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3 Presentation Design Trends of 2015

PowerPoint has been around for over two decades, but that doesn’t mean your deck should look as old as the program.

Presentations are becoming more than just reporting slide after slide of data. That’s because other aspects, such as storytelling, help make content engaging and relatable. Trends represent popular techniques for a reason, and this year’s design trends reflected the need for a simple and uncluttered look.

Let’s take a quick look at 2015’s simple and effective presentation design trends.

Scrolling Effects

You never have to keep the audience waiting with continuous scrolling. Let’s use a New York Times article as an example.

Scroll down and this will trigger an animation. Once it stops, the article can be read by scrolling further down, and if you scroll back up, the animation plays backward until you reach the top again.

A similar scrolling effect can be achieved in PowerPoint using transitions.

Push transitions bring the web scrolling experience into your deck, allowing for highly immersive experiences. Though it has limitations when explaining complicated financial data, it can be a vital tool for communicating your brand identity.”

You’re limited by the space in each slide, so choose as many slides as needed to get the effect across.

Scrolling creates a seamless effect that’s perfect for storytelling. The eyes follow the movement like they would a path, making the audience feel like you’re taking them in for a journey.

Simplified Content

Information overload is a common problem in a lot of decks. There are acceptable ways to include long text in a presentation, but these exceptions are rare.

This year proved that showing less is more. 2015’s presentation design trends preferred to achieve visual clarity using flatter, simpler, and less disruptive design.

A well-known company that embraced this trend is none other than Google. This year, they changed the design of their iconic logo. The logo lost its serifs, resulting in a cleaner and more approachable design that reflected their embrace of rapidly developing future technology.

You can take your design further by practicing restraint with your presentation deck. Less distracting elements mean less room for confusion.

If your aim is to achieve a sleek, fresh, and minimalist look, go with flat design.

Big Screens

Computer screens have gotten bigger in size and grown sharper in quality. Some people even have more than one computer screen when they work.

This same philosophy has been creeping its way into presentations, with larger events forgoing the standard projector for a mass of LED screens in the background. Now that screens are bigger than before, space now a big factor in visual design.

Big ideas need an even bigger space to move around in and expand into. Use space efficiently in your deck to best engage a larger audience.

Sometimes you’ve got to be bold and let your idea shine on hi-def but keep in mind how your design will translate into a bigger space.

Take care not to make your fonts and design elements too small to see, nor too big that they overwhelm your physical presence.

Show and Tell

As 2015 comes and goes, we expect 2016 to bring in more exciting presentation and visual design trends.

But with the amazing year we’ve had, there are definitely benefits to sticking to this year’s style – at least until next year’s developments enter full swing. To recap:

Display a beautiful panorama or scroll down with flair using the continuous scrolling effect. The seamless transition can be used to tell a story.

Take your audience to a different space with your deck. Flat designs are popular since organizing information is a great challenge in design.

Big screens are in, but don’t get eaten up by your own creations. Mind the size of your visual elements when translated to giant screens to get the best out of a large audience.

Continuous scrolling, flat design, and bigger screens are trends that will take your slides to a new level.

References

Confessore, Nicholas, Sarah Cohen, and Karen Yourish. “The Families Funding the 2016 Presidential Election.The New York Times. October 10, 2015. Accessed October 14, 2015.
Google’s Look, Evolved.GoogleBlog. September 1, 2015. Accessed October 14, 2015.
Ninjawards 2015 – Presentation Design Trends – Cubicle Ninjas.Cubicle Ninjas. March 10, 2015. Accessed October 13, 2015.
Noar, Adam. “Impress Your Audience by Following These 5 Presentation Design Trends.” Presentation Panda. Accessed October 13, 2015.
Presentation Design Trends 2015.SlideShare. June 22, 2015. Accessed October 13, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “IMG_2418” by C Bridges on flickr.com

Your Presentation Cheat Sheet: Top 10 Tips for 2016 [Infographic]

With the new year fast approaching, reflecting on the past year is a common end-of-year ritual.

