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How to Create a STAR Moment for Your Presentations

Are your presentations falling flat? In her book Resonate, Nancy Duarte shares a few methods for a dramatic and memorable presentation delivery.

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A successful presentation creates a connection with the audience. In other words, it has to have “Something They’ll Always Remember.” The STAR moment doesn’t have to be particularly big or flashy, but it needs to be awe-inspiring. According to Duarte, it’s all about creating a “significant, sincere, and enlightening moment…that helps magnify your big idea.”

A huge spectacle doesn’t automatically equal to a STAR moment, particularly if it distracts the audience from your core message.

So how does it work? Duarte named five different types of STAR Moments in her book. Here’s a short review and some tips on how you can use them to make your presentations stand out:

1.) Memorable Dramatization

You can create a memorable impression with small dramatizations throughout your presentation. These dramatizations don’t have to be complicated. You can simply make use of props to help illustrate your points, or perform a demonstration of your product. What’s important is that you take your key points and turn them into something that your audience can watch play, which will help them understand the information you’re sharing with them.

As an example, Duarte cites how Richard Feynman explained the likely cause of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. As one of the investigators on the case, Feynman demonstrated what went wrong using a few props during a televised hearing. According to the physicist, the O-rings in the shuttle became less resilient due to the cold weather. To explain his point, he compressed a similar O-ring using a clamp and immersed it in ice-cold water.

2.) Repeatable Sound Bites

You can also repeat short and memorable phrases throughout your presentation—”sound bites,” as Duarte calls these. To be effective, they should be easily recalled and communicated to others. Take note of all the critical messages in your presentation and constantly repeat them verbatim throughout your presentation. This will help your audience remember your main arguments, and echo your points to their colleagues and social media followers.

3.) Evocative Visuals

Visuals wields a different power over words. It’s one thing to read or hear something. It’s a completely different experience to see it represented by a picture or video. They are even more powerful if you want to portray abstract concepts. You can use images to add impact to the data you’re presenting. Instead of using a graph or a chart, add some illustrations that will properly present the point you’re making.

STAR moment - Conservation International

Another thing that Duarte suggests is the use of contrasting images. She provides a few slides from Conservation International as an example. In their campaign, scenic pictures of the ocean are juxtaposed with images of polluted beaches.

4.) Emotive Storytelling

Of course, the best way to connect with your audience is by showing them something they can relate to. Another way to create a STAR moment in your presentation is through storytelling. As we’ve mentioned in the past, sharing stories is part of our nature as social beings. Don’t be afraid to tell a story that reveals the emotions driving your presentation. If you’re pitching to investors, go ahead and share your business story. Show them how passionate you are about your venture.

5.) Shocking Statistics

The last way to create a STAR moment is by integrating statistics and data to your presentation. Things become more concrete if there’s a specific number attached to it. But don’t just hand out a large figure. Contextualize your statistics in a way that your audience can easily relate to.

In Resonate, Duarte cites how Steve Jobs framed the 5 million songs sold every day in the iTunes store: “We are selling over five million songs a day now. Isn’t that unbelievable? Five million songs a day! That’s 58 songs every second of every minute of every hour of every day.”

Try adding a STAR moment to your next presentation. Create an experience that will allow your audience to take your message to heart.

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Reference

Duarte, Nancy. “Resonate.” Duarte. Accessed September 26, 2014.

 

 

Featured Image: Screen shot of the Resonate Multimedia Version 

What to Watch Out for During Your Presentation’s Q&A

Preparation is crucial to any successful presentation. But even as you plan and rehearse as much as you can, there will come unscripted moments you never thought to prepare for. This is particularly true when the Q&A rolls in.

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Sure, you can prepare for questions that people will likely ask. But what about questions that come out of left field? How do you handle difficult questions or hostile comments? Morry Morgan of the School of Hard Knocks came up with a list of 5 different types of people you’ll encounter at a presentation Q&A. However, since these 5 types could end up overlapping in specific scenarios, we’ll list down the types of questions and comments that will leave you stumped instead.

