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Quality Control: Handling Presentation Obstacles

What separates an effective presentation from the rest isn’t always perfect execution. Sometimes, it depends on how the presenter deals with mistakes on stage. While errors are inevitable, minimizing the damage they cause should be your top priority. After all, the main point of any speech is to get your message across to the audience.

Getting affected by a small slip-up could ruin your whole performance. Don’t let self-consciousness discourage you and waste all your effort.

A Little Spontaneity is Good for You

People often prepare scripts to organize their thoughts and prevent mental blocks during a presentation. But depending too heavily on a script or your PowerPoint deck makes you appear mechanical and stiff. If you forget a word or misplace a slide, you could lose your train of thought and forget what you wanted to say.

To help you stay on track, get the gist of your presentation and assign keywords as takeoff points for each section. Using body language to emphasize your ideas feels more natural if you don’t tie yourself to a script. Make use of an animated yet natural presenting style to keep people interested and glued to your every word.

Make Yourself Accessible

A confident presenter establishes rapport with ease, but being too self-absorbed loses your audience’s interest. Aside from the obvious pet peeves that develop from blatant bragging, listeners will feel alienated or possibly offended by too much confidence. This is especially true for speakers who can’t relate to a crowd’s culture or experiences. Consider other aspects of your audience beyond their interests.

Look up their education, values, and history, and consider whether or not the language you use is appropriate for the event. The right amount of self-assurance results in a higher and more positive response rate to your presentation.

How Much Preparation is Too Much Preparation?

It’s often said that one can never be too prepared. In some cases, however, overthinking leads to self-sabotage. Trying to cover all blind spots by repeatedly going over your presentation allows you to avoid errors both big and small. But constantly questioning yourself and the quality of your content lowers your confidence and increases self-doubt.

Take a few minutes before climbing onstage to clear your mind of unnecessary panic. Be confident in the preparations you’ve made.

Conclusion

Different speakers can have different ways of handling problems that come their way. The best ones are those who move on from these hurdles and still manage to deliver. Ironically, trying to create a perfect presentation limits actual performance.

Pressure to be flawless increases stress and disrupts your way of thinking – the last thing you’d want before presenting. Be spontaneous but considerate of your audience. Stay prepared but know when to step back and relax. And lastly, though a bit clichéd, trust in your own ability to overcome any presentation obstacle.

Need help with your presentation? Check out our portfolio for inspiration, or contact our slide design experts for a free quote.

 

References

“Business Communication for Success, v. 1.0.” Flat World Knowledge. Accessed October 2, 2015. www.catalog.flatworldknowledge.com

Featured Image: Access” by Andre Goble from flickr.com

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.

Getting Presentation Ideas: Study the Client’s Business

Knowing your client’s business is one of the four ways to get great presentation ideas.

Aside from speaking to clients in their terms, impress them by doing your homework and figuring out what problem to solve.

How It Works:

1. Do a Factory Tour

Most great presentation ideas begin with studying the client’s product or service, a method practiced by top advertising agencies like Doyle Dane Bernbach, makers of the famous Volkswagen ads.

Getting a chance to tour your client’s stores, factories or shops works to your advantage. According to ad veteran Luke Sullivan, study every brochure, advertising and PR material, even their sales pitches if they’ll allow it.

Doing so gives you information on how to solve their existing problem or an improvement that your company can pitch.

Once you get the chance, ask every question you can:

  • How are the products made?
  • How are their services given?
  • Who buys them?
  • Are there any special ingredients or parts that make it the way it is?

Every single question gives you the answer you need for that winning sales presentation idea.

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2. Study the Product or Service

Ask your client how customers behave towards their brand. As renowned author, Jim Aitchison asks, what situations do they use in your client’s products or services?

If your client is a travel agency, do people use their services to plan family vacations or business trips? Pitch for a tie-up with a hotel or resort promo.

Does your client provide companies with health insurance? Propose a partnership with a hospital or clinic.

Doing this puts you in the shoes of your client’s customers. By understanding what makes the product or service the way it is, and how the client’s customers use it, you get a clear picture of what it’s supposed to do and how your pitch can improve your client’s situation.

Look at it from every aspect before making your PowerPoint deck. This gives you a thorough understanding that it’ll be strong enough to cut through other competitors.

