“ Yours is a Very Bad Hotel” is an infamously popular PowerPoint presentation created by two displeased businessmen who visited a hotel and received terrible service. They created a PowerPoint years back describing their experience and it went completely viral on the internet. That’s where this title comes from; it’s a play of words off of that. This presentation isn’t meant to replace your presentation style, only add to it. We all have different styles, and some of what I’ve presented to you may not fit, that’s okay, take the parts that do and make your style better.
The topics covered in this presentation. ----The tangibles, that which you can touch, see and feel. ----The intangibles, those you don’t necessarily touch that play a part. ----Unique situations that occur in presentations.
If anyone tells you that you have to “do #% of XYZ and you’ll have a stellar presentation,” they don’t know what they are saying. While there are things that help transform your presentation into something spectacular, there is no set procedure as to what this looks like, only guidelines and opinions based on prior experience. ~~~~Be creative~~~~ Use your creativity! Whether you know it or not, you are “selling” whatever you are presenting. Don’t be afraid to innovate, some of the best presentations I’ve seen have included very unique presentation elements that straight-lipped business people would frown upon. Not everything will work, but add it to your list of “what to do” and “what not to do” for each audience you encounter. ~~~~Be interesting~~~~ Try to be as interesting as possible. If you have a boring subject, your supplements, whether they be visual or verbal in nature will be of tremendous help. However, if you know yourself well enough to know you aren’t an interesting speaker, no worries, we can deal with that too. ~~~~Audiences aren’t robots~~~~ Your audience, no matter who they are, are people, not robots! They have feelings, thoughts, emotions, enjoy life, make mistakes, and can be persuaded just like everyone else. Remember this the next time someone tries to impose a rulebook when dealing with fancy suited CEO’s. However, this doesn’t mean you do not put some research into your audience and what works when dealing with them. ~~~~YOU are presenting!~~~~ Always remember, YOU are presenting! Your visual aids are an extension of your presentation, they should not BECOME your presentation.
~~~~Visual Aids~~~~ Visual aids are very powerful and can be the difference between success, mediocrity, or failure.
PowerPoint is an effective visual aid. Simple, clean, understandable. Although it isn’t required to make your presentation great, it definitely boosts your “score”. It can be as little or as much (within reason) as you want. That being said, many people make huge mistakes with PowerPoints. ~~~~Structure~~~~ For those of you who require a set rule or structure to things, there are two useful structures for PowerPoints you could potentially use. The first is slide per idea. All this means is that each slide conveys a different idea. The second is slide per bullet. Each bullet represents a different idea, and expands on each bullet point. The difference between the two can be a little confusing when you think about it. To determine which your PowerPoint is, ask yourself this question: Am I separating my “Topics Covered” presentation points into individual slides, or individual bullet points? This presentation is slide per idea. You can tell by seeing that my “Topics Covered” bullet points have their own slides. You don’t have to create your own individual slide for each bullet point in “Topics Covered” as I did here, but it felt like the right thing to do this time around. Your bullet points in “Topics Covered” as slide titles is good enough. There really is no guidance on which you should use. I custom build my presentations using loose guidelines and methods that will enhance the current presentation I’m doing. Use only one or a combination of both … whichever fits your style, presentation theme, or just feels like a better fit. Your presentation should flow as much as possible, otherwise it will be awkward. ~~~~Slides~~~~ Your slide title is an attention getter, and later in the presentation it will act as a much needed hook to keep their attention. Don’t worry about your slide title not making complete sense to your audience as they read it. Remember when I said your presentation revolves around you? You’re about to cover the topic. By the end of the slide what you say to your audience will show the relevance, even if it’s just a play on words like this slide is (“Power Your Point” being a play of words on PowerPoint). I would caution you about putting this random slide title in your introductory “Topics Covered” section, or it may legitimately confuse your audience because too much time will pass between your audience’s exposure to the phrase and when they see its relevance (again, I use the term relevance loosely). See how I preceded the “Power Your Point” slide with “Visual Aids”? Visual Aids is what I put in “Topics Covered”, that way the audience could have a reference as to where I am in my presentation, and can keep their bearings. Subpoints explaining the main point are free game to be modified at your discretion. Make your title something unique, you shouldn’t just label is as “PowerPoint” or something mundane. SOOOO many people create these long bullet points, effectively creating a wall of text. This is not a good idea, at all. Usually I see these same people reading straight off of what everyone else can read for themselves. Your audience should never ever be able to just up and read everything you are presenting to them. You’re