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Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Ways to a PowerPoint Design Boost

Do you still have a presentation that needs to be wrapped up before the year ends? Don’t forget to give your PowerPoint design a much needed boost. As you know, it’s important to end the year with a bang. The last message you share for 2014 should resonate with the audience. Aside from learning the best way to communicate with them, you have to make sure that your visuals are eye-catching and unforgettable.

Here’s a quick rundown of simple tips and tricks for a PowerPoint design boost: 

1.) Use bullet points correctly 

As we mentioned previously, there’s a time and place for bullet points in your PowerPoint design. Most people use bullet points to list down lengthy paragraphs of text when they should only be used to list down key information. In other words, using bullet points should help you present details in a way that’s easy for your audience to digest. You don’t use them to cram a dozen different sentences in a single slide. You use them to create a list of important information that the audience can easily see and discern. There’s nothing wrong with using bullet points, but don’t forget that there’s a right way to utilize them.

2.) Experiment by creating custom templates 

If you’re in a hurry to finish your presentation, using PowerPoint templates will definitely make the job easier. However, these templates often have a reputation of being boring and repetitive. Luckily, there’s a way you can use them without sacrificing your creativity. As we detailed in this tutorial, you can create custom PowerPoint designs by using the Slide Master option. It might take a bit more effort, but it’s worth it to have a template that’s unique to your presentation. Tailor fit any template for your specific situation by changing up the look to match your branding.

3.) Create the perfect mood with the right colors

Speaking of branding, picking the right colors is one of the best ways to make sure your business identity is evident in your PowerPoint design. The correct color choices will also add more dimension to what you’re delivering. Since colors are often have specific cultural associations, choosing the right color will help you add more meaning to the topic you’re tackling. For example, the color blue and gray is often associated with professionalism. On the other hand, the color purple connotes luxury and exclusivity. If you want to create a palette that matches the mood of your presentation, do some quick research on the different cultural associations behind specific colors. You can start here.

4.) Find balance by using well-matched fonts

It’s also important to keep your PowerPoint design well-balanced and harmonized. One way you can do that is by making sure you choose fonts that match each other. Even when you have plenty to choose from, make sure that your fonts complement each other. You can opt for a contrasting Serif and Sans Serif pair, but you can also create a unified look by choosing fonts from the same family or typeface. Whatever you decide, just make sure to limit your choice within 2-3 styles. Going overboard will create too much distraction and your PowerPoint design will end up looking inorganic. Another important rule to keep in mind is readability. Make sure everything in your slides can be read by the farthest person from the screen.

5.) Highlight your message with the perfect images

Finally, your PowerPoint design won’t work if you don’t have images to illustrate your points. This is a tip we’ve repeated so much in the last year because it should never be left unsaid. Your PowerPoint design will be far more effective if you let go of lengthy paragraphs and use images to highlight your message instead. The Internet is a great source to find whatever you need. Take the time to browse through all these sites to find something that will help you tell the story of your presentation. Visual storytelling is a growing trend in the world of business, so make sure your PowerPoint design doesn’t fall behind.

These tips may seem ordinary, but they all bear repeating. You can’t expect to boost your PowerPoint design if you don’t start at the basics. Follow these tips and work your way towards more creative and memorable presentations.

If you need more help, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact our PowerPoint design experts!

 

Featured Image: Life of Pix

Presentation Books: 5 Titles to Read During the Holidays

Even as you enjoy the parties and activities that come with the holidays, it’s important to give yourself a break. No matter how enjoyable, it can still be exhausting to be whisked away from one activity to the next. You also need to make sure you get some time to relax and recharge. The holiday break can be the perfect time to sit back and crack open a few presentation books. If you’re looking for titles that are refreshing and creative, these books can give you a new perspective on tired and cliched tips. Snuggle in your sofa with a book and a hot drink and give yourself the opportunity to feel inspired.

Here’s a list of presentation books you should read in-between your frantic holiday activities:

Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)

51oXKWrcYYLWere the days leading up to your holiday break a stressful time at work? If so, reading Thinking Fast and Slow might help you come up with fresh ideas. In it, Daniel Kahneman, a winner of the Nobel Prize Memorial Award for Economics, introduces his readers to the different ways our brain works.

