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Archive for ‘Conference Presentations’

To be an Expert or a Master

By Tom Nixon

Any chart or graph can be a dense forest of data unless you deliberately create it with the goal of making the complex understandable. This double axis chart is a build slide with each component revealed as the presenter introduces them so that the audience can understand how the chart works without the initial confusion caused by showing the entire chart at once.

The goal here is to show how presentation technique and the complexity of the content work together to affect how the audience responds to the speaker.

The vertical …

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Getting (Creatively) Unstuck

by Claudia Brogan

“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.”

<Attributed variously to Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Mark Twain, Tony Robbins.
regardless of the origin, what matters is the point this great quote makes.>

One challenge for professional speakers who have varied topics and presentations is the creative act of coming up with new speech topics –or new approaches to topics—that they can use in training for their staffs and audiences. As a matter of fact, getting ourselves into “jams” for new ideas and new approaches can …

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Using a graph? What’s your point?

by Tom Nixon

Presenting data to an audience is a challenge. If we just dump a pile of numbers on the screen we can expect those “eyes glazed over” looks that PowerPoint is so famous for. To make numbers meaningful we often turn to a graph or chart to show numbers as visual relationships.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint is all too ready to help us make those many layered, three-dimensional, color coordinated graphs that are just as confusing as the raw data. As the “tour guides” of our presentation we need …

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3 Reasons to Perfect Your Pause

by Natalie Gallagher

When we are scared, anxious, or excessively nervous, our body kicks into fight-or-flight mode, a natural survival instinct.

Because public speaking can be a terrifying experience for many, the brain can trigger the “flight” response, and cause us to speak as quickly as possible in order to get off the stage as soon as possible. For me, speaking incredibly fast was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome to improve my speaking. On stage, my nerves combined with excitement over my topic made it sound like …

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The 5 C’s of Storytelling: A Follow-up

by Bob Goodyear

I just came back from a sales conference where I had the opportunity to train technical sales teams on various soft skills.  One of the techniques that was taught was the 5 C’s of storytelling, that I’ve written about previously.  After the sessions were over, I had several attendees talk to me.  The most common question I heard was “When do I tell a story in a technical presentation?”

The “traditional” technical sales presentation is considered to be a “data dump” and the expectations are generally very low …

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Give Your Graph A Point of View

by Tom Nixon

Every part of your presentation should move your audience toward the goal that you set for the entire presentation. Simply dumping a data set into a graph in PowerPoint only gives your audience part of the story — just the raw information.

You are the expert. Ideally they want to know what you think, what you have discovered about the subject, and how you see things. Give your charts and graphs a point of view by emphasizing the specific data that is critical to …

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Information vs. Presentation Decks

 

by Bob Goodyear

Several years ago, I was asked to do a technical sales presentation for a Fortune 100 company that could lead to a very large software contract.  All of the technical decision makers for the company would be in the audience as well as the CIO.  This was a very important meeting for the sales team and I was being asked to come in as an expert to close the technical end of the sale.

As I prepared for the event, the lead sales executive …

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Quotable Quotes

by Claudia Brogan

Why do we take the time to include quotes in our presentations and speeches?

Though there are many ways to answer that question, I believe that we do so to get the clear attention of our audience, to provide encouragement and perspective, and to frame a useful lesson in a pithy way.

When making final preparations for a recent panel presentation, my co-presenter asked me to swiftly choose three great quotes that would epitomize my key points. The spontaneous idea was to create a handout of pithy …

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A Quick Fade

by Tom Nixon

Animation in PowerPoint or Keynote is a very slippery slope. It seems that the average user cannot resist the urge to fly in text or spin transitions from one slide to the next. Additionally, they must feel that once is certainly not enough — the stunning effect has to be repeated dozens, if not hundreds of times.

The average audience member doesn’t quite see it that way. The zooming and flying quickly becomes amateurish and nauseating for your viewers. I generally coach anyone but an experienced …

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Don’t Squish Their Heads

by Tom Nixon

I don’t know if this bothers anyone else — maybe it is just me and my graphic design touchiness. But it makes me crazy when I see distorted images — photos of people and objects (like a basketball) that have been stretched or crushed to make them fit a space. It can be seen all the time in slide decks designed by folks who should know better.

The human eye and brain are very aware of even the slightest of these amateur short cuts and that is …

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