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SOS! Presentation Disasters and Survival [Infographic]

Presentation disasters can happen to anyone.

No matter how much you prepare for your big day, there will always be a few obstacles that’ll appear, ones that you never expected would come up during your speech.

Unfortunately, nobody’s perfect, and even the best professional public speakers run into these occasional hitches.

What makes these people stay ahead of the competition is how they handle problems that suddenly happen without prior notice.

If you’re not careful, your discussions can turn into complete presentation disasters… even more so if you can’t handle unexpected events.

After all, Murphy’s Law became well-known because it’s been proven time and time again.

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

You can’t anticipate these moments like a psychic, but you can always cope with sufficient preparation and a calm demeanor.

Preparing for Possible Presentation Disasters

What are some good tips on handling presentation disasters?

All you need to do is to implement some simple back-up plans in case something goes wrong.

Before anything else, keep calm.

As soon as you’ve assessed the situation, start planning your response to the emergency.

Make sure you have presence of mind and you’ll have no problem overcoming any possible hitches during your big moment.

Here’s a short infographic on applying disaster preparedness to problem-proof your presentation.

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Ace Corporate Presentations with These 3 Memorization Tips

Don’t read your presentation aloud onstage. It’s the surest way to tune out your audience. People look up to a speaker who can present without a deck or note cards. These kinds of speakers exude confidence and credibility, catching listeners’ attention and keeping them focused on the topic.

Memorizing your pitch is unavoidable, especially for corporate presentations where you can’t rely on a teleprompter. The key to commanding your audience’s full attention, in this case, is to get the most out of memorization.

1. Rehearse Your Speech Out Loud

It’s not enough to read your script in silence. Even running it past your eyes over and over again won’t help much. The trick is to read your lines aloud.

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Studies have shown that speaking and repeating information out loud improves your memory. Hearing your lines, even in your own voice, subconsciously reinforces what you’re trying to memorize. This helps your head internalize the thoughts you want to express. To get the best results, repeat your lines five or six times. Do this enough and you might even make your performance more authentic and natural.

2. Use the 20-20-20 Rule

While internalizing is effective, it can only get you so far before your brain needs to rest. This is especially true when you read from your computer screen or tablet.

To keep your memorization attempts productive, stick with the 20-20-20 Rule. It recommends taking a break for 20 seconds every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away. Doing so acts as a safeguard against eye strain, giving your brain room to rest. This improves your memorization stamina, and allows for more time to digest your information.

Use the 20-20-20 Rule to maximize the time you spend learning your speech by heart.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Most of us will fall into the trap of over-preparing for that big pitch. Tempted to spend the whole night awake with only coffee to keep you up? It’s not worth it. Lack of sleep negatively affects memory by hampering your brain’s ability to make logical connections.

Cutting sleep makes you feel like you’ve prepared enough for the big presentation opportunity, but you should always get adequate sleep to keep your mind healthy and alert. Getting enough rest can save you from staring into space when asked a difficult question.

One Last Thing

Losing your train of thought can spell disaster, especially in important corporate presentations. Don’t take any chances. Prepare well in advance so you don’t rely on cues for your pitch.

Read your script out loud to maximize your retention and internalize your script. Using the 20-20-20 Rule helps you stay productive with your memorization, and getting enough sleep helps you stay alert during your pitch. These three simple tips can help bring the best out of you during those pitches of a lifetime.

Now bring out your final ace and make that presentation count!

 

References

How Sleep Helps Memory.” Psychology Today. Accessed September 18, 2015.
Memory Improved By Saying Words Aloud.” PsyBlog. 2010. Accessed September 18, 2015.
Rivera, Erin. “The 20-20-20 Rule: Preventing Digital Eye Strain.” Visian ICL. Accessed September 18, 2015.

3 Leadership Qualities That Spice Up Corporate Presentations

Great leaders are the world’s most influential people. Presidents, CEOs and other senior-level executives are chosen for their leadership and charisma. These professionals know exactly how to handle both themselves and their colleagues. Since they understand how people generally behave, they’re able to manage them effectively.

But what do powerful leaders and persuasive presenters have in common?

Speakers Can Be Powerful Leaders

“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.” – James Humes

A good public speaker is also capable of being a good leader. However, it takes proper training and serious practice to be an effective presenter. While it’s true that skills can be acquired, having the proper attitude and behavior can make a bigger difference.

