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6 Tips to Keep Your Audience Engaged and Interested

Imagine looking intently at your audience ten minutes into your hour-long presentation. Imagine seeing, instead of eager faces, a sea of spectators wearing I-don’t-want-to-be-here looks. Some of them are yawning; others are glancing at the time. You also spot a few snoozing in plain view, as though daring for you to call them out. Any speaker facing this situation would undoubtedly be unnerved. After all, no one wants to feel like they’re imposing themselves to others.

The scenario you’ve just played out in your mind is a proof that presentations aren’t just about content. The way you say something is just as important as what you have to say, if not more so. No matter how unique and valuable your content is, it’s useless until you present it in an interesting manner.

The thing about presentation delivery is that it’s not a “one time, big time” deal. It’s not something you can apply only at the start and end of your speech. Building momentum isn’t enough; you need to be able to sustain it throughout the presentation. Since this is harder than it seems, we’re giving away some tips to help you with this ordeal.

Keeping Your Audience Hooked from Start to Finish

There’s a certain stigma that pervades presentations: boredom. Many people perceive speeches as nothing but a waste of resources. The time is ripe for you to join the few great presenters who aim to eradicate this stigma by delivering presentations that are interesting from start to finish.

1. Tell them outright why they should listen.

Your chosen topic should be something that the audience is interested in. If you want them to listen, give them a reason to lend you their ears. Unless you make the talk about them, it’s unlikely that they’ll care at all about what you have to say.

2. Give them enough mental challenge.

Presentations are neither about spoon-feeding your audience with information nor baffling them with incomprehensible data. To keep them hooked, you should provide them with enough mental challenges that will keep them occupied without straining their mental faculties. Dispose of anything that will either underchallenge (e.g. bullet points) or overchallenge (e.g. complicated graphs) them.

3. Turn your speech into a two-way discourse.

An effective way to engage your audience is to include them in the presentation. Cook up some strategies to switch the limelight from them to you. Audience interaction doesn’t come by accident; as the speaker, you need to be the ringleader of the action. By framing the presentation in a way that encourages participation, you’ll be able to keep your audience’s minds from wandering off.

One way to elicit engagement is to embolden people to ask questions. Getting their opinions will not only bring variety to the table but also deepen the conversation. You can also post interesting questions that will get them thinking from beginning to end. Also, leveraging social media by inviting your audience to tweet or blog about your presentation can go a long way in achieving interaction. If you only want minimal engagement, however, you can just poll your audience as a group. Ask them to raise hands or stand to show agreement or dissent.

4. Grab their attention with any kind of change.

Uniformity fosters boredom, so you should veer away from any predictable patterns of speech. Add any kind of nuance, however small, to draw your audience’s minds back to the presentation. There are a lot of aspects that you can modify in a speech. For example, you can change your style of delivery depending on the type of content you share. State facts with a deliberate tone and tell stories in an animated manner. You can also change the inflection of your voice to emphasize the differences between strong and trivial statements. By varying your vocal inflections, you can add emotional layers to your words.

Another thing you can modify is the type of media you use. For instance, you can shift from a PowerPoint slide deck to a whiteboard presentation. By incorporating these small changes in your presentation, you can recapture the audience’s attention every time their minds drift away.

Audience Attention Tips: Schedule Breaks Between Sections

5. Vary the types of content you share.

Don’t limit yourself to one type of content. While it’s true that facts and data are essential in business presentations, you shouldn’t let your speech turn into a lecture just because you can’t find creative ways to present your content. As much as possible, blend in some stories into your presentation. People are hard-wired to love narratives, so they’ll be more interested to hear what you have to say when you package your content that way. You can also use metaphors to illustrate a point, or draw from a personal experience to make an example.

There are other types of content you can add to your speech. For instance, a mind map can work for organizing your thoughts. Visual elements are also good for spicing up your presentation. If you can apply humor prudently, it can also be useful in lifting the boredom and energizing your audience.

6. Schedule breaks between sections.

Don’t underestimate the rejuvenating effects of a short break. Give your audience ample time to walk around, refill their drinks, take a breath of fresh air, and get the blood flowing through their legs once again with a quick stretch. These small activities will revive your audience and keep them from dozing off halfway through your speech. Schedule breaks where they apply and see an immediate improvement in the mood of your spectators.

