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Presentation Lessons You Can Learn from Your Thanksgiving Dinner

With fall ending (fine, let’s cave: Winter is coming), it’s high time again for turkey season. Thanksgiving. In one Thursday night, families dine together for a feast. For a holiday that had its roots on the popular belief that the first-year survivors who came to the New World aboard the Mayflower dined with the Wampanoag tribe after a great harvest, it has since become more than just that and more about the appreciation and giving thanks for basically every good aspect in our lives.

While not forgetting the memorable parades, awesome sales, great sportscasts, and the coming holiday season, people look forward to Thanksgiving dinners the most.

The soggy yet scrumptious croutons floating on the soup. Two bowls of glorious mashed potatoes—one smooth and one with chunks—side by side a gravy boat filled to the brim. Fruits of a myriad colors on one corner and freshly baked loaves of bread on the other. The smell that wafts across the room from that first slice of turkey.

Looking at a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner table, you can draw the similarities between the feast in front of you and a great PowerPoint presentation in front of your audience.

You don’t? Well, awesome presentation design agencies certainly do. Here’s an infographic showing you the anatomy of an excellent visual aid with food that only comes on the last Thursday of November.

Presentation Inspired by Thanksgiving Dinners_Gifographic

Now’s the time to be appreciative of the many stuff you can be grateful for: a great family, an awesome career, a solid support group, and even the material things. There’s no greater sense of being alive than being thankful to be alive. (But, come on, it doesn’t mean it just has to be during this time of the year. Show it all year round!)

With the Yuletide season looming, it won’t be long after new year comes—new beginnings, resolutions, targets, goals, etc. Another year of successes and failures. Another year of expectations and efforts.

Before those come, take a breath. You wouldn’t want to be exhausted when the year ends a month from now, don’t you?

Resources:

Faught, Steven. “Anatomy of a Good Presentation.” wePresent. September 23, 2014. blog.wepresentwifi.com/anatomy-good-presentation

“HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING.” History.com. n.d. www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

5 Audience PowerPoint Pet Peeves You Need to Avoid

Do you feel like your audience is zoning out on you in the middle of your PowerPoint slides?

Your deck might not be sitting well with your listeners. Most people identify as visual learners, and are therefore more inclined to watch out for engaging visuals, rather than walls of text and droning explanations. Unfortunately, this is what most presenters are guilty of when they bore people to death.

If you fall into this habit often, it’s time to re-evaluate your presentation choices. Find out what audience’s top five PowerPoint pet peeves are and how to avoid them:

1. Talking to Your Slides

Today’s audiences crave authenticity and personal connections with their speakers. The first thing that tunes them out of a presentation is a presenter who mumbles or reads from the slides.

Eye contact is essential in establishing rapport with others. It makes you appear more trustworthy and credible, and less nervous and uncertain of your points. While you may want to get all the points right by reading them straight from the screen, the audience might write off your presence as irrelevant if you’re just going to reiterate your entire deck.

Step away from your slides and project confidence with your voice. Deliver clearly and loudly as you directly address the audience.

Make use of vocal warm-ups to ease your tension and improve your breathing. This will help alleviate your anxiety and sound more sincere in your pitch.

2. Too Much Information

People’s brains aren’t wired to take in information in bulk, as suggested by InfoEngineering’s article. Give them a landslide of data, images, and text, and they’ll be less likely to retain anything you mentioned. Since people’s short term memories constantly make way for new information coming in, all the backlog gets deleted once their minds are full.

Applying this on a presentational level, leaving too many slides can also overwhelm your audience. Only include keywords on your deck, not full blocks of text. This improves people’s recall and compresses your points into neat, palatable takeaways.

Leave enough room for you to explain things verbally, to further support your connection with your listeners.

Raw data can be difficult to process, and often too heavy to understand on its own. Instead of giving the numbers as is, try putting a creative spin to them. Craft a narrative around your material to lighten up the weight of stark statistics.

3. It’s Unreadable

This third point has plenty to do with your deck’s design and layout.

Tom Osborne of Viget suggests that poor contrast is one of the culprits of difficult readability, particularly in text. Contrast is essential in highlighting a specific object you want to stand out on your slide. Elements that aren’t well-contrasted tend to be too light, and might not be seen clearly for some viewers.

