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8 ways to make your presentation more interactive
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Chelsi Nakano April 29, 2016
In a recent survey we conducted with the help of Harris Poll, almost half of the respondents admitted to doing something other than listening during a co-worker’s presentation—popular answers included sending a text message (28 percent), checking email (27 percent), and falling asleep (17 percent). To say the least, it can be difficult to hold an audience’s attention, let alone get your message across when presenting.
One of the best ways to get your audience to stay focused is to make them feel like they’re a part of your story. There are a few simple things you can do to get your audience to participate in your presentation, by making it more interactive—here’s how.
1. Break the ice. Each of your audience members comes to your presentation in a completely different mood. A simple ice-breaker can put everyone on the same level and energize them for your presentation. Get your audience to do a simple exercise to reset their minds and refocus on your talk. For example, ask people to stand up and introduce themselves to their neighbors, or have them identify two or three questions they would like to hear addressed during your presentation. By starting with an ice-breaker, you show your audience that your talk will be interactive and require their participation.
2. Tell stories. Stories are food of the brain when it comes to the presentations, according to professional public speaking coach Nathan Gold . Storytelling is the most universal way to captivate your audience’s attention, no matter where they are from or what they do for a living. People automatically tune in when you start telling your story because they want to know what happens next. You can go further than dropping a few anecdotes into your speech. Use the storytelling technique that Nancy Duarte found after studying hundreds of TED talks : Present the status quo and then reveal the path to a better way. By following this formula, you set up a conflict that needs to be resolved. You’ll have the audience hanging on the edge of their seats, craving to hear the end of your story.
3. Add videos . With over 6 billion hours of video being watched each month on YouTube alone, it’s hard to believe that still so few presenters use them in their presentations. Videos are a great tool when it comes to giving an engaging presentation. Videos can evoke emotions in an audience that could be otherwise quite difficult to elicit. Find the clip that will put your audience in the right mood and that reinforces your story. With the seamless integration of YouTube videos in Prezi, there is no excuse for not using them.
4. Embrace the power of non-linear presenting. The Prezi experts agree that the real power of Prezi lies in the ability to present your non-linear story. Instead of flipping through slide after slide, you can show the relationships between your ideas and give your audience the “big picture” view of your topic. Try letting your audience drive the presentation—lay out all of your main points, and then let them choose which topics they want to zoom into. Your audience will get a truly custom presentation based on their interests, which they will appreciate and more easily remember.
5. Ask questions during your presentation. Presentation expert and best-selling author Carmine Gallo pinpointed that the audience’s attention drops to zero after just 10 minutes of your presentation. That’s right, 10 minutes. To get their attention back, Gallo advises creating soft breaks within your speech. Therefore, take a break from your presentation from time to time and interact with your audience. Ask for their questions and incorporate them already during the presentation. Tools like sli.do allow audience members to ask questions anonymously, so even shy people can participate in the discussion.
6. Poll the audience. Live polls are an incredibly effective tool for instantly engaging with your audience. Unlike rhetorical questions, polls encourage participants to think not only about your questions but also about their answers. Moreover, live polls help create mental breaks, so your audience can regain attention and stay focused throughout your presentation. By including everyone in answering the question, you also create a group experience that leaves the audience feeling like they all have been part your presentation. With sli.do , you can integrate live polls seamlessly into your prezis and engage the participants without the need to switch between screens or applications.
7. Use props. You don’t need to be giving a product demo to use props during your presentation. Props are a great way how to help the audience to wire in another senses to absorb your message. So bring props on the stage and show them during the right point to help the attendees visualize what you are describing verbally. Neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor brought a real human brain on stage during her touching TED talk to explain to what happened to her when she had a stroke. She touched the audience with this demonstration and left the audience in complete awe.
8. Share the glory. Don’t steal all the glory for yourself. Share the stage with other presenters or the audience members to help you narrate the story and make the whole presentation more interactive. Steve Jobs never pulled off the entire presentation by himself; he always invited several speakers, including designers, partners, and other executives, to help him introduce their latest product. Do the same. Bring someone from the audience onstage and get them do something relevant and fun. This technique should always be arranged with the volunteer in advance.
Juraj Holub is the Social Media and Content Specialist at Sli.do . Sli.do is an award-winning audience engagement platform for live events that allows everyone in the audience to ask questions and vote on live polls via their mobile devices. Sli.do also allows Prezi users to seamlessly integrate live polls into their presentations.
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How to give a good presentation: 8 tips
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What are the main difficulties when giving presentations?
How to prepare an effective presentation, after that, how do i give a memorable presentation, how to connect with the audience when presenting.
Public speaking and presenting isn’t everyone’s forte, but it’s a valuable skill, regardless of your job. If you want your voice to be heard, you’ll need to master communicating your thoughts and opinions simply and politely.
It’s okay if you’re nervous ; that’s completely normal. Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, affects anywhere from 15–30% of the general population . Social anxiety is also becoming more prevalent, seen in 12% more adults in the last 20 years , and it’s a key cause of glossophobia.
