Presentation Blog

Communication tips and persuasion techniques that will transform your presentations

 

9 Hacks To Make A Good PowerPoint in 2019

With over 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day, this indispensable software has long been integrated into our everyday lives, whether for educational purposes or work. We often turn to this handy software when we need to introduce certain ideas to a group of people, as a thousand-word report can easily be condensed into a visual presentation. The experience a good PowerPoint deck provides can effectively engage the audience; aiding them in quickly understanding the material being conveyed, and easing what would have otherwise been a tedious process for both speaker and audience.

Presentations can also act as notes or reminders for the speaker, and the natural confidence that comes from knowing the script paves the way for a captivating performance. But here’s the thing — most of us know the benefits of having great presentations, the only question is how. How do we make a good PowerPoint deck that is effective, without sacrificing too much of our time?

How To Make a Good PowerPoint Presentation

Trust us, it’s easier than it sounds. We’re giving you 9 hacks to help you get started.

1. It’s All About the Design

Fancy fonts and flashy animations? Pretty cool, but if you’re keeping it professional and stylish, leave that behind for now. Avoid cheesy effects and focus on simple designs as a deck with minimal clutter and distractions work best in capturing your audience’s attention. This is particularly important when what they have to pay attention to, is distinctive. Keep three things in mind:

  • Use only fonts that are easy to read. Sans serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri are the easiest to read on screens. If you want to spice things up, use decorative fonts for slide headers, but make sure they’re legible, even from afar.
  • Use dark text on a light background. Research has proven that dark text on a light background is the best combination as white stimulates focus in the eye, and allows smoother absorption of information.
  • Align text left or right. Aligning all text to a baseline makes it easier for the audience to follow, gives the presentation a neater look overall.

2. Customize Your Theme

There is a reason why we get bored when we see the standard templates from PowerPoint — they’ve been used far too many times. A slide deck that is visually similar to what an audience has seen repeatedly will not appear fresh or interesting, making information retention and engagement that much harder to achieve. To avoid a cookie-cutter and forgettable presentation, you can either create your own template, purchase professional ones online, or download free ones from the internet (psst, we help companies create templates too!).

If you’re clueless on how to create and save your own template, instructions can be found on the official Microsoft website.

3. Conciseness is Key

Avoid overwhelming the audience with too many things all at once. A good PowerPoint presentation has both visual and verbal brevity, allowing the audience to remain focused on one point at a time. Instead of packing all the information into one slide, spread them evenly across a few slides to avoid distracting or confusing the audience. If you have a lot of information and data that needs to be shared with the audience, prepare a separate set of documents for them to review, or send out the slides with greater detail after the presentation.

4. More Images, Less Text

If someone tells you about a giant chicken crossing a road, in your head, would you think of an animal walking against traffic, or the words itself? Chances are, you’ll conjure an image in your head, as ridiculous as it sounds.

There’s a reason for that. As humans, we generally prefer visuals over text — in fact, the combination of a great visual accompanied by a short list of brief bullet points increases the chances of information making it to long-term memory. Be sure to use only high-quality images as they are the ones that will help you make an impression on the audience. Either resize or replace images that are too small or they might become overly stretched-out.

5. Use the Great Alignment Feature

Properly aligning your images, texts, and anything else that is on your slide instantly makes it look neater and more professional. While manually aligning everything is an option, our aim here is to get the deck done in the shortest amount of time. Here’s where PowerPoint helps you out; there is an amazing feature that effortlessly makes the magic happen.

To align multiple objects:

  1. Select all objects by holding down ‘Shift’ and clicking on all of them.
  2. Select ‘Arrange’ in the top options bar, then choose ‘Align or Distribute’.
  3. Choose whichever alignment works best for you.

That wasn’t hard, was it? Keep this little trick with you, especially if you can’t stand having slide elements just slightly off-centre.

6. Know the Power of Colors

Colors are amazing, and they can do wonders to a presentation. Studies have shown that colors can not only increase interest, but also improve learning comprehension and retention rate. Cool colors (such as blue and green) are better suited to be used for the background as they have the illusion of fading away from us, whereas warm colors (such as orange and red) are better used for objects in the foreground as they appear to be coming toward us. Good PowerPoint presentations make use of colors effectively to achieve various outcomes, such as highlighting messages or ideas that the audience needs to focus on, or pushing less relevant data into the background.

While it is exciting to play with different combinations of colors on a slide, for simplicity, keep it to a maximum of three colors; one for your background, one for your text, and one to highlight any important information.

7. Remember the 2/4/8 Rule

If you’re worried about content and how it should be placed or split up, a simple way to remember is the 2/4/8 rule from Hugh Culver:

  • No more than one slide every 2 minutes
  • No more than 4 bullets per slide
  • No more than 8 words per bullet

This is not a rigid system; if your presentation is only 5 minutes, having only one slide every 2 minutes might not be enough. You’ll need to trust your instincts and modify accordingly, keeping in mind that brevity is key.

8. Use Charts

Data is beautiful, but not when it’s squeezed into a slide that forces your audience to rack their brains in an attempt to comprehend it. If data is a necessity in your presentation, extract only the necessary information and display these numbers in graphic form instead. It is essential to choose the right kind of charts for your data, as different charts bring across different messages.

Look, data can be beautiful too! =)

  • Pie Charts. They are mainly used to present percentages. Contrast the most important slice either with a conflicting colour or by separating it from the rest of the slices.
  • Vertical Bar Charts. They can effectively reflect changes in quantity of two groups (or more) over time, but it is ideal to limit the bars to not more than 8.
  • Horizontal Bar Charts. They are best used for comparison between different groups.
  • Line Charts. They are used to reflect actual trends, or predict possible trends.