Maximize the element of contrast in your PowerPoint. For example, dark hues tend to stand out more in lighter backgrounds. Use light colored text against a dark background, and vice versa.

At the same time, good contrast might still lead to unreadable decks, due to eccentric font size and style choices. Ensure that the words on your slides are visible all the way to the back by selecting an apt combination – this often means a standard sans serif (like Arial or Helvetica) for the heading, and a standard serif (like Times New Roman or Garamond) for the body.

In terms of font size, business guru Guy Kawasaki suggests fonts no smaller than 30-points. This definitely ensures their visibility for all types of audience members.

4. Blocking the View

It’s important for your audience to see what’s on the slides. After all, your PowerPoint is a supplement to your presentation. It’s an aid, which means it should reflect all the salient points you want to deliver. That said, blocking the view would be counterintuitive to having this presentation prop to leverage your speech.

However, some presenters do tend to walk in front of their projectors or screens, obstructing people’s view. The audience members shouldn’t be straining their necks to get a view of your presentation.

To prevent yourself from obstructing your audience’s view, stand beside the projected screen, and be mindful of your blocking on stage. You’ve got a visually engaging deck that’s worth looking at, so let people rest their gaze on your slides.

5. Random Design Choices

Aesthetics matter in catching the audience’s eye, but there should be a balance between your form and your content. In fact, WritingCommons recommends using your design choices to enhance your core message, even in the subtlest of ways.

Don’t put in images that you can’t directly link to your current pitch. Leave out distracting animations and transitions if they won’t contribute to your main points. A balance between digestible simplicity and strategically placed design can make a powerful impression on your viewers from start to finish.

To know what’s worth putting in and leaving out in your deck, keep an outlined list of your key points.

Since your PowerPoint is supposed to supplement these points, only choose designs that correspond directly to them.

Conclusion

Appealing to your presentation audience means more than just giving them your message directly. Make sure that they’re paying attention to every word by crafting a deck that complements your pitch.

Leave your slides on the screen, and talk sincerely to your listeners. Establishing a strong emotional and physical connection with them will make you appear like a more credible speaker worth listening to.

Practice using your voice to project confidence and sincerity that will convince your audience. Check your deck’s readability by choosing colors that contrast and highlight each other. Aside from this, select the right font sizes and types that ensure maximum readability for all audiences, and in all venues.

Mind where you stand so you don’t block people’s view of your visual aid. Avoid unnecessary deck designs by putting in only the most important keywords you need to expound on, and choose the appropriate slide element to support it.

If you need help with your presentation design choices, contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

“Color Contrast for Better Readability.” Viget Blogs. Accessed December 16, 2015. https://viget.com/inspire/color-contrast
“The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. 2005. Accessed December 16, 2015. http://guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule
“Your PowerPoint Presentation: Developing an Effective Design.” Your PowerPoint Presentation: Developing an Effective Design. Accessed December 16, 2015. http://writingcommons.org/index.php/open-text/genres/public-speaking/delivering-the-speech/1031-your-powerpoint-presentation-developing-an-effective-design

 

Featured Image: “40+216 Face” by bark on flickr.com

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

High Cost: Avoiding the Price of an Ineffective PowerPoint

One PowerPoint presentation gone bad can cost more than you think, according to this Think Outside The Slide article: almost as much as $250 million because of wasted resources and manpower.

Aside from the time invested by the audience, your sales, company decision-making, and even reputation are affected by your pitch’s impact.

Create a deck that will maximize your time and save you the effort and money.

Find out how to avoid an ineffective PowerPoint with these three tips:

1. Set a Goal

Knowing what you want to achieve is important in planning out how you’re going to get there.

Is it to move the audience to action? Is it to make a sale? Or is it simply to deliver information?

Not having an objective for your presentation can lead to a cluttered slide deck and disorganized speech.

To avoid this, you need to choose from these goals for your pitch.

Once you’re sure of what you want, enumerate the steps to achieving this goal.

Create an outline that lists down your course of action. Will you quote your latest sales figures? Will you highlight your product’s benefits? Doing so can also serve as your guide in creating more palatable content.

Craft a winning deck by determining what type of response you want to elicit from your listeners.