But presentation jitters aren’t necessarily bad. Nerves and excitement feel the same in the body, so reframing nervousness as excitement means you’ll feel more positively about your feelings — and the upcoming presentation.
Giving a speech may seem daunting, but many industries demand learning how to be a good presenter. Luckily, you can always implement new strategies to face challenges and deliver an engaging presentation.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or first-timer, there’s always room to improve your presentation skills. One key to preparing a presentation is to define what you’re most worried about and address these fears.
The most common of worries in school or company presentations include:
- Fear of public speaking . Having a great idea doesn’t mean we’re comfortable telling people about it. Not everyone shines in front of an audience. Some people rationally feel fine about presenting but experience physical symptoms such as nausea and dizziness as the brain releases adrenaline to cope with the potentially stressful situation . The more public speaking you do, the less you’ll experience these symptoms and the more comfortable you’ll be pushing ahead despite any physical discomfort.
- Not keeping the audience's attention . We all want to be liked, and this need for affirmation makes us worried people won’t care about what we have to say. But if you care about the topic, chances are high that others do too.
- Not knowing what content, and how much, to place on slides . Overloading PowerPoint presentations is a surefire way to lose the audience’s attention, while brevity may not communicate important information. Watch presentations and note the ones you find most effective to figure out a good balance between what to write on slides and what to say.
- Discomfort incorporating nonverbal communication . Standing still won’t engage your audience, and moving around constantly will distract them. Delivering an effective presentation means figuring out how much nonverbal communication to use.
Presenting and watching more presentations will help you know how to handle these issues.
Below are our top five tips to aid you with your next business presentation and limit associated stress.
1. Keep it simple
You want your presentation’s ideas to be accessible and easy to follow. As you prepare, ask yourself: what are the key points you want people to take away? Nothing is worse than watching a presentation that goes on and on that you hardly understand. Audiences want to understand and implement what they’ve learned.
Simplicity is vital if you’re looking to reach a broad and diverse audience. Try placing important points in bullet points. That way, your audience can identify the main takeaways instead of searching for them in a block of text. To ensure they understood, offer a Q&A at the end of the presentation. This gives audience members the opportunity to learn more by asking questions and gaining clarification on points they didn’t understand.
2. Create a compelling structure
Pretend you’re an audience member and ask yourself what the best order is for your presentation. Make sure things are cohesive and logical . To keep the presentation interesting, you may need to add more slides, cut a section, or rearrange the presentation’s structure.
Give a narrative to your business presentation. Make sure you’re telling a compelling story . Set up a problem at the beginning and lead the audience through how you discovered the solution you’re presenting (the “Aha! moment”).
3. Use visual aids
Aim to incorporate photos or videos in your slides. Props can also help reinforce your words. Incorporating props doesn’t lessen your credibility or professionalism but helps illustrate your point when added correctly.
4. Be aware of design techniques and trends
You can use an array of platforms to create a great presentation. Images, graphs, and video clips liven things up, especially if the information is dry. Here are a few standard pointers:
- Don’t put blocks of text on a single slide
- Use a minimalistic background instead of a busy one
- Don’t read everything off the slide
- Maintain a consistent font style and size
Place only your main points on the screen. Then, explain them in detail. Keep the presentation stimulating and appealing without overwhelming your audience with bright colors or too much font.
5. Follow the 10-20-30 rule
Guy Kawasaki, a prominent venture capitalist and one of the original marketing specialists for Apple, said that the best slideshow presentations are less than 10 slides , last no longer than 20 minutes, and use a font size of 30. This strategy helps condense your information and maintain the audience’s focus.
Here are some tips to keep your audience actively engaged as you’re presenting. With these strategies, the audience will leave the room thinking positively about your work.
Tip #1: Tell stories
Sharing an event from your life or another anecdote increases your relatability. It also makes the audience feel more comfortable and connected to you. This, in turn, will make you more comfortable presenting.
Gill Hicks did this well when she shared a powerful and terrifying story in “ I survived a terrorist attack. Here’s what I learned ” In her harrowing tale of explosions, disfigurement, and recovery, Hicks highlights the importance of compassion, unconditional love, and helping those in need.
Tip #2: Smile and make eye contact with the audience
Maintaining eye contact creates a connection between you and the audience and helps the space feel more intimate. It’ll help them pay attention to you and what you’re saying.
Tip #3: Work on your stage presence
Using words is only half the battle regarding good communication; body language is also critical. Avoid crossing your arms or pacing since these gestures suggest unapproachability or boredom. How you present yourself is just as crucial as how your presentation slides appear.
Amy Cuddy’s talk “ Your body language may shape who you are ” highlights the importance of paying attention to stage presence. She offers the “Wonder Woman” pose as a way to reduce public speaking stress.
