Innovative Presentations For Dummies book cover

Innovative Presentations For Dummies

By: Ray Anthony and Barbara Boyd Published: 06-16-2014

Be the speaker they follow with breakthrough innovative presentations

Innovative Presentations For Dummies is a practical guide to engaging your audience with superior, creative, and ultra-compelling presentations. Using clear language and a concise style, this book goes way beyond PowerPoint to enable you to reimagine, reinvent, and remake your presentations. Learn how to stimulate, capture, and hold your audience in the palm of your hand with sound, sight, and touch, and get up to speed on the latest presentation design methods that make you a speaker who gets audiences committed and acting upon your requests. This resource delves into desktop publishing skills, online presentations, analyzing your audience, and delivers fresh, new tips, tricks, and techniques that help you present with confidence and raw power.

Focused and innovative presentations are an essential part of doing business, and most importantly, getting business. Competition, technology, and the ever-tightening economy have made out-presenting your competitors more important than ever. Globally, an estimated 350 PowerPoint presentations are given every second. When it's your turn, you need to go high above and far beyond to stand out from the pack, and Innovative Presentations For Dummies provides a winning game plan. The book includes extensive advice on the visual aspect of presentations and, more importantly, it teaches you how to analyze your audience and speak directly to them. A personalized approach combined with stunning visuals and full sensory engagement makes for a winning presentation.

  • Learn how to be an innovative, not just "effective" presenter in any situation
  • Understand how to read and cater to specific audiences
  • Create captivating visual materials using technology and props
  • Creative customize presentations to best communicate with audiences

More and more employees are being called upon to make presentations, with or without prior training. With step-by-step instruction, vivid examples and ideas and a 360-degree approach to presentations, Innovative Presentations For Dummies will help to drastically improve your presentation outcomes as never before.

Articles From Innovative Presentations For Dummies

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103 results
103 results
Innovative Presentations For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-27-2016

Sooner or later in your professional life, you’ll have to give a really important presentation. By focusing on several distinct and unique aspects of creating a presentation (topic selection, audience analysis, visual design, and delivery technology and techniques), you can develop the skills to give innovative, stimulating presentations with consistently positive results.

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Innovative Presentations Model and Process

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

At some point, everyone has had to sit through boring, pedestrian presentations. You can't expect to have a meaningful impact on your audience if you subject them to a run-of-the-mill presentation. So how do you go about reimagining, reinventing, and remaking your presentations? The following figure outlines the four basic steps.

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Presentation Evaluation Sheet

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Whether presenting as part of a team or alone, asking someone to evaluate your performance during rehearsal can help hone your presentation and skills. Ask a trusted colleague or mentor to watch your presentation — ideally someone who is similar to a typical audience member or can put himself in the audience’s state of mind. After your presentation, the evaluator can either complete this form or give you verbal feedback on the aspects of the presentation. Some of the questions relate to the content, so you can determine if you delivered your desired message, while others are about your specific performance. What was the title of my presentation? What three main points did I make? What is the call to action I want the audience to take? What parts of the presentation were confusing? Did I use any jargon or words that you didn’t know or understand? Which parts of the presentation are too simplistic or contain information that the audience already knows? Were my visuals interesting or boring, helpful or distracting? How did you feel during and after the presentation? Objectively describe me — during the presentation — in two or three words, such as professional, nervous, knowledgeable, warm, confident, cold, unorganized, pushy. Did I do any of the following: Talk too fast Talk too slow or in a monotone voice Pace or shift my weight nervously Display a nervous tic, such as grimacing or playing with an object

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10 Apps to Enhance Your Presentations