2. Simplify Your Points

Abstract ideas can be difficult to process, especially if they come in bulk.

Information overload, like spreadsheets overflowing with statistical data, can affect how much of your presentation the audience will recall once you’re finished.

Remember that your listeners don’t know your presentation as well as you do, so keep things simple.

Break down your ideas into key points so you can focus on discussing as you go along. These can include going straight to how much clients could save or earn if they approve your proposal, or the superior benefits of your product over the competition.

You also need to make sure that this is reflected in your slides to make it clearer and more concise.

Stick to one major topic per slide, but don’t give it to the audience as it is.

Explore a number of ways to creatively present difficult data, or to show your key points as a single text or image per slide for easier retention.

3. Engage the Audience

The downfall of many presentations, particularly sales pitches, is lack of audience engagement.

According to a 2015 study by Microsoft Canada, people’s attention spans have dropped to an average of eight seconds, writes Leon Watson of The Telegraph. But presenters seem to forget to consider this.

Either they go beyond their intended time limit, or they saturate their slides with too much information for the audience to handle.

Engage the audience by treating your PowerPoint only as a visual aid, rather than a replacement for your actual presence.

Interact with your listeners using expansive hand gestures and maximizing your physical space. Exude confidence and inspire trust in your body language.

Use social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s suggestion about applying a power pose to display self-assurance and certainty in your pitch.

People are more likely to listen to someone who knows what he’s doing, rather than someone who sounds unsure of his topic.

Conclusion

You can save the time, money, and further effort with one perfect presentation, so why not aim for that?

Set a goal for your current pitch, and know what you want to achieve to guide you in reaching it.

Break down complex ideas into easily understandable ones by selecting key points instead of whole paragraphs.

Engage the audience by stepping away from your PowerPoint and interacting with them through your body language and your speech.

The price of PowerPoint shouldn’t be too high. If you find yourself in need of some expert help, contact our SlideGenius professionals today for a free quote!

 

References

Blodget, Henry. “This Simple ‘Power Pose’ Can Change Your Life And Career.” Business Insider. May 3, 2013. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.businessinsider.com/power-pose-2013-5

Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html

“What is the REAL Cost of Poor Presentations?.” Think Outside the Slide. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/what-is-the-real-cost-of-poor-presentations

5 Design Tips to Avoid Becoming a Presentation Killer

Let the verdict decide whether a presenter is guilty of Death by PowerPoint, otherwise known as the presentation killer, or the never-ending boring bullet point marathon.

We’ll be here to help and guide you to make the right design choices so that your deck won’t be next in trial.

It all begins with the first impression. Take a look at the first slide on your deck right now and evaluate whether the design looks consistent with your brand.

If it fails to meet the criteria, it might be time to take some design pointers to keep your deck moving on the right track.

Between 65-85% of people describe themselves as visual learners. You could be tuning out a lot of people during your presentation if your slides don’t have images that support your message.

We’ll briefly touch on Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 rule and how they can keep you from becoming a presentation killer.

1. Consistent Design

Consistency helps build your brand’s identity.

What’s your brand known for, and how can you translate this concept through design? Being consistent means building your reputation over time by staying true to the company’s values.

But a company changing hands or shifting in direction happens and can be a challenge to handle.

For example, Logitech’s rebranding came about from CEO Bracken Darrell changing their offerings beyond selling computer mice. So they changed the logo to reflect their change in direction.

Update your company’s image to stay consistent with your brand’s values and identity.

2. High-Quality Images

In your first slide, feature your brand front and center.

Have a clear, high-quality image of your logo so that your audience can immediately identify your brand.

Don’t use low-quality images that look pixelated on screen. Not only does it look distracting and unprofessional, but it puts your brand’s image in a negative light as a result.

Avoid filling your deck with too many images, as it can inflate your PowerPoint file’s size. Resize images that don’t need to be emphasized to avoid this problem.

3. Strategic Color Choice

Colors have a strong psychological impact that can influence the way we feel and think, so craft a strong image for your brand’s identity.

Image plays a major part in social media, and image-building should take priority especially when you want your brand to stand out.

This infographic from DesignMantic is a handy guide to profile your business and match it with a suitable color combination.

