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How Can I Become an Effective Webinar Host?

It’s understandable why some people refuse to host webinars to boost their marketing campaign. The experience can be stressful when undertaken the wrong way. First-timers who aren’t confident enough to believe that they have what it takes to pull off the event can find the experience nerve-wracking. Like most presentations, webinars require careful planning. Hosts are expected to devote ample time to ensure that everything goes well—and the implications of that fact alone are enough to give anyone cold feet.

However, if there’s one reason why businesses should still consider hosting a webinar, it’s that the pay-off is well worth the hassle. A webinar provides a whole range of functionalities that other types of media and social platforms can’t offer. For instance, webinars are a quick and surefire way to forge new connections and generate trust from potential clients in your target niche. Also, compared to live seminars, webinars are more practical and regulated because they cost less, demand less time, and can be controlled from start to finish.

If you leave out webinars from your campaign, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities. To keep abreast with the latest technology, you need to host effective webinars.

The Secrets of Successful Webinar Hosts

There aren’t many webinar hosts out there who can draw their target audience’s attention from the start and sustain it until the end. However, those who are skilled enough to do this aren’t hard to emulate. In fact, their strategies when analyzed are easy to understand. Below are some of the secrets of successful webinar hosts.

1. They craft attention-grabbing headlines

Coming up with a catchy headline is winning half the battle. Your potential attendees have no way of knowing exactly what they’ll be getting out of your webinar, so it’s important that the title of your event packs enough information without sacrificing fun.

2. They learn their way around webinar technologies

You’d think it’s obvious, but many webinar hosts still don’t realize that getting the hang of webinar technologies before an event is an absolute must. They wait until the last minute before doing a test run. By leaving out this important step, they take value from their overall experience and the audience’s. The result is dissatisfaction on both ends.

Even on the onset, you should be involved in deciding which webinar tool to use. Consider all possible factors when making this decision. Also, make sure that your provider is willing to train your team so that you can make the most of your webinar experience. Knowing how webinar technologies work will enable you to provide clear instructions to your audience. Equipped with this knowledge, you can walk them through the various features and functionalities of the tools you’re using.

3. They put audio over everything else

In a live presentation, the way you carry yourself onstage is as important as the way you sound. You need to keep the audience invested not only in what you say but also in the way you say it. The same can be said about webinars, although audio-related factors are way more important in this platform than visual ones. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, the audience sometimes don’t get the chance to see you face-to-face. The only connection you have with them is your voice. This is why it’s imperative that you get a good external mic and a soundproof room to aid in audio quality. On top of this, you should make sure to use a confident and conversational tone to keep your audience engaged.

4. They hold the audience’s attention to the last minute

Don’t be too naïve to assume that your audience will stay with you from beginning to end. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. With so many distractions that technology offers, you have no choice now but to compete for your audience’s attention. It would serve you well to add interesting elements like lively videos, good humor, captivating narratives, intriguing facts, and relevant questions into your presentation.

5. They practice and practice some more

One way to make sure that your webinar is seamless is by doing a test run. As they say, practice makes perfect. By reviewing your performance before going live, you give yourself a chance to polish the whole thing and minimize errors. Don’t wait until the last minute before you try out the webinar tools you’re going to use. Test them ahead of time—ideally at the same time you review your content and delivery. Practicing your act will help lessen your stress and give you more confidence.

6. They take marketing seriously

The most successful webinars are those that are marketed optimally. There’s only one way for you to attract a wide audience, and that is to promote the webinar ahead of time. Explore different social media platforms and start online discussions to promote the event. By maximizing all marketing opportunities, you can also maximize audience reach.

7. They review feedback to better themselves

No matter how good you are, there is always an opportunity for learning—a room for improvement that you may have overlooked before. That’s why after delivering a webinar, you should review your performance and take whatever feedback you can, whether good or otherwise. By doing this, you can become a better webinar host.

Webinars are here to stay, so the wise thing to do is tame the platform while it’s still not overused. With the aforementioned tips, you can become a better webinar host and expand your brand reach.

