Slidegenius, Inc.

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.

[vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html]

 

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

Looking for creative presentations that can leverage your business? Enjoy free PowerPoint templates from SlideStore! Sign up today.

6 Tips to Keep Your Audience Engaged and Interested

Imagine looking intently at your audience ten minutes into your hour-long presentation. Imagine seeing, instead of eager faces, a sea of spectators wearing I-don’t-want-to-be-here looks. Some of them are yawning; others are glancing at the time. You also spot a few snoozing in plain view, as though daring for you to call them out. Any speaker facing this situation would undoubtedly be unnerved. After all, no one wants to feel like they’re imposing themselves to others.

The scenario you’ve just played out in your mind is a proof that presentations aren’t just about content. The way you say something is just as important as what you have to say, if not more so. No matter how unique and valuable your content is, it’s useless until you present it in an interesting manner.

The thing about presentation delivery is that it’s not a “one time, big time” deal. It’s not something you can apply only at the start and end of your speech. Building momentum isn’t enough; you need to be able to sustain it throughout the presentation. Since this is harder than it seems, we’re giving away some tips to help you with this ordeal.

Keeping Your Audience Hooked from Start to Finish

There’s a certain stigma that pervades presentations: boredom. Many people perceive speeches as nothing but a waste of resources. The time is ripe for you to join the few great presenters who aim to eradicate this stigma by delivering presentations that are interesting from start to finish.

1. Tell them outright why they should listen.

Your chosen topic should be something that the audience is interested in. If you want them to listen, give them a reason to lend you their ears. Unless you make the talk about them, it’s unlikely that they’ll care at all about what you have to say.

2. Give them enough mental challenge.

Presentations are neither about spoon-feeding your audience with information nor baffling them with incomprehensible data. To keep them hooked, you should provide them with enough mental challenges that will keep them occupied without straining their mental faculties. Dispose of anything that will either underchallenge (e.g. bullet points) or overchallenge (e.g. complicated graphs) them.

3. Turn your speech into a two-way discourse.

An effective way to engage your audience is to include them in the presentation. Cook up some strategies to switch the limelight from them to you. Audience interaction doesn’t come by accident; as the speaker, you need to be the ringleader of the action. By framing the presentation in a way that encourages participation, you’ll be able to keep your audience’s minds from wandering off.

One way to elicit engagement is to embolden people to ask questions. Getting their opinions will not only bring variety to the table but also deepen the conversation. You can also post interesting questions that will get them thinking from beginning to end. Also, leveraging social media by inviting your audience to tweet or blog about your presentation can go a long way in achieving interaction. If you only want minimal engagement, however, you can just poll your audience as a group. Ask them to raise hands or stand to show agreement or dissent.

4. Grab their attention with any kind of change.

Uniformity fosters boredom, so you should veer away from any predictable patterns of speech. Add any kind of nuance, however small, to draw your audience’s minds back to the presentation. There are a lot of aspects that you can modify in a speech. For example, you can change your style of delivery depending on the type of content you share. State facts with a deliberate tone and tell stories in an animated manner. You can also change the inflection of your voice to emphasize the differences between strong and trivial statements. By varying your vocal inflections, you can add emotional layers to your words.

Another thing you can modify is the type of media you use. For instance, you can shift from a PowerPoint slide deck to a whiteboard presentation. By incorporating these small changes in your presentation, you can recapture the audience’s attention every time their minds drift away.

Audience Attention Tips: Schedule Breaks Between Sections

5. Vary the types of content you share.

Don’t limit yourself to one type of content. While it’s true that facts and data are essential in business presentations, you shouldn’t let your speech turn into a lecture just because you can’t find creative ways to present your content. As much as possible, blend in some stories into your presentation. People are hard-wired to love narratives, so they’ll be more interested to hear what you have to say when you package your content that way. You can also use metaphors to illustrate a point, or draw from a personal experience to make an example.

There are other types of content you can add to your speech. For instance, a mind map can work for organizing your thoughts. Visual elements are also good for spicing up your presentation. If you can apply humor prudently, it can also be useful in lifting the boredom and energizing your audience.

6. Schedule breaks between sections.

Don’t underestimate the rejuvenating effects of a short break. Give your audience ample time to walk around, refill their drinks, take a breath of fresh air, and get the blood flowing through their legs once again with a quick stretch. These small activities will revive your audience and keep them from dozing off halfway through your speech. Schedule breaks where they apply and see an immediate improvement in the mood of your spectators.

When you feel inclined to settle for a mediocre presentation that will no doubt bore your listeners, just remember that having a ready audience to listen to you is a privilege. It’s an honor you can earn by devoting enough resources to make your presentation worth everyone’s time and effort. Apply the tips we’ve provided, and you’ll be taking a step in the right direction. Good luck!

Resources:

Belknap, Leslie. “How to Find a Story to Enhance Your Public Speaking Presentations.” Ethos 3. November 6, 2015. www.ethos3.com/2015/11/how-to-find-a-story-to-enhance-your-public-speaking-presentations

Brownlow, Hannah. “10 Ways to Keep Your Audience’s Attention.” Bright Carbon. June 18, 2015. www.brightcarbon.com/blog/10-ways-to-keep-your-audiences-attention

DeMers, Jayson. “10 Presentation Tricks to Keep Your Audience Awake.” Inc. August 11, 2015. www.inc.com/jayson-demers/10-presentation-tricks-to-keep-your-audience-awake.html

Grissom, Twila. “How to Make a Presentation: The Importance of Delivery.” CustomShow. November 27, 2014. www.customshow.com/giving-great-presentation-importance-delivery

Hedges, Kristi. “Five Easy Tricks to Make Your Presentation Interactive.” Forbes. January 28, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/01/28/five-easy-tricks-to-make-your-presentation-interactive/#223ff6ae2586

Martinuzzi, Bruna. “How to Keep Your Audience Focused on Your Presentation.” American Express. September 14, 2012. www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/how-to-keep-your-audience-focused-on-your-presentation

Mitchell, Olivia. “7 Ways to Keep Audience Attention During Your Presentation.” Speaking About Presenting. n.d. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/content/7-ways-audience-attention-presentation

Patel, Neil. “When, How, and How Often to Take a Break.” Inc. December 11, 2014. www.inc.com/neil-patel/when-how-and-how-often-to-take-a-break.html

Proofreading: How Important Is It for PowerPoint Presentations?

