PowerPoint Presentation-Will You Slide to a Make-or-Break Moment?

You are facing the decision-makers who can put a lucrative contract in your pocket. You are about to get your PowerPoint presentation rolling. It’s a make-or-break moment. They have been pitched to with PowerPoint from other companies with big reputations and experienced sales departments but they are interested in you and your company. Will the weeks you have put into your preparation pay off?

Let’s rewind a few days and look over your shoulder…

While we watch, you fire up PowerPoint and head for your previous best presentation. Skip to slide 2. It is headed: ‘We have the best solution for your needs’. Great start! But then you begin to think…they don’t know us yet, so I’d better tell them who we are and what we have done for other clients. You delete the out-of-date bullets and start typing. Bullet 1… Bullet 2… Ah! You hit Bullet 8, and the text shrinks so that it is too small to read. Easily solved! You start a new PowerPoint slide and carry on.

Three slides later and you’ve completed the list. What’s next? A diagram! You set to work on slide five…

Lets press ‘Stop’ on that scene and consider the slippery slope you are on.

PowerPoint’s slippery slope

You moved off down the slope by making the assumption that because bullet points are the default slide mode in PowerPoint, they are the way to go. A quick web search will find you lots of reasons for not using bullet lists (or PowerPoint at all) but the most important is that audiences have become ‘blind’ to bullet lists and switch off when they see one. Its not called ‘Death by PowerPoint’ for nothing!

You picked up speed with the second assumption, that PowerPoint is easy. It’s a common trap when people have had little or no training. And most of us haven’t.

You rushed towards the PowerPoint abyss when you went off the point of the objective and turned it into information about your company; not about your potential client’s needs.

PowerPoint success factors

Lets rewind to a different scenario…

Long before firing up PowerPoint you consulted colleagues. Together, you constructed a shortlist of reasons why the company you will be pitching to may be letting the contract. You’ve identified how your company can meet their objectives in a unique and advantageous way. Based on this, you’ve mapped out the structure of your PowerPoint presentation. Its also what you did to put your successful proposal together.

Yes! Your first PowerPoint success factor was the realization that your presentation does not need to tell them anything new. Its purpose is to remind them why they were interested enough in your proposal to ask to see you. Watching you manage your PowerPoint gives them an opportunity to assess you and to prepare questions. It’s a test masquerading as an information-giving session!

Your second PowerPoint success factor comes when you recognize that the people you are presenting to are not interested in what your company has done for other clients. They only care about whether you will solve their problem better than anyone else. So put your company information in a handout, not in your presentation.

Your third PowerPoint success factor is that your presentation is going to keep your audiences attention and focus them on your message with more impact than your competitors. To do this you have invested in some good PowerPoint training. It is not difficult to find, but be aware that the learning curve has only just started when you are taught how to apply PowerPoint animations!

Eight stages of personal PowerPoint development

There are at least eight stages of development people go through if they are persistent with PowerPoint:

1) Using Microsoft wizards and templates.

2) Introducing animations and graphic elements, such as clip art.

3) Discarding clip art in favor of photos.

4) Experimenting with PowerPoint’s more advanced features, such as multiple template masters.

5) Going minimalist or rejecting PowerPoint altogether for fear of getting it wrong.

6) Introducing storytelling techniques to structure presentations.

7) Developing new graphic approaches to the expression of ideas.

8) Getting right the balance between 5, 6 and 7.

If you can get to the sixth stage your confidence will be greatly increased and so will your chances of having ‘make’ rather than ‘break’ PowerPoint moments.

Get to the eighth stage and you will be head and shoulders above your competitors!

Save Money by Shopping Early For Christmas Presents

Do you know that by doing your Christmas shopping early, you save money and there will be less stress on your health? Maybe you are thinking that by shopping closer to Christmas may help you to save money. According to studies, you actually become more panicky and spend more and experience more stress. As a result, you could not really enjoy the holiday. Here are some points you may want to consider as to why you should start shopping early.

