Public Speaking – Incorporating a PowerPoint Presentation Smoothly Into Your Speech

Recently, I attended a presentation by a smart, experienced professional whose goal was to provide an informative overview of his area of expertise to his colleagues. Unfortunately, he did not succeed in communicating his message effectively to the audience. How he prepared and delivered his PowerPoint slides interfered with his ability to share information with the audience.

What did he do wrong? First of all, the slides were crowded and hard to read. Also, instead of making eye contact with the audience, he spoke to the slides on the screen or buried his eyes in his notes, which he read from almost verbatim. Finally, he stood in front of the projector light so we could see his silhouette against the screen instead of the words on his slides.

This was not the first presentation he had ever delivered. His mistakes had been made permanent by years of practice, which shows that practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent – so you have to practice the right things in the right way in order to be effective.

Here are 7 tips for incorporating a PowerPoint presentation smoothly into your speech (and they also apply if you’re using Apple’s Keynote presentation):

1. Speak to the audience, not to the screen; turn your body so you face the audience.

2. If you need to look at your slides to help you stay on track, position your laptop as a “confidence monitor” so you can see the slides on your laptop screen while still facing the audience.

3. Stand to the side of the screen so you don’t block it. And use a remote control so you can advance your slides without having to be tied to the laptop.

4. Make sure your slides are legible from the back of the room. Avoid crowding your slides with too many words or images and make sure the font size is large enough. Also be sure that there is enough contrast so that the font color can be easily seen against the slide background. If you find yourself saying to the audience, “I know you can’t read this,” you’re in trouble. And have each slide focused on a message, rather than just a data dump of everything you know about the topic.

5. Be mindful about where your eyes are looking and be sure to make eye contact with all sections of the audience.

6. Don’t write out your entire presentation and read it word for word; you will bore the audience. If you try to memorize every word, you will be stuck in your head, worried about forgetting a word, instead of focused on the audience. And if you do forget a word, it will be difficult to find it amid the pages of your memorized script.

7. To use notes effectively, create a one-page outline of key phrases in large font so you can quickly glance at it and find your place. Tape or staple it to heavy cardstock paper so you can easily hold it with one hand or keep it on the lectern. The heavy paper will not flap around as you handle it and you will be less likely to fold and crumple it if you’re nervous. And if you place it on a lectern, it’s less likely to blow away.

The next time you have to incorporate a PowerPoint presentation into your speech, refer to these 7 tips. Effective slide creation and delivery can support your message and help you successfully communicate to the audience.

Presentation Strengtheners — Ice Breakers

The first rule of breaking the ice is to involve the audience. Whether we are presenting a keynote or a workshop, the more we can get participation from the members of our audience, the more attention we will receive for the rest of our presentation.

If we can get them involved the minute they walk into the room we’ll already have a jumpstart. One way to accomplish this is to have a puzzle and/or questions for them to consider while waiting for us to begin. I hand it out or have it up on the screen and tell them that it is fine to work with anyone else on the answers. Usually, I create a sheet of questions and/or a fun puzzle that relates to the day’s subject.

If the group has been doing a great deal of sitting already, get them physically involved. Being a fitness instructor, I have lots of spunky tapes. I will often start a presentation on creativity with music and asking everyone to stand up, breathe deeply and stretch. Then I will say something like, “All right. Now we are going to stretch our minds and creativity, because when the mind is stretched by a new idea, it never returns to its original state.”

Well designed questions will also get your audience involved. The two questions that are effective and also help you the presenter — as suggested by Bob Pike, training guru — are as follows. Supposing your topic is time management, you would ask, “What happens when people don’t handle our management of time well?” and “What happens when we handle our management of time well?” Ask for the answers, and, if time permits, have someone record them on a flip chart. The first will list the problems that need to be addressed and the second will list the benefits that will be gained by listening to your presentation.

We can also make use of snappy introductions. If it is a small group, I will often have members stand up – one at a time – say their name, tell us what they did as a profession yesterday (this will actually be their profession) and what career they have today (which can be completely “off-the-wall.” They can be a movie star, an astronaut, an Olympic athlete – you get the idea). If the group is large, have members of the audience turn to the person next to them and do the same thing, or you can give them other questions to pose to each other.

The reasons for doing this breaks the ice for the group (even if they already know each other) because it will get them interacting and laughing, so that when you bring them back to the presentation, they are relaxed and open, rather than thinking, “Oh, now I have to sit through another speech.” The one warning here is to have a way to regain control. I use a drum, a bell, or another musical instrument to pull back the attention of the participants.

Know These 5 Essential Tips to Become Successful in Negotiation

All of us are born different and not everyone is cut out to be a negotiator. However, we have already learned how to get what we wanted when we are toddlers. If you have not noticed that till now, we are actually negotiating in some ways with our parents. It can be by crying, bugging, begging or any other childish ways imaginable. When you grow up over the years, the stakes get bigger. You need to redefine the “I want what I want when I want it” method as “the winner takes it all” theory will cease to work on adults. As human beings, we have the need to want be heard. Know these 5 essential tips to be become successful in negotiation:

Tip #1 – Do your due diligence.

In every negotiation, you need to know beforehand as much as possible on the information you can get your hands on the other party. This due diligence is compulsory in order to understand the other party’s needs, wants and bottom line.

Tip #2 – Engage in active communication.

Engage the party and find out as much as possible on what you do not know in addition to the information that you already knew. Asking open-ended questions will get the other party talking. This is how you can gather information and also confirming on what you knew. Besides, rapport and trust are established during the conversation in the initial meeting.

Tip #3 – Assess the accuracy of the information.

Assess what you know and what you don’t. Communicate with words that pose as question openings like “if…, how about…” and listen to what they have to say. Answer questions with questions like how? When? Where? Why?.

Listen, take down notes and read the other party’s body language. Is that person telling you something indirectly that is not consistent with what you have heard from him or her? These are the essential skills of a skilled negotiator. Those who master what others are thinking by listening to them most of the time normally end up leaving the negotiation table with wide smiles on their faces.

Tip #4 – Strive for Win-Win.

You are now ready to negotiate the deal after collating and assessing what you need to know. Present the offer to the party and learn to utilise your gut feeling to “feel” what the other person feeling. Is the party comfortable with your proposition or irritated by what you have said? Always try to strive for the balance where no one loses out. If you do that, both parties will be happy. However, if you think only for your advantage, chances are you would have lost the deal, or if you give in, you lose while the other party wins.

Tip #5 – Document the agreement in writing.

Always remember that nothing is finalized until it is put in writing. Immediately after the discussion, the meeting minutes or summaries, the contracts need to be distributed to all the involved parties. This is the foundation that is required to be laid to complete the entire negotiation process and also to prepare for future meeting for other deals. If you have managed to close the deal with a win-win, you can be sure that it is a deal well negotiated.