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5 Warm-Up Exercises for Professional Presentations

Utilizing your whole body is a must when presenting in front of a crowd.

Non-verbal communication makes a difference in getting your message across effectively and concisely. What you do physically should match what you’re saying, as any inconsistency between visual and verbal delivery could make your audience doubt the authenticity of your claims.

After all, audiences don’t only have ears – they have eyes, too.

To make the most out of your body language skills and look more professional, do some warm-up exercises before you step up and deliver your presentation.

1. Take Deep Breaths

As with any warm-up, you have to do some breathing exercises first. This calms you down and prepares your body for the stretching you’ll be doing.

To get yourself at peak alertness, we recommend the Bellows Method. This entails breathing rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Doing this also invigorates and primes you for that important pitch ahead.

2. Relax Your Neck

While standing up straight, rest your head forward, and slowly rotate your neck around your shoulders. Do this both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Make sure not to overdo it. Rotate as gently and as naturally as possible.

This frees your neck from tension and relaxes you.

3. Wiggle Your Hands

Hand gestures are the easiest tools for conveying your message in a simple and effective manner. Wiggling your hands not only improves blood flow, but also loosens your muscles.

Properly using hand gestures can have a dramatic effect on how your audience listens. Make sure to prepare your hands well to get the best out of them.

4. Stretch Your Legs

Moving around is as important as waving your hands around, especially with a large crowd. Therefore, ensure that your legs are in top shape before you step up. You can achieve this by doing your basic lunges, alternating each leg.

To avoid missteps or trips, stretch your legs before your pitch.

5. Exercise Your Face Muscles

Don’t worry. Your parents were wrong when they said your face would stay that way forever. Your facial expressions are important for emphasizing emotions that you wish to invoke in your audience. Contort your face in every possible way to stretch your facial muscles.

Doing this in front of a mirror also lets you be more comfortable with your appearance, and allows you to pick out the expressions and angles that show you at your best.

Summing It Up

Public speaking isn’t all about using only your mouth. Your body language matters, too. Enhance and complement your pitch by preparing yourself physically and mentally. To avoid cramping up and embarrassing yourself, don’t forget to do preparatory exercises. Make sure to stretch and loosen up your whole body.

Start with some deep breathing to calm yourself down. Breathing exercises prepare you not only for more stretching, but for the coming presentation. Then, work on releasing the tension in every part of your body, starting with your neck. Shake your hands to loosen them up, then do some quick lunges to stretches your legs.

Finally, don’t forget that you face has muscles, too, so make all sorts of expressions to warm them up. Warming up your body helps you warm up your mind, making you more alert and efficient during your presentation.

Need a well-designed PowerPoint deck for more professional presentations? Contact SlideGenius for a free consultation.

References

Breathing: Three Exercises.Weil. Accessed September 10, 2015.
How to Use Body Language Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 02, 2015. Accessed September 10, 2015.
Presentation Warm-up Exercises.” Syntaxis. Accessed September 10, 2015.

3 Reasons to Single-Task: Learning the Art of Mindfulness

While multitasking helps your productivity in some aspects, it does more harm than good for presenters. Though always being prepared for the unexpected lets you stay on top of any situation, being mindful of your audience makes you an effective presenter, increasing your chances of successfully engaging them and delivering your message.

Public speaking trainer, Gary Genard, presents mindfulness as a key skill in crafting an effective pitch. Mindfulness means paying attention to what happens in the present. For Genard, this skill lets you achieve total audience engagement in your professional presentations, letting you focus on connecting with them and meeting their needs.

Here’s our own take on the benefits of single-tasking:

1. Single-Tasking Lets You Focus

Some people believe that single-tasking isn’t as productive. However, focusing on one thing at a time allows the speaker to concentrate on a particular task at hand, improving your stage presence and connecting you with your audience. Aside from your interactive PowerPoint slides or speech, single-tasking enables you to speak to the crowd without being distracted.

