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3 Tips for Handling Unexpected Events During Presentations

In spite of preparing for your presentation, unexpected events can still break your concentration. According to the often-quoted Murphy’s Law, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

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Some presenters panic when something wrong happens, making them lose their audience. If these mistakes are left unaddressed, your discussion can turn into a complete disaster.

Avoid tuning out the crowd and maintain your professional image with these three tips:

Stay Calm

Mistakes are bound to happen, even in the presentation world. In the case of unexpected slip-ups, panicking only clouds your judgment and impairs your insight. You may try to remedy your mistake by doing everything at once, or apologizing to the audience, but before you do that, step back from your thoughts and rationalize the situation.

Keep your composure. The show must go on. Don’t lose your credibility by responding poorly to unpredictable mishaps.

If you accidentally tripped while walking, maintain your poise and continue discussing your topic. It’s natural that some of your audience will laugh at you, but if they see you recover quickly without being bothered by it, they’ll soon forget it ever happened.

Avoid giving negative reactions like frowning, walking out of the room, or gesturing uneasily. In cases like these, having a neutral expression will help mask any feelings of anxiety or inadequacy that might be controlling your actions and emotions.

Come Prepared

Flash drives may flounder, batteries may drain, and files may get corrupted. Impress your audience by solving these uncontrollable crises with enthusiasm. Add a dash of humor related to your pitch to engage the audience and buy yourself some time to think up of what to do next when something goes wrong.

A sour attitude will only worsen things. Admit to yourself that there are some circumstances that will always be out of your control. But even though you accept this fact, try to minimize inevitable mishaps as much as possible.

Have a backup plan to address the problem in case it comes up. Bring a spare flash drive, pack extra batteries, and keep duplicate copies of your files. What else are cloud-based drives for?

Don’t Dwell on the Problem

Pointing fingers to who or what caused the problem won’t get you anywhere. Stay professional and focus on solving it. Provide an immediate solution along with a composed response and anticipate your listeners’ behavior.

While you won’t want to be too pessimistic about how things will turn out, or how people will react, you need to prepare yourself both emotionally and mentally for any backlash that a presentation snafu might bring. Strengthening yourself against unfavorable responses and situations will help you decide with a clearer perspective on things.

Instead of getting angry or feeling guilty, go back to building your pitch by affirming your message. The way you handle yourself on stage in the face of such challenges will boost your speaking credibility.

Conclusion

Whether you’re delivering a big sales pitch or a start-up presentation, it’s your responsibility to own every good or bad of it. Handle the unexpected circumstances with professionalism by following these three tips.

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References

10 Ways to Make a Positive First Impression during Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed July 13, 2015.
Murphy’s Law.” Freie Universitat Berlin. Accessed July 13, 2015.

 

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Win First Impressions with Great PowerPoint Presentations

First impressions impact business partnerships in positive and negative ways, possibly even torpedoing a promising opportunity.

Make amazing first impressions consistent with great PowerPoint presentations.

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Even the best speakers can only do so much. To give audiences a clearer picture, you need a deck that reflects your talent, passion, and dedication.

Consistently seal the deal by making winning pitches with these tips:

Plan Ahead

To determine what should and shouldn’t be in your slides, ask yourself:

What do you want to say?
How do you want to say it?
Why should your audience care about your offer?

Knowing your objectives focuses your presentation, letting you know exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it, and why your audience should care.

Planning ahead and determining your objectives give you a better idea of your presentation’s flow, letting you set a unifying story to engage your audience. These lead to more benefits in the long run.

Keep It Short

The best PowerPoint presentations keep it short but straightforward.

Don’t turn your deck into mere bullet points of your speech. Nothing tunes out an audience more than a presenter reading straight from his projected slides.

Renowned Silicon Valley marketing specialist Guy Kawasaki is a proponent of the 10/20/30 rule. He believes that effective presentations need only ten slides.

