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How to Make Awesome PowerPoint Presentations

How to Make Awesome PowerPoint Presentations

Awesome PowerPoint presentations usher in what everybody desires: the attainment of goals. These presentations—if prepared and administered efficiently—are worth more than millions especially to big brands. Of course, the results are mirrored on smaller brands.

That said, it’s worth investing time and effort to create a well-crafted PowerPoint presentation. Why? These tools while primarily used for marketing, are geared towards effective communication. If they are utilized wisely, they can catapult a company’s sales performance for the long haul. Consequently, ballooning sales volume translates to business growth.

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This is a simple guide on better PowerPoint presentations:

1. Simplify.

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2. Tell a story.

3. Clarify points within the body.

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4. Have a grand finale. Incite action. Solicit emotions.

Let’s usher in more detailed explanations about the guide above.

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  1. Draft your talk. Create an organized draft. You’ll use it as basis for your PowerPoint presentation.  
  2. Organize. Lay down a plan. Base on your draft, draw up a plan on how to create your presentation. The principle at work here is similar to the one used in making movies. Draw up an illustration board, even just on a piece of paper. (I’m serious, you can use any kind of paper.) Boards guide you to arrange your slides in an organize manner. You might think it’s a waste of time; on the contrary, it facilitates the process. Next, on your board, create sketched frames. On each frame, you sketch how your graphics will appear. Make it detailed. Include a space where you will put the text.
  3. Make clear, easy to understand frames which are not boring. Remember these points: aim to have a clear message using graphics, make sure your letters are legibly printed, use appropriate colors, use visuals that will help ignite interest from your audience, make sure your slides enhance your talk rather than diminishes it’s impact, pacing must be just right. Not too fast and not too slow.
  4. Go directly to the point. Follow this guide:  Don’t over introduce your presentation, have an intro that is short, yet thorough, and after the intro, go straight to your main topic. Your presentation should not veer away from the core of your topic. One of the most common mistakes of PowerPoint presentations is that they branch out to other topics that are not at all connected to the main focus of the presentation.
  5. They should enhance your talk. Always remember, your PowerPoint presentation is a tool to help you get across your message. It’s not the star of the show, your message is. So don’t make the mistake of making your PowerPoint presentation drown your star. It should act like a supporting actor in a movie. He makes the lead star shine even more. He enhances his character.
  6. Use strong visuals. Your visuals should be big enough for the size of your audience. If you have a way to check your venue, go check it before you create your visuals. In business circles, this is known as actual ocular inspection or AOI. Doing this will help you decide on what font size to use and the right size for your graphics. It will also help you plan on how big your body gestures should be. The standard is, the bigger the audience, the bigger your gestures should be.

Here’s a simple guide:

  • Easy to identify
  • Easy to comprehend
  • Connect the ideas, words, symbols, graphics, graphs, and other elements you will use in your talk.
  • If you are weak on graphics, I suggest you hire a good graphics artist. Remember, as Frederick R. Barnard said, “A picture paints a thousand words.”
  • Use appropriate colors, shapes and internationally accepted symbols.

Here are some more insights about PowerPoint presentations: In conversations, you may metaphorically dance with the thoughts of whom you’re talking with. This will help you formulate thoughts; but in a PowerPoint presentation, you’re on the spot. Fail to deliver a clear and easy to remember message and your audience will go home confused and your reputation tarnished.

So what makes an awesome PowerPoint presentation?

  • Your audience understands your topic much better.
  • They remember the main points.
  • They are inspired to take action (this is the emotional response you desire).
  • The audience is equipped to share your message (i.e. your message is crystal clear and concise, therefore it’s easy to remember and to share).

To summarize everything, awesome PowerPoint presentations are short, punchy, and clear.

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Anthony Dejolde

TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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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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