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Unblock Your Mind: Overcoming Presentation Mental Block

Getting a mental block in the middle of your presentation isn’t the end of the world. Even the most experienced public speakers have had mental blocks at least once in their lives. However, the best pitches aren’t the ones that are pulled off perfectly. In fact, they’re the ones that speakers were able to rebound from successfully after a misstep.

If you’re having problems with your train of thought, you can still overcome it with a few simple techniques.

Look at Your Notes

Presenters often favor spontaneity over their script. Sometimes they even forego the standard outline. What they don’t realize is that without a solid guide, they become more prone to experiencing mental blocks. Not everybody can keep track of their thoughts and deliver a pitch at the top of their heads. Most of the time, presenters who come in totally unprepared fumble halfway through their speech.

To prevent the embarrassment of not knowing what to say next, it’s alright to refer to your notes occasionally, especially for your major points.Your goal is to communicate effectively with your audience, and you can’t do that if you’re rambling or if you’re too stunned to talk. If keeping notes at hand distracts you and limits your body movement, you can also memorize your script. Just make sure you wrote it with a natural delivery in mind. Otherwise, your stiff speech won’t convince anyone.

Pause for Effect

It may seem counterintuitive, but pauses in your speech can also help you get over your mental block. If you find yourself in a tight spot, don’t feel ashamed to pause and collect your thoughts. Instead of biding time with filler words, pausing creates anticipation for what you’re about to say.

RedRover Sales & Marketing managing partner Lori Turner-Wilson writes in her article on the Memphis Daily about how the human mind takes about eight seconds to make a firm first impression of you. The same eight-second rule may apply to your pitch, so use your moments of silence wisely.

Take time to stop before every major idea. You can also pause to punctuate your speech, making it seem more natural to listen to.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

One of the leading causes of presentation mental block is anxiety. Calming your nerves helps you remember anything you might have forgotten because of panic. Research shows that breathing helps relax the mind and increase productivity. Whenever you get tongue-tied on stage, take a deep breath. This will prevent you from stressing out over your loss of words.

At the same time, don’t be too hard on yourself for not remembering what you were going to say. Remember that the audience doesn’t know your speech the way you do. You have total control over your pitch, so be confident enough to handle yourself gracefully.

To Sum It Up: Relax and Regroup

Experiencing mental block is every public speaker’s greatest obstacle, and they can strike at any time. Be honest with yourself when you’re experiencing it during your speech. Instead of panicking and resorting to filler words, remember that it’s acceptable to look at your notes every now and then to keep track.

If you’re really out of words to say, pause before every important part in your speech. People won’t mind. They’ll just think you’re building up towards your next point. Finally, whenever you feel that your fear is getting ahead of you, take a deep breath. Deep breathing helps clear your mind to recall your next points.

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

 

References:

Turner-Wilson, Lori. “8-Second Rule of First Impressions.” Memphis Daily News. n.d. www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2011/jul/20/8-second-rule-of-first-impressions

 

Featured Image: “King Conquers All” by Uddhav Gupta on flickr.com

How to Finish Your Deck on a Tight Deadline

With deadlines piling up, finishing those slides early could be the last thing on your mind. However, one thing you shouldn’t be cramming for is your slide deck, especially if you haven’t touched PowerPoint in a long time.

Craft your deck with laser-like focus by knowing how to maximize the available time you have. You’ll have to make compromises, but if you know your priorities, you can still turn in a winning deck.

Prioritize Tasks

A precise schedule lets you know how much time you can actually work with. Determine your deadline’s exact time and day. Plot out your agenda to create a visual reminder of everything you need to finish. This is better than thinking that you can act tomorrow instead of today.

Remember to include short breaks in your plan. Working without a break can burn you out and delay you further. If you’re clueless when it comes to PowerPoint, focusing on your content and delivery should be your main priority. Determine what your strengths are so you can devote time to an area that you have more experience in. Rest assured that if you’re truly in need, there are easier ways to get some things done.

Take Shortcuts

Trying to be a design expert overnight is difficult, so if you want your deck to look good, you may have to resort to using templates. Not all templates are created equal, so make sure that you find a high-quality template you can use for your deck. The template you choose should complement your content well.

Consider if the theme, mood, and color scheme all go together. You might take too much time trying to figure out how to make your deck look well-designed, so be careful not to let perfectionism take a huge chunk of your already limited time. When push comes to shove, you can always ask someone for help. You can also delegate tasks if you’re working in a team.

Ask for Help

It’s hard to admit to ourselves that we just can’t finish certain tasks. Working on a tight deadline can be an overwhelming problem to tackle alone. It’s better to let go of our pride than to let a presentation end in disaster by doing everything ourselves.

