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Typography, Is It Really Important?

The font you use for your deck is part of presentation design. If your content is mostly text—facts and other relevant information, you should be mindful of which ones you use.

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Good fonts might go unnoticed in an awe-inducing presentation. If you make a bad choice, there is nothing that could hide it—not the colors, not the images.

If you get your presentation customized by a PowerPoint expert, take note of how they make everything come together, even when there are two to three different fonts in the deck.

What is Typography?

To get technicalities out of the way: typography is a type of visual art. It refers to the creation and arrangement of written words. This encompasses all aspects of the text, from font to readability.

In presentation decks, typography is not only used to convey ideas, but to also set the mood and evoke emotion from the audience.

So, you might be asking why it matters—the answer is simple: it retains reader attention. As a writer, designer, and presenter, your audience’s attention is the best gift you can ever receive. Earning their trust and engaging them at the first slide are as valuable as maintaining this until the end.

Here are a few things to remember if you’re applying typography to your presentation:

  • Match the typeface to the brand’s message
  • Avoid clashing colors or backgrounds
  • This is meant to engage and not distract

Fonts and Information Retention

Designers always take these two functions into consideration. Look at it this way: while they would purchase a fancy display font for the header, using the same font for the article below it would be difficult to read through.

This all depends on the designer and how they’re going to incorporate intricate fonts into the presentation as these are helpful when it comes to retaining information—it doesn’t matter if it’s about art, history, or science. In fact, in a study published in Cognition, an academic journal, psychologists from Princeton and Indiana University conducted an experiment where they had 28 men and women read about three species of aliens.

Half of the participants that read in easy-to-read font (Arial, black, 16 pt) answered correctly 72.8% of the time while those who reviewed the material in hard-to-read font (Comic Sans MS or Bodoni MT, lighter shade, 12 pt) got it right 86.5%.

Apart from the layout, design, and content of your custom PowerPoint presentation, typography is one of the aspects that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. While everyone is attentive about the substance of your pitch, your audience will still look at how you present your words on the screen.

If you want to create a presentation, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to right place. With SlideGenius, we help you get the word out by creating professionally designed decks. Feel free to browse our portfolio and see what we’ve done in the past!

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References:

Donahue, Elisabeth. “Font focus: Making ideas harder to read may make them easier to retain.” Princeton University. October 28, 2010. www.princeton.edu/news/2010/10/28/font-focus-making-ideas-harder-read-may-make-them-easier-retain

Carey, Benedict. “Come On, I Thought I Knew That!” The New York Times. April 18, 2011. www.nytimes.com/2011/04/19/health/19mind.html

5 Effective PowerPoint Delivery Methods for Presentations

Most presenters barely notice what particular presentation technique they’re using whenever they take the stage. This is because they’re not fully aware of how it could influence both their performance and their audience. When you prepare your pitch, decide whether you want to use a fast-paced approach or spend more time discussing your main points.

This provides a guide for organizing your ideas and translating them to your slides. While there are many presentation styles which work best for different speakers, there are also PowerPoint delivery methods that they can use to optimize their slides. Here, we’ll define some techniques introduced and practiced by popular presenters:

The Takahashi Method

Named after Masoyoshi Takahashi, this approach relies heavily on keywords with one main point placed per slide. Instead of using images, bullet points, or other visual elements, words are used as visuals.

This method requires many slides (depending on your content) since each one only has a few words displayed. Applying this method encourages your audience to pay more attention to you as the speaker, since you are the one explaining what’s projected on-screen.

The Kawasaki Method

Named after Guy Kawasaki, and also known as the “10-20-30” method (10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 font size). This approach is commonly used for investor presentations where a short yet impactful approach is needed to stand out among the competition.

This allows you to give brief but understandable messages within a limited time.

The Lessig Method

Used by Lawrence Lessig, this style has a limited use of images, relying more on words, similar to Takahashi’s style. Concise words or statements are used and slides are changed around, depending on the words the presenter delivers.

This focuses more on telling a story and injects a more synchronized approach, generating interest and allowing audiences to be more attentive.

The Godin Method

Seth Godin’s technique is a combination of texts and images, where the speaker uses striking photos to let the pictures speak for themselves. This lets him explain what he’s trying to point out and reiterate his main ideas through images.

