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Breaking Boring: Making Dull Presentations More Engaging

Let’s face it. When done poorly, a presentation can be very boring to sit through. Be it because of bland slide design, uninspired content or monotone delivery. Dullness can kill both a presentation and a business. The harsh reality is that delivering a boring presentation is a trap that most people don’t realize they are falling inside off.

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As presentation experts, we believe any deck is capable of being engaging and effective. As the old saying by G.K. Chesterton goes: “There are no boring subjects, only disinterested minds.” With enough practice and know-how, anyone can develop the skills to deliver attention-grabbing presentations to advance their business. Here are some tips to help in beating out boring:

Ask questions, questions, questions

Pique the interest of your audience by playing with their curiosity. Start your speech by asking a thought-provoking question. An example would be, “How can I ‘wow’ someone with my presentation?” By directly addressing your audience, it immediately engages them into the topic at hand while establishing a connection between you and them. You can use that first question to guide your overall presentation by structuring your content to slowly provide the answer as you go along.

However, you should not be the only one asking questions in the room. Present information in such a way that it encourages your audience to ask questions themselves to help further feed their curiosity.

Laugh it up

Never doubt the power of a good laugh. When it’s appropriate, feel free to inject your presentation with a little humor. This can be as simple as a quip or a pop culture reference. These jokes can help break a monotonous flow and add a nice flavor to your presentation. It also helps your audience be relaxed and comfortable with you as the speaker. Delivering a joke that lands a good reaction will leave a nice impression on your audience, making your presentation more memorable.

The value of developing good comedic timing goes beyond work. Humor will always be a good trick to fall back on to brighten up most dull situations.

Be photo-friendly

The fastest way to grab your audience’s attention is to give them a visual treat. Replace typical blocks of text and countless numbers with photos and images to illustrate your points. This takes advantage of the fact that people are naturally drawn to remember distinct visual cues. Also, being more visually-oriented gives you the space to speak freely to your audience, as you are not caught up with reading through too much text on the slides.

Another tip would be to practice utilizing colors in your slide design that complement the overall feel of your presentation. This harmony of color and content can garner a greater emotional response from your audience.

Stay fresh

When crafting the content of your presentation, it’s important to boil the information down to what’s fresh and most relevant to your audience. Presenting dated or derivative content is a sure-fire way to lose your audience’s attention. Make sure to study your content well enough to be able to discern its more interesting points that will spark the minds of your audience.

In the case of presenting content that’s mundane, such as market reviews and quarterly data, add a twist to things by providing a new context or perspective. This way you can still deliver a feeling of newness to an otherwise routine presentation.

While your subject matter may not always be the most glamorous, that’s no excuse for your presentations to not be interesting. When given the chance to make an impact on your business, never settle on a presentation that’s just adequate.

The next time your presentation needs a boost, give us a call! It’s our pleasure, and expertise, to clean up presentations of every kind of boring. We’ll have you ready to deliver an engaging presentation the next time you step in front of an audience.

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Make It Pop: Utilizing Color Theory in Your Presentations

More than making the world look stylish, colors impact the way we understand visual information all around us. We know that a green light means go, a blue sky means a pleasant day and a brown banana means it’s probably time to throw that out. Because colors can say so much at just a glance, choosing the right ones is always a crucial decision a PowerPoint specialist must make.

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When delivering a presentation, you’ll want to keep your audience engaged with captivating visuals. People are more likely to remember distinct visual stimulants than blocks of text or rambling speeches. Color theory is one of the foundations of graphic design. Knowing how to utilize colors effectively is key to making your presentations more impactful. It’s the first step to becoming a more refined presentation specialist.

Set the mood

You may not realize it every time, but colors have the power to evoke a wide range of emotions. Warm colors can have you feeling excited and optimistic while cool colors give an impression professionalism and elegance. This subliminal effect on our minds is something not all visual mediums are capable of. Whether you’re designing a PowerPoint presentation, brochures/handouts or infographics, applying colors that match the mood and tone of your content can add more depth to the story you wish to tell.

Make information pop

Most of the fun in understanding color theory comes from experimenting with different color combinations to achieve the most effective design. By playing with contrasting or complementary colors, you can easily draw your audience’s attention to any slide’s most important piece of information. This way you can ensure the information flows out naturally to the eyes of your audience.