We’ve been through some ups and downs this year and no doubt we learned a lot of lessons from our experiences. There are some things that are better left behind, and bad presentation habits are certainly one of them.

Let’s take this opportunity to start anew and embrace good presentation techniques.

The Best Tips for 2016

PowerPoint design has always been an essential element in presentations. Step out from your comfort zone this year and welcome the idea of improving your design skills. Pay attention to the images you pick and the amount of text that you write on your slide, since they all factor into the design process.

Of course, a professional deck is incomplete without great presentation delivery. Make sure to cure those bad speaking habits to avoid ruining your performance. You’re the center of the presentation, so invest time in boosting your likeability as a speaker.

Likewise, preparation is key to communicating your message without a hitch. Learn breathing and relaxation techniques to help quiet your mind and focus on your task. When you put yourself first, the audience will take notice of your confidence. Make sure that you master your topic like the back of your hand.

A Quick Guide Just For You

It’s out with the old and in with the new. We understand that all of these tips may be a lot to remember for that big day. To help you out, our PowerPoint presentation experts have prepared a quick guide to help you out when you need it. This infographic condenses the best tips in to help you the next time you’re onstage.

Welcome 2016 with better and stronger speaking skills with the help of our presentation cheat sheet:

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Face the FAQ: 3 Frequently Asked Questions in Presentations

Most presentations include a Q&A portion at the end. Some speakers dread it because they never know what to expect. Questions can be particular to the subject at hand, but broad ones can pop up anytime, anywhere. Knowing the most common ones will help you stay on your toes and be prepared for anything.

Here are three frequently asked questions in presentations:

1. “Can you expound on a specific point you mentioned?”

Being thrown something like this doesn’t automatically mean your delivery was bad. After all, the fact that you’re being asked questions indicates that you’ve gotten your audience’s attention.

It might be because a part of your presentation wasn’t clear enough for your listeners. On the other hand, it could also be an expression of interest in your topic. In both cases, take it as a chance to elaborate and back up your ideas. If you missed some things during your actual speech, you can pick them back up here.

But your answers should still be based on the objectives you set out with during your presentation. Straying too far from the topic will confuse you and the audience. Trust what you know about your topic and stick with it.

2. “What is the relevance of your presentation?”

This is a question you need to address before you even start drafting your pitch. It may not be asked outright, but always consider the possibility of having to answer it during your speech.

Your presentation should always be relevant to the audience. People who are invested in something will dedicate their time and attention on it. Make sure to look up your listeners to get some valuable information about who they are and what they want to get out of your expectation. This way, you can align your vision with their expectations.

Adjust your content accordingly to accommodate their preferences. This will make your presentation’s relevance easier to spot. However, if you’re still faced with this question despite already giving an answer, just emphasize your main points in relation to your audience’s concerns.

Be clear about the connection between your message and the people’s interests. Your listeners will appreciate your presentation more.

3. “According to another source, there’s a different perspective or method available. How will you respond to this?”

Depending on how it’s asked, this question may be the most challenging to answer. Process the query first and see if it really does refute your message. If it doesn’t, point out the specific part of your presentation that’s similar to the point raised.

Just remember to remain polite and composed when admitting fault. Don’t turn the listener off by disregarding their question. If the concern is valid, acknowledge it first before enumerating your topic’s advantage over the other point.

While you want to frame your own presentation in the best light possible, you should also be a good sport when it comes to tough questions. According to speech communication professor, Stephen Boyd, this especially comes in handy when the inquiries come in the form of a loaded question or a rude comment. Respond to both by rephrasing the question into something easier to answer.

Always be the bigger person in such situations. It only shows that you’re a professional and credible speaker.

Conclusion

The Q&A is an important part of any presentation. It’s one of the simplest forms of audience engagement. You can see how much an audience was affected by your speech by observing what type of questions they ask. Instead of seeing it as a threat, consider it an opportunity to bring up things you forgot. Remain grounded in your objectives and keep your cool in the face of difficult questions.

There’s no one way to a good answer. It’s your ability to provide a logical and clear response that counts. A good speaker needs a good PowerPoint to boot – a clear delivery thanks to a clever mix of text and visuals can surely enhance the quality of the questions you’ll get.

