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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 December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

More Tips on Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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