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Presentation Hacks – Four Tips to Effective Presentation

Presentation Hacks – Four Tips to Effective Presentation

I occasionally gather lots of bloggers and host events for my clients (this is part of blog marketing that works in Japan). After the event, people often tell me I am good at presentations. Although I think I still have lots to improve, here are four tips I would like to share with you all.

1. Using shortcut keys on PowerPoint

There are shortcut keys for the PowerPoint when you are in the “slide show” mode (after you hit “F5”). Although these are written in the manual/help, I barely see people using these useful shortcuts.

  • # + Enter
  • When in the slide show, you can directly jump to the page by pressing the page number and then the enter key. For example, if you have to go back to page 24, just type “24 + Enter” and you are there! It’s so much better than hitting arrow keys many times. I usually remember key slides by page numbers so I can go back and forth easily. This is especially effective in the Q&A session when you need to stress your point showing certain key slides.

  • B / W
  • During your presentation, you sometimes need people’s full attention on you, not on anything else. In this case, “B” / “W” keys are very effective. “B” key means black, and “W” means white. You hit these keys and the screen will instantly go black or white. Naturally, people then have to look at you, since there’s nothing they can see on the screen.

    If you are interested in more useful shortcuts, press “F1” key when in slide show mode.

2. How to receive applause

Have you ever wondered, “I think it was a good presentation, but s/he did not receive much applause…”.

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This happens when the presenter did not properly set up the audience to do so (unless the presentation was pretty bad…). From my experience, there are many presenters who make this mistake. Many times, people just do not know when to applaud. To avoid this, you have to make sure you do the followings at the end of your presentation.

  1. You have to clearly tell them it’s going to end. (ex. “the last thing i want to say is …”).
  2. When you say the above, say it s-l-o-w-l-y.
  3. Bow as long as you wish to receive applause (people give applause to those who bow).

All’s well that ends well. One of the keys to successful presentations is to let your audience know when to applaud. I see many presenters who are good at making their points but not good at receiving the applause they deserve.

3. ( ) methods

Although it’s easier to talk, spelling out all of your points on your PowerPoint slides is not a good move. People read slides before you talk and they get bored.

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To avoid this, I often use so-called “( ) methods”. This is to use “( )” in your slides.

For example, write the “Three most important things in agile development are ( ), ( ), and ( )” instead of writing everything you are going to say.

By doing so, you can turn boring slides into interesting quizzes. People want to know what you are hiding.

Also, the side effect to this method is that people take memos as you reveal answers. What happens when they take memos? If they do, you get motivated!

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4. Collecting surveys

When you do the presentations, you want the feedback but people rarely write enough if you hand out a survey at the end. Also, nowadays people are used to typing, not to hand-writing. So is sending out email afterwards better? Not quite. People are so busy in everyday life that they do not return your email.

So here’s what I do. At the end of the presentation, I’ll tell them, “if you would like to have a copy of this presentation, please fill out the survey at [URL].” If you have already handed out a copy of your presentation, offer them something extra (ex. useful links, additional information on the topics you talked about). This way, the chances of getting your feedback are much higher.

These are some of the tips I learned from my experience. If you know more tips you would like to share, please let us know!

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Gen Taguchi is Japanese and a systems engineer/blogger who lives in Tokyo, Japan. You can read his lifehack ideas at Idea * Idea

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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