Reference

Boyd, Stephen. “Question and Answer Session after the Presentation.” Succeed in Public Speaking by Ron Kurtus: School for Champions. Accessed October 15, 2015. www.school-for-champions.com/speaking/boyd_q_a_after_pres.htm

 

Featured Image: “Question!” by Stefan Baudy on flickr.com

Leave Your Mark: Apply Personal Branding in Presentations

Attracting audience attention is one of the most difficult tasks in a presentation. It’s likely that they’ve already heard what you have to say from other speakers, and in different media. You might think your pitch is unique, but its general thought may be similar to what others have thought of before.

So how do you apply personal branding in presentations? And how do you make sure you look better than the competition? Setting yourself apart is important in making and leaving a good impression.

Don’t pass by unnoticed. Market yourself and your pitch in three ways:

Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Competition Closer

Studying your audience is a necessary prerequisite to effective communication. Aligning your own vision with your target market’s interests guarantees their attention. To do that, you’ll have to do a bit of research on your part and look up your audience’s preferences.

But getting people’s to stay tuned isn’t enough. Reel them further in and assure them that you’re the best by searching for your competitors as well. We don’t mean backbiting and sabotage, though. We’re talking about looking at premises similar to yours and seeing how you can spin it into something novel and unique. One way of achieving that is taking on the idea from a different angle than those already used before.

Influence & Co. CEO and co-founder, John Hall, cites ways on how to take a unique approach to your brand. These include looking at your company strengths, qualifications, and insight. Another is by looking at your competition’s weaknesses and framing it as your strength. These give you and your presentation a distinct image and a memorable characteristic.

Create a Relatable Narrative

Once you’re sure of your strategy, the next step is figuring out how to deliver your message. Among the most successful methods is framing your presentation in a narrative, preferably one your audience can relate to. People can follow the flow of your speech better when it has a beginning, middle, and end. Incorporating familiar tropes and images also keeps them interested.

However, remember that in relating a story, you have to apply the conversational tone. This establishes rapport and eases built up tension before and during a presentation. Avoid using too much jargon or foreign words, and explain each point thoroughly without talking down to your audience.

Talk to your audience as you would an esteemed friend. They’ll return the favor by responding in the same way.

Gain Believers through Quality

The final and best option to distinguish your presentation over everyone else’s is to be on top of your game. This is a foolproof technique to appear credible and relevant before, during, and after your presentation.

Make a good first impression by maintaining your confidence and composure. Come in prepared and ready to present. Acquaint yourself with the venue and the audience so you know how to set the mood. Don’t get lax with your exposition, though.

An audience will be impressed with consistency in how you handle yourself, especially when you encounter unexpected hurdles mid-speech. Keep your energy up until the end of your presentation. It’s also good to reserve some extra energy in case your audience has further clarifications for you.

No one wants to listen to a drained speaker. Project as much of your liveliness as you can to best engage your listeners.

Conclusion

People are always on the lookout for originality. It may seem tough when plenty of people have had the chance to make their mark. However, it’s not entirely impossible, either. You have to strategically organize your content to be different from your competitors’, converse with your audience, and improve the quality of your performance.

Distinguishing yourself from other presenters isn’t so hard when you know where to start. Strong personal branding also needs to be backed up by a professional PowerPoint presentation. Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

“4 Ad Agency Secrets for Better Brand Building.” Women on Business. October 11, 2015. Accessed October 14, 2015. www.womenonbusiness.com/4-ad-agency-secrets-for-better-brand-building
Hall, John. “Setting Yourself Apart in a Competitive Industry.” Forbes. October 18, 2012. Accessed October 14, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2012/10/18/setting-yourself-apart-in-a-competitive-industry

 

Featured Image: “Personal Branding: Revision 2 / 20080115.10D.47540 / SML” by See-ming Lee on flickr.com

Every Breath You Take: Presentation Breathing Techniques

Whenever you get nervous before a presentation, you’re told to breathe. It sounds like common sense, but has it ever crossed your mind to consider how you breathe? Different ways of breathing can affect your presentation differently.

