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10 Gimmicks to Start Your Presentation Strong

Your first few minutes onstage is an opportunity to capture your audience’s attention. If you want your listeners to be all ears when you start talking, prove from the outset that your presentation is worth their time. Your opening remarks will set the tone of your talk, so you should make them as gripping as possible.

Don’t waste your introduction on platitudes and pleasantries. There are better ways to form first impressions and establish a connection with the audience.

1. Kick off with a dramatic pause.

Silence makes people apprehensive. That’s why it’s a powerful tool to start a presentation. Before you deliver your speech, take a moment to pause and amble around the stage while keeping a confident stance. Even the audience members who are busy with their gadgets won’t be able to resist the dramatic pull of the moment you’ve created. A whole minute or two of silence will draw all eyes on you.

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2. Appeal to the audience’s imagination.

Take your audience to a different space and time. Introduce a “what if” scenario that they can delve into and explore. The power of imagination will reel them in and make them a willing audience to your presentation.

For better effects, use props and visual aids such as videos or an informational design Try a gimmick that has never been done before. Take one of Bill Gates’s TED Talks, for example. While introducing his talk about malaria, he released a scourge of mosquitoes from a jar. The mosquitoes were, of course, malaria-free, but Gates didn’t tell the audience that until after a minute or so.

Appeal to the Audience's Imagination

3. Drop a series of rhetorical questions.

If you want your audience to participate in your presentation, ask rhetorical questions that stimulate the mind. They may not engage with you physically, but they’ll be with you mentally, pondering over your questions and framing their own answers.

4. Relay your message through storytelling.

The human brain is hardwired to love stories. If you have an interesting narrative to tell, share it. You’ll establish a stronger connection with your audience if you do so. The vulnerability is a powerful tool if you use it to communicate a message.

5. Turn heads with a contrarian statement.

One of the easiest ways to grab an audience’s attention is by contradicting a universally accepted concept. Whether your listeners agree with you or not, they’ll be at the edge of their seats to hear what you have to say, no matter how unconventional it may be. Just make sure that the statement you make offends nobody.

Turn Heads With a Contrarian Statement

6. Underline a shared pain point.

If there’s a common problem you share with the audience, express it. You can win their sympathy and make yourself relatable by doing so. Your presentation will be more relevant if you can address something that the audience is concerned about.

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For example, everyone can relate to the frustration of creating website passwords. There seems to be no end to the list of requirements needed: the number of characters, the types of characters, the capitalization of letters, the inclusion of numbers, and so on. Discussing a topic like this captures your audience’s interest because you’re shedding light to a common issue they think is unique to them. You’re uniting the audience and bringing them to a common ground where your sentiments and theirs are one.

7. Promise something irresistible.

What do great presentations have in common? They all leave something for the audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s an idea, a tangible object, a lingering feeling, or a solution to a pressing issue. As long as it’s something that the audience finds useful, it can increase the value of your presentation.

8. Use multimedia to catch attention.

Words can make an impact, but videos and graphics often send a clearer message when used properly. If you’re unsure about how multimedia can complement your talk, use a multimedia presentation PowerPoint service that will do all the work for you. That way, your slides will not only look professional but also engaging.

Use Multimedia to Catch Attention9. Break the ice with a joke.

Popular opinion will claim that jokes are a good way to kickstart a presentation, but professional speakers should know better. Strictly speaking, it’s your sense of humor that elicits smiles and chuckles from the audience. It’s the humor, not the joke, that lightens up the atmosphere. So the more you can make the audience crack up and feel at ease without forcing a joke, the better.

10. Add a twist to an old saying.

Quotations are a common way to start a speech, but you can make yours stronger by tweaking it a bit. A cliché will sound fresher if you add your own take to it. For example, you can say, “To err is human, and to forgive is simply an acknowledgement of the error.”

Of course, this will only work in a casual and laid-back presentation. If you’re opting for a more serious delivery, you can use proverbs or references to historical events instead.

Coming up with an exciting presentation grabber is a task that takes time, effort, and talent. If you do it right, it pays off in the end.

Creating an Effective Financial Presentation

At some point in your career, you’ll have to give at least one complex and data-heavy presentation. It’s inevitable for entrepreneurs to venture into the financial side of business and deliver fiscal reports such as those involving business charts that reflect the company’s performance against goals and financial analyses.

But the thing is, financial data can be boring. They may appeal to analytical brains, but what about the rest? In order to hold your audience’s attention, you need to make your financial presentation interesting. Don’t just conduct a data dump. Explain where the figures come from and how they affect your audience. Provide examples as to how those numbers can be relevant in their lives.
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In other words, harness the power of financial storytelling. Present a narrative-driven angle that will give your presentation a new light. Show the numbers but let the story behind them shine through.

Mastering the Art of Financial Storytelling

Financial presentations don’t have to be dull. Here are some tips to successfully deliver an intellectually-stimulating yet engaging presentation.

1. Pattern your presentation after the GPS approach

Organize your facts and figures by planning your presentation. Create a structure so your message will be clear from start to finish. One method you can apply to achieve this is the GPS approach.

