Slidegenius, Inc.

Be a Presentation Virtuoso with Deliberate Practice

Delivering an effective presentation requires skills that you need to work on and develop. While some might seem to have a natural knack for it, no one is immediately born a great presenter. Your colleague might be more inclined to it than yourself, but excellent presentation skills still come from constantly exerting effort to improve. Just like musicians playing in concert halls and orchestras, you can’t skip steps if you really want to improve presentation skills.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

There are no shortcuts to becoming a better presenter, but there’s a way you can hone your skills and become an expert. Andrew Ng, a professor from Stanford University, wrote about this in LinkedIn Pulse. He borrowed a term called “deliberate practice,” from the field of music and sports, and elaborated how you can do the same to improve your presentation techniques.

What is deliberate practice? 

Have you seen a pianist or gymnast in practice to improve their skills? When preparing for a big rehearsal, a pianist would focus on perfecting challenging passages from his score. He will play these parts repeatedly until he can play the entire piece perfectly. A gymnast will practice her routine the same way. She will repeat specific parts of her routine until she can do the whole thing flawlessly. This is deliberate practice. You focus on the most difficult and challenging parts.

As Ng had put it in his brief article, “[deliberate practice is] hard work—you focus in every attempt, try to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and tweak your performance to make it better.”

For professionals looking to improve their public speaking, deliberate practice means setting aside time to rehearse presentations and focusing on areas that they need to improve. It could be your body language or your ability to project your voice and speak clearly. Whatever these pain points might be, you should spend at least 30 minutes in rehearsal to iron out the kinks. Do it even if you’re not preparing for a big presentation. After all, these skills play a vital role in the professional world. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, or looking for investors, improving your ability to communicate and share a message will help you go a long way. All you have to do is dedicate a few minutes of your day.

Improve your presentation skills with deliberate practice

Now that you’re familiar with deliberate practice, it’s time to put it into action. Take note of the following steps to make sure your next presentation comes out flawlessly. Repeat this process over a course of several days until you see results and are satisfied with your improvement.

Step One: Select a portion in a presentation you had difficulty with

Go over the presentation you just finished preparing or review an old you made recently. Select a short, 60-second portion that you’re having trouble with. It can be a part where you just can’t pronounce the words right, or hold yourself right on stage. It can also be a part where you’re having a hard time expounding some points eloquently.

Step Two: Record your practice

After you’ve decided, record yourself rehearsing the particular portion you chose. You can use the webcam on your laptop or the camera on your phone. Just make sure the set-up is arranged in a way that you can see and hear much of yourself in the recording.

Step Three: Take down notes

After you finish rehearsing the 60-second portion, watch your recording and take note of the parts you’d like to change. List down comments about how you would want to change how you say certain words or move in a certain way. If you think you look awkward in the recording, try to figure out why that’s so and think of ways you can improve.

Step Four: Adjust your performance

Review the notes you made and adjust your performance accordingly. Repeat your performance with the feedback you gave yourself and record the whole thing again.

Step Five: Repeat steps until you see results

Keep rehearsing the 60-second portion of your presentation until you’ve improved on all the points you took note of. Once you’re satisfied with the results, move on to a different 60-second portion that you think also needs work. Stick to this routine until you’ve covered the entire length of your presentation. If it’s possible, you can enlist the help of a friend or family member so you can receive feedback from them. This will make the whole process go a lot faster.

You can be a virtuoso in the field of presentations with some deliberate practice. Just set aside a few minutes in a day to fix the pain points you encounter when facing an audience. Follow this routine and see a marked improvement in your delivery and performance. All it takes is some hard work and determination.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Download free PowerPoint templates now.

Get professionally designed PowerPoint slides weekly.

Sign Up Now

Reference:

Ng, Andrew. “Learn to Speak or Teach Better in 30 Minutes.” LinkedIn Pulse. March 20, 2014.

 

Featured Image: picjumbo.com

Make an Impact and Deliver Better Business Presentations

For most professionals, typical business presentations include having to sit through monotonous discussion while trying to decipher the small text projected in front them.

While these scenarios are common, bland business presentations shouldn’t be the norm.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

For your big presentation, turn the situation around and deliver something memorable that will leave a lasting impact on your audience. That’s why we decided to review the different things you can change and emphasize for your business presentations.

