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8 Ways Eye Contact Can Make or Break Your Presentation

“When you are first introduced to people, looking them in the eye or avoiding their gaze will send an instant message,” says an article published in Research Digest titled. Initiating eye connection is a universal premise in public speaking—it ignites a connection between the speaker and the audience. It is the key to coalescing your core message and excellent delivery.
As a presenter, your main goal is to clearly convey a message to your spectators. Whether your presentation tackles business proposals, client projects, or branding strategies, your sole purpose is to turn spectators into customers and engage clients for investments. To do this, you must delve deep into details and begin with an indispensable speaking mantra: eye contact.

Eye Contact During a Presentation

The eyes are the windows to one’s soul. It bears the integrity of your intentions and the authenticity of the subliminal messages you cascade. In hindsight, eye contact establishes an invitation to mentally connect with another person. As a speaker, you must meet your audience’s gaze to show a need to engage while presenting.
Furthermore, establishing eye contact helps you retain your composure while speaking. As you roam your eyes erratically, more visual signals are sent to your brain, which slows it down. Keep in mind that your stance substantiates your authority as a speaker. Stuttering, being lost in thought, and stopping mid-sentence are major no-no’s. These cases devalue your identity as a presenter.

Strengthening the Connection

Calling it “eye contact” can just mean “meeting of the eye” rather than having a genuine connection. To appear warmer, avoid making a superficial look, and initiate an “eye connection” instead. Eye connection means spending more time enthralling each person in the room as if you’re personally talking to them.
By establishing a brief but engaging connection, your spectators would perceive intentionality as you speak. You’d also avoid sounding too technical thus creating a conversational and engaging atmosphere.
Check the infographic below to learn the other pros and cons of eye contact during presentations.

 

Resources:

Wyeth, Sims. “10 Reasons Eye Contact Is Everything in Public Speaking.” Inc. June 18, 2014. www.inc.com/sims-wyeth/10-reasons-why-eye-contact-can-change-peoples-perception-of-you.html
Jarett, Christian. “The Psychology of Eye Contact, Digested.” Research Digest. November 28, 2016. digest.bps.org.uk/2016/11/28/the-psychology-of-eye-contact-digested
“Eye Contact During a Presentation.” Syntaxis. n.d. www.syntaxis.com/eye-contact-during-a-presentation

Boosting Productivity with the Help of Nature

Do you find a certain monotony in your professional life wherein you feel cooped up in a little concrete square during work hours? Are you distracted by the many different sights, sounds, and miscellaneous goings-on in the office? Is this dip, if not crash, in productivity immensely affecting your performance? Then perhaps you need a bit—or a lot—of nature.
It’s a known fact that spending time outdoors can be beneficial to your health. Not only can you soak up vitamin D from the sun, but nature also regulates your mood and ultimately makes you feel freer. Thus, you become less susceptible to anemia, growing happier and more positive in general.
How does that fare for an entrepreneur? The general health benefits of taking a few hours of rest in nature’s glory far outweigh the pros of staying in an indoor office. You may want to consider setting aside time to step outside and enjoy the greenery before returning to work on your output.

Correlation of Productivity and Nature

Years of research back up how the environment affects productivity. In fact, a team of German researchers reported that even just seeing green rectangles for two seconds is enough to improve creativity. Talk about extreme.
On the other hand, however, it may not be feasible for you to work outside the office. Perhaps it’s because you have sensitive data you must keep secure. In that case, how about bringing the outdoors indoors? Investing in the general look and atmosphere of your work environment can be just as beneficial. Small adjustments like adding potted plants in the office can do wonders to your productivity. The same goes with the repainting of your walls. It’s a good thing the Pantone color of 2017 is Greenery because it can help boost creativity in the workplace.
There are other ways to let nature help you. Check the following infographic from SlideGenius to maximize your office efforts with nature’s guiding hand.
 

