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How to Improve Your Business Voice for Presentations

How well does your voice sound during a business presentation?

If you’re not satisfied with how you pitch your message, neither are your listeners. In fact, a recent research conducted by Quantified Impressions, a communications analytics company, showed that the sound of a person’s voice strongly influences how they’re seen.

The corporate world accentuates a hustle and bustle of daily conversations, from business meetings to project planning, client negotiations and the like. This is why a strong and confident voice helps portray a professional image. Non-verbal cues such as body language, gesture, and posture only reinforce what you say.

If you’ve been opting for effective and persuasive presentations, start with your voice.

Why Your Vocal Image is Important

People are hard-wired critics. Right after you’ve entered the room, your audience makes snap judgments on your speech credibility. The impression that listeners create based on your speaking voice is often referred to as the vocal image.

Your speaking voice says a lot about you. It’s a signature that creates assumptions about your age, intelligence, background and emotional state. Since it gives your viewers a peek of what you offer, this builds their interest in your presentation.

The Wall Street Journals’ Sue Shellenbarger cites Quantified Communications’ study to emphasize that the sound of a speaker’s voice matters twice as much as the message’s content. Voice is accounted for 23% of listener’s evaluation, while the message’s content only amounted to 11%.

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Tips to Boost Your Vocal Image

There’s nothing more embarrassing than standing in front of a crowd that isn’t paying attention to you. Persuade your audience like a pro by boosting your vocal image with a little know-how and practice. According to presentation trainer David Woodford, there are four crucial points to consider for vocal clarity:

Watch Your Pitch

How you articulate your voice plays a big role in capturing your audience’s interest. A good combination of high and low vocal pitches jazzes up your presentation.

Your pitch goes up when you feel excited but then drops when something serious comes up. Varying your pitch emphasizes your main ideas. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice so as not to bore your listeners.

Manage Your Pacing

Practice speaking at the right speed to maintain your audience’s interest. Speaking too quickly or too slowly makes it harder for them to follow your talk.

Control Your Vocal Power

Keep the attention going by controlling the power of your voice to break the dull discussion. Whether you’re whispering or shouting at the top of your lungs, your vocal volume increases focus and emphasis.

Anticipate Pauses

Necessary pauses let your audience hold their thoughts. People tend to be swamped with a lot of information, making them want to escape. Anticipating pauses in your discussion allows points to sink in.

Related Speech Practices

Record Your Voice

Practice with a tape recorder so you can listen to your own voice. This is the ideal way to evaluate how your voice sounds, including factors like your tone, pitch, accent, and word choices.

Ask a Friend or Co-Worker About Your Bad Habits

If you’re unsure about evaluating yourself, try asking a friend about your bad habits. Having someone to critique your voice quality makes it easier to identify your total vocal image’s pros and cons.

Increase Your Fluid Intake

Good water intake keeps your vocal cords healthy.  Drink enough water every day to keep yourself from frequently clearing your throat.

Conclusion

If you want to exude confidence and professionalism in your presentation, don’t overlook the subtle power of your vocal image. Learn the different ways you can play with your voice, whether it’s the volume, pitch, speed, or the words you’re using. Always evaluate yourself, or ask others to critique you, by recording yourself and identifying areas you can improve in.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too: practicing won’t do any good if you overdo it and end up with a sore throat. With enough determination, you’ll have a business voice that’ll seal business deals in no time.

 

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References

Delivering an effective presentation.University of Leicester. n.d. Accessed April 7, 2015.
How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Shellenbarger, Sue. “Is This How You Really Talk?.The Wall Street Journal. April 22, 2013. Accessed April 7, 2015.
Woodford, David. “Persuasive Presentations – It’s In The Voice!Business Know-How. n.d. Accessed April 7, 2015.

 

Featured Image: on Pixabay

How to Take Tough Questions Like a Presentation Expert

Q&A’s are the perfect opportunity for welcoming observations and clarifying people’s confusion about a certain idea. This opens the floor for deeper audience involvement, although a tough question could sneak through and ruin a stellar performance.

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Here are tips to handle your next Q&A session like a presentation expert:

Take Questions Only at the End

Take audience questions like feedback. They help tune up future presentations. However, taking queries during a structured speech distracts you, ruins your flow, and steers you off-track.

