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Lessons from Buzzfeed: Why It’s Important to Map out the Basics

Check out this recent post by the ever popular social sharing site, Buzzfeed. They asked some of their American staff writers to do a fairly simple task- fill in a blank map of Europe with the appropriate countries. Well, it turned out to be quite a disaster for most of the participants as all of them failed to fill out the countries in the correct boundaries. Many of them even wrote, “wow, so this is what my college education got me” along the borders of the Scandinavian countries they couldn’t label.

So how do we tie this back into presentation preparation? It’s simple as understanding basic concepts, like geography of our neighboring countries, should be understood before the big picture. Prior to any presentation – start simple as basic understanding, just like basic geography, is imperative in any powerpoint.

With any big presentation it is imperative to mark your basics first before jumping into the small details first, such as which bar graph to use or which font color to highlight your main points in. Prior to you even starting with your outline list all your main points that will be listed on your presentation slides. Getting your main ideas outlined first is imperative before working on the rest of your presentation.

This article speaks a basic truth that most Americans spend a decent percentage of their lives in an educational setting to learn fundamental values such as physics, grammar and world geography- which in this case seems to be a huge failure. Forgetting your main themes, and the whole purpose of your powerpoint presentation – never forget your purpose, and make sure this isn’t clouded in spending hours picking the perfect template or searching for the an attention grabbing quote.

You can read the full article here.

Selling Your Wife with PowerPoint: Why it Works

The universal question remains, “How do you win an argument with a woman?” 

Just like Phil and Claire Dunphy on ABC’S Emmy Award-winning show, Modern Familyit’s almost a daily struggle to prove who’s right and why. This timeless debacle has stumped husbands across the years as countless disagreements and failed persuasions have led to broken compromises.

We may believe that the common day PowerPoint presentation is merely just for business lectures but the marketing and persuasive ability of powerpoint slides may actually be one of the best explanation tools. When dealing with certain difficult issues such as mapping out your financial plans for the year, a PowerPoint presentation has the capability to share information in the most persuasive and simplest way possible; therefore allowing for more agreements- and fewer arguments.

1. Starting Off Your Presentation with an Attention Grabbing Quote

Just like in any persuasive essay or speech, the appeal of pathos (or emotion) when presenting your idea will catch your wife’s attention from the beginning. Your quote can also be a personalized statistic, say if you were trying to either sell or buy a substantial item or place that sums up a main purpose.

2. Utilize Visuals and Graphs

Images speak louder than words, too much text will cause anyone to lose interest fast. Using bar graphs and pie charts to explain your financial forecast or using graphics will make for any explanation to be easier and allow for more efficient points to be made. Talking numbers make for more confusion- but showing numbers allows for more information to be digested easily and this is essential in any great powerpoint presentation. 

3. Minimal Bullet Points

The simpler, the better. Bullet points are acceptable in family presentations and allow for direct and specific statements to be made without too much wordiness. You as the presenter are responsible for elaborating these ideas, but visually they should be presented in the simplest form.

4. Using If/Then Analogies

Creating an if/then scenario within your presentation will give you the ability to show your wife why your point is valid and using examples will assist in positioning your argument.


Convincing somebody of anything is not an easy task, and just like Phil and Claire try to make sure their points are the “correct” ones, you can utilize PowerPoint to share your ideas with your spouse and explain them in the most effective way possible.

Comment below and let us know if you’ve used PowerPoint to persuade your wife.

Winning the Crowd : What We Can Learn from College Game Day

Whether it be Roll Tide or Go Blue getting your audience fired up  and ready for game day is essential in any college football match. There are certain traditions and aspects that are a part of every big university match before, after and during the game. There are certain concepts that are strikingly similar to impressing your college game day crowd as well as a corporate presentation crowd. Here are some tactics listed to enhance your presentation and get your audience engaged and focused:

Pep Talk in the Locker Room

Prior to starting your presentation meet with other team members and presenters to go over a few basic elements. Discuss points such as; what is your main purpose? What is your end goal? Having a defined powerpoint presentation plan will allow you as the presenter to get your main points across directly and more efficiently.

