Slidegenius, Inc.

Season of Giving: Making Your Audience Happier with Gifts

Ah, the Yuletide season. Nothing like the cold winter nights, all snuggled up in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate or eggnog—or any hot drink at all. Perhaps alone, if you so choose, or with loved ones. A cozy thought, especially for those looking to make the most out of this time of the year.

And by “make the most out of this time of the year,” let’s define it as “going out and spreading the message of the holidays.” Or, you know, “the season of giving.” This group of PowerPoint presentation professionals would like to think that, aside from the above statement, we consider that every day should be like Christmas—and in turn, every presentation should be just as giving as the last, if not more.

But what are you actually giving to your audience? Do you have to be a secret Santa to do that? Let’s take a step back and have a look from the observer’s perspective with this gifographic.

Making Your Audience Happier with Gifts

There’s no season like Christmas. For many, it’s a time of cheer and splendor, while for some, it’s a time of charity and selflessness.

For each and every one, it’s about merrymaking. Parties with officemates, friends, family, and relatives all make the holidays worthwhile. Get-togethers from distant beloveds and reunions with people you seldom see but often miss. Getting into the spirit of the season with decorations, fetes, and gift-giving truly make it a joyous part of the ending year.

And there’s no feeling better in the world than the merriment spent with those close to you.

It’s not as if your audience shouldn’t be treated as such. They’re an integral part of your task—as small as a group of company executives or as big as a jam-packed auditorium as it may be. Your audience is one of the reasons you’re onstage; they’re there to cheer you and to make sure you’re not doing this in vain.

Don’t take for granted that kind of support. You and your audience are playing your parts. Make the best out of it.

 

Resources:

Dorfman, Jeffrey. “Twenty Quotes And Verses On Giving For Christmas.” Forbes. December 25, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2014/12/25/20-quotes-and-verses-on-giving-for-christmas/#54867dde1e17

Mack, Lloyd. “Christmas is the season for giving.” Kenora Daily Miner & News. December 1, 2016. www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2016/12/01/christmas-is-the-season-for-giving

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

PowerPoint Etiquette for Presentations

The do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint etiquette aren’t explicitly laid out. Good manners are handed down to us by family, which we build on as we learn life’s lessons. Everyone is expected to conduct themselves appropriately and treat each other reasonably.

Unsurprisingly, this also applies when delivering a pitch. PowerPoint is more than two decades old and it’s become a staple in corporate life. But common sense still isn’t so common when it comes to PowerPoint etiquette. There’s a simple code of conduct when giving a presentation.

Speakers who pay attention to protocol show how professional and respectable they are. Here are a few tips to help you become a credible presenter:

Get a Head Start

Make a good first impression by arriving on time. There’s nothing fashionable about being late. It results in a domino effect of delays and inconveniences, and the time lost can’t be brought back. Arriving ahead of time is always better, so you can check the equipment for your presentation.

Technical difficulties can be avoided by checking for hardware problems and by having a backup plan. People also appreciate feeling that their time is valued. The longer it takes you to finish, the more of someone else’s time you’re taking. This makes them feel grateful, and even more likely to tune into your performance.

So make sure to start and end on time.

Call Attention

Begin your speech with a smile. Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t project your mood to your audience. Ask everyone how their day was and spread a positive vibe. You can then ask the audience to help you trim down other sources of distraction, the most notorious being the smartphone.

Politely ask if your listeners can put their smartphone on silent. It’s distracting for both the audience and the speaker when it’s being used in the middle of a presentation. Even if not all of them put away their phones, at least you were polite enough to ask.

Their focus is already split between you and your slides. Help yourself and the audience by simply asking for distractions to be put away.

PowerPoint Etiquette

You are the center of the presentation, and your deck is simply there to complement your content. Don’t let your deck be the point of distraction between you and your audience.

At the same time, precisely because it’s a visual tool, you need to consider other things as well. According to bestselling author, Michael Hyatt, readability is crucial in a PowerPoint. Take note that your slide will be projected from a distance. Not all projectors are the same, some aren’t powerful enough to render small fonts properly.

Take the necessary precaution and choose a font no smaller than 30pt. Very few words can fit on a slide with a font size reaching triple digits. Using little to no words on a slide isn’t rude towards the audience. In fact, the opposite is true.

This just shows that you’re prepared to explain the material without having to rely on your slides.