Take note of these essential characteristics and learn to apply them to your work:

Authenticity

The problem with most business presentations is that they often lack emotional impact.

Because they’re delivered in formal settings, presenters think that business presentations need to focus on the hard facts.

While data is obviously important to help build the credibility of your presentation, you still need to add a human element in order to create a connection with the audience. What better way to capture their attention and keep them engaged than by building this important rapport?

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to try and move your colleagues to tears or leave them rolling on the floor with laughter. Your goal is to build an authentic experience for them. Instead of presenting overwhelming amounts of charts and data, try to integrate a story to your presentation.

Thorough

Following our previous point, you’ll know that business presentations commonly suffer from information overload.

Without setting a clear goal, presenters tend to add too much to their content and end up prolonging the discussion with repetitive details. That’s why business presentations need to be thoroughly prepared. Solve the dilemma of an unorganized discussion by defining a clear objective.

From there, meticulously curate your content to make sure everything is aligned with your goals. Cut back on the data you present and include only the numbers that are most important to help drive home your key takeaways.

Compelling

To make an impact with your business presentations, you also have to focus on how well you face the audience and deliver your speech. If you want the audience to sit up and listen, focus on creating a compelling and engaging atmosphere.

As you start your presentation, catch their attention through nonverbal cues. It’s not enough to speak with confidence, you also have to exude the same amount of credibility in the way you dress and carry yourself. Avoid slouching or gestures that make you seem closed off or aloof.

Don’t be too stiff—try to strike a balance between both feeling comfortable and commanding authority in front of an audience.

Visually Stimulating

Finally, business presentations also need to break out of the “Death by PowerPoint” mold.

Instead of undecipherable PowerPoint slides, you need to come up with a presentation deck that is visually stimulating and interesting.

This will elevate the message presented in a presentation. That said, it shouldn’t overshadow the core message with walls of text and misused bullet points.

Appeal to the visual sense of the audience. Apart from carefully curating your content to make sure you don’t end up with too much text, choose high-quality images to visualize your points.

Don’t forget to pick out a striking color palette and a few interesting fonts as well.

Looking for inspiration from design experts? Take a look at our design portfolio or contact us for a free quote today!

Your business presentations do not have to lull the audience to sleep. Keep your colleagues engaged by making an impact they won’t soon forget. Take note of these 4 essential tips and deliver the best business presentations they’ll ever see.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Download free PowerPoint templates now.

Get professionally designed PowerPoint slides weekly.

Sign Up Now

References:

3 Lessons on Choosing Fonts for Your PowerPoint Design.” SlideGenius, Inc.. January 14, 2015. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Hook, Line, and Sinker: What Makes a Great Presentation Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 11, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Non-Verbal Communication.” Skills You Need. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Understanding Information Overload.” Infogineering. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Where to Find Unique Images for Your Presentation Design.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 18, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2015.

 

 

Featured Image: Startup Stock Photos

3 Ways to Cut Back Your Text-Heavy PowerPoint Slides

The most effective PowerPoint slides are often simple and concise. As branding experts TRAY Creative put it: cluttered slides will only put your audience to sleep.

Effective decks help the presenter discuss a topic with memorable and arresting visuals. In other words, a PowerPoint presentation isn’t there to act as your script or teleprompter.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

We redesign PowerPoint presentations.

Get your free quote now.

get a free quote

If your presentations are always burdened by text-heavy PowerPoint slides, it’s time to dial back and strip your deck bare.

Try the following suggestions to make sure you don’t have walls of text blocking the audience’s interest in your discussion:

Strip your content down to its essentials 

Cutting back on text-heavy PowerPoint slides rely on your ability to edit your own content.

Before you start making your PowerPoint deck, review the draft you’ve prepared and see how you can simplify your points even more. Your goal is to strip down your content to the bare minimum.

You don’t have to waste space on your slides to elaborate particulars. Your slides are there to highlight the main points and takeaways.

Everything else that needs to be discussed or described is for the presenter to do on his own.

Use multiple slides to split up bullet points

Bullet points are often maligned in PowerPoint design because of constant misuse. A lot of presenters insist on presenting text through a bullet point list, even if the text requires a lengthy paragraph description.