While distractions are unavoidable, remaining focused strengthens your message’s impact. It also boosts your confidence and reduces your anxiety, knowing that you’re in full control of the situation. Consider these ways to help you attain mindfulness and become a more effective presenter:

2. Single-Tasking Keeps You Mentally Present

Multitasking won’t be helpful especially when you begin worrying about what your audience thinks of you on the stage. Allowing yourself to be distracted might lose your audience’s attention and prevent them from getting interested.

Since your audience is your main priority, your mind should be set on achieving their needs and wants to show that you care about them. Being mentally present also allows you to convey your topic’s most significant points as you involve your audience in your presentation.

3. Single-Tasking Helps You Develop a Single Objective

Knowing your main purpose lets you limit your ideas to an amount you can control, and lets you organize your thoughts for crafting your pitch. Once you have your topic, list down all the information you’ll include and come up with a simple objective for your pitch.

Do you want them to take action? Do you want them to form small groups to discuss your topic with each other? This lets you fulfill your main goal, preventing clients from being overwhelmed with complex details.

Conclusion

Learning this discipline helps you to set your mind on what you’re presently doing. Instead of overthinking things that might negatively affect your performance, focus on the most important element of your presentation – your audience.

Focus on one thing at a time without trying to juggle multiple tasks at once. Being focused means you’re more directly engaged with your audience, not distracted by a million little things you feel like you have to address all at the same time. Single-tasking also means you can condense your presentation with a single objective in mind. With less to worry about, you can direct all your resources to achieving that one goal in the most effective way.

Stay focused and see how your audience does the same thing for you.

To help you with your presentation needs, let SlideGenius experts assist you!

 

References

Genard, Gary. “Mindfulness: A Key Skill in Effective Public Speaking.The Genard Method. October 13, 2013. Accessed August 19, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed August 19, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “Intel Engineers Meditating” by Intel Free Press on flickr.com

3 Reasons Not to Settle for Just Any PowerPoint Presentation

If you’re looking for the best results, then make sure to bring your best efforts to the fore. You may be making a pitch with an amazing product or solution, but that doesn’t mean you can slack off. You should never come into a conference room with a subpar slide deck.

Curiously, PowerPoint gets a bad reputation for making presentations more boring than they usually are, causing presenters to dismiss its importance. People often mistake it for a dull collection of words that mirror what the speaker’s saying– or worse, that it’s just a giant set of speech notes. This is a huge mistake that could have negative drawbacks for you and your company. You should value good design and planning for your PowerPoint presentation.

1. Half-Baked Won’t Make It

“Just give me any presentation. It doesn’t matter.”

This is still a common way of thinking, no matter how big your company already is. Sometimes, someone may even request for a presentation with the bare minimum requirements and be happy with it.

After all, it’s a salesman’s job to sell, and the deck is just there for support, right?

Wrong.

Even an amazing presenter can benefit greatly from a professionally designed set of slides. With a visually appealing deck, you can show clients that you care about your credibility enough to invest in resources to be at your best. In addition to showing that you‘re serious about your business, this complements your core message and give you more convincing power.

2. A Higher Standard Nets Better Results

Why wouldn’t you want a PowerPoint presentation that best represents your brand? Usually, the answer we hear is that there’s not enough time, money, or people to do it for you. You can only go so far by settling for what you think you can afford.

Even the tiniest amount of extra effort will have wide-ranging positive consequences. This applies to something as simple as checking for spelling and grammar errors, to something more complicated like providing your deck with a unified and streamlined design.

3. What We Can Do

As professionals, we know the importance of having a strong core message supported by the clear and concise presentation of data. All our work is executed with the client’s needs, values, and brand story in mind.

Our company can condense your slides to refine and communicate your message. We can structure your deck to best communicate your purpose and your story. We can even design each slide to ensure your audience won’t feel a wink of boredom.

Conclusion

People are inclined to judge and scrutinize others based on their first impressions. When you have an important opportunity that can change the direction of your career or the fortunes of your company, meet the opportunity with only your finest.

