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Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations

Sometimes, in the middle of reviewing a PowerPoint presentation, there comes the anxiety wherein people ask themselves if the slides are enough or overdone. Some even come to a point where they struggle critiquing their work because they spent too much time on it. After so much time and effort, you may wonder if you’ve been efficient or just wasteful.

If, at the end of the day, despite all efforts to make a great presentation, it still doesn’t feel right to say it’s a job well done, here are some signs to help you make that call.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: clown juggling

Unlucky 7

In rare cases, presentation taboos may be excused when necessary but international speaker and presentation skills expert, John Zimmer, says having too many bullets and texts make no sense when crafting a pitch.

According to him, PowerPoint presentations that follow the 1-7-7 rule, or slides that consist one heading, seven bullets, and seven words, promise boredom and apathy on the part of the audience. Same point goes for the 1-6-6 rule.

Avoid this by using fewer bullet points. When used sparingly, bullets can be effective to communicate ideas and points because they offer convenience to the audience. Bullets help save more time and space to allocate new information. Too many of them, however, does the opposite of that value.

Minimize your use of words. Use communicative graphics and pictures that can replace texts. It’s best to do this in slides that contain messages that you would like your audience to remember.

In this case, the 4-by-5 rule might just be right for your presentation. Unless you’re enumerating from a list, then four bullets and five words are ideal to keep your presentation informative and snappy.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: reaper

The Scripture

One way to know if something isn’t easy to understand is when you read it repeatedly. There are several reasons why this happens. Usually, it means you’re having an idle moment or your phrases or sentences need to be simplified.

When reading, experts say an average person renders 50 – 300 WPM (words per minute). However, when reading technical content, the statistics go down to 50 – 75 WPM.

Sometimes, slides look like pages of ancient text, which contain too much information and take more time to read compared to the normal ones. When comprehending a script, use simpler but appropriate words and sentences to lessen the reader’s strain and lag. If you can’t process your messages easily, then how can you expect your readers to do so? Only use words with deeper meaning when necessary.

Pause after a certain amount of words to give time for them to absorb everything.

Also, speaking from an active voice welcomes a continuous reading process. Use present or passive tenses instead of progressive tenses. They’re easier to read and make ideas seem more simple.

Lastly, though it’s advised to keep one thought in one slide, you can opt to break your sentences in the middle and proceed to the next. Maintain the dominance of the white background. It also pays to maintain a breathing room for your eyes.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: fortune teller

Magic Decks

When you present a deck with numerous slides in a considerably long time, do you wonder if your audience recall everything?

A research conducted in 2012 by cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Carmen Simon, examined how many slides people can remember from a text-only, standalone PowerPoint presentation. After 48 hours, results showed that 1,500 participants remembered an average of four slides out of the presented 20.

The study revealed that visuals played a significant role in keeping the slides memorable. It was also found that similar-looking slides are easier to remember. The distinctiveness of every other fifth slide in Simon’s presentation were significant help as well.

Marks help remember. Use pictures or designs not only to illustrate, but also to keep slides more interesting and easier to recall. It’s best to use them strategically. Use markings on slides that need more emphasis.

Conclusion

Your deck doesn’t have to be all-telling. You can just make books if that’s the case. A good deck must contain all significant points and ideas for the presenter to collaboratively explain with. In a PowerPoint presentation full of information, points become harder to highlight. Use words sparingly so that your audience would actually pay attention to your content.

Be strategic when creating your slides to make them more engaging. When making presentations, discover ways to be more conscious on your creative and communicative processes. It pays to understand your audience’s interests with regards to these aspects.

Lastly, know that sometimes, complex solutions only solve basic problems. Before you start with another PowerPoint presentation, invest your time in getting to know more about creating effective presentations. This way, you end up creating your presentation in a lesser hassle pace and with more peace of mind.

Resources:

Zimmer, John. “PowerPoint Math: The 1-6-6 Rule. Manner of Speaking.” Manner of Speaking. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2010/03/04/powerpoint-math-the-1-6-6-rule

Simon, Carmen. “The Results Are In: How Much Do People Really Remember from PowerPoint Presentations?” Brainshark. February 12, 2013. www.brainshark.com/ideas-blog/2013/February/results-what-people-remember-powerpoint-presentations

Nelson, Brett. “Do You Read Fast Enough To Be Successful?” Forbes. June 4, 2012 www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2012/06/04/do-you-read-fast-enough-to-be-successful/#5d9d3eca58f7

Thomas, Mark. “What Is the Average Reading Speed and the Best Rate of Reading?” Health Guidance. www.healthguidance.org/entry/13263/1/What-Is-the-Average-Reading-Speed-and-the-Best-Rate-of-Reading.html

Match Your Market: Knowing the Right Social Network for Your Business

Social media has become essential for entrepreneurs. Apart from allowing them to connect with clients and customers, it has also become a tool in expanding target markets and promoting a product or service. According to research, 96 percent of business owners use social media marketing, and 92 percent of those agree with the phrase, “Social media marketing is important for my business.” True enough, the form took the business industry by storm.

Using social media, however, isn’t as simple as posting a photo, video, or status update. It takes effort, especially for businesses that wish to target a specific audience and run a special campaign. Many steps are involved in creating a strategy for this kind of communication, including building your audience, determining competition, and, one of the most challenging, choosing a platform to host the tactic.

