Slidegenius, Inc.

The Perfect Finale: How to End a Presentation

Saying goodbye to a friend isn’t a big deal. So why does it feel so difficult to do after concluding a speech?

Talking to a crowd anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour is draining. There’s even a lot of multitasking involved, especially when delivering PowerPoint presentations. Speakers have to divide their focus and attention under time pressure. It’s no surprise that they’d want to leave as soon as they can.

But hold on to your last energy reserves before pulling a Houdini. You still have one more chance to leave a great and lasting impression.

Don’t Rush to the End

We focus so much on making a good first impression that we forget to make the last one just as memorable. The end of a presentation for you is just the beginning for the audience. You have a better grasp of the subject, but the audience still needs time to process everything. A final summary of your key points will be a friendly and helpful reminder for them.

Extend your social graces offstage by offering to answer questions in addition to giving a final summary. Time management is crucial in accomplishing this. If you have 30 minutes for a presentation, plan to run it in 20 minutes or less.

This ensures you have enough time for a quick Q&A session. Use the end of your speech to make sure that your listeners have understood your topic properly.

Reel In One Last Time

The worst that can happen to any presentation is when the audience starts leaving before you do. Either you extended your speech too long, or they simply have to go. Fight off the distraction these interruptions create. Redirect attention to yourself using tone, body language, and persuasive rhetoric.

When you go beyond the allotted time or catch yourself making a mistake, avoid apologizing to the crowd. It may be counterintuitive, but apologizing will draw even more attention to your mistake. Mentally acknowledge your mistake and move on. Dwelling on a mistake contributes nothing to the discussion and can even hurt your image.

According to Entrepreneur‘s Jason HeadsetsDotCom, when your energy goes down, you bring down the energy of the audience with you. End your speech on a lighter, positive tone. But if giving jokes isn’t your forte, don’t force it in the last minute. Return to your main point and emphasize your message to the crowd one last time.

Synchronize

We’re only as good as our last impression, so always leave a good one behind. Don’t leave without saying a word. End with an optimistic and sincere remark. Being genuine is important in making connections. The audience will be quick to notice when you’re only putting on an act. Abruptly leaving without a proper goodbye also reflects poorly on your image. Courtesy shouldn’t be limited to certain people and places. You should be able to take it with you wherever you go.

Always be prepared for the worst and don’t let any internal or external distractions rattle you. The stage is yours from start to finish so take command of it. If someone steals your thunder inadvertently or otherwise, prepare to take it back. Your presentation doesn’t end on the last slide.

 

References

Sadler, Jason. “10 Honest and Completely Helpful Tips for Hitting a Public-Speaking Homerun.” Entrepreneur. December 2, 2013. Accessed October 8, 2015. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230079

 

Featured Image: “Microphone” by Photo Cindy on flickr.com

Clipping the Cliché: How to Have an Original Presentation

After preparing your speech’s content, it’s time to decide how to deliver your material. Poorly planned ways to grab attention can be detrimental to a presentation. But it’s still important to keep your audience’s tuned in to your every word.

One of the most effective ways to do this is to plan an overall creative performance. Because novelty promotes memory, your message will be memorable if it offers something new to your audience. Keeping them attentive without exaggerating is one of the trickier parts of planning an original presentation.

Here are some tips on establishing rapport:

Don’t Just Speak, Converse

The art of conversation isn’t exclusive to face-to-face interaction. Conversing is also applicable in a group setting, and, according to presentation trainer, Olivia Mitchell, can be more effective than simply talking about your topic. Plenty of speeches tend to be overly formal because the speaker sees the audience as an impersonal body.

Creating a story for your performance outline is one way of dispersing the stiffness of a presentation. But it also goes both ways. Letting your audience feel that you are also interested in their story gives them a sense of importance. Harvard Business Review’s Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind have noted that the conversational tone creates intimacy between speaker and audience, fostering trust and encouraging participation.

Treat your audience like a single person to speak with. Keep in mind that although you’re trying to deliver your pitch to them, you are also communicating on a personal level. Wait for a response or a reaction from your intended listener before moving on to the next point. This makes sure that you’ve gotten your point across.

