When you go to a restaurant, even before placing your order, you judge the quality of the place by its decoration and cleanliness. Savoring a good dish and getting an efficient waiter service will obviously be the main reasons to decide whether you liked the place, however, a cozy environment also influences your final impression. The same thing happens in presentations where a well-trained speaker and a good message are the core of the talk, but when added to well-framed slides and a professional layout, they provide a lot more reliability.
A sales team, for an example, may lose a client with an amateur layout. When a salesperson presents to a prospect a product/service portfolio, or even a specific solution, he/she wants to make an impact. The goal is to convince the other person to close the deal. Ugly, disorganized slides, with low-quality pictures and a typeface difficult to read make a terrible first impression. By the end of the meeting, you may even convince your prospect due to the quality of the speech, but, sometimes, the first impression is what matters.
A speech will make a smaller or bigger impact depending on the presentation design. A thoughtful presentation aligned with the visual identity of the company reveals there were preparation and investment for the meeting.
Cheapest is dearest. Bellow, we list some common problems with amateur layouts that might harm presentation outcomes and, therefore, lead your company to opportunity losses:
Too much information results in confusion
One slide, 15 different bullet points and a speaker who just reads the information from the screen. The consequence is an unclear central message – whether it is because the speaker could not attach great importance to the content, or the audience, disoriented, did not know where to focus their attention on. It is impossible to generate engagement like this. The information on the screen should just add to what the speaker is saying, rather than be his/her exact words. Professionals who develop accomplished presentations can help presenters to choose between what goes on the slides and what must be spoken.
People do not understand (or cannot see) the numbers on the screen
A common mistake in presentations that use numbers, like result meetings, is to simply copy data from Excel and paste it into PowerPoint. Usually, charts and tables have lots of numbers and use small letters. The audience is forced to make an unnecessary effort to read what is on the screen, therefore overlooking what the speaker has to say. Even worse, they are utterly confused and their ability to decide is harmed. Those trained to design professional presentations are also able to choose numbers, tell the story behind them and highlight them in a way that the audience understands.
Too much time wasted assembling presentations
Usually, people in charge of assembling corporate presentations are not experts in design. Consequently, they will have to put a lot of time and effort to produce a visually acceptable material. However, it would be more efficient to have those professionals focusing their energy on their area of expertise, therefore producing results for the company, and outsource the presentation-making process. Wasting working hours of trained professionals in a struggle against the PowerPoint is a questionable use of their time, which could be used for so many other relevant tasks regarding the company.
If your company needs to plan and develop presentations with a professional layout, you can rely on SOAP to help you!
Elon Musk is one of the most talked about entrepreneurs of the moment. He is the CEO of SpaceX, which built Falcon Heavy, a high capacity rocket launched into space in February 2018 carrying an unlikely passenger: a Tesla Motors car, company that he also runs. Musk’s trademark is innovation, hence the reason why many experts of the industry believe he might be the next Steve Jobs of the entrepreneurial world.
Behind his fame, of course, there are hard work and a unique way of leadership. One of Tesla’s goals, for instance, is to become the world’s safest car factory. Between 2014 and 2015, however, reports showed that the number of accidents involving employees was high. It was of central importance for Musk to make an announcement in such a decisive moment. At the time, one of his emails concerning the statistics leaked out. His message still reverberates as a lesson on how to manage a crisis.
EMPATHY IS THE KEY
‘No words can express how much I care about your safety and well-being. It breaks my heart when someone is injured building cars and trying their best to make Tesla successful. Going forward, I’ve asked that every injury be reported directly to me, without exception. I’m meeting with the safety team every week and would like to meet with every injured person as soon as they are well, so that I can understand from them exactly what we need to do to make it better. I will then go down to the production line and perform the same task that they perform. This is what all managers at Tesla should do as a matter of course. At Tesla, we manage from the front line, not from some safe and comfortable ivory tower. Managers must always put their team’s safety above their own.’
The email’s great achievement is empathy. Musk expresses himself respectfully and analyzes the matter from someone else’s perspective, not only from his own’s. He puts himself in the position of those who suffered the accident, and, at the same time, he communicates with other employees who are afraid of being in one. Here at SOAP we believe this is the great lesson Musk teaches us regarding that situation.