Through the emerging years of social, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have proven their worth in reaching global markets. Facebook remains as the most used application, while every second, 6,000 tweets are delivered worldwide. These statistics do sound effective for a marketing strategy, but are they right for your business? Identify the ideal social media platform for your business with the infographic below.

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Deciding on a social media network can be hard, especially for first-time marketers. Put the above-mentioned tips in mind and gradually build the attention and credibility your business deserves.

Whichever platform you choose, remember to use social media as a source of two-way communication with your audience. Posting content online won’t be effective without knowing how to interact with customers and clients alike. Use it as a bridge to many opportunities that can lead your business to major marketing success. Post with an objective and make sure to target the audience you would want to reach long-term.

Resources:

Pick, Tom. “47 Superb Social Media Marketing Stats and Facts.” Business2Community. January 19, 2016. www.business2community.com/social-media/47-superb-social-media-marketing-stats-facts-01431126#Kq740lvQJvMD3E83.97

De Mers, Jayson. “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing.” Forbes. August 11, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/08/11/the-top-10-benefits-of-social-media-marketing/#250ab8682a4d

Edgecomb, Carolyn. “Social Media Marketing: The Importance of a Two-Way Conversation.” Impact. June 7, 2013. www.impactbnd.com/blog/social-media-marketing-the-importance-of-a-two-way-conversation

3 Tips to Powerful Logos Based on Design Principles

A company logo is crucial in representing your brand. An excellently made logo will increase your brand recognition and help to make your business easily identifiable, representing your brand professionally and encapsulating its image.  For this reason, we’ve collected three points you need to remember in creating your brand’s logo:

1. Design Appropriate with Your Message

Your logo is a crucial customer touchpoint, and will form the initial impression people have about your brand before they even make a direct transaction. Choosing the right design means giving your logo your brand’s identity. For instance, are you aiming to be serious and formal? Or fun and approachable?

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Tailor your logo to your message and mission without being too direct or obvious. You can include your company name in your logo, or just leave powerful icons that matter to your brand.

For example, Apple uses an apple as their brand logo. Attributed to graphic designer Rob Janoff, the Apple logo has undergone numerous changes through the years, but has remained consistent in one thing – the iconic apple. A feature on Janoff’s page shows his creative process in visualizing the company logo around the symbolic fruit it’s become known for.

Janoff’s original design, which was a rainbow-striped apple, meant to humanize the products, emphasize the product’s ability to show colored images, and make it more attractive to the eyes, especially to children. Similarly, use an appropriate design to achieve a distinct identity that sets you apart from the competition.

2. Simplicity is Key

Keep your design as simple as possible without being extremely clean and minimalistic all the time, since a design that’s too bare may also bore people. Having a very intricate logo tends to be confusing, and will be more difficult to reproduce on your products. By definition, a cluttered logo is one that has extraneous elements in its design.

Too many colors, characters, or embellishments that aren’t related to your company’s overall message are considered superfluous elements, and should be left out of your logo.

To get the right balance of character and minimalism, maximize your use of white space. White space, or negative space, is the absence of any objects or elements. You don’t have to saturate viewers with too much glamor to get your message across. Applying white space lets people’s eyes rest and focus on the most important parts of your logo. Leave the backdrop of your logo free of extra elements to help it stand out and grab attention effectively.

If you’re aiming for a powerful impact, an image that summarizes your business identity will suffice. For example, social media platform Twitter’s logo, credited to freelance designer Simon Oxley, features a blue bird. Its latest design is rounded, simple, and unembellished, but it manages to explain what Twitter stands for in a single image, which just goes to show that “show, not tell” applies to logo-making as well.

3. It Should Stick

Like a good tagline, your logo needs to be timeless and memorable. To attract and keep people’s attention, consider tapping into the psychology of shape and color. Different colors affect people in different ways, so knowing which ones to use can give your brand a leverage.

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Some of the most common colors used, especially in the food industry, are red and yellow. These warm colors command attention because of their vibrancy. In the same way, shapes can stir certain ideas in your viewers. Those with soft edges, like circles or ovals, project positivity and unity. On the other hand, pointed shapes with more defined edges, like squares and triangles, portray stability and formality.

For a logo that doesn’t intend to use images, shape psychology can still come in handy with the fonts you use. Fonts with softer edges have the same effect as circular shapes, while sleeker, more angular fonts evoke similar reactions as sharp shapes.

Some logos also manipulate negative space to create a clever and striking design. The famous WWF logo designed by British conservationist and ornithologist, Sir Peter Scott, mixes white space and strokes of the color black to create an image of a panda. This play with space and color both effectively encapsulates the organization’s ideals, and serves as a visual treat.

In Conclusion: Logos Can Make or Break Your Brand

Logos need to be catchy and relevant to your business so people can easily associate them with your brand. Remember: find the right logo design by having it reflect your message, and use white space to draw attention to the main parts of your logo. Similarly, tap into shape and color psychology to be both noticeable and unforgettable.

Follow these simple design principles to help your logo stand out in the market.