While this isn’t a strict rule, it’s a good guide to keep your deck lean and mean. According to him, these are the most important parts to discuss in your deck:

  1. Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Business Model
  4. Underlying Magic/Technology
  5. Marketing and Sales
  6. Competition
  7. Team
  8. Projections and Milestones
  9. Status and Timeline
  10. Summary and Call-to-Action

There are many variations for winning slide combinations, but this quick guide is a reasonable place to start making your own winning deck.

Show, Don’t Tell

Investment PowerPoint slides

Pictures speak a thousand words, but so can other multimedia elements. Videos and simple animations are ideal for keeping your audiences interested because people think visually, with images being processed 60,000 times faster than text.

Why waste a hundred words spread across two slides for something that can be explained by one image, graph, chart, or video?

Imbue Your Deck with Passion

Potential clients won’t believe a halfhearted presentation. Put passion into your deck by giving it a powerful central story.

People relate better to a narrative they can personally connect with. Research your audience beforehand and figure out a story that help them understand you better.

Portray your competitors or central problem as a villain, and yourself and your product as the protagonist. Structure your presentation as a narrative with an exposition, a climax, and a conclusion. Bring much needed life into a presentation by using storytelling elements to hook your listeners in.

Conclusion

When introducing your brand, audiences aren’t only judging you, but your whole presentation, too.

Be your personal best when facing the crowd. As a representative of a bigger picture, you can’t deny the importance of having a professional-looking deck to back you up.

If you need to make a winning first impression now, contact our slide geniuses for consistently great PowerPoint Presentations that seal the deal. Contact us now for a free quote!

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References

Craft Your Corporate Presentations into a Great Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 15, 2015. Accessed June 22, 2015.
Why Every SEO Strategy Needs Infographics.” WMG. 2014. Accessed June 22, 2015.
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. 2005. Accessed June 22, 2015.

Second Chance: Overcoming a Negative First Impression

We all know how important first impressions are. In the world of business, you always need to have your best foot forward. Whether you’re networking or delivering a high-stakes presentation, a positive impression is the first step to achieving the outcome you desire. As they say, “your never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

So what happens when you commit a misstep? Is there really no way to recover from a negative first impression?

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We can’t escape the fact that people make mistakes. We’re all susceptible to committing errors and oversights. Maybe you told a joke that didn’t sit well with your client. Maybe you called the key decision maker by the wrong name. Maybe you tripped on your way up to the podium. Whatever the scenario, there are still ways to save the situation.

Here are a few tips for overcoming a negative first impression:

Apologize as soon as you can

It seems easier to ignore the issue, but doing so will only make the situation worst. Don’t sweep your mistakes under the rug. Face it head on and apologize.

Show your sincerity

Keep in mind that a simple “sorry” won’t fix the situation. Your apology needs to be genuine and sincere. Show that you understand your mistake and that you’re to own up to it. Don’t be defensive or shift the blame on anything else. Always own up to you did and avoid a “non apology.”

You should also be mindful that there’s danger to apologizing too much. Dwelling on your mistakes will only bring attention to it. Once is enough.

Move forward and fix the negative impression you made. Continue with your pitch or presentation, taking extra care to watch your behavior. Try to regain your confidence and focus on achieving your goals.

Don’t dwell on your mistakes

That said, the best way to move forward from a bad situation is to shake it off. Don’t assume that others think the worst of you because of a simple oversight. You’ll be surprised to learn how understanding other people are. Slight mistakes might even increase your likability. There’s no need to worry as long as you’re sincere and you work hard to correct your mistakes.

Show a bit of humor

Certain situations are better addressed with a self-deprecating joke. If your faux pas is something as minor as losing your balance on stage, use humor to deflect the tension and make everyone laugh. Keep your jokes focused on yourself so you don’t risk offending others. However, you should also use this technique sparingly as it might hurt how the audience sees you. Here’s a quick guide on how you can effectively incorporate humor to your presentations.

While first impressions matter, last impressions also hold a lot of weight. Don’t let a few missteps overshadow your hard work or the message you want to deliver.

