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Cinematic Insight: Cutting to Continuity in Presentations

Continuity cutting is one of the most commonly used methods in filmmaking and editing. It’s associated with maintaining the flow of a scene or action sequence to preserve the illusion of reality on screen.

Missing a small part of this technique can create lapses on a sequence of shots and angles, as well as frame size. In fact, even blockbuster movies fall victim to continuity errors, including Mel Gibson’s Braveheart.

Simon Gallagher, Executive Director at What Culture, reviewed the said historical drama epic film and revealed movie goofs that might have been overlooked during the editing phase. One example is when a crew member was seen wearing a baseball cap at the back of the Scottish warriors.

What’s the issue here? Sporty caps weren’t common yet in the 13th century, so this one badly compromised the period setting.

This explains the importance of cutting to continuity. Failure to establish coherence between shots distorts the illusion of realism, causing audiences to express disbelief.

How Does it Relate to Presentations?

 

Director shooting a film or movieThe purpose of continuity editing is to create smooth transitions between shots. Though this method is predominantly used in the film industry, it can also be applied in the context of presentations.

If movie scenes are expected to run seamlessly, necessary cuts are likewise important in presentations to achieve a better delivery. The consistency of actors’ costumes, make-up, setting, and props in movies have equal importance with the messages and ideas conveyed in a presentation.

Let’s delve deeper into continuity’s two transitional devices and how they’re associated to making professional speeches and presentations:

1. CutawayCutting to Continuity in Presentations: cut away

In film editing, a cutaway shot is an interruption of continuously filmed action by inserting a view of a secondary scene. For instance, a shot is focused in the dance performers on stage. Cutaways might consist of crowds, and cheering fans who are watching intently, applauding, and shouting for joy.

These shots may not be a primary part of the main scene, but it helps aid the storytelling process.

Cutaways can be equivalent to buffers inserted between topics in a presentation. Plugging in secondary information that’s not directly involved in your message helps build the story.

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In your presentation, giving out product information is a vital step in selling to prospects and customers. But this one can’t always guarantee you a new deal. That’s why, like a cutaway scene, it helps to skip shortly on the product details, and briefly talk about something else.

For example, you can bring your audience’s attention to the challenge or situation they’re experiencing. Share scenarios that touch your customer’s concerns to make your message more relatable. This should be a problem that has not been addressed for them—or addressed well—yet.

2. Cut-inCutting to Continuity in Presentations: Cut-in

Another method used in cutting to continuity is cut-in. Unlike cutaways, cut-ins are close up shots of something visible in the main scene. They specifically show a part of the subject in detail.

Let’s say the main shot is centered around the dancers performing on the stage. The cut-ins could be a close-up shot of a dance crew member. It could be his face, feet and anything that highlights the actual performance.

What sets it apart from cutaway is that it focuses more on the parts of the main scene to create emphasis.

This cinematic style also works in presentations, especially if you want to emphasize important points in your pitch. If the former suggests inserting points that are relevant to the main idea, this one prioritizes going in-depth with the subject matter.

If you’re introducing your company’s newly launched product in a trade show, it’s ideal to demonstrate how it works. Go over all the product’s features and provide a little background information to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Perfect Take!Supporting Images - 4-01

Cutting to continuity may have been a unique method associated with filmmaking and video editing. But when put into context, this technique can also be applied in public speaking stints.

A controlled delivery of information is important in any kind of presentation, and that’s where continuity comes into play.

You can either choose between cutaway and cut-in, or you can also apply both at the same time.

Use cut-away when you want to condense an extended flow of action. This creates a buffer by sharing information that’s not directly involved with the subject but somehow relevant to it.

Try applying cut-ins to highlight the primary purpose of your speech. Delve into the necessary points, no matter how small or big the idea is.

Explore these film techniques and be amazed on how it helps you deliver your message!

 

References

“Continuity Cutting.” Integrated Publishing. n.d. Accessed January 26, 2016. http://photographytraining.tpub.com/14130/css/14130_328.htm

Gallagher, Simon. “10 Movie Mistakes You Won’t Believe Made It To Screen.” What Culture. November 5, 2012. Accessed January 26, 2016. http://whatculture.com/film/10-movie-mistakes-you-wont-believe-made-it-to-screen.php

Ossohou, Eric. “The Art of Cutaway.” VideoMaker. February 1, 2008. Accessed January 26, 2016. www.videomaker.com/article/13850-the-art-of-the-cutaway

4 Types of Charts You Should Use for Business Presentations

Using charts is tricky for business presentations. More often than not, they tend to overload your slides with numbers and distract your audience from your main findings.

Similar to using spreadsheets, these are tools used to analyze data before presenting them. However, charts have one advantage over spreadsheets: They can visually compare and show relationships between numbers and information, making them more understandable for the audience. This also lets you hold their interest long enough to get your point across.

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If you absolutely need to use charts, these are the four basic types that can help simplify an otherwise long and boring topic.

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1. The Organizational Chart

Business Presentations: Organizational Chart

This chart is used to explain relationships between members of a group.

Here, information is displayed in a top-to-bottom format, with the executive or manager at the top. The chart branches out to show direct and indirect relationships between staff, managers, and executives.