Build structure

Apart from simply coloring your fonts and backgrounds, color theory can help develop a clear structure to your slides. Using shapes, lines or negative space, you can further take control of the flow of information by distinguishing sections your audience can easily understand. As a presenter, structuring your slides will aid your mental flow as well.

Contrast and complement

As mentioned earlier, playing with contrasts and compliments can greatly impact the flow of information in your presentations. It’s important to know which colors pair well with one another to effectively bring out the information most relevant to your audience. Developing this skill will ultimately make your presentations feel much easier on the eyes.

Keep things simple

When it comes to design, it’s best to keep it simple and balanced. Having less can mean much more. Choose a palette of three to four distinct colors and you should be all set. Maintaining that palette helps build color association for your audience the further you get through your presentation. Color coding elements like headers or data makes filtering through information quicker and easier.

The 60-30-10 rule

This rule has its roots in interior design but its basic philosophy can be applied to various other fields of design. It’s a matter of knowing how to portion your colors in a certain space: 60% for primary colors, 30% for secondary and 10% for accents. By assigning colors according to importance, it makes distinguishing sections of each slide easier for you to design.

One more thing. Any presentation expert will tell you, don’t forget to dress accordingly! Try color coordinating your outfit with the palette of your slides. This detail will add a nice touch in making your overall presentation be more memorable.

Still need some help? Colors can be tricky. There is always more than meets the eye. If you feel like you’re at an impasse in your presentation design, just give us a call. We can help you give your slides an extra bit of “oomph!”

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The Good & the Bad: Presenting to a Generation X Audience

The Pew Research Center released a study saying that millennials are dominating the U.S. labor force. That’s more than one in three people or 56 million millennials working or looking for work.

However, it’s those who were born between 1965 and 1981 (Generation X) that are changing the nature of work. Gen Xers are dominating the playing field, having founded more than half of all new businesses.

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These are the people you should be presenting and marketing to.

America’s Neglected Middle Child

Despite the nickname, the appeal of Generation X has significantly risen due to their growing influence. People don’t hear much about them because all eyes are on the continuous rise of millennials and the slow retirement of baby boomers.

In a recent report provided by CNBC, however, it revealed that this generation is thriving, playing a critical—somewhat underappreciated—role in leadership while markets continue to grapple with digital transformation.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 showed that out of 25,000 leaders across 54 countries and 26 major industry sectors, Gen Xers account for 51% of leadership roles. And because they have an average of 20 years in the workforce, they are primed to quickly assume most executive roles.

The Advantages

Gen Xers have more money to spend than any other age group. Why? Because they are at the peak of their careers and income, which is why it’s no surprise that they have more cash to burn compared to the generations that preceded and succeeded them.

Apart from this, those who belong to this age group make up the majority of startup founders. This characterizes them as big thinkers who are unafraid to explore uncharted territory—always ready to absorb and try new ideas.

Lastly, they value authenticity. Be transparent with your presentation—be forward with your intentions. This age group holds strong family values, fueling their desire for safety and security. If your message reflects those values, then you’ll surely engage them.

The Drawbacks

Deemed as the “latch-key” generation, this age group doesn’t like being told what to do. They grew up in a time where they were left to their own devices while their parents were struggling to get new jobs because of a surge in nationwide layoffs.

Also, they’re not known to be the most tech-savvy, which is why you may want to keep it clean and simple on your customized PowerPoint presentation and focus on the execution of your delivery.

When marketing to a multigenerational crowd, not only will you have to tailor your topic to the appropriate audience, but your PowerPoint presentation has to be customized to suit their tastes, too.

Consider catering to Gen Xers. They may not be millennials, which make up the majority of the labor force, but they are at the peak of their careers and income. If you want to deliver an effective presentation to this age group, then make sure to look over this list of pros and cons to sell, compel, and inspire.

