Power Your Points with Images and Slides
When you’re giving a presentation, you may look at the option of using a PowerPoint to enhance your presentation. There’s nothing wrong with using PowerPoint; however, a lot of people consider PowerPoint presentations boring and awful. Though that’s true for most PowerPoint presentations, your presentation doesn’t have to be boring.
PowerPoint is just a medium like television. If all you ever watch on TV is what’s being served for lunch at the local schools, and you don’t have any kids then you’ll find the program boring and awful. But if you love watching the Olympics and you can’t be at the Olympics, you’ll love watching Television. It all depends on what you put on the screen, and it’s the same with PowerPoint.
There is one thing that will help you with your communication skills and save you a lot of time: IMAGES. Many people focus on designing the PowerPoint slides while inserting lots of bullet points and changing all the graphics eyes. However, this may not help enhance communication. What I found when I test real audiences everywhere is that people remember images. They remember a slide if it has one idea on it, but they do not remember the complexity on slides or lots of bullet points. They remember an image, a chart, or a simplified graph. Moreover, a picture or some type of drawing makes your idea come alive.
Practice in the Friendliest Environment
After you’ve done all the practices shared above, it’s time to put it all together and start practicing. Practicing is important to dramatically get over the hump of being a scared, nervous, and uncomfortable beginner.
Just take your cell phone, laptop, or camera and practice on video. Record a video, review it, and note down what you don’t like about it. Then work on your flaws, record again, and repeat until you’re happy with the results.
Ask Colleagues for Feedback
If you had an important press release or document that you had to send to all of your customers or the media, would you just wing it? Would you just dictate it once and send it out as it is? Probably not. You’d want to test it, check it for spelling mistakes, and review it. You’d possibly have a lawyer in your organization or a trusted advisor to look at it. You want other checks on the process before you send out your text communication.
You can also test when it comes to spoken communication. Let’s say you’re giving a sales presentation to 20 important prospects on Thursday. Get one or two of your colleagues to join you in the cafeteria or an empty conference room and give them your presentation. When you’re done, ask for their feedback. Don’t ask them what they think. They’ll tell you, “Oh, you’re wonderful,” because they want to be helpful.
The secret to getting feedback isn’t asking people to rate you on a scale of five or ten, it’s asking them what they remember from your presentation. If they don’t remember anything from your presentation, then you’ve failed and you need to improve. If they remember even one or more messages, then you’ve successfully created a great presentation, and the chances are your audience will understand your messages and take your desired actions.
You can also upload the presentation you recorded for practice on YouTube, Facebook, or any other video-sharing platform and ask people for feedback.
Black Out PowerPoint Presentation when Not Needed
Let’s say your boss is giving you a boring PowerPoint presentation and you’re afraid of putting people to sleep, and you want them to focus on something you’re saying. In such a situation, if you have a slide up on PowerPoint, all you have to do is hit the letter B to instantly black it out. You can now talk and everyone will focus on you. Hit any key on the keyboard when you want the slide to come right back to the screen.
Not many people know this, but it’s a way for you to come across much more commanding and confident when you’re giving a presentation and trying to communicate with people.
Reprogram Your Mind
Whether you’re doing a TV interview, giving a speech, going for a job interview, if lots of ums and ers come out, it sounds unprofessional. Here’s a quick tip I use when I’m conducting training sessions with people. I just type up the word that they say too often, print it out, and draw a red circle around it with a slash (making a NO symbol). It is a little sign that says no oms, ers, yeah, or no. I cut it out and just tape it to their cell phone, watch, computer screen so they remember they have to avoid saying these words. After a week, it will reprogram their brains so they won’t have that annoying verbal tic any longer.
Congratulations, you are no longer a beginner when it comes to your communication skills. Now, when you want to communicate, you’re going to have the skills and techniques to do it. You’ll always start the same way by asking yourself, “What’s my objective here and what do I want my audience to do after I’m done speaking?” Then you’ll brainstorm all the possible messages and narrow them down to the top five. You’ll think of interesting, relevant stories involving conversations with real customers for each one of your messages. You’ll have a simple paper outline, so you don’t have to remember anything in the speech. If you want to use PowerPoint, you’re not going to throw tons of text up there. Instead, you’ll come up with an image for each one of your message points. Finally, you can practice on video and test with others.
Do all that, and you’re going to go into this communications opportunity with tremendous success because your audience will perceive you as comfortable, confident, and relaxed. They’re going to understand you, remember your key messages, and take the actions you want. Good luck.