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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

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.

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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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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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Public Speaking Fear: Getting Rid of It in a Jiffy

Let’s face it: public speaking is frightening. Even the best speakers experience jitters before they go onstage. They just hide it really, really well—or they’re so used to stage fright that it’s no longer an issue after their warmup exercises.

Audience members pick up on signs of discomfort when you as a speaker have a hard time onstage: excessive sweating, stuttering, shortness of breath, etc. When they do, you become more conscious about what you’re doing, and the anxiety starts to build up. Does that mean you’re not ready? Possibly.

There’s no denying that some people, to no fault of their own, have a hard time dealing with high-stress situations—and you can bet that giving a speech in front of a crowd is stressful. Imagine the scenario: You’re minutes away from being called onstage. Your presentation is ready, perhaps designed by a PowerPoint design agency. The lights focus on your spot. But backstage, butterflies are abuzz in your stomach; your knees are shaking, and your palms are sweaty. You feel a bit lightheaded. Dizzy even.

These are uncontrollable responses to nervousness. While completely natural, especially in the context of public speaking, they’re still something that faze lots of people—80 percent of the US population, in fact. However, there are people easily debilitated by the mere thought of speaking in public. Those who suffer from a specific social anxiety disorder, glossophobia, feel nauseous and are prone to having panic attacks, which is why they try to stay away from doing it as much as possible.

For those who need to speak in public, though, how do you deal with stage fright? The ways to do it vary from person to person since each individual handles stress differently. Check this infographic to learn a few tricks to calm down and nail that speech.

Resources:

Hagen-Rochester, Susan. “Got Public Speaking Jitters? Experts Say Embrace the Fear.” Futurity. April 8, 2013. www.futurity.org/got-public-speaking-jitters-experts-say-embrace-the-fear

McClafferty, Alex. “12 ‘Fear of Public Speaking’ Symptoms and How to Beat Them.” Forbes. January 12, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/alexmcclafferty/2015/01/12/fear-of-public-speaking/#b4fe7fd37a0c

Morgan, Nick. “Why We Fear Public Speaking and How to Overcome It.” Forbes. March 30, 2011. www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2011/03/30/why-we-fear-public-speaking-and-how-to-overcome-it/#4848c54fea43

Jamieson, Jeremy P., Matthew K. Nock, and Wendy Berry Mendes. “Changing the Conceptualization of Stress in Social Anxiety Disorder: Affective and Physiological Consequences.” Clinical Psychological Science. 2013. journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2167702613482119

PowerPoint as a Communication Tool When Rebranding a Business

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

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

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

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

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

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Resources:

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

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

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Pantone’s Color of the Year and How You Can Use It for Business

Pantone calls itself “the world-renowned authority on color,” and perhaps rightfully so. The company has been in business since 1963, when its founder devised the Pantone Matching System, a standard scheme for identifying and communicating different shades and hues.

At the turn of the millennium, the company launched the project, “Color of the Year.” For seventeen years now, Pantone’s color forecasting has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Different industries worldwide refer back to it when releasing new trends.

The Art of Color Forecasting

Although Pantone’s Color of the Year is widely anticipated and supported by a number of industries, the science behind it is still obscure. As Pantone senior vice president Ron Potesky said, “The complexity of the logic behind Color of the Year is greater than interior design or fashionit’s a forecast, a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”

The process of color forecasting is not a simple one, although it’s highly subjective in nature. For months on end, the Pantone team gathers what they call “proof points” from all over the world. They go to car shows, runways, decorator showcases, and other important events that define culture and lifestyle. They try to make sense of meaningful overlaps so they can distill the mood and state of the times into a single color.

Pantone’s yearly selection serves no direct purpose to the consumer world, but its influence can be observed in many sectors. Owing to its longevity and the power of social media, the project has reinvented itself as an authority in color trend selection.

If you’re into the colors game, check out this infographic about Greenery, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year.

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Colors and business always go hand in hand. The consumer world is about trust and persuasion, and it’s hard to accomplish either or both if your brand is portrayed in a dull and dismal way. Choose a vibrant and fresh palette this yearone that includes Greenery, perhapsand you might just see your customers showing more interest in your business.

Back up your skills with a well-designed PowerPoint presentation by letting our team to assist and offer you a free quote!

 

Resources:

Beals, Rachel Koning. “Nature and New Beginnings Inform Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery.” Market Watch. December 8, 2015. www.marketwatch.com

Budds, Diana. “Pantone’s New Color of the Year Is Weird and Perfect.” Facto Design. December 8, 2016. www.factodesign.com

Friedman, Vanessa. “Color of 2017? Pantone Picks a Spring Shade.” New York Times. December 8, 2016. www.nytimes.com

Hazzard, Tracy Leigh. “Why Pantone’s Color of 2017 Matters to Your Business.” Inc. December 9, 2016. www.inc.com

Hua, Karen. “Pantone’s Color of the Year 2017 Is Inspired by Nature and Influences Design.” Forbes. December 9, 2016. www.forbes.com

Pasquarelli, Adrianne. “How Pantone Picks Its Color of the Year.” Advertising Age. December 22, 2015. adage.com

Stewart, Jude. “Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year: Greenery!” Print Mag. December 8, 2016. www.printmag.com

Stock, Kyle. “How Pantone Is Still Turning Color into Money.” Bloomberg. August 27, 2015. www.bloomberg.com

