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Past President 2012/13


Monthly Archives: August 2012

PowerPoint Made Easy

PowerPoint Made Easy 

I guess more has been written and commented on the use of Power Point Presentations in the last 5 years than almost any other Presentation Tool introduced over the same period. 

The Reason – Simple – Microsoft Built a Tool to make Presentations simpler for us all and also added almost every Gizmo and feature they and their clients could think of. – The Problem – People try to use all/most of the Gizmos without paying attention to the value of the tool as an aid to enhancing the message and not the message itself. So what am I recommending?

The primary questions you have to ask yourself are:-

1. What is the purpose of my Talk/Presentation?

2. Who Is The Audience?

3. What is the Call to Action/Message?

4. What is the session all about – Speech (motivation – inspiration – entertainment), Training Session, Sales Proposal, Information Dissemination Presentation, Brainstorm and Workshop?

5. Will a Data Presentation be appropriate to get the message across and get the right call to action in the end?

6. Where will this happen – Venue and facilities for a Data Presentation?

OK – so you have decided that the best way to enhance the message is with a PowerPoint presentation. –

So what format should it take so that you don’t bore the audience to death?

Here are some Keep It Simple Guidelines based on the Types of Presentations.

• Key Rules

• Appropriate Pictures say more that words ever will!

• Contrast  is critical – i.e.

 i. Light Backgrounds with Dark Text

ii. Dark Backgrounds with Light Text

iii. Light backgrounds better in large and light rooms

iv. Dark backgrounds require stronger projectors and darker rooms.

v. Get to know the Colour Wheel and What colours work for what effect in a presentation.

• Speech – ( Motivation – Inspiration – Entertainment )

• Slides to Contain PICTURES (Not Clip Art) and

• Maximum – 5 Words per slide- Less if at all possible

• The Idea is that the picture will enhance the message YOU are Delivering as the Speaker.

• Finding the right picture takes time and thought as it must add value otherwise it’s just a prop / “plok-in” as an afterthought.

• NB- beware copyright issues on pictures you “borrow” from the web – search for Free pictures or pay for them from a stock list.

• Training Session and Information Dissemination Presentations.

• Here the Slides are made up of a 50% mixture of Key Bullet Points and

• Appropriate Pictures that enhance the main point of the slide and

• Interspersed with appropriate Video Clips that also enhance the value of the point – either seriously or humorously.

• Sales Proposals

• These Slides are usually based on presenting the Problem and then the Solution in Side by side boxes.

• Max 5 Bullet Points per Box – Differentiate the Boxes (Problem and Solution) with different background shading.

• Precede the slide with one of a Photo Depicting the problem

• Follow the Solution bullets with a Slide depicting the Solution if at all possible

• Workshops

• A workshop is where there is one or more presenters talking to a group

• The mix is- presenters give Max 50% input via presentations – illustrations etc.

• The Delegates are involved at least 50% of the time with break away or individual work time.

• This is more  facilitation techniques that a presentation but if presentations are used-  then apply the rules for training sessions discussed above.

• Brainstorm Sessions

• If data projector is to be used then best to use it with expert typist and software for Mind Mapping

• Generally use facilitation tools and techniques and not PowerPoint for these sessions.


This is a vast subject to cove – I trust these few pointers will assist you in your next presentation.

Remember always – YOU are the centre of attention and the reason the audience is there – Not the PowerPoint presentation.  

If that was the case then rather just mail the presentation  to the audience and stop wasting everybody’s time if all you are going to do is read what is on the slides to them (also known as “Death By PowerPoint”)

Have fun !!!! and Blow their Socks off with your next presentation !!

1 or 1,000 Which is better?

1 or 1,000

One of the most common debates that take place in any speakers training /developments is around the subject.  “How often should I speak?”

There are pretty well two schools of thought:

  • The First is the –  Go Slow / Take your Time and Work at your own Pace
  • The Second is the – Go for it- at least one or two a month minimum

I am a champion of the second group for the following reasons:-

  • Most people that go to places to learn to speak and gain confidence are Presentation Avoiders and whilst they want to learn will find every excuse in the books (plus some new ones) to avoid having to prepare and present.
  • The longer the breaks between presentations the more one regresses and has to re-learn all the skills and courage you mastered the last time you spoke.
  • Skills are only learnt and mastered through practice
  • Practice and familiarity build confidence
  • Confidence helps master fear
  • Fear mastery helps channelling energy in the right direction
  • Channelled energy aids super speeches & presentations.
  • Learning by doing is essential to good public speaking – just listening is not enough
  • Regular (spaced) repetition is the most powerful way to learn and make a skill a habit
  • Once a habit you can start learning how to streamline speech techniques and make it perfect

I maintain that too be a good and confident speaker/presenter/trainer you need to do at least one speaking assignment a month .

You need to become a Presentation Seeker and not an Avoider and this means engineering events in such a way that you present at least One Formal (Prepared) and at least One Informal (Impromptu) speech a month. Be it in your work and/or social environment.

Remember the true benefit of speech and presentation skills learning and development does not lie in the qualification at the end of the course – This is merely the Learners License that gives you the confidence to get into the speaking and presentation skills that you will need to succeed in business..

Remember – If you do 1,000 speeches – the last 100 are bound to be pretty darn good.

So make sure you always have a speech ready in your pocket that you can present as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

Happy talking and may the Passion to Present and excel engulf and motivate you!

Gifts – Do you know what yours are?

Gifts! – Do you know what yours are?

As Mentors  we often have to assist our mentees identify their “Gifts”  as I find that too many people actually do not know and have not identified their Natural / God Given “Gifts” – also known as “Talents”.

I find it rather amazing that people will spend all their lives doing things other than where their natural talents/gifts are and wonder why they are unhappy or not as successful as others who do.

Every one of us is born with some or other natural Gift and ability to do something so well that we more often than not don’t even have to spend time learning the skill – it’s just there. For some it may be the ability to Sing like a lark, play a Musical Instrument, Paint, be a natural Sportsman or Athlete. For others it may be a gifted Voice for Speaking and Training or it may be the gift of being able to Sew, Knit, Bake, Mathematics, Listening or Story Telling etc.

Whatever it is — I have yet to find a person that has no gift or natural talent at all. – We are all blessed with at least One Special Gift/Talent!!!

When I do my Achieving Personal Excellence Workshops and or one–on –one Mentoring I spend quite a bit of time working with the people to identify these gifts and talents. Once done it is much easier to assist them in finding their values and purpose and hey once we have found these 3 elements then setting Life and Work Goals and creating action plans becomes a much easier exercise.

The one thing I have found is that very few (less than 10%) of the people I have worked with are actually working with their Gift /Talent. Once identified almost every one of them would want to and recognises that if they did more of that then they would be happier.

We all know that 75% of our Awake Time (i.e.12 of the 16 hours we are awake) is spent working every day and if we are unhappy doing what we are doing then we become very miserable people. However for those of us who work and use our Gifts and Talents all day long work is more like a hobby and generally we are far happier people. What can be greater than having a hobby and getting paid for it at the same time – it almost sounds illegal to me ;-).

I am a Professional Speaker, Motivator, Trainer and Mentor. I have been involved with Mentoring for the past 27 years and has implemented Mentoring Programmes, been a Mentee and a Mentor to at least 5 mentees at any one time for the past 20 years. I can be contacted on 011-679-3145 or 082-493-9093 or [email protected] – 24 X 7 X 365. His web site