Better Presentation Skills: 5 Tips To Avoid Snore-Filled Meetings

People complain about all the time wasted in meetings. Just add up all the time you spend in various meetings, then think about how much time others spend in YOUR meetings. Knowing how to run a meeting is an important part of leadership, and a skill that can be learned. Here are my five tips for improving your meetings.

Improve your Planning. This is the first and most important skill in conducting a meeting, because if you don’t get this one right, following the other four tips can still produce a time-guzzling, snore-filled meeting. Planning covers a lot of areas. What is the purpose of the meeting? (To inform? To persuade? To gather information? To decide on a policy?) The purpose will determine a lot of your subsequent activities.

Another bit of planning involves deciding who should attend: only those who really need to be there, and leave out those you just want to impress. Also, you need to figure out if participants need to do some homework (bring sales figures, budget reports, etc.) before attending.

Communicate these decisions in advance, particularly if attendees have homework to do.

Prepare an Agenda. This creates a record, and lets people know what to expect in advance and during the meeting. You can use it to get the meeting back on track if it goes off the rails, as meetings sometimes do.

Some think it’s good enough to just distribute it as people arrive. I suggest sending it out in advance with your notice of the meeting. This gives participants a chance to suggest other topics you might have forgotten. (Like stuff that’s important to them!)

Keep track of Timing. People should know when the meeting is going to start, when it’s going to end, and when breaks will be. You shouldn’t go any longer than 90 minutes without some sort of break, even if it’s just taking a minute or two (5 at the most) to get up and stretch. People start to drift off mentally (and sometimes physically!) after about 90 minutes.

Timing also involves starting on time and ending on time. Waiting for latecomers annoys the people who arrived on time, and sends the message that your meetings never start on time. All this does is encourage tardiness. Ending on time is just as important.

So is the timing of your activities. If the meeting consists of two presentations and a Q&A session, consider having a brief Q&A after each session to break the monotony. (And, now that I think of it, do we really need both presentations?)

Develop the art of Facilitation, a skill that is essential for anyone leading a meeting. This means making people feel welcome, encouraging participation, making sure all functions (information gathering or dissemination, brainstorming, etc.) of the meeting are met.

It also requires the abilities to move the meeting along, bring discussions to closure, and deal with the ever-present obnoxious, know-it-all, love-to-hear-themselves-talk, difficult participants. (When the latter include your bosses, you’d better know facilitation.)

Facilitation isn’t as easy as you think, and yet it’s critical to the meeting’s success.

Follow-up. Lack of this causes lots of problems for leaders. Follow-up includes making sure that assignments (if any) are made, and that you hold people responsible for completing their assignments.

It also means sending out a meeting summary that captures what was agreed upon at the meeting. This eliminates any confusion, such as, did we really agree to fire Joe? Or was it Tom? If your summary is wrong, people will let you know.

There you have it – 5 tips to avoid snore-filled meetings.

Meetings may not be the most glamorous topic in the world of public speaking, but it’s a darned important one. After all, you don’t want people complaining about YOUR meetings. And what if you agree with everything I’ve said, but someone else is running the meeting in question? Send a copy of this article, and simply suggest that these are ideas that might improve that person’s meetings.

PowerPoint Presentations – 7 Steps to Writing Killer Scripts For Online Business Presentations

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

With travel budgets slashed and off-site meetings at record lows, the demand for online presentations is stronger than ever. Whether delivering live presentations using webinar technology such as WebEx or Citrix, or recording them with tools like Brainshark or Macromedia Breeze, a good script is not only critical to an effective presentation, it is the foundation.

Why, then, do we spend most our time dreaming up fancy visuals?

It’s easier. It’s more fun. And a mistake. The element more likely to make or break your success is the script itself-your choice of words, the sequence of arguments, how you make your message stick.

Visuals are important, indeed. But the script even more so. In fact, some of the most persuasive presenters-in person-use no visuals at all. They know that PowerPoint can be PowerPoint-less. When delivering online, however, they follow this secret: The ratio of time invested on scriptwriting versus visuals should be at least 3:1.

Scriptwriting may look easy, but, like any craft, it’s a specialized skill that can take years to perfect. This 7-step scriptwriting process will shorten your learning curve and help you close that deal or promotion you so well deserve.

Step 1: Set Clear Objectives.
Is it to inform, educate, persuade, or motivate? Talk to 3-5 viewers directly and ask them what they need. The more explicitly your script addresses those needs, the better it will be received. Nothing kills a good presentation like extraneous information.

Step 2: Analyze the Audience.
Who are they? What is their experience with the subject? Do they know a little bit? A lot? Nothing? Find their sweet spot. Get too technical and you’ll lose them. Too basic and they’ll be bored. Remember, every audience member is always wondering, WIIFM – What’s in it for me?

Step 3: Brainstorm Content.
Old fashioned yellows pad and white boards work best. Electronic brainstorming tools may suit you as well. Using index cards and sticky notes this early allows your logical left brain to bleed into the process, which can slow the flow of ideas. Save those for step 4. Let your mind work freeform.

Step 4: Create an Outline.
Next, identify your best ideas. Add some, delete some. Consolidate into main points and sub-points. This is where index cards and sticky notes come in handy. Spread them out on your desk. Put them in a compelling sequence. A brilliant decorator friend once told me his secret to success: “Move the furniture around until it looks good.” Do the same with your ideas.

Step 5: Write a Sloppy Copy.
Turn off your editor. Open the spigot. Write fast. Don’t stop to edit and second-guess yourself or your best ideas may never come. I recommend writing in Word first and pasting into PowerPoint (notes section) later, after the script is finished.

Step 6: Edit, Edit, Edit
Richard North Patterson said, “Writing is rewriting.” Review your sloppy copy. Keep the good parts. Delete the rest. Then expand, shape and clarify. Refine. Say things in the fewest words possible. William Zinser, author of the bestselling book, On Writing Well, said, “Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it.”

Step 7: Polish
The best way to polish is to first test it on your audience. Deliver it as if it were the final performance and get their candid feedback. Writers often find that entire sections can be deleted. Remember, with every word you cut, your impact increases exponentially. Hold off on writing your intro and summary until the very end, as it’s impossible-and frustrating-trying to write those when you haven’t yet figured out what you’re going to say.

Innovative Designing Produces a Custom Presentation Folder

The role of designing is very important for the production of a printing product. In fact, it is the foundation on which the whole structure of the product is built. The success of the product is dependent upon these designs. This is why they must be innovative and stylish. Such products as a custom presentation folder can take full advantage of these designs.

Before explaining the effects of such innovative designing on the folders, it is better to understand the form and functions of these items. They are not like a normal folder. They have special form with pockets or slits crafted on the insides of their covers to carry important business documents. The most extensive use of a presentation folder is in the offices.

Now back to the designing. There are many situations in which the outlook of a product can itself be used as a marketing tool. That’s why they must look better to attract more and more customers. They can also be used for the promotion of business identity of the company. This is one reason why the folder printing products need to be good looking. Colorful designs and proper printing will make them attractive to many customers. Moreover, the quality of the printing can be increased to produce a proper impact in the market.

As the use of presentation folders is not limited to offices only, their designs must be innovative and good looking. Most of the large companies and schools utilize them as a tool to promote their new products or enhance business identity. These designs must be innovative and yet should represent the business identity of the company in a purely traditional manner.