Bullet points are meant to simplify content and list down key information. If you’re going to use it to cram several paragraphs on a single slide, you’re not utilizing bullet points properly.

Split up your content across multiple PowerPoint slides. Even if you end up with 10 more slides than you originally planned, your deck won’t look poorly designed.

Spreading out your PowerPoint to tackle one point at time will help you make sure your slides aren’t dragged down by too much text.

Represent content visually

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Remember to keep it in mind when making PowerPoint slides, because it’s extremely crucial to presentation design.

Sometimes, it can be hard to cut back on content because there are things that require several sentences to describe.

Luckily, PowerPoint is a visual tool. Instead of using up slide space on lengthy descriptions, you can represent certain parts of your content through pictures or graphics instead.

Turn a discussion on a particular process into a flowchart. Find pictures that represent your brand values. Think visually and use images to relay what might need several sentences to say.

In general, try to keep your PowerPoint slides visual. Use text to enhance the meaning of particular images or graphs, and do it by using the simplest sentences or phrases. Remember, a PowerPoint deck is a visual aid. It shouldn’t overwhelm your audience with too much information. As the presenter, it’s your job to take the stage and discuss your presentation accordingly.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Download free PowerPoint templates now.

Get professionally designed PowerPoint slides weekly.

Sign Up Now

References:

Visual Storytelling: How Stories Are Told in Pictures.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 27, 2014. Accessed February 24, 2015.
PowerPoint Insight: Reconsidering the No Bullet Points Rule.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 21, 2014. Accessed February 24, 2015.
7 PowerPoint Mistakes That Put Audiences to Sleep.” TRAY Creative Seattle Marketing Branding Web Design. Accessed February 24, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Hernán Piñera via Flickr

5 Productivity Tips for Busy Professionals

Even the most diligent among us will find it hard to get back to the swing of things after a relaxing weekend.

As you find your momentum, it’s perfectly normal to feel bogged by the tasks lined up for you. If the idea of the coming week is dragging you down already, don’t worry because help is on its way.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

Here are our favorite productivity tips for busy professionals who aren’t ready to let go of the weekend yet:

Make a list of your goals

With several tasks ahead of you, it can be hard to decide which one to tackle first. That’s why it’s important to prioritize and arrange your day accordingly.

Draft out a to-do list as soon as you sit on your desk. Arrange a list with tasks for the entire week, structured according to priority.

You can also put together a mind map to collect your thoughts and organize your ideas for the days ahead.

As you move along the week, do your best to stick to this plan of action. When you need to add something, just be flexible and learn how to re-arrange your goals.

Use apps like Evernote to keep better track of your tasks and make this process easier.

Forget multitasking

Multitasking doesn’t get you anywhere near productivity. According to a study in the University of Sussex, trying to multitask can work against you.

By juggling several tasks at once, you’re actually wasting your time trying to divide your concentration accordingly. In turn, this only hurts the overall quality of your work.

You can meet both quantity and quality if you focus on tackling your to-do list one task at a time. Don’t attempt to cross out several different items at once.

Worse, don’t try to squeeze in some leisure reading time while you work on finishing your report. Just focus on what you’re doing at the moment and move on to what’s next when you’re done.

Set up an email schedule

One way we try to justify procrastination is by doing something that’s seemingly work-related. For most professionals, that’s the constant need to check their email.

While some emails do need immediate attention, you don’t need to refresh your inbox every other hour to see if there’s anything that needs your immediate attention.

Limit your email checking habit by sticking to a strict schedule. So that you won’t miss any important messages, we suggest that you look in on your inbox 3 times a day—when you first arrive in the office; after your lunch break; and finally, before you leave for the day.

Take meaningful breaks

You will definitely feel burned out if you never take the time to leave your desk.

There are those that think that productivity is measured by the number of hours they spend typing away at the keyboard.

However, rest and relaxation actually play an important role in making sure you’re well-equipped to finish the day’s tasks.

Don’t spend your break eating lunch at your desk or cubicle. Use what little time you have to relax doing exactly that. Aside from your lunch break, also schedule soft breaks throughout the day.

