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Corporate Forecast: The Future of Company Presentations

Before the widespread popularity of software like PowerPoint, people relied on limited visual aids for their presentations. However, with the recent rise of technology, presentations are now branching out into more diverse possibilities. Sooner or later, some presentation factors in the boardroom will change to keep up with the demands of the modern era. There are specifically five aspects of presentation that will face the most change.

Future of Company Presentations: Digital Media

1. Digital Media

The digital world is becoming an attractive avenue for companies to keep track of their target audience’s interests. Digital media is the biggest game changer in the presentation playing field. According to business strategist Michael Wolf of Business Insider, tech and media activity will increase by 2016. Businesses will no longer have to sift through tons of hard facts to get what they need. Digital media will make it available to them.

Online references like virtual surveys and trending tags will give easy access to insights on market activities and preferences. Aside from this, the growing importance of digital media in people’s lives will push companies outside the boardroom and into the internet. With the increasing popularity and accessibility of smartphones, going mobile may just be the next big thing to watch out for.

In a constantly changing social environment, businesses should keep themselves on their toes. Stay updated by observing digital media trends closely, and adjust your presentation tactics if the need arises.

Future of Company Presentations: Audience Engagement

2. Audience Engagement

The audience has always played a crucial role in deciding the fate of a business pitch. However, in the future of company presentations, they will take on an even more active role. Far from being silent judges, your audience will vocally proclaim what they want from your business.

This is, again, due to the upsurge of digital media. According to Staging Connections Digital Event Services General Manager Tim Chapmansocial networks can break the barriers holding you back from your listeners. Knowing what people expect in your business gives companies a head start to craft presentations according to these preferences. On the other hand, trends also fade as fast as they come in, so constant vigilance is necessary in the market.

Operate your social media accounts to actively engage the audience at all times. Keep track of their needs and wants to optimize your presentation.

Future of Company Presentations: Time Limits

3. Time Limits

With people becoming more accustomed to fast-paced lifestyles and multi-tasking, presenters can’t afford to beat around the bush with their pitches anymore. The attention span of the average human being has reached its shortest at eight seconds, according to a Microsoft study cited by Leon Watson of The Telegraph.

That said, your audience members would be more likely to appreciate a compact and concise pitch that cuts to the chase.

But this doesn’t mean you have to resort to a plain deck and a bland delivery. If anything, it allows you to be more creative about how you’ll be cutting your presentation. Business guru Guy Kawasaki’s famous 10-20-30 rule is ideal for a crowd that’s constantly on-the-go.  According to Kawasaki, you should keep your presentation to 10 slides at 20 minutes, with 30-point font. These 10 slides already contain everything everyone needs to know about you—from the market situation to the summary and call to action.

This just shows that you don’t need to stretch your time limit to get the point across, but you shouldn’t just relate the details either

Future of Company Presentations: Use of Visuals

4. Use of Visuals

By the late 20th century, a large part of the population is identified as visual learners, according to Visual Teaching Alliance. This means that they’re more inclined to learn when data is presented to them visually, through diagrams, images, or illustrations. In terms of presentations, it’s better to abandon the wall of text and opt for more visuals. You might even drop the bullet points, which are seen for the longest time as the alternative to text-heavy slides.

However, your visuals should also complement your message. The point of catering to visual learning is to reduce the fatality of Death by PowerPoint. Stay focused on large, engaging images that you can relate to your pitch. Don’t clutter your deck with too many miscellaneous details, lest it defeats your point of drawing people’s attentions to what really matters. Finally, use colors that are easy on the eyes and that evoke positive emotions.

Presentations adapt to the tendencies of the target audience. In this case, the attention to visuals and the way it impacts viewers will definitely play a central role in the ability of business presentations to convince and convert leads.

Future of Company Presentations: Constant Innovation | Types of Graph

5. Constant Innovation

The development of technology steers toward innovation. While others may condemn presentation software for boring audiences, innovation improves both the audience’s and the speaker’s experiences.

Just this year, PowerPoint released its latest add-ins, Designer and Morph, which make presentation layout and design easier. The visual aspect of a presentation is enhanced in presentation tools like Prezi, which provides templates that users can customize on their own. Nonetheless, people need to remember that a good feature can backfire when misused. After all, when PowerPoint first came out, bullet points and awkward animations were accepted as designs until they were deemed passé.

The use of presentation tools should still be coupled with some guidance. This is why companies are highly encouraged to consult presentation gurus when setting up their business pitch.

The Future and Beyond

The future of company presentations holds a number of possibilities, partly due to the turn social trends have taken in recent years and will continue to take in the years to come.

People now have a wide range of software tools to choose from. Other digital avenues like social media allow them to form more intimate connections with their audience. A fast-paced society demands shorter presentations and a more concise content. At the same time, audiences are no longer impressed by slides that tell everything. To avoid boring a modern crowd, opt for relevant visuals that directly correspond to your core message.

