which was frustrating for those who did not see any that were
particularly appealing. In another case, one participant complained that there
was not an option to check "plastic surgery" as one of his "turn-offs" and thus he
felt forced to try to discern this from the photos; yet another participant
expressed his desire for a "shaved" option under the description of hair type ("I
resent having to check 'bald'"). Foggy Mirror In addition to the cases in which
misrepresentation was triggered by technical constraints or the tendency to
present an idealized self, participants described a third branch of unintentional
misrepresentation triggered by the limits of self-knowledge. We call this
phenomenon "foggy mirror" based on this participant's explanation: People like
to write about themselves. Sometimes it's not truthful, but it's how they see
themselves and that gives you a different slant on an individual. This is how
they really see themselves. Sometimes you will see a person who weighs 900
pounds and—this is just an exaggeration—and they will have on spandex,
you'll think, "God, I wish I had their mirror, because obviously their mirror tells
them they look great." It's the same thing with online. (KarieK, Bay Area
Female) This user acknowledges that sometimes others weren't lying /per se/,
but the fact that their self-image differed from others' perceptions meant that
their textual self-descriptions would diverge from a third party's description. In
explaining this phenomenon, KarieK used the metaphor of a mirror to
emphasize the self-reflexive nature of the profile. She also refers to the
importance of subtle cues when she notes that a user's self-presentation choices
give one a "different slant on an individual." The term "foggy mirror" thus
describes the gap between self-perceptions and the assessments made by others.
The difference might be overly positive (which was typically the case) or
negative, as the below example illustrates. A male participant explained: There
was one gal who said that she had an "average" body shape.… When I met her
she was thin, and she said she was "average," but I think she has a different
concept of what "average" is. So I then widened my scope [in terms of search
parameters] and would go off the photographs. What a woman thinks is an
"average" body and what I think is an "average" body are two different things.
(joet8, Los Angeles Male) In this case, the participant acknowledged the
semantic problems that accompany textual self-descriptions and adopted a
strategy of relying on photographs as visual, objective evidence, instead of
subjective, ambiguous terms like "average." To counter the "foggy mirror"
syndrome in their own profiles, some individuals asked friends or family
members to read their profiles in order to validate them. In regards to self-
presentation, the most significant tension experienced by participants was one
not unique to the online medium: mediating between the pressures to present an
enhanced or desired self (Goffman, 1959) and the need to present one's true self
to a partner in order to achieve intimacy (Reis & Shaver, 1988). In their profiles

and online interactions, they attempted to present a vision of self that was
attractive, engaging, and worthy of pursuit, but realistic and honest enough that
subsequent face-to-face meetings were not unpleasant or surprising.
Constructing a profile that reflected one's "ideal self" (Higgins, 1987) was one
tactic by which participants reconciled these pressures. In general, although all
of our participants claimed they attempted to be honest in their self-presentation,
misrepresentations occurred when participants felt pressure to fudge in order to
circumvent the search filters, felt the closed-ended options provided by the site
didn't describe them accurately, or were limited by their self-knowledge.
Establishing Credibility The increased ability to engage in selective self-
presentation, and the absence of visual cues in the online environment, meant
that accuracy of self-presentation was a salient issue for our interviewees. The
twin concerns that resulted from these factors—the challenge of establishing
the credibility of one's own self-descriptions while assessing the credibility of
others' identity claims—affected one another in a recursive fashion. In an
environment in which there were limited outside confirmatory resources to draw
upon, participants developed a set of rules for assessing others while
incorporating these codes into their own self-presentational messages. For
example, one participant made sure that her profile photograph showed her
standing up because she felt that sitting or leaning poses were a camouflage
technique used by heavier people. This illustrates the recursive way in which
participants developed rules for assessing others (e.g., avoid people in sitting
poses) while also applying these rubrics to their own self-presentational
messages (e.g., don't show self in sitting pose). Participants adopted specific
tactics in order to compensate for the fact that traditional methods of
information seeking were limited and that self-reported descriptions were
subject to intentional or unintentional misrepresentation when others took
advantage of the "selective self-presentation" (Walther & Burgoon, 1992)
available in CMC. As one participant noted, "You're just kind of blind, you
don't know if what they're saying in their profile online is true." Acknowledging
the potential for misrepresentation, participants also sought to "show" aspects of
their personality in their profiles versus just "telling" others about themselves.
They created their profiles with an eye towards stories or content that confirmed
specific personality traits rather than including a 'laundry list' of attributes. As
one Los Angeles male participant explained, "I attempted to have stories in my
profile somewhat to attempt to demonstrate my character, as opposed to, you
know, [just writing] 'I'm trustworthy,' and all that bit." This emphasis on
demonstration as opposed to description was a tactic designed to circumvent the
lack of a shared social context that would have warranted identity claims and
hedged against blatant deception. Another aspect of "showing" included the use
of photographs, which served to warrant or support claims made in textual
descriptions. Profile photographs communicated not only what people looked
like (or claimed to look like), but also indicated the qualities they felt were
important. For instance, one man with a doctorate included one photo of himself
standing against a wall displaying his diplomas and another of him shirtless.

