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A Quick Guide to Presenting

Whether you are a first-time speaker or someone who does this regularly, presenting can be nerve-wracking and stress inducing. The old advice of “picture them in their underwear” does little to allay fears and nothing to improve your speaking skills. Instead, we offer a quick review of things to do before and during your next big presentation. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!

Be Prepared

No matter what the topic of your presentation is, be prepared. Have your presentation deck organized, technology all set, and handouts ready to go. Know your content inside and out to the point that you don’t even need to look at your slides. Go deep into your research so if questions are asked you will have the answers.

That takes us to the next way that you should be prepared – know your audience. Take a serious look at who your audience is and why they are coming to your presentation. What are their needs and what do they hope to get out of it? Obviously, a presentation to a group of CEOs will be dramatically different than one to first-time clients.


Start Strong

There is nothing worse for an audience member than hearing a speaker drone on from the start to the end of a presentation without showing passion or a love for what they are discussing. For this reason, start your presentation off strong. We live in a world of immediate gratification and constant entertainment. Start your presentation off with a bang and get their attention from the very start. Start by connecting with the audience through a story, an engaging slide, or information that they may not have heard before.

Keep It Simple and Straightforward

Most people in the business world have limited time as it is, so stick to a core message. It may help to tell the audience what the three main things are that you want them to take away from your presentation. Tell them upfront what you plan on talking about and then get to it. Try not to take a detour and chat about irrelevant information.

Be Personable

Smile, make eye contact, and speak naturally. These are three things you can do to relate to the audience and be personable. This can build rapport and actually make you less nervous.

A Word About Slides

Many great orators use slides, while others just talk. If you are going to use slides to complement your presentation, Guy Kawasaki of Apple suggests that slideshows should:

  • Contain no more than 10 slides;
  • Last no more than 20 minutes; and
  • Use a font size of no smaller than 30-point.

Giving a presentation doesn’t need to be unnerving. Following these simple steps can get you on the path to giving professional presentations. Need more information on being confident when presenting? Check out our seminar on “Presenting with Confidence” with Jim Ognibene on May 28 from 6-9pm.


Professional Presentations

Whether you use Powerpoint, Google Slides or another presentation software, having captivating and informative presentations for your clients can mean the difference between making the sale and losing a client. Add some creativity that will captivate your viewers with a clever presentation, images and content that will keep them listening from beginning to end.

  •  Be Well Versed – One thing that completely turns off an audience is having the presenter read directly from the slides. Know your topic well enough that you do not need to read every word but rather can talk freely and interact with the audience.
  • Use Quality Photography – Sharp and custom photography can really make your presentation pop. Use images of your business when possible instead of stock photography. Make the images unique and interesting to look at.
  • Choosing Slide Backgrounds – Many presenters go for flashy or eye catching backgrounds but others rely on solid backgrounds that make the content stand out. Either way you choose, make sure your colors are eye pleasing and that bullet points are easily readable in a font that matches the tone of the presentation.
  • Be Clear – Make each slide clear and to the point. Use bullets but do not overwhelm your audience with too many points to consider on each slide. Instead break up major topics into smaller ones so that your audience can follow your train of thought.
  • Use Humor – Your presentation has an ultimate goal for your company. Using humor to maintain the attention of the audience can help you get to that goal. If your audience is bored they may stop listening. Keep them laughing with personal anecdotes or common situations that your listeners can relate to will keep them on task.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.


Presentations: Engage your Audience

Being an exceptional speaker is a wonderful skill, but sometimes even that skill does not engage the audience the way planned. Business speakers giving their “pitch” have limited minutes to gain the audience’s attention and hold it. Getting an audience interested and listening can be a struggle unless you put into practice some of the tried-and-true speaking tips from expert orators from all lines of businesses. Here are just a few strategies to get your audience not only listening but engaged in what you are saying.

  • Speak Clearly and Simply. Viewers are guaranteed to tune you out if they are having trouble hearing you or following your terminology. Practice speaking and delivering your “pitch” to others who are not in your field of work to see if they can follow your line of thought and understand your terminology. Avoid acronyms if you are unsure the audience knows them.
  • Eye Contact – Since elementary school, we all learned that if you look someone in the eye when you are speaking they will be more apt to listen and remember. The same is true for adults. Make eye contact with as many people as possible to ensure that they are listening and not checking Facebook or answering texts.
  • Know Your Audience – This should go without saying to know the audience’s skills, needs, wants, interests and experiences before speaking. Some people prefer a pre- engagement questionnaire while others mingle with the group prior to the discussion. The better you know the audience the more you can tailor your talk to them.
  • Ask Questions – Give the audience an opportunity to take part in the discussion by raising hands, writing or discussing with a neighbor. The more they connect with you and your topic, the more they will retain and engage as you continue.
  • Give them Some Resources – Most people love getting something or learning something so, give them what they want. For example, if you are talking about a service, give them a coupon or access for a discount to try-out the service. If they are gathering information give them a list of resources that they may not have known about previously.
  • Be Visual and Active – Using technology has long been a practice of speakers but be sure to have slides that are graphic in nature, not just slide-after-slide of text. And do not read from the text. They could do that later. Instead speak normally and in a conversational tone. Along with using visuals try to get your audience to move a little. If they have to speak to the person at their table or write, they may be more apt to be listening rather than be glazed over tuning you out.