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References:

“Survey Report: 2015 State of the Startup.” Sage. 2015. www.sage.com/na/~/media/site/sagena/responsive/docs/startup/report

Anovick, Paul and Merrill, Theresa. “Eight Effective Elements for Engaging a Multigenerational Audience.” American Management Association. October 18, 2011. www.amanet.org/training/articles/eight-effective-elements-for-engaging-a-multi-generational-audience.aspx

Neal, Stephanie and Wellins, Richard. “Generation X—Not Millennials—Is Changing the Nature of Work.” CNBC. April 11, 2018. www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/generation-x–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

Fry, Richard. “Millennials Are the Largest Generation in the U.S. Labor Force.” Pew Research Center. April 11, 2018. www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/

Presentation Don’ts: Bad Presentation Habits

Most blogs would provide tips on how to successfully engage your audience through public speaking and visual aids, effectively garnering more investors and potential customers.

Surely, you’ve seen and conducted numerous presentations, but as stated on a previous blog post, spectators will always remember the bad ones. Oftentimes, even more so than the core of the discussion itself.

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Do you think there’s room for improvement in the way you conduct a presentation? Then, here are things you shouldn’t do during a sales pitch:

Starting with an apology

You’re late, missing a few of your discussion materials, your equipment malfunctions—these are just some of the things that can go wrong before you start your presentation. The usual reaction of speakers is to apologize in advance for how these mishaps may affect the presentation.

An apology sets a negative tone, which distracts your audience from what really matters—your presentation. Skip the minute-long explanation as to what the cause of the delay is and instead, handle it discreetly, take a deep breath, and start on a good note—begin how you usually would. This shows how you handle yourself under pressure.

Reading your slides/handouts

Eye contact and actively engaging with the audience is vital in making presentations effective. If your eyes are glued to either your slides or handouts, you won’t have a chance to interact with your listeners.

Glancing at your PowerPoint or notes is acceptable, but you must remember that knowing your material like the back of your hand is more favorable than relying on handouts because then, you’d be able to answer questions on top of your head.

Winging it

Stream of consciousness sometimes works on paper, but when you’re presenting in front of an audience, it isn’t recommended. If anything, this only makes you appear disorganized to your audience.

The more you stay off-topic, the less time you’ll have to focus on your presentation.

While winging it works for some, it’s better not to risk it and stick to what actually works: practicing. Instead of rambling on and on, which has the tendency to steer you away from your main point, practicing and internalizing your presentation helps you deliver information in a more concise and accurate manner.

Cluttering slides

Your slides should only contain the key points of your topic. When you present a wall of text, you’re wasting the usefulness of the tool. Remember: your slides are supposed to provide visual support to your claims.

If you don’t know which parts to retain, consulting with PowerPoint experts is the best way to go.

Forgetting to proofread the content of the presentation

Another problem is realizing that you have typos in your presentation when you’re already in front of your audience.

Once they notice these mistakes, you’re going to come across as unprepared or you’ve done your PowerPoint in a rush—both situations will not help you gain the customers you need.

Mistakes, when done repeatedly, become habits, and these are difficult to break when you’ve become accustomed to it. It’s better to take note of these tips before conducting another presentation so you can improve and be more effective.

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References:

Morgan, Nick. “Should You Prepare Your Speech or Should You Wing It?” Forbes. October 25, 2016. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2016/10/25/should-you-prepare-or-should-you-wing-it-the-perennial-public-speaking-question/#538f61b5c4fe

Spacey, Andrew. “How James Joyce Developed His Stream of Consciousness Novels. Owlcation. June 14, 2017. owlcation.com/humanities/Edouard-Dujardin-James-Joyce-and-Stream-of-Consciousness-Writing

Stachowiak, Dave. “Don’t Start Your Presentation Like This.” Coaching for Leaders. n.d. coachingforleaders.com/dont-start-like-this/

Does Storytelling Work? Well, It Worked for Many TED Speakers

Storytelling is the best way to engage your audience during a presentation.

Apart from a custom PowerPoint, it’s important that you establish a connection and elicit powerful emotions. This allows your audience to relate to and understand the need for your products and services because you’ve gone through the same thing at some point in your life.

TED speakers are some of the best people to ask when it comes to the most effective public speaking tips. They tell stories, which is the core of their mission during each presentation. Telling stories, after all, is one of the most effective forms of communication.

