The Presentation Agency – Tips & Insights On Software & Skills

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PowerPoint Magnifying Glasses – The Lens to a Bigger Problem in Presentation Design

April 19th, 2014 · Great Presentations, Presentation Effectiveness, Slide Manager

powerpoint designMinuscule, illegible graphics. In the world of presentations everyone’s seen one (or at least tried). That’s why PowerPoint magnifiers and startups that claim to inflate graphics on the fly exist.

They’re great tools for all those people who slap Excel spreadsheets on a screen and call the result a PowerPoint slide, but the instant magnifying fix feels like the presentation equivalent of starvation as diet. It might work for a little while but eventually we’ve all got to eat.

Presentations, like logos, should scale, stretch, and look good on any screen, and as any logo designer would say, 100 x 100 pixel data sets just don’t do the trick. So why is it that so many people follow the principles of logo design but ignore any and all design truths when it comes to presentations?

It seems someone somewhere along the way said, “Place the utmost importance in how you portray your company on websites and letterhead, but don’t worry about it if you’re standing in front of a group of decision-makers and explaining something.” Our SVP of Sales and Strategy at Sales Graphics once called this sudden Presentation-related drop in brand quality “the proverbial cliff” and the idea has stuck with me ever since.

After all, doesn’t it make sense to take as much care of your presentation design as you do on your brand? The next time you or someone in your organization reaches for a PowerPoint crutch, think again. Because it you do your job right there are just two things people are paying attention to during your presentation. The first is you and the second is your presentation.  For this reason, powerpoint alternatives become a crucial piece to the puzzle.

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Presentation Methods and Ideas Guaranteed to Wow Your Audience

March 3rd, 2014 · Presentation Effectiveness, Sales Presentations

The only thing more terrifying than giving a presentation is the thought of losing business by forcing prospects to sit through a presentation that is badly conceived and executed. Some presenters try to stand out with original twists and departures from the norm, but sometimes a good presentation methodology is all it takes to shine.

Here are a few presentation tips you can use as a springboard to stand out in front of your audience.

Big Images Couple with Quick, Short Bursts of Text

The Takahashi method and the Lessig method (devised by Stanford professor Lawrence Lessig) both advocate the use of the images and short bursts of text. However, while the Takahashi technique delivers a concise message which is drilled home using ‘impact’ text, Professor Lessig opts for a longer, image orientated, slide show. Watch him charm his audience with the refreshing, fast slide-changing technique below.

Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, who spends his days listening to business pitches, agrees with the aforementioned idea of very little text. Kawasaki insists that over-loading an audience with text is a sure-fire way to lose their interest. “The reason people use a small font is twofold,” he says. “First, that they don’t know their material well enough; second, they think that more text is more convincing.”

Knock it Out of the Park with Simplicity

Despite the text-laden PowerPoint presentations we see so often, simplicity is key for experts across the board. Apple isn’t just the most valuable company in the world, they are also one of the best at keeping people glued to their presentations.

Whether delivered by CEO Tim Cook or the late Steve Jobs, Apple’s presentations use clever, yet simple images to illustrate their point in an engaging and informative manner. Every presentation features the same dark background and easy-to-read white text. Any fact that involves numbers or statistics are put into context using images and illustrations.

Apple Slides

Apple also integrates humor and surprise into their presentations, but only when it serves their point. In 2012, while the audience expected to see Cook emerge onto the stage, they were instead treated to the company’s new innovation, the voice activated search facility Siri. Not only did this make the audience laugh but it also helped inform them about the product.

Engage Your Audience From the Start

This brings us to the most important part of the presentation; the start. It is crucial to grab the audience’s attention right away. Remember, you are only speaking for a short time so it is imperative that you win over the crowd instantly.

One unconventional method presenters use to engage their audience instantly is the Monta Method. Created and popularised in Japan, this method relies on audience participation via questions and answers thoughout. For instance, the presenter will generally pose a question at the start of the talk. By the time the presentation ends, the audience will know the correct answer. This method is innovative and effective because the audience understands the subject simply because they have played a part in the process.

Ready to woo your audience? Remember the tenants of the aforementioned presentation methods and you’re sure to deliver your next talk with confidence and enthusiasm.