Tip #4: Start strong
Like reading a book, watching a movie, or writing an essay, the beginning draws your target audience in. Kick off your presentation on a solid note. Leveraging the benefits of humor increases the chance your presentation will be well-received. Here are some ways to start strong:
- Use a quotation from an influential person. This provides subject context, situating the topic culturally.
- Ask a rhetorical question. This encourages listeners to actively participate in your presentation as they think of the answer.
- Start with an anecdote. Brief stories add context to your presentation and help the audience know more about you, in turn making them more interested in what you have to say.
- Invite your audience in. Begin your presentation by suggesting they join you on a puzzle-solving or discovery journey. If they feel involved in the talk, they’re more likely to pay attention and retain information.
Tip #5: Show your passion
Let your passion for a topic shine. The best presentations have a speaker who’s genuinely excited about the subject.
In “ Grit: The power of passion and perseverance ,” Angela Lee Duckworth discusses the importance of passion in research and delivery. She enthusiastically delivers her presentation to show — not just tell — the audience how this helps pique interest.
Tip #6: Plan your delivery
This step encompasses how you convey the information. What’s appropriate for the setting — preparing a PowerPoint presentation, using a teleprompter, delivering the presentation via Zoom? Should you memorize your notes or plan an activity to complement them?
The best TED talks are usually committed to memory, but there’s nothing wrong with bringing note cards with you as a safety net. And if your tech completely fails, you’ll have to rely on your natural charm and wit to keep your audience’s attention. Prepare backup material for worst-case scenarios.
Tim Urban, a self-proclaimed procrastinator, discusses how preparation helps us feel more capable of tackling daunting tasks in “ Inside the mind of a master procrastinator .” We often avoid preparing for scarier obligations, like a presentation, because of nerves and anxiety. Preparing removes many of the unknowns overwhelming us.
Tip #7: Practice
As the phrase goes, practice makes perfect! Practice giving your speech in front of the bathroom mirror, your spouse, or a friend. Take any feedback they give you and don’t feel discouraged if it’s critical or different than you expected. Feedback helps us continually improve. But remember, you can’t please everyone, and that’s fine.
Tip #8: Breathe
Take deep breaths. It’s better to go slow and take time to convey everything you need to instead of rushing and leaving your audience more confused.
The best leaders are often some of the best presenters, as they excel at communication and bringing together ideas and people. Every audience is different . But as a general rule, you’ll be able to connect with them if you research your topic so you’re knowledgeable and comfortable.
Practicing your presentation skills and remembering that every opportunity is a chance to grow will help you keep a positive mindset.
Don’t forget to ask for help. Chances are a coworker or family member has extensive experience delivering professional presentations and can give you pointers or look over your slides. Knowing how to give a good presentation feels overwhelming — but practice really does improve your skills.
Shonna Waters, PhD
Vice President of Alliance Solutions
The self presentation theory and how to present your best self
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8 ways to make your presentation easier to understand
August 7, 2018
Thoroughly research your point If you understand your material well then it will be easier to explain it to others. This way, answering doubts or queries will be much easier.
Use humour Include relatable stories and jokes to explain points. It is often more effective in creating a memorable impression, plus it makes it easier for your audience easier to retain information.
Keep it simple Don’t overdo the graphics, visuals, or animations as they can distract your audience from the main point.
Speak slowly Maintain a moderate uniform pace of speaking. If you speak too fast and rush through your presentation, your audience will struggle to keep up and not understand your objective.
Keep it short A lengthy presentation can bore your audience and cause them to tune you out. This will make it harder to comprehend your content
Include more visual images and less text Incorporate pictures and visuals that support or explain your content. The audience will gain a better understanding of the point if they see how it works.
Do not exceed 6 points per slide Try to maintain this as adding more points can clutter your slide. Fewer points on the screen allows your audience to better retain the information.
Use precise words to improve clarity Don’t use confusing terms or unnecessary long sentences to explain your content. Get to the point; you may confuse your audience by adding more information than necessary.
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How to create an interactive presentation and keep viewers engaged
For most people, the word “presentation” is synonymous with boredom. Pair it with “business” or “educational” and you make it even worse. Before they even sit down to watch, your audience has flashbacks to that endless chemistry PowerPoint in the 10th grade. Yikes. But here’s the thing: online presentations don’t have to be mind-numbing. Like most trends that started in 1990, they just need a makeover.
According to the experts , the best way to make your presentation more interesting, engaging, and effective is to make it interactive . It’s not even that hard to do. With the right tools, you can make your presentation interactive in just a few minutes.
What is an interactive presentation?
Unlike a static presentation, an interactive presentation includes opportunities for your audience to get involved in real-time. This can mean including video clips for discussion, live polls or quizzes, in-person activities, or incorporating stories to create a more engaging experience.
In a standard presentation, audience members watch something. In an interactive presentation, they do something. And when we learn by doing , we retain material significantly better .
There are tonnes of benefits to making your presentation interactive.
- Boost engagement: interactive elements make your presentation more engaging. When your audience knows they’re going to be a part of the experience, they’re more likely to stay present and focused throughout.