First of all, identify who your audience is. What’s the extent of their knowledge and the level of their expertise? Once you know this, you have the starting point. You can then proceed to identifying the goal of the presentation. What would you want the audience to think, feel, understand, or do when you step out of the limelight? What end point are you trying to achieve? This is the destination.

From there, it’s just a matter of choosing the best route. How do you go from Point A to Point B? Outline your main idea first, then follow it up with the supporting ideas. You can create a script to help you with internalizing the flow of the presentation.

Master the Art of Financial Storytelling: GPS

2. Establish credibility from the outset

Since you’ll be presenting critical figures, it’s important to appear trustworthy. Cultivating credibility and cementing a good reputation will make it more likely for your audience to believe in what you’ll say. If necessary, use supporting materials to validate your claims.

3. Outline your goals to build anticipation

If you inform your audience about the goals of your presentation, they’ll be more prepared to process any chunk of data you give them. It helps them to follow along since they already know what to expect and what material you’ll cover. It allows them to focus on the goal and take part in your presentation. 

4. Follow the three-part story structure

When communicating the story behind your data, it’s good to divide your narrative into three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the ending.

Start your presentation by describing things as they are. This is key to creating a bond with your audience. If you tell them something that they already know or can agree with, you ignite a small fire of recognition in them. Naturally, that will make them more interested in your talk.

After establishing the facts, you can show them how things could change. Establish a gap between what is and what could be. Make sure your claims hook and intrigue them enough.

Finally, when concluding your financial presentation, don’t forget to include a call to action. Introduce what presentation expert Nancy Duarte calls the “new bliss,” a state where your audience’s world can be a lot better if they adopt your ideas and follow your suggestions.

Follow the Three-Part Story Structure: Employ visuals instead of spreadsheets

5. Employ visuals instead of spreadsheets

Don’t limit yourself to Excel. Embrace the perks of technology so you can create a financial presentation that drives home with your audience. Present numbers, graphs, and tables using PowerPoint.

However, if you really want to take your presentation to the next level, you can ask a presentation design specialist to do the job for you. Let an expert turn your numeric data into graphics and visual images that are equally credible-looking and interesting. Your audience will be able to better make sense of your presentation this way.

6. Use simple and effective design elements

To make your slides more visually appealing without going over the top, use a sans serif font instead of a fancy one. Also, choose a template that isn’t too loud. Observe a good balance of colors to avoid design clutter. If you can, use a color contrast calculator to make sure that the colors in your presentation match. 

7. Reiterate your claims repeatedly

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, you need to be exposed to a piece of information three to five times for you to absorb it and act on it. Also, you need to hear it from different sources for your brain to validate the information. Repeat your message throughout the presentation, but say it in different ways.

Keep Calm and Speak Like a Pro

With the proper tools and the right techniques, you can be more confident in delivering a good financial presentation. All you need is some storytelling and a few basic design skills. If you prepare well, you can get your message across without losing your audience in the process.

 

Resources:

Duarte, Nancy. “Structure Your Presentation Like a Story.” Harvard Business Review. October 31, 2012. hbr.org/2012/10/structure-your-presentation-li

Jeavons, Sheri. “Financial Presentations That Won’t Put Your Audience to Sleep.” Sales Gravy. n.d. www.salesgravy.com/sales-articles/presentation-skills/financial-presentations-that-wont-put-your-audience-to-sleep.html

Mogilner, Geoffrey. “Perfecting the Art of Financial Storytelling.” Edelman. February 2, 2015. www.edelman.com/post/perfecting-art-financial-storytelling

Piontek, Katelyn. “7 Ways to Make a Financial Presentation Interesting.” Turbine HQ. September 9, 2014. turbinehq.com/2014/make-a-financial-presentation-interesting

Riggins, Nash. “15 Ways to Create Effective PowerPoint Presentations.” Small Business Trends. July 5, 2016. smallbiztrends.com/2016/07/effective-powerpoint-presentations.html

Sullivan, Sarah. “Financial Presentations That Really Stand Out.” Talisman. October 10, 2016. www.talismansolutions.co.uk/blog/stand-out-financial-presentations

Theriault, Michel. “9 Tips for More Powerful Business Presentations.” Forbes. November 4, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2013/11/04/9-tips-for-more-powerful-business-presentations/#55621b7043a0

“Creating Effective Financial PowerPoint Presentations.” 24Point0. January 16, 2014. www.24point0.com/financial-statement-presentation

“Don’t Start by Copying Previous Slides.” Think Outside the Slide. June 24, 2014. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/issue-314-june-24-2014

“Edelman Trust Barometer.” Edelman. 2009. www.edelman.com/assets/uploads/2014/01/2009-Trust-Barometer-Executive-Summary.pdf

“Five Tips to Make PowerPoint Business Presentations More Effective.” Think Outside the Slide. n.d. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/five-tips-to-make-powerpoint-business-presentations-more-effective

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Pantone’s Color of the Year and How You Can Use It for Business

Pantone calls itself “the world-renowned authority on color,” and perhaps rightfully so. The company has been in business since 1963, when its founder devised the Pantone Matching System, a standard scheme for identifying and communicating different shades and hues.

