Archives For improve

Improving a PowerPoint presentationMost PowerPoint presentations leave a lot to be desired.

Too often they are confusing (“what do you mean?”), pointless (“what do you want me to do?”), and/or boring (“who cares?”).

Good planning will improve most PowerPoint presentations.

  • Limit the scope of your presentation.
    Focused presentations are good. Focused, short presentations are better.
  • Know your audience.
    What do they already know and feel about your topic? What do you want them to know and feel about it?
  • Determine your presentation’s objective.
    What do you want the audience to do as a result of listening to you?
  • Organize your material in a clear and logical fashion.
    After a brief introduction, develop three main points that clarify what you’re talking about, why it matters, and how it works.

Designing good PowerPoint slides will improve your presentation.

  • Use fewer slides.
    Only use slides that will help your audience understand the point you’re making. Never use slides as your script.
  • Don’t rely on PowerPoint templates or graphics.
    They are amateurish. (Microsoft should be embarrassed by how tacky most of their design elements are.)
  • Make them legible.
    My least favorite line from a presenter is, “You probably can’t read this, but…”

Rehearing your presentation will also improve your presentation.

You don’t need to be highly polished or theatrical. But you do need to sound coherent, as if you’ve thought about what you’re going to say. And you need to sound interested in what you’re saying. So practice your presentation out loud at least once before you stand in front of an audience.

The Fastest, Easiest Way to Improve any PowerPoint Presentation is to Engage your Audience’s Participation.

Passive audiences are less likely to invest in your presentation, less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt, less likely to care about or to adopt what you’re proposing.

Do not keep your audience passive. Do not make them sit quietly while you talk on and on. Do not talk for 40 minutes and give them 5 minutes at the end to ask questions.

The Best Way to Engage your Audience’s Participation Is to Encourage Discussion and Q&A.

Present a little, discuss a little. Present a little more, answer your audiences’ questions. Talk a little, listen a little, add to what you’ve said.

The Easiest Way to Encourage Discussion and Q&A Is to Black Out the Screen Periodically.

When you’re in presentation mode while using PowerPoint, simply tap the “B” key. Magically, the screen goes black. Tap any other key and your presentation comes back exactly where you left off.

Blacking out the screen is a non-verbal way of telling your audience that the presentation isn’t “up there” on the screen. The presentation is happening between you, the speaker, and them. It’s a way of saying, “let’s talk.”

(If you tap the “W” key, the screen goes white.)

Check out Making the Most of Q&A.

Give Better SpeechesThe best way to become a better speaker–to learn how to give better public speeches and presentations–is to make more mistakes.

It’s counterintuitive, I know.

You would think that reducing or eliminating mistakes would make you a better speaker. But you’d be wrong…for three reasons.

Reason #1: The Willingness to Make Mistakes Allows You to Practice, to Learn, to Improve.

Continue Reading…

To improve a speech keep it sortThe single best way to improve just about any speech is to make it shorter.

5 Reasons Shorter Speeches Are Better

1. Shorter speeches have a better chance of maintaining your audience’s attention.

Today’s audiences have the attention span of a gnat. They have too many distractions. And they’re trained not to sit still and listen.

Even a masterful speaker with a well-prepared speech will have trouble keeping an audience engaged for long. So keep your speech short.

Continue Reading…

a person straining to listenPeople work with me, for the most part, because they want to become better communicators. And by that they mean, usually, that they want to become better speakers. I find that improving their listening skills often proves more beneficial.

Listening isn’t a passive skill. You don’t simply sit there and let the other person talk. You interact. You tune out distractions. You give people cues (verbal and nonverbal) that you’re listening. You pay attention to every way they communicate — to their words, gestures, facial expressions, eyes, pauses, everything. You ask questions. You rephrase what you hear.

Listening is also a gift. You are giving people something of value — something most people don’t give them.

Here are what I consider to be…

The Most Common Poor Listening Habits:

  1. Talking instead of listening.
  2. Presuming that you know what the other person is thinking.
  3. Preparing what you’re going to say instead of listening.
  4. Mentally arguing with the speaker.
  5. Thinking about something else while the speaker is talking.
  6. Getting impatient with the speaker.
  7. Letting the environment distract you.
  8. Dividing your attention — reading your email, filling out reports, staring at someone cute!
  9. Not asking questions.
  10. Being distracted by the speaker’s mannerisms, voice, or appearance.

And here are..

5 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

  1. Give Your Full Attention.
    Even if you’re an efficient multitasker, you really can’t listen well while you’re engaged in another activity. You’ll miss something of what people want to communicate — a feeling, a nuance, a connection. Set aside what you’re working on, and tune out your mental distractions.
  2. Look and Sound Like You’re Paying Attention.
    Show people you’re paying attention. If they think you’re tuning them out — whether you are or not — they’ll assume you don’t care. And they’ll stop talking. Give people visual cues that you’re listening. Turn your whole body to face them, look them in the eye, and lean in. Give them auditory cues that you’re paying attention.
  3. Stop Mind Reading.
    Making assumptions about people’s motives and feelings is patronizing and often misleading. Approach each encounter as if it is entirely new. Even if people repeat themselves, look for something original in what they’re saying. Being a committed listener will challenge people to be more thoughtful conversationalists.
  4. Ask Probing Questions.
    Most people’s conversation is a small portion of what they’re thinking and feeling. If you never ask questions, they won’t tell you their true insights, needs, feelings, and motivations. Start by asking clarifying questions: “Do you mean…” or “Did I understand you to say…” Then follow up with exploratory questions: “How did you come to that conclusion?” or “What makes you feel that way?” or “Can you tell me more about why you want that?”
  5. Practice Silence.
    When you ask a question, give people time to formulate their response. Silence is a good thing. It allows for reflection. Be patient and you’ll be surprised by what people come out with.

Take The Listening Quiz.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...