When you feel inclined to settle for a mediocre presentation that will no doubt bore your listeners, just remember that having a ready audience to listen to you is a privilege. It’s an honor you can earn by devoting enough resources to make your presentation worth everyone’s time and effort. Apply the tips we’ve provided, and you’ll be taking a step in the right direction. Good luck!

Resources:

Belknap, Leslie. “How to Find a Story to Enhance Your Public Speaking Presentations.” Ethos 3. November 6, 2015. www.ethos3.com/2015/11/how-to-find-a-story-to-enhance-your-public-speaking-presentations

Brownlow, Hannah. “10 Ways to Keep Your Audience’s Attention.” Bright Carbon. June 18, 2015. www.brightcarbon.com/blog/10-ways-to-keep-your-audiences-attention

DeMers, Jayson. “10 Presentation Tricks to Keep Your Audience Awake.” Inc. August 11, 2015. www.inc.com/jayson-demers/10-presentation-tricks-to-keep-your-audience-awake.html

Grissom, Twila. “How to Make a Presentation: The Importance of Delivery.” CustomShow. November 27, 2014. www.customshow.com/giving-great-presentation-importance-delivery

Hedges, Kristi. “Five Easy Tricks to Make Your Presentation Interactive.” Forbes. January 28, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/01/28/five-easy-tricks-to-make-your-presentation-interactive/#223ff6ae2586

Martinuzzi, Bruna. “How to Keep Your Audience Focused on Your Presentation.” American Express. September 14, 2012. www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/how-to-keep-your-audience-focused-on-your-presentation

Mitchell, Olivia. “7 Ways to Keep Audience Attention During Your Presentation.” Speaking About Presenting. n.d. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/content/7-ways-audience-attention-presentation

Patel, Neil. “When, How, and How Often to Take a Break.” Inc. December 11, 2014. www.inc.com/neil-patel/when-how-and-how-often-to-take-a-break.html

Make Your Team Presentation a Combined Effort

Behind every movie are hundreds of people working behind the scenes to get the project going from start to finish. You can say the same thing when it comes to presentations and pitches. Sure, you can create visually appealing PowerPoint slides (or let a presentation design agency do it) and deliver an effective speech, but do you have the technical know-how to arrange the lighting and sound of your stage? That’s when the cavalry comes in. But with all that back support, you’d still be alone in that platform.

When you have more than just yourself up in front and speaking to an audience, the whole dynamic changes. It’s not just about you anymore; it’s about the team. There are a lot more considerations to think of and added tasks for the leader—you.

Research suggests that a team does better than individuals at intelligence analysis. This isn’t just a specific niche, too. It is common thinking that two heads are better than one.

While there are some who think otherwise and say that a great individual can outdo a good team, these are specific instances. Generally, though, there are reasons why being a team player is a sought-after trait: it fosters more than just a challenging atmosphere and encourages growth of more than one member in a shorter span of time, among others.

Those same reasons apply to team presentations as well. You already have the pros, like teamwork; here are a few guidelines (in quotes!) to remember before sortieing your squad for the battle they’re assigned to win.

Even though you can pitch a presentation alone, don’t discount the power of a team behind you. Your individual members also feel the support of the whole team. This cyclic encouragement reminds you all that, sure, you can do it alone, but you can do it better when with other people. Humans are social beings. It makes sense for one to do—and be—better when in a social setting.

If it brings out the best in you, do it. You’ve got nothing to lose. Who doesn’t want to be at their best? Just be careful not to get overconfident.

Manage Stress Before a Big Presentation

We’ve all had those days where stress pushed us to the edge, and we all know it’s not good to be around someone who loses their cool.

You won’t leave a good first impression if you keep a strained demeanor. Manage stress before it takes over your body and turns you into an angry presenter.

Stress by itself is a normal reaction that doesn’t go away until the perceived threat is gone, but delivering a presentation isn’t a real threat. Remind your body that you’re not in any danger. Relaxation will help calm you down and assure you that everything’s going to be alright. Here’s why you should regulate your stress and how to do it:

Likeability

When things keep going wrong, it’s important to know that there’s still tomorrow to look forward to. Stress skews our perspective towards fear and negativity, which makes it hard to even consider that things are going to get better. In addition to feeling terrified, our expressions project the anxiety we feel in response to internal pressure.

