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7 Awesome Tips About Presentation Your Teacher Wouldn’t Tell You

7 Awesome Tips About Presentation Your Teacher Wouldn’t Tell You

The ability to deliver a great presentation is not something that is exclusively useful for corporate meetings and business pitch presentations. In fact, the ability to express an idea in a clear and entertaining way can be used in your professional and personal life. Even trivial conversations you have can benefit from your ability to deliver a great presentation!

1. You’re telling a story

Remember that you are telling a story. It may seem odd to think of a business pitch or a presentation on a technical topic as a story, but the truth is, every presentation is a story. It’s your story, so you need to articulate a clear beginning, middle, and ending. Every good story has a protagonist and an antagonist, so make these players known. Once you translate your idea into a structured story, the audience can appreciate and grasp what you say much easier. Audience retention will increase significantly if you can transform your presentation into a story. This is especially important for business presentations and sales pitches.

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2. Take the Steve Jobs approach

Everyone knows that Steve Jobs is the king of delivering great presentations, so much so that his methodology is studied and taught in academia around the world. Here are a few actionable approaches you can use the next time you deliver a presentation or sell an idea.

  • Deliver the big picture before the details. Find a way to get the big idea across before you jump into your product, idea, or opinion. This initial step lays the foundation for the rest of your discussion and provides context for your thoughts.
  • Remember that you’re telling a story and introduce the antagonist. Every good story has a protagonist and an antagonist, be sure to introduce your characters clearly.
  • Once the audience is familiar with the antagonist, introduce the hero of your story and sell the benefits of your idea or product. Remember that you’re not selling a product directly, but rather the benefits that your product offers the users.
  • If you’re using numbers to convey your idea, put the numbers into context or embed their impact in a physical thing that is relatable to. Numbers that serve as simple statistics lack the impact that a physical item carries.
  • End with the “one more thing…” idea. Shock your audience when they think you’re done and have said everything you have to share. This will turn a great presentation into an unbelievable one.

3. The audience wants you to be great

If you’re speaking to your family and friends or in front of an audience in which you’re a guest speaker, the people in front of you care enough to listen. If your audience cares enough to listen, then they want to see a great presentation. Walking to the stage with the notion that the audience wants you to succeed is a reinforcing thought to help you maintain confidence and deliver an awesome presentation.

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4. If you’ve opted to use power point, pictures trump text

No one wants to watch you read information off a slide. This means you need beautiful photos that cue you to say what you want to say. A photo with a few words accompanied with a rehearsed delivery is a much better slide than one filled with bullet points. In fact, never use bullet points. Bullet points should be weaved into a story that captivates the audience. A story is much easier to recall for your audience and is likely to have a much larger impact.

5. Quotes are a powerful way to drive a point home

Including quotes in your presentation help to drive a point home. Typically, it is better to use quotes that are noteworthy or originated from a wise person who is perhaps a respected or well-received person in a field. This helps the audience to confirm that what you are saying is logical and valid, even if you don’t have quantifiable evidence. This doesn’t mean you should falsify information, but it does serve as a simple way to reassure the audience that you’re correct, especially when you are restricted by time. The inclusion of a powerful quotation can also provide depth and insight into your presentation. Using a proper quote to back an idea up can create inspiration and truly captivate your audience.

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6. Pace the stage, don’t be caught frozen

Do NOT stand in one spot and regurgitate a speech or presentation from memory. If you pace the stage in a comfortable way, your audience will feel more relaxed too. This is natural and is important to deliver a powerful presentation. When you learn to pace the stage, you as the speaker will feel more relaxed and probably more enjoyable to watch.

7. Transitional language is equally important as the content in the headlines

If your presentation is broken up by a number of unnecessary transitional words and you don’t properly transition from idea to idea, your audience will lose interest and miss the essence of your presentation. Eloquent transitions to weave multiple ideas together will have a jaw dropping effect on your audience. Try it and see what happens. This requires practice and unless you have a wicked command over the English language, winging this part will leave you with a mediocre presentation and an overly polite, pitiful audience.

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Last Updated on July 22, 2019

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

10 Killer Cover Letter Tips to Nail Every Interview Opportunity

A cover letter is an introduction to what will be found in the resume. In a cover letter, the applicant is able to use a conversational tone, to explain why the attached resume is worth reviewing, why the applicant is qualified, and to express that it’s the best application the reader will see for the open position.

Employers do read your cover letter, so consider the cover letter an elevator pitch. The cover letter is the overview of your professional experience. The information in the body presents the key qualifications, the things that matter. The cover letter is the “here is what will be found in my presentation”, which is the resume in this case.

Something really important to point out- a cover letter should be written from scratch each time. Great cover letters are the ones that express why the applicant is the best for the specific job being applied to. Using a general cover letter will not lead to great results.

This doesn’t mean that your cover letter should repeat your most valuable qualifications, it just means that you don’t want to recycle a templated, general letter, not specific to the position being applied to.