One’s character is more important than his abilities. A speaker can’t be at his best if he ignores proper ethical guidelines. This is why it plays a vital role in any type of communication: to build a meaningful connection and establish a good relationship with your audience.

While everyone can lead, not everybody can lead effectively. Here are three leadership qualities that speakers can apply when giving their presentations:

1. They Are In Control of Their Emotions

Presenters who are deeply conscious about how they behave and address their audience display full understanding and respect. They know what emotions to keep in check and what to project in public.

They’re also trained on how to properly handle negative feedback or ignore distractions that interrupt their performance.

As a speaker, you should learn the significance of being authentic while keeping a sense of professionalism. Playing to your passions also helps you control your presentation’s flow and finish it successfully.

2. They Are Competent

Leaders captivate listeners and possess skills that inspire their colleagues or constituents. They can’t do this alone, so they also have effective management skills. This helps them spread their message farther, and accomplish their goals easier.

Presenters who know their strengths don’t undermine their colleagues. Given their proficiency, they still strive to improve their abilities and learn new skills. As a speaker, find time to develop your potential.

3. They Are Opportunity-Seekers

Presenters who want to be successful don’t settle for what they have. They aim for the best. They don’t hesitate to grab opportunities that’ll help them achieve their main goal – to connect with their audience. This will also allow them to successfully engage them and hopefully improve their lives.

As a speaker, you should know how to give your audience win-win situations to build strong relationships.

Conclusion

Like great leaders, effective presenters know when to be passionate and when to be professional. They are also aware of their skills, yet still drive themselves constantly towards self-improvement. Most of all, they don’t hesitate when given the right opportunities, and can turn any situation to their benefit.

Learning how leaders take advantage can be applied to your performance as a speaker. Use them as inspiration to enhance your skills for more powerful corporate presentations.

To help you with your presentation needs, let PowerPoint experts assist you!

 

References

Spence, Carma. “5 things great speakers and great leaders have in common.” Public Speaking Super Powers, October 12, 2012. Accessed June 9, 2015.

5 things great speakers and great leaders have in common

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/jameshumes154732.html#higgLr8yW0bcHgQd.99

3 Exercises for Staying Calm During Investment Presentations

A professional setting calls for a professional approach. During vital investment presentations, you don’t want to seem nervous and fidgety, nor do you want to appear hyper and overbearing. Anxiety ruins your integrity as a presenter, as an uncontrolled wave of emotion could end up expressing the wrong message. What you need is a cool and calm approach that doesn’t get in the way of what you’re trying to say.

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Here are three tips to get you up to the task:

1. Empty Your Mind

You don’t want to be overtaken by your fears and anxieties. You also don’t want to be distracted by your overenthusiasm and excitement. To find a calm middle ground, empty your mind of present thoughts. Imagine an image from nature. Think of the quietly rushing water of a babbling brook or the wind blowing through a field. Imagine a loved one voicing encouragement.

It doesn’t matter which image you use to relax yourself, whether it’s specific or general. What’s important is that you do this well before your presentation. Practice clearing your mind and imagining relaxing thoughts repeatedly so that you’re ready to use these techniques when you need them.

2. Inhale, Exhale

Don’t forget to breathe. Sounds easy, right? Without even thinking about it, our body already does the breathing for us. However, steady breathing is harder to do when your body is stressing out.

Fortunately, some oxygen can help calm you down, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions or by a bout of the presentation jitters. Similar to when you’re in life-threatening danger, your body releases stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline, which increase your heart rate and blood pressure.

They may have helped our more primitive ancestors in outrunning predators, but they inadvertently make modern public speaking harder, increasing your chances of committing mistakes. Controlled breathing, among many things, optimizes your oxygen intake, making it easier for you to focus and think clearly. When you’re feeling nervous or anxious, just take one long breath, stomach out, and you’ll be fine.

3. Move Around

Motion changes your emotion. It’s not just some rhyme – it actually works. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a speaker, shift your stance or take a few steps in any direction. Making movements changes your perspective, helping you transition to a different state of mind.

If you’re frequently stiffening up due to nervousness, loosen your body up with some stretching exercises before a pitch, and move around during your pitch. Being mobile also allows you to better convey your message. In addition, effective use of body language communicates to your audience and to your subconscious self that you’re in control.