The Advantage: Knowledge Is Power

Having this first-hand knowledge shows a clearer picture of what problem to solve. Knowing how your client’s business works also lets you define your presentation strategy.

Do you want to highlight how your proposal can expand your client’s current product reach? Do you want to show the benefits of your pitch over the competition’s?

Regardless of how you want to present your pitch, you’ll have more credibility if your client knows you did your research. Get help from a great presentation partner to make the most out of your pitch.

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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.
Four Ways to Get Great Presentation Ideas from Ad Agencies.” SlideGenius, Inc. June 26, 2015. Accessed July 2, 2015.
Sullivan, L. (2008). Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.
The Greatest Print Campaigns of All Time: Volkswagen Think Small.” Design Shack. Accessed July 2, 2015.

The Secret to Defining Your Presentation Ideas and Style

Giving a presentation is similar to marketing and advertising. You want clients to invest in your idea in the same way that company ads convince you to buy their products.

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This is why branding matters when pitching to an audience. This principle not only extends to your company, it also defines your presentation ideas and style.

Think about how certain companies advertise themselves.

Renowned author Jim Aitchison cites how Avis Taxi is marketed as the humble yet hardworking number two option. Compared to this, Volkswagen’s early ads talk about practicality while Volvo banked on safety as its defining trait. Having this kind of consistency is crucial for building your own brand as a speaker.

Why We Need Branding

Every client operates under their own corporate values. Find which ones are compatible with your company to establish a certain level of trust, especially when offering your products. Doing this over and over builds your reputation over time.

Why do people immediately give their undivided attention to speakers like Al Gore or Steve Jobs? Why do they have their own unique approach to giving speeches?

They didn’t earn this undivided attention overnight. The more they pitched, the more they gained experience and refined their styles. This style became their personal brand, their standard for PowerPoint content and tone.

Building Your Personal Brand

Businesses should be familiar with their identity and image to effectively market themselves.

For example, Starbucks doesn’t just sell coffee. Brand communications specialist Carmine Gallo shows how it promotes a comfortable environment for its patrons, a so-called third place between work and home. This true purpose affects how they present themselves.

Ideally, aligning your purpose with your company can define your core beliefs as a person. This builds yourself as a brand.

A person who believes in keeping people relaxed can incorporate humor as needed. A straightforward person can immediately begin with the PowerPoint’s main thesis, while a friendly person would appeal to listeners by citing similar experiences to concretize their discussions.

Take Lessons From The Pros

From the words of ad veteran Luke Sullivan, there will always be people who have already tackled problems that you will soon face.

People have dealt with things like keeping the audience entertained during technical glitches and finding benefits your products can bank on, sometimes in a fun and entertaining way.

Given all these possible scenarios, only you can decide how to handle them in a way that makes you memorable. Take a few tips from Interbrand’s Chuck Brymer and see how the way you speak also affects the way you build your personal brand .

Conclusion

As you gain more career experience, you’ll figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.

Some people prefer to ease a tense atmosphere before diving into the heart of their topics, while others keep their slide content to a minimum, allowing for a more conversational presentation.

Staying consistent to and committing yourself to your corporate values greatly influences how you present.

Pitching your products in an interesting, original and imaginative way will let you sell them the way great businesses do.

 

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References

3 Secrets from the Most Trusted Brands Around.” SlideGenius, Inc. October 01, 2013. Accessed May 5, 2015.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising (2nd Ed.). Jurong, Singapore. Prentice Hall, 2004
Brymer, C. “What Makes Brands Great.Marketing Magazine. 2004. Accessed May 5, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads. Hoboken, NJ – J. Wiley & Sons, 2008.
Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2015. Accessed May 5, 2015.

3 Ways to Creativity: How to Come Up with Better Presentation Ideas

You might think that creativity is only reserved for poets and artists. But it’s not a personal trait that someone is immediately born with. While there are people who are more inclined to creative pursuits, everyone is capable of thinking outside the box and coming up with new ideas. And this is especially crucial if you’re preparing for a presentation.

If you’re feeling like you’re running short on creativity, you just need to re-orient yourself with a different outlook and you’ll soon come up with bigger and better presentation ideas.

