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Successfully Introducing Your Product in a Business Presentation

When you launch a product for the first time, you’re automatically handed the responsibility of ensuring its success. The audience will look up to you for answers because you’re the expert in that particular setup. You’re expected to know more about your product than anyone else. Rightfully, you are also entitled to feel excited or overwhelmed. After all, you’re handling a do-or-die moment for your brand. The key to conquering this situation, of course, is to win your audience’s favor. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Show, Don’t Tell

When introducing a new product, it’s not enough to simply tell your customers about it. You need to let them see it with their own eyes and test it with their own hands. Of course, before doing that, you should draw the audience’s attention and interest first. Make them want to experience your product and explore its features. You can do this by creating a point of comparison between your product and that of your competitors. Convince your audience that you are the right choice. Take note that your clients will form their opinion based on what you show them, so give it your best shot when showcasing your brand.

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Build Enough Hype

Market your product without overselling it. You can use all kinds of platforms and outlets to let your target audience know about your business. Expand the reach of your market through print advertising and social media marketing. Give your potential clients something to anticipate. You can go on and highlight your product’s best features, but don’t promise something that you can’t deliver. Ultimately, you want the hype to be real.

Also, it’s important to seamlessly shift your presentation’s focus from the product to the audience. Don’t just proclaim how great your product is. Instead, tell your potential customers how it can make their lives better. That way, they’ll have more reason to look forward to its release.

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Solidify Your Expertise

Credibility is crucial to any brand. When presenting your product for the first time, it’s important to impress as many prospects as possible. To do this, you need to demonstrate how knowledgeable and well-experienced you are in your industry. This is the time for you to flaunt your credentials. What has your business achieved so far? What projects are you working on now? Who are the experts who make up your team? What are your plans for the near future? All of this can give your audience a reason to trust in you and believe in your product.

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Communicate Confidence

In a business presentation, it’s important to communicate just how much you believe in your brand. If you don’t trust your own product, no one else will. Confidence is a magnet that draws people in. Make sure you’re equipped with at least that before you step into the stage.

Your product launch doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can make it exciting for yourself and your audience if you implement the aforementioned tips. With sufficient preparation, you can deliver a presentation that highlights your new product’s best features and places your brand under the limelight.

Resources:

Bly, Robert W. “How to Convince Customers to Buy from You and Not the Competition.” Entrepreneur. December 15, 2015. www.entrepreneur.com/article/252960

Shope, Kendrick. “How to Sell Something Without Being Sleazy.” Infusionsoft. February 29, 2016. learn.infusionsoft.com/sales/sales-process/how-to-sell-something-without-being-sleazy

Tallent, Barbara. “How to Create a Product Presentation.” Infrasystems. n.d. www.infrasystems.com/product-presentations.html

Watkis, Nicholas. “Is Credibility the Most Important Ingredient for Business Success?” My Customer. November 6, 2012. www.mycustomer.com/experience/loyalty/is-credibility-the-most-important-ingredient-for-business-success

Closing a Deal Without Assuming a Salesperson’s Role

Contrary to popular opinion, there’s nothing inherently wrong with hard selling. If you know you have a wonderful product that should see the light of day, then by all means go and sell it hard. However, you need to be wary of the caveats and repercussions that you may encounter along the way. Make sure that when convincing a prospect of the value of your business, you remain honest and true. Also, before going around and trying to talk people into investing in your product, make sure that you’re adept enough to communicate and empathize with them.

The problem with most salespeople today is that all they care about is closing the deal. They don’t bother about being honest with the consumer. They hardly go out of their way to find out what the consumer really needs. This is exactly why sales agents have developed a notoriety so ill that people recoil when they see a salesperson trying desperately to catch their eye. The harsh truth is that being a salesperson today is synonymous to being pushy and annoying. If the economic landscape is to reach a higher bar, this stigma has to end.

The Logic Behind Using a No-Pitch Promotion

No one can change the salespeople’s reputation but the salespeople themselves. Many companies have already figured out the right ways to reach consumers without distressing them. Surely, a lot more would follow if only they knew how. If you still haven’t employed the right techniques in selling without coming off as obnoxious, here are two of the main reasons why you should change your ways now:

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

  • To take the pressure off the audience

What seems to be the salespeople’s role today is to serve themselves and their company. However, there should be a shift in perspective. Instead of thinking of their own good, salesmen should serve customers and see how they can help alleviate their concerns. Instead of inconveniencing prospects, salespeople should strive to make matters easier and more convenient for them.

The last thing you want as a salesperson is to give the impression that you’re trying to squeeze every penny out of your customers. Shoving the product down the customers’ throat won’t make them pay for it. Put them at ease and let them be comfortable so that they can make that decision for themselves.

  • To differentiate yourself from corporate players

One of the advantages that a small business holds over a goliath is that it has an option to personalize the customer experience. Customers like it when they’re treated in a special way. This is why even big players in the business field should try to mimic the small-business model of sales. As a salesman, you should be more personable. Take your time in easing the prospect into your business. Instead of rushing to pocket the money, let the sales process unfold. If you focus on attending to your client’s needs before anything else, the deal will close itself.