 

References

Simon Oxley Idokungfoo for You Illustration. Accessed January 6, 2016. www.idokungfoo.com
“Sir Peter Scott.” WWF UK. Accessed January 6, 2016. www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/history/sir_peter_scott.cfm
“The Apple Logo Story.” Rob Janoff. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.robjanoff.com/the-apple-logo-story
“The Psychology of Logo Shapes: A Designer’s Guide.” Creative Bloq. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.creativebloq.com/logo-design/psychology-logo-shapes-8133918
“Twitter_logo_blue.png.” Twitter. Accessed December 11, 2015. https://g.twimg.com/Twitter_logo_blue.png
“WWF Logo – Design and History of WWF Logo.” Logo Design Blog. Accessed January 6, 2016. www.famouslogos.us/wwf-logo“WWF Logo.”
“WWF Logo.” Pixel Logo. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.pixellogo.com/sites/www.pixellogo.com/files/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/WWF-Logo.gif

 

Featured Image: “Basic Logos” by Armando Sotoca on flickr.com
www.flickr.com/photos/criterion/4693090982

Choose and Customize View Panes in PowerPoint 2013

Ribbons? Tabs? Status Bar? Views? Familiarize yourself with PowerPoint’s layout so you won’t get lost. A little customization can help make you feel at home.

We’ll cover basic information on the different kinds of views in PowerPoint under the View tab. There are eight available views in this tab plus the two additional views, the Slide Show view and the Presenter view.

It’s overwhelming to see these features for the first time, even more so when you don’t know what they’re for. These views are meant to make your PowerPoint experience faster and easier. Find out which view works best for your tasks.

PowerPoint 2013 Basics

Customize View Panes in PowerPoint 2013: PowerPoint basic tabsUnder the View tab, you will find eight views: Normal, Outline View, Slide Sorter, Notes Page, Reading View, Slide Master, Handout Master, and Notes Master.

1. Normal View is the default view, and therefore the most familiar type of view. It has three areas, The Slides pane, the Slide area and the Notes.

The Slides pane is where you can preview a thumbnail-sized image of your slide. The Slide area is the largest area where you directly add elements to your slide. The Notes pane is where you can add your notes. This can also be expanded or collapsed by clicking and dragging the thin border above it.

2. Outline View is similar to Normal View, except it replaces the visual thumbnail views in the Slides pane with a textual, outlined list of the slide’s content. You’ll only see the text in your slide when you use this view, helping you focus only on the text instead of the visual elements on your slide.

3. Slide Sorter Don’t be alarmed, the Slide area hasn’t disappeared. This view is a single area that shows all your slides as thumbnails. It’s a great view to use when you need an overview of your deck.

Group your slides much easier with Slide Sorter.

4. Notes Page shows a vertical view of your slide. The page has two sections: the upper section that contains your slide, and the lower section that contains your notes.

Use the notes page to focus on adding notes to your deck.

5. Reading View is very similar to the Slide Show view since both display your slide in full-screen mode. The difference is that Reading View shows the title bar and status bar of PowerPoint to help you keep track of which slide you’re currently viewing.

6. Slide Master has a similar layout to Normal view. Changes in this slide affect all the slides under it. It’s the perfect view when you need to apply plenty of elements to many slides quickly.

Apply your company’s logo consistently and in perfect alignment by placing it in this view.

7. Handout Master provides a single, vertical view of your work area similar to the Notes page. But this view groups your slides into one page.

Print materials from PowerPoint using this view to leave spaces for notes and compress enough slides in one page for easier viewing.

8. Notes Master is a printer-friendly version of your Notes page. Every change you make in the Notes Master also affects the Notes page view. If providing more notes is your priority, the vertical orientation of the page gives you more area for writing down notes.

Additional Views

Customize View Panes in PowerPoint 2013: Slide Show Tab Additional View

Access the Slide Show view from the ribbon. It contains four commands under the Start Slide Show category and four commands under the Set Up category. These two categories help you synchronize your slide timings.

Customize View Panes in PowerPoint 2013

The Presenter View is a special setting that gives you more control of your slides.  This view pops up once you start your slide show.

Presenter View only runs on computers with dual screen capabilities, so make sure you have a projector plugged in. The main monitor displays the Presenter view, while the screen the audience sees is projected on your other monitor or projector.

The Presenter View has four areas as shown in the image above:

1. The Toolbar (1) menu on top has a button that allows for the toolbar to expand or collapse, another button that swaps the presenter view and the slide show, and a button to end the slide show which closes the Presenter view.

2. The Timer, Slide Preview, Slide Navigation (2) are all located in the second area highlighted in the image above. More of these are explained in our article on how to be more organized using the Presenter view.

The extra tools underneath the Slide Preview give more slide options for the presenter. These options include the pen and laser pointer, see all slides, zoom into slide, black or white-out screen and even more slide options.

The Timer displays the duration of a slide, and the Slide Navigation lets you move from slide to slide by clicking on the forward and backward arrows. It also tells you what slide you’re on, and displays the number of slides in total.

3. A small area on the upper right previews the next slide and is called the Next Slide Preview (3).

4. The Notes (4) area exists below the next slide preview box and displays the notes for the current slide if there are any available. You can change the text size of your notes if you’re viewing them from a distance.

Change Your Views

The View panes in PowerPoint presents many options for you to manage your workspace for slide creation.

You can get better insight and control of your presentation with the help of these additional views. Choose the Normal view for a balanced layout perfect for slide creation.

Outline View helps you focus on the content and structure of your slides by doing away with thumbnails.

