Slidegenius, Inc.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations

Sometimes, in the middle of reviewing a PowerPoint presentation, there comes the anxiety wherein people ask themselves if the slides are enough or overdone. Some even come to a point where they struggle critiquing their work because they spent too much time on it. After so much time and effort, you may wonder if you’ve been efficient or just wasteful.

If, at the end of the day, despite all efforts to make a great presentation, it still doesn’t feel right to say it’s a job well done, here are some signs to help you make that call.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: clown juggling

Unlucky 7

In rare cases, presentation taboos may be excused when necessary but international speaker and presentation skills expert, John Zimmer, says having too many bullets and texts make no sense when crafting a pitch.

According to him, PowerPoint presentations that follow the 1-7-7 rule, or slides that consist one heading, seven bullets, and seven words, promise boredom and apathy on the part of the audience. Same point goes for the 1-6-6 rule.

Avoid this by using fewer bullet points. When used sparingly, bullets can be effective to communicate ideas and points because they offer convenience to the audience. Bullets help save more time and space to allocate new information. Too many of them, however, does the opposite of that value.

Minimize your use of words. Use communicative graphics and pictures that can replace texts. It’s best to do this in slides that contain messages that you would like your audience to remember.

In this case, the 4-by-5 rule might just be right for your presentation. Unless you’re enumerating from a list, then four bullets and five words are ideal to keep your presentation informative and snappy.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: reaper

The Scripture

One way to know if something isn’t easy to understand is when you read it repeatedly. There are several reasons why this happens. Usually, it means you’re having an idle moment or your phrases or sentences need to be simplified.

When reading, experts say an average person renders 50 – 300 WPM (words per minute). However, when reading technical content, the statistics go down to 50 – 75 WPM.

Sometimes, slides look like pages of ancient text, which contain too much information and take more time to read compared to the normal ones. When comprehending a script, use simpler but appropriate words and sentences to lessen the reader’s strain and lag. If you can’t process your messages easily, then how can you expect your readers to do so? Only use words with deeper meaning when necessary.

Pause after a certain amount of words to give time for them to absorb everything.

Also, speaking from an active voice welcomes a continuous reading process. Use present or passive tenses instead of progressive tenses. They’re easier to read and make ideas seem more simple.

Lastly, though it’s advised to keep one thought in one slide, you can opt to break your sentences in the middle and proceed to the next. Maintain the dominance of the white background. It also pays to maintain a breathing room for your eyes.

Black Cats of PowerPoint Presentations: fortune teller

Magic Decks

When you present a deck with numerous slides in a considerably long time, do you wonder if your audience recall everything?

A research conducted in 2012 by cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Carmen Simon, examined how many slides people can remember from a text-only, standalone PowerPoint presentation. After 48 hours, results showed that 1,500 participants remembered an average of four slides out of the presented 20.

The study revealed that visuals played a significant role in keeping the slides memorable. It was also found that similar-looking slides are easier to remember. The distinctiveness of every other fifth slide in Simon’s presentation were significant help as well.

Marks help remember. Use pictures or designs not only to illustrate, but also to keep slides more interesting and easier to recall. It’s best to use them strategically. Use markings on slides that need more emphasis.

Conclusion

Your deck doesn’t have to be all-telling. You can just make books if that’s the case. A good deck must contain all significant points and ideas for the presenter to collaboratively explain with. In a PowerPoint presentation full of information, points become harder to highlight. Use words sparingly so that your audience would actually pay attention to your content.

Be strategic when creating your slides to make them more engaging. When making presentations, discover ways to be more conscious on your creative and communicative processes. It pays to understand your audience’s interests with regards to these aspects.

Lastly, know that sometimes, complex solutions only solve basic problems. Before you start with another PowerPoint presentation, invest your time in getting to know more about creating effective presentations. This way, you end up creating your presentation in a lesser hassle pace and with more peace of mind.

Resources:

Zimmer, John. “PowerPoint Math: The 1-6-6 Rule. Manner of Speaking.” Manner of Speaking. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2010/03/04/powerpoint-math-the-1-6-6-rule

Simon, Carmen. “The Results Are In: How Much Do People Really Remember from PowerPoint Presentations?” Brainshark. February 12, 2013. www.brainshark.com/ideas-blog/2013/February/results-what-people-remember-powerpoint-presentations

Nelson, Brett. “Do You Read Fast Enough To Be Successful?” Forbes. June 4, 2012 www.forbes.com/sites/brettnelson/2012/06/04/do-you-read-fast-enough-to-be-successful/#5d9d3eca58f7

Thomas, Mark. “What Is the Average Reading Speed and the Best Rate of Reading?” Health Guidance. www.healthguidance.org/entry/13263/1/What-Is-the-Average-Reading-Speed-and-the-Best-Rate-of-Reading.html

Skeletons in the Closet: Bury These 5 Presentation Horrors

Even the best speakers are haunted by their bad habits. If you don’t check yourself, these negative practices will rise from their graves to wreak havoc on your presentation. Following public speaking guidelines isn’t enough.