In particular, he explains that there are two different systems that drive the way we think. The first one is centered on intuition and emotion, while the second system focuses on deliberate and logical thinking. It’s the perfect read for anyone who wants to learn more about the decision-making process.

Confessions of a Public Speaker (Scott Berkun)

072-1Do you often find yourself feeling anxious about delivering a presentation? If you want to combat your presentation fears, you’ll definitely find comfort in the book Confessions of a Public Speaker. Here, the author Scott Berkun relays notable lessons from his years as a professional public speaker.

All of his tips are told through anecdotes that will definitely feel relatable. He shares both hits and misses, making the book a fun and humorous read. Among the presentation books in this list, this is the perfect choice for someone who’s looking to breeze through their holiday read.

The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand (Lee LeFever)

9781118374580_cover.inddHere’s a presentation book that’s perfect for those preparing for a big presentation. As you know, the success of your pitch will rely on how well you can explain the merits of your vision. To make sure you’re able to present your ideas well, Lee LeFever offers The Art of Explanation.

Take your audience through a journey and allow them to see the details of your idea clearly. Make sure your big idea is well-received by your prospects or colleagues by perfecting your communication techniques.

Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations (Dan Roam)

5140FskdsML._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Are you able to explain your ideas well, but don’t know how to convey them through visuals? If you think you’re not as adept in the design department, Dan Roam’s Show and Tell can be a great place to start. In here, you’ll be able to learn some of the basic lessons you need to ensure that you find the perfect balance between “showing” and “telling” in your presentations.

Engage your audience and make sure you give them an extraordinary and memorable experience.

The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking (Mike Rohde)

51PefxyjMIL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Do you have a hard time recalling information that’s been presented to you? The Sketchnote Handbook proves how important it is to incorporated visuals in presentations. While this is for the people sitting in the audience, it can also give presenters a fresh new perspective on the visualization of ideas.

Here, Mike Rohde makes it a point to each everyone that visual note taking isn’t exclusively for artists and creative types. According to him, all you really need is a pen, a notebook, and a lot of creativity.

Take a moment from your busy holiday schedule to find inspiration from these presentation books. Here are 5 titles you need to try before the year ends. Are there any other presentation books in your holiday reading list? What other titles would you like to try out?

 

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The Pyramid Principle: Tips for Presentation Structure

There’s no easier way to lose the attention of your audience than by dumping too much information on them.

When you’re delivering a presentation, it’s important to a structure that everyone can follow. This structure needs to keep everything concise and straight to the point. It should allow one point to flow to the next in a logical manner. After all, the audience will find it confusing to hear wayward and tangential points. Luckily, learning Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle will keep you on the right track.

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Basically, the Pyramid Principle is a communication technique that allows you to to structure your points and arguments properly. It works by introducing a thesis statement before going into points and arguments that support it. Like a pyramid, the information you present should branch out as you move on towards specific details of the discussion. As written on Minto’s website,

“Extended thinking eventually ends in a single pyramid of ideas, at many levels, obeying logical rules, and held together by a single thought. Communicating the thinking requires only that you guide the reader down the pyramid.”

In other words, we can break down the Pyramid Principle into three main points:

1. Start with your thesis statement or key takeaway
2. Group arguments into main points
3. Branch out to discuss supporting details

If you map out your presentation, the structure would follow a hierarchy that look like this:

pyramid principle

As you can see, your presentation will be held together by single, key idea. To prove your statement, you will several different arguments that are grouped according to similarities. After that, you will discuss each detail as you move from one main point to the next.

To give you a better sense of the Pyramid Principle, let’s get into each of its three main points:

Start with your thesis statement or key takeaway

Following the Pyramid Principle, the best way to start your presentation is by laying out your conclusion immediately.

For business communication, it’s important to give the audience a clear idea about which direction you’re heading. While everyday conversations with friends will usually have a slow build up to a conclusion, talking with potential clients and investors are a different scenario. Considering the limited time we usually get with prospects, getting straight to the point obviously makes a lot of sense. In turn, this also allows them to see where you’ll be taking your discussion.

Group arguments into main points

With your takeaway presented, it’s time to delve into your main discussion. According to the Pyramid Principle, the next level involves grouping together all your arguments into main points. Each point will be a summary of specific supporting details that you’ll get into one by one.