Slide Sorter, Slide Master, Handout Master, Notes Master are perfect for slide management while the Slide Show and Presenter View helps you to rehearse for the final touches in your presentation.

Arrange your slides and append notes faster and easier using these views.

 

References

Bajaj, Geetesh. “PowerPoint 2013 Views for Windows.” Indezine. June 6, 2013. Accessed December 18, 2015. www.indezine.com/products/powerpoint/learn/interface/powerpoint2013-views.html
“Get A Change Of View With PowerPoint.” Microsofttraining.net. May 24, 2011. Accessed December 18, 2015. www.microsofttraining.net/article-1698-change-view-with-powerpoint.html

Improve Your Presentation with Dan Pink’s Types of Pitches (Part 1)

Pitching isn’t just about selling – at least not directly. Our daily conversations during work, and personal matters all involve communicating. We try to influence others with our opinions, sentiments, and preferences everyday.

This means that delivering a pitch involves getting your message across to your listeners.

In his book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, author and speaker Daniel Pink introduced the six successors to the elevator pitch: the one-word pitch, the question pitch, the rhyming pitch, the subject line pitch, the twitter pitch, and the Pixar pitch.

These modernized types of pitches can be used by sales professionals to communicate with the audience better. This achieves a clearer, more convincing sales presentation.

In this post, we’ll cover the first three types of pitches that you can use to enhance your content.

1. The One-word Pitch

The idea of one-word pitch or “one-word equity” was conceptualized by Maurice and Charles Saatchi, founders of Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the world’s top advertising agencies. By condensing your brand in one word, it can help your audience remember what you’re planning to convey.

Nowadays, people have limited attention spans. Microsoft‘s study explains that the human attention span has declined from eight seconds to twelve in 2013. Given this limited timespan, presentations become more effective when they’re shorter.

This means every presenter’s message needs to be clear and more direct, if only because clients will have an easier time remembering your main points.

Some large firms incorporate this to their slogans to promote a more comprehensive way of presenting their brands to customers. For example, the word “search” is often associated with Google.

How to Get Started:

Pink advises presenters: “Write a 50-word pitch. Reduce it to 25 words. Then to six words. One of those remaining half-dozen is almost certainly your one-word pitch.”

Ask yourself: If there’s one word you can use to describe your brand, what is it? Identify your objectives to guide you in crafting a more focused pitch. Decide what you want your audience to remember after hearing your brand name, or after letting them visualize your marketing campaign.

This will help you come up with a powerful word that fits your desired plan. It can also instill a catchier, more memorable name you can associate with your business or brand.

2. The Question Pitch

There’s nothing more effective than questions that’ll motivate audiences to take action. Though you shouldn’t rely on this all the time, Pink’s research suggests certain questions become more persuasive when they possess a strong argument.

For example, when Ronald Reagan was running for president in 1980, he chose to ask: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”, instead of mentioning America’s then-current economic recession and proving his point with numbers.

Rhetorical questions like these are used to compelling the audience to resolve the point being discussed, while letting them absorb the message you want to deliver.

Probing questions are also effective when convincing your listeners to share their stories and experiences, while voicing their concerns. Asking “Does this product interest you?” is way too open-ended from “Will this product provide convenience and solution to your concern?” The latter emphasizes the benefit and convinces your prospect to consider the offer.

How to Get Started:

Pink suggests: Use this if your arguments are strong. If they’re weak, make a statement. Or better yet, find some new arguments.”

If a statement won’t work, add a question to your pitch. This will prompt your listeners to answer it silently in their minds.

When crafting your pitch, gather all the facts and resources needed, and organize relatable details or information to prioritize them. This lets you pinpoint what particular argument is more effective in a question form. It also ensures your listeners or prospects will understand the entire topic to make it more convincing.

3. The Rhyming Pitch

Pink states that “pitches that rhyme increase processing fluency.” This makes the message easier to digest and internalize.

The following example shows how rhyming and non-rhyming words differ:

  • Woes unite foes. (original rhyming version)

  • Woes unite enemies. (modified non-rhyming version)

You’ll notice that the first sentence is much more interesting to hear than the second one. Incorporating rhyming words in your speech also improves audience recall as it produces a pleasant sound when they’re pronounced.

Another example would be: “Videos can sustain what text can’t explain” has more impact than plainly saying it as “Videos can sustain text that lacks explanation.”

How to Get Started:

Pink states: Don’t rack your brain for rhymes. Go online and find a rhyming dictionary.” Use the Internet to look for a rhyming dictionary. This will help you restructure plain and simple statements into rhyming sentences.

Before applying it to your presentation, start by identifying your main points. Try out rhyming words to see if they’d work well together in one statement. You can also ask one of your colleagues for his opinion towards your pitch and give you his feedback.

Be careful not to overdo it. Choose among and focus only on the ideas relevant to your subject for greater emphasis and easier retention. This will generate more interest among your listeners and draw attention to your performance.

Conclusion

Pink’s first three techniques not only offer a new approach in making your pitch more powerful and memorable. Applying these types can guide you in presenting your ideas creatively.

Think of a word that’ll give your brand or business much exposure, and make it catchier enough to increase audience recall.

For greater impact, make sure to deliver a strong argument. Ask questions that convince them to take action. Turn simple sentences into rhyming statements to let your listeners be more attentive to what you’re conveying.