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

Four Proven Ways to Sell Without Being Aggressive

Most salesmen are torn between hard selling and using alternative sales techniques that are subtler and less aggressive. On the one hand, hard selling makes a salesperson feel like s/he has done everything in his or her power to gain a new customer. On the other hand, it is usually a turn-off to customers, and therefore, a big no-no. Fortunately, there are easy and effective ways to sell without sounding like a salesperson. Here are some of them:

1. Be transparent about your business processes

Make your business processes open for the public to see. Share every thought and effort that went into creating your product or developing your service. Tell your prospects what went wrong and what worked out in the end. In other words, lay your brand bare before them.

By doing this, you’re essentially inviting people to trust you and see you not as a business without a face but as a familiar friend whose struggles and successes they had the privilege of knowing. By being vulnerable and letting them into your business’s personal bubble, you’re giving them an invitation that they can’t turn down. The bottom line? Genuine stories sell.

2. Demonstrate what your product does

Merely talking about the product won’t cut it. To persuade a crowd of skeptic consumers, you need to let the product speak for itself. Show your prospects exactly how your product works so that they can judge for themselves whether it’s good enough to satisfy their needs. A product demonstration is a quick and effective way to tell someone just how great your offers are without actually telling them.

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

3. Pitch at the right time and in the right place

Timing is key in every field, and it’s not surprising that it’s just as important in sales. A good salesperson can tell when it’s appropriate to approach a customer with a product offer or when it’s best to just drop it and focus on addressing the customer’s immediate concerns instead. Watch for external cues that will give you hints on whether or not a customer is open to a sales pitch. If you insist on troubling a prospect, you might end up losing a potential client for good.

4. Focus on addressing the consumer’s pain points

It only makes sense that if you let your prospects do the talking, you can’t possibly annoy or offend them. In fact, if you assume the role of a listener from the start, it’s likely for them to relax and feel comfortable around you. That said, before you make a pitch, make sure to hear out your customers’ side of the story first. Let them spill out their concerns so that you can thoroughly assess the situation. Only talk when you know that you have something useful to offer. Your proposed resolutions should revolve around their problems. Remember, the goal is to help the customers, not to take their money.

The approach to sales described here isn’t new or farfetched. In fact, it has been used by top marketers for many years now. However, until every salesperson learns how to use the methods of soft selling to better attract and gain customers, the reputation of the sales world will be stuck in the dead zone.

 

Resources:

Charles, Jeff. “5 Easy Ways to Sell Without Being Pushy or Obnoxious.” Small Biz Trends. August 31, 2015. smallbiztrends.com/2015/08/easy-ways-to-sell.html

Flynn, Pat. “How to Sell Without Selling: The Art of No-Pitch Promotion.” Smart Passive Income. May 20, 2014. www.smartpassiveincome.com/how-to-sell-without-selling-the-art-of-no-pitch-promotion

Gregory, Alyssa. “12 Tips for Using a Soft Approach to Make the Sale.” Sitepoint. June 22, 2010. www.sitepoint.com/using-a-soft-sales-approach

Iannarino, Anthony. “Don’t Mistake Selling for the Hard Sell.” The Sales Blog. May 28, 2010. thesalesblog.com/2010/05/28/don%E2%80%99t-mistake-selling-for-the-hard-sell

Nornberg, Vanessa M. “3 Ways to Tell When a Customer Is Ready to Be Sold.” Inc. August 8, 2014. www.inc.com/vanessa-merit-nornberg-nornberg/3-ways-to-tell-when-a-customer-is-ready-to-be-sold.html

Verrill, Ashley. “How to Sell Without Sounding Like a Salesman.” Scott’s Marketplace. July 17, 2013. blog.scottsmarketplace.com/how-to-sell

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7 Ways to Recapture a Bored Audience

As a presenter taking the limelight, you shouldn’t expect the audience to give you their full attention outright. You have to understand that they have other stuff going on in their lives. You can’t force them to listen, but you can try to win their time and attention. One way to earn your place in the spotlight is to prepare for your presentation beforehand. Polish your content and decide on the best style of delivery. Make sure the method you choose is good enough to intrigue the audience and keep them hooked until the last slide.
Preparation is key to every presentation, but it’d be foolish to suppose even for a second that it’s enough to cover all the variables. No matter how much you prepare, you can’t predict what will happen onstage. You may have a brilliant content and a killer pitch deck but still have no one paying attention to you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad presenter, and it surely doesn’t mean that the people in front of you are rude. Sometimes, it simply means that your efforts and methods are not enough to draw the audience away from their other more important priorities.
Effectively Engaging a Disinterested Audience
So, what do you do? Should you just ignore your listeners’ indifference and rush through the presentation to get it all over with? No. The worst thing that can happen in a presentation is not for the audience to lose interest. The worst thing is for the presenter to give up trying to bring the audience back into the moment.
A responsible presenter reads the warning signs that may indicate that the audience is falling behind. The signs can be subtle or obvious: yawning, chattering, slouching, standing to leave the room, staring blankly into space, refusing to return eye contact, and fiddling with gadgets, among others. A seasoned presenter can detect these tell-tale signs spot on.

