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Bored With Business Presentations? 10 Refreshing And Engaging Tactics To Rock The Stage

Bored With Business Presentations? 10 Refreshing And Engaging Tactics To Rock The Stage

Are you fed up of creating the same old PowerPoint presentations and losing your audience within the first 10 minutes? You need to up your game and try something new! Here we will share a list of ten techniques and out of the box presentation skills that go beyond the use of ineffective PowerPoint slides.

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    Change things up by hosting your presentation somewhere unique and interesting, rather than just another conference hall.

    1.    Choose a unique location for your presentation

    One of the best ways to attract and engage an audience for your presentation is to choose a unique and interesting location. Conference halls have a corporate and somewhat boring feel to them and if you don’t want that projecting onto your innovative idea or product, choosing an exciting, yet relevant setting for your presentation is key.

    A company called The Lost Lectures demonstrates just how effective it can be to choose a unique location for a presentation. The concept behind their business idea is to host enchanting talks from secret locations that take the audience away from traditional corporate or academic environments and into more inspiring and imaginative places.

    Another great way to engage your audience and heighten their expectations of your presentation is to keep the location a secret until the day before or even the morning of the event. This will get people talking about it and add a shroud of mystery to your idea or product.

    2. Share the stage

    Far too many CEOs and entrepreneurs think that they have to carry out their presentation alone, when in fact sharing the stage with members of their team would make for a more interesting and effective presentation format. As a general rule (which we will go on to talk more about later) you should not be speaking for more than ten minutes at a time. A great way to break up your presentation and keep your audience engaged is to have multiple speakers contributing with their expert knowledge. Even if you can’t necessarily have multiple members of your team on stage, you could always include them via video link to add another element of interest to your presentation.

    3. Tell a story

    Whilst PowerPoint slides have long been used in presentations, they are not the greatest tools for engaging and exciting an audience. Something that is far more interesting and appealing to audiences is the stories you have to tell. Telling your audience the story of your business or how you came up with an idea or project is a great way to engage with them on a more personal level. It will be like you are sharing ‘behind the scenes’ knowledge with them and giving them an insight into how your mind works.

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    Telling a story will also help you to show the love and passion you have for the idea you are presenting. After all, if you are not enthusiastic about your product, service or idea, then your audience isn’t going to be either.

    When preparing your presentation, remember that all good stories have a hero and a villain. Your villain will be the problem that you are aiming to solve and your hero will be your idea or product – the solution to the problem.

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      Make your headline, the opening sentence to your presentation, Twitter-friendly.

       4.  Create a Twitter-friendly headline

      A fantastic technique to remember when preparing your presentations is to create a Twitter-friendly headline. This is a sentence that summarises your idea or the purpose of your presentation in 140 characters or less. By creating this headline and repeating it a few times throughout your presentation, you will give journalists, bloggers and any other attendees of your presentation a line they can easily tweet.

      A company that is renowned for creating Twitter-friendly presentation headlines is Apple. For every product launch they announce, they will create a Twitter-friendly headline to use in their keynote presentations. For example, when Tim Cook announced the launch of iOS 7 he used the headline ‘iOS7 is the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.’ Needless to say, this exact sentence was tweeted by multiple individuals and outlets immediately after the presentation.

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        Steve Jobs was arguably one of the best keynote speakers, known for his Twitter-friendly headlines such as ‘Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.’

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        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-zMRPZpvcw

        5.    Make your presentation multi-sensory

        Let’s face it; no one at your presentation is going to capture all of the stats and data you provide in the charts and graphs on your boring PowerPoint slides. Data is more memorable when it’s visually interesting. Rather than trying to explain challenging stats and data, why not spend time converting it into a format that is easier for your audience to digest? Breaking the monotony by using multi-sensory tools and visual aids like mood boards and infographics is a great way to highlight the points you are trying to make, without confusing your audience with unnecessary clutter.

        6. Fuse online and offline content

        Another fantastic way to engage your audience is to fuse online and offline content and make your presentation interactive. For example, you could build a simple app for your presentation that people can download on their smartphones for free and use to participate. Possible interactions could involve submitting questions, answering questions or even simply providing feedback. Getting your audience involved in any way will help to keep them focused and interested in your idea.

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          Widen your audience and provide a reminder for attendees by uploading your presentation online.

