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PowerPoint article in Slate Magazine

I just read a great article on using PowerPoint called, “Microsoft’s PowerPoint isn’t evil, if you learn how to use it” by Slate writer, Farhad Manjoo.

I’ve sat through some terrible PowerPoint presentations during my corporate life. I’ve seen slides with tiny 12 point text (for a room of 150 people!) I’ve seen slides where the lettering entered the screen from the top, bounced up and down a bit, and finally stopped to be read. I’ve also seen slides with light blue lettering on a dark blue background, which turned out to be unreadable thanks to a dimmer than expected projector.

The point is, many of these mistakes are preventable. They come from not knowing how to use PowerPoint. In his article, the author gives some great tips on how to use PowerPoint. More importantly, he discussed WHEN PowerPoint is most effective, and when it’s not. His article is at:  http://www.slate.com/id/2253050

Related tips:
This article talks about “Death by PowerPoint.” This related story gives tips on how to energize your audience and eliminate disruptions. Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.

Presentation Skills: 7 Tips for Using Overhead Projectors

By Mike Aoki

Improve your results by using these 7 simple techniques during your next presentation:

1) Attach strips of thick paper or cardboard to the left and right hand sides of the projector glass to block out any excess light. This also provides a guide you can use to easily center your transparencies on the glass. (Safety note:  check that the paper or cardboard stays cool, despite the heat from the projector.)

2) Use tape to secure any extension cords that might cause you to trip while giving your presentation.

3) Before the participants arrive, find the sight lines for the projection screen. Have a volunteer sit where the audience will be. Then slowly move around the front of your stage or presentation area and have your helper note when you are not blocking the screen. Use masking tape to indicate those sight lines so you know where to stand during your presentation.

4) Face the participants, not the screen. Have a paper copy of the transparency in your hands so you can glance at it rather than turning and looking back at the screen while talking.

5) Use a pen to point to items on the transparency so you can remain facing the audience. If you turn to point at the screen, your back is to the participants.

6) If you want to unveil bullet points on your transparency, place a sheet of paper UNDERNEATH the transparency and pull it down the page to unveil each bullet point. Note: If you place the sheet on top of the transparency, the paper may shake or blow away due to the draft from the projector’s cooling fan.

7) Even if the projector does not work, you should still go ahead with your presentation. Remember, YOU are the best audiovisual!

Use these 7 simple techniques the next time you use an overhead projector and make a great presentation!

© 2010 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Related tips:
This article talks about “Death by PowerPoint.” This related story gives tips on how to energize your audience and eliminate disruptions. Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.

Presentation Skills: 10 Quick Tips For Using Flip Charts

By Mike Aoki

1) Pre-write your notes on the flip chart page in faint pencil so you can refer to them as you present. (Your participants will not be able to see your writing, but you will.)

2) Test your markers in advance. Better yet, travel with your own markers.

3) Use dark-coloured markers. The contrast between dark ink and paper will make your writing easier to read.

4) Print in large letters so people can easily see your words. Use a mix of capital and lower case letters.

5) Remember the KILL principle: Keep It Large and Legible

6) Use no more than 5 words across or 5 lines down the page.

7) Use two flip charts to display contrasting ideas or “pros and cons”

8) Write only on the upper two-thirds of the page (it is difficult to see the bottom third from the back of the room.)

9) Ask for a volunteer to write for you so you can focus on the participants. But, be sure to help the volunteer interpret what is being said and help them edit the participant’s responses.

10) The most important tip: “Touch, Turn and Talk.” Have you ever seen anyone read from his or her flipchart while talking? All you see is the back of their head while they block your view of the page.

Instead, stand beside the flip chart, TOUCH the bullet point you are about to discuss, then TURN and face the audience (so they can see you clearly) and lastly, TALK. If you remember to “touch, turn and then talk,” you will always be facing the audience while you are speaking.

Use these 10 quick tips for using flip charts to make your next presentation a success!

© 2010 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Related tips:
This article shows how to set up your meeting room for success. This related story asks you to be aware of audience diversity. Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.