Pulling the Audience Back into the Moment

When you see the abovementioned signs, you can’t just go on with whatever you’re doing. The fact that nobody’s paying attention to you anymore should nudge you into doing something different. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting everybody’s time. When you’re about to lose your audience’s attention, hit the reset button and start over again. Here are some of the things you can do:

1. Pause, reflect, and regroup

When everything seems to crash and burn, stop where you are. Obviously, nothing of what you’re planning to say or do next can make the audience care about your presentation. So, before you make any more mistakes, just stop and reflect on when and how you lost them. What did you do wrong? Why did they remain impassive when you said something that was supposed to intrigue them? Think of how you can shake things up, and figure out the best way to go from there. Sometimes, it’s better to improvise than go with something that is evidently not working out.

Effectively Engaging a Disinterested Audience

2. Inject stories into your presentation

Maybe the reason they are shutting you down is that you’re shoving hard data down their throats. Even technical professionals can get tired of numbers and figures when they’re presented blandly. Instead of sticking to one type of content that is sure to bore the crowd, share personal stories and anecdotes that shine a new light into your topic. People are hardwired to listen to stories because they’re engaging and undemanding. If you can share an interesting story that is relevant to the subject, you can pull the audience out of their trance and draw them back into your presentation.

3. Use humor to liven up the mood

This isn’t to say that you have to make the room shake with laughter. A small chuckle or a subtle smile should do the trick. Use humor to get into your audience’s good side and lighten the mood in the room. Just remember to keep your relevant to the presentation.

4. Break the pattern you’re in

People pay attention to any kind of change, so make sure to make your presentation as diverse and sundry as possible. Use transitional devices to prompt the audience that you’re shifting to another type of content. This will help them refocus and gradually get back on track.

Effectively Engaging a Disinterested Audience

5. Shift the limelight to the audience

A presentation should ideally be a dialogue rather than a monologue. It should be a two-way conversation that the audience can participate in. So, when you get the chance, turn the tables and give the audience an opportunity to talk. You can do this by engaging them in a Q & A session where you can take feedback and gauge how interested they are. It’s also an opportunity for your listeners to clarify things they might have missed.

6. Take small breaks after sections

People can only take in too much information. That’s why you need to give your audience a break every now and then. Microbreaks can leave them reinvigorated as they take refreshments and relieve themselves in the restroom. When they return to their seats, they will have enough energy to refocus into your presentation.

7. Check your body language

Maybe your stage presence (or lack of) is what leaves the audience inert. Maybe you’re not connecting with them enough through body language. Check your stance, gestures, and facial expressions. Make sure that you convey authority and confidence without coming off as arrogant and overbearing. Projecting the right body language can help you bring back their attention and save your presentation.
One thing you have to remember to avoid losing your audience is to make the presentation less about you and more about them. Everything you do should cater to their interests so that they will not be tempted to attend to other things while you’re up there onstage presenting valuable information.

Resources:

Biesenbach, Rob. “What You Can Do When Your Audience Tunes Out.” Fripp. n.d. www.fripp.com/what-you-can-do-when-your-audience-tunes-out
Davis, Keith. “How to Use Humor in Your Speeches and Presentations.” Easy Public Speaking. May 20, 2010. easypublicspeaking.co.uk/public-speaking-humour
Frenzel, Leif. “How to Avoid Losing the Audience in a Technical Talk.” Code Affine. February 26, 2015. www.codeaffine.com/2015/02/26/how-to-keep-audience-attention-during-presentation
Mac, Dave. “Do You Recognize the Five Early Warning Signs of a Bored Audience?” n.d. www.presentationblogger.com/do-you-recognize-the-5-early-warnings-signs-of-a-bored-audience
Mitchell, Olivia. “What to Do When You’re Losing Your Audience.” Speaking About Presenting. n.d. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/audience/losing-audience
Somlai, Fisher. “The Deck Is a Dialogue: Three Steps to Conversational Presenting.” Business. February 22, 2017. www.business.com/articles/the-deck-is-a-dialogue-3-steps-to-conversational-presenting
“What to Do When You’re Losing Your Audience.” The Total Communicator. n.d. totalcommunicator.com/vol2_2/losingaudience.html

5 Ways PowerPoint Presentations Can Improve Business Leads

When someone says the word “marketing,” the initial thoughts that come to people’s minds are sales talking, customer service, advertising, and/or social media and blog posts, or any combination thereof. It may not be wrong, but surely the concept has deeper roots than just getting a “come on” for people to trade their hard-earned cash for a product or a service.
For the better business-minded people out there, the focus of the game has shifted to customer experience, the concept that looks at consumer interactions and how your potential leads form a relationship with your brand. Extending that logic, forking cash over doesn’t terminate the connection; sure, it may be the end of the transaction, but it’s just the beginning of the experience. There’s still the post-sales service (via customer service), trust and loyalty maintenance, etc. It’s kind of an “It’s not about the destination but about the journey” thing.
True enough, the most memorable relationships continue after you receive the customer’s money.
But how do you start getting those people to show even a bit of interest in your company? It’s not like you can do so much after traditional marketing, right? Right?
As it turns out, there’s one avenue you may not have thought of but works because of its uniqueness: PowerPoint. It’s one of those functions that the software wasn’t intended for but still amazingly works given its nature.
You know where this is going: a public speaking arrangement where you can use your deck as a tool for your sales pitch. But what benefits would that bring? Won’t it be just like how you started your whole enterprise, only your audience are executives instead of potential customers?
There are a few more things you can do besides showing off your products and offering crazy sales. Conversations, arguably the best sales pitch ever, become more than just pitches. Check the following infographic to learn all about the advantages you can get from using PowerPoint presentations when it comes to gaining more leads.
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Resources:

Barr, Corbett. “The Best Sales Pitch Ever.” Fizzle. November 16, 2016. www.fizzle.co/sparkline/the-best-sales-pitch-ever
Zwilling, Martin. “‘Customer Experience’ Is Today’s Business Benchmark.” Forbes. March 10, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/martinzwilling/2014/03/10/customer-experience-is-todays-business-benchmark/#50113f125011

What Makes a Winning Investor Pitch Deck?

