Thousands of presentations later and I still get that pit in my stomach every time I step on stage to present. Though I wish I could say after a while it just goes away the reality is that presentation anxiety is an emotion most great presenters experience. I would argue it is completely normal for someone to experience anxiety before stepping in front of a group of people. We are after all humans and the opinion of our peers matters deeply to us.
The difference though between an average presenter who is overwhelmed by the anxiety of a presentation and the best presenters in the world is that when they anxiety comes; the best presenters know how to deal with it. How to leverage the anxious energy and put it to use in their presentation.
Here are three simple tips to overcoming your presentation anxiety.
Master Your Breathing
According to psychology today breathing is a vital piece in harnessing our anxiety and using to propel us forward. However, it is important to know what kind of breathing we should be doing to fully harness our anxiety. We have all heard the saying take deep breaths. It is usually used when a person is struggling to get enough air or is experiencing panic of some kind. While taking deep breaths is important, according to anxiety today it is more important to take slow breaths when experiencing anxiety. Slowing down your breathing slows your heart rate and calms your nervous system which is responsible for your fight or flight response. It will help you appear calm and collected as you present your content.
As a national level athlete, I learned the importance of visualization when it comes to harnessing anxious energy. According to an article written by the Calm Clinic visualization is the act of imagining yourself in a peaceful and safe environment – a place that makes you relaxed and happy. Though at first visualization can feel awkward and unnatural it is powerful when it comes to calming and harnessing anxious feelings. Visualization acts as break for the anxiety, it gives you a quick retreat before stepping on stage to deliver your presentation.
Anxiety causes a lot of nervous energy to run through our body. This is in large part due to the adrenaline that is being produced when our body is experiencing anxiety. What happens is all that energy needs an outlet. It is why you see people’s hands shake when their nerves are high, or a person that can’t sit still in the middle of a panic attack. Simply put you’re their bodies are being overrun with energy. That is why if our goal is to harness our anxiety rather than fall victim to it, we have to move when we feel it coming on. Go for a walk, jump up or down, maybe even grab a jump rope and jump for a few minutes. As you begin to move the excess energy will leave your body. You will start to feel calmer and more prepared to step in front of your audience.
Presentation anxiety is real, and it is powerful. However, it does not have to be crippling. Putting into practice these three simple tips will help you to not just overcome presentation anxiety, but instead to harness it for the good of your presentation.
Want to know more about how to deliver a great presentation. Check out the Presentation Mentor online course and sign up for our next presentation mentor online course.
Have you ever sat through a presentation and wondered if it was designed by your grandma? Or maybe you yourself have been the culprit, delivering a slide deck that lacked energy and enthusiasm. No matter how engaging you are as a person, if your slides do not pop off the screen, chances are your presentation will not be as effective as you hoped.
As presenters, many of us settle for lackluster designs in the hopes that we can make up for it with our humor and smile. But the reality is that an engaging presentation design is a vital part of the presentation package.
But don’t worry. By implementing these 4 easy tricks you can create not just an engaging presentation design, but one that pops off the screen and leaves your audience wowed.
Elevate your text using icons.
At Ethos3, we talk a lot about the importance of minimizing text on the screen and replacing it with visuals. While this is ideal, it is not always possible. Sometimes you simply need to have more text on the screen. By using icons in tandem with your text, you associate a visual representation with the written word which will help to anchor the thought in your audience’s mind. Next time they see an image similar to that icon, your content will pop in their mind, creating a lasting message.
Class up your content with a simple border.
Adding a simple and clean border around your slides or text is an easy way to add a classiness to your presentation. It draws your audience’s attention to what you have placed value on and subconsciously places an emphasis without your ever having to say a word. It is vital that this border be simple and clean with a contrasting color to make it pop. Too complex, and you risk your slides becoming busy; not contrasting enough, and the border will be lost within your slide and ultimately wasted.
Use one point per slide.
In an effort to keep the overall slide count down, you may be tempted to add multiple points to a single slide. While this helps with the number of slides, it hinders your audience’s ability to retain what you are presenting. Chances are, if you find yourself with cluttered and confusing slides, your audience won’t pay any attention to them, and all that hard work will be for nothing. By keeping to one point per slide, you will keep your slides clean, simple, and easy to follow.
