January 22, 2010

When you give a presentation there are three basic aims:

  • Entertain
  • Inform
  • Influence

Most presentations have one primary aim e.g. a best man’s speech is to entertain, a training course is to inform and a sales presentation is to influence but to be effective most presentations need to have all three elements.

People will be more receptive to new ideas and will learn more if they are having fun doing it.  So make sure you smile and use some humour in your presentation. Enable the audience to enjoy themselves and have some fun.  Use props and games to convey your message.

The presenter leads the way not just in the topic but also the mood of the audience. If you relax, your audience will relax, if you laugh your audience will laugh, as long as you have gauged the culture properly, if you are enthusiastic the audience are more likely to be enthused.

So have some fun when you are giving a presentation and your audience are more likely to enjoy it and to listen.

This tip was created based on a discussion item on Linkedin


Flip Charts

January 8, 2010

Flip charts and whiteboards are very useful tools when you are giving a presentation to a small or medium-sized audience. They enable you to be more interactive with your audience and reduce the pre-canned effect PowerPoint can sometimes induce.

Here are 10 top tips on using flipcharts:

  1. Make sure all the pens have ink in them and write properly before your audience arrive.
  2. If you have pre-created some sheets, keep them covered with a blank sheet until you are ready to use them.
  3. If you are not confident in your artistic abilities, draw what you want in pencil on the sheet(s) beforehand, then during the presentation you can go over the pencil lines with a felt tip. The pencil lines will not be visible to your audience.
  4. The same works for any text you need to write
  5. If you have prepared a number of different sheets which you would like to refer to during your presentation, add a little tag on the bottom of each sheet so you can easily flip to the right page.
  6. For whiteboards make sure you have the correct pens (dry markers) and an eraser before you write anything.
  7. Don’t talk while you are writing, you are better to turn write what you have to write then turn back to your audience before talking about it.
  8. Be aware that it is very easy to keep looking at a diagram that you have just drawn while you talk about it. You should look at your audience not the diagram.
  9. Once you have finished with a sheet on the flipchart and starting to move on to a different subject, cover up the flipchart with a blank sheet.
  10. To ensure audience interaction, give out paper and pens to everyone in your audience, then ask them to write the 3 most important qualities, aspects,problems,challenges or whatever related to your presentation topic. Then ask people to shout out what they have written and write them up on the flip chart.  This is far more effective than just listing the top 3 in your opinion.

Be creative – All the Best

Graham Young


January 5, 2010

Some fonts look good on paper and some look good on screens.  Generally, san serif fonts are better for use on screens, eg Arial, Gill Sans

In terms of size, the normal minimum size for text on a slide is 22pt. Anything smaller than that it is likely to be hard to read.  32pt is the preferred size for most text, with 40pt for titles.

This means you can never use standard office documents as visual aids, i.e.Word documents or Excel Spreadsheets.  The text is never large enough to read, so do not be tempted to try.  If it is vital that people see a new form or other office document, as part of your presentation, hand the document out before the start of your presentation and ask people to look at their own copy.  Make sure there is enough for everyone.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever

Facts & Figures

January 5, 2010

People are more likely to believe what you are saying if you can back it up with facts and figures.  Write any figures, you are intending using, on your cue cards to make sure you get them right.

Use illustrations to convey the size of a number.  For many people numbers are very abstract, so use familiar objects to give a comparative size.  That is why in newspapers things are often referred to as being as long as a number of London buses or the area of xx football pitches.

In the computer industry where reliability of service is a crucial measure, many companies talk about providing 99.9% availability.  But is 99.9% is good enough? 

A study by the Quality Control Institute of California determined that if we were satisfied with 99.9% accuracy, 22,000 cheques would be cashed by the wrong bank every hour, 50 newborn babies would be dropped every day, 500 incorrect surgical operations would take place each week, 20,000 drug prescriptions would be incorrectly filled each year.  More significantly, 32,000 heart-beats would be missed in every human heart each year.’

Suddenly 99.9% does not sound quite so reassuring.

Someone giving a talk on ‘keep-fit’ may have an objective of persuading the members of their audience to spend 15 minutes every morning exercising.  Fifteen minutes may sound like a long time for someone to add in to their hectic morning routine but 15 minutes is equivalent to 1% of their time.  Surely, 1% of your entire life is worth devoting to something that will make you live longer and live better.

Just how big is a million.  These days being a millionaire is not what it used to be but if you want to get across just how big a million is to your audience the following little snippet might help.

‘If you were given £1 a day, for every day since Jesus walked on this earth, you would still not have received £1million.’

