Presenting End Of The Year Data: Hacks With Tables And Charts

It’s been a good year and now it’s time to present your results in PowerPoint! Yeah…or yikes?   PXP_WatchNowIcon

Well before you chain yourself to your desk and try arm wrestling your PowerPoint tables and charts into shape, watch this interactive end of the year reporting webinar full of hacks, tips and tricks for fast tracking through these difficult object classes to get the data visualization you are aiming for. And start 2016 off with a few new tricks.

Taylor Croonquist, Nuts & Bolts Speed Training is back by popular demand to give us an hour full of fun and magic and he delivered an information-packed webinar featuring:

Abstract representation of blue pie chart and column chart. Illustration.

End of the Year Charting Tricks:

  • Avoiding over labeling – getting more out of your data visualizations by doing less
  • Defaulting your charts – how to set your formatting once and reuse it throughout your PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Excel models (one of the most underappreciated features of PowerPoint)
  • Flipping your charts – don’t waste time rebuilding it in Excel, just flip your chart or filter it in PowerPoint
    Creating totals on top of stacked column charts – your first step towards advanced charting techniques to build more accurate visualizations.

End of the Year Table Tricks:

  • Creating Excel formatting within PowerPoint (double underlines within a cell and the accounting style formatting)
  • Overcoming the 3 Phantom Spacing Menaces – the three invisible factors that affect how far you can customize your tables
  • Boxing up your tables for rock solid layouts and why this works better.

Our Speaker:

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Taylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other. For more information about the company’s services, visit nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com.

HANDOUTS:

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Charts and Tables – PresX

Marvelous Makeovers – Presentations Edition

youre-LATE-psd97874 …For the busy professional for whom everything is due yesterday.  

One of the objectives of design makeovers is to leave your audience members with their jaws on the floor, but we know that it is not entirely fair, showing you designs that you might not have the skills or the time to recreate. Besides, there is more to presentation design than creating pretty slides…much more. A good makeover takes into account the look and feel of the slides, the message being conveyed, and the reality of those in charge of the project. Taken directly from Rick Altman’s client files, these makeovers carry with them the hope that you will look at them and say, “Hey, I can do that.” As a special bonus, at no extra charge (i.e. you pay nothing more than the $0 that this webinar is costing you), Rick performs a makeover of our own webinar branding. Gulp…

  • Messages that are audience-centric, not presenter-centric
  • Surviving slides with too much junk on them
  • Content better left in handouts
  • When clean and consistent rule the day

ABOUT RICK ALTMAN: 

Rick-AltmanHe is one of the most prominent commentators in the presentation community today. Rick is the author of 15 books. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, the internationally-acclaimed learning event for presentation professionals.  An avid sportsman, he was not a good enough tennis player to make it onto the professional tour. All the rest of this has been his Plan B.

Handout – Marvelous Makeovers

 

Surviving Handout Hell with Rick Altman

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Have you ever fallen prey to the conventional wisdom of printing slides to create a handout. Then this lively and interactive webinar with presentation specialist and author, Rick Altman is for you!

If the most annoying trait of all PowerPoint users is placing too much text on a slide (and it is), the leading cause of this offense is the printout. If you harbor the belief that you can create a slide that will be effective as your live visual and as your printed handout, this session attempts to disabuse you of that misguided notion. Responsible presentation designers must separate the tasks of creating visuals for their live presentation and creating printed handouts. In so doing, they distinguish themselves from 99% of everyone creating slides today.

Highlights include:

  •  How to move away from the Print button
  • Did you know that PowerPoint has a Handout master?
  • Too bad it’s useless for this purpose Learn how to create two documents within one PowerPoint file

 

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ABOUT RICK ALTMAN: 

He is one of the most prominent commentators in the presentation community today. Rick is the author of 15 books. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, the internationally-acclaimed learning event for presentation professionals.  An avid sportsman, he was not a good enough tennis player to make it onto the professional tour. All the rest of this has been his Plan B.

Use Analogies to Lift Presentations to Another Level

During this past holiday season, my 8-year-old son, Jake, asked me why the story of Hanukkah was so important. I told him that Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that happened long ago in an ancient Temple. In the Temple they needed to keep the candles lit, but there was only enough oil to keep the lamps burning for one day. Yet, the oil lasted — not one or two, but eight days! It was a great miracle, which is celebrated every year.

