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PowerPoint Etiquette for Presentations

The do’s and don’ts of PowerPoint etiquette aren’t explicitly laid out. Good manners are handed down to us by family, which we build on as we learn life’s lessons. Everyone is expected to conduct themselves appropriately and treat each other reasonably.

Unsurprisingly, this also applies when delivering a pitch. PowerPoint is more than two decades old and it’s become a staple in corporate life. But common sense still isn’t so common when it comes to PowerPoint etiquette. There’s a simple code of conduct when giving a presentation.

Speakers who pay attention to protocol show how professional and respectable they are. Here are a few tips to help you become a credible presenter:

Get a Head Start

Make a good first impression by arriving on time. There’s nothing fashionable about being late. It results in a domino effect of delays and inconveniences, and the time lost can’t be brought back. Arriving ahead of time is always better, so you can check the equipment for your presentation.

Technical difficulties can be avoided by checking for hardware problems and by having a backup plan. People also appreciate feeling that their time is valued. The longer it takes you to finish, the more of someone else’s time you’re taking. This makes them feel grateful, and even more likely to tune into your performance.

So make sure to start and end on time.

Call Attention

Begin your speech with a smile. Even if you’re having a bad day, don’t project your mood to your audience. Ask everyone how their day was and spread a positive vibe. You can then ask the audience to help you trim down other sources of distraction, the most notorious being the smartphone.

Politely ask if your listeners can put their smartphone on silent. It’s distracting for both the audience and the speaker when it’s being used in the middle of a presentation. Even if not all of them put away their phones, at least you were polite enough to ask.

Their focus is already split between you and your slides. Help yourself and the audience by simply asking for distractions to be put away.

PowerPoint Etiquette

You are the center of the presentation, and your deck is simply there to complement your content. Don’t let your deck be the point of distraction between you and your audience.

At the same time, precisely because it’s a visual tool, you need to consider other things as well. According to bestselling author, Michael Hyatt, readability is crucial in a PowerPoint. Take note that your slide will be projected from a distance. Not all projectors are the same, some aren’t powerful enough to render small fonts properly.

Take the necessary precaution and choose a font no smaller than 30pt. Very few words can fit on a slide with a font size reaching triple digits. Using little to no words on a slide isn’t rude towards the audience. In fact, the opposite is true.

This just shows that you’re prepared to explain the material without having to rely on your slides.

Be Mindful

We can’t always be aware of how we behave, especially on stage. Having good manners is important in leaving a good impression. Punctuality takes practice, so make it a habit to develop good time management skills. Be courteous to others and smile.

Appreciate people’s time by making sure your presentation starts and ends as scheduled. You can also reduce the amount of distractions so that you and the audience can focus. Lastly, your deck is there as a complement, not a substitute.

So make sure to prepare your deck thoroughly and exercise good PowerPoint etiquette.

 

References

Hyatt, Michael. “5 Rules for More Effective Presentations.” Michael Hyatt. July 10, 2012. Accessed October 13, 2015. www.michaelhyatt.com/5-rules-for-more-effective-presentations.html

 

Featured Image: “Serious for Some” by Lachlan Hardy on flickr.com

3 Ways Altruism Impacts Your Sales Presentation Skills

Chances are, you’ve been brought up to value altruistic behavior. This might have even turned you into the successful person you are now (or hopefully, will become). It may also have highly positive ramifications for your sales presentation skills.

First, let’s define our word of the day.

Altruism is a desire to help other people. Characterized by a lack of selfishness, anthropologists claim that civilized societies came about because altruism incentivizes cooperation. It is unfortunately not a universal trait, with several difficulties preventing people from practicing self-sacrifice for the greater good. The frequent barriers to showing selflessness include laziness, compounded by a feeling that the benefits are minimal.

Showing concern for others inspires other people to care for your welfare in kind. Here are specific ways that altruism can improve your speaking skills for your next sales presentation:

Altruism Makes You Relatable

Audiences are more likely to listen to speakers they relate with. Showing them that you care for their well-being promotes social connection. According to psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, this “fosters a heightened sense of interdependence and cooperation in your social community.”

You can increase their involvement by using words that convey a collaborative theme in your presentation. You want to say sentences such as: “We want to start a partnership where we both profit greatly through cooperation.” or “This proposal hopes to begin a mutually beneficial partnership that yields income for all parties.”

Tell your audience that what benefits you, which, in turn, benefits everyone.

Altruism Makes You Happier

Neuroscientist Emiliana Simon-Thomas cites a report that shows how altruism has positive effects on an individual’s health and happiness. This doesn’t mean that people only feel good because they think they’re supposed to. In fact, the effects of unselfish acts are reflected in neural studies on the brain.

These studies have also shown that charitable actions activate the same areas of the brain that are related to receiving gifts. It’s clear that doing good does good for you, too.

As opposed to egoists, who think more selfishly, altruists put the wellbeing of others before their own. Projecting this positive aura has the added benefit of putting people in a good mood. Related to our earlier point, this also makes it more likely for them to pay attention.

Altruism is Contagious

In addition to how selflessness can make you happier, it also triggers an area of your brain linked with the processing of moral behavior. This rewards your brain, making it more likely that practicing altruism will feel good in the future.

This creates a positive feedback loop (or as Sonja Lyubomirsky puts it, “a cascade of positive social consequences”) which hopefully leaves an impression on your listeners to inspire them as speakers. Being good to others makes them try to be better towards everyone else.

Conclusion

Altruism is a key trait that has helped our ancestors survive the harshest conditions – enduring the hardest challenges through greater cooperation. It takes a little step to show the smallest amount of care for the welfare of others. The benefits could snowball into something greater – to the benefit of you and your pitch.

Unsurprisingly, being kind to your fellow human beings is unambiguously good for humanity. Being kind to others makes you appear more relatable, which makes your audience reach out to you more. Doing good deeds doesn’t only make other people happier – it also makes you, yourself, feel better.

Even better, doing good for one person will cause a chain reaction, wherein people will pass the good deed on to other people. This is especially advantageous for you if you started it, as people will be able to trace the initial seed of goodwill back to you.

What’s good for humanity is also good for your sales presentation skills.

 

References

Lyubomirsky, Sonja. “Happiness for a Lifetime.” Greater Good. July 15, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2015.
Simon-Thomson, Emiliana R. “Is Kindness Really Its Own Reward?Greater Good. June 1, 2008. Accessed August 20, 2015.
Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2015. Accessed August 20, 2015.