Try it yourself and you’ll be amazed by how it positively affects the way people better understand your message. Master these three approaches to allow for a better and more focused presentation that your audience will remember.

To craft a more direct presentation, contact our team of professional designers today and ask for a free quote!

 

References

“3 Ways to Pitch Your Idea.” Inc.com. April 11, 2013. Accessed January 19, 2016. www.inc.com/thebuildnetwork/3-ways-to-pitch-your-idea.html
Gabrielsen, Jonas, and Tanja Juul Christiansen. The Power of Speech. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzel, 2010.
“How does digital affect Canadian attention spans?” Microsoft. n.d. Accessed February 1, 2016. http://advertising.microsoft.com/en/cl/31966/how-does-digital-affect-canadian-attention-spans
Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead Books, 2012.
“Practice Your 6 Pitches.” To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others, 2012. Accessed January 19, 2016. www.danpink.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sixpitches.pdf
Snider, Emma. “6 Types of Sales Pitches Every Seller Should Know.” HubSpot. January 6, 2015. Accessed January 19, 2016. http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-pitches-every-seller-should-know

 

Featured Image: “Dan Pink 1” by Ethan Beute on flickr.com

High Cost: Avoiding the Price of an Ineffective PowerPoint

One PowerPoint presentation gone bad can cost more than you think, according to this Think Outside The Slide article: almost as much as $250 million because of wasted resources and manpower.

Aside from the time invested by the audience, your sales, company decision-making, and even reputation are affected by your pitch’s impact.

Create a deck that will maximize your time and save you the effort and money.

Find out how to avoid an ineffective PowerPoint with these three tips:

1. Set a Goal

Knowing what you want to achieve is important in planning out how you’re going to get there.

Is it to move the audience to action? Is it to make a sale? Or is it simply to deliver information?

Not having an objective for your presentation can lead to a cluttered slide deck and disorganized speech.

To avoid this, you need to choose from these goals for your pitch.

Once you’re sure of what you want, enumerate the steps to achieving this goal.

Create an outline that lists down your course of action. Will you quote your latest sales figures? Will you highlight your product’s benefits? Doing so can also serve as your guide in creating more palatable content.

Craft a winning deck by determining what type of response you want to elicit from your listeners.

2. Simplify Your Points

Abstract ideas can be difficult to process, especially if they come in bulk.

Information overload, like spreadsheets overflowing with statistical data, can affect how much of your presentation the audience will recall once you’re finished.

Remember that your listeners don’t know your presentation as well as you do, so keep things simple.

Break down your ideas into key points so you can focus on discussing as you go along. These can include going straight to how much clients could save or earn if they approve your proposal, or the superior benefits of your product over the competition.

You also need to make sure that this is reflected in your slides to make it clearer and more concise.

Stick to one major topic per slide, but don’t give it to the audience as it is.

Explore a number of ways to creatively present difficult data, or to show your key points as a single text or image per slide for easier retention.

3. Engage the Audience

The downfall of many presentations, particularly sales pitches, is lack of audience engagement.

According to a 2015 study by Microsoft Canada, people’s attention spans have dropped to an average of eight seconds, writes Leon Watson of The Telegraph. But presenters seem to forget to consider this.

Either they go beyond their intended time limit, or they saturate their slides with too much information for the audience to handle.

Engage the audience by treating your PowerPoint only as a visual aid, rather than a replacement for your actual presence.

Interact with your listeners using expansive hand gestures and maximizing your physical space. Exude confidence and inspire trust in your body language.

Use social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s suggestion about applying a power pose to display self-assurance and certainty in your pitch.

People are more likely to listen to someone who knows what he’s doing, rather than someone who sounds unsure of his topic.

Conclusion

You can save the time, money, and further effort with one perfect presentation, so why not aim for that?

Set a goal for your current pitch, and know what you want to achieve to guide you in reaching it.

Break down complex ideas into easily understandable ones by selecting key points instead of whole paragraphs.

Engage the audience by stepping away from your PowerPoint and interacting with them through your body language and your speech.

The price of PowerPoint shouldn’t be too high. If you find yourself in need of some expert help, contact our SlideGenius professionals today for a free quote!

 

References

Blodget, Henry. “This Simple ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life And Career.” Business Insider. May 3, 2013. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.businessinsider.com/power-pose-2013-5

Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html

“What is the REAL Cost of Poor Presentations?.” Think Outside the Slide. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/what-is-the-real-cost-of-poor-presentations

3 Things that Enhance Audience Engagement in a Presentation

Attracting the audience’s attention can be tricky, especially if you’re a first-time presenter. Not knowing the right way to engage listeners and pique their attention due to a lack of experience can bore the crowd and make them anxious. But play the right cards and you’ll find that there are a number of ways to keep people engaged. One of the easiest is to interact with your audience.

We don’t just mean getting to know your listeners before the presentation, although that can give you an idea of how to speak and act on stage as well.

Take note of the little things you do during your pitch. Notice that your body language and your choice of words can make a big difference in how people see you. Displaying confidence in your actions can help establish your credibility and make you appear more trustworthy.

Here are three things to watch out for to enhance audience engagement:

1. Stage Presence

People want to see confidence and sincerity in a speaker, so don’t stand in one spot on the stage. Your movements dictate how the audience responds to you. Claiming the space around you by pacing the stage makes you appear more at ease with your environment since you’re not afraid to go near the audience and engage them with your presence.