Stick to photos with similar filters.
Stock photography is a vital tool for anyone looking to design a slide deck. But with so many options, it can be easy to end up with a presentation that lacks cohesiveness. Selecting photography that has a similar filter will keep your design clean and connected with minimal work on your end. At Ethos3, we recommend starting with photos that represent your brand and then selecting photos that support those elements while sticking to the same filter. This ensures that the stock photography is supportive of the overall look and feel of your brand.
Designing a clean presentation that pops does not have to be difficult. By implementing these 4 tricks, you will not only wow your audience but you will increase retention as well as long term engagement. The average person listens to a lot of presentations over their lifetime; make sure yours is one they actually remember.
Don’t have time to worry about design? Let us do it for you. Contact the team at Ethos3 today to find out how we can help.
I remember the first time I rolled out a new deck to a team of young professionals. I arrived at the boardroom armed with a clean and classy new presentation that I believed would help take our team’s sales to the next level. I was confident that my team would love the new deck as much as I did. As I began to unveil the new deck, I could see in their faces that they were unenthusiastic about what I was sharing. The look in their eyes said they had no desire to learn a new pitch; after all, for some of them, the old one was still working well.
The day I rolled out that new deck to my team, I knew I had blown it. I had allowed my excitement to rush the process and, as a consequence, I left my team feeling blindsided and run over. I had an agenda and goal, but I had failed to take the time needed to communicate that to my team.
Did you know that only 40% of the current workforce can actually communicate the goals of their company? As a manager, if you rush the rollout of your new deck, you feed this statistic and run the risk of creating confusion among your team.
When it comes rolling out a new deck, the way you roll it out is just as important as what you have created. Being armed with a sleek design does not mean you should run straight to your team and tell them you are changing everything. Take time to come up with a plan, and then execute that plan accordingly to get them on board.
Here are a few signs that you’re rushing your rollout:
Your design is not complete.
It may or may not surprise you, but often, managers get ahead of themselves when it comes to rolling out their new deck. They take their first or second draft and decide that’s enough to show their entire team. When this route is taken, your team’s first look at your new deck is bound to be an incomplete one. This can often lead your team to not liking your new deck or feeling like it is a poor replacement for what you already have. You want your first impression to wow them, so take the time to ensure your concept and design are both complete before rolling it out to your whole team.
Presentation Tip: During the revision process, hire a copy editor to run through your content. They will ensure your content is clean and grammatically correct, which will add an extra layer of professionalism to your presentation.
You have not allowed time for feedback.
Feedback is a critical step in creating and rolling out any new deck. It’s easy to overlook mistakes or second-rate sections in your design when you are the only one that has looked at it. As a result, the deck you roll out could look sloppy and unrefined. Make sure that you allow time for feedback and revisions before you show your team. A big step in a complete design is getting another person’s feedback. This will ensure that any error has been caught and your presentation looks professional and pulled together.
Presentation Tip: Allow someone from outside of your company to provide feedback on your presentation. By having someone from the outside look at your deck, you will catch any confusion in your content that may be overlooked by someone with inside knowledge.
You don’t have a strategy.
When it comes to rolling out a new presentation, it’s crucial to be strategic. It’s also easy to allow the excitement of something new and shiny to interfere with creating and executing a thought-out strategy. If you find yourself rolling out a new deck without a strategy, chances are you are rushing the process. Think about all the factors, like who you will tell first, how you will tell your team, how will you collect feedback, and so on. Slow down and think through each step – not just steps 1 and 2 but the entire process all the way to completion.
Presentation Tip: Write it down. By writing out your strategy, you ensure that anyone can implement it. Change happens, and if the only strategy for the roll out exists in your head, the project could get derailed if there’s ever a period where you’re not available.
You only have one shot to introduce your presentation to your team; don’t risk blowing it by rushing the process. Create a plan and execute it as intended. If you’re intentional about rolling out the new deck, you’ll ensure a smooth and professional roll out the first time.
At Ethos3 we believe in empowering presenters to win not just on presentation day but throughout the entire process. Contact us today to find out how we can help you succeed.