To help you avoid a stressful Q&A, here are the types of difficult questions you’ll likely encounter:

1. The Backhanded Compliment

The Backhanded Compliment can be a question or a comment. On the surface, it might sound sincere and innocuous. But anyone who pays close attention will notice a certain edge to how it’s phrased. Most of the time, the backhanded compliment undermines all the effort you’ve put into preparing your presentation. While some constructive criticism can be helpful to broaden your discussion, these types of comments will always feel unwarranted and hostile.

How to Handle It: Your natural response is to be defensive. This will make you feel better, but it will only fuel the fire. The Backhanded Compliment will derail your Q&A into a fruitless argument. The best thing you can do is to ignore the hostility. You can say, “Thank you for your comments. I’ll keep them in mind for next time. Does anyone else have a question?”

2. The Non-Question Question

This type of question never seems to have a point. Either it repeats something you’ve already covered, or it states something particularly obvious. Based on Morgan’s list, the Non-Question is usually raised by people who are trying to show off in front of the crowd.

How to Handle It: As you should when faced with difficult questions in your Q&A, be polite and try not to lose your patience. Have the audience member elaborate their question further. You can say something like, “I’ve covered that point earlier. What do you specifically want to know about it?”

3. The Curve Ball Question

This question is raised to serve a single purpose: to leave you fumbling through your notes looking for the answer. It’s a question that catches you off guard because it was never part of the scope of your presentation.  Sometimes, it’s asked by people who are genuinely curious about something tangential to your discussion. But it can also come from those looking to see you mumble a thoughtless answer.

How to Handle It: When you’re suddenly faced with a Curve Ball during your Q&A, remind the audience of your scope and limitations. Tell them you only set out to answer specific aspects of a broader topic. Offer them an alternative channel where they can reach out to you after the presentation. You can say something along the lines of, “Given our limited time, I can’t cover every aspect of today’s topic. Email me your questions and I’ll try to address them more specifically.”

4. The Pop Quiz

The Pop Quiz isn’t just one question—it’s a series of very specific questions that will soon make you feel like you’re back in school again. They’re not necessarily hostile in nature. Most of the time, the Pop Quiz is addressed by someone very eager to hear what you have to say. In fact, the reason why they’re asking you so much is because your presentation caught their interest.

How to Handle It: To avoid feeling lost, prepare a notepad which you can use throughout the Q&A. When you’re faced with a Pop Quiz, take down the questions asked of you and repeat everyone before beginning to answer. “Thank you for your questions. Let me repeat each one and tell me if I got anything wrong.” This will give you more time to think about what you want to say.

5. The Close Up Question

Anyone asking this type of question has scrutinized every detail of your presentation. Morgan calls them “Critics”.  For some reason, they can remember every typo or mispronunciation you made. A Close Up isn’t so much a question, but a comment made to magnify your small mistakes.

How to Handle It: To avoid this scenario completely, check your slides and content before you have to face the audience. If there are errors you missed, own up to it. Thank the audience member for pointing it out and move on to the next question. Respond with something like, “Thank you for pointing out what I missed. You’ve been very observant and I appreciate that.” A quick answer should be enough.

6. The Long and Winding Question

As its name suggests, these queries take forever to be asked. Before you hear the actual question, it will recount points you’ve already made in your presentation.

How to Handle It: You’ll have limited time for Q&A, so try to interject as soon as you can. Politely interrupt and ask them to skip directly to their point. Wait for a slight pause and say something like, “I think I see where you’re getting at. What other details can I give you?”

The Q&A of any presentation can be quite challenging. Be prepared for whatever comes your way. With these tips, you can safely navigate through any difficult scenario.