To be truly at your best, watch out for these five presentation horrors:

1. Smiling Too Much

supporting-images_1-presentation-horrors

Smiling seems harmless enough. It helps you build rapport, while also reducing your anxiety and boosting your confidence as a speaker. However, there are instances where a smile may not be the best expression.

Discussing sensitive issues requires a somber face. A neutral expression works when you have to look professional and respectable. Familiarizing yourself with the topic helps you mark cues for the right tone and appearance at the right time.

2. Depending on Memory

supporting-images_2-presentation-horrors

Looking down at your notes can actually save you in the middle of a presentation. If you’re not yet confident with your speech, it’s okay to keep a blueprint of your piece with you. Just don’t let your notes distract you from your actual delivery.

But if you’ve already mastered your pitch and you think a script will only ruin your train of thought, then disregard any written guides. Still, there are times when you have to return to your notes. This is acceptable when you’re citing an important quote or specific reference. Just don’t do it too often. Record yourself to know when to interject with your script. Listen to the recording and figure out where you can drop these lines.

3. Overacting

supporting-images-3-Overacting-(purple)

Like oversmiling, overacting involves inappropriate movements that are otherwise helpful to your presentation. This usually happens when you try to incorporate humor. Humor engages the audience through light-hearted anecdotes. Exaggerating your body language to emphasize your jokes will definitely get a few laughs.

At the same time, check your timing as well. Tread carefully through delicate themes, especially if you want people to take what you’re saying seriously. Instead of always resorting to overacting to get attention, find different ways to convey deep emotions in your speech. For example, you can change your tone and display a variety of facial expressions instead of sticking to one.

4. Overusing Authority

supporting-images-4-presentation-horrors

As we’ve established with the earlier points, determining your presentation’s ideal tone is important. Although you have full control over your speech, you can’t abuse that authority by going too off tangent from your more main ideas. While a fun story that has nothing to do with your subject might briefly entertain the crowd, it’s also very distracting.

People won’t be able to remember your message if you keep side-tracking their focus with random information. Channel these narratives to supplement your core message. Occasionally go back to your objectives to remind your listeners about them.

5. Asking Unplanned Questions

supporting-images-5-Asking-Unplanned-Questions-(purplecar)

Some presenters will ask unplanned questions when they’re faced with unexpected problems. This is supposed to deflect tension and draw responses from people, but it only worsens the situation. Unplanned questions tend to change the subject, making things even more awkward for the speaker.

You’ll have to accept that there are different audiences in every presentation. Some are expressive, while others prefer to listen quietly with little reaction. Sometimes it’s better to go on without pleasing everyone than risk making a fool of yourself.

Speech coach Gary Genard suggests that you start by asking the right questions. Focus on those that clarify important points and give your listeners a better grasp of your topic.

Stop these Horrors from Spreading!

supporting-images-6-conclusion

Before heading onstage, check your closet for any skeletons of bad presentation practices. Identify appropriate reactions and expressions you tend to make. Trying to lighten up the mood isn’t always going to work in a situation that requires seriousness.

Having a dynamic arsenal of words and gestures at your disposal is more impressive than monotony. There’s no harm in referring to your notes in case you forget what to say next. It’s better to have a backup plan than to fumble and be unable to recover at all. You may think amusing, unrelated stories and unexpected questions will keep your audience at the edge of their seats, but it might just turn them off.

Lastly, always stick to your original plan. This is much better than trying to please everybody by veering off topic and muddying up your message. Remove all your unproductive habits for more engaging pitches you can convert into sales.

People prefer a delivery that is both palatable and informative. Practice diligently to achieve that balance. To help you with your presentation needs, let SlideGenius experts assist you!

Share this spooky infographic and save your friends from these horrors!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]

References

“For Public Speaking Success, Ask the Right Questions!” The Genard Method. Accessed October 22, 2015. www.genardmethod.com/blog/bid/173002/For-Public-Speaking-Success-Ask-the-Right-Questions

How to Command Charisma in Presentations Like a Magic Spell

If you want to win all types of audiences from start-up professionals to higher-ups, you might need a little magic to make them like you. But having a charismatic presenting style is like casting a spell on your listeners. It keeps your audience in the palm of your hand, making it easier to get your message across.