There’s such a thing called speech breathing, which humans have developed somewhere along our evolution. Speech breathing is a presentation technique that comes from a long line of evolutionary advancement to modern language. Here’s how you can use it to your advantage:

Pre-Speech: Breathe In

Compared to normal breathing, speech breathing is very different. Shallow breaths prove to be ineffective during presentations. Dr. Gary Genard, public speaking trainer and founder of the Genard Method, elaborates on the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing on his site. As its name suggests, your diaphragm is the key component of diaphragmatic breathing.

This happens when the lungs expand and flatten the diaphragm. It’s also the proper way of ‘taking a deep breath’. According to Genard, taking a deep breath before your presentation slows down your heart rate and provides oxygen to your brain, easing nervousness and assisting your thought process.

In-Speech: Breathe Out

How you breathe affects how you communicate with your audience. Using diaphragmatic breathing for your posture involves pushing out your abdominal muscles, keeping you upright. Conversely, starting out with good posture before speaking lessens the strain on the organs vital for your speech.

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and avoid hunching up before trying out some presentation breathing techniques. Speech coach Jezra Kaye writes in Speak Up for Success the importance of breathing out. Kaye encourages speakers to breathe out and relax the upper part of their torso (chest, mouth, throat, and jaw).

A relaxed demeanor makes you appear more confident and allows you to speak better. Breathing out as you talk also releases the right amount of oxygen needed for a powerful speech, preventing an overly high or low-pitched tone.

Mid-Speech: Relax Your Larynx

Anxious speakers often talk too fast, forgetting to take breathing breaks. In such cases, the presentation ends up sounding like a long run-on sentence. Presenters who speak without breathing wear out their larynx, resulting in a strained tone.

This curtails their rapport and hinders them from relating their message properly. A speaker in a hurry misses key points and fails to engage the audience. Learn how to pace your speech by breathing in between. Pausing also helps emphasize important ideas by giving your listeners time to digest and think them over.

Conclusion

The next time you’re told to breathe for your presentation, don’t dismiss the thought. When done right, it can be beneficial for your public speaking skills. Deep breathing before your presentation helps build confidence.

Stand straight, relax, and establish a connection with your audience. Pausing strategically between your presentation’s main ideas emphasizes their importance and rests your voice. This lets you prepare for the next bout of speaking and expounding that comes after the pause.

Need help with your presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts today and get a free quote!

 

References

“Breathing for Speech.” Wellcome Collection Blog. February 4, 2013. Accessed October 13,  2015. www.blog.wellcomecollection.org/2013/02/04/breathing-for-speech
Genard, Gary.”Diaphragmatic Breathing: A Key Public Speaking Technique.” The Genard Method. Accessed October 13, 2015. www.genardmethod.com/blog/bid/182073/Diaphragmatic-Breathing-A-Key-Public-Speaking-Technique
Kaye, Jezra. “Public Speaking Tip 22: For Public Speaking Power, Breathe OUT, Not In!” Speak Up For Success. June 18, 2013. Accessed October 13,  2015. www.speakupforsuccess.com/7991/public-speaking-tip-22-breathe-out

 

Featured Image: “nice breath” by Joana Coccarelli on Flickr.com

How Lecterns Are Like a Shield

Lecterns are there to aid your presentation. Depending on how you interpret that, it’s either a good or a bad thing.

Like plenty of presentation aids, lecterns are criticized for hindering the speaker’s presence.

It can be likened to a shield that protects you during your pitch.

But it can also be a cumbersome tool that ends up reducing audience engagement.

That said, how lecterns affect you depends on how you choose to use it.

Don’t make it a safety blanket. Leverage your pitch with it instead.

One of the key purposes of a lectern is to exert authority and project confidence.

It’s commonly found in commencement addresses and public speeches by politicians where formality and solemnity are required.

Lecterns let speakers distinguish themselves as a center of focus, making it easier to command respect and attention.

However, distinguishing yourself from the audience becomes the problem in a pitch that requires connecting with your listeners.