“You can leave a comment in the box by the bathroom if you’d like.” That was the response I received after a particularly poor experience with a potential vendor. As I slid the feedback into the ambiguous box, it felt a bit like it was disappearing into the abyss. Will they ever read it? Do they really care? Why did I waste my time? I still don’t know if my input, which I considered valuable, was ever heard or addressed.
Feedback is a vital part of any new roll-out process and should be present at every step of the design process for a new presentation deck. But what we do with the feedback as managers is almost as important as collecting it in the first place. A quick way to lower team morale and hinder your overall effectiveness is to get bogged down, overwhelmed, and frustrated with all the different feedback you are taking in.
We’ve found a few easy ways to manage and implement effective feedback:
Weigh the feedback.
Throughout the process of creating a presentation, you are going to be hearing from a lot of different voices. When it comes to new things, people always seem to have an opinion. The trick, however, is to figure out which voices should be heard. An easy way to do this is to weigh the feedback coming in.
Presentation Tip: Before you even start the process, take time to think about all the different places you may receive feedback from. Then sort them from highest to lowest priority based on the factors that are most important to your mission.
This may seem cold and impersonal, but it is important to know which voices to listen to before you start the project. By doing this ahead of time, you free yourself up when the pressure is on and you are trying to sort through all the information.
Keep things organized.
When it comes to a new deck, it’s easy for feedback to get cluttered and drafts to get mixed up. Before you start down the design road, come up with a process for managing feedback and revisions. Decide on the collaborative software you will use ahead of time and stick to it. Along with a great collaboration software, labeling files clearly is vital to your success at managing feedback.
Presentation Tip: As a remote team at Ethos3, we spend a lot of time collaborating digitally. We have found Google Drive and Dropbox to be a clean and easy way to keep track of all of our revisions and edits.
Feedback and revisions can get complicated. Start with a plan, and see it through to the finish. It will serve you well in the long run.
Be ready to make a final decision.
One way to guarantee a stalled project is through a lack of decision making. As the owner of the presentation, the buck ultimately stops with you in regard to your new deck, which means at the end of the day, the final decision is yours. Once you have done your due diligence and gathered all of your feedback, it is time to make some decisions and trust your instinct.
Presentation Tip: Typically, your first gut reaction will be the best reaction, so trust your gut and embrace your instincts.
When it comes to launching a new presentation, or initiative it is important that you can stand behind your work. Handling feedback with care will give you the ammunition needed to own your decisions should any questions arise. This also allows you to not only defend controversial decisions, but also to inspire trust that you have put in the forethought at each stage.
Unsure where to start for your next presentation? Contact the team at Ethos3 today to find out how our team of experts can take your presentation to the next level.
As a presenter, it’s your job not only to share your ideas but to compel your audience to action. Once you understand yourself, you must focus on understanding your audience and what they need to leave them feeling empowered and ready to take action.
The key to engaging your audience and moving them to action is your ability to build and maintain trust. In fact, studies show that 79% of buyers say it is vital that they purchase from a trusted advisor rather than an unknown sales rep. Increasing and maintaining trust can be a challenge, especially in a short presentation, but the team at Ethos3 has put together what we call the 6 I’s to help you do just that.
Increasing ideation is based on answering the question “Am I adding value?” Your audience is spending their valuable time to listen to you. If you want to become a trusted advisor, you must make this time worthwhile for them. In order to use this time wisely, make more “deposits” than “withdrawals.” A deposit is any time you add value to your audience, where a withdrawal is anytime you ask something of your audience.
Quick Tip: If you are delivering a sales presentation, be sure you still outweigh your withdrawals with deposits. Use your presentation to share your content and make one large ask at the end that moves your audience to purchase rather than constantly asking them throughout.
The quickest way to lose your trust with an audience is by sharing false or inaccurate information. It is also important to ensure everything you share with your audience is citable and moves your audience forward in the process of engaging with you.
Quick Tip: If you are delivering a data-heavy presentation, be sure to create engaging visuals rather than bullet points as this will lead to increased information retention.
Influence focuses on the delivery of your presentation. Influence must be earned with your audience, and the key to doing this is by preparing well. Preparation ensures that on delivery day, you are ready and equipped to influence your audience with the authority you carry.