For presentations or speeches that require a passionate or emotional delivery – for instance, a declamation or a TED talk – you’re encouraged to roam freely on stage. According to presentation expert Olivia Mitchell, doing so can establish a more intimate connection between you and your audience, as discussed in her Speaking About Presenting article. The proximity of your physical presence helps them flesh out a more human sense of the presenter rather than a detached speaker relating distant points.

Discern when it’s appropriate to act lively on stage, like when you’re announcing a new product. Familiarize yourself with your presentation, from your content, to the visuals on your deck. This lets you know when it would be appropriate to take control of the stage, and when to focus on explaining your points.

It’s also important to know the venue and equipment you’ll be using beforehand to figure out whether it’s possible to move around the space, or whether it would be best to use minimal gestures. For instance, formal settings like boardroom meetings may require less expressive movements.

Use your stage presence and explore it to your advantage.

2. Image Projection

How you project yourself through your actions affects how people perceive you. It’s important to make a good first impression, and maintain this appearance throughout your presentation. This determines whether the audience will buy into what you’re saying or not.

In her famous TED Talk, which has been featured across various sites and journals, including an article on the New York Times by David Hochman, social psychologist Amy Cuddy discusses the advantages of power posing. Cuddy asked a few Zappos employees in one of her studies to change their pose by “making themselves big” for a few minutes.

In the experiment, the perceived confidence resulted in increased confidence among the employees. Opening yourself up by standing with your shoulders back and your arms away from your chest shows that you’re not nervous or afraid.

Conversely, folding your entire body by hunching forward makes you seem unconfident, making listeners less likely to invest their time in you. Other ways of non-verbally projecting confidence include establishing eye contact with the audience, suiting your facial expressions to the occasion needed, and enacting hand gestures that can strengthen your points.

Doing these will foster deeper connections with the audience by making your physical presence felt throughout your pitch, ensuring a thorough command of people’s attention.

3. Relevant Questions

Even the best speeches have had a few people dozing off in them. When you find your own listeners falling asleep or getting distracted, call back their attention by asking them relevant questions.

For example, if you’re presenting in front of potential clients, ask them about their experiences with other products in the market, and respond by presenting your own alternative.

This method avoids singling out anyone or embarrassing them to call their attention. It allows you to not only capture people’s attention, but also foster more concrete connections by showing you care about what they think. More often than not, the audience is attuned to how a pitch will benefit them, rather than how it will benefit the presenter. Make sure to establish that you’re focused on the audience’s wellbeing rather than your personal profit.

Prompt encouraging questions in your presentation. Something like, “What did you think of this part of the presentation?” can bring them into the dialogue between the presenter and audience. At the same time, when it’s their turn to do the asking, validate all types of questions given to you, and don’t divulge all your information during your actual presentation.

Get the audience thinking, but make sure that all your statements enhance your point, not detract people from it. With this, you hit two birds with one stone: you regain audience attention, and help your main presentation progress.

Conclusion

Audience engagement is one of the trickiest, but also most necessary aspects of a presentation. You won’t be able to convince anyone without making them feel like you’re worth listening to.

Make use of your given space by freely moving on it, and project a confident image through your posture to boost the audience’s interest in what you have to say. But don’t overdo the movement. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings, audience type, and equipment to make sure you don’t give off the wrong message. Keep your gestures appropriate within the type of presentation you’re giving.

You can also try asking the right questions. This is always helpful in winning back any lost attention and letting people participate in your pitch’s progress. Remember that the audience is more interested in how your presentation will benefit them, so keep your pitch geared towards participative and engaging interactions with people.

Move your listeners for a winning speech. But it won’t be complete without a perfect slide deck to match. Contact our SlideGenius experts today for your presentation need and get a free quote!

 

References

“8 Tips for Encouraging Questions in Your Presentation.” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed December 8, 2015. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/audience/presentation-question-time

Hochman, David. “Amy Cuddy Takes a Stand.” The New York Times. September 20, 2014. Accessed December 8, 2015. www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/fashion/amy-cuddy-takes-a-stand-TED-talk.html?_r=2

Mitchell, Olivia. “9 Ways to Use Space in Your Presentation.” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed December 8, 2015. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/delivery/9-ways-space-presentation

 

Featured Image: “Etech05: Audience” by James Duncan Davidson on flickr.com

Content Checklist for Writers

There are people who find writing a hard task. Some say there are too many rules on grammar or that they’re not confident about their pieces. The latter is a subjective matter; they would have to build their conviction first. The former, though, is the objectivity of the creative craft—the hardest part of it all, some will say. This is why writing is studied, why writing is an art, and why writing is not easy.

When it comes to the rules of writing, there are certain aspects you really have to study—grammar, punctuation, and spelling are by far the most obvious when it comes to reading a draft. A mistake in any of the three can be a great blow to your great copy and an object of scrutiny for the author (perhaps why people are afraid to write in the first place).

There are also the subtle points you need to fulfill. Like a few ones below. Familiarize yourself with all of them, and soon, you’ll be ready to write anything.