At the turn of the millennium, the company launched the project, “Color of the Year.” For seventeen years now, Pantone’s color forecasting has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Different industries worldwide refer back to it when releasing new trends.

The Art of Color Forecasting

Although Pantone’s Color of the Year is widely anticipated and supported by a number of industries, the science behind it is still obscure. As Pantone senior vice president Ron Potesky said, “The complexity of the logic behind Color of the Year is greater than interior design or fashionit’s a forecast, a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”

The process of color forecasting is not a simple one, although it’s highly subjective in nature. For months on end, the Pantone team gathers what they call “proof points” from all over the world. They go to car shows, runways, decorator showcases, and other important events that define culture and lifestyle. They try to make sense of meaningful overlaps so they can distill the mood and state of the times into a single color.

Pantone’s yearly selection serves no direct purpose to the consumer world, but its influence can be observed in many sectors. Owing to its longevity and the power of social media, the project has reinvented itself as an authority in color trend selection.

If you’re into the colors game, check out this infographic about Greenery, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year.

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Colors and business always go hand in hand. The consumer world is about trust and persuasion, and it’s hard to accomplish either or both if your brand is portrayed in a dull and dismal way. Choose a vibrant and fresh palette this yearone that includes Greenery, perhapsand you might just see your customers showing more interest in your business.

Back up your skills with a well-designed PowerPoint presentation by letting our team to assist and offer you a free quote!

 

Resources:

Beals, Rachel Koning. “Nature and New Beginnings Inform Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery.” Market Watch. December 8, 2015. www.marketwatch.com

Budds, Diana. “Pantone’s New Color of the Year Is Weird and Perfect.” Facto Design. December 8, 2016. www.factodesign.com

Friedman, Vanessa. “Color of 2017? Pantone Picks a Spring Shade.” New York Times. December 8, 2016. www.nytimes.com

Hazzard, Tracy Leigh. “Why Pantone’s Color of 2017 Matters to Your Business.” Inc. December 9, 2016. www.inc.com

Hua, Karen. “Pantone’s Color of the Year 2017 Is Inspired by Nature and Influences Design.” Forbes. December 9, 2016. www.forbes.com

Pasquarelli, Adrianne. “How Pantone Picks Its Color of the Year.” Advertising Age. December 22, 2015. adage.com

Stewart, Jude. “Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery!” Print Mag. December 8, 2016. www.printmag.com

Stock, Kyle. “How Pantone Is Still Turning Color into Money.” Bloomberg. August 27, 2015. www.bloomberg.com

Weiss, Dyanne. “Does Pantone’s Color of the Year Influence Marketing?” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com

“Color Can Influence Emotions in a Way that Few Other Mediums Can.” Digital Skratch. n.d. digitalscratch.com

“Color Psychology: How Does Color Affect Us?” Pantone. n.d. www.pantone.com

“Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors.” Art Therapy. n.d. www.arttherapyblog.com

“Introducing Greenery.” Pantone. n.d. www.pantone.com

“Shinrin Yoku.” Shinrin Yoku. n.d. www.shinrin-yoku.org

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The Importance of Eye Contact During Presentations

When you look people in the eye, you establish rapport. You make an impact. You send a compelling message. A sustained and purposeful eye contact is crucial in public speaking because it gives you a chance to create a good impression. It can mean all the difference when you’re trying to get the audience on your side. 

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Why You Should Meet the Audience’s Gaze

The audience is an important element in public speaking. A presentation will lose its purpose if there are no spectators to validate it. This is why you need to make your speech worthy of your listeners’ time. You can do this by establishing a connection with them through eye contact.

When you meet your audience’s gaze, you’re essentially showing them interest and respect. You’re acknowledging their presence. You’re making yourself relatable and accessible to them. Eye contact can make you vulnerable—and that, in turn, can make you seem more human to those whom you’re trying to reach.

There are other reasons why eye contact is crucial. 

Meeting the Audience's Gaze

1. To establish connection

One sincere look in the eye and you can communicate to the audience just how much you care about their thoughts. A sustained eye contact is an invitation to turn your talk into a conversation. It creates a bond between speaker and listener—a connection that is reassuring to both parties.

2. To improve concentration

A large room full of people can ruin your concentration. By limiting your focus to just one person at a time, you can calm your nerves and clear your mind. Don’t let your eyes wander around the room lest your ideas get all muddled up. Keep your eye contact steady so you can concentrate on your message.

3. To project authority

Have you ever spoken with someone who averts his gaze every time he talks? It’s not surprising if that person gained little, if any, of your respect. No one can blame you if your thoughts stray while that person talks to the floor.

With eye contact comes authority. So if you can’t look people in the eye, you can’t expect them to believe your words or agree with your views. The eyes can communicate confidence and conviction—two things that you won’t be able to project unless you look people squarely in the face. 

