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Your Business Checklist: What Should I Be Prioritizing?

Before you started your business, one of the advices you have most likely heard is, “Know your priorities.” Even when growing up, adults would tell you the same thing. Wow, were they right.

Knowing what your priorities are and setting them straight are more or less expected of you. Moreover, on a personal level, this is a testament of your excellence and character.

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In many ways, the same standards are applied to a business. You as the founder should know which tenet of your business to grow or improve upon. If you can get opinions and suggestions from other experts, then all the better because you could make an informed decision.

These priorities become your responsibilities—goals toward a greater end. So you should make them work for you, and in turn, you should work hard for them.

Have you identified what you need to work upon and what you need to do first? If you haven’t, this infographic has suggestions on what to prioritize. Check it out below.

 

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What most thriving entrepreneurs forget, or worse ignore, is the caveat. Don’t bite off more than you could chew. There’s nothing more frustrating and time-consuming than having multiple priorities at once, having different sections of your company working towards different goals without utilizing each unit’s strengths and skill. Everything may fall apart piece by piece—or worse, all at the same time.

Exercise patience when it comes to multitasking. Slow and steady win the race. Don’t put yourself in a position of, at the worst, bankruptcy because of too much work.

There are balances when you started your business; more so now that you’re sailing at the helm of your enterprise, keeping your ship afloat. If you don’t want it to sink, be smart. Be cunning. Be confident.

For more infographics on presentation, design, marketing, and business, head on to our SlideShare account. See you there!

Perfecting Your Choreography for Professional Presentations

For performers, choreography combines proper body movements, positioning, and timing to elevate their act. Dancers rehearse their performance by familiarizing themselves with corresponding dance steps. Visiting the venue helps them experience the actual feeling for the live show.

Stage players also do this by matching their lines with appropriate body movements and gestures to engage the audience. They rehearse in the venue to arrange the setup, make minor adjustments, and be comfortable with the blocking and placement. Similarly, perfecting your movements can help you improve your pitch delivery, boosting your convincing ability.

Choreograph Your Pitch

Since choreography relates to physical space between the speaker and the audience, this is where the four spatial zones (intimate, personal, social, and public) take place.

  • Intimate space covers a foot and a half to zero, and is usually reserved for significant others.
  • Personal space ranges from four feet to a foot and a half – the right amount for close friends.
  • Social space spans twelve feet to four feet. This is sufficient for large gatherings and social functions.
  • Public space goes beyond twelve feet. As the name suggests, is best for public speaking.

As a presenter, you don’t have to stay within the public space all the time. Audience interest increases the closer you move to them.

Activate Your Audience’s Mirror Neurons

Interacting with a large audience is possible thanks to mirror neurons. As author Vicki Kunkel defines in her book, Instant Appeal, a mirror neuron allows people to experience the same feeling when observing others, mirroring their behavior as if they’re in the same situation.

Communications expert Nick Morgan suggests this technique when you’re in a crowd of 500 people have no room or time to engage each of them. In this case, you can connect freely with your audience by moving towards chosen audience members.

Kunkel cites Dr. Wayne Dyer, a well-known speaker, who knows this technique by heart. When telling a story, he’s able to make his audiences feel that they’re actually on the same occasion. He also uses typical stage areas when making and emphasizing a point. For example, when he describes an event or a situation, he stays in one location. He transfers to another position when he tackles another issue or topic.

This makes the performance more chronological and understandable, where audiences can easily follow. Let’s take a look at some room setups which you can best maximize to your advantage:

1. U-Shape Setup

This setting lets you engage your audience at the center, then walk towards them at some part of your speech.

Be careful not to show your back to some audience members. Eye contact shouldn’t be discarded since it contributes to your connection with the audience.

2. Classroom Setup

This style depends on the number of aisles in a classroom. If it has only one, you can walk through to move closer to some of your listeners in the middle. In this case, you interact more with the people sitting in front.

If there’s no aisle, stay in front and proceed with your pitch. Compensate with your body language to emphasize your points, and you’ll still connect with them.

3. Auditorium Setup

If you’ll be giving your speech in an auditorium, it’s advisable to practice in the actual venue more than once. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the area, and think of best strategies to engage the audience. A venue this large gives you more chances to maximize the stage.

Let your audience know your desire to connect with them by supporting your pitch with the right body language.

In Conclusion

Choreographing your presentation helps you maximize space and grab attention. Meanwhile, activating your audience’s mirror neurons through body language provides an emphatic and emotional connection.

Lastly, familiarizing yourself with the different room styles engages audiences more effectively for impactful professional presentations. Plan your pitch like a stage performance to get the best out of any public speaking opportunity.

To help you with your presentation needs, SlideGenius experts can offer you a free quote!

 

References

Morgan, Nick. “How to Choreograph Your Presentation.” Forbes. April 11, 2013. Accessed August 12, 2015. www.forbes.com
Kunkel, Vicki. Instant Appeal: The 8 Primal Factors That Create Blockbuster Success. New York: AMACOM, 2008.

