Tag Archives: Presentations

The 4 Key Elements of Winning Sales Presentations

Recently we spoke to Ian Jackson from Supreme Slides about creating sales presentations. To dramatically increase your chance of closing the deal (and blow your competition out of the water!), he shared 4 Key Elements that Supreme Slides recommends you include in your sales presentations:

#1:   Custom Design: Visuals & Infographics

Get their attention: to keep your audience actively engaged, complement your sales pitch with custom-designed visuals and infographics. Generic visuals can be bland, and fail to convey unique aspects of your value proposition. Custom designs can play a huge part in creating a unique, memorable experience.

Infographics are more engaging, easy to understand and recall. And they’re more likely to be shared online. They’re a concise, much more appealing way to quickly convey data, complex or large amounts of information.

Types of infographics include: flow charts, comparisons, maps, data visualizations.

#2:   Professional Copywriting

Edit, edit, edit: professional copywriters know how to eradicate ‘waffle’, quickly identify key information, and craft persuasive copy. Personally, I’m a big fan of getting specialists onboard to do what they do best, so that I can too!

Sure, you can write the copy yourself, but at the very least, it’s worth getting a copywriter to look at what you’ve written. Sometimes we can be too ‘close’ to our business, to know what wording will/won’t work in our presentations. Impartial advice can make all the difference.

#3:   Custom-made Video/Animated Video

Boredom-busters: breaking presentations up with video content can raise the energy level in a room, and the bright colors, movement and simple lines in animated videos can make complicated or potentially dull information, much more interesting.

For example, you could grab attention by kicking off your presentation with an introductory Video, and/or include a video testimonial which proves your value proposition.

It’s critical that the video content is highly relevant – which is why custom-made videos are preferable, and Videos shouldn’t be included just for novelty value.

Smarter not harder: Video can also be re-purposed, e.g. for social media, on websites, in webinars and blogs… So custom-made Video content can actually give you a lot of ‘bang for your buck’!

#4:   A Confident Presenter

Imagine everyone’s naked?? You can have every other element of your sales presentation sorted, but if you don’t feel confident about your presentation skills and ability to gain rapport, all your hard work might be wasted. ‘Fake it til you make it’ doesn’t work for everyone… Same goes for the advice to ‘imagine everyone’s naked’!

Presentation Coaching can achieve amazing results – everyone has the potential to become an assured, compelling speaker. If you aren’t one already, you can be. Sometimes just adjusting small things like body signals and tone of voice, can make a big difference.


Ian’s advice all boils down to this: you’re asking people to invest in your business, buy your product or use your service… To greatly increase the chance of them doing so, you need to invest in it too. By enlisting the help of a designer, copywriter and possibly a presentation coach, you’ll go into your next sales presentation feeling FAR more confident!

Connect with Ian Jackson on LinkedIn

Supreme Slides is a specialist presentation agency which creates visually stunning, persuasive sales presentations that get results

 

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www.supremeslides.com

7 considerations when updating your PowerPoint template

7 considerations when updating your PowerPoint template
The PowerPoint template is an important component of an organization’s branding strategy and a critical vehicle to share information to prospects, leads, and even staff. While PowerPoint offers multiple standard templates, most firms require a custom design to effectively meet their branding requirements. We often interact with customers who have recently updated their templates, and through this interaction we have learned several lessons:

1. Build templates for all slide types and uses

Before creating your templates, catalog all the slide types you need:

  • While title slides are important, take a moment to think through the other types of slides you might also regularly need, e.g. agenda, one large chart, two small charts, customer feedback/quotes, biographies
  • Will you require different templates for different presentation types? E.g. internal vs. external, by vertical, by function

Performing this step will prevent your team from editing the template and adversely affecting your branding.

2. Use safe fonts to ensure a consistent performance

Selecting an appropriate font set for your template that conveys the characteristics that align with your business can be an artistic endeavor. However, you may want to limit your choice to safe fonts that are commonly available in different PowerPoint installations. This selection will ensure your presentation looks the same across different computers.