Be Mindful

We can’t always be aware of how we behave, especially on stage. Having good manners is important in leaving a good impression. Punctuality takes practice, so make it a habit to develop good time management skills. Be courteous to others and smile.

Appreciate people’s time by making sure your presentation starts and ends as scheduled. You can also reduce the amount of distractions so that you and the audience can focus. Lastly, your deck is there as a complement, not a substitute.

So make sure to prepare your deck thoroughly and exercise good PowerPoint etiquette.

 

References

Hyatt, Michael. “5 Rules for More Effective Presentations.” Michael Hyatt. July 10, 2012. Accessed October 13, 2015. www.michaelhyatt.com/5-rules-for-more-effective-presentations.html

 

Featured Image: “Serious for Some” by Lachlan Hardy on flickr.com

Save Painful PowerPoint Presentations with Twitter

Millions of Twitter users collectively ruffled their feathers when rumors spread that Twitter lifted its 140 character limit. Those who weren’t quick to jump the bandwagon checked Twitter’s official announcement on the change. They were assured that the change only affected Direct Messages in Twitter.

And so, Twitter users were put at ease and continued to publicly broadcast their tweets. But what if something similar happened to PowerPoint? Let’s say that Microsoft announced that PowerPoint slides were now limited to a hundred per deck. And each slide will be limited to a hundred characters each.

Presentations will be forced to be more concise now that each pixel on a slide is prime real estate. But at least the files are going to be much smaller.

Rock the Nest

The above scenario is not as bad as it seems since this limitation shouldn’t obstruct a good pitch. Twitter and PowerPoint are at ends with each other on the surface. One could say that you chat in Twitter and then discuss on PowerPoint. But we learn more through our differences than our similarities.

A pitch is allotted a specific time and place to get all its ideas across, but a tweet will need to fight for attention and space on the web to get noticed. In the same way, not everyone gets the chance to have a time and place to be heard. Even with the prepared audience in presentations, you still need to fight to keep their attention focused on you and your topic.

Try to have a bigger stage in mind when delivering your pitch and aim to be understood on a greater level.

Speed Up

While Twitter rapidly sends out millions of tweets a day, PowerPoint presentations gradually spread out information per slide. This isn’t to say that presentations won’t be as effective when slides move fast. On the contrary, if you spend more than ten minutes to explain a slide, the audience will begin to expect the next slides to last just as long.

Avoid preemptively boring the audience by changing up your presentation’s pacing. Breeze through several slides, each containing only one main point. Make each slide memorable, or #tweetable.

Engage

A trending tweet is a force to be reckoned with. Getting a tweet to trend is the addicting and engaging aspect of Twitter. It’s like being placed in the spotlight over the Internet. And you can do this regardless of who you are, so the playing field is evened out. This is a large contrast to being a speaker.

Professionals, businessmen, and important personalities are expected to be knowledgeable in their fields. The experience they have makes them stand out from the average person. They already have the spotlight placed on them. It’s a matter of making themselves relatable to everyone.

Work with Your Strengths

The focus of the presentation is on you. Your deck is there to compliment you while you deliver your speech. There is enough time to get all your ideas across with this. If 140 characters are enough to spark discussions, a few slides surely can. Hasten the pace of your speech by making your slides keep up with everyone’s attention.

If possible, encourage the audience to take pictures of your slides, and let them tweet. Make others connect to your passion, help them understand what you can offer through your words and your experience. And most of all, value the spotlight placed on you.

 

References

Agarwal, Sachin. “Removing the 140-Character Limit from Direct Messages.” Twitter Blogs. August 12, 2015. Accessed October 8, 2015. www.blog.twitter.com/2015/removing-the-140-character-limit-from-direct-messages

 

Featured Image: Hainan Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis hainanus)by Sheau Torng Lim from flickr.com

The Perfect Finale: How to End a Presentation

Saying goodbye to a friend isn’t a big deal. So why does it feel so difficult to do after concluding a speech?

Talking to a crowd anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour is draining. There’s even a lot of multitasking involved, especially when delivering PowerPoint presentations. Speakers have to divide their focus and attention under time pressure. It’s no surprise that they’d want to leave as soon as they can.

But hold on to your last energy reserves before pulling a Houdini. You still have one more chance to leave a great and lasting impression.