Keep Up With the Times

Getting to know your audience is important in creating a good presentation. Creating connections during a performance is difficult when you aren’t up to date. Identifying your listeners’ learning preferences and interests is important in deciding how to present your content. People are more inclined to listen to something that’s relevant to them.

Relate to your audience by incorporating a few familiar references in your presentation. This also eases any built up tension at the beginning of your presentation. Build the impression that you‘re a relaxed, approachable, and credible speaker. Aim for that balance with both your verbal presentation and your visual content.

Think outside the box and make the hard facts palatable to your audience by presenting them creatively. Although it’s good to give an interesting performance, never compromise content for the sake of delivery.

Evolve to Involve

Engage your listeners in a different way. Instead of having them passively sit throughout your presentation, let them participate in some of the crucial parts of your presentation. As we’ve already established in earlier points, people appreciate feeling included. Take your presentation outside of just speech and visuals by letting your audience contribute to your performance.

This will also reinforce your central message. If getting your audience to stand seems uncalled for in the given situation, add a bit of humor to avoid monotony. Of course, keep things in moderation. Being too flashy becomes distracting after a time, and disregarding professionalism isn’t the preferable alternative to boring your audience.

Make sure you infuse just enough enthusiasm into your topic to convince them to listen to you.

Conclusion

Adding variety in the way you present is always a breath of fresh air for the seasoned audience. Invest in extra creative effort if you want your message to stand out. Getting to know your audience and conversing with them rather than mechanically offering your pitch ensures your listeners’ attention.

However, learn where to draw the line. Be interesting and original without reducing yourself into a caricature of a speaker. Gaining your audience’s respect is also an important part of presenting. In case you have any trouble reconciling these ideas, asking for help is always an option.

It’s important to keep how you create your presentation in perspective. Unsure on integrating creativity without overstepping your bounds? Seek the advice of a presentation guru.

 

References

Mitchell, Olivia. “Conversational Presenting.” Speaking about Presenting. Accessed October 7, 2015.www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/delivery/conversational-presenting
Fenker, Daniela and Hartmut Schutze. “Learning By Surprise.” Scientific American Global. Accessed October 7, 2015. www.scientificamerican.com/article/learning-by-surprise
Grossberg, Boris and Michael Slind. “Leadership Is a Conversation.” Harvard Business Review. June 1, 2012. Accessed October 7, 2015. www.hbr.org/2012/06/leadership-is-a-conversation

 

Featured Image: “Get Creative!” by JD Hancock on flickr.com

Content or Delivery: Which Matters Most in a Presentation?

Most professionals believe that delivery is more vital than the content itself. This is because they know how a certain action or behavior might be interpreted by different people. Others assert that content is most important, implying that it’s what informs listeners the most.

Sometimes, we tend to focus more on someone’s delivery when we aren’t convinced with what’s being said. Audiences don’t only perceive verbal messages, they also interpret how you project and behave on stage.

But which is more important: content or delivery?

According to public speaking coach Georgina Kirk, both are important pillars of your presentation. Should one fall, the other goes with it. Here’s how to sharpen both your content and delivery for a winning pitch:

Planning Matters

Before crafting your pitch, you must first consider your audience. Presentation trainer Garr Reynolds suggests that one of the best ways to an effective pitch is by knowing your specific audience before you present. This allows you to come up with ideas and the appropriate approach to best engage them.

Are you presenting in front of your colleagues, business partners, or clients? Do you want to inspire, encourage, or persuade them to take actions after you perform? Knowing this beforehand lets you narrow down what you need to say (content) and how you should say it (delivery).

Spicing Up Your Content

This involves gathering facts about your subject matter and including visuals emphasizing your main points. Consider what your audience needs to recall after you deliver your message. Removing all the irrelevant information improves your speech. It can also prevent you from confusing and misleading your audience.

Aside from the verbal content, your visuals can also give life to your presentation. You can hire a PowerPoint expert to design your deck, or ask a colleague to check what you’ve already come up with. This will help you craft a more interactive and stunning slide deck.

Improving Your Delivery

Connecting with your audience doesn’t just depend on your speech’s content. It also relies on how your delivery complements and emphasizes your message. Think about theater actors who use their body movements to engross the crowd with their performance.