Huddle Up

Huddle up…literally! Group up with your teammates or chat with a peer right before you take the floor. Having this confidence boost will go a long way throughout your presentation. Coming together as a group will also help your ideas and thoughts flow more universally though out the presentation.

 

Follow the Game Plan Through

Don’t go off topic and shy away from your purpose, understand your powerpoint slides and concepts and make sure to stick to the plays (your ideas!) Using a storyboard will help outline your presentation more effectively.

 

Make it through the Fourth Quarter

Don’t lose your energy during the very end of your presentation, the very last slides are where you as the presenter, should be coming to a conclusion and wrapping up all your points of interest. These are the most imperative because this information is what your audience takes away from the most. Be sure to not trail off in your words or appear tired, the more energy you have throughout the end, the better!

 

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/11/12/pro-presentation-tips-7-secrets-to-winning-the-room/

What The Hunger Games Teaches us About Making a Killer Presentation

Instincts, utilizing your resources and winning the hearts of your audience are just a few key points that allowed District 3 contender, Katniss Everdeen to win the 74th Annual Hunger Games and allow for her and fellow partner, Peeta, to participate in the televised fight to the death. Now they enter the games in a second time in the sequel, Catching Fire, after a sudden rule change. So what does battling your opponents and overcoming severe weather changes and starvation in The Hunger Games have to do with creating a stellar PowerPoint presentation? In order to directly share your points and engage your audience, here are a few comparisons between creating an effective presentation and winning the 75th Annual Hunger Games.

Get the best training.

Just as Katniss trains furiously by exercising and practicing her archery skills before the games you as the presenter must train extensively before any presentation. There is no such thing as too much preparation, rereading your slides and even practicing your verbal skills will enhance your focus ability and allow for a smoother presentation.

Be prepared to overcome tough obstacles when in action.

Whether it be a swarm of poisonous bees or a question from an audience member that throws you off guard, you must be willing to deal with sudden situations at any time. Know your material that you are presenting instead of just reading word for word off of your slides, your ability to go off topic and in more depth will be a weakness noticed by your audience.

Keep your audience entertained, at all times.

As Katniss won the hearts of the audience by tending to Peeta in the last Hunger Games and now stands a public image to Panem, your connection with the people you are presenting to is key. Your presentation ideas should be unique and the way you present them is even more imperative, use visuals, graphics even videos to spruce up and create a great powerpoint presentation. 

 

May the odds be ever in your favor.

 

References:

“4 PowerPoint Resources You Can’t Miss Out On” SlideGenius. November 20, 2013.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” Rottentomatoes.

What Nick Offerman Can Teach Us About Manipulating Meaning with Inflection

NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman,who plays Ron Swanson, the staunchly libertarian director of the Parks and Rec Department, is the epitome of manliness. In his free time, he enjoys woodworking, whiskey tasting, fleeing from his ex wives and consuming mass quantities of meat. the seasoned actor started a series on The Conan O’Brien Show called “Nick Offerman From Parks And Recreation Reads Tweets From Young Female Celebrities.” It’s delightfully funny, chiefly because Offerman is the exact antithesis of the ultra-rich celebrity divas who’s tweets.

See for yourself: Nick Offerman Reads Tweets
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This is a testament to the dynamic effect inflection can have on how we’re interpreted. Offerman doesn’t change a single syllable of what these young celebrities tweet, but he makes them funny by reading them with a gruff, no-nonsense demeanor contrary to their whimsical, overly girly nature. Just by changing the way these statements are read, he gives their meaning a complete overhaul.

 

We can apply this to our own presentations by deciding what kind of impact we want our words to make. When you’re giving a great powerpoint presentation on a crucial piece of information to investors, whether it be a standout statistic or your brilliant mission statement, you can’t expect to be able to read it in a flat voice and have its significance reach your audience. You have to sell it. Show the energy through your voice and through your movements. Think about the emotions each statement you’re making should elicit then focus on selling that when presenting.