 3. Limit the ink required

Although it may seem rare, printing presentations is actually still common in some industries, including management consulting. If your template uses a colored banner behind every slide title, you’ll end up consuming a lot of ink. Instead consider underlining the title to leave more white space.

4. Watch the file size

Images are powerful tools to convey emotions and quickly make your point. When selecting images for your template, determine the minimum resolution required. High resolution images can quickly increase the size of your presentation, making it difficult to share with others and potentially cumbersome to edit on older, slow computers.

5. Use the opportunity to formalize your visuals

Beyond slides you might also consistently need specific images, charts, specific text blocks, and logos. If you are updating and disseminating a new slide template, you may find synergies in also collecting and refreshing all your visuals.

6. Use a slide library to share the templates with your team

If your template is small and simple, follow these instructions to make it easily accessible in PowerPoint. However, if you have a detailed collection of slides and visuals, consider a slide library solution to disseminate the slides and ensure adoption.

We have previously written about slide library best practices and the trade-offs between browser and add-in based solutions. In addition, if you’re using SharePoint 2013, the slide library feature is no longer supported and you’ll need an alternative.

7. Hire professional designers

If your budget allows, consider engaging professional presentation designers. These experts can apply a wealth of experience to build a custom, detailed template package that tightly fits within your brand requirements.

Our top 10 priceless presentation tips for event speakers

We all know there’s more to a brilliant presentation than well written words.

“When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.” — Chris Anderson

The best kind are transformative, for the speaker and the audience — words and their delivery have real power. Whether you often get nervous during presentations or are a seasoned speaker, these public speaking tips and tricks will equip you for any event that comes your way!

Creating the content

Structure your presentation around a story

A great story is at the heart of every great presentation. Why? Because ‘humans are wired to listen to stories’. Narratives and metaphors place audiences into the shoes of the protagonist — it encourages the audience to have a vested interest in the presentation. When you’re creating your presentation, structure the content around a central story, following a rough path of problem to aha moment to solution.

Create an image rich, text light presentation

Everyone can remember an instance where presentation slides were a let down. Perhaps there was too much text to read. Perhaps the images were distracting and misaligned to the content. While a great presentation is essential, getting it right is all about the balance.

When creating your presentation, keep your text to the minimum — there’s nothing more mindnumbing than a presenter who just reads off the slides! An image rich, text light presentation is a win. Useful resources for sourcing free and high quality stock images include: Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash.

Making your content accessible

As a professional speaker, there are times where you’re required to present at multiple venues across different cities or countries – and there’s nothing worse than losing a copy of your most up-to-date presentation right before an event. Whether it’s a version control issue, a misplaced USB drive or a laptop crashing on you, having a plan B is key to avoiding any hiccups.

TeamSlide’s integration with Powerpoint means that your slides can be uploaded and downloaded from the cloud with a single click. And with our intelligent algorithms, searching for specific content becomes incredibly easy so you’re not flipping through every deck you’ve ever created. Manage all your content on one platform and make it easy to access your content anywhere and on any device.

Pre presentation

So you’ve got your presentation in tip top shape for the big day. In the precious few minutes before walking on stage, there are few habits you should adopt.

Drink warm or room temperature water, with lemon

We’ve all been there — nerves can make your throat do all sorts of things. Warm or room temperature, coupled with a splash of lemon, can help alleviate the throat dryness. Where possible, ditch the ice cold water, carbonated drinks and dairy products which all exacerbate those issues.

Talk to as many people as possible

Does the thought of speaking in front of so many faceless strangers still give you the tingles? The best way to conquer this is to simply talk to the audience — as many people as you can before the presentation. As you put more names to faces, you may even gain ideas and

At the end of the day, audience and speaker interaction is a win — engaged audiences are the best kind. Consider whether your presentation will have a Q&A component or a live polling feature.