We have decided to make a deep analysis of his email, so you too may be more empathetic in strategic and decisive situations such as that one:
– The first part sounds like “we are all human beings, and we respect each other”. He is a leader driven by emotions, and not only by the reasoning of a company owner, who positions himself above others.
– After expressing his feelings, he takes action. He makes decisions, begins to take preventive measures, and not just corrective ones. Musk literally gets down to work, he wants to understand the process to prevent new problems from happening again.
– Lastly, he makes it clear he is facing the problem and truly wants to know every detail of the situation. He emphasizes it is indeed part of the company’s culture: not to lead from a distance, sitting on a chair, watching from above.
– By using the pronoun “we” at the end of the email, Musk arouses emotional connection. He proves no to be either above or below anyone, but on the same level.
When the CEO’s words reached employees’ inbox, they triggered a positive feeling. First, they meant he was making a stand. It is not rare to see leaders who exempt themselves from problems they are facing. Lack of communication. They seem to believe people will stop talking about it if they just quieten declarations. What really happens, nevertheless, is that the lack of accurate information only increases gossips and the feeling of insecurity. Moreover, it encourages lack of accountability. People feel neither accountable for nor committed to anything. After all, it is all kept in a safe box by the one person who can solve everything alone.
Musk’s attitude has no degree of paternalism either. It is very common, during a crisis, for some leaders to say everything is fine in the intention of calming everyone down; they just say it is going to be fine and there is no need for panic, but they explain nothing and take no action.
Companies that open their numbers, information and strategies are transparent. In addition, Musk revealed his human side as a leader, which inspired trustworthiness and admiration. You encourage people, instead of demotivating or frightening them. What remains is the feeling everyone may and should act the same way. During a period of crisis, a leader must, above all, evoke the team’s desire to overcome a bad situation.
It is most likely that Musk’s choices are on the right track, since Tesla’s total recordable incident rate (TRIR) at the Fremont California factory improved 25% in 2017 in comparison with 2016, as shown on this blog posted by the company – https://www.tesla.com/blog/becoming-safest-car-factory-world .
Well done, Musk!
Talks watched freely by millions of people in just on click. It would be hard to find someone who has not been impacted by a TED video yet.
The nonprofit organization was born in the 80’s in California, aiming at making public ideas that were worth being spread. The mission was undoubtedly accomplished. By talking about everything and for everyone, TED popularized and became a new way of communication that should be watched more than once and practiced.
Time is one of the features that set a TED talk apart. Most of the conferences last from 12 to 15 minutes.
Speakers are unbelievably passionate about what they do and take full responsibility for showcasing the subject in which they are specialists. Lastly, translating any topic into a speech free of jargons and technical language makes it a very democratic format.
Look at some tips to create a similar type of presentation:
To achieve the TED format in your presentation, consider the following steps:
– Clear goal
What is the idea you want to spread? You must get to a very simple and concise version of it. Don’t ramble, don’t let yourself get sidetracked. Aim at your goal. Summarize everything in one sentence.
A TED speaker is always a specialist on the topic and passionate about he or she does, which is why the talk seems so uncomplicated. To thrive, you must be an expert in what you are talking about.
Your speech should be accessible, and at the same time meaningful. It is not recommended to use jargon. Rehearse with non-specialists and see how it goes. At the same time, practice it with someone you trust, and who understands the topic well, and wait for the feedback. You must be able to talk to both ends.
– Instead of technology and accessories, yourself.
Notice that, for TED talks, slides are irrelevant. As well as supporting material. Your only alternative is to be yourself.
Including everything you want to say in a concise and efficient presentation seems to be the biggest of challenges. However, if you master the topic, with a little bit of practice, you will be able to impart the main message in just the proper amount of time. Train restlessly how to summarize and expand your talk. Try to convey the same idea in different lengths of time and formats, so you do not fear adjusting to a fixed limit of time.
– Predicted improvisation
Improvising is inevitable and even welcome. But you must have your mental notes, so you don’t get lost. What is on the script that must be said no matter what, and which are the windows that may or may not be open on the day of the presentation. How to close them? It is sensible to have that in mind.
– Big supporter
Watch as many TED talks as possible. It will help you to understand the style, the language, as well as to see what works and what does not.
