Save Us From Ugly PowerPoint Slides

How can you change this ugly PowerPoint typical bar chart slide ...

...into this simple and more visual pleasing PowerPoint slide?

Notice that the second slide is more visually pleasing. It's also much easier to understand the key point - that Australia leads the world in this study.

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Five Habits of Highly Effective Public Speakers

You can consistently deliver more effective presentations if you develop the habits of highly effective speakers. Success is a matter of habit.

Clear Purpose
Start your presentation with the end in mind. The only reason to speak is to move people. So start preparing by thinking about this question. What do you want people to think, feel or do after you speak? Keep that purpose top of mind as you prepare and deliver your presentation.

Don’t wing your presentation or hope to think on your feet. That’s a formula for disaster. Instead consider the mind set of your audience. Design your presentation. Rehearse it. Arrive early to check out the room. Be prepared to cut it short or deal with interruptions. Rehearse dealing with difficult questions.

Open & Close
There are three parts of your presentation – the opening, the body and the close. They are not equal in time but each is important. Many speakers make the mistake of only focusing on the body. The opening of your presentation needs to grab the attention of your audience, establish rapport and set the direction. The close is the last thing you say and hence might be the strongest thing they remember. Ensure that it reinforces your message and what you want them to do next.

Nervous and novice speakers are afraid of silence. Yet, silence is your friend. You don’t persuade anyone by speaking constantly, rapidly and louder. You persuade them by saying something poignant then pausing while they absorb and consider your words. The more often and longer that you pause the more confident you will appear and the more comfortable they will feel with your ideas.

The most important point is that your presentation should not feel like a pitch or a lecture. If you come across that way people will tune you out and resent you. So, how do you make your presentation feel more like a conversation? Do the things that you enjoy in a friendly conversation. That will include some of the techniques above – telling stories, pausing and making friendly eye contact. Here’s one more technique to have the conversation – ask questions of the group and listen without judging. Also punctuate your presentation with rhetorical questions to repeatedly engage their minds.

We are creatures of habit. You can be more successful when presenting by following these habits of highly effective speakers.

© George Torok is The Speech Coach for Executives and the author of the Superior Presentations program. He coaches executives and trains business professionals to deliver million dollar presentations. Discover free tips and presentation resources at Arrange for personal speech coaching or a training program by calling 905-335-1997 Find more presentation ideas at the blog

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This Should Work, I think, maybe

Just imagine how your client or prospect might feel if you preface your big promise with the word “should”.

If you were on the receiving end of a sales pitch that included the qualifying statement “it should work” – would you buy?

Not me. That’s for sure. When I hear the word “should” from an expert, I immediately gather my valuables and retreat as a quickly as possible.

That word in a sales presentation means that the expert is not certain and is NOT taking responsibility for his product, advice or mistakes.

There is a place for the word should – but not in the big promise of your sales presentation. The big promise is the main benefit that you are offering. If it’s so shaky that it’s only worthy of “it should work” it’s not a convincing benefit.

If you are giving advice you can include the word “should”. If you want healthy teeth you should brush and floss every day.

See the difference. Use the word “should” in a logic statement. If you want B you should do A.

If you want to build a good relationship with your clients you should not lie. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. If you want to sell a product or concept you should not use the word “should” when presenting your “big promise”.

If A doesn’t always lead to B then you might qualify with these type of statements:

“Our clients have achieved an 85% success rate.”

“When maintained correctly this equipment lasts 20 years.”

“When you follow our process we guarantee success.”

If you feel compelled to insert the word “should” into your sales presentation, you might need to change your job and sell something else.

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