Smile

During nerve wracking moments, the first instinct is to frown. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, helps trigger endorphins, relax muscles and calm nerves.

Presentation delivery

After all that preparation and practice, it’s time for delivering your presentation. Truth is, delivery can make or break your presentation. When you’re on that stage, keep these three factors in mind.

Eye contact

The success of delivery is all in how well you can immerse your audience in the story you’re telling — and there’s nothing like eye contact to really engage and connect with your audience. Choose a handful of people scattered across the room, potentially people you’ve met before, to maintain eye contact with throughout. Ensure you don’t focus on just one segment of the audience (or even worse, just one individual) — it’s obvious and disconcerting.

Confidence boosting poses

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has performed extensive research on how “body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves”. There are several body postures you can do before, during and after to boost your confidence and get you in the right mindset.

Move on stage

Avoid standing in a single spot throughout the whole presentation. Try not to pace back and forth, treading over the same pattern either – as this may seem rehearsed and forced. Instead, let the delivery look and feel natural by letting movement be guided by your speech and the audience’s reaction – it’s okay to stand at parts and move during others. Treat your movement like you would if you were having a conversation with friends or family.

Take note of hand gestures

Did you know: hands open with palms open convey certainty in what you’re talking about.

We all know body language plays a big part in how people perceive you. One of the best presentation tips you can try is to simply change up your hand gestures. As you practice your presentation, keep an eye out for how you naturally use hand gestures and alter where appropriate to emphasise a point.

Involve your audience

Communication is a two way street. Yes, you’re the main event when presenting but if you’re talking ‘at’ your audience there’s a good chance they’ll tune out quickly. Instead, get your audience to sit up, lean in and be active participants – ask them questions, hear their comments and don’t be afraid to veer slightly from your slides if a point of interest comes up.

Apps like Zeetings are a great option to involve shy audience members, allowing them to add comments or ask questions anonymously.

Over to you

Have you got a presentation around the corner? Whether it’s an internal meeting or a large conference, a great presentation can be transformative and influential. What are your public speaking tips and tricks for delivering an ovation worthy presentation? Share in the comments below!


This post was authored by Robert Kawalsky of Zeetings

rob-kawalskyRobert Kawalsky
Cofounder and CEO, Zeetings

Robert Kawalsky is the CEO and Cofounder of Zeetings, a software company changing the way people present their ideas to the world. Kawalsky is also an active investor and advisor to technology and internet related businesses.

The case for slide history in slide library or presentation management solutions

Presentations and the slides that compose them are rarely static but instead evolve over time. They change as the presenter’s thinking becomes more clear, as the project moves forward, as the underlying topic shifts, or as the audience differs. With each evolution, text might improve, data updated, or diagrams modified. For organizations that depend on slides on a regular basis, pushing slide updates to all the presentation end users becomes an important task. At TeamSlide, we built this push mechanism into our slide library solution early last year. And now, we have a variety of customers including sales organizations that benefit from this streamlined way of ensuring everybody has the latest content.

Often, however, the end user may not have the context around why the slide changed and what it represents. Or perhaps an older version of the slide is more suitable for long standing customer conversation. In these cases, finding the older version of the slide can be daunting and time consuming. Without a solution in place, you typical have to sift through old presentations and emails and hope that you can find the specific version you need. The result is lowered productivity and poor presentation quality.

Working with and listening to our customers, we recently added a history feature to our slide library offering.  The feature allows users (as long as they have permission) to go back and grab an older version of a slide. Organizations can even add a change log allowing the slide creator to share a few notes with end-users on what changed on the slide. If a mistake is found, you can even revert back to the last accurate version. Now users can understand how a slide has changed over time giving them better context and enabling better presentations.

4 tips to effectively use images in your presentations

A quick Google search will undoubtedly tell you that images are an effective way to communicate. However, your images need to be high quality, compelling and serve a point or else the audience will quickly dismiss them.

