Most people have a hard time with public speaking, due to stage fright or worries about being seen as incompetent. Women presenters tend to carry even more baggage into their presentations, thanks to generations of cultural messages about being “ladylike.”
Here are three of the most common ways that women allow this cultural baggage to prevent them from making powerful, effective presentations. (Note: These mistakes are commonly seen in women presenters, but plenty of men make them, too. Readers of any gender might find helpful tips here.)
The Mistake: Saying Too Much
If you’re feeling unprepared, or insecure about being seen as an expert, you may compensate by talking more than you should. The longer you talk, the more likely you are to use filler words (such as “um” and “well”), which make you appear uncertain of yourself.
The Solution: Keep It Brief
In your main presentation, make your statements short, clear, and bold. When taking audience questions, give a friendly but brief response of two to three sentences, and then stop.
The Mistake: Asking Permission
You may be tempted to check in with the audience before taking action, even for something as simple as changing the lighting level in the room. This comes from a desire to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes.
The Solution: Declaring an Intention
Just state what you’re planning to do, and move forward with it. If someone is unhappy with what you’re about to do, they’ll let you know. If not, they may find it refreshing to avoid the back-and-forth of the permission game when you simply take charge.
The Mistake: Building Up to the Point
Women often attempt to soften their message with preambles because they fear causing a conflict if the other person disagrees. But here’s the thing: a soft message is a weak message, and it won’t be heard or honored by the recipient.
The Solution: Say It Straight
To get results, deliver a strong message by saying exactly what you mean, without build-up. Then let the other person’s response indicate how the message was received.
Want to Learn More about Powerful Presenting?
We’ve got lots more presentation tips and tricks—including the secret to using PowerPoint without boring your audience to death—here at the Slideshop blog.
What is it about PowerPoint that turns intelligent and articulate people into droning robots? We’ve all been there—trapped in a deadly dull presentation where a guy in a suit is reading his PowerPoint slides aloud to the audience, bullet point by painful bullet point.
If you want to avoid being “that guy,” there’s one thing—and only one thing—that you need to know.
The secret to avoiding this presentation-killing mistake is this: Put the focus on the audience, where it belongs.
Give Your Audience What They Need
Your presentation is not about you, the presenter. A successful presentation succeeds because it meets the needs of the audience.
When you cram PowerPoint slides full of data-heavy bullet points and then read every slide to the audience, you’re meeting your own needs. Presenters often use PowerPoint as a crutch to make sure that they don’t forget anything. News flash: PowerPoint is more than a set of digital cue cards!
Here’s how to make sure that your audience is the focus of your presentation:
▪ Make it visually engaging. This means very little text, lots of compelling images, and using a color theme that doesn’t give everyone a headache.
▪ Keep it laser-focused. Figure out what one question your audience needs to have answered, and explore that question. At the end, tell the audience exactly what to do next.
▪ Encourage audience interaction. A bored audience just wants the whole thing to be over with as quickly as possible—but an engaged audience wants to find out exactly how your topic affects them. Give them opportunities to be actively involved in your presentation.
Audience Focus Begins at the Drawing Board
The type of presentation you design and lay out in PowerPoint leads directly to the kind of audience impact you’ll enjoy (or suffer) later.
If you whip up an old-school, talking-head presentation with 60 slides, your audience will zone out immediately due to years of conditioning. On the other hand, if your PowerPoint looks different from what they’re expecting, you’ll have their attention right away.
A word of warning: Despite what you may have heard, loading up your PowerPoint with animations and video clips is not the way to go. Overuse of these types of gimmicky attention grabbers only serves to distract (or possibly even irritate) your audience.
Instead, make your topic the star of this show. Find the key aspect of your topic that will make audience members care about your message—and then focus on how this topic will directly and immediately impact those individuals.
First, make your audience feel strongly about your topic. Then tell them exactly what they can and should do about it. That’s a successful presentation in a nutshell.
Need More Great Tips about Creating Amazing Presentations?
For more PowerPoint tips and tricks, be sure to check out the Slideshop blog.
The human brain is not designed for bullet points.
Let’s face it, bullet points are boring—and they’re the number-one reason that PowerPoint audiences lose interest in your presentations.
