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Lets’ revise…how shall we “Meet”!!!  Prepared and facilitated by  HR Department  Hope India Polishing works pvt. Ltd. June ’2011
Write a script A little planning goes a long way. Most presentations are written in PowerPoint (or some other presentation package) without any sort of rhyme or reason. That’s bass-ackwards. Since the point of your slides is to illustrate and expand what you are going to say to your audience. You should know what you intend to say and then figure out how to visualize it. Unless you are an expert at improvising, make sure you write out or at least outline your presentation before trying to put together slides. And make sure your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning, middle, and end; have a clear arc that builds towards some sort of climax; make your audience appreciate each slide but be anxious to find out what’s next; and when possible, always leave ‘em wanting more.
One thing at a time, please. Plan your presentation so just one new point is displayed at any given moment. Bullet points can be revealed one at a time as you reach them. Charts can be put on the next slide to be referenced when you get to the data the chart displays. Your job as presenter is to control the flow of information so that you and your audience stay in sync.
Do you really need to use PowerPoint? STOP USING IT! Next time you’ve a short presentation or talk to deliver, rather than immediately starting up PowerPoint to get the slides ready and using it again when you are delivering your presentation, think about what you want to say and how you might do that without using PowerPoint at all. Check out our article on how to prepare a presentation to get some good tips on creating and structuring a presentation.  Then have a look at Tip 2 to see how to avoid using PowerPoint to prompt you.
How to make the presentation  Establish the purpose of the presentation What do you want to achieve from your presentation. So having got a good idea of your purpose, its important to write that down – so its clear in your mind.  So that whatever you do you are able to refer back to the purpose, you know what you want to achieve out of the presentation.
Build an audience profile This is something that is going to affect your content that you are going to put into the presentation. So its worth spending time trying to analyse your audience before you actually present. Its useful to put together an audience profile – covering the type of people who will be at your presentation. Where are they coming from  what level of expertise do they have  Are there any decision makers in the audience  What is their attitude towards the topic that you are presenting on  Do they have any preconceived ideas or expectations about what you will be presenting on  etc etc
Establish the key message of your presentation The key message should have a very strong benefit for the audience to listen to you. So one way of identifying it is to brainstorm the main benefits to the audience that come from your presentation. Ask yourself what’s in it for them.
Develop and structure the content of your presentation Think in terms of THREEs. Beginning  Middle  End  Split your middle section into three sections as well.  In each section have 3 further points you want to make and expand on to reinforce things. And ensure that as you create the content for your presentation you remember:- Your purpose – what you want to achieve from it  The key message – what is in it for the audience
Edit your presentation content Once you’ve got a draft, its then important to edit that.  You need to consider the type of language you’re using, to help you keep the audience’s interest. Identify ways of grabbing their attention. Ways of actually helping the audience to listen to you. Dont use long winded sentences. Or words that may not be relevant to the audience, or that they might not even understand. So edit the material and adapt the language that you are going to use.
Stop using PowerPoint as your prompt!
Ruthlessly reduce the number of PowerPoint slides If you absolutely have to use PowerPoint during the presentation then use it as sparingly as possible. Be ruthless in removing the unnecessary slides. Use prompt cards for your prompts so remove any slides that might just be for your benefit. Then review the set of slides AGAIN against your presentation and remove any more slides that you possibly can.
Use images in the PowerPoint slides whenever possible But remember that ideally PowerPoint is a VISUAL aid that’s there to enhance your presentation – to help you get your message across and achieve your objectives. Real visuals (ie Pictures) can help create feelings in the audience, can help make a complex process easier to understand etc.
Use headline summaries only for text slides in PowerPoint Keep to a maximum of 3 lines of headline text (summaries) on a slide and one slide title.  And make sure that each headline uses large fonts.  Aim to keep to 4 or 5 words maximum per heradline.
