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.

Logistic Component of a Plan Presentation

Finally it’s necessary to focus attention on the logistic component of a plan. The successful execution of a plan always depends on the ability to supply a variety of goods and manpower regularly and on time: fuel, ammunition, spare parts and qualified men. Likewise, when a company introduces a new product, it must have ensured beforehand that it can deliver on time and to specification. When the company fails to do so, not only can the reputation of a company be severely damaged but prospective customers will turn to substitute products or brands and, consequently, these prospective customers will be lost forever. Just as with every part of a plan, the logistics component must have an inherent flexibility in it to be able to cope with the reality of the battlefield (the market), positive or negative.

Case I:

Insurance Company and marketing success

An insurance company did not believe in the possible success of a marketing campaign for the introduction of a new, innovative car insurance policy. When the campaign was launched, it was overwhelmed by the unexpectedly high number of applications for the new policy. Although warned beforehand by its marketing manager, it had abstained from taking adequate organizational preparations to be able to scale the processing of new applications. Many aspiring policy holders had to wait such a long time that they were forced to go to other insurance companies, just to get their car insured in time.

Case II:

Senseo Crema

Logistics problems also beset Philips in 2001 when they introduced their unique “Senseo Crema” coffee machine, as a consequence of its great success. In the beginning buyers had to wait 2 to 3 months before they received their coffee machine. Luckily at that moment there were no competitors offering the same kind of machines.

In the art of war good logistics has always played a decisive role. That is why actions to disrupt the supply lines of the opponents were often a strategic goal in itself. The importance of logistics has to be given due attention in every aspect of planning and decision-making, in the ‘grand strategy’, in the local strategy, as well as in the tactics.

Case III:

Anti shipping war

The submarine warfare conducted by the German Navy in the Second World War was a war ofattrition aimed at the sea routes from the USA to Britain. The supply of Britain, both to keep the bridgehead as well as to prepare for the invasion, was a logistic grand-strategy that was eventually won by the Allies by the introduction of the convoy-system, the development of technical innovations like sonar, radar and by the introduction of the “baby-flattop”65 that would protect the convoys by providing continuous air support.

Case IV:

Afrika Korps (1941/42)

After his victory at Gazala and after the conquest of Tobruk, when the German Marshal Erwin Rommel in June 1942 resumed his march to invade Egypt and reach Alexandria and the Nile, his supply lines became so long (around 900 km) that he suffered great fuel and ammunition shortages. Without this vital fuel, his technically superior tanks became immobile. Moreover, the British successfully disrupted his supply lines over sea from Italy. Finally Rommel, the ‘Desert fox’, was forced to halt his invasion within sight of his ultimate goal.

In the military context logistics influence the functioning of a military organization in several ways:

It influences the “fighting power”;
It influences the resilience of the forces;
It influences the flexibility.
Similar effects can be seen in the industrial enterprise.
To satisfy the logistical demands, armies have stimulated innovation from which we still
profit today.
To name a few:

Napoleon introduced tinned food;
The American Army popularized instant coffee;
The Germans invented the “Jerry can” (strong and leak free fuel containers);
The American Army, to realize its fantastic amphibian operations in the Pacific, developed a series of innovations like the roll-on-and-off-ship, refuelling on the high sea etc.;
Several kinds of mathematical models were developed during World War II to predict required supplies, calculate the loading of ships, etc. (e.g. sequential analysis,queuing algorithms).
In short, the science of war has provided modern management with all kinds of logistic tools that help to manage the supply and delivery requirements of a company more efficiently.
Case V:

The container

The logistic invention with probably the greatest impact on present day logistics is the ‘Container’ -invented after the war (1956). Malcolm Mc Lean (USA) can reasonably claim to be the man who conceived the idea of container shipping to replace the traditional break bulk method of handling dry goods. Containers produced a huge reduction in port handling costs, contributing significantly to lower freight charges and, in turn, boosting trade flows. Almost every manufactured product humans consume spends some time in a container. The container is now of course also intensively employed by the military.

Kids Craft Kits – A Great Solution to Your Christmas Present Dilemmas

Christmas has become very commercial and if you have kids it can get very expensive; then after half an hour they are bored with it all. There is a solution; get Christmas presents which require input – kids craft kits are perfect to keep them occupied for longer!

If you want to guarantee that a present will be a success then you really do need to choose carefully. There are several area which need to be considered.

1. The target age. Once your kids are over three you can pretty much ignore the target age on some toys – however, this does not apply to craft kits. The age will define the expected level of fine motor skills required for the projects included. It will also define the tools required; such as craft knives and scissors.

2. The number of projects included. It is always worth getting a craft kits which has several projects. This means that if one is damaged there is always others to work on. It also means that if there are cousins or friends over during the Christmas season, there will be enough to keep more than one child occupied.

3. What is involved in the project? This may sound bizarre, but there are some kids craft kits which require placing moulds into the cooker to help them set – as all parents are aware there is more than one thing in demand at Christmas than a mother – it is the cooker! Equally anything which has smelly chemicals is not a good idea for a winter activity.

All in the kids craft kits are a great present, but there are always pitfalls. Be extra cautious with bargains as you may find that they are old stock and that the paint has dried out, the playdo is hard and the glue is incapable of holding anything together.

If you are going to invest in crafts this Christmas then make sure that you take a little time to think about them, this will ensure that you get the correct ones and that they are a success.