The main part of the speech is not the right time to field questions. If audience members attempt to sidetrack you while speaking, inform them politely that there will be time allotted at the end to address their concerns.

It’s important to avoid coming across as avoiding the question altogether. At the same time, you need to take control of your own presentation to deliver effectively and efficiently.

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Objectives

The Q&A session is a part of your presentation – and should still follow your goals. Set objectives to keep your overall speech concise and effective.

Avoid getting distracted or taken off topic. If you’re asked a question that might seem loosely connected, answer it in a way that always draws it back to your topic.

But never refuse questions, even those that seem difficult or out of your scope of research. Every question is an opportunity to make your message even clearer. In the face of an intimidating question, be honest with the audience, but say that you’ll get back to them once you’ve found the answer.

Keep Yourself Calm and Composed

Even if you’re legitimately taken aback by a hard question, never let it show. Letting your negative emotions show in the midst of a presentation makes you look unprepared and unprofessional, reducing your credibility.

People easily pick up on signs of nervousness such as stammering, fidgeting, shaking, and unnecessary vocal interjections (your uh’s um’s and er’s). Stage jitters can also get your adrenaline pumping, having the awkward side-effect of speeding up your speaking pace.

Taking a deep breath calms those nerves, and gives you a brief chance to quickly internalize and properly respond to the question. This short pause will make your answer more natural and articulate, as well as your speaking more relaxed and well-paced.

Conclusion

Answering questions is an important responsibility as a speaker. No matter how perfect your performance might have been, your listeners will always have additional questions. Address these questions in a way that makes you more effective and knowledgeable.

Need a well-designed deck to go with your speech? Check out our portfolio for ideas or contact our presentation experts for a free quote.

 

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Reference

“Responding to Questions Effectively.” University of Leicester. Accessed July 16, 2015. http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/presentations/questions

Presentation Tip: 5 Things to Avoid in Your Introduction

You’ve probably read a great deal on why the introduction is the most crucial part in your presentation. It has two important purposes: to gain the audience’s attention and to motivate them to listen.

What if you failed to meet these key elements from the very beginning? Don’t compromise your speech credibility and brand reputation.

Break the bad introduction habits and start your presentations effectively.

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Here are five blunders that you should avoid:

1. Going Mainstream

A good majority of presenters begin their talk with, “Good morning. I’m here to discuss x, y, and z.” But this heavy-handed and dull approach is a quick way to lose your audience.

Why go mainstream if there are many creative ways to begin your discussion? Plan for something unique to impress everyone at the very beginning of your speech.

Tell a story or borrow a pertinent movie quote that complements your main idea. Let this perk up your listeners enough for them to say to themselves, “That line was from the movie xyz!”

Asking a rhetorical question also works in engaging your audience. It invites them to think about your arguments, making them active participants in your speech.

Another powerful way to open a presentation is by sharing relevant data that either look to the past or the future. Drop an idea like: “In ancient times, women’s status were defined by their relationship to men. At present, women have become more independent and are now making names in the business world.”

The comparison will make the audience perceive the topic in a new light and hook them further to your pitch.

2. Doing Equipment Checks

Checking if the equipment works exactly before you begin your pitch is another common pitfall in presentations. Although doing equipment checks is a good practice for speakers, it can become a bad habit when it eats up both yours and your audience’s time.

To avoid falling victim to this gaffe, arrive early at the venue and set-up the equipment few minutes ahead the presentation time. This gives you enough buffer in familiarizing yourself with the equipment and in running compatibility tests.

You don’t want the audience to see you rambling while troubleshooting technical problems. Make it a rule to check all the equipment even before your presentation starts. If possible, have an emergency back-up readily available.

3. Questioning People’s Ability

Presenters often make the mistake of starting by asking obvious questions that border on offending their listeners.

Posing questions to your audience can be a good start, but questions that insult their intelligence damage your reputation as a speaker.

Queries with obvious answers like “Do you know how to double up your sales?” or “Is there anyone here who earns more and works less?” are a few unasked for statements that can make your listeners cry tears of frustration.

According to Stanford GSB lecturer Matt Abrahams, ask questions that stimulate curiosity instead. Questions that inquire about a possible future or historical past are great alternatives to the obvious ones.