If you work with a team, you have full advantage of the skillsets available to you, especially if you’re collaborating with members who specialize in different fields. You can have someone in charge of research, have another person compile information and slides, or have someone work on the designs. If the deadline is simply impossible to meet on your own, ask for a helping hand or two before it’s too late.

According to bestselling author Harvey Mckay, this team strategy works whether you’re a boss or an employee. Everyone will benefit from collaborative effort.

In Short: Maximize Efficiency

In the most dire of cases, you can always ask for a later deadline, but use this option as a last resort. After all, it’s much better to exhaust other options than to hope for a deadline extension.

Remember: planning your schedule until the deadline allows you to focus on a workable path now instead of relying on the time you have for tomorrow. Templates may work for a rushed presentation, but a good deck needs a lot of time and preparation to be successful.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you feel you really need it. SlideGenius specializes in making PowerPoint decks, so we’re quite familiar with beating deadlines. Contact our team ASAP if you’re in a pinch, and we’ll be here to help you out.

 

References:

Mackay, Harvey. “Deliver on Deadline Every Time: 6 Tips” Inc. May 7, 2012. www.inc.com/harvey-mackay/how-to-meet-deadlines-under-pressure.html

 

Featured Image: “geralt” on pixabay.com

Back to the Future (of Marketing): Interactive Brochures

Your presentation is just the beginning, so don’t let your pitch end in the boardroom. In fact, take it further: have your audience take your company’s brand with them, wherever they go.

There are many types of collaterals that people can take home, but why stop there? Don’t just think in terms of physical items that they can carry around with them.

Here’s an idea: translate your usual print materials to digital media. That way, you don’t just reach out to your target market but you’ll also expand your network to other potential leads.

The Future Is Digital

Technology undeniably plays a big role today in people’s lives. For businesses, digital marketing proves to be an important tool in attracting prospects and increasing sales. Digital media helps marketers monitor what type of content people are more responsive to, allowing them to adapt accordingly. At a time when print is going digital, brochures and pamphlets can be converted into interactive sources.

Including interactive brochures in your digital marketing strategy benefits you in many ways. Paperless collaterals don’t only help the environment but also offer more accessibility than a traditional handout. People can view your company’s story anytime, anywhere, and you’ll even be able to track their interest in your business.Things like page analytics and data can help determine whether your content is drawing people in or not.

Take It Outside

Old-fashioned brochures stay with potential partners and clients. While these are good giveaways after a presentation, they reach a limited audience Take your content outside the boardroom and present your product and your story to other people.

There’s an available market online that you can’t tap into with word of mouth and networking alone. You can reach out to a wider audience faster by using people’s interconnectedness through digital media. At the same time, your existing customers are free to review your services from an easily downloadable interactive brochure. Expanding your partnerships and taking care of your current clients will be easier once you go digital.

Engaging the Audience

Interactivity is what makes the e-brochure so appealing. Unlike its paper counterpart, an interactive brochure can let you execute creative ideas that can only be possible with a digital medium. Although it’s basically a PDF version of your handout, you can put additional features, like an animation, that your viewers can interact with.

Aside from its availability in any electronic device, a digital brochure makes your content more engaging. If there’s one thing that should remain constant from your pitch to your marketing strategies, it’s audience engagement. You’re more likely to get investors by steering their attention towards you. Achieving the right combination of fun and professionalism in your e-brochure helps you get noticed.

Don’t give your prospects flat information. Make their experience interactive.

The Bottom Line: Go Big, Go Digital

Technology is a major game changer in the field of marketing. Don’t become outdated. Enter the new playing field and bring your product to a bigger market.

Making use of interactive brochures effectively attract and keep people’s attention. Its accessibility makes it easily available to anyone interested in your services. Prospects’ increased awareness of your brand boosts your sales leads and volume significantly.

Not sure where to start your digital marketing strategy? Consult with our SlideGenius designers today.

 

References:

“What Is Digital Marketing?” SAS. n.d. www.sas.com/en_us/insights/marketing/digital-marketing.html

 

Featured Image: “Connected and Charged” by Bob ~ Barely Time on flickr.com

3 Things Presenters Can Learn From the Written Word

Delivery is often prioritized during presentations. Since writing is mainly a behind-the-scenes matter, few consider its impact on their pitch. Even so, it still matters, both directly and indirectly, because well-written content is the foundation of an effective presentation.

To get your audience’s attention, apply a few techniques writers use to reel in their readers. Here are three things presenters can learn from the written word:

Research Is Key

Content writing is part of the preparation, though it’s sometimes overlooked in favor of spontaneity. However, coming in totally unprepared not only damages your credibility but also results in sloppy delivery. While a natural and conversational approach establishes rapport and engages the audience, you need to keep a few tricks up your sleeve.