9. Organize Your Slides

The slide sorter function often goes ignored, but in fact, it is extremely useful in organizing the entire flow of your presentation and helping you look out for any extraneous information that might be removed to improve the overall clarity. Take a step back and run through your slides as you would from someone who is seeing it all for the first time. Process all the content being fed as your harshest critic—focus on coming up with the best and most logical flow and remove anything that might prove distracting or unnecessary in helping you understand a certain point.

In a generation so highly dependent on the use of technology, it is crucial that we understand the rules of the playing field and are able to manipulate technology well enough to suit our needs. These simple hacks are what you need to create a powerful presentation quickly and effectively. Just remember:

  1. It’s All About the Design
  2. Customize Your Theme
  3. Conciseness is Key
  4. More Images, Less Text
  5. Use the Great Alignment Feature
  6. Know the Power of Colors
  7. Remember the 2/4/8 Rule
  8. Use Charts
  9. Organize Your Slides

With all these in mind, you’re good to go. Have fun creating your slides!

How to Compress PowerPoint Presentations in 2019 : The Complete Guide For Mac and Windows

Imagine this – it’s late at night and you’re finishing up your last few slides for your big presentation tomorrow. You’ve done your final check and your pitch deck is all ready to be sent out. You are finally satisfied with how it looks and click the send button.

To your horror, the email bounces back.

Why? Large attachments are one of the most common causes for bounced emails that never reach their intended recipient. These huge files can cause difficulties in sending out emails or even online uploading in a tense, urgent situation. Especially in corporate organizations, email filters tend to block large attachments for security’s sake. More than 80% of the time, the cause of the file-bulk are the large images that you insert in PowerPoint or your export format of choice.

“But… if I don’t include images, my presentation is going to look boring and ugly”

You’re not wrong there. We encourage our clients and even presentation skills training learners to use more visuals and images in their presentations. If you still want to include some images to ensure your presentation design looks great, what do you do? Worse, in plenty of PowerPoint training courses in the market, few actually teach you different ways to compress your PowerPoint files before sending as an attachment via email or only cover it on Windows or OSX.

Fear not, here’s how you can reduce the size of your PowerPoint file and save space.

This also ensures that your presentation/PowerPoint files reach their intended recipient.

How to Compress PowerPoint (.PPT) Files On Apple OSX Machines

If you own a Mac but still need to use PowerPoint for work, you’re in luck. There are a few ways of compressing PowerPoint files to fit your file limit in organisations with email filters so you won’t need to use file-sharing services like DropBox or Wetransfer.

HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX

Method One : Compressing All photos on PowerPoint

More often than not, PowerPoint balloons in size because of the high-resolution stock photography that you might include in your presentation. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to quickly compress these files across the whole file or singular files in PowerPoint.

How To Compress All Photos/Images On PowerPoint

Step 1: On the file menu, click “reduce compress pictures”
Step 2: Select your compression size according to the table”

Unless you’re intending to print the PowerPoint file, you shouldn’t have photos sized at 220ppi. We’ve found that the best setting in most cases is 150ppi – such that it preserves minimal quality for use. If you’re really in the need of smaller sizes, using 96ppi is your last resort.

Step 3: Select ‘Delete Cropped Area’
Step 4: Choose “all pictures in this file” and Click “Ok” ‘

You’ll have the option to either compress all images or only selected ones. If you have critical images that cannot be downsampled, choose the latter.

HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX

Method Two : Using Picture Format

A more surgical selection of which pictures you’d like to resize in your PowerPoint Presentation. Do note that this is, in fact, the same method of compressing the images but gives you more control as to which photos you want to compress and leave the ones you don’t want to in higher resolution.

How To Compress PowerPoint using picture format

1. Select the “Picture Format” tab when selecting one or a few images

compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

2. Click on the Adjust button
compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

3. Select Compress Pictures
compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

4. Select your compression size according to the table
compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

5. Select “delete cropped area”
compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

6. Choose “all pictures in this file”

7. Click “Ok”
compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

Alternatively, if you wish to be selective about the photos being compressed, PowerPoint provides another option to compress only specific images. Under steps 4 and 6 respectively, you will be able to choose between the option of all pictures or just a selective few. However, if you wish to retain the size of the slides and still send it to people, you can consider zipping the file. Most of the time, people choose this option in order to keep the resolution at its highest without compromising it.

HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX

Method Three : Compressing Images Before Inserting into PowerPoint To Preserve Small Size

A more surgical selection of which pictures you’d like to resize in your PowerPoint Presentation. Do note that this is, in fact, the same method of compressing the images but gives you more control as to which photos you want to compress and leave the ones you don’t want to in higher resolution.

Image Compression Method 1: Reduce the size of images losslessly using browser applications

Tools like Tinyjpeg, Tinypng and Smallpdf are great to reduce the size of your files without installing any additional applications on your machine.

Image Compression Method 2: Optimize the dimensions of your presentation images before inserting into PowerPoint

This step is most commonly overlooked by most executives simply because it’s pretty tedious. It involves ‘pre-cropping’ the images you plan to insert into your presentation even before you try any of the methods before this. a) The first step is to determine the max dimensions of your slide. You can do this by accessing the ‘slide size’ in the ‘design’ tab.

compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

b) Enter ‘Page Setup’ when navigating into ‘Slide Size’ to identify the dimensions of each slide. If you’re using any of the typical slide dimensions like Standard (4:3) or Widescreen (16:9), typically the safe dimension is 1024px x 768px and 1280px 720px respectively. c) The very next step is to start cropping the images to fit within the slide dimensions. For example, if your image is 3000px x 2000px, cropping it down to size will save you a lot of space. Using sites like https://imageresize.org/, you can quickly resize images to fit your slide canvas. At the same time, if you’re using raster editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can easily reduce the dimensions of your images before saving. Otherwise, site-based tools work too.

HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX

Method Four : Zipping Up Files To Compress Size Of PowerPoint

This method is best performed at the end and works regardless of whether you actually compressed the images prior or not. It doesn’t do much other than reduce the size of the single file or a combination of files in a .zip package to send via email.

How To Compress PowerPoint by zipping the file

Step 1: Right-click on selected PowerPoint file and select ‘Compress’
Step 2: You should see a ‘.zip’ file created in the location

Just like that, your file archive is ready to be sent out! Not a Mac user? Fret not! While we do most of our work on MacBooks, we occasionally use other laptops under the Windows operating system as well. For Windows users, the way to reduce file size for Powerpoint presentations can be a little different but follow the steps below and you’re on your way.

How to Compress PowerPoint Files (.PPT) On Windows OS Machines

PowerPoint was developed originally mainly for Windows users – it’s no surprise that many Windows users are also looking to compress their presentations and may run into brick walls during the process.

HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON WINDOWS OS

Method One : Compress Images In Picture Format

The approach here to compress your PowerPoint file is very similar to the way it’s done in Mac where you can compress all the images in PowerPoint files with just a few clicks.

How To Compress windows powerpoint using picture format

1. Select an image or picture in the slides

2. Click the Picture Tools tab on the top ribbon

compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

3. Next, select the Format tab

4. Under the adjust segment, click on the Compress icon

compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

5. Select your preferred compression size

compressing powerpoint, reducing file size, compress ppt

6. Select “delete cropped area”

7. Choose “all pictures in this file”

8. Click “Ok”

That’s it! Notice the big difference in size? Now, you’ll be able to send out the emails without worrying about large attachments bogging you down. These handy ways to cut down on file size have been a lifesaver for us at work, and we surely hope they’ll be helpful for you as well. Let us know if you have discovered other methods in the comments section below!

30 Presentation Tips For Winning Presentations

Ever found yourself looking for ways to enhance your presentation skills for your upcoming pitch?

This presentation of yours may either be the deal maker or breaker! You wouldn’t want to lose this opportunity to work with a potential client, would you?

According to a Prezi survey, 70% of employed Americans who deliver presentations agree that presentation skills are beneficial in helping them ace their presentations and succeed at work. However, the fear of presenting is still very real amongst everyone, no matter whether you’re presenting to a small group of people or a really large one. This fear tends to affect the way you present, resulting in a presentation delivered below your own expectation.

Delivering a good presentation is no easy task, but it is definitely not an impossible one. In this article, we have prepared 30 presentation tips to help you ace your presentation. From presentation design, delivery of speech to preparing yourself before a big presentation, these tips have got you covered.

1. Arrive early

It is best to arrive early before a presentation so as to prepare yourself for the big show. This is because anything can happen – planning your journey to arrive on the dot will only spell trouble. What if the train breaks down? Or if there is a jam because of an accident? We cannot afford to take risks. So, come early. It’ll give you time to settle down and get prepared.

2. Adjust to your Surroundings

The faster you get adjusted to the environment you’ll be presenting in, the more comfortable you’ll feel. If possible, get access the room you’ll be delivering your presentation in as early as you can. It’s best to practice with the microphone, test the lighting and get an idea of what the room’s seating layout looks like.

3. Calm your nerves

Many people get nervous before presentations due to stage fright. Sometimes, it’s because they set high expectations for themselves, to the point that they are afraid that they won’t be able to meet them. But, one thing you should know is that getting nervous before a presentation is absolutely normal, even for seasoned speakers like Abraham Lincoln. Therefore, fear should never be avoided but faced instead.

Here are some things you can do to calm your nerves:

  • Meditate – Focus on the result that you would like to achieve at the end of the presentation
  • Chew gum – Research has shown that the act of chewing gum will help one become more alert and it also helps to reduce anxiety
  • Take slow and deep breaths – It helps to clear the mind which helps calm your nerves.

4. Drink water

According to experts, anxiety may cause certain individuals to feel thirsty right before they are about to present. Reason for this is because anxiety may either take water away from your mouth to send it to the other areas of your body that need it more or it could have increased the acids in your stomach, contributing to a loss of saliva.

To prevent all that, avoid sugary beverages and caffeine as they only make you feel thirstier. This will only amplify your anxiety,  and can prevent you from speaking smoothly.

Instead, ensure you are well hydrated by drinking a glass of water. Lemon juice will often do the trick as well as it helps lubricate the throat.

However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

5. Exercise

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world.  What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” ~ Bob Proctor

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognise it in others as well. So if your body and mind are anxious, your audience will know. Hence, it’s important to prep yourself before the big show so that you come up on stage confident, collected and ready.

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and send oxygen to the brain. This results in increased muscle efficiency, improved reaction time and movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

  • Neck and Shoulder Rolls
  • Arm Stretches
  • Waist Twists
  • Forward Stretches

6. Don’t Fight the Fear; Turn Your Nervous Energy into Enthusiasm

Nervous energy is good and exactly what we need for our presentation. But how? How does feeling like your heart is about to jump out of your chest or feeling cold sweat and/or anxiety a great feeling to have?

The brain perceives stress the same way, whether that stress is physical or psychological. With stress comes nervous energy, which according to research helps us to perform at our optimum and helps improve our memory. This stress is good and it helps stimulate us. Channel this energy focused on your nerves and insecurities to what truly matters more.

Focus this energy on how passionate you are for what you’re about to speak. Use this energy to project a confident and strong voice. Use it to impact your audience.

And when you do, you’ll realise you didn’t feel as nervous as you thought you would.