For example, businesses in the healthcare industry commonly use the colors red and green because of the psychological effect of these colors. The color red denotes attentiveness and determination while green represents hope, endurance, and safety. You can use these colors and other combinations to create a color profile that inspires trust in your brand.

4. Complementary Images

Take caution when you choose an inspirational image for your slide. It can detract from your message if it’s too striking. This means choosing a beautiful yet abstract image fails to support your message because it becomes a source of distraction.

The audience could become too absorbed with your image that they fail to see your point.

The images you pick should support your message and help the audience make a meaningful decision about your presentation.

Choose your supporting images carefully and make sure that it’s connected to the product or service that you’re offering.

5. The 10-20-30 Rule

Be careful how much content you pump into your slides.

Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist of Apple, is a proponent of the 10-20-30 rule. His guidelines will give your pitch precision and maximize engagement with your audience. Deliver your presentation in ten slides, for twenty minutes, in a font no smaller than thirty points: that’s the 10-20-30 rule.

It compels the presenter to reduce slide clutter in favor of a concise pitch.

The time constraints are in place because when you’re pitching to a VC, you can’t afford to waste anybody’s time. And the large font size is there so that the presenter won’t read off the slides and focus on their delivery instead.

Imagine pitching to Guy Kawasaki himself and the 10-20-30 rules starts to make sense. Create an impressive pitch by taking heed of his rules.

Make Killer Presentations

You should always make a good first impression, so build a good image by following design choices that will support your brand and your message.

Build trust by selecting colors that communicate your brand’s values. Your pitch should include images that support your message, but be aware that having too much in your deck can increase your file size dramatically.

The use of overly inspirational images can backfire on you if it fails to support your message, so exercise some restraint when you think about placing one in your deck.

Guy Kawasaki is a VC himself, so he understands and knows the pitch that gets attention. His popular 10-20-30 rule should key you in on the template that can win an investor.

Get a free quote from our SlideGenius experts to effectively get your message across in your deck and pitch.

References

“[INFOGRAPHIC]: Color Your Brand Industry-wisely!” DesignMantic. March 18, 2014. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.designmantic.com/blog/color-your-brand-industry-wisely

“Guy Kawasaki – The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. Accessed December 21, 2015. http://guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule

“How to Evaluate PowerPoint Presentation Slides?” Presentation Process. N.d. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.presentation-process.com/evaluate-powerpoint-presentation.html

“New Logo and Identity for Logitech by DesignStudio.” Brand New. July 8, 2015. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_identity_for_logitech_by_designstudio.php#.VneM-_krKUk

Vong, Katherine. “Image Is Everything: Why People Are Hooked on Image-Based Social Media.” TrendReports. August 13, 2012. Accessed December 21, 2015. www.trendreports.com/article/imagebased-social-media

Featured Image: “Just the tip of the iceberg” by Myxion flickr.com

Display a Live Twitter Feed in PowerPoint 2016

Adding a live Twitter feed in your PowerPoint is one of the many ways to make your presentation more engaging. Fortunately, only a few presenters know how to insert a website in their presentation, which is why using this feature gives you the opportunity to take advantage of your listeners’ curiosity and make a good, lasting impression.

Apart from spicing up your presentation by making it interesting and more interactive, having a live Twitter feed lets you expand your ideas as you deliver your speech. You can show it during the first part of your presentation to encourage the audience to tweet about your talk, or with the help of a hashtag, put it at the end of your speech to show them the live tweets of the event.

To get a clear picture of how to successfully add a live Twitter feed in your presentation, here’s an infographic that will give you a step-by-step tutorial using PowerPoint 2016.

Microsoft Innovations: A Bigger Office in a Small Briefcase

Presentation software has advanced at an incredible rate. Only last year, Microsoft has released Sway, a new application that lets people tell stories with embedded content. The company has also been updating its Office every year to improve its customers’ experience by developing even more innovative features.

Among Microsoft’s most useful tools, PowerPoint has been around for quite some time, and it seems like it’s here to stay with its added features.

Here are some of the things you can expect from PowerPoint this year:

Enhanced Interactivity

A common complaint against PowerPoint is its one-sidedness. It’s a static visual aid that needs to be explained by a speaker on all occasions.