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Featured Image: Mike Linksvayer via Flickr

How to Prepare Your Talking Points for a Press Conference

A press conference is a perfect venue for anyone looking to leverage their brand. Since you’ll be addressing the media, you have the opportunity to reach an audience far wider than before. If you want to drum up anticipation over a new product or encourage people to attend an event you’re organizing, a press conference is the best way to promote your plans.

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To get the best mileage, your press conference should be led by a speaker who knows their material well and remains unfazed by a difficult question. As public speaking expert Lisa B. Marshall puts it, “if you get it wrong, you’ll end up with negative coverage or no coverage at all.” Follow these tips to make sure your talking points are clear, effective, and memorable:

1. Figure out your core message

What do you want people to remember? What message do you ultimately want to be covered and delivered by the press? As you would in any presentation, prepare your talking points by identifying your goals first. Figure out the core message you want publicized and promoted, then use it as a guide to outline the rest of your speech. Marshall suggests that you stick with something that’s “newsworthy and consistent with your brand.”

For a press conference announcing an upcoming lecture, your goal may be to introduce the topic of the lecture and the recognized speakers who will participate. For a company announcement, stick to one topic that will grab your target audience’s attention. If you’re announcing a new product or web application, focus on what’s new and why your audience will want it rather than re-hashing old products or past mistakes.

Everything you bring up during the press conference should contribute to the core message you’re trying to deliver. If that’s “we have an exciting new product coming out in the market soon,” make sure everything you say will allow the audience to see why that’s true and important for them. Following our example, you could give them an overview of the product, including a short discussion of its features.

2. Turn your message into a story

With your points laid out, it’s time to turn your speech into an engaging narrative. You won’t go far it all you have planned is to read out a list of, say, the technology used in your web app. No matter how innovative your new product is, you’ll have to create a connection using a technique known to work for any type of audience. As Marshall puts it,

Create the story you want to tell. It may be a customer story that explains the need for the product or service you offer. It may be a story of someone whose life has changed as a result of your work. Make it personal and relatable.

3. Integrate brand identity

To take your story further, it’s also important to include elements of your brand identity. Particularly, Marshall suggests making use of adjectives that you often use to describe your brand.

For an example, she cites how Apple commonly uses words like “innovative” and “next generation” whenever they announce or launch a new product. As you work on your talking points, think back to your brand story and make it a prominent point throughout the press conference.

4. Anticipate questions that might be asked

After you’ve perfected your speech, there’s one more thing you have to prepare for—answering the questions thrown at you by the press. Think of the questions they’ll likely ask and start practicing how to answer them. As always, make sure all your answers drive home your main message.

Keep referring back to your main point and your brand identity. If you can, try to have someone else from your team come up with their own set of questions. This will give you an opportunity to expound on points you might not have thought were particularly relevant.

5. Brace yourself for difficult questions

Regardless of all your preparation, there are things you won’t be able to control or predict. It won’t be unlikely that you’ll get a few questions that are difficult to handle. They could simply be about a topic you weren’t prepared to discuss, or they might even be hostile. Regardless of the situation, you have to maintain your composure throughout. Marshall suggests learning “bridging”:

You never want to evade questions, but you do have the flexibility to rephrase or modify questions and to answer them in a positive, confident manner. Your responses may, or may not, briefly address the question asked before bridging to your prepared message.

A press conference can easily be a success after some preparation. Craft your talking points carefully to ensure your message is delivered to the audience you want to reach.

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Reference

Marshall, Lisa. “10 Tips for Dynamic Press Conferences.” Quick and Dirty Tips. Accessed September 18, 2014.

 

Featured Image: audio-luci-store via Flickr

Why Storytelling is an Effective Presentation Technique

Can you go a day without sharing a story? For 24 hours, you won’t be able to talk to your friends or tell your family how your day went. On Facebook, you can’t comment about the weather nor will you be able to share viral challenges you’re trying out.

Sounds impossible? That’s because it probably is. People are hardwired to be social beings, and part of that is our need to communicate with one another.

