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If You Want To Have A Killer Presentation, You Need To Pick Up This Skill Now

If You Want To Have A Killer Presentation, You Need To Pick Up This Skill Now

Do your palms get sweaty when you have to speak in front of a large group of people? Does your mouth dry out and you forget what you have to say? If you experience any or all of these feelings you are in the majority.

Public speaking is, surprisingly, the thing we fear the most. We fear it even more than death, according to many surveys and studies.[1]

The great comedian Jerry Seinfeld famously made light of people’s fear of public speaking by saying,

“Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

But what can we do to calm this irrational fear and avoid our bodies going into the fight or flight response every time we stand up in front of an audience? There’s only one answer that will really work in the long run: practice and preparation.

The 10/20/30 Rule

With this in mind, here’s a tip from a man, who not only stood up in front of thousands of people, he did it very, very well. Guy Kawasaki popularized the concept of secular evangelism or evangelism marketing. He gives over fifty keynote speeches per year. People listen to what he has to say. Not least, Steve Jobs who he worked with at Apple.

But what does he have to say specifically about presentation preparation? According to Kawasaki, you can’t go wrong if you adhere to something he calls the 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint.

As he put it,

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“it’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.”

Ten Slides

According to Kawasaki, you should use no more than ten slides as your average human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting. His advice is geared largely to entrepreneurial pitch presentations, however, his tips can be applied effectively to any type of presentation in which you’re trying to get a basic message across.

A guideline of the ten concepts a venture capitalist cares about, according to Kawasaki are:

1. Problem
2. Your solution
3. Business model
4. Underlying magic/technology
5. Marketing and sales
6. Competition
7. Team
8. Projections and milestones
9. Status and timeline
10. Summary and call to action

Twenty Minutes

Kawasaki’s advice is all about keeping the message clear, simple and concise. Present those ten slides in twenty minutes. As Kawasaki says,

“in a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.”

This, of course, is a man who has to listen to hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their companies. He’s jokingly blamed a barrage of terrible, 60-slide pitches for his tinnitus.[2] The message to take from this? Keep it simple. If your message is worth hearing, there’s no need for over explanation.

Thirty Points

Many pitchers and presenters frustratingly include small text in their slides and even read out large segments of what is on the screen. The problem with this is that human beings, in general, read faster than a person can speak. If you’re reading out what’s on your slides, your audience will realize this and start reading ahead of you. You will effectively become obsolete in your own presentation. Not a great impression to give if you want to communicate your message effectively.

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As Kawasaki puts it, using size 30 font on your slides works

“because it requires you to find the most salient points and to know how to explain them well.”

Not only is it possible to overcome a fear of public speaking, it’s possible to excel in front of an audience! Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule of PowerPoint can help you to do just that. If you focus clearly on what you want to say and practice delivering it with confidence, people will listen.

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: The Thing We Fear More Than Death
[2] Guy Kawasaki: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

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Christopher Young

Freelance Blogger, Writer and Journalist

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

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Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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