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This week’s featured posts.

Slidecraft

power point addictEven if you’re a comfortable, confident presenter, poorly designed slides can ruin your presentation. Remember that you should be the center of attention; the slides are there to support you, not replace you. Complex, overly wordy slides will draw the attention away from you.  The audience will look at the slides and not hear what you’re saying. The general rule is to simplify your slides until it hurts … and then simplify some more. As William James said, “The essence of wisdom is knowing what to leave out.” Learn how to prepare good, supportive slides in the video.

Is Humor Persuasive?

luaghing laughterSpeakers often begin their presentations with a joke. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s relevant. Sometimes it’s none of the above. Can humor help persuade an audience? Well, yes and no. Self-deprecating humor can help you build credibility with an audience and that can help you be persuasive.

But the main reason to use humor is to hold the audience’s attention. People like to laugh. So if you make them laugh early in a presentation, they’ll look for additional laugh cues later in the presentation. They’ll pay more attention because they don’t want to miss your next joke.

On the other hand, humor will never move an audience to action. People who are laughing just want to keep on laughing. If you want an audience to actually do something, the most potent emotion is anger. Humor helps people absorb information. Anger moves people to action. It’s why our political ads are so angry. Learn more in the video.

Content With Your Content?

Be like Walter.

Be like Walter.

How much can you say in a 30 minute presentation? How much should you say?  Should you aim for more content or less? What’s the difference between a TV newscast and a newspaper? Your persuasive presentation is more like a newscast. It summarizes the key issues and creates a desire to learn more. You speak at about 120 words per minute. That means about 3600 words in a 30 minute presentation. That’s long enough to use your communication skills to summarize the headlines but not enough to give every last detail. Don’t talk faster to fit more in. You need to shrink the content to fit the space available. Learn how in this video.

The Single Best Tip

Managing your time effectively is a critical component of a persuasive presentation.  If you run overtime, you’re communicating that you don’t respect the audience, that you’re not an organized person, and that your company probably isn’t either.  There’s an important corollary as well: presentations always take longer than rehearsals.  Here’s how to plan ahead for better time management.

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