Sales Presentations: How to Avoid Disaster When Giving Joint Presentations

By Mike Aoki

Two people giving a presentation at the front of the room

You need to work together during a joint sales presentation

I wanted to strangle them! They were the technical experts. But it was my sales presentation! They were suppose to help the sale process by answering technical questions. But, their comments disrupted the flow of my sales demonstration.

Has this ever happened to you?

Have you ever done a joint sales presentation only to have your partner throw you off-stride? For example, a sales person will talk about the benefits of their product, only to have their technical person go off on a tangent about the product’s research and development.

Remember, a co-presenter should be like a dance partner. You can anticipate each other’s moves and go with the flow. But it takes practice. To avoid stepping on each other’s toes, here are some guidelines to successful joint sales presentations:

Before the session develop a game plan for the presentation. Decide who will take on certain topics.  For instance you might deal with pricing questions while the software expert deals with programming questions.

During the session it is okay to have differing viewpoints. Having a different perspective from your co-presenter can add options to your sales pitch. But show respect for your co-facilitator’s opinions.  Instead of disagreeing with them in front of a client, you can say, “In addition to John’s technical comments, I’d like to add how this impacts your front-line operations…”

Give warning before asking your partner to make a comment. They might be thinking about their next segment of the presentation instead of paying attention. Instead, get their attention and recap the question. For example, I would say, “That’s a great question, perhaps Karen (my co-presenter) would like to answer that one. Using her name gets Karen’s attention.  Secondly, I would recap the question in case Karen wasn’t listening. Finally, I’ll ask, “What do you think, Karen?”  Using this three step process gives Karen some warning and provides time for her to think of an answer.

Working with a co-facilitator is like having a dance partner. You want to flow to the same music. You need to avoid stepping on their toes. And when you are both working together, a joint sales presentation can be highly effective.

© 2010 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Related tips:
This article shows how to turn free speeches into paid clients. This related story asks, “Are your poor presentation skills are costing you money?” Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.

Sales Presentations: The 7 Deadly Sins

By Mike Aoki

In my presentation skills seminars over the past 10 years, I’ve observed that great salespeople have “habits” while ineffective salespeople commit “sins.”

When doing a sales presentation have you ever been tempted by:

1. Sloth:

Being lazy and using the same generic presentation with every prospect. Instead, a great salesperson customizes their presentation so it’s easier to close the sale.

2. Pride:

Being a “know it all” when answering an audience’s question. Instead, great salespeople admit when they don’t know something and commit to finding the right answer.

3. Greed:

Being preoccupied with your sales commission. Audiences can sense that. Instead, a great sales presentation outlines the benefits to the CLIENT.

4. Envy:

Being jealous of someone else’s sales territory, product lineup or “easier clients.” Instead, a great salesperson makes the most of their chances. Delivering a sales presentation is one of those opportunities.

5. Gluttony:

“Padding” sales by pushing unnecessary items during your presentation. Instead, a great salesperson knows if you do good work, more sales will follow.

6. Wrath:

Blaming the client, competitors or the economy for poor results. A great salesperson focuses upon fixing the problem, not fixing the blame.

7. Lust:

Falling in love with the sound of your own voice. Some people feel they can talk anybody into anything. But, a great salesperson asks questions. They listen. They customize their sales presentation to satisfy their client’s needs. No wonder great salespeople close more sales and make more money!

Avoid the temptation of these 7 deadly sins during your next sales presentation! Instead, use the techniques of great salespeople to boost your sales results.

© 2010 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Related tips:
This article gives 5 tips for traveling speakers, trainers and presenters. This related story shows if you want to be a great speaker, be passionate! Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.

Announcing the Birth of a New Blog…

My call center blog articles are now being featured in a new blog, called “Call Center Zen.” It’s located at http://callcenterzen.wordpress.com

My presentation skills articles will still be featured on my current blog (the one you are reading right now.) But, I’ve renamed it “Persuasive Presentation Skills” to show it will only deal with public speaking content.

I made this change so each blog has a distinct focus.

That makes it easier for you to find the topic you need, without having to wade through extra material. I hope you enjoy this upgrade!