3 PowerPoint Photo Tips (Video)

3 PowerPoint Photo TipsYou can take your PowerPoint slides from ordinary to awesome with 3 simple tips shown in this video (4:22):

1. Make your picture BIG!

2. Remove the picture background

3. Match the font of your text to a color in the picture

Bonus Tip: If you want to grab the colors from something online, you can use ColorZilla, a quick and free browser plug-in (for Chrome and Firefox).  Use ColorZilla to grab the colors in templates on sites like templatemonster.com, and take advantage of designers’ great color combinations–they’ve already figured out what goes well together!

Try these tips on your next PowerPoint and engage your audience!



Using Quotes in PowerPoint–Video

Quotes in PowerPoint

You get two tips today!

Tip #1:  Make your quotes look better in PowerPoint.  Click below to see the 4-minute Jing video I made on using quotations in PowerPoint:

Capture-JIng video

BonusTip #2:  Create short videos to explain “how to.”  For the above videoI used Jing, a free screen capture tool.  Not all of your presentations may be live and in front of an audience.  Sometimes you just need to show someone how to do something that you do on your computer.  Jing videos are limited to 5 minutes.

Who Are You?

questions4Every now and then, I get an email inquiry about my presentation coaching services from someone I never met before.  Recently, I received an email that was direct and to the point:  I am interested in some coaching–can you give me some information about you, rates, and your philosophy?

I’ll share my answer below, but I’d like you to think about how you would answer the “Who are you?” question–what information would you share?  If you have a salaried job, you might not have “rates.” But, do you have a philosophy about what you do and how you do it?

Who you are and your philosophy in what you do should be apparent in your communication, including your presentations.

Now when someone asks questions like that, ideally, you would know something about them so you can tailor your answer (that’s “audience analysis”).  I answered her questions in email first, as that was how she initially communicated with me.  So, all I had was her name, her title, and the website of where she worked and a phone number.  I looked her up on LinkedIn and checked out the website. I noted she was on the East Coast.

Now I could respond to her questions with a little more insight.

After some pleasantries and also a statement that I looked her up on LinkedIn and saw that she worked in the fitness industry and also had a business in the fitness industry, I jumped into answering her questions:

About me:  I’m a professional speaker (http://smalltalkbigresults.com/), an author on communication topics (http://www.amazon.com/Diane-Windingland/e/B004AXXPXW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1), a presentation coach (http://www.virtualspeechcoach.com/), very involved in Toastmasters International, (public speaking and leadership development), a wife, a mom of 3 grown children, grandma of 4 . . . and just because you are in the fitness industry . . . I lost 50 lbs last year by changing to a mostly Paleo-style of eating, using the MyFitnessPal app and walking 3-4 days a week.  In my 40’s (I’m now 52), I started karate and achieved a second degree black belt (I don’t do karate anymore, after moving away from the studio 3 years ago).

My rates: http://www.virtualspeechcoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Virtual-Speech-Coach-Fees2.pdf  Note that an initial 30 min. phone consult is free.

My philosophy:  The most important thing in a presentation is the audience.  With that belief as the foundation, I help presenters craft and deliver content that is audience-centered and that gets results (which could be leads for a business, support from key stakeholders, buy-in to action steps, etc.). 

How I do that is first through an informal intake interview conversation, talking about  where you are at and where you want to go with your speaking, and if you have a specific event you are preparing for, I have additional questions (I can send you the questions ahead of our free phone consult if you like). 

Based on the information you provide, we come up with an initial plan to meet your goals and then work on the plan. 

Many clients come to me thinking they just want help on delivery skills, but most end up spending more time working on audience-focused presentation structure.  That is the second most important thing in a presentation:  the content.  Delivery is third. And delivery is important.  I believe most people should give a presentation with minimal notes for maximum authenticity.  Working on delivery at a distance can be done in several ways (from using Skype to using video).

Of course, I ended the email with offering times, in both my time zone and her’s, for that free consultation!

So, take a moment and reflect on how you would answer the questions from a client or a prospective employer:  What is the information you would share about yourself and what is your philosophy?

If you think I could have given a better answer, please let me know that, too!

10 Take Aways from the National Speakers Association (Platform) Convention

National Speakers Association's new name is PlatformInspired yet overwhelmed is how I felt when I left the National Speakers Association annual convention last week (the association’s new name, Platform, was announced last Wednesday).

I went through my notes and picked out 10 nuggets to take action on (mostly regarding business development):

1. Doug Stevenson: Step-in to your story (act your story) for 30 percent of the time.  Step-out to narrate 70 percent of your story. Stay within 45 degrees on either side of center as you do so.

2. Nancy Duarte: Have a STAR moment in every speech (Something They’ll Always Remember)

3. Karen Post:  “Newsjacking” Create content, such as blog posts that are relevant because they take advantage of what’s already news.

4. Patrick Allmond: Get alerts about speaking engagements via Google Alerts and Mention.net (use search terms in quotes such as “Call for speakers” and “Speaker request for proposal” or “Speaker RFP”).