Instead of waiting for your muse, give these techniques a try for creative presentation ideas:

Increase creativity for presentation ideas
(Image Source)

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Try not to stress yourself out

We’re often pressured to come up with creative solutions when there’s a lot on the line. The higher the stakes, the more you feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a cycle of stress and frustration.

So how will you save yourself from pulling out all your hair?

According to Sparring Mind‘s Gregory Ciotti, it’s important to create “psychological distance” between yourself and the task at hand. In a study conducted last 2009, researchers found that respondents were able to jog their creativity when they thought of their tasks as something distant. By detaching yourself from your presentation, you’ll be able to ease some of the tension you feel.

You can also try creating some physical distance between you and your workstation. Reduce your stress by taking a moment away from brainstorming. Enjoy a quick stroll outside, and you might come across something that will give you new ideas.

The fresh air might also help in relieving the stress you feel from your creative block. If you don’t want to go outside, a quick nap can do wonders to refresh your mind. Several studies have found that a short snooze can help improve memory, cognitive function, and creativity.

Ask yourself the right questions

When faced with a difficult task, we often stick to the solutions that have worked for us before. With presentations, you immediately try to visualize how your PowerPoint deck is going to look like. You might even ask how many slides you need to make. This technique can stifle your creativity because you’re focusing too much on the finished product. What you need to do is take a step back and ask yourself the right questions.

The questions you ask should be more specific to the goal you want to achieve. Instead of wondering how you’re supposed to start a PowerPoint deck for an investment pitch, go into the rationale behind your presentation.

If coming up with the right questions seems too difficult, try the “Six Hats” technique:

  • Red Hat: Look at the situation emotionally. What do your feelings tell you?
  • White Hat: Look at the situation objectively. What are the facts?
  • Yellow Hat: Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution will work?
  • Black Hat: Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work?
  • Green Hat: Think creatively. What are some alternative ideas?
  • Blue Hat: Think broadly. What is the best overall solution?

Seek inspiration

Inspiration can be found anywhere. In the case of presentations, there are plenty of sources to get you started. The Internet is a great place to look for presentation ideas.

After a quick Google search, you’ll find plenty of blogs and websites offering their own tips and tricks to solve your dilemma. Don’t just stare at a blank slide all day. Do your research and look for things that can inspire you. If you’re finding it difficult to write your content, try creating a presentation storyboard to get you started.

You can also get great ideas from things that don’t seem related to your task at all. You might think it’s crazy, but a lot of random things can relate to presentations. Think about the movies that made an impact on you. Browse through the book you just finished reading. You might even find inspiration from watching a soccer match.

The Final Word

But while it’s important to search for inspiration, don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate from your task. While surfing the Internet, try to avoid sites that might distract you.

Social media networks are the usual suspects. Web tools like StayFocused can block sites for a specific period of time to keep you on the right track.

Give yourself time and space to look for inspiration and refresh your mind. Using these three strategies, you’ll be able to come up with a more creative presentation in no time.

 

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References

Ciotti, Gregory. “Nine of the Best Ways to Boost Creative Thinking.” Lifehacker. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Cooper, Belle. “The Science Behind What Naps Do For Your Brain–And Why You Should Have One Today.” Fast Company. September 16, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2014.
Jia, Lile, et. al., “Lessons from a Faraway Land: The Effect of Spatial Distance on Creative Cognition.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45, no. 5 (September 2009): 1127-131. Accessed September 5, 2014.

 

Featured Image: photosteve101 via Flickr

Presentation Ideas from Great SlideShare Uploads

Are you currently stuck on a blank PowerPoint screen? Don’t know how to begin the daunting task of creating an engaging presentation? It’s hard to move forward when inspiration is running low, so we’ve compiled 6 SlideShare uploads that can help you out of your predicament. Try and source some great presentation ideas from this list.

Steal This Presentation by Jesse Desjardins

presentation ideas - steal this presentation
(Click image to view full presentation)

This slide show covers some useful info on presentation design. It gives a bit of insight about which colors to use for your deck, what kind of images can go with your presentation, and how to create a more interesting layout for each slide. It also includes a list of websites where you can download images and fonts. The main objective of Desjardins’ catchy post is to show that not every presentation needs to end with a Death by PowerPoint — not even yours.

