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Secret Santa Rules: How to Make Your Presentation Worthwhile [Infographic]

The cool Christmas breeze, sparkling lights in the cities, and merry carolers are only a few of the cues that the happiest time of the year is here again.

With the holiday season just around the corner, let’s all embrace the cheer and bring everyone joy.

This celebration isn’t only for those we love and care for. It’s also for the people we don’t encounter every day, and people who need a helping hand.

You don’t have to give grand and expensive presents. A simple and sincere Christmas greeting can brighten up one’s day.

A smile or a warm hug can liven up and give comfort to a lonely spirit.

So if you have this major presentation to deliver, why not give your pitch the warmth of giving and sharing?

Try presenting from a secret Santa’s point of view to deliver a bundle of joy and a wealth of delight to your audience, no matter how small or big the group is.

It doesn’t just allow you to reach out to them, it also lets them appreciate your presence and understand your message.

Be Like a Secret Santa!

Presentations are like holiday gift exchanges, you need to plan in advance to frame the right content with delivery they’ll truly appreciate.

Always follow the secret rules of making a worthwhile presentation.

First, stick to the limit. In gift-giving, it’s important to give something appropriate for that person you drew out of a hat.

In presentations, you need to consider your audiences and their needs to deliver your message effectively.

Second, you have to be a good observer. This is essential in finding a perfect gift for your loved ones, as well as with business pitches.

Pay attention to your audience and their visual cues for a surefire performance.

Lastly, show some creativity. Make your presentation unique like a beautifully wrapped gift.

Get creative with your visuals and content to end your message on a high note.

Wrap them all up together and your audience will value the gift of information.

Here’s an infographic from SlideGenius to show you how acting like a secret Santa makes for effective presentations:

Be Like Secret Santa: How It Makes Presentations Worthwhile

“We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give,” — Winston Churchill.

People celebrate success and achieve happiness when good results come their way. However, one can’t achieve great outcomes without exerting any effort. Don’t just focus on yourself while climbing up your own career ladder. After all, most businesses aren’t run by just a single person – they’re built up of several people. You can’t sell something without having someone to sell to, either. That’s why if you want to help yourself, you should also reach out to others.

It’s a great time to do this, especially since the Christmas season is just around the corner. So if you have this major presentation to deliver, why not embrace this season of giving and sharing? Share helpful insights with your audience, and you’ll get undivided attention in return.

Here’s how to be like a secret Santa and make your business pitch worthwhile not just for yourself, but for others.

1. Stick to the Limit

1-Stick-to-Presentation-Limits

In the context of gift-giving, you can’t buy something random for that person you drew out of the hat. You have to pick an item that can be used by anyone of any gender, without exceeding the maximum budget allotted. Similar to the limits imposed on what kind of gift you can give, making a presentation also comes with its own list of things to consider. It’s tempting to go over the maximum number of PowerPoint slides that you’re allowed to use, especially if you’re struggling to convey your message effectively with less content.

Going over the limit might give you more room to explain your point, but keeping it concise makes it easier for the audience to remember what you said. Likewise, overly-designed visuals in your slides can distract the audience, not only taking their eyes away from your deck, but making them lose their interest in you as well. Sometimes, it’s not about the quantity of your offering, but the quality of your gift. Make your presentation design simple yet interesting to engage and entice them with your speech.

2. Find Out What They Like

2-Find-Out-What-Audiences-Like

Finding the perfect Christmas gift can be both exciting and challenging, just like when you’re pitching a business proposal. The greatest challenge is presenting something that meets your client’s expectations and interests. You have to observe how people act so that you can map out a great strategy. This applies before, during, and after your presentation. Don’t forget to take a real glance at your audience while you’re speaking. Do they look engaged, or are they checking their wristwatches or cellphones instead?

You can try segueing with a somewhat related topic in order to regain their attention, but make sure it’s connected to your message. Otherwise, your audience will think that you’re giving them random information, just so you can say that you offered something, even if it’s knowledge that the audience can’t use.

As a presenter, you also need to watch for what signals they’re sending in. Their expressions are big hints as to how they’re receiving your presentation. Is your audience smiling at you or are they giving you a neutral face? If it’s the former, keep going. If it’s the latter, it’s time to re-evaluate your tactics – and quick.

For example, if business jokes don’t seem to work on them, then you should probably go for something serious. Once you’ve picked up on their visual clues, re-align your thoughts and switch to another style of delivery to recapture their interest.