However, the presentation aid is now more interactive with additional functions like video and audio narration and live digital inking, which allows you to walk your audience through your presentation in real time. Similar to broadcasting your presentations in PowerPoint 2010, once you upload your file online and start your slideshow, your audience will follow your pace as you go through each slide.

While these functions don’t replace your physical presence, it’s bridged the gap between presenters and their audience from different locations and time zones by letting them pitch and collaborate anytime, anywhere.

You can also upload and share your slides online so people can access it easily without needing to pitch it personally. This especially works for the benefit of clients who missed your presentation the first time.

More User-Friendly

PowerPoint has always been an easily usable tool. It lets users create a visually appealing presentation with just a few clicks. If you’re not confident with your design skills, you can tap into any of the program’s templates, which come with pre-set layouts.

Microsoft has managed to create an even more user-friendly aid for those who have difficulty with their flagship presentation program.

On July 2015, Microsoft released Sway, a presentation app that makes presentation design a breeze for first-timers or for anyone who has a hard time choosing their own layout. Instead of slides, Sway presents the user with cards they can group together or rearrange to create a narrative around their pitch.

As far as audience conviction goes, that’s a pretty good strategy. Decks that tell a story appeal to people’s emotions more, swaying them in favor of your pitch.

Storytelling is one of the key methods in getting your audience’s attention, and Sway does just that for its user—without the added hassle.

Better Design

As a visual aid, your deck should live up to its name and be visually appealing. Microsoft understands this need, so it’s developed add-ons that can improve your layout experience.

In late 2015, Microsoft released Designer and Morph, two tools to innovate slide design.

Once you upload an image to PowerPoint, Designer suggests a color scheme to match your images and keep you consistent. It also offers a vast amount of layout options that are suited to your content, thanks to its smart image analysis. On the other hand, Morph lets you create basic animation with fluid effects without seeming too out of place on your deck. After clicking the Morph option on your Transitions tab, simply drag the element you want to animate in the path you want it to go. Once the slideshow plays, the animated object will move on its own without need for prompts or clicks.

These two additional design game-changers are a big help to presenters everywhere who want to come up with a good deck on their own.

What’s In Store for Us?

The future of PowerPoint is here—and it’s looking good. Microsoft innovations like this program provides optimal user experience with increased accessibility.

Tap into PowerPoint’s enhanced interactivity to share your slides and pitch to your audience anywhere you are. If you aren’t much of a PowerPoint person, try out Microsoft’s latest presentation app, Sway, for decks that tell good stories. If you’re up to play around with your slide design, PowerPoint Designer and Morph have just made it easier to layout content and arrange basic images into a fluid animation.

References:

Kedmey, Dan. “Microsoft’s New App Is PowerPoint for People Who Hate PowerPoint.” Time. August 5, 2015. www.time.com/3984284/microsoft-sway-powerpoint-release
Koenigsbauer, Kirk. “The evolution of PowerPoint—introducing Designer and Morph – Office Blogs.” Office Blogs. November 13, 2015. blogs.office.com/2015/11/13/the-evolution-of-powerpoint-introducing-designer-and-morph/
“Broadcast Your PowerPoint Presentation to a Remote Audience.” Office. n.d. support.office.com/en-us/article/Broadcast-your-PowerPoint-presentation-to-a-remote-audience-25330108-518e-44be-a281-e3d85f784fee

Featured Image: “P83A8911” by jdholmes on flickr.com

Why ‘Planning Analog’ is Better than ‘Going Digital?’

There are two basic steps to planning: conceptualizing, and organizing your ideas. These steps determine your presentation’s core message. After all, you won’t be able to discover what points would work and what wouldn’t without careful planning. This involves in-depth research and freewriting before you can come up with the best ideas that you can focus on.

But where do most presenters begin when planning for their pitch and deck? In some cases, most of them go digital to start the process. They use presentation software programs like PowerPoint to identify and structure their discussion points.

Alternatively, some still prefer writing down and outlining rough ideas using the analog approach. They use this method to allow their thoughts to flow naturally without the distraction of any digital devices.

You might be asking, between these two methods, where do you begin planning your business presentation? Should you think digital, or plan analog?

In this post, we’ll cover how planning analog is more effective than the digital method. But before we proceed, let’s look at how each approach varies to find out which fits your purposes.