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever

FAB – Features Advantages Benefits

January 5, 2010

FAB is an acronym for Features Advantages Benefits.  Every product and service has features. Hopefully your product/service has some advantages in the way those features are provided when compared to your competition.  However, people rarely buy solutions based on the features and advantages.  They buy because of the benefits that product or service will deliver to them or their business.

By focusing on features, you appear to be going for the ‘hard sell’ which makes buyers defensive and they put up barriers.  Products/services that compete on price are often promoted as feature rich, which also then tends to make buyers think that products, which are sold on their features, should be cheap.  Selling on features leaves it up to the buyer to assume the benefits that those features will deliver.  More often than not, they will not make the right assumptions.

Advantages are refined features in many respects.  While selling on advantages is better than selling on plain features you are essentially highlighting assumed or undeveloped needs.

Benefits become benefits only when they meet an expressed need.  Benefits can be used to create a picture of success highlighting what is important to your prospect.  Features and advantages should be used to justify the benefits.

For example, imagine you are selling buckets, the fact that the bucket is made of plastic is a feature of your buckets.

‘Hello, would you like to buy my buckets, they’re made of plastic.’

Is likely to be given the response: ‘So what?’

The advantage of them being made of plastic is that they are lighter than the competitor’s metal buckets.

‘Hello, would you like to buy my buckets their made of plastic so they are light.’

This is better, but still not that convincing.

The benefit associated with them being light is that they are easy to carry.

‘Hello, would you like to buy my buckets, they are easy to carry because they are made of plastic which makes them very light.’

Much better, assuming the prospective purchaser needs to carry the buckets.  Of course, the same feature may have other advantages and benefits, especially if the customer wants to hold things in the buckets but not carry them.

Feature –        Our buckets are made of plastic

Advantage – You can have them any colour you like

Benefit –        You can see at a glance, which bucket is which, and the contents will not get confused


Feature –        Our plastic buckets are made of self-coloured plastic

Advantage – There is no coloured coating to wear off

Benefit –        No risk of contamination of the contents

So remember to lead with the benefits and back these up with the features and advantages.

During a business presentation you should never state a feature without accompanying it with the associated benefit(s)

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever


January 5, 2010

Many people are frightened of public speaking; a survey in the USA actually put public speaking ahead of death as the number one public fear. 

So why is presenting so terrifying?

As a pack animal by nature, we are contradicting our natural behaviour.  Rather than staying with the pack, we are isolating ourselves.  By standing out front, the speaker is stating that he/she is different from the rest of us.  Not only do we have to stand out in front of the pack we actually have to face them eye to eye.  Definitely, a position of conflict. 

Having dared to be different, we then start to worry about our credentials.  Is my material good enough, can I present it properly, what will the audience think?  Then of course there are all the confidence sucking thoughts about what I look like, do I know what I’m talking about, can they see my knees shaking, will I be able to read my notes, will the slides work, have I put them in the right order, and so on and so on.

It is the same as any other time we are conscious of being judged, like at exams, interviews or our driving test. It is perfectly normal to be anxious before an important presentation.

The main reasons for fear or nervousness are:

  • Isolation
  • Fear of performing badly
  • Fear of the audience and their reaction
  • Fear that your material is not good enough

How to overcome the fear of presenting

The first thing to remember is that people rarely look nervous.  People will not notice that your knuckles are turning white, or that your knees are shaking.  And even if they do, they will probably be sympathetic, remembering the last time they did a presentation.

The audience are just people; they have similar fears, doubts and inabilities as you.  There are various tricks that you can use to remind yourself that the audience are just ordinary people. 

Winston Churchill is reputed to have imagined that his audience were all in the nude.  Franklin Roosevelt used to imagine that every one of them had a hole in his sock.  Conjuring up these pictures in your mind is designed to make the audience feel more like ordinary people, who in fact they are.

The main way to overcome the fear that your performance will not be good enough or that your material is weak is through thorough preparation.  After all, poor preparation produces perfectly pathetic presentations.  So think through the OSRAM components and practise your presentation many times before you give it for real.  This will help give you the confidence to succeed.

Probably the most comforting thought is that your audience want you to succeed.  From the very outset, they are on your side.  It is very rare to have an audience who does not want you to succeed, after all why would they be there.  Why waste their time listening to someone who is a poor presenter or who does not have anything worth listening to.

Another comforting thought is that, more often than not, you are presenting because you know something that the audience do not.  They want to hear what you have to say.

Don’t forget to take some deep breaths before you start.

The most important thing is to remember that you are supposed to be nervous. You just need to put it to one side and get on with the job in hand. Do not start worrying about being worried as that is a downward spiral to oblivion. Fear prior to a presentation is perfectly normal.  If you are not frightened, that is the time to start worrying.

Presentation Training and Coaching is available from the author of this blog. Please visit my presentation training  website.

Give me a day and I’ll change your presentations, forever