Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Superior Presentations Tip #77: What’s the purpose of your presentation?




What’s the purpose of your presentation?

Presentations fail when the presenter doesn’t understand the real purpose.

Presenters have told me that their plan was to speak for 30 minutes, cover all the material or represent their company. Some confessed that their goal was to deliver their message, prove their point or receive a standing ovation. Executives and managers said that they needed to report the latest numbers, update the board or bring everyone up to date.

Each of those is a poor description of the presentation purpose. Why? Because those are speaker focused. And if you define success based on the speaker and not the audience the presentation will almost always fail.

You must define your presentation success in terms of the audience. The only valid reason to speak – especially in business – is to move your audience. Every presentation is a step in advancing the group.

Here is the critical question you must ask yourself before every presentation:

What do you want people to think, feel or do after your presentation?

Design, deliver and evaluate your presentation on the answer to that question.

The real purpose of speaking is to move people. If you moved them in the direction you intended your presentation was successful. The level of success is determined by how many moved and how far they moved.

If all you did was cover the material, the presentation was for you and not the audience. That makes it a failure.

Perhaps you want:

Front line staff to adopt a different approach with customers
Association members to volunteer for committees
Investors to contribute more funds
Shoppers to buy
Voters to support you

Be clear about your purpose and be able to state it clearly so everything you do contributes to your success.

The purpose of speaking is not to speak; it’s to move people.

Design, deliver and measure the success of your presentation based on what you want people to think, feel or do.

 

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Questions about questions in your presentation



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Thursday, May 29, 2014

SP Tip 76: Transform Boring Into Exciting

Boring into exciting presentation 

How to transform boring material into an exciting presentation

My topic is boring so I can’t help but be boring. Have you heard a speaker utter that excuse? Have you used it?

The evening before his presentation to a conference of entrepreneurs a speaker confessed to me that his presentation would be boring because it was a boring topic. He sighed that it wasn’t his fault.

So I asked him, “What benefit can they hope to gain or what pain might they avoid by listening to your presentation?”

“They’ll learn how to take advantage of some free business development programs that have demonstrated a track record of success.”

“Wow! How could that be boring?”

“Well, there are a lot of details that relate to the application process.”

“What’s the purpose of your presentation?”

“We want people to express their interest in the program so we can help them apply.”

“So why bore them with the details about the process? Instead tell them about the benefits of the program. Offer a success story from a previous applicant. Remind them that’s its free to participate. Deal with the details later – after they’ve expressed their interest and are ready for the details.”

He looked at me with that ah-ha look on his face. Then a small smile followed by a slight grimace as he stated, “I have to revise my presentation tonight.”

After his presentation the next day he beamed as he announced to me that he had obtained sign-ups from more than 80% of the audience. That response was more than double his expectations.

He told me that he was up late the night before completely overhauling his presentation.  Speaking to the interests of the audience made him feel more comfortable and more excited about his presentation.

His presentation wasn’t boring and it was successful because he spoke to the interests of the audience. He didn’t waste time trying to cover all the information.

People don’t care about the details until they’re convinced that they want the product or service.



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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Superior Presentations 75: The Most Striking PowerPoint Slide to Include in Every PowerPoint Presentation

 


If you use PowerPoint slides to accompany your presentation, you might like this powerful technique to distinguish your talk from the ocean of PowerPoint presentations. You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create this slide.

This is such a simple technique that many presenters overlook it. That’s one reason you will stand out when you use it.

Use a blank (blacked-out) slide at critical moments.

 
Here are three ways to use this technique
 
Start your presentation with a blank screen

Set up your computer and projector before your presentation.  Check your slides for size and focus on the screen then blank the screen. 

You start your presentation standing in the middle of the stage talking to your audience. That is most powerful position and often that is dominated by the screen which forces the presenter off to the side in a less significant position.

With the screen blank there is no distracting slide stealing attention from your opening words.

This means that the first impression that people have of your presentation is you. This gives you the opportunity to connect directly with your audience. This first impression helps to establish rapport and trust. A title slide will never do that.

After your opening you move to the side and click for your first real slide.

Blank the screen during your presentation

During your presentation there will be points when you want to reconnect with your audience by removing the distraction of the slides. You simply blank the screen and move to center stage to talk with them. This will often feel like an intimate moment to your audience.