Speech coach Craig Valentine gives a few tips on improving speech delivery. These involve eye contact, gestures, postures, and facial expressions, all of which can contribute to a successful communication more than the content itself. They add impact and emphasis to spoken words, making it more comprehensible for audiences. In a way, they are their own unspoken form of language.

Conclusion

While many presenters prioritize delivery, you shouldn’t neglect how much your audience will learn from your main content. You may have the most interesting topic of all time, but an uninteresting speech will bore your audience.

An entertaining presentation style may enthrall listeners, but will achieve nothing if your content lacks concrete and valuable information. This only proves that content and delivery are both vital to a successful performance. While the former can help you educate your audience, the latter can highlight your message and generate audience interest.

So when you plan and prepare for your next pitch, do it with outstanding content and delivery to achieve your desired outcome. To help you out with your presentation, SlideGenius’ PowerPoint professionals can offer you a free quote!

 

References

Valentine, Craig. “10 Ways to Improve Your Speech Delivery.” Craig Valentine. March 7, 2010. Accessed August 10, 2015.
Content vs Delivery.” Learn Public Speaking Skills. October 13, 2012. Accessed August 10, 2015.
10 Tips for Improving Your Presentations & Speeches.” Presentation Zen. Accessed August 10, 2015.

3 Small Talk Habits That Delay Professional Presentations

Don’t boring scenes make you want to press fast-forward?

If you’re bad at entertaining your audience, then they’ll want to fast-forward your professional presentations, too.

But what makes a scene boring?

There are many reasons for a dull presentation, but one of the most notorious is because the presenter is trying to cover up a lack of preparation.

Here are 3 delaying tactics you should avoid:

1. Overdoing Background Information

Introductions are where you engage audiences so that they’ll listen to you from start to finish.

However, taking too long to get to your main point will bore them to death.

Avoid including too much background information in your script.

Anecdotes are a great way to start a pitch, but make sure it’s directly related to your core idea, or else you’ll just go off-track.

Instead, go straight to your main points point and work on particular details that best inform and educate the crowd.

2. Stating the Obvious

Everybody knows that the Earth is round and the sky is blue.

Why tell your audiences information that they probably already know?

If you’ll be mentioning well-known facts, make sure that you have follow-up questions or points for discussion.

For instance, look for the reasons behind the fact, concrete examples that demonstrate that data, or ways how you could take advantage of it.

Otherwise, skip that piece of information altogether.

3. Delaying the Solution

Your audience is there for a reason: they’re looking for something beneficial that you can give them.

If you fail to deliver, then you’ve failed your audience.

Build-up is important, but spending too much time hyping up your offering could cause your audience to doze off from boredom.

Worse, they may get annoyed and think that your pitch was a waste of time.

Caring about your audience involves giving them what they expect from you. Offer something that makes them think that they’re your priority. Don’t give them the opposite of what they’re looking for.

Get Straight to the Point

Why would you end up delaying your presentation in the first place?

Often, this is a result of not preparing for the big day.

Careful planning allows you to craft and organize your script. It helps you recognize what is valuable to your audience.

When you plan for your next presentation, instead of talking about how significant your topic is, make sure to go straight to delivering your main point.

Remember: avoid including too much background information, stating the obvious, and delaying the solution.

Avoiding these delaying tactics is your ticket to the fast-lane of engaging, convincing, and sales-worthy presentations.

4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For

Your audience is filled with 4 different member types of thinkers: analytical, structural, social, and conceptual.

It’s your job to make your presentations appeal to all four. Like any other accomplishment, appealing to all four thinkers will involve research, namely research about how each thinker thinks. We, at our Presentation Agency, have looked into inc.com’s recent series of articles on leadership and compiled a rudimentary set of instructions to appeal to each thinker by analyzing the essentials that make up the foundation of each form of thought.

Analytical

Here’s how you can be sure to draw out your analytical-thinking audience:

  • Show your research.
  • Highlight important data from within the research.
  • You need to show the big picture, not just the details.
  • Provide a case study.
  • Analyze past successes to allow your team to develop new ideas.
  • Provide an overview as well as objectives.
  • Clarity about your needs is critical.
  • Quantify everything
  • Use analytical phrases like:
      • What is the cost/benefit of this project?
      • What does the research say?
      • I’ve been analyzing the situation.