As The Atlantic senior editor, Derek Thompson, suggests, the formula for productivity is “to work for 52 consecutive minutes followed by a 17-minute break”.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Finally, you can also maintain a productive output by delegating tasks and asking for help.

If you’re really working on a tight schedule or realize you’re not the best person for a particular job, it might be better to ask someone to lend you a hand.

Delegate smaller tasks to your team or staff members. If you’re not sure what step to take next, you can also call or your colleagues from other departments and ask for their input.

Another option is to outsource help from experts outside the organization. For example, tasks involving presentations might need the expert touch of professional PowerPoint designers. If you have the resources to spare, don’t hesitate to reach out and contact the pros.

Get ready to face the week by following these productivity tips. Do you have your own techniques to make sure you stay productive throughout the week? Share your thoughts on our social media channels.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Download free PowerPoint templates now.

Get professionally designed PowerPoint slides weekly.

Sign Up Now

References:

3 Tips to Stop Procrastinating on Professional Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 13, 2015. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Brain Scans Reveal ‘gray Matter’ Differences in Media Multitaskers.” EurekAlert! Accessed February 23, 2015.
Map Out Your Presentation With Mind Mapping.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 13, 2014. Accessed February 23, 2015.
Thomspon, Derek. “A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17.” The Atlantic. September 17, 2014. Accessed on February 23, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo

4 Easy Tips to Manage Your PowerPoint File Size

Following all the best PowerPoint practices, you were able to incorporate interesting visuals and make use of minimal but creative animation.

You’re confident that it looks great, and you’re sure that your slides will definitely enhance the message you want to deliver. After some final adjustments, you’re ready to share your PowerPoint file online, transfer it to another device, or run a test drive.

And then your laptop starts to lag. The program starts to crash.

If you’re sharing the presentation online, you’re met with an upload that’s expected to run for hours. The culprit? A PowerPoint file that is too large.

For a seamless presentation experience, shrink your PowerPoint file to a manageable size.

Lucky for you, there are 4 simple ways to fix PowerPoint 2010 file size issues. Take note of the following tips and find the most applicable solution to your dilemma:

Convert PowerPoint file to PDF

You can convert your PowerPoint file to a PDF if you’re planning to share your slides via SlideShare or email when the actual presentation is over.

This will strip your presentation of any animation and transition effects, so make necessary tweaks to your PowerPoint first.

After that, all you have to do is head to the File tab and click Save As. From there, choose PDF under Save as type.

 

powerpoint file pdf

Skip ‘Compatibility Mode’

If you’re planning to simply hook up your laptop to the projector in the venue, you don’t need to save your PowerPoint file in compatibility mode.

Keep your file saved in the latest version of PowerPoint by making sure the file extension is .pptx. Head to the folder where your PowerPoint file is stored, right click, then choose Properties.

powerpoint file pptx

Compress high-resolution pictures 

Using pictures with incredibly high resolutions will definitely have an effect on the size of your PowerPoint file. You may want to use clear and crisp images, but you don’t have to opt for anything that’s too large.

Renowned presentation trainer, Ellen Finklestein, writes about reducing image sizes on her blog. Finklestein explains the necessity to do this because images can sometimes make your files bulkier.

Edit and re-size the pictures that have resolutions that might be way too large.

If you don’t want to sacrifice your PowerPoint design, compress all the images in your deck. Simply select any image in your PowerPoint file and head to the Pictures Tools Format tab.

Click on Compress Pictures under the Adjust group. When the dialogue box appears, choose from the different target output options.

powerpoint file compress pics

Avoid embedding fonts if you can

As we’ve discussed before, customized and unique fonts can help enhance your PowerPoint designs. However, they can also be a contributing factor to why your PowerPoint file size is too large. Try to minimize your use of unique fonts as much as you can.

To avoid embedding too much data into your PowerPoint file, you can limit your use of unique fonts for headers or section breaks. Head to the File tab and click on Options. Go to Save and check to see the options enabled under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation. When you embed fonts to your PowerPoint file, make sure you always choose the first option.

powerpoint file embed fonts
You don’t have to sacrifice great presentation design to make sure your PowerPoint file is kept at a manageable size. Ease the presentation process and use these methods to make sure your PowerPoint file isn’t unnecessarily too large. For more PowerPoint design insights, click here and browse through our blog!

