Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft PowerPoint’

Adding Sheen to Your PowerPoint Presentations

In Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on July 5, 2017 at 1:20 PM

It is fun to watch a professional make a presentation as their presentations go off (nearly) flawlessly and they look like they are having fun doing it. Audiences will make a connection between the professionalism of your presentation techniques and your overall competency. Here are a few tips on how to add professional sheen to your presentations that use PowerPoint (or Prezi).


Before your presentation:

  • Arrive early to set up and test your equipment. Make sure the images look good on the screen.
  • Set up your equipment with you laptop facing you. This enables you to see your show while always facing the audience.
  • Learn how to operate the lights and window shades before your audience arrives.
  • Place a black slide in your show before your first and after your last image. This allows your show to be up and running without your audience seeing your desktop or that embarrassing “end of slide show – click to exit” slide.
  • Ask your host to operate your equipment and handle the lights.
  • Have a backup plan in case there is equipment malfunction. You should be able to deliver your talk without your images.
  • View your show in a room about the same size as where you will be presenting. What looks good and readable on your computer screen will not appear the same when projected in a room.


During your presentation:

  • Always begin your talk with the lights on. Introduce your topic, turn the projector on and dim the house lights. At the end of the PowerPoint portion of your presentation, turn the house lights on before turning the projector off. This eliminates the audience sitting in the dark.
  • Stand to the right of the screen and be sure not to cast a shadow.
  • If you use a laser pointer, hold it against your body to steady it, shine it on the screen for a brief period and turn it off.
  • When using a pointer, ground it gently to the screen to insure everyone sees you point to the same place.
  • In case of a problem, calmly work through it without getting flustered. The audience understands and does not need to hear an apology.

If you want to be taken seriously, spend time on the small details of how you present yourself. presenting with your competency in your work.

Contact iSpeakEASY for information on workshops and coaching to improve your credibility through improved presentation skills.


© 2006– iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved. You may link to this article without prior permission. Written permission is required to reprint/reproduce this article in any format. Contact us for information.

The Good And Bad Of Visual Aids

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, Communication, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on April 3, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Your audience is 6 times more likely to remember what you say if you include a well-designed visual aid. We remember very little of what we hear, more of what see, and more yet of what we do. The more involved you get your audience in the presentation, the more attentive they will be and the more likely they are to remember what you say.

All presentations can be enhanced through the use of visual aids. Here is of some of the most common visual aids with their attributes and drawbacks.


  • Can be inexpensive
  • Audience members take it home
  • Easily customized to the group
  • Every person has their own
  • Can be distracting
  • Can be expensive
  • Some people take the handouts and skip the talk

Real Objects

  • Tactile and sensory
  • Memorable
  • Unbeatable in the proper setting
  • Interactive
  • Do not apply to all situations
  • May be distracting

White Boards/Flip Charts

  • Inexpensive
  • Changeable
  • Content is tailored to audience
  • Interactive
  • Makes audience feel “heard”
  • Requires good handwriting
  • May cause speaker to have back to audience
  • Hard to lug around


  • Powerful
  • Can be creative and fun
  • Animation makes it easy to highlight key points
  • Can reveal information bit by bit
  • Video and sound are easy to add
  •  Has a bad (and rightfully earned) reputation
  • Prone to being misused
  • Technical problems can be an issue
  • Overused
  • Requires special equipment

Visual aids are powerful additions to any presentation. Use the right one for your situation and you will have a more interactive and memorable presentation.


iSpeakEASY helps people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. Visit us at Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.

Making the Mundane Exciting and the Exciting Mundane

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on March 16, 2013 at 8:47 AM

I sat through two presentations recently. One was an exciting talk that held the attention and interest audience and when it was over, many individuals approached the speaker for more information. The second talk was a recitation of facts delivered in an accurate, but rather dry manner and when it was over, the audience quickly left their seats in search of food.

Onetax talk was on how to handle an IRS audit, the other was a guided boat tour of the wildlife of Humboldt Bay in Northern California.

Call me crazy – but the CPA speaking on audits was the better talk. It is not that her topic is more inherently interesting to me (which it is not); it is that she is a trained speaker. From the beginning she demonstrated how her topic was relevant to the audience, told stories, and used humor. She had a single, clear message that was easy to understand, an outline that was easy to follow, and a call to action.

The tour of Humboldt Bay was relaxing and beautiful – a fun experience without question, but the speaker relied solely on his encyclopedic knowledge of the cultural and natural history of the area to deliver an informative, yet incredibly uninspiring lecture. While the tidbits of information were interesting in themselves, there was no message, no story, and no call to action.  It was a long morning of somewhat interesting and unrelated factoids.