3. Get Creative with Your Gifts

3-Get-Creative-With-Gifts-and-Presentations

Receiving a beautifully wrapped gift can make anyone feel extra special. After all, it brings the holiday spirit to life in that one simple moment. If lovely gift-wrapping adds value to a gift, then all the more reason to wrap your speech with a nice note, too. Instead of talking about your topic dryly, go for a creative approach to not only hook but also inform your audience. For instance, you can include an animated video or a movie clip that sums up your intended message with maximum impact.

If you really can’t think of alternative ways to deliver your message, don’t fret. There are plenty of different avenues you can take: you can include infographics, success stories, and up-to-date news to support your main idea. Of course, sprucing up your deck with eye-catching design and layout will help your audience pay attention to what you’re saying. Make sure to align your colors and elements to your personal branding, and arrange your text and images in a way that clarifies your main points, rather than detract from them.

Wrapping It Up

4-Wrap-Up-Your-Presentations-Like-Gifts

Presentations are similar to Christmas cringles and gift exchanges. You need to put in more effort to make your audience value the gift you’re sharing: the gift of information. Follow the basics, and don’t go overboard. If they set a limit to the kind of gift you can give, then stay within those limits. This not only saves you time, but keeps you from straying from your main topic, giving your audience a meaty presentation instead of one filled with irrelevant information.

Be a good observer, not just someone dispensing information, but someone who takes in available information as well. Things may not go the way you planned them to, so it’s crucial to adapt in case you notice the crowd starting to doze off. Watch out for visual clues about your listeners’ interest levels and adjust according to the situation. Finally, unleash your creative side. Think of other ways to effectively convey your message. Anybody can stand in front of a crowd and start talking about straight facts, but only those who prepare well for it can relay their messages in compelling and convincing ways.

Adopt a secret Santa approach and you’ll bring joy to everybody in your audience. By sincerely giving what meaningful knowledge you have to others, you’re sure to receive sales and numerous successes in return.

 

References

Dabbah, Mariela. “Secret Santa:  7 Golden Rules for Giving.” Mamiverse. September 12, 2011. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.mamiverse.com/secret-santa-7-golden-rules-for-giving-3894/

Creating Creativity: Creative Habits to Practice Everyday

Successful people think outside the box and offer something new every time. Fortunately, according to Sir Ken Robinson in his famous TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” everyone has the capacity to be creative. It’s just a matter of perspective and persistence.

Making creativity a habit can boost your performance. You’ll be able to keep your audience interested with your originality.  However, the benefits of ingenuity aren’t limited to your professional life. Practice it every day to become a happier, better-rounded individual.

Look for Inspiration Everywhere

Fresh material can be found in the most unexpected places. Resourceful thinkers let their minds and bodies wander to find original ideas. Daydreaming allows your brain to branch out into different possibilities, which is essential for creative thinking. You actually come up with the best concepts when you least expect them. Try getting fresh air and step outside to look for inspiration.

But being on the go not only helps you find your muse, it also literally improves your thought process. Studies provide evidence on the correlation between physical movement and cognitive activity. The next time you come across a mental block, consider going out for a run.

Passion Precedes Excellence

A project done half-heartedly is bound to fail. Creative people know this, so they give their all in their work, and the results follow. While committing yourself to one thing seems tedious, single-tasking can be very rewarding. Focusing on one project gives you more time to scrutinize and polish its quality.

Because this requires a lot of patience, you have to really be interested in what you’re working on to keep going at it. It doesn’t have to be your immediate interest. It just has to be something you’re willing to invest effort in.

Angel investor and entrepreneur Amy Rees Anderson, writes in her article on Forbes that passionate pursuit yields monetary return, citing examples such as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. The more enthusiastic you are, the higher the chances are of a good result.

Criticism Nurtures Growth of Ideas

People are naturally social beings. Finding like-minded individuals who can share your vision and assist your progress is crucial in the creative process. Although originality seems personal, making connections and collaborating with others can help you come up with better ideas.

Ed Catmull, co-founder and current president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios, discloses the process behind Pixar’s creative successes in an article on the Harvard Business Review. In his definition of creativity, Catmull debunks the misconception of creativity as a “mysterious solo act” and instead emphasizes the collaboration of great minds in producing good output. Those who seek out communities to foster imagination and growth are more likely to succeed in their craft than people who remain solitary.

For one thing, other people won’t know your work exists if you keep it to yourself. For another, getting feedback allows you to improve on skills. In the case of a presenter, showing your content and visuals to your peers or to other experts gives you different perspectives on your presentation.

After all, an audience will look at it in the end, so why not get constructive opinions now? Being around other creatives can also build a network of ideas that you can tap into anytime.