honestly useless when you do that. Your bullet points serve two functions: a reminder to you and a summary for them. Punctuation is minimal. You don’t need periods or constant capitalization, except the first word in each bullet and your slide title. Your slide title should capitalize all words except little ones like “a” “of” “the” “and”, etc. Finally, the icing on the cake … pictures! I make it a point to put pictures in nearly all of my slides. It’s a visual enhancer, adding that extra “ummph!” to your presentation. Do your best to not include pictures with words, but they can be tasteful at times. Your picture should be related to the topic you are covering. ~~~~Theme~~~~ Choose a design. Please, please, please, don’t use the black and white default. It’s a *facepalm* moment. PowerPoint software has built-in design templates and allows you to create your own. Most of your layouts will probably be the “Two Content”, where your bullet text is on the left, and the picture is on the right.
Here are some examples of good and bad slides. Constitution Quotes: This one is typical. Has a theme… okay, great. But it’s nothing but a wall of text. Bad. Thoughts on Kiwi (left side): Even though it has a picture and a good layout, there are complete sentences, as if the presenter was talking from the slide. No use for the presenter if the PowerPoint is doing the job for them. Audience will probably end up reading the slide more than paying attention to what is being said. The expanded text repeats what the presenter is likely to say, plus, we know to the right of the text is a picture, no need to say it. Not very good. Thoughts on Kiwi (right side): Easy. Simple. Bullet points are a concise summary of the talking points. Good use of picture. I’d use this slide. You might consider adding spaces in-between each main bullet point in order to make it seem fuller, but that’s to be used at your discretion.
These things can be useful to add to your presentation: ~~~~Props~~~~ Objects, things, exhibits Use conservatively, you don’t want this to end up being a re-enactment… unless that’s exactly what you intend it to be. ~~~~Gifts~~~~ Like candy, food, pens, etc. Give it either way before your presentation or after. If you give it right before your presentation or during they’ll be distracted. I saw one presenter give it during a presentation, but she did so while she had need to pause her presentation. Very clever! ~~~~People~~~~ Pick someone out at random in the audience, or your own teammates. Know what you want to do with them, otherwise you’re point will be probably be lost.
The way you come across, verbally and physically, has a positive or negative effect on your presentation.
Ever heard the expression, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” ? That applies to a presentation. ~~~~Voice inflection~~~~ Voice inflection is the alteration of your pitch and/or tone while you talk. It breathes personality into your presentation. Common methods of applying inflection are: elongating or shortening the word, lowering or raising the octave of your voice (referred to as the verbal highs and lows), and saying it off beat with the rest of the sentence. There are tons of ways to apply voice inflection, one great link is (http://www.timelessteacherstuff.com/OtherLanguageMaterials/VoiceInflection.html) and video link is (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nXhAjuICTA). ~~~~Speed at which you talk~~~~ Don’t confuse this with voice inflection. I mention talk speed as it applies only to the rate at which the presentation is given. If you are a nervous presenter, understand that more than likely you’ll quickly talk through your presentation unless you properly control yourself. Talking too fast is the usual problem, although it is possible to talk too slowly. Talk as normally as you can. If it helps, think of your presentation more as a conversation. ~~~~Verbal crutch~~~~ A verbal crutch is that space between words that people feel the need to fill even if they don’t have anything to fill it with. They typically take the form of “uh”, “um”, “like”, “you know”, but can be anything you consistently use that doesn’t contribute to what you are saying. A verbal crutch only acts to unnecessarily complicate your presentation, and on top of it all, reduces your credibility by telling your audience you don’t have control over yourself. “ I like to go to the store and buy things”, has no verbal crutch. “I like to go to the, uh, store, and, you know, like, buy things,” has three verbal crutches-”uh”, “like”, and “you know”. The only thing they contribute to that sentence is confusion. ~~~~Verbal pauses~~~~ It’s okay to have silence, it may feel awkward or wrong to you, but it isn’t. Taking a moment to collect yourself is 100 times better than using a verbal crutch. You don’t have to be saying something all the time to give a great presentation. ~~~~Voice projection~~~~ This is by far one of the most important and lacking elements in my experience. Voice projection conveys how confident you are and determines if the audience can even understand what you are saying. Be loud, be heard. Don’t yell, unless the situation calls for it, but be louder than you would in a conversation. Odds are, you’ll be in a room of some sort, where sound has to travel further than your normal conversational distance. Sound diminishes as soon as it is spoken; so talk to the person in the back of the room. The word to subscribe to is force, apply some force to your voice. You may not even realize the dozens of problems you solve by establishing good voice projection. A better projected voice helps boost confidence, and it smashes through crutches and bad posture.