Presentation Storytelling
(Image Source)

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If storytelling is integrated into our everyday routine, why do we leave it out of our presentations? When we address an audience, we tend to focus on the important points we need to convey. We talk about data or explain a business model.

Sometimes, we turn back to our slides to display a graph. We concentrate on information that’s crucial to the outcome we’re hoping for. Despite all this, we tend to leave out something that seems just as vital. We forget to answer why everyone in the room needs to hear what we have to say.

This is where storytelling comes in handy. A presentation with a story has something more than a list of numbers that prove your business plan is viable. Take this scenario narrated by Dennis Nishi in an article for the Wall Street Journal:

Paul Smith had 20 minutes to sell the CEO of Procter & Gamble, and his team of managers, on new market-research techniques for which Mr. Smith’s department wanted funding. As associate director of P&G’s market research, Mr. Smith had spent three weeks assembling a concise pitch with more than 30 PowerPoint slides.

… “I felt like maybe I hadn’t done a very good job because he wasn’t looking at my slides like everyone else,” says Mr. Smith, who also noticed that the other managers didn’t seem very engaged. “It didn’t occur to me until later that he did that because he was more interested in what I had to say than in what my slides looked like.”

Like most people, Paul worked hard to hone his pitch into a PowerPoint deck. Despite his effort, he noticed that the people he was trying to convince seemed disengaged to what he presenting. As he later realized, a successful presentation goes beyond what your slides look like. What really matters is the heart of what you’re trying to say.

Storytelling in Presentations: A Tale as Old as TED

The reason storytelling is an effective presentation technique lies on how your audience reacts to it. As social beings, we’re all naturally attuned to our emotions.

Time for another challenge. This time, take a minute to list down 10 of your favorite movies. Looking at your list, think about why these movies made an impact on you. I’ll wager it’s because they were able to connect with you on an emotional level.

It doesn’t matter whether it makes you sad, happy, angry, or nostalgic. Our brains love a good story that makes us feel something. This is something successful TED presenters have capitalized on. If you review the list of the most viewed TED Talks, you’ll see each of them has a story integrated into the discussion.

As Forbes contributor Nick Morgan points out, “no matter how interesting the information, you’ll run up against the limitation of the brain and quickly overtax your audience…If instead you tell your audience a story, you get to jump right into the deeper parts of their brain, where emotion and memory work together, the hippocampus and amygdala.”

Integrating Storytelling in Business

Now, the only question that remains is how. It’s pretty easy to create a heart-warming story for an inspirational presentation. The real challenge is turning data into a narrative that packs an emotional punch. How do you do it? According to presentation expert Bruce Gabrielle, you’ll need to follow a simple but effective structure: Beginning, Middle, End.

Storytelling: 3 steps
(Image Source)
Beginning

Start your presentation by identifying a hero that your audience can relate to. Instead of leading with numbers or graphs, introduce a human element into your presentation. There is always a face behind all the abstract concepts and issues you’re taking on. To identify it, tackle your presentation using a different angle.

Substitute “what” with “who do I really want to talk about?” For example, if you’re trying to discuss a marketing strategy, your hero could be a potential client. Describe the person you want to engage with your services. Talk about their demographics, traits, and values.

Middle

What would your favorite movie be like without conflict? Like any good story, business presentations also need a bit of tension. Apart from his or her goals, you also have to identify the challenges and risks faced by your hero.

What are the things that bother your potential clients? What’s preventing them from engaging with your services?

End 

After building conflict, offer your audience some reprieve by giving them a satisfying resolution. At this point, you can put everything together and focus on data necessary to your discussion. While explaining the graph on your slides, keep referring back to your hero. What do these numbers have to do with the hero of your story? How does it solve the problems you identified earlier?

To give your stories more impact, try to make use of captivating visuals as well. While your narrative is certainly the most important part of your presentation, visuals remain to be an effective way to enhance audience immersion.