Whether your business is small or multinational, one thing will always be present. Barring the basic constants (employees, profits, losses, gains, etc.), in one way or another, you’ll always find yourself in a meeting room, giving or receiving a pitch. With the former, how well you do could spell the survivability or demise of your startup company or the guarantee of funds for your next big project. It doesn’t need saying, but a pitch is an important step toward success.

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This is why you’ll more likely fret over nailing your pitch the first time rather than wait for a redo. You’ve got the public speaking skill to charm your audiences, but of course, a good support will take you further. That support is your investor pitch deck. You’re already aware of what makes a PowerPoint presentation powerful. At this point, what you need to know is what makes your presentation—and by extension, your business—the winning choice.

Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | Notebook

Major Paradigm Shift

When technology advances as quickly as one can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the world changes as well. Take for instance the evolution of news material from the invention of the printing press to the few short years after online articles became a thing; today, print lags behind digital.

In the same way, figure out what paradigm shift is causing the problem you’re trying to solve. In Andy Raskin’s article, he says Zuora, a software company, has the “greatest sales deck” because they start off framing a change that not only arrests attention but also puts in perspective how the “shift affects [the audience], how it scares them, and where they see opportunities” all at once. During that fleeting moment, you hint where your pitch is going without saying it outright, but just enough to spark curiosity.

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Additionally, doing so nicely sets up the…

Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | Problem = Lower Morale

Problem

One thing that pitches always highlight is how a product works vis-à-vis a solution. “My/Our product can do this and that with these features and those upgrades. I/We believe it’s something that can help people.” There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s basically a must. If you truly think your business is something that can be beneficial to your target market, or even society, then you would spill your heart out on why your interpretation of a solution is better. But a more general question to ask is, “How bad or big is the problem?”

Put as much flair and buildup into the problem you’re trying to solve as much as you do into your solution. This will give your possible investors a glimpse of, if not completely understand, how said challenge affects people on a larger scale, how your product addresses that, and even your motive and drive to continue working on your proposed solution. Doing so will put into context your enthusiasm during your pitch. It will then be more memorable, and they’ll realize you’re the correct choice.

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Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | Line and bar graph increasing

Data

Before you even started your business, you already researched extensively on your target demographic, logistics, and the many other particulars for your enterprise. Then you release your product, even if it’s an alpha or a beta demo, and gather your results. Keep those numbers and feedback in hand; you’ll need them just as much as the initial research because that’s what you wow your pitch audience with.

Figures give a more concrete achieve and set a more realistic standard than hypotheticals, especially when accompanied by testimonials from customers. Framing and hyping the climax of your pitch is a method of romancing the audience that makes them want more. When you’re done setting up the real numbers for a “hypothetical” product to get their hopes up, that’s when you take them by surprise (but not really, given that you’re pitching something to them) and introduce your…

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Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | the Solution

Solution

This is the first time they’re hearing about your actual product. All the data and testimonials you’ve thrown to your audience now have something to fall on—a kind of “a name to a face” logic. You already went all-out with your first few slides, so it’s time to let your proposed solution stand on its own. Don’t just focus on the features that people loved; show and tell what sets you apart from your competitors and why investors should pick you.

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Since this is the crux of your pitch, continue with the same level of eagerness you had in the first part as you go for the last stretch. Just because you’re ending doesn’t mean you can let up. If anything, a better conclusion results in a more powerful impact that can guarantee your cashflow and move to a brighter future.

Pitches shouldn’t be necessarily difficult, but when you consider the pressure you feel because of the supposed “life-or-death” outcome of either a small business or a project, the stakes become higher. Don’t let yourself buckle down because of the pressure though. Once you ace this, you’re on your way to more exciting prospects.

Remember what you need to focus on and emphasize on your deck. It’s about your company, your product, and your passion. You may be out looking for funds, but it’s only a step toward your larger goal: solving a problem you know society shouldn’t deal with.