This gives everyone a clear picture of who reports to whom and who is responsible for what.

While the organizational chart explains structures, it doesn’t show how a company operates. You can use flowcharts to explain how your company does business with others. You can also use these to talk about any other type of business procedure.

2. The Flowchart

Business Presentations: Flow Chart

The flowchart is more linear, sometimes circular, in nature.

It’s best for explaining processes, especially during business presentations. The flowchart builds a clear picture of where something begins, what happens in between, and where it ends.

When using this chart, start with the first step. When an order comes in, what step follows next? Is there a step where the request is evaluated? Arrange them sequentially, and add if-and-then statements if something goes wrong with that step.

The more complicated a process is, the harder it is to illustrate with a flowchart. Stick to the basics and keep your illustration simple to avoid confusing your audience with too many numbers.

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3. The Line Graph

Business Presentations: Line Graph

One of the simplest to create and the easiest to understand, line graphs show progressions and can also forecast results.

If you were to track, for example, the increase and decrease of your company’s earnings per year, simply plot the period of time you need to measure on the horizontal X-axis. The vertical Y-axis will be used to measure the amount gained or lost.

After plotting the data, simply connect the points with a line to show their progression. You can even use it to compare similar types of data by using different colored lines.

Line graphs are great at comparing progressions, but if you want to accurately show increases and decreases in value, bar graphs are perfect for the job.

4. The Bar Graph

Business Presentations: Bar Graph

While they can also show comparisons over time like line graphs, bar graphs are used for measuring larger changes.

The two main variants for bar graphs are horizontal and vertical graphs. Both rely on rectangles to show how much one thing is worth against another. For example, if you were to measure the net worth of similar companies with a vertical bar graph, you could arrange the company names in the horizontal X-axis, and set the values in the vertical Y-axis. The higher the rectangle displayed, the more valuable the company is. For horizontal graphs, these are more appropriate for data with longer labels. The usage is the same with a vertical graph, except that the X and Y axes are reversed.

Which Chart Should You Use?

4 Types of Charts

Instead of you simply talking about information with a slide full of text, these charts can conveniently illustrate your data.

It can be about procedures, your organizational structure, or even the progressions and comparisons between information.

While these four graphs can illustrate and compare several things at once, they can overload your slides if they contain too much information. Keep only the most essential processes and state only the most important individuals in any organizational structure.

It’s best to limit your comparisons to at least three things to make your presentation easier to understand.

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References:

“Types of Graphs – Bar Graphs.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/bar.html
“Types of Graphs – FlowCharts.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/flow.html
“Types of Graphs – Line Graphs.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/line.html
“Types of Graphs – Organizational Chart.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/organizational.html

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Microsoft Innovations: A Bigger Office in a Small Briefcase

Presentation software has advanced at an incredible rate. Only last year, Microsoft has released Sway, a new application that lets people tell stories with embedded content. The company has also been updating its Office every year to improve its customers’ experience by developing even more innovative features.

Among Microsoft’s most useful tools, PowerPoint has been around for quite some time, and it seems like it’s here to stay with its added features.

Here are some of the things you can expect from PowerPoint this year:

Enhanced Interactivity

A common complaint against PowerPoint is its one-sidedness. It’s a static visual aid that needs to be explained by a speaker on all occasions.

However, the presentation aid is now more interactive with additional functions like video and audio narration and live digital inking, which allows you to walk your audience through your presentation in real time. Similar to broadcasting your presentations in PowerPoint 2010, once you upload your file online and start your slideshow, your audience will follow your pace as you go through each slide.

While these functions don’t replace your physical presence, it’s bridged the gap between presenters and their audience from different locations and time zones by letting them pitch and collaborate anytime, anywhere.

You can also upload and share your slides online so people can access it easily without needing to pitch it personally. This especially works for the benefit of clients who missed your presentation the first time.

More User-Friendly

PowerPoint has always been an easily usable tool. It lets users create a visually appealing presentation with just a few clicks. If you’re not confident with your design skills, you can tap into any of the program’s templates, which come with pre-set layouts.

Microsoft has managed to create an even more user-friendly aid for those who have difficulty with their flagship presentation program.

On July 2015, Microsoft released Sway, a presentation app that makes presentation design a breeze for first-timers or for anyone who has a hard time choosing their own layout. Instead of slides, Sway presents the user with cards they can group together or rearrange to create a narrative around their pitch.

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As far as audience conviction goes, that’s a pretty good strategy. Decks that tell a story appeal to people’s emotions more, swaying them in favor of your pitch.

Storytelling is one of the key methods in getting your audience’s attention, and Sway does just that for its user—without the added hassle.

Better Design

As a visual aid, your deck should live up to its name and be visually appealing. Microsoft understands this need, so it’s developed add-ons that can improve your layout experience.

In late 2015, Microsoft released Designer and Morph, two tools to innovate slide design.

Once you upload an image to PowerPoint, Designer suggests a color scheme to match your images and keep you consistent. It also offers a vast amount of layout options that are suited to your content, thanks to its smart image analysis. On the other hand, Morph lets you create basic animation with fluid effects without seeming too out of place on your deck. After clicking the Morph option on your Transitions tab, simply drag the element you want to animate in the path you want it to go. Once the slideshow plays, the animated object will move on its own without need for prompts or clicks.