Conclusion

Apart from working on a short PowerPoint deck, try to make use of words that generate mental images. Make use of vivid descriptions and action words to allow some room for imagination.

Not only is storytelling an integral part of our daily lives, it can also be a powerful presentation technique. Turn dull data and information into a feast for the imagination by learning to craft your own presentation story.

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References

Gabrielle, Bruce. “Storytelling in the Boardroom: Part 3 – Three Secrets for Better Stories.” Office Blogs. Accessed September 9, 2014.
Morgan, Nick. “Three Secrets To Delivering A Powerful Speech.” Forbes. Accessed September 4, 2014.
Myers, Courtney Boyd. “Why the Human Is a Social Animal [Report from the 99% Conference].” TNW Network. May 05, 2011. Accessed September 9, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Horia Varlan via Flickr

Presentation Expert Tip: The 10-Minute Rule

Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter these days. While most of the bored audience members won’t literally leave their seats to walk out of the room, they can easily check their phones under the table. What would a presentation expert do to get the show back on track? Brand communication expert Carmine Gallo says it’s as simple as re-engaging your audience every 10 minutes.

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During presentations, audiences mentally tune out because they’re not given chances to fully digest what they’re learning. Gallo suggests creating soft breaks in your presentation after every 10 minutes. Give the audience a bit of a mental break with something fun and engaging.

To put this presentation expert tip into practice, consider these things to reel in your audience back:

Demonstrations

Show off what you can do before anyone’s attention starts wander off. Yours might be the best product in a specific market, but the audience won’t care if you’ve already lost their attention. Do your demo during the main part of the presentation. This will make it more relevant and impressive.

michael pollan - demonstration
Michael Pollan drives home his point with a demonstration.

Demonstrations also work for other types of presentations, not just pitches. Michael Pollan’s presentation at Pop!Tech is a great example. His goal was to make people more critical of their food choices. In order to drive home his point, he used a few props to demonstrate just how much crude oil goes into making a double cheeseburger. View his presentation here.

Videos

As Carmine Gallo puts it, today’s world is a “multimedia environment.” Powerful visuals dominate our lives, from the videos we watch on YouTube to the billboards we come across during our commute. But for some reason, few presenters think of incorporating this multimedia frenzy to their PowerPoint presentations.

Adding videos to your slide is an easy way to create soft breaks. Make use of testimonials, expert interviews, or your company’s ad campaigns to give your slides an engaging dimension. You can also make use of videos to tell your company story.

Just think of Tokyo’s pitch to host the 2020 Olympics. The team made use of several videos to enhance their presentation. The videos they chose gave their pitch a more human element, as well. The entire presentation had four different videos showcasing Japan’s young athletes.

Audience Participation

Another way to incorporate soft breaks into your presentation is by encouraging audience participation. Sometimes, presenters tend to focus too much on their slides that they forget about the people they’re addressing. Step away from your deck once in a while to pose a question or ask for opinions. As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s all about being creative. Come up with questions that will make your audience pause and think.

In her TEDx talk, linguist Anne Curzan discussed how new words make it to the dictionary. Her topic was already interesting in itself, but she made it more engaging by involving the audience. Not only were her questions relevant to the points she made, they also made the audience laugh.

Other speakers

There are some things you can’t do on your own. From time to time, that includes presentations. For presentations that are particularly long, try to get the other people in your team involved. That way, your audience can hear from a set of different voices and perspectives.

Craig Federighi - other speakers
Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, talks about the new iOS 8.

Take a look at Apple’s product launches. Both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook would easily hand off the mic to other players in their team, giving the audience a chance to learn more about the new products from those who played an active role in developing it. Here’s a quick clip of Tim Cook and Craig Federighi introducing iOS 8.

Activities

Activities might not work for all presentations, but they’re perfect for seminars and workshops. Break up your training sessions into small, 10-minute segments by incorporating some creative activities. Try to come up with things they can do that will also test their comprehension.