Resources:

Carucci, John & Sharan, Sharat. “How to Ensure Webinar Audio Quality.” Dummies. n.d. www.dummies.com/careers/business-communication/webinars/how-to-ensure-webinar-audio-quality

Dietrich, Gini. “14 Steps to Hosting a Successful Webinar.” Convince and Convert. n.d. www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/14-steps-to-hosting-a-successful-webinar

Pappas, Christoforos. “Hosting a Winning Webinar: The Ultimate Guide.” eLearning Industry. August 22, 2015. elearningindustry.com/hosting-winning-webinar-ultimate-guide

Pappas, Christoforos. “Top 7 Tips to be a Successful Webinar Host.” eLearning Industry. October 5, 2015. elearningindustry.com/top-7-webinar-tips-successful-webinar-host

Warren, Gabriela. “How to Organize and Host a Webinar.” Lifewire. September 20, 2016. www.lifewire.com/how-to-organize-and-host-a-webinar-2377237

Weller, Nathan B. “The 15 Best Webinar Software Products from Around the Web.” Elegant Themes. January 17, 2015. www.elegantthemes.com/blog/resources/the-15-best-webinar-software-products-from-around-the-web

Successfully Introducing Your Product in a Business Presentation

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

Show, Don’t Tell

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

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Build Enough Hype

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

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

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Solidify Your Expertise

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

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Communicate Confidence

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

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

Resources:

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

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

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

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

Closing a Deal Without Assuming a Salesperson’s Role

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

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

The Logic Behind Using a No-Pitch Promotion

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

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

  • To take the pressure off the audience

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

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

  • To differentiate yourself from corporate players

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

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

Four Proven Ways to Sell Without Being Aggressive

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

1. Be transparent about your business processes

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

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

2. Demonstrate what your product does

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

How to Make a Deal Without Sounding Like a Salesperson

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

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

4. Focus on addressing the consumer’s pain points

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

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

 

Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Presentations

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

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

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

Body Language Mistake to Avoid During a Presentation: Crossing Arms

Poor Posture

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

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

Crossing Arms

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

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

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

Exaggerated Gestures

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

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

Turning Your Back

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

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

Don't Forget to Make Eye Contact During Your Presentation

Make Eye Contact

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

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

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

Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Videos: How Can They Improve Your Presentation?

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

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

The Purposes of Using Videos in Presentations


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

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

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

Things to Remember When Adding Videos to Your Slides

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

1. Embed the video in the presentation itself

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

2. Keep it short and simple

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

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

3. Lean towards the authentic

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

4. Check its relevance to the topic

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

5. Use narratives to draw emotional responses

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

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

Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Humor During a Pitch

“Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s one of the many mantras funny people live by. That and “Laugh with people, not at them” are some of the better ways of looking at the best side of humor. While it unfortunately may not be for everyone (there are some very serious people out there), the sound of laughter is still pleasant to hear.

That simple, lighthearted reason is why it’s a good idea to incorporate humor and make people laugh during your presentation. You’re fostering a more welcoming atmosphere and making sure any tension is laughed away. In addition, you’re giving your audience members a good time by ensuring they don’t get bored while you talk.

It doesn’t mean that you must be a comedian—although there are a few pointers from their trade you could take lessons from. Humor can be strategically inserted into your speech or be present in your slides, like a funny image or a reference to pop culture. There are just a few reminders you must be mindful of.

Pitch Consideration #1: Relevance

Relevance

Recall what public speaking greats do before they get to their main point. A common technique is sharing a story, personal or otherwise. Another is telling a quote they hold close to their hearts. There are others, too, who crack jokes. A shared trait of all three methods is that they serve as an introduction and give the audience an idea and/or a stance on the subject of your speech.

Determine the topic of your quip and make sure that it is relevant to what you’re going to talk about. You don’t want an off-hand punchline that steers away your audience’s focus or doesn’t add anything to your point. It’s just like picking a quote or a story to start your speech with: you always connect it to your topic. The same treatment should be accorded to your jokes as well.

Pitch Consideration #2: Timing

Timing

Jokes have two parts: the setup and the punchline. Veteran comedians have mastered the technique of making their audiences wait for a few moments after building up the former and before saying the latter. The dramatic pause in between evokes a heightened sense of suspense and highlights the punchline. In much the same concept, use that similar sense of timing when you belt out your jests.

Showering your speech with too many jokes dilutes your message with unnecessary asides, making it difficult for your audience to sort through the extra information and get to the meat of your message. Time your jokes with breaks in your piece, like when transitioning to your next point or when you know that you just gave your audience an information overload. Take a breather with a few laughs—just like in life.