References

Finkelstein, Ellen. “Reduce the Size of Your Presentation Files.PowerPoint Tips Blog. November 22, 2000. Accessed February 20, 2015.
PowerPoint Quick Tips: Designing for SlideShare.SlideGenius, Inc. January 20, 2015. Accessed February 20, 2015.
The Top 10 Best PowerPoint Design Practices.SlideGenius, Inc. November 18, 2014. Accessed February 20, 2015.
Where to Find Unique Images for Your Presentation Design.SlideGenius Inc. December 18, 2014. Accessed February 20, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Andrew Malone via Flickr

Presentation Planning in 5 Easy Steps

Preparing for a high-stakes presentation is often stressful.

With so many different factors to consider, presenters might find themselves feeling pressured to create a memorable and efficient pitch. Planning then becomes a process that might involve a lot of frustration.

If you’re stressed out about that big presentation your boss recently assigned, there’s an easy way to keep your presentation planning organized.

By focusing on these five guidelines, you’ll be able to work through the process one detail at a time:

1.) How do you want the audience to react? 

As a presenter, it’s your responsibility to leave the audience with a favorable impression. The points you discuss should stand even after you’ve finished your speech.

As you prepare to draft the points you want to cover, ponder on how you want the audience to react to what you share.

Do you want them to feel inspired? Do you want them to be persuaded to take concrete action?

Whatever you decide, focusing on your desired effect will help you set the overall tone of your presentation.

2.) What do you want the audience to remember? 

Another thing to consider is your presentation’s key takeaway.

Think of it as your presentation’s premise. It’s a simple idea that can accurately describe all the points and arguments you want to discuss.

Again, consider the one idea you want your audience to leave the venue with.

To get an exact statement, think about the topic you’re covering and figure out how much of it will be included in the scope of your discussion.

3.) What will happen as a result of your presentation? 

According to public speaking guru, Stephen Boyd, establishing a sense of direction from the get-go is essential in guiding your listeners over your presentation. This also effectively captures people’s attentions, because it gives your pitch structure and meaning.

For that, always keep your desired outcome in mind.

Should everything go smoothly, what is your ideal scenario? Whether it’s to close in on a deal or impress upper management, use this as a guide on to act on the day itself.

What can you do to help convince the audience of your message’s credibility? What should you say if things fall apart and you have to salvage the situation?

4.) How can you motivate the audience to take action? 

With an intended outcome in mind, you can zero in on how to motivate your audience to take action.

At this stage, you need to consider their perspective. If you can learn what you can about their goals, you can tailor your presentation for them.

In this way, it will be easier to reach out and push them toward the results you want to see.

5.) How will you involve them in your discussion? 

Finally, it will help if you can think of ways to increase audience engagement in your presentation. It’s important to establish rapport with the audience and make them feel involved in your presentation. No one wants to sit through an hour long monologue.

According to leading venture capitalist, Marc Cenedella, knowing your audience is essential in engaging them and avoiding miscommunication during your presentation. To do this, periodically ask your listeners if they have questions or comments.

When they do participate, be open to hear an opinion that’s different from your own.

If you can, refer to the points they bring up as you move your discussion.

Presentation planning can be a lot of work. However, you can get an easy start by asking yourself these key questions. At the end of the day, what truly matters is that you deliver a presentation that results into positive action from your audience.

 

References

Audience Participation: 4 Crucial Questions to Answer.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 28, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Cenedella, Marc. “Know Your Audience.” The Ladders. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed January 12, 2016.
Producing Powerful Presentations.” SBoyd. Accessed February 18, 2015.

 

Featured Image: picjumbo.com

PowerPoint Advice for Confused Mac Users

The experience of Mac and PC users with PowerPoint don’t largely differ. PowerPoint 2011 remains robust and flexible regardless of which operating system you favor.

The most loyal to Mac might need some time to transition from Keynote, but it’s not an impossible task. In fact, the only PowerPoint advice you really need to keep in mind is to remain patient as you learn to use a new tool for creating presentations.

Still, if you find your new environment a little confusing, all you really need is someone to push you on the right direction. For today’s blog, that’s exactly what we’ll try to do.