- Connect with your audience: the lecture format is one-sided. The presenter becomes the talking head, and everyone else is free to doze off. Making your presentation interactive transforms the lecture into a conversation, allowing you to connect with the other people in the room.
- Share the workload: interactive presentations make presenting easier. When you toss questions or activities to the crowd, you share the burden of transmitting the information. More work from the audience can mean less work for you.
- Personalised delivery: because they’re informed by participants, each interactive presentation is unique. That means you can tailor your presentation to the people you’re speaking to, personalising the experience to make it that much more meaningful.
The main types of interactive presentation
Before we get into how to build the perfect interactive presentation, you've first got to decide what type of presentation you want to run.
Is it formal? Entertaining? A live webinar or a delayed video uploaded to YouTube?Are you speaking to investors for your non-profit , prospective clients, or just trying to convince your partner to let you splash out some cash on a new TV?
The type of presentation you're running influences everything from your tone to the kind of online tools you might use to build it.
Your interactive elements should be relevant to the type of presentation you’re giving. You might include a Kahoot poll if you teach third-grade history, but you’ll need something a little more professional for a sales pitch.
8 ways to make your presentation interactive with Paperform
Paperform is a form builder first and foremost, but you can also use our tools as an interactive presentation software. Just treat each page of your form as a slide to create a custom presentation your audience will love.
It’s not a replacement for Powerpoint or Prezi, but it’s a great way to bridge some gaps and add interactive elements to your presentation. One of our own, Josh, uses Paperform to help his son Jesse create presentations for school.
Most recently, Jesse and his dad made an incredible presentation on the Amazon, complete with wild jungle GIFs, interactive animal quiz questions, and plenty of surprising jungle facts. We made this quick replica to show you how to use Paperform as an interactive presentation software.
When you host your slides on Paperform, you get access to all the sweet features that make our digital suite of tools so unique, like conditional logic , advanced calculations , heaps of design options, and built-in robust data analytics.
Making an effective presentation shouldn’t be a chore. Let’s walk through eight interactive presentation ideas you can try out today, and how you can implement them with Paperform.
1. Make use of visual elements
There’s nothing worse for your presentation design than endless blocks of text. Nobody wants to be lulled to sleep with a bedtime story about this quarter's financial goals.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re going to say it, you don’t need to write it. The text should be used to remind you of your key points and topics, not to explain them in detail. That’s what you’re there to do. Try to use graphs, charts, or visualisations of data whenever possible.
Paperform it: If you’ve collected your data via a Paperform poll or survey , we’ll make the visuals for you. Just head to our built-in analytics dashboard and download custom graphs created from your form results. And if you create your interactive presentation slides with Paperform, you can also make use of our native integration with Unsplash and Giphy. Just think: all the royalty-free images and GIFs you might want, all without leaving the editor. You can even edit the images with our built-in editor.
Our integration with Adobe creative cloud allows you to import your branding and colour palette automatically, so creating personalised presentations is easy. And once you make one you like, you can share it as a template with the rest of your team so everyone can start from the same square one.
If you’re not using Paperform to host your presentation, you can always find your visuals separately and incorporate them into your slides on Prezi or Powerpoint. Wherever you host your slideshow, aim to have at least one visual for every two slides.
2. Start with icebreakers to set the tone
Icebreakers aren’t just for summer camp and blind dates. You can use them to build rapport, set the tone for what's to follow, and show that you have created a safe space that encourages audience participation. They can even be—dare we say?—fun.
When picking your icebreakers, try to be creative and topical. It’s a great opportunity to introduce audience interaction and gain some information that might be relevant to your presentation.
Let’s say you’re giving a presentation to your colleagues about the success of a recent advertising campaign. You could ask everyone what their favourite commercial is and why. Down the line, you can return to these answers for a brainstorming session about your next ad campaign.
If you're working with a small group (say 5-10 people) you can chat with your audience directly. If you’re working with a larger audience, you can ask folks to chat in pairs or send small groups off in virtual breakout rooms.
Paperform it: With Paperform, you can send out your icebreaker as a quick, interactive poll. Include it within the presentation itself, or make a separate one and add the link to your slideshow software of choice.
However you choose to share it, your respondents can answer your Paperform in a few clicks, and you can view the results in real-time. It’s a constructive way to connect efficiently with your audience when presenting remotely.
3. Find your narrative
A story can be a great hook. Draw people in with an engaging personal anecdote, and return to it throughout the presentation. It’ll keep them engaged from the beginning, and recenter them along the way if they drift off.
Take our ad campaign presentation. You might start off with a short story about how much you loved Frosted Flakes commercials as a kid, and how you went as Tony the Tiger for Halloween one year. You can return to elements of this story throughout (maybe even a photo of the infamous costume).
Why use stories in a business presentation? For the same reason we tell fables to children. Stories to help us learn. When there’s a narrative behind your presentation, your audience will be inherently more connected to it, and more likely to remember what you say.