Running a Successful Staff Meeting

Regular staff meetings, team meetings or company get-togethers can be a little like herding cats. Getting all of your employees with different backgrounds and skill sets, and trying to keep them connected, productive and guided toward a common goal is no easy task. To help manage these different personalities and skills, the weekly or biweekly staff meeting is critical to obtaining your business goals. Here are a few tips on how to run a successful staff meeting.

  • Have Clear Objectives – There is nothing worse to team members than a meeting without a true purpose. A meeting must have a specific and defined purpose. In fact, meetings that have a written agenda tend to be more productive than meetings that do not. Standing meetings with vague purposes, such as “status updates,” are rarely a good use of time.
  • Be Conscious of Time – Create an agenda that lays out everything you plan to cover in the meeting, along with a timeline that allots a certain number of minutes to each item, and email it to people in advance. Once you’re in the meeting, put that agenda up on a screen or whiteboard for others to see. This keeps people focused. No one likes to be trapped in the never-ending meeting when they have work piling up on their desk. It is also important to start on time and end on time as well.
  • Ban Technology – Yes, we all live with our devices attached to us but that may be a bad thing in a staff meeting. Have one person keep notes but ask for the undivided attention of your team members during the meeting. This may mean banning smartphones and tablets during the meetings. If you don’t, you may find that your team members are emailing, surfing the web, or just playing around with their technology.
  • Follow Up – Sometimes staff meetings become black holes where the information is mentioned once and never followed up on. In addition, it’s quite common for people to come away from the same meeting with very different interpretations of what went on. To reduce this risk, email a memo highlighting what was accomplished to all who attended and how the suggestions and comments will be dealt with.

Software for Great Presentations

At some point in the market there is a tipping point of dominance when an individual  product such as Kleenex or Band-aids, changes from being one product to the brand name used to describe all the products in that category.  No one ever says “Pass me a bandage.”  They say “Pass me a Band-aid.”

The same classification happens when talking about presentation tools.  Most people refer to their slides or presentation as a PowerPoint presentation regardless of whether they are using PowerPoint software or not.  Hands down PowerPoint by Microsoft is the software that most of us know as the dominant product when it comes to giving an effective and powerful presentation.  There are however, other tools, (some of them free) that you may want to consider for future presentations.

In 2015, the range of choices is greater than ever before, and functionality like file type export, free images bundled or cloud functionality are needed to avoid falling behind. Let’s look at some of the software recently ranked by tech insiders as some of the better presentation tools you can use.

  • Microsofts PowerPoint –Undoubtedly, one of the top presentation tools still in 2015.  With new collaboration features it is easier than ever to share and work with coworkers on presentations. PowerPoint offers more than your standard presentation features such as: extensive libraries of visual effects, 40-plus presentation templates, over 30 customizable slide transitions, extensive clip art library, and excellent editing tools for your media. Check out PowerPoint
  • Prezi – Prezi presentation software claims “Present Anywhere, Anytime.”  Prezi is cloud-based, meaning you can present from your browser, desktop, iPad, iPhone, or Android device and always have the latest version of your work at your fingertips. Create or edit on the go, then auto-sync across all your devices with ease.  Prezi is free to use, but all your presentations will be visible to the public as it’s all stored on public cloud. That’s not so great if you’re using it for proprietary or confidential data, so if that’s you you’ll probably want to check out the premium service which offers storage for files, offline editing and, most importantly, privacy. Prezi is known for being best for non-linear presentations that don’t need the slideshow concept. Check out Prezi.
  • Keynote – Keynote is part of Apple’s iWork suite of productivity tools. (Picture the famous Steve Jobs presenting in front of a giant screen in his jeans and black turtleneck.) Keynote is now web based, free and works on iCloud.  Making presentations right at your fingertips is simple with Keynote.  According to their own advertising, “Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And work effortlessly with people who use Microsoft PowerPoint.” Check out Keynote
  • SlideDog – SlideDog is a presentation tool that comes packed with features. Creating slides from a mix of sources is fairly simple with SlideDog. An additional benefit is the ability to share presentations live online, meaning the audience can follow your slides on their tablets simultaneously. Live polls and quizzes can also be added to the SlideDog playlist, and is answered by the audience from their tablets or smart phones. Check out SlideDog