Practicing alone, with your family, friends, experts that you trust. Rehearse to think about the pauses, emphasis, fluidity and voice projection, analyzing what goes well and what needs to improve concerning attitudes, gestures etc. This is a tip that works for any presentation, but it is even more important for a TED talk, since it demands a lot from the speaker. If you need an inspiration, Steve Jobs was known for preparing restlessly for his public performances. He used to repeat his script over 20 times to others. Communicative strength comes with training.
As important as WHAT is spoken is HOW it is spoken. Speakers have their own style and they must allow their uniqueness to come through. Conferences only captivate and amuse if the audience realizes the speech and the story are authentic.
We have listed some videos to illustrate our points:
- 1. Ken Robinson, the most watched video on TED platform. A conference with no visual tools. Robinson talks wisely about the education model, and mix deep reflection with clever jokes.
- 2. Susan Cain, an introvert talking about the power of the introverts. Susan reveals promptly she is not comfortable on stage. However, slowly, she is able to control her anxiety and tell a beautiful story without being loquacious, speaking loud, or playing with the audience the whole time.
- 3. James Veitch, a young man who looks like a nerd, talks about his experience replying spams. Overusing gestures and visual support, he makes the audience laugh non-stop.
Now that we have provided you with some tips on how to create a presentation using the TED format, get down to business!
In order to preparing a presentation, we have to be clear. All information available seems to be important. Sometimes, for many of us, it’s hard to distinguish a detail from the information that really matters.
Does the audience need to know all information about the topic? Are they familiarized with the topic? Is there any particular part of the presentation that can captivate the interest of the public?
When you identify your audience, it is possible to check what topics interest them. Otherwise, the presentation can end up with confused listeners who don’t know pay attention to the presenter or to the visual material.
In this post, we will share some tips to help you see clearly what is necessary to include on slides and what you must leave out from your presentation.
Customize the presentation according to the presenter.
It’s always good to remember that an efficient narrative is based on the audience’s characteristics. The focus should be on the public and on the process that you gonna use to show your ideas and, as a result, achieve better results.
The slides, however, should be prepared according to the presenter’s characteristics. The purpose is having clear information and the solution is present just some guidelines to direct the presenter. Either the slides and the presenter should make the subject more clear and easy to comprehend.
The visual support has a big roll in the success of the presentation, but don’t forget it is only complementary information to the presenter. The best slides are always concise and just use keywords, images or short sentences.
Define the main message for each slide.
Instead of passing thousands of information on the same slide, you must choose a main idea for each one. In that way, the presenter won’t get lost while delivering it.
Slides with too much content can make: the presenter confused; the presenter fail the sequence of the speech; the presenter waste precious time.
Before you start to organize your presentation, try to ask yourself: “What is the goal of the presentation? What is the best way to deliver the message? How can I keep the public’s attention?”
When the relevant points are simplified, people assimilate and memorize the information easily.
Pictures or illustrations, when alone, can hardly bring enough information to explain the content. They are just supporting material that makes the communication easier.
Neuroscience studies have shown the power of images in presentations. If we listen to an oral presentation, three days after, we will probably remember only 10% of it. Whit images, the probability that we remember the content rises to 65%. This discovery has already a name: picture superiority effect.
When the presenter knows all content it is easier to use images and, it can be a way of showing that he masters the subject.
The Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, at TED Talks, did a presentation only using personal photos and videos to talk about his experiences in space.
While making a presentation, communicating with each and every one like if you were talking to them individually allows you to create a unique bond with the audience. This is the kind of result that those able to control empathy achieve.
But what does empathy mean? Empathy is when you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes, trying to understand their opinions and emotions. It’s not about feeling the same way or agreeing with the other person but respecting and understanding their ideas, feelings and speech.
Empathy can be described by the idea of rapport, a concept of psychology that represents harmonic bonds among people. This synergy enables interaction and exchange of information. It leads to respectful and healthy relationships.
Empathy during presentations
While preparing a presentation and during the process of creating the script, you must think about content but also about the way your audience wants to receive the information. Knowing the audience is the best way to develop a bond between the presenter and the public.
Try to find out what your audience already knows about the subject, what they don’t, what messages are they supposed to register and to what cultural environment they belong. Is it a formal or informal audience? Would they appreciate numbers or stories? These are some ways to get closer to your audience and create an empathetic bond.