Don’t Rush to the End

We focus so much on making a good first impression that we forget to make the last one just as memorable. The end of a presentation for you is just the beginning for the audience. You have a better grasp of the subject, but the audience still needs time to process everything. A final summary of your key points will be a friendly and helpful reminder for them.

Extend your social graces offstage by offering to answer questions in addition to giving a final summary. Time management is crucial in accomplishing this. If you have 30 minutes for a presentation, plan to run it in 20 minutes or less.

This ensures you have enough time for a quick Q&A session. Use the end of your speech to make sure that your listeners have understood your topic properly.

Reel In One Last Time

The worst that can happen to any presentation is when the audience starts leaving before you do. Either you extended your speech too long, or they simply have to go. Fight off the distraction these interruptions create. Redirect attention to yourself using tone, body language, and persuasive rhetoric.

When you go beyond the allotted time or catch yourself making a mistake, avoid apologizing to the crowd. It may be counterintuitive, but apologizing will draw even more attention to your mistake. Mentally acknowledge your mistake and move on. Dwelling on a mistake contributes nothing to the discussion and can even hurt your image.

According to Entrepreneur‘s Jason HeadsetsDotCom, when your energy goes down, you bring down the energy of the audience with you. End your speech on a lighter, positive tone. But if giving jokes isn’t your forte, don’t force it in the last minute. Return to your main point and emphasize your message to the crowd one last time.

Synchronize

We’re only as good as our last impression, so always leave a good one behind. Don’t leave without saying a word. End with an optimistic and sincere remark. Being genuine is important in making connections. The audience will be quick to notice when you’re only putting on an act. Abruptly leaving without a proper goodbye also reflects poorly on your image. Courtesy shouldn’t be limited to certain people and places. You should be able to take it with you wherever you go.

Always be prepared for the worst and don’t let any internal or external distractions rattle you. The stage is yours from start to finish so take command of it. If someone steals your thunder inadvertently or otherwise, prepare to take it back. Your presentation doesn’t end on the last slide.

 

References

Sadler, Jason. “10 Honest and Completely Helpful Tips for Hitting a Public-Speaking Homerun.” Entrepreneur. December 2, 2013. Accessed October 8, 2015. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230079

 

Featured Image: “Microphone” by Photo Cindy on flickr.com

How to Tame the Bullet Points in Presentations

The brain is efficient at discarding useless chunks of memories, but the most embarrassing and boring ones never leave the brain. Flashbacks from a long, drawn out lecture enter the mind out of nowhere. Most of the time, the boring lectures come with a hail of bullet points. Then another flashback sets in… and it turns out you were giving that presentation riddled with bullet points.

There are no set rules for using the bullet point, which makes it difficult to know how to use it successfully. Technically, bulleted lists are only a matter of format. They should contain key points that will be discussed during the presentation.

Let’s take a look at this example:

Tame Bullet Points

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Bread

The above is a simple grocery list. It’s composed of three distinct items, which are then separated from each other through bullet points. Even without writing these items down in a list again, they’re easy to understand and recall. Now, compare it with this bullet list:

Wild Bullet Points

  • Milk
  • The eggs should be brown.
  • Bread
    • Sandwich
    • Toast
    • Banana bread

The latter looks disjointed and confusing for different reasons: inconsistent formatting, too many bullet points, and difficult recall. The first two items nested under “bread” are different ways to prepare bread, while the last item is a type of bread. Eliminate the three items under bread to maintain the general idea of the list, since the three sub-bullets are specific.

The list is more difficult to recall than the former because the general and specific ideas are mixed together. A specific list will have different kinds of bread, and other types of milk and eggs. Ideas need to be refined further and follow consistent formatting.

Troubleshooting

If a bulleted list looks too much like the latter example, there are several ways to simplify it and make it look more like the former.

1. Don’t play mind games

In the context of creating a deck, if the bullet points only make sense in the mind of the speaker, then the audience takes the burden of trying to understand the information. A presentation has new information for the audience, therefore it’s wrong to assume that they possess this information beforehand.

2. Hold their hand

The poorly made bullet list in the latter example branches off wildly in all directions, completely disregarding the audience. According to Think Outside the Slide‘s Dave Paradi, a consistent style is necessary to avoid confusion. Hold their attention by showing bullet points of the main topics, then explaining each topic.

3. Prevent a bullet point tragedy

The most boring kind of bullet list is the kind that pretends to be a bullet list. A group of sentences is called a paragraph, but a bullet list of sentences is a paragraph formatted unnecessarily. Be careful not to mislead the audience into thinking that the bullet-list-paragraph is a bullet list.