 

Resources:

Chuang, Alex. “The Quick and Dirty Guide to Creating a Winning Pitch Deck.” Startup Grind. n.d. www.startupgrind.com/blog/the-quick-and-dirty-guide-to-creating-a-winning-pitch-deck

Eckler, Daniel. “How to Design a Pitch Deck: Lessons from a Seasoned Founder.” Medium. n.d. www.medium.com/swlh/how-to-design-a-pitch-deck-lessons-from-a-seasoned-founder-c816d1ae7272

Harroch, Richard. “How to Create a Great Investor Pitch Deck for Startups Seeking Financing.” Forbes. March 4, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2017/03/04/how-to-create-a-great-investor-pitch-deck-for-startups-seeking-financing/#db6b7f62003e

Lee, Aaron. “30 Legendary Startup Pitch Decks and What You Can Learn from Them.” Piktochart. n.d. www.piktochart.com/blog/startup-pitch-decks-what-you-can-learn

Lenaerts, Sven. “10 Presentation Design Tips (for the Best Pitch Deck).” Envato Tuts+. May 25, 2016. business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/10-presentation-design-tips-for-the-best-pitch-deck–cms-24860

Raskin, Andy. “The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen.” The Mission. September 15, 2016. www.themission.co/the-greatest-sales-deck-ive-ever-seen-4f4ef3391ba0

Welton, Caysey. “Across Age Groups, Print Lags Far Behind Digital and TV as a News Source.” Folio: Magazine. June 21, 2016. www.foliomag.com/across-age-groups-print-lags-far-behind-digital-and-tv-as-a-news-source

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Why White Space Looks Good in Presentation Design

Amateur designers tend to overdo their work. They cram every good idea they have into one design, leaving no area untouched. In their determination to not waste any space, they end up creating a noisy composition that buries the most important graphic elements. The result? Clutter, confusion, and chaos.

Fixing a sloppy work is simple in principle, although it’s not exactly easy to execute. As a graphic designer, all you need to do is maximize the use of an element called “white space,” which is a misnomer because it doesn’t necessarily refer to a white space. In fact, it can be any color, texture, or pattern, as long as it’s an unmarked area that makes the crucial points of a composition stand out.

White space is also known as “negative space” because it makes the “positive space” pop by shrinking in the background and remaining there unnoticed. Its general purpose is to provide a breather for the eyes so that viewers can easily scan a page and find what they need. Still, despite the crucial role that this element plays, it’s still overlooked and underrated at times.

Let’s give white space its own deserved spotlight. Let’s look at it not only from an aesthetic angle but also from a practical perspective. What do you say?

The Two Levels of White Space

There are two levels of white space according to density, ratio, proportion, and general purpose: macro and micro.

  • Macro White Space. Obviously, macro white space is larger in volume compared to its counterpart. Plus, it’s easier to notice because it occupies the bigger portion of a given space. Its main purpose is to emphasize the focal points in a composition and give them structure, and its asymmetrical nature allows it to lend any work a more dynamic and candid look.
  • Micro White Space. This refers to the white space that exists naturally between letters, words, lines, grid images, and other smaller graphic elements. Its main purpose is to direct the flow and order of the content to make for a legible and neat composition.

The Advantages of Using White Space

You’d think the advantages of using white space are obvious, but some presentation designers still overlook them. For good measure, go over them here again to fully internalize the importance of this presentation design element.

1. Improves readability and comprehension

The average attention span of a human being is not as long as it used to be, so if you want to attract and keep your viewers’ attention, you need to give them a good reason to stay. One way to do this is by making it easy for them to navigate through your content. Reduce clutter and design a slide in such a way that the viewers can easily find what they’re looking for. Aim for better comprehension and readability. When people have a full grasp of what you’re trying to communicate, they’re more likely to stay and find out what else you have in store for them.

2. Draws the eyes to the most important points

When used properly, white space can minimize distractions and draw the eyes to the presentation’s central points. The human brain tends to put emphasis on design elements surrounded by white space since they essentially cue the audience as to where they should be looking. When you use white space to lead users from one design element to another, you can sell your main points faster and more effectively.

3. Adds a sense of superiority to the design

In the age of digital media, first impressions matter so much more than ever before. To imprint a good brand image on the mind of your audience, you should master the art of simplicity and minimalism. By using white space liberally and masterfully, you can lend finesse and elegance to your PowerPoint deck. Just take Apple and Starbucks for example. These brands glorify the “less is more” principle, and as a result, their products are considered as the paragon of luxury and sophistication.

On the other hand, less effective presentations tend to cram a hodgepodge of things into one tight space. Too many elements clashing with one another tends to cheapen a slide deck’s overall look. Remember, a tidy and uncluttered space looks more impressive than a heavily packed one. Give your content some breathing space and let it speak for itself.

4. Strikes a balance between texts and images

While the lack of white space results to confusion, an excess of it gives off the impression of incompleteness. Be mindful of how you apply white space lest you look incompetent by under- or overusing it. Aim to strike a balance between the different elements in your presentation design. Keep in mind what Mads Soegaard, the editor-in-chief in The Interaction Design Foundation, said, “White space is a great tool to balance design elements and better organize content to improve the visual communication experience…. For that, the white space is the real star of the show, working between the words and the pictures. It keeps each page from looking busy.”

So, there you have it—everything you need to know to care about white space. Now equipped with such knowledge, you shouldn’t look at this design element as “empty space” anymore. Your improved understanding of the role of white space in presentation design should allow you to put it into better use. Remember, the things you leave out are just as important as those you use.