For example, “What would it be like if robots outnumbered the human population?” Here, the “What if” effect builds intrigue and gets your audience attention. Utilize the same refreshing tactic in waking up your audience.

4. Oversharing Company History

Sharing your company history at the beginning of your speech can be good at establishing credibility. However, doing this more than you should only consumes the time needed in explaining your main ideas.

Similar to talking about yourself, it can come across as bragging, which can make you lose your audience quickly. Your presentation isn’t about you, so it’s best to focus more about what you can offer to them.

The ideal way to impart your company history is by touching a part of it in the middle of your discussion. Look back and share a blast from the past on how you achieved and sustained long-term success.

This not only makes your listeners buy your idea, but also helps in making yourself worthy of their trust and money.

5. Admitting Mistakes

Starting with an apology weakens your credibility and sets the wrong tone.

After all, why would people listen to the rest of your speech if you spent your first few minutes apologizing? You’re only attracting a negative vibe, which kills the chance of leaving a positive impression.

If your discussion is facing inevitable hurdles such as scheduling delays, incompatibility of slides and poor room set-up, handle it with grace and don’t call attention to negatives.

However, there are rare cases where delivering a quick, sincere apology may be in your favor.

The key is to act decisively without affecting your message negatively.

The Takeaway: Start Your Speech Right!

The introduction builds up the overall flow of a pitch. It does a lot of work in making good impression and in keeping people interested throughout the presentation. Unfortunately, there are instances where some speakers lose their audience because of poor introductions. Avoid their fate and steer clear of intro blunders that derail your professional image.

Stay away from the mainstream self-introductions. Instead, think of creative alternatives like sharing a story, citing a movie quote, and asking rhetorical questions. Never do equipment checks at the beginning of your talk. It’s recommended to perform technical tests few minutes before your actual speech.

Avoid asking questions that can insult your audience. Go for questions that drive curiosity and interest. Sharing company history is another taboo. Focus more in discussing what you can do for them.

Lastly, don’t start with an apology. Keep your cool and maintain an upbeat tone even you’re under pressure.

Avoid these four blunders to gain and retain your audience’s attention from the beginning till the end. Looking for presentations with lasting impact? Talk to the right people and get started now.

 

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Reference

Abrahams, Matt. “Matt Abrahams: A Good Question Can Be the Key to a Successful Presentation.” Stanford Business. July 25, 2014. Accessed May 27, 2015. www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/matt-abrahams-good-question-can-be-key-successful-presentation

4 Tips to Build Networks After Your Business Presentation

Tangible results are necessary in enacting your core message. A business presentation is successful when audience members have been converted into clients.

This is where building networks and partnerships come in handy.

Here are four of the simplest ways to network after you pitch:

Initiate Dialog

Most presenters forget that their presentation isn’t a one-way street. It doesn’t end after all the speaker’s personal ideas and opinions have been exhausted. In fact, it’s only just beginning.

A dialogue with the audience is necessary to keep them engaged. Prompt them with questions, or take occasional pauses in your speech to let them think about what you’ve just said.

Open the floor to observations, questions, and concerns. Prepare conversation starters to let your audience know that you’re interested in cultivating professional relationships.

Maintain Visibility

Maintaining a visible image impresses your audience and is vital in making new contacts. Your sincerity must be seen in your actions and heard in your words.

Refrain from checking your watch or phone. These actions show your lack of focus or interest in reaching out to them. Expressing nonverbal cues such as handshakes, smiles, and eye contact also affirm your presence and increase your credibility.

Expressing nonverbal cues such as handshakes, smiles, and eye contact also affirm your presence and increase your credibility.

Pay Attention

Presentations don’t always need to be formal and serious. Step away from the podium and pay more attention to your audience.

According to Forbes contributor, Andrew Vest, one of the ways to effective networking is to never disregard anyone. Everyone in your audience is important in some way, whether they be direct decision makers or people who may have notable connections.

Listen to everything your audience has to say. But don’t just focus on their responses but also on the intent and emotions being reflected. This helps you understand how they perceive you and your message.

Prompt Follow-Up

Fostering partnerships starts with exchanging contact details. However, business cards alone can’t make your business grow.

Develop and use these contacts to thrive for new connections. Maintain the engagement before your speech ends. Set a goal for networking follow-ups.