These two additional design game-changers are a big help to presenters everywhere who want to come up with a good deck on their own.

What’s In Store for Us?

The future of PowerPoint is here—and it’s looking good. Microsoft innovations like this program provides optimal user experience with increased accessibility.

Tap into PowerPoint’s enhanced interactivity to share your slides and pitch to your audience anywhere you are. If you aren’t much of a PowerPoint person, try out Microsoft’s latest presentation app, Sway, for decks that tell good stories. If you’re up to play around with your slide design, PowerPoint Designer and Morph have just made it easier to layout content and arrange basic images into a fluid animation.

 

References:

Kedmey, Dan. “Microsoft’s New App Is PowerPoint for People Who Hate PowerPoint.” Time. August 5, 2015. www.time.com/3984284/microsoft-sway-powerpoint-release
Koenigsbauer, Kirk. “The evolution of PowerPoint—introducing Designer and Morph – Office Blogs.” Office Blogs. November 13, 2015. blogs.office.com/2015/11/13/the-evolution-of-powerpoint-introducing-designer-and-morph/
“Broadcast Your PowerPoint Presentation to a Remote Audience.” Office. n.d. support.office.com/en-us/article/Broadcast-your-PowerPoint-presentation-to-a-remote-audience-25330108-518e-44be-a281-e3d85f784fee

 

Featured Image: “P83A8911” by jdholmes on flickr.com

Why ‘Planning Analog’ is Better than ‘Going Digital?’

There are two basic steps to planning: conceptualizing, and organizing your ideas. These steps determine your presentation’s core message. After all, you won’t be able to discover what points would work and what wouldn’t without careful planning. This involves in-depth research and freewriting before you can come up with the best ideas that you can focus on.

But where do most presenters begin when planning for their pitch and deck? In some cases, most of them go digital to start the process. They use presentation software programs like PowerPoint to identify and structure their discussion points.

Alternatively, some still prefer writing down and outlining rough ideas using the analog approach. They use this method to allow their thoughts to flow naturally without the distraction of any digital devices.

You might be asking, between these two methods, where do you begin planning your business presentation? Should you think digital, or plan analog?

In this post, we’ll cover how planning analog is more effective than the digital method. But before we proceed, let’s look at how each approach varies to find out which fits your purposes.

The Downside of ‘Planning Digital’

The Downside of Planning Digital

Nothing’s wrong with going digital when you start throwing in all your presentation ideas. It actually helps you do straight edits and modifications on your slides, making your work easier.

While others may view this approach as helpful, some may not agree with putting their ideas straight to the deck. Just by doing it often might negatively affect the deck’s overall quality.

PowerPoint offers support to your performance, but it can also distract the crowd when your edits result in a cluttered slide deck. Outlining your thoughts this way limits your ideas from flowing naturally since you’re editing on the fly.

Giving in to what PowerPoint can provide makes you stay within your comfort zone. With a digital device on hand, planning won’t be smooth sailing compared to an idea generated with a pen and paper.

The Benefits of ‘Planning Analog’

The analog technique uses brainstorming as a mind-mapping strategy to dig up brilliant ideas.

It enables speakers to generate ideas on a paper, sticky note, or whiteboard, helping you to flesh out more important points for your topic.

Here are more good reasons why you should opt for this approach during the planning stage:

a. Provides Clearer Objectives

Provides clearer objectivesListing down your ideas helps you determine what you want your audience to understand, even if this list was made on a simple sticky note. This involves bringing together your key points and highlighting your presentation’s main message. Also, it gives you an idea in identifying what objectives will successfully execute your plans.

In this way, you can think of effective strategies that will not only generate audience interest, but will also guide you in creating an outline that compresses your thoughts.

Focus on your goals to develop cohesive content that emphasizes your core objective.

b. Reinforces Creativity

Reinforces creativityStructuring your pitch using a pen and a paper allows you to come up with better ideas to improve your visuals. Choosing these traditional drawing tools helps you produce different concepts relevant to your subject.

Dumping your thoughts straight to PowerPoint can make your deck’s structure look haphazard since content weren’t arranged systematically beforehand.

When planning, consider going to other places where you can discover new ideas that can build up your pitch. Squeeze out your creative juices by creating a storyboard using traditional tools. This lets you sort out and prioritize your points first.

c. Saves Time

Saves timeIt doesn’t only unleash your creative side, but it also saves you time when creating a perfectly-designed deck. Planning analog gives you more time to categorize and specify each idea that you’ve gathered and thought of.

According to sales trainer Jerson James, arranging your ideas using a computer will only distract you with other things. These distractions include email alerts and even other office tasks, which only draw attention away from your main priority.

Time yourself when organizing your thoughts. Even something as simple as taking a five to ten-minute breather to sort out your ideas can help you arrange everything afterwards.

Let’s Go Analog!

Let's Go AnalogWhether you prefer to do it on your laptop, or on a piece of paper, planning is important to deliver your message effectively. Choosing between planning digital and analog isn’t a problem. Skipping the stage can only make things worse. However, using the analog approach is more advisable since it opens a doorway of great and clearer ideas, as James wrote in his article.