Human rights attorney and public speaker Bryan Stevenson has received the longest standing ovation ever given at a TED Talk. Carmine Gallo from Harvard Business Review shares that when he asked Steven about his speaking style, he says that he imagines talking to a friend over dinner, talking at an average of 190 words per minute, as compared to a motivational speaker who may go at 220 words per minute.

That said, he must have had something up his sleeve if he’s capable of coaxing his audience to a lasting standing ovation.

In March 2012, Stevenson held a TED Talk called We Need to Talk About an Injustice. Here, he talks about his grandmother and other people in his life, allowing him and the audience to establish a personal connection. What made it successful was its emotional arc—a compelling story of overcoming a relatable struggle.

If you don’t have a personal experience to share with your audience, tell them stories about real people—previous customers that have benefited from your company. Relevant real-life case studies are irresistible because the audience knows these are from other customers and not just opinions based on your thoughts alone.

Does your brand have an interesting origin story? You never know, this could be engaging and entertaining, like Airbnb’s—three guys making a few bucks by letting attendees at a local conference sleep at their place. Not only did this pay for the steep rent, but it also sparked a $30 billion-dollar idea.

TED Talks have stood out as an effective medium because it provides extensive information that’s easy to understand. But what else makes TED Talks special? Carmine Gallo boils its core elements down to three. He notes that the success of these presentations can be attributed to these three qualities:

  • Emotional
  • Novel
  • Memorable

Apart from these, top quality visuals are also necessary in engaging the audience. Consider consulting with PowerPoint presentation experts, it will prove a valuable step in the long term, especially for sales pitches.

Can you imagine having the power of TED speakers during presentations? To engage people until the end, making memorable pitches every time?

Storytelling is an art—an effective presentation technique. With passion, novel ideas, and memorable delivery, you’ll be able to pitch like a TED speaker. Keep these in mind and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

Dead Air: A Public Speaker’s Worst Nightmare

Picture this: you’re halfway through your customized PowerPoint presentation and you’re increasingly confident because your audience is responding positively. Suddenly, however, your mind goes blank and everything you’re supposed to say suddenly disappears.

Then, you turn to your audience and think to yourself, “What was I going to say again?”

Everyone has been in this situation at some point in their lives—while retelling a story to a friend or while discussing something in front of the class. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Yes, it can be hard to shake off, but it is preventable.

How do you prevent going blank in the first place?

SG_Dead-Air-A-Public-Speakers-Worst-Nightmare

There are speakers that wish to finish their presentations in half the time they allotted, but that doesn’t mean that you should skim through your topic to achieve that.

While it’s important that you keep the language of your discussion at a level where everyone in the audience will understand it, it is possible to go too far. The more you try to simplify words and phrases, you may find yourself in a web of thoughts that is difficult to tie back together.

SG_Dead-Air-A-Public-Speakers-Worst-Nightmare

When you memorize your pitch, the way you relay your message to the audience becomes more mechanical, detached, compared to knowing it like the back of your hand, taking every key point to heart.

The moment anxiety kicks in, everything you’ve memorized will disappear. It’s easy to lose your focus during a presentation. Saying the wrong word or turning to the wrong slide can immediately distract you.

When you internalize your presentation, there’s still a possibility of losing your footing, but you’ll get back on track just as quick.

Just remember to rehearse as much as you can so it results in delivering your pitch conversationally. This makes it easier for your audience to pick up on the emotions that you’re coaxing from them.

SG_Dead-Air-A-Public-Speakers-Worst-Nightmare

Mispronouncing a word or stuttering can throw you off your game, but these should be the least of your worries. Correct yourself and move along. There’s no use dwelling on it and stopping halfway because you’re embarrassed—it’s normal.

SG_Dead-Air-A-Public-Speakers-Worst-Nightmare

Have you ever stopped in the middle of a presentation because you felt like it was all for naught? If so, you might be experiencing typical feelings of the impostor syndrome, especially if it’s your first time pitching in front of a large audience, as this is more likely to happen to those embarking on a new endeavor.

First recognized in the 1970s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, PhD, and Suzanne Imes, PhD, the impostor phenomenon is a specific form of intellectual self-doubt, common among overachievers who are unable to internalize their success.

Talk to your mentors, recognize your expertise, and remember what you do well—you’ll be fine.