 

Speaking Tips from Popular TED Talks by Dell

presentation ideas - tips from ted talks

The TED Conference has seen some of the best presentations in recent history. Get some presentation ideas from the techniques that make the best TED Talks stand out. The appeal of the TED talk is its inspiring and engaging speech. Audiences not only sit and listen to a speaker, they also relate to the presenter. Learn to move and inspire people with your words.

 

13 Steve Jobs Quotes About Design by Steve Young

presentation ideas - steve jobs design

Steve Jobs gave some of the most memorable presentations. He created a fun and engaging experience for audiences watching his product launches. What he was best known for in presentations was his ability to incorporate effective storytelling into his product pitch. Other than that, he’s a respected leader in innovating the tech industry. Learn more about his thoughts on design to inspire your own presentation.

 

Pixar’s 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling by Gavin McMahon

presentation ideas - pixar storytelling

Pixar has been making films that are simple yet profound. If you’re feeling stuck, even after several brainstorming sessions, this can be a great source for presentation ideas. The animation company’s ability to reach out and relate to their audience through their storytelling is deeply rooted in a combination of fleshed out characters and organized narrative construction. Learn more about their storytelling technique and try applying it to your presentation content.

7 Rules of Content Marketing Design That Convert Customers by Uberflip

presentation ideas - content marketing design

Presentations can make a great addition to your content marketing strategy. In this SlideShare presentation, take note of the different design tips that can help you earn and engage a larger audience. Consistency and an engaging CTA are among the things you need to include in your design in order to get noticed.

How to Get Picked for the SlideShare Homepage by SlideShare

presentation ideas - slideshare feature

If you do decide to use presentations for content marketing, you need to upload them to a site like SlideShare. In this presentation, SlideShare offers advice to help you create eye-catching and memorable slides. The key to getting the most ‘views’ is effective PowerPoint design.

 

Presentation ideas still not coming to you? Keep browsing through SlideShare’s featured presentations until you find something that clicks. You can also visit our SlideShare profile for more inspiration.

 

Featured Image: Andrés Nieto Porras via Flickr

What Poetry and Presentation Content Have in Common

You might think poetry and presentations are in completely opposite planes. Both are just different ways of communicating and expressing new ideas. While poetry focuses on artful interpretation, presentation content requires you to be concise and straight to the point. You’ll be surprised that despite this obvious conflict, there are ways that poetry and presentation content overlap with each other.

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Here are ways presentation content can mirror poetry in other ways.

Strong images

Like poetry, great presentation content contains strong images. It’s not enough that you have images in your slides. You also need to integrate powerful imagery in your choice of words. Consider how the poet Ezra Pound perfectly set up a familiar scenario in just a few words:

 In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Similarly, your presentation content should be able to ignite the imagination of your audience with more descriptive and active words.Pair these words with powerful pictures in your slides and you’ll surely keep your audience engaged for a long time.

Analogies and metaphors

Poets take abstract concepts and liken them to more concrete and relatable things.  For example, in William Shakespeare’s famous sonnet, he describes a beloved by comparing her to a “summer’s day.” While your presentation content doesn’t have to be as lengthy as a Shakespearean sonnet, you should also make sure that your ideas are as clear and digestible as possible.

You might as well talk of the abstract when you discuss complicated data without simplifying it. To help your audience fully grasp a complex topic, use common metaphors and analogies in your explanation. Use something you know they’ll be able to relate to, like a scene from a famous movie or rules of a popular sport.

Structure

Poems follow a specific structure that helps reader follow its internal rhythm. Even if a certain poem is written in free verse, it still has specific patterns that allow readers to see the natural flow of words.

The same thing should be present in your presentation content. Structuring your presentation content makes it easier for your audience to follow what you’re saying. Determine the logical flow of your ideas by starting with a storyboard.

Like presentations, poems can take on different forms. Sonnets typically tackle love and romance. Epics follow the adventure of a hero. Some poets prefer to write in free verse. Similarly, the type of presentation you’re going to prepare for will depend on the topic and context.

Your presentation can be a sales pitch, or it can be informative and educational. It can also be a report that’s driven heavily by data. In all these scenarios, your presentation won’t look and sound the same, just like a poem would.

Embrace your inner presentation poet with these tips and craft a winning pitch and deck to match!

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Featured Image: Martin Pettitt via Flickr