Having something that physically separates you from your prospects doesn’t leave enough space to establish your presence through body language.

Although they free your hands by holding up your notes for you, lecterns may make you too focused on your script.

This prevents you from establishing eye contact, defeating the purpose of displaying confidence.

Some presenters also tend to grip the sides of the lectern as a sign of anxiety.

Instead of doing these, use the lectern to gently rest your hands.

Occasionally look down on your notes, but don’t forget to look back up and deliver to your audience, rather than through them.

While it hides some of your presentation habits, staying behind a lectern will definitely bring to light others.

Move away from the lectern and take the spotlight.

Learn how to use this tricky presentation aid to your advantage through our SlideGenius infographic below:

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Present with Presence: Your Christmas Gift to Your Audience

Delivering a pitch with no message and purpose is bound to be rejected. After all, you can’t give what you don’t have. Like Christmas, presenting is all about giving. They both involve aligning your ideas with your audience’s needs and wants so that you don’t disappoint them.

Have you already made a list of every Christmas gift you plan to give to your clients? When you do this, consider what they can appreciate the most.

Choosing Your Presents

Image_description-presence-christmas-gift-presentation-1

Some people struggle to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. This happens either because of tight budgets or a lack of awareness about what their recipients want. Planning your Christmas gifts in advance is as crucial as is planning for presentations. You need to create an outline of your presentation ideas along with names of the people in your audience list.

By knowing your audience and their needs, you can get started framing the right content and delivery they’ll truly appreciate. However, giving them presents isn’t enough to make them feel special. You have to go deeper, into what matters most—your presence. While tangible things can bring fun and excitement, intangible things such as being actively there for your audience can help create strong relationships with your clients.

More Than The Presents

exchange gift

Presenting alone isn’t enough to prove you’re worthy of your client’s time and attention. Being present before and after the presentation is what impresses clients and builds long-lasting relationships. You need to be available throughout the entire pitching process, starting from the initial inquiry, continuing through follow-ups, all the way down to after sales inquiries. This involves asking them relevant questions which you can use before presenting your topic, and addressing their concerns after you’ve delivered your pitch.

Also presenting your product offering in a visually-appealing PowerPoint deck increases your chances of being noticed. Although providing them resource materials, freebies, and giveaways may help capture their attention, prioritizing their needs in person or online satisfies them more. Your time, effort, and availability far outweigh these material things, so make your presence really count.

Giving and Receiving

presence christmas gift

An excellent and engaging presentation delivery complements any speaker’s presence. Whether it’s a sales or business presentation, your message should be crafted in a way that fits the situation and their needs. As soon as you finish sharing your gifts of information, this is where you receive a little something in return: your audience’s interest. This is where delivering a call-to-action comes in handy. Provide your website and contact details to encouraging them to take action right at that very moment.

There’s nothing wrong with expecting anything in return. It’s only human. However, you should focus on fulfilling their needs. After all, it’s all about your audience. Responding to their queries and demands keeps them interested and engaged, making them feel valued and appreciated. In this way, you’ll realize that giving is essential to get the best of what your clients can give back. This promotes a win-win situation for you and your clients, giving you higher chances of closing more deals and instilling brand loyalty.

Be Available

exchange gift

You can give without presenting, but you can’t present without giving. More importantly, according to Social Media Explorer‘s Matt Hollowell, consistently making your presence more valuable means you’re delivering more than what’s usually expected. Giving more attention to intangible offerings makes them think that they’re your top priority. You’re not just focused on tangible gains, but more on how your clients can benefit from your offering. Providing a strong call-to-action also gives them the signal that you’re open to any and all inquiries they may have, and can get in touch with you at any time if they have concerns.

All this helps you build long-term relationships with your clients once they put their trust in you. Make them feel that the Holiday spirit lives within you. Remember, your audience wants more of your presence, and less of your presents. Develop a well-designed PowerPoint presentation by letting our team assist you with a free quote!

Reference

Hollowell, Matt. “Your Presence Is The Best Present You Can Present.” Social Media Explorer. August 20, 2014. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/your-presence-is-the-best-present-you-can-present

The Force of a Great Presentation [Video]

In a corporate galaxy far, far away, an empire of bad presentations wreaked havoc among speakers and audiences alike.