Quick Tip: Practice 7-8 times in full before each presentation to ensure you’re fully prepared to step on stage.
Another word for integrity in this context is authenticity. When a presenter is able to present themselves in an authentic way, they move from speaking at the audience to speaking with the audience. This not only increases likability, but it also builds trust with the audience. In our social media culture, audience members have gotten great at spotting falsehood a mile away, so don’t risk it. Embrace who you are and live that on stage.
Quick Tip: Be yourself no matter your audience. If you try to cater your personality to your audience, your integrity will slip and their trust will be limited.
Measuring impact is based on whether or not your audience left feeling moved by what you have shared. Are they ready to invest, get involved, or buy based on what you have shared? When you are able to leave your audience impacted, you quickly become a trusted advisor and the expert on what you are sharing.
Quick Tip: Reading the room is key to delivering an impactful presentation. By paying attention mid-presentation, you will be able to make changes on the fly.
Once you have built trust with your audience, it is time to invite them to take a next step. A strong ignition is based around a powerful call to action. Failure to make a call to action results in a missed opportunity for prolonged engagement with your audience. However, taking the time to craft a call to action allows you to ensure that your relationship with your audience doesn’t end with the presentation.
Quick Tip: When writing your call to action, consider using the word “because”. According to a Harvard study, using this specific word increases likelihood of engagement to 94%.
Your audience is the most important part of your presentation. Understanding who they are and developing trust gives you a leg up on your competition and the ability to move them to action.
Want to learn more ways to elevate your presentation skills? Check out the Presentation mentor online course today.
Creating visually compelling data may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to modern technology, there are tons of free tools to help you create custom graphs and infographics. All it takes is a little time online to find the right tools for your need. Before you set out on your search for the right tool, be sure that you have collected all your data and selected the best layout to deliver your data visually. By preparing ahead of time, you will be able to compare your data and needs against each of the free resources.
Canva’s infographic maker includes hundreds of free design elements, allowing you to experiment with data visualization like a pro. Canva’s infographic designer is built around 4 easy-to-use steps:
Step 1 – Change the image.
Step 2 – Change the fonts.
Step 3 – Change the background.
Step 4 – Change the colors.
After working through Canva’s 4 easy steps, you will be left with an eye-catching, shareable, and easily digestible infographic for your next presentation.
Visme promises to help you “speak visually.” This free tool includes over 100 free fonts, millions of free images, and thousands of quality icons. You even have options to include video and audio (with a built-in voice over recorder). Visme is trusted by over 1.6 million marketers and organizations worldwide and has earned a reputation for helping companies tell visually compelling stories through facts and figures. Visme follows a simple 3-step process:
Step 1 – Get a head start: Tap into professional templates or create your own custom infographic.
Step 2 – Create infographics with ease: Visme gives you everything you need to populate your infographic.
Step 3 – Edit & Customize: Adjust text, colors, backgrounds, and more.
Visme comes with the largest capability of editing and is sure to leave you excited about your newly visualized information.
With just a few clicks, Piktochart enables you to turn boring data into engaging and easy-to-digest infographics. Piktochart prides themselves on being a simple and intuitive tool that will help you and your team tell great stories with the visual impact they deserve. Built to help you at every step of the way, Piktochart is based on a 3-step process:
Step 1 – Pick a template
Step 2 – Make it yours
Step 3 – Share your work
With a turn-key process, Piktochart is sure to leave your audience wowed by your visually impactful data.
With these easy-to-use free tools, you can take your boring old data and turn them into compelling visuals all from the comfort of your computer. No longer do you need to settle for chart builders or stock features; with these tools, you can create custom designs for no cost at all.
Don’t have time for design? Contact the team at Ethos3 today to find out how we can help.
Understanding who you are as a presenter is arguably the most important step in developing your presentation skills. Self-awareness allows you to create a presentation that is customized to your specific strengths and weaknesses as a presenter.
We at Ethos3 have created a proprietary presentation persona assessment called Badge – think of it as the Meyers-Briggs for presenters. Badge is based on a 4-quadrant system that allows you to identify not only your strengths and weaknesses as a presenter, but also the audiences with which you will thrive and the audiences who will make you struggle.