Remove any barriers when planning for a visually-appealing presentation. Concentrate on drafting your pitch to produce clearer objectives that’ll help you achieve your main goal.

Use traditional tools to reinforce creativity that offers fresh, new perspectives that’ll entice the audience. Plan analog to save time and keep you from any distractions that’ll put the entire presentation at stake. Once you’re done, then you can open your PowerPoint and execute your plans to craft a winning deck.

Need a well-designed PowerPoint presentation? Contact the SlideGenius team now to get a free quote!

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Reference

James, Jerson. “Preparing for a Presentation? Think Analog.” LinkedIn. July 13, 2014. Accessed October 19, 2015. www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140713181747-35264839-preparing-for-a-presentation-think-analog

Displaying Slide Presentations Using Large Screens

Big events like trade shows, conferences, and seminars are intimidating at first for many different reasons. After all, hundreds, if not thousands, of people could be listening to what you have say, meaning your audience could come from different industries across the globe just to hear your insights.

However, the opportunities you could gain from a public speaking event far outweigh the risks involved. If you’re going to present and showcase your brand to a multitude of participants, you might need more than a small screen or a projection. You’ll be needing a big screen so that large audiences can see your visuals from across a huge venue.

As discussed in a previous post, crossing the projector’s beam is one of the biggest no-nos in presentations. It can block your audience’s view of your own deck, distracting them in the process. However, if you are using a large screen behind you instead, you won’t have to avoid projections to your front, freeing you up for more nonverbal communication.

So how do we maximize slide presentations with a large screen?

Presenting with Large Screens

Supporting images 1-01

Reading off projected slides is a normal experience for a smaller audience, but big events might push you towards huge screens because you have several more eyes on you. Sometimes the venue will be so large that people might not even see you since they are seated so far from where you’ll be standing. What should you do in cases like this? It might sound like you shouldn’t do anything different, but you need to utilize the space much more wisely this time around.

Here are three things to consider when presenting in front of a large crowd:

1. Having the Right Positioning

Displaying Slide Presentations Using Large Screens: Bar graph

Speaking in a large venue with hundreds of people is no joke. That’s why you often have to mind where you stand to avoid obstructing anyone’s view. However, if you’re working with large screens—like LED screens—ignoring this rule can sometimes be forgivable because of the difference between a projected screen and an LED screen.

Since the light comes from the screen, rather than being projected onto the screen, you can walk across the screen with less distraction. You’ll simply block small parts of the screen, which is better than having facts and figures covering your entire body. With nothing being projected on you, you won’t look like a hiding chameleon, even at center stage, giving you more leeway to engage and interact with your audience.

2. Maximizing Your Equipment

Displaying Slide Presentations Using Large Screens: Pie Graph

If you won’t be playing videos onscreen, having even a simple visual aid is necessary for retaining attention. After all, audio-visual presentations improve your chances of reaching out to your potential clients. At their best, you can engage and persuade them with what you can offer.

Large venues where cameras are placed in different locations can even enable people to watch you from different angles. That might mean they would be looking at the screens rather than on you, especially if you look too tiny from their vantage point. Take advantage of the extra exposure by maximizing body movements to draw audiences’ attention to you. Getting the best out of your available tools equally brings the best out of how you communicate your message.

3. Handling Your Fear

Slide Presentations Using Large Screens: Bar GraphPresenting to a huge crowd may be overwhelming, but doing it with a gigantic LED screen behind you presents extra challenges. For instance, the smallest errors that usually go unnoticed on a normal-sized screen could get blown up and more obvious for people to see on a large screen. These kinds of mistakes could include a typo or even an element in your presentation that was nudged a few pixels off from its intended position. Despite this possibility, don’t let the extra pressure scare you away from making a good impression.

What is the best way to overcome this extra anxiety? Push fear aside with preparation and use large screens to your advantage. Double check your slides before you present to reduce tension and to assure yourself that your deck is error-free. With enough confidence, you can freely impart your message while boosting your credibility and professionalism. A calm and measured performance tells people that you’re knowledgeable and prepared, and in case you do miss a tiny error in your deck, your confidence can help make up for it, putting people’s focus on you rather than on any unpolished bits of your presentation.

Go Big or Go Bigger

Displaying Slide Presentations Using Large Screens : THE END

If you’ve found yourself about to present in a place with screens much larger than those that you’re used to, don’t be discouraged. Instead, think of it as a huge opportunity whenever you find yourself in a large venue. Make your pitch work with the proper positioning, effective use of equipment, and a poised performance. Here are a few reminders on how to maximize the use of large screens for your next pitch:

First, avoid disappointing your audience with a lack of preparedness. Try not to let your audience catch on if you are feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of the screen you’ve been equipped with. Even if you may feel small onstage, with a sea of eyes watching your every move, don’t forget to focus on your speech to ground yourself back to reality. A big screen is indeed overwhelming, but conquering your anxiety helps you present with credibility. That’s why you should always rehearse and double check your slides to control your nerves and feel comfortable with your visuals.

