Presentations – A Key PowerPoint Usage Strategy is to Put Yourself in the Picture

There are lots of usage challenges when it comes to PowerPoint. It’s a challenge juggling a keyboard, the mouse, or a remote, trying not to trip over any wires, trying not to read the slide, and letting your audience can see the screen. One key strategy that resolves most of these usage challenges is very simple: step back to the screen and stay with the visual while you’re referring to it. 

When you separate yourself from the visual — whether by standing at the lectern or at the computer or off to the side — you split the audience’s attention. You’re forcing them to choose between looking at you or looking at the visual. By keeping yourself in the picture, so to speak — right next to the screen — you ensure that the focus stays on you. 

There are two other very good reasons for standing right beside the screen. If you stand at your laptop, there’s an excellent chance that your positioning will be blocking the view of the screen for some audience members. You don’t want to risk that. Secondly, standing by the screen gives you a chance for purposeful movement, as you can refer to the visual and help direct your audience’s attention to the specific line or column you want them to focus on. Remember though, don’t talk to the screen. You can glance at it and refer to it, but always make sure you turn and talk to your audience.

There is one exception to this guideline. If you’ve ever attended or presented at a large industry conference or convention, you’re probably familiar with the giant-sized screen commanding the center of the stage in a convention hall, or the double oversized screens that flank a stage. An already intimidating speaking situation, it’s aggravated by the fact that the proportion of screen size to speaker height — or even the number of screens present — implies that the visual is more important than the speaker. Under these circumstances, you can’t very well put yourself in the picture (where you’ll look like a dust mote on the screen) or refer to a line that’s two stories above your head. 

Although you certainly can’t refer to something specifically on a slide, you can still refer to it generally with an indicating gesture. This situation really calls for you to use your visuals purposefully. In other words, make sure there are times when you don’t have a visual up. Use black slides occasionally to ensure that there are times the audience can be focused exclusively on you.

This would be a good place to discuss which side of the screen you stand on. There are two schools of thought. One says that you should stand to the side that places your lead arm next to the visual. So, if you’re right-handed, then, from the audience’s vantage point of facing the screen, you’d be to the visual’s right. That way your right arm can easily make gestures and refer to the visual. If your lead hand isn’t next to the visual, you may find yourself twisting your whole body around — and therefore turning your back on your audience — when you refer to the visual.

The second school of thought, and one I’d probably recommend, is to stand to the left side (from the audience’s perspective) of the screen. This is where the beginning of each line and bullet point is, which therefore serves as an appropriate anchor point to stand and bring the audience’s attention to each line. However, this means your left hand will be the one you use for referring to the visual. If you’re right-handed, this might be a little awkward, but it’s certainly doable. The advantage to the right-hander in this position is that the right hand can hold and click the cordless mouse while the left hand refers to the screen.

It’s really your choice, just pick which side you’re going to use and stick with it.

Training Your Pet Not to Unwrap Christmas Presents

The yuletide is nearing and that can only mean one thing. Okay, it means a lot of things. Eggnog and pumpkin pie, cinnamon spices, snowflake and flashing light festive displays. Oh, and of course-presents! Who here likes presents? I am pretty sure we all do.

And, while your cat or dog may not admit it to your face, the fact of the matter is they do too. Coming in to a beloved family pet chewing into the freshly wrapped present from or for grandma might cause a slight chuckle, but it usually causes us to be upset. Our pets do not want to upset us, though. And, we do not want to be upset by our pets. So, there are a number of tricks you can use to train your pets not to unwrap presents.

The first and easiest method is also used with small children. Out of sight, out of mind. This is not so much training your pet to not unwrap Christmas presents as it is simply preventing them, but it is effective. Keep presents locked up and away from your pets, and they will not be able to unwrap them.

Some might use technological devices such as mats that cause discomfort and items that causes an annoying sound that can be heard by cats and dogs to keep them at bay. This is the same basic concept. It is not really training the animal, but is it keeping our presents nice and neatly wrapped.

As with any training, you need to start early with your pets. Teach them early on that chewing on a toy is not acceptable. Reward them for being near a present and not chewing on it. Discipline them when they do chew on a present. Provide them with a toy or other distraction that will keep their attention away from the present.

Our pets need to be trained to respect our area and our property. We share our homes, our families, and our lives, but there are some things that are ours. Children learn this early on. It is okay to play with their toys on the floor, but the lamp needs to stay on the table. The same basic concept works with animals. You need to teach them that it is okay to chew on their bone and not presents.

It will take some practice and the easy way out is definitely preventing the animal from getting near the presents. But, if you really want to train your pet not to unwrap presents, it is possible.

Public Speaking – 5 Steps To Get Across Good Information In A 5 Minute Presentation

The five-minute presentation can be a powerful tool to market your business. But what can you get across in just five minutes? A lot! Follow these five steps to make the most of your five minutes in the spotlight:

1. Pay Attention to Your First Impression

Your audience will make a decision about you within the first 10 seconds of your presentation. So first pay attention to looking the part. Dress like a business owner, not to do the job you do when you are at work. My husband is a personal trainer with his own business; he wears a sweat suit to work. But when he delivers a presentation about fitness, he dresses in a business casual look wearing twill pants and a sport coat over a button down or polo-type shirt with his logo embroidered on it. He dresses the part of a business owner, not a jock from the gym.

2. Have a Point

Make sure you know what you want to accomplish with your five minutes other than simply “getting through it.” Do you want your audience members to sign up for your newsletter? Buy your book or e-book? Call you for a free consultation? Be clear on what you want from your audience.

3. Don’t Wing It

Just because it’s “only five minutes” doesn’t mean this speech is less important than a longer presentation. In order to be sure you get in the information you want to share, be prepared so you will be less likely to forget an important point.

4. Don’t Take Advantage

Five minutes means just that — five minutes. Not 10 or 15 minutes. Many event planners will stop you if you go overtime, so don’t. Even those who don’t stop you will resent you taking more time from the meeting schedule than you were allotted. This is yet another reason to practice: to see how long it takes you to get through your speech.

5. Provide Value in Your Speech

Do not sell during your entire five minute presentation. Save that for the last 45 seconds or so. The rest of your speech should be used to build your credibility by showing the value you can offer. Provide some helpful bit of information; answer a frequently asked question with specific how-to advice; or show a step-by-step process of how your audience members can solve a problem they may have related to your business.

By following these steps you’ll be sure to have success with your next five minute presentation.