Stressing out before a presentation can lead to failure because the presenter may already be anticipating that something will go wrong. The audience can pick up on your emotions and will definitely sense if something’s not right. You’ll lose your credibility as a speaker if people sense you’re too stiff. Confidence in what you’re saying is needed for other people to trust in you, too.

Stress Management

Stress buildup can be mitigated in the first place by placing security checks. Identify what makes you feel threatened. Is it the fear of being judged or being in front of a large crowd?

Once you’ve identified them, step back and realize that none of them can really harm you. The audience is just there to hear what you’re going to present; none of them pose a real threat. Your body will start to calm down once it realizes that you don’t need to fear for your life, and you’ll have nothing to fear once you regain your focus.

Monitor Stress Levels

Some things are truly out of our control, but it doesn’t mean that we should lose our cool. Even if we’re not the best presenter, we should strive to give our best effort.

Doing some relaxation exercises can help release some of that pent-up stress. It will help empty your mind and introduce calming imagery in place of stressful thoughts. Also remember to breathe. Breathing helps relax muscles that become tense when you’re stressed. Pacing around and doing some stretches helps you unwind and prepares you to move your focus elsewhere.

Concentration

Conduct everything you do professionally, and you’ll get the respect you deserve. Don’t let stress get in the way of your ability to make a great presentation. After all, a stressed presenter doesn’t look good. It makes you look hostile, distancing you from your audience. Relaxation should come easily once you’ve identified and let go of what stresses you out.

Manage stress. Don’t let stress manage you.

 

Reference

“Stress Management.” Mayo Clinic. April 8, 2014. www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/basics/stress-basics/hlv-20049495

 

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Public Speaking: How Diction Affects Your Presentation

Everybody’s miscommunicated at least once in their life. Among many reasons, one of the most overlooked is inappropriate word articulation. It’s never on purpose: many times we speak without realizing that we’re mispronouncing words.

Diction can help or hinder your entire pitch. Aside from the lack of practice, planning, preparation, or an overabundance of filler words, diction affects your audience’s overall understanding of your presentation. We often forget how this mistake distorts our message.

According to speech coach Lisa B. Marshall, diction covers two main things: choice of words and enunciation.

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Good Diction vs. Poor Diction

Choosing the right words and pronouncing them correctly gets your message across and makes your voice sound more professional.

Unfortunately, many public speakers struggle with poor diction or mispronunciation. They barely pay attention to the difference between what we hear and what our audience hears, causing them to unintentionally mislead their audience.

These words might confuse your listeners and prevent them from getting the message clearly.

A few examples of these words include:

“I dunno.” instead of “I don’t know.”
“Probly” instead of “Probably”
“Havta” instead of “Have to”
“Shoulda” instead of “Should have”
“Gonna” instead of “Going to”

Causes of Poor Diction

In his article in And Now Presenting, Oliver Holmes points the cause of poor diction to the fact that people become so used to it that they unconsciously let this speech mistake slide.

While we’re focused on what to say and how the message flows, we barely notice how our diction affects our message delivery. Your speech can also be distorted by dialect, regional speech patterns, and speaking too fast.

Ways to Improve Your Diction

  • Record yourself and look for words that you have trouble pronouncing. Read print materials and observe how you articulate words. Practice reading your presentation and identify areas for improvement.
  • Open your mouth wider and read sentences aloud to hear words repeated and pronounced clearly. Record yourself several times, and always compare your latest recording to your last. Practice by asking a friend to listen to you and give you feedback. This helps you see what to improve and what to avoid.
  • Recite tongue twisters to practice enunciating words quickly. Record yourself and spot mumbled words. Repeat this process until you can easily pronounce those problem words.

Conclusion

Knowing the right words to say and how to pronounce them make you sound more professional and increase your confidence as a presenter.

Record your speech to spot words that you unconsciously mumble. You can also ask your friends and family for help in identifying any hard-to-understand parts of your diction, making you more aware of your common mistakes and preventing you from miscommunicating with your audience.

