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Successfully Introducing Your Product in a Business Presentation

When you launch a product for the first time, you’re automatically handed the responsibility of ensuring its success. The audience will look up to you for answers because you’re the expert in that particular setup. You’re expected to know more about your product than anyone else. Rightfully, you are also entitled to feel excited or overwhelmed. After all, you’re handling a do-or-die moment for your brand. The key to conquering this situation, of course, is to win your audience’s favor. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Show, Don’t Tell

When introducing a new product, it’s not enough to simply tell your customers about it. You need to let them see it with their own eyes and test it with their own hands. Of course, before doing that, you should draw the audience’s attention and interest first. Make them want to experience your product and explore its features. You can do this by creating a point of comparison between your product and that of your competitors. Convince your audience that you are the right choice. Take note that your clients will form their opinion based on what you show them, so give it your best shot when showcasing your brand.

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Build Enough Hype

Market your product without overselling it. You can use all kinds of platforms and outlets to let your target audience know about your business. Expand the reach of your market through print advertising and social media marketing. Give your potential clients something to anticipate. You can go on and highlight your product’s best features, but don’t promise something that you can’t deliver. Ultimately, you want the hype to be real.

Also, it’s important to seamlessly shift your presentation’s focus from the product to the audience. Don’t just proclaim how great your product is. Instead, tell your potential customers how it can make their lives better. That way, they’ll have more reason to look forward to its release.

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Solidify Your Expertise

Credibility is crucial to any brand. When presenting your product for the first time, it’s important to impress as many prospects as possible. To do this, you need to demonstrate how knowledgeable and well-experienced you are in your industry. This is the time for you to flaunt your credentials. What has your business achieved so far? What projects are you working on now? Who are the experts who make up your team? What are your plans for the near future? All of this can give your audience a reason to trust in you and believe in your product.

How to Launch Your Product in a Business Presentation

Communicate Confidence

In a business presentation, it’s important to communicate just how much you believe in your brand. If you don’t trust your own product, no one else will. Confidence is a magnet that draws people in. Make sure you’re equipped with at least that before you step into the stage.

Your product launch doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can make it exciting for yourself and your audience if you implement the aforementioned tips. With sufficient preparation, you can deliver a presentation that highlights your new product’s best features and places your brand under the limelight.

Resources:

Bly, Robert W. “How to Convince Customers to Buy from You and Not the Competition.” Entrepreneur. December 15, 2015. www.entrepreneur.com/article/252960

Shope, Kendrick. “How to Sell Something Without Being Sleazy.” Infusionsoft. February 29, 2016. learn.infusionsoft.com/sales/sales-process/how-to-sell-something-without-being-sleazy

Tallent, Barbara. “How to Create a Product Presentation.” Infrasystems. n.d. www.infrasystems.com/product-presentations.html

Watkis, Nicholas. “Is Credibility the Most Important Ingredient for Business Success?” My Customer. November 6, 2012. www.mycustomer.com/experience/loyalty/is-credibility-the-most-important-ingredient-for-business-success

7 Ways to Recapture a Bored Audience

As a presenter taking the limelight, you shouldn’t expect the audience to give you their full attention outright. You have to understand that they have other stuff going on in their lives. You can’t force them to listen, but you can try to win their time and attention. One way to earn your place in the spotlight is to prepare for your presentation beforehand. Polish your content and decide on the best style of delivery. Make sure the method you choose is good enough to intrigue the audience and keep them hooked until the last slide.
Preparation is key to every presentation, but it’d be foolish to suppose even for a second that it’s enough to cover all the variables. No matter how much you prepare, you can’t predict what will happen onstage. You may have a brilliant content and a killer pitch deck but still have no one paying attention to you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad presenter, and it surely doesn’t mean that the people in front of you are rude. Sometimes, it simply means that your efforts and methods are not enough to draw the audience away from their other more important priorities.
Effectively Engaging a Disinterested Audience
So, what do you do? Should you just ignore your listeners’ indifference and rush through the presentation to get it all over with? No. The worst thing that can happen in a presentation is not for the audience to lose interest. The worst thing is for the presenter to give up trying to bring the audience back into the moment.
A responsible presenter reads the warning signs that may indicate that the audience is falling behind. The signs can be subtle or obvious: yawning, chattering, slouching, standing to leave the room, staring blankly into space, refusing to return eye contact, and fiddling with gadgets, among others. A seasoned presenter can detect these tell-tale signs spot on.

Pulling the Audience Back into the Moment

When you see the abovementioned signs, you can’t just go on with whatever you’re doing. The fact that nobody’s paying attention to you anymore should nudge you into doing something different. Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting everybody’s time. When you’re about to lose your audience’s attention, hit the reset button and start over again. Here are some of the things you can do:

1. Pause, reflect, and regroup

When everything seems to crash and burn, stop where you are. Obviously, nothing of what you’re planning to say or do next can make the audience care about your presentation. So, before you make any more mistakes, just stop and reflect on when and how you lost them. What did you do wrong? Why did they remain impassive when you said something that was supposed to intrigue them? Think of how you can shake things up, and figure out the best way to go from there. Sometimes, it’s better to improvise than go with something that is evidently not working out.

Effectively Engaging a Disinterested Audience

2. Inject stories into your presentation

Maybe the reason they are shutting you down is that you’re shoving hard data down their throats. Even technical professionals can get tired of numbers and figures when they’re presented blandly. Instead of sticking to one type of content that is sure to bore the crowd, share personal stories and anecdotes that shine a new light into your topic. People are hardwired to listen to stories because they’re engaging and undemanding. If you can share an interesting story that is relevant to the subject, you can pull the audience out of their trance and draw them back into your presentation.

