The web version of this email can be found here
Lots of new stuff this month!
- The new course calendar for the second half of 2007 is
- There is a new format for our courses.
- And I now have a magic OSRAM light bulb which is self
This last point will only make sense to people who have been
on one of my presentations skills courses, but thanks to Nathan Pope who
attended a recent course, I have found a magic website that sells self
illuminating light bulbs. So now with my OSRAM light bulb, I really can light up a
For those of you who haven't yet come on an Effective
Presentation Skills course, OSRAM stands for Objective, Speaker, Room,
Audience, Message. The 5 components of an effective business
presentation and it is also a brand of light bulbs.
Further down this newsletter, in the A to Z of Effective Business Presentations, we are up to
"K" for Keeping the Audience Listening and KISS.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter on to your friends and colleagues.
If you have any feedback or comment on the contents of this newsletter, or any
questions about Effective Presentations, I would love to hear from you.
As always I am looking to fill my public courses
and there are places available on:
Effective Business Presentation
Skills Wed 9th May in Reading
Effective Business Presentation
Skills Wed 23rd May in Basingstoke
For more information and to book click
or call me on 01276 502257
The New Course Calendar
The new course calendar is now available
New On-line Training
A good friend of mine and the tutor of our "Close
More Sales!" courses, Shaz Quereshi, has just released a new on-line training
environment at www.salestrainingonline.com
Here you can access over 20 different modules covering all aspects of sales and
marketing. From "The Importance of Commercial Awareness" to "Negotiating
Skills". Each module takes about 30 minutes, so you can learn about a new topic
while you eat you sandwiches for lunch.
Personally, I can recommend the "Delivering Effective
Presentations" module, as I am a guest speaker for this one.
If you don't like reading ebooks and can't spare the
time to take a day out of the office, this new on-line training may be exactly
what you need. Providing the core information, which is vital for success, in an
easily digestible bite size pieces. You can pick just one module to address an
aspect that you are looking to improve, or take the whole set to equip yourself
with all the skills you need, to be successful at selling.
Work Presentations are PowerPointless
The above headline appeared in the Daily Mail (a
national UK newspaper) last week. The article claimed that "Millions of bored
employees have finally been proved right - PowerPoint presentations really are
useless .... far from helping speakers to get vital points across, it is
actually making audiences bored and even sending them to sleep" This
article was based on research by Professor John Sweller from the university of
South Wales, Australia, which found that "the human brain is unable to process
information from two different sources - such as writing on the screen and the
voice of the speaker - and so automatically switches off".
In my humble opinion, this Australian academic has
it all upside down. It is not PowerPoint that is at fault but the way that it is
used and this is a case of poor workmen blaming their tools.
Most people sit down at their computer screen, and use PowerPoint (or
other presentation graphics software) to create their presentations. They
enter a series of bullet points as they organise their thoughts about what
they want to say. They then make the mistake of displaying these bullet
points as part of their presentation.
The real problem occurs
because the presenters use the PowerPoint slides to remind themselves of
what they have to say. This means that they display the bullet points before
they say the words. Their audience is then bored by what they say, as they
have already read the slide and know in advance what the presenter is going
to talk about. It is compounded by the fact that having just read the words
themselves, the presenter will invariable use exactly the same phraseology
in their speech. It is a classic case of letting the audience get ahead of
you (see A to Z article below). It is no wonder that many people switch off and fall asleep because the
presenter is constantly telling them stuff they already know, which they
have just read on the slide.
If you have to use bullet
points on a slide, bring the points up, one by one, after
you have talked about the subject. That way the slide reinforces what you
have just said and the audience will not get ahead of you. Better still,
rather than displaying the bullet points, keep those for your own personal
cue cards, which you can refer to during your presentation to ensure you
don't forget anything, and use PowerPoint for what it was really designed
for, a graphic presentation tool. Have slides with pictures, images, or
graphics which conjure up strong mental images of the topic you are
discussing, images that will stay with your audience long after your words
Despite what Professor John Sweller
has found, several other studies have shown that people remember up to 40%
more if they see it as well as here it. Used properly, PowerPoint is an
invaluable aid to the
The A to Z of Effective Presentations
In previous newsletters, which you can access
here, I have covered A to
J , so
now it is the letter "
K is for Keeping the audience
Letting the audience get ahead of you is
one of the most common ways of killing a good presentation.
Once your audience know what you are
going to say next, there is a strong tendency for them to switch off and start
thinking about other things. They will get bored waiting for you to say it and
get on to the next point.
There are many ways for an audience can
get ahead of you, if you let them. One of the most common ways is when you put
up a slide with several bullet points on it and start working your way down the
list. Before you are even through the first sentence describing the first
bullet point, they will have read the slide. If the bullets are self
explanatory, then they are ahead of you. They will have caught the gist of what
you are going to say and then have to wait for you to say it. While they are
waiting, their minds will wander and you will have to work much harder to
recapture their attention.
Using the line by line reveal facility in PowerPoint, will
reduce the scale of the problem but still does not cure it. If you bring up the
bullet point first and then start talking about it, you have still let the
audience get ahead of you, and you will be telling them what is effectively "old
news" as they have already read the headline. As I mentioned above, if you have
to use bullet points, bring them up after you have talked about the topic to
reinforce what it is you have said.
Of course, handing out printed copies of
the whole presentation before the event is another classic way of allowing the
audience to get ahead of you. Have you ever looked at the audience during the
first key note speech at a conference? Most of them will still be scanning
through the handouts working out which presentations they think will be worth
listening to, not paying the slightest attention to what the key note speaker is
Do not get me wrong; I am still a firm
believer in the ‘tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them
what you told them’ approach to presentations. But this does not mean letting
your audience get ahead of you. To keep an audience listening you need to build
in some suspense and tension just like in a television drama or a play. Don't
give the game away by letting the see a précis of your talk before you have a
chance to speak.
K is for KISS
In an average 45 minute presentation you only have enough
time to convey 3 main points. So the old adage of KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid,
is the best advice when you are creating a presentation.
As with most things in life, the simple
things are the best. While you do not want to talk down to your audience, if
you can say the same thing in a more simple way, you will be more successful.
Avoid using jargon or three letter abbreviations whenever possible,
because your audience may not be as familiar with the terminology as you
Try not to over complicate your
presentation or get across too many independent points at the same time.
Slides with very detailed or complex diagrams will
be very difficult for an audience to see. Too much animation on your
slides will become very distracting for most audiences and take away
from the impact of your message.
I have seen a number of software demonstrations that attempted to
teach people how to use the software rather than showing them why it would be of
benefit to their organisation. In demonstrating software, or any other
complex system, there is one golden
rule, do not show something unless there is a benefit statement attached.
Once you have created your presentation, run
through it one more time and look for ways in which it can be
simplified. Remember KISS.
I hope you have found this newsletter useful and interesting.
You can learn a lot
more about how to structure and give an Effective Business Presentation, by
attending a Young Markets Effective Presentations Skills training course (see
above), or from my ebook "
The A to Z of Effective Business Presentations"
you can download from my website (www.businesspresentation.biz) today, for
only $15 or £8.75 or use the modern on-line training available at
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