Resources:

Cao, Jerry, et al. “Why White Space is Crucial to UX Design.” Fast Company Design. May 28, 2015. www.fastcodesign.com/3046656/why-white-space-is-crucial-to-ux-design

Lana, Michelle. “Why Whitespace Is So Important in Web Design.” Segue Technologies. September 10, 2015. www.seguetech.com/whitespace-web-design

Soegaard, Mads. “The Power of White Space.” Interaction Design Foundation. n.d. www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/the-power-of-white-space

Turnbull, Connor. “Using White Space (or Negative Space) in Your Designs.” Envato Tuts Plus. July 19, 2011. webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/using-white-space-or-negative-space-in-your-designs–webdesign-3401

“White Space in Graphic Design, and Why It’s Important.” Printwand. n.d. www.printwand.com/blog/white-space-in-graphic-design-and-why-its-important

Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Presentations

When you’re conversing with someone, which of the following do you do: look at that person in the eye or look away? focus or check your watch every few seconds? listen or play with your fingers, seemingly absentminded?

There are many negative connotations when you answer the latter for every pair. That’s because arbitrary cognition affects how people perceive your actions. In short, body language. The more negative those perceptions are, the more badly it reflects upon you, especially when you’re onstage and speaking in front of a large crowd.

But what specific “negative body language” indicators do you have to avoid during a presentation? Below are a few.

Body Language Mistake to Avoid During a Presentation: Crossing Arms

Poor Posture

If anything, this will be the most glaring and most obvious presentation blunder you can make. Slumped shoulders and slouching are its two biggest indicators, and they already tell much: nervousness, little to no confidence, a feeling of discomfort and inferiority, and that hint of the “I don’t really want to be here” idea. Poor posture reflects as much on your audience as it does to your own body.

Instead, practice proper posture in front of a mirror. A straight body not only improves bodily functions, like blood circulation, breathing, and the like, but also exudes an air of confidence and self-worth. Then, when you’re in front of your audience, do the same and think of it as your power pose. They will perceive you as a professional with the right things in mind to be worth their time.

Crossing Arms

Defensiveness is not a new concept. Humans survived basically because of it. But when talking about body language, it’s not a good thing; it gives off the message that you aren’t receptive to anything, are resistant to everything except yourself, and would rather stay in your comfort zone—three things you wouldn’t want your audience to emulate because, by then, your words will fall on deaf ears.

What do you do with your hands then? A good trick is incorporating hand movements to your spiel. If you’re about to introduce a point, motion to the audience. If you want a word or phrase emphasized, you can point to your presentation. You can also address to your viewers with a welcoming wave using both hands.

Body Language Mistake to Avoid During a Presentation: Turning Your Back

Exaggerated Gestures

Moving around the stage is good. It makes your speech lively with movements and can even draw attention to you and/or to what you’re pointing to, especially when emphasizing points (see above). But there is such a thing as “over the top.”

There should be a limit. If you use exaggerated gestures, like doing a sweeping wave when a small movement of the hand is enough, you can be seen as trying too hard or being too theatrical; the latter isn’t necessarily bad, per se, but if what you’re doing diverts your audience’s attention away from your words, then it’s time to keep your actions in check or, at least, dial it down a notch.

Turning Your Back

There’s a reason live TV strictly discourages showing its stars’ back to the camera: it’s to show the faces of the actors and actresses, the best tools they can use to portray the emotions the scene evokes.

It’s the same with public speaking. What would you rather your audience see: your back or your face? Choosing the former can denote that you’re not really interested in seeing them—much more talk to them. The worst perception is that you don’t trust and respect your viewers. Soon, they’ll reciprocate that feeling and think they just wasted their time.

Don't Forget to Make Eye Contact During Your Presentation

Make Eye Contact

Have you ever had a conversation with an individual where your eyes just don’t meet, and you feel more awkward with each passing moment? Not having eye contact gives off the air and sentiment that much of what happens isn’t worth the time and could be just safely ignored. Thus, trust isn’t formed.

Looking at your audience members eye to eye fosters better understanding of each other because of the sincerity and trust that comes with it. You feel there’s a deeper connection steadily forming from that connection. The more it develops, the more your audience sees what makes you stand and speak in front of them: “confidence, leadership, strength, and intelligence,” as Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, writes.

When it comes right down to it, when hundreds of pairs of eyes are on you, there’s no greater fear than making a mistake and humiliating yourself. With the wrong kinds of body language, you’re just digging your grave deeper. When you’re rehearsing, take extra care and effort to eliminate these habits, no matter how much of a mannerism they have become. It’ll serve you better in the long run.

Resources:

Babar, Tayab. “8 Fatal Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Presentations.” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/8-fatal-body-language-mistakes-avoid-during-presentations.html

Bradberry, Travis. “13 Body Language Blunders that Make You Look Bad.” Huffington Post. March 4, 2017. www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/13-body-language-blunders-that-make-you-look-bad_us_58b88c2fe4b02eac8876cc70

Chernoff, Marc. “25 Acts of Body Language to Avoid.” Marc & Angel Hack Life. July 7, 2008. www.marcandangel.com/2008/07/07/25-acts-of-body-language-to-avoid

Economy, Peter. “9 Body Language Habits That Make You Look Really Unprofessional.” Inc. May 13, 2016. www.inc.com/peter-economy/9-body-language-habits-that-make-you-look-really-unprofessional.html

Grickej, Peter. “5 Negative Effects of Bad Posture on Your Body and Mind.” Posturebly. June 20, 2014. www.posturebly.com/5-negative-effects-of-bad-posture-on-your-body-and-mind