Branch out to discuss supporting details

Finally, you can start getting into each of your main points by branching out to your supporting details. The idea is to keep everything under one theme so that the audience can easily picture how each item is related to one another.

Before arranging your presentation using the Pyramid Principle, you need to be sure of all the details of your content. You’ll need to brainstorm and draft out all of your ideas first. From there, you can edit your outline using either deductive or inductive reasoning.

You can start from the bottom up—deciding on all the points you want to make, grouping them together by theme,  and finally deducting your main takeaway. You can also start the opposite way—figure out the premise of your presentation, thinking of arguments what would make it valid, and then draft supporting details for each.

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Featured Image: martin_vmorris via Flickr

Where to Find Unique Images for Your Presentation Design

The easiest way to elevate your presentation design is by finding images that match your message. As we’ve continuously emphasized, your visual aids play an important role in your presentations. Whether you choose PowerPoint or an alternative presentation software, the use of images is a better technique than filling the screen with bullet points and text. If you want the audience to remember what you say, illustrating your points with images can help you go a long way.

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Before you can create a presentation design that stands out, you’ll need to gather your resources. It’s easy to say that images can change the look of your presentation deck, but it’s a lot harder to find something that works well with the topic you’re covering. There’s a lot of stock images available online, but they often look generic and unimaginative. Your message is unique to your presentation, so the images you use should feel the same way.

Aside from browsing through Flickr, there are plenty resources you can turn to. Here’s a list of 7 great websites where you can find images for your presentation designs:

Death to the Stock Photo 

images-death to the stock

This site has become pretty popular recently, and it’s not hard to imagine why. In fact, we constantly use their images in this blog. Basically, the photographers running this site will send you a photo pack of 10 unique images every month. Each photo pack will revolve around a specific theme. Best of all, you’ll be able to receive it straight in your inbox. When you sign up for the first time, they’ll also give you a starter pack. Check out their website here.

Picjumbo

images-picjumbo

Picjumbo is another great resource for amazing images. Here, you can access a large collection of photos that you are free to use for both personal and commercial works. Browse through different categories like abstract, nature, technology, and food to find something that’s perfect for your presentation. The photographer Viktor Hanacek updates his collection regularly, so you won’t run out of choices. You can also sign up for a premium account to download exclusive collections. You can take a closer look here.

Superfamous Studios

images-superfamous studio

This website has a large collection of photographs by designer Folkert Gorter. The images you’ll find here are mostly of nature. There are a lot of scenic shots of mountains and oceans, but there are also macro shots of tree barks and leaves. If you’re looking for something a bit abstract or muted for your presentations, the images here are a great choice.

Startup Stock Photos 

images-startup

If you’re looking for images that feel closer to home, this website is where you should head next. As its name suggests, Startup Stock Photos has a collection of images documenting that startup life. There’s plenty of pictures of office spaces and colleagues discussing ideas over coffee. The images are by Sprint and you can use all of them for free. Browse through the collection here.

New Old Stock 

images-new old stock

Another site you need to take a look at is New Old Stock. Here, you’ll find vintage photos from the public archives curated and ready-to-use. Visit their site to learn more about using these images. You can also submit a photo or make a donation to keep the site going.

Life of Pix 

images-life of pix

Life of Pix is another great resource for high-resolution images. It’s a project by Leeroy, an advertising agency in Montreal and their group of photographers update the site weekly. You’ll find plenty of useful pictures under categories that are quite different from other websites. Some of these categories include “Construction” and “Industrial”. You can look at the rest here.

Gratisography

images-gratisography

If you’re looking for really unique images, this site has a pretty quirky collection. There’s plenty of pictures to be found in the Gratisography gallery including a picture of a person in a bunny suit and someone climbing inside a washing machine. Add some humor to your slides by checking out their website here.

There’s a lot of pressure to deliver a great presentation. Make sure your stand out by incorporating eye-catching and memorable visuals. The easiest way to do that is by using images for your presentation deck. Visit these websites to find something that will help illustrate and elevate your message. Do take note that the pictures in these websites are often free from copyright restrictions or under a creative commons license. Some of the images available might require attribution before you can use it.