Undertaking research is one way to determine the ideal approach for your pitch. To figure out how to reach out to them, look up your audience’s preferences, interests, and cultural beliefs. This works for all types of presentations. If you’re delivering a sales pitch, research is key to connecting with your target market as a speaker. For an educational lecture, you’ll definitely need to know people’s learning styles to effectively deliver your ideas.

Research is the backbone of content, which, in turn, is the foundation of a presentation.

Break Things Down

Don’t assume that the audience can read your mind. When it comes to your pitch, you need to think like a writer and present like one.

Create an outline to specify the flow of your speech and the main points you want to tackle. Mike Elgan, a writer for online publications, including Computerworld, notes how a business presentation usually has four parts:

  1. an introduction to the company
  2. an introduction to the product
  3. an in-depth explanation of each feature, and
  4. the description of the product’s benefits.

Take care not to over-compartmentalize your content. Instead, create categories that appeal to the audience’s creative side.

The use of visual metaphors, storytelling, and emotions can help balance your deck before bringing in the hard facts. You can use any combination of the three as a precursor to your actual information, as long as you stick to the point, but don’t go off on a tangent for too long. Rambling will confuse your audience even more.

Signal Phrases

Writers use signal phrases in their writing as transitions or as preliminaries to in-text citations. For example, you can say, “This theorist suggests” or “According to this source” as indicators of a citation. Here, the verb “suggest” and the compound preposition “according to” are the key words to the signal phrase. In writing, these words inform the reader that you’re about to introduce your sources.

Similarly, presenters can also these to hint a change in tone. Some presentations require reference citations, but the sudden shift to technical terms may seem jarring to the audience.

Key your listeners in by beginning your formal statements with signal phrases. If you’re new to public speaking, you can begin major points with signal phrases. It’s a way of arranging your data in a logical manner and keeping you on track of your outline. This serves as a guide not only to you but also to your listeners.

Summing It Up

Oral and written communication are actually two sides to the same coin, and one can pick up plenty of things from the other.

Don’t disregard the power of the written word in an oral presentation. As in writing, presenters can benefit from plenty of research, creativity, and some signal phrases. Once you’ve gotten the hang of your speech, you can start creating a slide deck as a complement.

If you need help with your visual design, contact our SlideGenius experts for a free quote!

 

References:

Elgan, Mike. “Give Killer Presentations: Think like a Writer.” Computerworld. February 9, 2013. www.computerworld.com/article/2494756/desktop-apps/give-killer-presentations–think-like-a-writer.html
“Transitions, Signal Phrases, and Pointing Words – Boundless Open Textbook.” Boundless. n.d. www.boundless.com/writing/textbooks/boundless-writing-textbook/writing-effective-paragraphs-253/connecting-your-ideas-259/transitions-signal-phrases-and-pointing-words-110-10297

Featured Image: “diary writing” by Fredrick Rubensson on flickr.com

Converting Research Papers to Conference Presentations

Being invited to present research in a conference is a milestone in every academic’s life. You’re now ready to exhibit your work to an audience outside peer-reviewed journals. However, a paper and a presentation are two separate things, so you can’t directly translate one into the other.

For example, plenty of content is necessary for a scholarly paper, but you’ll have to filter out some of it in a conference. Although general rules apply in conference presentations, there are more nuances to consider. Some of these may come in the form of overly quoting your research or forgetting to clarify your points.

Basic Formula

If you’re a conference first-timer, it’s advisable to stick to a specific outline for your academic presentation.

Sociology professor Tanya Golash-Boza provides a basic formula on her personal site for fellow scholars. You still begin with an introduction before providing your framework, methodology, and related literature. You can then conclude your presentation with data or research analysis.

Essentially, its flow should remain similar to your paper’s. It depends on your field of study, but using this formula as a guide helps you structure your speech. The only difference is that you condense your information for your slides, making it more palatable for your crowd.This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be compromising a large chunk of your research.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be compromising a large chunk of your research. If anything, the discussion of your study should take up the bulk of your academic presentation. In this situation, you’re presenting to a crowd of like-minded individuals who are interested in your work. Chances are they’ve already looked it up enough to have a general idea of it, so don’t dwell on parts that your audience already knows.

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Delivering the Research Paper

Conference presentations are often misinterpreted as word-for-word readings of the research paper. However, it’s highly encouraged to use a conversational tone to engage your audience. After all, they’re still people who’ll get bored with long lectures. Citing directly from your material isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.

Since quoting previous studies and scholars is inevitable in an academic setup, it’s all right to occasionally refer to them. Just make sure you use to clue your audience in on an upcoming quote from your paper. A few examples of signal phrases are statements like “According to this theorist” or “This theorist argues that” to make the change in tone seem less random and stiff when you mention your sources.

