April 18, 2011 – Cleveland, OH – VoicePro®, the nationally recognized communication training organization, has launched Persuasive PowerPoint® , a new two-day presentation skills workshop for advanced communicators that teaches participants to combine the intellectual, PowerPoint side of communication with the power of examples and stories to more effectively move an audience to action and results.
The Persuasive PowerPoint® presentation skills workshop is offered in an open-enrollment format at the VoicePro® corporate offices or as a customized onsite workshop by corporate contract.
“Individuals hoping to thrive as leaders must be powerful and persuasive communicators,” says Leslie Dickson, President of VoicePro®. “The Persuasive PowerPoint® presentation skills workshop helps leaders learn to communicate and influence an audience with slides that inform and stories that inspire, instead of losing themselves—and their listeners—in a mass of hard-to-read, impossible-to-digest slides.”
Attendees of Persuasive PowerPoint® will learn to master the three most important elements of a good presentation: delivering factual information that appeals to the logical, critical thinker; using stories and examples for strong, emotional impact; and speaking with confidence, poise and flair. The workshop will focus on crucial presentation skills:
- Use PowerPoint slides to convey key points with a powerful punch, while maintaining a strong connection with the audience.
- Paint vivid word pictures that ensure clarity and make an emotional connection.
- Craft and deliver stories that support the organization’s desired vision, mission, values and goals.
- Use advanced presentation skills, such as movement, imagery, vocal inflection, and humor.
- Read an audience and respond to their unspoken needs.
- Become more confident, comfortable, and powerfully persuasive.
Founded in 1984,VoicePro® is a nationally recognized training center helping individuals develop personal power through effective communication. VoicePro® works with individuals, organizations and government entities, helping people, teams and organizations build communication and presentation skills that contribute strategically to the bottom line.
VoicePro® teaches professionals to engage authentically with others, listen actively, adapt to different situations, and communicate with influence, clarity and power to achieve greater results.
PowerPoint® is a registered Trademark of Microsoft Corporaton
® Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Posted by Leslie Dickson
Your Point of Power Is NOT In PowerPoint!
I often hear business people expressing the absolute need and expectation for PowerPoint in their presentations. That’s fine. Just remember that slides don’t make presentations. You do. The over-use of PowerPoint slides in recent years has greatly reduced the power of the presenter and the presentation.
Are you giving your power over to PowerPoint?
- Read the presentation from the slides along with your audience, keeping your back to the audience while you look at or read from the screen?
- Overload your slides with all your information and presentation content?
- Sit, while you direct everyone else to follow along with a screen in front of each individual?
- Lose your enthusiasm toward your topic when you present with PowerPoint slides?
- Stand behind a podium in order to have access to the equipment?
- Need to have a slide presentation because they are the take-away documents for your audience?
Even one yes to the above questions indicates you’re losing powerful ground with your audience. You could, quite possibly be found guilty of “death by PowerPoint”.
More and more, the mere mention of PowerPoint triggers a low groan from most of our business associates, who are all too familiar with this type of painful experience. Heads nod in agreement that this tool doesn’t need to be a part of every presentation.
Where, when and how can PowerPoint be effective?
Keep these thoughts in mind:
- Really look at your audience. Reading from slides keeps your focus on the content – not your audience. No matter how well prepared your words and graphs are, they will not connect you with your audience. To engage people with you and your ideas make eye contact.
- Have to turn your back to the audience? Stop speaking until you are facing them again, and be sure to maintain an open posture. Otherwise, you risk not being heard, losing your audience’s connection and their interest in you and what you are saying.
- Leverage your slides as the “aha” factor. Think of them as a billboard and not a magazine ad. With a glance, your audience gets the message and turns their attention right back to you. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture of a thousand words isn’t worth much at all.
- Don’t be an anonymous narrator of a slide show. Although your slides are a vital component of your presentation, keep in mind you are the star of the show. Let your visuals support you – not the other way around.
- Sidestep the podium. Keep your body open to your audience for a more powerful connection. A podium blocks this connection and limits your ability to express yourself freely.
- Don’t use a PowerPoint presentation deck as a hand-out. It’s a tempting time-saver, isn’t it? But don’t do it. While the handouts need the written interpretation of the data and graphs, the slide show should let the presenter give the interpretation.
- Think twice before using PowerPoint. Some people (and their companies) think PowerPoint is a necessity for credibility. Not so. Will it really add to your presentation, or are you using it because everyone else does or because you want an outline on the screen to use for notes? Try this process. First, plan what you want to say, organize and outline it, and be sure your message points have power. Then decide if and where visual clarification is necessary. Your presentation – and your audience – will be better for it.
Posted By Leslie Dickson
Have you ever heard of the comedic musician Victor Borge? Take a look at an old film clip of Borge on YouTube. His trademark humorous sketch involved reading a story and illustrating the punctuation marks by drawing them in the air with accompanying sound effects. It never failed to capture an audience and keep them in stitches. And, I suspect, most people left the theater able to repeat the story to family and friends.
Isn’t that the kind of response we’d all like to have to our presentations? People remembering it? People repeating it? From my years helping VoicePro® clients enhance their presentation skills, I think there’s a good bit to be learned from the stage presence of Mr. Borge – beyond the fact that funny sound effects make people laugh.
Use your hands expressively.
(I’m not talking about nervous fidgeting here.) Take your hands out of your pockets. Don’t clamp them to the side of a podium. Is there something on a screen or someone in the audience you should be gesturing to? Scratching your head or shrugging your shoulders may illustrate the difficulty of a problem better than words alone ever could. Can you lift an imaginary box, shake a virtual hand, signal a metaphorical touchdown?
Maybe it’s that stack of unpaid invoices. Or the performance trophy you’d like your team to win. Or a chess piece or other icon that makes a strategic point. The human mind loves symbols that helps us hold on to an idea.
Break the fourth wall.
That’s an acting phrase that means the actors come out of the scene they’re playing to address the audience. A presentation, while it’s directed at an audience, can sometimes feel like it’s boxed in. To break that wall, can you call on people in the audience? Bring them up to tell a story – or point them out and tell their story for them? What would happen if you left the stage and walked among the audience? And, haven’t you noticed that a question-and-answer session can be the best part of any presentation?
Keep your stance open and confident.
No slumping or hunching. When your body is open, you convey energy and a readiness to engage. Remember that crossed arms can telegraph anger or fear. Keep them relaxed.
Don’t forget to keep making eye contact.
This goes back to breaking the fourth wall. If you’re talking to the back wall or the pad of paper on the conference room table, you’re not communicating. Even in a large room, where a sea of faces can make eye contact difficult, be sure to speak to individuals.
For more tips, take a look at the VoicePro Five Great Skills™ of Communication on our website.
Image from Victor Borga Facebook