 

Resources:

Burkeman, Oliver. “Nature and Nurture.” The Guardian. March 16, 2013. www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/16/this-column-change-life-nature-nurture
Wise, Abigail. “Here’s Proof Going Outside Makes You Healthier.” Huffington Post. June 22, 2014. www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/22/how-the-outdoors-make-you_n_5508964.html

Product Demo 101: Learning the Basics

What’s one of the best ways to convert potential clients into paying customers? Aside from presentations where you get to wow your audience, there’s another scenario where you can achieve the same results. Imagine it: You already have a prototype of the product you’re trying to market, and you’re looking for people who will gladly take your offer; you think an amazing deck won’t be enough, so you decide to take things up a notch and do a demo.

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However, you don’t know the first thing about product demos. Sure, you’re a rock star when it comes to presentations and public speaking, but demonstrations can be different. For one, instead of handling two important elements—yourself and your deck—you add one more: your product. And balancing that act can be stressful, especially when you’ve got hundreds of eyes staring at you and you know that a lot is at stake. Another is that there’s a new dynamic in audience engagement, a level that places you closer to them—and them to you and your product.

Look at the bright side, though. If you do remarkably well, then you’re sure that your audience will take a good, long, hard look at your product. And when they like what they see, they might just want to have your offer. Then, you’re on your way to closing deals left and right. But that is if you do remarkably well.

So, how do you go from A to Z of a product demo? What can you expect from showing off your product in front of a live audience? Are there even benefits to doing so? How do you even begin preparing and how do you start off a demo? Let the following infographic tutor you on the basics of a product demo, and the dos and don’ts during the proverbial curveballs during your time onstage.

Resources:

Kokemuller, Neil. “The Purpose & Benefits of a Product Demonstration.” Chron. n.d. www.smallbusiness.chron.com/purpose-benefits-product-demonstration-55113.html

20 Habits That Will Fuel Your Creativity

Writers know the feeling of a writer’s block: forced imageries, that slight and awkward change in style, words being eked out just to say that something is written. Along a similar vein, visual artists suffer the same. There’s no inspiration. No guiding hand on the canvas. No mind’s eye seeing what a piece could look like or even a little imagination for a pitch. The worst part is that a creativity block can afflict anyone, even those not particularly creative.
It’s a tough spot to get out of. You need that huge mental boost to overcome it, but maintaining it is a different matter. Even in the other end of the spectrum, people who say they aren’t creative find it hard to jumpstart their mind juices to produce something.
How do people get mentally stuck anyway? Is it because the proverbial “muse” that artists of yore wrote, painted, and sculpted about is absent? Modern science has a different answer. In a radio interview with Public Radio International, Dr. Heather Berlin, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says, “[T]here tends to be a pattern of activation when [people] have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. And [it] has to do with your sense of self, … making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”
In short, when creativity sets in, people “lose [their] sense of self.” The moment they become conscious that they are without the normal bounds of work rules, they slip back in, and the former mindset is gone.
Have you ever stopped to think about the rut you’re in? In this article, business coach and trainer Mark McGuiness posits that there are seven types of creative block, and it involves more than just your mentality.
Lucky for you, there are tons of articles that give ideas on how to overcome that pesky block. The following infographic lists down habits you could start doing now to get your creative juices flowing.

20 Habits

Resources:

McGuinness, Mark. “7 Types of Creative Block (and What to Do About Them).” 99U. n.d. www.99u.com/articles/7088/7-types-of-creative-block-and-what-to-do-about-them
Perry, Susan K. “10 Creative Block Breakers That Actually Work.” Psychology Today. September 14, 2012. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creating-in-flow/201209/10-creative-block-breakers-actually-work
Shockman, Elizabeth. “Creative Block? Here the Neuroscience of How to Fix That.” Public Radio International. April 5, 2016. www.pri.org/stories/2016-04-05/creative-block-here-s-neuroscience-how-fix