Do you think your business deserves the best? Don’t take anything for granted: hire an expert PowerPoint design company now.

 

References

Evele, Nathalie. “Is It Human Nature to Judge?Centre for Journalism. Accessed August 18, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed August 18, 2015.

Movie Presentation Experts: Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda

We’ve discussed a handful of presentation tricks from popular public speakers, TV personalities and even musicians.

Now, we’re giving you powerful tips from an unlikely fictional hero to help you master the art of public speaking.

If you’re a fan of the epic space series Star Wars, we’ve got a good read for you! Learn surprising presentation techniques from legendary Jedi Master Yoda.

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Become the Mentor

Yoda was small in stature, but it didn’t stop him from mentoring nearly all of the Jedi throughout his years as a Grand Master. He’s the epitome of a true leader that empowers students to achieve their total greatness.

In the context of presentations, putting yourself in the mindset of a mentor lets you establish your reputation as a speaker. We don’t mean for you to have special powers from the force to influence your audience. All you need are persuasive presentation skills that make your listeners trust what you’re saying.

Portray Certainty

Yoda’s remarkable statement, “Do or do not, there is no try,” is applicable to how your audience sees you. The word “try” is self-degrading, showing that you’re unconfident about getting the job done.

You won’t convince listeners with “I’ll try to discuss with you the benefits of our products.”

Instead, be direct and conversational: “I’m here to discuss the benefits of our products.” Your audience better understands clear intentions in reaching out to them.

Share a Gift

Mentors share valuable gifts to their apprentices. Before Luke Skywalker faced Darth Vader to save his friends, Yoda tested his student’s competency by making him levitate stones before levitating his X-wing fighter. He also gave Luke important words to live by: “A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.”

As a speaker, your audience mustn’t leave the room empty-handed. Gifts don’t have to be material things. Your gift can be teaching them new skills and presenting new ideas.

Conclusion

The next time you hit the stage for a presentation, be like Master Yoda. Embody his heroic deeds and establish a powerful image as you deliver your speech.

Need better presentation slides? Contact SlideGenius and our presentation experts will help you start your deck ASAP.

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References

“Powerful Presentations; Like Yoda You Must Be.” Duarte. n.d. Accessed May 18, 2015.
http://www.duarte.com/powerful-presentations-like-yoda-you-must-be/ http://www.cathdaley.com/business-presentations/6-powerful-presenting-lessons-from-master-yoda/

Featured Image: “Master Yoda” by Gonzalo Martín on flickr.com

What Professional Athletes Can Teach Us about Preparing for a Winning Presentation

There’s a saying in the sports world that 90 percent of performance is mental.

This isn’t to say that all the intense physical preparation, practice, and training for the big game won’t have a huge effect on an athlete’s performance, but none of that hard work will matter without being mentally prepared for the pressures of high-level competition.

Similarly, while it’s obviously vital to practice, obtain the best professional PowerPoint possible and plan all aspects of your presentation carefully, to avoid stress and pressure affecting you at the moment of your presentation. If you’re not mentally prepared then that presentation you worked so hard to perfect might never come to fruition. Look at some of today’s top athletes, like Peyton Manning and Lebron James, prepare themselves physically and mentally before any big game and have this down to an exact science.

Visualize Success

There was a study conducted by Dr. Judd Blaslotto at the University of Chicago in which the subjects were divided into three groups. At the beginning of the study, he tested each group on how many free throws they could make.

After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour, the second group just visualized making free throws successfully for an hour, and the third group didn’t do diddly squat.

After 30 days, the groups were retested. The third group didn’t improve. The first group improved by 24 percent and the second—the ones who did nothing but sit around all day thinking about shooting free throws—they improved by 23 percent.

young boy thinking
Success can look as easy as this. Simply imagining the success of your presentation can help ensure it.

Visualizing success is imperative to that success manifesting itself. If you are continually thinking about all the terrible things that could go wrong during a speech, this negative reinforcement may result in a poor performance. However, if you make it a point in your preparation to picture yourself giving a winning presentation, studies show that this will have a discernible positive impact.