This is good for you in two ways. Not only will you keep your audience from getting bored, you can also test the effectively of your presentation and adjust accordingly.

These are just some suggestions presentation expert Carmine Gallo enumerates to help you with the 10-minute rule. All of these tips serve as a way to re-engage your audience with elements that some presentations lack.

The most important thing you need to remember is that people tend to drift off quite easily. If you want your presentation to succeed, you have to work hard to keep everyone’s attention on you.

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Featured Image: Alan Cleaver via Flickr

Maintain Audience Attention With This One Technique

Catching someone’s attention is one thing. Keeping them interested is another.

So here’s your challenge: What can you do to maintain audience attention? It’s almost an unmanageable task due to different factors. For one, every audience member analyzes and processes information differently. This makes appealing to all types of thinkers quite a daunting task.

Another issue is that people have this aversion to sales talks, even if you are simply selling them a particular idea, not a product. So above everything, it’s imperative that your audience learns something interesting about your message instead. There is one rule of thumb that can help you make sure your presentation is above all, understandable….

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

 

put_yourself_in_someone_shoes

When drafting up a presentation ask yourself this very simple question throughout the preparation of your PowerPoint. Will my points and train of thought be able to hold audience attention and keep them interested? Is this information useful to them? Is there too much content on this slide? Will they comprehend my message?

But placing yourself in the role of your audience will help guide you to think outside the box. Putting everything in their perspective, when you are outlining and creating your presentation, will not only help you cut down excess (and useless) information but also allow you to design a better PowerPoint.

Selfishness Hinders Audience Connections

While most of us subconsciously create our work in the mindset of thinking about us – think about them instead. Take this theory and apply this to your next presentation, you can practice it by going over your finished presentation and jot down notes at places you may think could use some editing and re-designing.

See if you are wholly interested throughout your PowerPoint presentation, and if your mind seems to wander at moments where information isn’t digestible or understandable. Take that into account because it is likely that your audience’s mind would wander at those exact same moments.

Conclusion

To maintain audience attention for a designated period of time does seem almost impossible. With breakthrough statistics categorizing the average adult attention span at a mere 5-12 minutes long, it makes sense for any professional presenter to panic. Sure, there are a few steps that you can take to enhance  your professional PowerPoint presentations. However, they don’t offer a real guarantee that you will be able to capture audience attention or make them comprehend your ideas completely.

Being able to communicate effectively is the single most important factor in presentation science, regardless of your topic or message, your audience needs to be on the same page as you.

References:

4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For.SlideGenius, Inc. November 13, 2013.
Vidyarthi, Neil. “Attention Spans Have Dropped from 12 Minutes to 5 Minutes — How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds [Infographic].SocialTimes. December 14, 2011.

The Infographic that You Need to See

PowerPoint has about a 95% share of the presentation software market. There are over 500 million PowerPoint users worldwide and more than 30 million presentations are created daily. Over 6 million academic teachers use PowerPoint for classroom instruction.


Inforgraphic 1

7 Quotes Every Presenter Needs to Know

We’ve compiled our seven favorite quotes for presenters. These quotes can serve as inspiration for your presentation or can be used in it. In fact, most of these famous quotes are applicable to most businesses and relatable to anyone giving a professional PowerPoint presentation.


1.

abe lincoln quote

 2.

charles kettering quote

 3.

voltaire quote

 4.

churchill quote

 5.

peter drucker quote

6.

churchill quote2

 7.

greenspan quote

 If you can think of any other useful quotes for presentation professionals, let us know! Comment them on this post!

 

It Doesn’t Matter, Any Tequila!

Sure it’s funny, but think if it wasn’t about tequila, and instead it was about your business. You obviously wouldn’t be laughing.

If you’re looking for a house to live in, would you choose one by saying this to your realtor, “It doesn’t matter, any house?”

How about when finding a spouse? Or what about when your choosing a major in college?

