I hope you seriously consider the practice development idea in last week’s conversation about soliciting critical client feedback. If done the right way, wouldn’t you like it if a service provider asked you how s/he could do better? Even be flattered by someone making that ask?
On to this week. Hey, let’s sit back and watch an uninspiring, text-dense PowerPoint presentation. Said no one ever. I know, we’re accountants. It’s how we’ve always conveyed “our kind” of information. And our audience wants all that detail on the slides. Am I right, or am I right?
And if you’re new to the blog, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
Have you heard the news? Last week, LinkedIn announced that it was going native … with respect to video that is. Joining the ranks of other social media platforms, LinkedIn’s new feature will allow you to use its free mobile app (LinkedIn Record) to create video content.
Right now, anyone can download the app, but only certain LinkedIn members can use it. And recording videos is limited to LinkedIn influencers who answer questions submitted by other LinkedIn users. But it won’t be long until everyone has access to everything.
My take: Imagine creating a short weekly show for a 100% business audience that highlights what you do, who you work with, and what makes you different – all while sharing a glimpse of your personality so people can connect with you on a different level.
We’ve all sat through God-awful PowerPoint shows. Ones where it’s hard to remember the message, let alone stay awake when the presenter and slides drone on bullet point after bullet point.
With enough text that we could have gotten the slides and read them ourselves. At our desks. Here are the eight things this IRS code section says. Here are the two exceptions. Here are the four things you need to be careful about when implementing the change. And the effective date is ….
It doesn’t have to be that way. And I didn’t want it to be that way when I started delivering my presentations.
So I watched presentations given by TED Talk speakers. I applied tips offered by Seth Godin and Michael Port (of Book Yourself Solid and Heroic Public Speaking), among others.
Here are 10 things I’ve learned. If you’re willing to risk being a different/better presenter, give some of these do’s and don’ts a try.
#1 – Do use slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them. If you need your slides to remind you what to say next, your audience will think that you don’t know your stuff. Rehearse until you know your material without prompts.
#2 – Don’t use cheesy stock photo images. You want vibrant images that create a sense of time or place, build an emotional connection, or add humor or contrast to your presentation.
#3 – Do avoid using bullet points. Seth Godin says: “No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.”
#4 – Don’t use dissolves, spins, or other transitions. Unless these effects REALLY enhance the message you’re giving. Otherwise, they’ll just distract from it.
#5 – Do use sound effects a few times, just not the ones built into PowerPoint. Instead, rip music from CDs and leverage the moving effect this can have. You’ll keep your audience from nodding off and remind them that this isn’t your momma’s presentation.
#6 – Don’t hand out copies of your slides. They won’t work without you there delivering the message.
#7 – Do create a written document/outline as a leave-behind. Put in as many footnotes as you like. When you begin, tell the audience that you will give them all the details of your presentation after it’s over so they don’t have to write down everything you say.
#8 – Don’t pass out this outline at the beginning. If you do, people will read THAT while you’re talking and ignore you. Instead, your goal is to get them to sit back, trust you, and take in the emotional and intellectual points of your presentation.
#9 – Do stay connected with the audience while presenting. If you’re looking at the screen behind you, your audience sees the back of your head. If you’re looking at the courtesy floor monitor in front of you, your audience sees the top of your head. They want to see you.
#10 – Don’t point the remote at the screen to advance the slides. Further, the remote broadcasts a wide signal so you don’t need to point it at your computer either. Make the remote an extension of your hand rather than something you have to interact with.
I bring this topic up because we have more opportunities than ever to do more presentations – in person and online. And if we’re gonna do them, we might as well make them memorable.
Because even if your spoken presentation is well delivered, a bad visual experience will ruin it for the audience you worked so hard to get in front of.
Looking for inspiration? Here’s an outstanding Seth Godin TedTalk called The Tribes We Lead (17:29 minutes) that incorporates the points above.
Reading that can help
Most Presentations Aren’t Bulletproof by Seth Godin
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds – $13 on Kindle
Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte – $15 on Kindle
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations by Nancy Duarte – $20 on Kindle
Five Best Online Presentation Creation Tools by Lifehacker (because PowerPoint isn’t your only option)
PS – I’m a fan of actionable ideas that move you forward, so I hope you find this content useful. If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, you can email me or schedule a call with me!
PPS – If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn. If you like my blog, please recommend it to a colleague.