4. Maintain harmony

Ideas get along well with each other through formatting and style. Format the topics as a sentence, phrase, or a single word for a bulleted list. If the bullet point begins with the first word capitalized, then the rest of the list should follow the same format. Consistency is important since discrepancies are distracting from the flow of thought and information.

5. Use Bullet Points Sparingly

Bullet points are key points for the audience, not a series of cue cards for the speaker. Use as few bullet points as possible to break up a presentation visually and to avoid overloading the audience with information. Insert an image between slides, and make sure to break up big chunks of information down for the audience.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Bullet points are key points for the audience, not a series of cue cards for the speaker.” user=”SlideGenius” hashtags=”tips” url=”https://www.slidegenius.com/blog/how-to-tame-the-bullet-point-in-presentations/” template=”light”]

The Verdict

It’s important not to accidentally play a game of PowerPoint-Karaoke by reading bullet-list-paragraphs throughout the presentation. Break up information by using a bulleted list with proper formatting and just enough information for easier recall. The proper usage of the bullet list is important to successfully get a point, or several points, across.

Finally, free yourself of the flashbacks of bullet list tragedies and exercise the responsible use and control of bullet points.

 

References

Paradi, Dave. “How to Write Powerful Bullet Points.” ThinkOutsideTheSlide. Accessed on October 2, 2015. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com

 

Featured Image: Bearpit Karaoke” by sfreimark from flickr.com

4 Sales Presentation Techniques from Harvard Business Review

To sell effectively, make your clients listen to you and give you their undivided attention.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

We redesign PowerPoint presentations.

Get your free quote now.

get a free quote

Developing a commanding stage presence is a vital skill for every presenter. Some presenters may be energetic enough to gradually build the hype needed to sell while others have engaging stories to tell.

With a well-developed stage presence, presenters connect with their audiences and form strong relationships with them through their well-crafted speeches and PowerPoint presentations.

This is useful when doing sales presentations.

Harvard Business Review Press (2010) recommends four steps to achieve this:

1. Define Your Communication Style

The first step to developing your stage presence is to define your own communication style.

  • Are you a storyteller?
  • Do you prefer to start with the current situation, then introduce something to change it?
  • Or do you want to spend a few minutes to get to know your audience first?

Whether you want to make an energetic presentation or employ cool, quiet confidence, know which approach you are more comfortable with and stick with that.

2. Focus on the Presentation

You may be physically present in the conference room, but it’s more important to be mentally and emotionally focused on the people and task at hand.

This is the basis of the saying “putting yourself into what you’re doing.” According to speech trainer Michelle Mazur, focusing on your presentation means stepping outside your personal sales goals, and pitching something that would benefit your prospects.

Doing this gives your audience the impression that you’re completely interested in connecting with them and offering them something worth listening to and investing in.

3. Use Your Expressions to Your Advantage

Facial expressions, conversational voice tones and body language are all major contributors to making a dominant stage presence, even more so than your verbal content.

If you use your emotions and play to your passions to show that you’re motivated, your audience is more likely to latch on to that feeling and become as interested as you are.

4. Connect with Your Audience

The most important presentation technique is to build a connection with your audience.

Every client has their own set of expectations, and it’s the presenter’s job to meet those. Take time to know who you are presenting to beforehand.

Use stories, metaphors, and appeal to shared beliefs to establish your credibility in front of your clients. Have them trust you to make a convincing sales presentation.

One More Thing: Integrity Matters

As with every business, clients are looking for partners they can trust. They need to find the people who can help them grow and form a long-term business relationship with.

To get the partners you need, give them the impression that you’re a credible partner who’s confident of their ability to help. This depends on how you use your PowerPoint deck to sell yourself.

To get the help you need, take a few minutes to consult with a professional presentation partner to gain that selling advantage.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Download free PowerPoint templates now.

Get professionally designed PowerPoint slides weekly.

Sign Up Now

References

5 Ways To Make The Audience The Star Of Your Presentation.” Fast Company. January 29, 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Knowing the Audience.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Guide to Persuasive Presentations. (2010). Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Review Press.
Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.

3 Presentation Mistakes Alienating You from the Audience

A successful presentation is the result of three different things: 1) a compelling presentation content 2) an effective and well-designed PowerPoint 3) engaging and interesting delivery.