Jake was unimpressed and returned to his cartoon. How could I possibly make this relevant and relatable to a modern day 8- year-old in terms he could understand?

I asked him to imagine that we were taking an eight-day trip. He’d brought along his iPod, but had forgotten the charger, and his battery had enough power for just one day. Surprisingly, the battery never died, and he had power for the entire trip to play games and listen to music.

In an instant, he got it. He said, “That would be a miracle!”

Power of Analogy

This is a perfect example of how analogies can transform a message, concept, or technical topic into terms someone else can understand. Analogies are powerful, because they allow us to convey complex or technical information and ideas to an unfamiliar audience.

Here are five benefits of using analogies. They:

1.     Make the complex simple

2.     Identify similarities and differences

3.     Bridge new ideas to familiar ideas

4.     Add believability

5.     Connect topics to the audience members’ lives

In her new and much buzzed-about book Lean In, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg likens the careers of men and women to something we can all relate:  “Imagine that a career is like a marathon … a marathon where both men and women arrive at the starting line equally fit and trained. The gun goes off. The men and women run side-by-side. The male marathoners are routinely cheered on: ‘Looking strong! On your way!’ For women, however, the shouts are: ‘You know you don’t have to do this!'”

This vivid analogy creates a powerful mental picture that helps make her message stick.

Why does this matter?

Every day we need to inform and influence audiences through writing and speaking. In your career, the extent to which you are effective at doing both will be a major factor in your success.

Analogies are one of the more powerful devices in your arsenal of effective communications tools. By using them, you help make your message clear, simple, believable, relevant and memorable.

Your analogies will be most effective if they are:

•Visual – paint a picture the audience can connect with.
•Relevant to all audience members and diverse – use diverse analogies instead of just one type (like sports) to ensure that you connect with them universally.
•Memorable and repeatable – the more witty and provocative the better.

Consider the analogy used by economist Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight, when interviewed on NPR on March 8:

“The sequester is an unnecessary dose of cold water when the economy would otherwise be gathering steam.” He created a terrific mental picture to which everyone can relate.

Another example of a great analogy was used by Ellen Ernst Kossek, co-author of CEO of Me: Creating a Life that Works in the Flexible Job Age.

Commenting on the decision by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer to abolish telecommuting, Kossek said, “Abolishing telework is like canceling the prom because some immature people spiked the punch bowl.”

Wow! This analogy is impactful because it’s visual, relevant and memorable! It’s something that sticks in the mind, and is likely to be repeated.

About the Author:

Amy Glass is Director of Training and a Senior Facilitator at BRODY Professional Development, for 30 years providing professionals with a competitive advantage in the areas of presentation power, facilitation & meeting effectiveness, writing for impact and relationship management. For more information on BRODY’s programs and services, or to subscribe to monthly newsletters or receive a  free eBook, go to BrodyPro.com or call 215-886-1688. ©2013 Reprinted with permission

 

The Location of Your Presentation Screen Sends a Message

The presenter is the most important element of any presentation, but where the presentation screen is located can send a different message.

Most presenters place the projection screen in the center-middle of the room, forcing the presenter into a corner and setting up competition for the audience’s attention. Whenever you can, move the screen into the upper-right front corner of the room to send a message that you’re the principal focus of the presentation, not your PowerPoint slides or Prezi visuals.

That added space you create up front will also allow you to move around more easily and better engage with your audience. All of which helps to humanize your approach and put the spotlight where it belongs, on you the speaker.

Repetitions and Reputations

A few years back I was cajoled by some buddies to be in a golf tournament with them. First of all, I never golf enough to really get better. And if I would have thought for a second, I would have realized their motivation wasn’t to just hang out with a good friend for a few hours, it was to wax my sorry…

But they underestimated a deeply rooted competitive streak in me.  So a week before the big tournament I scheduled a golf lesson to fix, what was up until then, a mild slice. It meant that when others were playing in the sun and enjoying the fairway, I was usually searching for my ball in the woods.

The golf pro showed up and I was pretty excited.  A few quick fixes and I’d be good to go! (I hear a few of you chuckling already.) During the course of the next 60 minutes, I would have a number of things “corrected.” First my stance. Then my swing path. And finally my hips and my head.