7. Use Positive Visualisation

Studies have proven that positive visualisation is effective in helping calm your nerves. Also known as mindfulness, it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness teaches people to observe their own behavior and thought process without judgment. It makes people acknowledge their feelings and thoughts before letting all these insecurities and reservations go. Naturally, that’ll make us focus on our strengths and positive energy as a result.

Start by imagining a positive outcome to a scenario in your mind. Do not think about possible negative scenarios. With mindfulness, the reality is more likely to play out the way you envisioned.

8. Take deep breaths

A study has shown that deep breathing can help change the state of our minds. This is because it helps increases the supply of oxygen to our brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Breathing also helps you feel connected to your body by bringing your awareness away from your worries and hushing the self-doubt in your mind.

9. Put yourself in the audience’s shoes

Have you ever been to a presentation and felt that the presenter wasn’t really capturing your attention? Chances are, there could be a lack of interaction between him or her and us, the audience.

It’s important that we look from a different perspective when presenting so that we’ll be able to understand how the audience may be feeling or thinking. Always ask yourself: Will the audience be interested to hear this? Is my content easy to understand?

Not only will this help you think the way they – the audience – do, it’ll make you ensure what you’re presenting is engaging and relatable to them. This ensures your audience leaves the room learning something new and charmed, ready to attend your next presentation.

10. Practice

If you think it’s normal for everyone to be confident before a presentation, then think again. Finding someone who is naturally talented when it comes to public speaking is as rare as a blue moon. Few individuals can walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation. Yet many people seem to have the misconception that it is possible to do so. Even speakers like Steve Jobs spend hours rehearsing for their presentations before delivering their presentation – why shouldn’t you?

It’s not only about what you say, but how you say it. Like any other skill, presentations require practice in order for you to nail the delivery and execution. Not only will this help you become more comfortable when presenting, it also helps you improve as a presenter. The result? Presenting becomes less daunting over time and you become much more confident.

11. Make use of body language

Body language is one of the most important characteristics needed to interact with your audience during presentations. Actress Mae West once said: “I speak two languages, Body and English.”

Body language, which includes hand gestures and facial expressions, is commonly used by presenters, maybe sometimes subconsciously, to place emphasis on certain points. It can also help to communicate your points to the audience more effectively, show your confidence and make you look and feel more comfortable.

However, do not use it excessively as it will become a source of distraction for your audience, and it will ultimately conflict your message.

12. Move around

The stage is all yours during a presentation.

Imagine if you were listening to a presentation in which the speaker positions himself/herself at the same spot throughout the whole presentation. How would you feel? Like most of the audience, you will probably be bored and lose focus after a while.

It is best to make use of the space given to you as it adds energy and variation to your presentation. Furthermore, it makes you look more confident and relaxed.

Here are a few ways in which you can do it:

  • Key message – When you are delivering your key message, it is best to position yourself at the center of the stage where you are the closest to the audience. Centre stage is also the position where you will probably get the most attention from the audience.
  • Use a staged timeline – Where a story involves the passage of time like past, present, and future, you can imagine a timeline moving across the stage with the progression of time. For example, when you are speaking about the past, position yourself at the left side of the stage, present – in the middle, and future – on the right. Remember to position the spot representing the past to the audiences’ left, not yours! That way, they can better relate to the story that you are speaking about.

13. Smile

Smiles are contagious!

According to experts, your facial expressions have the ability to influence your emotions and those of others around you as well. Make sure you smile as it naturally creates a higher frequency of sound in your mouth, changing the overall tone of your voice. Due to the human instinct of mirroring, it also will likely make others smile along with you which then improves the mood of everyone in general. With that being said, it’s important to smile genuinely. A forced smile makes you look confused and frustrated.

14. Breathe in not out

Do you feel the urge to use ‘um’, ‘yeah’ or ‘you know’ during your presentations? These words are very distracting and may also kill your presentation. Try breathing in whenever you feel like you’re going to say something. The pause may seem a little awkward, but the audience probably wouldn’t even notice this.

15. Eye Contact

Always keep in mind that the audience is one of the most important parts of a presentation. Without an audience interested to hear what you are saying, there wouldn’t be any reason for you to give a presentation at all. Try to make your audience feel significant by maintaining eye contact with them throughout the presentation.

By maintaining eye contact, not only will you keep the audience engaged, but you will also look more confident and authoritative.

If you find it difficult to maintain eye contact with your audience, here’s a tip. Instead of looking straight into their eyes, you can either look at their nose or forehead! Either way, it will look as though you are maintaining eye contact with your audience.

16. Looking Confident

Have you heard of the phrase ‘Fake it till you make it’?

There are really only two types of presenters – one that lies and another type that’s just really nervous.

Confidence is an important trait that every presenter should have. This is because the audience is able to determine how prepared the presenter is through their level of confidence. Being confident will not only help you boost your own morale, it will also give you credibility as a presenter as you speak to your audience.

17. Project Your Voice

Voice projection is very important, especially during presentations as it dictates how powerful your voice is. It isn’t just about speaking loudly, but also confidently and distinctly. If you speak loudly, people often view you as a confident person with a strong personality. This is why it is important to project your voice, because how your audience view you may also affect your credibility as a speaker.

Another reason for voice projection is to get your message across to the audience. Make sure your audience can hear and understand what you are saying, if not there might may be a chance that they will lose interest in your presentation.

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

18. Engage with your audience

We all know that it is important to engage with your audience during presentations, especially if it is going to be a lengthy one. This way, you’ll be able to capture their attention and make the presentation a more enjoyable one for your audience and yourself. Simple acts like asking a question and getting them to raise their hands to respond are great way to engage with them and also to ensure that they are still awake and listening to you.

Sometimes, you do not need your audience to perform any actions to engage them. Just your words and your tone can get their attention – if it’s done right. Connect on a personal level by sharing stories. Use the right tone when you are speaking depending on the type of presentation you are going to deliver, and also to place emphasis on words that need to be emphasized.