Structural

So here’s how to communicate in aims to draw out your structural-thinking audience:

1. First, it’s important to understand that a structured thinker learns by doing

2. Next, provide plenty of “how-to” points

3. Hand out a step-by-step implementation plan and a guide for how things need to be done.

4. Explain through practicality.

5. Communicate in concrete terms and explain the rules.

6. Be very detailed.

Social

  • Here’s how you can be sure to draw out your socially oriented audience:
  • Don’t be afraid to refer to feelings.
  • Use questions like:
      • “How does that appeal to you?”
      • “How are you feeling about this?”
  • Or statements like:
      • “I’m concerned about how others will react.”
  • Show a personal connection.
  • Phrases that evoke this:
      • “Let’s work through this together.”
      • “Is everyone on the same page?”

Conceptual

Here’s how you can be sure you speak and interact conceptually to draw out your conceptual-thinking audience:

  • Think long-term; Where do we want to be in 5 years? You can always fill in the details and short-term afterward
  • Describe the levels or stages of your plans or ideas
  • Use abstract examples or metaphors
  • Define key terms

Thinking through this form of audience analysis will allow you to maximize the research for PowerPoint presentation, which will in turn lead more sales!

 

References:

Browning, Geil. “Why Being Social Makes You a Better Leader. inc.com. July 15, 2013.
Browning, Geil. “Why Steve Jobs’ Exactitude Mattered as Much as His Vision. inc.com. May 16, 2013.

9 Presentation Resources You Don’t Want to Miss

 


The most memorable presentation of my life

Once, while in the third grade, a classmate of mine, Julie, was supposed to give a presentation on a subject that I obviously no longer remember, but let’s just say was Apache Indians. She had built a huge, or what I thought at the time thought was a huge, Paper Maché project for her presentation.The project had dozens of little Indians, tiny teepees, plastic horses, even handfuls of real grass. When our teacher called her up to speak, she walked up front-and-center, with her project in hand, looked up to the class for about 10 seconds, and blew chunks all over her incredibly detailed project. Ironically, that was one of the most memorable presentations I’ve seen. Julie was afraid to present to us. Coincidentally, fear of public speaking actually incredibly common.

While maybe blowing chunks isn’t always the consequence, it is definitely a nerve-racking experience.  In fact, some experts estimate that as much as 75% of the population has some level of anxiety regarding public speaking. The best way to get over the fear is to be prepared. Preparing obviously consists of practicing a whole lot, but it also incorporates resourcefulness. Before one begins to practice, one must design an effective presentation to practice with. With that comes the need to know how to make effective presentations.

For that reason, we at Slidegenius, have come up with a short list of 9 useful resources for anyone who may find themselves giving or creating a presentation. 

1. Beyond Bullets

This site will help you use presentation software more effectively. Filled with  stimulating content and useful information. The site highlights certain philosophies and strategies with regard to  the way you use your software and apply it to presentations.

2. DesignSense

This site  advertises itself as “graphic design training for businesspeople.” The content focuses on a series of design lessons the common-folk with no formal training in graphic design. The company claims that the training you receive on the site is equivalent to a 40-hour graphic design course. It is condensed into 12 hours of computer-based training and costs around $60.

3. Presentation Zen

This site is essentially Garr Reynold’s blog on issues related to presentation design, technique, and delivery. Reynolds provides examples of good and bad presentations.

4. Crystal Graphics

This is a great source for PowerPoint add-ins that enhance the basic program. Professional-like transitions, 3D Titles and custom templates are some of the more popular add-ins.  The only caution Id give is that some of the effects require some intense hardware horsepower and may be costly.

5. KeynotePro

This source presents amazing Keynote themes for professionals.

6. PowerPoint ImageObjects

The site offers collections of great-quality symbols and shapes, metaphor objects, numbers, bullets, and other objects.

7. PowerPoint Templates Pro

Another collection of professionally produced PowerPoint templates.