She was a trained and prepared speaker. He was a man with a lot of information.shorebird

Topics are not boring and beautiful scenery does not make a talk worthwhile. A good speaker makes a presentation.

As the naturalist on the boat demonstrated, it is not wise to assume that your knowledge of the topic will allow you to speak well. The CPA demonstrated that any topic can be exciting, if it is presented properly.

Learn to present well. It will make all the difference to you and to your audiences.


Related articles


iSpeakEASY helps people present information in an exciting and relevant manner. The CPA in the story is our client and the naturalist should be. Visit us at or Contact us for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

© 2013 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.


Create A Yawn Inspiring Presentation – Join Us For Speakers Night Out

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Communication, Education, executive coaching, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on February 15, 2013 at 10:10 AM

At iSpeakEASY, we are constantly looking for new and innovative way to help you, the busy professional or the fast-paced business owner be more productive when you speak. Speakers Night Out is a tool to help you improve your business.

Sometimes the best way to learn is by watching others.

Observihappy audienceng other speakers provides us with insights on what “works” for an audience. We view the presentation from the outside and are able to distance ourselves from the content. This helps us see what really works as a speaker while picking up valuable ideas on what we should do (and not do) when we are the one at the front of the room.

At Speakers Night Out you will observe a presentation and be asked to offer your professional insights. You will discuss the presentation with the speaker and other audience members and engage in a discussion on techniques of presenting well. You play two roles: that of the expert and the learner. Everyone participates – everyone gains.

The presentation is not a “pitch” for the speaker or a 10-minute commercial – it is an opportunity for the audience and speaker to engage in conversation on how we can all improve our presentations. In the end, the speaker walks out with a more polished presentation and you walk out with new ideas on your speaking.

As Michael Scott of Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company put it – “This is a win-win-win situation”.

But that is not all. There is more to the evening

The evening has three parts:

  1. A workshop to improve the effectiveness of your speaking
  2. An interactive activity with other professionals
  3. A presentation and follow up discussion

Participants at Speakers Night Out are actively involved– not empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge.

Click HERE to register for the next Speakers Night Out

We begin with a presentation by iSpeakEASY owner Ethan Rotman on “Creating A Yawn Inspiring Presentation”.

You will then work alongside other professionals and business owner to learn and network.

The final activity will be to observe a presentation by a client of iSpeakEASY.

All this in a short, fun, fast-paced session. You will leave smiling, full of ideas, and ready to approach your next talk in a new manner. You will have new skills to help you make your point and close that deal, get that client, convince that person to follow your lead.

We are so sure of the value that we guarantee it. If you leave dissatisfied, we will give you your money back

Monday June 10th

5:30 to 7:30 PM

Inn Marin, Novato

$35 advance, $45 at the door

Click here to sign up for Speakers Night Out

Three Things I Learned From This Speaker (and the one thing she was really trying to say)

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, Communication, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Uncategorized on November 7, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I learned three things from a speaker I heard at a workshop:

  1. Your credibility (and that of the company you represent) is on the line each time you speak.
  2. You may be full of passion, have a wealth of knowledge, and be the best at what you do, but this will be lost if you lack the skills to present these ideas.
  3. Your competitors gain when you have weak presentation skills.

While this was not her topic, this was the message she delivered. And she delivered it effectively and definitively.

It was very simple what she did and I am sure you could do this too (if you really want to). Here is how:

Start with a weak opening  

  • “I am sorry but I am not used to this microphone – can you hear me?”
  •  “The bathrooms are located…”
  • Talk about yourself and why you are qualified to speak

Demonstrate that your slides are more important than the audience

  • “If this was a smaller group, we would have time for you to talk and share. But since it is so large, I want to make sure we have time to go through all the slides”.
  • Speak non-stop for an extended period of time.

Say things that demonstrate you are not prepared

  • “Is the mic working?”
  • “wow – I have never seen that slide before”
  • “This group is larger than I expected “ (even though many seats were empty)

Demonstrate carelessness and lack of preparation:

  • Have your cell phone ring during the presentation.
  • Once it rings, dig through your bag to find it (curse for added effect)

Use poorly designed slides

  • “I know you won’t be able to read this but…”

Yes – the speaker really did all these things (and more) in one presentation. While her words told a story of the great services her company offers, her actions left a different impression.