If you have not taken Badge yet, go ahead and take 10 minutes to discover your profile now!
Once you know your profile, take a look at this quick guide to help you understand a little bit about what your presentation persona means based on each quadrant.
Quadrant 1: Exploration
Exploration looks largely at how you prepare, plan, and practice for your presentation. If you score high in the exploration quadrant, you probably love to research, learn, and develop your content based on science and facts. If you score low in this quadrant, you are likely to rely on your natural instinct and charm rather than putting in a lot of research and practice.
Quick Tip: The more work you do ahead of time, the easier it will be on delivery day. Whether you love preparation and practice or not, embrace the benefits of being well prepared on event day.
Quadrant 2: Sharing
The sharing quadrant is based largely on how you look on stage. If you score high in this quadrant, you are likely to feel confident on stage with minimal nervous ticks. However, if you score low in this quadrant, you may suffer from presentation anxiety or struggle to deliver the impactful content you have created.
Quick Tip: If you lack confidence in your delivery, focus on your body language. If you can portray confidence and charisma in your body language, your audience is more likely to buy in to what you are presenting.
Quadrant 3: Response
The response quadrant shifts the focus from you to your audience – it looks at how your audience engages with your message. If you score high in the Response quadrant, you are likely to see large numbers of engagement from your audience. If you score low in the response quadrant, you might be delivering impactful content, but it’s not moving your audience to action as effectively as it should.
Quick Tip: If you struggle to gain engagement, be sure to include clear next steps for your audience. Think about these steps prior to creating your content so that everything you do is pushing to them.
Quadrant 4: Durability
The Durability quadrant looks specifically at your content and its ability to be remembered in the long term. A highly durable presentation will be remembered for years after it is delivered (think of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous I Have A Dream speech). On the other hand, a low durability presentation is often forgot within weeks of delivering (think of a standard sales pitch).
Quick Tip: If your presentation lacks durability, try adding impactful stories and engaging visuals to increase information retention. Using visuals to communicate facts and figures is proven to increase your audience’s retention by 42%.
Understanding who you are as a presenter is the best place to start as you prepare for your next presentation. By understanding your specific strengths and weaknesses on stage, you can plan ahead for any difficulties and leverage your skill sets to your benefit.
Looking for a more in-depth explanation of your Presentation Persona? Register now for the Presentation Mentor online course.
According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 70% of employees are disengaged at work. As disengagement arises productivity falls and your bottom line will begin to slip. As a leader it is your job to create buy in from your team that will keep them engaged not just in their role but in you.
Buy in from your team means that they will stand behind you and as their leader and will fight to stay engaged. If your team is bought in they are far more likely to engage with any project you give them which will lead to the results you are looking for.
Here’s how to tell your team has not bought in:
Are they distracted at work?
Do they talk to each other and not to you?
Buy in matters, and if you have experienced one or more of the above scenarios, it’s time to take a look at why your team is not on board.
Start by looking inward.
When met with pushback, it’s easy for the first reaction to be defensiveness. When your team is hesitant towards you, your instinct will likely be to take it personally and believe it must be their fault. But the truth is, as a leader, the first step to gaining buy in is to look inward. Take a self-inventory of your leadership abilities and see if there is something you are doing that’s hindering your team’s buy in.
Presentation Tip: If you find yourself questioning your team’s support start by asking them how they feel. A easy way to gain real time feedback on how your leading the is to create a task force made of up several team members who have the freedom to speak openly how they feel and how the team feels about your leadership and communication. It is important when selecting these team members that you choose people that you work well with as well as team members who you may not always see eye to eye with.
Creating this task force may feel uncomfortable but it will help you to drill in to what might be hindering your team from buying in to your initiatives. Often, the symptom is only part of a bigger problem. If they don’t love your new deck, it may be time to look into your overall relationship with your team.
Explain the why.
Often, managers forget that the why is important. With the never-ending list of tasks and responsibilities, it’s easy to overlook the importance of looping your team into what is going on. If you notice a lack of buy in from your team, the solution may be as simple as explaining the why behind what is going on. Crafting your why is important. Whatever you do, don’t just say “Because I said so,” or you’ll never get your team on board.
Presentation Tip: Here are a couple ways to ensure your why leads to buy in.
