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Past President 2012/13


Skills Development

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!

Personal Excellence is the Key

Most people I deal with all seem to either Wish or Hope that something will happen that will make them successful in life.

What a waste of time !!- there can be no greater waste of time and energy than wishing and hoping!

The Key to success and achievement has to be the Development of Personal Excellence so that you are the most efficient and productive person you can be in your chosen field of work and endeavour.

And to be Personally Excellent one has to take action to get there – you cannot buy it, inherit it and it wont come through some wild intervention by others – it takes Personal Commitment and Action.

That is what I am all about and I have dedicated myself to assisting those who truly want to excel to get there and to be the leaders and not the followers in their lives.

I look forward to working with you all to achieve the same