Herold, Cameron. “5 Absolute Worst Body Language Mistakes Made at Work.” COO Alliance. November 16, 2016. www.cooalliance.com/blog/communication/5-absolute-worst-body-language-mistakes-made-at-work

Navarro, Joe. “The Psychology of Body Language.” Psychology Today. November 29, 2009. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/200911/the-psychology-body-language

Smith, Jacquelyn. “The 11 Worst Body Language Mistakes Professionals Make.” Business Insider. April 17, 2014. www.businessinsider.com/common-body-language-mistakes-employees-make-2014-4

Tour of California 2017 and the Seven Stages of the Business Cycle

The Tour of California is a professional cycling race that has been dubbed as America’s Tour de France. Debuting in 2006, the event is considered as one of the most important cycling races in the United States. Although it’s now held every year in May, it was originally a February affair. The change was made back in 2010 when organizers wanted to make the race a preparatory event for the Tour de France. The Tour of California typically covers 700 miles through the U.S. state of California.

This year, the cycling race will start on May 14 and cap off on May 21. It’s only a few days before the event officially starts, and excitement is already building around the cycling community. Kristin Klein said, “As the sport of cycling continues to bloom in America, the Amgen Tour of California men’s and women’s events are both part of the UCI World Tour for the first time, a privilege and designation reserved for the world’s premier’s races. This means the competition will reach an all-time high, with the best racers and best teams in the world lining up to take part.”

All this hype will surely attract the public’s eye. Indeed, as Klein noted, “The Amgen Tour of California is America’s greatest race, and this year more than ever, the world will be watching.” Cycling enthusiasts, athletes, health junkies, and casual fans alike will all be there to support the cause. But there should be one more group that ought to jump on the bandwagon: businessmen. That’s right—men in suits may seem like the odd-ones-out in a crowd of Lycra-shorts-wearing people, but they’re not far removed from the spirit of this occasion. In fact, the Tour of California cycling race may just be the new business metaphor that entrepreneurs, like you, need.

Resources:

Chen, Sheen. “What Are the Stages of a Business Lifecycle and Its Challenges?” Business 2 Community. March 4, 2014. www.business2community.com/strategy/stages-business-lifecycle-challenges-0798879#osr2aRkspuuKlDE5.97

Griffiths, Andrew. “If You Want a Solid Future You Need to Know Where You Are in the Business Life Cycle.” Inc. April 19, 2016. www.inc.com/andrew-griffiths/which-part-of-the-7-stage-business-life-cycle-are-you-in.html

Janssen, Thierry. “The 7 Stages of Business Life Cycle.” Just in Time Management. n.d. www.justintimemanagement.com/en/The-7-stages-of-business-life-cycle

Schilken, Chuck. “Amgen Tour of California Announces Routes for 2017 Race.” LA Times. January 31, 2017. www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-tour-of-california-route-20170130-story.html

“2017 Tour of California Routes Announced.” Cycling News. January 31, 2017. www.cyclingnews.com/news/2017-tour-of-california-routes-announced

“Where Are You in the Seven-Stage Cycle?” Addison and Company. n.d. www.addisonandco.co.uk/the-7-stages-of-business

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Videos: How Can They Improve Your Presentation?

We can no longer ignore the growing hype around videos. These electronic media are gaining traction, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they soon become the most popular type of content, since more social media channels are popping up to underline their importance. Today, the effectiveness of videos in capturing people’s attention is apparent. In YouTube, for example, 400 hours of videos are uploaded every minute and almost 5 billion are viewed every day. These staggering statistics show that we create and consume video content in a rapidly increasing rate.

Still, while all this hype around videos is nice, we can’t really claim that it’s something new. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., included this medium in his presentations as early as 1984. The potential of videos as the trendiest type of content will continue to grow, so if you haven’t explored the possibilities of video marketing, now is the time.

The Purposes of Using Videos in Presentations


Isn’t it ironic that although most marketers recognize video content as a powerful tool, only four percent use it religiously in presentations? That leaves a glaring 96 percent in the dark, stuck in traditional methods that are only half as effective as video marketing. This isn’t to say that you should add a video in every presentation—of course, if it isn’t appropriate, do away with it. But if you find an opportunity to use this type of content to support or highlight your message, why not grab it?

Here are the four main purposes of adding videos in your presentation:

  • To explain a complex idea. It’s hard to explain a technical idea to a group of people who know nothing about it. Sure, you can put that idea into words, but you can’t guarantee that your equally perplexing explanation will translate into something cohesive in the audience’s mind. If it’s too complicated to grasp, why not find another means of expressing it? Perhaps a video could render it more comprehensible?
  • To engage the audience in discussion. Videos have a certain pull that makes them effective in grabbing people’s attention. A relevant video presented at the right moment can keep the audience bolted to the screen. Make sure that the video you use can establish an emotional connection with your audience and can generate a meaningful discussion that will fire up their energy.
  • To break the monotony. You can’t expect the audience to listen to you for hours on end. Their attention is bound to wane at some point, and one way to recapture their interest is by giving them a break in the form of a video to watch. If possible, inject humor in your presentation to lighten up the mood and make room for a seamless transition.
  • To help in memory retention. An experiment conducted by Dr. Richard Mayer from the University of California, Santa Barbara revealed that people immersed in “multi-sensory environments” had better recall even years after a presentation. This is because when the human brain builds two mental representations of something (i.e. a verbal and a visual model), it typically results to better memory retention.