When reading, isn’t it bothersome to see a typographical error that distracts you from peacefully enjoying the piece? There’s the nagging feeling that “teh” should be “the,” that “your” should be “you’re,” or that “should of” is completely wrong. If tenses are all over the place or the subject-verb agreement isn’t correct, then that impression of the mistake gives way to disappointment and silent rage. Typos are distracting, to say the least.

To curb typographical errors, the responsibility of proofreading content falls squarely upon your shoulders. Be it a blog post, a book waiting to be published, or even a social media update, any piece of content should be proofread before publishing and publicizing, lest you be subject to the anger-inciting asterisk.

“But wait,” you may probably say. “What’s the difference between proofreading and editing? And there’s revision, too.” It’s time to contrast.

Revising vs. Editing vs. Proofreading

Revising entails the “re-visioning” of the whole piece; you gauge and, if ever, change how you approach your topic. Some of the main questions you need to consider when revising are, “Did the last draft fail to answer important questions, and does the recent one succeed?” and “Is the argument clear and understandable?”

Editing is done so that the whole piece is coherent and unified. You check the flow from one sentence to another and the logic from one paragraph to the next to discern whether the transitions are clear and smooth. If not, then rearrange paragraphs, rewrite sentences, and make the according edits.

Proofreading, the lightest of the three, is where you look for misspelled words, misused punctuation marks, and improper verb tenses and subject-verb agreements to fix them. This is the last step you should do before posting your content.

You must also check your PowerPoint presentation to ensure it doesn’t have any errors (and if it does, edit). Other than showing that you took the time to perfect your slide, it also implies the following notions:

Clarity

Apart from the fact that typographical errors and grammatical mistakes are distracting (diverting your reader’s attention to the typo itself), they take focus away from the message of your presentation in PowerPoint. There are more possible misinterpretations of a line missing a word, a missing letter crucial to the intended definition of the word (think “pubic” instead of “public”), or inconsistent tenses.

While it may be said that the human mind internally corrects the mistake, it’s still an unnecessary mental activity for the reader. Instead of focusing on and absorbing your piece, they’re looking out for mistakes just to satisfy the feeling that what they’re reading is clean and error-free—if they even decide to keep reading your piece.

Instead of muddling and muffling your piece’s flow of information because of errors, make sure your copy is clean and polished. Take the time to think about how your audience reads your article. When you see a typo, correct it right away.

Professionalism

Often, if you read content rife with grammatical and typographical errors, your judgment on it is, “This must have been done by an amateur.” Contrast that with well-proofread copies, and the stigma of unprofessionalism is gone.

Careless mistakes are always a show of unprofessionalism. It can imply that you weren’t fully prepared with your slides or that you crammed your PowerPoint presentation. It can mean that you never bothered to check for mistakes after your first draft or that you didn’t organize everything effectively and efficiently.

This is why there is a practice in any printed publication to correct any factual or typographical errors that made it past layers of editing, albeit in the next edition. Unfortunately, this doesn’t hold as true for digital copies even though editing them is easier to do. Make sure you don’t fall into the same trap.

Consistency

Which do you go for: “toward” or “towards”? “Color” or “colour”? If you’re not careful, you might end up using two kinds of English in a single piece.

Having a consistent voice and tone is a must, if not for regional differences then for establishing yourself as a proficient English speaker and communicator. If you use American English, then keep it that way throughout your piece; if you’re going for British, then make your spelling and idiom use consistent. It may sound traditionalist, but there are critics of this kind of inconsistency. Plus, it helps define your target market without alienating the other party.

All in all, keep your content error-free. It’s a secret to crafting great copies. Even in school, you were trained to submit perfect essays and reports since having typos usually meant markdowns. It’s the same when it comes to business, only with far-reaching consequences. When you’re in front of a crowd whose decision could shape your life and/or career, you wouldn’t want to risk making the kind of mistake.

Writers live by a general rule, and it’s a good exercise of their English and organizational skills. “Write in white heat; revise/edit in cold blood.” Any word work you do falls under this rule. There are no exceptions. Not even your slides. The task of proofreading falls upon you, the content creator, and definitely not a PowerPoint presentation designer.

Resources:

Scocco, Daniel. “The Impotence of Proofreading.” Daily Writing Tips. n.d. www.dailywritingtips.com/the-impotence-of-proofreading

Wasielewski, Jarek. “The Importance of Proofreading Your Webinar.” Webinar Tips Blog. September 25, 2015. blog.clickmeeting.com/the-importance-of-proofreading-your-webinar

Wright, Catharine. “Revision, Editing and Proofreading: What’s the Difference?” Peer Writing Tutors & FYS Mentors. February 14, 2011. sites.middlebury.edu/peer_writing_tutors/2011/02/14/revision-editing-and-proofreading-what%E2%80%99s-the-difference

Wroblewski, M.T. “The Importance of Proofreading in the Workforce.” Chron. n.d. smallbusiness.chron.com/importance-proofreading-workforce-36110.html

Zimmer, John. “Five Typographical Errors to Avoid on Your Slides.” Manner of Speaking. November 6, 2010. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2010/11/06/five-typographical-errors-to-avoid-on-your-slides

“How Proofreading Services Can Make Your Next Presentation a Success.” Re:word. n.d. www.reword.ca/how-proofreading-services-can-make-your-next-presentation-a-success

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

Why Listening Is the Most Important Communication Skill

When was the last time you had a decent conversation? While some say that communication is “talking to” people, others would argue that a simple change of preposition can mean a world of difference between one-sided ranting and healthy dialogue. Try “talking with.”

