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How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro

How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro

The usual approach when preparing a presentation is putting the points into slides. But the best presentations do not seek to merely inform. They make a lasting mark. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech inspired a nation to reconsider their assumptions around race and social justice. Ronald Reagan’s speech in Berlin, delivered in 1987, wasn’t an objective remark on historical events. It was a passionate plea, an attempt to hasten the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Neither will be remembered for their PowerPoint presentations, but for their heartfelt messages.

Treat a presentation like a drama show

The best presentations are not collections of facts or statistics. They are stories, put together and performed with dramatic flair. The first question you need to ask yourself is this – “What is the point of this presentation?” Don’t start your preparations until you can provide a confident answer. What emotions are you looking to trigger in your audience? How exactly do you want to influence them, and what actions do you want them to take as a result of your presentation?

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There is much more to a speech than writing the words and moving through a set of key points written on a card or set of slides. How will you move around and vary your voice in such a way that emphasizes your message? Think about the gestures you can use, the facial expressions you will use, and how you will move around the stage.

A great speaker is the main actor/actress, not the backdrop

Most presentations are purely informative. The audience are directed to focus on the presentation slides rather than the person speaking. While if you want to leave an impression, you need to make yourself the focus. Presentation slides are just supplementary. Never, ever let them steal the limelight. See how Scott Dinsmore did that.

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How to make your audience listen to you attentively

To be the limelight on stage, you can’t just directly put all what you want to say on the slides. You need to carefully plan and edit every part.

Only talk about one key point at a time. Don’t be greedy

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    When you provide little on the slide like only one word in the middle, people will look to you for elaboration. When you put multiple points into a single slide, the audience will be so hard working digesting all the information on the slide. This doesn’t help them understand better as human’s brains aren’t designed for multi-tasking. The more points you want them to get, the less they can understand.

    Make sure people can get the gist within 3 seconds

    More than that it means the message isn’t conveyed clearly enough and people will zone out. They’ll completely ignore what you’re going to say even if your ideas are truly brilliant.

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    Always be economical. Cut everything that doesn’t serve a purpose

    Although it’s tempting to include all the interesting things you know/you found when doing research, these would only make your key message weaker if they aren’t highly relevant. Be bold to cut them whenever they don’t add value for the key message. It’s often not what’s added that matters, but what’s cut that matters.

    Illustrate your points with images

      This sounds contradictory but it’s not. When the image can catch audience’s attention and wake them up, you’re actually telling them to look at you again, that you’re going to raise a great point next. What’s more, people retain 10% of what they hear three days following a presentation, but if the information is accompanied by a picture, this figure jumps to 65%.[1]

      Always be specific

      Cliches are hardly memorable. Always add in additional details and fascinating statistics where possible to add character and interest. Like you could simply tell your audience that buying a car is an important decision, but a better approach is to reframe it in terms of numbers and emotions: “To buy a car it entails choosing a vehicle that helps you make memories, that will keep your life running smoothly, and transports you and your loved ones over 13,000 miles each year.”[2] Specific facts and emotive stories will give you a direct line to your audience’s hearts, and you are sure to leave a great impression.

      Reference

      More by this author

      Brian Lee

      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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      Published on October 14, 2019

      10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

      10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques for the Overwhelmed

      Do you constantly feel overwhelmed by the amount of tasks you have to complete at work? If so, then it may be time to look into some organizational skills training techniques.

      Organizational skills are an asset. They allow you to add structure to your day so that you meet deadlines, attend every meeting, and even have enough time to take your breaks (imagine that!). As transferable skills, they can also add value to your personal life.

      So, if being organized and able to perform at your very best at work, even when you’re inundated with duties, sounds appealing to you, then read on.

      Why You Need Organizational Skills Training

      According to the Cambridge Dictionary, organizational skills refers to:[1]

      “the ability to use your time, energy, resources, etc. in an effective way so that you achieve the things you want to achieve.”

      When you’re feeling overwhelmed at work (or anywhere really) achieving anything seems impossible. This is why organizational skills training is crucial. The skills you learn can help you to overcome the feeling of defeat so you can take command of your tasks again.

      The Benefits of Organizational Skills

      Having organizational skills allow you to not only be more organized, but to also be more productive and more effective. You’ll have greater control of your tasks and be able to accomplish more things. It can also reduce stress-levels, and experiencing less stress means leading a healthier lifestyle.

      Examples of organizational skills include:

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      As previously mentioned, while a major benefit for the workplace, they are also valuable in your personal life.

      Think about it, our personal lives are also filled with many tasks and activities. Whether it’s going to the bank or buy groceries, or doing household duties such as vacuuming or taking out the trash, each responsibility is basically a task that needs to be completed in order for our home lives to run as smoothly as possible.

      How to Learn Organizational Skills

      Many businesses and organizations provide organizational skills training, whether it’s a workshop, company presentation, online training course, or an all-out conference. Attending these events is a great start to learning organizational skills. Then, of course, you can set your own goals.