8. iStockPhoto

Cheap and good-quality images.

9. Microsoft Clip Gallery Live

Microsoft’s free clipart site.

If you can think of any other resources that I have missed, please comment to share your favorites.

 

References:

Fritscher, Lisa. “Glossophobia.” About.com.

Ad-libbing vs. Scripting your Presentations: The Larry David Law

Presenting in a professional environment demands a lot of tedious work. Understandably, no one wants to look unprepared when they get up in front of a crowd of their contemporaries, underlings, or worse yet, their superiors.

Because of this natural fear, we prepare cautiously–and perhaps brood nervously–on how to make the best impression possible.

We responsibly rehearse and perfect our talking points, but memorizing a speech is not the end goal. We aren’t robots, and we don’t want to be seen that way. Having a personality is a prerequisite for being well liked, therefore as much effort as we put in, sometimes we need to devote time to seeming at ease and letting our true self show.

The wildly successful sitcom, Seinfeld, was the result of Larry David's superb screenwriting.
The wildly successful sitcom, Seinfeld, was the result of Larry David’s superb screenwriting.

Seinfeld co-creator and longtime head writer sparked two very different, very successful television shows. Seinfeld, which is regarded by many as the greatest sitcom there ever was (or ever will be), has received countless accolades for its outstanding writing, over which Larry David toiled as the show’s head writer for the vast majority of the series. Because of this, the dialogue of the show is memorable, hilarious, and perfectly delivered, especially that of George Costanza, a character modeled after David’s real-life neurotic ridiculousness.

When David finally waved goodbye to Seinfeld, he began a new show, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which has become a cult classic, and in many ways is superior to his previous project. However, unlike the carefully crafted script of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm is almost totally improvised.

Both shows have different appeals, and are therefore successful for different reasons, but which one is superior, and how can we learn from the two when crafting our presentations.

When up in front of a crowd of respected peers, we want to come off as brilliant and ingenious as Seinfeld, but we also want to seem as effortlessly charming as Curb Your Enthusiasm. How do we find a balance?

Well, knowing how comfortable you should be with ad-libbing a portion of your presentation may require some self-analysis. Are you a comfortable, experienced speaker? If so, chances are you may already be working some off-the-cuff remarks into your public speaking engagements, because you’ve got enough experience to effectively think in the moment.

If, however, you’re new to speaking in public, or if you’ve been doing it for a long time and it still makes you uncomfortable, it’s likely that carefully planning and scripting your presentation is more beneficial to you.

I had a management job for a couple of years in college that required me to run meetings and address my staff on a near-weekly basis. This at first made me a bit nervous, and to cope with this, I’d spend a bit of time before I’d have to address them thinking about what I was going to say, writing down talking points, etc.

As the job progressed, I, of course, got more comfortable leading meetings and speaking to the staff. Eventually, I wouldn’t even blink–much less need to prepare–before getting up in front of my 20+ staff.

David’s career is comparable, and a valuable lesson into reaching this balance. The heavy reliance on improvisation seen in Curb Your Enthusiasm comes after nearly a decade of writing for a sitcom. It’s not as if David was just born with a sense of how to improvise, it came after a long time of growing comfortable with it.

So if you’re uncomfortable winging a portion of your presentation, don’t force it. Even if you may seem a little less natural or a too rehearsed, it is most likely a natural part of getting used to being up in front of an audience. First, become comfortable in your own skin during presentations before you go to this next level; your presentations will undoubtedly benefit from it.

Acme Construction Uses SlideGenius for Huge Client Bid

Acme Construction is a California-based construction company with a knack for big projects. With an impressive history dating back to 1947–and more recently a couple high-end school and hospital extensions under their belt they were ready to go after what could potentially be the company’s biggest client to date (Details on the project off limits). acme2

Acme Construction was qualified for the project, but they needed a way to effectively visualize and present their expertise, experience, and capabilities, so they used SlideGenius to build them a deck based around the required criteria and interview questions for their project. SlideGenius was able to provide a complete, detailed picture of the company in a visually dynamic, high-impact presentation deck.

acme1When you need your company’s prowess to be known, don’t risk losing business because your potential client can’t tell how capable you are of the job. SlideGenius knows how to create presentations that make the sale by highlighting the most impressive aspects of your business in a dynamic way.
 

