A website visitor commented, “I find it a challenge to face the public if given an emergency task to address or chair a programme. I do panic and worry. How does one combat this?”
Last minute presentations are common
It’s not unusual to be asked to chair a meeting or even present on a moment’s notice. Maybe someone gets sick or there’s an emergency situation that needs to be addressed immediately. How do you handle it?
First of all, in this situation, the audience usually understands that you didn’t have time to prepare. Don’t apologize too much, just explain the situation and they will understand and be fairly forgiving. Usually. It depends on the audience, of course.
Most people find it a challenge to present with no preparation time, so you’re not alone.
Have a structure and fill it in as you go
Why don’t you write up some notes from your past experiences of what worked and what didn’t? And out of that, create a global outline that could work in multiple situations. For example,
State the purpose of the meeting
Introduce others as appropriate
State a general structure for the meeting
Start with 3 main points that you’ll cover
Unpack those points
Conclude & summarize
Then, when you have to address a group, you can quickly list 3 main points as soon as you know you have to present/preside — or even as people are coming into the room.
The rest is pretty much automatic. Make sense?
Have you been in a situation where you had to present on a moment’s notice? How did it go? What tips do you have to make the presentation a success? And to keep yourself calm?
Your work in PowerPoint can go faster and easier if you customize the interface so that you don’t have to click so many times to find commands that you use often. In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, you can customize not only the Quick Access Toolbar (usually at the top left of your screen) but the entire ribbon.
Many power users have a Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) that stretches across the entire PowerPoint window. If you want to do that, you should display it below the ribbon, instead of above the ribbon — where it will run into the Title bar that shows the name of your presentation and the words “Microsoft PowerPoint.”
To move the QAT, click the down arrow at the right end of the QAT and choose Show Below the Ribbon.
You can go further and customize the ribbon. Here’s how:
In any blank space on the ribbon, right-click and choose Customize the Ribbon. The PowerPoint Options dialog box opens with the Customize Ribbon category highlighted. (You can also get to the same place by choosing File, Options and clicking Customize Ribbon.
One of the simplest things you can do is to display a tab that isn’t displayed by default, such as the Developer tab. That tab has a number of uses and you can read about a cool one in my older (but updated) blog post, “Add notes in PowerPoint in Slide Show view.”
Notice the New Tab and New Group buttons. Yes, you can create your own tabs and add groups to an existing tab. (A Group is a section on a tab.)
Also notice the drop-down list at the upper right, below the Customize the Ribbon heading. Here you can display Main tabs (tabs that appear all the time), Tool tabs (tabs that appear when an object is selected) and all tabs.
The commands are on the left. From the drop-down list at the tip, you can choose Popular Commands, All Commands, and the wonderful Commands Not in the Ribbon. (You’ll find some gems there.)
Here’s the process
Select an item on the right. You often need to click the plus sign to its left to expand it and see what’s inside.
Find a command on the left and select it. Sometimes, there are multiple items with the same name, so hover over it to read a tooltip that explains more.
You can also reorder items on the right-hand side by selecting them and clicking the Up or Down Arrow.
Here’s a 2-1/2 minute video showing how I add a customization to the ribbon.
Use multiple configurations
Do you do PowerPoint training like I do? Or just want the flexibility to save various ribbon & QAT configurations? You can!
In the Customize Ribbon pane of the PowerPoint Options dialog box, click Import/Export at the bottom right corner.
From the drop-down list, choose Export All Customizations.
This opens up a File Save dialog box where you can save a file with the extension .exportedUI. You can save it anywhere, but rename it so that the name says something about the customizations you made. Then click Save.
Back in the PowerPoint Options dialog box, you can click Reset to return to “factory condition,” that is remove all customizations. You might do this for a training session when you don’t want to show customizations that most of the trainees don’t have.
When you want to go back to your customizations, click Import/Export again and choose Import Customization File. Find the file you saved and click Open to reapply all of your customizations!
At the end of her talk, I stood up and said that this reminded me of the flipped classroom.
What is the flipped classroom?
It’s a concept that flips the idea of learning in the classroom and practicing at home. The reason is that students often struggle when doing homework — that’s when they have to apply what they’ve learned but they don’t have someone to help them at that time.