Hearing and listening, as is often said, are not the same. A common difference in definition is that the former means your ear takes in the information. Scientifically put, it’s the physical phenomenon of vibrations in the air reaching your eardrums; thus, you hear many things, like the whistle of the breeze, the roaring of engines, or footsteps and claps. Meanwhile, the latter is more than just hearing; you also heed and keep in mind what the other is saying, taking in the details and assessing and analyzing their thoughts. When you get the facts straight, you can answer with and/or add your own insights—and eventually, an exchange of ideas. This, then, is discourse, a conversation.

No matter the setting, be it a business meeting, negotiation, personal relationship, etc., listening precipitates proper understanding. While the act may seem simple, don’t underestimate the power of distractions. It could be the sound of a TV or a radio in the background or the whispering hum of a nearby motorcycle. It could be anything that takes your attention away from the one you’re listening to. Even your own thoughts can be a disturbance.

Communication is not a one-way street; you must do you own part too. Foster better conversations by listening because it…

Communication Skill 101: Encourages Open-Mindedness

Encourages Open-Mindedness

Sure, you’re an individual with your own thoughts, judgments, and biases (which, in perspective, isn’t inherently wrong or bad since it’s human nature). But shutting your mind to your own prejudices is a surefire way to close yourself off from the point and mindset of the person you’re talking with. Worse is that you will only spiral down to the mentality that you have a solution you can’t keep inside and interrupt them so that you could speak. This is a very rude gesture. Avoid it at all costs.

Instead, be openminded and receive with no preconceptions or assumptions. If it helps, try thinking of yourself as a blank slate, and everything you hear and listen to is carved onto you. It’s a different take on empathy, but it helps you be in the speaker’s shoes. It helps you connect and relate. And that’s when the magic begins.

Helps Understand

When you keep an open mind, you learn more about the situation and/or the person you’re talking with. You mentally process the information and analyze the details as they come. You don’t jump to conclusions; rather, you are guided by the information you received as you fit the pieces of the puzzle.

Seek to understand. By listening intently, you open yourself up to see what they see and feel what they feel. It’s more than empathy (but it does play an integral part). It’s also about creating a deeper connection and relationship with the person you’re talking with. Since there are no shortcuts to strengthening bonds, listening to understand is a good place to start.

Communication Skill 101: Allows for Better Responses

Allows for Better Responses

When everything has been said, you take things into consideration, be it the problem and its circumstances or the task at hand and its instructions. Knowing what the other party knows and feels about the whole matter makes responding easier and more natural, especially when it deeply affects them.

Because you listened, you have more insight on the stance of the person you’re talking with. You get to see deep into their minds and their thought processes. Then you come up with your responses and add to—or counter (but not argue about)—what they said.

There’s no more dancing around the issue, no more sugarcoating, and no more stepping on anyone’s toes. Listening makes you completely aware and sensitive of your partner and how they respond back to you, and that level of mindfulness goes a long way.

Deepens Bonds

Humans are social creatures. If you have no one to socialize with, you’ll most likely crave talking to anyone or anything—even a volleyball. People feel joy in being with others. Even the mere presence of someone satisfies the neocortex, the part of the human brain comprised of sections involved in social cognition.

This is the foundation of communication: the need to interact with others, be it casual storytelling, heavy rant sessions, or business meetings. Listening shows you’re not just there to talk and socialize; it gives people the comfort and security that what they say is heard, understood, and taken to mind and heart. That puts them at ease, and the trust slowly builds and/or strengthened. You know more about them, and they get to know more about you.

Of course, you’re not the only one who should listen. Ideally, communication is a two-way street. When you’re the one talking, the other should focus on you and on what you’re saying and vice versa. This is common courtesy. There are more rude gestures than interrupting one when speaking, like imposing your unsolicited solution.

A cornerstone of any great relationship is communication. The better the communication, the more lasting the bond. Don’t waste a good one just because you feel the need to talk over the person you’re speaking with. Instead, let it be a proper conversation. Listen, then talk. Talk, then listen. It’s about the giving and taking.

 

Resources:

Bush, Mirabai. “Why Listening Is the Most Radical Act.” Mindful. January 31, 2017. www.mindful.org/why-listening-is-the-most-radical-act

Feintuch, Stacey. “9 Things All Good Listeners Do During Daily Conversations.” Reader’s Digest. n.d. www.rd.com/advice/relationships/how-to-listen

Foster, Nancy. “Good Communication Starts with Listening.” Mediate.com. n.d. www.mediate.com/articles/foster2.cfm

Hellesvig-Gaskell, Karen. “The Difference Between Hearing & Listening Skills.” Livestrong.com. April 16, 2015. www.livestrong.com/article/83661-difference-between-hearing-listening

Roua, Dragos. “After I Read This, I Started to Speak Less and Listen More…” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-benefits-speaking-less-and-listening-more.html

Schilling, Diane. “10 Steps to Effective Listening.” Forbes. November 9, 2012. www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2012/11/09/10-steps-to-effective-listening/#12e324f73891

Verstraete, Mary. “What Is the Most Important Communication Skill to Acquire?” Center for Coaching Excellence. n.d. www.centerforcoachingexcellence.com/blog/the-most-important-skill-to-building-trust

Vrticka, Pascal. “Evolution of the ‘Social Brain’ in Humans: What Are the Benefits and Costs of Belonging to a Social Species?” The Huffington Post. November 16, 2013. www.huffingtonpost.com/pascal-vrticka/human-social-development_b_3921942.html

“Listening Skills.” Skills You Need. n.d. www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/listening-skills.html

“The Importance of Listening.” Boundless.com. n.d. www.boundless.com/communications/textbooks/boundless-communications-textbook/learning-to-listen-and-helping-others-do-the-same-5/understanding-listening-29/the-importance-of-listening-132-8285

“The Importance of Listening, and Ways to Improve Your Own Skills.” Udemy Blog. December 13, 2013. blog.udemy.com/importance-of-listening

Looking for creative presentations that can leverage your business? Enjoy free PowerPoint templates from SlideStore! Sign up today.

