Emerging Trends in Business Presentations

Inclination of humankind towards story telling dates back to those ancient ages when story telling meant drawings on cave walls. With time, the society has evolved, the mode of telling story has evolved too. But the interest in telling stories as well as listening to interesting tales have never seen a dip. Irrespective of our ages, we are always attracted to a good story teller even today. And that might be the reason why world-famous brands like Nike, Apple or Google are known and appreciated for their great storytelling for each brands and products.

The importance of a good presentation in today’s business world is immense. Needless to say, what wonder a crisp, simple yet aesthetically appealing presentation can do to your brand today. The future of storytelling in business is going to evolve further in the coming years and the emerging trends in this area makes the future even brighter.

Trends in Business Presentation

10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Initially the presentation meant narrating in detail what one has to say. But one of the major trendsetters in business presentation, Kawasaki came up with the new rule of 10/20/30. Where he recommends that the presentations should not contain more than 10 slides and should end within 20 minutes. As this is the limit of information that people can absorb. Also he says the font size on a slide should be 30 so that it can be readable to even the oldest person in the room. This finally led to the importance of short, to-the-point, concrete presentation.

Simplistic Design in Presentation

It won’t be surprising if in the coming years PowerPoint stops being the most preferred tool for presentation. The present trend says that, people want more simplistic yet visually appealing presentation templates with more varieties than Microsoft PowerPoint provides. With the emergence of platforms like Haiku Deck that provides more non-design-pro yet aesthetically savvy templates on the web, new presentation software companies should be well aware of the emerging trends in this field.

Building Relationship with the Audience

Marketing is not about selling, it is all about building relationship with the customer, understanding their needs, providing solution and follow up activities. Similarly, today presentation has become more like a marketing activity than just telling a story. If you want your brand to generate a call-to-action you must come up with some follow up activities where you can connect with target audience. And here comes the importance for template sharing websites or blogs or eBooks which is majorly known as inbound marketing.

Emergence of Web Based Presentation

With the development of web based platforms it has become easier to approach larger number of audiences on real time. Further progress in augmented reality paves the way for its use in presentation approach for higher budget organization in order to interact with them in a much sophisticated way.

Undoubtedly, technology has made formal presentation easier as well as more appealing. But it is always useful to remember that no technology can replace YOU that is the presenter. Before incorporating any of the emerging technologies into your presentation, get your public speaking skills improved which requires rehearsing it again and again. Once you are comfortable with yourself on stage, choose the appropriate trend based on your need. At the end audience wants to see a good, understandable presentation by you, so it is always advisable to go by your ability than merely following the trends. And the key to become a successful presenter? Yes, it is still the hard-work and lots of practice.

Written By: Sudeshna Roy

Kill the Fear of Public Speaking

Palms get sweaty. Stomach turns into knots. Voice chokes. Heart starts racing. All this chaos happens in the little time we travel from our respective seats to the podium!! If given a chance, we generally avoid public speaking. There is an enormous fear of public speaking, as the idea of speaking in front of a large audience scares the day lights out of us! Are we alone in our quests for confidence or are there examples in history, old and new that we can derive inspiration from?

Did you know that the Fuhrer was known for offering a weak handshake with “moist and clammy” palms and was awkward at making small talk? Yes we are talking about Hitler! Yet he led a whole nation to war, under his commanding voice. The awkward young man became the confident Nazi leader with constant effort, by working through sleepless nights to overcome shyness and doubt; by editing his speeches and rehearsing them over & over again.

The interesting fact about Winston Churchill is everyone thought that he was a gifted orator but he wasn’t, all he did was immense preparation. He wasn’t a natural speaker. Similarly across the Atlantic, the former US president John F. Kennedy is still remembered & admired 50 years later after his death only because of his famous inaugural address. Like other great orators- including Winston Churchill before him & Barack Obama since then- he was someone who took word-craft very seriously.

Demosthenes was an expert orator who lived in Athens (Greece) from 384 B.C to 322 B.C. When he was young, he designed a series of exercises to help him with his oratory skills. He practiced talking with a mouth full of pebbles, to overcome stammering. He also practiced reciting while running uphill and speaking in the roar of the ocean waves to improve his voice projection.

Speakers like the ones mentioned above and others such as Steve Jobs, Shashi Tharoor, Narendra Modi etc are not gifted by birth, but gifted by practice. Below we discuss the ideal steps to follow, in becoming a badass speaker on any platform!!

