How to Effectively use PowerPoint

PowerPoint. Is it a crutch or a tool? Some think it’s a tool; others think it’s a crutch. For good reason.  PowerPoint, in my opinion, is widely misused. My TakePowerPoint is both a tool and a crutch. Below are my six guidelines for creating a PowerPoint to complement a speech. 1. If you’re using a quote, do not write out the quote on the screen. Put it on a note card and read it. Put a picture of the person who said it on the screen. 2. Use mostly images that correspond with the point you’re talking about, rather than text. 3. Read all statistics off of a note card. Cite statistics and provide the date the statistic was published. This reduces error and improves your credibility. 4. Don’t show ordinary graphs created in PowerPoint or Excel. (i.e. If you’re talking about Web site traffic, use a computer mouse instead of generic red lines to represent traffic on a bar graph. It will reinforce the point you’re making.) 5. Use transition slides. (i.e. if you move from talking about what your company can do to how you will benefit a client, make a slide that simply says "the benefits of working with us" and make your transition while that slide is on the screen.) Transition slides prepares people for what is to come. 6. Check your Work. If you can e-mail your presentation to someone else that has no prior knowledge on the topic and they understand the gist of your presentation, you’ve created a terrible PowerPoint presentation. Rule #6 is critically important. If you’ve followed the first five...

How to Engage an Audience

The best public speakers know how to engage an audience. There are different ways to achieve this.  I break them down into three categories. People came to here you speak with expectations. They’re expecting to hear your thoughts and ideas with the hopes that they’ll uncover something useful to them, their job and their company. Ideas – Bring something new to the table. Research information that the audience may not already know. Draw unique conclusions that are important to the audience (and tell them explicitly why they’re important). WhyAt the end of the day, the conclusions are what matter. They’re the reason people came. Make sure the ideas you present are new, interesting and relevant to the audience. Variety – Don’t use the same method of communication (talking) throughout the entire presentation. Incorporate    – videos and images – different colors– audio clips – white boards Why  – Not everyone learns the same way. – Outside sources can reinforce your points through added credibility. – People’s eyes and minds have to refocus when the method of communication changes. Interaction – Ask the audience to do, or say, something. Examples – Ask for questions at the end of the presentation. – Have the audience do an activity (i.e.  Personal introductions if it’s a small group)– Ask for volunteers for a demonstration. Why     – The audience has ideas too. Let them contribute. – Also, if the audience doesn’t know each other and it’s a small group,  (15 or less people) introductions can ease any unnecessary...

The Different Parts of a Speech

For most speeches, there are three parts — introduction, body and conclusion. However, different components should be present in each of these parts. Here is a classic speech model. It basically mirrors an essay. IntroductionAttention GetterTransitionIntroduction of Main Points (usually 3 to 5)Thesis Transition Supporting Point 1State the pointSupport the point with research — cite sources of information as you go. State an example Transition Supporting Point 2 Transition Supporting Point 3 Transition ConclusionSummarize the speechReiterate the initial point and tell the audience what you think the information means to them. This speech outline is not set in stone and can be adapted, but this style works well for many...

Different Types of Speeches

There are many different types of speeches. Some of the more popular types of speeches are listed below. InformationalMotivationalPersuasiveDescriptiveDemonstrationNarrativeSpecial OccasionIntroduction For sake of brevity, I am going to focus on speeches that are used at all levels in a career: introductions, persuasive speeches and informational speeches. Introduction Speeches Introductions can be used to introduce both yourself to a crowd or to introduce a guest to an audience. They can be both informal (small gathering or interpersonally) and formal. (i.e. prior to a keynote speaker taking the stage). Keep introduction speeches short. This isn’t usually the time for jokes, especially if you’re not a personal friend of the person you’re introducing. How to write a  Self Introduction. Persuasive Speech Persuasive speeches are usually used to argue a point. Buy ours, not theirs. Her idea is terrible, min is great. The key for most persuasive speeches is use visuals and play on emotions. Whether that is in a sales pitch or a speech in a debate. Persuasive speech outline Informational Speeches Professionally, informational speeches are usually given at conferences, by managers at meetings or at company-wide functions. Another good opportunity for visual aids. However, beware of charts and graphs. They can sometime confuse an audience more than anything. The rule for using charts and graphs in an informational speech is only to show relevant information on a chart or graph. Take "other" out of the pie chart. If it’s unknown, no one will care. * unless other is greater than 30%, — but, in that case,it shouldn’t be unknown then. Informational speeches are usually very straightforward (Intro, Body, Conclusion). Typically, they...

Public Speaking Highlights and Lowlights

Everyone has had a speech that didn’t go as planned — whether the projector burnt out, a team member didn’t show up or you nervously fumbled through thoughts. I thought, there’s no better way to start out "Speech Week" than with a highlight of my own and a lowlight that I witnessed. Here are a few stories from my life that I stick out. HighlightScenario: Public speaking class at the University of Minnesota. Assignment: Deliver a  narrative speech about a personal triumph. My Plan: My plan was to deliver a speech about hitting a game winning three pointer. However, a classmate went right two people before and she delivered almost the same speech with more emotion. It was a much better story, with more elements at work. The Adjustment: After she finished her speech, I quickly asked the instructor if I could change my topic and story. He obliged. Thankfully. The delivery: On a whim, I told a story about running a 10K marathon with a few friends after we’d drank too much the night before. The climax came right at the of story with a photo finish, having a friend beat me by one second, only to have him vomit within feet of the finish line. The audience loved it. No visual aids. No note cards. No practice. No one in the audience knew. I wish I had that speech taped. With every good speech, there are the not-so-good speeches. Lowlight Scenario: Best man’s speech at a wedding. Assignment: Send a brother off to marriage in front of 150-200 people. The delivery: The best man was a little...