Lead with the expected outcome.
Share the behind-the-scenes story.
Craft a clear reason.
We all know what it was like as a kid to hear “because I said so” from a parent who didn’t feel like explaining their decisions. That answer is not only frustrating, but it’s also downright discouraging; it communicates that the other person’s thoughts are not valid and their opinion doesn’t matter. You may feel as though you don’t need to run your decisions by your team since you’re the decision maker, but if you make them feel important and valued as part of the team, they’ll get on engage with you and your future decisions long term.
Allow your team space to give feedback.
As a manager, you feel the weight of any project you’ve been assigned. You know that, ultimately, you will be responsible for whatever the outcome. But not allowing room for your team to provide feedback is a sure-fire way to ensure your team will question your efforts and question the new deck. By not allowing them to speak to the new deck, you’re letting them know that you don’t care what they have to say.
When it comes to team feedback, you have to be intentional with how you collect it. For example, allowing an open forum for 30 of your top sales associates to give you their feedback is probably going to result in a frustrating scenario. However, using something as simple as an online questionnaire can allow you to identify overarching themes and get a pulse on how your team feels about the new deck. In return, simply giving your team the opportunity to share their thoughts allows them to feel heard and valued resulting in a win-win scenario all around.
Presentation Tip: Check out these platforms to create an easy-to-use feedback questionnaire:
Good old fashioned pen and paper survey
Buy in from your team is a key aspect of leading and communicating well. When your team feels appreciated, heard, and empowered they are far more likely to be on board with any decision you may bring to them. Which will ultimately drive their engagement and lead to greater productivity.
Looking to learn more about how to communicate well check out the Presentation Mentor online course today!
Did you know that users on Instagram pore through 80 MILLION photos every day? Couple that with the fact that visual content is now 40x more likely to be shared on social media, and all of a sudden, the emphasis on creating engaging visual content becomes critical.
But sometimes as a presenter or thought leader, you don’t know where to begin with creating engaging visuals to post. With complicated software and limited time availability, we see many presenters settle for text-based posts rather than creating compelling infographics that will actually be seen and understood.
The good news is you no longer have to be confined to those complicated pieces of software; instead, with a few clicks and some creative use of templates, you can use your everyday PowerPoint software to create a compelling visual that can be used across all your platforms.
Check out this step-by-step guide about using PowerPoint to create your next visual.
Step 1 – Select an engaging template.
By selecting an engaging template, you allow PowerPoint to do the leg work of creating a base for your design. Since your goal is visual engagement, select a template that catches your eye. Unlike when creating a slide deck, select a design that will stop users from scrolling past while avoiding confusing clutter and busyness.
Step 2 – Add your chart.
PowerPoint has a great built-in chart function. All you need to do is select the chart that’s best style for your infographic and input your data. It’s important to note that you must have access to Excel as well to use this function. It’s in Excel that you’ll insert your specific data points which will then translate to your PowerPoint chart. Unsure of what type of chart to select? Click here to find out what we recommend.
Step 3 – Insert your text.
Once your chart is in place, it’s time to add header text as well as quick summary text. Since this infographic will not be presented live, it is important to give some context to the chart you are displaying. Your content should not be overwhelming or excessively wordy – just enough to engage your reader and lead them to a place of engagement with you. If posting your infographic to social media, we recommend using the caption to give a more in-depth explanation.
Step 4 – Export your infographic.
It’s time to turn your infographic from a slide deck to an engaging visual that can be shared across many platforms. There are two options for export and which you select depends largely on your targeted use. If your intention is to post to social media, then you will want to export as a JPEG file; however, if you are looking to share this infographic via print or even in an email, it may be better to export as a PDF.
The process for JPEG and PDF are largely the same:
Name the file
Select the location
Select the file type (JPEG or PDF)
Step 5 – Confirm final product.
Once you have completed the export process, open your newly created infographic and confirm that everything looks great. On occasion, a file can get skewed during export, so be sure to check all of your numbers and formatting.
That’s it – you’re done! With these 5 simple steps, anyone can design an engaging infographic to share with their audience across any platform.
Don’t have time to design your own infographic? Contact the team at Ethos3 today to find out how we can help.