Track the trends to avoid becoming outdated. Roll with the pitches and keep your company brand relevant.

 

Resources:

 Chapman, Tim. “The Future of Presentations: Top 3 Predictions.” Staging Connections. August 29, 2014. www.stagingconnections.com/events/the-future-of-presentations-top-three-predictions

Danielson, Tess & Nathan, McAlone. “Epic Slide Deck from Former Yahoo Board Member Lays Out the Future of Tech and Media.” Business Insider. October 21, 2015. www.businessinsider.com/michael-wolf-predicts-what-will-happen-in-the-tech-industry-in-2016-2015-10

Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. www.guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule

Koenigsbauer, Kirk. “The Evolution of PowerPoint: Introducing Designer and Morph.” Office Blogs. November 13, 2015. blogs.office.com/2015/11/13/the-evolution-of-powerpoint-introducing-designer-and-morph/#Jy7F8TwAkgcSCMfb.97

Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. May 15, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html

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Attaining Business Goals with the Help of Social Media Marketing

Social media is a staple in the digital platform. It’s used for communication, expression, and creating or sharing information. Its very nature calls for it to be leveraged by brands as a marketing tool. But in spite of this seemingly obvious fact, some entrepreneurs still hesitate to invest in social media campaigns. They argue that return on investment (ROI) is harder to measure in the digital scene. They have no way of knowing whether social media marketing pays off or not.

While there’s some truth to that claim, the perks of social media far overshadow the downsides. Social media is a medium that paves the way for a culture of openness and transparency between brands and customers. It’s a great place to produce and share content such as images and infographics. You can engage your audience, drive website traffic, and find new prospects here—and you can do all this while building a loyal community in the process. It’s a win-win situation.

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Defining Social Media Success

Social media success varies per company. The way you view your progress will depend on the goals you set. What does your brand consider important? Are you after sales and market share? Sales leads and conversion rates? Brand awareness and customer loyalty? Decide on what you want from the outset, so you can clearly define your progress. From your set goals, you can tailor a strategy that works for your business.

Implementing a Social Media Strategy

Implementing a Social Media Strategy

For your social media marketing campaign to be successful, you should lay out a carefully developed plan. Avoid posting random content, hoping that some of them will resonate with your audience. Outline clearly what you should do and how you’ll do it. This way, you can make sense of your every move, plus your audience can enjoy relevant and valuable content.

When planning a marketing strategy, keep your brand image in mind. What’s your business’s social voice and style? What personality do you want to project? Your social media campaign should be a reflection of your brand’s existing image in the public eye. You should also take note of the status of your business in certain aspects. Analyze your existing business efforts, and pinpoint which areas you need to improve.

Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can choose which social media platforms to use. Does Pinterest fit your message best? Is YouTube your social media? Of course, you can only find the ideal platform if you know your business and your target demographic well.

Once you understand your brand personality, acknowledge your business standing, and know your social media platform, it’s time to keep tabs on the new trends you can leverage. You need to be constantly up-to-date in order to reach your audience and relate with them. The other things you need to be concerned about are your budget and team. Your campaign should match your financial capacity, and your team should be able to carry out your marketing plans.

Leveraging Cross Social Media Channel Promotion

Leveraging Cross-Channel Promotion

One social media strategy you can employ is cross-channel promotion, or the use of various marketing channels to achieve desired results. It’s an integrated campaign in which you can reach different audiences at varying times and through a number of touchpoints. Cross-channel promotion is an effective way of reminding your audience about your brand. You’re likely to get more engagement through this strategy since you’re operating across multiple channels.

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Tracking Your Social Media Progress

Many are still under the impression that social media is not an effective marketing tool since it’s unquantifiable, but they’re mistaken for the large part. You can actually measure the different types of interactions you have with your audience. There are certain tools and apps built for this purpose.

Before you can track your social media progress, you should identify the different metrics that will come in handy in measuring your campaign’s ROI. This way, you can successfully benchmark your progress against your starting point. Some of the metrics you can use are the following:

  • Likes and shares.

    This is a fast and foolproof way to gauge how a post is doing and how much engagement you’re getting out of it. 

  • Number of followers.

    This is also another quick and easy way to look at how effective your marketing strategy is. Just take note of your follower/following ratio, especially on Twitter. It’s better if you have more followers than the other way around. If this isn’t feasible, at least strike a balance between the two.

  • Rate of audience growth.

    Pay close attention to the number of followers you gain and the rate you’re gaining them. Slow audience acquisition is a sign that something’s amiss.

    Rate of Audience Growth

  • Social mentions.

    Listen to what’s being said about you. This will help you maintain a good brand image and strike great customer relationships.