A clearly delivered pitch is a pitch that’ll get definite sales results. Let SlideGenius help you out with your presentation needs!

 

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References

Avoiding Filler Words in Your Corporate Presentations.SlideGenius, Inc. May 11, 2015. Accessed July 30, 2015.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell. “Presentation Tip: Carve Every Word. ‘Professionally Speaking…’ June 13, 2013. Accessed July 30, 2015.
Marshall, Lisa B. “Diction. Quick and Dirty Tips. February 20, 2009. Accessed July 30, 2015.
What You Need to Achieve Presentation Success.SlideGenius, Inc. February 15, 2015. Accessed July 30, 2015.

3 Acting Tips for More Persuasive Business Presentations

Movie and theater actors can instantly influence and move viewers however they want. They excel at transfixing audiences, making people value their presence enough to attentively watch their words and actions.

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According to speech coach Gary Genard, speakers can also use these crucial acting skills to inject persuasion into their presentations.

Here’s our own spin on how acting techniques can leave a great impact on the crowd:

Own the Stage

Deliver your business pitch the way actors give their all, resulting in shining moments. Solid commitment to your presentation leaves your audience with something important to remember.

Owning the stage means taking full responsibility for whatever happens during your discussion.

Besides sharing relevant stories and citing related quotations or important facts, your listeners are more likely to believe you if they recognize your credibility on the topic and your composure in handling difficult situations, unexpected or not.

Use Your Emotions

Actors have the eloquent skill of playing with their own emotions. They can laugh at one point and cry at another.

In presentations, you also need to express your genuine feelings to best connect with your listeners. At the same time, choose the appropriate tone for every occasion.

If your business speech tackles a major breakthrough in the industry, you have to sound involved, proud, and enthusiastic. If you’re trying to emphasize a hurdle that needs an immediate remedy, speak in a serious tone that will call the audience to action.

Control Vocal Power

Controlling your vocal power is an effective way to emphasize a point.

This is another acting skill that stage artists use to make scenes realistic and convincing.

Your business pitch doesn’t sell solely because of its content. Your presentation delivery also plays a big part in your success. How you convey your main idea and key points through your

How you convey your main idea and key points through your voice and choice of words creates a rhythm that carries the meaning to your audience.

Consider acting as a core skill to deliver dynamic and persuasive business presentations. Show your audience that you’re an expert on the topic to make them believe everything you have to say.

Express the appropriate emotions according to your statement’s aim and content. Control your voice to match the kind of drama you want to inject into your pitch.

Incorporate these  tips to engage and entertain your audience the way actors do, and you’ll turn your audience into loyal fans, effectively converting your leads into more sales.

Got a presentation requirement you need to work on? SlideGenius will be pleased to help you. Email us at sales@slidegenius.com and we’ll contact you ASAP.

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References

An Actor’s Secrets for Great Business Presentations.” The Genard Method. Accessed June 9, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed June 9, 2015.
Your Voice Is The Most Valuable Presentation Tool.” SlideGenius, Inc. January 27, 2015. Accessed June 9, 2015.

4 Sales Presentation Ideas from Radio Advertisement Writers

According to ad veteran, Luke Sullivan, presenters and radio ad writers come up with ways to get customers to listen and buy what they advertise.

While presenters have the advantage of more time (ten to twenty minutes of presentation time vs. a thirty-second radio ad) and a PowerPoint deck to provide visuals, the majority of the pitch depends on how the presenter talks.

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Voice tones, hand gestures, and even body language contribute to how effectively you deliver your sales presentation.

Brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo, suggests that you can either give a listless presentation with notecards, or you can study your product long enough to come up with an interesting idea that sells itself.

Because radio ad writers and presenters share a common problem, there are solutions that are applicable to both parties:

Use words to paint images.

Telling a story is one effective way to make a compelling presentation, but using words to describe a picture can effectively engage your audience, letting them visualize what you have in mind.

Your sales PowerPoint is there to provide a visual image for your audience when you give your speech.

This becomes even more effective when the deck applies the right design methods to enhance your core message.

Use speech ideas you can describe in a sentence.