Paperform it: Incorporating a story can be done in just about any presentation software. But if you want to get really creative with it, you could use Paperform to build your narrative into an escape room .
Just pick your story, create a few puzzles that relate to it, and use our advanced conditional logic to create a lock and key or branching-style escape room. You can present the escape room alongside your presentation, or hide the clues within the presentation itself to keep your participants hanging on every slide.
4. Let your audience decide the presentation order
Most presenters use a slide deck to support their presentations. Whether you use Powerpoint, Prezi, Google Slides, or heaps of cardstock like Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually , slide decks are a great way to keep yourself on track. There are three main ways to progress through a slide deck.
- Standard navigation: this is the presentation you’re probably familiar with. A presenter clicks through their slides in real time, but the order is predetermined.
- A video presentation: a linear presentation where slides automatically play one after the other. This is great for presentations that will be inserted into a website or landing page , and not necessarily accompanied by a live person.
- Flexible navigation: this kind of presentation is influenced by the audience and the presenter. The presenter clicks through slides but can skip around freely and use interactive elements like buttons, clickable images, and direct download links .
Paperform it: Paperform can help with all three. For standard navigation, simply add each “slide” as a new page in your Paperform, and progress through the pages as needed. Your respondents can do this, too.
Just send the link and allow latecomers or no-shows to progress through the presentation on their own time.
You can do the same thing with video presentations. Just add your recordings on individual pages, and include a short quiz after each video. With a little conditional logic, you can block viewers from progressing until they answer the comprehension questions correctly.
And then there’s the funky one: flexible navigation. It’s a great way to keep viewers engaged and on their toes. By using conditional logic, you can allow your audience members to alter the course of the presentation in real-time based on their feedback.
Take the ad campaign presentation, for example. You could ask folks what they would rather go over first: Instagram or YouTube stats. If they go with Instagram, you would click that option and your presentation would navigate you to the appropriate page.
Your audience doesn't need to (and probably shouldn't) decide the order of your entire presentation. But adding just one or two opportunities for viewer choice can make a huge difference in engagement levels.
5. Add polls and quizzes for gathering feedback
Polling audience members shows them that their opinion matters. It's also a fantastic way to get a sense of how the presentation is going, and whether attendees are understanding the topic.
Consider adding a true or false question with a surprising answer, or a quick pop quiz at the end of each section. If you’re presenting in person, you can answer the questions yourself based on feedback from the audience, like voting by applause or raised hands.
If your presentation is virtual, you can have respondents answer the poll on their own devices, either in the presentation itself or via a separate link.
Paperform it: Paperform makes creating polls and quizzes easy. We have over 25 field types to choose from, so you can gather the right type of data every time. You can send out a lightning-fast yes or no poll, or ask your officemates to rank all the Harry Potter movies. We’ve got ranking and rating fields for that express purpose.
All Paperforms are mobile-optimised, so you can be sure your presentation polls and quizzes will look great on any device. And if you’re making a longer quiz but don’t want to overwhelm respondents , you can toggle on guided mode to display one question at a time.
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6. share a hashtag to promote social interaction.
We live in the era of the second-screen experience. The chances are that while you're speaking, folks are simultaneously tweeting, emailing, or operating their entire small business on their phones.
Sure, that means your audience might be distracted. But fighting the current by asking them to turn their phones off is a losing battle. If you can’t beat them, join them.
Try making a branded hashtag to encourage participants to engage with your presentation on social media. It's a combination of word-of-mouth marketing, event promotion and social interaction all rolled into one.
When done well, social hashtags can:
- Encourage people to promote your event on social media
- Give attendees a way to share further discussions online
- Allow you to look at tagged responses to analyse customer opinions
- Draw attention to your presentation
- Keep attendees engaged with the material
Paperform it: Paperform integrates with all your favourite social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. With this connection in place, you can automatically post a tweet when someone submits your form.
You could use this integration to give folks a shout-out when they complete your digital presentation at home. Just include a short Paperform at the end of your presentation, ask for their handle and permission to shout them out online, and have a congratulatory post shared on your platform automatically.
It’s a great way to celebrate your audience members and boost awareness about your online presentation or webinar at the same time.
7. Include multiple Q&A opportunities
Sometimes, the best ideas are the simplest ones. If you want to know how your audience is going, just ask them. Q&A sessions give you the chance to do just that.
The trouble with traditional Q&A sessions is that they come too late into the presentation, and are too short to be meaningful. How often have you sat through an hour-long presentation, only to be asked if you have any questions at the very end?
One-time, end-of-presentation Q&As are not ideal. It’s easy for participants to forget their questions, and it puts pressure on them to make their time count.
There’s a better way: incorporate several, shorter Q&A sessions throughout your presentation. At the end of each section, take some time to answer audience questions and listen to audience input.
When your participants know they’ll be able to ask questions regularly, they’re more likely to stay present with each section. It also takes some of the pressure off and gives more shy participants several chances to consider raising a hand.
