How to Prepare for a Presentation & Fix It if it goes South!

If you’re going to be working with PowerPoint with any frequency, you’re going to have a bad presentation. It’s not that you’re a bad powerpointer, it’s that a bad presentation happens to everyone. The largest part of fixing a bad presentation is making sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.  Here are some easily missed but critical things to take care of when before starting your presentation.

Presentation-CrisisFirst, always check your equipment. Even if it’s the same equipment that you’ve used before, turn it on, load your PowerPoint slide deck into it, and run through your slides. Make sure that it works smoothly and that your entire presentation is there. This single action will save you from more problems than anything else you could ever do.

While you’re checking to make sure that your equipment is functioning, walk through the room while a few of your slides are up. Can you read them from most of the room? If not, make note of that so that you can spend extra time with those to make sure the folks in the far reaches of the room can keep up with the presentation.

Next, check yourself. Pop into the bathroom, and check your appearance. Is your salad still hanging out, caught in between your teeth? Did you spill something on your shirt? These kinds of distractions will take people’s attention away from your presentation. Have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and spare shirt and tie in your office, just in case. Pull out the shirt and replace it with a fresh one every few months so it doesn’t get dusty.

If you give presentations on a regular basis, have a kit that includes extra lightbulbs,(YES! an extra lightbulb has saved important presentations for executives) dry erase markers so you can convert to a whiteboard presentation in the worst case scenario, breath mints, your favorite headache reliever and an anti-gas medication. This kit will save you from just about anything that can go wrong during a presentation.

Now that you’ve prepared for just about any failure that you can think of, you can absolutely guarantee that the type of presentation failure you experience will be something that cannot be corrected by anything that you’ve already prepared for. Because Murphy’s Law exists for a reason, and this is it.

Once something falls apart during a presentation, it’s up to you to get things back on target. If you have a repair that can’t be handled quickly by rebooting equipment, changing a lightbulb, and checking to make sure that someone didn’t trip over a power cord, call a break. Tell your participants to take five. It’s much easier to sort out a problem when people are out in the hall way, having a coffee and re-hashing last night’s football game, than it is when you can’t figure out the issue and you can feel 100 pairs of eyes boring into the back of your head.

Once you’ve cleared the room, breathe. See if you can fix the problem yourself. If you can’t, ask for help. Someone on staff may be able to help you out. If you’re doing your presentation somewhere that isn’t your office, ask whoever handled the booking or who set you up in that space when you first arrived.

If you absolutely can’t fix the problem, prepare to switch to a whiteboard. Most conference and presentation rooms have whiteboards ready to be used. Clearly, the reason you chose to do a powerpoint rather than present on the whiteboard in the first place was partially because of the pictures and animations, and those will be lost in translation. However, as long as you have your presentation memorized, you’ll still be able to get your important points across.

Mostly, preventing a bad presentation is all about preparing ahead of time. If you’re well prepared to handle almost anything that can go wrong, you’ll be set to have a fantastic presentation!

Note: You can use PowerPoint Add-Ins to create beautiful and professional presentations.

How to Engage a Visually Impaired Audience with PowerPoint

Engaging a visually impaired audience can be difficult. For one, not everyone has the same level of visual impairment. Some of your audience members may have conditions that are corrected with eye glasses or contact lenses. Others may have had surgery to correct some or all of their vision issues. You may have some audience members who have no level of vision correction, but still have varying levels of vision. Some may be able to see larger images or fonts, while some may be completely unable to see anything.

To help connect with your visually impaired audience, you’ll want to use these tricks that work with any audience

Add action to your presentation – If some of your audience can see, tracking your movement will keep them more engaged than if you just stand still.
Include moments to make them laugh – This doesn’t have to be jokes. Maybe you have a personal story to tell that fits in with your presentation, where you end up laughing at yourself. If your audience perceives that you have a sense of humor, they are more at ease.
Try to evoke emotion – Most of the time, the best way to keep an audience engaged it to talk about something in a way that makes them feel something-joy, empathy, anticipation. If you can get your audience feeling something, they’re going to want to hear the rest of what you say!

Using props becomes much more difficult with a visually impaired audience, but if some of your audience has at least partial site, you’re going to want to make use of visual pieces to keep their attention focused on you. Using a PowerPoint presentation is a great way to help drive home important parts of your presentation and illustrations often help bring emotion to presentations.

With PowerPoint and a large projector screen, you can create presentations that will be able to be seen by the part of your audience that does have some vision capabilities. For example, you can use a larger font on the text areas of your PowerPoint presentation. This helps to insure that everyone who can see, can see what you’re trying to present.

PowerPoint also allows you to create visual images that you can use to connect with your audience, to help keep them engaged. You can focus in on a specific part of an image to make it appear larger on screen, with a single deck dedicated to just a few pixels of the image, if necessary. You need great software and a fantastic image to do this, but it can be done.

In short, there are ways to engage a visually impaired audience. It takes a bit of work, but with some

How to Engage an Hearing Impaired Audience with PowerPoint

Connecting with a hearing impaired audience can be difficult. If you’re not signing, your audience is focused on the interpreter instead of on you, and it can be hard to judge whether or not your audience is following along, or bored. If you’re not feeling connected to them, they are definitely going to notice-and then they aren’t going to be feeling connected to you!

When you’re trying to connect with a hearing impaired audience, it’s important to think outside of the box. Even if it goes against their nature, hearing impaired audience members must be visual learners. It doesn’t matter to them how many times you’ve practiced your speech to get the subtle nuances in your presentation just right, because they will never hear them. If their eyes are on you at all, they’re going to be focusing on your body language to give them cues about the nuances of the points that you’re making. However, because there’s usually a delay in the time that you say something and the time that the interpreter signs it, your body language doesn’t always match up to what they’re seeing from the interpreter.