Understand your fear

Start with journalling your thought process in a book or a diary and try to understand why are you scared of public speaking? After rationalizing your fear by writing it down, find ways of calming yourselves down that work every time. For eg: Drinking half a glass of water, listening to a particular song, talking to some particular person etc. Watch videos of good public speakers from time to time to understand how fears are overcome and masses pleased while speaking.

Have a great script

A successful public speaker needs good content to capture the attention of his audience. You should choose a preferred structure and follow it every time thereafter to bring consistency any reduce any self-anxiety. One more key point to remember is, your content should be more EQ (emotional quotient) focussed and less IQ (Intelligent Quotient) focussed as audiences are always intrigued by intellect but moved and won over by powerful emotion.  Below, we present an example of an ideal speech layout:

Introduction- Precise and interesting speech introduction to garner the attention and create anticipation

Main topic 1– Introduction and explanation of the primary (main) topic.

Elaboration 1– Extend the topic with further depth analysis
Example 1- Use some personal/common anecdotes to give the speech a unique edge.

Main topic 2– Introduction & brief explanation of secondary topic

Elaboration 2- Extend the topic further by adding humour, information or topic related banter (addition of humour or banter to keep people interested during a long speech)

Example 2- Use some personal/common anecdotes to keep the speech interesting

Compile Together – Explain a small tertiary topic (If any). Then compile the information from the above main topics to create a concise end paragraph. This paragraph should include the key actionable, the key take away points and personal experiences derived from the topics

Conclusion- End with as much emotional and personal touch as you can, but always keep it concise

Audiences expect two things from a speaker: A path and a destination. They want to know where you’re going and why. As you write and revise, focus on structuring and simplifying. In addition to that, to prepare yourself for impromptu talks on random topics, try this exercise- Anytime you see a picture, try describing it. Next time, describe it with a little more detail, then the next time try building a story around it. Try this exercise a couple of times and we guarantee, it will work wonders for your oratory skills.

Voice

The greatest tool of a speaker is his voice; it is the voice which moves a nation to tears and a population to revolt. Below we present some points to help you with your voice:

  • Learn and adopt any simple breathing exercise form YouTube

  • Learn the ideal way of pronouncing words and the ideal amount of open mouth, teeth, tongue and nasal quality required in mouthing words

  • Learn how to position yourself properly distant or close to the mike depending on what you are conveying

  • Learn how and when to take pauses while speaking to give the audience time to think and ponder on what was said before and what will come after

  • Reading newspaper or a book aloud (for 15 to 20 minutes daily) also helps in improving voice modulation

Take the leap

All said and done, be ready to take the leap whenever called upon or by self-initiative; be it debates, jam presentations, talks or symposiums. Try to attract people with your views and opinions, respond positively, accept and analyse the audience feedback. Feedback (negative or positive) is vital for progress. For as they say, Practice will make a man perfect, but (studying) feedback and acting upon it might even make the man famous!!

Written By: Srijaa Datta

Edited By: Arnab Chakraborty

Killer Presenters unite multiple arts

We are often fascinated by seeing some of the world’s most iconic presenters everyday and what we do not realise is how do they manage to deliver the same amazing experience every time. This is not an art alone instead its a series of art fitted together to design a carefully crafted technique. In my five years of experience with presentation designs and delivery, i have noticed hundreds of speakers share their part of the story with the world.

I tried understanding their styles, key tricks, tips and methodologies and have been successful in compiling the vital components used by them for crafting a amazing experience every time. I have  clubbed my findings in multiple sections to help readers with a structured approach for better understanding. As I move forward, I will cover the sections like Knowledge, Style, Experience, Secret Sauce and Tips which can make you a Killer presenter too.

Knowledge

In today’s age of technology, where ideas and concepts influence the way world think, Knowledge has taken the core of every interaction and communication. It has always differentiated the winners from rest and even the best designed communications fails if they do not have something for their audiences/viewers to take away.

Subject knowledge

Awesome presenters always have the in-depth knowledge of their industry, competitors, trends, innovations, ideas, platforms, journals, media and everything around their subject of interest. This knowledge gives them strength, confidence, clarity and the understanding of the future of the industry. So, as a presenter, its vital to know these things to have an amazing presence of mind. Building and gathering this information will take a natural course of time and gathering this knowledge solely with an objective of becoming a great presenter would not be advisable.