 

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Featured Image: Startup Stock Photos

Interactive Presentations: Using Twitter to Break the Fourth Wall

iphone techIn our previous blog, we emphasized the fact that presentations are a two-way street. If you want your message to stick, you need to be able to connect with the people sitting in your audience. Your priority as a presenter is to keep everyone engaged. One way you can do that is by encouraging interaction. You can break the so-called ‘fourth wall’ by posing questions and asking for feedback. Interactive presentations allow you to openly communicate with your audience.

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Obviously, encouraging discussion is a lot easier when you’re addressing a smaller group. However, managing feedback can be a challenge when faced with a much larger crowd. There are plenty of presentation tools you can use for this. Apps like SlideKlowd allow the audience to answer polls and ask questions directly from their mobile devices. Another tool you can consider is something you and majority of your audience are already familiar with. If you don’t want to bother with any other app, Twitter is your best option.

Most interactive presentations will end inside the venue. However, Twitter gives you the ability to reach out to those who aren’t even in the room with you. If you’re presenting at a large conference, trade show, or any industry event, Twitter is a valuable presentation tool for extending the reach of your message.

Here are a few tips on how to use Twitter for interactive presentations:

Decide on a hashtag

To keep your discussion contained in one place, you need to set up a hashtag for your presentation. An effective hashtag needs to be short, specific, and easy to remember. To keep the tweets curated, everyone will have to type the hashtag each time they tweet. Don’t make it hard for them by deciding on a phrase that’s too long or complicated. Most organizers will set up a hashtag for their event. If that’s the case where you’re presenting, you can ask your audience to use that instead.

Public speaking expert Lisa B. Marshall also suggests using a second hashtag. While the first one is specific to your discussion, the second one is something that corresponds to the overall topic you’re covering. A general keyword will allow non-attendees to come across and take part in the Twitter conversation.

Set up a live feed for display

It’s hard to acknowledge tweets in your presentation if not everyone can see it. To make sure you and your audience are on the same page, it’s important to have a live feed displayed. Tools like TweetChat allow you to access a stream of tweets for a specific hashtag. You can have someone else watch the tweets that are coming in, so that you can be notified when an important point or questions comes up.

Moderate the discussion

With the live feed up, it’s easy to reference specific tweets coming from your audience and beyond. While it’s important to keep the backchannel going, constant tweeting can be distracting. While you should encourage discussion, it’s important to determine when to do it throughout your presentation. Set specific moments when the audience can take out their phones to tweet you something. Presentation blogger Kathy Reiffenstein calls them “Twitter breaks.” During this time, you can ask the audience to send you questions or answer a specific poll. Spend some time discussing their tweets before you move on to your next point.

Keep the conversation going

Twitter is also a great way to keep the conversation alive even when your presentation is long over. At the end of your speech, don’t hesitate to ask the audience to follow you or your organization’s official Twitter account. Encourage them to keep sending in their questions and feedback. Just make sure you also do your part. Social media is a valuable space to share your message. Don’t waste the opportunity you garnered by failing to update your Twitter regularly.

Delivering interactive presentations can be a hard task. When you have to address a large audience, it’s hard to encourage every single person to share what’s on their mind. Through Twitter, you can make sure that the audience takes part in your presentation. Keep the communication process open and inclusive with these four tips.

 

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Featured Image: Kooroshication via Flickr
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Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement

When it comes to delivering presentations, nothing is more important than connecting with your audience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to close in on a deal or proposing a new project to the higher-ups. You can’t say that your ideas have been well-received if the audience can’t engage with your pitch. It’s not enough to pique their interest with a few video clips or anecdotes.

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Before you focus on the spectacle, you need to make sure your presentation is perfectly executed. What’s really essential to audience engagement is your ability to present with clarity and certainty.

Here are quick presentation tips to make sure your audience has an engaging experience:

Learn your presentation inside and out

I’m sure you’ve sat through a presentation where the speaker constantly stammered through their speech, trying hard to remember what to say next. No matter how interesting their material was, the uncertainty in their delivery probably proved to be distracting. If you want to avoid being in a similar situation, it’s important to learn every detail of your presentation.

Audience engagement rests in your ability to command attention. You can’t do that if you’re reading from your slides or fidgeting with note cards. The audience needs to see that you know what you’re saying. Take the time to rehearse your presentation as much as you can. You can also try the memory palace technique to memorize your key points.