WWE and Marketing: Exploring the Common Ground Between

Pro wrestling fans are everywhere. They’re prolific on social media, where they talk incessantly about their shared interest in sports entertainment. This community of fans is among the most unique and united in the world. In fact, the bigger part of them call themselves the “WWE Universe.”

World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE. It’s a name every digital native has heard before, regardless of race, social status, or personal preferences. Kicking off as a gimmicky show in the 1950s, the WWE is now regarded as an entertainment giant. It’s a billion-dollar industry with $700 million in annual revenue and fans in 180 countries. The company delivers content 52 weeks a year in 25 languages to almost 650 million homes worldwide. Indeed, no one can ignore the WWE’s encompassing reach. Its influence is so strong that the pro wrestling industry is equated with it.

As an entertainment powerhouse, the WWE has transcended generations. It has certainly left an indelible mark on pop culture. To many, it’s more than just a brand but a way of life.

Marketing Lessons from the Squared Circle: Storytelling

Marketing Lessons from the Squared Circle

What many businesspeople don’t realize is that some marketing lessons can be found in the unlikeliest of places. We’re talking about the wrestling ring. Brands who want to be as successful as the WWE should follow its footsteps by using progressive marketing tactics and public relations strategies.

By looking at the pro wrestling industry from a marketing perspective, you’ll uncover secrets that you can apply to your business. Here are some of them:

1. Storytelling must sit at your brand’s core.

The WWE calls itself “sports entertainment,” so it’s not really a legitimate sport. All matches are driven by predetermined storylines, and most of what happens inside the ring are choreographed. The business relies heavily on developing great personas and crafting winning storylines. In essence, the squared circle is where athletics marries theatrics.

Since storytelling lies at the core of the WWE, they market each superstar’s brand individually. Everyone gets his or her own entrance music, ring gear, signature pose, signature moves, and even a unique moniker. For example, when Bray Wyatt makes his entrance, people take out their flashlights and wave them through the air. When AJ Styles performs, fans pray for an Ushigoroshi. If none of this makes sense so far, perhaps you’d be familiar with John Cena, the grown-up man famous for his denim shorts, or The Undertaker, who’s always menacing in his Dead-Man costume.

But how exactly does this translate to your business? It’s simple: tell an authentic story that will make your audience care about your product. Give meaning to everything you do so that your audience will have a reason to invest emotionally in your brand. The only way to differentiate yourself from competition is to constantly bring something fresh to the table.

Marketing Lessons from WWE: Audience Dictates What Comes Next

2. The audience dictates what comes next.

What the WWE has that you should have too are data-driven storytellers. The company listens to fans to determine what to do next. As WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon said, “Our fans are the secret to our success. They tell us what they like by cheering; they tell us what they don’t like by booing; and worse, they tell us what they don’t care about by being silent.”

The WWE conducts extensive analyses to determine what appeals to their target market. They use quantifiable means of measurement to construct portraits of fans based on variables. You should do the same in your business. Gauge your audience’s sentiments so you can provide relevant content. Know what makes them tick so you can please or surprise them at will.

3. Digital media is the king of communication.

The WWE’s social media team is composed of only ten people, but that doesn’t hinder them from performing at the top of their game. In fact, the WWE garnered three Shorty Awards in 2014 for its innovative use of social media, YouTube content, and mobile apps. Podcasts are also a good form of content to promote the WWE brand, and so are YouTube videos. However, what really pushed the company to the top is its own streaming service, the WWE network. Reaching over a million subscribers in under a year, the network has inflated WWE’s international popularity.

So, what’s in this for you? As you know, social media is a must for all brands. You can use different digital platforms to appeal to your audience’s emotional side. Provide sneak peeks into behind-the-scene actions, and give your followers something to hold on to. Interact with them the way you would with a friend. Also, try to create a medium of your own—a company blog, for instance—to cultivate a loyal customer base.

Marketing Lessons from WWE: Adapt to the Changing Times

4. Adapt to the changing times.

If there’s one thing the WWE got right, it’s that they constantly evolved with the times. One of the most important decisions they made was the improvement in the portrayal of women. Until recently, female wrestlers or “divas” were considered accessories—no one took them seriously. When the Four Horsewomen came, however, women’s wrestling was revolutionized forever. Instead of “divas,” female wrestlers are now called “superstars,” like their male counterparts.

Another progress they made was the blurring of the lines between kayfabe (i.e. the fiction that happens in the ring) and shoot (i.e. reality). Before, it was considered a sin to break kayfabe, but today, the injection of reality in storylines makes the turn of events more interesting. Fans love the gray area where reality meets fiction.

The WWE’s adaptive nature enabled it to reach audiences outside its demographic. From a majority of male audience, the company’s viewership has now grown to include kids, females, and non-sports fans. Its versatility opened huge opportunities for mainstream sponsorship deals and merchandise sales.

So, what has this got to do with your brand? Obviously, you can take this lesson of versatility and apply it to your business. You can’t keep playing the game unless you constantly find ways to be relevant. If one thing doesn’t work, try another. Don’t stop until you succeed.

5. Nothing sells better than passion.

WWE superstars are just people living their dreams every day. For most of them, pro wrestling is life. They joined the WWE because they were fans as kids. You’ll rarely see a lifeless superstar in the ring—everyone shows charisma in his or her work.

A notable superstar who has entertained the crowd for the last eight years is Naomi. Like others before her, she has given her sweat and blood for the business. When she won her first WWE title in 2017, the crowd erupted into chants of, “You deserve it!” When she had to relinquish it only nine days later due to injury, the crowd again erupted into a reverberating, “No!” The WWE Universe empathized with Naomi because she was a passionate and talented worker. It was what gave her story a genuine touch.

Like the WWE superstars, your brand should exude charisma in every possible way. You should communicate a certain energy to your audience—an infectious aura that will draw them closer to you. Remember, if all else fails, passion will carry you through.

In today’s business environment, brands are constantly wrestling for attention. In order to thrive in your industry, you must look for new ways to keep your title. Look for inspiration in unexpected places, and you might just find true gems that will make you an undisputed champion in your field.