One hour and $75 later, my mild slice had morphed into what golfers affectionately refer to as a “duck hook.”  I’ll save you the description. Suffice it to say it’s not very pretty and now meant I would not only be playing in the woods, but most likely the next fairway over.

Power of Continuous Improvement

What happened to me is what happens to many presenters today.

They get a little presentation skills coaching, feel some momentary discomfort because their existing habits are so deeply entrenched and then abandon their important new skill set before it can effectively take root.  (The same skills, by the way, others admired so much at the end of their training day.) For this reason, far too many presenters never get to the level they aspire to and the presentation process has just become a necessary evil.

But from time to time we’re reminded of what can happen when someone is willing to lean into this important life skill. One of our executive trainers, Fred, was back in Boston working with a senior manager at a global sporting apparel company. And every time we were in town, this manager had requested a personal coaching session with us.

Because he was so bad and desperately needed the help?  To the contrary, because he was so exceptionally good as a communicator.

When we asked him why he kept signing up for personal coaching, his answer was refreshing. He had been a professional tennis coach at one point in his life and knew first hand that it took a thousand conscious repetitions of a new movement before it became second nature.  “That’s why I keep coming back – to get more reps.”

There’s a lesson in this for anyone who aspires to be an exceptional communicator.

If you’ve had some personal coaching, are you applying the skills at every opportunity or do you just expect them to magically show up on presentation day?  If you haven’t received training in this critical area, are you willing? If you are passionate about being the kind of presenter who is remembered at the end of a very long day, take to heart what every professional understands about the nature of meaningful personal change.

You’ve got to want it.

You’ve got to commit to it for the long run.

You’ve got to believe that the benefits of mastery are well worth the time and effort to get there.

About the Author:

Jim Endicott is president of Distinction Communication Inc, a Newberg, OR consulting firm specializing in message development, presentation design and delivery skills coaching. For more information about his company, visit www.distinction-services.com

Secrets to Practicing Your Presentation When You Have No Time

By Michelle Mazur

By far, the most popular post on my site is 8 Steps for Practicing a Presentation. To me that means you are looking for help on how to practice a presentation so you can execute a successful speech. We know we have to practice, but practice seems like an abstract, daunting task. The biggest objection I hear from clients about practicing a presentation is…I don’t have time to practice. I understand the problem. I don’t have time to practice my presentations either…and frankly I am the type of presenter who does not enjoy practicing at all. My little hater comes out in full force! Let’s go through step-by-step and discuss some strategies that will save you time.Step One: Divvy Up Your Presentation into Bite-Size Chunks.

If you are doing a 30-, 60- or even 90-minute speech, you do NOT have to practice your presentation all at once. Repeat you do NOT have to rehearse your entire presentation in one sitting. Break-up your presentation in small bite-size chunks. Divide it up by introduction, each main point, and your conclusion. If it is a longer presentation, break the body of the speech down into its sub-points.Think of this as portion control for practicing your speech. It makes practice less daunting.

Step Two: Find small chunks of time.

Now that you know that you don’t have to practice the presentation all at once, start finding pockets of time for small presentation practice sessions. This means driving in your car is a great time to practice. 10 minutes between calls – practice. Taking a shower – forget singing – try practicing.

There’s all kinds of time to rehearse when you don’t have to find a huge chunk of time!

Step Three: Don’t always start from the beginning.

You need to know your introduction well!  However, don’t always start your rehearsals at the beginning. Every time you are practicing think about what you need to go over the most. In which part of the presentation is the information most difficult for you?  Which part of the speech have you not practiced yet? Start there!

Step Four: Practice does not always have to be out loud.

Practicing your speech out loud is a must. However, you don’t always have to practice out loud. Visualization is a form of practicing. Going through the speech in your head is a way to rehearse. Even if you just want to write the speech out – guess what you are practicing.

Step Five: Do one complete run through with tech.

You have to find the time to do at least ONE complete run through with your tech (microphone, PowerPoint, media, whatever). This insures that you are staying within the time limits, your transitions are good and that all your technology is in working order.

About the Author:

Dr. Michelle Mazur is a public speaking coach, communication expert and author of the Relationally Speaking blog.