This public speaking magic creates a winning impression, fostering new business relationships. Here’s how to develop a charismatic speaking style:

Be Friendly

supporting images (1)-charisma-magic-spell-presentations

Presenters who are naturally friendly can effortlessly charm people. So the next time you deliver a speech, work on increasing your charm rating. Making yourself look approachable and interesting opens up great opportunities for social interaction.

The simple acts of smiling and narrating common experiences can add some lightness to your talk. Small courtesies and good manners like saying, “thank you,” and maintaining a professional reaction towards negative feedback also add a more congenial feel to your business presentations.

Be Enthusiastic

supporting images (2)-charisma-magic-spell-presentations

Charm without both passion and compassion isn’t magical at all. Losing these two powerful principles ruins the whole point of a charismatic performance. Combine your intended message with the desire to meet your audience’s needs.

Feed potential clients with benefits and useful information to establish a likeable image. Show them that you’re passionate about your topic. Don’t just read your slide content out loud. Instead, learn your message by heart to communicate it effectively.

Be Authentic

supporting images (3)-charisma-magic-spell-presentations

Imitating other people’s body language and speaking style can make you lose your authenticity. According to management trainer, Eric Garner, it’s best to be yourself. You may not be liked by everyone, but audiences generally appreciate seeing your real self shine through. After all, you can’t fault a speech that comes from a sincere place.

It’s not always about seeking perfection. Vulnerability can also create deeper connections and more effective engagement with others. Discover the real you and make your speech your own.

Make Them Like You

supporting images (4)-charisma-magic-spell-presentations

Commanding charisma in presentations is like magic. It boosts your professional image and brings you closer to your audience. The trick to creating chemistry relies on three core points: show genuine friendliness, express enthusiasm, and embrace authenticity.

Follow these tips to enchant your audience with a magical performance!

[vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text]

References

Garner, Eric. “Business Audiences: Cast Your Magic Spell On Them!” Customer Service Manager. n.d. Accessed October 22, 2015. www.customerservicemanager.com/business-audiences-give-a-magic-presentation

Nightmare Fuel: How to Save Sales Presentations Gone Bad

Sometimes you lose prospective clients due to clunky sales presentations. You may have exerted all your effort on calling them and following up, but you may have already committed mistakes that cost you their trust. Don’t worry.

Once identified, it’ll be easy to wake up from these presentation nightmares:

Avoid the Information Quicksand

nightmare-fuel-sales-presentation-01

Rapid technological advancement and increased connectivity leads us to believe that oversharing is a good thing. In sales, it’s an entirely different story. While working with a narrative builds rapport and puts the audience at ease, overdoing it could trap you in a chatty, irrelevant loop that diverts your flow.

Stop boring your audience to death. List down at least three value propositions that are relevant to you and your target market. Make sure your visuals are simple and understandable, enough for anyone to immediately get your main message.

Find Your Core Identity

nightmare-fuel-sales-presentation-02

There’s plenty of competition out there. If you can’t make an impact on your leads, you’ll end up losing them. To avoid getting sucked into anonymity, highlight your brand’s best features and show how they’re unique from other offers. Supplement these with an engaging PowerPoint that both catches the eye and shows off your content.

You can add testimonials from past trusted customers who give positive feedback on your services. These will help draw your listeners’ attention to the benefits of investing in you.

Vanquish the Personal Bias Phantom

nightmare-fuel-sales-presentation-03

Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that your audience’s perspective automatically aligns with yours. Remember that these are people you have yet to win over. Since they aren’t invested yet in your services, they won’t appreciate a lengthy discussion of your history or anything that moves away from finding out your relevance to them.

Assume that you’re starting with a blank slate and you have to explain some things that would otherwise seem clear to you because of your knowledge of the company. Put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. Do thorough research on their background, needs, and interests as early as your planning stage.

Let them know that you understand where they’re coming from, and that that’s where you’re headed, too.

Turn on the Night Light

nightmare-fuel-sales-presentation-04

Making a sales presentation can be very challenging. Plenty of presenters end up digging their own graves. But with enough practice and awareness, you’ll be able to map out feasible solutions. Stave off the nightmares with just a glimmer of light. Reel in prospects with the right amount of information that can showcase the best parts of your offer.

Don’t offend them by injecting too many personal assumptions in your presentation. Instead, convince people that you’re better than the rest. Make your brand look like the best option, and be the best option available.

 

References

“Conducting Market Research.” Entrepreneur. September 30, 2010. Accessed October 23, 2015. www.entrepreneur.com/article/217388

Stop Procrastinating: Avoiding Deadly Traps in Presentations

Procrastination is one of the biggest presentation traps.

