10 min guide: Present with punch! Avoid the 8 common mistakes


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Created by Anders Lindgren. Some of us love to give lectures. Others fear public speaking more than death. They are neither in contact with the audience nor themselves. They use PowerPoint as a crutch and limp nervously through their presentation. Not noticing that their audience are on the brink of being bored to death. Here is how to avoid the eight most common mistakes. To deliver presentation with power and punch, it is useful to be aware of the most common mistakes that even professional speakers make and how to avoid them.

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10 min guide: Present with punch! Avoid the 8 common mistakes

  1. 1. PRESENT withPUNCH! A guide by AndersLindgren Avoid the 8common presentation mistakes
  2. 2. Learn to present with power and punch 15/05/2016 2 Some of us love to give lectures Others fear public speaking more than death They are neither in contact with the audience nor themselves They use PowerPoint as a crutch and limp nervously through their presentation Not noticing that their audience are on the brink of being bored to death
  3. 3. The eight most common mistakes 15/05/2016 3 1. Too little connection with the audience 2. Too many irrelevant messages 3. Too many things on the screen 4. Too many bad slide designs 5. Too many boring headlines 6. Too many words 7. Too many fonts 8. No imagination Once you're aware of bad habits, you can take steps to break them
  4. 4. 15/05/2016 1. Too little connection with the audience Here’s how to engage your listeners 4
  5. 5. Never turn your back on the audience It is a cardinal sin. Let me repeat. Do not turn your back on the audience and read your slides. There is no quicker route to an audience that will ignore you. If you need notes, keep them in front of you.
  6. 6. Use emotions 15/05/2016 6 Konfidensielt Emotions are contagious: If you engage and connect with the audience, they will connect and engage with you.
  7. 7. Use eye-contact 15/05/2016 7 Konfidensielt It is your most powerful tool for influencing people. To connect with someone, simply meet their eyes. It is the same between you and audience. If you need to point at the slides behind you, do it in such a way that you maintain contact with the audience.
  8. 8. Use the power of your voice 15/05/2016 8 Konfidensielt It is the second most important tool you possess. Vary both the volume, depth, tone and speed. Pauses of silence can be very dramatic – use them. Variations in your voice help to create interest. Listening to a continuous flat tone works like a sleeping pill.
  9. 9. Read the audience 15/05/2016 9 Konfidensielt Their body language will show you if you have their interest or not. If you see they are ready for a break, take it. >50%of communication is non-verbal [1] 1. Source: Mehrabian, Albert (1981). Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN 0-534-00910-7.
  10. 10. Use stories and anecdotes Master the ancient art of storytelling. Learn to intertwine personal stories and anecdotes into your presentation. They are more captivating than any slide you can ever make.
  11. 11. 15/05/2016 2. Too many irrelevant messages Here’s how to create interest and be meaningful 11
  12. 12. People’s bullshit meters are hypersensitive 15/05/2016 12 We live in the age of information overload. There is just too much information for us to absorb. To cope, people’s bullshit meters have become hypersensitive. It takes them only ½ second to decide if something is relevant or not.
  13. 13. How do you arouse and keep people’s interest? 15/05/2016 13 There is one simple answer: BE RELEVANT Learn about their needs and wants. Relate the messages to their needs. Tell stories about real people. Especially people they can relate to, and do it in a personal, warm and human way.
  14. 14. 15/05/2016 14 “Personally relevant information which is communicated in a credible, clear, warm and human manner, is most effective.”
  15. 15. 15/05/2016 3. Too many things on the screen Here’s how to be crystal clear 15
  16. 16. Keep your slides simple 15/05/2016 16 Don’t let the slides get in your way. Focus on key points and facts. Too much information on the screen is difficult to process. If you have a complex Excel table put it in a handout or simplify the information.
  17. 17. 15/05/2016 17 Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful - John Maeda
  18. 18. 15/05/2016 4. Too many bad slide designs Here’s how to create stunning slides 18
  19. 19. No excuses for bad slides 15/05/2016 19 Audiences have little respect for presenters that lack design skills or don’t use resources to help them create better looking slides.
  20. 20. How do you create aesthetically pleasing slides? 15/05/2016 20 Apply the Rule of Thirds. It is a simplified version of Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio. It is used everywhere by artists and designers. If you look closely , you will also discover it everywhere in nature.
  21. 21. There are two key points to the Rule of Thirds 15/05/2016 21 1. Make the slide appear dynamic by placing your main subject close to the four powerpoints. 2. Avoid placing subjects in the center rectangle – it tend to make the slide uninteresting.
  22. 22. Applying the “Rule of Thirds” 15/05/2016 22 Notice how the picture and the text avoid the middle and centre rectangle. Subjects and text are placed directly on or in proximity of the powerpoints. Most cameras come equipped with a grid system based on the Rule of Thirds to help you compose better pictures.