In doing follow-ups, first determine whom you’ll contact immediately. Then, begin re-introducing yourself and reiterate your goal. Maximize the use of various networking mediums such as SMS, voicemail, and email.

To make it easier to maintain networks right after presentations, LearnVest’s Emma Miller suggests that you treat your connections like friends. This makes it more natural to do.

Conclusion

Effective networking strategies generate new leads and nurture professional relationships. Follow these tips for business growth and professional success.

Looking for high-quality presentations for your business? Give us a call at 1-858-217-5144 or request for a free quote from SlideGenius today.

 

References

Email Marketing Tips: The Art of Pitching through the Inbox.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 29, 2015.
Miller, Emma. “Want More Work Contacts? Try The 80/20 Rule For Unselfish Networking.” Forbes. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Vest, Andrew. “How To Network The Right Way: Eight Tips.” Forbes. Accessed June 29, 2015.

An Effective Probing Strategy for Your Sales Presentation

Lack of probing questions can be one reason why sales proposals are often rejected by clients.

Many presenters forget that throwing open-ended questions such as “How are you doing?” or “What are you up to?” successfully convinces your clients to share the information you need to meet their needs.

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First, build rapport and connect with them to get their attention and establish trust.

Briefly introduce yourself to highlight your presentation’s importance. This compels clients to answer your questions without question.

Why Probing is Important

In sales presentations, your main goal is to persuade your clients to take action.

Study your clients’ objectives and how they should be met. Know their needs and wants to craft an attention-grabbing pitch. Doing so makes them realize that you’ve made thorough research about their company, showing them that you’re just as interested in them as you want them to be interested in your proposal.

More than presenting your products and services’ features, advantages and benefits, make your clients feel that you care about them by meeting their expectations. Satisfying their needs makes them see that you value them above anyone else. This gives them reasons to listen and share their side of the story once you ask them probing questions.

When to Probe

A good sales pitch and ample presentation skills can make an effective sales proposal, but probing is an equally important technique. Your clients look for products and services that satisfy their company’s needs.

Probing is important when relating their needs with what you’re offering. Knowing their concerns prepares you to connect them with your products and services’ benefits, making them think that your idea can achieve their desired outcome.

Start by asking open-ended questions such as, “What are your plans for reaching your objectives for this area?” and “What strategies are you going to implement to make this happen?” to delve into more details.

When you notice that your clients have objections, ask whether they understand what you’re trying to emphasize. This can help clarify some concerns before they make their decision.

How Probing Becomes Effective

Probing encourages your clients to talk more, convincing them to share their thoughts and give you more information that can help you motivate them.

The “who, what, when, where, why and how” questions tell you more about your client’s concerns, letting you better understand their needs by asking:

  • “Who will…”
  • “What, specifically…”
  • “When will…”
  • “Where, exactly…”
  • “Why does…”
  • “How does…”

Know whether you’re asking appropriate questions or not. Be careful not to overdo it by asking more questions than necessary. Going overboard results in data that might not be relevant at all to your proposal, wasting both your time and theirs.

Prepare possible questions to quickly address any issues they might have, preventing them from delaying their decisions.

Conclusion

Applying this sales presentation technique makes clients more likely to approve your proposal. Once they realize how much you’re interested, how much you care about meeting their concerns, and how much you’re helping them achieve their expectations, you’ll convince them that your offering best suits their organization needs.

Knowing what and how to ask makes your sales presentation effective. This is because clients will see that you understand how probing helps satisfy their needs, showing that you’re serious and dedicated about what you do.

Clients are more confident to hire somebody who goes out of their way to give them a satisfying experience. Be the person that your client would never hesitate to go to for solutions to their needs.

SlideGenius can help you make your sales presentation more effective!

 

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References

21 Powerful, Open-Ended Sales Questions.” RAIN Group. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Crafting Content: How to Conduct Presentation Research.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 17, 2015. Accessed 25, 2015.
Probing.” Changing Minds. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 25, 2015.

Addressing Needs: Maslow’s Motivational Theory for Presenters

Ads are everywhere—the average person is exposed to hundreds of advertisements every day, be it television or radio commercials, billboards, transportation, or social media platforms.

However, only a few of them capture our attention. We only remember appealing and interesting ones.

