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Product Demo 101: Learning the Basics

What’s one of the best ways to convert potential clients into paying customers? Aside from presentations where you get to wow your audience, there’s another scenario where you can achieve the same results. Imagine it: You already have a prototype of the product you’re trying to market, and you’re looking for people who will gladly take your offer; you think an amazing deck won’t be enough, so you decide to take things up a notch and do a demo.

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However, you don’t know the first thing about product demos. Sure, you’re a rock star when it comes to presentations and public speaking, but demonstrations can be different. For one, instead of handling two important elements—yourself and your deck—you add one more: your product. And balancing that act can be stressful, especially when you’ve got hundreds of eyes staring at you and you know that a lot is at stake. Another is that there’s a new dynamic in audience engagement, a level that places you closer to them—and them to you and your product.

Look at the bright side, though. If you do remarkably well, then you’re sure that your audience will take a good, long, hard look at your product. And when they like what they see, they might just want to have your offer. Then, you’re on your way to closing deals left and right. But that is if you do remarkably well.

So, how do you go from A to Z of a product demo? What can you expect from showing off your product in front of a live audience? Are there even benefits to doing so? How do you even begin preparing and how do you start off a demo? Let the following infographic tutor you on the basics of a product demo, and the dos and don’ts during the proverbial curveballs during your time onstage.

Resources:

Kokemuller, Neil. “The Purpose & Benefits of a Product Demonstration.” Chron. n.d. www.smallbusiness.chron.com/purpose-benefits-product-demonstration-55113.html

Presenting Your Business Pitch with Confidence

Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. There’s a wide set of skills and traits you have to possess in order to become an effective business leader. Among those traits is self-confidence, a natural magnet that can draw people to you and make them want to listen to what you have to say. As such, it’s an invaluable skill during a business pitch.

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To entice potential investors, you need to appear and sound confident while pitching your idea. Investors are naturally drawn to leaders with high self-esteem because it signifies strength of character, another trait necessary to lead a business venture forward. As Larina Kase, a psychologist and author, said, “True confidence is not thinking that you’ll get a great result. It’s knowing that you can handle any result.” When the path towards success is dark and murky, confidence can carry a strong business leader through.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

How to Boost Your Confidence for a Business Pitch

There are things you can do to pump up your spirits before facing investors and presenting them your business model. Here are seven of them:

1. Look and sound the part

The thing about confidence is that you don’t need to have it to look the part. You can carry yourself with poise even if you’re feeling intimidated or scared inside. There are a few things you can do to package yourself for success: dressing well, correcting your posture, minding the pacing of your speech, using precise language, and smiling. In other words, by making a conscious effort to look confident, you can make a good impression.

2. Exude conviction from every pore

To sell a business idea, you should be able to show investors how passionate and committed you are. They’ll try to gauge whether you really know what you’re doing, so make sure that you remain composed but enthusiastic throughout your business pitch. Make the investors believe in your potential to succeed. To achieve this effect, you have to communicate a certain aura that tells investors how confident you are about your product. This means avoiding uptalk and articulating a statement with a declarative—not an inquisitive—tone.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

3. Know your key differentiator

To identify your business’s primary selling point, ask yourself what your edge is as opposed to competitors. Why should investors choose you over businesses similar to yours? You must have something unique to offer to make your business pitch stand out. Apart from this, you should also be able to explain what your worth is to investors. How can they benefit from your business? What gains can they expect, and when?

4. Find an external manifestation of success

Perhaps the best way to gain self-confidence is to find an external manifestation of your business’s capability to survive and succeed. It’s easier to sell a business idea if you have something tangible to back it up. An example of an external validation of success is a solid customer base that raves about your product. A sizable social media following that has positive things to say about your company is also a good proof that you’re breaking ground. Determining your niche is crucial during the first stages of business development because if you sell to the wrong customers, your business is bound to flop. On the other hand, with the right audience, you can improve your revenue and boost your credibility, which will ultimately attract investors towards your business.

5. Solve problems before they appear

Amateur entrepreneurs who only want to impress investors often make the mistake of acting like they’re immune to disasters. They’re hiding behind the assumption that their business model is so perfect, it can’t possibly be taken down by any future problem. As a general rule, before you present your business pitch to an investor, you should think through the possible challenges that you may encounter along the way. If possible, look for various solutions for each issue so that if one fails, you’ll have a backup to fall on. Set up contingency plans for when things don’t go as planned. By making sure that you’re prepared for the ugly as well as the good, you’ll be able to present yourself as a competent leader who can weather the storm when the worse comes to the worst.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

6. Rehearse and refine your business pitch

Preparation is key to any speech. As with any other field, achieving a certain level of self-confidence takes time and an immense amount of effort. Research also plays a major role on how competent and confident you will appear in front of a panel. Make sure that your presentation has no loopholes and that everything goes as planned.