4. To facilitate engagement

People will feel welcome to participate when they see you scanning the crowd. They’ll be at a liberty to nod, frown, smile, and raise their brows. If you look at them long enough to create a bond, you’ll find a spark of recognition in their eyes. In that precise moment, you can transform them from being passive receivers to active participants.

What You Can Learn from Professional Speakers

Presentation gurus should know what makes or breaks a presentation, and all of them agree that eye contact is a big determiner of a successful speech.

Learning from Professional Speakers

1. See your audience as individual listeners

Before you speak, take a moment to pause and scan the room for friendly faces. Connect with distinct listeners whom you feel are willing to engage with you. Forget yourself and focus on one audience member at a time. You’ll be more conversational and confident if you do so.

2. Involve everyone in the conversation

Don’t play favorites. Instead, connect with as many people as possible. If you’re dealing with a large crowd and it’s impractical to make eye contact with everyone, divide the audience into sections and just choose one member from each group to connect with. The people in his or her area will feel included even if you don’t look at them directly. Just remember to randomly shift your gaze from person to person. Don’t follow a pattern; otherwise, you’ll come off as unnatural and predictable.

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3. Sustain eye contact long enough to make a connection

 How long does it take to make a genuine eye connection? According to Toastmasters, a global organization dedicated to developing public speaking and leadership skills, it takes no more than five seconds to establish proper contact. Five seconds is usually the time it takes to finish a thought, so there’s minimal risk of losing your focus if you follow this tip. Also, five seconds of sustained eye contact can slow down your speaking rate.

4. Avert your eyes when a person grows uncomfortable

Not everyone appreciates being looked at directly in the eye. While it’s true that eye contact is a universal communication signal, there are certain exceptions that you should consider. Some cultures and norms find eye contact offensive under certain circumstances.

For instance, in Middle Eastern cultures, it’s considered inappropriate for people of the opposite sex to look each other in the eye, as that can denote a romantic interest between them. In Asian cultures, however, eye contact is seen more as a sign of disrespect, especially when the contact is made by a subordinate to his or her superior. This is because most Asian countries are largely authoritarian. For African and Latin American cultures, eye contact is interpreted as a sign of aggression and confrontation, since these societies uphold a strong hierarchy.

Julia Minson’s words are fitting for this situation. She reminds speakers “to keep in mind that trying to maintain eye contact may backfire if you’re trying to convince someone who has a different set of beliefs than you.” Minson is an assistant professor at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Final Advice: Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re not used to it, making eye contact can be challenging. You’ll feel exposed and vulnerable while staring into someone’s eyes. But nothing can be fixed with constant practice and application. Try to look people in the eye every time you communicate, and sooner or later, you’ll get accustomed to the peculiar sense of connection that comes with it.

Attracting More Visitors for Business

New customers can come from two sources; you as a brand or satisfied consumers.

Do you think you have full control over your business? Unbelievably, customers also have a great influence over your business. Remember that a great brand has a good reputation. What makes a product or service attractive is the high standard of customer service equal to its superb quality.

If there are ways to improve customer experience, how do you do it? Here are four of them.

Focus on Reputation Management

Focusing on Reputation Management

According to HelpScout, news of bad customer service reach twice the number of people compared to the good news. In addition, it would take 12 positive experiences to resolve a negative experience. Indeed, prevention is better than cure. In business, it’s cheaper and more convenient to troubleshoot now than to pay the consequences later.

More than half of the general public perform research on a business before they make transactions. And many would refuse to engage with a company because of negative news. Buying is largely based on customer experience, and attaining positive feedback from past customers means good business.

Always seek to improve your company’s customer service. Make sure that when a visitor comes in your store, he or she comes out happy. When a customer raises an issue about your brand, don’t wait for a week to resolve it. Have someone focus on managing such issues and make sure he gets the job done.

Lastly, boost those that support your brand. Go the extra mile on the “PR,” because you may need it someday. You’ll never know when you’ll need the extra ammo.

Good Customer Service

Being Known for Good Customer Service

If in most western countries, “The customer is king,” then in Japan it’s “okyakusama wa kamisama desu,” a Japanese proverb that says “The customer is god.” Omotenashi, or the so-called “art of selfless hospitality” is one of the major cornerstones in Japan’s culture of excellence. It is practiced in ancient households and in modern Japanese establishments.

70 percent of buying decisions are based on customer experience. And being popular for treating customers well, just like in Japan, is a sure way to attract customers. The way you manage your business does not only affect customer loyalty but store visits as well.

Observe good hospitality offline and online. Just like the Japanese, anticipate the needs of your customers, be polite and most of all, be patient.

User-Generated Content

Connecting with Customers Through User-Generated Content

Instagram and YouTube are some of the online platforms that provide a huge impact on millennials. Bloggers and vloggers from these platforms may not be marketing professionals, but they have become reliable sources of millennial customers. More than half of Instagram’s 300 million users are millennials and over 60% of all age groups prefer a brand recommended by a YouTuber than a marketer in TV.

Since millennials trust User-Generated Content (UGC) 50% more than any type of media, it could be proven that UGCs are effective marketing strategies.

