Present with Passion, Compassion and Purpose

Long gone are the days of counting on the subject matter to speak compellingly for itself, compensating for your inadequacies as a presenter. Nowadays, you’ve got to get inside of your prospects’ minds, and you’ve got to get there fast-before you’re even into the heart of your message. When asked what they thought made their managers most effective, 90 percent of all respondents mentioned communication and presentation skills. This tendency reveals how truly critical a life skill effective communication really is.

“If all my talents and powers were to be taken from me by some inscrutable Providence, and I had my choice of keeping but one, I would unhesitatingly ask to be allowed to keep the power of speaking, for through it I would quickly recover all the rest.”
-Daniel Webster

Have you happened to notice the dramatic changes that have evolved in training and teaching over the last twenty years? The basic focus used to be to educate. Now, the latest research is all about how to grab the attention of and maintain the interest of your audience. We can no longer focus simply on educating; we must now entertain. Why? Because our audience members’ attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so to keep their limited attention they must be kept entertained. Nowadays, you have only fifteen to thirty seconds to create a powerful, positive first impression before your audience begins to tune you out. Today, the process of combining education with entertainment is called “edutainment.” Like it or not, today’s media-influenced culture breeds listeners who want to be entertained. I’m not saying that you’ve got to go out and learn how to juggle swords and swallow fire if you want to garner your prospects’ attention, but it’s paramount to your livelihood as a speaker and teacher to be engaging.

What are the key ingredients that will make you an engaging, compelling and persuasive speaker? How can you educate, inspire and entertain with passion, compassion and purpose? In this chapter, I’m going to take you through the five most critical components of a powerful presentation. They are what are known as the five Ps: psyche, preparation, presentation skills, people skills and persuasion. Let’s start with the first major component.

Above all, you must approach becoming and being a powerful presenter with the right mindset. There are many factors that play into this strategy, but two of the most crucial ones are visualization and the nature of fear. Visualization refers to what I like to call “mental programming.” I call it mental programming because I believe that you can literally program your mind to achieve certain goals, thereby controlling much of what actually happens. So much of what is manifested on the outside reflects what’s going on in the inside. These days, this statement is almost beginning to sound a little cliché, but I still hold firmly to the belief that it is indeed the case, perhaps sometimes more than we’d like to admit. Think of any successful Olympic athlete. S/he has seen her/his victories over and over again in her/his mind, long before the world ever saw them. Psychologists believe that the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between that which is real and that which is vividly imagined. Therefore, whatever you consistently and vividly rehearse in your head, your subconscious will accept as the truth.

So you see, “mental programming” is actually quite a literal thing. You can also see how it can be either a very powerful tool or a very dangerous one. Where are your thoughts taking you? What kinds of messages do you play over and over again to yourself? Mental programming has too powerful and too direct of an impact on your behavior to not take it seriously. How does all this apply to public speaking? Practice your presentation in your mind. Visualize your perfect performance mentally before you do it physically. Program even the smallest details, like your gestures or how you will tilt your head and raise your eyebrow when you make that certain point. Also envision your audience and how they will positively respond to you. You would be amazed at how things actually play out as precisely as you imagined they would. Choose to have the right mindset. Just remember that your thoughts control your emotions and your emotions control your actions. Don’t plant that negative thought in your mind.

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Persuasion is the missing puzzle piece that will crack the code to dramatically increase your income, improve your relationships, and help you get what you want, when you want, and win friends for life. Ask yourself how much money and income you have lost because of your inability to persuade and influence. Think about it. Sure you’ve seen some success, but think of the times you couldn’t get it done. Has there ever been a time when you did not get your point across? Were you unable to convince someone to do something? Have you reached your full potential? Are you able to motivate yourself and others to achieve more and accomplish their goals? What about your relationships? Imagine being able to overcome objections before they happen, know what your prospect is thinking and feeling, feel more confident in your ability to persuade. Professional success, personal happiness, leadership potential, and income depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others.