7. Worry less and just do your part

Fussing over the aspects of your business pitch that you can’t control will only stress you out. Instead of worrying over the negative aspects of your situation, just focus on the positive. Don’t zero in on your weaknesses as that will only distract and discourage you. Instead, strive to turn your weak spots around and let go of the things you can’t change. Optimism can go a long way in boosting your self-confidence, so try to appreciate the good parts as much as you can.

Above all else, smile even if you don’t feel like it. As Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at George Washington University, said, “Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasant to listen to; it also conveys confidence…. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.” That reason alone should be enough for you to flash a smile during a business pitch.

If you follow the aforementioned tips, you’ll be closer to improving your self-esteem. Just be patient and remember that confidence is built over time. With determination, you can stand in front of a panel of investors and present your business in the best light possible.

 

 

 

Resources:

Connick, Wendy. “How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).” The Balance. June 19, 2017. www.thebalance.com/how-to-find-your-unique-selling-proposition-usp-2917402

Landrum, Sarah. “10 Secrets to Sounding Confident.” Fast Company. July 20, 2015. www.fastcompany.com/3048748/10-secrets-to-sounding-confident

Lobb, Jennifer. “How to Pitch Your Business Like the Pros on Shark Tank.” Nav. December 28, 2016. www.nav.com/blog/how-to-pitch-your-business-like-the-shark-tank-pros-15102

Whitmore, Jacqueline. “9 Ways to Show More Confidence in Business.” Entrepreneur. September 30, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/237634

“How to Give Investors Confidence in Your Business Idea.” Virgin Startup. n.d. www.virginstartup.org/how-to/how-give-investors-confidence-your-business-idea

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Are Mind Games Still the Secret to an Effective Sales Talk?

If you’ve been in direct sales, then you know what it’s like to: 1) get the initial attention of a potential buyer, 2) maintain said attention on you, 3) promote your product, 4) keep the customer from walking away, 5) end your spiel, 6) somehow manage to induce your prospect to purchase your offer, and 7) thank your buyer and end the transaction. Rinse and repeat. Of course, this may be a gross, basic oversimplification of the whole process, but the main steps are there.

Let’s face it: even if trained salespeople have gone through the cycle hundreds of times, it’s statistically impossible that they have a 100 percent success rate. The next best thing is to reduce the number of naysayers. But how does that work when people are turned off by sales talk? By playing on their psyche.

Let’s be clear: this isn’t manipulating their minds into buying what you’re offering but rather talking to them and making them see the benefits of having your product. For that, you must know what you’re about to go up against.

Sales Talk 101: Talking to Your Customers with Sales Conversation

Types of Customers

Depending on who you talk to, there are generally four types of customers. Retail expert Rick Segel segregates them as The Director (likes to take charge), The Analytical (analyzes the finer details), The Relater (knows someone from everywhere), and The Socializer (loves to build relationships).

In a HubSpot article, Leslie Ye classifies customers as Assertive, Amiable, Expressive, and Analytic. While there are obvious similarities between Segel’s and Ye’s lists, i.e., Assertive and The Director and Amiable and The Socializer, the difference is that Ye has the Expressive that lean more on how a purchase affects customers and those around them.

With those laid down, how do you sell to them? The following are the bottom lines.

Sales Talk 101: Talking to Your Customers with Sales Conversation

Appeal to Emotions

Knowing how to deal with diverse customers is the basic of sealing a deal. By pleasing them despite their very different natures, you satisfy a golden rule in sales: making them happier. And that leads to better experiences. Basically, good customer service equals great customer experience.

For your part, flexibility is always welcome. With the multitude of people coming through the door, you’re bound to find yourself in a conversation with your potential client, and you’re expected to be able to cater to their personalities. Got an Assertive type? Cut to the chase, lay the down the facts, and don’t waste their time. Got the Socializer? Then by all means, socialize with them. Engage them in a friendly conversation and build that relationship.

In those ways, you can show them that you’re not taking a one-track-mind approach and considering only the profit of a sale. Make them feel that their trust and loyalty are the best things you can have.

Sales Talk 101: Talking to Your Customers with Sales Conversation

Appeal to Aspirations

There are people who buy because of impulse, while there are those who carefully plan their expenses. Despite these—or perhaps because of these—sellers often don’t consider the far future and are only concentrated on the moment.

Rather than doing that, though, when you’re having a conversation with your potential buyer, cater to their present needs and show how your product can provide a “better” future. After that, maybe they can present an easier manner of how people around them work or a more efficient way of doing things just because of their simple purchase. By meeting that expectation, you enrich how people view themselves and give them the opportunity to do something good.

This subconscious aspiration to be respected—that sense and level of self-esteem—is always good to enrich because this is one way you get your clients to trust you.