When asked about his choice of photos, he explained that he selected the
shirtless photo because he was proud of being in shape and wanted to show it
off. He picked the combination of the two photos because "one is sort of [my]
intellectual side and one is sort of the athletic side." In this case, the photos
functioned on multiple levels: To communicate physical characteristics, but also
self-concept (the aspects of self he was most proud of), and as an attempt to
provide evidence for his discursive claims (his profile listed an advanced degree
and an athletic physique). To summarize, our data suggest that participants were
cognizant of the online setting and its association with deceptive communication
practices, and therefore worked to present themselves as credible. In doing so,
they drew upon the rules they had developed for assessing others and turned
these practices into guidelines for their own self-presentational messages.
Discussion the primary goal of the online dating participants interviewed for this
study was to find someone with whom they could establish a dating relationship
(although desired commitment level and type of relationship varied across
participants). Given this, they attempted to achieve their goals while contending
with the unique characteristics of the online environment, engaging in strategies
designed to circumvent the constraints of the online dating environment while
exploiting its capacities. One constraint “the lack of nonverbal cues “meant that
the task of interpreting the remaining cues became paramount in regards to both
assessment of others and presentation of self. Since the goal of most online
dating participants was to identify and interact with potential romantic partners,
individuals strove to highlight their positive attributes and capitalize on the
greater perceived control over self-presentation inherent in the medium.
However, the future face-to-face interaction they anticipated meant that
individuals had to balance their desire for self-promotion with their need for
accurate self-presentation. In response to the risk of misrepresentation online,
made possible by the selective self-presentation affordances of CMC,
participants adopted various strategies to demonstrate the credibility of their
identity claims, recursively applying the same techniques they employed to
uncover representational ruses in others. Our findings suggest that participants
consistently engaged in creative workarounds (circumvention strategies) as they
went through the process of posting a profile, selecting individuals to contact,
and communicating with potential romantic partners. Our data also highlight the
recursive process by which some participants constructed rules of thumb for
assessing others (e.g., an inactive account indicates a lack of availability or
interest) while simultaneously incorporating these rules in their own messages
(e.g., frequently making slight adjustments to the profile). Theoretical
Implications As individuals make initial decisions about potential partners, they
form impressions that help reduce uncertainty about the other (Berger &
Calabrese, 1975). For this to happen in the context of CMC, SIP argues,
individuals will adapt their behaviors to the cues that are available (Tidwell &
Walther, 2002; Walther, 1992) to convey information to one another. While
empirical support for SIP has been demonstrated (see Walther & Parks, 2002 for
a review), this article is among the few to provide evidence for SIP in a