From a distance, you might think it’s safe and easy to pass through that tunnel.

But as you walk through, you’ll slowly notice that things aren’t what they seem.

Then you’ll wake up, realizing how much you’ve been deceived.

Cramming is one of the worst habits speakers should avoid.

It not only keeps you from effectively engaging your audience.

The lack of preparation also weakens your performance.

While there are times when you might stumble because of unexpected events, it’s still your responsibility to prepare.

Preparation brings more confidence, allowing you to handle your speech and engage your audience.

To avoid the pitfalls of procrastination, defend yourself with these tips:

1. Visit the Venue

Supporting Images #1-01

You never want a venue’s overall setup to unpleasantly surprise you.

To get on top of unforeseen circumstances, familiarize yourself with a location prior to an event.

This helps you determine how to position yourself without distracting your audience.

It also lets you make necessary adjustments.

These can include last minute adjustments to equipment like the projector, microphone, laptop, and even your PowerPoint slides.

Arrive early to rehearse and plan for the big day.

2. Interact With Your Audience

Supporting-Images-#2-v02

Once the participants have confirmed their attendance, it’s a great opportunity to meet with them before your actual performance.

This involves asking them questions related to your topic.

In this case, talking with your audience in advance builds rapport and establishes relationships.

The payoff comes later, when your listeners will be more attentive and pliant to your offers.

Let them notice your interest and detect your sincerity to make a good impression.

3. Attend Other Presentations

Supporting Images #3-01

Going to other events gives you a better idea on how you can communicate with a crowd.

Observing their mood and behavior clues you in on how to interact with them.

Listening to other presenters also helps you absorb helpful information that you can use for speaking.

This also allows you to stay updated with recent public speaking trends that best engage crowds.

When it’s time for you to present, match your delivery with your audience’s preferences to catch their attention.

End the Habit Now!

Supporting Images #4-01

Cramming is dangerous.

Be wary of this deadly traps that could ruin your performance.

Hollow presentations won’t win people’s hearts.

To avoid disturbing your audience with unwieldy pitches, visit the venue to become comfortable being on stage.

Familiarizing yourself with the stage averts unforeseeable presentation disasters.

Meeting your listeners and participating in other events also gives you an idea on how to pique their interest and build connections.

Remember, the audience is your priority.

Practice and prepare for effective delivery.

Don’t let presentation traps bury you alive.

Our PowerPoint professionals can assist and offer you a free quote to craft decks that stand out!

References

Dlugan, Andrew. “Stop Rehearsing! 3 Critical Things to Do Before Your Speech.” Six Minutes RSS, December 1, 2012. Accessed June 5, 2015. .

Halloween’s Takeaway Lessons for Presentations and Marketing


I say Halloween, what do you think of? Costumes, candy and cavities? Most people do.

The fact of the matter is Halloween is one of the most commercially influential holidays throughout the year. It is crucial to be able to see it as more than just a holiday for young kids to trick-or-treat. In just analyzing 2013’s Halloween’s sales and marketing activity, you’ll be able to tailor the way you present and/or market your company to increase sales for the season, and respectively apply the same tactics to any other holiday in the near future.

Here are a few facts and stats about this year’s Halloween:

1. This year, according to Bloomberg Rankings, it seems Americans are spending less Halloween costumes, candy and decorations

2. Almost 75% of Americans who celebrate Halloween said that the state of the U.S. economy had no impact on their Halloween plans

3. Nearly 33% of “Halloween celebrators” found inspiration for their costumes online

4. About 50% of adults in the western U.S. planning to wear costumes this year, which was the most out of any other part in the country

5. Despite the above fact, the overall number of people above the age of 18 who celebrated Halloween dropped from 71% percent to 65%

6. Americans spent an average of $20.99 per person on Halloween decorations

So what’s the takeaway?

Don’t be most people, do your research with plenty of time before the season hits. Use the information, and market accordingly. Marketing for this may include giving a PPC marketing, online campaigns, or maybe even a professional PowerPoint presentation to pitch. For that reason, it is crucial to prepare yourself for any avenue of marketing by having the necessary data about your potential customers.

 Whether you business runs on sale for adults, teens or children, laying out the bullet points, like we did here, will help you understand how your market reacts to any event and will consequently let you prepare your corporate presentations or pitches with a more complete and well-rounded background. 

 I’ll leave with Huffington Post’s hilarious list of 2013’s best costumes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/best-halloween-costumes-o_n_4170143.html

 

Reference:

Murray, Brent. “The Scary Truth About Halloween: Oh, My!Bloomberg.com. October 31, 2013.