Dont just use PowerPoint slides as your handounts If you have to provide a set of handouts for your audience after the presentation then do so. But it doesn’t need to be just copies of your PowerPoint slides. Don’t constrain your presentation slides (if you’re using some) by having to include all the facts and figures that you might need to get across in your slides
Use hidden PowerPoint slides for the Q&A session If you are likely to have questions either during or after the presentation then as part of your preparation you’ll probably spend some time brainstorming the likely questions and deciding how best to answer them. So if you’ve the time, and only where appropriate, include one or more “hidden” slides that will help you answer some of the most difficult questions that you might get asked.
No paragraphs. Where most presentations fail is that their authors, convinced they are producing some kind of stand-alone document, put everything they want to say onto their slides, in great big chunky blocks of text. Congratulations. You’ve just killed a roomful of people. Cause of death: terminal boredom poisoning.
Pay attention to design. PowerPoint and other presentation packages offer all sorts of ways to add visual “flash” to your slides: fades, swipes, flashing text, and other annoyances are all too easy to insert with a few mouse clicks. Avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple design basics: Use a sans serif font for body text. Sans serifs like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri tend to be the easiest to read on screens. Use decorative fonts only for slide headers, and then only if they’re easy to read. Decorative fonts –calligraphy, German blackface, futuristic, psychotic handwriting, flowers, art nouveau, etc. – are hard to read and should be reserved only for large headlines at the top of the page. Better yet, stick to a classy serif font like Georgia or Baskerville. Put dark text on a light background. Again, this is easiest to read. If you must use a dark background – for instance, if your company uses a standard template with a dark background – make sure your text is quite light (white, cream, light grey, or pastels) and maybe bump the font size up two or three notches. Align text left or right. Centered text is harder to read and looks amateurish. Line up all your text to a right-hand or left-hand baseline – it will look better and be easier to follow. Avoid clutter. A headline, a few bullet points, maybe an image – anything more than that and you risk losing your audience as they sort it all out.
Use images sparingly While we’re on the subject, absolutely do notuse PowerPoint’s built-in clipart. Anything from Office 2003 and earlier has been seen by everyone in your audience a thousand times – they’ve become tired, used-up clichés, and I hopefully don’t need to tell you to avoid tired, used-up clichés in your presentations. Office 2007 and non-Office programs have some clipart that isn’t so familiar (though it will be, and soon) but by now, the entire concept of clipart has about run its course – it just doesn’t feel fresh and new anymore.
Think outside the screen. the slides on the screen are only part of the presentation – and not the main part. Even though you’re liable to be presenting in a darkened room, give some thought to your own presentation manner – how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the room. You are the focus when you’re presenting, no matter how interesting your slides are.
Have a hook. Like the best writing, the best presentation shook their audiences early and then reel them in. Open with something surprising or intriguing, something that will get your audience to sit up and take notice. The most powerful hooks are often those that appeal directly to your audience’s emotions – offer them something awesome or, if it’s appropriate, scare the pants off of them. The rest of your presentation, then, will be effectively your promise to make the awesome thing happen, or the scary thing not happen.
Ask questions Questions arouse interest, pique curiosity, and engage audiences. So ask a lot of them. Build tension by posing a question and letting your audience stew a moment before moving to the next slide with the answer. Quiz their knowledge and then show them how little they know. If appropriate, engage in a little question-and-answer with your audience, with you asking the questions
Modulate, modulate, modulate. Especially when you’ve done a presentation before, it can be easy to fall into a drone, going on and on and on and on and on with only minimal changes to your inflection. Always speak as if you were speaking to a friend, not as if you are reading off of index cards (even if you are). If keeping up a lively and personable tone of voice is difficult for you when presenting, do a couple of practice run-throughs. If you still can’t get it right and presentations are a big part of your job, take a public speaking course or join Toastmasters
Break the rules As with everything else, there are times when each of these rules – or any other rule you know – won’t apply. If you know there’s a good reason to break a rule, go ahead and do it. Rule breaking is perfectly acceptable behavior – it’s ignoring the rules or breaking them because you just don’t know any better that leads to shoddy boring presentations that lead to boredom, depression, psychopathic breaks, and eventually death. And you don’t want that, do you?