 

Resources:

Cooper, Lana. “4 Lessons Digital Marketers Can Learn from WWE.” Seer Interactive. August 21, 2015. www.seerinteractive.com/blog/4-lessons-digital-marketers-can-learn-wwe

Evans, Zachary. “How the WWE Has Retained Its Marketing Dominance.” Spin Sucks. August 1, 2016. spinsucks.com/marketing/wwe-retained-marketing-dominance

“Company Overview.” WWE Corporate. n.d. corporate.wwe.com/who-we-are/company-overview

Looking for creative presentations that can leverage your business? Enjoy free PowerPoint templates from SlideStore! Sign up today.

Top Problems Presenters Face (And How to Avoid them)

“To err is human,” the adage goes. While not completely skipping the latter half, let’s accept the fact that we, as humans, make mistakes. It’s completely natural, albeit embarrassing—especially when in public. The moral of the story is that you have to make sure it doesn’t happen, right?

There are lessons taught the easy way: anticipate the blunder and avoid doing it. Then there are those only learned the hard way, the ones you must experience first before you can say, “That shouldn’t happen again.”

Barring advice from more experienced speakers and presenters, presentation mistakes can either be of those. The rub, though, is that there are many things that could possibly go wrong that only those with experience can fully prepare for everything.

Here are the most common problems—and how you avoid them—that amateur and professional presenters alike may still experience.

Presenter Problems: Slide Issues

Slide Issues

There is a myriad of presentation design tips out there, so let’s cover only the basic/common ones.

Color contrast.  Keep your choice of colors contrasting: dark text on light background or light text on dark background. If it makes your text easily readable, then that pair—or trio if you have three colors—has great harmony.

Wall of text. A reading spree will bore your audience. Instead, a few simple, powerful words is enough to drive the point home and make an impact. If not words, a meaningful image will do the trick; poignant, nostalgic, rousing, etc., the more emotions the picture solicits, the better. The clincher? Either of those on a single slide for maximum impact.

Too many slides. Drag your presentation on and on, and you’ll bore your audience. Attention is a fragile thing. A good guideline to follow is Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule: 10 slides in 20 minutes with a 30-point font. That way, you’ll be able to punch in more points with fewer slides.

Technical Issues

If you’re not tech-savvy, then the following technical problems—or technological—will be the most complicated ones you’ll encounter.

Connecting to the projector. There are two areas for this blunder: Mac and Windows. First with the latter, most PCs and laptops that aren’t made by Apple have dedicated VGA ports, so you’re covered. There will still be occasional problems, like screens not displaying correctly—or at all—or distorted resolutions, but those are easily fixed with a little tinkering on the Display settings. If you’re rocking a MacBook, though, then chances are you’ll find yourself scrambling to find the extensions and adapters necessary to connect. So…

Presenter Problems: Technical Issues

Not bringing your own cablesIt would be prudent to carry your own gadgets to the venue: VGA adapters, additional USB port extensions, etc. Speakers will find bringing their own stuff is better when they learn on the day itself that the place isn’t fully equipped. Considering that Apple’s ports are, if anything, unique to everything but to those of the same brand, you can’t reasonably and practically expect every venue to have complete equipment. Of course, Windows users will find the practice time-conserving too. Bottom line: just to be safe, bring your own cables.

Videos not playingIf you plan to use videos during your speech, then you need lots of preparation before going onstage. If you’re using YouTube externally (switching from slideshow to Internet browser), secure a good Internet connection and preload the page; if you’re showing short scenes from a long clip, skip ahead to the relevant parts.

Linking is a different game though: You’re basically putting on your slide a “shortcut” button to a video in a specific file path. If you’re not using your own computer, then you need to transfer both presentation and video files and relink to make sure that the “shortcut” has the correct file path.

Freezing or crashingSometimes, it seems like devices have minds of their own, and speakers are forced to encounter a hurdle they can’t control—but can handle gracefully. In cases of computer meltdowns—a sudden hiccup may be tolerable, but a blue screen of death is hard to recover from—losing your cool is a no-no. Don’t panic. Instead, you can:

  • For a system hiccup, tell a few jokes, maybe something about technology, while waiting for it to resolve itself (heighten the suspense and kill the tension);
  • For a sudden crash, since you know it’s going to take some time, tell a story while the computer reboots; or
  • For a blue screen of death, well, nothing much to do about it but to restart the computer, tell stories and/or jokes (see the pattern now?), and just pick up where you left off.

The bottom line here is not to panic and/or just leave. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but handling the whole situation with dignity, and a bit of humor, will overshadow that little blunder.

The Importance of Proper Preparation for a Presenter

The talk itself notwithstanding, those are some of the most common problems presenters face before and during a public speech. But perhaps there’s a more common problem that is easily corrected but overlooked most of the time: lack of proper preparation. Most people don’t realize that this is the biggest enemy before anyone who undertakes an endeavor. It can manifest itself in many forms, including everything above. It’s also what separates amateurs from professionals.

Does that mean that professionals who make mistakes are amateurish? No, of course not. There are circumstances without a person’s reach, and those are the ones you must be careful with. Everything else, you learn to avoid with the right mentality, attitude, and dignity.

Resources:

Duarte, Nancy. “Five Presentation Mistakes Everyone Makes.” Harvard Business Review. December 12, 2012. www.hbr.org/2012/12/avoid-these-five-mistakes-in-y

Ezekiel, Rebecca. “10 Most Common Presentation Mistakes.” Presentation Prep. n.d. www.presentationprep.com/10-most-common-presentation-mistakes

Harvey, Jim. “5 Most Common Tech Problems for Presenters… and How to Avoid Them.” Presentation Guru. August 2, 2016. www.presentation-guru.com/the-5-most-common-technical-problems-for-presenters-and-how-to-avoid-them

Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” GuyKawasaki.com. December 30, 2005. www.guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule

Marr, Bernard. “The Deadliest Presentation Mistakes Anyone Can Avoid.” LinkedIn Pulse. October 30, 2014. www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141030071401-64875646-the-deadliest-presentation-mistakes-anyone-can-avoid?trk=prof-post&trk=prof-post