They call it body language for a reason, because the way you act speaks on its own as you present. ~~~~Gestures~~~~ These are so useful in enunciating your point, especially when using voice inflection. Gesture normally as you do in conversations, it should be a natural thing. It helps ease your audience, enticing them into the presentation as if you were talking straight to them one-on-one. A good consistent gesture you can use is pointing to the next bullet point you are expanding upon. If you are just starting out on this, point in conjunction with saying “my next point is _____” or “and now on to _____”, until you feel comfortable gesturing at the PowerPoint as you progress through the slide. Somewhat acting out what you say is also tasteful, for example, “Hibachi restaurant cooks cut up the food as they prepare it in front of you” could be accompanied with your acting as though you are slicing carrots across a cutting board. You don’t have to exaggerate the gesture, just instinctively do it. Keep in mind that, unless you do it on purpose, your presentation should not be a giant movie reel of your acting everything out. A good video is here: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APKqEoWsCI4) ~~~~Walking~~~~ The underdog of presentations, walking is often an afterthought and confused with pacing. You don’t want to pace, which is just mindless (and awkwardly) strutting back and forth as you talk. Nor do you want to walk fast, or march. It’s a slow movement, as you talk. Use this conservatively. A good example: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9m2FLHlEwA about 1:00). ~~~~Body Language~~~~ Many people also have distracting body language. Whether it be clapping, snapping fingers, twirling pencils, bouncing up and down, or leaning over your podium (if you have one), all of it takes away from your presentation. If you know that you can’t naturally gesture and will only end up distracting your audience, here is an easy fix. Place your hands behind your back and join them together. Kind of like a military parade rest, except not as rigid. This is a defensive stance, useful in very formal presentations, but can be used in any kind of presentation to eliminate hand distractions and firmly root you in the ground. Have your body facing the audience! Don’t turn your body so that you’re half looking at the PowerPoint screen, half engaged with the audience. Have your body squarely and solely focused on them, only briefly turning your body to the screen as you gesture towards it. Overall, you want an erect posture. Head up, eyes straight, chest out, back straight, shoulders back and down. As you talk, scan the room. Don’t fixate on one person, and don’t focus on one-half of the room. Look at your entire audience, the front and the back ~~~~Eye Contact~~~~ Some presenters are guilty of staring at one person for the majority of the presentation. This makes things weird for all involved, including the rest of your audience. Others stare at their PowerPoint, or look at the wall on the opposite end of the room. Your presentation is a conversation, and you should look at those you are talking to. By “look at those you are talking to,” I mean looking into their eyes. I suggest doing this one of two ways: look at one person at a time, or slowly roll from one person to the next. In looking at one person at a time, you pick a person to “talk to” for about a second or two, then pick another person. This has the “square feel” to it, as your movements are more deliberate, moving from point to point (person to person). In rolling from one person to another, your eyes slide across each audience member’s eyes as your head continually moves across the audience’s row. You probably shouldn’t slide your eyes too slowly; you’ll get caught staring at someone and your head will not be able to continually turn. Your eyes shouldn’t meet any one person’s eyes for more than two seconds. This has the “round feel,” as your movements are more fluid, head never stopping as your eyes roll from person to person. The difference between the two suggestions can best be described by a geometry graph. The “square feel” represents a dotted-line graph, each dot representing the person you “talk to.” The “round feel” represents a straight line graph, the focus being on the consistency from beginning to end. You can incorporate both, experiment and see what works for you.
