Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Getting Straight With Visuals Aids

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Increased sales, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

A picture is worth a thousand words

My chiropractor did an excellent job today. Better than what he did to my body – it was the way he explained the issues through visual aids.

As he spoke, rather than just relying on his words, he had an array of visual aids ready. As he explained the possible issue with my back, he held up a model of a spine, showed me the parts and how they were supposed to work, and what he thought was going on in my back. As he twisted the model, it all made sense to me. He then stepped to a poster on his wall and showed me another possible ailment – seeing the diagram helped me quickly understand what a “disc” is, how it functions, and what happens to make it hurt.

On another wall, he had a diagram of the recovery process. It seemed complicated but rather than explain all of it to me, he simply showed the part of the process important to me: where I was and where I hoped to be.

Now think back to a time you visited a Doctor or even your car mechanic. As they explained the problems using only their words, did you find yourself glazing over, not understanding, but agreeing to what they said just because you did not want to appear ignorant or hear it again?

Visual Aids Add Meaning To Your Words

Visual aids are powerful tools that help make your point. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words – well so are models, sketches, posters, and even hand-drawn diagrams. The next time you have to explain a process or outcome, think of a way to include a visual aid. Is there a model, a poster, a picture, a diagram that can get your point across? If you can do this, you will find it easier to discuss your topic with your audience and they will more readily understand the concepts.

A picture (or model or diagram or poster) really is worth a thousand words and, let’s face it; no one wants to hear those thousand words anyway.

Dr. Doug DeSalvo
is a chiropractor offering help with pain relief, weight loss, auto accident treatment, neuropathy treatment and more. Dr. DeSalvo is a graduate of the  Speakers Academy (but that is not where he learned to be a Chiropractor!) Learn more about Dr. DeSalvo by clicking here.

iSpeakEASY offers workshops on effective use of visual aids (including PowerPoint). CLICK HERE for information.

© 2011 iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. Links encouraged, reprinting, copying, or reposting requires permission of iSpeakEASY.

Can Your PowerPoint Pass The “Coffee Test”?

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on August 18, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Guest Author Bruce Gabrielle

Want to build a presentation that will grab attention and hold it until the end? Want to make sure it goes viral?

Then don’t build slides until they pass the “coffee test”. The coffee test comes from Robert McKee, author of Story. His advice to screenwriters: don’t spend 18 months writing a screenplay until you know it’s a winner.

Here’s how. Take your friend out for coffee and tell them your story in about 5 minutes. What is their reaction? Are their eyes wide? Their mouth hanging open? Is their coffee now cold because they’re hypnotized by your words? Then you have a winner. Go home and write your screenplay.

But if they’re bored. Distracted. Their eyes are listless, drifting to see who is coming in the door next, if they’re fidgeting, then you don’t have a winner. Go home and work on it some more.

Same with your presentation. You want to captivate your audience? Make them hungry for more? Then take someone to coffee and tell them the story of your presentation. Then you’ll know if it’s time to start building slides, or keep working on your story.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations.  You can read more of his writings at

iSpeakEASY offers workshops on how to create and deliver Effective PowerPoint Presentations. Click for information.

Not All Information Is Created Equal

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media on August 14, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Speaking Tip #17

Think back to the last time you ate at a buffet: did you scan ahead to see what was offered other than the food in front of you? You were probably thinking you have a limited amount of space in your belly and should fill it with those things most important to you. While you may have appreciated the abundance, you did not place equal value on all the choices. You took some of one dish while ignoring others completely.

Information is like this: some is very important to us while other information is of lesser value.

As speakers, we often feel the need to tell everything we know on a subject. We feel we are cheating, or not telling the whole truth, if some bit of information is left off. “Data dumps” tend to overwhelm, overstuff, or just plain bore the audience. Rather than going away with more information, listeners check out, and retain less.

It is up to you as speaker to determine which 3-5 bits of information are essential to your point. The most important info may vary from situation to situation even though the topic is the same. The objective of your talk, the audience, and what you want the audience to remember will determine which information is critical. Everything else should be left out. While this may seem hard, your audience will appreciate your efforts. You will make it easier for them to understand and retain the information you give them.

It is hard to cut information out of your talk. The goal, however, is to awaken and provoke the audience. If there is something not covered that is of interest to them, they will ask.

As you plan your next presentation, whether it is to a large group or one-on-one, take time to scan ahead at the great buffet of information ahead of you. Select what to say and what to leave out. This will help your audience remember your message while reducing the chances of overstuffing them.



© 2007 – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words. You may link to this article but need the permission of the ower to reproduce, copy, store, or otherwise transmit. Call or email for information on workshops or individualized coaching.






The Windfalls of PowerPoint

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media on August 2, 2011 at 9:46 AM

The Windfalls of PowerPoint

Speaking Tip #19

Chances are you have seen more poor uses of PowerPoint than you have good ones. Most people fall into the “Pitfalls of PowerPoint”* while neglecting the “windfalls” the program offers. The “pitfall” is italicized while the corresponding “windfall” is in regular text.

Too Much Text – Use Images To Illustrate Your Words

A picture, graph, clip art or even a shape can convey your ideas. If you feel drawn to words, write them down and then imagine a way to say the message graphically.

Reading The Words On The Screen – Let Your Audience Do Their Own Reading

Your slides should illustrate your point, not be a repeat of what you are saying. If you use text, allow your audience to read for themselves.

Overdoing Special EffectsUse Special Effects To Highlight Special Points

Use special effects as you would an exclamation point: sparingly. Choose subtle, rather than dramatic, slide transitions and entrances as much as possible.

 Not Letting The Speaker Be The FocusLet The Speaker Shine!

You are the main attraction, not your slides.  Impress the audience with a well-organized and presented talk. Your slides are support, not the entrée.

Graphic Mergers Create Sharp Graphics With Colors That Work Together

Design your slides so that colors are complementary and distinct. Choose colors that work together well and are distinct from each other.

Distracting BackgroundsSelect Templates Carefully: Create Custom Backgrounds

Let your images be the focal point, not the background. Use the bold templates sparingly: Use subtle backgrounds to compliment your images.

Text Too SmallUse Few Words In A Large Font

Pare down sentences into concepts.  As a rule of thumb, use a font that is 48-points or greater.

Poor ImagesUse Quality Images

Decide the perfect image to make your point. Utilize free clip art and photos or purchase a graphic image program. Be sure to project a high-quality image.

Use these windfalls to help you deliver a brilliant presentation that shines!

A Workshop To Help You Improve Your PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint: The Basics You Never Learned  is a 3 hour workshop that helps you design and deliver effective presentations using PowerPoint. This session covers how to properly design slides, create readable graphs and charts, avoid common blunders, and deliver PowerPoint like a pro. Click HERE for info.

* “Pitfalls of PowerPoint”, © 2005 Verbal Victories, Dr. Jon Hooper

© 2007 iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. Links encouraged, reprinting, copying, or reposting requires permission of iSpeakEASY.