27 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #14 Lisa Braithwaite

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: Lisa Braithwaite from Speak Schmeak

Lisa Braithwaite is a Public Speaking and Presentation Skills Coach. She is also a prolific blogger and blogs at Speak Schmeak. Today Lisa shares with us two of her favourite posts (from her blog) along with a small note explaining why she likes these posts.

1. Falling in love with the real you This is one of my favorites because it ties together my thoughts on authenticity and embracing who you are as a person when you get up in front of an audience.

2. 9 things you can learn from a home shopping show
This is one of my favorites because I love to find examples and analogies for speakers to use to help them build their skills. This one was full of great tips.

Thanks Lisa for sharing her favourite posts with us. This post concludes the long running series 'World's Best Presentation Tips'.

26 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #13 MJ Plebon

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: MJ Plebon from PresentingYourPoint.com

MJ Plebon started blogging in 2008. Today he shares his favourite post with us along with this note: "This post is by far the most popular from a readership viewpoint. After many years in corporate life presenting graphs and charts, the risk of confusing or boring your audience is great. Every chart or graph is a story in itself. Now the SWOT analysis is a common business tool and an ideal platform to develop a wonderful story line to support your proposed strategy, your reputation and your career. When presenting a chart of graph, always tell the story behind it."

Here is his post: Don't Sweat When Presenting the SWOT

Thanks MJ for sharing this post with us.

25 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #12 Denis

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: Denis Francois Gravel from PRESENTability.com


I asked Denis to send us his favourite post and Denis sent three. He liked all these 3 posts so much he asked me to choose one. I decided to share all the three with you. Here they are (Denis has written a small note with each link):

1. To boldly go beyond pie chart: I am particularly proud of the theme, the link between pie chart, presentation and Star Trek.

2. 7 Speaking Lessons from Pecha Kucha Quebec: The lessons are really for any presentations. They are universal. It is so true that PechaKucha.org linked it to their blog: "We usually aren’t so crazy about “guides” on how to give a PKN presentation — for us, it’s really all about being yourself — but it’s certainly hard not to agree with what Denis has to say."

3. How to respect allowed time: In this post, I give some precious technique to enhance your presentation and I show some vulnerability.

Thanks Denis for sharing 3 wonderful posts with us.

24 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #11 Nick Morgan

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: Nick Morgan from Public Words

Nick is a popular blogger who writes on public speaking and presentations. He sent a small note for us while sharing his favourite post. He said, "Here's my recent favorite blog, that I published on the Harvard Business School Publishing Blogs. It attracted a lot of comments and was very well received."

Three Steps to Make Your Next Speech Your Best

The three steps he talks about are:

1. First, step out from behind the podium and choreograph your relationship to the audience. 2. Second, listen to your audience. 3. Finally, focus on your emotional intentions for approximately three minutes before important meetings and speeches.

Thanks Nick for sharing this post.

21 May 2010

Creating the ‘wow’ factor in presentations (Part 3 of 3)

This is a guest post by Rangarajan V. This is the last and final part of the three part series. You can read Part I here and Part II here. This series is especially helpful for consultants.


In Part I we learnt that we can improve as a presenter by paying careful attention to three aspects; thinking, making and delivering. Think about what we have to say and come up with few key messages. In Part II Rangarajan talks about 'making' and covers topics like storyboarding, message, headline. If your presentation passes the 'layman' test then it is going to be a 'wow' presentation. Now we will read the third part of the series.


3. Delivering the presentation

The culmination of days/weeks of hard work is almost here. Today is presentation day. The way you deliver your presentation today will determine whether your audience thinks of your effort as ‘oh-wow!’ or ‘umm-what?’ As a presenter or presenting team, what can you do to ensure that your chances of creating a ‘wow’ impact are increased?

Planning: The first thing to do is to plan the delivery of the presentation thoroughly. The following aspects are very important:

A. Understand the audience:

  • Who all are going to be present for the session? What are their backgrounds? What are their personal agendas likely to be?
  • Who is the key decision maker in the group?
  • Who is the change leader?
  • Who is the change resister?
  • What are the likely arguments that the change resister can put forth?