The more you can keep your audience’s attention the more successful your presentation will be. ~~~~Research~~~~ Knowing who your audience is before you give your presentation can be a bonus. You can cater your lingo, jokes, examples, and even body language to match their culture. ~~~~Participation~~~~ Use your audience! Ask them questions, challenge them, and even pull some as voluntary participants. The more lively your presentation the better. You don’t have to necessarily know the person to interact with them during your presentation. An easy way to “break the ice” is ask your new participant his or her name, then continue with incorporating them into your presentation. Or you could gesture to an audience member and say, “You sir/ma’am,” and ask your question or whatever it is. When gesturing, don’t point at them, this alienates your new participant and makes them feel put in the spotlight. You want to keep your presentation warm and welcoming. Instead, present an open hand to them. To understand how this looks, extend your arm straight out, turn your hand so your palm is facing up, space your fingers slightly from one another as if giving an invitation. For you dancer’s out there, it’s the same as offering your hand when you ask someone to dance. Please thank them when they finish doing/answering whatever you want them to do/answer.. ~~~~Rhetorical~~~~ This deserves a bullet point of its own. Rhetorical questions ask a question without intending the audience to answer. This is usually followed by you as the presenter answering the question you just asked. These types of questions get your audiences thinking, without interrupting your presentation. However, don’t go overboard with this. Asking a giant amount of these types of questions will get your audience going down mental rabbit holes, completely withdrawing from your presentation.
Your introduction and conclusion sets the mood and determines the ending thought your audience has before their response is given (usually in the form of clapping, don’t take this for granted). You have control over this, please use it to your advantage. ~~~~Hail~~~~ Your introduction. Please smile. By the end of your “hail”, you want them to be able to answer the following questions: Who are you? What are you presenting? What should I know at the end of your presentation? The last question is very frequently left out. Usually, unless the presentation was completely clear-cut, the audience is left trying to figure out by themselves what they should have gotten out of it. You don’t want them to be doing that. You want to focus that into something you control. Just tell them up front what they should know by the end of the presentation, it will set the mood. ~~~~Farewell~~~~ Your conclusion. Announce “in conclusion” or something similar, so that they know you are at the end. When it comes time for your conclusion, rehash the “Topics Covered”, summarize those key points. Cement yourself, solidify your position… give them that killer closing line… end on a good note. There’s a hundred ways to say it, in the end, leave them with something to remember you by. I sometimes end with a simple quote, somewhat related to what I presented (which I do at the end of this PowerPoint). Other times I display a funny picture, and end with a catch phrase. I either go for a laugh or a “wow, that’s cool” ending note. Finally, thank them for their time. They listened to you, even if they had to. Thank them for their time. And that’s the end of your presentation.
Speeches aren’t always these perfect glamorous things. There are situations you may find yourself in where you can’t give a PowerPoint, or you only have one minute to prepare, or the topic is so dull you don’t know what to do with it. I’d be a fool if I didn’t warn you of the possibility, and give you potential responses available to you. These responses are far from comprehensive. Like I said in the beginning of this PowerPoint, be creative!
~~~~Boring topics~~~~ You get a boring topic to cover. It’s bound to happen to you at some point in your presenting career. While what you say isn’t cool, the rest of your PowerPoint can be. ~~~~Rely on supplementals~~~~ Give them the necessary information and add more to your supplementals (everything else). All these supplementals are designed to enhance your presentation and keep the audience’s interest, so ratcheting it up should yield better results. Better pictures, more participation, though-provoking questions … you’re effectively trying to drag your presentation’s feet through the mud, and the mud is the topic. Just do your best.