4 Presentation Strategies for a C-Level Audience

By Rick Gilbert

When I joined Hewlett-Packard as a quality assurance training manager 20 years ago, I had zero business experience. I had been a college instructor, a consultant, and a psychologist, but I had never read an annual report or laid eyes on a spreadsheet. I didn’t know the difference between ROI and an IOU.

After six months on the job, I secured a brief meeting with the general manager and his team. I urgently needed their support for a quality training program I was launching. I strode confidently into the meeting clueless about who was going to be there and their job titles or hidden agendas. I may as well have been blindfolded; I was in the dark.

I helped myself to a pastry, and took a seat at the table—my first two mistakes. I had prepared 50 overhead slides (before the days of PowerPoint) for my 20-minute presentation, which amounted to 49 more slides than anyone wanted to see. I opened the presentation with a long story to warm up the audience. (Note to self: Senior executives do not need or want “warming up.”)

The general manager ended the meeting after just seven minutes, and I failed to get support for that critical training program. While riding the elevator down to my office after the meeting, I was haunted by a nagging question: “What just happened?” It was 20 years before I would answer that question.

Different presentation rules

If you are in middle management, ambiguity and chaos are daily realities. Additionally, you must gain approval from the people at the top to get things done. Resources are limited. To make matters worse, colleagues in finance, IT, and marketing are after the same resources. You know what works in team meetings at your peer level: stories, PowerPoint slides, one-way communication with minimal Q&A, and no interruptions.

You realize that the rules for presenting to top-level leaders are different, but what are they? If you solved this mystery, you’d be more likely to receive the project funding and support that you need.

To uncover these rules, I’ve interviewed 50 executives during the past 10 years. These leaders shared how to effectively present to the C-suite: know the people and big picture, make the bottom line your first line, deliver with confidence, and facilitate through improvisation. I only regret that I didn’t know these strategies years ago.

Know the people and big picture

Find answers to the following questions before the presentation: Who will be in the meeting? What are their titles? What are their agendas, and how do they feel about each other? Who will support you and who will oppose you? Typically, you will have a sponsor—for example, the director of human resources. That person can tell you what to expect, and can get the meeting back on track if it derails.

C-level leaders are a unique audience. They are bright, competitive, and analytical. They never have enough time in any given day, must meet their numbers, and have little job security.

An executive stays in his position for an average of 23 months. One study shows that if a company’s stock price increases after its CEO has filled the role for one year, 75 percent of new CEOs keep their jobs. If the stock price goes down, 83 percent do not keep their jobs. The C-suite is often a revolving door.

Additionally, it’s important to understand the expenses accrued from a top-level meeting. Assembling five C-level leaders from a $5 billion company costs shareholders $30,000 per hour. CEOs report that 67 percent of the meetings they attend with subordinates are total failures—resulting in a huge productivity loss for the company.

Make the bottom line your first line

“You have 30 seconds to get my attention and tell me what you are here for. If you don’t, I’m on my smartphone, and you’ve lost me,” says Steve Blank, founder and former CEO of Epiphany.

The first rule of content development for a C-suite presentation is to position the bottom line as your first line. Immediately tell the audience why you are there and what you want. If you want money, include ROI calculations so the executives will know what they’ll get for their investment in your training project.

Skip the storytelling that works so well at your peer-level team meetings. Executives simply don’t have time for it. Get right to the point, and do so with data.

Be careful with PowerPoint. Using PowerPoint in an executive meeting is a sure way to run your career into the ditch and lose support for your program. The C-suite wants a discussion, not a slide-driven lecture. In fact, Ned Barnholt, chairman of KLA-Tencor, says he doesn’t have confidence in a speaker who can’t talk without slides.

To increase your credibility with a C-level audience, decrease the number of presentation slides. When you are finished with the slides, ensure that the screen is blank—this will refocus the attention back on you.

Deliver with confidence

Strategy and content trump delivery style every time at senior meetings. Your delivery pales in comparison with the importance of your content.

However, executives have no time for poor presenters. They are looking for a confident, energetic, committed presenter, but not a slick, motivational, inflated presentation. Polish your basic delivery skills: practice eye contact, vocal projection, and gestures.

Stand tall and be expansive. Not only will such body posture show executives you’re a horse worth betting on, but it also affects your biology. A recent Harvard University study shows that physically filling space has positive effects on one’s hormones: The stress hormone cortisol decreases 25 percent while testosterone increases 17 percent.