You would have probably gleaned most of these bits of information from prior interactions/discussions. Ensure that you discuss these aspects with your team members and prepare lines of attack/defence well before the presentation starts.

B. Understand the presenting team: Most presentations are not one-man shows. There will be a team of people from the presenting side. Even if the final presentation is delivered by one person, the Q&A sessions during and after presentations are usually handled by team effort. Pay attention to small things that go a long way in ensuring a high-impact team performance:

  • Demarcation of areas: Clearly assigning certain sections of the presentation to your team members helps ensure more thorough research and preparation of individual sections. For example, team member A is in charge of delivering section 3, team member B is in charge of handling all questions related to area 4 etc.
  • Prepping of key messages: Even when there are 4-5 bullet points in a slide, the key message is going to be just one. While this message is likely covered by the headline of the slide, written and spoken language is different. Ensure that the messages sound correct when verbalized in speech.
  • Understanding strengths and weaknesses of presenting members: Some people are better at turning around ‘bad situations’ while some people are good ‘front runners’, who make a high impact when the audience is unsure but not hostile. Ensure that the strengths and weaknesses of the presenters are mapped to the sections of the presentations that you assign them with.
  • Preparing Plan B: It is important to have a back-up plan in case your presentation does not go well? What do you do if the presentation does not go as well as you had hoped? Can you have some other team member deliver a section? What is your retreat option? Should you weather the storm or go for a counter-attack?

C. Understand the infrastructure: This includes some of the following aspects

  • The presentation room: Where are the projectors? Where is the screen? Where will the presenting team sit? Where will the audience sit?
  • Presentation materials: Does the audience need printouts? Will you have access to white-boards? Do you need to use laser pointers?

Executing the presentation:
This is the final piece of the jigsaw and probably the most important one. What all do you need to do to execute a good presentation? Some of the following will help

  • Posture: Adopt an easy posture that you can maintain without much difficulty for the duration of your section/sections of the presentation. Typically, an ‘at-ease’ posture works well, but keep your hands to your side instead of behind your back. Do not pace around too much during the presentation. Keep your head still and upright
  • Eye-contact: Maintain eye contact steadily with all sections of your audience. The decision-maker should probably receive slightly longer eye-contact than the rest of the audience, but not much. At the end of the day, the presentation is to the audience.
  • Language: Keep your sentences short and simple. Avoid jargon (imagine this coming from a consultant!).
  • Speaking style: Do not speak too fast or too slow. No matter what your natural speaking style is, a presentation requires medium-paced delivery and clear enunciation. Ensure that you practice this repeatedly. Occasionally, use silence as a valuable tool to drive home your point.
  • Confidence: This is the most important aspect of your delivery. You need to come across as being assured and deliberate. This comes primarily from two things – practice and knowledge. Practice refers not only to the hours put in for the current presentation, but the accumulated hours of practice you might have put in for all presentations in front of various audiences. Knowledge refers to the knowledge of the subject matter, the audience, the team and the infrastructure outlined above.

Concluding thoughts: No matter what you do with respect to thinking, making and delivering the presentation, there are some aspects that will always be beyond your control. You will have good presentations and you will have bad presentations. The important thing is to feel happy about the good ones and more importantly, learn from the bad ones. As with anything else, keep at it to become better at it.



About the Author:
Rangarajan has been a consultant for over 4 years with A.T. Kearney, a leading management consultancy firm that advises CXO level executives on matters of strategic and operational importance. Prior to joining A.T. Kearney, he did his post-graduation from IIM Ahmedabad. He has given multiple presentations to the Boards/CEOs/CXOs/Senior management of many leading Indian companies and brings a wealth of practical experience in handling tough presentation situations.

20 May 2010

Creating the ‘wow’ factor in presentations (Part 2 of 3)

This is a guest post by Rangarajan V. This is the second part in the three part series.