Conclusion

Over the years and after many refinements in the art and techniques of selling, most people have their defenses up. They turn a deaf ear to blatant sales talks and a blind eye to obvious schemes. In short, don’t underestimate your potential clients.

People are more aware of the mind games, so these don’t work anymore. So, what do you do? Be human when you do your sales talk. Instead of putting up a wall between seller and buyer, do your best to connect with your customer. Being honest and genuine are traits most people look for in a relationship, so why don’t you start that chain? You’ve nothing to lose and much more to gain.

 

Resources:

Corbett, Barr. “The Best Sales Pitch Ever.” Fizzle. November 16. www.fizzle.co/sparkline/the-best-sales-pitch-ever

Dachis, Adam. “How to Plant Ideas in Someone’s Mind.” Lifehacker. October 21, 2014. www.lifehacker.com/5715912/how-to-plant-ideas-in-someones-mind

Segel, Rick. “4 Types of Customers and How to Sell to Each of Them.” Business Know-How. n.d. www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/personalities.htm

Ye, Leslie. “How to Sell to 4 Different Personality Types.” HubSpot. December 13, 2016. blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-sell-to-different-personality-types

“Mind Games: Can We Use Psychology to Grow Sales?” Pharmacy Magazine. July 31, 2015. www.frontshop.co.za/mind-games-can-we-use-psychology-to-grow-sales

“The Rule of Esteem – How Praise Releases Energy.” Westside Toastmasters. n.d. www.westsidetoastmasters.com/resources/laws_persuasion/chap12.html

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3 Reasons Why Taking Your Presentation Online Is Beneficial

In today’s technological age, it’s impractical and unwise to confine a presentation to the four corners of a room. Whether you like it or not, the majority of your audience can now be found in digital nooks, where their attention is constantly being fought over by brands. If you haven’t explored this platform yet, chances are your competitors have already beat you to it. But not to worry, it’s not too late to set things right and keep abreast of the latest developments in the presentation industry.
Before you close the door to the digital option, hear this out first. Moving your presentation online presents a number of benefits, which ultimately enable you to become more productive, more practical, and more popular. Specifically, the following are the top three gains you can expect by simply going digital.
How Much Can the Online Platform Increase Your Presentation Reach? | Stage presentation

1. Maximize your audience reach

As a beginner, perhaps the most pressing issue you have in mind is, “Where do I start?” The good thing about the online platform is that it has many entry points. You can start by promoting your presentation on social media or by building a website that showcases your content. There is no one starting point. Instead, you have to find what works for you. The key here is to build trust among your audience and familiarity among your colleagues. Once you have considerable experience, you can begin participating in trend shows and attending global conferences, but until then, you have to start somewhere.
Assuming that you’re still a budding speaker exploring the digital field for the first time, the easiest and most practical route for you is through social media. After all, more than half of internet users nowadays have five social media accounts on average. Facebook alone has more than 1.7 billion monthly active users, according to Statista. This social media giant is a market leader not only in terms of reach but in scope as well.
There are many ways to share PowerPoint presentations on social media, including turning a deck into a video presentation or a gallery of slides. As long as you do it right, you can’t possibly fail. Indeed, it pays to know what works and what doesn’t. When choosing platforms, make sure to consider the number of users, reach, scope, and compatibility with presentation documents.
How Much Can the Online Platform Increase Your Presentation Reach | Accessible

2. Make your content accessible

If you want your presentation to stand the test of time and survive your audience’s memory, there’s only one way to go: DIGITAL. After every presentation, make it a point to upload your main ideas online so that your audience and other business prospects can have better access to your content.
Also, when uploading a copy of your presentation, make sure to leave notes where they’re warranted so that readers can better understand the hard parts. As much as possible, include additional sections like Notes and Appendices, where you can clarify and expound on important points. By going the extra mile with your online presentation, you’re showing your target audience and potential clients that you’re serious in promulgating your message. This will draw them closer to you and take you more seriously.
How Much Can the Online Platform Increase Your Presentation Reach? | Connect with more audience prospects

3. Connect with more audience prospects

Expanding to the digital platform is not only a way for you to reach your target audience but also expand your market and widen your reach. Since a good number of your audience are already online, your chances of forging new connections are higher. As long as you have good and accessible content, you’ll have no problem gathering a loyal following.
Indeed, it pays to be open to different methods of reaching out to people, regardless if they are your target audience or not. Going online welcomes new opportunities to grow your brand as a presenter. 

Final Words

Establishing an online presence can go a long way to making your brand known to the world. The online realm makes it more possible to reach your target audience as well as other business prospects. The business industry is getting more competitive day by day. This is why it would only be wise for you to explore every possible opportunity to expand your reach. It would certainly take time for you to get used to new changes, but with dedication, you’ll be able to see your hard work pay off.
 