A better strategy is to use compelling visual aids instead of bulleted lists. Here’s the good news: PowerPoint 2013 has a great feature called SmartArt that can help you transform those boring bullet points into a visual aid.
How to Convert Bullets to SmartArt
It’s a simple process. In fact, there are two ways to do it. One way is to look under the Insert menu and choose “SmartArt Graphic.” You’ll be asked to select a diagram style from the gallery of options, and then you can enter your text (what would have been your bullet points) into the created graphic.
Obviously, that method works best if you haven’t already entered bullet point text into your PowerPoint slides. But if you have, don’t worry. There’s a way to convert existing slide text into SmartArt, too. Here’s how:
▪ Put your cursor into the text box where your bulleted text is already typed. Use the right-click feature to pull up a menu, then select “Convert To SmartArt.
▪ The graphics gallery for SmartArt should open automatically. Pick the diagram style that makes the most sense for this particular set of bullet points. Then PowerPoint does the work of converting your bullets into the new diagram.
▪ If the created diagram isn’t immediately perfect for your needs, you can adjust it. Just apply any of the PowerPoint formatting tools to the diagram in order to resize it, change the color, move it to a different part of the slide, and so on.
Remember to Keep It Concise
A visual aid works best when it’s clean and simple. If you converted a wordy, lengthy bulleted list into a visual with SmartArt, you’re still going to lose your audience.
SmartArt visuals are best used to convey a flow of information, a cause-and-effect situation, or a general timeline of events.
As always, it’s ideal to keep the heavy data in clear and simple graphs—and to save most of the numbers for the handout you’ll give the audience. (After the presentation, not before. But you knew that, right?)
Where to Find More Killer PowerPoint Tips
Looking for other ways to wow your audience with PowerPoint? Check out the Slideshop blog for more details on successful presentations.
Ever wished that you could learn just one guaranteed, like-magic trick for wowing an audience, every single time?
You’re in luck—this one trick does exist. It combines three key strategies that work together to produce an unforgettable presentation that gets results.
Ready to get the lowdown on masterful presenting? Read on…
We’ve all been subjected to mind-numbingly boring PowerPoint presentations. In fact, so-called “Death by PowerPoint” is so common, one group of psychologists even conducted a study on the key psychological flaws of ineffective PowerPoints.
One interesting finding of that study: most people can’t even pinpoint what it is that makes a presentation a bad one – they just know a bad presentation when they see it. The researchers concluded that presenters in any field could use some training in psychological factors that influence presentation effectiveness.
Want to create a great PowerPoint presentation? Streamlining your content should be your top priority, but you can also rely on built-in PowerPoint tricks to make your slide design sizzle.
Keep reading for five essential PowerPoint tricks that will make your presentation memorable.
You have probably sat through more than one poor PowerPoint presentation – the kind where you start checking your emails or texting someone (anyone!) just to keep yourself awake.
When it’s your turn to be the presenter, the last thing you want to do is bore your audience to tears. So the big question becomes, “How can I make a good PowerPoint presentation??” Read more
It’s a debate that’s been brewing since PowerPoint was born (around 1987, that is). Is PowerPoint a better presentation tool than the old-fashioned flip chart?
The answer to the flip-chart versus PowerPoint question may depend on the audience type and what you’re trying to convey. A flip-chart could be the obvious winner in a small group or a low-tech environment. (Wilderness retreat, anyone?) On the other hand, PowerPoint may be the visual aid of choice when you need to convey a lot of information to a very large crowd.
In an important presentation, the very worst thing you can do is overload your PowerPoint slides with text—and then read the slides to the audience.
Why would a presenter do this to his or her audience? Usually, it’s based on fear. If you don’t know your material thoroughly inside and out, or if you’re expecting difficult questions from your audience, then you might be tempted to dump every possible piece of data onto your slides so you can access it easily.
Fortunately, there’s a tool built into PowerPoint 2013 that will prevent you from committing this deadly presentation sin. It’s called Presenter View.
Small business owners know how important it is to have a brand marketing strategy. Your strategy is essential because you won’t attract a solid customer base without it. There are numerous strategies you can try out when self-branding and you will probably end up giving many of them a shot at some point. One great way to get started is to explain what makes your brand or service so unique, using a branding PowerPoint presentation. Read more