If you fail to deliver any of these primary tasks, your presentation will fall short. To avoid presentation mistakes, create a concrete plan and prepare accordingly.

Recently, we’ve been talking about how you can improve your content and adjust your PowerPoint slides. Today, it seems fitting that we take a closer look at how you can keep your presentations engaging.

Take a closer look at the five presentation mistakes that might be costing you your listeners:

Mistake #1: Boring introductions 

Some presenters tend to forget the importance of a great introduction. A presentation needs a hook that’s attention-grabbing.

You can’t just take the stage and stammer a long introduction. Avoid a spiel where you introduce yourself, the topic of your presentation, and apologize for how long it’s going to be will never work in your favor.

To change it up, focus on giving the audience a glimpse of the message you want to share. Share an anecdote that can serve as a springboard to your discussion. Start with a unique statistic.

Another option is to give your prospects a chance to connect with the presentation by sharing a story directly related to your topic.

Mistake #2: Filler words 

It’s normal to feel nervous before a presentation. However, you have to make sure your anxiety doesn’t translate to what you do or say in front of the audience.

In a compilation on Six Minutes, renowned speech evaluator Andrew Dlugan collates the opinions of several public speakers on one of the most common presentation mistakes—filler words.The habit of saying words like “um” and “you know” is hard to break, especially when you’re burdened with the pressure to give your best.

Cut back on your use of filler words by taking time to rehearse and hone your presentation skills. There’s no shortcut to this, so be patient in learning to become a better public speaker.

As you rehearse, pace yourself. The more you rush through what you have to say, the more you’re likely to forget what’s next and resort to use unnecessary words to fill the silence.

Mistake #3: Causing unnecessary distractions

A great presenter is constantly aware of what he does in front of the audience. If you want to make sure the audience pays full attention, shake off distracting habits.

Apart from filler words, you might be unconsciously causing a commotion that can shift the attention from what you’re saying.

Whether you’re constantly adjusting what you’re wearing or calling to an assistant to skip to a specific slide, it’s the little things that can take the audience out of the experience.

Make sure you’re well-rehearsed and aware of how you present yourself on stage. Always be alert and present to avoid any visible slip-ups.

A successful presentation is the product of an engaged and interested audience. Keep their attention on the message you’re delivering by avoiding these 3 presentation mistakes.

 

References:

Are… Um… Filler Words… Ah… Okay?Six Minutes. Accessed March 10, 2015.
Be a Presentation Virtuoso with Deliberate Practice.” SlideGenius, Inc. February 26, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2015.
The Complete Presentation Checklist.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 25, 2014. Accessed March 10, 2015.

 

Featured Image: William Warby via flickr

A Presenter’s Guide to Building Audience Rapport

Presenting your audience with creative slides and well-structured content may not be enough to capture their attention for good.

Aside from compelling structure and design, presentations also rely on your ability to connect and communicate well. It’s not enough to know what to do and say, you also need to make sure that the audience is on board with what you’re presenting.

Here are a few things to consider when establishing audience rapport in presentations:

Stop thinking of the audience as a group of faceless individuals 

Presentations can be very difficult, and often require speakers to face large groups of people. Presentation trainer, Olivia Mitchell, explains how being in such situations can sometimes trigger a nervous reaction, particularly when we pressure ourselves to do well in front of others.

As such, we sometimes tend to view the audience as a hostile or indifferent group we need to face and overcome. This leads to the stress of presentation anxiety.

But as we’ve mentioned before, the people seated in front of you are interested to hear what you have to say. Be aware of each audience member’s unique viewpoint for you to relate your own ideas well.

Do your research to learn more about the people you’ll be presenting to and you’re guaranteed to feel less anxious and intimidated.

Don’t underestimate the power of eye contact

Can you imagine talking to a friend who can’t look you in the eye? Wouldn’t that feel suspicious? The same is true when delivering presentations.

As the presenter, it’s your job to make sure that the audience trusts what you say. If they don’t think you’re credible, they won’t listen to the message you’re trying to share. Maintaining eye contact is important in that regard.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that you have to look each and every person in the eye. That will be impossible to do, especially if you have a larger audience in front of you.

Just do your best to hold the gaze of particular individuals seated all over the venue. Most VIPs will be seated in the front row, but don’t limit yourself there.