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Featured Image: Jase Curtis via Flickr

10 Ways to Make a Positive First Impression during Presentations

We’re often told not to judge a book by its cover.

But as science has proven time and again, first impressions count for a lot more than we’re ready to admit.

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While it’s not ideal, we all form initial opinions based on the most arbitrary things. Researchers even found that it only takes us a few seconds to judge someone we just met.

As the old saying goes, you won’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Here are 10 ways to make sure your presentations start off right:

Arrive early

Time is valuable, so make sure you don’t make anyone wait. The people in your audience took a few moments from their busy schedules to listen to your presentation. Respect that and always be the first one to arrive at the venue.

Look your best

According to the University of Hertfordshire’s Professor Karen Pine and her colleagues, first impressions are largely based on physical appearance, so you have to look your best. Make sure you’re wearing clothes that are appropriate for the occasion. The general rule is to always dress a little bit better than the audience would.

Mind your body language and non-verbal cues

As we’ve established previously, you can say a lot without saying anything at all. When facing an audience, it’s important to keep in mind the non-verbal cues you’re giving off. Avoid gestures that look closed off or defensive. Strengthen your connection with the audience by maintaining constant eye-contact.

Shake off your nerves

It’s hard to project confidence if presentations makes you feel anxious. Before taking the stage, take a moment to calm yourself by doing breathing exercises. You can also try to pump yourself up by listening to your own power music.

Smile!

Of course, there’s no better way to show off a positive attitude than through a sincere smile. Don’t forget to flash a big smile the moment you step up to face your audience.

Start strong

Create an emotional connection with your audience as soon as you begin your presentation. To capture their attention, try to come up with a creative way to open your speech. Sims Wyeth of INC.com made a list of a few techniques that you can try.

Know your presentation well

Aside from a positive attitude, it’s also important to exude a feeling of trustworthiness. To do that, you need to know your presentation well. Prepare everything you need long before you’re scheduled to present. Most importantly, take the time to rehearse your presentation as much as you can.

Handle interruptions and difficult questions with grace

They say that we tend to reveal our “true self” during high-stress situations. During a presentation, you could end up facing a situation you didn’t prepare for. Whether it’s a heckler trying to get a rise out of you or a question you don’t have an answer for, always remain calm and keep your composure.

Avoid presentation clichés

Sometimes, first impressions are also formed based on previous experiences. Set yourself apart from all those bad presentations that people continue to see. Avoid committing common presentation mistakes such as bad PowerPoint decks and reading directly from your slides.

Be genuine and enjoy your time on stage

It’s important to put your best foot forward during a presentation. But it’s also crucial to be yourself and enjoy your time on stage. Sincerity comes easier when you’re not putting up a front. Be yourself, enjoy, and give your best as you present.

After a few conversations, you’ll be able to get to know one another on a deeper and more personal level. Unfortunately, this won’t be the case when you have to face an audience and deliver a presentation. Especially for big events, your audience will mostly be made up of people you’ve never met before.

That could be about 50 different individuals hastily judging the way you look, speak, and even stand. How can you make your message count if the audience has already decided that you’re sloppy, untrustworthy, and unprofessional?

References:

Rowh, Mark. “First Impressions Count.” American Psychological Association. Accessed September 11, 2014.
Pine, Karen J., Fletcher Howett, and Neil Howett. “The Effect of Appearance on First Impressions.” Karen Pine. Accessed September 11, 2014.

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Featured Image: anthony kelly via Flickr

Pitch Yourself: The Importance of an Interview Presentation

As we’ve stated before, first impressions are hugely important, especially in the business world. When given the opportunity to give a presentation interview to recruiters or potential employers, always keep in mind that it’s a way to show your capability, personality, and professionalism.

The potential to impress when given the opportunity for an interview presentation cannot be understated. And while you could craft your own presentation and perhaps do an adequate job, this is your chance to knock them off their feet with a professional presentation that will show your interviewers that you’re the real deal.