Any semi-rational person would not. Houses, spouses, and careers are all monumental aspects to someone’s life and because of that, people tend to weigh out the pros and cons thoroughly when it comes to any decision.

Much like houses, spouses and careers are huge aspects to someone’s life, the way the world identifies with your company is one of the most crucial aspects to its success. When you are presenting yourself, or more importantly your company, to an audience of buyers, sellers, investors, or whoever, it is imperative to come off as a professional, valuable, and effective entity.

Impressions you give

Most people will judge whether or not they like you, dislike you, find you interesting or boring in a matter of minutes, sometimes even seconds. These minutes are what can lead to earning or losing new clients or sales. Knowing that your presentations have this much significance, a rational person wouldn’t say “It doesn’t matter, any presentation.” In fact, they would focus on making that presentation the best it could possibly be.

This is where you bring in professional presentations designers, like SlideGenius. SlideGenius is headquartered in San Diego, California with over 500 Worldwide Clients. The “Geniuses” (presentation experts) see on average over 200 presentations per month and have years of professional experience creating captivating PowerPoint presentations for a wide variety of clients.

Bringing in Professionals

The Geniuses can update an existing presentation or build one from scratch, leveraging your brand. SlideGenius works with you to ensure that the message you want to get across to your audience is communicated as effectively as possible, while leaving your audience impressed with a polished, professional presentation.

 If you do not have a professionally designed PowerPoint Presentation you are undeniably leaving business on the table. Many sales people have reported an increase of up to 25-50% in closed sales simply by providing a highly visual presentation.

When it comes to your business, don’t take just anything. Take the best, and be the best.

Work Cited:
Http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7tlp/hornitos-plata-tequila-any

Winston Churchill: Orator of the Century

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Winston Churchill inspired Great Britain and the Western world to stand up, and fight against the strongest military empire of the century. You can agree that convincing millions of people to support you in any cause is an almost impossible task. Churchill was very tactful when it came to give convincing speeches. In fact he famously said, “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”

First, and perhaps most importantly, becoming a great speaker is a matter of practice and persistence, not natural talent. Even Churchill himself was not born a great presenter. He actually had a slight stammer and a lisp (that made him sound drunk) when he was young. He spent hours on end crafting his speeches, perfecting every word. Churchill himself said “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.”

With that, here are four lessons Winston Churchill can teach us about perfecting our speeches and professional powerpoint presentations:

Speak in crisp and direct sentences.

As ugly and inconvenient as what you say may be, be straightforward in what you say and your audience will respect you. Winston says, “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”

Churchill’s examples of this:

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

Be eloquent and rhythmic in your vocabulary.

By this, I don’t mean stuff big words everywhere just to sound fancy. What I mean is that you should make the simplest form of whatever you’re saying into the most professional way it can be said. Churchill also had a melodious flow to his speeches, keeping the audience on their toes at all points throughout. At any rate, bettering your vocabulary can also be a very helpful activity for bettering your vocational skills. Learning 5 new words a day might be a great way to start…

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat.

Churchill utilizes repetition in almost ever single one of his speeches. He would consistently use phrases or words over and over again in the same breath to highlight a point.

Churchill’s examples of this:

“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Ironical humor.

Churchill was known for his wit and word play. While wit seems like a more “born-with-it” sort of concept, one will surely develop it by knowing a certain concept through and through. Once you master a specific idea or issue, you will have the necessary background to react quickly and wittily to questions or comments you are confronted with. This ultimately comes down to practice; know what you are talking about and you will know what to say at all times.

Churchill’s examples of this:

 “If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.”

“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.”

As one of the most revered leaders and orators in history, Winston Churchill changed the world with both his voice and his actions. Following and epitomizing Churchill in your next professional powerpoint presentation will be a great way to improve yourself as a public speaker and powerpoint expert.

 

Reference:

Winston Churchill Quotes.BrainyQuote.