 

 

 

Our Five Favorite Books on Presenting with PowerPoint

1. Slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy DuarteBook_Slideology

Nancy Duarte is a graphic designer, writer, and head of the presentation design firm Duarte Design. The firm is most notable for designing the award-winning Al Gore presentation-turned-movie, An Inconvenient Truth. In Slide:ology, she provides a great resource for getting inside the mind of a presentation designer and seeing how they think; conceptually and technically. The book breaks down the problems that people experience with PowerPoint, such as defaulting to bullet points or using clip art. This is a great read if you want to learn how to think about PowerPoint in a new, creative way.

2. Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinsonbbp

BBP hits on many of the subjects we’ve emphasized in our blog, and it’s a very good general how-to for good PowerPoint design. Naturally, a big point it makes is to avoid the use of bullet points in PowerPoint. Atkinson aptly observes that while bullet points are very easy to make, they’re difficult for the audience to comprehend and relate to. The book then hits on many other important themes in PowerPoint, such as the importance of storyboarding and the classic story arch.

 

 

3. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynoldszen-book1-x

Supreme overlord of the popular presentation blog presentationzen.com, Garr Reynolds has a lot to say on the art of presenting, and he’s compiled a good many of his thoughts in this book. A must read for any PowerPoint enthusiast or public speaker.

 

 

 

 

4. Speaking PowerPoint: The New Language of Business by Bruce Gabrielspeaking powerpoint

Compared to the more conceptual, creative ideas taught in the aforementioned books, this is more of a basic how-to. That’s not to say that Bruce Gabriel’s book on stolid PowerPoint design isn’t very useful. This book, written to be used by business people in boardroom presentations, is easy to comprehend and has a ton of practical application.
 

 

5. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience by Carmine GalloSteve_Jobs_Cover[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning Your PowerPoint into a Video (Part II): Marketing Your Video

In the previous post, I talked about the benefits of turning your PowerPoint presentation into a video and how SlideGenius can do this in the most professional, financially viable way. This post will cover what happens after you get said video into your virtual hands.

As mentioned before, the greatest benefit of having your PowerPoint presentation in a stand-alone, video format is the ability to leverage it by vastly increasing its exposure. The only trick is, how do you reach these new online audiences?

Most of these mediums we recommend pushing your video through will hopefully sound familiar, but having an all-encompassing social media strategy is imperative in order to be effective.

YouTube and Vimeo

Uploading your video to both of these sites is a good first step to ensure your video is easily viewable. Not only does this make your video accessible with an easily sharable link, YouTube and Vimeo have become surprisingly socially active sites.

Especially if you’re new to video sharing, and your YouTube and Vimeo channels don’t have a lot of activity, your videos won’t get many (if any) organic hits from these sites, but like almost any social medium, staying active with these channels will have a rolling effect of attracting audiences to your content over time.

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

I lump these three commonly used social mediums together because, from a business standpoint, content on each is pushed in a very similar manner. The goal here, with all three of these, is to be mindful of how you present the content, since you’ll be more than likely posting the content as a general status to all your fans, followers, connections, etc., and not to anyone in particular.

Being proactive with social media will help draw traffic to your video presentation.
Being proactive with social media will help draw traffic to your video presentation.

Not to start a lecture on the basics of social media, but sites like Hubspot and Hootsuite are great for synchronizing your content across these sites. Coordinating and scheduling consistent content across your different social mediums can help to avoid redundancy when pushing your video presentation.

Email Outreach

Plug your video at every chance you get. Interaction with potential or existing clients through email presents a lot of opportunities for you to tag on the video near the bottom of your message. And if you have an automatic reply programmed to go out for potential leads on your website, a link to your professionally made video can’t hurt!

Get Creative

Whatever you do, don’t spend resources on a top-of-the-line video presentation, use it once, then leave it in the corner to collect digital dust. Keep it in the back of your mind, look for openings in online conversations with clients to work it in, post it on an appropriate landing page on your website, or incorporate parts of it into your next presentation.