Many think that SlideGenius and other professional presentation designers are just for corporate clients or entrepreneurs giving investor presentations, but there are an endless amount of scenarios where a presentation specialist can make all the difference.

While we highly recommend recruiting the expertise of a PowerPoint expert to ensure that your competition is no match for the impression you’ll make, there are a few other tips for the interview presentation that you should keep in mind.

Consider Your Audience

This is a good rule of thumb for any presentation, but it’s especially important when making an impression on future employers. Do as much research on who you’re going to be in the room with you before you enter.

-What is their professional background?

-What are their job duties at the company you’re interviewing with? What will be your professional relationship with them?

-What questions can you anticipate being asked by them based on their expertise?

For God’s Sake, Groom Yourself!

There are so many well-qualified candidates that lose job opportunities because of careless grooming, despite how easy this aspect of the interview is. Unless you’re a sixteen-year-old kid applying for the Burger King down the street, poor grooming and appearance in an interview is inexcusable.

Renowned thief of the Declaration of Independence and actor Nicholas Cage
Despite his prowess as an actor, Nicholas Cage is one of the many examples of unscrupulous grooming and unprofessional attire.

If you’re unsure about your ability to present a pristine front, outfit yourself in your interview attire and ask a friend to critique you as brutally honest as they can.

Prove your Leadership and Communication Skills

Recruiters request a presentation interview to test your potential to represent a company in a confident, assured way, and to present yourself in the process. In doing this, you’re expected to do more than merely expound upon your experience and qualifications, you’re expected to do it in in a way that inspires confidence in who you’re interviewing with, and to show that you can be a positive face for the company.

How to Make Your First Impression Count in the Business World

You don’t get a redo with a flubbed first impression, especially in the modern business world defined by a hyper-fast pace and short attention span.

We meet new faces every day, and you can’t downplay the importance of these first impressions, especially with an important contact or a corporate presentation. Because of the pressure and importance associated with first impressions, it’s easy to become nervous or over think the situation, but paying attention to a few basic concerns about your behavior and physical appearance can help you relax and make a memorable impression.

Whether you’re meeting someone face to face or engaging a group of people, knowing what cues will cause others to form opinions about you in less than 10 seconds can be the difference between success and failure.

Physical appearance

first impression

This may seem shallow, but your physical appearance and your body language will be the two key factors in how you will first be perceived by others, and keep in mind that the bulk of the first impression will be made in seven seconds, and that impression is unlikely to ever change.

Dress with care, it’s a sign of competency and attention to detail to others, but be wary not to overdress for the occasion. That can also show incompetency–even insensitivity. Furthermore, while it’s important to show individuality, creativity, and originality through your appearance, don’t go overboard, especially in a professional setting. Find out the appropriate dress code (i.e. casual, formal) and craft your creativity within that context. Also, making sure you’re well groomed and appropriately dressed can give you the boost of confidence you need if you’re walking into a situation that may make you a little apprehensive.

Remain open, confident, and relaxed

Your body language can say a lot about your personality and attitude as well, so it’s important to give off a positive, open vibe through your gestures, posture, and body language.

Good posture and a firm handshake will show confidence and assertiveness, which are too highly valued qualities in the business world. Conversely, slouching can be a sign of lack of self esteem and low energy.

Confidence is key to being taken seriously, but appearing open and friendly can’t be undervalued. Your body should face the person you’re speaking to. To ensure the person that you’re giving them your full attention, maintain eye contact, and don’t glance at your watch, phone, or what other people in the room might be doing.

Knowing what not to do is just as important. We all have nervous habits that we begin doing unconsciously. While we may not even be aware of these habits, such as biting our fingernails, crossing and uncrossing our legs, or touching our hair and face, others are, and becoming aware of and controlling these habits is imperative in order to present yourself effectively.

While this may seem like a hefty list of things to be conscious of, the most important tip is simply to be confident, because the majority of these techniques of good-impression making are just symptoms of confidence.