3. Use humor to liven up the mood

This isn’t to say that you have to make the room shake with laughter. A small chuckle or a subtle smile should do the trick. Use humor to get into your audience’s good side and lighten the mood in the room. Just remember to keep your relevant to the presentation.

4. Break the pattern you’re in

People pay attention to any kind of change, so make sure to make your presentation as diverse and sundry as possible. Use transitional devices to prompt the audience that you’re shifting to another type of content. This will help them refocus and gradually get back on track.

Effectively Engaging a Disinterested Audience

5. Shift the limelight to the audience

A presentation should ideally be a dialogue rather than a monologue. It should be a two-way conversation that the audience can participate in. So, when you get the chance, turn the tables and give the audience an opportunity to talk. You can do this by engaging them in a Q & A session where you can take feedback and gauge how interested they are. It’s also an opportunity for your listeners to clarify things they might have missed.

6. Take small breaks after sections

People can only take in too much information. That’s why you need to give your audience a break every now and then. Microbreaks can leave them reinvigorated as they take refreshments and relieve themselves in the restroom. When they return to their seats, they will have enough energy to refocus into your presentation.

7. Check your body language

Maybe your stage presence (or lack of) is what leaves the audience inert. Maybe you’re not connecting with them enough through body language. Check your stance, gestures, and facial expressions. Make sure that you convey authority and confidence without coming off as arrogant and overbearing. Projecting the right body language can help you bring back their attention and save your presentation.
One thing you have to remember to avoid losing your audience is to make the presentation less about you and more about them. Everything you do should cater to their interests so that they will not be tempted to attend to other things while you’re up there onstage presenting valuable information.

Resources:

Biesenbach, Rob. “What You Can Do When Your Audience Tunes Out.” Fripp. n.d. www.fripp.com/what-you-can-do-when-your-audience-tunes-out
Davis, Keith. “How to Use Humor in Your Speeches and Presentations.” Easy Public Speaking. May 20, 2010. easypublicspeaking.co.uk/public-speaking-humour
Frenzel, Leif. “How to Avoid Losing the Audience in a Technical Talk.” Code Affine. February 26, 2015. www.codeaffine.com/2015/02/26/how-to-keep-audience-attention-during-presentation
Mac, Dave. “Do You Recognize the Five Early Warning Signs of a Bored Audience?” n.d. www.presentationblogger.com/do-you-recognize-the-5-early-warnings-signs-of-a-bored-audience
Mitchell, Olivia. “What to Do When You’re Losing Your Audience.” Speaking About Presenting. n.d. www.speakingaboutpresenting.com/audience/losing-audience
Somlai, Fisher. “The Deck Is a Dialogue: Three Steps to Conversational Presenting.” Business. February 22, 2017. www.business.com/articles/the-deck-is-a-dialogue-3-steps-to-conversational-presenting
“What to Do When You’re Losing Your Audience.” The Total Communicator. n.d. totalcommunicator.com/vol2_2/losingaudience.html

What Makes a Winning Investor Pitch Deck?

Whether your business is small or multinational, one thing will always be present. Barring the basic constants (employees, profits, losses, gains, etc.), in one way or another, you’ll always find yourself in a meeting room, giving or receiving a pitch. With the former, how well you do could spell the survivability or demise of your startup company or the guarantee of funds for your next big project. It doesn’t need saying, but a pitch is an important step toward success.

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This is why you’ll more likely fret over nailing your pitch the first time rather than wait for a redo. You’ve got the public speaking skill to charm your audiences, but of course, a good support will take you further. That support is your investor pitch deck. You’re already aware of what makes a PowerPoint presentation powerful. At this point, what you need to know is what makes your presentation—and by extension, your business—the winning choice.

Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | Notebook

Major Paradigm Shift

When technology advances as quickly as one can say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” the world changes as well. Take for instance the evolution of news material from the invention of the printing press to the few short years after online articles became a thing; today, print lags behind digital.

In the same way, figure out what paradigm shift is causing the problem you’re trying to solve. In Andy Raskin’s article, he says Zuora, a software company, has the “greatest sales deck” because they start off framing a change that not only arrests attention but also puts in perspective how the “shift affects [the audience], how it scares them, and where they see opportunities” all at once. During that fleeting moment, you hint where your pitch is going without saying it outright, but just enough to spark curiosity.

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Additionally, doing so nicely sets up the…

Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | Problem = Lower Morale

Problem

One thing that pitches always highlight is how a product works vis-à-vis a solution. “My/Our product can do this and that with these features and those upgrades. I/We believe it’s something that can help people.” There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, it’s basically a must. If you truly think your business is something that can be beneficial to your target market, or even society, then you would spill your heart out on why your interpretation of a solution is better. But a more general question to ask is, “How bad or big is the problem?”

Put as much flair and buildup into the problem you’re trying to solve as much as you do into your solution. This will give your possible investors a glimpse of, if not completely understand, how said challenge affects people on a larger scale, how your product addresses that, and even your motive and drive to continue working on your proposed solution. Doing so will put into context your enthusiasm during your pitch. It will then be more memorable, and they’ll realize you’re the correct choice.

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Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | Line and bar graph increasing

Data

Before you even started your business, you already researched extensively on your target demographic, logistics, and the many other particulars for your enterprise. Then you release your product, even if it’s an alpha or a beta demo, and gather your results. Keep those numbers and feedback in hand; you’ll need them just as much as the initial research because that’s what you wow your pitch audience with.