Pitch Consideration #3: Sensitivity

Sensitivity

As much as humor is not for everybody (as healthy as that may be), there are also types of jokes that don’t sit well with everybody. For instance, a recent study correlates dark humor appreciation with high IQ, but a speech is not the proper platform, time, or place since the former doesn’t sit well with everyone. In short, choose which kinds of jokes to dish out.

A good type is where you can poke fun at yourself lightly. Don’t be afraid to make yourself the butt of your own jokes. If anything, it shows the level of confidence you have for and about yourself. Don’t let another person be a victim of your own humor; it might be interpreted as a sign of insecurity because you need to put someone down for you to come out on top. It helps that you don’t attack or isolate anyone or put someone in an embarrassing spot, especially if said individual is well-known and/or influential. The safest victim of your jokes is yourself.

Humor is a trait not many people are blessed with but is almost vital in socialization, so studying about being funny and making the conscious effort—although not trying too hard—can be seen as a good thing. When your intent is to use jokes as a tool for a light mood, then you’re grasping the concept of humor nicely; employing it on something as serious as a pitch is always a welcome thought. Make your audience livelier with hilarity and enjoyment since, after all, laughter is the best medicine.

 

Resources:

Anderson, Gail Zack. “How to Use Humor in Your Next Presentation.” Business Communications. September 26, 2011. www.managementhelp.org/blogs/communications/2011/09/26/how-to-use-humor-in-your-next-presentation

Asher, Joey. “How to Inject Humor in Your Presentations.” Speechworks. n.d. www.speechworks.net/how-to-inject-humor-in-your-presentations

Barancik, Steve. “How to Use Humor Effectively in Speeches.” Write-Out-Loud.com. n.d. www.write-out-loud.com/how-to-use-humor-effectively.html

Brounstein, Marty and Malcolm Kushner. “How to Use Humor in You Presentation.” Dummies. n.d. www.dummies.com/careers/business-communication/public-speaking/how-to-use-humor-in-your-presentation

Doward, Jamie. “Black Humour Is Sign of High Intelligence, Study Suggests.” The Guardian. January 29, 2017. www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/29/dark-humour-high-intelligence-study

Marshall, Lisa B. “How to Make People Laugh During Presentations.” Quick and Dirty Tips. January 1, 2010. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/how-to-make-people-laugh-during-presentations

Pain, Elisabeth. “Slipping Humor into Scientific Presentations.” Science Magazine. April 1, 2011. www.sciencemag.org/careers/2011/04/slipping-humor-scientific-presentations

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How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation

A speaker standing still throughout a presentation is dull to watch. The audience may not relate with your message if you don’t show enough interest in delivering it. In the same way, if you move excessively onstage, you may risk distracting your viewers from the content of your presentation. Exaggerated and unnecessary movements only make you look like you’re trying too hard. You should know how to carry yourself under the limelight. Smoothly transition from one point to another using fluid movements.

The Power of Body Language

Dynamic speakers maximize their stage presence by moving around and owning the stage. They also use appropriate body movements that help accentuate their point. Moving purposely and naturally will give you an opportunity to foster a bond with your audience. Being dynamic onstage will endear you to your audience and help you win their attention and favor.

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Captivate Interest

Captivate Interest

A compelling speech and a well-designed PowerPoint deck will only win you half the battle. Ultimately, the success of your presentation lies on how well you deliver it. What’s a good content if it can’t be understood by the audience? When stressing an idea, match your words with the proper gesture and non-verbal cue. Use appropriate body language so as to stress your message. Remember, content, design, and delivery work hand in hand. You need to put equal emphasis on all three for your presentation to be successful.

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Stimulate Emotions

Stimulate Emotions

Certain body movements are so engaging that you can use them to invite your listeners to join in the conversation. You can make your presentation feel like a dialogue rather than a monologue by simply putting a variation in your movements. The more you make your audience feel included, the more you can build rapport with them. Once you have that connection, your audience will be more likely to remember your message and share it to others. 

How Stage Presence Can Boost Your Presentation: Highlight Transitions

Highlight Transitions

When you’re relating a narrative that involves occurrences from the past and present and some hopes or predictions for the future, you can move around the stage to establish the transitions between them. For instance, you can start ambling to one side of the platform to communicate that you’re talking about the past. Then, you can walk to the other side to show a change of perspective. Your audience will get a hint that you’re now talking about the present. Finally, when you return to the center, your audience will know that you’re moving on to future events. Needless to say, you need to make these transitions look and feel natural. Draw a pattern in your movements, but make sure the audience won’t detect it. 

