Tag Archives: public speaking

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.

Advertisements

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.

Presentation Skills: The First Step to Writing a Speech

By Mike Aoki

Here’s a quick tip to help you write your next presentation. Create an outline first. Organize your thoughts before trying to create the PowerPoint slides.

What is your main point? What do you want your audience to do, after your presentation? In his best-selling business book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, author Steven Covey wrote, “Begin with the end in mind.”

That is vital when writing a speech. You need to organize your ideas so they flow naturally to your conclusion. That makes it easier for the audience to follow your train of thought.

For example, you could organize your speech by:

  • Order of importance
  • Chronological order
  • Implementation or production order (for a process)

So create a speech outline first, before creating the audio-visuals. That will help you keep your presentation on track.

© 2010 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Related tips:
This article shows you how to avoid embarrassment when giving a speech at your next company event. This related story talks about death by PowerPoint. Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.


Presentation Skills: Another Tip for Overcoming Nervousness

By Mike Aoki

When I first began as a professional trainer and speaker 15 years ago,  I felt very nervous giving a speech. That’s because I was focusing on my “mechanics” i.e. where to stand, how to use my hands, etc. I felt nervous and self-conscious.

Then, I learned to focus on my message, not my mechanics. The more you believe in your message, the more your enthusiasm will overwhelm any fear of public speaking.

Think of the best speeches you’ve heard. They probably came from a speaker who passionately believed in their message. They may not have been technically perfect from a “speech contest” point of view. But, their energy and enthusiasm allowed them to positively influence their audience.

So ask yourself:  Why does my audience need to hear my presentation? How can I help them? What value do I bring to the table?

For example, maybe your department has performed incredibly well. Or, your research team has developed a ground breaking new product. Perhaps you have a great new marketing campaign that will boost your company’s sales results.

Focus on your message, not your mechanics. Let your passion for your topic; overcome any fear of public speaking.

© 2009 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.


When I first began as a professional trainer and speaker 15 years ago, I felt very nervous giving a speech. That’s because I was focusing on my “mechanics” i.e. where to stand, how to use my hands, etc. I felt nervous and self-conscious.

Then, I learned to focus on my message, not my mechanics. The more you believe in your message, the more your enthusiasm will overwhelm any fear of public speaking.

Think of the best speeches you’ve heard. They probably came from a speaker who passionately believed in their message. They may not have been technically perfect from a “speech contest” point of view. But, their energy and enthusiasm allowed them to positively influence their audience.

So ask yourself:  Why does my audience need to hear my presentation? How can I help them? What value do I bring to the table? For example, maybe your department has performed incredibly well. Or, your research team has developed a ground breaking new product. Perhaps you have a great new marketing campaign that will boost your company’s sales results.

Focus on your message, not your mechanics. Let your passion for your topic; overcome any fear of public speaking.

© 2009 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Presentation Skills: Respecting Confidentiality While Sharing Stories

By Mike Aoki

Using real life examples in your speeches provides credibility. Here are two techniques that will allow you to share those stories while respecting your audience member’s confidentiality.

Technique #1) Ask permission:

Ask the attendee if you can quote them when you speak to future groups.  If they agree, you can use their name and story.

When you quote them say, “This person was in one of my previous audiences and they gave me permission to share this story with you.”  This re-assures your current audience that you respect people’s privacy.

Technique #2) Share common themes:

Look for common themes from your audiences.  Then share those stories by saying, “One of the most common things people say is …”  You’re not violating confidentiality by stating a common pattern.

Use these two techniques to add a real-life perspective to your presentations while still protecting people’s confidentiality.

© 2009 Reflective Keynotes Inc., Mississauga, Canada

Related tips:
This article shows how to stand tall, even if you are short (like me.) This related story provides a great tip to energize your audience. Here is a list of some popular presentation skills workshops.