Figures give a more concrete achieve and set a more realistic standard than hypotheticals, especially when accompanied by testimonials from customers. Framing and hyping the climax of your pitch is a method of romancing the audience that makes them want more. When you’re done setting up the real numbers for a “hypothetical” product to get their hopes up, that’s when you take them by surprise (but not really, given that you’re pitching something to them) and introduce your…

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Crafting an Amazing Pitch Deck for Financial Engagements | the Solution

Solution

This is the first time they’re hearing about your actual product. All the data and testimonials you’ve thrown to your audience now have something to fall on—a kind of “a name to a face” logic. You already went all-out with your first few slides, so it’s time to let your proposed solution stand on its own. Don’t just focus on the features that people loved; show and tell what sets you apart from your competitors and why investors should pick you.

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Since this is the crux of your pitch, continue with the same level of eagerness you had in the first part as you go for the last stretch. Just because you’re ending doesn’t mean you can let up. If anything, a better conclusion results in a more powerful impact that can guarantee your cashflow and move to a brighter future.

Pitches shouldn’t be necessarily difficult, but when you consider the pressure you feel because of the supposed “life-or-death” outcome of either a small business or a project, the stakes become higher. Don’t let yourself buckle down because of the pressure though. Once you ace this, you’re on your way to more exciting prospects.

Remember what you need to focus on and emphasize on your deck. It’s about your company, your product, and your passion. You may be out looking for funds, but it’s only a step toward your larger goal: solving a problem you know society shouldn’t deal with.

 

Resources:

Chuang, Alex. “The Quick and Dirty Guide to Creating a Winning Pitch Deck.” Startup Grind. n.d. www.startupgrind.com/blog/the-quick-and-dirty-guide-to-creating-a-winning-pitch-deck

Eckler, Daniel. “How to Design a Pitch Deck: Lessons from a Seasoned Founder.” Medium. n.d. www.medium.com/swlh/how-to-design-a-pitch-deck-lessons-from-a-seasoned-founder-c816d1ae7272

Harroch, Richard. “How to Create a Great Investor Pitch Deck for Startups Seeking Financing.” Forbes. March 4, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/allbusiness/2017/03/04/how-to-create-a-great-investor-pitch-deck-for-startups-seeking-financing/#db6b7f62003e

Lee, Aaron. “30 Legendary Startup Pitch Decks and What You Can Learn from Them.” Piktochart. n.d. www.piktochart.com/blog/startup-pitch-decks-what-you-can-learn

Lenaerts, Sven. “10 Presentation Design Tips (for the Best Pitch Deck).” Envato Tuts+. May 25, 2016. business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/10-presentation-design-tips-for-the-best-pitch-deck–cms-24860

Raskin, Andy. “The Greatest Sales Deck I’ve Ever Seen.” The Mission. September 15, 2016. www.themission.co/the-greatest-sales-deck-ive-ever-seen-4f4ef3391ba0

Welton, Caysey. “Across Age Groups, Print Lags Far Behind Digital and TV as a News Source.” Folio: Magazine. June 21, 2016. www.foliomag.com/across-age-groups-print-lags-far-behind-digital-and-tv-as-a-news-source

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Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Presentations

When you’re conversing with someone, which of the following do you do: look at that person in the eye or look away? focus or check your watch every few seconds? listen or play with your fingers, seemingly absentminded?

There are many negative connotations when you answer the latter for every pair. That’s because arbitrary cognition affects how people perceive your actions. In short, body language. The more negative those perceptions are, the more badly it reflects upon you, especially when you’re onstage and speaking in front of a large crowd.

But what specific “negative body language” indicators do you have to avoid during a presentation? Below are a few.

Body Language Mistake to Avoid During a Presentation: Crossing Arms

Poor Posture

If anything, this will be the most glaring and most obvious presentation blunder you can make. Slumped shoulders and slouching are its two biggest indicators, and they already tell much: nervousness, little to no confidence, a feeling of discomfort and inferiority, and that hint of the “I don’t really want to be here” idea. Poor posture reflects as much on your audience as it does to your own body.

Instead, practice proper posture in front of a mirror. A straight body not only improves bodily functions, like blood circulation, breathing, and the like, but also exudes an air of confidence and self-worth. Then, when you’re in front of your audience, do the same and think of it as your power pose. They will perceive you as a professional with the right things in mind to be worth their time.

Crossing Arms

Defensiveness is not a new concept. Humans survived basically because of it. But when talking about body language, it’s not a good thing; it gives off the message that you aren’t receptive to anything, are resistant to everything except yourself, and would rather stay in your comfort zone—three things you wouldn’t want your audience to emulate because, by then, your words will fall on deaf ears.

What do you do with your hands then? A good trick is incorporating hand movements to your spiel. If you’re about to introduce a point, motion to the audience. If you want a word or phrase emphasized, you can point to your presentation. You can also address to your viewers with a welcoming wave using both hands.

Body Language Mistake to Avoid During a Presentation: Turning Your Back

Exaggerated Gestures

Moving around the stage is good. It makes your speech lively with movements and can even draw attention to you and/or to what you’re pointing to, especially when emphasizing points (see above). But there is such a thing as “over the top.”

There should be a limit. If you use exaggerated gestures, like doing a sweeping wave when a small movement of the hand is enough, you can be seen as trying too hard or being too theatrical; the latter isn’t necessarily bad, per se, but if what you’re doing diverts your audience’s attention away from your words, then it’s time to keep your actions in check or, at least, dial it down a notch.

Turning Your Back

There’s a reason live TV strictly discourages showing its stars’ back to the camera: it’s to show the faces of the actors and actresses, the best tools they can use to portray the emotions the scene evokes.

It’s the same with public speaking. What would you rather your audience see: your back or your face? Choosing the former can denote that you’re not really interested in seeing them—much more talk to them. The worst perception is that you don’t trust and respect your viewers. Soon, they’ll reciprocate that feeling and think they just wasted their time.