Newbold, Curtis. “Top 12 Most Annoying PowerPoint Presentation Mistakes.” The Visual Communication Guy. September 24, 2013. thevisualcommunicationguy.com/2013/09/24/top-12-most-annoying-powerpoint-presentation-mistakes

Olakunori, Giovanni. “30 Common Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.” Larnedu. August 27, 2014. www.larnedu.com/2014/08/27/30-common-presentation-mistakes-avoid

Russell, Wendy. “The 10 Most Common Presentation Mistakes.” About, Inc. n.d. presentationsoft.about.com/od/presentationmistakes/tp/080722_presentation_mistakes.htm

“10 Common Presentation Mistakes.” Mind Tools. n.d. www.mindtools.com/pages/article/presentation-mistakes.htm

Crafting Engaging Content for Your Presentation

Good content is a key ingredient to a great presentation. Your audience is entitled to it, and it’s your duty as a presenter to grant them this right. When crafting content, keep in mind that you’re not bound by words alone. Content is about communication. It’s about conveying information, sharing your knowledge, and telling stories. It goes beyond the superficiality of letters and symbols and aims to produce meaning that can be easily understood and widely appreciated.

The way content is presented is also important. You can dress up your presentation through design and layout. However, you must remember that when all’s said and done, nothing—not even first-rate aesthetics—can compensate for bad content. Make sure to use content primarily to put your message across and inspire your audience into action.

Here are some tips to help you craft great content for your presentation:

1. Pick a relevant and interesting topic.

Every presentation must contain a core message. You can offer that message as a kind of takeaway that the audience can bring home after the presentation. Every idea you weave into the content should circle back to the core message. Otherwise, it needs to go.

2. Involve your audience from start to finish.

Professional speakers will tell you that content needs planning. The difference between a comprehensible presentation and a confusing one is that the former is well-planned and neatly outlined while the latter is just a hodgepodge of mismatched ideas. So, before you rush to a speaking commitment, take time to brainstorm and write ideas down. Establish your structure and decide on the flow and direction of your speech.

Needless to say, you can only plan your content if you know your audience thoroughly. You should tailor your presentation to their needs if you’re going to keep them engaged in every turn. They will only listen to you through the end if you make your presentation relevant, useful, and relatable.

3. Leverage current trends to spark interest.

People crave hot and popular trends. If you jump into the bandwagon and exploit trends while they’re still funky, your audience will be more inclined to advocate your brand. Find out what their tickle spot is and what gets them excited, then incorporate it into your content to maximize engagement.

4. Relay a story to create an emotional bond.

Stories are among the most engaging types of content. In contrast to facts and statistics, they can liven up your presentation and make it more memorable. The problem with hard data is that they’re difficult to comprehend because of their abstraction. They’re meaningless unless you make them about the audience. Stories, on the other hand, can carry an emotional weight that you can use to connect with your spectators, consequently keeping them hooked through the end.

Humor, Simplicity and Repetition for Your Presentation

5. Play on humor when appropriate.

When used properly, humor can be a powerful communication tool. It can help underscore your point, ease tension, and build rapport with your audience. However, you also need to be careful when using it lest it backfires. The thing about humor is that it can’t be forced. If you work too hard trying to incorporate it to your content, you may appear frivolous, or worse, desperate for attention. When that happens, your credibility might become tarnished and your presentation might sink.

Make sure you use humor spontaneously. The best kind of humor springs as anecdotes from personal experiences. What’s good about anecdotes is that they’re easy to tell because you’ve either experienced or witnessed them firsthand. The audience are more likely to relate with them because they’re genuine and personal.

6. Use simple words instead of jargon.

It doesn’t take a literary genius to craft good content. In fact, when it comes to presentations, simplicity is preferred over complexity. It may actually be quite rude to use big words when communicating a simple idea. Do your audience a favor and talk to them in a conversational tone. Avoid corporate lingo unless you’re speaking to a certain group who can understand industry-specific language. You can achieve better results if you speak in words that resonate with the audience. Watch your diction and make sure that everything you say is easily understandable.

7. Ingrain your message by repetition.

According to two Indiana University studies, a chunk of information remains in a person’s short-term memory for only eighteen seconds. To ensure that your audience remembers your core message, repeat keywords and phrases that highlight it. Draw their attention until the end so that they won’t be distracted from your content. Just be creative when doing so to avoid frustrating them.

A good content is easy to distinguish from a bad one. When your spectators find how useful and interesting your presentation is, they’ll appreciate the extra time and effort you spent to refine it. As a result, they’ll be more willing to share your content and spread your message.

Resources:

Daisyme, Peter. “5 Ways to Create Engaging Content Your Audience Will Share.” Entrepreneur. October 14, 2015. www.entrepreneur.com/article/251616

Mazur, Michelle. “Craft Presentation Content That Wows.” Communication Rebel. October 14, 2012. www.drmichellemazur.com/2012/10/craft-presentation-content-that-wows.html

Noar, Adam. “How to Write Engaging Content for Your Slides: 15 Simple Presentation Tips.” Presentation Panda. n.d. presentationpanda.com/blog/how-to-write-engaging-content-for-your-slides-15-simple-presentation-tips

“Presentation Skills: Using Humor Effectively.” The Total Communicator. n.d. totalcommunicator.com/vol2_2/funnymeeting.html

“Repetition: Making Prospects Remember Your Key Messages.” Freestyle. September 2, 2016. www.freestyleservices.com/single-post/2016/10/04/Repetition-Making-Prospects-Remember-Your-Key-Messages

A Recipe for Cooking Presentation Ideas: Important Questions to Ask

Everything starts with an idea. Writers invoke Muses for inspiration; scientists gather data to make a breakthrough; and speakers brainstorm before preparing a presentation. This all sounds so simple in writing, but when you’re faced with the actual task of coming up with ideas, you might find yourself in a barren and lonely land. All too often, creative people struggle against creative block, a seemingly dead-end state that leaves them high and dry.
When you’re stuck in this state, things can get ugly, especially since you can do nothing to nudge your presentation forward. You can neither start structuring your outline nor begin designing your pitch deck. Without that elusive idea, you have no topic. You have nothing to work with—and this can discourage you and force you to drop your speaking engagement right there and then.