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Presentation skills

  • 1. Lets’ revise…how shall we “Meet”!!! Prepared and facilitated by HR Department Hope India Polishing works pvt. Ltd. June ’2011
  • 2. Write a script A little planning goes a long way. Most presentations are written in PowerPoint (or some other presentation package) without any sort of rhyme or reason. That’s bass-ackwards. Since the point of your slides is to illustrate and expand what you are going to say to your audience. You should know what you intend to say and then figure out how to visualize it. Unless you are an expert at improvising, make sure you write out or at least outline your presentation before trying to put together slides. And make sure your script follows good storytelling conventions: give it a beginning, middle, and end; have a clear arc that builds towards some sort of climax; make your audience appreciate each slide but be anxious to find out what’s next; and when possible, always leave ‘em wanting more.
  • 3. One thing at a time, please. Plan your presentation so just one new point is displayed at any given moment. Bullet points can be revealed one at a time as you reach them. Charts can be put on the next slide to be referenced when you get to the data the chart displays. Your job as presenter is to control the flow of information so that you and your audience stay in sync.
  • 4. Do you really need to use PowerPoint? STOP USING IT! Next time you’ve a short presentation or talk to deliver, rather than immediately starting up PowerPoint to get the slides ready and using it again when you are delivering your presentation, think about what you want to say and how you might do that without using PowerPoint at all. Check out our article on how to prepare a presentation to get some good tips on creating and structuring a presentation.  Then have a look at Tip 2 to see how to avoid using PowerPoint to prompt you.
  • 5. How to make the presentation Establish the purpose of the presentation What do you want to achieve from your presentation. So having got a good idea of your purpose, its important to write that down – so its clear in your mind.  So that whatever you do you are able to refer back to the purpose, you know what you want to achieve out of the presentation.
  • 6. Build an audience profile This is something that is going to affect your content that you are going to put into the presentation. So its worth spending time trying to analyse your audience before you actually present. Its useful to put together an audience profile – covering the type of people who will be at your presentation. Where are they coming from what level of expertise do they have Are there any decision makers in the audience What is their attitude towards the topic that you are presenting on Do they have any preconceived ideas or expectations about what you will be presenting on etc etc
  • 7. Establish the key message of your presentation The key message should have a very strong benefit for the audience to listen to you. So one way of identifying it is to brainstorm the main benefits to the audience that come from your presentation. Ask yourself what’s in it for them.
  • 8. Develop and structure the content of your presentation Think in terms of THREEs. Beginning Middle End Split your middle section into three sections as well.  In each section have 3 further points you want to make and expand on to reinforce things. And ensure that as you create the content for your presentation you remember:- Your purpose – what you want to achieve from it The key message – what is in it for the audience
  • 9. Edit your presentation content Once you’ve got a draft, its then important to edit that.  You need to consider the type of language you’re using, to help you keep the audience’s interest. Identify ways of grabbing their attention. Ways of actually helping the audience to listen to you. Dont use long winded sentences. Or words that may not be relevant to the audience, or that they might not even understand. So edit the material and adapt the language that you are going to use.
  • 10. Stop using PowerPoint as your prompt!
  • 11. Ruthlessly reduce the number of PowerPoint slides If you absolutely have to use PowerPoint during the presentation then use it as sparingly as possible. Be ruthless in removing the unnecessary slides. Use prompt cards for your prompts so remove any slides that might just be for your benefit. Then review the set of slides AGAIN against your presentation and remove any more slides that you possibly can.
  • 12. Use images in the PowerPoint slides whenever possible But remember that ideally PowerPoint is a VISUAL aid that’s there to enhance your presentation – to help you get your message across and achieve your objectives. Real visuals (ie Pictures) can help create feelings in the audience, can help make a complex process easier to understand etc.
  • 13. Use headline summaries only for text slides in PowerPoint Keep to a maximum of 3 lines of headline text (summaries) on a slide and one slide title.  And make sure that each headline uses large fonts.  Aim to keep to 4 or 5 words maximum per heradline.
  • 14. Dont just use PowerPoint slides as your handounts If you have to provide a set of handouts for your audience after the presentation then do so. But it doesn’t need to be just copies of your PowerPoint slides. Don’t constrain your presentation slides (if you’re using some) by having to include all the facts and figures that you might need to get across in your slides
  • 15. Use hidden PowerPoint slides for the Q&A session If you are likely to have questions either during or after the presentation then as part of your preparation you’ll probably spend some time brainstorming the likely questions and deciding how best to answer them. So if you’ve the time, and only where appropriate, include one or more “hidden” slides that will help you answer some of the most difficult questions that you might get asked.