Don't Forget to Make Eye Contact During Your Presentation

Make Eye Contact

Have you ever had a conversation with an individual where your eyes just don’t meet, and you feel more awkward with each passing moment? Not having eye contact gives off the air and sentiment that much of what happens isn’t worth the time and could be just safely ignored. Thus, trust isn’t formed.

Looking at your audience members eye to eye fosters better understanding of each other because of the sincerity and trust that comes with it. You feel there’s a deeper connection steadily forming from that connection. The more it develops, the more your audience sees what makes you stand and speak in front of them: “confidence, leadership, strength, and intelligence,” as Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, writes.

When it comes right down to it, when hundreds of pairs of eyes are on you, there’s no greater fear than making a mistake and humiliating yourself. With the wrong kinds of body language, you’re just digging your grave deeper. When you’re rehearsing, take extra care and effort to eliminate these habits, no matter how much of a mannerism they have become. It’ll serve you better in the long run.

Resources:

Babar, Tayab. “8 Fatal Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Presentations.” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/8-fatal-body-language-mistakes-avoid-during-presentations.html

Bradberry, Travis. “13 Body Language Blunders that Make You Look Bad.” Huffington Post. March 4, 2017. www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/13-body-language-blunders-that-make-you-look-bad_us_58b88c2fe4b02eac8876cc70

Chernoff, Marc. “25 Acts of Body Language to Avoid.” Marc & Angel Hack Life. July 7, 2008. www.marcandangel.com/2008/07/07/25-acts-of-body-language-to-avoid

Economy, Peter. “9 Body Language Habits That Make You Look Really Unprofessional.” Inc. May 13, 2016. www.inc.com/peter-economy/9-body-language-habits-that-make-you-look-really-unprofessional.html

Grickej, Peter. “5 Negative Effects of Bad Posture on Your Body and Mind.” Posturebly. June 20, 2014. www.posturebly.com/5-negative-effects-of-bad-posture-on-your-body-and-mind

Herold, Cameron. “5 Absolute Worst Body Language Mistakes Made at Work.” COO Alliance. November 16, 2016. www.cooalliance.com/blog/communication/5-absolute-worst-body-language-mistakes-made-at-work

Navarro, Joe. “The Psychology of Body Language.” Psychology Today. November 29, 2009. www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/200911/the-psychology-body-language

Smith, Jacquelyn. “The 11 Worst Body Language Mistakes Professionals Make.” Business Insider. April 17, 2014. www.businessinsider.com/common-body-language-mistakes-employees-make-2014-4

Videos: How Can They Improve Your Presentation?

We can no longer ignore the growing hype around videos. These electronic media are gaining traction, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they soon become the most popular type of content, since more social media channels are popping up to underline their importance. Today, the effectiveness of videos in capturing people’s attention is apparent. In YouTube, for example, 400 hours of videos are uploaded every minute and almost 5 billion are viewed every day. These staggering statistics show that we create and consume video content in a rapidly increasing rate.

Still, while all this hype around videos is nice, we can’t really claim that it’s something new. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., included this medium in his presentations as early as 1984. The potential of videos as the trendiest type of content will continue to grow, so if you haven’t explored the possibilities of video marketing, now is the time.

The Purposes of Using Videos in Presentations


Isn’t it ironic that although most marketers recognize video content as a powerful tool, only four percent use it religiously in presentations? That leaves a glaring 96 percent in the dark, stuck in traditional methods that are only half as effective as video marketing. This isn’t to say that you should add a video in every presentation—of course, if it isn’t appropriate, do away with it. But if you find an opportunity to use this type of content to support or highlight your message, why not grab it?

Here are the four main purposes of adding videos in your presentation:

  • To explain a complex idea. It’s hard to explain a technical idea to a group of people who know nothing about it. Sure, you can put that idea into words, but you can’t guarantee that your equally perplexing explanation will translate into something cohesive in the audience’s mind. If it’s too complicated to grasp, why not find another means of expressing it? Perhaps a video could render it more comprehensible?
  • To engage the audience in discussion. Videos have a certain pull that makes them effective in grabbing people’s attention. A relevant video presented at the right moment can keep the audience bolted to the screen. Make sure that the video you use can establish an emotional connection with your audience and can generate a meaningful discussion that will fire up their energy.
  • To break the monotony. You can’t expect the audience to listen to you for hours on end. Their attention is bound to wane at some point, and one way to recapture their interest is by giving them a break in the form of a video to watch. If possible, inject humor in your presentation to lighten up the mood and make room for a seamless transition.
  • To help in memory retention. An experiment conducted by Dr. Richard Mayer from the University of California, Santa Barbara revealed that people immersed in “multi-sensory environments” had better recall even years after a presentation. This is because when the human brain builds two mental representations of something (i.e. a verbal and a visual model), it typically results to better memory retention.

Things to Remember When Adding Videos to Your Slides

You’d think that adding a video to a presentation is a piece of cake, but some people still seem to miss the basics. To make sure that you do things right, take these pointers:

1. Embed the video in the presentation itself

Think of how unprofessional it would look to show the audience a video separate from the original presentation. You’d look like an amateur who didn’t bother to assemble your knowledgebase in one place. Plus, it would be inconvenient on your part when switching from one to the other, so it’s only practical and professional to insert the video in the presentation itself. In PowerPoint, you can embed a video directly in the slides to make for a smoother transition.

2. Keep it short and simple

Videos are meant to enhance your presentation, not replace it. That’s why you should only designate a short chunk of time for this type of content. Otherwise, you’ll lose your connection with the audience and destroy your momentum. An effective video presentation shouldn’t make the audience forget that you’re the main source and “relayer” of information.

Things to Remember When Adding a Video in Your Presentation: Keep it Short and Simple

3. Lean towards the authentic

People are more interested in realistic videos that reflect genuine experiences than in corporate ones that are too alien to relate with. To add a dab of authenticity in your videos, you can use testimonials that feature real customers who truly value and uphold your brand. Testimonials, especially when unsolicited, are a persuasive tool for inviting more people to consider your message.