Condense your PowerPoint deck

By now, we’re all familiar with the concept of “death by PowerPoint.” There’s no easier way to disengage an audience than by presenting them with slides that are loaded with too much information. If your slides are full with indecipherable charts and text, take a step back and start focusing on your visuals.

Instead of filling your PowerPoint deck with bullet points and text, try to illustrate your points instead. Use images and other multimedia elements to articulate your ideas.

If you’re dealing with data, you need to decide which ones are the most relevant to your core message. There are several online tools that can help you with data visualization.

Tailor your presentation for the audience

Very few presenters consider the perspective of their audience.Their presentations often sound like generic spiels because of this.

How do you connect with something you’ve heard a million times before?  If you want to stand out, you need to remember that the audience isn’t a homogeneous group. The people sitting in your audience are individuals with their own unique perspectives and opinions. In other words, audience engagement relies on your ability to personalize your message.

To get inside their heads, you need to ponder on four important questions. Answering these will give you the necessary context to create a presentation that will pull your audience in:

  • Who are they?
  • Why are they coming?
  • What action do you want them to take?
  •  Why might they resist your message?

Keep everyone interested by creating soft breaks

Audience engagement will be much easier if it wasn’t for our short attention spans. With so much tasks begging for attention these days, it’s no surprise the average adult attention span is only a few minutes short.

As hard as you try to simplify your message and learn more about the audience, it’s hard to contend with everyone’s shifting attention.

That’s why presentation expert Carmine Gallo emphasized the importance of the 10-minute rule. If you lose the attention of your audience, you can re-engage them by creating “soft breaks” after every 10 minutes or so. Give them a chance to pause and digest new information by incorporating videos, demonstrations, and other activities.

Try to create an interactive environment by posing questions that they can answer through polls or a show of hands. If you want to, you can also call up other people from your team to share a new perspective with the audience.

Deliver your presentation with passion and enthusiasm

Finally, lead by example. If your presentation delivery falls flat, your audience will easily pick up on that. You can’t expect them to feel enthusiastic about the ideas you’re sharing if you’re mumbling through your presentation.

You need to show how passionate you are about your subject matter. That’s the only way you can deliver a message that will make others feel the same way.

It isn’t hard to deliver a presentation that can engage and connect with an audience. In five easy steps, you can easily make sure that your message sticks and stays with everybody.

 

Featured Image: Steven Lilley via Flickr

Presentation Tools and Gadgets for Your Christmas Wishlist

Christmas may be a time to spread some love and cheer, but shopping around for gifts can be pretty stressful. Have you spent some time pondering on the gifts you’ll give and might want to receive? If you’re drawing a blank, consider gifts that are a bit more practical. We all love to receive things for fun and play, but gifts that can be used for work and the office are also great options. Since presentations are a vital part of business, presentation tools and gadgets will prove both useful and helpful.

Brave the coming year and ease the process of communicating your ideas with these suggestions:

1. Portable Projector

Save your presentations from disruptive tech errors by having a back-up plan. A portable projector is the best fix for unforeseen display problems encountered at the venue. If the projector you’re supposed to use malfunctions, you can easily set-up your own projector and get on with the presentation.

epson portable projector

The writers at PC Mag came up with a list of the best portable projectors earlier this year. The article is a great place to start and familiarize yourself with several options. The Epson PowerLite 1761W Multimedia Projector is the list’s front-runner. At $799.99, it weighs only 3.7 pounds and has a WXGA resolution that’s compatible with widescreen laptops. If you want something less expensive, the Epson EX3212 SVGA 3LCD Projector is also a good option. It costs around $485 and has a bright and high-quality display.

2. Wireless Presenter

Another presentation must-have is a wireless presenter. As you know, you’ll need to move around the space if you want to deliver a dynamic presentation. The Logitech R800 is a presentation tool that allows you to do just that. With a 100 feet wireless range, you don’t have to worry about standing close enough to the receiver. You can easily point back to your PowerPoint deck and move on to the next slide regardless of where you’re standing in the room. Among its other pros are the easy-to-grip design, straightforward controls, and built-in timer. You can get it for $79.99.