Facilitate through improvisation

According to one CEO, “Eighty percent of your success at the top is your facilitation skills. Only 20 percent is your content.”

Facilitation includes listening and improvising. Listening means not only paraphrasing what people are saying to confirm your understanding, but also “reading the room.” As you present, watch the reactions of your executive audience. Be willing to address what you observe happening, and if necessary, take action to correct it. In a word, improvise.

Below are the most common facilitation challenges and the solutions.

  • Time cut. Be prepared with a shorter, five-minute version of your presentation.
  • Disengaged executives. When people start checking their email, reconfirm that the topic is still important.
  • Decision maker leaves. Before this person gets out the door, ask her what to do next, such as wait until she returns or move forward with the decision.
  • Topic change. Be prepared to improvise the agenda and change directions.
  • Side talk. Refocus the audience on the agenda. Request help from your sponsor or the most senior person.
  • Energetic discussion. When executives are fully engaged and throwing out new ideas, capture what is said and then reconfirm after the meeting.

Lessons learned

Years ago, when I sat at the table during my first executive presentation, I implied a peer relationship with the leaders. And when I ate one of the group’s snacks, I was driving nails into my own coffin. I was a “dead man walking” before showing my first slide—and I didn’t even know it.

Learn from my mistakes. Remember that you are a guest at the C-level meeting, not a member of this high-powered club. Know who is there, and their relationships with one another. Have a sponsor to help you out of any possible meeting train wrecks. Keep your questions focused and immediate and the PowerPoint slides to a bare minimum. Finally, constantly listen and improvise.

Had I known any of this at my first meeting with the general manager, I may have received support for that critical training program. With these tools, now you can improve your chances of success.

About the Author:

Rick Gilbert is the founder and chairman of PowerSpeaking Inc., a speech communications company  that has worked with Silicon Valley companies since 1985.  He also is creator of the award-winning program Speaking Up: Presenting to Executives,  and author of Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations. Reprinted from ASTD.org

 

 

Stand Out By Using These Visual Alternatives to PowerPoint

By Angela DeFinis

When it comes to visual aids for a presentation, what’s the first thing you think of? If you said “PowerPoint™” or “slideware,” you’re in the majority. That’s the default most presenters rely on. But the answers about visual aids that I’ve been getting from my clients recently (and what I’ve seen at their locations) have surprised even me.

For example, I was working with a client in June and walked into the training room to find a chalkboard and box of chalk greeting me.

A few weeks later I walked into a client’s conference room to find an overhead projector.

Last week I was walking down the halls of a large tech company and peered into a conference room. I saw two walls of whiteboard covered with neatly drawn flow charts, bullet charts, and various other schematics—in bright colors.

A few days ago I was working with a client who used colorful 3×5 index cards to organize his key points and deliver his presentation. He rarely uses slideware but relies instead on his conversational style and deep subject knowledge.

And just yesterday I watched a presentation where the presenter used a flipchart.

Thriving Without PowerPoint

So, when was the last time you used a chalkboard, an overhead projector, a whiteboard, a flipchart, or even no visuals at all?

These clients I visited from various industries and organizations—a dental school, a utility company, a software company, a transportation company, and a non-profit organization—all taught me a lesson.

It’s easy to become complacent and narrow-minded about the types of visual aids we use—or don’t use. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking that to be effective, a visual needs to be cutting edge and show off the latest visual gymnastics that PowerPoint can produce. And while I was at each location to share “best practices” and reveal the top design tips and staging usage, I learned that every one of these places and people were effective and had an impact because they knew their audience and used visual tools that they could relate to.

So when it comes to visual aid selection, here’s my best advice: Analyze your audience so you know what they expect and what will work for them. Then, understand the options available to you. Know what you are comfortable with and what will help you do your best to meet your audience’s expectations.

When you follow that guidance, you’ll be able to produce visual aids that help both you and your message come alive and connect to the heart and mind of every audience member.

About the Author:

Angela DeFinis is an industry expert in professional public speaking. As an author, speaker, consultant, and founder of DeFinis Communications, she has spent over twenty years helping business professionals communicate with greater poise, power, and passion. For more information, visit http://www.definiscommunications.com/

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