  23. 23. Applying the “Rule of Thirds” 15/05/2016 23 Subjects placed exactly in the middle often make a layout look less dynamic and uninteresting. Placing subjects by any of the four powerpoints simply improves the dynamics of the slide layout.
  24. 24. Applying the “Rule of Thirds” 15/05/2016 24 Subjects, figures and points are placed directly on powerpoints to create a dynamic layout
  25. 25. Copy them into your presentation to test if your slides fulfills the “Rule of Thirds” Ready made Grid 15/05/2016 25 Try to place subjects at one of these four circles. Avoid the center rectangle
  26. 26. Learn to work with images 15/05/2016 26 The crop-function in PowerPoint is especially useful. Use it to trim and remove unwanted portions of pictures or isolate a specific part.
  27. 27. Stay away from animations, clipart or cartoons 15/05/2016 27 Only use simple slide transitions such as cut or fade. Animations distract attention and should be avoided. Avoid using generic clipart. It will make your presentation look outdated. Do not use cartoons for jokes – they’re fun, but can easily be misunderstood.
  28. 28. 15/05/2016 5. Too many boring headlines Here’s how to write headlines that get’s the point across 28
  29. 29. Shy away from the common boring headlines 15/05/2016 29 They don’t help your audience understand your slides and get your key messages.
  30. 30. Say what you want to say in the headline 15/05/2016 30 People should be able to get all key messages by just reading the headlines. They should provide people with the highlights of your messages. If you follow this fundamental rule your ideas will come across so clearly, that they almost jump off the slide. WEAK STRONG
  31. 31. Take the “Filter Test” used by professionals 15/05/2016 31 Go through your presentation and pretend you can’t read or see anything except for your headlines as shown here. Where you able to get the main ideas and messages? If not, rewrite the headlines. Try to make them fit on one line.
  32. 32. 6. Too many words 15/05/2016 32 Here’s how to wow them with fewer words
  33. 33. Here is a typical blah blah slide 15/05/2016 33 The goal of a presentation is communicate effectively with an audience in whatever means is appropriate for the situation. If your slides look like this, you are abusing Powerpoint, because your are changing a speech to a reading exercise. Audiences will read this as soon as it appears on the screen. Because audiences can’t read and listen at the same time, they will read the slide first and then come back to listening to you. Because you’re still on bullet number one and your audience has read the entire thing, the need for you as a presenter is gone. You’ll never catch up what your audience already knows by reading ahead.
  34. 34. Each slide should have one main point 15/05/2016 34 Make it even stronger by stating it in the headline. Use images to reinforce your main point. But only use images that are relevant.
  35. 35. If you must use bullets, follow the 6 x 6 rule 15/05/2016 35 1. That means six bullet points 2. And six words pr. bullet 3. No need to write all you want to say 4. Your slides are not your notes 5. Try to write about 36 words 6. This text is 36 words
  36. 36. The best slides have no bullets – only pictures 15/05/2016 36
  37. 37. 7. Too many fonts Here’s how to get the fonts working for you 15/05/2016 37
  38. 38. Mixing too many fonts is distracting 15/05/2016 38 It makes it difficult for the audience to process. Stick with only one font family. For instance Ariel. In general stick to two variations of the font, like Arial and Ariel Bold. Use a third font for emphasis. For instance Ariel (in blue). Use a third font for:
  39. 39. Using too small point size 15/05/2016 39 Use large font sizes. For instance: Point size 24, 18 and 16. Use bold and italics sparingly. Never use shadows. 12 point size is not readable
  40. 40. 8. No imagination 15/05/2016 40 Here’s how to really captivate your audience
  41. 41. Break the rules 15/05/2016 41 But to break the rules with grace, you must first master them.
  42. 42. Do something unexpected 15/05/2016 42 Never be a slave to your slides or notes. Break up the talk by utilizing other visuals or tools. Walk to a different part of the room. Use a whiteboard and draw something Do something that people will remember Usually it is something completely unexpected
  43. 43. To sum it all up 15/05/2016 43 Use emotions, eye-contact and your voice. Talk about their interest, less about yours. Use the “Rule of Thirds” in your design. Use the “Filter Test” for headlines. Keep your slides simple. Stick to one idea pr. slide. Use the 6x6 rule for bullets. Use large font sizes. Be imaginative and memorable.
  44. 44. If you want to learn more
  45. 45. Some films for inspiration 15/05/2016 45 STOP! You’re killing me with PowerPoint http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JU48-FVqvQ Bill Gates/mosquitoes @ TED http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppDWD3VwxVg SCREEN_Japonesas_de_motivacin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOEge-WqdBM The Greatest Speech Ever Made - Charlie Chaplin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAd1WJ9gXo0 Five things every presenter needs to know about people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJUblvGfW6w
  46. 46. About the author Hey, my name is Anders Lindgren. People who know me well, will label me as a digital pioneer, PR-veteran and content marketing specialist. I have two decades of experience as a marketing and communication director for large professional services firms, primarily PwC and Sopra Steria. Throughout my career I have been passionate about sharing insights, and helping people and brands communicate in a way that makes them shine and stand out from the crowd.