16078

You can also use your smartphone as a wireless remote. The Satechi X-Presenter Smart includes an app and a simple add-on that you can plug in through the audio jack of your iPhone, iPad, or Samsung Galaxy device. With the gadget plugged in, you can flip through slides or use the laser pointer directly from your phone.

3. External Battery Pack

Presenting through a tablet is quick and convenient, but you’ll also have to contend with some battery life issues. If you’re worried your iPad might die in the middle of  a pitch, an external battery pack is great for some peace of mind.

anker astro e battery pack

According to a poll by Lifehacker, the Anker Astro Series is something you might want to look into. With a wide-range to choose from, you’ll find an external battery that’s perfect for the device you’re using. We highly recommend looking at the Astro E line for reasonably priced high-powered battery packs.

4. Subscriptions for Online Tools and Resources

There are plenty of resources to be found online that can help improve your presentations. If you want to come up with creative designs, subscribing for full access to online presentation tools should do the trick.

shutterstock online resource

 

A Prezi Pro license, for example, will give you access to additional features such as adding your own custom logo. Meanwhile, subscriptions to image providers like Shutterstock and Death to the Stock Photo allows you access to unique and interesting visuals. You can read this link to find other online presentation tools and resources for your needs.

5. Presentation Books

While it’s easy to get pulled into new and exciting technologies, your presentations can also benefit from an analogue gift. Books are a classic gift, particularly for presenters looking to improve their skills. In terms of helping you with your presentations, these titles can work just as well as any other presentation tools.

presentation books

Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact by Nick Morgan is must-read for anyone looking to communicate their ideas. In it, Morgan offers a scientific look at effective persuasion in a clear and accessible language. Another book for your Christmas stocking is Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together. Here, author Pam Slim offers some useful lessons for anyone looking to sell their stories and ideas.

The workplace can be very demanding. If you want to deliver better presentations in the coming year, take note of these presentation tools and add them to your Christmas wishlist.

 

Featured Image: Janet Ramsden via Albumarium

Hook, Line, and Sinker: What Makes a Great Presentation Story

What makes a great presentation? Before anything else, your presentation needs a story at its very center. This is a point we’ve talked a lot about in the past, but it’s always worth repeating.

Outstanding design and effective delivery will help your presentation stand out, but it’s the story that helps keep everything grounded. In other words, a presentation should be more than a recitation of facts and data. It needs to connect with the audience. If you spin the information  into a story, you can easily capture people’s imagination. You’re creating a connection that taps into their emotions.

For some, this might sound like a bad thing. Why should emotions play any role in the boardroom? Eliciting an emotional response doesn’t mean that you have to move the audience to tears. As we detailed in our previous discussion on  the science of storytelling, great stories can evoke the audience’s empathy. With that, they’ll find it easier to relate with what you’re sharing and to consider ideas through your perspective.

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Having emphasized the importance of a great story, it’s time to take on another question. What makes a great presentation story? How do you create a presentation story that captures the audience hook, line, and sinker? As with any endeavor, you’ll need to start with the basics.

Here are the three things that your presentation story needs:

A structure that pulls you in 

Whether it’s an epic like The Lord of the Rings or a Sherlock Holmes mystery, all stories are told through a basic structure. It might go back and forth with flashbacks here and there, but it always has a beginning, middle, and end.

The same should be true for your presentation story. As Aaron Ordendorff of Fast Company writes, too many presenters start their story right at the middle. Instead of providing some much needed context, we start at full speed and hope that the audience can catch up and run along. To avoid losing their attention or interest, the audience needs a structure they can easily follow and understand.

Dr. Paul Zak of the Center of Neuroeconmic Studies found that Gustav Freytag’s dramatic structure is the most effective for presentations. This structure involves having an exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion. You can spin your presentation story to follow this pattern by figuring out some essential details about what you want to say.

  • Beginning: What context is your presentation coming from? Start your presentation story by introducing how the concept you’re presenting came about. If it’s a business pitch, talk about the problem  you want to solve.
  • Middle:  With the context a lot clearer, you can start to go into detail about the purpose of your presentation. How do you plan to solve the problem you introduced? What is the main point you’re trying to impart?
  • End: After the main discussion, circle back to the initial problem and provide a resolution. This is where you reinforce your core message one last time.