  • 16. No paragraphs. Where most presentations fail is that their authors, convinced they are producing some kind of stand-alone document, put everything they want to say onto their slides, in great big chunky blocks of text. Congratulations. You’ve just killed a roomful of people. Cause of death: terminal boredom poisoning.
  • 17. Pay attention to design. PowerPoint and other presentation packages offer all sorts of ways to add visual “flash” to your slides: fades, swipes, flashing text, and other annoyances are all too easy to insert with a few mouse clicks. Avoid the temptation to dress up your pages with cheesy effects and focus instead on simple design basics: Use a sans serif font for body text. Sans serifs like Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri tend to be the easiest to read on screens. Use decorative fonts only for slide headers, and then only if they’re easy to read. Decorative fonts –calligraphy, German blackface, futuristic, psychotic handwriting, flowers, art nouveau, etc. – are hard to read and should be reserved only for large headlines at the top of the page. Better yet, stick to a classy serif font like Georgia or Baskerville. Put dark text on a light background. Again, this is easiest to read. If you must use a dark background – for instance, if your company uses a standard template with a dark background – make sure your text is quite light (white, cream, light grey, or pastels) and maybe bump the font size up two or three notches. Align text left or right. Centered text is harder to read and looks amateurish. Line up all your text to a right-hand or left-hand baseline – it will look better and be easier to follow. Avoid clutter. A headline, a few bullet points, maybe an image – anything more than that and you risk losing your audience as they sort it all out.
  • 18. Use images sparingly While we’re on the subject, absolutely do notuse PowerPoint’s built-in clipart. Anything from Office 2003 and earlier has been seen by everyone in your audience a thousand times – they’ve become tired, used-up clichés, and I hopefully don’t need to tell you to avoid tired, used-up clichés in your presentations. Office 2007 and non-Office programs have some clipart that isn’t so familiar (though it will be, and soon) but by now, the entire concept of clipart has about run its course – it just doesn’t feel fresh and new anymore.
  • 19. Think outside the screen. the slides on the screen are only part of the presentation – and not the main part. Even though you’re liable to be presenting in a darkened room, give some thought to your own presentation manner – how you hold yourself, what you wear, how you move around the room. You are the focus when you’re presenting, no matter how interesting your slides are.
  • 20. Have a hook. Like the best writing, the best presentation shook their audiences early and then reel them in. Open with something surprising or intriguing, something that will get your audience to sit up and take notice. The most powerful hooks are often those that appeal directly to your audience’s emotions – offer them something awesome or, if it’s appropriate, scare the pants off of them. The rest of your presentation, then, will be effectively your promise to make the awesome thing happen, or the scary thing not happen.
  • 21. Ask questions Questions arouse interest, pique curiosity, and engage audiences. So ask a lot of them. Build tension by posing a question and letting your audience stew a moment before moving to the next slide with the answer. Quiz their knowledge and then show them how little they know. If appropriate, engage in a little question-and-answer with your audience, with you asking the questions
  • 22. Modulate, modulate, modulate. Especially when you’ve done a presentation before, it can be easy to fall into a drone, going on and on and on and on and on with only minimal changes to your inflection. Always speak as if you were speaking to a friend, not as if you are reading off of index cards (even if you are). If keeping up a lively and personable tone of voice is difficult for you when presenting, do a couple of practice run-throughs. If you still can’t get it right and presentations are a big part of your job, take a public speaking course or join Toastmasters
  • 23. Break the rules As with everything else, there are times when each of these rules – or any other rule you know – won’t apply. If you know there’s a good reason to break a rule, go ahead and do it. Rule breaking is perfectly acceptable behavior – it’s ignoring the rules or breaking them because you just don’t know any better that leads to shoddy boring presentations that lead to boredom, depression, psychopathic breaks, and eventually death. And you don’t want that, do you?