Overcome Creative Block and Get Your Ideas Flowing

Presentation Ideas: Overcome Creative Block
Fortunately, there is an antidote to creative block. But before you solve this problem, you need to acknowledge its three main causes first: high expectations, fear of failure, and the pressure of unrealistic deadlines. Once you understand its triggers and the proper ways to address them, all you have to do is wait for fresh ideas to bubble up from the depths of your mind.

Here are some of the things you can do to overcome creative block:

  • Get up early to brainstorm. According to an infographic posted on Ragan, 55 percent of writers who write early in the morning overcome writer’s block. The same can be said about presenters who brainstorm earlier during the day. Mornings can inspire you to be proactive and productive for the rest of the day, so get up early to rack your brain for ideas.
  • Remove all distractions. The same infographic also found that 47 percent of people who removed distractions like gadgets were able to improve their concentration and creativity. When brainstorming, make sure you give yourself enough time and space, with no one and nothing around to interrupt your thoughts.
  • Do other creative exercises. When you’re stuck inside your head, you can’t just sit around and do nothing. You need to do something else—something that’s not related to the presentation you’re working on. You can go and write a poem, watch TV, sing, dance, or cook. Do anything that freshens you up, and sooner or later, you’ll be able to tap into that well of ideas that’s lying dormant in your mind. 
  • Cut yourself some slack. High expectations and the pressure to succeed can bar your thought factory. You might involuntarily shut your brain off if you’re too afraid to come up with a mediocre idea. There’s only one way to fix this, and that is to take the pressure off of yourself. Remember, you’re still in the brainstorming phase—nothing you come up with on this stage is final.

Questions to Kick Off the Brainstorming Process

Presentation Ideas: Questions to Kick Off the Brainstorming Process
Once you overcome your creative block, it’s time to kick off the brainstorming process. While it’s true that anything goes during this stage, it’s still important to acknowledge the issue the right way. Here are some of the most crucial questions to ask when conjuring ideas for a presentation:

1. What do you have that you can share?

Always keep your knowledge and passion in mind. Select a subject matter that you’re familiar with and that you like. This will help cut down your research time and allow you to focus more clearly on your message. If you know what you’re talking about, your credibility will soar into new heights. Knowledge about the topic will allow you to satiate the audience’s desire to learn. Likewise, if you like what you’re talking about, your confidence will rise. The audience can pick up enthusiasm, so when they sense that you’re excited about your talk, they will be excited too. 

2. How can you improve the audience’s lives?

The audience is the star of the presentation, so make sure you consider how your talk can be relevant to them. Ask yourself, what pain point am I trying to target? How can my proposed solution fit into the audience’s lives? Does my message resonate with them? How are they likely to respond and react to my talk? Answering these questions will lead you to the right direction.

3. What is the outcome you desire?

From the start, you need to make your goals clear. Identify the purpose of your presentation and the aims it tries to achieve. Spell out your call to action—don’t just leave it for the audience to guess.

4. Which perspective can make you a thought leader?

Make your presentation worthwhile by differentiating yourself from the crowd. Blaze new paths with your speech, and make sure that the audience can clearly see what makes you unique. As a thought leader, you’ll be able to add value to your industry. You’ll be an important asset that consumers and entrepreneurs alike will respect and uphold. 

5. Can you structure your topic as a narrative?

Ideally, the topic you choose should be narrative-driven since presenters are expected to be master storytellers. People are more responsive to stories because they make presentations more memorable. They create an emotional bond that allows the audience to get to the heart of the message.

6. Can you simplify the message without sacrificing its value?

Finally, ask yourself, can I condense this thought into a shorter presentation? Can I make it more concise without losing the core message? To make your talk as brief as it can be, make sure you only have one focus. Cut anything that’s not related to the core idea.
Before jumping with both feet into a speaking engagement, make sure that you have a strong idea in your arsenal. That idea is the cornerstone of your presentation—without it, you’re stuck with nothing. Take the aforementioned tips so you can craft a speech that’s grounded on a worthwhile concept.

Resources:

Anderson, Meghan Keaney. “The 5 Questions You Should Ask to Nail Your Product Messaging.” Hubspot. December 27, 2012. blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33981/The-5-Questions-You-Should-Ask-to-Nail-Your-Product-Messaging.aspx#sm.0000w6nx4vstbcwkqnc12umt2kzcx
Azzarello, Patty. “A Guide to Brief and Effective Workplace Communication.” Ragan. October 15, 2015. www.ragan.com/WritingEditing/Articles/50282.aspx
Bates, Claire. “Blanking Out: How Stress Can Shut Down the Command Center in the Brain.” Daily Mail.  April 11, 2012. www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2127686/How-stress-shut-command-centre-brain.html
Dixon, George. “How to Choose Your Presentation Topic.” Presentation Magazine. January 2, 2012. www.presentationmagazine.com/how-to-choose-your-presentation-topic-10871.htm
Dlugan, Andrew. “The Secret of Choosing Successful Speech Topics.” Six Minutes. October 25, 2010. sixminutes.dlugan.com/speech-topics
Long, Kristin. “Infographic: The Most Effective Ways to Beat Writer’s Block.” Ragan. October 9, 2015. www.ragan.com/WritingEditing/Articles/50255.aspx
Mitchell, Olivia. “9 Ways to Edit Your Presentation.” Speaking About Presenting. n.d. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/content/edit-presentation
Parker, Roger. “Mark Twain’s Advice for Authors Writing Brand-Building Books.” Personal Branding Blog. May 18, 2011. www.personalbrandingblog.com/mark-twains-advice-for-authors-writing-brand-building-books
Sambuchino, Chuck. “7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block.” Writer’s Digest. May 5, 2013. www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-ways-to-overcome-writers-block