Move with Meaning

Now that you know how important body language is when delivering a presentation, you’re probably wondering how you can use it to your advantage. There’s only one sure way to master this skill: REHEARSE. As ironic as it sounds, rehearsing your movements onstage will help you carry and deliver them with grace. Practice until your non-verbal expressions look seamless and natural. Moving with purpose and meaning will make you look confident onstage. But more important than this, it can make your audience feel more engaged and included. Make sure not to forego an impactful body language.

 

Resources:

Galarza, Erin. “Public Speaking: Developing Stage Presence.” Percolate. February 25, 2015. blog.percolate.com/2015/02/public-speaking-developing-stage-presence

Gallo, Carmine. “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.” Presensatie. 2010. www.presensatie.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Presentation-Secrets-Of-Steve-Jobs.pdf

Genard, Gary. “The 5 Key Body Language Techniques of Public Speaking.” Genard Method. May 31, 2015. www.genardmethod.com/blog/bid/144247/The-5-Key-Body-Language-Techniques-of-Public-Speaking

Young, Graham. “To Move or Not to Move When Presenting.” Young Markets. October 10, 2012. youngmarkets.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/to-move-or-not-to-move-when-presenting

“Gestures: Your Body Speaks.” Toastmasters International. June 2011. web.mst.edu/~toast/docs/Gestures.pdf

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Understanding Color Contrast in Graphic Design

Whether you’re proficient in design or not, you ought to possess at least a single grain of knowledge about color contrast. It’s a principle that can be seen everywhere, although it’s mostly prominent in graphic design and other art-related fields. Color contrast refers to the stark visual differences that make an object distinct from others. The polarity of black and white, two colors known to be the ultimate opposites, is a classic example that illustrates this design principle. As a designer, however, you need to learn to work on a more diverse palette that transcends these two so that you can explore other ways of achieving color contrast.

The Importance of Contrast in Design

A simple way to weed out amateur designers from the cream of the crop is by judging the way they apply contrast in their work. Contrast—whether it be of shapes, typography, or color—is the foundation of every artistic masterpiece. You have to be conscious of how you use it since it can be the single most important element that can make or break your design. Color is one of the first things that register in our subconscious when we look at a work of art. A design piece that fails to employ color contrast effectively can result to a jarring spectacle that can strain the audience’s eyes and cause them to withdraw their gaze. As all designers can agree on, there’s no thought worse than knowing that nobody wants to see the fruits of their labor.

Color contrast is important for three reasons:
  • It attracts the eye. People are subconsciously drawn to artworks that use contrast seamlessly. This principle is attractive to the eye because it creates visual interest. When done correctly, color contrast shouldn’t be noticed. When done the wrong way, however, it glares like a flagrant sin.
  • It reinforces an idea. Colors carry a certain weight, so when they’re used effectively, they can impact viewers manifold. Use color contrast to strengthen your message.
  • It shows hierarchy. Color contrast can create a focal point and establish a hierarchy of importance in your design. With this design principle, you can draw people to a certain area of a page without telling them outright that it’s what they should focus on.

Make sure to strike a balance when applying color contrast. Using this design principle excessively is just as bad as not applying it at all.

Johannes Itten’s Seven Kinds of Color Contrast

Mastering color contrast is just like mastering any other skill—it takes practice. There are no hard and fast rules, no shortcuts, and no magic formulas that you can count on. Cultivate your eye for design and work hard on finetuning it. To better understand color contrast, you need to learn its different aspects and forms. Johannes Itten, a Swiss expressionist painter, was among the first to make a theory about the possible types of color contrast. Here are seven of them:

1. Contrast of hue

Hue refers to the name of a specific color that is typically found on the color wheel. You don’t have to apply hues in their purest forms since they might clash. You can lighten or darken them to resemble real-life contexts. When used right, the contrast of hue can create a vivid effect on your design.

2. Contrast of saturation

Saturation refers to the purity of a color; that’s why this type of contrast is also known as the contrast of pure colors. A color in its brightest form is 100% saturated, but by diluting its intensity, you can abate its impact to create a better effect. You can desaturate a color by mixing it with white (tints), black (shades), or gray (tones). When used well, the contrast of saturation can be a unifying factor that leads to a harmonious composition in your design.