The Attributes of a Great Public Speaker

Since time immemorial, humans have taken to the stage so that they could be seen and speak their hearts out. With each word, they captivate and mesmerize people. With every breath, these speakers commanded the language like no other, making crowds stay and listen, and even wanting for more.
It’s not like history has a shortage of outstanding public speakers. Those who have rhetoric skills, who have etched their names in eternity, along with the long list of heroes, villains, sinners, and saints, are remembered long after their time, immortalized by their craft in history books and the Internet. From legendary Roman spokesperson Cicero and Greek general Pericles to author Susan Cain and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the world has seen its fair share of public speakers who can dominate the stage and fascinate their audiences with their piece or with whatever they present.
But what a public speaker so endearing? How do they command the charisma that inspires listeners to their cause? Is there a trick to their success? Are they magic? Through simple inspection, the most obvious commonality among them all is their ability to move the emotions and opinions of their audiences.
Today’s age doesn’t have much of the oratory events that the ancient times had; the closest in modernity, and arguably the biggest, is the annual TED Talks. Apart from the leap in technological levels and different preparatory techniques, though, is there any other difference between then and now in terms of oration?
If anything, what’s most intriguing are the speakers. From then up to now, time has tried and successfully proven that the very attributes that made names like Cicero, Pericles, and Demosthenes legendary are the very same benchmarks of a great public speaker today. In short, when you exhibit and emulate the following traits, then you can be one of the greats of this era. What are those characteristics? The following infographic will fill you in.
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Resource:

Inzunza, Victor. “History’s Greatest Speakers and Their Greatest Speeches.” Pencils.com. December 3, 2012. www.pencils.com/historys-greatest-speeches
 

The Real Cost of a Poor Presentation

The truth may be more prevalent than you would like to admit, but it’s unhealthy to ignore the fact that there are good presentations, and there are also bad ones. If you could give an estimate, how many from the total number of existing presentations are poorly made? Around 50 percent? That’s a big number. Assume for a second that, around the world, there are over a billion PowerPoint files today. That’s 500 million at the very least.

With all the design and content tips littered all over the Internet about making the best pitch deck, you’d think that by now, everyone can create decent slides. But let’s not get too idealistic. PowerPoint is tricky to master, especially when you consider how people have different reactions to presentations in general.

Should you cater to their wants then? “Yes” would be a short answer, but it has serious implications for your succeeding attempts at presentation. For example, when you’re creating a pitch deck. You can’t make a one-fits-all since it’s practically impossible to create slides according to the preferences of every executive you’re looking to impress. It’ll be a mishmash of different styles, and that can be distracting.

Does it mean that this is a hopeless case? Of course not. The best you could do is minimize the negative effects of a bad pitch deck presentation, like death by PowerPoint. Other suggestions are doing your best to create the most visually appealing deck people will ever see or hiring a good team of presentation specialists to make awesome slides—as long as you avoid using poorly designed presentations. Why? Because you stand to lose more than just cash by crafting pitch decks or sales presentations sloppily. The infographic below will help you see that you shouldn’t be worried with just your profit margins because you put at risk something bigger than money.

Resources:

Griffith, Eric. “17 Tricks to Master Microsoft PowerPoint.” PC Mag. October 14, 2014. www.pcmag.com/feature/328357/17-tricks-to-master-microsoft-powerpoint

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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

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

Pointers for Planning a Successful Webinar

Preparation is a critical step in any type of campaign, including hosting webinars. To produce a successful one, you need to lay out all the steps leading to the actual event. It might be tempting to jump straight to the promotion stage, especially if you have a winning topic and a celebrated speaker, but no excuse can justify skipping the planning part. Without a solid plan in place, you may run the risk of delivering a lackluster presentation that will only prove to be a waste of time, effort, and money.

Planning a webinar may seem like a daunting task, but it’s necessary if you want a worthwhile output. Part of the process is creating a checklist that will solidify your strategy. You don’t have to worry about the technicality of it all. With the abundance of tools you have at your disposal, you can plan an online seminar even with limited technological expertise. And besides, every bit of effort you make will be worth the rewards you’ll reap in the end.

