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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

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      Brian Lee

      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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      6 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals

      6 Simple Steps to Make Progress Towards Achieving Goals

      Every day that goes by you either move closer towards achieving a goal or you move further away from that goal.

      If you take specific step, you can be assured that you are moving towards our goal. If you do nothing, you are moving away from the goal.

      By being still, you lose momentum, and the level of inertia of our current position increases.

      Following these steps will guarantee that you will make progress towards achieving goals each day:

      1. Gain a clear picture of what you want to achieve

      You can’t move towards a goal unless you have a clear idea about what that goal is. This picture must be specific.

      You can’t simply state that you want “a better job”; rather you must clearly picture what that job will be and why it will be better.

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      You can’t simply have the goal of “being self-employed”; instead, you need to have a clear picture of what you will be doing and how that will change your life.

      2. Spend time visualizing your success

      As part of gaining a clear picture about your goal, frequently take time visualizing yourself achieving your goal.

      Get as detailed as possible in your mind, even taking the time to write down your goals in significant detail.

      Whenever you find yourself getting discouraged go somewhere, quiet for a little while and use that time to visualize success in your endeavors.

      3. Associate immense pleasure with achieving your goal

      A third step is to associate immense pleasure that will occur when you achieve your goals. This can be a natural outflow of the visualization process in step two.

      Consider how you will feel when succeed. What will it be like? How much joy will you have? How will you celebrate?

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      Make the level of pleasure as deep and realistic as possible. The more pleasure you associate with achieving your goal, the easier it will be to get out of your comfort zone and do the things needed to achieve that goal.

      4. Associate intense pain with the idea of failure

      Another motivator that will push you towards the goal is the pain you associate with not achieving your goal.

      In college, this is the motivator that pushes students to write an essay the day before it is due; the pain of failing has become very real to them.

      What are the pains associated with not achieving your goals? What will you NOT have? What will it look like to those around you? How will you feel about yourself?

      Get these pains clear in your mind and use them to push you towards action. Be careful here to always use the pain to push you towards action.

      Remember these pains are not inevitable. You know you can achieve your goals.

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      5. Focus on doing something important each day towards reaching your goals

      As I mentioned in the introduction, each day that goes past without action towards your goal plants you further in your current situation. As such, you need to do something each and every day towards achieving your goal. 

      Start by identifying the important activities that need to do to achieve your goal. Every goal can be broken down in to a number of steps and those steps can be broken down further into the activities needed to achieve those goals. 

      You need to do something every day from this list. That means even on days when you are busy with other things, tired, or when unexpected things fill your time, you need to find someway to do something that helps you move forward. 

      Even if it is a simple act, it will help you keep your personal momentum moving in the right direction.

      6. Keep your goal at the forefront of your mind

      Not only do you need to have a clear picture in your mind about what you would like to achieve in your goal, you also need to keep that goal at the front for your mind.

      There are many ways you can keep yourself reminded about your goal. One idea is creating a storyboard with photos about what you want to achieve.

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      A number of years ago, I set the goal of going to the Olympic Games. I set a storyboard filled with photos of the Olympics and of the city where the games were hosted. I placed the poster in a place where I would see it all the time when I was working. It helped me make the progress I needed to for my goal to come true.

      Now, a number of years later, I have been to four consecutive Olympic Games.

      You may also want to use your calendar system (such as Outlook or Google Calendar) to set reminders. Have the reminders keep you focused on the goal you want to achieve.

      While these six steps are simple, they are very rewarding.  Put them into action and you will achieve your goals.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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