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Human need is the main reason advertisers continuously introduce products to convince consumers to make buying decisions. In turn, this need motivates us to act towards a desired goal.

Since people are longing for things that benefit them, they constantly search for whatever satisfies their needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Harold Maslow is an American Psychologist who introduced Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in 1943, a theory which illustrates the five stages of human needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, as well as self-actualization.

Self-actualization lies at the top of the pyramid as humanity’s most advanced need. However, to reach it, one must fulfill the pyramid’s first four levels. This pyramid doesn’t only apply to general human needs. Various authors and presenters, like Deanna Sellnow, have theorized on its possible use in presentations.

To successfully engage and motivate your listeners, use Maslow’s Motivational Theory with your business or sales presentations. Focus on how your topic benefits your audience. Remember, it’s all about meeting their needs.

Understand your audience’s current situation before getting their attention to make them interested in your discussion. Once you make them believe that your proposal will help them, they’ll see a need to take action.

First Level: Physiological Needs

This phase concerns basic human needs: food, water, air, sleep, etc.

Analyze your audience before crafting your pitch so you’ll know what to include in your presentation. How will you relate your topic to your audience’s concern?

If your client has a problem related to budget, you can offer cost-effective strategies to address their concerns.

Second Level: Safety Needs

This level talks about your audience’s need for security, health, shelter, resources, etc.

Let them know that their safety and comfort are your top priorities. Use personal stories that show you understand what they’re going through, and reassure them that everything will be all right.

Third Level: Love and Belonging

Since people reject loneliness or exclusion, they constantly look for acceptance and approval.

Encourage your audience to form a small group after giving your presentation. Doing so lets them know their colleagues and to share each other’s ideas about the topic, making them feel involved.

Fourth Level: Esteem

This level involves the need for appreciation and self-respect. People want to feel that they’re valued because it boosts their self-esteem.

To satisfy this need, acknowledge their presence and show them how thankful you are for their time. Do this from time to time during your presentation to make them feel important.

Fifth Level: Self-Actualization

Motivate people by challenging them to take possible action. This feeds on their need to show that they’re capable of accomplishments.

End with a powerful call-to-action slide and statement to convince them that you believe in their potentials.

Conclusion

These five levels motivate your audience to learn from your presentation. Think about how your topic relates to your audience’s concerns to guide you when you start crafting your pitch. This gives you an idea how to meet their needs.

Knowing how to satisfy their physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs let you effectively interact with your audience. If they feel like you care about them, then they’ll care about you and what you have to say.

Successfully fulfilling each need encourages your audience to take action as they realize that they’re capable of achieving particular endeavors. This becomes your edge to producing a powerful and effective presentation.

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References

4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For.” SlideGenius, Inc. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Motivating Listeners.” Boundless. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed June 25, 2015.
Sellnow, Deanna D. Confident Public Speaking. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005.

Professional PowerPoints: Dealing with Negative Feedback

Hearing praises about your work boosts self-esteem and inspires you to be a better speaker.

However, there are times that your professional PowerPoints fall short of your audience’s expectations, exposing you to harsh critiques about your pitch.

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Criticism is hard to handle, especially when it knocks your ego down. But all types of feedback—even negative ones—can help you improve and become a better speaker.

Here’s how to handle negative feedback positively:

Learn from the Negative

Don’t take negative feedback personally. Treat criticism as your door to growth and improvement.

If pictures are developed from negatives, so are you. Stop looking into the rearview mirror, and focus on what lies ahead. Move forward and learn from those mistakes.

Mold the feedback into something constructive, fostering effective change rather than solely concentrating on the critique itself.

Consider the Source

Sometimes, the feedback we get can be taken as hurtful insults and attacks on our person. These nonconstructive comments may be hard to accept at first, but don’t let them deter your progress.

Consider the person criticizing you and understand that they don’t have the same mindset as yours.

Feedback isn’t the same for everyone. Ignore distasteful comments and don’t dwell on it. Also, be aware of whether you’ve offended or angered a client or not.

Read between the lines and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are they concerned about? What are the key issues?
  • Why are they reacting this way?
  • What did I say that triggered them to give negative feedback?

These will help you digest the comment and understand where your critic is coming from. Always be mindful of how you engage the audience to avoid provoking anyone.