If you feel you are not being empathetic, don’t worry, we’ve good news for you. This is a skill that can be developed.
- The first advice is to call people by their names
Human beings seek individual connection. When answering a question to the audience ask their names and call them by their first name. When it comes to interaction with the audience, ask rhetorical questions which do not really need to be answered. In doing so, you make the audience think and feel like you are establishing a direct connection.
- Always smile
Scientific studies verified that we have a group of cells called mirror neurons and that by simply observing other people’s action, activates the same areas in the observer’s brain. So, if you express joy it will help your listeners to feel the same way you do.
- Match the rhythm
Pay close attention to your listeners: do they speak fast? Do they speak slowly or move a lot? Try to interact with the listeners the way they interact with you. By doing so the audience will understand better the message you want to deliver. Vary your tone of voice and the rhythm to reach a larger number of people while speaking.
- Don’t be judgmental
An attitude that destroys empathy is judgment.
“That guy is so boring! When will he stop asking questions?”. In order to not be judgmental, you must break through your “reality dome” built by your experiences, jump into the other person’s realm and understand the world through their eyes taking their perspective, emotions and behavior. People see the world based on who they are. When using only personal references and beliefs, you build a wall to empathy. Remember: respect and understanding. “Yes, he really asks too many questions but that is probably because he wants to understand and know better the subject”.
A communicator can’t judge the audience. Instead, he should understand their needs.
With these advices you can start establishing empathy in your presentations and ace on your next one.
You know exactly what you are going to talk about, you speak well in public but you’re not the best in putting the slides together? Well, we have the solution for you to turn good presentations into great presentations.
Here are a few free templates that you can download from our website. They will help you present unforgettable presentations!
Template for Proposal Approval
Having your new ideas and projects approved is not always an easy task, no matter how good they might seem to you and your colleagues. To increase your chances of success, download this free template created for proposal meetings. It will help you organize your ideas and present them in a good-looking way.
Template for Presenting Results and New Goals
Results were achieved and there’s a new set of goals to be completed. How to present all the data? In order to show your company’s performance and keep everyone engaged in new goals, you need a presentation with good strategy, creative script, and striking images. We’re here to help you! Present the previous, the current and the future year’s scenario and goals, benefits of having achieved them. Display new goals and strategies for the next year in a persuasive, beautiful and in a well-organized way with our template Download it here for a great presentation.
“The World Cup PPT Template”
Everybody will eventually have to present a new project. However, nobody needs to realize that you lack practice and that you are still an amateur. Use our “The World Cup PPT” template and your presentations will be way more professional. We designed this template based on the most important stages that support any new project: current scenario, opportunity, project, action plan, benefits, improvements, budget and next steps. Use this template to come as an amateur and leave as a professional.
Your Training PPT
If you are in the training sector of your company or work with in-company learning, use our “Your Training PPT” template. Talk about the history of a company or a school or even teach in a more creative way. Introduce your ideals using striking images. Have flexible slides, easily adaptable to specific needs of your audience. Be creative and professional at the same time with this template.
Getting a YES Template
Do you need a “yes” for your project, an idea or a product? Great, then the hardest part is already done and you can now count on us for a “Getting a YES” template. This template will help you get the audience’s attention. Each image is strategic, designed to match every step of your argument. The slides are divided into five important steps of the process of selling an idea: your idea, why to invest, how to invest, ROI and where to invest. Download this template and get your YES.
SOAP’s Tasting Template
The end of the year tends to be a critical moment for every company. Projects for next year are presented and being approved or not, you will need a presentation for that. In this template you will find slides that will help you sell your product or service; a visual identity focused on solving your audience’s problem; images that will help you get your message across in an open format that can be easily changed and adapted. Try now!
Three PR companies struggle for a partnership with a big agency. In situations like these, knowing how to show your differential may determine who will win. The agency will probably choose the corporation better aligned to its values and that shows ability to deliver what was promised. However, presenting why your company is better than others with credibility and without looking phoney is not an easy task.
We’ve handpicked some suggestions which will make your presentation rock and conquer your audience – without being artificial, cliche and phoney.