6 Useful Mobile Applications for Public Speakers

In this era, dependence on technology has never been higher, flow of information is better than ever, and communication is faster.
One gift of technology is the smartphone. Whatever brand you have, the ease of use and accessibility a smartphone offers means flexibility, especially when the Internet is concerned. This 24/7 connectivity is practically why these mobile gadgets are essential.
With smartphones come applications, software programs you can install and update through the App Store for Apple, Google Play for Android, and Microsoft Store for Microsoft (there are also desktop and laptop apps for the corresponding operating system). From games to social media to even fitness trackers and mobile banking, to name a few, apps essentially make your phone a very personal gadget. There are even apps that can help public speakers. Here are six of them:

Camera Apps

Camera Applications for Public Speakers
What’s better than practicing in front of a mirror? Watching yourself practicing.
Open your pre-installed camera app (or use other notable ones are Camera Awesome and Filmmaker Pro), adjust the settings to your preference, place your phone a reasonable distance away, and record while you rehearse. When you’re done, watch it. You get to see what your audience-to-be will see: how you look, your gestures, eye contact, etc. Instead of focusing on just your face, you get a fuller and bigger picture of how you do onstage.
The best aspect is that you get to be part of the crowd that will watch you speak. If you can spot glaring errors, then you can bet others will too. By then, you’d know what to fix and polish.
This isn’t just limited to your camera though. Any video-recording device is fine. If you have a camcorder, you can use it. Your phone’s built-in camera is one option of many.

TED App

The annual TED Conference is arguably one of the biggest public-speaking events. Professionals from different countries and industries respect and admire the gathering since it features a collection of the world’s bests. As such, it sets a high standard for presenters and serves as an inspiration for many budding public speakers.
What if you can bring the wide coverage of the TED Talks anytime, anywhere? Enter the TED app, released by the same organization and peppered with the same features as the website, like videos, reviews, comments, etc. With good connectivity, you have talks on different subjects right at your fingertips. You can watch the best speakers, learn and emulate their onstage tricks and styles, and create your own. Who knows? You might even be one of them soon.

SpeakerClock

Speaker Clock Applicaton for Public Speakers
Every talk has an allotted time limit for speakers. Be it less than or more than 10 minutes, you need to tailor your speech to fit the time you have.
Enter SpeakerClock. Using the same look and design of a TED Talk timer, and with a little imagination, it gives the sense that you’re speaking in a TED Conference. No need to feel the pressure though. That’s why you’re practicing not going over your time limit. That way, you know which points you need to emphasize more and longer.
Of course, there are other timer apps out there, but none like SpeakerClock. Who doesn’t want to feel like they’re a TED speaker?

Metronome Beats

You’ve been practicing with a time limit; how fast are you going with your speech? Musicians use a metronome to measure beat and tempo, ticking per a time signature. Transpose that to a public speaking context, and you have Metronome Beats, an app that works just like a metronome with just a few swipes and adjustments.
In a way, you could liken your speech to a music piece: allegro (fast) to adagio (slow) then allegro again and adagio again, making sure the right parts are accented by the right combination of pace and strength, until the finale. Making sure the beat and tempo of your piece are harmonic is a great way to ensure that a) you emphasize your main points by slowly talking about them (adagio) and b) you set the pace of your whole speech to fit within your timeline.

Ummo

Ummo for Public Speakers
What if you had an app that records your speech as you practice, provides a transcription, and counts how many filler words you said? You don’t have to imagine.
Ummo works exactly like that. When looking at your transcript, you get an idea of how many “uhms,” “ahs,” “likes,” etc., you uttered. You can then work on reducing them. There are also two bonuses. With a full transcript, a short analysis can identify where filler words were used the most and whether your diction and pronunciation is clear enough for even a computer to create an almost-accurate copy—homonyms and punctuation the obvious areas of problem. 
Still, an app that does a lot of things for your benefit is great in anybody’s book.

Rhetoric – The Public Speaking Game

The only game in this list, Rhetoric was initially made by John Zimmer and Florian Mueck as a board game in 2011. It crossed over to the digital world as both an improvement tool for public speakers of different calibers and a fun method of bonding with friends and/or family. Best of all is that you don’t have to play it alone.
The rules are the same with the board game, and it plays out like a real gaming app (think Monopoly on your phone). All in all, if you’re looking for a game where players take turns speaking, then Rhetoric is your cup of tea.
There are many tools that can help improve your public-speaking skills, and apps on your smartphone are just a few options. Traditional practice and hard work are still the best ways to get better, but you need to have great self-discipline. If anything, that’s the best quality to have: the mindset that you can always be better if you work hard enough and learn more than expected.

Resources:

Avery, Ryan. “5 iPhone Apps for Public Speakers.” How to Be a Speaker. n.d. www.howtobeaspeaker.com/5-iphone-apps-for-public-speakers
Brown, Christopher. “5 Presentation Apps that Will Calm Your Nerves When Speaking in Public.” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/454813/5-presentation-apps-that-will-calm-your-nerves-when-speaking-in-public
Lloyd-Hughes, Sarah. “10 Great Public Speaking Apps for Killer Presentations.” Ginger Public Speaking. n.d. www.gingerpublicspeaking.com/public-speaking-apps/?utm_referrer=https://www.google.com.ph
Scheinin, Richard. “The Best Apps for Improving Your Public Speaking.” July 17, 2016. The Mercury News. www.mercurynews.com/2016/07/17/the-best-apps-for-improving-your-public-speaking
Studach, Melissa. “6 Apps that Will Turn You Into an Expert Public Speaker.” Inc. June 9, 2016. www.inc.com/melissa-studach/6-apps-that-will-turn-you-into-an-expert-speaker.html
Zimmer, John. “Rhetoric. The App Is Here!” Manner of Speaking. July 24, 2016. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2016/07/24/rhetoric-the-app-is-here
“Mobile Apps for Public Speakers and Presenters.” SlideShop. December 23, 2016. blog.slideshop.com/2016/12/23/mobile-apps-for-public-speakers-and-presenters
“The 7 Best Apps 4 Public Speakers.” Meeting Application. May 1, 2015. blog.meetingapplication.com/7-apps-4-public-speakers