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Sales Presentations Tips in 2014: Top 5 Ways To Do More With Less

January 22nd, 2014 · Flash Presentations, HD Web Meetings, Presentation Agency, Sales Presentations, Slide Library

Nearly all corporations have “Go Green” initiatives these days (see here and here for examples). We’ve also seen numerous staffing cuts and hiring freezes. The end result is that sales and marketing teams across all industries are being asked to work smarter and achieve more with less.
Let’s break this down into its components:
  • “Achieving more…” means raising revenues, which is done through increased effectiveness.
  • “…with less” means saving time and money, which is done through increased efficiency.
So to succeed we’re going to have to figure out how to make better presentations (in terms of both design and content) using less resources. We need to manage slides effectively across the organization, which often means across the planet. We’re going to have to ensure that our sales people are trained and supported properly, so that they can focus on selling.
Here are some smart improvements to your sales presentation process that will provide a tremendous return:
  1. Deliver high-quality Web meetings that include HD video — to shorten sales cycles and reduce travel costs.
  2. Use electronic leave-behinds — to track who’s looking and reduce printing costs.
  3. Incorporate animated content from your Web site into sales presentations — to increase brand consistency and reduce graphic design expenses.
  4. Implement a slide library — to automatically put up-to-date information into the hands of your sales team and reduce the time it takes to customize each presentation.
  5. Collaborate electronically — to ensure that everyone is always looking at the latest version of each slide and reduce printing costs.
That all sounds great, but how do we achieve these things reliably? The easiest answer is that a full-service presentation agency will be able to provide you with technology and design to achieve these goals. You may also be able to implement these presentation suggestions on your own.
I’ll spend the next few posts walking through each, starting with Web meetings in HD.

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Featured Sales Tool: Find Conferences Worth Attending with Lanyrd

January 23rd, 2013 · Presentation Agency, Sales Presentations

Lanyrd Conference Finder

Last week on Presentation Agency we started a series highlighting tools that help sales people do their job smarter. Our first feature was about PrepWork a service that automates research about prospects. Today we bring you the ultimate tool for finding conferences worth attending.

Have you ever regretted the fact that the first time you heard about a conference was after the fact? Ever wish you knew which collegues and prospects are attending the next conference you plan to attend? solves both problems and more.

Like a personal assistant for all things conference-going, Lanyrd discovers the best business events in your network. It finds upcoming conferences near you based on your interests, connects you to what your LinkedIn contacts are attending, and delivers all this information straight to your email inbox or Lanyrd dashboard on desktop or mobile.

When conference time rolls around Lanyrd follows through by connecting members to conferences through hashtagged tweets, hot links, and more. Users also get access to slides, videos, and podcasts from the event.

For salespeople looking to keep up to date with the conference world, this is the perfect means for staying connected.

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In New York? Attend these Two Public Speaking Workshops in 2013

January 15th, 2013 · Presentation Effectiveness, Sales Presentations

Storytelling for Business

Most people think of General Assembly as an international hackerspace for startups and techies, but a few of the events on their calendar would suggest it's becoming much more than a birthplace for code and startups. General Assembly is becoming one of New York's most definitive labs for taking your skills to the next level across the business landscape. Here are a few speaking and presentation workshops coming up that caught our eye. If you're a New Yorker interested in taking your business presentations to the next level, check out these events at the end of January.

Storytelling: Make Your Business Presentations Come Alive
Sunday January 20, 2013, 1pm – 4pm
Have a complicated product that defies explanation? Still trying to nail down the best way to evoke an emotional response to your latest product, service, or sales pitch. In Storytelling: Make Your Business Presentations Come Alive, Mike Salvaris (founder and CEO of Big Pond, Inc), will teach attendees how to turn dense information into compelling narratives.

Using storyboarding techniques, attendees will learn to transform 50 page reports into easy-to-understand slides. Whether your audience is a CEO or the person next door, attendees will walk away with the power to turn disparate information into strong stories for the business landscape.

Public Speaking Workshop with Video Feedback Sunday January 27, 2013 1pm – 4pm
This three hour Public Speaking workshop delivers the tools necessary to excel in front of others when the pressure is on. Delivered by leader Bill Smartt (president of Smartt Talk), this session drills down on the importance of delivering a presentation authentically. Special attention will be paid to body language, and the power of moving beyond robotic tendencies.

At the workshop's conclusion, attendees will receive filmed feedback of them speaking. Because of the interactive nature of this event, attendance is limited to eight people. Sign up now to reserve your place.

Public Speaking Workshop Details

Storytelling: Make Your Business Presentations Come Alive
Date: Sunday January 20, 2013
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Location: GA New York City (West)
10 East 21st Street, 4th Floor
New York , NY 10010

Public Speaking Workshop with Video Feedback
Date: Sunday January 27, 2013
Time: 1pm – 4pm
Location: GA New York City (East)
902 Broadway, 4th Floor
New York , NY 10010

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