  • Clicks per post.

    You should know how many unique clicks your links receive. This will help determine how much traffic you attract, and what kinds of links appeal to your target demographic. 

  • Audience activity.

    Not all customers are equal. Some engage with you more than others. Keep interacting with active fans to avoid losing them.

  • Organic and paid results.

    Organic traffic refers to your solid social community, or the customers you gain through free advertising. Paid traffic is the opposite of that. Use the data you gather from these two to determine your next business move.

  • Lead generation.

    Social media can provide you with new business prospects. Research on different techniques and methods you can use to attract leads. 

Hopefully, all this information helped you understand the importance of social media to business. Commit to creating and implementing a marketing campaign that will drive results and will send your brand to the top.

Exporting PowerPoint to Paper: Tips for Enticing Printout Content

Every presenter has been requested the same thing at one point or another: being asked if they have—or if members of the audience can have—printouts of their PowerPoint presentations. This is not a bad thing, per se, especially if you have a great deck with a superb design and an enlightening message that people will want to go back and review everything they learned from your talk.

However, the issue is that slides were designed to be seen through a projector… unless you had the foresight to create your deck specifically for printing. Well then, good for you.

Going from digital to printout isn’t as easy as it looks. Specifically now, in the modern age, there are humongous monitors and projectors that display every pixel perfectly despite their sizes. Ah, the wonders of technology. But transitioning from the old to the new isn’t seamless, and paper sizes can’t compare to digital visual outlets.

To do that, you first need to do a bit of tinkering and adjusting to get your desired quality on paper. Here are a few pointers to consider first.

Exporting PowerPoint to Paper: Check Your Printer

Check Your Printer

As with any competition, you can expect that manufacturers follow different formats with their products. If there’s one constant as far as printers are concerned, it’s that they don’t typically reach the paper’s edge. Printouts will always have margins. However, this is not a printer limitation; it’s rather the software—the printer driver—that causes this.

To remedy this, you can manually adjust it, and this is where the tinkering comes in. You can set custom margins on your printouts and potentially include an additional slide or two. There are different customizations you can do from this screen and in the next, which is…

Exporting PowerPoint to Paper: Print Preview

Print Preview

Print Preview is your friend. Let it guide, help, and aid you. If you’re not sure about the whole format of your printout, you should check it out before you waste ink.

There, you can set and customize different options for your final product: how many slides per page, the spaces in between each slide, the margins (see previous subheading), etc. There are also other settings for whether you want to print on both sides of the paper, the printing sequence (Collated), and whether black and white or grayscale (see next subheading).

This window is basically your last chance to fix how you want your handouts to come out, so appropriating everything according to your preference will make your task easier.

Exporting PowerPoint to Paper: Check Your Design

Check Your Design

Less on the printer, more on your slides now.

The rules are basically the same when creating slides. You’ve got your design basics: colors, background, typography, etc. You’ve also got your image: powerful and meaningful. Lastly, your text as the meat of your talk. Then you’re out to print it.

The question is: “Do your slides look the same on screen and on paper?”

If you are printing your PowerPoint file out, you always have to consider how your slides will look on your handouts—plus the limitations on your printer, vis-à-vis ink levels—and prepare for it. If you’ve got too many images, either beef up your ink supply or delete some. Another option is to print in grayscale or black and white (which, as you would imagine, comes with another set of adjustments).

The bottom line here is that you should tailor your deck to be readable on both mediums. If you need to reduce elements, then do so.

Exporting PowerPoint to Paper: Convert powerpoint into .pdf file

Don’t Print Your Slides

Don’t worry. It’s not what it means; rather, it’s a small technicality that involves converting your PowerPoint file into a type that is considered more universal: PDF

One reason why PDF files are more commonly used is the general ease with printing using Acrobat or Adobe (or other software that can read this file type). There may be more or less the same options, but Acrobat is more in depth than PowerPoint, so it’ll usually take care of problems before your printouts even reach the printer. With such ease, you’re more likely choosing this same route yourself.

Another issue solved is transferring to another computer, for, say, printing purposes since you don’t have a printer. You don’t assume that your PowerPoint settings are the same as everyone’s (unless you’re not customizing your software). Therefore, you’re more likely to meet different formatting altogether when opening your file on a computer that doesn’t adhere to the same settings. This goes especially when you use many customized backgrounds, images, and fonts.

Converting to PDF makes your task—and life—easier by making the file more printable and readable on any computer.

There are multiple considerations to make when shifting from digital to print. With the almost complete independence of technology from traditional media, there’s still the wide gap between the two. Of course, with sufficient study and preparation, the divide is not as big as it seems.

Take the following options to heart. Soon, you’ll be asked to have printouts of your presentation. Take it easy and plan ahead. You’ll do yourself some good that way.