[vc_raw_html]JTNDY2VudGVyJTNFJTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyJTJGJTJGd3d3LnNsaWRlc2hhcmUubmV0JTJGc2xpZGVzaG93JTJGZW1iZWRfY29kZSUyRmtleSUyRjM5cTNIZGlwWkVJVEQ4JTIyJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2NjglMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjI3MTQlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBtYXJnaW53aWR0aCUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBtYXJnaW5oZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIwJTIyJTIwc2Nyb2xsaW5nJTNEJTIybm8lMjIlMjBzdHlsZSUzRCUyMmJvcmRlciUzQTFweCUyMHNvbGlkJTIwJTIzQ0NDJTNCJTIwYm9yZGVyLXdpZHRoJTNBMXB4JTNCJTIwbWFyZ2luLWJvdHRvbSUzQTVweCUzQiUyMG1heC13aWR0aCUzQSUyMDEwMCUyNSUzQiUyMiUyMGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbiUzRSUyMCUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRSUyMCUzQ2RpdiUyMHN0eWxlJTNEJTIybWFyZ2luLWJvdHRvbSUzQTVweCUyMiUzRSUyMCUzQ3N0cm9uZyUzRSUyMCUzQ2ElMjBocmVmJTNEJTIyJTJGJTJGd3d3LnNsaWRlc2hhcmUubmV0JTJGU2xpZGVHZW5pdXMlMkZjb250ZW50LWNoZWNrbGlzdC1mb3Itd3JpdGVycyUyMiUyMHRpdGxlJTNEJTIyQ29udGVudCUyMENoZWNrbGlzdCUyMGZvciUyMFdyaXRlcnMlMjIlMjB0YXJnZXQlM0QlMjJfYmxhbmslMjIlM0VDb250ZW50JTIwQ2hlY2tsaXN0JTIwZm9yJTIwV3JpdGVycyUzQyUyRmElM0UlMjAlM0MlMkZzdHJvbmclM0UlMjBmcm9tJTIwJTNDc3Ryb25nJTNFJTNDYSUyMHRhcmdldCUzRCUyMl9ibGFuayUyMiUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjIlMkYlMkZ3d3cuc2xpZGVzaGFyZS5uZXQlMkZTbGlkZUdlbml1cyUyMiUzRVNsaWRlR2VuaXVzJTIwSW5jLiUzQyUyRmElM0UlM0MlMkZzdHJvbmclM0UlMjAlM0MlMkZkaXYlM0UlM0MlMkZjZW50ZXIlM0U=[/vc_raw_html]

 

Put An Effort When Writing

Like every form of art, writing needs effort. If you don’t take it seriously—and that fact will show on your drafts—then don’t expect readers to do the same.

Also, don’t be disappointed when your piece doesn’t live up to your expectations. Sure, you spent a significant amount of time and effort into it, but you can’t please everyone. If you’re trying to do that, then writing certainly isn’t the best craft. If you cater to too many interests, you’ll lose focus of why you’re writing and what you’re writing about.

Lastly, have fun during the process. As in the infographic, if you force yourself to write, then it’ll become more and more of a chore. Then, you’ll place yourself into a creative slump—a writer’s block—and there’s only a downward spiral from there. If you need inspiration, inspire yourself. Need food to write? Buy some and satiate your hunger. Feel you can’t write without music? Play some tunes. Be creative.

Need a writing prompt? Write about your interest… in a different way.

Resources:

Sambuchino, Chuck. “10 Tips for Writing.” Writer’s Digest. August 7, 2015. www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/10-tips-for-writing

Scocco, Daniel. “34 Writing Tips That Will Make You a Better Writer.” Daily Writing Tips. n.d. www.dailywritingtips.com/34-writing-tips-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer

Weinstein, Mindy. “One Colossal Content Checklist: 37 Tips For Writers.” Search Engine Journal. March 25, 2015. www.searchenginejournal.com/one-colossal-content-checklist-37-tips-writers/127122

5 Tips You Need to Apply for a Confident Presentation

The drive to do better exists in everyone, and excelling in presentation delivery is no exception.

Yet it seems that developing confidence, a crucial part of delivery, takes a backseat. To make up for this, presenters just end up putting up a front.

When confidence is just a mask, we eventually slip back to our old habits as soon as the situation that calls for it ends. You effectively stall your presentation skills and never hone real confidence as a result.

You can apply confidence to many other areas in your life, so it makes sense to develop this important skill even outside the context of presentations.

It takes a lot of hard work to become a confident presenter. Get a better look at yourself to see the areas that need your attention so you don’t have to fake it to make it.

1. Awareness

Total awareness of your habits and actions is the first step to knowing yourself better.

Your body language reflects how you feel without you realizing it. Are you constantly shifting your gaze? Do you slouch? Are your hands constantly by your sides?

These gestures don’t display confidence, so learn to change these habits.

Connect with your audience and make them feel involved by establishing eye contact. Good posture will boost your confidence and make you look confident as a result.

Use your hands to persuade your audience and emphasize points in your speech.

2. Observation

Charismatic people project confidence effortlessly.

One of your favorite actors or actresses can serve as an inspiration to develop your presentation style.

However, don’t imitate another person’s speech or delivery style to avoid looking unnatural.

Be yourself, and the audience will react positively to authenticity which improves your audience engagement.

3. Authenticity

Introverts shouldn’t force confidence when they have to give a presentation.

You can still be confident while staying true to yourself.

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It will take a lot of preparation and practice in order to mitigate anxiety, but the contemplative nature of introverts help them overcome their hang-ups faster in order to improve.