The best PowerPoint advice is learning to use the ribbon

powerpoint advice-ribbon closer look

The ribbon is where you’ll find all the commands you need to complete certain tasks on PowerPoint.

It’s at the very top of your screen, divided by several tabs. Each of these tabs categorizes hundreds of commands to make your presentation building a lot easier. Whether you want to edit pictures, add a text box, or incorporate animation, the ribbon is key to navigating around PowerPoint.

powerpoint advice-using the ribbon
(Image from Microsoft.com)

Once you learn how to use the ribbon, you can try out some of these useful tricks that we’ve written about in the past:

SlideGenius Blog Module One

We redesign PowerPoint presentations.

Get your free quote now.

get a free quote

Following the tips detailed in these links, you’ll be able to create PowerPoint designs that are both creative and memorable for your audience. It really won’t matter whether you’re using PowerPoint on a Mac or a PC. There are, however, times when using PowerPoint for Mac can prove to be more advantageous.

If you need presentations on-the-go, you can easily sync your finished PowerPoint file to other Apple devices. All you have to do is click on File, choose Send To from the different options, and click on iPhoto.

Here’s a video from Microsoft Office detailing the steps:

Learning to navigate around PowerPoint doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re a Mac user who’s feeling a bit confused, just take time to familiarize yourself with the new environment. Scour the Internet to find useful tips that can be helpful to your transition. OfficeforMacHelp.com offers tips to help you learn the basics.

If your presentation needs to be finished quickly and you don’t have the luxury of time, don’t hesitate to contact us to consult with our presentation experts.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

References

Familiarize Yourself with the Ribbon.” Office Support. Accessed February 18, 2015.
Share PowerPoint slides with iPhoto. Office for Mac. Accessed February 18, 2015.

&nbs

Featured Image: picjumbo.com

Notes from TED: Presentation Tips from Memorable TED Talks

We’re big fans of TED Talks around here. Aside from getting to hear “ideas worth sharing,” the best TED Talks can also act as a crash course on presentation. If you’re looking to improve your presentation skills, TED.com is just a click away. You’re sure to find valuable lessons you can learn from.

With that, we decided to take a closer look at some of the most popular TED Talks to date. We picked out three from the venerable list and broke down their benefits and methods for you. In this process, we hope to point out the different takeaways that could help improve the next presentation you deliver.

Take a closer look at some of the most memorable TED Talks for valuable presentation lessons:

Ken Robinson on how to engage an audience in ‘How schools kill creativity’

Ken Robinson’s critique on today’s educational system is the most popular TED Talk, having over 30 million views. It’s no surprise that it’s a great study on how presenters can engage with their audience. Watch his delivery closely and see how the following points contribute to audience engagement:

1.) While the premise is presented straight away, Robinson was able to underline its importance with two stories that show the amazing creativity of children. The second story was even about his own son, which allowed the audience to see a part of him that they could easily relate to. He continued to share stories between discussions of his main arguments, allowing the audience to understand them better.

2.) He also encouraged audience engagement by posing rhetorical questions throughout his speech. By pausing every now and then to ask a question, he challenged his audience to think about the assertions he was making. They might not have had the chance to share their thoughts, but they were still actively participating by forming their own opinions.

3.) He made it easy for the audience to follow his presentation. His takeaways were always highlighted by transition phrases that prompt the audience to sit up and listen. By using phrases like “I think you’d have to conclude”, he made it clear that he was about to say something important.

Al Gore is clear and consistent in ‘Averting the global warming crisis’

The best thing about Al Gore’s TED Talk is his no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point delivery. While he made sure to engage the audience with humor and anecdotes, what really stands out is his ability to talk about a complex and often controversial topic.

1.) Gore didn’t spend much time with preludes and introductions. After gaining the audience’s attention, he plunged straight into the  discussion. This is something that’s important for business presentations. While it’s important to keep people engaged, you also need to make sure that your goals and purpose are clear to everyone.

2.) The structure he followed makes this easy. He introduced one point, gave an explanation, and offered an example. Through it all, he offered call-to-action statements that gave the audience a specific idea on how to contribute to his cause.