Their careless bullet points and cluttered slides bored people to death.

It’s time to step out of the dark side and engage your listeners. Let’s end the reign of wordy slides and uninspiring images by reinventing your presentation.

How, you ask?

Learn how to channel the force of a great presentation with this video from our SlideGenius experts.

Watch and share this video!

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Stop the forces of bad presentations with our tips.

1. Keep It Simple

Free your slides from too much information. To make your pitch understandable, reduce your text to key points you can expound on.

You can also use images instead of text to show exactly what you’re talking about. Powerful visuals attract attention and reel people in by stirring strong emotions they’ll associate with your pitch later on.

2. Make It Visual

Back up your main ideas with striking visuals that will grab people’s attention and keep them interested.

People process visual information faster than raw data, so make sure these images reflect the impact you want to make on your audience.

3. Consider Good Design

Your deck design matters in connecting with your prospects. Arrange your overall layout so everything in your slides contribute to your message.

Things like color, space, and contrast factor in a lot when it comes to creating a visually appealing deck.

4. Liven Up Your Pitch

At the same time, energize everyone and keep them attentive throughout your pitch.

Balance out any overly serious content with strategic humor that’s appropriate for the speech you’re giving.

5. Build Audience Rapport

Elevating the mood lifts up your listeners’ spirits and eases any lingering tension.

The relaxed atmosphere will get your audience to invest in your offer and let your presentation move along quicker.

May the force be with you.

Save the universe from death by PowerPoint by putting an end to these bad presentation habits.

Use these five tips to improve your skills as a presenter and bring life back to your audience.

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Informing through Graphics: Visualizing Data in Infographics

65% of people identify as visual learners. That explains a demand to revolutionize traditional presentation methods to be more creative and visually stimulating. Among visual aids, infographics are beginning to gain momentum. Quickly, it’s becoming one of the most popular means of visualizing data in recent years.

Its clean and straightforward delivery of otherwise complex data adds to the infographic’s appeal. But just like any data presentation, infographics take time and effort to make. Knowing how to strategically clean and place material is important in pulling off a good infographic. Randomly throwing things together would confuse potential viewers and deter them from looking further at your material.

Here are three ways to making an effective infographic:

Info + Graphics

As its name suggests, infographics are a mixture of your actual information and a bit of graphics. The word “infographics” is, after all, a portmanteau of the words information and graphics. The key to a good one is a balance between data and visual impact. You have to translate your raw information to graphics without compromising one for the other.

Otherwise, you either fail to deliver your main point to your infographic viewer, or they get bored with what they see. To marry your info and graphics seamlessly, highlight key information and keep any supporting or minor details in smaller text. Maintaining a consistent theme is also helpful in providing structure to your graphics.

Don’t Oversimplify

Although an infographic aims to steer clear of being too complicated to digest, oversimplifying your data is just as bad. Avoid seeming one-sided in an attempt to cut the figures you have in your infographic. But don’t bombard people with statistics.

Leaving gaps between your facts defeats the purpose of presenting information. Organize your data efficiently for a better end product. In her article on data visualization, The Guardian’s Rachel Banning-Lover, suggests that one way to reconcile this dilemma is to narrow down your focus to a specific issue. This segregates your data into main points and sub-points in relation to your chosen topic.

Once you have that in mind, you’ll know how to go about your visual arrangement better.

Lay out the Layout

Once you have your data ready, the next step is to decide how you’re going to incorporate your graphics. In an infographic, everything is meant to affect visual impact. Graphics aren’t the only part of your visual presentation.

It’s a matter of making text, image, and even space work together to attract viewers and relay information. You’re free to design and layout your elements however you like. But as a general guide, always consider whether people can easily read through your visuals. A pretty and comprehensive infographic will be wasted if it can’t be read.

Make use of whitespace to give your reader’s eyes a break. Whitespace, or the absence of text or objects in a layout, helps ease the eyes into reading. Encourage the viewer to read on, don’t intimidate them by saturating your infographic with text and images.