Many factors contribute to going blank during presentations—lack of confidence, over-preparation—and these may affect your effectiveness as a speaker.

Before the big day, take this moment to go over your pitch and leave the deck creation to business PowerPoint agencies to maximize your time. Breathe, internalize, and keep a level head always.

Presentation Nuisances: Handling Them Like a Professional

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or nth presentation, or how confident you’ve become with your skills to engage the audience, one way or another you’ll have to deal with unexpected interruptions in the midst of your remarks.

Expect that how you handle these situations will be remembered more than what you said during the actual presentation. This is because people are programmed to commit emotionally jarring events to memory.

Humans possess the remarkable ability to conjure even the smallest details surrounding a bad experience.

Even with a well-made PowerPoint presentation, your reputation is always at stake when faced with interruptions.

Types of Interruptions

Nuisances during presentations fall under various categories, including:

  • Hecklers
  • Technical Problems
  • Major Disasters

Hecklers are those who protest to disagree or humiliate the speaker during a presentation. They get their point across by using the most unreasonable means possible. While they are rude most of the time, you cannot respond in the same way.

Your reactions may depend on who you are, especially when it comes to hecklers. All you have to do is find what works best for you. You can make it part of your act; handle it with philosophy; or even handle it with humor. While comedians can take down a heckler in a blaze of glory, some entertainers still think not letting them get the best of you is the mature thing to do.

What if the power goes out in the middle of your presentation or the tech malfunctions at the closing slide? While you know the PowerPoint like the back of your hand, such an event can still throw you off your game.

Peter Khoury of MagneticSpeaking shares that you shouldn’t try to fix the technology while you’re supposed to be giving a presentation. Instead, ask for technical assistance and start with your pitch.

In the event of a natural disaster, don’t panic. Remain calm and exit the building. This sends a message that despite the unfortunate event, you are still in control.

Staying Calm and in Control

While each type of interruption requires a different approach, staying calm and in control is constant. Never lose your cool in front of your audience, as this will make you look unprofessional and you’re sure to lose their trust and respect.

It’s easy to let these disturbances under your skin. Always be courteous and polite—maintain a level head and get your presentation back on track as quickly as possible.

Interruptions during presentations come in various forms, but if you can handle them gracefully, you’ll have no problem earning your audience’s respect. Doing otherwise may diminish the effectiveness of your presentation and you as a speaker.

Always keep in mind that even if you want to show your custom PowerPoint presentation design to your audience, it will only be secondary to your stage presence so be mindful of how you handle yourself in front of an audience.

Preparing for a presentation can be difficult, such interruptions can really grate on your nerves. Take it easy, handle it with patience and grace, and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.

Presentation Nuisances: Hecklers, Tech Difficulties & Natural Disasters

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or nth presentation, or how confident you’ve become with your skills to engage the audience, one way or another you’ll have to deal with unexpected interruptions in the midst of your remarks.

Expect that how you handle these situations will be remembered more than what you said during the actual presentation. This is because people are programmed to commit emotionally jarring events to memory.

Humans possess the remarkable ability to conjure even the smallest details surrounding a bad experience.

Even with a well-made PowerPoint presentation, your reputation is always at stake when faced with interruptions.

Types of Interruptions

Nuisances during presentations fall under various categories, including:

  • Hecklers
  • Technical Problems
  • Major Disasters

Hecklers are those who protest to disagree or humiliate the speaker during a presentation. They get their point across by using the most unreasonable means possible. While they are rude most of the time, you cannot respond in the same way.

Your reactions may depend on who you are, especially when it comes to hecklers. All you have to do is find what works best for you. You can make it part of your act; handle it with philosophy; or even handle it with humor. While comedians can take down a heckler in a blaze of glory, some entertainers still think not letting them get the best of you is the mature thing to do.

What if the power goes out in the middle of your presentation or the tech malfunctions at the closing slide? While you know the PowerPoint like the back of your hand, such an event can still throw you off your game.

Peter Khoury of MagneticSpeaking shares that you shouldn’t try to fix the technology while you’re supposed to be giving a presentation. Instead, ask for technical assistance and start with your pitch.

In the event of a natural disaster, don’t panic. Remain calm and exit the building. This sends a message that despite the unfortunate event, you are still in control.