Golfing and Grace Under Pressure

When pro female golfer Inbee Park won the U.S. Female Open earlier this summer, she credited her success to two things: her experience and her mental health coach.

This reiterates the two-part recipe for success in both sports and presenting to an audience. Preparation, practice, and experience are the foundation for success, but mental toughness is the final ingredient to a winning presentation.

Champion golfer Inbee Park employs a mental health coach to help keep her cool on the course.
Champion golfer Inbee Park employs a mental health coach to help keep her cool on the course.

Many golfers now use a mental coach to learn how to embrace anxiety before a tournament in order to use it to their advantage. The right amount of anxiety can heighten our awareness and sharpen our senses. The trick is to stay on top of your anxieties, controlling them rather than letting them control you.

While obviously this post can’t do what a mental coach can, some important lessons a mental coach often provides are:

Don’t carry mistakes from the previous hole through the rest of the round. When giving a presentation, don’t let past flubs haunt you. View each presentation as a unique opportunity to prove yourself.

Deep breaths can go a long way. It will lower your heart rate and allow you to think clearly and rationally about the situation.

Enjoy yourself. When you’re having fun, you won’t be weighed down by the pressure of the situation. Realize that people just want to enjoy your speech and have fun with it.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

Psychology today analyzed endurance sports such as marathon running and found that a key part of enduring these grueling races is mental outlook. While there isn’t as much crossover between presentation and endurance sports, there is a good lesson to learn about maintaining a positive attitude in the face of unexpected challenges, which is important when things don’t go as planned during our presentations.

“The key is how people respond to the stressful conditions,” writes psychologist Jim Taylor, Ph.D. “If you have two athletes of equal ability and one sees, for example, rain and wind as a threat that scares and intimidates them and the other as a challenge that they know they can overcome, the latter athlete will be more successful.”

This guy might be enjoying the rain a little too much, but he's certainly a good example of not letting misfortunes bog you down.
This guy might be enjoying the rain a little too much, but he’s certainly a good example of not letting misfortunes bog you down.

So if there’s a technology malfunction, an unruly crowd , or any of the unforeseeable flubs that tend to arise, remember to view them not as a death sentence to your presentation, but as another challenge to overcome and prove yourself with.

The Future of Cloud Presentation Management

PowerPoint has about a 95% share of the presentation software market. There are over 500 million PowerPoint users worldwide. More than 30 million presentations are created daily. Over 6 million academic teachers use PowerPoint for classroom instruction.


It safe to say we are living in the times of PowerPoint. This has proven to be an invaluable tool to present new information, science, medicine, problems, and goals. Though, with its great uses, come great problems. Most companies today have an ongoing issue with managing presentations in both large and small scale.

One of the main PowerPoint issues that companies face revolves around management. The common trend is that a company will create or outsource a certain presentation, distribute it to all of its sales teams, and without clearance, each sales team will make edits to the presentation on their own, leaving the company with a handful of variations of the same presentations. This leads to a mixed company message. Mixed messages lead to uncertainty. Uncertainty can lead loss of clients, sales, and even employees. Needless to say this epidemic needs a cure.

Imagine a platform that could directly address the issues with managing presentations on a large and small scale. SlideSuite is a program conceived for the purpose of controlling and managing presentations on a regional and global level.

SlideSuite’s solution

SlideSuite provides a central management system for your presentations allowing for easy edits by any party without deteriorating the slide template and design. SlideSuite was developed by the Presentation Experts at SlideGenius, Inc. in San Diego, California. The program was designed in collaboration presentation designers, who interact with PowerPoint dozens of presentations daily. This led to a very useful and highly effective central management system and design.

It all comes down to impressing your audience. A polished, organic, and professional presentation has the potential to help you close more sales and clients. On the other hand, being a company with mixed presentations all talking about the same thing can do quite the opposite; it is bad for branding and bad for business.  SlideSuite is the best solution out there. Once the presentations framework have been created in SlideSuite, editing can take place by anyone without harming the integrity of the slides.