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When putting together a presentation, there are a bazillion apps that can help you create cool content. The ten apps we list here let you sketch, make graphs, edit photos and video, and add special effects. For the most part, you create the content and then either save it as a PDF or import it directly into your presentation app (PowerPoint, Keynote, or whatever you use). Sketchbook Pro 6: Windows or Mac, free trial, $59.99 This well-known best-selling sketch app offers full drawing and painting capabilities and compatibility with Wacom tablets so that you can create visuals with a handheld stylus. FX Photo Studio: Mac, , $9.99, pro version $19.99 Apply filters and special effects to your photos to create the mood and impact you want. Photo Editor: Windows or Mac, Free Apply filters and frames and touch up your photos with this app. Meme Generator: Windows, Free Use this quirky app to generate memes with your own photos or choose one from the in-app gallery. Memes can be a fun, and memorable, way to open or close your presentation. Art Text Lite: Windows or Mac, Free, full version $9.99 Add special effects to your text to create logos or eye-catching, outstanding words. Drawing tools let you create and add your own shapes, too. Omnigraffle: Mac, $99 The ultimate tool for creating diagrams, charts, and shape-based graphics. TeraPlot LT: Windows, Free Create two- and three-dimension plotted graphs based on data or mathematical expressions. ArcSoft ShowBiz: Windows, Free Turn your video into an edited movie with special effects, transitions, and audio. CuteCut Pro: Mac, $29.99 The simple drag-and-drop interface makes editing and producing movies easy for the non-professional. Add special effects and draw directly on your movie. Doodleinator: Windows, Free with ads, $1.49 ad-free Turn your sketches and doodles into an electronic animated flipbook.

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Use the Assertion-Evidence Structure for a Better Presentation

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

For more than a decade, researchers in the academic field of communications studies have looked at how people learn and tried to identify the best way to relate complex information, especially of a scientific or engineering nature. Dr. Michael Alley, a professor at Pennsylvania State Univerisity and author of The Craft of Scientific Presentations, developed a presentation style called the Assertion-Evidence Structure or AES. In AES, rather than use bullet points following the topic/subtopics structure (blech!) and a vague presentation title across the top of every slide, Dr. Alley posits using an assertion at the top of each slide and a visual that supports the assertion. This technique not only makes your message very clear for the audience, the process involved in creating the presentation clarifies your message for you too, which means you’re better prepared when you make your presentation. Although developed for the scientific community, the basis and style of the assertion-evidence structure lends itself to many types of presentations.

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Add Video to Your Presentation

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Video can enhance your presentation and grab the audience’s attention with a new element. Edit your video in a video editing app such as iMovie or Adobe After Effects before adding it to your presentation. For best results, save your file in HD 720p or full HD 1080p as a .m4a or .mp4 file, and if you’re using audio, embed AAC audio files. When you create your presentation, use the 16:9 (wide screen) format so you don’t have letterboxing (those black bars on either side of the screen) when you present. If you capture video with a smartphone or tablet, turn it to landscape position so your video plays horizontally and better fills the screen. Whether you use PowerPoint, Keynote, or another presentation app, adding video is pretty simple: PowerPoint: Click Insert→Movie→Movie Browser to open the Media browser, then click the movie you want to insert. Alternatively, choose Insert→Movie→Movie File, and then scroll through your files and directories to select the video you want to insert. Keynote: Click the Media button and then choose the movie you want from the Media Inspector window, or click Insert→Choose, and then scroll through your files and directories to select the video you want to add to your presentation. Prezi: Go to the Prezi website and open your Prezi presentation. Click the Edit button, then click Insert. From this menu you can choose to add a video file from your computer or embed a link to YouTube, which requires you to be online when making your presentation. Keep your video to less than 20 minutes and make sure to test the file before the day of your big event. Some presenters report problems with PowerPoint and video. If you have trouble, try saving the file in a different size or shortening the video.

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Overcoming a Language Barrier When Giving Presentations