Regardless how much new business her company may have gained as a result of this presentation, they would have gained more if they backed up their superior product with a professional presentation that enhanced their credibility. At the end of the presentation, there were still a lot of “undecided” prospects -there was still a lot of money on the table.

I hope you do better in your presentations than this woman and that you better match the words you say with the message you deliver.

Here are 5 fast tips to help you present well

  1. Start strong
  2. Pay attention to your audience and allow time for interaction
  3. Prepare. Walk through your slides and test your equipment
  4. Create opportunities for interaction
  5. Turn your phone off

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

Steps To Create A Yawn Inspiring Presentation

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2012 at 6:12 PM

Speaking Tip #83

Creating and delivering a yawn-inspiring talk is easy. So easy in fact, that 82% of all presentations reach this level*. With numbers that high, it is clear most presenters strive to achieve this status.

Here are six easy steps to help you create a yawn-inspiring experience for your audience:

1) Talk mostly about yourself – You are fascinating and everyone is interested in hearing about your life. Talk mostly about yourself and a bit about the work you do. Do not worry about relating anything to the audience. They are grateful for the opportunity to listen.

2) Use PowerPoint at its lowest value – Here are 3 pointers to use PowerPoint as a essential element of a yawn-inspiring talk.

  • Turn out the lights and turn on PowerPoint as soon as you are introduced. This will help you feel more comfortable as no one can see you.
  • Project your notes onto the screen and read them verbatim, preferably with your back to the audience. This allows the audience to both hear and see your presentation. Pictures are distracting and should be avoided.
  • Include complex graphs, tables, and charts in your presentation.

3) Build your presentation around several messages – Presenting a single message is risky as the audience may not like or agree with the message. Presenting several ideas allows each person to choose the message they like. A smart audience will be able to take your disjointed presentation and piece together what you are trying to say.

4) Display your superior knowledge at all times – Answer every question definitively, even if you are not sure you’re correct. You are the expert which is why you are the speaker. Having fast answers instills confidence in the audience.  If an audience member disagrees with you or questions you, it is ok to belittle the person.

5) Wing it – Don’t waste valuable time preparing your talk. Audiences love natural performances that flow. You know your topic well enough that you can just talk off the cuff and still inspire your audience.  Having a prepared talk will stifle creativity and lead to a stiff presentation.

6) Give lots of information –  Even though research shows audiences can only organize and remember 3-5 bits of new information at a time, your audiences are probably smarter than average and your topic is interesting. Give the audience a ton of data, facts, and concepts.

Yawn-inspiring talks require little effort to prepare and save time as the chances of being invited back to speak again are low. As most presentations already fall into this category, you want to position yourself to part of the pack.

© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

*Why Bad Presentations Happen To Good Causes: Andy Goodman, 2006. Request a free copy at

Call or email for information on how to create and deliver presentations that capture and inspire your audience.

A Powerful PowerPoint Tip – Presenters View

In BNI and Business Networking, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales on May 28, 2012 at 7:48 PM

PowerPoint’s Presenter View

Speaking Tip #81

Are you interested in moving your PowerPoint presentation from mundane to spectacular? It may be easier than you think. PowerPoint has a variety of tools built in that will help you do this. Most users never take the time to learn PowerPoint and subsequently create second-rate presentations.

PowerPoint’s presenter view is one of many powerful tools built into the program – yet few people know how to use it (or that it even exists!)

Presenter view allows you to see a different set of images and information than what you are showing your audiences. Imagine giving a presentation and while your audience is viewing your slide, you are able to quickly scan through the entire show or read your slide notes.

Presenter Mode allows you to:

  • Quickly black out of the projection screen while still viewing your screen
  • View thumbnails of the slides in show as the show is being presented
  • Navigate to a previously shown slide or skip ahead to any slide in the show
  • View the next slide in the sequence before your audience views it
  • End the show with a single click
  • Know the number of each slide
  • Read your speaker notes
  • See how many minutes and hours since you started the show (egad I hope you don’t need to know how many hours you have been speaking!)

Best of all, this is not an add-on or app – it is in the program you are running right now! The controls (buttons and icons) are all large so you can easily navigate even while speaking and using unfamiliar equipment.

Presenter view works on most current  operating system that supports multiple displays including Microsoft Windows® 98, Microsoft Windows 2000, and Microsoft Windows XP or later.

Your audience sees one thing and you see another.