Offer the same courtesy to those seated farther away from where you’re standing.

Get them thinking by asking rhetorical questions

Another secret to audience rapport is making sure that your audience feels included in your presentation.

With interactive media becoming more and more prevalent, people are looking to become part of an experience.

An easy way to do this is by asking a few rhetorical questions throughout your discussion. Andrew Dlugan, speech coach and founder of Six Minutes, suggests a few strategies when asking rhetorical questions.

This includes encouraging the audience to consider their position and think about the subject at hand.

Encourage interaction by involving them in the discussion

If you have time, take the previous tip one step further. Aside from asking rhetorical questions, you can also ask audience members specific questions that will allow them to play a more active role in the discussion.

Allot a few minutes to hear their answers. You can also use special interactive apps to receive their input straight from their own mobile devices.

Regardless of the method you choose, always incorporate audience answers and opinions as you move on with your discussion.

You’ll find that an inclusive performance wields a more nuanced and interesting discussion. To build stronger audience rapport, don’t forget to acknowledge the contributors by name as best as you can.

Establishing audience rapport doesn’t have to be a back-breaking task. For a presenter, it can be the quickest route to meet the goals you’ve set yourself. Keep these tips in mind to make sure your message is delivered successfully.

 

References

5 Presentation Tools to Encourage Audience Interaction.” SlideGenius, Inc.. January 12, 2015. Accessed January 23, 2015.
Dlugan, Andrew. “How to Use Rhetorical Questions in Your Speech.” Six Minutes. Accessed February 2, 2015.
How to Shake Off Your Pre-Presentation Jitters.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 6, 2014. Accessed February 2, 2015.
Mitchell, Olivia. “The Three Causes of Public Speaking Fear (and What You Can Do about Them).” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed February 2, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Startup Stock Photos

Interactive Presentations: Using Twitter to Break the Fourth Wall

iphone techIn our previous blog, we emphasized the fact that presentations are a two-way street. If you want your message to stick, you need to be able to connect with the people sitting in your audience. Your priority as a presenter is to keep everyone engaged. One way you can do that is by encouraging interaction. You can break the so-called ‘fourth wall’ by posing questions and asking for feedback. Interactive presentations allow you to openly communicate with your audience.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

Obviously, encouraging discussion is a lot easier when you’re addressing a smaller group. However, managing feedback can be a challenge when faced with a much larger crowd. There are plenty of presentation tools you can use for this. Apps like SlideKlowd allow the audience to answer polls and ask questions directly from their mobile devices. Another tool you can consider is something you and majority of your audience are already familiar with. If you don’t want to bother with any other app, Twitter is your best option.

Most interactive presentations will end inside the venue. However, Twitter gives you the ability to reach out to those who aren’t even in the room with you. If you’re presenting at a large conference, trade show, or any industry event, Twitter is a valuable presentation tool for extending the reach of your message.

Here are a few tips on how to use Twitter for interactive presentations:

Decide on a hashtag

To keep your discussion contained in one place, you need to set up a hashtag for your presentation. An effective hashtag needs to be short, specific, and easy to remember. To keep the tweets curated, everyone will have to type the hashtag each time they tweet. Don’t make it hard for them by deciding on a phrase that’s too long or complicated. Most organizers will set up a hashtag for their event. If that’s the case where you’re presenting, you can ask your audience to use that instead.

Public speaking expert Lisa B. Marshall also suggests using a second hashtag. While the first one is specific to your discussion, the second one is something that corresponds to the overall topic you’re covering. A general keyword will allow non-attendees to come across and take part in the Twitter conversation.

Set up a live feed for display

It’s hard to acknowledge tweets in your presentation if not everyone can see it. To make sure you and your audience are on the same page, it’s important to have a live feed displayed. Tools like TweetChat allow you to access a stream of tweets for a specific hashtag. You can have someone else watch the tweets that are coming in, so that you can be notified when an important point or questions comes up.

Moderate the discussion

With the live feed up, it’s easy to reference specific tweets coming from your audience and beyond. While it’s important to keep the backchannel going, constant tweeting can be distracting. While you should encourage discussion, it’s important to determine when to do it throughout your presentation. Set specific moments when the audience can take out their phones to tweet you something. Presentation blogger Kathy Reiffenstein calls them “Twitter breaks.” During this time, you can ask the audience to send you questions or answer a specific poll. Spend some time discussing their tweets before you move on to your next point.