Social proof is one of the most influential motivator for new buyers. When doubting an item online, a customer typically looks for product reviews. There, he sees a balance of positive and negative feedback. When a user gives a negative review about a purchase, it is assumed that other customers can avoid the same situation. Product reviews have a genuine tone to it that millennial customers seem to trust. Those who write them have that voice, making millennials more eager about purchasing a product.

Employ UGC in your business. Invite customers to review and respond to them. And if you are bold enough about your brand, hire bloggers and vloggers who have a large audience to review your products.

Leverage Social Media Marketing

Leveraging Social Media Marketing

If you are or have a brand, you want to be in the thick of customer conversations whenever they discuss needs and wants. Through hashtags or search-related tools, social media lets you engage with customers who are talking about your brand. Through them, you find more about your prospects as well.

If you want your business to grow, knowing what customers think about your brand—with or without their feedback—is fundamental. Social media connects you with customers and helps you track your relevancy. More people are active in social media today, and almost half of customers who reach out to brands online expect a response within an hour. Social media helps you practice customer service more conveniently.

Social media apps are fast and convenient ways to connect to customers. Practice efficiency and use those advantages to improve your business. With reputation management via social media, you address negative comments and experiences, as well as provide muscle on customers who share and relay positive posts about your brand.

Conclusion

Customers have powerful voices.  Whether you like it or not, their opinions will always matter. What they say can improve the growth of your business.

For the most part, you are responsible for what buyers say about your brand. How you manage your business and take care of your customers should be your priority because that will determine the fate of your business for a long time.

 

Resources:

Donnelly, Kevin. “Marketing to Millennials: 5 Massive Trends that are Leading the Way.” Shopify. February 10, 2016. www.shopify.com/blog/75614533-marketing-to-millennials-5-massive-trends-that-are-leading-the-way

Spivock, Jeffrey. “Omotenashi: The Secret of Japanese Service.” Bookmark. September 29th, 2015. www.spafaxcontentmarketing.com/2015/09/29/omotenashi-secret-japanese-service

Starak, Yaro. “What Is Social Proof and Why Your Business Can Live or Die by It.” Entrepreneurs-Journey. www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/10964/socialproof

“Acumen Report: Constant Content.” Defy Media. www.sandbox.break.com/acumen/Acumen%20Constant%20Content__ExecSum%20Booklet_Final2.pdf

“Millennials.” Goldman Sachs. www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials

“Social Influence: Marketing’s New Frontier.” Crowdtap. http://corp.crowdtap.com/socialinfluence

“The Customer Is God.” EU Business in Japan. www.eubusinessinjapan.eu/culture/customer-god

“The Harris Poll Releases Annual Reputation Rankings for the 100 Most Visible Companies in the U.S.” The Harris Poll. Feb 18, 2016. www.theharrispoll.com/business/Reputation-Rankings-Most-Visible-Companies.html

“10 Key Benefits of Social Media for Business.” Business2Community. www.business2community.com/social-media/10-key-benefits-social-media-business-01461178#CKOKymZJSpxmmzVu.97

“75 Customer Service Facts, Quotes & Statistics.” HelpScout. www.helpscout.net/75-customer-service-facts-quotes-statistics

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6 Things to Watch Out for During Presentation Q&As

“By doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth,” said Peter Abelard. The French philosopher and theologian certainly knew what he was talking about.

At the end of any presentation comes the ever-present Q&A session. It’s never not present. You don’t just present and walk away. There will always be members of the audience who will ask for clarifications and/or just want to understand more.

And it’s your job to answer them. You’re already there onstage, presumably with a great visual aid you or an awesome PowerPoint design agency created, and you’re the one they’re addressing their questions to. Not to mention that your presentation made them think of these queries. If you don’t respond, apart from not getting the answers the audience wanted, it also makes you look unprofessional. Let’s set the difference though: purposefully not answering is not the same as not knowing the answer.

So what mistakes should you avoid during Q&As? Or at least keep in check? Here are some of them:

Presentation Matters: Question and answer

Silence

This can come from both sides: presenter and audience. It’s either they have no or no more questions or the presenter takes a long time to answer. Either way, silence can make the whole mood awkward.

If you’re having a mental block after the question is given, take a moment and pause. If you still don’t have an answer after a few seconds, you can always say, “Excuse me, but let me gather my thoughts for a few more seconds.” This honest move shows that you took the time to really think about your answer—which, in all fairness, you really did.

Tone of Voice

Be conscious of how you talk—not just how you pronounce your words but also how you say, in general, your speech. It’s not just about your intonation or where you place stresses and pauses (you know, for dramatic effect). It’s also how you make your message heard and felt.

The same goes for answering questions. If you come off too strong, the gesture may be seen as defensive; come off too weak and risk being thought of as a weak answerer. A friendly tone is the best tone to use and is also the most welcoming.

Presentation Matters: Long Answer

Long Answers

When faced with a long question, it doesn’t mean you need to respond with an answer of the same length; besides, long questions don’t warrant that. Instead, give your answer as straight and concise as you can.