19. Never read from your slides

PowerPoint slides should accentuate your points; they should never be the point. Your audience should be able to instantly scan through the slides instead of having to spend time reading them in detail. In addition, you’ll definitely lose their attention if you read from your slides. Instead, try to either present with prompts on your slides, or cue cards as reference in case you forget your points.

20. The power of repetition

Most of the audience probably hears and remembers only half the things you are saying. The solution to this is to repeat and reinforce the key points. First, state and explain the point. Next, provide the audience with examples of how the points can be applied and finally conclude by providing actions that they can carry out based on the point.

Since no one probably remembers everything you say, make use of the power of repetition to create a bigger impact on the audience.

21. Use of pauses

Pauses are like verbal punctuation.

Imagine this. You are attending a presentation and the speaker starts off by saying, “Hello everyone! How are you guys doing?”, and the next thing you know, he is already going through the outline of the presentation. How would you feel? It doesn’t seem genuine right?

Pauses are very important as it helps to pace your delivery. Pauses work well when you are trying to emphasize a key point as it provides the audience with time to absorb and process what you have said.

While you’re at it, be sure to make eye contact with your audience to reinforce your point, leaving your audience hungry for more.

As much as pauses are a need for a presentation, avoid overusing them as it will slow down your pace and also make you look less confident.

22. Tell stories

Michael Margolis once said this, “Storytelling is about connecting to other people and helping people to see what you see.”

You see, business presentations don’t always have to start with stating numbers and facts. Instead, you should adopt a different approach by using stories to connect with your audience while leading them on to the points and concepts that you will be speaking about later in the presentation.

Stories can be useful in a sense that they allow your audience to have a vision of what your presentation is about. That being said, although the ability to tell your story is essential, it is also important to select the right story as it can capture or lose the audience’s attention. Your story also plays a big part in helping the audience understand your concepts better and it may also connect with the audience on a personal level!

23. Use pictures

It is good to have pictures in your PowerPoint slides as they can help to reinforce your key points. On top of that, it also adds color to your presentation to make it more attractive and pleasing to the eye rather than just black and white slides filled with words.

However, not every image is suitable for every slide! You can’t possibly have pictures of cartoons when you are presenting to your investors right?

So here’s a tip for you when you are looking for pictures for your slides:

  1. Choose pictures that are related to your points so that it is easier for the audience to understand and relate to what you are talking about.
  2. Avoid using blurry or pixelated photos as they look unprofessional
  3. Avoid stretching your photos! Do you notice that your photos will be out of proportion after stretching them? A solution is to crop your photos so that they remain proportionate.
  4. Use royalty free pictures to avoid watermarks on your photos as they also convey a lack of professionalism. Here are a few websites which you can get royalty free images from – pixabay.com, pexels.com and freepik.com

 24. Keep it simple

Keep your presentations simple. Don’t flood your audience with too many numbers and facts because at the end of the day, will they really remember everything you said?

What is the key message for your audience to take away? Key message should be focused and communicated across very briefly, and of course, it’s best to support it with evidence. However, if what you are planning to say is not related to your point, they shouldn’t say it. This is because you may lead your audience to a different direction which then defeats the purpose of having the presentation.

25. Use animations

Animation is an important feature which you can use to produce an effective presentation. It is also a good way to capture the attention of your audiences because they will be able to anticipate something. Animations, such as pulse, can help to emphasize certain points of your presentation. Also, animations can help to clearly show the flow of content of the presentation when used within a slide. Here’s an example, when presenting a series of milestones, animations can come in useful in showing the flow of content. But, if you have a particularly busy slide, it is recommended to use exit animations when appropriate to remove the clutter from your slides.

However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Animations are good to have, however, if they are necessary, don’t use it. Don’t overuse them either! Having too many animations will not only distract the audience, but it can overshadow the main point of your presentation!

26. Don’t overrun

Have you ever sat in a presentation wondering when it will end? Well, I’m sure we all have. Always remember to keep within the time limit of your presentation or if possible, end earlier and allow the audience to clarify their doubts through Q&A sessions. It is important to respect the audience’s time. Try your best not to overrun the presentation as the audience will eventually lose interest and wonder when it will end. Be flexible during presentations and be prepared for any unexpected situations to arise.

27. Summarise the key points after the presentation

How much do you actually remember after a 30-minute presentation?

There is a high chance that your audience will not remember everything you said during the presentation so do your audience a favour by summarising the key points when you are concluding your presentation. It serves two main purposes, a recap of the presentation that you have delivered and to ensure that your main points are well communicated to your audiences.

28. Accept constructive feedback and apply it in the future

Always practice before your actual presentation, and if possible, practice in front of your peers as they can be of great help by giving you constructive feedback. With this feedback, you will be able to understand what your strengths and shortcomings are so you can make improvements. Accept these feedback as an opportunity for you to work towards your goals.

29. Attend other presentations and observe

A trick to finding out how to improve your presentations is to attend presentations by other speakers themselves. This is because you can observe and take note of what you should and should not do to be a better presenter. Not only that, it helps to show respect for other presenters and also gives you the opportunity to observe how presentations are delivered – helping you gain the perspective of the audience.

30. Join Toastmasters

Toastmasters Clubs helps individuals enhance their presentation skills and allow others to seek guidance to combat their fear of speaking to a large audience. Individuals from different walks of life gather to develop their presentation skills in front of an audience so they can receive constructive feedback which can be applied to further improve and polish their skills. Not only will Toastmasters provide a platform for you to practice, you will also be able to pick up some tips and tricks from the experts at Toastmasters!

Use these 30 proven presentation tips to help you ace your presentation. Don’t miss the opportunity to apply these for your next big pitch and let us know in the comments if it worked for you.