Here are 4 tips to help effective use images in your presentations:

1. Stay legal

Google Images is often used to quickly find images for your presentation but you likely don’t have permission to use these images. Consider paying for images from a stock collection like Bigstock or Shutterstock. If you don’t have the budget for stock photos, consider using photos licensed under Creative Commons as they are typically more open and often allowed for commercial use if the original author is credited.

2. Use images that align with your message

Random images that are placed to just fill space are distracting and reduce the impact of your presentation. Take time to select images that amplify your message:

3. Use PowerPoint to modify images to improve the fit

Now that you have an image, you can use PowerPoint to make simple edits that can make a world of a difference. For example, you can overlap images with your content as in the example below:

Or even just adding text or your company logo can help:

You can even make larger modifications like in the example below where we filled in the computer screen to match our application. Note that this was done solely with PowerPoint.

4. Organize your assets

Consider using a slide library solution to organize your images and ensure that your entire team has access to it (assuming covered by license terms). This help will stop duplicated images from being purchased. When uploading content, use a defined set of tags so that your colleagues can quickly search or browse assets to find the one they are looking for. Note that SharePoint’s slide library has been deprecated and is no longer supported.

TeamSlide Partners with PowerPoint Design Agency Buffalo7 to Help Customers Build Amazing Presentations

As you likely know, building a great presentation takes time and attention to detail. From the messaging to the actual delivery and all the slide manufacturing that happens in between, there’s an art to building engaging, effective presentations that leave a lasting impression.

At TeamSlide, our customers often ask us for insight into developing great PowerPoint presentations. While we dedicate our blog to providing presentation support, some customers just don’t have the time or need additional help. As such, we are proud to announce a partnership with Buffalo7, the UK’s leading PowerPoint design agency, to better meet our customers’ presentation needs.

Buffalo7 offers complete presentation design services encompassing the entire presentation lifecycle. From developing your story and refining key messages to bringing your slides to life with impactful visuals, Buffalo7 has the skillset and experience to make your next presentation shine. Everything they do is made to measure: they apply their knowledge in a way that is relevant and tailored to you, your brand and your audience. Buffalo7 has worked with some of the world’s best brands like UEFA Champions League, Sony PlayStation and Unilever to transform their presentation collateral.

For example, the agency was recently approached by Red Bull to build a marketing dashboard built around the DNA of its brand. Buffalo7 rose to the challenge and delivered a robust presentation template in PowerPoint that Red Bull’s team could use internally to report on their work in a very engaging, energetic way. The dashboard combined first-class visuals with the intuitive drag-and-drop editability that’s associated with PowerPoint.

If you need help building slides, ensuring your presentations works across platforms or pressure testing your messaging, consider checking how Buffalo7 can design PowerPoint presentations that deliver your content in an impactful and engaging way.

For more information on how Buffalo7 can help design presentations that blow the competition out of the water, get in touch at: hello@buffalo7.co.uk.

 

TeamSlide interview with Sunday Mancini from Ethos3

From visuals to narratives, do you need support building insightful, engaging presentations? In our previous careers as management consultants and at TeamSlide, we know how important compelling presentations are to the business process. We were lucky to catch Sunday Mancini from renowned design firm Ethos3 for a quick interview.

Ethos3 comprises an amazing team of presentation experts that are focused on helping individuals and companies build better presentations through design, motion graphics, infographics, narratives, and training. Here’s our conversation with Sunday:

Can you share a little about Ethos3 and its core principles?

Ethos3 is a premier boutique presentation design and training company based in Nashville, TN. At our core, we believe every presentation matters. That’s why we have spent the last decade empowering presenters so that they can inspire others, bring people together, and maybe even change the world. We take pride in our ability to tell stories that matter and finding innovative ways to improve the presentation industry.

To view our core values, you can go here.

How did Ethos3 originally start?