You risk losing the attention of your audience the more you dwell on an answer—worse, you may even repeat points over and over again, putting into question your expertise on the subject. You’ve already got limited time as it is.

Fillers

Speaking of diminishing subject-matter expertise, “Um,” “Well,” “You know,” and “Uh” will not help establish that. Repeating these filler words over and over will only serve to annoy your audience and damage your credibility, not to mention that they will also eat time.

Granted, no one can speak fluently without practice, especially with impromptu answers, but the best you could do is lessen these fillers. It’s always a good idea to take a pause and gather your thoughts, then speak.

Presentation Matters: Composure

Composure

Keeping your cool is already a given, especially if you’re onstage. If you’re thrown off by awkward questions, dissenting opinions, or even hecklers, that’s going to reflect on your general demeanor. Don’t let these situations—and many more—faze you.

Keep calm, and stay polite throughout the entire session. Once you lose your composure and try to pick a fight with a member of your audience, especially with hecklers, your night will just be ruined… and that’s the best you end up with. Don’t bring more harm to your credibility.

Arguments

Closely linked to the last point, arguments, especially heated ones, will only end up wasting everybody’s time. It will also show that you’re defensive, combative, and hostile, three things (among others) you don’t want your audience thinking of you.

Instead, lead questions to the right track. If someone offers an opposing opinion, acknowledge the difference (because there’s really not much you can do after), and, if possible, offer a middle ground. Or just end with the acknowledgment and move on to the next question.

It’s not easy having a question and answer portion to end your presentation. Being a moderator comes with its own duties, responsibilities, and rules completely different from being a speaker. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be acing both in no time.

Of course, preparation is a must. You’ve already prepared for the presentation; what’s stopping you from doing the same for the Q&A? You’re already the subject-matter expert, so it makes sense that you’re the one they’ll be asking questions from. Allay their fears and satisfy their curiosity. Answer them in the best way possible: your own.

 

Resources:

Decker, Ben. “Avoid These Don’ts During Presentation Q&A Sessions.” PresentationXpert. n.d. www.presentationxpert.com/avoid-these-donts-during-qa-sessions

Greene, Charles III. “Presentation Skills: 5 Tips to Improve Your Q&A.” CharlesGreene.com. August 27, 2012. www.charlesgreene.com/2012/08/5-tips-to-improve-your-qa-sessions

Holtzclaw, Eric. “9 Tips for Handling a Q&A Session.” Inc. February 5, 2013. www.inc.com/eric-v-holtzclaw/9-tips-for-handling-a-qa-session.html

Posey, Cheryl. “The Importance of Using the Correct Tone of Voice.” SpeakingYouBestOnline.com. April 18, 2012. www.speakingyourbestonline.com/blog/the-importance-of-using-the-correct-tone-of-voice

Watts, Rich. “The Complete Guide to Handling Q&A Sessions.” LinkedIn Pulse. June 13, 2014. www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140613151624-131038283-the-complete-guide-to-handling-q-a-sessions

Windingland, Diane. “13 Tips for Handling a Question and Answer Session.” VirtualSpeechCoach.com. May 2, 2012. www.virtualspeechcoach.com/2012/05/02/12-tips-for-handling-a-question-and-answer-session

“Top Tips on Handling a Question and Answer Session.” University of Bedfordshire. December 2009. www.beds.ac.uk/knowledgehub/events/toptips/questionandanswer

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Making Your Presentation Stand Out with Powerful Design

Once you’re onstage, the stars are you and your presentation. Of course, your training got you there in the first place: charisma, clear and loud voice, likable aura—public speaking skills polished over and over again until they’re perfect, almost like second nature, and suited to your needs—and appropriate for every crowd imaginable.

But what about your presentation? Is it tailored to your audience? There’s a risk you don’t want to take when, despite how good you are as a speaker, your presentation is not as appealing: you don’t get your message across as effectively as you want, vis-à-vis death by PowerPoint.

Since humans are visual creatures, our brains process imagistic information faster and more efficiently than text. This is a benchmark you should take advantage of when creating visually appealing and enticing slides, a tip awesome presentation designers always live by. Check this infographic for tips on how to charm your audiences, arrest their attention, and, most importantly, get your message across.

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Visuals play an important role when arresting attention. In a world of eight-second attention spans and faster everything—connectivity, accessibility, and even loading times—people would rather spend more of their time on different, more valuable things.

Come to think of it, it’s a cyclical cause and effect: everything is faster, so people expect things to be even faster, ergo the short attention spans. Kind of a messed-up Pygmalion effect, only for things instead of persons.

With that happening, there’s now two steps to do: get their attention and retain it. Good, proper, and creative use of visuals can already do the first, and they can certainly take care of the second, especially when your topic goes from “something that makes them curious” to “something that genuinely piques their interest and makes them ask questions.”

There’s a beauty that certain senses can solely appreciate. Music to the ears. Caress on the skin. For the eyes, it’s appealing design. Beauty. Make something that both you and your audience will appreciate. In turn, they will appreciate you.

