Saturday, 1 December 2012


Steve Jobs was reputed to be one of the most compelling communicators of our time. The good news is that he was quick to admit that he was by no means a natural, and that this is an instance where practice most certainly makes perfect. Here are some pointers to add power to your presentations...

1. Make the most of your message

The actual content of your presentation needs to be interesting and entertaining; and no degree of passionate delivery can make up for poorly-researched information. Your audience want fresh insights that they have not heard before or could not have tracked down easily themselves, translated into a context they can understand. For example, numbers do not resonate with people unless they are explained. When Jobs launched the iPod in 2001 he made the statement that the 5G’s of memory on the device essentially meant “1000 songs in your pocket”. Part of planning your content is knowing your audience and their needs and expectations; which will enable you to speak directly to where they’re at. When you weave together your speech, make sure you are telling a story – an introduction that sets the scene and draws the listener in, a middle part that sustains attention and builds to a climax, and a resolution that ties up loose ends and concludes the message.

2. Eye-catching visual aids

These days, “death by PowerPoint”, with an unending volley of bullets, is unacceptable. While PowerPoint is an extremely valuable tool (an estimated 30 million slide shows are given daily), it needs to be used creatively for maximum effect. Jobs’ slides were highly visual and didn’t contain any bullet points, which research shows are among the least effective ways to deliver information. Remember that your slides are not your cue cards, you should know your content well enough not to be prompted, so think instead about how you can best imprint your point in your audience’s minds – often a single picture tells a thousand words. Using Flash can enhance your slides with stunning animation effects, and a programme like Colour Schemer can give you a broader palette to choose from than PowerPoint’s standard offering. If your presentation is image-heavy, use a tool like NXPowerlite which compresses files by as much as 75%, making it easier to store and share.

3.Stand and deliver

When it’s time to deliver your presentation, arrive early in the venue to check the technical details like plugs, the projector and lighting etc. It will also be a good opportunity to mingle with arriving attendees, which will help you to feel more relaxed when you begin. Depending on the size of the group you could even do an ice-breaker to direct the attention away from yourself a bit. Then it’s all about speaking clearly and loudly, and ensuring your body languages matches up with eye contact and open gestures. If you are full of passion and energy, it will influence the atmosphere in the room. Be sure to keep the audience engaged with questions, and if they look like they are nodding off suggest a quick break to stand and stretch the muscles. You can even offer them some chewy sweets to ensure sustained sustenance!

Jobs recommended a staggering 90 hours of prep to go into an hour-long presentation with 30 slides. 30 hours to collect ideas and formulate your speech, 30 hours to build the slides and the final 30 to rehearse. While this may be unrealistic for the average presenter, it certainly proves that “winging it” is impossible and that “show time” is preceded by a gruelling process and pure hard work. Good luck!

(For more tips read “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” by Carmine Gallo)

-Source: MSN NEWS

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