Scott Schwertly founded the company in 2006 after realizing most people struggle with building, designing, and delivering presentations. Shortly after, he created “Meet Henry,” a presentation that snagged 2nd place in a SlideShare competition from that year. If you explore the history of that specific project, you will find that there was really nothing like it at that time period. It’s completely story-driven and visual, an approach Ethos3 still does today.

What has fueled your passion and growth since the early days?

I’m going to try and speak for Scott and the company as a whole here, but I know that we are all fueled by our own creativity and love for great stories and great design. Not all of our client projects allow for creative opportunities, but we still find ways to stretch our imagination. For Scott and the people he trains, I know he is personally pumped to share Ethos3’s philosophy with audiences who want to improve their presentation skills.

What makes Ethos3 stand out from the competition?

Everyone who works on our team is passionate, smart, and excited to try new technology or new trends. Because we’re a boutique and agile, we can adapt to changes and remain at the top of everything. This is not a stuffy company, and it shows in every project that goes out our doors, internally or externally.

As you’ve worked across a variety of customers, have there been any common themes or issues that you’ve noticed?

We see a lot of presentations that are just overwhelmed with content on each slide. There’s absolutely no way we can make a slide look great when it has three charts, fifteen bullet points, and a little paragraph about the weather in San Francisco. 🙂 Clients worry that if we stretch out their presentation, we will double their speaking time. This is absolutely not the case; more slides simply means that each element is featured separately. We’re not adding any content, and the designers have more freedom.

With new entrants like Prezi and Haiku Deck, have you noticed an impact on PowerPoint and how presenters are using it?

Only a fraction of our clients ask us to use emerging software, especially if they are interested in staying on top of trends. But most of the time, it comes down to design. Does it look beautiful? Does it look modern? PowerPoint is a blank slate. Whichever software it takes to create a gorgeous presentation, we’ll be there. If that’s PowerPoint or Prezi or Haiku Deck, we want to evolve along with presenters.

As you look 5 years down the road, how do you expect the presentation design and visuals landscape will evolve?

I’d like to think that we will have holograms, or maybe really immersive virtual experiences that could take audiences into beautiful settings during a presentation. But, if that doesn’t happen, I imagine more presentation software will become increasingly more mobile or fully online/in the cloud. Graphics will become more motion based, animations may become much more advanced, and screens will become way too big for their own good.

Sunday Mancini is a Content Strategist for Ethos3, a presentation design company located in Nashville, TN. She has personally worked with clients in major industries and Fortune 500 companies during her many years at the firm, helping them share their own unique stories. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mapping your PowerPoint slides

Mapping your PowerPoint slides

In the last blog entry, we shared 3 steps to build your PowerPoint story. With your story written out in paragraph form, you can start mapping your slides.

This step doesn’t require PowerPoint – map your slides with pen and paper, with a word processor, or with a notes application on your phone. You can complete this step while riding a cab, on the plane once your laptop has died, or at your office desk.

Write Action Titles

Each paragraph of your story should correspond to a slide and the first sentence of the paragraph, which consists of your primary point, maps to the title of the slide. These are called Action Titles as they they alone can clearly tell your story and make it easy for the reader to quickly discern your primary points and insights.

Action Titles are far more effective than descriptive titles which provide little information:

  • Action: Price and brand recognition are our customers’ primary purchase decision criteria
  • Descriptive: Customer decision criteria over the last 5 years
  • Action: 70% of widget growth is driven by demand from manufacturing automation
  • Descriptive: Widget sales by customer segment from 2009-2016
  • Action: Our market share has dropped 5% as we have been challenged by new entrants
  • Descriptive: Market share analysis

From a visual standpoint slide tiles should be located in the same position and typically written in a larger font than any other text on the slide. Slide titles should not have a hanging or widow word – a single word that doesn’t fit on the first line and is placed alone on the second line. Either shorten your title or increase its length so that more than one word appears on the second line. Alternatively, adjusting the line break position may be an option. Hanging words are considered poor typography because they leave too much white space. In addition, concise slide titles that fit on one or two lines are more impactful as they are easier to grasp and understand.