A large screen doesn’t just showcase a well-designed deck, but it also convinces a greater number of viewers with more ease and impact. In addition, participating in huge events involves time, effort, and motivation. Don’t waste that chance to attract more clients while maximizing the large screen.

Our PowerPoint professionals can assist and offer you a free quote to produce well-crafted PowerPoint decks.

 

Reference

“Presenting to Large Groups and Conferences.” Skills You Need. n.d. www.skillsyouneed.com/present/presenting-to-large-groups.html

How You Might Be Missing the Point in PowerPoint

PowerPoint’s a must in the field of presentation. However, critics have raised several points against it, one of the most notorious being “Death by PowerPoint.”

Under its premise, this phenomenon is when a presenter bores a reader with their lengthy and rather clunky slide deck. However, is it really the presentation tool’s fault, or does the speaker have a hand in the mishap?

Find out how you might be misusing your slides:

It’s Not Your Crutch

Don’t fall into the trap of using your slide deck as a safety blanket.

It’s still necessary to practice your public speaking skills even if you have a winning deck. Reading from your slides will only cut off the personal connection you need to establish between yourself and your audience. Be more natural in your presentation and drop the script. Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror and try to incorporate things that will further engage the audience, like your body language and posture. Make sure to maintain eye contact as you speak to people so that you appear both conversational and professional in your delivery.

You Have Too Many Slides

This well-known phenomenon, “Death by PowerPoint,” occurs when an inexperienced presenter drowns the audience with a barrage of slides and innumerable bullet points.

Remember that people can only process so much information at once, so it’s important to keep your presentation as short as possible. Leave out things from your slide that aren’t direct key points. Covering too many topics means you’ll be adding more slides to list them in. Business expert Guy Kawasaki formulated the 10-20-30 rule as a guide for presenters. Stick to 10 slides in 20 minutes, and don’t go below a 30-point font size. Your audience will only remember the highlights of your presentation, so don’t bombard them with too many slides that can distract their memory.

Your Design Might Need Tweaking

Some design choices can be detrimental to your overall slide deck. Since PowerPoint is primarily a visual tool, the way its aesthetics contribute to your core message affect people’s reception of it.

Take a step back and reconsider your deck’s design. Tap into its different aspects, like color and layout. Different colors evoke different emotions in people, so use the appropriate hues for your deck to get the right attention. Make use of white space to draw attention to important elements on your slides and let your audience’s eyes relax at the same time.

Conclusion

As the presenter, make sure that it’s not your own design choices that are holding you back from delivering a good pitch and presenting a well-made deck.

A deck isn’t an excuse to slack on your speech, so make sure to treat it only as a visual aid reserved for your key points. Cut back on the amount of slides you have and leave room for you to expound and explain each part of your presentation. Tweak your design to evoke the right response from people.

If you want a deck ready for your brand to use without the added hassle, contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

Hedges, Kristi. “Six Ways to Avoid Death by PowerPoint.” Forbes. November 14, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/11/14/six-ways-to-avoid-death-by-powerpoint
Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. http://guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule
“Understanding Information Overload.” Infogineering. www.infogineering.net/understanding-information-overload.htm

 

Featured Image: “Confused” by CollegeDegrees360 on flickr.com

The Hunt is On: How Presentations and Easter Eggs are Alike

“Resurrection Sunday,” commonly known as “Easter,” is an annual Christian celebration, with Easter Eggs being symbols of rebirth. Today, this celebration is usually associated with rabbits and decorated eggs, with Easter Egg hunts being one of the most exciting and highly anticipated events.

As a professional presenter, you can share the same fun and excitement to your audience. Showcasing your proposal as a treat for their business is a good way to get them interested in what you have to say.

Compelling slides and pitches can help you achieve your goal, so get a head start by gathering useful facts about your topic, removing unnecessary information that can mislead the audience, and incorporating your idea with visuals that accentuate your content. However, you also need to consider other elements that can complement your overall idea, such as body language and hand gestures. Your content and delivery work hand in hand to convey your message clearly and give life to your performance, ensuring success.

It’s no surprise that you want to give the best for your audience, but it’s impossible to do this unless there’s mutual effort from both parties. While you’re aiming to deliver your existing message in a way they can easily understand, most audiences are much more excited to hear about something new.

How, then, can you take inspiration from Easter egg hunts to spice up your presentation?

Let the Hunt Beginlet the hunt begin | easter eggs

Award-winning speaker and marketing expert Chakisse Newton says that some pitches have ideas that are like treasures from an Easter egg hunt: useful and sought-after but hidden too well. When presenting to your audience, though, you don’t have to make your meaningful insights so hard to find. First, get them excited about what they can expect to hear from you, like when you are getting people excited about what treasures they’ll find. Then, present your ideas in a way that isn’t obtuse—make it clear but give them just enough hints at the beginning to get them wanting for more. Give them facts, guidelines, and benefits to capture their interest and motivate them to take action, whether in the form of relatable videos or visual representations.