 

Resources:

Golden, Felicia. “The Power of Visual Content: Images vs. Text.” eyeQ. February 11, 2015. www.eyeqinsights.com/power-visual-content-images-vs-text

McSpadden, Kevin. “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span than a Goldfish.” Time. May 14, 2015. www.time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish

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This is How Visual Marketing Grows Your Business

No one can question the power of the internet. Since its introduction more than half a century ago, it has helped us accomplish greater things. Take global communication, for example. Social media has made it possible for anyone to communicate with another person anywhere in the world. It’s a phenomenon that took the world by surprise upon its release.

When the initial wave of excitement over social media dialed down, image-based social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram followed suit. They redefined the customer experience and set a new trend in marketing.

Today, image-based content—or what is known in business as visual marketing—is becoming more of a permanent fix rather than a passing movement. Visual marketing is here to stay. Retailor your campaign to include visual content that’s relevant to your target audience.

Visual Marketing: toy store

The Goldmine that is Visual Marketing

Online marketing is behind the decline of print advertising. Although it will take decades to obliterate textual content, we can now see how online ads are dominating the marketing world. Even in the virtual platform, text doesn’t reign supreme anymore. Visuals are taking a huge share in the market. In fact, professionals estimate that 84% of communications will be visual come 2018.

What exactly is visual marketing and why is it so powerful? Visual marketing is the radical use of design elements to connect with a target audience in a unique and creative way. It includes images, GIFs, slides, infographics, videos, checklists, and other graphics.

Visual content can strengthen your brand image and make your campaign more successful. To use the words of Anita Campbell, CEO and founder of Small Business Trends, “Harnessing the power of images and visuals will make your marketing more powerful and more memorable. Images, when done deftly, can turn concepts and intangible things into something concrete. That helps people envision your brand and your message in their mind’s eye—and remember you when it comes time to buy.”

Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read content by 80%. In the same way, contents with relevant images get 94% more views than those without graphics. It’s clear how visual marketing is changing the business landscape. 

Visual Marketing: Key elements

Key Elements that Drive Visual Marketing Success

Powerful though it is, visual marketing won’t sell itself. You need to learn how to use it to its full potential.

  • Brand Story and Personality

Showcase your brand story through visual marketing. Good visuals coupled with good narratives forge lasting bonds with customers.

  • Creativity and Resourcefulness

Differentiate your brand by doing something unique. Use your creative juice every time you communicate with your audience. Innovation is a good way to weed out competition and let your voice stand out.

  • Depth and Impact

Unless your content makes the audience stop and look, it will be lost in the background. Make sure that your social media posts have depth so that you can develop a compelling case that hooks the audience.

  • Humor and Entertainment

Humor is always a competitive edge. Use it in an impeccable way to enthrall your target audience and make them love your brand more.

  • Relevance and Application

As a marketer, you should know your audience well. It’s your mission to understand what the customers find valuable. Use all the information you have to make your campaign more targeted and personalized.

  • Call to Action

Lacing your visual content with a call to action will increase your chance of getting a better return on investment. Encourage your audience to engage with your brand across all social media platforms. 

Visual Marketing: Teaching

The Goal of Every Marketing Campaign

Brand awareness is just one of the many purposes of visual marketing. Thought leadership is another. Marketing in general is crucial to business, so you must leverage it as much as you can. Below are the five E’s of marketing according to Create, Connect, Convince.

Educate. Convey information about your brand. Your visual content must be as informational as your textual content.

Engage. Encourage your target audience to take part in growing your business. They are the most important resource you can use.

Enhance. Marketing is about promoting your brand, so don’t be afraid to blow your own horn and proclaim the benefits of your business. Just remember to do it in a non-intrusive way.

Entertain. When you’re posting through Facebook and other social media sites, you’re communicating with real people. Add emotion and humor in your content to entertain the audience.

Entice. You want potential customers to talk about your business. You want existing customers to buy your products. You can only do all this if you create a brand that is interesting enough to attract attention.

Visual is, without a doubt, the future of marketing. It will only be a matter of time before every content online is dominated by graphics and visual designs. Don’t wait until everyone else has taken all the spoils. Take your own share now and watch your business grow exponentially.

 

Resources:

Bradley, Sarah. “Visual Marketing: What’s Out There and How It Benefits Business Owners.” Search Engine Journal. April 11, 2014. www.searchenginejournal.com

Ditteaux, Matt. “Visual Marketing Tips for Your Business.” SB Marketing Tools. n.d. www.sbmarketingtools.com

Kaushal, Navneet. “How to Leverage Visual Marketing to Grow Your Blog Traffic.” Business 2 Community. November 16, 2016. www.business2community.com

Kim, Larry. “16-Eye-Popping Statistics You Need to Know About Visual Content Marketing.” Inc. November 23, 2015. www.inc.com

Mawhinney, Jesse. “37 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2016.” Hubspot. January 23, 2016. blog.hubspot.com

Moltz, Barry. “5 Ways to Use Visual Marketing Online to Boost Your Business.” American Express. October 26, 2011. www.americanexpress.com

Moritz, Donna. “The Shift to Visual Social Media.” Socially Sorted. n.d. sociallysorted.com.au

Schawbel, Dan. “Leverage Visual Marketing to Grow Your Business.” Forbes. n.d. www.forbes.com

Vats, Shashvat. “How to Use Visual Marketing to Grow Your Business.” Viral Woot. July 1, 2016. viralwoot.com

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Redesigning PowerPoint Clip Art for 2017

We believe there’s still a case to be made for PowerPoint Clip Art. In his article for Slate, The New York Times’ Farhad Majoo cites several criticisms hurled against the PowerPoint feature. To some extent, we agree.