As long as you keep track of the time, it’s also okay to read from your notes when you’re expounding on major ideas. Spend about one to two minutes on an important point in your study, then move on.

Visual Presentation

Its use of more research material distinguishes a conference PowerPoint from other presentations. Aside from the visual and textual prompts in your slides, you’ll need to include data and excerpts from your paper. Don’t overdo it, though. Present only the important parts of your research.

Overloading people with information will confuse them. They’re more likely to lose your thesis statement if you saturate the presentation with too many minor facts. Any supporting material can be mentioned briefly, outside the slide. At the same time, remember to address each bit of information you put on screen.

Your audience will appreciate an explanation of your main points. For other, less technical slides, you can mark your paper with prompts. This will help remind you which part of your presentation has a corresponding visual aid.

Conclusion

Keep a few extra things in mind when preparing for a conference presentation. Apply your research paper’s outline, but condense and edit its content to fit time constraints. Reading your paper verbatim makes you look too technical and stiff during your speech.

Listeners feel more at ease with speakers who are confident with their material. Don’t drag your audience through your slides. Limit your explanations to a few minutes before moving on to the next point. A compact and comprehensive presentation is more impressive than a rambling one.

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

 

References

Boza, Tanya-Golash. “How to Give a Fabulous Academic Presentation: Five Tips to Follow”. Get a Life, PhD. April 20, 2011. www.getalifephd.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-give-fabulous-academic.html

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Featured Image: “Creative Company Conference 2011” by Sebastiaan ter Burg on flickr.com

Switching Slides: Convert PowerPoint to Other File Types

PowerPoint is undoubtedly the most-used visual presentation software. However, it isn’t confined to the board or classroom anymore. It’s moved on to other purposes and media, covering print handouts and online presentations.

This visual tool can now work hand in hand with other software. With that in mind, knowing how to convert PowerPoint to other file types is necessary when catching up to its ever-expanding uses.

We listed three file types that PowerPoint documents are commonly converted to and enumerated the benefits of each:

PowerPoint to Publisher

Sometimes, aside from using visual aids, you’ll also need to provide the audience with physical copies of your presentations. This means having to manually copy, paste, and format your content on another software that lets you create a handout or booklet.

If you’re pressed for time, you can directly open and edit your PowerPoint in Publisher. One of the easier ways to do this is by downloading OfficeOne’s Send to Publisher add-in. Once you’ve done this, select the Send to Publisher option on your home tab after it’s installed and wait for your file to transfer to Publisher. As Chron.com contributor Kevin Lee writes, it’s a better alternative to Word, which isn’t as specific for formatting handouts as Publisher is.

If you have a problem with downloading add-ins for your programs, you can always do it the old-fashioned way. To do this, convert your PowerPoint to PDF, then move it to Publisher from there.

PowerPoint to PDF

Changing your file type to PDF has a number of benefits, one of them being the ability to open the converted file in other programs.

If the previous step of converting directly to Publisher isn’t available on your computer or the version of PowerPoint you have, save your file as a PDF first. You can do this by clicking Save As from the File tab and selecting PDF in the Save as Type dropdown.

This will allow you to open your file in Publisher, although your ability to edit will be limited to resizing slides. The more important aspect of converting to PDF is that it lets you manage your file size. It comes in handy when your computer lags because of a file that’s too large or if you plan to share your files on online sites.

Don’t forget to make the necessary adjustments to maintain the quality of your presentation, even if it switches file types. Remember: converting to PDF means losing any transitions or animations you may have applied to your original slide deck.

PowerPoint to Video

Your visual presentation isn’t a substitute for your presence, but in some cases, you won’t be around to prompt your audience. You might want to share your outline online via social media or other networks, where you’ll be physically absent.

While a video may be used to supplement a presentation, it can also stand on its own. This means you have to format your PowerPoint with the idea of turning it into a video.

After creating your slide deck, click Save and Send from the File menu of your video and choose Create Video. For users of PowerPoint 2013 onward, you can find the Create Video option in Export from your File tab. This will save your PowerPoint into the desired file type.

To Summarize

PowerPoint isn’t reserved to on-the-spot presentations. It can be uploaded online or printed as a handout. To maintain the quality of your original file, be aware of the program you’re transferring your slide deck to. It’ll be helpful in the long run, especially if you want to introduce your content to a wider audience.

It’ll be helpful in the long run, especially if you want to introduce your content to a wider audience.

References:

Lee, Kevin. “Microsoft Publisher Vs. Word.” Chron.com. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/microsoft-publisher-vs-word-79024.html
“OfficeOne: Send To Publisher: Overview.” MVPS. n.d. www.officeone.mvps.org/ppt2pub/ppt2pub.html

 

Featured Image: “Filed Away” by Mark Crossfield on flickr.com