Here’re 10 cover letter tips to nail every interview.

1. Take a few minutes to learn about the company so that you use an appropriate tone

Like people, every company has its own culture and tone. Doing a bit of research to learn what that is will be extremely beneficial. For instance, a technology start-up has a different culture and tone than a law firm. Using the same tone for both would be a mistake.

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2. Don’t use generic cover letter terms — be specific to each company and position

Hiring managers and recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters. They read cover letters and resumes almost every day. Using words and terms like: “your company” instead of naming the actual company, and “your website” instead of “in your about us section on www.abc123.com”, are mistakes. Be as specific as possible, it’s worth the additional few minutes.

3. Address the reader directly if you can

It is an outdated practice to use “To Whom it May Concern” if you know the person that will be reviewing your documents. You may wonder how you’ll know this information; this is where attention to detail and/or a bit of research comes into play.

For example, if you are applying for a job using LinkedIn, many times, the job poster is listed within the job post. This is the person reading your documents when you “apply now”. Addressing that person directly will be much more effective than using a generic term.

4. Don’t repeat the information found in the resume

A resume is an action-based document. When presenting information in a resume, the tone isn’t conversational but leading with action instead, for example: “Analyze sales levels and trends, and initiate action as necessary to ensure attainment of sales objectives”.

In a cover letter, you have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch: “I have positively impacted business development and growth initiatives, having combined two regions into one and achieving 17% in compound growth over the following three-year period”.

Never use your resume qualifications summary as a paragraph in your resume. This would be repeating information. Keep in mind that your cover letter is the introduction to your resume- the elevator pitch- this is your opportunity to show more personality.

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5. Tell the company what you can do for them

As mentioned above, this is your chance to explain to the company why you are the best person for the open position. This is where you tell the company what you can do for them: “If hired as the next (job title) with (company name), I will cultivate important partnerships that will enhance operations while boosting revenue.”

Many times, we want to take the reader through the journey of our life. It is important to remember that the reader needs to know why you are the best person for the job. Lead with that.

6. Showcase the skills and qualifications specific to the position

A lot of people are Jack’s and Jill’s of all trades. This can be a great big picture, but not great to showcase in a cover letter or resume.

Going back to what was mentioned before, cover letters and resumes are scanned through ATS. Being as specific as possible to the position being applied to is important.

If you are applying for a coding position, it may not be important to mention your job in high school as a dog walker. Sticking to the exact job being applied to is the most effective way to write your cover letter.

7. Numbers are important — show proof

It always helps to show proof when stating facts: “I have a reputation for delivering top-level performance and supporting growth so that businesses can thrive; established industry relationships that generated double digit increase in branch revenues”.

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8. Use testimonials and letters of recommendations

A cover letter is a great place to add testimonials and information from your letter of recommendations. Mirroring the example above, here is a good way to use that information:

I have a history of consistently meeting and exceeding metrics: “(Name) rose through the company and became a Subject Matter Expert, steadily providing exceptional quality of work.”- Team Manager.

9. Find the balance between highlighting your achievements and bragging

There is fine line between telling someone about your achievements and bragging. My advice is to always use facts first, and support that with an achievement related to the fact, as shown in the examples above.

You don’t want to have a cover letter with nothing but bullet points of what you have achieved. I can’t stress this enough — cover letters are your elevator pitch, the introduction to your resume.

10. Check your length — you want to provide no more than an introduction

The general rule for most positions is one page in length. Positions such as professors and doctors will require more in length (and they actually use CV’s); however, for most positions, one page is sufficient. Remember, the cover letter is an introduction and elevator pitch. Follow the logic below to get you started:

Start with: “I am ready to deliver impeccable results as (name of company) next (Position Title).

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What you know and like about the company, what initiatives, missions, goals resonate with you: “I read/listened to an interview that your Chief of Staff did on www.abc123.com. His/her statement regarding important up and coming employee engagement initiatives really resonated with me”.

Overview of your qualifications and experience: “I have a strong background in developing, monitoring, and controlling annual processes and operational plans related to community relations and social initiatives”.

Highlight/ Back up your facts with achievements: “I’m a vision-driven leader, with a proven history of innovation and mentorship; I led an initiative that reduced homelessness in four counties and received recognition from the local Homeless Network and the County Commissioner”.

Close with what will you do for the company: “As your next (job title), I am focused on hitting the ground running as a transformational leader who is driven by challenge, undeterred by obstacles, and committed to the growth of (name of company).

Bonus Advice

When applying for a job online or in person, a resume and a cover letter are standard submissions. At least 98% of the time, both your resume and cover letter and scanned via ATS (applicant tracking systems). You can learn more about that process here.

The information provided in a cover letter should be written and organized to be compatible with these scans, so that it can make to a human; from there, you want to make sure that you capture the recruiter and/or hiring managers attention.

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Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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