The Downside of ‘Planning Digital’

The Downside of Planning Digital

Nothing’s wrong with going digital when you start throwing in all your presentation ideas. It actually helps you do straight edits and modifications on your slides, making your work easier.

While others may view this approach as helpful, some may not agree with putting their ideas straight to the deck. Just by doing it often might negatively affect the deck’s overall quality.

PowerPoint offers support to your performance, but it can also distract the crowd when your edits result in a cluttered slide deck. Outlining your thoughts this way limits your ideas from flowing naturally since you’re editing on the fly.

Giving in to what PowerPoint can provide makes you stay within your comfort zone. With a digital device on hand, planning won’t be smooth sailing compared to an idea generated with a pen and paper.

The Benefits of ‘Planning Analog’

The analog technique uses brainstorming as a mind-mapping strategy to dig up brilliant ideas.

It enables speakers to generate ideas on a paper, sticky note, or whiteboard, helping you to flesh out more important points for your topic.

Here are more good reasons why you should opt for this approach during the planning stage:

a. Provides Clearer Objectives

Provides clearer objectivesListing down your ideas helps you determine what you want your audience to understand, even if this list was made on a simple sticky note. This involves bringing together your key points and highlighting your presentation’s main message. Also, it gives you an idea in identifying what objectives will successfully execute your plans.

In this way, you can think of effective strategies that will not only generate audience interest, but will also guide you in creating an outline that compresses your thoughts.

Focus on your goals to develop cohesive content that emphasizes your core objective.

b. Reinforces Creativity

Reinforces creativityStructuring your pitch using a pen and a paper allows you to come up with better ideas to improve your visuals. Choosing these traditional drawing tools helps you produce different concepts relevant to your subject.

Dumping your thoughts straight to PowerPoint can make your deck’s structure look haphazard since content weren’t arranged systematically beforehand.

When planning, consider going to other places where you can discover new ideas that can build up your pitch. Squeeze out your creative juices by creating a storyboard using traditional tools. This lets you sort out and prioritize your points first.

c. Saves Time

Saves timeIt doesn’t only unleash your creative side, but it also saves you time when creating a perfectly-designed deck. Planning analog gives you more time to categorize and specify each idea that you’ve gathered and thought of.

According to sales trainer Jerson James, arranging your ideas using a computer will only distract you with other things. These distractions include email alerts and even other office tasks, which only draw attention away from your main priority.

Time yourself when organizing your thoughts. Even something as simple as taking a five to ten-minute breather to sort out your ideas can help you arrange everything afterwards.

Let’s Go Analog!

Let's Go AnalogWhether you prefer to do it on your laptop, or on a piece of paper, planning is important to deliver your message effectively. Choosing between planning digital and analog isn’t a problem. Skipping the stage can only make things worse. However, using the analog approach is more advisable since it opens a doorway of great and clearer ideas, as James wrote in his article.

Remove any barriers when planning for a visually-appealing presentation. Concentrate on drafting your pitch to produce clearer objectives that’ll help you achieve your main goal.

Use traditional tools to reinforce creativity that offers fresh, new perspectives that’ll entice the audience. Plan analog to save time and keep you from any distractions that’ll put the entire presentation at stake. Once you’re done, then you can open your PowerPoint and execute your plans to craft a winning deck.

Need a well-designed PowerPoint presentation? Contact the SlideGenius team now to get a free quote!

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Reference

James, Jerson. “Preparing for a Presentation? Think Analog.” LinkedIn. July 13, 2014. Accessed October 19, 2015. www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140713181747-35264839-preparing-for-a-presentation-think-analog

How Stepping into the Beam Can Help Your Presentation

In public speaking, crossing the projector’s beam is one of the biggest no-nos that every presenter should be aware of. It’s a careless act that greatly distracts audiences from a distance while also lessening your credibility.

Like other disruptions, this can lose your audience’s interest and prevent your presentation’s success, no different from how poor delivery and cluttered PowerPoint decks make the crowd zone out. However, is walking over the beam and covering your projection really all that bad all the time?

Can It Really Be Effective?

In every rule, there’s an exception. While it’s true that blocking off the audience from viewing your slides is a mistake, it could still work for certain situations.