In the last post we learnt that one can improve as a presenter by paying careful attention to three aspects; thinking, making and delivering. Think about what we have to say and come up with few key messages. Our key messages should cover two things; the necessity for taking action and what is the recommended action?


2. Making the presentation

Once the key messages are clear in your mind, you need to think about the best way to communicate your ideas to your audience. There is no one ‘best way’ of communicating your thoughts. Most people, however, tend to use Microsoft PowerPoint to make presentations these days. Even within PowerPoint, there are infinite ways of communicating the same idea. What is it you can do to ensure that you make a hard-hitting presentation? Keep the following aspects in mind:

  • Storyboarding: Build a story or theme around what you want to say. Stories stick in people’s minds for a lot longer and facilitate better recall. Ensure that your story is logical and sticks to the key messages that you want to convey.

  • Messaging: Have one key message for each slide. More than one message increases chances of confusion and, more importantly, tangential discussions! Your messages should seamlessly blend into the overall story that you create.

  • Headlining: The headline of the slide is the crux of the presentation. If you accumulate all the headlines in your presentation, it should serve as an executive summary of the presentation. Keep the headline crisp and action oriented. The headline should reveal the key message for each slide

  • Visualization: You have to convey the message above in an easy-to-grasp manner. Think of the most effective way of representing your facts/data/conclusions. Use charts, graphs and pictures when needed. The graphs should not contain more data than is necessary to make your point. Never use more than 2 graphs/charts per page

  • Formatting: Pay attention to the details e.g. alignment of the chart title and the chart, page numbers at the bottom, spellings of words, colors of charts (not too bright!), size of text etc. These small details go a long way towards demonstrating your professionalism at work.

  • Revision: No matter how many times you have gone through the presentation, revise it before you send it out to the audience. Check the flow of the story and the key messages once again. Ideally, for important presentations, run the presentation through an unbiased third party (preferably a layman) and seek his/her opinion.

The ‘layman’ test is often the litmus test for the presentation. If it can’t be understood by someone who has no context of your presentation, it may not be understood by your intended audience either (Remember: we often assume that the audience knows a lot about what we are going to speak about. It is surprising how rarely that is actually the case).

Thinking clearly about the messages and making the presentation simple and visual, with attention paid to the small details will ensure ~60-70% of the wow factor is created many days before the actual presentation. But, as in chess, the end-game is where things need to be closed out. If you do not deliver (‘present’) the presentation well, the game is lost!



The third and the final part will come tomorrow.


About the Author: Rangarajan has been a consultant for over 4 years with A.T. Kearney, a leading management consultancy firm that advises CXO level executives on matters of strategic and operational importance. Prior to joining A.T. Kearney, he did his post-graduation from IIM Ahmedabad. He has given multiple presentations to the Boards/CEOs/CXOs/Senior management of many leading Indian companies and brings a wealth of practical experience in handling tough presentation situations.

19 May 2010

Creating the ‘wow’ factor in presentations (Part 1 of 3)

This is a guest post by Rangarajan V, a consultant at AT Kearney. This is the first post in a series of 3 posts.


Cheetahs are capable of running at incredible speeds of up to 100 kmph. Why?

Answer: Necessity – Over millions of years, cheetahs have had to become faster and faster to be able to catch increasingly swift prey. When one’s survival is going to depend on a particular skill, one tends to become better at it.

The same is the case with presentations. The more presentations you are required to make, the better you become at it. Ask any consultant and he/she will tell you. Consultants spend most of their waking lives preparing and delivering presentations to varied audiences. Making a presentation to a VP - Product Development head is not the same as making one to a Brand manager or a Sales head or a CEO. But the underlying objective is the same – to impress the audience, to make them say ‘wow’!

Easier said than done.


How does one create the wow factor in a presentation?