6 Great Ways to Follow Up With Sales Prospects

So you’ve just put on a killer presentation that completely wows your audience or prospect. Time to go home and bask in the glow of a job well done, right? Well, no—not if you want your audience members to take action. You’ve connected with a group of prospective clients, colleagues, donors or volunteers; now it’s time to reconnect with them and seal the deal.

Following up with your prospect is actually something you should consider well before your presentation begins. Form a plan for how you plan to reach out and reconnect with them; this will give you a much better chance to persuade them towards an action.

Afterall, not everyone will be ready to buy from the get-go, most people need to be nurtured before they’ll be willing to buy what you sell. There are numerous sales techniques you could use to boost your closing rate, but ones specific to following up will help you secure those meetings for them to take the next step.

Here are some simple techniques you should keep in mind:

1.Exchange business cards

Before you end your presentation and walk out of the room, it’s important to give the prospect your business card. This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but with the advent of social media and other digital communications, many people take print media for granted.

You never want to be short of these handy references when you’re out and about at networking events and after speaking at conferences. Most of the time, conference attendees will be on the lookout for the speaker they just saw on stage sharing industry insights and will want to personally connect for further discussion after the conference is over.

Any business card is better than none at all, but if you’re going to invest resources into creating cards for your brand, make sure they have a design that stands out. Recipients are much more likely to hold on to a card with an unusual shape or design.

2.Create a video

An email is a fast and convenient way to reconnect with audience members after a sales presentation. But if you want to make a solid impression, you should do more than send a standard “just following up” message.

One creative technique you can use is creating a YouTube video (or a series of videos) related to the topic of your presentation and the action that you want recipients to take. Well executed corporate videos offer you an opportunity to demonstrate your product or service in a more visual way. You can even include taped testimonials from some of your other clients to provide social proof.

A video doesn’t need to be expertly produced in a professional studio with a green screen or elaborate set pieces. With the right editing and talent, just speaking into a camera and providing a few visual aids is often enough to leave a positive impression and motivate your audiences to take the next step. Just be sure to communicate clearly and concisely; few people will want to sit through a video that’s hours long rambling on the same thing.

3.Mail a handwritten letter

If you do nothing else to follow up after a sales presentation, you can also try to send a handwritten letter to your audience members. It’s one of the best things you can do to establish a personal connection. We’ve had success with this by sending outreach letters on special occasions like Chinese New Year or Christmas. These help to open doors to further communication with the clients.

If you can, avoid creating a single generic form letter that you send to everyone. Try to personalise it as much as possible; include a specific detail about your addressee (such as the type of work they do). We’ve found that printing envelopes or custom designed cards and including handwritten messages tend to get the best responses.

Some manufacturers like Company Folders let you customise envelopes and cards so that you can deliver cards that are on-brand and well-received by prospects.

4.Write an e-book

Even if you’re not strictly in the literature business, writing an e-book related to your industry is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and reinforce your value to potential clients. Provide your presentation audience members with a free copy of that book via an opt-in sequence so that they can refer to valuable reference of the knowledge shared in their own time and you’ll get access to information to reach out to them again.

Writing an e-book doesn’t need to be a daunting task; you don’t even necessarily need to perform a bunch of new research. Consider creating an e-book version of your sales presentation design. This shouldn’t just be a direct transcript; written mediums are different from spoken ones, so this will likely require a bit of editing to adapt. Make sure your information flows in a way that is logical and easy to read.

5.Give a gift

Sending audience members of your sales presentations a promotional gift isn’t always an option. In fact, certain companies have very strict rules about what they can and can’t accept as gifts. If your recipient does allow for it, though, sending a printed keychain or magnet that features your logo and/or contact information isn’t a bad idea. These are less likely to get thrown out than business cards because they have a practical, tangible utility.

Gifts shouldn’t be treated like a bribe; don’t try to butter people up with something extravagant. Instead, think of it as a means of connecting emotionally and helping them to more easily remember your brand agency.

exchange business cards - ways to reconnect with sales prospects

6.Respond to questions

If anyone asks questions during your sales presentation (particularly ones you’re not fully prepared to answer), make note of them and the people who asked them. Later, you can email them with a detailed response. This helps establish trust and demonstrates to people that you care enough to pay personal attention, ensuring that they’re fully informed.

If you still aren’t certain how to answer a question (even after performing some research), refer the audience member to someone who’s more equipped to help. Even though you couldn’t assist them directly, prospects will remember that you put in the time to try and help them.

When you want to attract clients to a business or community members to a brand, “love ‘em and leave ‘em” isn’t a strategy that will work. Following up with your audience members is all about building a relationship—letting people know that you have more to offer them well beyond what you’ve already shared.

To summarise, here are 5 great ways to reconnect with your audiences via follow-ups after your presentation is over:

  1. Exchange business Cards
  2. Create a video
  3. Mail a hand-written letter
  4. Write an e-book
  5. Give a gift
  6. Respond to queries

Do you have other ideas for sales follow ups with audience members after a presentation? Share your ideas in the comments below!

 

3 Public Speaking Tips Every Presenter Must Know

When it comes to public speaking, even the most confident-looking individuals may stumble when faced with a sizable audience. When provided with a powerful platform for sharing messages and ideas, it can be tricky to deliver an excellent performance without losing your nerve. This is why politicians, industry experts, and various performers have allocated a good portion of their lives to acquire the necessary skills to excel in this endeavor.

There are several factors that come into play when speaking to the public: you have to be mindful of how you present yourself; the content of your speech; and how you relay your message. You have to take on a calculative approach while preparing because it will affect you far longer than the time you’re on stage. Improving your skills in public speaking skills can help in generating more awareness for your organization or cause after your engagement is over.

