A powerpoint can be an element of your presentation, but be wary of making this mistake like Bob did.
Bob chose to use PowerPoint slides for his presentation, and on each slide were bullet points supporting his talk.
In addition to bullet points, Bob included a small cartoon on every slide. These cartoons were very amusing, and everyone laughed at each one. We were all very interested to see what clever and funny cartoon Bob had on his next slide.
Bob went through his presentation, and he managed to keep his focus on his material, never once commenting or referencing the cartoons on his slides, much like the way Katrina never commented or referenced the garment bag on the table until the end of her presentation. It was really an interesting process to watch Bob remain focused on his material, while the rest of us laughed at the cartoons on his slides.
Everyone highly enjoyed Bob’s presentation, and when it was over, we all gave him tremendous words of praise and congratulated him on his entertaining approach. We did this quite sincerely, because Bob’s presentation was truly entertaining and enjoyable.
A few days after Bob’s presentation, I ran into someone else who had been part of Bob’s audience. She commented on how much she had enjoyed Bob’s presentation, and she said, “I particularly liked the cartoon about the cat.”
I responded, “Yes, that was funny! Let me ask… Continue reading
Emotion is KEY to Speaking Success!
Why do audiences like stories so much? Because stories help them put the point of the lesson into context, but also add an emotional element to what could be a dry subject.
In addition, our brains are wired to remember emotionally charged events. As we become emotionally involved in a story, our entire being changes at the physical level.
In her book, Molecules of Emotion, Candice Pert explains exactly how our emotions physically affect our body, changing the way we behave at the cellular level. Her work shows there are actual physical molecules associated with the emotions we feel, and these molecules bind with receptors on our cells and alter the way our cells behave.
Dr. Bruce Lipton, an internationally celebrated cell biologist, explains in his book, The Biology of Belief, precisely how the cells altered by an emotional process affect us at the molecular level. Each molecule has a positive or negative charge, and when they bind with receptor proteins on the walls of our cells, those positive or negative charges cause the proteins in our cells to change their shape, resulting in physical changes in the body.
As a speaker, transferring information only engages the intellect of your audience, but adding an emotionally charged event to your talk brings your audience out of their intellect and into their emotion. That’s where real learning is done and that’s where real… Continue reading
Present the GIST of your Material in the Presentation!
In his powerful book, Brain Rules, John Medina explains how research shows that the human brain records and recalls the gist of an event, but doesn’t record and recall a lot of the details. This means an audience will not likely remember much of a presentation about the two-hundred-thirty-seven steps to a successful marketing campaign.
On the other hand, if the presentation listed “The Three Top Marketing Strategies that Always Work” (gist), and then went on to support each of the three points with some relevant data (details), the audience would be more likely to get the point. They would remember the gist even if they don’t recall all the details.
Here is a beautiful example of how simplifying the presentation can make all the difference in the world.
In the mid 1990’s, I was working for a man who has since become my long-time mentor and friend, Anil Agrawal. Anil also happens to be one of the most intelligent people I have ever known, and to this day he remains my close friend.
I remember sitting at Anil’s desk, across from him, with three information packets in front of me—a pink one, a blue one and a green one. Each of these packets contained the details of a different training program that we were selling at our company. My job was to learn the contents of the information packets… Continue reading
Always Use More Pictures and Less Text
The pictorial superiority effect, or PSE, is a phenomenon caused by the fact that text and pictures are handled differently by the human brain.
Text is seen as a collection of tiny pictures, and the meaning of each letter has to be assessed and put into context with the adjoining letters in order to make a word, which requires neural functioning and some time. Pictures, on the other hand, require far less neural processing and have the added advantage of more easily engaging the emotions.
A series of tests referred to by John Medina in his book, Brain Rules, show that people could remember more than 2,500 pictures with at least 90 percent accuracy after several days post-exposure, even though they were exposed to the pictures for only about ten seconds. A year later, the accuracy rates had only dropped to around 63 percent.
According to Medina, if a presentation is delivered orally, your audience will remember about 10 percent of the information after seventy-two hours. If you add a picture, the retention level increases to 65 percent.
Pictures don’t just dress up your presentation; they directly, and significantly, affect the measure of learning and information retention enjoyed by your audience.
So, what’s the lesson? Use more pictures and less text in your presentations.
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Rehearse your Presentation Everywhere and All the Time
In late 2009, I gave a ten-minute presentation, about presentation skills, to a networking group. Afterwards, someone asked me how much time one should use to prepare for a presentation. My answer was simply that there’s no set amount of time someone needs to prepare. Presenters need to prepare until they’re as ready as they can possibly be. Essentially, no amount of preparation is too much.
Later, I calculated how much time I spent preparing for that ten-minute presentation, and the answer was almost fifty hours! That doesn’t mean I sat at my computer preparing slides, researching material, and working on the presentation for fifty hours. Preparation includes rehearsal as well, and not all rehearsal happens on a stage.
To be ready for that ten-minute presentation, I prepared the information, created the slides, gathered my evidence, and then rehearsed. I practiced how I was going to open and how I was going to close the presentation, out loud and in my head. I worked out the questions I’d ask the audience, and even to whom I would ask some of them. I visualized the entire ten-minute presentation in my mind over and over again. I rehearsed it in my mind while I was in the car or in the shower, and even while doing house work. Whenever I could afford the mental time to do so, I rehearsed the talk.
I approach… Continue reading