This approach differs from Takahashi and Lessig’s, since they’re more focused on conveying their message primarily with text. The advantage? Using this appeals to the audience’s passions and establishes an emotional connection with them.

The Steve Jobs Method

Steve Jobs’ style concentrates on large images and texts, focusing on one statement per slide and combining it with visual elements. This gives the presenter the chance to offer demonstrations and allow a more interactive way of communicating his ideas.

This method enables your performance to be more interesting and powerful, allowing the audience to get the message easily for maximum impact.

In Conclusion

Let your objectives dictate your manner of presenting. Situations requiring brevity and conciseness might require the Kawasaki Method. The Takahashi and Lessig methods favor a confident presenting style to better focus attention on the speaker. The Godin and Jobs methods use strong images that create strong emotional connections.

The key is to understand and identify your objective as a presenter. Once you know this, you can then decide on what presentation style to use. Choose which one of the delivery methods suits you the most. Let SlideGenius experts help you out!

 

References

5 Examples of Great Presentation Design.Advise America. Accessed June 11, 2015.
Finkelstein, Ellen. “Presentation Styles – What Style Should You Use?Support.Office. n.d. Accessed June 11, 2015.

Finding Common Ground: Key to Professional Presentations

Inevitably, you’ll encounter a crowd of listeners with highly mixed and diverse backgrounds.

Their differences can be in levels of knowledge, perspectives, responsibilities, and expectations. They’ll likely have concerns that mirror their diversity.

You want to address all their issues without taking too much time presenting.

At the same time, you want to make sure your approach caters to all their learning needs.

Professional speakers can bridge the gaps inbetween by finding common ground to optimize their presentation.

Understand Their Perspective

Always begin by finding out as much as you can about who you’ll be presenting to.

If possible, request help from intermediaries to get you in contact with people who’ll be attending your presentation.

Find out as much as you can about their experiences and competencies, their important concerns and questions, and their preferences in enjoying presentations.

In case you can’t talk to them personally, ask people of similar backgrounds to give you an idea of what you need to do to better prepare.

If you’re unable to get in contact with your potential audience in advance or ask people of similar qualifications, come to the venue early. You can use this extra time to mingle with your audience before the appointed time.

Not only will this lessen your chances of running late, it’ll also make you look more professional because the audience will see that you don’t waste anybody’s time.

Identify and Avoid Misunderstandings

Sometimes, an investment pitch will be unsuccessful because the audience misunderstood or misinterpreted information.

Usually, you can answer questions through a Q&A session after your main presentation.

However, you can avoid this problem altogether by researching your information and checking your facts correctly.

Don’t get tangled in an awkward situation where an audience member catches you on factual mistakes. This embarrassment can cost you potential clients.

Also, base all of your arguments on clear data. Avoid jumping to conclusions based on incomplete raw numbers or facts.

Don’t prematurely claim a long-term upward trend in profits based on just one week of data with a sample size of one sole company.

The one thing an audience will hate more than being confused is being willfully deceived.

Connect the Dots

Now that you know what your listeners have in common, you can easily craft a message that speaks to each of them, while sounding like you understand them as a whole.

Based on what you’ve found out about them, you can easily determine which stories or metaphors the whole crowd can relate to.

This will also help you determine if you can speak in a more conversational tone or if it would be safer to use a more formal tone.

Knowing the composition of your audience also lets you decide the amount of jargon you can let through with your speech. You wouldn’t want to seem highfaluting while explaining to a crowd of marketers, would you?

Common Ground

A diverse group of listeners requires an approach that caters to each one of them, while also connecting with all of them simultaneously.

Getting into their head allows you to best cater your message for your mixed audience.

Proper and responsible research and fact-checking avoids embarrassing situations and misinformation.

All of this guides your message and allows you to deliver it to best inform, engage, and convince.

Find the common ground to radiate a credible professional vibe for any presentation opportunity.

References

http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2014/06/17/finding-common-ground-with-your-audience/

How Perfectionism Affects Your Professional Presentation

Let’s admit it. We all want to become perfect in every aspect, even in a professional presentation. However, some presenters forget that trying to be completely error-free can negatively affect the entire performance.