          6.  Upload your presentation for the world to see

          The presentations you make will be a key part of your brand’s story and will help to deliver a marketing message, so rather than simply giving a presentation and moving on, why not milk it for all it has to give? One of the ways you can generate a greater return from the work you have put into your presentation is to video it and upload it online. That way you will be able to share your presentation with a much wider (or even global) audience and also provide a reminder to attendees.

          You could also consider re-purposing some of the content from your presentation and creating a series of blog posts to run along side it or even a webinar.

          www.youtube.com/embed/yGENcskRGRk

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          8. Stick to the 10 minute rule

          We mentioned earlier just how important it is to break up your presentation so that you are talking for no more than ten minutes at a time. The reason that the ten minute rule exists is because it is thought that the average person’s attention span lasts no longer than ten minutes. This means that if you continue talking about the same thing for over ten minutes, you are likely to lose the majority of your audience.

          Aside from introducing guest speakers to contribute their knowledge, another way you can stick to the ten minute rule is by inserting short video clips for your audience to watch. This could be a video demonstration of the product in action or even a humorous video outlining the problems that your product or idea can solve. Alternatively you could re-capture your audience’s attention by asking them to participate in your presentation using a mobile app or do a quick Q&A session.

          Image 5(1)

            Heard of a silent disco? Capture your audiences’ attention by creating a silent presentation!

            9. Try your hand at silent conferencing

            Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few years, it is likely that you will have heard of silent discos. A silent disco involves giving participants headphones, which are linked up the DJ’s sound system, so only they can hear the music playing. Well believe it or not, this concept is actually being introduced to the world of business conferences. Yes, many people are now trialing this innovative presentation method in hope that it will captivate their audience’s attention and prevent them from getting distracted by their surroundings.

            This concept would work particularly well if you were given a presentation at an exhibition, trade show or another busy environment with a lot of footfall. It would eliminate the distractions surrounding your audience and ensure they are focused on you and your idea only.

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              Practice, practice, practice so when you step up in front of that microphone, you know exactly what you want to say and how to deliver it.

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              10. Practice makes perfect

              Whilst you may think we are ending our list on a rather obvious point, what we really wanted to stress is that even the best and most natural presenters in the world practice their presentations and speeches again and again. Although you may have thought that Steve Jobs was naturally great at presenting, it may not have been the case if he didn’t practice so much! Jobs spent hours and hours practicing his presentations to empty conference halls to ensure that when it came to actually giving his keynote speech, it was delivered in a casual, yet polished and effortless manner.

              www.youtube.com/embed/i68a6M5FFBc

              In order to deliver a successful presentation you need to be able to speak it word for word without needing to refer to notes. The odd hidden bullet point behind the mic stand is fine, but no one wants to see you holding sheets of paper or reading word for word off your PowerPoint slides (your audience can do that themselves). Instead take the time to thoroughly prepare yourself to give your presentation. You will find it extremely helpful to break your content down into smaller sections. Another great thing to do is to use different visual aids and formats. Not only will they help your audience to stay engaged, but they will also help you to remember what’s coming up next.

              Conclusion

              The idea behind any presentation is to educate, entertain, inform and inspire an audience, no matter whether they are prospective customers, co-workers or investors. A great presentation requires extensive creativity, careful planning and a hell of a lot of practice, but if someone is willing to take the time to listen to your ideas, it only seems right that you put effort into making your presentation the best it can possibly be.

              Image credits: Access Advertising, Kooroshication, dfarber, clasesdeperiodismo, Media-Saturn and kelbycarr

              Featured photo credit: Freevector.com via freevector.com

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              Published on September 16, 2020

              12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

              12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

              Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

              Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

              Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

              Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

              Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

              Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

              1. Organization

              When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

              When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

              Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

              To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

              To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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              2. Flexibility

              You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

              Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

              For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

              To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

              To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

              3. Collaboration

              As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

              Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

              To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

              To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

              4. Poise

              Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

              When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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              What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

              To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

              To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

              5. Communication

              Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

              When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

              To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

              To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

              6. Good Computer Hygiene

              Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

              Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

              To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

              To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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              7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

              Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

              Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

              To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

              To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

              8. Respecting Feedback

              In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

              Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

              To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

              To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

              9. Project Management

              Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

              To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

              To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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              10. Staying up to Speed

              Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

              To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

              To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

              11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

              “Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

              To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

              To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

              12. Teamwork

              Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

              Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

              To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

              To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

              Final Thoughts

              Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

              More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

              Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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