Thursday, August 26, 2010

Resources For Free Graphics

By now we all know that we should be using less text on PowerPoint slides and more graphics. I recently came across this great resource from Slidequest for free graphics. Check it out!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

10 PowerPoint Tips

1. Replace text with graphics whenever possible.

2. About one slide for every three minutes of presentation, unless you are using hyper-links.

3. Limit 6 points per slide, 3 words per point…if you insist on using a teleprompter.

4. Limit 2 fonts per slide...avoid the “ransom note” look.

5. Limit 2 levels of bullets…if you still insist on using bullets.

6. Limit animations and transitions…unless they support your message.

7. Black out the screen when the slide is no longer relevant. (Press the “B” key when in presentation mode, or use a black slide, or remote mouse.)

8. Know your goal of your presentation and build slides around it. (What do you want your audience to think, feel, or do differently?)

9. Have a backup plan. (Memory stick, disk, flip chart, white-board.)

10. Start and end on time…and keep them close together.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10 Webcast Tips

  1. Practice — practice — practice! (Know your content!)
  2. Remain flexible by using hyperlinks to meet the needs of your audience.
  3. Set participation expectations at the start by letting participants know that you will stop every 4 – 8 minutes to ask for their input. Plan interactivity every 4 – 8 minutes by displaying a graphic (such as a light bulb) to let them know it is time for their thoughts, comments, and questions.
  4. Skip the long cordial introductions and get to your content quickly. Explain the benefits they will receive from the presentation first, then you can introduce yourself and provide a little background.
  5. Do not read to your audience. This is one of the most disrespectful things you can do to your audience. We read to children, not to adults. Moreover, it sends a clear message to your audience that you are not prepared. 
  6. Summarize frequently to check that your message is received as intended. 
  7. Include plenty of “spice” such as polls, relevant examples, stories, metaphors, analogies, and Jeopardy® type games.
  8. Test the technology before the event, every time! Systems are constantly changing and being updated.
  9. Have a backup plan, especially for a software demonstration. If the software fails for some reason, use a series of screenshots from the software and combine with hyperlinks to simulate navigation. 
  10. Have an “icebreaker” question on the screen during session logins, and/or use an etiquette slide at the beginning as attendees are joining the webcast.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Value of Feedback

The Scottish poet Robert Burns asked the Almighty for the power to “See ourselves as others see us.” He did not get that wish, and neither will we. Nonetheless, we still wish we had that power to stand back and watch ourselves as we go through life. We would love to see our performances as others do.

Critique becomes easier with video and audio recording technology. Whenever possible, record your presentation for your private review. We are our own best critics and often pick out our distracting habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be sure to acknowledge your good habits too.

Become comfortable asking your trusted advisors and friends to provide honest critiques of habits that distract attention away from your message. This is valuable throughout your career. No matter how good you are, over time, bad habits can sneak in. You can become too fond of your own voice and forget how to stop talking after you have made your point. (I'm guilty!)

Don’t let criticism scare you. 
Ask people who demonstrate good judgment to observe your rehearsal. Continuous feedback and coaching are required to grow in any endeavored.