Simplifying your topic gives your clients a clearer picture of what you have to offer.

The same thing applies when you craft your presentation speech. The first question you need to ask is: “What is my pitch all about?”

Once you answer this, start writing your script and practice it.

Whether you want to present a car that gets you to where you want to go, or an impressive quarterly sales result for your brand, boil down your topic into one simple idea.

You’ll have more freedom to write your script.

Use the right tone for your pitch.

While using a conversational tone works for most professional presentations, there are times where you need to bring your passion into your pitch, particularly when building hype for a new product or celebrating a new sales record and making new recommendations.

The key is to know your client’s expectations.

Once you do, stay relevant to those expectations in order to connect with your clients.

You may want to use humor in your speech, but that won’t work if the client expects you to be serious and professional.

You can be funny, but you need to be interesting.

While some presenters like to poke fun during their presentations, remember to be professional and take your clients seriously so you can sell.

If the situation calls for you to poke fun at your product, then it’s fine. Sullivan reiterates that every presenter needs to be “interesting.”

Being interesting means having an idea.

Fortunately, as renowned author Jim Aitchison suggests, every product has a story to tell.

Maybe it has something that no other competitor has, the way it was made puts it above others, or maybe it has benefits that no other product has.

Whatever your speech idea, always go back to what you want to talk about. Chances are, there’s an interesting story to tell your clients.

That story might be your ticket to selling your pitch.

As with every story, getting someone to look it over gives you room for improvement, increasing your chances of selling.

Just as radio ad writers need editors, every presenter needs the help of a professional presentation specialist to give them that selling advantage.

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References

Aitchison, J. (2004). Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore ; New York: Prentice Hall.
Gallo, C. (2010). The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Sales Presentation Skills: Stay Relevant to Pitch Ideas.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 11, 2015. Accessed June 9, 2015.
Sullivan, L. (2008). Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons.
Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 9, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “Radio ZRK Eroica cropped background” by Tomek Goździewicz on Wikimedia Commons

Canons of Rhetoric: Applying Arrangement to Presentations

We’ve discussed the canons of rhetoric and examined invention’s importance in public speaking.

This post focuses on the second canon—arrangement.

In Classical Roman oration, arrangement is organizing a speech to maximize persuasiveness. This process of forming a coherent speech structure can be applied to any PowerPoint presentation.

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If you’ve survived the invention phase, then this canon won’t give you trouble. Let’s talk about how to organize your argument the rhetoricians’ way.

Exordium: Introducing Your Speech

All speeches begin with introductions—stating your purpose and establishing your credibility. Tell your audience what your message is about and why it’s important. Your introduction may sometimes require storytelling to make your material more convincing while reinforcing an element of fun.

Narratio: Stating the Facts

Follow up your introduction by stating supporting facts, or further information on your topic. Narrating fact-based examples back up your argument, making it more persuasive. If you hook your audiences with your introduction, this is where you reel them in.

Partitio: Dividing Your Topic

According to the Roman rhetorician Quintilian, this is where you streamline your key points. This is your argument’s outline—the trail that your audience follows. This gives them an idea on how long your speech will take. Listeners always look for clues to find out if you’re worth their time.

Confirmatio: Proving Your Argument

The proof stage is the life of your presentation. Have you ever read a good story and expected a great ending, only to be let down because the ending doesn’t make sense? The elements for a good story were there; they just weren’t properly connected. That’s why you present and construct arguments that stem directly from your earlier stated facts.

Refutatio: Refuting Yourself

There will always be ideas that contradict yours. This is where you refute these counterarguments. Admit your argument’s flaws while assuring that they’re solvable or relatively insignificant. This shows that you’re human and lets you gain your audience’s sympathy and trust.

Peroratio: Concluding Your Speech

End your discussion with a potent conclusion. Don’t simply restate what you’ve already said. Make your ending meaningful by leaving a call to action that encapsulates your narrative, reasons, and explanations. This is your last and most important chance to leave a lasting impact.

The rhetorical canon of arrangement gives your speech good structure. If you’ve arranged your ideas in the right order, your audience will easily follow and understand your message.

Master this canon and the rest of your business presentations will not only make more sense but will also land you more sales and approvals.