However, it’s not just about sharing information that you think is relevant to your subject. Rather, it’s about meeting their needs without making them have to spend too much time finding your core message. Here are some possible ways to generate audience interest and convince them to look for hidden treasures from within your presentation without making it so hard that they give up and quit:

1. Surprise the Audiencefinding easter eggs

Packaging your proposal as a surprising treat is a good way to arouse people’s curiosity. Just like in an Easter egg hunt, children look forward to the surprises that they’ll run into as they hunt for their prizes. Likewise, your audience will look for something that makes you stand out from the competition.

This is why answering your listeners’ most important concern is still one of the most effective ways to make them more interested and attentive. That question is: “What’s in it for me?

Before you stand in front of the crowd, make sure you’ve taken the time to find an answer to their question. While establishing facts enhances learning, telling stories can stimulate curiosity as it allows the crowd to visualize what they’re being told about. By using familiar tropes, arcs, and outlines, you can use storytelling to make your point easier to find and understand.

You also need to prepare your outline as well as a list of facts to help you meet their expectations. This includes conducting research or surveys about their interests and then matching the results to your topic’s main message. Don’t let that excitement die down. Arrange all the necessary things, such as your visually appealing PowerPoint deck and fresh insights, to excite the audience on your big day.

2. Satisfy Their Needseaster egg hunt

Some Easter egg hunt organizers handle such events for fund-raising projects, knowing that investing in this kind of activity can provide benefits to others. Likewise, addressing your audience’s needs makes them feel that you care about their problems more than your own. Giving them enough reasons to stay connected also makes them feel that you’re worth their time and effort.

Above all, show that you value their presence and that they’re your priority by attending to any questions or concerns they might bring up. You can do this by introducing cost-effective services they can depend on in the long run. Identifying their own objectives also enables them to see how serious you are about providing them with the solutions that they’re looking for. Will you make a long-term or short-term partnership? Are you just going to sell something or build up a client with a portfolio of services to offer them?

Once you get this information, keep them entertained by adding humorous elements to your pitch. You can play with words and use puns while talking about facts and ideas related to your topic. Aside from this tactic, incorporating stunning images, interactive videos, and visual representations of facts like graphs and charts will support your message and increase audience recall.

3. Stimulate their Impulses

looking for an easter eggs and easter bunnies

After you successfully grab their attention and keep them engaged, you can end with a call-to-action that’ll persuade them to take immediate response. Always leave them with a URL to your Web site, social media accounts, and other contact information to ensure your connection with them and allow you to conduct followups. With this information in hand, they can easily reach out to you and ask about your offerings. You can include these contact details in your freebies, handouts, or any other take-home resource materials.

Since their motivation is what keeps them going, it’s important that you establish the foundation first. Focus on how you can make your personal branding stand above the rest by highlighting your distinctiveness. Once they notice that you’re determined to offer something beneficial, they’re more likely to take action and choose you over the others, making them want to come back for another transaction.

Finders Keepers
easter egg: finders keepers

While Easter is celebrated every year, you can make its essence last for more than a moment. Likewise, your pitch’s message isn’t only confined to any one venue or auditorium. Convincing your audience to participate in your activity makes them feel involved and valued, so do your best to create an impact on them that will last even after your presentation is over.

Planning before your performance helps you prepare some surprises to build up their interest and enable them to give you their undivided attention. Meeting their expectations and addressing their concerns make them feel satisfied and fulfilled thanks to your hard work. Keeping them connected and engaged inspires them to act without delaying it any further.

Encourage them to search for hidden treasures without having to stress themselves out. Make the experience worthwhile by giving them something they can keep and cherish. Make your pitch memorable so that they’ll look forward to a more exciting and fun-filled activity during your next performance.

Need to give your audience something memorable? Our presentation specialists can assist you with a free quote!

Check out and share our infographic about Easter eggs and presentations!

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References

Newton, Chakisse. “Are Your Presentations Like Easter Egg Hunts?” Newtons Laws of Influence. April 25, 2011. www.newtonslawsofinfluence.com/2011/04/are-your-presentations-like-easter-egg-hunts

Relate to Your Audience with a Universal PowerPoint

With all of the functions available to PowerPoint, the one main challenge of showing original content to your audience becomes more and more difficult. At a time when it’s become possible for any presenter to embed live Web sites and real-time social media feeds to illustrate their points clearly, what exactly will surprise your audience enough to help your own presentation stand out and move people to action?

The good news is innovation doesn’t always equate to originality. Instead of going for the avant-garde, why not make your pitch resonate with your listeners? If your audience has heard it all, go the other way and work with classic presentation techniques that still prove to be effective to their tastes.

Creating a universal PowerPoint everyone can relate to guarantees a more attentive audience. Here’s how you can produce an attractive and interesting presentation:

Stick to the Time Limit
Running out of time: Stick to the Time Limit

Corporate pitches are notorious for boring people after a certain number of slides. Preventing this depends on how well you can memorize your pitch and keep the audience interested. However, for those following business guru Guy Kawasaki’s famous 10-20-30 rule, this limit falls on the 20-minute mark.

Aside from the fact that people’s attention spans have notably grown shorter, they’ve probably heard hundreds of pitches before. Yours is no different from all the others, but you have a chance to make an impression by condensing the meat of your presentation into a short but sweet delivery.