It is never easy. Nor is it ever guaranteed that the audience will react the way you want them to. But one can improve one’s chances by paying careful attention to each the following aspects:
1. Thinking about what you want to say

Spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to say through the presentation. There may be a lot of thoughts in your mind, but the audience can get confused if you put too many thoughts into one presentation. Hence, simplify your thoughts into a few key messages that you think the audience needs to be left with. In most situations, your key messages would need to cover two things.
  • The necessity for taking action
  • What is the recommended action
Remember, making a presentation is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. The end almost always is further action, or ‘next steps’ as consultants love to call it! Even if you think that a presentation is just a status report or a routine monthly sales analysis or a project report, remember that managers in today’s world are always interested in the results or the action implications of what you have to say.

These days, the ‘wow factor’ comes increasingly from providing the audience simple and effective thoughts and ‘calls for action’. Thinking about the exact messages that you want to convey is a crucial first step.




Read the next post in the series by clicking here.


About the Author: Rangarajan has been a consultant for over 4 years with A.T. Kearney, a leading management consultancy firm that advises CXO level executives on matters of strategic and operational importance. Prior to joining A.T. Kearney, he did his post-graduation from IIM Ahmedabad. He has worked across engagements spanning strategy development, cost benchmarking, process improvements and financial planning for sectors as diverse as telecom, oil & gas, financial services, petrochemicals, automotives, textiles etc. More relevantly, he has given multiple presentations to the Boards/CEOs/CXOs/Senior management of many leading Indian companies and brings a wealth of practical experience in handling tough presentation situations.

Cheetah Image Source: Bernie Condon

17 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #10 Jeff Brenman

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: Jeff Brenman of Apollo Ideas

Jeff is a presentations blogger and he started blogging in 2008. He shares 'one of his most useful tips' with us today. While sharing this tip he had this to say.

"This post is great because it's a simple tip that can make a big difference right away. I've had a lot of excellent feedback from presenters who say thinking about their slides this way helped them dramatically improve the quality and effectiveness of their presentations."


Breaking up is great to do.

Enjoy reading this post.

14 May 2010

How to Select the Right Chart Type for Your Data?

By reading this post you will know how to choose the right chart type for your data. You will know which charts you can use and which you cannot for a given situation at hand.

In my last article on www.24Point0.com (a website I write for) I have written about 'How to select the right chart/graph for your data?' You can click here to read it.

If you have been reading my blog you will remember that in September I ran a 14 post series on making charts (click here to read it). In the 2nd post of the series I shared my methodology of how to go about choosing the right chart.

Then why one more post on the same topic?
In the new post I have presented 3 methodologies to you.

1. My methodology
2. Andrew Abela's method
3. Chandoo's method

Andrew Abela is a popular presentations blogger and Chandoo is an expert in MS Excel. Going through these 3 methods (which do share some similarities) you will get a complete picture of which charts can be used when you have a data to present.

10 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #9 Fred E. Miller

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: Fred E. Miller from No Sweat Public Speaking

Fred is a serial entrepreneur (he has been part of 6 businesses) and is passionate about Public Speaking. He shares his favourite post with us and adds "It is a favorite because the opposite is done so often!"

Pause: Silence is Golden! And an important element of Speaking!

Enjoy reading the post.

8 May 2010

Another milestone: 200 posts

My blog has crossed 200 posts. This happened on the 3rd of this month. That's another small milestone that makes me immensely happy. I completed 475 days of blogging on May 3. 200 posts in 475 days. That means 2 posts every 5 days!

I thank all my readers, friends, colleagues and my better half for all the support and encouragement.

Background Image: Salvatore Vuono

7 May 2010

World's Best Presentation Tips #8 Scott Schwertly

World's Best Presentation Tips is a series of posts where presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us at All About Presentations. This is an exclusive for AAP readers.

Today's Blogger: Scott B. Schwertly from Ethos 3

Scott has been blogging since 2006. He is the CEO of Ethos 3, a company which offers presentation design and training services. When I asked him to share his favourite posts from his blog, this is what he picked.

#1 The Prom Queen - "I see this mistake in almost every presentation" he said.

#2 A Presentation Review of Jamie Oliver (a video post) - "Great discussion on the importance of passion." he adds.

Thanks to Scott for sharing these with us. I am sure we all will enjoy reading these posts.