Resources:

Finkelstein, Ellen. “Why You Need to Get Your Presentations on the Internet—And How.” Ellen Finkelstein. June 19, 2011. www.ellenfinkelstein.com/pptblog/why-you-need-to-get-your-presentations-on-the-internet-and-how
Knight, Stormy. “20 Reasons to Put Your Business on the Web.” Net 101. n.d. www.net101.com/20-reasons-to-put-your-business-on-the-web
Mander, Jason. “Internet Users Have Average of 5.54 Social Media Accounts.” Global Web Index. January 23, 2015. blog.globalwebindex.net/chart-of-the-day/internet-users-have-average-of-5-54-social-media-accounts
“How to Share a PowerPoint Presentation Online.” iSpring. June 5, 2015. www.ispringsolutions.com/blog/how-to-share-a-powerpoint-presentation-online
“Most Famous Social Network Sites Worldwide as of April 2017, Ranked by Number of Active Users.” Statista. n.d. www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users
“Number of Internet Users Worldwide from 2005 to 2016.” Statista. n.d. www.statista.com/statistics/273018/number-of-internet-users-worldwide
“Number of Social Media Users Worldwide from 2010 to 2020.” Statista. n.d. www.statista.com/statistics/278414/number-of-worldwide-social-network-users

The Attributes of a Great Public Speaker

Since time immemorial, humans have taken to the stage so that they could be seen and speak their hearts out. With each word, they captivate and mesmerize people. With every breath, these speakers commanded the language like no other, making crowds stay and listen, and even wanting for more.
It’s not like history has a shortage of outstanding public speakers. Those who have rhetoric skills, who have etched their names in eternity, along with the long list of heroes, villains, sinners, and saints, are remembered long after their time, immortalized by their craft in history books and the Internet. From legendary Roman spokesperson Cicero and Greek general Pericles to author Susan Cain and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the world has seen its fair share of public speakers who can dominate the stage and fascinate their audiences with their piece or with whatever they present.
But what a public speaker so endearing? How do they command the charisma that inspires listeners to their cause? Is there a trick to their success? Are they magic? Through simple inspection, the most obvious commonality among them all is their ability to move the emotions and opinions of their audiences.
Today’s age doesn’t have much of the oratory events that the ancient times had; the closest in modernity, and arguably the biggest, is the annual TED Talks. Apart from the leap in technological levels and different preparatory techniques, though, is there any other difference between then and now in terms of oration?
If anything, what’s most intriguing are the speakers. From then up to now, time has tried and successfully proven that the very attributes that made names like Cicero, Pericles, and Demosthenes legendary are the very same benchmarks of a great public speaker today. In short, when you exhibit and emulate the following traits, then you can be one of the greats of this era. What are those characteristics? The following infographic will fill you in.

Resource:

Inzunza, Victor. “History’s Greatest Speakers and Their Greatest Speeches.” Pencils.com. December 3, 2012. www.pencils.com/historys-greatest-speeches

Props for Presentation: Yay or Nay?

When you think of theater, you imagine a stage, a backdrop, and the multiple stage properties that actors use to bring a story to life. Props help not only the troupe but also the audience in reliving the experience of the characters and injecting a different sense of realism in a manner that only plays and musicals can deliver, and not just imagining how everything unfolds.

In a similar vein, you could liken a presentation to a stage play. You prance around onstage, tell a story, and evoke emotions and solicit responses from your audience. And… you use props? Is it even necessary? Here are the pros and cons of incorporating them into your speeches.

Impact

Pro: Props are powerful tools you could use to concretize points and provide nonabstract examples to an idea. Kind of like giving a face to a name. If anything, that concept of “concreteness” can make a thought clearer, more compelling, and more conducive to learning. Provide a good model or a situation that perfectly illustrates every aspect of the abstract concept.

Con: However, a bad example may end up making the subject even more complicated and confusing. Instead of explaining the finer points, a mismatch of properties and attributes between your example and the idea you’re trying to explain could lead to their total disregard. Avoid false analogies.

Visibility

Pro: The moment your audience sees your prop, one of two events will happen: if you show it immediately, you make them curious of how it relates to your point; if you wait until the perfect time, then there’s a sudden realization of, “So that’s how that works.”

Con: Of course, your audience needs to see it first, from the people in the first row to the back of the room, even the ones just standing up near the exit. So, should it be a medium- to large-sized object? Those are plausible, but if you’re uncomfortable and look awkward using your prop, then that’s just a cringe-fest for viewers. If it’s too small, then the impact that everyone should have felt is now limited to only a few in front of you. You could prevent the latter with video projection on a screen, but otherwise, consider the size of your prop and the stage. Don’t waste your efforts with props only you can see and appreciate.