3. Contrast of temperature

Mixing warm (red, orange, yellow) and cold (blue, violet, green) colors in a design is also another form of color contrast. This type of contrast can create a dramatic effect, especially when one side is dominant and the other is subservient.

4. Contrast of simultaneity

This refers to the effect colors have on each other. It is derived from the law of complementary colors, in which colors cancel each other out to produce an achromatic light mixture (white, gray, or black). This means that if a certain color is absent, the eye will produce its complement.

5. Contrast of extension

Also known as the contrast of proportion, the contrast of extension refers to the effect of amplifying the impact of a certain color by placing it in a dominant spot. This type of contrast underlines the fact that colors can appear weaker or more dominant depending on their arrangement or placement in a design. When using this, keep in mind that the dominant color shouldn’t overpower the surrounding hues but rather unify them.

6. Contrast of dark and light colors

This type of contrast refers to the brightness of colors—how light or dark they are. Playing light and dark hues off of each other will make your design more powerful and dramatic. Using a high light/dark contrast will allow you to determine which parts of your design are the most important.

7. Contrast of complements

This refers to color pairings that tend to intensify both colors. As you know, complementary colors occupy opposite positions in the color wheel. When adjacent, they intensify each other’s power, but when mixed, they nullify each other by producing a grayish black hue. Exploring color contrast can take your design to the next level. Use it to its optimum and watch your masterpieces soar into new heights, making you worthy of the title, “designer.”

Resources:

Aaberg, Kasper. “Color Contrast: All About the Difference.” Love of Graphics. n.d. www.loveofgraphics.com/graphicdesign/color/colorcontrast Farley, Jennifer. “Principles of Design: Contrast.” SitePoint. December 3, 2009. www.sitepoint.com/principles-of-design-contrast

Jones, Henry. “The Principle of Contrast in Web Design.” Web Design Ledger. February 3, 2010. webdesignledger.com/the-principle-of-contrast-in-web-design

Kliever, Jane. “Designing with Contrast: 20 Tips from a Designer (with Case Studies).” Canva. September 22, 2015. designschool.canva.com/blog/contrasting-colors

O’Nolan, John. “Fully Understanding Contrast in Design.” Web Designer Depot. September 17, 2010. www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/09/fully-understanding-contrast-in-design

Roach, Nick. “Four Quick Tips for Improving Color Harmony in Your Theme Customizations.” Elegant Themes. August 26, 2013. www.elegantthemes.com/blog/resources/four-quick-tips-for-improving-color-harmony-in-your-theme-customizations

“It’s Not Just Black and White: Understanding the Importance of Contrast in Graphic Design.” Pluralsight. March 9, 2014. www.pluralsight.com/blog/creative-professional/just-black-white-using-contrast-get-attention-graphic-designs

Corrigan, Dennis & Hoffer, Peter. “The Seven Color Contrasts: Based on the Work of Johannes Itten.” Marywood. n.d. www.marywood.edu/dotAsset/45ee9b19-5c3a-47bc-974b-47436488e792.pdf

Marketing Through LinkedIn: Tips and Tricks

When professionals gather in one spot of the Internet, you can bet that there will be discussions between experts of their respective fields. If you let them discuss, it will seem like everyone’s ideas are over the place. But out the seeming disorder are the fusions of ideas—even industries—that otherwise wouldn’t be created.

This is the beauty of the professional social media network LinkedIn. Other than feeling safe in a space dedicated to professionals who are mindful about their own careers, you’re also seeing and being seen by like-minded individuals, specifically those coming from your own industry.

The site is not a bad place to start networking and marketing. If anything, it’s one of the best social media platforms out there—at least for B2Bs. Sure, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram still reign supreme as far as connecting people is concerned, but when using these three, you’re bound to encounter more personal posts than professional ones. In LinkedIn, the former is kept to a minimum—or none at all—and almost everything is a stepping stone toward betterment of work, career, and mindset, among others.

So when you’re on the social media website, what must you do to maximize your marketing efforts? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you connect and expand.

Marketing Tip #1: Post High-Quality Content

Post High-Quality Content

Great content leads to more connections. The more quality posts you have, the more visible you are to your niche audience and the public in general. How else do you expand if people can’t see what you have in store for them?

A big no is saturating your profile with mediocre content just to say that you’re posting regularly. It’s more about quality than quantity—but it’s also beneficial if you cater to both. If you have the insight to back your posts up, then people will flock to your profile.