Keeping a set time limit in mind prevents you from going off tangent with your discussion. It helps you develop an awareness to organize your content in such a way that delivers all the important points without exhausting your audience. Remember that you don’t have to overwhelm your listeners with all the details you’ve gathered from your research. If you have anything that you can’t include in your pitch, distribute handouts or other materials during or after your pitch as supplements.

Tell a Storytell a story - powerpoint presentation tips

Eliminate the difficulty of attracting listeners by crafting a story around your brand. Think of it as a way to give your pitch a solid structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Stories can draw more attention than hard facts and difficult data. Make your slide deck more palatable by supplementing it with a story everyone can relate to.

Don’t saturate your slides with text. Add relevant images that illustrate your words, coupled with brief phrases or words to further expound on them. Straightforwardly handing all the heavy data to people might result in information overload after a while, so making use of speech metaphors is a good break for them. It’s been observed that because metaphors, like narratives, activate the creative right side of the brain, it puts people more at ease and lowers their skepticism towards sales pitches and other marketing efforts.

For instance, you can show a baseball player how to hit a home run as a metaphor to illustrate hitting the so-called sweet spot. At the same time, keep your story simple. It’s important to hook your audience’s interest, but exaggeration makes you lose your credibility as a speaker.

Use Relatable Themesred thumbsup

A good story only works if it uses relatable themes at its very core. Use topics your audience are familiar with. One of the most effective examples incorporated in a brand’s story is Steve Jobs’ pitch for Mac. In this instance, Jobs’ use of well-known tropes such as heroes and villains impressed itself on people’s minds and got Mac out into the market successfully.

Leverage your brand in the same way by citing something that’s relevant to everyone. This can include current trends. Better yet, research what timeless concepts still ring true with people’s sensibilities at present. Tropes like providing for your family or even excelling in sports contain the underlying themes of love and teamwork, which are just two of the positive messages that people appreciate hearing.

Utilizing these keeps your story from being too obscure for your audience to understand and retains an entertaining structure to base your pitch on. Even the most complex topics can be broken down into digestible and interesting narratives that everyone, or mostly everyone, can get.

Appeal to Emotions

Appeal to Emotions: different emotionsThere are different ways to subtly appeal to your audience’s emotions. You can do this in your speech by using Pathos, one of the public speaking pillars established by the ancient Greeks. This involves getting people to sympathize with your points until they’re eventually convinced of their validity.

Generate the reactions you want by applying the same principle on your deck. Consider experimenting with color to complement your story. Certain colors can also evoke emotional response from people when used at the right time. Warm colors like red and yellow elicit alertness, while cool colors like blue and green ease tension. Incorporating your brand’s colors in your deck will help viewers associate your business with your presentation.

But don’t just make your pitch about emotional appeal. Having too little actual substance in your presentation will tune out the more scrutinizing audiences and leave everyone else confused about your points. Use the emotional hook to reel in the crowd, and once they’ve invested their interest in what you have to say, bring out the facts and data to support your claims.

Go Visual

public speaking skills: overall satisfying presentation

Content, delivery, and design should always work hand in hand for an overall satisfying presentation. This means that while you sharpen your public speaking skills, you should also apply the same tips on your PowerPoint or any other visual aid you have at hand.

Don’t be deceived by the presentation tool’s user-friendliness. Plenty of presenters have fallen into the trap of either overly embellished or sparse decks that have failed to pique audience interest despite the speaker’s enthusiastic pitch.

The key to effective visuals is to find a balance between text and images. Saturating your slides with an entire script will invalidate your physical presence since viewers will assume they can just read everything on the screen. Similarly, using inappropriate images that have only the vaguest relation to your pitch will confuse them. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have leeway to use visual metaphors. Just make sure you can establish a clear connection between your point and your picture of choice.

Support your images with text, but use only keywords. Long sentences and paragraphs should be used sparingly and only if necessary.

The TakeawayRelate to Your Audience with a Universal PowerPoint: the end

You don’t need a flashy pitch and deck to get people to listen. Here’s a quick review of how to make your PowerPoint more interesting to audiences:

1. Stick to the time limit. Condense your points to fit people’s attentions without compromising quality by organizing and preparing your content effectively.
2. Deliver your message with a simple but universal presentation. Tell a story everyone can relate to with your speech and your visuals.
3. Use images that convey your story while keeping your text minimal to leave room for elaboration. Appeal to people’s emotions with the right color combination and a pitch that gets people’s sympathy.
4. A distracting deck can only get you attention for so long. Bank on slides that people will remember for a longer time.
5. Craft a PowerPoint to complement your winning pitch. Put only the necessary images and text that will support your ideas to drive your points home.

Need help creating a memorable deck? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

 

References

Henneke. “How to Use the Persuasive Power of Metaphors.” Enchanting Marketing. 2013. n.d. www.enchantingmarketing.com/how-to-use-metaphors
Kawasaki, Guy. “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. www.guykawasaki.com/the_102030_rule
Watson, Leon. “Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones.” The Telegraph. May 15, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html

 

All the World’s a Stage: Presentation Lessons From Theater [Infographic]

Are you more interested in taking in information through visuals rather than through plain text? No worries. We’ve created an infographic about this topic for your viewing pleasure. Scroll down to the end of this post to see it in action!