So instead, the teacher assigns reading — or watching a video — to be done at home. That content teaches the lesson. Then the students come to class and can ask questions and do exercises — but the teacher is there to help them.
Are you a font freak? Do you just LOVE interesting fonts? I must admit that I’m a font idiot who can hardly tell the difference between Arial, Tahoma and Verdana, unless they’re right next to each other. Even then, I won’t know which is which. Designers are horrified when I tell them this!
Fonts can be fun, but you have to be careful with them:
They must be legible!
They shouldn’t distract from your message
They aren’t necessarily available from every computer
It can be horrible when you open a presentation on another computer and the fonts are all wrong!
What to do?
Stick with safety
You can stick with fonts that are standard on all or most computers. Even then, if you have to switch between PC and Mac, you’ll find that text renders differently and takes up a different amount of space. For example, a line of text will wrap differently — and probably look awful!
PowerPoint lets you embed fonts. This means that the fonts are embedded in the presentation file and another computer should be able to display them. There are some limitations. For example, this process only works for TrueType fonts (TTF) and OpenType fonts (OTF). Here’s the technique: Read more! →
This is a guest post from Brenda Bence, who is a corporate branding and personal branding expert. She wrote this as a tip for Speaker Net News subscribers and gave me permission to reprint it. You can read more about her at www.BrendaBence.com.
Brenda does live keynotes but then often follows up with “virtual keynotes” for members of an organization who are located elsewhere. These are small groups of 12 – 15 team members who are usually in Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai and/or Shanghai/Beijing. Here are 8 techniques that she uses to make her webinars super interactive. Note that she uses WebEx webinar software.
Sign in: Get attendees to “sign in” when they first call in. I have a slide with all participants’ names on it, and they have to “sign in” (using WebEx Center technology). They also have to write a one-word description of how they are feeling about attending this program. This starts team members engaging and reflecting and helps me get a sense of the “energy in the room,” just as I would want if I were presenting live.
Ground rules: Make a game out of generating attendees’ own “ground rules” for participation. Then, once the list is created, they have to raise their hand in the sidebar to show they will abide by those rules. Inevitably, someone will offer up ideas along the lines of “focus,” “put away cell phones,” “close up other computer windows,” etc. This avoids my or anybody else’s having to suggest that people pay attention — the audience has set their own rules and are more likely to abide by them.
Notification: I let them know within the first five minutes that this will be a very interactive two hours and that I will call on them randomly throughout the program to answer questions. This keeps people on the alert.
Executive presence: I always suggest to the client to have a senior-level executive participate during each session, too, and ask him/her to (a) introduce me at the start, and (b) comment a few times throughout the program. Knowing that a senior exec is participating keeps people paying attention and wanting to speak up. Read more! →
A few days ago, I bought an expensive product, because it promised to help me promote my products in a new way and with some automation. I thought that the concept was good — and I still do.
But once I got the product, I started reading the instructions. They included creating “fake” Google accounts, including making up a name and choosing a profile picture from the Internet. It recommended deleting cookies in your browser before changing from one account to another so that Google didn’t know you had multiple accounts. Then you had to use that fake identify to create accounts on multiple social media platforms.
It made me feel pretty uncomfortable.
I started thinking why I felt so strongly about this, since there were obviously others who had no problem with it. (I could read what others were doing in the private Facebook group.)
I remembered something that happened many years ago, when I was 15 years old. I’m telling this as I remember it, but upon doing some research, I’ve discovered that a major detail is wrong. But in this case, the detail isn’t important, the principle is. Read more! →
Would you like to create shapes like this in PowerPoint?
I like them because they look informal, hand drawn.
They don’t come with PowerPoint, but you can easily create them using the Bézier Curve (Edit Points) feature. This feature is not well known because it isn’t on the ribbon. You do everything with the right-click menu.
In this short video, I show you how to create these shapes.
Here are the steps to create an open circle:
Draw an oval.
On the Format tab, choose Shape Fill, No Fill.
Right-click on the outline and choose Edit Points.
Right-click the top point and choose Open Path.