4. Check its relevance to the topic

Relevance is the number one criteria when adding video clips in a presentation. You can’t just throw in anything that doesn’t relate to the points you’re trying to make. Every video clip must have a purpose—and that purpose should have something to do with underlining your core message.

5. Use narratives to draw emotional responses

Everyone responds to narratives. Stories have a certain quality that evokes emotional responses from people. A video content structure that follows a narrative can make for a more compelling presentation that will allow the audience to make sense of abstract ideas that would otherwise be lost in translation.

Now you know the secret to making your next pitch stand out. Use videos more wisely in your next presentation, and see the difference in your audience’s level of energy and engagement.

Resources:

Bell, Steven J. “Using Video in Your Next Presentation: A Baker’s Dozen of Ideas and Tips.” Info Today. n.d. www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jul10/Bell.shtml

Blodget, Henry. “The Lost 1984 Video: Steve Jobs Introduces the Mac.” Business Insider. August 25, 2011. www.businessinsider.com/video-steve-jobs-introduces-mac-2011-8

Boone, Rob. “How and Why You Should Use Video in Your Next Presentation.” Live Slides. January 22, 2016. www.liveslides.com/blog/how-to-use-video-in-presentations

Gallo, Carmine. “Four Easy Tips on Using Video to Make Your Presentation Stand Out.” Forbes. January 31, 2017. www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2017/01/31/four-easy-tips-on-using-video-to-make-your-presentation-stand-out/#2ed99f26e3a0

Marshall, Lisa B. “How to Use Video in a Presentation.” Quick and Dirty Tips. August 9, 2012. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/how-to-use-video-in-a-presentation

“3 Reasons to Add Video to Your Presentation.” Meetings Imagined. n.d. www.meetingsimagined.com/tips-trends/3-reasons-add-video-your-presentation

“36 Mind-blowing YouTube Facts, Figures, and Statistics 2017.” Fortunelords. March 23, 2017.

Using Humor During a Pitch

“Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s one of the many mantras funny people live by. That and “Laugh with people, not at them” are some of the better ways of looking at the best side of humor. While it unfortunately may not be for everyone (there are some very serious people out there), the sound of laughter is still pleasant to hear.

That simple, lighthearted reason is why it’s a good idea to incorporate humor and make people laugh during your presentation. You’re fostering a more welcoming atmosphere and making sure any tension is laughed away. In addition, you’re giving your audience members a good time by ensuring they don’t get bored while you talk.

It doesn’t mean that you must be a comedian—although there are a few pointers from their trade you could take lessons from. Humor can be strategically inserted into your speech or be present in your slides, like a funny image or a reference to pop culture. There are just a few reminders you must be mindful of.

Pitch Consideration #1: Relevance

Relevance

Recall what public speaking greats do before they get to their main point. A common technique is sharing a story, personal or otherwise. Another is telling a quote they hold close to their hearts. There are others, too, who crack jokes. A shared trait of all three methods is that they serve as an introduction and give the audience an idea and/or a stance on the subject of your speech.

Determine the topic of your quip and make sure that it is relevant to what you’re going to talk about. You don’t want an off-hand punchline that steers away your audience’s focus or doesn’t add anything to your point. It’s just like picking a quote or a story to start your speech with: you always connect it to your topic. The same treatment should be accorded to your jokes as well.

Pitch Consideration #2: Timing

Timing

Jokes have two parts: the setup and the punchline. Veteran comedians have mastered the technique of making their audiences wait for a few moments after building up the former and before saying the latter. The dramatic pause in between evokes a heightened sense of suspense and highlights the punchline. In much the same concept, use that similar sense of timing when you belt out your jests.

Showering your speech with too many jokes dilutes your message with unnecessary asides, making it difficult for your audience to sort through the extra information and get to the meat of your message. Time your jokes with breaks in your piece, like when transitioning to your next point or when you know that you just gave your audience an information overload. Take a breather with a few laughs—just like in life.

Pitch Consideration #3: Sensitivity

Sensitivity

As much as humor is not for everybody (as healthy as that may be), there are also types of jokes that don’t sit well with everybody. For instance, a recent study correlates dark humor appreciation with high IQ, but a speech is not the proper platform, time, or place since the former doesn’t sit well with everyone. In short, choose which kinds of jokes to dish out.

A good type is where you can poke fun at yourself lightly. Don’t be afraid to make yourself the butt of your own jokes. If anything, it shows the level of confidence you have for and about yourself. Don’t let another person be a victim of your own humor; it might be interpreted as a sign of insecurity because you need to put someone down for you to come out on top. It helps that you don’t attack or isolate anyone or put someone in an embarrassing spot, especially if said individual is well-known and/or influential. The safest victim of your jokes is yourself.

Humor is a trait not many people are blessed with but is almost vital in socialization, so studying about being funny and making the conscious effort—although not trying too hard—can be seen as a good thing. When your intent is to use jokes as a tool for a light mood, then you’re grasping the concept of humor nicely; employing it on something as serious as a pitch is always a welcome thought. Make your audience livelier with hilarity and enjoyment since, after all, laughter is the best medicine.