Maintain Professionalism

Taking feedback too personally creates a hurdle between you and your audience.

Keep an objective stance on the issues being raised to save your professional image. Take a few seconds to breathe, evaluate the situation, and avoid reacting outright.

Your audience seeks not only credibility but also a sense of professionalism. Reply to them with kindness and confirm that you are on the same page.

Thank them for sharing their input and create a safe space where both of your arguments can meet.

Conclusion

Letting go of negative emotions in response to hostile feedback is difficult at first, but accepting or rejecting critique is your choice.

Welcome your audiences’ criticism to improve yourself as a person and as a presenter.

Please your audience with a professional PowerPoint design. Contact SlideGenius now and discover how we can help you with your presentation needs.

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References

Donald, Latumahina. “How to Handle Negative Feedback in 6 Simple Steps.” Life Optimizer. Accessed June 24, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed June 24, 2015.

Three Effective Ways to Evaluate Your Sales Presentation

Rehearsing your sales presentation prepares you for the actual delivery, but it’s only the first half of the process.

Be prepared for whatever questions your audience can ask you.

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According to Michael and George Belch, the advertising industry has its own way of evaluating pitches before suggesting it to clients. Play your own devil’s advocate to find out if your proposal will work by asking yourself three questions:

1. Is Your Solution Consistent with Your Client’s Marketing or Business Strategies?

Each company has their own way of doing business.

Some gadget distributors buy their products from reputable manufacturers. Some grocery stores give shelf space only to common goods.

See if your proposed solution is consistent with how your client sells themselves in their market and how they operate their company.

2. Is Your Sales Pitch Consistent with Your Strategy and Objectives?

Is your business presentation simple enough to show exactly what it’s supposed to?

Visuals are great selling tools, but excessively using them drowns out your message.

Using images effectively with the right words presents your message in a straightforward manner, as with the Crisis Relief’s “Liking Isn’t Helping” campaign.

In his book, Hey Whipple, ad veteran Luke Sullivan presents the following questions for presenters to think about:

Do you want to highlight the features and benefits of your product?
Do you want to pitch your product or services to solve your client’s specific problems?
Do you want to highlight your advantages over the competition?

Whatever tactic you use must be consistent with these strategies, and your slide content mustn’t overwhelm your message.

3. Is Your Sales Pitch Appropriate for the Client and Their Customers?

Whatever proposal you present will always affect your client and their customers, if they have any.

More than the products or services you present, the PowerPoint deck you use and your manner of speaking should be relevant enough for the client to relate to and not be offended.

Dated pop culture references may work, but they lose their relevance when faced with the wrong demographics.

Stay truthful, tasteful and straightforward when delivering business presentations. Give your clients a good reason to invest in you.

Staying Prepared

Anticipating your client’s questions and your audiences’ reactions gives you enough room to stay calm and composed when you deliver the actual presentation.

Being critical of your own work lets you spot possible errors before entering the conference room.

Lastly, having an extra pair of eyes to improve your work makes your business presentation the best it can be.

Take a few minutes to talk to a professional presentation partner today!

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References

Belch, George E., and Michael A. Belch. “Creative Strategy: Implementation and Evaluation.” In Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. 6th ed. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2003.
Sales Presentation Skills: Stay Relevant to Pitch Ideas.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 11, 2015. Accessed June 22, 2015.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Nudd, Tim. “The World’s Best Print Ads, 2012-13.” AdWeek. Accessed June 22, 2015.

3 Reasons You Should Be an Effective Presentation Listener

You can’t be a good speaker if you’re not an effective listener. There’s an old adage that says “We have two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as we speak.” It’s important to listen not only during daily conversations but also in the context of presentations. How does listening make you a better presenter?

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We’ve listed the top three benefits you’ll get when you harness this skill into a presentation tool:

Your Audience Feels Respected

Listening is the simplest form of audience respect. Giving them undivided attention shows that you value their thoughts on your presentation.

When listening, use silence as a strategic pause to prove that you’re paying attention. Also, using facial expressions, nodding, and maintaining eye contact make your audiences feel significant and like they have a place and say in your pitch.

Your Audience Connects with You

Showing that you’re interested in listening to your audience keeps them engaged throughout your discussion. This enables them to ask questions and freely express their views on your material—it lets you clarify possible misconceptions and respond correctly.