Due to their limited energy reserves, it’s only crucial that they must plan their actions ahead.

4. Qualifiers

Do you fill in your speech with these words: might, probably, generally, kind of, and mostly?

These words are called qualifiers, and the given examples above express doubt. Use will instead of might, or certainly instead of probably to create a strong and confident argument as necessary.

It‘ll take some time, but speech habits and patterns can be corrected.

5. Expertise

There’s no single, true expert when it comes to reading body language. Nick Morgan, one of America’s top communication coaches, asserts that even you’re much better at reading the body language of people you know than any expert out there.

Don’t overthink how others might interpret your gestures, but be aware that your true intentions can easily be picked up.

This is why faking confidence can be an unreliable tip to follow. You’re constantly trying to be someone else and the audience only needs you to slip up once in order to see through your façade.

Build trust by being confident in your own way.

Confident and Prepared

You should be a lot more relaxed now when you deliver your presentation. Confidence is all about the effort and hard work that you invest in yourself and expressing it naturally.

These tips encourage you to build confidence in a way that will benefit you more in the long run. Don’t settle for a mask of confidence, temporary results don’t last.

Build the right habits and take an honest look at yourself so you can let confidence flow within you.

Once you’ve naturally grown more comfortable under your own skin, it will no longer be necessary to feign confidence.

 

References

Morgan, Nick. “7 Surprising Truths about Body Language.” Forbes. October 25, 2012. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2012/10/25/7-surprising-truths-about-body-language
Perugia, Sarah. “Body Language at Work: How to Connect, Inspire and Project Confidence.”
Qualifiers.TheGuardian. December 10, 2015. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2015/dec/10/body-language-work-project-confidence
White, Martha C. “4 Extremely Easy Ways to Fake Confidence.” Time. August 18, 2014. Accessed December 11, 2015. http://time.com/3131130/fake-confidence
Winch Ph.d., Guy. “10 Things Passive People Say.” Psychology Today. November 12, 2015. Accessed December 11, 2015. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201511/10-things-passive-people-say

 

Featured Image: “Mountains nature sky” on freeuse.io

Are We There Yet?: How to Measure Marketing Success

Triumph may seem easy enough to identify, but there are actually different measures and indicators of marketing success.

Don’t compare yourself to bigger and more established organizations’ achievements if you’re still starting out. Good marketing strategies take plenty of time to enact. Ultimately, they depend on the goals you’ve set and how long you’ve been going.

But how do you really know if you’ve made it big? Here are three ways to make it easier to find out:

Set a Goal and a Timeline 

Like we’ve said, different businesses peak at different points. You can’t say you’re progressing or declining without definite proof.

If you want to measure how well you’re doing your job, look at your goals. Maximizer.com recommends you think of them as the Key Performance Indicators of an effective marketing campaign.

Some of the common KPIs to watch out for, according to Carolyn Edgecomb of Impact Branding and Design, are sales revenue, customer value, and conversion rate. But remember to measure your objectives alongside a specific timeline.

How much return on investment do you expect after three months? After five years? Visualizing your goals this way makes it easier for you to track your improvement.

Don’t expect to achieve everything overnight. You need to invest in your goals, and that effort takes time.

Know Where You Stand

One way to avoid unrealistic expectations is to know where you are in your marketing campaign.

Looking at your target beside your current position makes it more realistic. That’s where your timeline comes in handy.

At the end of every mark, see if you’ve reached the goal you set out with. This will let you know if you’ve attained a definite amount of success.

But remember that progress is continuous. You have to strive for further growth once you’ve gotten to where you want to be.  One success should only generate more ambitious pursuits.

Create new marketing strategies to address these. Development should only challenge you to keep on top of the competition.

End Action Rate

One way to avoid unrealistic expectations is to know where you are in your marketing campaign.

Looking at your target beside your current position makes it more realistic. That’s where your timeline comes in handy.

At the end of every mark, see if you’ve reached the goal you set out with. This will let you know if you’ve attained a definite amount of success.

But remember that progress is continuous. You have to strive for further growth once you’ve gotten to where you want to be.  One success should only generate more ambitious pursuits.

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Create new marketing strategies to address these. Development should only challenge you to keep on top of the competition.

Conclusion

There are different indicators of a successful marketing campaign. It can be tricky to measure how well you’ve done with something that can seem so subjective.

However, this also means you get to move at your own pace. Work steadily and diligently through your goals.

Set a specific timeline that will help concretize your vision. What matters is that you prioritize your audience’s feedback to your promotions by monitoring their end action rate.

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

 

References

Edgecomb, Carolyn. “The 10 Marketing KPIs You Should Be Tracking.” IMPACT Branding and Design. March 1, 2013. Accessed October 22, 2015. http://www.impactbnd.com/the-10-marketing-kpis-you-should-be-tracking

“End Action Rate.” Klipfolio. Accessed October 22, 2015. http://www.klipfolio.com/resources/kpi-examples/marketing/end-action-rate

“Key Performance Indicators For Marketing Professionals – Maximizer Blog.” Maximizer Blog Key Performance Indicators For Marketing Professionals Comments. June 24, 2015. Accessed October 22, 2015. http://www.maximizer.com/blog/key-performance-indicators-for-marketing-professionals/

 

Featured Image: “Success Key” by GotCredit on flickr.com