Can a Webinar Help Reach Your Business Goals?

You’d think the answer to that question is an unwavering yes, but it actually depends on the goals you aim to achieve. While it’s true that webinars are an effective marketing tool, they only work in certain contexts. So, before planning one, make sure it will leave a positive impact on your business.

What exactly are webinars for? For one, they’re a good training and outreach tool. You can use them to share your expertise to your target audience. Webinars are also effective for getting the word out to your customers when rolling out a new product. When done right, it can help you move customers further down the sales funnel and reposition yourself as an industry thought leader.

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Resources:

Berdeal-Skelly, Michelle. “6 Tips to Planning a Successful Webinar.” Find and Convert. October 14, 2014. www.findandconvert.com/2014/10/6-tips-to-planning-a-successful-webinar

Gilbert-Knight, Ariel. “10 Steps for Planning a Successful Webinar.” TechSoup. September 2, 2016. www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/10-steps-for-planning-a-successful-webinar

Sibley, Amanda. “10 Things That Take a Webinar From Good to Great.” HubSpot. January 3, 2014. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/webinar-planning-list#sm.0000w6nx4vstbcwkqnc12umt2kzcx

“15 Tips for a Successful Webinar.” MegaMeeting. n.d. www.megameeting.com/15_Successful_Webinar_Tips_Part1.html

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Design Hacks for Designers on a Deadline

Graphic design is expanding. Every year, new designers emerge—many of which are equipped with skills that match, if not surpass, that of established professionals. If you don’t want to be replaced, strive to be more valuable. Identify yourself from the crowd by being consistent with the quality of your work. Excellence is important for artists like you since your job entails producing creative outputs that spark the imagination. To be a great designer, you need to make sure that your designs don’t stagnate and lose their luster over time.
Quality is indeed number one in the list of things that should define you as an artist. However, it doesn’t end there. Since the design marketplace teems with designers who produce exceptional work, quality is no longer enough. You need to add another ingredient to the mix.

The Missing Piece in the Puzzle

What design skill is so important that, without it, you won’t be able to outshine others in your field? Why, speed, of course. With the upsurge of client demands, there’s nothing more sought-after today than a designer who can produce quality work within a short time frame. Time is money—the faster you work, the more you’ll earn. It’s as simple as that.
Still, we’re no strangers to the conjecture that quality takes time. You can argue that speed comes at the expense of quality, but if you give it enough thought, you’ll see that this isn’t really the case. There’s a difference between a fast output and a rushed one, and obviously, you should aim for the former. Lighten your workload by applying some tricks of the trade that will enable you to work faster.
The following infographic provides some advice on becoming a better and faster designer. Integrate these hacks into your work process, and never miss a deadline again!

Resources:

Beachy, William. “How to Become a Faster Graphic Designer.” Go Media. June 24, 2015. gomedia.com/zine/insights/how-to-become-a-faster-graphic-designer
Cousins, Carrie. “How to Become a Faster, More Efficient Designer.” Design Hack. June 21, 2016. designshack.net/articles/freelancing/how-to-become-a-faster-more-efficient-designer
Merimee, Jordan. “7 Essential Productivity Tips and Hacks for Designers.” Shutterstock. October 24, 2016. www.shutterstock.com/blog/productivity-tips-hacks-designers
Vukovic, Peter. “15 Ways to Design Better and Faster.” 99 Designs. n.d. 99designs.com/blog/tips/15-ways-to-design-better-and-faster
“A Designer’s Time Is Money.” Affordable Printing. February 11, 2014. www.affordableprinting.co.uk/2014/02/11/designers-time-money
“Top 5 Hacks to Brainstorm a Perfect Design with a Tight Deadline.” Fohlio. n.d. learn.fohlio.com/top-5-hacks-to-brainstorm-a-perfect-design-with-a-tight-deadline