Conclusion

An infographic is a handy communication device. But don’t be fooled into making it an excuse for lazy data presentation. Making hard facts visually palatable is by no means an easy task. Pay equal attention to your data and your graphics.

Don’t let one overshadow the other in your overall layout. At the same time, make sure your infographic is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also readable. You’ll be able to get an audience’s attention and create a lasting impression.

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References

Banning-Lover, Rachel. “How to make infographics: a beginner’s guide to data visualisation”. The Guardian. August 28, 2014. Accessed October 12, 2015. www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/aug/28/interactive-infographics-development-data
“Go Visual: Use Infographics to Give Your Business Pitch Maximum Impact – Piktochart Infographics.” Piktochart Infographics. October 1, 2015. Accessed October 12, 2015. www.piktochart.com/blog/go-visual-use-infographics-to-give-your-business-pitch-maximum-impact

 

Featured Image: “2.26.09: color wheel” by Team Dalog on flickr.com

PowerPoint Etiquette for Presentations

The do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint etiquette aren’t explicitly laid out. Good manners are handed down to us by family, which we build on as we learn life’s lessons. Everyone is expected to conduct themselves appropriately and treat each other reasonably.

Unsurprisingly, this also applies when delivering a pitch. PowerPoint is more than two decades old and it’s become a staple in corporate life. But common sense still isn’t so common when it comes to PowerPoint etiquette. There’s a simple code of conduct when giving a presentation.

Speakers who pay attention to protocol show how professional and respectable they are. Here are a few tips to help you become a credible presenter:

Get a Head Start

Make a good first impression by arriving on time. There’s nothing fashionable about being late. It results in a domino effect of delays and inconveniences, and the time lost can’t be brought back. Arriving ahead of time is always better, so you can check the equipment for your presentation.

Technical difficulties can be avoided by checking for hardware problems and by having a backup plan. People also appreciate feeling that their time is valued. The longer it takes you to finish, the more of someone else’s time you’re taking. This makes them feel grateful, and even more likely to tune into your performance.

So make sure to start and end on time.

Call Attention

Begin your speech with a smile. Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t project your mood to your audience. Ask everyone how their day was and spread a positive vibe. You can then ask the audience to help you trim down other sources of distraction, the most notorious being the smartphone.

Politely ask if your listeners can put their smartphone on silent. It’s distracting for both the audience and the speaker when it’s being used in the middle of a presentation. Even if not all of them put away their phones, at least you were polite enough to ask.

Their focus is already split between you and your slides. Help yourself and the audience by simply asking for distractions to be put away.

PowerPoint Etiquette

You are the center of the presentation, and your deck is simply there to complement your content. Don’t let your deck be the point of distraction between you and your audience.

At the same time, precisely because it’s a visual tool, you need to consider other things as well. According to bestselling author, Michael Hyatt, readability is crucial in a PowerPoint. Take note that your slide will be projected from a distance. Not all projectors are the same, some aren’t powerful enough to render small fonts properly.

Take the necessary precaution and choose a font no smaller than 30pt. Very few words can fit on a slide with a font size reaching triple digits. Using little to no words on a slide isn’t rude towards the audience. In fact, the opposite is true.

This just shows that you’re prepared to explain the material without having to rely on your slides.

Be Mindful

We can’t always be aware of how we behave, especially on stage. Having good manners is important in leaving a good impression. Punctuality takes practice, so make it a habit to develop good time management skills. Be courteous to others and smile.

Appreciate people’s time by making sure your presentation starts and ends as scheduled. You can also reduce the amount of distractions so that you and the audience can focus. Lastly, your deck is there as a complement, not a substitute.

So make sure to prepare your deck thoroughly and exercise good PowerPoint etiquette.

 

References

Hyatt, Michael. “5 Rules for More Effective Presentations.” Michael Hyatt. July 10, 2012. Accessed October 13, 2015. www.michaelhyatt.com/5-rules-for-more-effective-presentations.html

 

Featured Image: “Serious for Some” by Lachlan Hardy on flickr.com