A character that’s relatable 

Your presentation will also need a central character. This will give the concepts you present a relatable face. If this sounds a bit confusing, review some of your favorite TED Talks.

Most TED speakers introduce a larger theme by centering their story in a particular character. That character is often someone in their family, someone they work with, or even a younger version of themselves. You’ll need to come up with something similar, even if your presentation comes from a slightly different context.

So how do you identify the character of your presentation story? Reflect on your core message and think of how you might make it more relatable. If you’re trying to win over clients, you might want to center the story around them. You can also set up a hypothetical situation involving a person that represents your target market. Your presentation story can also be about you, especially if you want to talk about an experience that’s connected with your core message.

A message that’s significant 

Stories of all kinds are told to reveal broader themes and truths about life. Take the famous Harry Potter series, for example. Aside from being a story about magic and wizard, author J.K. Rowling also talks about other things like the meaning of friendship and family. While you don’t have to address abstract themes in your presentation, your story should be able to share a significant message. In other words, the story you tell should encapsulate the message that is at the core of your presentation.

The more you can fine-tune and understand your core message, the better you can deliver a presentation story with a clear purpose. To come to that concluding statement, here are 3 key questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What is the purpose of your presentation?
  • What’s the one thing you want the audience to remember?
  • What is the best way to elevate that message?

A presentation can’t succeed if it doesn’t connect with its audience. To create a more relatable experience, you need to spend some time crafting a strong presentation story. Follow these pointers to come up with something that others can easily understand and engage with.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

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READ MORE: Bring Your Presentations to Life with these 5 Storytelling Components – Fast Company

 

Featured image from picjumbo.com by Viktor Hanacek

How to Share Your Prezi for Any Type of Audience

After creating the perfect prezi, it’s time to share your ideas with the world. For this week’s Prezi Feature, we discuss the different ways you can share your presentation and reach out to any type of audience. 

It took some time to get there, but you’ve finally finished creating the perfect prezi. After reviewing your presentation one last time, you decide that it’s ready to reach the eyes (and ears) of a larger crowd. So how do you make sure that your prezi reaches its intended audience? Well, it will all depend on who you’re trying to reach out to. Did you make your prezi for a big pitch? Is it a part of your content marketing campaign? Are you leading an online meeting with attendees scattered all over the country? Whatever the case, it’s easy to present and share your prezi any way you want.

Portable Prezi: For a traditional audience

Whether it’s inside a boardroom or an auditorium, traditional presentations are delivered directly to an audience. For situations like these, you might find yourself with one very practical concern. What if the venue you’re presenting at doesn’t have a reliable Internet connection? How can you use your prezi if you can’t access it online? To avoid any awkward mishaps, take the extra step to download a portable prezi.

Basically, a portable prezi is just the downloaded version of your presentation file. It’s something you can access on a Mac or PC without the use of an Internet connection, working the same way that a PowerPoint file would. It’s a great way to make sure your prezi is ready to go once you begin setting up inside the presentation venue.

To get your portable prezi, head to your library and click on the presentation you want to save. Next, find the ”Download‘ button at the bottom of your Prezi player.

share prezi 01

When the pop-up window appears, choose the ‘Presenting‘ option. Hit the blue button and just wait for your download to finish. If you encounter an error, Prezi will quickly prompt you to restart your download.

 

 

share prezi - portable prezi

When the whole process is over, you’ll get a ZIP file in your hard drive. Unzip the folder and click on the .exe file if you’re a PC user or the Prezi file if you’re on Mac.

Embedding Prezis: For a content marketing campaign

Another way you might want to share a prezi is by including it in your content marketing campaign. If this is the case, you can easily embed your prezi on to your company blog or website.

Access the prezi you want to share through your library and click on the ‘Embed‘ button underneath the player. When the pop-up window appears, all you have to do is copy the HTML code and paste it to wherever you’re editing your content.

share prezi 02

You can also adjust the size of the embedded prezi, and determine whether your audience will be free to pan and zoom across your presentation.

Present Remotely: For an audience gathered online

What about scenarios when you have to deliver the entirety of your presentation online? If you’re presenting to an audience that can only gather online, you have the choice to present your prezi remotely.