A good way to help you connect with the hearing impaired, while still keeping everything on track, is to use a PowerPoint presentation. With a PowerPoint presentation and a good overhead projector screen, you can keep your audience’s attention on you, because you’re providing more of the visual stimulation that they need. Of course, you’ll still need an interpreter, but if you put your PowerPoint presentation together just right, you’ll be able to rely more on it, than on the interpreter, to get your points across.

To use PowerPoint for a hearing impaired audience, it’s important to make sure that the projector screen is going to meet your needs. The larger your audience, the larger the screen will need to be. If you’re presenting to a group of 300, a display the size of the television in your bedroom just won’t cut it!

You’ll need to make sure that the decks you put together for your presentation have a good mix of images and text. Make your font large, so that even those in the back of the room can see them without difficulty. Use or create images that reflect your subject matter and create emotion. Make sure that they tie in to what you’re going to be saying at the time, and the text that’s on the screen.

Finally, you’ll need to rehearse. You’ll want your timing to be spot on, because the interpreter is going to be slightly delayed. What you’re saying needs to match the images and text in your PowerPoint deck, and you need to plan to pause once in awhile to let the interpreter catch up. There’s nothing that will lose your audience’s attention faster than long presentations where the interpreter is minutes behind the presenter. Remember that your audience is having to juggle between you and the interpreter, so give them a few seconds to react.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to put together an engaging presentation that keeps your hearing impaired audience engaged.

Podium for PowerPoint Addin Updated for PowerPoint 2013 32-bit

It’s been a busy year for everyone at Brightslides.  We made Podium for PowerPoint fully compatible for Office 2013, namely PowerPoint 2013, 32 bit edition. We added a few more features to the Slide Builder tab to enhance already great features. We also fixed some installation errors that some customers were having and removed the Getting Started PDF at the begining of starting PowerPoint each time.

Overcoming PowerPoint Presentation Fears

There are many people who fear to speak in public, and their number seems to increase considerably. If you are in this situation you probably know how difficult it is to present a simple project, and even to speak up in front of your co-workers. Even if there are many people who fear about these public presentations, you should know that many of them managed to overcome this fear.

Having PowerPoint presentation fears doesn’t mean that one cannot create a great PowerPoint presentation. It only means that when it comes the moment of presenting in front of other people you may experience some intense fear of speaking in public. However, there are times when it is helpful to have an amazing PowerPoint presentation that will capture the attention. In this way, your oral presentation won’t have to suffer too much, being actually supported by your creation.

If you are looking forward to overcome the PowerPoint presentation fear, you should overcome it by being aware about the following facts:

  1. Take you time in order to create an amazing PowerPoint presentation

As mentioned before, it is essential to have a great PowerPoint presentation. This means that you should take more time in order to create your best work. If you want to create an amazing PowerPoint presentation, here you have a few tips that should be followed:

–       The backgrounds should be cool and calming, and try to make them identical.  When backgrounds flip from one design to another design, your more likely to stumble and lose your train of thought. This way you will be able to create a symmetrical presentation that has a meaning to anyone who is watching it;

–       The fonts should match the subject you are presenting. In this way you will be able to prove that you have thought carefully about every single detail related to this presentation; Hence what this amounts to is the fact that your confident on the presentation.

–       The font color should be complimentary with the backgrounds. In this way you will obtain a beautiful and visible result that will be appreciated with full clarity.  No one likes reading dark text on a dark background, even when you cant read it, you’ll stumble upon your own word.

–       The rest of the colors used in the presentation should match each other, creating a nice color scheme that has similar shades; Colors on the same hue spectrum help a lot when design is important.

–       The slides should have some great effects that will help your presentation stand out. In this way you will be able to create a positive impression; Top-most rule: Don’t over do it.

–       The effects don’t have to be identical. Therefore you may choose a wide variety of effects for all the slides you have;

–       The background music should perfectly blend in without disturbing the presentation; Always watch the volume as your do not want your music volume to overpower your spoken session;  Keep in mind if this happens that your music is louder than what you are presenting, your going to have to raise your spoken volume; hence making your presentation out of balance.

If you follow these rules and if you are able add the necessary information in a coherent way, you will be able to create an amazing presentation that can both entertain and inform the audience. One of the most common mistakes that are made during a PowerPoint presentation is actually the creation of a boring presentation that is not able to entertain the audience. Besides this you should also make sure that it is personalized and unique. It has been proven that a great PowerPoint presentation has the ability to raise self-confidence, and therefore the one who will present it will be more confident, managing to overcome his fears.

  1. Practice your presentation

Once you have finished your PowerPoint presentation, you should practice it as many times as possible. You can start by practicing in front of the mirror and later you can call some friends, or family…find whoever you can (except fluffy!) over in order to have audience. In this way you will be able to be more confident. Keep in mind that the more you will practice it, the more you will feel less fear, being able to present it in a great way. Usually those who practice more time are actually those who have a better presentation, being able to overcome their fears.

  1. Read further information about the subject

If you have to present a complicated subject, you should make sure that you know more than it is written in your PowerPoint presentation. Therefore, you should read more about this subject, making sure that you won’t have to read too much from the slides. Reading from the slides is not ideal, and usually it gives the impression that you are underprepared. In order to avoid this situation you should master the subject you will be presenting. In this way you have the opportunity to impress your audience, showing that you are well prepared for this occasion.

  1. Be confident

After you have practiced every step, starting with the great PowerPoint and ending with the presentation in front of your friends, you should be confident. You should know that self-confidence is very important, and therefore you should try to be confident in what you know. You will see that this confidence will be visible during the presentation.

Now that you know all these facts about overcoming fear related to PowerPoint presentations, you should apply them in real situations.