5 May 2010

The Formula to Create the Best TED Talk Revealed

Sebastian Wernicke has statistically analysed the first 525 TED talks published on TED.com. He has made a note of what words people have used in their TED talks; which talks have been liked by most people; which talks have seen most comments; which talks are not at all popular. He has then come up with an analysis of what one needs to do to make the 'perfect' TED talk. From what dress one should wear to what words one should use. In this funny talk (which ofcourse is meant only for fun) Sebastian shows us the results of his wonderful analysis. Apart from being interesting, the talk is also very well delivered (good use of humor and excellent slides). Go ahead, see Sebastian in action on TED and enjoy. His presentation is just 6 minutes long.

I found this link on Cool Infographics.

3 May 2010

Best Presentation Tip Ever: Really Bad PowerPoint by Seth Godin

What you are going to read now is perhaps the best presentation tip ever written at one go. Seth Godin, famous author and blogger, wrote an e-book in 2003 and then re-wrote a summary of it in 2007. This post of his is one of a kind; so much of 'presentation wisdom' in such a small article. That's why this post is among the best presentation tips ever written. Click here to read the article. Here is a small summary of the same in my words (do read it as well):

1. PowerPoint is inevitable. You have to learn to use it. Whether you in college, in business or in the military.

2. PowerPoint is being misused now-a-days. We don't know how to use it.

3. Communication is the transfer of emotions. If you are only going to present facts and figures then it is better to shun the presentation and send in an excel report.

4. You are presenting in order to convince, because if everyone agreed with you already then why are you presenting in the first place? Realise this fact, make your points with force and sell your ideas to the world.

5. There are four components to a presentation.

(a) Cue cards
(b) Use slides to emotionally reinforce what you are saying (not to repeat what you are saying)
(c) Leave a handout for the audience, and
(d) Create a feedback cycle.

Cue cards are pieces of paper where you write what you came to say. Use it so that you don't forget anything. Don't use your slides as cue cards.

Humans act on emotions. Evoke strong emotions and leave the facts and figures behind. Instead of putting up data, talk it out and put up an image which touches my heart.

Make detailed handouts with all the charts, facts and figures. Give it to the audience at the end but tell them at the start that you will be sharing a handout. This will put their mind to rest and they will focus on your presentation. Use all your rationale and logic in the handout (to prove you have done your hard work) but use PowerPoint Presentation to make an 'emotional sale'.

Close the loop. If you came to get a project approved, then at the end of the presentation give out the approval form and get it signed. Leave no ambiguity behind on what was agreed during the presentation.

6. Use very few words per slide. Do not fill the slide with text.

7. Do not use poor quality images, go in for professional looking images (even if you need to buy them).

8. Do not go in for animations and slide transitions unnecessarily.

9. Do not use sound effects which come with the software. If your bullet comes with the same sound every time then it does nothing but irritate the audience.

10. Do not take prints of the slides and use as hand outs. They make no sense without you. If they did, then why are you needed in the first place?

1 May 2010

Best of the Month: April '10

April was all about collecting the best presentation tips from all over the world. It all started on April 5 when I thought how great it will be if presentation bloggers from all over the world share their favourite posts with us. So I wrote to all the bloggers I knew of and most of them have responded. Thus started a sequence which I titled 'World's Best Presentation Tips'. Already I have shared with you the favourite posts of 7 bloggers. There are atleast 6 more to come.

Other than this, I also interviewed Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, Chief Belief Officer of Future Group (Big Bazaar & Pantaloons). In this interview (read here) he talks about his TED experience and how he prepared and excelled at his TED presentation.

I also recommend you read these 5 posts from my blog (if you have not done that already). These 5 posts are the most read posts on my blog till date.

#1. 10 tips to help you get sponsorship money from corporates
#2. How many slides should a presentation have?
#3. How to impress your boss in your next sales/business review?
#4. Introduction to SmartArt graphics in PowerPoint?
#5. 7 presentation habits which Dr. Stephen Covey uses

Have a great weekend. See you on Monday.