naturalistic setting. Our data show that in the initial interactions of online dating
participants, stylistic aspects of messages such as timing, length, and grammar
appear equally as important as the content of the message itself; this is
consistent with SIP's formulation that when nonverbal cues are decreased, the
remaining cues become more salient to users. Previous laboratory studies of SIP
have tended to focus on the manipulation of a subset of cues. A unique
contribution of this study's extension of SIP is its demonstration of the organic
interplay of these alternative sources of social information online. Although
much of the public debate about online dating has centered on the medium's
inability to ensure participants' truthful self-descriptions, our interview data
suggest that the notion that people frequently, explicitly, and intentionally "lie"
online is simplistic and inaccurate. Exploring the question of whether
participants created a playful or fantastical identity online (Stone, 1996; Turkle,
1995) or were more open and honest (Rubin, 1975), we found that the online
dating participants we spoke with claimed that they attempted to present an
accurate self-representation online, a finding echoed in our survey data (Gibbs
et al., 2006). This study highlights the fact that creating an accurate online
representation of self in this context is a complex and evolving process in which
participants attempt to attract desirable partners while contending with
constraints such as those posed by technological design and the limits of self-
knowledge. In some cases, the technical constraints of the site may have
unintentionally enabled acts of misrepresentation, for instance when participants
slightly altered information in situations in which they felt an arbitrary data
point (in age, for example) would significantly harm their chances of being
discovered by a potential mate. Additionally, self-reported descriptions that use
subjective terms (e.g., "pretty" or "average") could also result in unintentional
misrepresentation due to different interpretations of these terms. Additionally, as
Shah and Kesan point out, "Defaults have a legitimating effect, because they
carry information about what most people are expected to do" (2003, p. 7). In
the case of online dating, it may be that the default settings in the search field
(i.e., an age range, whether searches are limited to profiles with photographs)
influence user perceptions of the desirability or appropriateness of certain
responses. Additionally, our interview data suggest that online representations
of one's ideal self—when combined with the increased accountability
engendered by an anticipated face-to-face interaction—may serve as a tool to
enable individuals to minimize the discrepancy between their actual and their
ideal selves. The ideal self refers to qualities or achievements one strives to
possess in the future (Bargh et al., 2002). In the realm of online dating, it is
interesting that participants reported using the profile to ideate a version of self
they desired to experience in the future. For some, the act of constructing an
online profile may begin a process of self-growth as they strive to close the gap
between actual and ideal self, such as the woman who misrepresented her
weight but then was able to achieve her goal of weight loss over time. Future
research is needed to assess the extent to which this phenomenon exists and its
long-term consequences for processes of self-growth. More research is also

needed to understand fully whether strategies designed to circumvent constraints
(technical or other) are perceived to be deceptive by users and, if so, which
norms govern their use. The literature on deception explores a wide range of
deceptive acts, ranging from the more mundane "diversionary responses" to
outright "lies". Future research could work to develop a taxonomy of online
deception and acceptability, which takes into account the nuances of social
norms and the fact that some misrepresentation may be unintentional or socially
accepted. For instance, if a profile includes incorrect information that is rectified
immediately over email, is it a "lie?" More importantly, is it acceptable? Also,
more research is needed to understand more clearly the extent and substance of
participants' actual concerns regarding online dating (i.e., misrepresentation,
effectiveness, safety) and how they overlap with the often sensationalized
discourse about online deception as represented in media accounts and social
narratives. Practical Implications Given that deceptive practices are a concern
for online dating participants, future research should explore the ways in which
online dating sites could implement design features aimed at addressing these
issues. For instance, they could acknowledge and incorporate aspects of a shared
social context, similar to social networking sites like Friendster (Donath &
boyd, 2004), through the use of testimonials or social network visualizations.
Online dating sites could adopt some of the design features used in e-commerce
sites, such as testimonials, user rating systems, or social network visualizations,
where participants also must operate in an uncertain environment in which
warranting is difficult and deception can be costly (Resnick & Zeckhauser,
2002). A second design consideration is the possibility that the technical
characteristics of some online dating sites may privilege objective
characteristics (such as demographic features) and de-emphasize the process of
seeing others as individuals rather than as amalgams of various traits. The
benefit, or capacity, of online dating is that participants can use specific search
parameters to cull a subset of profiles from a larger database. Participants
acknowledged that the online dating environment placed more emphasis on
certain kinds of information—information that might not be very important in a
face-to-face setting when chemistry was already established. To compensate for
or to circumvent these constraints, participants tried to create profiles that stood
out or evidenced aspects of self that they were particularly proud of rather than a
laundry list of features. They struggled to present themselves as unique
individuals within the constraints of a technical system that encouraged
homogeneity, negotiating a desire to stand out with the need to blend in. Future
research might examine the potential for developing self-presentation tools that
allow individuals more nuanced ways of expressing themselves in the online
environment, such as video presentations, more sophisticated communication
tools, or triangulated information from others on the site. Online dating sites
may need to reconsider the ways in which profiles are structured and the
characteristics they include; as Fiore and Donath argue, "the features of a person
that presents as salient to romance will begin to have some
psychological and cultural influences if 40 million Americans view them every