Keep the conversation going

Twitter is also a great way to keep the conversation alive even when your presentation is long over. At the end of your speech, don’t hesitate to ask the audience to follow you or your organization’s official Twitter account. Encourage them to keep sending in their questions and feedback. Just make sure you also do your part. Social media is a valuable space to share your message. Don’t waste the opportunity you garnered by failing to update your Twitter regularly.

Delivering interactive presentations can be a hard task. When you have to address a large audience, it’s hard to encourage every single person to share what’s on their mind. Through Twitter, you can make sure that the audience takes part in your presentation. Keep the communication process open and inclusive with these four tips.

 

SlideGenius Blog Module One

We redesign PowerPoint presentations.

Get your free quote now.

get a free quote

Featured Image: Kooroshication via Flickr
iPhone picture: picjumbo.com

Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement

When it comes to delivering presentations, nothing is more important than connecting with your audience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to close in on a deal or proposing a new project to the higher-ups. You can’t say that your ideas have been well-received if the audience can’t engage with your pitch. It’s not enough to pique their interest with a few video clips or anecdotes.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

Get hundreds of PowerPoint slides for free.

Sign up for your free account today.

Sign Up now

Before you focus on the spectacle, you need to make sure your presentation is perfectly executed. What’s really essential to audience engagement is your ability to present with clarity and certainty.

Here are quick presentation tips to make sure your audience has an engaging experience:

Learn your presentation inside and out

I’m sure you’ve sat through a presentation where the speaker constantly stammered through their speech, trying hard to remember what to say next. No matter how interesting their material was, the uncertainty in their delivery probably proved to be distracting. If you want to avoid being in a similar situation, it’s important to learn every detail of your presentation.

Audience engagement rests in your ability to command attention. You can’t do that if you’re reading from your slides or fidgeting with note cards. The audience needs to see that you know what you’re saying. Take the time to rehearse your presentation as much as you can. You can also try the memory palace technique to memorize your key points.

Condense your PowerPoint deck

By now, we’re all familiar with the concept of “death by PowerPoint.” There’s no easier way to disengage an audience than by presenting them with slides that are loaded with too much information. If your slides are full with indecipherable charts and text, take a step back and start focusing on your visuals.

Instead of filling your PowerPoint deck with bullet points and text, try to illustrate your points instead. Use images and other multimedia elements to articulate your ideas.

If you’re dealing with data, you need to decide which ones are the most relevant to your core message. There are several online tools that can help you with data visualization.

Tailor your presentation for the audience

Very few presenters consider the perspective of their audience.Their presentations often sound like generic spiels because of this.

How do you connect with something you’ve heard a million times before?  If you want to stand out, you need to remember that the audience isn’t a homogeneous group. The people sitting in your audience are individuals with their own unique perspectives and opinions. In other words, audience engagement relies on your ability to personalize your message.

To get inside their heads, you need to ponder on four important questions. Answering these will give you the necessary context to create a presentation that will pull your audience in:

  • Who are they?
  • Why are they coming?
  • What action do you want them to take?
  •  Why might they resist your message?

Keep everyone interested by creating soft breaks

Audience engagement will be much easier if it wasn’t for our short attention spans. With so much tasks begging for attention these days, it’s no surprise the average adult attention span is only a few minutes short.

As hard as you try to simplify your message and learn more about the audience, it’s hard to contend with everyone’s shifting attention.

That’s why presentation expert Carmine Gallo emphasized the importance of the 10-minute rule. If you lose the attention of your audience, you can re-engage them by creating “soft breaks” after every 10 minutes or so. Give them a chance to pause and digest new information by incorporating videos, demonstrations, and other activities.

Try to create an interactive environment by posing questions that they can answer through polls or a show of hands. If you want to, you can also call up other people from your team to share a new perspective with the audience.

Deliver your presentation with passion and enthusiasm

Finally, lead by example. If your presentation delivery falls flat, your audience will easily pick up on that. You can’t expect them to feel enthusiastic about the ideas you’re sharing if you’re mumbling through your presentation.

You need to show how passionate you are about your subject matter. That’s the only way you can deliver a message that will make others feel the same way.

It isn’t hard to deliver a presentation that can engage and connect with an audience. In five easy steps, you can easily make sure that your message sticks and stays with everybody.

 

Featured Image: Steven Lilley via Flickr