 

Resources:

Temple, Cooper. “Adjusting Paper Margins in PowerPoint.” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/adjusting-paper-margins-powerpoint-29281.html

Terberg, Julie. “Gain Control over PowerPoint Handouts by Exploring the Print Options.” Training Magazine. November 1, 2002. ip-50-63-221-144.ip.secureserver.net/article/gain-control-over-powerpoint-handouts-exploring-print-options

Wood, James T. “Why Does PowerPoint Print Out the Wrong Margins?” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/powerpoint-print-out-wrong-margins-26575.html

Woods, Paul. “Create PowerPoint Slides Designed Specifically for A4 or Letter Printing.” The New Paperclip. May 26, 2010. www.thenewpaperclip.com/2010/05/26/create-powerpoint-slides-designed-specifically-for-a4-or-letter-printing/#

“How to Create PDF Handouts in PowerPoint 2010.” Cometdocs. November 7, 2011. blog.cometdocs.com/how-to-create-pdf-handouts-in-powerpoint-2010

“Printing PowerPoint: Slide Size v. Printer Page Size.” PPTools. June 7, 2011. www.pptfaq.com/FAQ00774_Printing_PowerPoint-_Slide_size_v-_Printer_Page_size.htm

“Saving Paper and Increasing Readability of PowerPoint Handouts.” Pittsburgh Technical College. n.d. www.ptcollege.edu/uploads/HS-teachers/Saving-Paper-and-Increasing-Readability-of-PowerPoint-Handouts.pdf

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PowerPoint as a Communication Tool When Rebranding a Business

Every company experiences a rut. Perhaps it’s because of the ever-changing world, technology (and the lack of capability or desire to adapt), and/or a new management. It may even be the work of external circumstances. A strong yet underhanded competitor, maybe? Whatever the case, when your company is losing steam, there’s a fix. But it will take a lot of time and effort.

You know what it is. Rebranding. Not all companies need one since it’s very risky. But what about those that do? There have been success stories and huge failures. It’s a long campaign, and taking shortcuts may very well compromise everything: years of history, customer trust, employee loyalty, etc.

Any self-respecting entrepreneur knows that those are just as important as every ounce of effort you put into your business. That fact alone makes it risky from the get-go, but any miscalculated step you take is a potential snowball waiting to roll down. In short, disregarding a lot of considerations during a rebranding will only make things worse.

When it’s time to say goodbye to the old and say hello to the new, every person involved must be on the same page. For each process, everybody should work towards the same short- and long-term goal. Since rebranding doesn’t happen overnight, the possibility of people getting ahead—and, of course, people lacking behind—grows more or more. So letting each level of the hierarchy know what, where, and why is essential.

This, then, is corporate communication. Because you’ve got a lot of pointers, conditions, and rules you need to cover, transparency and reachability are definite musts. And what’s a better communication and presentation tool to use than Microsoft PowerPoint? Nothing, according to an awesome presentation design agency. Check this infographic on how you could leverage communication with your people in the best way possible.

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Resources:

DeMers, Jayson. “5 Examples of Rebranding Done Right.” Forbes. July 7, 2016. www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/07/07/5-examples-of-rebranding-done-right/#3c8c60492124

Shandrow, Kim Lachance. “The 8 Must-Follow Rules for Rebranding Your Company (Infographic).” Entrepreneur. September 10, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/237296

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6 Ways to Effectively Communicate Ideas at Work

That brilliant idea you have which can affect positive change in the workplace is largely useless until you communicate it to someone who can bring it to life. However, pitching an idea to a colleague is easier said than done. It’s not easy to explain a concept to someone who has a different background. You’ll need to bridge a knowledge chasm that separates you from your intended recipient. You also have to watch your manner of speaking since you can’t afford to insult your recipient with the faintest hint of condescension. In the same way, you can’t be too naïve to assume that the other person is on the same page as you.

Presenting an idea to a coworker, whether it be a superior or an equal, is always a risk. There’s a possibility of your proposal getting turned down, or worse, ignored. This is why you need to be fully prepared before making your business pitch. Make sure you possess not only flair and poise but also valuable content—a worthwhile idea that can sell itself. Keep in mind what Dorothy Tannahill Moran from Next Chapter New Life, said: “There is a difference between a great idea and an idea that will truly advance the cause of business.”

Know the Recipient's Hot Buttons

Know the Recipient’s Hot Buttons

People have different ways of processing information. Some learn best with visuals while others prefer one-on-one talks. Others are still more comfortable with written exchanges. Conduct a research that will allow you to learn what’s best for your audience. You should possess a heightened sense of contextual awareness if you are to thoroughly understand your recipients. Be astute in sensing their moods, values, and attitudes. Develop a contingency plan that will allow you to align your objectives with theirs. After all, the pitch is not for you but for the company as a whole. 