Conclusion

There are opportunities for you to let your emotions loose and be yourself. However, going overboard will make you look unprofessional and put a dent in your credibility. It can also confuse your audience into remembering your emotion instead of your core message. Freezing with nervousness will make you look even worse.

Don’t be hard on yourself if you find it difficult to present in front of an audience. Some nervousness is normal for important business presentations, but don’t be completely overcome with anxiety.

Instead of panicking even more, relax. Clear your mind of any present thoughts. The less you focus on worrisome possibilities, the more you can focus on actually getting your message across. Don’t forget to take deep breaths to optimize your oxygen intake and calm yourself down.

Lastly, move around, but don’t overdo it. Getting yourself in motion gives you a different perspective on things. Be cool, calm, and collected to ace your pitch and wow your listeners.

 

References

http://www.marionspeaks.com/_blog/Marions_Communication_Tips/post/3_Tips_to_Control_Emotions_When_Presenting/
http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/3-surprising-ways-a-deep-breath-can-reduce-your-anxiety/
http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2010/04/21/motions-influence-emotions/

 

Featured Image: Relaxing in Maldives” by Nattu on flickr.com

Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations

When was the last time you conversed with others?

Chances are, you’ve remembered most of what you talked about, right down to the times when you either agreed or had a healthy discussion on the topic.

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This is what makes the conversational style so effective: they allow for easier recall and a more engaging dialogue with your audience. And the same holds true for PowerPoint presentations.

All too often, business communications use jargon to make their presentations look appealing. The problem is, these words defeat their original purpose because they’re too technical, boring, and hard to remember.

Advantages of the Conversational Style

1. It Grabs Attention Faster

A longer pitch does not equate to quality. Going on about superficial information makes your audience antsy and impatient.

Getting to the main point makes listeners immediately know what your presentation is about. Brand communications specialist, Carmine Gallo, presents something as simple as introducing the MacBook Air as the thinnest laptop, or the Intel Core 2 Duo processor as something that increases your productivity.

Doing so helps potential customers understand more about the products, as opposed to reciting their technical specifications word-for-word.

The latter approach bores the customer. While the explanations are technically correct, they don’t touch on the advantages they can offer.

This style of conversation also allows you to add a short but descriptive opinion of your topic. By adding your two cents’ worth before the presentation, you can build the mood of your audience.

Do you want them to be excited or curious? It all depends on you.

2. It’s Easy to Follow

Once you grab your audience’s attention, you can then tell a story and use your PowerPoint slides to support it. This makes your presentation easier to follow and it will allow others to connect the dots faster.

In 2005, Steve Jobs announced that the new Macintosh models would have Intel processors instead of IBM PowerPC chips.

Rather than give a boring, unconnected, jargon-heavy description, he built up the situation, made everyone curious, then stated the reason for the change: Apple wanted to make better computers for its customers.

His company was unable to deliver the kind of computers that he wanted, which was why the switch was made. Jobs said that this was a vital move for future projects, thus convincing his audience that it was the right thing to do (Gallo, 2010).

3. It’s Mostly Jargon-Free

Since the conversational style eliminates all the unnecessary technical terms, you let your audience keep up. If you have to explain anything, explain them in layman’s terms.

Then, tell them what those terms mean for them.

Gallo (2010) presented two hypothetical scenarios of a customer looking for a laptop:

The first one had a salesman giving a technical explanation of what the Intel Core 2 Duo processor was, but without elaborating on the physical benefits that it could offer.

The second one had a salesman explaining in plain English what the processor could do and how it could increase productivity.

According to the Colin James Method, misused jargon is distracting and unimpressive. If you want to widen your reach and increase your lead conversion, drop the terminologies and pitch naturally.

Conclusion

You need clients to invest in your idea by selling your offerings in an interesting but understandable way.

To do this, use the conversational approach in nurturing a relationship with your clients. Renowned author Jim Aitchison suggests that you show that you understand and want to relate to them.

At the end of the day, neither your client nor your boss can approve their proposals if they can’t understand a jargon-heavy presentation.

Converse with prospects to establish a more personal connection, and you’re sure to land those sales no matter who you’re talking to.

 

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References

Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print For Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Craft Your Corporate Presentations into a Great Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 15, 2015. Accessed May 7, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010.
PowerPoint Verbal Crutches to Avoid.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 12, 2014. Accessed May 7, 2015.
Why Jargon Fails – And How To Avoid It.” Colin James Method. January 07, 2015. Accessed May 7, 2015.