Staying Calm and in Control

While each type of interruption requires a different approach, staying calm and in control is constant. Never lose your cool in front of your audience, as this will make you look unprofessional and you’re sure to lose their trust and respect.

It’s easy to let these disturbances under your skin. Always be courteous and polite—maintain a level head and get your presentation back on track as quickly as possible.

Interruptions during presentations come in various forms, but if you can handle them gracefully, you’ll have no problem earning your audience’s respect. Doing otherwise may diminish the effectiveness of your presentation and you as a speaker.

Always keep in mind that even if you want to show your custom PowerPoint presentation design to your audience, it will only be secondary to your stage presence so be mindful of how you handle yourself in front of an audience.

Preparing for a presentation can be difficult, such interruptions can really grate on your nerves. Take it easy, handle it with patience and grace, and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.

Public Speaking 101: Should You Read from a Script or Not?

There are four ways to deliver a speech: reciting it from memory, learning it by heart, using notes for reference, and reading it from a script word for word. The method you should use will depend on the type of speaking engagement and the personal circumstances you find yourself in.

Memorizing your speech is rarely a good idea because the artificiality of it makes your delivery sound stilted. You may risk sounding monotonous when the natural inflection of your voice disappears. Also, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll deliver a seamless presentation because your focus is shifted from getting the message across to getting the words right.

Learning your speech by heart and trying to wing it without notes can work. However, it can be risky because when you lose your train of thought, you’ll have nothing to rely on to get you back on track. The best method is to use notes because at least you have something to fall back on when you lose your footing. It can also help you transition from one idea to the next.

While learning all this is good, we’re not really here to talk about the three ways of delivering a presentation. Instead, we’re here to understand the fourth: reading directly from a script. Script reading is a practice that is highly discouraged, unless you’re a person of politics who needs to deliver a speech exactly as it’s written. If you’re a student delivering a report or a business executive making a pitch, there’s no excuse for you to read from your notes at all. This is a basic public speaking convention that you should know by default.

Why Reading from a Script Is Discouraged

You may be tempted to bring a script to your next public speaking gig and read it word for word. It’s luring because you don’t have to memorize or learn your speech by heart anymore. Everything you have to say is literally in your hands. It makes you feel secure because, in theory, you can’t lose your train of thought. It’s effortless preparation-wise. So, if it’s so reassuring, why do professionals advise against it? There are plenty of reasons, and we’ll explain three of them:

  • A written speech rarely translates to an oral discussion. We don’t speak the same way as we write. Words that are written for the eye (i.e. grammatical, syntactic, generally well-structured) don’t always sound well to the ears. If you want to sound conversational, you need to write the same way as you talk.
  • A script shifts attention from the audience. Reading from a script requires you to look at your notes, and this shifts your gaze away from the audience and limits your interaction with them. As a result, your delivery loses the personal touch it needs. You’re basically just standing there aloof, with your audience feeling left out. They feel like they’re listening to a monologue rather than taking part in a dialogue in which their opinions matter.
  • Your words and actions are measured and limited. A script limits both your words and actions. You’re not free to use whatever manner of delivery you like because you’re corralled into the four edges of your cheat sheet. Aside from this, reading from a script can add a physical barrier between you and the audience: a lectern. This barrier will only fortify the walls you’ve built, ultimately resulting to a disconnect.

Planning for the Inevitable: Tips When Reading Your Speech

Without a doubt, no matter how many times you’re warned, you’ll always find an excuse to deviate from what’s recommended. So, to help you minimize the repercussions of reading from a script during a public speaking engagement, here are four tips for you to apply:

1. Employ the scoop-and-speak technique

For this to work, you need to print your notes in large font and have them written on the top portion of a document so that your eyes don’t have to stray down too far. Every time you pause, look at your notes, and before reciting what you’ve scooped, look at the audience again. Eye contact is crucial in public speaking. When reading from your notes, you don’t have to keep it a secret and act surreptitiously. Just chill out and act natural.