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Though aiming for the best helps you become successful, trying for a 100% great outcome can give you a headache. Aside from procrastination or stage fright, perfectionism can also become a source of anxiety. It triggers nervousness, especially when you’re expecting an error-free presentation.

Ask yourself, “Am I focused on not making a mistake?” or “Am I focused on engaging my audience to get my point across?” Your answer depends on what you prioritize the most.

Let’s see how perfectionism affects your performance.

Perfectionism Heightens Fear

It’s normal to be anxious when you speak in public. However, setting your standards too high might increase your fear of rejection or fear of being judged. This is because it convinces you to be unflinchingly perfect during the pitch.

To ease the pressure, remember that your job is to connect with your audience so that they understand your message.

Three Signs that You’re a Perfectionist

  1. You can’t forget a certain failure.
  2. You can’t respond positively to a negative reaction.
  3. You worry too much about what others think of you.

These habits demoralize you if you let it control you and your performance.

Mistakes can happen even if you’ve carefully planned and prepared your presentation. Whether it’s caused by your PowerPoint slides, your speech, or technical problems, remain positive and focus on conveying your message to avoid getting controlled by this behavior.

Three Thoughts to Overcome Perfectionism

To remove this negative behavior, consider these things:

  1. Your audience is considerate and understanding. If you fail, forget it then move on. Being honest allows them to see that you’re also human, prone to making mistakes.
  1. Your listeners won’t notice unless they see that you do. Even if you point out that you’ve made a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. Proceed with your pitch and concentrate on delivering it.
  1. Relax and be positive. Things will get better once you let go of your worries. It’s all about your audience, so focus on meeting their expectations.

Conclusion

Aiming for total perfection causes problems once you let it control you.

It’s natural to commit mistakes, especially when presenting. What you can do, instead, is to pick yourself up and show your audience that you’re still worth their time, because your main idea is what they care about the most.

Acknowledging your errors shows courage and that there’ll always be room for improvement. Positively respond to it and become a better and successful presenter.

To craft an effective and powerful presentation, SlideGenius experts can help you out!

 

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References

“Ditching the Urge to Be a ‘Perfect’ Speaker.” Ginger Public Speaking. June 12, 2013. www.gingerpublicspeaking.com/urge-perfect-speaker
Morgan, Nick. “Perfectionism and Public Speaking.” Public Words. October 14, 2014. www.publicwords.com/2014/10/14/perfectionism-and-public-speaking

A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Great PowerPoint Ideas

A professional presentation takes time, not just in making the actual pitch deck, but in planning how to make it.

Presentation experts (even the ones behind Apple’s and TED Talks’ presentations) recommend spending the majority of your time planning for how to make and deliver the sales pitch. According to brand communication expert, Carmine Gallo, this takes at least 90 hours, with only a third of that time used for building the actual deck.

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The rest of the time needs to be spent on knowing your client’s expectations. Qualtrics’ Scott Smith presents seven customer expectations to watch out for, so make sure to dedicate your time to researching the topic, and developing an effective method of delivery.

Ask yourself:

  • What problem am I trying to solve?
  • Is there an applicable solution that I can use?
  • How will I solve the problem then?
  • What advantage can I offer that the competition can’t?

A secret to getting effective PowerPoint ideas is planning ahead of time.

Let’s go into detail about how to plan your business presentation.

Step 1: Write Everything You Want to Say

Make a list, sit down with your colleagues, consult your company’s production/research teams, draw quick sketches and draft a script. Just get something, anything on paper when you start.

This way, you’ll have an easier time sorting through PowerPoint ideas that work from those that don’t.

Both professional presenters and advertising experts talk about similar methods. Whether it’s planning on paper or, as ad veteran Luke Sullivan suggests, sticking drawings of your best ideas on the wall, the best way to get your sales pitch idea is to dump everything into an empty space and sort them out.

Step 2: Be Your Own Coldest Critic

Once you have everything you can think of in one place, be it an empty Microsoft PowerPoint file or on blank sheets of paper, start judging. Using the questions listed above can work as your guide.

