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How to Make Presentations That Don’t Put Your Audience to Sleep

How to Make Presentations That Don’t Put Your Audience to Sleep

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Mauro D’Andrea. Mauro D’Andrea (founder of Blog Growth) is an internet marketing expert that helps people to reach their goals. If you want to succeed online, take his 12-part course “Online Income from A to Z” for FREE. Also you’ll get his guide “Increase Your Conversions” as a Bonus.

It’s common: you are in the middle of your presentation when you realize that your audience is not listening to you. You can’t hold their attention. Someone is not listening, someone else is talking with his friend, and there are even few people who are sleeping. At the end of your presentation, you feel pretty badly about your performance. You can’t understand, you offered many interesting ideas, but they were bored. You trained for that presentation every day in the past few weeks. You are pretty sure that your speech was great, how is possible that people weren’t listening to you? You feel confused and a little frustrated. Probably you don’t know one thing…

The Problem is on the Screen

The problem wasn’t you; the problem was your presentation. Most of the presenters don’t make good slides. Be honest: how many boring, flat, black and white presentation have you seen on the screen for the last years? If you give a look at SlideShare, you’ll notice that most of the presentations there are boring. Not one, not two, not half…most of the presentation! The fault isn’t of the presenters: no one taught them how to make a great presentation; no one taught them that their slides are as important as their speech.

Your Presentation has to Grab Attention

The only way to make people listen to you is to grab their attention with a phenomenal presentation. If your slides show a lot of text, they will bore people. People are lazy; they don’t want to read while you are speaking. They don’t need to read what you are saying them. If your slides are black and white, they’ll appear uninteresting. If your slides show confused data and/or text people won’t pay attention. People want to learn while they get entertained. Some boring slides won’t entertain them.

How to Make a Stunning Presentation

Making a great presentation is pretty easy if you know how to do it. You can follow these steps to learn how to make presentations:

1. Use Big Marvelous Images

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“One picture is worth one thousand words”

Images can be very powerful, use them. They are probably the most important part of the presentation. Through the right images, you can evoke emotions in your audience. Think about how effective funny images are. Another example is shocking images: they have a great impact (but don’t exaggerate!). One thing that you should avoid with images is to insert clip art. They are horrible. When you see a clip art on a presentation, you instantly perceive it as unprofessional.

Use your images to cover the whole slide. Smaller images can work well if you use them well, but avoid them if you don’t know how to put them in an excellent way.

Use similar images. If your images seem to come from a related source, your presentation will get a more professional (and better) look.

On the contrary, if your images are totally random, your presentation will appear more…random! Give a look at these two great sources to get good free images:

2. Use Text in the Right Way

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Don’t insert tons of text in your slides. You are making a presentation, not the next bestseller romance. Insert less text per slide. This means that you have to write only the key points. Your text has to be BIG. Big text impacts, small text will barely be noticed. Give your text a good-looking structure. Try to make a nice composition with your words; don’t put them in a random way. Your text should fit perfectly with your images.

Don’t use bullet points!

While they are great to highlight key points in an article, they are boring in a presentation. Use one slide per bullet point, it will look better.

3. Fonts

This is one of the most undervalued parts of a presentation, but it’s really important. Differentiate your presentation with a little known font. How many times have you ever seen words written in Arial or Times New Roman? As you know, the things that we see often are boring. Instead, we feel pretty excited and curious when we see something different.

Choose a beautiful font. There are many ugly fonts. You don’t want to use them. You want the best of the best. Search your best font and insert it in your slides. Remember that other people will see your slides so don’t choose unreadable fonts even if they are marvelous. If no one can read it, it will make more damages than benefits.

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Use two fonts per presentation. If you use too much fonts, your presentation will look confused. You want to build a scheme with your fonts. Use one heavy font to highlight important concepts and one light font for the normal text.

These are some great sources to get appealing fonts:

4. Colors

Colors are what make the difference between a good presentation and a great one. Choose your 2-3 colors and stick to them. The best presentations have some recurring colors. Because of that, your presentation will appear more professional. Your colors have to highlight the text in your slides. For example, if you have a black and white photo, use a vivid color for the text.

Train Yourself

To improve your slides you have to watch other great ones, borrow ideas, and make lots of attempts. As you get more experience about slides, your presentations will be more appealing. Like writing, speaking, and every other skill, only the training will make you improve. If you want to give a look at some awesome presentations, you can check these down here:

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Up to You

Have you ever thought about the importance of communication in our lives?

How we communicate with other people has a huge impact in our lives.

Presentations have the power to help us communicate better.

What do you think about presentations and communication in general?

 

Also, if you have a presentation, insert a link to it in your comment and I’ll give you advice on how to improve it ;)

Featured photo credit:  Large Group of Sleeping students via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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