Direct and Concise Pitch

Make Your Pitch Direct and Concise

Trim the fat from your pitch and go straight to the point. Don’t bore your recipient with unnecessary details. Instead, stick to what your idea will do for them and the organization. “Managers want solutions to the problems that are keeping them awake at night,” said Leigh Steere from Managing People Better. He couldn’t have said a truer statement. When delivering your pitch, make sure to keep the buzz words out. Cut to the chase before your recipient tunes out from your smooth talking. Remember, substance should always come before form.  

Gain the Recipient's Trust and Confidence

Gain the Recipient’s Trust and Confidence

People don’t usually open up to those they don’t trust, so you should try to gain your audience’s confidence before asking them to accept your idea. You can gain your recipient’s trust by displaying a level of authenticity and transparency. Be relatable when delivering your pitch by telling stories, using examples, and applying humor in appropriate situations. Speak to your recipient’s emotions, and let your message take deep root with them. Engage in a meaningful conversation by encouraging a dialogue. Surely, you can learn from them as much as they can learn from you. 

Assert Yourself and Speak With Tenacity

Assert Yourself and Speak with Tenacity

When speaking with superiors and senior colleagues, you should talk and act like they do. Treating them like peers will encourage them to do the same to you. Respect their authority and position, but don’t be deferential and submissive. Show them that you’re thinking in the same level as they are. This will give them the impression that you can stand by your idea and defend it when the need arises.

Prepare and Practice Diligently

Prepare and Practice Diligently

No matter how great your idea is, if you don’t practice how to deliver it, your pitch will likely prove unsuccessful. To maximize your chances, have someone to practice your pitch on. This person should have a total lack of knowledge regarding your idea. He or she should also be willing to provide you with honest feedback. You can practice your pitch on more than one person to take more perspectives. Presenting your pitch to a test audience will help you pinpoint the aspects of your presentation that need improvement. If the test audience understands and approves of your idea and the manner by which you present it, you’ll know that you’re starting off on the right foot. 

Find the Right Time to Make Your Pitch

Find the Right Time to Make Your Pitch

Let’s say you’re ready with your pitch. You have a cutting-edge idea and an innovative way of presenting it. The only concern that remains now is, when is the right time to deliver your pitch? There isn’t one answer to this question since every circumstance is different. You’re on your own to assess whether your recipient is ready to participate in your presentation. Perhaps Tannahill Moran’s words can help you. She said, “If the house is on fire, a new idea tossed into the mix may not go over well unless the idea helps the immediate crisis. You want to present an idea when the ability to focus and plan exists.”

The Aftermath: How to Brace Yourself for Responses

The Aftermath: How to Brace Yourself for Responses

Prepare yourself for the many kinds of responses you may receive. There’s a high possibility that your recipient will pepper you with questions to test your thinking. Think two steps ahead and formulate a response to every possible concern. When you’re faced with antagonism, keep an open mind. A dissenting opinion can help you improve on your idea. If, however, your pitch is ignored, follow up until you get an answer—just do so in a non-imposing way. After all, your audience don’t owe you their participation. It’s up to you to get them engaged.

You might only have one shot at presenting your newfangled idea. Make sure you put your best foot forward and deliver a pitch that is worthy of your recipient’s time.

 

Resources:

Baxter, Susan. “Learning Styles: Three Ways to Process Information.” Top Ten Reviews. n.d. www.toptenreviews.com/software/articles/learning-styles-three-ways-to-process-information

Boitnott, John. “How to Pitch Your Brilliant Idea Without Making the People You Need Feel Stupid.” Entrepreneur. October 10, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/238176

Bonilla, Christina. “Want to Be Taken Seriously? Communicate Like a Boss.” Smart Like How. October 13, 2015. www.smartlikehow.com/blog-native/2015/10/12/l0d6fzogavxj6p72p0yucsuzvdpd9w

Cohan, Peter. “5 Ways to Communicate More Clearly.” Inc. December 4, 2012. www.inc.com/peter-cohan/five-ways-to-improve-your-communication-success.html

Edinger, Scott. “If You Want to Communicate Better, Read This.” Forbes. March 20, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/scottedinger/2013/03/20/if-you-want-to-communicate-better-read-this/#59a3132b2281

Groth, Aimee & Lockhart, Jhaneel. “7 Smart Ways to Come Up with More Ideas at Work.” Business Insider. January 21, 2012. www.businessinsider.com/7-smart-ways-to-come-up-with-more-ideas-at-work-2012-1

Herrity, Joseph P. “Communicating Ideas Effectively.” Preferred Visions. n.d. preferredvisions.com/publications/thought-provokers/communicating-ideas-effectively

Madden, Kaitlin. “Have a Great Idea? How to Tell Your Boss.” CNN. March 16, 2011. edition.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/16/cb.tell.boss.good.idea

Myatt, Mike. “10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders.” Forbes. April 4, 2012. www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/04/04/10-communication-secrets-of-great-leaders/#1b42d2021e06

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Presentation Tips to Counterpunch Your Nerves

For people who are not gifted with natural eloquence, public speaking can be a daunting experience. Darlene Price, president of the award-winning coaching company, Well Said Inc., summed it up well when she said, “Though statistics vary on the exact percentages, it’s safe to say most of us get nervous before a public speaking engagement. As a speaker facing an audience, we often fear failure, criticism, judgment, embarrassment, comparison, or rejection.”