Paperform it: If you host your presentation on Paperform, you can create a customised Q&A slide that you can use at the end of each section of your presentation.
Worried about time? Embed the video of a favourite song, and allow participants to ask questions while it plays. You get yourself a built-in timer, and you break up your presentation with some music clips. Win-win.
8. Improve based on participant feedback
You might have your own markers of a successful presentation—whether people laughed, followed you on Twitter, or sent you an email saying how much they loved it. That's all well and good, but it doesn’t give you a lot of tangible data . The best way to measure the success of your presentation is with a post-event survey .
Leave your audience with one final moment of interaction by sending out a feedback form after your presentation. They get to share their thoughts, and you gain actionable insights on how you can improve for your next presentation.
Paperform it: Paperform has over 45 feedback form templates for you to choose from, each made by one of our in-house experts. Of course, you can make your own from scratch, or pick one of our other 650+ ready-made templates just because you like the style.
Whether you’re looking for a quick CSAT rating or lengthy open-text responses, Paperform can help you do it. Our no-code platform is designed to be easy to use, without skimping on all the advanced features you want.
Level up your presentation today
By connecting with your audience through interactive experiences, original content, and thoughtful slide design, you can put an end to boring presentations. Whether you’re working on your next pitch for the sales team or creating an interactive webinar for your website, Paperform can help you do it.
Our software is designed to be versatile, intuitive, and genuinely helpful. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to automate more of the mundane through our 3,000 direct and Zapier integrations, as well as our built-in shortcuts like automatic emails.
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8 Ways to Deliver a Great Presentation (Even If You’re Super Anxious About It)
- Joel Schwartzberg
Know your point, always.
Feeling anxious about a presentation? It’s likely about a fear of public humiliation rather than of public speaking.
- Shift the spotlight from yourself to what you have to say.
- Reject the voice in your head trying to destroy your confidence.
- Knowing what matters – and what doesn’t – will help you succeed.
Where your work meets your life. See more from Ascend here .
I recently worked closely with a 24-year-old client — let’s call him Martin — who was tapped to deliver a five-minute presentation at his company’s annual town hall meeting. Martin had never given a public speech in his professional life, but his accomplishments impressed his supervisors, and they wanted Martin to share his success with the rest of the organization.
Martin would have felt rightfully honored and proud, but one dominant feeling dwarfed all the others: abject fear.
With three weeks until the event, that’s where Martin and I started — with his fear. Below, I’m sharing eight pieces of advice I offered to help him manage his anxiety, build an engaging presentation , and convey it with confidence.
1) It’s not about you. It’s about your point. Many people would rather pour hot soup over their heads than speak in public, but that aversion is not really a fear of public speaking . It’s a fear of public humiliation — that you will somehow screw it up and embarrass yourself.
But here’s the thing: Your presentation is not a public speaking contest, and you’re not being judged. You’re not even a performer; you’re a presenter, moving important concepts from your head to your audience’s heads. (That’s why you “deliver” a presentation).
Shifting the spotlight from yourself to your ideas can make you less anxious because it focuses you on your real job — not to be amazing, charismatic, or entertaining, but to effectively convey your point.
2) Know your point. Of course, you must know your point in order to convey it. But don’t make the mistake of confusing your point with a broad topic or theme. Typically, your point is a contention that a specific idea will lead to a successful outcome.
Once you understand your contention, ask yourself four easy questions:
- What is the idea?
- What tactics make the idea successful?
- What is the impact of that success?
- What can others learn from that success?
The answer to those four questions — supported by data, stories, or reasoning — is your presentation. Boom.
Adjust as necessary, but a five-minute presentation means answering each of those questions for a rough average of 75 seconds each. And so long as you make a point, no audience will ever complain about you running short.
3) Let your notes support you. Think of your speaking notes as you would a shopping list: shorthand reminders (no complete sentences) of what you need to cover and in what order. Your notes may be lengthy at first but shorten them during your practice as you rely on them less and less.
Remember: Your notes are there to support you, not script you. Audiences want you to relay your points, not read them.
4) Get loud. Whether you’re in a room or a Zoom, volume is critical to making powerful points. In addition to making you more audible, increased volume instantly conveys authority, confidence, leadership, and competence.
I run an exercise in my workshop in which I ask every participant to speak in a louder voice, then ask other students to weigh in on the resulting differences in that person’s overall impression. Universally, I hear reactions like “more assertive,” “more confident,” and “more persuasive,” whether or not the speaker was, in fact, more assertive, confident, or persuasive. That’s the value of volume.
5) Be yourself. A day before his presentation, Martin messaged me with a series of sudden questions: How often should I gesture? What happens if I sneeze or say “umm”? Should I start with a joke?
My answer to all: “Be yourself.”
Audiences respond best to authentic, even flawed, human behavior because they can relate to it as fellow human beings. Coming across artificial, on the other hand, breaks that connection, reduces your engagement, and harms your reputation.