3.) Most importantly, he made use of visuals to elevate his message. His slides contained plenty of data that were simplified into charts to help the audience digest all the new information.

Elizabeth Gilbert is a powerful storyteller in ‘Your elusive creative genius’ 

In her TED Talk, best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert goes into the intricacies of living a creative life. To teach artists and writers like her to overcome the anxiety and apprehension they feel about their work, she starts by sharing stories. Observe how she carefully integrates storytelling to a cohesive presentation:

1.) She raised the emotional stakes by starting with personal anecdotes. To give the audience a chance to connect with her message, she made use of examples from her personal experience. She shared her own anxieties and positioned herself as someone who is relatable and personable.

2.) To highlight her points, she shared stories from other cultures and fellow writers. This allowed her audience to envision real people behind the concepts being discussed. To tie her entire presentation together, she then returned to her own experience and shared how she finally overcame the problem she initially presented.

3.) Even when she told a wide array of stories, none of these digressed from the core message of her presentation. In fact, it helped her message resonate throughout the presentation because these stories were perfectly in line with her original premise.

TED Talks can teach you insights from a wide-array of topics that can help improve your own work or career. They can also provide you a handful of important presentation tips and lessons. Whether you’re preparing for a sales pitch or a big conference, take note of these TED Talk lessons to successfully get your message across.

 

References

Hook, Line, and Sinker: What Makes a Great Presentation Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 11, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
The Art of Graphs and Charts.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2015.
The most popular talks of all timeTED. Accessed February 17, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed February 17, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Stefan Schäfer, Lich via Wikimedia Commons

What You Need to Achieve Presentation Success

Delivering a successful presentation isn’t always easy. As we’ve already established, success requires a lot of planning and preparation. There’s no shortcut to achieving success. That said, start considering the essential steps to perfecting your output.

Cross off these things from your to-do list and you’re sure to get where you want to be:

Establish a concrete goal

You can’t reach your destination unless you know which way to go. That’s why it’s important to establish and map out your goals—whether it be to seal a deal with prospects or gain new investors for your venture. Consider these your overall destination.

To get there, you need to think about a few other markers.

Set aside some time to think about what you want your presentation to be like. Aside from your overall goal, think about the message you want to share.

Ask yourself what you want your listeners to remember about your presentation. What message will help you achieve more?

Connect with your audience

The next step to presentation success is making sure your message suits the audience. After all, connecting with them is a vital ingredient of your presentation. Otherwise, you’ll end up boring people.

If you want to avoid such a scenario, research the people you’ll be presenting to. What kind of group are they? What is the presentation for and why should it be valuable to them?

How do you make sure the points you’ll present add to their knowledge? How can you tell a story that will push them towards positive action? Consider these 4 questions to create a reliable audience profile to help build your presentation.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

We redesign PowerPoint presentations.

Get your free quote now.

get a free quote

Use your time wisely

Time is another factor to consider when it comes to achieving presentation success. You won’t have all day to make your point, so you need to be able to create a presentation that makes the most of the time you’re given. Whether you only have 30 minutes or more than an hour, start off your presentation strong.

The first few minutes is extremely crucial. Your performance during this time will help determine if your audience will maintain their attention until the very end.

The introduction will set the tone of your entire presentation. Make sure you use this time to make a noticeable impression. After that, you still need to sustain the energy you initially established.

Presentation expert Carmine Gallo had suggested incorporating “soft breaks” after every 10 minutes. Spend 10 minutes making your point, and then give your audience a chance to catch up by re-engaging them using these techniques.

Make sure your slides stand out

Your PowerPoint slides can play a huge role in presentation success. Even the best message needs the help of visuals to engage a commonly disengaged audience.

We’ve given plenty of design advice over the years, but here are a few more that might help you on your road to presentation success:

  • Don’t be too conscious of the number of slides you’re using because this will depend on the content of your presentation. A more helpful method would be to draft out all the points you want to make and condense them to slides through a storyboard.
  • All your design choices will contribute to pushing your message forward. Make sure the color scheme, fonts, and graphics you use help set up a theme that doesn’t distract from what you’re trying to say.
  • Simple slides aren’t necessarily boring. In presentations, “less is more” is actually a valuable motto. A lot of presentations are weighed down by over-the-top graphics and animation. For your presentation, be mindful of using white space and other design elements.