 

Featured Image: “Poly Prep – Afternoon of Student Choreography” by Steven Pisano on flickr.com.

Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Pitching With Pathos

Have you been seeing more and more people dozing off during a speech? Without proper communication, audiences can’t be engaged no matter how interesting your topic is. If you’re looking for a tried and tested Classical approach, here’s another of those presentation ideas from Ancient Greece.

In a previous post, we discussed the building blocks set by the Greeks for interpersonal communication: logos, pathos, and ethos. We’ve spoken about Ethos and the importance of building your credibility as a speaker.

Now, it’s time to talk about how to ease the transformation through one of the other pillars: Pathos.

What is Pathos?

Pathos is a mode of persuasion that appeals to an audience’s emotions. It enhances an argument by making listeners identify with the speaker’s perspective. If Ethos eases the transfer of the message, Pathos increases its effectivity.

Think of Pathos as how easily your audience sympathizes with you. A sympathetic audience will more likely react to your pitch and respond positively to your Call-to-Action. Remember that you can’t win minds without also winning hearts.

Why Emotional Appeal Works

When it comes to winning arguments, the Ancient Greeks knew that passion could be stronger than reason. In the young democracy of the Athenian Greeks, appealing to citizens’ emotions allowed them to galvanize and unite their populace in the face of repeated adversities.

This worked whenever they had arguments with the other city-states. It even allowed them to bring other city-states into the Delian League – a sort of ancient United Nations. You can’t persuade everyone with just emotions, however. Look to Pathos as the way to prime your listener’s mental states to be more receptive to your ideas.

How to Maximize Pathos

You can appeal to emotions by relating your clients’ social and psychological needs with the purchase of a product or service. According to business gurus George and Michael Belch, consumers are more motivated by their feelings toward a brand than knowledge of its features or attributes. This shows us the significance of appealing to an audience’s emotions.

In speaking, we can use stories and narratives to frame our arguments and supporting information. Vivid and imaginative language also add color and excitement to your presentation. As the speaker, portray yourself as similarly affected by the problem you’re trying to solve, increasing the impact once you’ve presented your proposed solution.

When partnered with an effective and sympathetic Call-to-Action, you’ll be winning new clients over in no time.

To Sum It Up

The Ancient Greeks were ahead of their time, mastering oratory methods that helped unify and guide their civilization and culture. Appropriate narratives, vibrant language, and extracting empathy allows speakers to get the best emotional appeal.

Through the use of Pathos and other rhetorical techniques, Greek speakers struck emotional strings to sway their listeners and win hearts and minds. Use their timeless persuasion techniques to give your pitch an extra advantage.

Running out of ideas for your presentation pitch? Contact our SlideGeniuses now for some much needed assistance–and a free quote!

 

References

Belch, G., & Belch, M. Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Irwin/McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Delian League.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. Accessed September 4, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed September 4, 2015.

4 Sales Presentation Techniques from Harvard Business Review

To sell effectively, make your clients listen to you and give you their undivided attention.

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Developing a commanding stage presence is a vital skill for every presenter. Some presenters may be energetic enough to gradually build the hype needed to sell while others have engaging stories to tell.

With a well-developed stage presence, presenters connect with their audiences and form strong relationships with them through their well-crafted speeches and PowerPoint presentations.

This is useful when doing sales presentations.

Harvard Business Review Press (2010) recommends four steps to achieve this:

1. Define Your Communication Style

The first step to developing your stage presence is to define your own communication style.

  • Are you a storyteller?
  • Do you prefer to start with the current situation, then introduce something to change it?
  • Or do you want to spend a few minutes to get to know your audience first?

Whether you want to make an energetic presentation or employ cool, quiet confidence, know which approach you are more comfortable with and stick with that.

2. Focus on the Presentation

You may be physically present in the conference room, but it’s more important to be mentally and emotionally focused on the people and task at hand.

This is the basis of the saying “putting yourself into what you’re doing.” According to speech trainer Michelle Mazur, focusing on your presentation means stepping outside your personal sales goals, and pitching something that would benefit your prospects.

Doing this gives your audience the impression that you’re completely interested in connecting with them and offering them something worth listening to and investing in.

3. Use Your Expressions to Your Advantage

Facial expressions, conversational voice tones and body language are all major contributors to making a dominant stage presence, even more so than your verbal content.

If you use your emotions and play to your passions to show that you’re motivated, your audience is more likely to latch on to that feeling and become as interested as you are.

4. Connect with Your Audience

The most important presentation technique is to build a connection with your audience.

Every client has their own set of expectations, and it’s the presenter’s job to meet those. Take time to know who you are presenting to beforehand.

Use stories, metaphors, and appeal to shared beliefs to establish your credibility in front of your clients. Have them trust you to make a convincing sales presentation.

One More Thing: Integrity Matters

As with every business, clients are looking for partners they can trust. They need to find the people who can help them grow and form a long-term business relationship with.