Does the crowd seem not to pay too much attention while you’re presenting?

It might  be time to make a few adjustments to build connections and promote better engagement.

For one thing, using space matters a lot especially when giving any presentation.

The audience’s ability to understand your message depends not only on carrying out detailed information and visuals, but also on how you maximize your body movements.

Imagine yourself onstage, standing stiffly with your arms at your sides, without making any gestures at all. This inaction might be enough to convince the crowd that you’re not interested with what you’re doing.

Does the lectern hinder you from moving closer to your audience? Take that stand away and start engaging the audience!

Make Way for the Speaker

Words aren’t enough to encourage your audience to take action.

You might have prepared your PowerPoint deck to convey your idea, yet failing to back it up with the right body language can only undermine your entire performance.

Whether you’re in a large hall or in a boardroom, don’t stop yourself from moving around the podium to establish connections with your listeners.

Theater actors maximize their space when exchanging dialogue and interacting with the crowd because it can be effective in capturing audience’s attention and generating their interest.

No matter what the situation, content and delivery work hand in hand in getting your message across.

By actively matching your words with proper body movements and staying closer to your audience, you can make them feel comfortable, enough to give you their undivided attention.

Drop your fears and take the chance to use the stage to your advantage. Give up hiding behind a lectern and start wowing the crowd with convincing moves and assertive stances.

Here’s an infographic to help you learn the importance of space. It’s time to discover your greatest potential: to be the best performer onstage!

Share this infographic!

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How to Tame the Bullet Points in Presentations

The brain is efficient at discarding useless chunks of memories, but the most embarrassing and boring ones never leave the brain. Flashbacks from a long, drawn out lecture enter the mind out of nowhere. Most of the time, the boring lectures come with a hail of bullet points. Then another flashback sets in… and it turns out you were giving that presentation riddled with bullet points.

There are no set rules for using the bullet point, which makes it difficult to know how to use it successfully. Technically, bulleted lists are only a matter of format. They should contain key points that will be discussed during the presentation.

Let’s take a look at this example:

Tame Bullet Points

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Bread

The above is a simple grocery list. It’s composed of three distinct items, which are then separated from each other through bullet points. Even without writing these items down in a list again, they’re easy to understand and recall. Now, compare it with this bullet list:

Wild Bullet Points

  • Milk
  • The eggs should be brown.
  • Bread
    • Sandwich
    • Toast
    • Banana bread

The latter looks disjointed and confusing for different reasons: inconsistent formatting, too many bullet points, and difficult recall. The first two items nested under “bread” are different ways to prepare bread, while the last item is a type of bread. Eliminate the three items under bread to maintain the general idea of the list, since the three sub-bullets are specific.

The list is more difficult to recall than the former because the general and specific ideas are mixed together. A specific list will have different kinds of bread, and other types of milk and eggs. Ideas need to be refined further and follow consistent formatting.

Troubleshooting

If a bulleted list looks too much like the latter example, there are several ways to simplify it and make it look more like the former.

1. Don’t play mind games

In the context of creating a deck, if the bullet points only make sense in the mind of the speaker, then the audience takes the burden of trying to understand the information. A presentation has new information for the audience, therefore it’s wrong to assume that they possess this information beforehand.

2. Hold their hand

The poorly made bullet list in the latter example branches off wildly in all directions, completely disregarding the audience. According to Think Outside the Slide‘s Dave Paradi, a consistent style is necessary to avoid confusion. Hold their attention by showing bullet points of the main topics, then explaining each topic.

3. Prevent a bullet point tragedy

The most boring kind of bullet list is the kind that pretends to be a bullet list. A group of sentences is called a paragraph, but a bullet list of sentences is a paragraph formatted unnecessarily. Be careful not to mislead the audience into thinking that the bullet-list-paragraph is a bullet list.

4. Maintain harmony

Ideas get along well with each other through formatting and style. Format the topics as a sentence, phrase, or a single word for a bulleted list. If the bullet point begins with the first word capitalized, then the rest of the list should follow the same format. Consistency is important since discrepancies are distracting from the flow of thought and information.

5. Use Bullet Points Sparingly

Bullet points are key points for the audience, not a series of cue cards for the speaker. Use as few bullet points as possible to break up a presentation visually and to avoid overloading the audience with information. Insert an image between slides, and make sure to break up big chunks of information down for the audience.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Bullet points are key points for the audience, not a series of cue cards for the speaker.” user=”SlideGenius” hashtags=”tips” url=”https://www.slidegenius.com/blog/how-to-tame-the-bullet-point-in-presentations/” template=”light”]

The Verdict

It’s important not to accidentally play a game of PowerPoint-Karaoke by reading bullet-list-paragraphs throughout the presentation. Break up information by using a bulleted list with proper formatting and just enough information for easier recall. The proper usage of the bullet list is important to successfully get a point, or several points, across.

Finally, free yourself of the flashbacks of bullet list tragedies and exercise the responsible use and control of bullet points.

 

References

Paradi, Dave. “How to Write Powerful Bullet Points.” ThinkOutsideTheSlide. Accessed on October 2, 2015. www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com

 

Featured Image: Bearpit Karaoke” by sfreimark from flickr.com