2. Draft a dialogue, not a declaration

Even if you’re reading from a script, you should try to not look like it. When drafting your speech, make sure to use common conversational words that sound natural when spoken. Use informal language; otherwise, you’ll just sound foreign and distant. Be mindful of the natural cadences and rhythms of spontaneous speech, and make sure to apply them throughout your presentation. To improve your vocal variety, you can adjust your facial gestures to match your words.

3. Don’t use your slide deck as a script

Your PowerPoint presentation is not a script, so don’t treat it as such. Instead, make separate notes that you can use as guide. You can also use the Notes feature in PowerPoint. It has a Presenter’s View that can let you see your notes for a selected slide without the audience seeing them. Just make sure to practice using your script beforehand so that you won’t get lost in the middle of the presentation.

4. Mind the structuring of your text

Break long blocks of text by using headings, subheadings, line breaks, and pauses. Use signals to help you break down the text and cue you as to where to begin and end, or what to stress and blend. You can even add instructional annotations along the margins to make everything crystal clear.

When you’re in a pickle and you have no choice but to read from a script, follow the tips above. However, in any other situation, try to explore other ways of delivering your presentation. Don’t limit yourself to the four edges of a page. Instead, allow your mind to roam free without straying too far from your core message. This is, after all, what being an effective public speaker means.

Resources:

Dlugan, Andrew. “How to Make Reading a Speech Not Like Reading a Speech.” Six Minutes. December 7, 2011. sixminutes.dlugan.com/reading-your-speech

Marshall, Lisa B. “Read, Memorize, or Use Notes.” Quick and Dirty Tips. September 23, 2010. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/read-memorize-or-use-notes

Matthews, Alan. “Pros and Cons of Using a Script When Speaking.” Alan Matthews Training. May 13, 2015. alanmatthewstraining.com/2015/05/pros-and-cons-of-using-a-script-when-speaking

Wyeth, Sims. “Do You Read from a Script? Should You” Presentation Guru. April 20, 2017. www.presentation-guru.com/do-you-read-from-a-script-should-you

You’re Doing It Wrong: PowerPoint Rules You Should Be Following

For years now, people have been relying on PowerPoint to communicate ideas, sell products, facilitate meetings, and conferences. Many presenters, however, still fall short and end up with lousy, poorly designed slides that do nothing but torture their audience. Thankfully, there are experts in the field who have set the rules or standards for others to follow.

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After a quick search, we found two sets of the most popular PowerPoint rules that many people subscribe to. Both may not be all-encompassing but they are excellent guidelines, nonetheless.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist, among other things. If we’re going to talk about quality and importance of simplicity in presentation design, he’s the go-to, well, Guy. He practically listens to hundreds of pitches all the time, making him knowledgeable of what works and doesn’t. For him, a PowerPoint presentation should:

  • Feature 10 slides or less
  • Last no more than 20 minutes
  • Contain font not smaller than 30pt

This rule is applicable to pitches and office meetings. And because most people cannot absorb more than 10 concepts in a single meeting, it is best that you limit your presentation to 10 slides. The 20-minute duration should give you enough time to host a Q and A discussion afterwards. A 30-point typeface will make information on a slide large enough to be readable without making it look too crowded.

Seth Godin’s Five Rules for Creating Amazing Presentations

Seth Godin is a man of many interests and as a public speaker, he’s no stranger to PowerPoint presentations. He even wrote an e-book about it.

If you want to create an amazing presentation, here are the points we have taken from the book:

  1. Use no more than six words on every slide (If you include too much text, the audience will simply read the slides ahead of you).
  2. Do not use cheesy images and look for professional stock photos instead.
  3. Avoid fancy transitions such as dissolves, spins, etc, as these can be distracting, making you seem less professional.
  4. Use sound effects, but not the built-in types. You may want to rip from CDs or use the “Proust effect.”
  5. Do not provide print collateral at the start of the meeting. You want your audience to focus on the presentation, not read ahead of you.

Great presentations can trigger the right emotions, inspire change, and move people. These two sets of rules can raise the level of your next presentation from boring to life-changing. You don’t need to choose between the two, though. Applying both of them is sure to produce excellent results. But whatever you do, here’s another rule for you to remember. This one’s from presentation expert Nancy Duarte:

Never deliver a presentation you would not want to sit through.

Now, if there’s One PowerPoint Rule to rule them all, that would be it.

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