 

References:

SlideSuite.SlideSuite.

PowerPoint Usage Statistics and Market Share.PowerPoint Info. February 15, 2012.

If You Don’t Want To Spend Money On Yourself, Why Would Others?

In early 2004, when I was 19 or 20, I came up with this crazy idea to create a website where people would essentially log in to a virtual version of their real lives. People would’ve uploaded their own profiles with their own bio and interests. They’d choose to connect or not connect with other users in the network. They’d upload pictures they took on their recent trips or parties and then tag their friends. People would have been able to play games, watch videos, or read articles and then share them with the world with one simple click! I honestly think that idea could’ve changed the world like never before. The problem was that the cost to incorporate my idea was around $1000. As a student I really didn’t have much to live off of, so I decided not to go through with it.

Imagine if that was Mark Zuckerberg’s story. Imagine if he decided not to spend that initial $1000 in Facebook (or “thefacebook” as it was called back then). Zuckerberg knew that $1000 wasn’t a cost, but an investment. Knowing the difference between the two is one of the most useful tools in any business.

Investing in the way your company presents itself is one of the most tactical ploys of investment as a whole. Whether you are pitching to a client, raising capital or presenting to a group of your peers and employees, a well-crafted presentation will make your message more memorable. When people remember your name or company, they will reference you when they need expertise in your field. It really comes down to simple math: Better presentation = Increase in sales.

At SlideGenius, our presentation experts see on average over 200 PRESENTATIONS PER MONTH and have years of professional experience creating captivating PowerPoint presentations for a wide variety of clients. We can update an existing presentation or build one from scratch, leveraging your brand. We work with you to ensure that the message you want to get across to your audience is communicated as effectively as possible.

If you do’t have a professionally designed PowerPoint Presentation you’re undeniably leaving business on the table. Many sales people have reported an increase of up to 25-50% in closed sales simply by providing a highly visual presentation.

With SlideGenius custom PowerPoint development services you will immediately:

  • Enhance your reputation.
  • Increase the customer’s confidence and trust.
  • Maximize your conversion ratio.
  • Increase your sales leads.
  • Raise Capital.
  • Increase your sales volume.
  • Decrease your operating costs.
  • Get the right message across.

According to a survey by Accenture, nearly 90 percent of sales executives said that they are not as good at PowerPoint as they should be and that they would sell more products if their message was more effectively conveyed. Stop looking at enhancing your presentations as a cost, and start investing in yourself. If you don’t want to spend money on yourself, why would others?


3 AngelList Startups Revolutionizing the World of Presentations

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore wrote a predictive paper in which he described the phenomenon that the number of components in integrated circuits had doubled every year since their inception, and predicted that they would continue to do so. David House, another Intel exec at the time, then established the law that the number actually doubles approximately 18 months. Moore’s Law, as it is now famously called, is not only uncannily accurate, but is now serves as a long-term planning guide for the entire semiconductor industry.

What can we learn from this? We can understand that times are changing, and FAST! This is true in almost every industry, including the world of presentations.

We have gone from speeches from balconies, to hand written poster boards, to professional PowerPoint, to presentation experts working as PowerPoint consultants. While the presentational industry may not be doubling exactly every 18 months, it sure is growing quickly.

AngelList has quickly emerged as an indispensable resource for connecting entrepreneurs with investors, and has now become a unique platform for the presentational industry. The work AngelList does has given rise to several innovative start-ups rapidly changing the work presentation designers are doing. Presentate, 9slides, and GoAnimate are three currently revolutionizing the field of presentation design.

Presentate is a new online presentation software that works great in almost any resolution, on any desktop computer, tablet, or smart phone. With Presentate, you won’t have to worry about your PowerPoint coming out misshaped or with the wrong font or link. Your layout will be the same everywhere you open it. Their site has a fun example of how it works … I guarantee you’ll be entertained, at least for a minute.