Listening doesn’t only encourage you to elaborate on and define solutions to your audience’s problems, but also builds better rapport and understanding.

Your Audience Reciprocates and Listens Back

Attention is the greatest gift that any speaker can get from their audience. Effective listening habits trigger reciprocity and make them listen to you, too. Why would you expect your participants to listen if you don’t listen to them?

Make sure your audience has a place in your presentation. They need to be acknowledged and involved in your entire speech. Whether you respond to their feedback, call them by name, or entertain their idea, you’re allowing them to make their stand and receive the information you’re saying.

It’s been said that listening is the key to understanding. Be an effective listener to show your audience respect, connect with them, and allow them to get involved.

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References

4 Things to Avoid in Order to Gain Respect During a Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2013. Accessed June 17, 2015.
A Presenter’s Guide to Building Audience Rapport.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
Nemko, Marty. “How to Become a Better Listener.” Psychology Today. Accessed June 17, 2015.

Presentation Skill: The Benefits of Using Physical Space

You may have prepared an interactive PowerPoint presentation or may have crafted a powerful pitch, but there’s one important thing you might’ve overlooked: the importance of maximizing your space while you perform.

Whether you’re giving your business proposal in a boardroom or in a large hall, the goal is always to attract the audience’s attention and retain it until the end.

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Moving and staying closer to your audience makes them feel that you want to personally connect with them.

While some public speakers hide behind a lectern, there are professionals who maximize their stage presence to fully engage their audience.

The Importance of Space

One of the subcategories of nonverbal communication is called “proxemics,” a term developed by American anthropologist Edward T. Hall.

This is the study of the effects of using physical space and distance between individuals. It’s how a certain person perceives intimacy when interacting with somebody else.

When it comes to public speaking, how your audience understands your message depends on how you move around your stage or move closer to your audience.

According to Hall, there are four main zones of physical space: intimate (a foot and a half to zero), personal (four feet to a foot and a half), social (twelve feet to four feet), and public (twelve feet or more).

Just as eye contact, gestures, and body language achieve effective communication, physical space contributes to a more successful pitch.

How It Benefits the Speaker

For presenters, interacting with the audience using these zones of physical space may vary depending on how wide the conference room or stage is.

For speech trainer Olivia Mitchell, you can interact and maximize your space in a number of ways, including planning out your position on the stage, using a stage timeline, or moving along with the flow of your speech.

Understanding the benefits of using stage space helps you build an effective relationship with your audience.

It Adds Impact

Apart from your content’s message, tone of voice, facial expressions and body movements, the significance of physical space influences how your audience perceives you as a presenter.

When you enthusiastically discuss, it shows that you’re passionate about your topic and wish to share this amazing information with your audience.

It Promotes Trust

Can you imagine talking to a close friend or colleague without being physically close? How about being up-close and personal with a stranger?

Distance also affects how you connect to your audience. According to Six Minutes’ Andrew Dlugan, bridging the physical gap between you and your listeners further connects you to them.

If the venue hinders you from moving closer to the crowd, you can still connect with them by maximizing your body movements and maintaining eye contact.

It Makes You Look Confident

While political leaders use lecterns to look more authoritative, some professional presenters prefer moving around the podium.

Presenters who stand still in one spot appear unconfident and unprepared. Nervous presenters hide behind lecterns and rely on their notes.

Knowing that you’ve prepared well for your pitch makes you want to move closer to your audience to communicate naturally and confidently.

Understanding how physical space benefits your presentation helps you build an effective relationship with your audience.

A speaker who knows how to move around the stage appears more confident than one who simply stays put.

Always be aware of the four main zones of physical space. Know when to use the intimate, personal, social, and public distances. For instance, you can’t be intimate at the beginning of your pitch because you are a stranger to your audience.

Meanwhile, maintaining a public distance a good thirty minutes into your speech indicates that you don’t trust your audience.

To craft an effective PowerPoint presentation, let SlideGenius experts help you out!

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References

9 Ways to Use Space in Your Presentation.” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed June 12, 2015.
How to Connect With Your Audience by Moving Closer.” Six Minutes. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed
How to Maximize Eye Contact for Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Proxemics.” Communication Studies. Accessed July 9, 2018.