Conclusion

Creativity has many benefits. It enhances your personal and professional life. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t limited to a chosen few, either. To achieve creative thought, simply go out of your comfort zone and explore. You can get inspiration from everything around you.

Work hard and be patient in crafting your ideas into worthwhile output. When you’re ready to let your work be known, surround yourself with people who are willing to support you and give you feedback. It’s a healthy practice to integrate creativity into your daily routine.

Need help making a creative and stimulating presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts and get a free quote!

 

References

Anderson, Amy. “Does Being Passionate About the Work You Do Increase Your Chance of Succes?”. Forbes Magazine. Accessed October 9, 2015. www.forbes.com/sites/amyanderson/2013/03/27/does-being-passionate-about-the-work-you-do-increase-your-chance-of-success
Catmull, Edwin. “How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity.” Harvard Business Review. September 1, 2008. Accessed October 9, 2016. www.hbr.org/2008/09/how-pixar-fosters-collective-creativity
Chan, Amanda. “Regular Exercise Could Boost Creativity.” The Huffington Post. December 9, 2013. Accessed October 9, 2015. www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/exercise-creativity-physical-activity_n_4394310.html

Featured Image: “Chalk” by Dean Hochman on flickr.com

The Creative Process: 4 Steps to Presentation Success

We like to think of creativity as something elusive. It’s either you have it or you don’t. But as we discussed in the past, creativity is not a special trait reserved for artists, musicians, and writers. Creativity is a vital for endeavors that involve communicating and connecting with others. Whether you’re working on a novel or pitching to investors, creativity is crucial for capturing the imagination. The creative process is considered elusive only because we don’t know how to navigate through it.

The science of creativity

The idea that creativity is black and white comes from the notion that the left and right sides of the brain are distinct. Those who use the left side of their brains are more logical, practical, organized, and analytical. On the other hand, “right-brained” thinkers are understood to be more creative, artistic, and emotional.

That means an entrepreneur who carefully plans his next step is left-brained, right? And a pianist practicing a sonata is obviously using the right side of her brain. Recent research prove that this is just a myth:

Creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain.

Instead, the entire creative process– from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.

Importantly, many of these brain regions work as a team to get the job done, and many recruit structures from both the left and right side of the brain. In recent years, evidence has accumulated suggesting that “cognition results from the dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating in large-scale networks.”

In truth, the creative process involves several steps that happen in different regions of the brain. As indicated in the quoted passage, the brain is actually a complicated network that operates as a whole. There is no divide between the creative and logical. While some are more inclined to either one of these traits, both can be true for a lot of people as well. The creative process doesn’t involve magic. It can happen for an artist, as well as an entrepreneur preparing for a presentation.

The creative process in four stages

The social psychologist Graham Wallas described the creative process as a series of steps. According to Wallas, the creative process has four stages that involve both conscious and unconscious thinking. If you feel like your presentations can use a bit more imagination, you don’t need to wait for the muse to come. Just take note of the following steps to help you get started:

Stage One: Preparation

Creative Process 1: Preparation

The first stage involves laying down the ground work of your project. To prepare, you consult prior knowledge and experiences, as well as seek out other resources. In presentations, this is when you define the main purpose of your presentation. Upon figuring out your goals, do some research and seek out inspiration.

Stage Two: Incubation

Creative Process 2: Incubation

After gathering inspiration comes a period of “unconscious processing.” Here, you let your brain piece together what you were able to gather. Wallas describes it as “voluntary abstention” from consciously thinking of the problem at hand. Instead of trying to find a specific solution, you take a step back and consider different possibilities. If you remember our previous discussion on creativity, this is similar to creating “psychological distance” between yourself and your work. At this point, instead of letting yourself be boxed inside a specific line of thinking, try to explore other solutions through brainstorming and mind mapping.

Stage Three: Illumination

Creative Process 3: Illumination

As the name suggests, the third step of the creative process involves the moment when everything finally comes together. According to Wallas, this stage can’t be forced. It happens unconsciously, only after you were able to step back and consider different solutions. He describes illumination as the following:

[The] final “flash,” or “click” … is the culmination of a successful train of association, which may have lasted for an appreciable time, and which has probably been preceded by a series of tentative and unsuccessful trains. The series of unsuccessful trains of association may last for periods varying from a few seconds to several hours.

Stage Four: Verification

Creative Process 4: Verification

The last stage of the creative process involves carrying out your idea into the real thing. To ensure success, consult the goals and parameters you’ve determined in the preparation stage. For presentations, this involves finally building your PowerPoint deck, as well as the act of presenting in front of an audience.