So if you’re comfortable gesturing, gesture. If you need to sneeze, sneeze. If you’re funny, be funny. Being your most authentic self will also best convey your personal conviction for your points.
6) Practice meaningfully. Effective practice is about having your mind and your mouth act together to produce points. When you mumble your presentation — as we often do when we practice — you’re only practicing one of those two key elements. To practice meaningfully, say it out loud and in real time. You don’t need an audience, a camera, or a mirror (in fact, avoid practicing in front of mirrors entirely). All you need is time and space to run through your full presentation.
This is also the only way to know precisely how long your presentation will run.
7) Turn nervous energy into excitement. Studies show that toggling from nervous energy to excitement may be as easy as telling yourself “I’m excited,” every time you think “I’m nervous,” because the reactions are closely related. Try saying, “I’m excited. I’m excited. I’m excited,” in the minutes and moments before your presentation.
Chances are good you will come across as excited, exuding passion for your point versus anxiety in your performance.
8) Kill Roy. Meet Roy. He’s the voice in your head constantly trying to destroy your confidence, whispering things like, “You’re boring them,” “This is not going well,” and “You’re embarrassing yourself.” But know this: Roy is a liar. He’s the voice of your insecurity, trying to make you feel more self-conscious, not less.
I hear Roy with my own ears whenever a workshop student starts a presentation with “I’m pretty nervous…” or ends with “Sorry, I know that wasn’t great.” The ironic thing is that these presenters never came across as nervous or underwhelming. That’s just Roy, doing whatever he could to sabotage the presentation.
The good news is that confidence is Roy’s Kryptonite. Recognize that the voice in your head is lying and let your faith in your abilities and your points diminish Roy’s impact until no one can hear him.
After lots of practice, Martin eventually nailed his presentation, coming across focused, confident, and passionate (which was confirmed in a follow-up survey including hundreds of staff).
To the audience, Martin “did a great job,” but he knows, I know, and you know that he succeeded not because he was born a great public speaker or has a special gene for fearlessness. Martin succeeded because he knew his point, his job, what mattered most, and what didn’t matter at all.
- JS Joel Schwartzberg oversees executive communications for a major national nonprofit, is a professional presentation coach, and is the author of “ Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter ” and “ The Language of Leadership: How to Engage and Inspire Your Team .” You can find him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @TheJoelTruth.
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8 Ways to Perfect Your Presentation Skills in English
As part of our Career Week, we’d like to help you perfect your professional presentation skills in English. Did you know, one of the most common phobias to plague adults is the fear of public speaking?
We understand that giving a professional presentation in English becomes a particularly anxiety-inducing task when you’re not a native speaker. However there are some rules of presenting that transcend languages. Here are our top eight tips to help you give a great presentation:
What is your English level? Take our short English test to find out.
1. Be prepared
Thorough research and preparation is key. Become an expert on your subject. The more you know about the topic you’re speaking about, the easier it will be for you to speak confidently. If you’re unprepared, your audience will know it and will likely tune you out.
2. Practice makes perfect
Like anything, the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Start by practicing in front of a mirror. Pay attention to your English pronunciation, but also make note of your eye contact, gestures and body language. Remember to stand up straight and look your audience in the eye. One you’ve mastered your presentation in front of the mirror, it’s time to practice with a real audience. Running through your presentation with a friend or family member can be a great way to build your confidence and help you memorize your material. Nerves can often make a presenter speak too quickly, so take a deep breath and time yourself to ensure you’re not rushing through important information.
3. Tell a story
Everyone enjoys a good story, and you’re far more likely to engage your audience if you’re able to weave your information into a memorable narrative. Keep focused on your topic, but draw your audience in by conveying your message with passion and purpose.
4. Less is more
Don’t bore your audience by giving them big paragraphs or long lists of bullet points. If you’re using PowerPoint as part of your presentation, consider using pictures and short phrases instead of full sentences or paragraphs to illustrate your point. Relying on these as prompts while you’re presenting will help you to speak naturally, rather than read to your audience.
A bold speaker is a memorable one. Maintain your audience’s interest by making a big statement or including a funny anecdote that’s relevant to your topic. Everyone loves to laugh, and you’ll make a positive impression if you can hold your audience’s attention with a little humor
6. Move around
Be natural and connect with your audience. Don’t hide behind a table or rely on a podium to hold you up. Use gestures to emphasize important points and exude positive body language at all times.
7. Avoid tech problems
Technical difficulties on a presentation day can happen, so be prepared. While some issues are unavoidable, you can guard against them by having a back up plan. Wherever possible, don’t rely on the internet. Instead, take screen shots and bring downloaded files.
8. Anticipate questions
Expect that people may ask questions or need clarification on some points. Try to anticipate what might be asked and prepare some answers in advance, so you won’t be caught off guard. If you don’t know how to respond to a question immediately, you can always invite the questioner to meet with you after the presentation.