You can make further adjustments. For example:
Drag the right point to overlap at top
Click a point and adjust the long handles — change their angle and length to see the results
Recently, I went to an Internet Marketing conference and met the owner of a company that sells high-end products for marketers. The company bought a sponsorship table (which I’m sure was expensive) and had nicely-designed brochures laid out on the table, along with a monitor displaying the software. The owner ran a session about the value of their tools for pre-selecting potential customers who might be likely to buy a product.
During the session, she discussed the sales process, starting with getting leads and ending with the sales conversation. She asked the audience, “How many of you get to the sales conversation and wing it?” Several people raised their hands. She explained why, after going through the entire process of getting the person to that conversation, you should have a plan. (I call it a script.)
You know I’m going to get around to her slides, right?
At the end of the session, she got around to a sales conversation with the audience (which was appropriate for that situation) and discussed the price. It was well over $1000. I’m not critical of that — she can charge whatever she wants.
But her slides didn’t reflect that high-end image.
So, when you get to the end of the sales process — in this case, buying a sponsorship table, traveling to the conference, printing brochures, and so on — shouldn’t the PowerPoint slides look as good as everything else? And be in line with the image you want to portray?
Just as you should plan your sales conversation and not wing it, you should plan your presentation — and make the slides look good. That presentation is perhaps the most important part of that sales process.
What did I see?
It’s not as if the slides were a wall of text. They weren’t.
And her presentation skills were excellent.
There were lots of images and lines of flying in, mostly in from the bottom. For no reason.
The text that was there was set up as simple bulleted lists
The images were simply plopped in the middle of the slide or to the right of the text with no formatting
It just didn’t look professional, although the person who created the slides (a member of her staff, who was also there) tried hard to make them interesting.
My main points
My 3 points to her, which were just a start, were:
Don’t animate for no reason. Animate to show a process or to make a slide beautiful or entertaining.
Learn ways to avoid bullet points
Format images nicely
I think I also mentioned the fact that the presentation wasn’t aligned with the company’s branding.
What is your presentation worth?
If you are selling a high-end product, your presentation is worth a lot of money. Of course, you might still sell, but perhaps you could sell a lot more if your presentation looked like you cared about it.
If you can, hire a designer, just like you do for your website and printed brochures.
If you can’t afford a designer, get some training and/or 1-on-1 coaching.
A second way to collaborate online is to post your presentation on Office Online (previously called Office Web Apps). The online version of PowerPoint is missing many of the features of the desktop version but for simple edits, it’s quite capable. The trick is to start on your computer, using the desktop version of PowerPoint and then move to the online version.
Office Online allows synchronous editing, which means that you can both work on a presentation at the same time and instantly — well, almost instantly — see each other’s changes.
Getting set up
Log in with any Microsoft account or create an account
Click PowerPoint Online, the big orange button in the middle.
You then have 3 choices:
New blank presentation
Recent documents on OneDrive
Choose Recent documents on OneDrive (even if your presentation isn’t there). On the left, choose Files. Then choose Upload at the top.
Navigate to the presentation on your computer and double-click it. You’ll now see it listed in OneDrive. (I have an account with OneDrive; if you don’t have one, you may have to create one, but I think that everyone who has a Microsoft account gets a OneDrive account automatically.)
Click Share. In the boxes, enter an email address and a note to your colleague, setting up a time to meet. Be sure that “Recipients can edit” shows below the note. If not, click the link and choose your preferred options.
You’ll both need to sign in. When you and your colleague are both viewing the presentation online, both of you should choose Edit Presentation, Edit in PowerPoint Online.
You can both now work on the presentation together. You can each see what the other adds or deletes. There’s a bit of a delay. If you don’t see the changes, refresh your browser and choose Edit Presentation, Edit in PowerPoint Online again.
When you’re done, you’ll want to save the changes back to your computer, so choose Open in PowerPoint. (You’ll probably have to confirm that you really do want to open it.) Now, you can resave the file on your computer. Remember that when you open the presentation in PowerPoint, it’s still on OneDrive, so choose File, Save As and then overwrite your original presentation, if that’s what you want to do.Have you successfully collaborated in PowerPoint? Leave a comment and share your experience!
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