And indeed, all this fear, all this negative reaction, is only natural. Even the most experienced speakers tremble before delivering their opening salvo. This is why you should go against the general notion of tackling  fear for the purpose of eradicating it. Instead, what you should do is conquer it by controlling it to your own advantage. Managing your fear is the only way to connect with your audience.

After all, spectators don’t really see how you feel. They only see how you carry yourself onstage. So, it’s okay to be afraid, as long as you don’t show it to anyone. When all’s said and done, a presentation is not really about what you say but how you say it.

Positive Visualization

The Dramatic Pull of Positive Visualization

To turn your jitters into positive energy, you should pump yourself up before a presentation. Boost your enthusiasm by imagining a positive outcome to the speaking engagement. Mentally walk yourself through your speech, and picture yourself acting with confidence, flair, and poise. You’re a presentation guru, and the audience enjoy watching and listening to you.

Positive visualization is healthy and effective. The more you envision something in a good way, the better it will play out in reality. Just take in mind the American industrialist Henry Ford’s famous quote, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Above all else, smile. Smiling can help calm your nerves and lower your anxiety. It increases your body’s supply of endorphins, the chemicals responsible for lowering stress levels. When you smile, you exude confidence, which your audience will interpret as a sign of enthusiasm towards your speech.

Familiarity Breeds Confidence

How Familiarity Breeds Confidence

Don’t take chances with your presentation by delivering it once and for all. You have to practice it multiple times before the actual event. Rehearse your lines in various positions until you grow comfortable with them. If necessary, record your presentation and watch it afterwards. This will help you see which bad habits to grow out of.

Know your presentation by heart, but don’t memorize it word by word—unless, of course, you’ll be delivering your presentation at TED. Just the opening and closing lines of your talk are enough. Learn your first and last statements so they’ll come to you naturally.

Practicing will help you gain a certain amount of control over the situation. The more certain you are about your talk, the less nervous you’ll be about it. By rehearsing your presentation beforehand, you can focus your nervous energy on something more productive.

Surroundings as a Teacher

What Your Surroundings Will Teach You

Give yourself ample time to be familiar with the venue. Arrive at least a day early so you can thoroughly assess the setup. Check if there are any elements in the surroundings that may distract you from your presentation. Test the equipment you’re going to use to minimize the possibility of technical difficulties arising later on. Practice delivering your talk in the venue, too, to familiarize yourself even more with the entire affair.

If your speech is part of a series, you should listen to other talks. Do it as a courtesy to your fellow speakers, and also to learn more about the spectators. By attending the other presentations, you’ll be able to gauge the general mood of the audience. You can assess whether they’ll appreciate humor or straight facts. This will help you tailor your presentation to their needs and preferences.

On the day of your speech, make sure to attend the meet-and-greet ceremony. Speaking with representatives from the audience will help you understand them more genuinely. As public speaking coach Ian Cunliffe advised, “Arrive early and talk to a few individual audience members about their needs. That way, you’ll have insider information and friendly faces that you can focus on when you take the stage.” Darlene Price held the same opinion. She said, “Conversation helps relax your nerves, creates a bond with your audience, and sets the stage for personable speaking versus public speaking.”

Power Stance

Power Stance and Other Endorphin Boosters

Warm yourself up before taking the floor. To calm your nerves, practice deep breathing, a method that will flood your brain with oxygen. Your muscles will relax and you’ll regain composure. Moving around and assuming a power stance will also help you create a lasting sense of confidence.

Before stepping into the platform, make sure you are properly hydrated. Dry mouth can sometimes be a cause of anxiety. Drink plenty of water before going onstage, and keep a bottle of liquid within arm’s reach in case your mouth dries up in the middle of your talk. Finally, make sure to take a bathroom break before your performance.

Presentation Mantra

The Mantra You Should Adopt

Repeat some words of encouragement before heading to the spotlight. Your mantra should be: “I’m the expert in the room. The audience trust and believe in me, and they want me to succeed. I will go out there and deliver with confidence and conviction.”

