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Making Your Presentation Worth the Cost

Making Your Presentation Worth the Cost

    Let’s face it, no matter what your business is, or who you work for, the chances are that you’ve been on the receiving end of bad presentations. My working definition of a bad presentation here is one that costs more than it saves or makes for the organization involved. If it’s a business presentation, that’s obviously the company employing whoever the presentation involves – there’s always (almost always) someone who’s responsible.

    Of course, it’s hard to work out how much a presentation will save or make for the organization in the long run: on the other hand, the costs are pretty easy to calculate. Firstly take the hourly rate of pay for everyone in the room and double it – because that’s what it costs the company. Now add the double-day-rate costs for each hour the presenter spent getting things ready. Finally, add the obvious costs for room rent, refreshments and any travel costs for everyone. It won’t be long before such presentations begin to cost thousands of dollars an hour. And that’s before you add in the costs of lowered productivity and damaged moralle.

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    And yet a cost-effective presentation isn’t difficult. You don’t have to be great – just good enough to justify your costs!

    All a presenter has to do in a presentation is think of two things.

    • What do I need to tell my audience?
    • How do I need to tell them it?

    Whatever else you do, or don’t do in your presentation should be measured up against those two simple criteria. The Devil is in the details, of course, and sometimes it’s hard to know how to answer those two questions – to be honest, most presenters don’t even bother to ask them so if you do, you’ve a good chance of being a cost-effective presenter.

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    Less is more

    The more a presenter tells his or her audience, the less chance there is of them remembering any given thing they’re told. With that in mind, it’s not hard to get the idea that you should filter out everything – and I mean everything – that isn’t your absolute core message.

    For every slide, for every paragraph, every image, ask yourself, one slide at a time, “Does this give my audience something they need to know?” If it does, fine. If it doesn’t, ditch it. Once you’ve done that filtering, give yourself a break that’s long enough to mean you come back to the material with a fresh mind-set – and do another filter.

    Two hours doing something else is minimum. Two filters is usually enough because of the next point.

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    Too much is never enough

    Only experts make presentations. By definition if you’re giving the presentation you know more about your presentation than anyone else. That almost always means you know more about the material, too, so don’t be put off by thinking other people know more than you do. That’s great. What it can mean, if you’re not careful, however, is that you begin to take things for granted that your audience needs to know.

    They won’t know your jargon, they won’t know your workings and they won’t know any of your assumptions, that is unless you tell them.

    Once you’ve done your filtering do your checking for assumptions. Just like you went through every slide and every paragraph and every image, go through them again and ask yourself what each is built on. If it’s not built on the previous paragraph or slide then at the very least it’s in the wrong place.

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    More likely, however, is the problem that you’ve taken something for granted, something that your audience probably won’t know about. You need to put that – whatever it is – into your presentation.

    What’s next?

    Not much, to be honest – there’s a whole load of tips and tricks for moving your presentations from ‘good enough’ to ‘good’ but from the point of view of your boss, ‘good enough’ is exactly that. And you can bet your bottom dollar that your boss measures ‘good enough’ as not costing more than it’s worth.

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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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