To get the partners you need, give them the impression that you’re a credible partner who’s confident of their ability to help. This depends on how you use your PowerPoint deck to sell yourself.

To get the help you need, take a few minutes to consult with a professional presentation partner to gain that selling advantage.

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References

5 Ways To Make The Audience The Star Of Your Presentation.” Fast Company. January 29, 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Knowing the Audience.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Guide to Persuasive Presentations. (2010). Boston, Mass.: Harvard Business Review Press.
Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.
Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 12, 2015.

Presentation Preparation: What to Do Before Taking the Podium

How much time do you spend on presentation preparation? One week? Two days? A few hours? It’s not the length of time that actually matters, but how much preparation you do. The real secret to a great presentation is sufficient preparation. It’s the one thing all skilled presenters do. They don’t just take the podium thinking they can “wing it”.

If you feel like you’ve been giving presentations that are subpar, it’s probably because you don’t prepare enough. If you want to engage your audience and leave them with a memorable message, you need to some heavy lifting.

Here’s a list of things you need to cover in your presentation preparation:

1. Establish your goal

Before you even think of doing anything else, ask yourself what the end goal of your presentation is. What do you want to achieve through this presentation? What’s the one thing you want your audience to take from it?

Answering these questions will give you an idea which direction to take your presentation.

2. Know your audience

The members of your audience are key players in your presentation. They’re the ones you need to convince and impress. You need to be able to engage them to action. How are you going to do that if you’re totally clueless about who they are?

You need to know where your audience is coming from to know how to create a connection with them. To do that, learn as much information as you can about their backgrounds, and what that could possibly say about their knowledge on the topic you’re going to be speaking about.

Similarly, try to research as much information about the event or conference you’re participating in. Is it an industry event where you can speak in more technical terms? Or is it a seminar for aspiring leaders where you need to inspire and motivate?

3. Draft and outline your ideas

With an established goal and enough knowledge on the context of your presentation, you’ll find yourself forming more and more ideas. Draft all your ideas on a sheet of paper and start making a rough outline of your presentation. It’s best to keep this part analog, as explained by presentation expert Garr Reynolds.

It’s best to let your ideas flow on paper. Just keep on writing and stop only until you’ve ran out of things to write. Don’t edit out anything yet. When you’re done, review what you’ve written and figure out the key points you want to make. If you have to, re-arrange your points to create a clearer and more logical flow.

4. Work on your content

As we’ve pointed out time and again, strong content is crucial to your presentation. It’s not enough to present your ideas through a series of bullet points. You need to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

As you work on writing your presentation content, keep in mind the core message you want your audience to take home. Go back to the goal you’ve established and make sure that it’s clear in everything point you make. Don’t make the mistake of overwhelming your audience with too much information. As the presenter, you have to be able to discern which of the data is the most important to your overall message.

5. Design an effective PowerPoint deck

According to Dr. John Medina, vision trumps all other senses. A majority of people will find it easier to retain information if it’s presented with images. If you want to engage your audience, give them a presentation that’s highly visual. Create a PowerPoint deck that will emphasize your key points by effective use of design principles.

The general rule for PowerPoint design is to keep things simple by using minimal text coupled with high-quality illustrations or images. Another thing to remember is that you have to keep your design cohesive with the story you’re presenting. If you’re representing a business, make sure your brand is evident in the slides.

If you want to make sure that your PowerPoint design reflects the best of your story, professional PowerPoint services could be a worthy investment.

6. Plan what you’re going to wear

It might not be the most comfortable fact, but looks really do matter. Especially if you’re the one expected to face a large group of people. As the presenter, you have to look polished and professional. The audience will need to see that you’re someone they can rely on for information. Dressing sloppily will make you lose the authority you want to achieve.

Specific dress codes will depend on the event you’re presenting at, so remember to take note of that information during the initial parts of presentation preparation. The best way to gauge what’s appropriate to wear is by considering your audience. For example, you have to dress slightly better than the audience to stand out, but don’t appear too flashy to avoid being criticized.

7. Practice your presentation

Last but not least, you have to rehearse your presentation. You might feel silly doing it, but practicing will help familiarize you with every aspect of your presentation. Review your speech as much as you can and think about how you’d like to move on the stage. You should also rehearse how you plan to incorporate your PowerPoint deck into the presentation. Unexpected interruptions and distractions will less likely phase you if you’re familiar with your materials.

Conclusion

Presentation preparation is crucial to building a message that will make an impact on your audience. There’s no other way to go about it. The main goal of any presentation is to share knowledge and information. In order to do that, you can’t skip any steps.

The main goal of any presentation is to share knowledge and information. In order to do that, you can’t skip any steps.

 

References

Organization & Preparation Tips.” Garr Reynolds Official Site. Accessed July 25, 2014.
Vision.” Brain Rules. Accessed July 25, 2014.

 

Featured Image: kkirugi via Flickr