Creativity doesn’t need to be magical and elusive. It can be accessible to those of who aren’t particularly inclined to artistic endeavors. Familiarize yourself with the different stages of the creative process and ensure that your presentations end successfully.

 

References

Kaufman, Scott Barry. “The Real Neuroscience of Creativity.” Scientific American. August 19, 2013. Accessed October 15, 2014.
Popova, Maria. “The Art of Thought: A Pioneering 1926 Model of the Four Stages of Creativity.” Brain Pickings. 2013. Accessed October 15, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Chris Isherwood via Flickr
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3 Ways to Creativity: How to Come Up with Better Presentation Ideas

You might think that creativity is only reserved for poets and artists. But it’s not a personal trait that someone is immediately born with. While there are people who are more inclined to creative pursuits, everyone is capable of thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. And this is especially crucial if you’re preparing for a presentation.

If you’re feeling like you’re running short on creativity, you just need to re-orient yourself with a different outlook and you’ll soon come up with bigger and better presentation ideas.

Instead of waiting for your muse, give these techniques a try for creative presentation ideas:

Increase creativity for presentation ideas
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Try not to stress yourself out

We’re often pressured to come up with creative solutions when there’s a lot on the line. The higher the stakes, the more you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a cycle of stress and frustration.

So how will you save yourself from pulling out all your hair?

According to Sparring Mind‘s Gregory Ciotti, it’s important to create “psychological distance” between yourself and the task at hand. In a study conducted last 2009, researchers found that respondents were able to jog their creativity when they thought of their tasks as something distant. By detaching yourself from your presentation, you’ll be able to ease some of the tension you feel.

You can also try creating some physical distance between you and your workstation. Reduce your stress by taking a moment away from brainstorming. Enjoy a quick stroll outside, and you might come across something that will give you new ideas.

The fresh air might also help in relieving the stress you feel from your creative block. If you don’t want to go outside, a quick nap can do wonders to refresh your mind. Several studies have found that a short snooze can help improve memory, cognitive function, and creativity.

Ask yourself the right questions

When faced with a difficult task, we often stick to the solutions that have worked for us before. With presentations, you immediately try to visualize how your PowerPoint deck is going to look like. You might even ask how many slides you need to make. This technique can stifle your creativity because you’re focusing too much on the finished product. What you need to do is take a step back and ask yourself the right questions.

The questions you ask should be more specific to the goal you want to achieve. Instead of wondering how you’re supposed to start a PowerPoint deck for an investment pitch, go into the rationale behind your presentation.

If coming up with the right questions seems too difficult, try the “Six Hats” technique:

  • Red Hat: Look at the situation emotionally. What do your feelings tell you?
  • White Hat: Look at the situation objectively. What are the facts?
  • Yellow Hat: Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution will work?
  • Black Hat: Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work?
  • Green Hat: Think creatively. What are some alternative ideas?
  • Blue Hat: Think broadly. What is the best overall solution?

Seek inspiration

Inspiration can be found anywhere. In the case of presentations, there are plenty of sources to get you started. The Internet is a great place to look for presentation ideas.

After a quick Google search, you’ll find plenty of blogs and websites offering their own tips and tricks to solve your dilemma. Don’t just stare at a blank slide all day. Do your research and look for things that can inspire you. If you’re finding it difficult to write your content, try creating a presentation storyboard to get you started.

You can also get great ideas from things that don’t seem related to your task at all. You might think it’s crazy, but a lot of random things can relate to presentations. Think about the movies that made an impact on you. Browse through the book you just finished reading. You might even find inspiration from watching a soccer match.

The Final Word

But while it’s important to search for inspiration, don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate from your task. While surfing the Internet, try to avoid sites that might distract you.

Social media networks are the usual suspects. Web tools like StayFocused can block sites for a specific period of time to keep you on the right track.

Give yourself time and space to look for inspiration and refresh your mind. Using these three strategies, you’ll be able to come up with a more creative presentation in no time.

 

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References

Ciotti, Gregory. “Nine of the Best Ways to Boost Creative Thinking.” Lifehacker. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Cooper, Belle. “The Science Behind What Naps Do For Your Brain–And Why You Should Have One Today.” Fast Company. September 16, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Jia, Lile, et. al., “Lessons from a Faraway Land: The Effect of Spatial Distance on Creative Cognition.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45, no. 5 (September 2009): 1127-131. Accessed September 5, 2014.

 

Featured Image: photosteve101 via Flickr