Using Presenter View

To use presenter view, your computer must:

  • Have multiple monitor capability.
  • Use an operating system that supports multiple displays, such as Windows XP, Windows 98, Windows 2000 or later
  • Have multiple monitor enabled in the Control Panel
  • Have Presenter view turned on

To turn on multiple monitor support and presenter view:

  1. Connect a second monitor (or projector) to your computer
  2. In PowerPoint, on the Slide Show menu, click “Set Up Show”.
  3. Under “Multiple Monitors”, select the “Show Presenter View” check box.
  4. Go to Control Panel, click on the display icon. Under “Settings”, click on “Multi-monitors” and select the monitor you want your “show” to appear in.

When you start your show, your show will be projected on the monitor (or screen) you selected while presenter mode will appear on your desktop.

It is really that simple! Imagine the possibilities!

iSpeakEASY offers coaching and workshops to help you create and deliver spectacular presentations with PowerPoint. Call today to ask about “PowerPoint: The Basics You Never Learned”.




© 2012, iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved

This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

It Is Pretty, But Does It Work?

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking on September 20, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Recently, while delivering a presentation at a workshop, I had a brainstorm on how to redesign a single slide so it would be more effective.  That evening, I spent 2 hours creating the new and improved slide.

I proudly showed my new creation at the next session of the workshop. Attendees viewed the original slide a week earlier. I wanted to gain feedback while demonstrating the proper process for slide testing. I explained the intended message as we reviewed the original and the new, improved slide.  During the ensuing discussion, I was politely informed that the new slide did not carry the impact of the original graphic. Participants suggested ways to modify my new slide to make it more effective, or at least make it work. I went back to my computer and at the next session I presented the revised slide and again asked for feedback. The unanimous response was my original slide was the most effective at conveying my point.

While I admit being disappointed with the response, the experience highlights the value of field testing slides.

Two ways to evaluate your slides

The Easy Way Is To Do It Myself

I evaluate my slides in one of two methods: The easiest method is to simply look at the slide myself and

see what I think. The other method is to show the slide to another person and see what they get out of it. The first method is by far easier and it takes little time or effort. The drawback is that I am testing the slide on some one that already knows what I am trying to say (that would be me), so I already know that I understand it.  What I gain in ease is lost in effectiveness, as my workshop attendees demonstrated.

The second method is harder, requires more time and effort, but provides better information. This method is especially useful if the slide is tested on a member of my target audience.

The best method for you depends on the slide and how important it is to get your message across.

Who is the expert: Me or my audience?

The Effective Way Is To Ask An "Expert"

Going back to my experience, using the first method of slide evaluation was my easy choice. I was very proud of my new creation as it was visually pleasing, simple, yet included cool animations. It fit my branding very well, an added bonus.  It was also inferior at making my point. The second method of evaluation was more difficult – it involved communicating with people and LISTENING to their words, even when I did not want to hear what they had to say.

I am back to using my original slide. It is simple, easy to understand, and most importantly – effective. It says to the audience what I want them to learn.

While it may appear I netted zero for my effort, the reality is I learned a lot. It reinforced the value of listening and demonstrated clearly the process I follow works.

I will keep my new slide. Maybe I can use it elsewhere.


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.

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.

9 Steps To Create Effective PowerPoint Slides

In Business Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, Social Media, Uncategorized on May 31, 2011 at 8:09 PM

A properly designed slide is legible, interesting, and easy to understand. It contains one main idea and uses PowerPoint to add emphasis to the spoken word. Use these steps to design effective slides.

1    Identify a single objective for each graphic

What do you want the slide to show?

2    Reveal new information slowly

Use animation to show new data one piece at a time.

3    Determine the type of image you need

What is the best image to convey your point? Pick what is ideal, not what you have. You can find a picture of just about anything. Create your own graphs and charts rather than using an image created for another purpose or in another program.

4    Design the general layout

Place objects so the eye can flow left-to-right and then from top to bottom.

5    Use color to highlight your slide

Limit the slide to two or three complimentary colors in addition to black and white. Use bold colors to focus attention to your main point.

6    Select a font that is easy to read and reflects your message

Select a sans serif font (i.e. Arial or Comic Sans) which is easy to read from a distance.

 7    Use animations and special effects sparingly

Keep the focus on your talk. Save bold movements to add special emphasis and interest.

8    Check for design flaws

Project the image on the wall. Stand in the back of the room and see if it is readable.

 9    See if it works

Show the slide to colleague – then turn it off. Ask what they remember.

Use your imagination. Experiment

CLICK HERE for information on upcoming workshops including how to create effective PowerPoint.


© 2010 – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided by iSpeakEASY. We help people profit from their words.

Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.