In her article, presentation trainer and public speaker Olivia Mitchell explains that delivering a pitch with statistical concepts can be difficult, with all the numerical data displayed. However, it can be better understood by using visual illustrations, such as graphs and charts, to make it more interesting. TED speaker Hans Rosling, a data visionary and global health expert, is an example of a professional presenter who brings complex statistics into life. While speaking, he likes to get into the beam. But instead of distracting audiences, it makes it easier for them to understand the statistical facts that he’s presenting.

What Does It Indicate?

Making your data sing doesn’t only provoke interest. It also convinces your audience to listen attentively. This is what Hans Rosling does to show his enthusiasm in interacting both with his slides and audience. He makes sure that the crowd understands his message by exaggerating body movements that emphasize his words.

In doing so, he considers his PowerPoint presentation as his partner in conveying his main idea. While laser pointers can help you emphasize a certain point, circling around a particular word or phrase can be distracting, putting the focus on the pointer instead of on your speech. Simply pointing to it using your finger can work to deliver a clearer idea.

How Do You Get in the Beam?

To help you out, here’s a few guidelines for getting into the projector’s beam:

1. Be aware of your position. Going to the venue prior to your performance can give you an idea on where to put yourself come presentation time. You can also practice walking around the podium and plan the right location to stay in.
2. Don’t block off your audience’s view. Allowing the crowd to see your slide completely is one of your goals as a presenter. You don’t want to hinder your audience from comprehending your message. Once you display your text or visual onscreen, you can get into the beam and let your body language heighten your performance.
3. Interact with your listeners. Explaining your slides is important, but focusing on your audience is more important. You can physically go into your visuals but make sure not to set the crowd aside.

To Beam or Not to Beam?

Getting into the beam while presenting can be distracting. However, considering your audience can help you pull it off for a more interesting and persuasive presentation. Though it’s frequently considered a recipe for a disastrous performance, there are always exceptions to the rule.

Be conscious of your body language, your venue, and your audience so you can judge for yourself if you should be jumping into the beam. Our PowerPoint professionals can assist and offer you a free quote to craft PowerPoint decks that stand out.

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Reference

Mitchell, Olivia. “How Getting in the Beam Makes You a Better Presenter.” Speaking About Presenting. September 17, 2009. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/delivery/getting-in-the-beam

Relate to Your Audience with a Universal PowerPoint

With all of the functions available to PowerPoint, the one main challenge of showing original content to your audience becomes more and more difficult. At a time when it’s become possible for any presenter to embed live Web sites and real-time social media feeds to illustrate their points clearly, what exactly will surprise your audience enough to help your own presentation stand out and move people to action?

The good news is innovation doesn’t always equate to originality. Instead of going for the avant-garde, why not make your pitch resonate with your listeners? If your audience has heard it all, go the other way and work with classic presentation techniques that still prove to be effective to their tastes.

Creating a universal PowerPoint everyone can relate to guarantees a more attentive audience. Here’s how you can produce an attractive and interesting presentation:

Stick to the Time Limit
Running out of time: Stick to the Time Limit

Corporate pitches are notorious for boring people after a certain number of slides. Preventing this depends on how well you can memorize your pitch and keep the audience interested. However, for those following business guru Guy Kawasaki’s famous 10-20-30 rule, this limit falls on the 20-minute mark.

Aside from the fact that people’s attention spans have notably grown shorter, they’ve probably heard hundreds of pitches before. Yours is no different from all the others, but you have a chance to make an impression by condensing the meat of your presentation into a short but sweet delivery.

Keeping a set time limit in mind prevents you from going off tangent with your discussion. It helps you develop an awareness to organize your content in such a way that delivers all the important points without exhausting your audience. Remember that you don’t have to overwhelm your listeners with all the details you’ve gathered from your research. If you have anything that you can’t include in your pitch, distribute handouts or other materials during or after your pitch as supplements.

Tell a Storytell a story - powerpoint presentation tips

Eliminate the difficulty of attracting listeners by crafting a story around your brand. Think of it as a way to give your pitch a solid structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Stories can draw more attention than hard facts and difficult data. Make your slide deck more palatable by supplementing it with a story everyone can relate to.