Everything you place in your PowerPoint deck stems from two sources: the client’s problem and the product or service you’ll use to solve it. The strategy is up to you. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you want to bank on your company’s reputation for being the best in the business?
  • Do you want to highlight one advantage you have over the competition?
  • Do you want to introduce a game-changing solution to an old problem?

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Your ideas must fit whatever strategy you choose.

If you want to pitch for a car-rental service provider, or sell your electronics to a local distributor, ask yourself about the workability of your idea (for example, displaying consistent sales numbers or user testimonies). If you think it’s doable, keep it.

Step 3: Once You Have the “Eureka” Moment, Stay on It

One benefit of dumping your ideas and being your harshest critic is that you arrive at your winning sales pitch idea faster.

Everything you say and write will flow by themselves if your idea and strategy are sound enough. The best thing to do is stay with it.

Write down your script and slide content while your thoughts are still fresh in your mind. Delaying it will interrupt your train of thought, wasting time better spent on finalizing your PowerPoint deck.

The Lesson to Learn

Don’t be afraid to critique your own ideas. A sales presentation is all about testing ideas against the client’s problems and coming up with your best solution.

If it works, come up with an appropriate strategy to sell your proposal better than the competition does. Keep at it until you find your selling idea.

To help you come up with it even faster, spend time with a PowerPoint presentation expert. It’s worth the investment. (All it takes is fifteen minutes.)

 

References

Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Plan Ahead to Avoid PowerPointless Presentations.SlideGenius, Inc. May 27, 2015. Accessed July 15, 2015.
Smith, Scott, “Customer Expectations: 7 Types all Exceptional Researchers Must Understand.” Qualtrics. Accessed July 15, 2015.
Sullivan, Luke. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons, 2008

 

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PowerPoint Presentations: Do You Really Need Them?

PowerPoint is the undisputed king of all presentation software. With about 500 million users relying on it to create their visual aids, no one can deny its dominance.

Aside from the contemporary presentation designs it offers, we need them to enhance and support our core message.

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We still get questions from some presenters, wondering if they even need slides to go with their speech. To answer this question, let’s first examine how they benefit your presentations:

All-Around Usefulness

What helps PowerPoint immensely is its inclusion in Microsoft Office.

Its similarity to Word (and even freeware Word variations) means that it’s convenient for all types of users and purposes.

This software has basic photo-manipulating capabilities, whereas animations and image placement are easy to do. It’s also made it easier to edit and layout text. With these advanced features, sharing visual information has become easier to plan for and execute.

According to tech guru, Aaron Parson, most presentations will benefit from PowerPoint’s versatility. It can be used for pitching, selling, teaching, and even entertaining. It lets you draw diagrams, assorted graphs, charts, and even basic illustrations, with possibilities for online sharing.

Notable Exceptions

While PowerPoint exhibits all-around usefulness, there are still some situations where you shouldn’t depend on it.

Motivational speeches often don’t need accompanying visual aids. They require greater focus on the presenter’s body language and facial expressions – things that projected slides could distract from.

Speeches that focus on a speaker’s personal experiences generally don’t need an accompanying deck. Better described as performances, presenters serve as their own visual aids through non-verbal communication.

PowerPoint by Default

Determine from the beginning if your presentation needs an accompanying deck. This allows you to better divide and plan your time and resources for maximizing your speech.

Knowing that you almost always need a deck to back you up, it pays to know what makes for effective PowerPoint presentations.

Conclusion

PowerPoint remains a vital tool to complement your message visually because of its convenience and ease of use.

Knowing from the beginning whether you need to include a PowerPoint deck will help you plan for it, or prepare to present without it.

Certain types of presentations lend themselves to PowerPoint decks. If you’ll be giving a speech based on personal experience, without needing to explain complicated facts, people will focus more on your facial expressions and body language. In the instances you do need to use slides, learn the various factors that determine its success or failure.

Looking for something to inspire you on PowerPoint presentations? Check out our portfolio, or contact us now for a free quote.

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References

3 Reasons Why PowerPoint Presentations Are Still Effective.SlideGenius, Inc. August 6, 2015.
Parson, Aaron. “5 Uses of PowerPoint.” EHow. June 2, 2015. Accessed July 6, 2015.
PowerPoint Usage and Marketshare.” Infogr.am. Accessed July 6, 2015.