9SLIDES is another innovative communication that “allows users to capture and share experience of ‘being there’ in the presentation room with a remote audience, anytime, anywhere.” The app is used for interviews, better transparency through inter-company communication, effective training, and interactive demonstrations. “Your audience can watch it on a PC, Mac or even iPad without downloading any app.” 9SLIDES’s concept as a whole is ultimately bringing the world an effective medium to share videos along with corporate presentations in a synchronized format.

GoAnimate is a do-it-yourself animated video website that believes it “might be for fun, to make a presentation, to illustrate historical scenes, make a demo video, or produce a piece of professional training.” With that they realize “producing video can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. And sometimes it still comes out dark and blurry, with muffled sound.” Because of this issue, GoAnimate was created to minimize difficulty, hassle, and expense of video design and implementation. They have a sleek concept and pride themselves on being the fastest and easiest way to make a video!

Each of these start-ups is uniquely contributing to the prevailing advances in the presentation industry. We wish them the best, and know they will continue to impress us!

presentate         9SlidesNewLogo         goanimate

I Can Drive a Car, But That Doesn’t Mean I’m Joining NASCAR Anytime Soon

Any mildly educated pre-teen can create a PowerPoint presentation. Adding a text box, a few images, or a graphic here and there can be done by almost anyone with a computer. The question isn’t “can you create a presentation?” The question you should be asking yourself is, “is my presentation effective at convincing my audience of my conclusion?” That is what corporate presentations are; mediums to convince an audience to act on some particular thing.

Original PRISM PowerPoint

When it comes to your business, you always want the best of everything. Why should presentations be any different? You may know how to drive a car, but that doesn’t qualify you to be in NASCAR, does it? There are some things that are best left in the hands of professionals, and when it comes to high-end corporate presentations, PowerPoint design is absolutely one of them.

Currently in the media spotlight for its controversial surveillance practices, the NSA learned this lesson the hard way, when after an underwhelming display of PowerPoint prowess during a leaked presentation, several professional PowerPoint presentation designers mockingly revamped the presentation to highlight its shortcomings.

Parisian presentation designer Emiland de Cubber did the most famous overhaul of the NSA’s lackluster presentation, adding tasteful graphic design and a simplistic, easy-to-digest format. Soon after, other presentation designers, and even Slate Magazine, took a crack at overhauling the organization’s presentation.

The lesson here isn’t that the NSA is incompetent or tech-savvy, because with the wide variety of communications monitored by the national organization, they most certainly are familiar with intensive technical work. What should be taken from this is that there’s no replacement for professional expertise, and when it comes to something as impressionable as a high-end presentation, you don’t want to fail to make an impression because of an amateur PowerPoint presentation.

Professional presentation design not only adds visually inviting graphic design that makes a presentation not only informative, but engrossing, and a professionally designed presentation will help condense and clarify your message, which is key to keeping an audience attentive. When it comes to high-caliber, corporate presentations that need to impress, a PowerPoint expert could make all the difference.

We can’t blame the NSA for producing a bland and confusing presentation, since it’s the best they could have been expected to do, which is why they should have trusted the experts.

We’re Hiring!

Are you a talented PowerPoint Designer in need of work? SlideGenius.com is hiring in San Diego. We’ll also consider remote candidates. Send us your portfolio to resumes(at)slidegenius.com

https://www.slidegenius.com

 

SlideGenius.com is seeking a PowerPoint Presentation Designer


Description of Work:

You will be creating PowerPoint presentations for screen, print, logo and web. Thorough knowledge of PowerPoint, Photoshop and Illustrator is essential. Flash and web skills a plus. Applicant must have a strong portfolio and be fluent in high end PowerPoint presentation design, animation, charts and other technical aspects of the program. We are currently looking for presentation experts on a project-by-project and part-time basis.

 

Requirements

Candidate Qualifications:
– At least 2-3 years professional graphic design/PowerPoint presentation design experience
– PowerPoint, Photoshop, Illustrator skills
– Portfolio required