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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
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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.

    Image 2

      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.

      Image 3

        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.

        Image 5

          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.

            image 6

              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 July 27, 2021

              15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

              15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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              During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

              But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

              Put the Pro in Professional

              After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

              1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

              The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

              Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

              2. Dress the Part

              While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

              Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

              For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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              Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

              3. Stage Your Workspace

              Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

              Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

              4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

              Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

              Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

              Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

              Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

              5. Arrive on Time

              In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

              Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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              6. Turn on Your Video

              Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

              If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

              Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

              7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

              Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

              Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

              Attend to the Pesky Details

              8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

              With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

              Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

              9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

              Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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              Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

              10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

              As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

              Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

              Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

              Talking Has a Time and a Place

              11. Chat Appropriately

              Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

              At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

              12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

              The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

              Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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              13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

              In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

              Manage Yourself

              14. Minimize Distractions

              While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

              Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

              15. Save Snacking for Later

              Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

              However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

              Final Thoughts

              Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

              Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

              Reference

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