(Improv Everywhere is a reference to the famous group that does seemingly random and completely awesome group improvisation activities around the United States.) ~~~~Impromptu Speeches~~~~ They don’t have to be formal impromptu speeches to be impromptu. I once walked by an officer talking to a group, the officer randomly asked me a question to help clear up something. When I answered his question, he realized that I knew about the topic he was covering, and asked if I could explain the topic more to the group. Boom. Impromptu speech off the cuff. They are often random and you probably won’t have the time to think of everything you would normally want to say. This is okay! You give more impromptu speeches than you probably realize. Here are some tips… ~~~~Take a moment~~~~ You want a minute of preparation if you can manage it. Whether you can get it or not, don’t jump right into it, even if the crowd in front of you is waiting for you to start. Take at least 10 seconds to gather your thoughts. If you feel this may create an awkward situation, tell your audience that you are collecting your thoughts, there’s nothing wrong with that at all! ~~~~Structured by heart~~~~ Ever heard of “muscle memory”? It’s when you practice something so many times your body instantly reacts. You can apply muscle memory to impromptu speeches, so that when you have to give one, all you need to worry about it filling in the blanks. It may seem a silly concept to you right now, but give this a real shot and you’ll see the benefit of having it. Your mind won’t have to grasp for how to give the impromptu speech in addition to everything else, all it will be doing is figuring out what to say. When you get your mind going in that rhythm, you’ll be calmer, more confident, and your mind will open up more as you formulate your response. Believe me when I say, you don’t want to be grasping for everything at once when put in the spotlight, especially when some of it can be taken care of beforehand. This structure can apply to any impromptu speech. Please feel free to develop your own structure, whatever helps you most. The below is what I use and it has helped me a lot. Mine has three parts to it, the intro, three points, and a conclusion. ----Introduction. “Good morning/afternoon/evening, my name is [my name], and today I will be briefing/talking to you about [my topic]. I will be going over how it is [point a], [point b], and [point c].” ----Three main points. “The first thing is [explain point a]. [Transition into point b]. [Explain point b]. [Transition into point c]. [Explain point c].” Do I always have three points? No, but I shoot for three and expand as much as I can on each (given your time limit, if applicable). Transitioning can be simple or complex, simple in that it could be as easy as “now this leads me into my next point…” or “now on to my 2 nd /3 rd point…” ----Conclusion. Always have a conclusion, even if things went terribly wrong, end it on your terms. “In conclusion, today I talked about [my topic]. I explained how it was [point a], [point b], and [point c]. “This concludes my briefing, have a great day.” ---OR--- “Thank you for your time, have a great day.” When it comes to my automatic impromptu structure, whenever I have to give an impromptu speech I look to just fill in the blanks as much as I can. It has saved me so much time, allowing me to only focus on what I want to say, not how I want to say it. Solidify your structure, get it ingrained in your mind so that you instantly have it ready when you have need to give an impromptu speech. Take a moment to collect yourself, a minute if you can, before giving the speech. All other things mentioned in the intangibles section applies and would greatly enhance your impromptu presentation.