 

Resources:

Anderson, Gail Zack. “How to Use Humor in Your Next Presentation.” Business Communications. September 26, 2011. www.managementhelp.org/blogs/communications/2011/09/26/how-to-use-humor-in-your-next-presentation

Asher, Joey. “How to Inject Humor in Your Presentations.” Speechworks. n.d. www.speechworks.net/how-to-inject-humor-in-your-presentations

Barancik, Steve. “How to Use Humor Effectively in Speeches.” Write-Out-Loud.com. n.d. www.write-out-loud.com/how-to-use-humor-effectively.html

Brounstein, Marty and Malcolm Kushner. “How to Use Humor in You Presentation.” Dummies. n.d. www.dummies.com/careers/business-communication/public-speaking/how-to-use-humor-in-your-presentation

Doward, Jamie. “Black Humour Is Sign of High Intelligence, Study Suggests.” The Guardian. January 29, 2017. www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/29/dark-humour-high-intelligence-study

Marshall, Lisa B. “How to Make People Laugh During Presentations.” Quick and Dirty Tips. January 1, 2010. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/how-to-make-people-laugh-during-presentations

Pain, Elisabeth. “Slipping Humor into Scientific Presentations.” Science Magazine. April 1, 2011. www.sciencemag.org/careers/2011/04/slipping-humor-scientific-presentations

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5 Rules When Presenting Hard Data

Business communication is a skill that, simple though it may appear, takes a lot of effort to master. Every professional, regardless of rank or specialization, ought to learn the basics of delivering presentations, as this skill can come in handy when relaying a new business opportunity or spreading news about the success of a new initiative.
If your career leans more towards the technical side, it’s all the more important for you to grasp data storytelling at its fullest. It’s true that numbers and graphs can lend a credible air to your presentation, but wouldn’t it be a whole lot better if your audience can understand the information you feed them? The goal of business presentations after all is to inform, not to impress.

Pointers on Data Storytelling

Presenting Hard Data: Know the Story Behind the Data
Data storytelling takes a lot of practice to master. The following list can be a good starting point towards understanding the full power of this skill.

1. Know the story behind the data

It’s unfair to expect your audience to make sense of hard data when you yourself can’t comprehend it. As a presenter, it’s your job to dissect a piece of information before presenting it to your listeners. Most importantly, as a data storyteller, you must learn how to extract convincing and relatable stories from hard numbers. Don’t limit yourself within technical bounds—instead, try to capture a creative idea or insight that will best communicate your message. By harnessing the power of storytelling, you can encourage your audience to be more engaged and cooperative.

2. Provide context when going technical

One of the common mistakes that presenters make is plunging right in on the actual data. Amateurs often don’t bother constructing a logical structure that allows for the smooth transition of ideas. If you’re serious about being an effective data storyteller, keep in mind that your main goal is to make sure that the audience finds meaning in your presentation—they must be able to translate the data you give them into their everyday lives. To make that happen, you simply need to provide context when treading on technical subjects. If you try hard enough, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make a connection between numbers and reality.
The last thing you want to see is a roomful of people wearing befuddled—or worse, indifferent—looks. Your data-heavy presentation might make sense to you, but you have to assume that the audience are utterly unfamiliar with the concepts you’re sharing. As much as possible, veer away from technical language and use layman’s words instead. Try to strike an emotional chord with your audience. Yes, it’s a business presentation, but a little touch of personality won’t do any harm. In fact, if you employ the right strategies, pulling at your audience’s heartstrings can be more beneficial than you think.

3. Let your message sink in before advancing

Presenting Hard Data: Let Your Message Sink in Before Advancing
Racing against time is not a viable excuse for rushing a presentation. Most time constraints are declared beforehand to allow presenters to work within those limits. By being mindful of your boundaries, you can control the flow of the presentation while still letting stories unfold from the numbers and figures. Remember, haste makes waste. For your message to sink in, you need to give the audience ample time to digest it. Rushing through it will only do harm and no good. Speak slower and pause for good measure. Let the audience meet you halfway at their own pace.

4. Make an important detail prominent

The audience won’t remember everything you share them, so it’s important to underline the key points you want to impress on their minds. For maximum impact, capture, package, and present the core message in a moving and unforgettable way. You can do this visually by giving a core idea a slide of its own or by iterating it throughout your speech. To better highlight your message, eliminate everything that distracts from it. Clutter will only confuse your audience, so make a final run-through before presenting to ensure that only the most important elements will reach the audience.

5. Use imagery to paint vivid pictures

Presenting Hard Data: Use Imagery to Paint Vivid Pictures
One of the factors that can redeem a data-heavy presentation is aesthetics. While there’s some truth to the general notion that no one listens to a business presentation unless necessary, the experience needs not be unpleasant. You can mute the dullness and bring a little color to your presentation by, well, literally bringing color to it. Use visuals where appropriate to make the data more appealing. Also, be mindful of the font sizes and styles you use. By being conscious of your slides’ design, you can guarantee that the visual elements of your presentation clarify your message and not hamper it.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using charts to communicate a message, but you’d be wise to remember that there’s always a better way when presenting things. Don’t settle for cold and intimidating numbers; instead, delve deeper and find the story beneath them. Use data to weave a story that paints the bigger picture. When all’s said and done, there’s no reason why math and storytelling should be two different things.

Resources:

Crooks, Ross. “7 Ways Data Can Tell Your Story.” Visage. October 7, 2014. visage.co/7-ways-data-can-tell-story
French, Katy. “11 Design Tips for Beautiful Presentations.” Visage. November 24, 2016. visage.co/11-design-tips-beautiful-presentations
Ravilochan, Teju. “6 Principles for Making Your Pitch Unforgettable.” Unreasonable. July 31, 2013. unreasonable.is/6-principles-for-making-your-pitch-unforgettable
Samuel, Alexandra. “How to Give a Data-Heavy Presentation.” Harvard Business Review. October 16, 2015. hbr.org/2015/10/how-to-give-a-data-heavy-presentation
“Presentation Ideas: When Presenting Data, Get to the Point Fast.” Duarte. n.d. www.duarte.com/presentation-ideas-when-presenting-data-get-to-the-point-fast

Fighting Off Sleepiness Before a Presentation

You beat the deadline and made sure that everything in your deck looks right. But one look at the clock and you realize it’s already deep into the night. Deeper than you expected. And you’ve got to wake up on time the next day. To make sure you’re not late for your presentation (which is why you crammed in the first place), you sleep less hours. This trade-off might not be that great since you’ve compromised your delivery—exhausted, sleepy, and all that.
When you’re not in the best shape to deliver your speech, your slides can’t build rapport with the audience for you. Here are ways to energize yourself so that you don’t fall asleep before—and during—your presentation. 