Presentation Tips for PowerPoint – Setting Up Your Presentation

Presentation Tips for PowerPoint on How Get Your Slides Ready

Choose appropriate font styles to ensure your audience sees and understands your presentation’s content.

Sans serif type is the font you should use if you intend to have your presentation shown on a screen with the use of an overhead or multimedia projector. Once text is projected, the sharpness of letters lessens. Do not choose serif type because there is a tendency that it will appear muddy; Thought this can be used for handouts. “Arial” is an example of a sans serif type font style which doesn’t have the tiny scroll work on the ends of ever letter, in contrast to “Times New Roman” which is a serif type.

In order for your presentations to look more realistic, simply add photographs.

The best way to present issues is to make use of graphical representation so your audience will be able to understand and relate better. Always keep in mind that when you use pictures or videos of people using products or talking to an audience, you can boost the impact of your presentation.

The use of illustrations can improve communication.

You can simplify complicated topics with the use of graphics or illustrations. Furthermore, they are efficient in showing views that are not readily visible such as interiors.

Presentation Tips for PowerPoint on How to Get Ready for the Actual Presentation

Make sure you have enough time to prepare for your presentation.

If you know that you are going to do a presentation, set real time for yourself to present. This means that you have to be already free half a day the night before the big presentation. You will be standing in front of a group of people so you have to be at your best. Over the week before your presentation, spare 8 hours of planning.

Set up the venue ahead of time.

Do not forget to check the venue before the actual presentation. Accustom yourself with the vicinity and review your slides ahead of time to make sure everything works perfectly.

Get ready with your speech.

Avoid looking at your notes except if you suddenly blank out in the middle of the presentation. This gesture will give the audience an impression that you are unprepared. Doing so will also make your speech come out unconvincing and unnatural.

Insufficient preparation can lead to failure.

These preparation tips for PowerPoint are essential so always keep them in mind. Most people think that they can get away with little preparation and improvise on the actual presentation; when in fact those people who appear to be improvising are very well-equipped.

Effective Presentations – The First Step

How familiar is this scenario? Do you typically click on the PowerPoint icon immediately you are tasked with preparing a presentation? If that is the case then you definitely have common cause with most of us. And regrettably it is a big mistake. It’s a mistake because our presentation focus is already upon the mechanics of slides, decks, visuals, clip-art, logos and templates. Such a focus will be needed — but much later. For now the focus has to be on our expected achievement and outcome.

Before we click on the PowerPoint icon we should draft in a single sentence the planned achievement of our presentation. In today’s business language we would recognise this as a mission statement. But unlike many vacuous mission statements the purpose of this one is to capture the planned impact of our presentation upon our audience. That is, how do we plan for our audience to respond? We should consider the following questions at this stage:

  • After my presentation what will the audience do that is different?
  • After the presentation what will they know that is different?
  • Once they have heard the presentation what will they believe that is different?

Before we begin to physically lay the foundations of an effective presentation, let alone build its structure or prepare the PowerPoint slides we must have a firm grasp on the expected outcome of the presentation — what it is that we are aiming to do. To be effective our presentation will have an impact upon our audience beyond that of a management report, an email or a document. Our direct face-to-face presentation aims to change the actual behaviour, thoughts and beliefs of an audience. That is why we do it.

If our successful presentation has to impact our audience in a way that simply reading its content would not achieve then our mission statement has to capture these planned expectations. So, taking an example from a recent manufacturing presentation in the South West, our mission statement was:

“To ensure that the team understands the HR (Human Relations) impact of factory closure.”

What can we say about this? It meets the requirement for a single sentence. It is succinct and to the point. It is measurable — we should be able to gauge the team’s understanding of the HR consequences quite readily. It also sound achievable within the context of a single presentation. And that should not be overlooked. We can not expect too much from only one presentation!

With the mission statement prepared, what is next? Well, my advice would be to park the mission statement for an hour. Then try to recall it from memory. If you can do so readily then you have got something that is fully workable and from which we can hang the working objectives of a quality and effective presentation. And that is the second step.