Things to Remember When Adding Videos to Your Slides

You’d think that adding a video to a presentation is a piece of cake, but some people still seem to miss the basics. To make sure that you do things right, take these pointers:

1. Embed the video in the presentation itself

Think of how unprofessional it would look to show the audience a video separate from the original presentation. You’d look like an amateur who didn’t bother to assemble your knowledgebase in one place. Plus, it would be inconvenient on your part when switching from one to the other, so it’s only practical and professional to insert the video in the presentation itself. In PowerPoint, you can embed a video directly in the slides to make for a smoother transition.

2. Keep it short and simple

Videos are meant to enhance your presentation, not replace it. That’s why you should only designate a short chunk of time for this type of content. Otherwise, you’ll lose your connection with the audience and destroy your momentum. An effective video presentation shouldn’t make the audience forget that you’re the main source and “relayer” of information.

Things to Remember When Adding a Video in Your Presentation: Keep it Short and Simple

3. Lean towards the authentic

People are more interested in realistic videos that reflect genuine experiences than in corporate ones that are too alien to relate with. To add a dab of authenticity in your videos, you can use testimonials that feature real customers who truly value and uphold your brand. Testimonials, especially when unsolicited, are a persuasive tool for inviting more people to consider your message.

4. Check its relevance to the topic

Relevance is the number one criteria when adding video clips in a presentation. You can’t just throw in anything that doesn’t relate to the points you’re trying to make. Every video clip must have a purpose—and that purpose should have something to do with underlining your core message.

5. Use narratives to draw emotional responses

Everyone responds to narratives. Stories have a certain quality that evokes emotional responses from people. A video content structure that follows a narrative can make for a more compelling presentation that will allow the audience to make sense of abstract ideas that would otherwise be lost in translation.

Now you know the secret to making your next pitch stand out. Use videos more wisely in your next presentation, and see the difference in your audience’s level of energy and engagement.

Resources:

Bell, Steven J. “Using Video in Your Next Presentation: A Baker’s Dozen of Ideas and Tips.” Info Today. n.d. www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jul10/Bell.shtml

Blodget, Henry. “The Lost 1984 Video: Steve Jobs Introduces the Mac.” Business Insider. August 25, 2011. www.businessinsider.com/video-steve-jobs-introduces-mac-2011-8

Boone, Rob. “How and Why You Should Use Video in Your Next Presentation.” Live Slides. January 22, 2016. www.liveslides.com/blog/how-to-use-video-in-presentations

Gallo, Carmine. “Four Easy Tips on Using Video to Make Your Presentation Stand Out.” Forbes. January 31, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2017/01/31/four-easy-tips-on-using-video-to-make-your-presentation-stand-out/#2ed99f26e3a0

Marshall, Lisa B. “How to Use Video in a Presentation.” Quick and Dirty Tips. August 9, 2012. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/how-to-use-video-in-a-presentation

“3 Reasons to Add Video to Your Presentation.” Meetings Imagined. n.d. www.meetingsimagined.com/tips-trends/3-reasons-add-video-your-presentation

“36 Mind-blowing YouTube Facts, Figures, and Statistics 2017.” Fortunelords. March 23, 2017.

Infographic Dissection: Parts that Make Up a Good Infographic

A quick look at multiple blogs will reveal an amazing truth: infographics are all the rage for the past few years. Why wouldn’t they? They make complex concepts easily understandable and, generally speaking, make life simpler. On a lighter side, they’re quirky and fun—almost entertaining—to read.
Infographics, a portmanteau of the term “information graphics,” is not a new concept. From the late 18th century onward, information graphics have made data more visual and more appealing for study. As such, the tedious task of studying countless tables to compare numbers and figures became as simple as looking at graphs and/or charts (which, by all rights, are methods of data visualization). Today, most infographics are intended mainly for information dissemination, shareability, and traffic management.
This is not bad though; in fact, the statistics back it up. Infographics are liked and shared thrice more than any other visual material online. The very nature of the medium and the fact that they make tons of information easily understood (without wasting a good chunk of your time) make them likable, which adds to their popularity. Added to that is that humans are visual creatures, and you’re looking at one of the two most effective and most efficient methods edutaining; the other is video (think documentaries and the like).
In that surge of popularity, many people tried their hand at making infographics. Some came out great, while others aren’t. It’s unavoidable: Mass production usually results in poorer quality. While there are still some that stand out among the sea of mediocrity, it’s better to be reminded every now and then of what makes for a good infographic.
Although it’s not that difficult in theory, in practice, it can be very different. You need skills and excellent planning to pull it off. But if you’re confident that you can create an amazing infographic, remind yourself of what you need to put in your piece. Let the infographic below be your checklist on the what and the why.
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Resources:

Taylor, Marcus. “The Anatomy of Creating a Great Infographic.” Venture Harbour. n.d. www.ventureharbour.com/the-anatomy-of-creating-a-great-infographic
“10 Types of Visual Content to Use in Your Content Marketing.” Mass Planner. October 21, 2015. www.massplanner.com/10-types-of-visual-content-to-use-in-your-content-marketing