1. Warm Up

What to Do When You Feel Groggy Before Your Presentation: Warm Up
Get your blood rushing to reinvigorate your body. Liken it to hyping yourself up or getting yourself excited—or anything as long as you feel the blood pumping. You might think that exercising will use up your remaining energy reserves, but the body is a lot smarter about conserving energy than we give it credit for.
You can get more energy by moving around. This will trigger the release of hormones in your body and will put you on alert. Do simple activities like stretching and doing breathing exercises. The latter will also help you relax before your presentation.

2. Cool Down

Shock yourself awake with something cold if any attempt to warm up didn’t work. An ice-cold shower is guaranteed to wake you up first thing in the morning, but it’s not something you should do often since too much of it could lead to medical complications.
You can splash some cold water on your face during the day of your presentation to repeat the effect without getting your entire body shivering. A blast of cold air from outside can also wake you up. Just don’t sit down in a cold room for too long or you’ll be tempted to doze off. 

3. Power Nap

What to Do When You Feel Groggy Before Your Presentation: Power Nap
Taking a quick nap for ten minutes can help you recharge when prodding yourself awake just doesn’t cut it. Or you’re too tired to begin with. Getting a few minutes of sleep might give you just enough energy to present. If you love caffeine, you can also try the “coffee nap.” It works by drinking a cup of coffee and taking a short nap afterward. Both helps get rid of adenosine, a byproduct of the brain that makes you feel tired and sleepy. Several researchers have already proven the effectiveness of this study.
Sleep deprivation also gives you a distracting headache. A short shuteye can help alleviate the pain when there’s no paracetamol around. The trick is to keep it within twenty minutes to avoid feeling groggy afterward. 

4. Talk

We tend to be on our best behavior when we’re around other people. You’ll perk up by talking to somebody instead of sulking in a corner, slumped down and obvious that you’re sleep-deprived.
Talking to your peers might give you the encouragement you need to pull off your presentation. You can also ask your friends for more tips on how they fight off sleepiness. Focus your attention on something else to help you be alert.

Recap

What to Do When You Feel Groggy Before Your Presentation: Feel Your Best
It’s best to consider different options and discover what works and doesn’t for you. For some of those who only end up getting sleepier after taking a power nap, moving around might work better than getting a few minutes of rest. Others might find that relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea is more helpful than shocking themselves with a cold shower in the morning.
Do what works for you to keep awake during the day.

Resources:

Bratskeir, Kate. “10 Ways to Wake Up Without a Cup of Coffee.” The Huffington Post. December 3, 2015. www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/09/16/wake-up-without-coffee-its-possible_n_6096518.html
Daum, Kevin. “12 Non-Caffeinated Ways to Wake Up at Work.” Inc. May 28, 2013. www.inc.com/kevin-daum/12-non-caffeinated-ways-to-wake-up-at-work.html
Knowlton, Susan. “How to Fight Sleepiness.” Health Guidance. n.d. www.healthguidance.org/entry/15792/1/How-to-Fight-Sleepiness.html
Pinola, Melanie. “How Long to Nap for the Biggest Brain Benefits.” Lifehacker. September 4, 2013. www.lifehacker.com/how-long-to-nap-for-the-biggest-brain-benefits-1251546669
Stromberg, Joseph. “Scientists Agree: Coffee Naps Are Better Than Coffee or Naps Alone.” Vox. April 23, 2015. www.vox.com/2014/8/28/6074177/coffee-naps-caffeine-science

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch

It’s hard to start a project that isn’t particularly inspiring to do. Much more if you’ve somehow gotten yourself in a creative rut, self-brought or otherwise.
If you find it difficult to come up with a sales pitch, then it’s time to start doing it differently, specifically the planning.
Working on a new project that doesn’t interest you actually feels like it’s taking so much mental energy and focus. Even forcing yourself to do it leaves you feeling tired. When you’re not up to the task of delivering a sales pitch, your lack of enthusiasm will show and affect your performance. Try some of these tips to get your creative juices flowing. 

Claim Creativity

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Claim Creativity
Stop thinking you’re not imaginative or artistic. This is self-defeating and counterproductive and will prevent you from performing at your best. People who confidently call themselves creative helps them be more creative. Sound familiar? How about a different—and quite literal—interpretation of “I think, therefore I am” or “You are what you eat”?
Bill Seidel, inventor and CEO of America Invents, starts his class by making sure all his students raise their hands when he asks them if they’re creative.
Negativity and doubt are obstacles you need to get rid of. Gain a new perspective by thinking creatively and believing in yourself. 

Take a Break

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Take a Break
Familiarity breeds contempt. For a sales pitch, you might be getting burned out from thinking up of ways—and failing—to make one. Remember the mental tiredness from forcing yourself to create? If you feel that happening, stop for a while. Give yourself a break and move away from everything that reminds you of work. Not only are you resting your body but also your mind. A bit of fresh air or a stroll around the block can do the trick. As long as you distract and detract yourself away from the task, you’ll get that “second wind,” so to speak.
Put yourself in a good mood and focus on feeling positive and relaxed instead. A cool head might be all you need to get back in the game. 