Wil is a writer, teacher, learning technologist and keen language learner. He’s taught English in classrooms and online for nearly 10 years, trained teachers in using classroom and web technology, and written e-learning materials for several major websites. He speaks four languages and is currently looking for another one to start learning.
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8 Tips for Making a Presentation That Dazzles the Boss With Your Creativity
It's not unusual to have stage jitters. When the audience is your boss, it's unusual not to.
By John Boitnott • Jun 21, 2016
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As if the pressure to develop and deliver a presentation that excites your audience weren't enough, trying to impress your boss with that presentation is a whole other set of concerns. In most cases, if you plan with your organization's goals in mind, you shouldn't have a problem delivering a presentation that your boss will respond positively to.
However, if you really want to impress your boss and your team, and keep them from yawning, give these eight tactics a try.
1. Use metaphors.
Including metaphors in your presentation can be useful since metaphors paint a picture in the minds of audience members. The idea can tap into previous experience to introduce new ideas.
For example, an Internet entrepreneur used a pair of scissors, knife, bottle opener, and nail filer as examples of various tools that companies use when selling products online. He then pulled out a Swiss Army Knife to illustrate that his idea would consolidate all of these tools.
When finding the right metaphor for your presentation, Nancy Duarte suggests in the Harvard Business Review that you dig "into your own prior knowledge for connections that make the idea brighter in your mind. The brighter that idea shines for you, the more likely it is to resonate with your audience."
2. Be humorous.
Just because this might be a serious presentation with consequences for your career and the business doesn't mean that you have to be stiff. By adding a little bit of humor to your presentation you're not only breaking-up the monotony, you're demonstrating your own charisma and helping make your point more persuasive.
More importantly, adding a little humor to your presentation can make it more impactful. According to Michelle Gielan, cofounder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, "laughter stimulates the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine which activates the learning centers in the brain."
Related: Use Humor to Get Your Marketing Message Noticed
3. Play music.
This may appear to be a little counterproductive. After all, won't music be a distraction? Not according to Ronald A. Berk's study Research on PowerPoint: From Basic Features to Multimedia .
Berk found that playing music during a presentation "can increase attention levels, improve retention and memory, extend focused learning time, and expand thinking skills." Keep in mind, however, that in most cases playing music throughout the presentation is probably too much. Consider using music during your introduction or during key parts of your presentation.
4. Use activities.
Sometimes a simple activity is enough to drive your point home. It could be something as simple as having your boss or team write down their goals and then having brainstorming session on how to accomplish those goals. You could also hand out quizzes and ask your audience to guess what your next slide is going to be. You can even split the group up by having 20 percent of them move to one side of the room to demonstrate what your goal of 20 percent growth will look like, instead of using a slide with a graph.
Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Giving a Killer Presentation
5. Prove your point.
Stats are a powerful way to prove your point. But, presenting too much data can be overwhelming - no matter how well it is presented. Instead, use other ways to prove your point. One way to do this is by showing your boss how your competitors are succeeding, which could be why your new ideas might be so important to implement. Or, if you have a physical product, provide a demonstration of how superior a product it is - like pouring water over your new waterproof phone case during the presentation.
6. Pose questions.
Skip the monologue and get your boss and entire team involved by asking them relevant questions such as their insights and experiences. This not only gets your boss involved, it gives them the opportunity to talk about themselves and discover for themselves the real value in your presentation.
If you anticipate more complex questions, consider bringing in an expert to assist you in answering these questions. If you were pushing for a new corporate website you could bring in a web designer to answer any of the technical questions that your boss may ask. The web designer might even bring in a few ideas or visuals.
7. Go beyond PowerPoint.
PowerPoint presentations and slides can be spiced up through simple steps like being consistent and limiting font sizes and colors that also reflect the theme or design of your organization. But, there are also a number of helpful tools that can make your presentation stand out more than just the standard slideshow or Powerpoint.
Powtoon could be used to create an animated video to accompany your presentation, Ease.ly generates infographics, and Prezi gives you the opportunity to adapt your presentation in real-time depending on your audience's response.
By using tools like videos, you can increase everything from comprehension, understanding, memory, and even deep learning of your audience.
Related: Avoid the PowerPoint Trap by Having Less Wordy Slides
8. Make your presentation public.
Chances are that your boss isn't going to make an executive decision immediately after you've given your presentation. That's why you should provide them with materials they can review following the presentation like brochures or marketing kits.
But, wouldn't it be more effective to place your presentation on a site like Slideshare.net so that your slides are available to your boss and team whenever they want to review them? This practice will not only save you time from printing out materials, it also prevents the possibility of your boss misplacing the handouts.
Even more importantly, having your presentation public (when appropriate) shows your clients and customers that you're an industry thought leader and it also allows them to share their insights. Companies like Apple have done this and it's become an important part of their brand and marketing message.
With a little thought and effort you can make your presentation more creative and what you've always hoped it would be. As a bonus, you will have more fun getting your presentation ready.
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