Talk about your case studies
Most presenters start their speech by telling their company’s mission, vision, values, differentials and blurting out a list of famous customers. By doing this the presenter will hardly grasp the audience’s attention – and it’s important to have in mind that the decision is on their hands. Listing qualities won’t prove anything and it can sound like a simple strategy to please the audience. After all, in an environment like this it´s easier to tell what you do well rather than list shortcomings.
In a well balanced speech, talking about your case studies sounds honest and truthful. Allows the audience to understand without explicitly telling the reason why your business exists. Your chances of being the chosen one will increase when the audience acknowledges that you have an experienced background and that your plans for the future are promising.
Let´s say that your company values s are “cooperation, efficiency and excellence”. You can tell a story illustrating how these principles work in your company in a daily basis. For example, that time when your employees had a whole project to do all over again in just a couple of days. The teamwork was intense and all opinions were heard to meet the deadline. As a result of all this effort, the delivered project was outstanding. When you present true situations, the audience can naturally draw their own conclusions regarding your qualities which is way more compelling than the ordinary “self praise” speech.
Don’t pad things out
Forget about explaining every detail of a slide explained in a minute. On the other hand using a shipload of slides does not show knowledge. As a matter of fact, it can hint right the opposite. Talking too much can bore out the audience specially when ideas don’t have aa good script. We strongly suggest that you practice elevator pitch, which means you have to summarize the important ideas into the least time possible. If you have ten minutes to talk, try to use only five. It will leave more time for your interaction with the audience whenever you feel like it.
Do not mention the competition
It´s very common in the United States to run into ads where brands expose their competitors to show how they distinguish themselves. . If you present cases that please the listener, he´ll see on his own in which fields your company stands out.
Empathize with your audience
When talking about your cases studies, bring up stories that are close to your prospect’s reality. If you know, for instance, that this specific company frowns upon delays, show cases where your company made it very clear how reliable they are regarding deadlines and due dates. What your company did in the past tends to increase your credibility now the public is more likely to trust in what you’re presenting now. This will make it is easier to establish bonds and to build up empathy.
Doing an in-depth research on the profile of the people who are responsible for decision-making and on the company’s needs will help you find the appropriate cases to present.
SOAP lives by excellence. We combine strengths and skills to achieve goals and client’s needs. We are also aware that new challenges come up, so improvements are constant.
SOAP has a new “Door” for you to knock and get information about what we do and can do for you.
Digging deep into the moto “turning complex into simple” we transformed the face and experience of our website. Making it easy to understand what SOAP does, how and with what purposes.
WHAT IT DOES?
Presentations that merge impactful visuals with business Intelligence.
We shape your ideas into reality. Your concepts into experiences
Click the image to see a Before & After of a slide. Being before a client content and after a SOAP delivery.
Deliver the message the way clients want it to be perceived. Be it a presentation, a video or a document.
Read all about our process by visiting this page.
You can watch SOAP Portfolio for presentations or video here. By clicking any presentation project on the gallery, you can choose to view a presentation on a PPT format like the one below, or on our Youtube channel.
We kept on of our most visited page, from the old version. The downloads page. Here you can find E-books with the best tips and techniques to improve the way you create presentations, and Templates to save you time and enhance your productivity. All you have to do is download and get to work.
The way to get in touch with us was also simplified. We are here to help you achieve your goals right from the very first moment. Call us or email us in one click or touch of screen. Visit the contacts page and see how easy it is.
With SOAP blog we try to keep you up to date, with all that has to do with presentations. Be it tips on performance, design and software tools that can help you create impactful presentations, news from the brand and marketing world, or the cutting edge technology used to boost creativity on presentations. Check out the latest posts.
SOAP keeps the community close to heart, which is why we value their time and attention. We only want to reach to you in your terms, and only when the content is really worth your engagement and interest. We now have a choice in the way you want receive information from SOAP. Our newsletter will become a quarterly newsletter instead of monthly. You can subscribe to the new format by clicking here, and submitting your info.
Tell us what we can do for you. And remember, excellence is work in progress.
SOAP is a household of designers, consultants and executive management. The art craft is mainly creativity, but the tools SOAP uses are mainly software and hardware. As is the majority of work of this century.
PowerPoint can be Loved or hated. No matter which side you are on, it still represents a mean to a goal. It still is what you do with it that gets you results. When you think of presentations you immediately think of PowerPoint. There are good examples and some that do not achieve the results you expect. Who is to blame? Not the tool for sure.