Functionality

Pro: Look at this one in two ways: whether your prop works or not and whether it’s practical or impractical. For the former, make sure it doesn’t malfunction during the most important part of your speech. Planning even the littlest details down to the letter is a good way to impress your audience with your prop, especially when it’s a complex piece of equipment or a simple tool used to simplify a complex concept. For the latter, show how it could also function in their lives. More than just a demo, this is an application of its practicality.

Con: Again, here are two ways to look at it: accidents or any unwanted incidents because your prop failed and undesired impressions because of how clunky or how awkward it looks when being used.

As a final point, does having a prop work? Are you comfortable enough with using an object and explaining how it relates to your main point? There are proponents of the notion, and they even recommend going the extra mile. The results are worth the effort.

Verdict

A prop is a tool, and as such, it can be used to have a good effect or a bad one. It all depends on how you use it. This one falls squarely on your shoulders.

However, there are general reminders you must ask before you plan on using whatever prop you need:

  • Are you sure it will impact your audience with the intended effect?
  • Will it be big enough so that everyone in the venue can see it?
  • Have I tested it properly and won’t fail me while I talk?
  • Is it even a good idea to use props here?

If your answers to the questions above are all yes, then by all means, use one. By then, the only concern you have is if it will drive your point home. Take care of that, and you’ll have an effective presentation in store for your audience… if you can pull it off. Isn’t that a good challenge?

Resources:

Gallo, Carmine. “Using Props to Improve Your Presentations.” Bloomberg. January 28, 2009. www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-13/synchronous-global-recovery-masks-a-deepening-asset-imbalance

Grant, Anett. “How to Use Props to Make Your Presentation More Powerful.” Fast Company. July 28, 2015. www.fastcompany.com/3048857/how-to-use-props-to-make-your-presentation-more-powerful

Linehan, Dave. “How to Use Props in Presentations.” DaveLinehan.com. November 17, 2015. www.davelinehan.com/props-in-presentations

Miller, Fred E. “Props for Presentations: Seen and UnSeen!” No Sweat Public Speaking. October 13, 2009. www.nosweatpublicspeaking.com/props-for-presentations-seen-and-unseen

Miller, Fred E. “Using Props in a Presentation.” No Sweat Public Speaking. September 21, 2009. www.nosweatpublicspeaking.com/using-props-in-a-presentation

Weinstein, Yana and Megan Smith. “Learn to Study Using … Concrete Examples.” The Learning Scientists. August 25, 2016. www.learningscientists.org/blog/2016/8/25-1

Zimmer, John. “How Do Props Help a Presentation?” Manner of Speaking. September 25, 2011. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2011/09/25/how-do-props-help-a-presentation

Zimmer, John. “Ten Tips for Using Props in a Presentation.” Manner of Speaking. September 29, 2011. www.mannerofspeaking.org/2011/09/29/ten-tips-for-using-props-in-a-presentation

“How to Use a Prop When You Are Presenting.” Time to Market. n.d. www.timetomarket.co.uk/presentation-tips/confident-presentation-tips/how-to-use-a-prop-when-you-are-presenting

Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design

Look around you. You’re bound to see a picture or ten. It’s amazing how images have permeated the collective mind. But in hindsight, they have always had the power to do so. Historically, cave paintings served as the first method of documentation. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics were mostly drawn or carved. One could even say that everything you see is an image, scientifically speaking.
With that much influence, it’s no wonder that pictures have spread far and deep into the collective subconscious. So much that it became the driving force for the invention of the camera, making portraits easier to create and, after many technological advances over the decades, instant.
In that same vein, photographs became available online, including stock images. But the term has been met with both positive and negative reactions. There are arguments from both sides saying that stock photography is cheap—if not downright free—but that, legally, you’re better off using originals.
Where do you side in the argument? Presentation design-wise, you’re better off not using stock photography for your deck and instead creating your own that fit your or a presentation agency’s design—a.k.a. the perfect images for your slides. Here are reasons why.
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design

Lack of Authenticity and Creativity

There’s no greater show of designer laziness than using stock images. Why? Because it’s already available online. You can get one with just a few clicks. Never mind using your own resources for that photoshoot (which doesn’t have to be grand to begin with).
Using stock images is the easy way out. There’s a certain lack of creativity that stock images display because all it takes is a “yes or no” choice: does it portray what I want? Instead of getting specifically what you’re looking for, you settle for another since it’s ripe for the taking. While there are alternatives, like your own shoot, it won’t be as easy as just downloading one.
It doesn’t help, too, that stock images are easily obtainable from the Internet. What are the chances that you’re the only one using a particular photo? Zero. It’s bound to show up in places you wouldn’t expect, which leads to …
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design | Designer laziness