(Wrong turn at Albuquerque is a reference to Bugs Bunny). ~~~~Something went wrong~~~~ Somewhere… while you were talking, you forgot what your point was, or you said the wrong thing, or you stammered and froze. It happens, I’ve done it numerous times. Here’s how to deal with it. First off, no one is perfect, understand that. Just because you may be a strong speaker doesn’t mean you don’t froth at the mouth before you speak; it just means you push through it and appear calm. That’s great! But not everyone can muscle through fears and brush aside mistakes so easily. Regardless, it’s time for you to deal with the here and now. As you make more mistakes (and we all do), you’ll learn some pretty cool ways to deal with them as you present. Here are some I’ve found to be helpful: ~~~~You forgot your point~~~~ ----Read your point out loud. Hopefully this will jog your memory, if not… move on! ----Skip the point. Sure, the audience will wonder about it, but its better than sitting there wondering about it yourself, holding up the presentation. You could use transitions such as “Moving on” or “The next point it”… control the redirection if you feel the need. ----Make your audience laugh. No, I’m not talking about pulling an Ashley Simpson where you’re caught lip syncing and suddenly do the barn dance to bail yourself out. Terrible idea. Redirect more smoothly. I once gave a presentation and I got to a bullet point that I forgot the explanation to. So I read it out loud, couldn’t remember what to say, and just randomly said “Hmm…. I’m sure that was important.” To my surprise, the entire audience laughed, and I used the opportunity to move on to my next bullet point. I didn’t mean to say that last bit, it just came out, but it gave me an opportunity to use to my advantage. ~~~~You said the wrong thing or stammered~~~~ Maybe you were talking too fast, maybe your mind just substituted different words. Nonetheless, you just explained your point wrong, or stuttered through the sentence. Never say, “I’m sorry”, or “Sorry”, those words should never come out of your mouth, unless you are in a very unique circumstance you deem necessary. Here are some other ways to deal with it: ----Say “Excuse me”, not “Sorry”, it makes you sound more in control, more like a presenter, and less like you need help. ----Say “Let me try that again”, or “I’m going to try that again”, then rephrase it correctly. ----Take a moment to collect yourself. It will feel more awkward to you than it will to the audience; so don’t let that get to you. Just focus on what you should’ve said, then say it. ~~~~You froze~~~~ ----Read your point out loud, and if you just did that and ended up freezing, skip or move on. ----Take a moment to collect yourself. ----Naturally ask your partner if they have anything to add on that particular point, as if it was part of the plan. If you have a partner, this will buy you time to think without throwing your partner under the bus. If they don’t have anything to add, and you can’t think of anything else, move on.
In conclusion, we talked about the tangibles of a presentation, the intangibles, and unique situations you may find yourself in. I hope you learned something. Again, this isn’t meant to replace your presentation style, only add to it. We all have different styles, and some of what I’ve presented to you may not fit, that’s okay. Take the parts that do and make your style better. That’s all this is!
A simple “quote on public speaking” Google search found this quote. “ A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” –Winston Churchill. A little lewd and crude? Sure, but it supports this PowerPoint to a “T”. If you have questions, contact me via email… email@example.com http://theorybee.com Thank you for viewing this presentation!
Be creative InnovateBe interesting Support yourself!Audiences aren’t robots Whether a General or CEOYOU are presenting! Not your PowerPoint
PowerPointStructure Slide per idea Bullet per idea Make it flow!Slides Interesting titles Brief bullet points Minimal punctuation PicturesTheme Choose a design “Two Content” layout
Props Objects, things, exhibits Use conservativelyGifts Candy, food, pens Give it way before or afterPeople Audience, teammates Know what you want to do
Voice inflection Pitch, toneSpeed at which you talk A conversational speedVerbal crutch No “uh”, “like”, “um”Verbal pauses Very useful, appropriateVoice projection! Be confident, be heard
Gestures Use them if you can Naturally act out bulletsWalking Slowly, natural Don’t pace or runBody language Up, straight, scan Don’t distractEye Contact Look at one at a time Roll from person to person
Research your audience Not required, but useful Adapt your speechParticipation Involve them Keeps interestRhetorical No intentional answer Thought-provoking Tame your use of this
Hail Greet audience Introduce yourself Tell them the end result What they should knowFarewell Summarize key points “Topics Covered” Give them your closing line Don’t abruptly end it Thank them for their time
Boring topics Bound to happen! Pick up the slack elsewhereRely on supplementals Visual Aids Voice inflection Participation Rhetorical
Impromptu Speeches Off the cuff, random Without warning No time to prepare!Take a moment Try for at least a minute Tell your audience “I’m collecting my thoughts”Structured by heart Intro Three points Conclusion
Something went wrong We all make mistakes Time to deal with it! You forgot your point Read out loud Skip Move on You spoke wrong Collect yourself “Excuse me” “Let me try that again” You froze Read point out loud Collect yourself Ask partner to add
The Tangibles PowerPoint Anything you can findThe Intangibles Verbiage Body language Audience Intro & ConclusionUnique Situations Boring topics Impromptu speeches When things go wrong
“A good speech should be like a womans skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest” ― Winston Churchillshane@theorybee.com