Clip Art looks dated and campy. Using them makes your presentation deck look clueless and unprofessional, especially when there’s a wealth of sources for high-quality images available today.

But did you know that PowerPoint gives you the ability to customize clip arts and completely change how they look? Check the image above and notice how we’ve turned a standard clip art to a trendy geometric drawing. As you can see, using PowerPoint Clip Art isn’t always a mistake.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how you can take PowerPoint clip art designs to the year 2017:  

Step One: Open the PowerPoint Clip Art gallery

powerpoint clip art edit 00

Open the Clip Art gallery by going to the Insert tab and selecting the Clip Art icon. From there, you can choose any image you’d like to edit. For this tutorial, we’re going to edit the clip art highlighted above to make a hand-drawn lightbulb.

Step Two: Break the clip art apart

powerpoint clip art edit 01

Right-click the image, select Group, and then click Ungroup. This action will prompt a dialogue box asking if you’d like to convert the graphic into a Microsoft Office drawing object. Choose Yes.

Repeat the steps one more time, and then you’ll see something that looks like this:

powerpoint clip art edit 02

From here, you can start deleting the elements of the clip art that you don’t want. For this tutorial, we have to delete everything except the light bulb.

powerpoint clip art edit 02.5

This step will take some time, especially if you chose to work with a PowerPoint clip art that looks a bit complex. Just work on it patiently and click Undo if you end up deleting a part you want to keep.

Step Three: Edit clip art by using PowerPoint’s Drawing Tools

powerpoint clip art edit 04

Once you’re left with the bit that you want to work with, click on the Drawing Tools Format tab. Customize your clip art design by choosing any of the options in the Shape Styles group.

Much of this step involves trial and error, plus a bit of experimentation. Don’t be afraid to go crazy. You can always click on Undo if you’re not happy with how the effects look like.

After a bit of tinkering, our light bulb ended up looking like this:

lightbulb clipart

The Takeaway

Once you put your mind to it, even the most taboo of PowerPoint features can be transformed into something visually acceptable. ClipArt is one such redeemable feature.

The steps may seem rather daunting and tedious at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to come up with interesting results. However, if you don’t have enough time on your hands, there are always professional PowerPoint designers ready to help you with your deck.

Our SlideGenius experts can help you whip up an attractive deck in a quick, efficient manner. Contact us today for a free quote!

Presentation Resolutions: 3 Tips to Help You Progress This Year

The start of a new year, a  chance to re-create your values and start fresh. Most of us think of resolutions as ways we can change for the better and improve. We can apply these same New Year’s resolution concepts to enhance your professional presentation skills.

Focusing on improvements will always steer you in the right direction when delivering effective presentations with any type of content and to any type of audience. Taking little steps such as preparing a script or starting with a storyboard will allow you to over time to become a presentation specialist. Below are a few simple yet impactful, changes that you can begin to adapt in the new year.

Taking Charge of Your Public Speaking Fear

ted conference

Public speaking comes easily to very few. Make it a goal to improve your presenting skills with tips and resources from some of the world’s best. Watch famous speeches and learn from these speaker’s traits,  you can find some great presenters from TEDx Talk Events. The only way to truly enhance and improve your public speaking abilities is to practice, which overall means giving more presentations. You can even practice for a colleague or co-worker before your big presentation, and taking small steps like these will help you feel more comfortable speaking in front of any audience.

Using More Pathos

Graffiti: Creativity and Customer Acquisition

Though your presentation needs to be composed properly with enhancing content and ideas, making your presentation memorable. You can reach your audience’s emotions by utilizing powerful stories, images, graphs – even color schemes! Try to do something different in each one of your presentations, while still keeping an organized outline using a storyboard, take it to the next level. Spend a few extra minutes preparing this by using creative content, ideas and themes, ask yourself- would this presentation be entertaining to you?

Being Honest, No Matter What

cross finger

Being a credible presenter is being the best kind of presenter. Your audience only believes in your ideas and content if they believe in you. Though your audience may throw you off once in a while with tricky questions or concerns, remember to always be honest in your response. Always do your back research and cross-check on multiple sites for data accuracy and cite accordingly. Another good way to earn credibility as a presenter is to ask for feedback at the end of your presentation. Teach more and sell less, engage constantly and make sure you look as professional as you sound.

 

Reference

Ted TalksTED. Accessed January 2, 2014.