You can also download tips on PowerPoint by clicking the image below.
We know that it takes years of practice to become an expert with PowerPoint, but as we mentioned before, Microsoft has a new strategy to engage its users. Their tactic is to keep improving the experience bearing in mind the needs. Every month there are updates to the office suite, which are available to all Office 365 subscribers.
Be sure to subscribe to their youtube channel on the monthly updates.
Microsoft are not the only ones that cater to user needs. SOAP found some ADD IN ‘s , tools that you install on to your PowerPoint application, that can really enhance your productivity, by saving you time and effort, and make your presentations have a professional look & feel. Here are 6 tools that caught our attention and are useful.
Data Visualization is and should be a technique you should use to simplify those complex numbers that you really need to show, to make a strong statement. Sometimes the charts available by default on PowerPoint don’t really reach the goal you need. Here is an Add-In that can help you achieve the results you need.
ShapeChef provides access to a growing collection of high-quality PowerPoint graphics, charts, and icons.
Brings a collection of invaluable tools that improve productivity
Office Timeline is the only Gantt chart and timeline maker software built for Knowledge Workers, right inside Microsoft PowerPoint. It easily produces elegant Gantt charts and timelines that no other application can match.
The audience is one of most important elements of a presentation. Keeping them interested and engaged is the role of the presenter/ speaker. With this tool, you will not only engage, but make the audience part of the presentation, by giving them a role in real time. It requires no Hardware or software installation from the audience, rather than the devices they use or have in hand. See How it works by clicking the image below.
Those who had experience with Excel charts linking, know how time consuming it can be to create a chart in a specific slide. Aploris can be a solution to save time.
Everything you need to easily create and share interactive online videos and presentations.
If you are an educator or Office 365 subscriber it is free. Watch the video below to see how it works.
For more tips on presentations, visit our downloads page.
Or subscribe to our Mailing list to receive news and tips directly on your inbox.
Image above from Erik Voake for Fast Company
SOAP’s work is about solving problems. Mainly communication issues. What is the best way to convey this information? In which way can we deliver this chart, so people can understand this particular number or data and what it stands for?
One of SOAP’s resource is design. Which at its nature is about solving problems. Another resource that helps SOAP achieve results is storytelling, or the power of transforming the idea, message or content into a story that engages and transforms audiences.
SOAP came across this article from Fast Company about “How To Design Happiness”. What we took from it were the similarities, between the structure of creating / designing happiness – according to the experts from Disney, Lippincott and SoulCycle – and creating / designing an impactful and result orientated presentation.
Lippincott‘s Design Happiness Halo Theory
Reconstructing happiness is a three act structure: Anticipation, experience, and memory.
It’s all about creating anticipation first. The anticipation of of the experience is sometimes greater than the experience itself. It has to do with the core of being human, it goes back to the primitive skills, releasing dopamine , it´s in our hunting skills.
Just like in a presentation, the beginning of a presentation is the moment you have to grab your audience attention or interest in what you are about to show or tell.
Experience and Memory
Here is where it matters the most. But experiences are never perfect, because you can never control all the circumstances around it. So you’ll have a high moment and an end moment. Memory plays the highest role possible. Because what people will take is what will remain with them from the experience they lived.
Again, in the case of presentations, we call this moment “the Journey”. As a speaker you need to engage and make the message you are delivering a memorable one. One that sticks in people’s mind. That precise moment is the high moment that is mentioned on the paragraph above.
The article then goes deeper into the world of experience. Using Disneyland as an example. It is important to build a transition from a real (unhappy) world to a world of discovery and happiness. At Disney and SoulCycle they call it the Portal. The best personification of this, is the tunnel you need to go through when entering Disneyland. (See image below).
Image Flickr user Georgio
A presentation should act the same as “the Portal” mentioned above. A successful presentation is one that transforms the audience. So remember this tip when creating your next presentation. Make them feel like by listening to you and watching your visuals they enter a world of transformation and discovery of a solution or information on the issues that matter to them.
Download this Ebook on Tips on focused audience presentations.
To read the full Fast Company article on How to design Happiness, click here.
You can subscribe to our mailing list here and download templates and e-books about presentations on this page.