Overfamiliarity

You know how the first time you hear a funny joke, you can’t stop laughing? Then it gets repeated over and over, and it isn’t humorous to you anymore? It’s the same with stock images. The more your audience has seen a photo you used on your presentation design, any hope of impact you intended is gone.
It’s because they’re already familiar with—if not outright expecting—it. That they have seen the exact photo, if not the same actions, connotations, and justifications elsewhere, should always be a consideration. This is especially true when even in your search, there were dozens of images like the one you chose. “Familiarity breeds contempt,” goes the adage.
What’s an alternative then? If you must use stock images, then be unpredictable. If you’re looking for a picture of a business meeting, then don’t choose common ones, like room full of executives. Try a coffee shop meeting or a team building to show something new and fresh. If you can’t find one, then why not shoot your own or even choose one from your albums? How about that for a new take on the term “stock photography”?
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design | OverFamiliarity

Inconsistent Feel

Presentation design revolves around a theme, often the brand or topic. When you’re designing images, you keep said motif in mind, wanting to adhere to it and keep the whole deck consistent.
There isn’t much wiggle room for this, however, when your pool is piled with stock images. You have no control over the art direction of the image you have chosen since it’s just there, and how you use it becomes the question. This may present problems, but of course, if you’re really persistent, you can find one you can settle on. But even then, it still feels out of place.
There’s also what may be construed as “forced imagery,” wherein a picture barely symbolizes or depicts the topic at hand but is instead accompanied by lengthy justifications at how it’s really illustrating the point. Not only does this need a contrived explanation, but it also denotes poor planning on your part.
Stock Photography and How It Can Ruin Presentation Design | Inconsistent feel

Post-Development

Stock images are readily available, but just because you can download them doesn’t mean you should. It’s not like there aren’t better alternatives out there; it’s merely the easiest way out. And if you think that won’t cost you anything, think again.
As a legal matter, there are many loopholes and gray areas on creative commons and copyrights. When it’s that open-ended and indefinite, you can bet that there are people who can and will make some money out of it by suing you or others for using their photos for unintended reasons, like commercial purposes.
Would you rather risk that possibility or take delight in the pleasure and satisfaction that your image is your own? You help not only yourself by minimizing complications from external parties but also your presentation design by being specific with your choice. That can make the biggest impact of all.
 

Resources:

Boag, Paul. “Stop Using Stock Photography Clichés.” Boag World. January 4, 2010. www.boagworld.com/design/stock-photography
Field, Dennis. “8 Tips on Choosing the Right Photos for Your Design.” InvisionApp.com. March 11, 2015. www.invisionapp.com/blog/8-tips-on-choosing-the-right-photos-for-your-design
Reynolds, Garr. “What Makes an Image Good for Presentations – Part I.” PowerPoint Ninja. n.d. www.powerpointninja.com/graphics/what-makes-an-image-good-for-presentations-part-i
Reynolds, Garr. “What Makes an Image Good for Presentations – Part II.” PowerPoint Ninja. n.d. www.powerpointninja.com/graphics/what-makes-an-image-good-for-presentations-part-ii
Struck, Amos. “What Are Stock Images? One of the Best Image Resources Explained.” Stock Photo Secrets. n.d. www.stockphotosecrets.com/questions-answers/what-are-stock-images.html
Suggett, Paul. “The Case for and Against Stock Photography.” The Balance. October 12, 2016. www.thebalance.com/the-case-for-and-against-stock-photography-38444
Walker, Tommy. “Stock Photography vs. Real Photos: Can’t We Use Both?” ConversionXL. n.d. www.conversionxl.com/stock-photography-vs-real-photos-cant-use

The Real Cost of a Poor Presentation

The truth may be more prevalent than you would like to admit, but it’s unhealthy to ignore the fact that there are good presentations, and there are also bad ones. If you could give an estimate, how many from the total number of existing presentations are poorly made? Around 50 percent? That’s a big number. Assume for a second that, around the world, there are over a billion PowerPoint files today. That’s 500 million at the very least.

With all the design and content tips littered all over the Internet about making the best pitch deck, you’d think that by now, everyone can create decent slides. But let’s not get too idealistic. PowerPoint is tricky to master, especially when you consider how people have different reactions to presentations in general.

Should you cater to their wants then? “Yes” would be a short answer, but it has serious implications for your succeeding attempts at presentation. For example, when you’re creating a pitch deck. You can’t make a one-fits-all since it’s practically impossible to create slides according to the preferences of every executive you’re looking to impress. It’ll be a mishmash of different styles, and that can be distracting.

Does it mean that this is a hopeless case? Of course not. The best you could do is minimize the negative effects of a bad pitch deck presentation, like death by PowerPoint. Other suggestions are doing your best to create the most visually appealing deck people will ever see or hiring a good team of presentation specialists to make awesome slides—as long as you avoid using poorly designed presentations. Why? Because you stand to lose more than just cash by crafting pitch decks or sales presentations sloppily. The infographic below will help you see that you shouldn’t be worried with just your profit margins because you put at risk something bigger than money.