So when designing your next powerpoint presentation, keep in mind not just what you’re saying, but how you say it. This can make all the difference in your next corporate presentation.

What You Need to Learn From Lion Tamers

Any lion tamer will have three tools to control their majestic beast: a whip, a stool, and a fistful of enticing snacks. Which of these tools is most useful?

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Most would say it’s the whip, but they would be wrong. It’s the stool. When the lion tamer raises the stool to face his roaring counterpart, the lion sees all four stool legs and doesn’t know which one to focus on. Consequently, they stand frozen, enabling the tamer to keep them under control.

As interesting as this may be, we as humans are not impervious to this same manipulation. When you try focus on too many things in your work, you become incapable of taking effective action on any of them. Lack of focus significantly impairs your ability to lead and stick to your plan, especially when giving a presentation.

In order to prevent what I like to call the very appropriately named “tamed-lion syndrome” you should follow these rules:

Set goals.

Know what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and where you want to take it. Know all of that, and the goal-making process will be a piece of cake. Go to the first day of class and what does the professor do? He goes over the syllabus and talks about his goals for you as his student. Join a gym your instructor will immediately talk about your goals and what exactly you hope to achieve with your body. Both the college professor and the gym instructor are following the same trend, they’re highlighting end results. They’re trying to lure you in by showing you the potential the service can offer you.

 It is useful to set goals at all levels, daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and long term. Expressing your short and long term goals in your presentation are great for transparency for your audience. Giving a clear message and ultimate goal to your audience will allow them to empathize with you and genuinely understand your passion. It’s a universal fact that empathy, or really just emotion, is the single most powerful tool for selling. All in all, it’s pretty simple; set goals, explain them, and sell more.


“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

-Steve Jobs


Get your priorities straight.

This is arguably the most important and useful factor when it comes to focusing. Knowing your long term goal is the best way to start. That in itself takes a while to figure out. But once you take that step, highlight, circle, star, check, enumerate, or do whatever it is you have to do to prioritize your tasks to get you to your goal. The more detailed, the more effective it’ll be. Priorities should be outlined along with your goals in your presentation. This comes back to transparency; the more your audience can understand you and your company, the more comfortable they will feel with you.

 

References:

Colan, Lee.What Lion Tamers Know About Focus. Inc.com. July 19, 2013. 
Jarrett, Christian. “How Goals and Good Intentions Can Hold Us Back.99u. July 10, 2012.

4 PowerPoint Resources You Can’t Miss Out On!

Effective slide design is not simple, but should be simplistic. It isn’t easy, but should be easily understood.

Most presenters fail at creating effective PowerPoint presentations from the moment they start planning them, because they don’t focus on the key elements. Proper layout, organization, font usage, and image usage are crucial facets of design.  We at SlideGenius have come up with a short list of 4 useful supplementary content, design and editing resources for anyone who may find themselves giving or creating a presentation.

1. PowerPoint Support Sites

Here are a couple of useful support sites to help deal with PowerPoint product issues:

2. Stock Photo Sites

Each of these three sites offers a wide variety of royalty-free images starting at $1 an image:

3. Editing Tools Sites

As I’ve started blogging about various PowerPoint and presentation topics, I’ve come across some interesting presentation tools. These tools might be alternatives to PowerPoint or complementary tools for PowerPoint users.

  • ColorCop (free eyedropper/color picker tool)
  • Freepath (combine files and other media files in a playlist)
  • WhatTheFont (font identification tool)

4. Useful Quotation Sites

Most of the famous quotation sites are difficult to use due to a variety of usability issues. I found these to be among the better ones for finding useful, concise quotes.

Innovation is a major aspect of effective design; you should always be looking to better your PowerPoints, their design, and the holistic delivery. These resources are a great way to begin maximizing the few minutes you have to deliver your corporate presentation, investor pitch, executive sale presentation, etc.

If you can think of any other useful resources that align with this theme, feel free to comment them on this post and we will be sure to add!

5 Characteristics of Ideas That Spread

Your success as a business professional doesn’t stop at coming up with an idea, but only when you can convince others to use it.