Do this when reinforcing an important point or answering questions. This technique allows the audience to focus on you and your words.

End with a blank screen

The close to your presentation is important because it’s the last thing they hear. It’s your opportunity to reinforce your key message. It’s your last chance to build on the human connection. The best way to do that is with you speaking to them from center stage while delivering your closing words.

Before you close tell the audience that you are wrapping up with your closing message. Blank the screen and move to center stage. Then deliver your close.

 
How do you blank the screen?

Here are three ways

Click the “B” key. This is a PowerPoint shortcut. It’s a toggle so you simply hit it again to display the slide.

Use the blackout button on the remote. Most remotes have this feature. Hit it again to display the slide.

Insert a black slide in your PowerPoint presentation so it becomes part of your slide sequence. If you provide copies of your slides to the audience you probably want to exclude this slide from those handouts.

The words that you deliver with the screen blank will tend to have more credibility because you will appear to be more intimate with your audience.


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Superior Presentations 74: Tell Colorful Stories Because...



Tell Colorful Stories

Stories in your presentation can paint pictures in the minds of your audience and connect emotionally.

Notice the visuals in this story and feel the emotional connection.

At the age of seven my son, Chris, started playing mini soccer. The field was tiny to accommodate the youngsters' short legs, stamina and attention span. The goal posts were fluorescent orange pylons set about five feet apart. The kids hadn't grasped teamwork so they clustered around the ball like bees around a flower as the ball rolled aimlessly around the field. You almost never saw the ball but you knew it was inside that moving cluster.

At one game you can imagine my pride and excitement when I noticed my son, Chris standing downfield in position to shoot on goal. Incredibly the ball escaped the cluster and rolled lazily towards Chris. I excitedly jumped up and down on the sidelines yelling, "Chris, get the ball! Chris, shoot the ball!" He moved awkwardly towards the ball then stopped. He ignored the ball and my sideline antics. Instead he stared up in the sky in a catatonic state. Incredibly, every player on the field also stopped running and did the same. My curiosity overcame my frustration and I looked up along with every parent on the sidelines. I half expected to see the alien mother ship hovering over the field. Instead there was the most perfect rainbow I've ever seen. It curved from one horizon to the other. The bands were vibrant in all their colors from red through to violet.

The referee knew when to admit a losing battle. He blew his whistle and announced, "Time out. One minute to look at the rainbow." A minute later he blew the whistle again and called, "Play on." The game resumed. I don't remember if Chris scored a goal that game or who won. That seemed unimportant after the rainbow.

What did you see while reading that story? Notice how the words in the story can plant vivid images in your mind.

Did you see the rainbow?

Did you see me jumping on the sidelines?

Did you see the cluster of children following the soccer ball?

You don't need slides to convey images. You can do it with colorful stories.

What did you feel?

Did you feel both my excitement and frustration as a parent?

Did you feel the beauty of the rainbow moment?

Did you feel as if you were there?

An effective story conveys images and emotion. Those are the two most important senses to reach your audience. They also make it easier for people to remember your message.

Inject more color and emotion to your stories.


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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

This Annoys Intelligent People



Do NOT start your presentation with this trashy opening, “How is EVERYBODY today?” After the audience responds the speaker yells, “I can’t HEAR you!”

It’s insincere, manipulative and offensive.

The old “motivational speakers” used to do this (some still do) and it was corny then. It’s even more offensive today.

If you want to connect with your audience treat them with respect. Just imagine having coffee with a friend. He asks, “How are you today?” After you answer he prods you with, “IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO?”

Join the US Marines and they demand that you yell everything – “YES SIR”

If you want to connect with people – treat them like equals – not marine recruits for your drill sergeant.





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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Back in Five Minutes – a lie?




This message on a post-it note was stuck on the office door. What does it really mean?

A few thoughts that went through my mind were:

Five minutes from when?

Why is this person so vague?

How long has this note been on the door?

Why not post the time of your return?

Was this note for the benefit of the reader or the writer?

Was this note posted to be helpful or to provide an excuse?

Does this mean “at least five minutes”?

Does this five-minute promise resemble the same truth (lie) as the statement “just a sec”?

Has this note been there since yesterday – or longer?

What can this person possibly accomplish in five minutes?

Is this person a liar and what other lies has he told?


See what a vague message might trigger in the minds of your audience?




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