month" (2004, p. 1395). If we accept this claim, then it stands to reason that
participants' vision of self may be impacted by their online self-presentation,
especially if these presentations are constrained. Limitations we chose to
conduct interviews with online dating participants in order to gain insight into
how they perceived their experiences and the processes through which they
learned to avoid the pitfalls and exploit the possibilities of online dating.
However, there are several limitations that should be acknowledged in our
method and sample. Limitations of this study include the sampling of only
participants located on the West Coast. While members are
worldwide, we cannot assess if regional or national differences affect the online
dating experience. A major limitation is the potential for self-selection bias, as
participants volunteered for the study. While demographically diverse, those
that chose to volunteer might be biased toward a more positive outlook on
online dating or potentially more honest in their online dating practices. In
addition, the self-reported nature of the data may have resulted in a social
desirability bias, making participants less likely to admit to intentional
misrepresentation. Finally, many of our findings may be specific to's model of online dating, in which participants post profiles and
select with whom they want to communicate. Other online dating sites, such as
Harmony, utilize a very different model, acting as online matchmakers where
individuals who are found to be compatible are paired based on personality tests
developed by "expert" psychologists. Future research could assess whether
variables like self-efficacy predict which model users choose to utilize.
Although our observations in this article were based on the sample as a whole,
we acknowledge that there may be differences (for instance, along gender lines)
which are beyond the scope of this article but which could be explored in future
research. Although self-presentation and relationship formation have been
studied in other online contexts, tracing how these processes take place in the
online dating realm offers researchers unique insights into the crucial role of
circumvention techniques, the complicated nature of "honesty" in online
environments, and the social and psychological implications of the design and
structure of these sites. From a historical perspective, the goals of online dating
participants are not that different from those described by poets throughout the
ages. What is different is the tools in their repertoire and the constraints and
opportunities they present. As O'Sullivan writes, "From a functional
perspective, it appears new technologies may be providing nothing terribly new
âs”just new ways of doing things that people have been doing throughout the
history of social interaction" (2000, p. 428). This study has attempted to
elucidate and explain some of these social practices as a window into the ways
in which new communication technologies are shaping us âs”and we are
shaping themâs”in the ongoing pursuit of romantic relationships.
Acknowledgments The authors thank Karen Aroian, Ulla Bunz, Annika Hylmo,
Edythe Hough, Patrick O'Sullivan, Charles Steinfield, Joe Walther and two
anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions regarding this
manuscript. This research was funded by Affirmative Action Grant No. 111579

from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at California State
University, Stanislaus. Notes 1. Similar to the concept of "workaround"
employed by designers and software engineers, users engage in circumvention
strategies to neutralize constraints”or turn them into capabilities. Prior CMC
research has identified similar processes in interpersonal contexts. For instance,
O'Sullivan (2000) found that users chose mediated channels over face-to-face
communication in situations where a preferred impression was expected to be
violated in order to capitalize on the face-saving capabilities of mediated
interaction. Similarly, CMC researchers working in other contexts have noted
the process by which individuals adapt their behavior to compensate for the
limitations imposed by the medium in order to pursue their communication
goals (Walther, Loh, & Granka, 2005). 2. All identifying information about our
participants has been changed to protect their confidentiality, although we have
attempted to use pseudonyms that reflect the tone and spirit of their chosen
screen names.

S.No. Books Name Author

1. Self Development Harry Loren

2. English Speaking Parvewz Ahmed

S.No. Search Engine