In other words, to quote the timeless saying “Ideas are a dime-a-dozen, execution is all that matters.” With that, a resulting logical question would be “How do you execute successfully?”

In order to answer that, we need to first look at another question, which is “how do you improve your chances of getting your idea adopted by others?” If you’re measuring your success on the influence you have on others, the latter question is where to start, and with the idea of improving your odds of adoption you need to think of the medium through which you convey the idea itself: your corporate presentation, investor pitch presentation, or really any professional PowerPoint presentation.

In 1962 a sociology professor at Ohio State University named Everett Rodgers published a book called “Diffusion of Innovation,” which was ultimately a large-scale research project on why ideas spread. The study gathered the results of over 500 case studies showing why some ideas are adopted among people and organizations and why others aren’t. The study’s results outlined a set of five factors that direct and influence our decision to adopt or reject ideas:

Relative Advantage

This is basically the higher degree to which an idea is perceived as relative to the existing standard. Just how much of an improvement is it over the previous generation? Relative Advantage is what most people think of when they hear your company’s name; its the brand, or collective cognitive understanding of a concept.

Observability

This relates to the same concept as Trialability: the more users are able to observe, listen, taste, or use your product or service, the more noticeable it will be. At its core, this means that you need to set your idea up in not only an extreme variety of avenues, but avenues that are popular and showcase to the most amount of people. Sometimes this won’t even mean the obvious ones like Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube, but might mean your local park, school, or grocery store. Think creatively and explain your plan for observability in your PowerPoint presentations, investor pitches, etc.

Compatibility

How easily can I use past ideas, experiences or businesses to understand how your new idea functions or benefits me? It’s essentially the ability to connect past success to your new venture. Take Apple, for example, their more recent products at some level are more improved versions of the old ones.  Whether talking about the laptops, iPads, iPhones; they are each better versions of the old, but the old proved to be successful, so the updated version should too. Show how your venture is compatible through your presentations and pitches and you’ll see an increase in not only adoption, but also sales!

Complexity

Oddly enough, complexity is actually about simplicity, or how easy it is for people to understand your idea. What’s the logic? What’s the system? What’s the benefit? My benefit? An idea that is too difficult for most to understand is scary and, therefore, ineffective when it comes to persuasion. The simple ideas like Steve Jobs’ “a thousand songs in my pocket” for the iPod that stick, and stick well!

Trial Ability

This is measuring how easily your targeted audience can try it out? The more testers you get to try your idea out, the more feedback you’ll get, and the more users you will open yourself to adopt. Most musicians nowadays start off by sharing their music for free on YouTube. Why? It’s an easy way to have users try their material, and if it’s worthwhile, it’ll spread like wildfire! The more they can try it, the more certainty there is about committing to it.

Circling back to our original question, “How do you execute successfully?” we see that one needs to not only make their ideas fit each of these characteristics, but convey them through the avenues in which they are judged, namely corporate or executive presentations.

 

References:

Burkus, David. “The 5 Common Characteristics of Ideas That Spread.99u. October 7, 2013.

Our Best PowerPoint Recommendations of 2013.SlideGenius. December 10, 2013.

Rogers, Everett M. Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition. 5th ed. New York: Free Press, 2014. 576.

4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For

Your audience is filled with 4 different member types of thinkers: analytical, structural, social, and conceptual.

It’s your job to make your presentations appeal to all four. Like any other accomplishment, appealing to all four thinkers will involve research, namely research about how each thinker thinks. We, at our Presentation Agency, have looked into inc.com’s recent series of articles on leadership and compiled a rudimentary set of instructions to appeal to each thinker by analyzing the essentials that make up the foundation of each form of thought.

Analytical

Here’s how you can be sure to draw out your analytical-thinking audience:

  • Show your research.
  • Highlight important data from within the research.
  • You need to show the big picture, not just the details.
  • Provide a case study.
  • Analyze past successes to allow your team to develop new ideas.
  • Provide an overview as well as objectives.
  • Clarity about your needs is critical.
  • Quantify everything
  • Use analytical phrases like:
      • What is the cost/benefit of this project?
      • What does the research say?
      • I’ve been analyzing the situation.