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References

Canons of Rhetoric: Applying Invention to Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 21, 2015. Accessed June 2, 2015.
McKay, Brett, and Kate McKay. “Five Canons of Rhetoric: Arrangement.” The Art of Manliness. 2011. Accessed June 2, 2015.
Why Storytelling Is an Effective Presentation Technique.” SlideGenius, Inc.. September 8, 2014. Accessed June 2, 2015.

Overcome Anxiety Like These Famous Presentation Experts

Warren Buffett isn’t the only person to suffer from stage fright. Famous people like Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and Joel Osteen all experienced the jitters while presenting to a crowd.

Their presentation anxiety didn’t stop them from reaching the peaks of their careers. Instead, they used it to motivate themselves to keep improving.

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If these famous figures overcame their fear of public speaking, so can you. Stop anxiety by inspiring yourself with their stories.

Why were they afraid?

The reality is that many people struggle with performance anxiety. First, understand why you’re getting goosebumps before you can tame it. Let’s see if you share the roots of your fears with these famous presentation experts.

Winston Churchill is notable for his tenure as head of the British parliament. He’s admitted one flaw in his momentous career—he got frightened each time he delivered a speech. This stems from a particular speech impediment that makes him mispronounce the letter ‘s.’

The great American orator, Abraham Lincoln, had also experienced speech anxiety. This occurred when he was invited by the Republican political committee to deliver a keynote speech in New Jersey. Afraid of criticism, he abruptly declined the request.

Joel Osteen was famed for his devotional preaching in the United States. His evangelical mission started when his father died, leaving him no choice but to take over. This frightened him the week before his first sermon in 1999. He feared being negative compared to this father.

How did they overcome it?

Let’s look at how these prominent people conquered their public speaking anxiety:

Winston Churchill refused to see his speech impediment as a hindrance. He believed that there was nothing to fear but fear itself. He consulted a speech specialist and was advised to improve his speech with practice and perseverance. Afterwards, Churchill finally had the urge to overcome his anxiety. His unbridled enthusiasm helped immensely. He spent hours researching and rehearsing to ensure his best speech delivery.

“You are what you think,” Abraham Lincoln said. He reassured that his negative imagination towards himself was wrong and simply alienated him from effectively delivering his speech. Have you also felt this even once? Do not fear public speaking.

When Joel Osteen overheard negative comments about himself, he thought that he wasn’t good enough. He described himself as a horrible public speaker. He eventually used these labels as words of encouragement and empowerment, and eventually grew confident in speaking. “Wrong labels can keep you from your destiny,” he said.

Everybody gets stage fright, even reputable historical speakers. The next time you’re scared of being shamed, think of these public speakers’ horror stories. Let them guide you in curing your presentation anxiety and become a public speaking expert.

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References:

Lampton, Bill. “How Professional Speakers Control Their Stage Fright.” Business Know-How. Accessed June 1, 2015.
Overcome Anxiety Like Presentation Expert Warren Buffett.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 04, 2015. Accessed June 1, 2015.
Presentation Skill: Using Nervousness to Your Advantage.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 3, 2015. Accessed June 1, 2015.

Three Powerful Ways to End Your PowerPoint Presentation

How you end your PowerPoint presentation is as powerful as the first few minutes of your speech.

Calls-to-action let you leave the room on a high note, but as leadership trainer Bruna Martinuzzi suggests, there are other ways to close your discussion with a bang.

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Most presenters end a PowerPoint with a “Questions” slide, adding unnecessary length to your deck. Instead of doing that, consider these to create an effective final statement:

Cite a Quote

Cite a relevant quote that resonates with your key message. Never underestimate a quotation’s ability to positively reinforce your audience. To motivate your listeners, consider specific industries and appropriate personalities when quoting. Turning to quotes that aren’t suited for your pitch might dampen your credibility.

For example, something on marketing efforts can come from a notable business person.

An example of an appropriate statement for such a presentation would be: “‘Word-of-mouth marketing has always been important. Today, it’s more important than ever because of the power of the Internet,’ according to content marketing pioneers, Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett.” But a similar quote from actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger would sound out-of-place.

Choosing to end on a quote can either move your audience or tune them out, depending on what you use and who you cite.