To assist you in preparing for this daunting task, here are three fundamental public speaking tips to knock your next speech out of the park:

Prioritize preparation

public speaking tip: preparing structure, design and story for your speech

Structure, Design, and Stories

Always trust your instincts if you think you’re not 100% prepared. Preparation is key when it comes to public speaking as it allows you to organize your content properly, as well as make it more impactful.

Taking more time to prepare will allow you to add enlightening elements by including personal elements like anecdotes, stories and also let you work on your presentation design. It’s also advisable to watch videos of public speaking professionals on stage to see how they’ve performed and/or how they were able to craft their speeches.

The first stage of preparation is to get into the right mental state where you’ve done the work to build the foundation of your upcoming speech with your stories, slides and the outcome you want to achieve.

Don’t memorize, internalize the delivery

It’s said that the best presenters don’t memorize their speech. Instead, you want to familiarize yourself with the overall structure of the presentation and rather than recite the words verbatim, seek to be conversational.

Intently familiarizing yourself with your content as well as the underlying ideas behind it will lead you to have an easier time in conveying your message in a way that’s authentic and natural.

Try to talk through the presentation out loud and fill in the blanks without memorizing your script, you’ll find that you’re comfortable to even present it without presentation slides or holding a script because the story tends to come out more naturally in speech.

Study your audience

public speaking tip: know your audience before giving your presentation

Part of succeeding in public speaking is making sure that your talk is relevant to the audience.
For example: Speaking to a group of executives about that latest video game will leave your message falling flat even before you’ve truly started to connect.

Create a general evaluation of the demographic present for your speech to reach out to them in the right way.

Level of comprehension

Speaking at a high-level to a novice audience and on a basic level for a technically erudite audience is a public speaking sin you’d want to avoid.

Try to get a hint of the general populace of the audience you’re speaking to and how knowledgeable they are. Are you speaking to senior executives or ones that just joined the company? Are you talking to subject matter experts or sales people that are on the ground?

Different audiences call for different tones and words that you choose to use.

Consider Culture

When presenting in a foreign country, you’d want to pay attention to any cultural differences to avoid a faux pas. Consider if the references you want to make are appropriate or offensive, consider whether the way you’re dressing is well accepted in those communities too.

These considerations will also affect whether you deliver your presentation using a more formal approach or try to adopt a more comedic and lighthearted style of delivery.

Here’s a video of Seth Godin speaking at the Gel Conference with a touch of humor. When speaking to an audience of creatives and marketers, this can be considered apt. If it was an event with a more serious tone or in a conservative society Japan, for instance, this style might not be so appropriate.

Reference Industry Terms

A great way to quickly build rapport and authority with audiences is when you use words that they use in their line of work.

Making your presentation relevant to their every day is a public speaking technique to be adhered to. Spending a little extra time to do a quick Google search to pick up on industry buzzwords and happenings can quickly help you establish common ground with a skeptical audience.

People appreciate it when speakers actually take them into account when preparing for the speech. No matter how hard you may try, the likelihood is that audiences will instantly know if you are insufficiently or altogether unfamiliar with the type of people you’re speaking to.

As general as your topic might be, it’s always better to study your audience first before speaking to them to leave a better impression.

Present an engaging personality

 

obama when public speaking tips

Regardless of the kind of audience you have, however, there is one thing that they always want – an engaging speaker. Even though you’re speaking in public, many people might prefer someone who speaks as if they’re in a private or intimate conversation. A connection is vital in effectively conveying your message, which is your sole objective at the end of the day.

You’re putting forth your own words and methodologies to be absorbed by people who might not be familiar with them. If you don’t share these in an engaging way, you’re setting up yourself for failure.

Take into account your vocal tone, body language, facial expressions, and timing when preparing for a speech. Even simple gestures can significantly contribute to your presentation.

To illustrate, some hand gestures include: placing it on your chest to emphasize an emotional point; showing a number through your fingers after saying it; and using both hands to represent two separate groups. Subtle cues such as these help your audience to keep track of the presentation not only mentally, but visually as well.

Amy Cuddy shares about the power of positive body language and gestures in her widely-acclaimed TED talk:

In addition, you always have to be the first to put in a lot of energy, which is a big ask in a room of anything more than a hundred people. Otherwise, your audience probably won’t have any enthusiasm left to listen until you finish. By doing all of this, you can bridge the divide between you and your listeners. It can also compel them to ask questions at the end, or even try to make your acquaintance once you step off the stage.

Here’s an example of Tony Robbins commanding the stage as one man with a boundless well of energy, notice his exaggerated hand gestures that come in useful when working with a large audience:

Without a doubt, an engaging personality can take you much further in public speaking when managed properly.

Your first foray into public speaking can be nerve-wracking. The best way to circumvent the nervousness is to consistently seek out more public speaking opportunities and perfect your process of preparation. Some of the best presenters of our time still admit to being nervous before their presentations, but they’ve learned to harness that energy to do an even better job!

To summarize, here are the three big public speaking tips that you need to know to boost your next speech:

  1. Prioritize preparation time to garner your public speaking ammunition in the form of stories, visuals, and delivery ability
  2. Study your audiences intimately to ensure you provide relevant content they want to hear about
  3. Present an engaging personality that people want to connect with better hand gestures and energy

Did you enjoy those public speaking tips? Let us know what else you’d like to see in the comments.

Clicker Review: Logitech Spotlight Wireless Presenter

Say hello to a whole new method of doing your presentation with Logitech Spotlight wireless presenter. Unlike your traditional laser pointer, this new technology allows you to highlight your key points with a “spotlight” that highlights an area of emphasis on your screen. The buttons are perfectly positioned for use, so you’ll never have to experience the anxiety of fumbling with an awkwardly positioned button on your wireless presenter. Everything about this pointer spells sleekness, minimalism and ergonomic design.

