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Perfect Presentation Myths and Formulas, Debunked

In trying to perfect their speech, people apply what seem to be tried and tested methods. However, these methods can sometimes do more harm than good. One size doesn’t always fit all, and with changing times, conventional knowledge is also bound for an update.

Not even experts agree on the shoulds and shouldn’ts of public speaking and slide design. But we’ve decided to compile their common observations and debunk a few presentation myths.

On Repeating Your Points

One of the most discredited old adages is, “Tell ‘em what you’re going to say, say it, and then tell ‘em what you said.” However, a modern audience relates better to a message if it’s introduced early on, with a powerful introduction. On top of people’s shortened attention span, nobody likes being hammered with the same idea over and over again.

People’s attentions are at their peak during the first and last parts of a speech, so repeating a key point somewhere in the middle won’t make as much of an impact. State your intentions once in the beginning, and reiterate it only towards your conclusion.

PowerPoint: To Use or Not to Use?

There are already enough myths about how to use PowerPoint. Before even crafting their slide deck, presenters mull over the decision of whether or not to use PowerPoint at all. There are those who argue that having a PowerPoint distracts the audience from giving the speaker their full attention. But studies show that a visual approach increases communication effectiveness and speaker confidence.

This makes PowerPoint important in helping both speakers and their listeners keep track of your train of thought. If you don’t have enough time to devote on your visuals, consult with PowerPoint design service professionals. This will boost your chances of creating an impact.

Content vs. Delivery

One of the more difficult decisions is choosing between form and content. Depending on who you subscribe to, a flashy performance is enough to count as a good presentation. People often believe that because there is public speaking involved, all you have to focus on is how well you can entertain your audience. On the other end of the spectrum, there are others who side with the idea that what you say is all that matters.

In some respect, both ideas are misguided. A good presentation is defined by a balance between both content and delivery.

While relying on delivery defeats the purpose of having a refined message, depending on your content without thinking about how to deliver it will only bore your audience. Allot time to each aspect of your speech. Organize your content well, but also think about how you can deliver it to respond to your audience’s interests.

Conclusion

There are many ways to execute a presentation. There is no one set way to do it, but people often fall into the trap of assuming a formula to a good performance. Debunking some of these myths is actually one step to crafting better output.

Impress your audience without relying too much on outdated formulas. Reiterate your points as many times as needed without being too repetitive. Use PowerPoint properly, and treat it as a helpful ally, not as an adversary to resist. Finally, pay attention to both form and content and keep a reasonable balance of both.

Leave those long-standing presentation myths behind and embrace creativity and innovation.

References

Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed October 5, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html
“Visual Aids.” University of Alabama. Accessed October 5, 2015. www.uab.edu/uasomume/fd2/visuals/page2.htm

Featured Image: “Mosaico Trabajos Hércules” by Luis García 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.

Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Pitching With Pathos

Have you been seeing more and more people dozing off during a speech? Without proper communication, audiences can’t be engaged no matter how interesting your topic is. If you’re looking for a tried and tested Classical approach, here’s another of those presentation ideas from Ancient Greece.

In a previous post, we discussed the building blocks set by the Greeks for interpersonal communication: logos, pathos, and ethos. We’ve spoken about Ethos and the importance of building your credibility as a speaker.

Now, it’s time to talk about how to ease the transformation through one of the other pillars: Pathos.

What is Pathos?

Pathos is a mode of persuasion that appeals to an audience’s emotions. It enhances an argument by making listeners identify with the speaker’s perspective. If Ethos eases the transfer of the message, Pathos increases its effectivity.

Think of Pathos as how easily your audience sympathizes with you. A sympathetic audience will more likely react to your pitch and respond positively to your Call-to-Action. Remember that you can’t win minds without also winning hearts.

Why Emotional Appeal Works

When it comes to winning arguments, the Ancient Greeks knew that passion could be stronger than reason. In the young democracy of the Athenian Greeks, appealing to citizens’ emotions allowed them to galvanize and unite their populace in the face of repeated adversities.