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

In today's polyglot world, a time may come when you're asked to give a presentation to an audience for whom English is not their first language or to give a presentation in a language that isn't your first, but that you know. Either situation can be cause for anxiety, so keep the following in mind when preparing yourself and your presentation for these types of events: Be aware of gestures that may be acceptable in North America but unacceptable elsewhere. For example, people in the United States tend to smile a lot to convey warmth and friendship, but in some cultures, smiling can be construed as nervousness or, worse yet, a sign that you're hiding something. If you must give your presentation in another language and feel unsure about the pronunciation or cadence of some words or phrases, write your presentation down, and then record someone who knows and speaks the language well reading it. You can then listen to the recording, which will help you become familiar with your presentation and improve your pronunciation. Break your bad habits as soon as possible! If you begin mispronouncing a word, chances are you will continue to mispronounce it if you don't correct yourself immediately. Don't read your presentation nor memorize it word for word, so practice until you can speak in a natural, flowing manner. Each of your visuals should jog your memory as to what you want to say about the point it represents. If you want to keep notes at hand, make sure they are notes, not verbatim sentences. Just a few words should be enough to keep you on track and remember to cover all the necessary points. Tell your audience ahead of time that your handouts — paper or online — with any important facts and figures from your presentation will be available afterward. Use images or simple charts rather than bulleted lists, which could be difficult for the audience to translate. Research and use anecdotes, fables, or stories that are both familiar to your audience and illustrate your points. The question-and-answer session can be the most difficult part of a presentation. Repeat the question in your own words before answering to be sure you understood it, and then answer simply and clearly. When you finish, ask if your response answered the question to get confirmation from the inquirer. Keeping your presentation jargon-free is key to successfully communicating in both situations. Jargon is different than technical or field-specific language. For example, English is recognized as the primary language in the science and medical fields. If you're speaking to a group of Dutch doctors about your company's linear accelerator, you can use medical terms but avoid saying things like, "That project's in the pipeline" when you mean, "That's the next project we'll be working on."

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25 Questions to Bolster Your Strategic Thinking When Preparing Presentations

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Always set aside enough time to fully plan your presentations. Here is a list of valuable questions for you (and especially your presentation team) to consider that will greatly assist you in developing ideas, tactics, and approaches in your innovative presentation: What niche image (besides a competent and professional image) do I want to project to this audience to build my credibility? Examples: strong leader, technology expert, master problem solver, visionary, innovator. What are the two or three most important things I absolutely have to say and do to reach my goals and objectives? What must I definitely avoid saying or doing during my presentation? How should I ideally begin my presentation? How should I end (what do I want from my audience)? What specific topics must I cover to inform, convince, and compel my audience? What powerful combination of logical and emotional appeals should I focus on to get my audience on my side? How can I best counter my competition’s strengths while leveraging their weaknesses? What is the most compelling combination of audio and visuals to use to meet my goals (photos, illustrations, diagrams, 3-D animations, video, live demonstrations, Skype calls)? What forms of rock-solid proof (statistics, verifiable facts, results of research, historical precedents, demonstrations, success stories) must I provide to give strong credence and substance to my claims? What psychological approaches should I employ to attempt to influence the attitudes, philosophy, beliefs, and assumptions of the group in the direction I want? What tactics might I use to counter those in the group who are doubtful, skeptical, apathetic, or contrarian? How can I modify my presentation style to best communicate and develop rapport and respect with this group? In what ways could I creatively use the elements of surprise, eager anticipation, suspense, or shock and awe to give my presentation punch and pizzazz? What select data, evidence, information, or demonstrations will have the most explosive power to change the audience’s minds? How can I help those who are strong detractors of my proposal to save face if they want to reverse their position after hearing my presentation? What actions should I take before and after my presentation to better help my chances of reaching my goals and objectives? What is the single biggest obstacle I face getting this group’s support, commitment, and action, and what is my strategy to counter it? Who can I call on in the audience to support and back up my claims and recommendations and how might they convincingly do that? How might I attack my competition without appearing to do so? What are some effective approaches to deal with (or defuse) ego issues — potential defensiveness, sensitivity, territorial/fiefdom aspects related to my presentation? What resources (people, equipment, technology, props, prototypes, visuals, handouts) do I need to support the attainment of my goals? What might be a bold, daring, unconventional approach to try with this audience since typical approaches will not budge them? How can I make key financial numbers such as payback, ROI, Net Present Value, Hurdle rate, and other statistics jump out at people in new ways? Knowing the personality profiles of people attending my talk, how can I psychologically target my information, messages, and appeals so as to customize and tailor them just for those attendees? What humor, newspaper cartoons, or audio or video of celebrities or others can I use to give a new dimension to or radically different perspective that might soften the attitudes or turn around the beliefs of this group?

