Here are three simple tips to help give you confidence and rock the room at your next presentation or speech—whether you’re asking your audience to invest in your idea, support your team’s project, or give you their business.
1. Craft a story
Present a clear problem with a compelling solution, and put your audience at the intersection of the two, bridging the gap for them. For example, let’s say an accounting firm booked fewer clients in July than in June, and needs its CEO to approve a sales plan to reverse the trend in August. How could that plan be communicated to the CEO as a story, telling him how he can achieve his broader goals for the company?
Prezi, if you haven’t heard yet, is the hot new presentation tool that’s sweeping the screens at events like TED and SXSW. It’s an alternative to boring PowerPoint presentations, it’s free to use, and you can present live or host your presentations on Prezi.com for the world to see.
While Prezi’s zooming and panning features bring your presentations to life, using video can add even more richness, engagement and meaning—and it’s simple to do.
Two ways to add video to a Prezi
You can add video to your prezi in two ways: link to a video on YouTube, or upload a video file directly from your hard drive and embed it into your prezi. In both cases, the video player is placed right on your canvas, and you can resize and place it wherever you like in your presentation.
I recently had the pleasure of presenting all the content we hope to publish for you in 2012 to our content and production teams here at lynda.com. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk in broad strokes about our teams’ collective vision for the future. If you’ve ever given a high stakes presentation in front of a large group, you know that while giving presentations is a great opportunity, they can also be quite daunting to prepare and deliver.
At the outset of my planning I found myself scrambling to remember the presentation skills I learned long ago. (Oh yes, I briefly longed for my college Public Speaking 101 notes and those mortifying VHS tapes of class speeches on global issues.) After sitting for a little while with presentation anxiety, I decided to turn to the same library that would be the subject of my presentation.
Browsing the lynda.com Online Training Library® as a member on a mission, I quickly found that our courses empowered me to compile and deliver a compelling and visually interesting presentation for my peers. It was exciting to find help waiting for me—and comforting to learn from the very authors I have the pleasure of working with each day.
In case you’re curious (or madly preparing for your own end-of-year or look-ahead presentations), here is my presentation learning-path that helped prepare and inspire me.
1. Duarte Design, Presentation Designer: Wanting to start with a good dose of inspiration, I turned to our Creative Inspirations documentary on Duarte Design. The opportunity to see how the pros create compelling presentations armed me with just enough confidence to think that maybe I could pull this off. It was here that I realized the lynda.com Online Training Library® could empower my presentation.
2. Effective Presentations (2006): After thinking about big picture, I needed some specifics, which is precisely what I found in Effective Presentations (2006). This course is one I’ll define as a classic. Built in 2006, it still has the power to inspire today. Chapter two on Mission, Goals and Story is the one that helped me organize my ideas more clearly.
3. Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training: With my ideas taking shape, I needed to dive into some data to learn more about lynda.com viewing statistics, including, how often courses are watched, what courses are watched, and what members would like to see published in the future. This required me to brush up on my Excel for Mac 2011 skills, which helped me easily navigate lots of data with speed and efficiency.
4. Keynote ’09 Essential Training: With growing confidence backed up by numbers and solid data, I was ready to start putting my story for 2012′s business content into Keynote. Enter Keynote ’09 Essential Training, which helped this long-time PowerPoint user convert easily to the new interface and features. Pretty soon, I was tooling around with master slides, backgrounds, fonts, and styles.
6. Time Management Fundamentals: As the week went by and I got busier with this presentation, I noticed that I could easily lose track of minutes or hours if I didn’t keep my time in check. So I decided on another quick visit to Time Management Fundamentals. Dave Crenshaw reminded me that switch tasking wasn’t worth my time and that I needed to focus in on my most valuable activities, including that presentation.
7. Effective Meetings: As I started to wrap up my presentation and prepare to deliver it, I wanted to check in with Dave Crenshaw again on Effective Meetings. What would I need to know in order to get the most out of our all-day planning session? I wasn’t disappointed. The principles of successful meetings helped me determine a note-taking strategy and the best way to absorb exciting new information from my colleagues.
8. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives: Finally, the night before my presentation, I wanted another dose of inspiration and confidence to get me ready for the next morning. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives helped me develop that confidence and focus-in on conveying my story with powerful intention.
As Effective Presentations (2006) reminded me, an estimated 30 million presentations make their way in front of an audience every day, so I was in good company as I prepared to sell my ideas up, down, and sideways. I was also, it turns out, in good company when I turned to the lynda.com Online Training Library® for the tools and inspiration necessary to communicate more effectively and make a memorable impression.
I hope you’re well on your way to developing lynda.com learning paths that work for your needs and your schedule. Please share your inspiration below; we love to hear from you!
Interested in more?
• All business courses on lynda.com
As a follow-up to PowerPoint 2010 Essential Training, we’re working on an intermediate course that covers business presentation design and delivery with PowerPoint. We’d like to hear what you want improved in the presentations you’ve participated in, either as a creator, presenter, or an audience member.
1. Neon colors, background images, cartoonish fonts: what’s attractive or fun to the creator might give the audience a headache. In terms of design, what kinds of things make you cringe as an audience member?
2. If you create business presentations, what aspects of design do you struggle with?
3. Some presenters make you sit up and take notes. Others make you watch the clock. When it comes to the delivery of a presentation, what are your pet peeves—and your best memories?
4. If you give business presentations, in what ways would you like to improve your delivery skills?
Please share your thoughts on any or all of these questions in the comments, and your suggestions and questions will help shape this upcoming course. Thank you!
Q: PowerPoint 2010 released to the general public last week. Why should users consider upgrading?
A: There are actually quite a few reasons. In fact, of all the new Office 2010 apps, I think PowerPoint got the best enhancements. Features that a lot of users have been asking for are finally here. For example, one of the most common questions I get asked as a trainer is How can I convert my slideshow into a DVD or put it on YouTube? Before, you couldn’t without expensive, buggy third-party tools. Now, it’s built right into the Save menu and is super easy to do.
There are a bunch of other enhancements, too, and many of them are subtle. One of them is the new way transitions are rendered—transitions are the animations you see when going from one slide to the next. PowerPoint 2010 takes advantage of your fancy video card to make the movement smoother, less jagged, and gives you a bunch of new 3D options which are really neat to look at.
Q: What’s the best new feature in PowerPoint 2010 for making presentations more visually compelling?
A: Just one? Alright. It’s the new background removal tool for images. You know how you bring a photo or logo onto a slide, and it’s got a background that you don’t want—like a white square or other artifacts like a skyline or the rest of the scene? PowerPoint 2010 offers a slick new feature to remove the background from an image in just a few clicks. It lets you get really creative with your own photos, stock photos, or logos by removing the parts you don’t want. It’s amazing to see it in action and so easy to use.
Q: PowerPoint 2010 has new capabilities for sharing a presentation over the web. What are the issues to be aware of when using this feature?
A: That’s right, you can now upload your presentation temporarily to Microsoft’s servers and send a link to anyone you want for a live presentation over the web while you do a conference call. When you click next on your PC, everyone’s screen automatically slides forward too.
This feature has a few limitations, though. For example, it doesn’t yet work with embedded video or audio, and your transitions are all converted to Fade. Animations work, and so do all your images, graphics, charts, and diagrams. And there are no worries about fonts. But the problem most people will see right away is that your mouse pointer (plus the pen, laser, and highlight features) don’t broadcast. So, you can’t point with your mouse to the connected audience.
I think for their first attempt at something like this, they’ve done a good job, and I’m sure we can expect some enhancements down the road.
Q: In addition to training people in how to use Office, you help businesses craft PowerPoint presentations. What’s your top tip for making more effective presentations?
A: Keep the slides simple. I always see slides crammed with too much content and that just doesn’t work. The audience doesn’t know whether to listen to the speaker or read the slide. If you have a lot to say, summarize it on the slide and give the audience handouts or refer them to your website for the details.