Connect with Personalized Invites

Automation has its pros and cons. It’s highly efficient, but it does sacrifice a humanizing component (more on that later). Just look at the template LinkedIn provides when you’re about to send an invite to a person you want to connect with. It’s generic and, although quite formal in its own right, tiresome to read over and over.

Personalize your requests to connect. It shows that you took the time to compose a message. You can say how you genuinely liked their post or their work or say that you found their content inspiring—things a default email cannot express. People appreciate sincerity.

Marketing Tip #3: Take Advantage of Customized URLs

Take Advantage of Customized URLs

If you took the time to spice up your profile—which you must—then you might as well go all the way. Personalizing your LinkedIn web address gives your own space on the platform, makes you stand out from the other 467 million users, and serves as an easier resource for people who want to discover you via Google search. Not to mention your profile’s ranking in Google’s search results page.

More than that, customizing your URL makes it easier for people to remember your web address. Instead of complicated numbers and slashes and whatever symbols are there, having your brand—or name, even—on the address bar gives a sense of familiarity that doesn’t come with the generic address LinkedIn provides.

Be Human

All in all, your marketing comes down to what your style is and how you approach your prospects. Giving your brand a face, a name, and a persona that people will recognize goes a long way toward top-of-mind awareness, which is one of the goals of your marketing efforts. And being your customers’ first option is proof that your marketing strategies are effective.

Knowing that someone is behind the brand reinforces the idea of a business entity connecting to and relating with its customers. The more you tug at and win their hearts, the stronger your bond with them becomes. It doesn’t matter if it’s a niche audience or not. When you have dedicated people who think of you first, it means they trust your brand; it shows they have confidence in you.

Social media websites are no longer just for personal connections. Business entities also use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for marketing purposes. But they usually contend with and compete for attention against personal posts, updates, photos, check-ins, etc. For a dedicated space like LinkedIn, though, the opportunities are endless. The better the strategy, the sweeter the marketing success.

Bear one mantra in mind. Aim to help instead of sell. Don’t be part of the noise that people avoid. Instead, cater to their needs and wants. Build a rapport, and they will come to you. 

 

Resources:

DeMers, Jayson. “The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Business on LinkedIn.” Forbes. September 18, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/09/18/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-your-business-on-linkedin/#44658ad6a3d6

Duermyer, Randy. “How to Create a Custom LinkedIn Profile URL.” The Balance. November 2, 2016. www.thebalance.com/how-to-create-a-custom-linkedin-profile-url-1794576

Mustapha, Zak. “45 Experts Share Their Biggest Linkedin Marketing Strategy.” The Huffington Post. June 29, 2016. www.huffingtonpost.com/zak-mustapha/45-experts-share-their-bi_b_10375374.html

Nemo, John. “5 of the Most Effective LinkedIn Marketing Methods – According to Science.” Social Media Today. February 13, 2017. www.socialmediatoday.com/social-networks/5-most-effective-linkedin-marketing-methods-according-science

Newberry, Christina. “LinkedIn for Business: The Ultimate Marketing Guide.” Hootsuite. September 20, 2016. blog.hootsuite.com/linkedin-for-business

Patel, Neil. “7 Advanced LinkedIn Strategies for B2B Marketing.” Kissmetrics Blog. n.d. blog.kissmetrics.com/linkedin-strategies-b2b-marketing

Pirouz, Alex. “How to Master Content Marketing on LinkedIn.” HubSpot. July 20, 2015. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/linkedin-content-marketing#sm.0001frknxr3k3dlkqq22lsqtd9h7a

Segal, Sapir. “4 Effective LinkedIn Strategies to Master B2B Marketing.” Oktopost. n.d. www.oktopost.com/blog/4-effective-linkedin-strategies-for-b2b-marketing

Smith, Craig. “13 Amazing LinkedIn Statistics and Facts (February 2017).” DMR. March 22, 2017. www.expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-few-important-linkedin-stats

Van Yoder, Steven. “Stop Selling and (Instead) Help Your Customers Buy.” MarketingProfs. December 14, 2010. www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2010/4104/stop-selling-and-instead-help-your-customers-buy

“15 LinkedIn Marketing Hacks to Grow Your Business.” Business News Daily. September 29, 2014. www.businessnewsdaily.com/7206-linkedin-marketing-business.html

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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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