Weiss, Dyanne. “Does Pantone’s Color of the Year Influence Marketing?” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com

“Color Can Influence Emotions in a Way that Few Other Mediums Can.” Digital Skratch. n.d. digitalscratch.com

“Color Psychology: How Does Color Affect Us?” Pantone. n.d. www.pantone.com

“Color Psychology: The Emotional Effects of Colors.” Art Therapy. n.d. www.arttherapyblog.com

“Introducing Greenery.” Pantone. n.d. www.pantone.com

“Shinrin Yoku.” Shinrin Yoku. n.d. www.shinrin-yoku.org

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Making Your Presentation Stand Out with Powerful Design

Once you’re onstage, the stars are you and your presentation. Of course, your training got you there in the first place: charisma, clear and loud voice, likable aura—public speaking skills polished over and over again until they’re perfect, almost like second nature, and suited to your needs—and appropriate for every crowd imaginable.

But what about your presentation? Is it tailored to your audience? There’s a risk you don’t want to take when, despite how good you are as a speaker, your presentation is not as appealing: you don’t get your message across as effectively as you want, vis-à-vis death by PowerPoint.

Since humans are visual creatures, our brains process imagistic information faster and more efficiently than text. This is a benchmark you should take advantage of when creating visually appealing and enticing slides, a tip awesome presentation designers always live by. Check this infographic for tips on how to charm your audiences, arrest their attention, and, most importantly, get your message across.

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Visuals play an important role when arresting attention. In a world of eight-second attention spans and faster everything—connectivity, accessibility, and even loading times—people would rather spend more of their time on different, more valuable things.

Come to think of it, it’s a cyclical cause and effect: everything is faster, so people expect things to be even faster, ergo the short attention spans. Kind of a messed-up Pygmalion effect, only for things instead of persons.

With that happening, there’s now two steps to do: get their attention and retain it. Good, proper, and creative use of visuals can already do the first, and they can certainly take care of the second, especially when your topic goes from “something that makes them curious” to “something that genuinely piques their interest and makes them ask questions.”

There’s a beauty that certain senses can solely appreciate. Music to the ears. Caress on the skin. For the eyes, it’s appealing design. Beauty. Make something that both you and your audience will appreciate. In turn, they will appreciate you.

 

Resources:

Golden, Felicia. “The Power of Visual Content: Images vs. Text.” eyeQ. February 11, 2015. www.eyeqinsights.com/power-visual-content-images-vs-text

McSpadden, Kevin. “You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span than a Goldfish.” Time. May 14, 2015. www.time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish

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Finding the Perfect Topic for Your Business Presentation

To deliver a great business presentation, you need to go full blast from the get-go. Even when you’re still trying to come up with ideas for your talk, you should dedicate ample time and effort in your work. The perfect topic won’t come knocking on your door—you have to find it and work hard for it.

But isn’t that the question, exactly? How hard do you need to work to come up with the right topic for a presentation? How do ideas come to be in the first place? Where do they come from and how do you get hold of them?

The Birth of an Idea

Steven Johnson on his TED talk, “Where Good Ideas Come From,” described an idea to be “a network on the most elemental level,” and a new idea as “a new network of neurons firing in sync with each other inside your brain.” When you have a lightbulb moment, your brain is essentially forming new patterns that it has never formed before. This is what gives you a sense of enlightenment—an epiphany, so to speak.

With great ideas in your arsenal, you can deliver a business presentation that will keep your audience at the edge of their seats. But a list of ideas is not enough. You need to narrow it down to one topic that will give you and your audience utter satisfaction. Here’s an infographic to help you do just that.

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Now, you have the recipe for the perfect topic. What’s left is to create a compelling business presentation that stays true to your subject matter. Remember, your job is far from over. Choosing a topic for your talk is just the beginning. Now that you have the foundation for your speech, it’s time to start building new ideas over it.

 

Resource:

Johnson, Steven. “Where Good Ideas Come From.” TED. September 2010. www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from/transcript?language=en

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Design that Speaks: Styling PowerPoint Background Designs that Work

Designs add depth to content. They are useful for PowerPoint presentations, especially when words alone aren’t explicit enough.

Ideally, PowerPoint pitches should consist of a limited amount of words. Therefore, being expressive is a challenge. Usually, they only contain keywords but because designs impose tone or suggest interpretation, they become more comprehensible.

Studies suggest that elements of art have several different connotations to them. However, they are seldom obvious. It’s common to people that yellow is a happy color or that red looks romantic. But for the average majority, that’s just about it.

Using Psychology in Design

Many know psychological interpretations of art elements such as color, but only a few use this knowledge to their advantage; or at least see them as advantageous.

The ability to understand psychology in design and creativity, and use them in presentations is powerful. “When design and behavior match, the design will be superior,” said Simon Norris in an article. The more psychological effects a slide possesses, the more value it has.

PowerPoint background designs, as much as content does, play a crucial role in persuading audiences. They can influence how others think about you and how they react to you.

One of the secrets in creating a successful business pitch is by connecting with your audience. By appealing to their emotions, you help them remember the idea of your message.

Create effective PowerPoint pitches by incorporating knowledge on useful art psychologies. Know how various elements of art can be used to attract audiences through this infographic.

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Resource:

“Visual Communication and The Psychology of Design.” SuperGraphics. www.supergraphics.com/blog/visual-communication-and-psychology-design

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