Don’t saturate your slides with text. Add relevant images that illustrate your words, coupled with brief phrases or words to further expound on them. Straightforwardly handing all the heavy data to people might result in information overload after a while, so making use of speech metaphors is a good break for them. It’s been observed that because metaphors, like narratives, activate the creative right side of the brain, it puts people more at ease and lowers their skepticism towards sales pitches and other marketing efforts.

For instance, you can show a baseball player how to hit a home run as a metaphor to illustrate hitting the so-called sweet spot. At the same time, keep your story simple. It’s important to hook your audience’s interest, but exaggeration makes you lose your credibility as a speaker.

Use Relatable Themesred thumbsup

A good story only works if it uses relatable themes at its very core. Use topics your audience are familiar with. One of the most effective examples incorporated in a brand’s story is Steve Jobs’ pitch for Mac. In this instance, Jobs’ use of well-known tropes such as heroes and villains impressed itself on people’s minds and got Mac out into the market successfully.

Leverage your brand in the same way by citing something that’s relevant to everyone. This can include current trends. Better yet, research what timeless concepts still ring true with people’s sensibilities at present. Tropes like providing for your family or even excelling in sports contain the underlying themes of love and teamwork, which are just two of the positive messages that people appreciate hearing.

Utilizing these keeps your story from being too obscure for your audience to understand and retains an entertaining structure to base your pitch on. Even the most complex topics can be broken down into digestible and interesting narratives that everyone, or mostly everyone, can get.

Appeal to Emotions

Appeal to Emotions: different emotionsThere are different ways to subtly appeal to your audience’s emotions. You can do this in your speech by using Pathos, one of the public speaking pillars established by the ancient Greeks. This involves getting people to sympathize with your points until they’re eventually convinced of their validity.

Generate the reactions you want by applying the same principle on your deck. Consider experimenting with color to complement your story. Certain colors can also evoke emotional response from people when used at the right time. Warm colors like red and yellow elicit alertness, while cool colors like blue and green ease tension. Incorporating your brand’s colors in your deck will help viewers associate your business with your presentation.

But don’t just make your pitch about emotional appeal. Having too little actual substance in your presentation will tune out the more scrutinizing audiences and leave everyone else confused about your points. Use the emotional hook to reel in the crowd, and once they’ve invested their interest in what you have to say, bring out the facts and data to support your claims.

Go Visual

public speaking skills: overall satisfying presentation

Content, delivery, and design should always work hand in hand for an overall satisfying presentation. This means that while you sharpen your public speaking skills, you should also apply the same tips on your PowerPoint or any other visual aid you have at hand.

Don’t be deceived by the presentation tool’s user-friendliness. Plenty of presenters have fallen into the trap of either overly embellished or sparse decks that have failed to pique audience interest despite the speaker’s enthusiastic pitch.

The key to effective visuals is to find a balance between text and images. Saturating your slides with an entire script will invalidate your physical presence since viewers will assume they can just read everything on the screen. Similarly, using inappropriate images that have only the vaguest relation to your pitch will confuse them. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have leeway to use visual metaphors. Just make sure you can establish a clear connection between your point and your picture of choice.

Support your images with text, but use only keywords. Long sentences and paragraphs should be used sparingly and only if necessary.

The TakeawayRelate to Your Audience with a Universal PowerPoint: the end

You don’t need a flashy pitch and deck to get people to listen. Here’s a quick review of how to make your PowerPoint more interesting to audiences:

1. Stick to the time limit. Condense your points to fit people’s attentions without compromising quality by organizing and preparing your content effectively.
2. Deliver your message with a simple but universal presentation. Tell a story everyone can relate to with your speech and your visuals.
3. Use images that convey your story while keeping your text minimal to leave room for elaboration. Appeal to people’s emotions with the right color combination and a pitch that gets people’s sympathy.
4. A distracting deck can only get you attention for so long. Bank on slides that people will remember for a longer time.
5. Craft a PowerPoint to complement your winning pitch. Put only the necessary images and text that will support your ideas to drive your points home.

Need help creating a memorable deck? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

Henneke. “How to Use the Persuasive Power of Metaphors.” Enchanting Marketing. 2013. n.d. www.enchantingmarketing.com/how-to-use-metaphors
Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. www.guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule
Watson, Leon. “Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones.” The Telegraph. May 15, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html