As body language expert Mark Bowden said, presentations are not really about the facts and the data. “When we go live in front of an audience, it’s about the event, the personality, the relationship, and trust.” Kill it with your confidence. Bring home the gold with your poise and enthusiasm.

 

Resources:

Genard, Gary. “How to Use Positive Thinking to Speak More Successfully.” Genard Method. June 26, 2016. www.genardmethod.com/blog/bid/176604/How-to-Use-Positive-Thinking-to-Speak-More-Successfully

Heaps, Mark. “Stop that Stutter: 6 Steps to Overcome Presentation Performance Anxiety.” Duarte. December 19, 2012. www.duarte.com/blog/stop-that-stutter-6-steps-to-overcome-presentation-performance-anxiety

Kim, Larry. “15 Ways to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation.” Inc. October 20, 2014. www.inc.com/larry-kim/15-power-up-tips-to-make-you-a-better-presenter.html

Kleiman, Karen. “Try Some Smile Therapy.” Psychology Today. August 1, 2012. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/isnt-what-i-expected/201207/try-some-smile-therapy

Smith, Jacquelyn. “11 Tips for Calming Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation.” Business Insider. June 23, 2014. www.businessinsider.com/tips-for-calming-nerves-before-a-speech-2014-6

“Feeling Anxiety is Normal.” Boundless. n.d. www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/building-confidence-to-speak-4/understanding-anxiety-27/feeling-anxiety-is-normal-127-10639

“Managing Presentation Nerves: Coping with the Fear Within.” Mind Tools. n.d. www.mindtools.com/pages/article/PresentationNerves.htm

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Throw Away Slides from a Bloated PowerPoint Deck

Quantity doesn’t mean quality when it comes to a presentation.

You might think having a lot of slides in your deck is a sign of hard work.

Having too many slides could be seen as a delaying tactic and reflects poorly on your credibility as a speaker.

You have better things to do than spending a lot of time making hundreds of slides when less than half the amount will do.

Focus on the quality of your content and be free from a bloated PowerPoint presentation.

When Is Enough Enough?

Letting slides pile up is a lazy attempt at looking prepared. It also comes off as a delaying tactic that places too much attention on background information.

After all, no one will question the amount of time and effort spent at making all those slides.

It’s impressive to look at now, but audiences are going to fall asleep from your PowerPoint epic.

Don’t challenge their attentiveness and focus.

This isn’t a contest to see who can stay awake the longest.

Important clients won’t be impressed by the length of a presentation. Chances are that they’ve seen this delaying tactic being used by unprepared speakers and will avoid listening to you when you try it on them.

Save everyone’s time by being brief and to the point.

Focus on What Matters

The reason why it’s hard to let go of so much content is uncertainty.

Not knowing which information to keep as your main point and then hanging on to more and more ideas out of fear will only hold you back.

June Saruwatari’s expertise as a productivity and organizing consultant advocates organizing your physical space around the goals you want to achieve.

In the context of presentations, this means you should prepare an outline first so your slides will become easier to manage and be more cohesive.

The foundation you create will actually save you more time in the long run, even if it seems counter-intuitive to spend time on it.

A bloated PowerPoint deck will also result in a larger file size.

This will be a problem if you need to share you file with others.

Large files are more difficult to share online since they’re more likely to exceed the limit for file attachments.

Using the Right Moment

There must be a really good reason why an idea needs to be explained by a lot of slides.

It’s not impossible to engage audiences even when you use up a thousand slides in your deck.

You can speed through a lot of slides in under a few minutes as a storytelling technique.

Use only one word or image per slide and rapidly move through slides.

But not all decks can rely on this delivery style to get its message across.

A good outline will give you a more coherent and organized presentation.

Streamline Your Process

The number of slides you have on your deck won’t guarantee success.

It’s detrimental to have too many slides because it creates too much delay.

Don’t just look prepared by relying on an excess of slides, be truly prepared by mastering your content.

Drafting an outline will save you more time to focus on other areas of your presentation.

Fewer slides in your deck also means a smaller file size that will be easier to share, so think twice if you really need to use a lot of slides.

The general consensus is to throw out anything that doesn’t serve a purpose in your deck so that your main ideas can shine.

 

References

3 Small Talk Habits That Delay Professional Presentations.SlideGenius PowerPoint Design & Presentation Experts. September 17, 2015. Accessed October 21, 2015.
Porter, Jane. “The Psychology Behind All That Clutter You Can’t Get Rid Of.Fast Company. May 4, 2015. Accessed October 21, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “cluttered” by linus_art on flickr.com

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Infographics: Helping Businesses Attract More Clients

Today is the age of images of any form. Memes, videos, portraits, selfies, etc. There are many statistics that support their effectiveness. Imaged tweets are retweeted 150% more than regular tweets. Facebook posts with pictures are engaged by users more than twice than without. Infographics are shared three times more than other kinds of content.