Resources:

Griffith, Eric. “17 Tricks to Master Microsoft PowerPoint.” PC Mag. October 14, 2014. www.pcmag.com/feature/328357/17-tricks-to-master-microsoft-powerpoint

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The Most Effective TED Talks and What You Can Learn from Them

Public speaking is not an innate talent that people are born with. It’s a skill that takes patience and constant practice to master. Many would agree that TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), an organization dedicated to spreading powerful ideas, is a pacesetter in producing the best presentations in the world. TED talks have been translated to more than a hundred languages, and TED events have been held in over 145 countries. Undoubtedly, the organization sets the bar higher in organized presentations.

This massive success begs the question: What does TED do differently that it manages to blow people’s minds over and over again? The answer lies in the speakers and the ideas they spread. TED speakers come onstage armed not only with powerful concepts and inspiring words but also with effective methods to get their message across. Here are eight lessons you can learn from the most successful TED talks ever held.

8 Public Speaking Lessons from the Most Viewed TED Talks

1. Hook the audience with one big idea

Everything, no matter how great, starts with a tiny spark of idea. Even the most elaborate TED talks begin with a simple concept that holds promise. As Jeremy Donovan, a TEdx organizer, said, “If you had to say there was one magical element to the best TED talks, it’s that those speakers picked one really, really big idea.” When giving a presentation, you don’t want to bombard your audience with a flurry of information. Choose one specific and interesting topic, then work around it. Attack it from a unique angle and give your audience something to think about. 

2. Start with an interesting opener

Don’t go onstage thinking that it’s the audience’s job to listen. You must earn the audience’s attention every time you take the limelight. The best TED speakers know this so they make their talks interesting from the moment they drop the first word.

  • Begin with an anecdote. Brene Brown opened her talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” with a story that was relevant to her point. This helped the audience understand Brown and her message.
  • State an incredible fact. Dan Gilbert is no stranger to the TED stage. One of the reasons why he captivates the audience every time he speaks is that he begins with an interesting statistic that turns heads.
  • Pause for ten seconds. Seth Godin advises public speakers to pause not for two, three or five seconds but for ten whole seconds to get everyone’s attention. And Godin should know since he’s one of America’s most respected marketing gurus.

8 Public Speaking Lessons from the Most Viewed TED Talks | Group of audience

3. Share a story that resonates with the audience

Everybody loves stories, especially those that appeal to the emotions. When you tell a story, make sure to not only relay the events but also the emotions you experienced. When you share genuine feelings, you establish a connection with the audience. This is exactly what Elizabeth Gilbert did in her inspiring TED talk, “Your Elusive Creative Genius.”

4. Establish rapport using humor

To establish a connection with the audience, the speaker should lower his defenses and let the audience into his personal bubble. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use humor. In the most viewed TED talk of all time, “Do Schools Kill Creativity,” Sir Ken Robinson used self-deprecating humor to make the audience feel more comfortable around him. You can apply the same principle to endear yourself to the audience and make them want to listen to your message. 

5. Design your slides with care

Good speakers use pictures instead of texts to reinforce their message. Just look at Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk entitled, “How to Make Stress Your Friend.” Observe how she effectively used images to strengthen her claims. If you plan to accompany your talk with a PowerPoint presentation, make sure to do away with large chunks of text and instead focus on the audience’s visual experience. Remember, you’re already overwhelming your audience with words by simply talking; don’t tire them out by forcing them to read your slides.

8 Public Speaking Lessons from the Most Viewed TED Talks | the winner

6. Reinforce your point throughout the talk

Contrary to popular opinion, you should consistently repeat yourself throughout the presentation. If you establish your point over and over, your audience will eventually catch on to what you’re trying to say. This is what Richard St. John did in his short TED talk about success. He gave away the eight secrets to success while staying true to one core message: Success doesn’t come easy. You need to have the passion, the courage and the resilience to pursue it.

7. Leave your audience a gift before you go

The audience always sit in anticipation of something new to bring home. They lend their ears because they expect to be entertained or blown away by a novel idea or a fresh perspective they’ve never thought of before. Remember, although the presentation is your moment, it’s not entirely about you. You stand onstage not to bask under the spotlight but to share something that is worth your audience’s time.

The words of Robert Ballard, the explorer who discovered Titanic, are very fitting in this case. He said, “Your mission in any presentation is to inform, educate, and inspire. You can only inspire when you give people a new way of looking at the world in which they live.” Take for example Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” Cain dared to look at introversion from a different light, and the response she got was positively overwhelming. 