Like in the last two methods, all you have to do is access your prezi through the library. This time, you’ll need to click on the ‘Present Remotely‘ button below the Prezi player.  Once the pop-up appears, copy the link that’s provided to you and send it to your audience. Once everyone has the link, you can click on ‘Start remote presentation‘.

share prezi 04

You can have up to 30 individuals following your presentation and they don’t have to be Prezi users. However, when other Prezi users are following your presentation, you’ll see their avatars pop-up at the side of the screen. To turn the presentation over to any one of them, you can click on their avatars and choose ‘Hand over presentation‘.

As you can see, it’s not that hard to share a prezi to your intended audience. In fact, you can do it with relative ease. After all your work to polish both content and design, your prezi deserves a wider audience.

 

Featured Image: Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo / Prezi logo via Wikimedia Commons

Design Ideas: How to Improve PowerPoint Templates

It’s definitely a challenge to navigate around a creative block, especially when you’re preparing for a big presentation. A successful outcome calls for a long list of tasks to accomplish. With so much to prepare, there’s simply no time to wase waiting for your muse to arrive. If you’re drawing a blank on a creative look for your slide deck, the quickest solution might be to use PowerPoint templates.

If this advice gives you pause, it’s because we don’t usually associate PowerPoint templates with creativity. While they can surely save you time, PowerPoint templates often look repetitive and uninspired.

default powerpoint templates

Regardless of what you choose from the built-in gallery, you’ll always end up with something that looks closely similar  to another template. Sure, there might be variations in style and color but the structure remains the same throughout. While it’s definitely easier to just add what you need inside placeholders, you’ll still end up with something that looks a lot like what others have seen before.

powerpoint templates layouts

Should you sacrifice great design in order to meet your deadline?

Luckily, it’s not that hard to strike a balance between convenience and creativity. Even if you’re in a rush to finish your presentation, you can still aim to meet both objectives. In fact, there’s is one particular way you can improve the look of PowerPoint templates in a tight schedule.

Customize templates in the Slide Master view

The Slide Master view is an easy way to customize everything in one go. Whether you decide to change up fonts, layouts, color schemes or backgrounds, anything you adjust will be applied throughout your presentation. This saves you from having to adjust every single detail to each individual slide. To get started, all you have to do is click on the View tab and choose “Slide Master” among the different options.

slide master view complete

Once in the Slide Master view, you can easily change up the template’s design by using the options available in the ribbon. Among the things you can do is create a new color scheme, choose a different background style, insert new placeholders and define a custom set of fonts. You have a lot of flexibility to explore different ways to create your own unique designs. After you become familiar with the Slide Master view, it will be far easier to customize templates in creative ways.

If you’re pressed for time, here are two simple things you can try to improve PowerPoint templates:

Change the slide layouts or create your own

A simple way to change the look of PowerPoint templates is by manipulating the default slide layouts. Through the Slide Master view, you can change the place of particular design elements to come up with something more original.  All you have to do is add, delete, or move placeholders around.

slide master edit layout

Better yet, you can create a custom slide layout by choosing “Insert Layout” from the ribbon. Anything you come up with will be available under “Layout” once revert back to Normal view. At this stage, think of what you commonly see in PowerPoint presentations and aim for the opposite direction. Try to experiment with new layouts.

Create a new color scheme and font set that reflects your brand

Another way to customize PowerPoint templates is by creating something that’s particular to your brand. As we’ve discussed in the past, color and font are essential elements to your company’s logo. By following the same theme in your presentation, you can easily come up with a template that matches your branding.

slide master edit color

While in Slide Master view, click on “Colors” under the “Edit Theme” group. Click on the “Create New Theme Colors” option to define you own color scheme. You can also scroll down the options to find something that resembles your brand colors and customize it following the same steps. The same directions apply for defining a new font set. All you have to do is click on “Fonts” and select “Create New Theme Fonts”.

In an ideal scenario, you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for your big presentation. Reality, however, isn’t always that convenient. If you have very little time to create great PowerPoint designs, you can use the Slide Master view to customize default templates. PowerPoint is a flexible presentation tool. You only have to explore and experiment to get the best results.

Learn more about using the Slide Master view: 

 

Featured Image: Startup Stock Photos