The last part is very interesting. What is it with an infographic that makes it shared more than videos and memes? Perhaps it’s because of the visual manner that quality information is presented or because of how a really good one looks. There are many examples of great infographics, each different from the other, used for different purposes.

In your case, you’d want it for your business. But why an infographic? There many benefits to using one. Below are some.

Infographics: Cater to the Visual

Caters to the Visual

As is often said, humans are visual creatures. It’s how the human race survived for millennia. Seeing the world and decoding, deciphering, and learning from the information allowed us to be wary of our surroundings and determine whether there was imminent danger or not. Dark? You bet. But it also works on the positive side.

How humans interpret color and design plays a huge part on the overall perception of an object. If it’s aesthetically appealing, then chances are it will be treated better. This is especially true for an infographic. The better its design, the more positive the reaction it will solicit. Pair that off with great content and you’ve got on your hands a powerful medium that can turn situations around.

As with everything in life, there’s a caveat with using either too many or too few elements: they, respectively, can be grounds for over- and underwhelming the viewer. Having too many runs the risk of losing focus on subjects that are supposed to be focused on; having too few—but not being minimalist, per se, or a bad impression thereof—can be seen as just plain at best. You don’t want to create a bad one, don’t you?

Infographics: Good Way to Dump Information

Information Dump … in a Good Way

Look back on the roots of infographics. There’s a reason why it was made into the visual-oriented image it is understood today: it’s a better way of presenting data that would otherwise have been plain, dull, or outright boring.

Imagine graph upon graph, chart upon chart, of cold numbers and percentages, and you can’t make sense of it because you only have a vague idea of what they’re about. Infographics fix this by masking all the data behind creative use of design. How about long texts that are otherwise bothersome to the point of difficult to read? Appropriate and powerful images can do the same for a fraction of the time.

There are many different ways you can replace text with images. And if you can do that exactly with facts and figures, then you’re a step closer to using infographics to your greatest advantage.

Infographics: Shareable Online

Social Media Shareability

This is where the word “viral” comes in. When your infographic is exceptionally great, it will receive more attention than a subpar one. And when it gets more attention—and reaction, as a direct result—people are more likely to share it on social media to spread the good news. Think of it as digital word-of-mouth. The more your piece spreads, the farther your influence and reputation can go. The more people you will reach thus prompting another round of shares. Then you’ll be known in different parts of the world.

Your infographic becoming viral is more than just about creating one of the better ones, though. There’s a meticulous process that follows, but that part is more on you and how you follow through. Don’t let it do all the work. You’re just as responsible for its relevance and maintenance as you are with its shareability.

So, back to your business. How is it affected by those three above? It leads to a wider base of people that get to know your brand. Think of it as a brand reputation manager/expander/propagator. That’s the very least you could gain. But imagine the consequences.

Once you’ve got more people thinking about your brand, you’ve got more choices for leads—and eventually, conversions. All because of a viral infographic. An exaggeration, perhaps, but it’s plausible. And that may be the biggest push you need to work that much harder, that much better. You up for it?

 

Resources:

Barkins, Kyle. “Infographic: Why Are Infographics So Shareable?” Tech Impact. February 19, 2016. blog.techimpact.org/infographic-infographics-shareable

Cleary, Ian. “How to Make an Infographic that Attracts Massive Attention.” RazorSocial.com. March 16, 2016. www.razorsocial.com/how-to-make-an-infographic

Doyle, Latasha. “Value Content over Creation: Make Your Infographic Useful.” Easely. January 6, 2017. www.easel.ly/blog/make-your-infographic-useful

Knopfler, Hack. “The Top 10 Worst Infographics of All Time.” Mammoth Infographics. July 21, 2015. www.mammothinfographics.com/blog/the-top-10-worst-infographics-of-all-time

Mawhinney, Jesse. “42 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2017.” HubSpot. January 3, 2017. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.0001frknxr3k3dlkqq22lsqtd9h7a

McCue, TJ. “Why Infographics Rule.” Forbes. January 8, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2013/01/08/what-is-an-infographic-and-ways-to-make-it-go-viral/#4224ed16353c

Mineo, Ginny. “The Anatomy of a Highly Shareable Infographic.” HubSpot. May 12, 2014. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/the-anatomy-of-a-shareable-infographic#sm.0001frknxr3k3dlkqq22lsqtd9h7a

Patel, Neil. “5 Ways to Get Your Infographic to Go Viral.” Quicksprout. June 11, 2012. www.quicksprout.com/2012/06/11/5-ways-to-get-your-infographic-to-go-viral

Popovic, Aleksandra. “Another Way to Use Infographics: E-Courses!” Easely. September 19, 2016. www.easel.ly/blog/another-way-to-use-infographics-e-courses

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