This worked whenever they had arguments with the other city-states. It even allowed them to bring other city-states into the Delian League – a sort of ancient United Nations. You can’t persuade everyone with just emotions, however. Look to Pathos as the way to prime your listener’s mental states to be more receptive to your ideas.

How to Maximize Pathos

You can appeal to emotions by relating your clients’ social and psychological needs with the purchase of a product or service. According to business gurus George and Michael Belch, consumers are more motivated by their feelings toward a brand than knowledge of its features or attributes. This shows us the significance of appealing to an audience’s emotions.

In speaking, we can use stories and narratives to frame our arguments and supporting information. Vivid and imaginative language also add color and excitement to your presentation. As the speaker, portray yourself as similarly affected by the problem you’re trying to solve, increasing the impact once you’ve presented your proposed solution.

When partnered with an effective and sympathetic Call-to-Action, you’ll be winning new clients over in no time.

To Sum It Up

The Ancient Greeks were ahead of their time, mastering oratory methods that helped unify and guide their civilization and culture. Appropriate narratives, vibrant language, and extracting empathy allows speakers to get the best emotional appeal.

Through the use of Pathos and other rhetorical techniques, Greek speakers struck emotional strings to sway their listeners and win hearts and minds. Use their timeless persuasion techniques to give your pitch an extra advantage.

Running out of ideas for your presentation pitch? Contact our SlideGeniuses now for some much needed assistance–and a free quote!

 

References

Belch, G., & Belch, M. Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Delian League.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed September 4, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed September 4, 2015.

3 Ways USP’s Make for Successful Business Presentations

Big ideas are important in business-to-business presentations. The stakes are higher, with both capital and profits on the line. Also called major selling ideas, they act as your pitch’s cornerstone, condensing your offer’s features, advantages, and benefits into an easily understandable and repeatable concept.

A Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) is a marketing concept that allows advertisers to demonstrate a product’s key effectiveness and guides their advertising campaigns’ tone, message, and overall execution. It’s the core that makes any big idea successful. Before stepping into the spotlight, take a step back and analyze if your product is memorable and unique enough to present itself. They may even guide you into becoming a better public speaker.

Here are three ways to use USP’s to improve your business presentation technique.

1. It Demonstrates Appreciable Value

People tend to invest in or buy something that either has proven value or improves their daily lives. Examine your potential customers and, if possible, find out their priorities and motivations. Use this information to determine how to best package what you’re selling.

Similarly, focus on figuring out the ideal way of convincing them to buy in or invest. Knowing how your product improves lives is an important part of fine-tuning your message. During your pitch, assert how your product can make your customers’ lives better to grab their attention.

2. It Reveals an Inimitable Quality

Your audience has probably listened to countless unmemorable pitches. If you don’t play your cards right, you could be one of the many failed proposals, especially if you’re presenting to an established business. Pitch yourself as someone who can offer something that no one else can.

Advertisers research on possible competitors to determine their USP’s validity and sustainability. Similarly, check out your rivals and figure out how you can get a leg up on them through presentation design. Having a unique and professional-looking deck is a surefire way to impress and engage.

3. It Displays a Strong Hook to Reel Them In

As we’ve discussed before, having the facts is only one part of getting your pitch done. It’s the same with your USP. Flex your creative muscles to craft what you bring to the table into a communicable, understandable, and sellable business proposal.

Package what you must share with your potential investors into a novel idea, and you’ll have the main ingredients to success.

Conclusion

Before you start selling your product, make sure that your product can sell itself.

Pinpointing your USP and fleshing it out requires some intensive research and inspiring creativity. Fortunately, it makes an untold amount of difference in making a simple collection of facts and sentences into an effective marketing strategy.

First, find out how your offer improves your target market’s lives. Second, show them what only you can do, which competitors can’t replicate. Lastly, present your product or service in a creative way. Start applying the concept as an approach to business presentations now and reap the rewards.

 

References

Belch, G., & Belch, M. (2001). Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc.. November 11, 2014. Accessed August 24, 2015.
Reeves, R. (1961). Reality in advertising. New York: Knopf.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP).Entrepreneur. Accessed August 24, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “Apples-Stand-Out” by Flazingo Photos on flickr.com