Use Videos

We can’t deny the power of videos in effectively engaging audiences. They’re ideal for highlighting a reel that demonstrates who you are, what you do, and how you can make their lives easier. This creates a strong connection and immediate impact, especially for viewers who prefer visual data.

A combination of audio and visuals also contribute to better information retention, getting your message across, and wrapping up your pitch in an interactive way. You get to take a break from the discussion’s information-heavy part.

Practice Humility

A touch of humility works well in influencing your audience. It ties back the points you’ve made in your PowerPoint slides while generating sympathy from your audience.

When you make an outstanding claim, contrast it with humility for a good ending.

Your audience’s positive response relies on a dramatic ending statement. Pick a strategy that creates a huge difference in your presentation’s overall impact and success.

Whether it’s citing a quote, using videos, or practicing humility, the choice is all yours.

As presentation design experts, SlideGenius can help you achieve the perfect pitch that leverages your message from beginning to end. Check out our portfolio for some of our recent projects.

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References:

Frank Sinatra: Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Sing.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 12, 2015. Accessed May 18, 2015.
How to Spend the First 3 Minutes of Business Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 6, 2015. Accessed May 18, 2015.
Martinuzzi, Bruna. “12 Ways To Nail Your Presentation In The Last 30 Seconds.” American Express. Accessed May 18, 2015.

3 Presentation Mistakes Alienating You from the Audience

A successful presentation is the result of three different things: 1) a compelling presentation content 2) an effective and well-designed PowerPoint 3) engaging and interesting delivery.

If you fail to deliver any of these primary tasks, your presentation will fall short. To avoid presentation mistakes, create a concrete plan and prepare accordingly.

Recently, we’ve been talking about how you can improve your content and adjust your PowerPoint slides. Today, it seems fitting that we take a closer look at how you can keep your presentations engaging.

Take a closer look at the five presentation mistakes that might be costing you your listeners:

Mistake #1: Boring introductions 

Some presenters tend to forget the importance of a great introduction. A presentation needs a hook that’s attention-grabbing.

You can’t just take the stage and stammer a long introduction. Avoid a spiel where you introduce yourself, the topic of your presentation, and apologize for how long it’s going to be will never work in your favor.

To change it up, focus on giving the audience a glimpse of the message you want to share. Share an anecdote that can serve as a springboard to your discussion. Start with a unique statistic.

Another option is to give your prospects a chance to connect with the presentation by sharing a story directly related to your topic.

Mistake #2: Filler words 

It’s normal to feel nervous before a presentation. However, you have to make sure your anxiety doesn’t translate to what you do or say in front of the audience.

In a compilation on Six Minutes, renowned speech evaluator Andrew Dlugan collates the opinions of several public speakers on one of the most common presentation mistakes—filler words.The habit of saying words like “um” and “you know” is hard to break, especially when you’re burdened with the pressure to give your best.

Cut back on your use of filler words by taking time to rehearse and hone your presentation skills. There’s no shortcut to this, so be patient in learning to become a better public speaker.

As you rehearse, pace yourself. The more you rush through what you have to say, the more you’re likely to forget what’s next and resort to use unnecessary words to fill the silence.

Mistake #3: Causing unnecessary distractions

A great presenter is constantly aware of what he does in front of the audience. If you want to make sure the audience pays full attention, shake off distracting habits.

Apart from filler words, you might be unconsciously causing a commotion that can shift the attention from what you’re saying.

Whether you’re constantly adjusting what you’re wearing or calling to an assistant to skip to a specific slide, it’s the little things that can take the audience out of the experience.

Make sure you’re well-rehearsed and aware of how you present yourself on stage. Always be alert and present to avoid any visible slip-ups.

A successful presentation is the product of an engaged and interested audience. Keep their attention on the message you’re delivering by avoiding these 3 presentation mistakes.

 

References:

Are… Um… Filler Words… Ah… Okay?Six Minutes. Accessed March 10, 2015.
Be a Presentation Virtuoso with Deliberate Practice.” SlideGenius, Inc. February 26, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2015.
The Complete Presentation Checklist.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 25, 2014. Accessed March 10, 2015.

 

Featured Image: William Warby via flickr