Information structuring

Having an idea is great and sharing it with the world is awesome. The greatest ideas fail if they are not rightly understood by your audiences. The art of explaining an idea lies in how the presenter structure his content in the presentation. A well structured content gives enough room to build the background before revealing the ideas and also makes the revelation incremental rather than bombardment. The structuring of information goes to the deepest level where the presenter needs to understand about every piece of information which the audience should know as a background to under what presenter intends to reveal. The ideal structure can covers different facets like need, consequence, implications, benefits, acceptance, impact, innovation, trends and findings for the topic under consideration.

Simplicity of communication

Simplicity of communication is a pure art. Its a refection of your mindset and how you see the world. The greatest presenters always have this art of simplifying the ideas for their audiences to understand better. This is not a trick but a necessity as the good presenter needs to keep his communication simplified to the lowest levels. Your audience could be from diverse backgrounds and mindsets so simple communication always ensure better acceptance and response from your audience. As an example, try reading the transcript from the speeches of Obama, Pope or the UN President. Their speeches are simplified to the highest levels for maximum people to make a sense of what they intend to say rather than leaving people confused.

Meaningful

As rightly mentioned in the book “Presentation Zen”, a presentation is a small opportunity to make a difference in the world by sharing your idea with everyone and hence the presenter should always think of utilising that moment to share something worth spreading. Audiences often remember people, ideas, thoughts and stories which have the power to bring a positive change.

If the presenter happens to present something technical as an example, then your audience should know why they are there and what change are they going to make in the world if they listen to you. Keep you content meaningful and you will stay your audiences’ favourite always.

Examples

Presenters often encounter a situation where they have to explain some concept, idea or the mechanism by relating it to the real world. So, the presenter should always quote the simplest examples which might have been experienced by almost all the audiences in their daily lives. Quoting day to day incidents & drawing an analogy from them with your concept is an art. The simplest examples are the most influential ones as they keep reminding your audience about you when they experience the same situation quoted in the example.

Style

Apart from Knowledge, the most famous presenters also differentiate themselves by developing their own style which makes them stand out. These styles can usually be developed with experience by analysing the things for which your audience remember you or can be developed with a purpose of getting noticed amongst your audiences. Once established, your audience recognise you with that unique style and create a unique persona about you in their minds.

Catch Phrases

Many presenters around the world have developed their own phrases which they use in their every public appearances or keynote. These phrases not only make a presenter memorable but also makes their audiences feel familiar and much more comfortable. For example, Steve jobs always use to say “One more thing” as his catch phrase and later Tim cook used the same style to woo the audiences. So, developing your catch phrase takes time but it is always rewarding in long run as this sounds original, authentic and promising.

Quotes

Many presenters often tend to develop their quotes, the quotes in which they summarise the learning of their lives or the principles which they have adopted to be successful. It quite likely that your quotes as a presenter will resonate with a lot of people out there in the audiences and they will remember you and feel more connected with your ideologies. Developing these quotes is an art and revealing them to the world at the right time is what I call strategy. Great presenters are often discussed about their own unique quotes which tends to drive a lot of motivation amongst masses.

Tools / Medium of expression

Choice of a right tool is crucial for the success of a presenter in leaving a great experience for its audiences. Presenters have always explored unique mediums or tools to share their ideas with the world. For that matter Presentations, Blackboard, Whiteboard, Projectors, Flip boards, Practical room, Sound systems with head gear, Slates, Augmented reality, Recorded videos and many more are just the tools which are used for the expression of knowledge or idea by the presenters. As we are moving ahead there are a lot of new tools for presentation design which are coming up and address the new age challenges of reach out the audiences. If we talk only about digital presentations, the tools range from Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, Prezi, Haiku Deck, Articulate Studio, Adobe Presenter, Slidebean, deck.in, slid.es and many more. All these tools are designed to address the dynamic nature and future of presentations and how audiences engage with the presenters today. So, every presenter must choose their tools wisely depending upon not their own ease but the ease of their audience so that they can stay connected.

Branding

Various presenters around the world have created a brand out of their presentation styles. One great example could be Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 principle which itself has become a brand in the world of presenters while the another famous example is Pecha Kucha events where every presenter have to present exactly 20 slides and they get 20 seconds to speak on every slides. It is also referred to as 20×20 in the world of presenters. Creating brand or a unique consistent style and then writing more about it for people to use can make a presenter shine amongst his audiences. Crafting your own brand in your presentation style is a slow and a very hard process but if executed with proper strategy, it can deliver great results.

There are a lot of key ingredient which make a presenter differentiated, loveable and amazing to hear compared to others. In the second & final article of this series I will discuss about Experience, Secret Sauce and Tips which can help you bring out the presenter inside you for the world to see.

Written By: Aayush Jain