8. Waste no one’s time

It’s common courtesy among public speakers to end their talk before the time limit. TED talks run for an average of eighteen minutes, which TED curator Chris Anderson finds “long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention.” So if you’re given thirty minutes, prepare for a presentation that runs for twenty-five minutes or less. You can allot the extra time for unforeseen events or unsolicited questions from the audience.

Public speaking is not easy, but if you follow these tips, you’ll be a few steps closer to delivering an electrifying TED-like presentation that you’ll cherish for life. 

 

Resources:

Gallo, Carmine. “9 Public Speaking Lessons from the World’s Greatest TED Talks.” Forbes. March 4, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2014/03/04/9-public-speaking-lessons-from-the-worlds-greatest-ted-talks/#3e8ca62212ea

Haden, Jeff. “20 Public Speaking Tips of the Best TED Talks.” Inc. www.inc.com/ss/jeff-haden/20-public-speaking-tips-best-ted-talks

James, Geoffrey. “11 Public Speaking Tips from the Best TED Talks Speakers.” Inc. July 26, 2016. www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/11-public-speaking-tips-from-the-best-ted-talks-speakers.html

May, Kate Torgovnick & Ludolph, Emily. “A TED Speaker Coach Shares 11 Tips for Right Before You Go Onstage.” TED Blog. February 14, 2016. blog.ted.com/a-ted-speaker-coach-shares-11-tips-for-right-before-you-go-on-stage

Stillman, Jessica. “5 Secrets of Public Speaking from the Best TED Presenters.” Inc. November 8, 2013. www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/ted-speakers-on-presenting-public-speaking.html

 

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Cultivating the Right Presentation Mindset

Someone once said, “The human brain is a wonderful thing. It starts working the moment you are born, and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.” Indeed, public speaking is so emotionally taxing that many people make all kinds of excuses to dodge it. Some say they don’t have the expertise yet while others say they’re not emotionally ready. To many, these excuses are a sign of weakness and an inability to deliver.

However, most people don’t realize that this is a natural response. In fact, it is expected, and in some cases, desired and encouraged. The can’t-do attitude towards public speaking is not always negative. If any, it’s a good asset waiting to be unraveled. You can channel the energy you use to dwell into your hesitation and self-doubt into something more positive. You can turn your can’t-do mindset into a presentation asset.

Focus on yourself, not on others.

This doesn’t mean you have to disregard your audience’s needs and preferences. It only means you shouldn’t worry too much about what others think of you. It’s okay to fret a little if you’re new to public speaking, but you have to remember that you don’t need to perfect it the first time. No matter how well you prepare and deliver your speech, there will always be room for improvement.

Look past the temptation to look smart. Instead of worrying about things that are out of your control, why not focus on honing your skills? Be open for growth, and embrace any challenge that might come your way. A lot of things can go wrong in a presentation, and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do to stop them. However, your attitude towards the situation will determine how it affects you.

Doubt yourself, but only for a minute.

There are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth. A fixed mindset encompasses static givens such as character, intelligence, and creative ability. These aspects can’t be changed in any meaningful way. A person with a dominant fixed mindset typically strives for success and avoids failure. A person with a growth mindset, on the other hand, sees failure not as a drawback but as a springboard for improvement. Both types of mindsets can have a profound impact in your life.

For you to overcome stage fright, you need to let your growth mindset take over. Think of your speaking engagement as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and enhance your experience. 

Find a motivation, not a reason to quit.

What’s good about having a growth mindset is that you can cultivate a passion for learning instead of a hunger for approval. People with this kind of outlook view things from a different light. To a conventional person, for example, the words, “not yet,” ring with a negative connotation, like being stuck in a certain state. However, to a progressive mind, “not yet” suggests something to look forward to in the future.

If you think you’re not yet ready to give a talk, strive harder to become better at public speaking until you are fully prepared to take the stage. Looking at things in a better light will free you from presentation anxiety and make you more confident.

Don’t let a can’t-do mindset stop you from reaching your full potential. Develop a can-do attitude that will let you find and conquer greater possibilities.

Resources:

Britton, Kathryn. “I Can’t Do It Yet.” Positive Psychology. June 18, 2014. positivepsychologynews.com/news/kathryn-britton/2014061829119

North, Marjorie Lee. “10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills.” Harvard Extension. n.d. www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/10-tips-improving-your-public-speaking-skills

Peck, Sarah. “Why a Growth Mindset is Essential for Learning.” One Month. May 12, 2015. learn.onemonth.com/why-a-growth-mindset-is-essential-for-learning
Popova, Maria. “Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets that Shape Our Lives.” Brain Pickings. n.d. www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset

Roll, Oliver. “6 Steps to Overcoming Stage Fright and Giving a Presentation Everybody Listens to.” Entrepreneur. October 21, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/238442