Naturally, at the office, we’re all ecstatic about getting to try it as presentation professionals. But with a hefty price tag, is it worth it?

Well, here is our official HighSpark review:

When I first held it, I couldn’t help but notice how light and simple it was. With only three buttons and a USB dongle inserted at one end, the Logitech Spotlight does away with distracting switches, panels and buttons characteristic of other pointers and presenter remotes in the market.The lightweight pointer measures only 0.48 x 1.10 x 1.59 in. and is portable enough to be taken anywhere for any presentation. It also comes in three different colours – black, silver and gold. The smooth, brushed metal surface was reminiscent of the time I first held my Macbook in my arms. The remote feels sturdy enough that it won’t spoil if you drop it during use and light enough that it won’t tire the presenter out.

Charging the presenter remote

This remote can hold a really mean charge. On a one-minute charge, the Logitech Spotlight presenter remote can last for up to 3-hours! It works with any universal micro-USB charging wire so if you’re on Android, you can use the same wire! There’s a jack right below the presenter remote that allows you to fit your wires into the sleek body of the remote without any need to change batteries every time it runs out of juice. The only gripe I had with this is because the wire insertion point is buried deep into the base of the remote – it’s a little cumbersome to insert the charger wire inside the body.

Setting Up The Logitech Spotlight Presenter

Setting up was a no-brainer. To link up your laptop with the pointer, simply download the app from the official website, insert the dongle and you’re good to go. The Logitech Spotlight can be connected to both laptops and mobile phones via Bluetooth or USB Type C. For some extra help on using the pointer, an intuitive tutorial is available to guide you through the process of setting up and mastering all its functions. That being said, previous editions of Logitech’s presenter remotes don’t require special software. So if you’re not keen on installing the plugin before using the remote, this presenter remote might not be for you.

Wireless Presenter Functions

Once the initial setup is done, the fun begins. The new Logitech Spotlight takes pride in the level of customization made available to its users and puts the ‘fun’ in ‘functional’. You now have the power to decide the controls of the three buttons – the pointer, next button and back button.

Customize Keystrokes

The Spotlight’s app provides multiple customization options to create that perfect user experience. For example, holding on to the next button could lead you to a blank screen, volume control or even a customized keystroke. By eliminating extra actions needed to achieve certain results, it brings you closer to a seamless presentation.

Spotlight

Just like its name suggests, the Logitech Spotlight’s star feature is its spotlight function. This function enables you to draws your audience’s attention to a specific area of focus using a round “spotlight” against a darkened background. Now, you are able to bring your viewers through your presentation and highlight important points without losing their focus. With the help of the app, you are also able to customize the spotlight’s features to include coloured highlights, or even magnify information within the area of focus. Depending on your personal preference and the type of presentation you’re giving, you can afford to make some quick customizations to make the pointer cursor fit your own style.

Timer

In addition to the spotlight function, the pointer also comes with a timer – a lifesaver for all presenters who find it challenging to keep an eye on the clock during their presentations. Not only will the device count down the remaining time you have for your presentation, it can also send you a vibration alert when the time is almost up. All the alerts can be adjusted through the app to ensure that you never overrun your presentations again.

Using Logitech Spotlight at Work

 

My colleague and I decided to give the Logitech Spotlight a go at our presentation design workshop for DBS Bank a couple of weeks ago. During the workshop, we covered multiple topics, from graphs to typography, and the pointer definitely helped in bringing across the highlighted information more powerfully. Unsurprisingly, the Spotlight remote stole the show – our participants were impressed by the technology and many approached us with queries on how they could get their hands on one as well. Being presenters themselves, problems such as getting the audience to focus on key points or needing to zoom into specific data were familiar challenges they had to deal with for almost every presentation. With the Logitech Spotlight, these problems can easily be solved without too much work.

We also had our sales trainer David King test it out during his latest sales training course too! Naturally, he found it to be a breath of fresh air versus conventional wireless presenter remotes.

david using logitech spotlight wireless presenter

That said, the only drawback was that he had to take a good 10 minutes to download the plugin, install the software and get up to speed on how to use the remote for the first time. After that, it was smooth sailing!

Overall Thoughts On The Spotlight Presenter Remote

Using the pointer has been a breeze so far. For my first presentation, I glided through with minimal time wastage and barely any technical trouble when using the remote. Plus, the Logitech Spotlight is also compatible with most types of presentation software, including PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi and even Google Slides, which makes it a handy tool for most presenters, including myself as I like to dabble with different software.

However, at the price of $128, the Logitech Spotlight can be considered to be a little pricey as compared to other pointers available in the market. If you are a student or an occasional presenter, this might not be the best option for you if you’re on a budget. But if you’re a public speaker or sales professional who depends on delivering effective and powerful presentations it for a living, I would say it is a pretty good investment in your business. After all, the Logitech Spotlight’s ease of use and high functionality makes it the perfect companion for any presenter looking to achieve a seamless, impressive presentation.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s great about the Logitech Spotlight Presenter Remote:

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Durable and great to hold
  • Very useful proprietary highlight function that increases the effectiveness of your presentations
  • Vibrates when time is almost up
  • Ability to customize keystrokes to the buttons
  • No-frills design to avoid any fumbling during your presentations
  • Really great battery life and no need for AAA batteries
  • Works on numerous types of software

Cons:

  • Need to install software before use
  • It’s a little pricey
  • Switching between functions is a tad bit difficult with a single function
  • Vibration takes awhile to get used to.
  • Highlight function might be distracting if over-used
  • Charging point is a little too deep into the remote that makes it hard to insert the USB

 

logitech spotlight wireless presenter high-res shot with dslr with bokeh

Did you manage to get a chance to try the remote? How did you find it? Leave us a comment!