      For most people, organizational skills don’t come naturally. However, fortunately, just like any other skill, they’re learnable. Once you acquire an understanding of a skill, the more you practice it, the better you’ll get at it.

      If you’re completely new to all of this, your best bet is to start small. Set yourself one goal, select one thing you’d like to improve on, and repeat it regularly until it becomes a habit. Once you’re confident in maintaining the habit, you can add to your goal or expand on it.

      Starting small and gradually adding as you progress is a good course of action, as it can ensure that you actually achieve what you set out to accomplish. If you dive straight into the deep end, you risk being even more overwhelmed than before and may fail to meet expectations completely.

      Surrounding yourself with people that have particular behaviors is another way to learn organizational skills. Having a super organized team leader, manager, or head of business can greatly influence your own actions and behavior.

      10 Organizational Skills Training Techniques

      If you’ve noticed yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work recently, then perhaps you could try out one of the following organizational skills training techniques. They could help you to get back control, focus on your tasks, and reduce stress-levels.

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      1. Make a List

      If you’re feeling swamped with tasks, creating a to-do list is great for taking back control of the things you need to do.

      By writing down your tasks in order of importance (make sure you prioritize your list!), you’ll have a visualization of what needs to get done.

      You’ll also get to experience the feeling of great relief when you get to cross a task off your to-do list when it’s completed!

      2. Don’t Rely on Your Memory

      Even if you have superhuman memory, it’s always a good idea to write everything down.

      From project deadlines, to customer details, to product prices, writing things down can serve as a reminder so you don’t forget the important things when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

      And with most of us carrying around smartphones, you’re never far from a tool where you can write something down.

      3. Schedule

      A huge part of being organized is knowing how to plan, and expert planning involves a lot of scheduling.

      Scheduling is taking a step further than creating a to-do list. Not only do you have the things you need to do recorded, but you have a timetable when you should complete them. This helps you to develop your time management skills as you’re expected to coordinate tasks and activities so that deadlines are met and everything is done on time.

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      4. Learn to Delegate

      Learning to delegate tasks is a valuable skill that will help to keep you organized. Not only will it lighten your workload, but it will sharpen your planning and prioritization skills as you will have to learn which tasks should be done by you and which tasks are okay to be given to someone else.

      5. Avoid Multitasking

      While the idea of attempting to do more than one task simultaneously may seem brilliant, in practice, it’s the complete opposite. Multitasking is known to actually lower your productivity as it diminishes your focus and attention and things become more difficult and take longer to complete.

      6. Minimize Interruptions

      It’s impossible to control every aspect of your environment but it doesn’t hurt to try. By minimizing interruptions while you’re at work, it gives you a better chance of completing them as effectively and efficiently as possible.

      Investing in noise-cancelling headphones or installing a social media block on your desktop are examples of ways you could reduce distractions.

      7. Reduce Clutter

      A notable organizational skills training technique is to create a filing system for your documents. Whether it’s at work or at home, we all accumulate documents that we may not currently need but are too afraid to throw away in case we will need it in the future.

      Having an organized system can allow you to locate necessary documents any time you need them. It also keeps them safeguarded which reduces the chance of losing something important. This filing system applies to both actual paperwork and digital documents.

      8. Organize Your Workspace

      Where we work greatly influences how we work. If you have a cluttered and messy workspace, then the chances of you working in an unorganized fashion can be very high.

      Keeping an organized workspace ensures that you’re able to perform at your most productive. You won’t waste time looking for things that have been misplaced and working in a clutter-free environment can be soothing for your mind.

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      9. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need

      Clutter is known to lead to stress and anxiety.[2] If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, then the sight of clutter can increase that feeling.

      Getting rid of things you no longer need clears out your environment and, hopefully, your mind as well.

      Done with that sticky-note? Throw it away! Inbox is filled to the brim with unread emails? Unsubscribe to newsletters you no longer read! Whatever you no longer require in your physical and digital life, get rid of it.

      Here’s a guide to help you declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

      10. Tidy up Regularly

      While working, it can get easy for your desk to get untidy. You’re focused on work and so keeping everything at your desk in order is probably a lower priority. But it’s something to be conscious of. Doing a regular tidy up can ensure the mess on your desk doesn’t go overboard.

      Whether it’s a quick clean up every day, or a deep clean every month. Being aware of tidying up and fitting it into your routine will help keep you organized and less stressed.

      The Bottom Line

      Possessing organizational skills enables you to get back control of your tasks when you’re feeling overwhelmed and perform better at work. They can make you more productive, more efficient, and of course, more organized.

      Remember, they’re not only valuable at work! Because of their transferability, they can be beneficial in other areas of your life. And really, it doesn’t hurt to be organized at home and socially, as well as at work.

      Featured photo credit: Jeff Sheldon via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Cambridge Dictionary: Organizational Skills
      [2] Psychology Today: Why Mess Causes Stress: 8 Reasons, 8 Remedies

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