5. Sarah Michel: People come to meetings to solve problems through education and networking. Add networking and peer-learning opportunities to your presentations to create “planned serendipity.” Resource:  The Speaker Report

6. Steve Gilliland: Speakers who offer added value will get booked more often (and can increase fees with current clients).  Examples:

  • Presell books and consider giving X number free as part of your fee.
  • Pre-event value:  have a generic pre-event video and then just customize the opening/closing
  • Follow-up value:  a reinforcement webinar

7. Mark Hunter: Demonstrate return on investment as you negotiate for an engagement.  Ask, “What would it be worth if your people could do X?”

8. Mark Hunter:  Don’t discount your fee.  Add services.

9. Alan Weiss: Stop telling me what you do and tell me how you help. Your website should state what you do for clients.

10. Allan Weiss:  “Brand differential.”  The stronger your brand, the more you can charge.

Guess who will be working on creating a brand differential in the next few months?  I will be taking a hard look at updating my brand and website:  http://smalltalkbigresults.com/.  Your suggestions/comments are welcome!

How will you up your game in the next few months as a speaker?  What speaking skills will you work on?  How will you do it?  If you are a professional speaker, how will you advance your business?


Persuasive Speech Structures


Gap AnalysisIn a recent discussion on the Official Toastmasters International Members Group Facebook Page, member Merv Olsen, asked “What are your thoughts on the ‘Monroe Motivated Sequence’ approach to persuasive speaking?”

You might think that this question doesn’t apply to you because you don’t give persuasive speeches.  Don’t be too quick to dismiss.

Ultimately, almost every speech is a persuasive speech.  An informative speech persuades the listener to learn something.  An inspirational or motivational speech persuades the listener to change thought or action.  Even an entertaining speech persuades the listener to enter a world of levity, if only for a few minutes.  Most speeches could be more powerful with elements of persuasion.

Consider how you might apply one of these persuasive speech organizational patterns (the structural bones) to your next speech, persuasive or otherwise.  I’ll save Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for last:

Proposition to proof–Use this pattern when you want the audience to adopt an idea to which they are strongly opposed.  In this speech structure, you make a claim (the proposition) and then list reasons (proofs) to support the claim

Problem/solution–Use this pattern when you want to promote a particular solution to an audience.

Cause/effect–Use this pattern when you want the audience to adopt a new belief about the relationship between two things (the cause and the effect).

Comparative advantage–Use this pattern when the audience already agrees there is a problem, but also knows there are many possible acceptable solutions.  You compare the alternative solutions and show why your solution is the best one.

Criteria satisfaction–Use this pattern when the audience might initially oppose your solution. You show how your idea meets what the audience needs by first establishing and getting agreement on the necessary criteria and then showing how your solution meets the criteria.

Monroe’s Motivated Sequence–Use this pattern to convince an audience to take action.

Monroe's Motivated Sequence

Five separate steps characterize this pattern (quoting Merv Olsen’s original post, which quoted the Persuade with Power project in the Toastmasters Competent Communicator manual):

1. Attention. Seize the audience’s attention with your opening and direct that attention toward your topic. “Our rapidly escalating property taxes are supporting a spending spree by our government.”

2. Need. State the existing need or problem, explaining why it’s important to listeners. “Property taxes must be lowered and government spending brought under control.”

3. Satisfaction. Present your solution to the need or problem, showing how it meets the need or solves the problem. Support your position with evidence. “Proposition X will reduce property taxes and limit government spending.”

4. Visualization. Draw a picture of future conditions, intensifying audience commitment to your position. Show how things will be if your solution is adopted or what might happen if it is rejected. “If this proposition fails, our taxes will continue to escalate, and many people will lose their homes.”

5. Action. Turn the agreement and commitment you’ve gained into positive action or attitude by your listeners. “Vote ‘yes’ on Proposition X.”

My response to Merv’s question about Monroe’s Motivated Sequence:

“It is effective, but I usually change the order, especially if I am doing it as an interactive presentation. I like to create the emotional gap between where the audience would like to be (visualization right after the attention step) and where they are (need) before moving on to showing how my solution will close the gap (satisfaction) and then ending with a call to action.”

Gap Analysis

This changed order is highly effective when you have an audience of one (e.g. you are meeting with a prospective client for a professional service you offer).  It is also effective in a business proposal (see my business proposal structure outline).  This “create a gap” concept, contrasting the desired condition and the actual condition is one I use frequently with prospective clients.  I can then position my services as a solution to close the gap.

Commenter Bob Kienzle puts it another way, “Diane, my recommendation is to create Visualization during the Attention stage by telling a story that envisions the future and then to expand on that story during the Visualization stage. You need to explain the problem (Need) and make the audience care about the problem before the solution (Satisfaction). Mixing up the stages make work at times, but the psychology studies and commercial studies of MMS have the stages in order for a reason.

What do you think?  What persuasive structures have worked for you?