Achieving presentation success doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is time to plan what you want to say and prepare accordingly.

Think about the message you want to deliver and make sure everything you do helps you push that message forward to the audience. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact our presentation design experts. We can create PowerPoint slides that will help ensure your perfect outcome.
SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

References

Audience Participation: 4 Crucial Questions to Answer.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 28, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
Choosing the Right Colors for Your PowerPoint Design.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 3, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
Gallo, Carmine. “Why PowerPoint Presentations Always Die After 10 Minutes And How To Rescue Them.” Forbes. April 30, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.
How to Organize Your Ideas with a Presentation Storyboard.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 1, 2014. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Introductions: 5 Creative Ways to Start Your Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 30, 2014. Accessed February 16, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo

How to Prepare a Flipbook: The Presentation’s Fine Print

As we’ve established in the past, a majority of people respond positively to visual information. Avoid unloading too much data on your audience and trying to fit everything in a short series of slides.

This doesn’t mean that you can leave out the fine print completely. Sometimes key individuals like investors in your audience will want a closer look at the details.

As a solution, provide them with a flipbook—a document where they can examine the details they need in their own time.

Unlike a PowerPoint deck, a flipbook carries a lot more text and information. It’s similar to a report, but with a better sense of design. Even if it’s meant to act as a supplementary document, a flipbook will need to be as visually engaging as the presentation you delivered.

Here are our top pointers to make sure your flipbook works well with the rest of your presentation:

Your flipbook needs to stand out

Business documents are often kept simple, printed in a subtle black and white. However, if you’re looking to impress people, you need something more that will encourage your recipients to keep flipping through the pages.

As with a PowerPoint deck, make sure that key information stands out in your flipbook. Learn to experiment with different design elements to add life to the information you’re presenting.

While expounding on details, make use of images, illustrations, and color accents to help key points stand out.

Keep basic design principles in mind

Even as you make sure your flipbook stands out with great design, still be mindful of the same principles that guide your PowerPoint deck.

Remember that people have limited attention spans, and need room to relax their gaze so they can focus on more important objects.

Continue to observe basic design elements such as contrast, white space, and the rule of thirds in order to strike the perfect balance.

You’ll be able to grab your viewers’ attentions without saturating them with too many slide elements this way.

Structure your content properly

Proper structure helps your document become much easier to read, regardless of its length. If you can cut up your content into consumable chunks, recipients will be able to easily scan your document for the information they need.

For some tips, here are just a few ways you can keep your content organized:

  • Break down discussion with headlines
  • Highlight the key takeaway with a subheading
  • Discuss a single point per paragraph
  • Use bullet points to list down key information
  • Add pull-quotes to emphasize important parts of your content

Use grids and columns as a layout guide

Documents are also much harder to read when the layout is haphazardly done. You can’t just arrange your content randomly.

Make sure your layout encourages the reader to keep going, guiding them from one point on the page to the next.

To solve this problem, utilize grids and columns as you format both design and content.

Design blogger, Sean Hodge, explains in his article on Smashing Magazine, the benefits and purpose of grid-based design. Hodge included a grid’s optimization of variety and transformation of disharmony into something that enhances design rather than detracts it.

These can guide you in arranging your content in a satisfying and creative layout, so make use of them for visual appeal.

Whether you’re creating a PowerPoint deck or a flipbook, powerful visuals play an important role in helping your ideas stand out. If the occasion calls for a closer look at the details, give the audience your presentation’s fine print. Follow these tips to prepare a flipbook that magnifies the importance of the message you’re delivering.

 

References

Design 101: Basic Principles for Your PowerPoint Designs.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 31, 2014. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Hodge, Sean. “Grid-Based Design: Six Creative Column Techniques.” Smashing Magazine. March 25, 2008. Accessed February 6, 2015.
PowerPoint Lesson: The Rule of Thirds in Slide Design.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 10, 2014. Accessed February 6, 2015.
The Visual (spatial) Learning Style.” Learning Styles. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Using White Space in PowerPoint Design-a Closer Look.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 4, 2014. Accessed February 6, 2015.
Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed February 6, 2015.

 

Featured Image: siBorg via Flickr