Sketch out your slides

You should now have blank slides with completed titles. For each slide, quickly sketch out how you’d like the slide to look. Use a combination, of charts, visuals, and text boxes that will best support your title or assertion and can capture the remaining portion of the corresponding paragraph from your story.

Experience helps when sketching slides as the more slides you’ve read the more visualizations you can pull from. To jump start this process you can complete the following exercises:

Put the presentation frame in place

With the bulk of presentation in shape, step back and review your objective (as we’ve previously discussed). Does your presentation need an executive summary, conclusion, or next steps slide to frame the story?

An executive summary typically follows the title slide and provides a complete overview of the presentation. A well written presentation story can quickly be adapted into an executive summary. As a starting point you can use your slide titles from the body of the presentation (or first sentence from each paragraph of your story) to form a rough executive summary. The conclusion slide provides an opportunity to provide a summary, state any overall insights, and pull the presentation toward the final objective. And the next steps slide helps align a small audience on their tasks prior to the next meeting

Consider breaking long presentations into chapters and placing a rolling agenda – a slide that is repeated with the new agenda item highlighted each time. The agenda reminds the audience how the section fits within the broader story. Or if some slides are not critical to the story, create an appendix or back-up section. An appendix can contain extra analyses or research that may answer audience questions.

Writing your PowerPoint presentation story

Writing your PowerPoint presentation story

Before diving into the slide manufacturing process, it pays dividends to step back and map your story. This 3 step process involves determining your objective, understanding your audience’s perspective, and crafting your story to ensure you have a clear, comprehensive and concise presentation.

Determine the objective of the presentation

To start, write down the single primary objective of your presentation.  Some potential examples are:

  • Teach the audience to use a social app
  • Convince the audience to switch from bleached to whole wheat bread
  • Motivate perspective customers to buy your widget
  • Obtain funding for a drone research proposal

Focus on the objective of the current presentation. While your ultimate goal might be to close a sales deal, your current objective might simply be to engage the audience and schedule follow up meeting.

If you have multiple objectives, determine if one is more important than the other. In general, communicating several objectives at the same time risks the chance of confusing your audience or losing their focus.

Your objective guides the construction of your presentation – every slide, visual, and bullet should serve your objective. All other content likely distracts and should probably be removed.

Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes

While the objective defines the end goal of the presentation, understanding your audience’s perspective tells you where to start and what path to take:

  • Is your audience familiar with the content?
  • Are they friendly or hostile?
  • What does your audience want to get out of the meeting/presentation?

With the audience in mind you can compile a list of the content pieces required to achieve your objective. For example, new members not familiar with your work will require additional context and background information. In addition, you can choose a tone that will best engage the audience. If the group is a little hostile, soften the language around big statements:

  • Instead of saying “Adwords will double your revenue”, say “Adwords has shown to double the revenue of companies similar to yours” or “Adwords will likely double your revenue”

Craft your story by first writing it out

With your objective and audience in mind, write out your presentation story. Applying a story format gives you the opportunity to build a more compelling message that your audience will remember. You can write it in paragraph form where each paragraph represents one point. The first sentence states your point and the following sentences support it. For example:

Company X is the market leader in the widget industry with $300M in annual sales. Globally, X has a 35% market share and a near monopoly in Europe. Their widget paint product represents 80% of their business and is growing at a healthy 10% CAGR.

The story also acts as an initial draft of your delivery script.

As you write your story consider how your audience will react to it. Are your messages inline with their thinking or provocative? Typically, strong stories follow an ‘answer-first’ approach where the presentation starts with the key take-away message and follows up with the rationale. However, for provocative messages, consider an ‘answer-last’ approach where you first share the underlying facts before delivering the hard take-away message.