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