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Basics of Eye Contact in Innovative Presentations

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Do you trust someone who talks to you but doesn’t look you in the eye? Think about how your audience for your innovative presentation feels. Does a lack of eye contact make them feel uncomfortable? If you don’t engage them with eye contact, it not only takes away the personal touch and hurts rapport, but people in your audience will form a negative impression of you — that you’re nervous, feel uncomfortable with your topic, are hiding something, or are afraid of the reaction to your talk. But if you make good eye contact, your audience members sense you’re enjoying your presentation, that you like being with them, and that you’re confident in your topic and speaking ability. An audience mimics your behavior, so if you display enthusiasm about your topic, they will too. What’s interesting is how you can psychologically keep the interest of people — influence their reactions — by looking directly at them. Next time you give a presentation notice this: As you look at people, in almost 100 percent of the cases, they look back at you. On the one hand, looking directly into someone’s eyes pressures them to look back at you. On the other hand, if you look at the walls in the room or stare at the projection screen, people may feel free to look at their smartphone or tablet or otherwise redirect their attention away from you. Even with large audiences, systematically making eye contact with different sections of the room will keep people looking back at you. Flexibility and adaptability characterize innovative presenters. While maintaining eye contact with as many people as possible, you constantly analyze and gauge how the group is reacting to your talk. The audience’s body language, whether positive (sitting on the edge of their seats, nodding in agreement, and smiling) or negative (yawning, looking at watches, fidgeting, frowning), tell you whether they’re eagerly listening, anxious to hear more, positively receptive to the information, or bored, restless, frustrated, confused, or irritated. Because you continuously look at people, you can judge whether you need to speed things up, move onto the next area in your presentation, slow down and give more explanations, examples, and details, engage people in discussions, or ask them questions to determine whether they’re bothered or are having difficulty understanding something. Use your eyes for emphasis. When you come to your main points, maintain strong eye contact with your group. To add dramatic effect, you can walk to the center of the meeting room (or stage) to get closer to your audience right before you communicate your critical point, add more voice volume, and pause while you look around the room with direct eye contact. This combination of voice and body movement adds powerful emphasis when needed.

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How to Eliminate Distracted Gesture from Innovative Presentations

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Even seasoned speaking professionals often have a bit of stage fright or anxiety, especially when giving a new innovative presentation or speech. In new or nerve-wracking circumstances, some mannerisms you don’t even know you have come out of hiding. That’s why videotaping yourself can be a real (surprising or perhaps shocking) revelation. Don’t let nervous mannerisms hurt your professional image and affect your presentation results. Watch your videotaped presentation and see if you do the following, then work on being conscious of them in your future presentations: Fidgeting with something in your hands — a marker, rubber band, paper clip, laser pointer, or your slide remote control. Frequently adjusting your tie or jacket or smoothing a part of your clothing or rubbing your clothing as if getting rid of a piece of lint. Taking your glasses on and off or putting a pen in and out of your mouth. Drumming your fingers on the lectern or playing with your microphone or its cord. Tugging at your ear, scratching the side of your face, smoothing your hair, twisting your mustache, or pulling on your beard. Playing with a necklace or other piece of jewelry. Men often tug at cufflinks. Like it or not, chances are you use unconscious gestures even in everyday conversations; if you become more aware of them during daily activities and curb them, you’ll be less likely to use them during your presentation. Years ago before laser pointers, you would often see people with retractable pointers continuously extending them and collapsing them without the slightest idea they were doing it. Or some people using a flipchart or whiteboard would hold a big marker in one hand and repeatedly snap the cap on and off. Don’t despair, you can work on one skill at a time to perfect it, then move onto the next one. The best tool to evaluate and shape your progress is to either audio record or videotape your actual presentations or rehearsals to spot what you do. While looking at your video, pay attention to your volume, rate, and pauses. Check to see what your body — facial expressions, gestures, posture, and body movement — is really saying. Most importantly, analyze how you’re relating to your audience, especially with eye contact.

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