Structural

So here’s how to communicate in aims to draw out your structural-thinking audience:

1. First, it’s important to understand that a structured thinker learns by doing

2. Next, provide plenty of “how-to” points

3. Hand out a step-by-step implementation plan and a guide for how things need to be done.

4. Explain through practicality.

5. Communicate in concrete terms and explain the rules.

6. Be very detailed.

Social

  • Here’s how you can be sure to draw out your socially oriented audience:
  • Don’t be afraid to refer to feelings.
  • Use questions like:
      • “How does that appeal to you?”
      • “How are you feeling about this?”
  • Or statements like:
      • “I’m concerned about how others will react.”
  • Show a personal connection.
  • Phrases that evoke this:
      • “Let’s work through this together.”
      • “Is everyone on the same page?”

Conceptual

Here’s how you can be sure you speak and interact conceptually to draw out your conceptual-thinking audience:

  • Think long-term; Where do we want to be in 5 years? You can always fill in the details and short-term afterward
  • Describe the levels or stages of your plans or ideas
  • Use abstract examples or metaphors
  • Define key terms

Thinking through this form of audience analysis will allow you to maximize the research for PowerPoint presentation, which will in turn lead more sales!

 

References:

Browning, Geil. “Why Being Social Makes You a Better Leader. inc.com. July 15, 2013.
Browning, Geil. “Why Steve Jobs’ Exactitude Mattered as Much as His Vision. inc.com. May 16, 2013.

Raising Capital? Consider a Scrolling Web Pitch!

Raising capital is complicated. There are a lot of pieces to put together, including selling your audience, knowing your valuation, how much capital you need, use of funds and much, much more.

The initial hurdle for countless companies comes at the intersection where entrepreneurs and investors meet. Entrepreneurs often stumble building their investment deck and effectively pitching which makes it that much harder to get people to give you the capital. Investors must believe in you and your abilities to manage and grow a company. The problem is that showing who you are and what you’re capable of can be difficult let alone doing it in a 10-15 minute window.

For that reason you need to put your heart and soul into the pitch, but not just the content, also the delivery. What does a perfect pitch look like, you ask? That is a matter of opinion and you’ll never see the “perfect pitch deck”, but recently its all about presenting your company in a unique way to stand out from the crowd.  One additional option you may consider is a scrolling web pitch. Scrolling web pitches incorporate a unique scrolling technique that allow the presenter to replace the generic professional PowerPoint click-by-click slides with an interactive, more organic and lively design.  This is not meant to be a replacement for the face to face PowerPoint pitch but a reinforcement and/or teaser to get the meeting.  Here are 4 reasons why you need to use scrolling web designs for you next investor presentation:

Keep Content Up to Date

In using a scrolling web pitch, you are making any future edits or updates to your text as easy as can be. This design simplifies the process and maximizes your use of time.

Stand Out from the Crowd and be unique

Most people email their large, boring and lifeless PowerPoint presentations to prospective investors, but it really doesn’t make sense to do that. Without context from the entrepreneur you’ll risk a misinterpreted message or worse they might not even move past the first three slides.  Treat you pitch with respect. Why be dull and lifeless when you can be unique, creative and memorable?

Monitor page analytics/views and keep consistency

Data, data, data! Being able to keep your pitch up to date online and get analytics will help you assess the effectiveness of your deck. Additionally, you’ll have created another venue to market in. A great scroll web pitch will be able to sell itself without you being there, so any viewer could potentially bite in your concept.

Create more interest and leads

Analytics and views lead to increased interest and leads. Garnering and extrapolating public interest in your concept will serve as evidence to any potential investors as quality and a great opportunity.

Think of it as PowerPoint presentation Darwinism: evolve your presentation or have it die. Though raising capital may be intimidating, challenging, and maybe seemingly impossible at times, the process starts with how you present yourself to people.

We’ve created an example of a scroll web pitch that you can see here.

If you have any questions or comments about scroll pitches just comment them on this post?