Daydream

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Daydream
If you need to imagine yourself having an awesome deck, why not? Staring into space and having your mind wonder and wander about not only serve as mental breaks but are also exercises into alternate realities. Oxymoronic, you say, break and exercise? It’s that paradoxical nature that will get you thinking more and more yet not find yourself stressing out… if you’ll think about it.
There’s a wondrous surprise of liberation when you get your head up in the clouds, conjuring in your mind anything that doesn’t tire you out or pressure you to work or even be an adult. Once that pressure is lifted, who knows, maybe the key you need for that pitch will just come to you. Or you will just suddenly think of something that will make your deck perfect. All because you didn’t force yourself to think of it.

Experience New Things

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Experience New Things
Try new stuff. That’s basically it. Experience something you haven’t before. Haven’t traveled yet? Go ahead. Never tried skiing? Try it for the first time. The point is expanding your horizons. Quite the cliché, right? But the lesson is still there: when you have a wider base of knowledge, you can draw much from your experiences. Insights, parallelisms, and even comparisons that you can use as leverage.
Challenge and go beyond your limits and comfort zone. There’s much to learn beyond what you already know, and depending on your stock knowledge for everything will eventually be unhealthy. You could even discover new loves and passions to add to your schedule and skills to your repertoire. Don’t be afraid.

Allow Room for Mistakes

Sparking Your Imagination for a Great Sales Pitch: Allow Room for Mistakes
The need to be original is your biggest obstacle to being creative. This is too much to consider, when all you really have to do is deliver a sales pitch.
Frame your experience to the present moment, and your anxieties will look much smaller. Overwhelming pressure and fear of the uncertain leads to self-doubt, but no one’s perfect. Cut yourself some slack. There’s no need to bring all those to the table. And no need to bite off more than you could chew. You’ve got your task enough as it is. Never mind the Pygmalion effect. Just go out there and be great.

The Takeaway

Swap the negative thinking with positive thinking to set yourself up for success. Another option is to daydream, imagine different things that can only happen in your head. Once you’ve cleared your mind, come back to making your sales presentation. Or try new things you’ve yet to do. Lastly, don’t force yourself; don’t be the obstacle you’re looking to overcome. Once you’ve got those creative juices flowing, try again. And see the results.

Resources:

Efti, Steli. “10 Steps For Giving A Convincing Sales Pitch.” Forbes. April 18, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2014/04/18/10-steps-for-giving-a-convincing-sales-pitch
Falconer, Joel. “30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity.” Lifehack. n.d. www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/30-tips-to-rejuvenate-your-creativity.html
Irwin, Menar. “Creativity Hacks: 9 Ways to Find Inspiration.” Marketing Insider Group. December 16, 2016. www.marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/creativity-hacks-9-ways-find-inspiration
Kotler, Steven. “Hacking Creativity.” The Creativity Post. July 31, 2012. www.creativitypost.com/pop-culture/hacking_creativity
Tartakovsky, MS, Margarita. “One of the Biggest Obstacles to Creativity.” Psych Central. October 1, 2014. blogs.psychcentral.com/everyday-creativity/2015/10/one-of-the-biggest-obstacles-to-creativity
Zetlin, Minda. “9 Seriously Easy Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy.” Inc.com. January 16, 2015. www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/9-seriously-easy-ways-to-spark-your-creative-energy.html
“How to Be Creative: 6 Secrets Backed by Research.” Bakadesuyo.com. December 2015. www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/12/how-to-be-creative

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts for Presenters

Has it ever happened to you that, when crafting slides for a great presentation, you’ve got multiple objects to select, copy, paste, move, etc. And working with your mouse is slowly but surely becoming tedious, exhausting, and time-consuming? To be fair, it’s not limited to just PowerPoint.
In almost every program on desktop, and even the operating systems (Windows and Mac) themselves, there are specific sequences and/or combinations of keyboard presses that correspond to functions and commands, called keyboard shortcuts.
Ever wondered what the keys on the bottom row are for, specifically the Ctrl (Control) and Alt (Alternate) keys? They’re integral to keyboard shortcuts. If it’s not Ctrl plus a key, then it’s Alt plus another key—or both Ctrl and Alt. To give you an example, if you’re a Windows user, then you’re familiar with the desktop shortcut “Alt + Tab” for cascading through different active windows/open programs. There’s “Ctrl + Alt + Del” as well, opening a Securities Options menu where you can choose Task Manager, among other things.
In short, keyboard shortcuts give you access to functions that are usually hard to access by mouse. But they don’t stop there. If efficiency didn’t cross your mind the first time you read the phrase “keyboard shortcuts,” since they make a certain number of functions faster to do, then how about health?
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) has been linked with too much computer mouse use. Although extended keyboard use has also been linked to RSI, an average person uses the mouse more than a keyboard. At least with keyboard shortcuts, you’re balancing your use of both computer accessories with less risks involved.
Now, when creating those enticing slides, what shortcuts are available to you? Check this gifographic to learn what you can train yourself to use and share with your presentation friends. You can bet that experienced presentation designers and public speakers use the hotkeys below to help them go through their PowerPoint files quicker and better.

Knowing Which PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts Can Help You Out

Resources:

Jones, Steven C. “Computer Work Postures and Injury: The Stress of Reaching for the Mouse, a Doctor’s Perspective.” Business Know-How. n.d. www.businessknowhow.com/manage/computer-mouse-injuries.htm
Klosowski, Thorin. “Back to Basics: Learn to Use Keyboard Shortcuts Like a Ninja.” Lifehacker. December 20, 2012. www.lifehacker.com/5970089/back-to-the-basics-learn-to-use-keyboard-shortcuts-like-a-ninja
“5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Keyboard Shortcuts.” Shortcut Keys. n.d. www.shortcutkeys.net/why-use-shortcuts