- By starting your Christmas shopping early, it gives you sufficient time to budget your gift-giving list and have a clear idea how much you will be spending. At the same time, you are constantly looking out for gifts while you are doing your regular shopping. Thus, you have more time to pick up better gifts for your recipients.

- Very often, last-minute shopping will result in you over-spending because you are short of time and are desperate to buy a gift. Waiting until the last minute will not bring you cheaper gifts and you may actually pay more for the gifts or miss someone out from your gift list.

- Looking out for online bargains from eBay and merchants’ websites can help you to save. By starting early, you can spend time to find bargains from the Internet and enjoy cheaper or free shipping instead of paying more for rush delivery.

- Giving Christmas presents is meant to be a happy, warm and well-thought gesture and it is not the result of last-minute panic purchase. Most people do not want a gift that is purchased just for the sake of “giving”. By starting early, you have the time to think through what to buy for your recipients and come up with a better gift list.

- If you are mailing Christmas gifts to friends or family, it is a good idea to mail them early so that you are assured that your gifts will reach them on time for Christmas.

Once you have completed your Christmas shopping early, you can definitely have the time to relax and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones without having any shopping stress.

Amazing Present Ideas For the Holidays

It’s that time of the year again, the holidays are here! The nights become brighter as people put up their festive lights, and all the decorations really bring about the holiday cheer! We all get together with family and friends to really enjoy each other’s company with lots of wonderful food. It’s a great time of year to make memories, and don’t forget the presents!

Gifts are great, but they also create some extra stress for a time of the year that can already pile it on. After all, we have to focus on cooking and entertaining friends and family on top of everything else. And then, we have to get the “right” gift for our family and friends, and sometimes coming up with an idea can be difficult. Especially when you only have a couple of weeks to figure out what you want to buy them. Luckily, whether you need a big gift, or just a small stocking stuffer, this article has a great idea for you: stuffed animals. This is a present that can be great for any age, especially around the holidays.

Stuffed Animals for Kids

Getting a plush toy for a child is something of a no brainer, after all, traditionally toys are for children. And stuffed animals in particular are great for kids. They give them something fun to play with, and let them learn about animals. They can even be a great substitute when mom and dad don’t want the child to have a real pet. A lot less mess, but still a lot of fun! Even though it’s the age of technology, stuffed animals will never go out of style, and they will certainly continue to help children jump start their imaginations.

Stuffed Animals for Teenagers

Teens are the consumer generation, and there a ton of items marketed to them, but this just gives you too many choices. Make things easier by giving a stuffed animal. There’s a lot more to plush toys nowadays then just the small, traditional teddy bear. For teens, one good idea is to get them a gigantic plush toy. These big stuffed animals can be around 5 feet tall, bigger than some people! These can be a particularly great gift for a teenage girl. Not only does the sheer size of the toy make it a “wow” gift, but it becomes a conversation starter when anyone else sees it. Just imagine her bringing a gigantic teddy bear to college, her dorm mates would want to ask about it and it could be a great icebreaker. Plus, something nearly her size could become a good friend, and keep her from being lonely. That way she’d have something soft to hug when she is upset. A gigantic stuffed animal can really be a fun, and unusual gift for a teenager. Consider one the next time you have to buy a present for someone in this age group.

Stuffed Animals for Adults

It may seem like toys are an inappropriate gift for an adult, but this is not the case at all. Many adults actually collect stuffed animals, so if you have someone who’s a collector it should make things easy. But even if they are not a collector, a stuffed animal can still be a great gift for an adult. Nowadays, there are many plush toys that are made to look realistic. This realism makes them a great item that can be used in decorating a home. It could give a little something extra to a living room or a home office, just for a few examples. For example, a natural appearing stuffed animal could give a home an exotic look. Or if the adult has an African theme for a room, a stuffed lion could be the perfect addition. Or maybe they have a vacation home on the ocean, gift them with a plush dolphin to add some life and color to the d├ęcor.

So as you can see, stuffed animals are a great way to avoid holiday shopping headaches. They are appropriate for all ages, and lots of fun too! Plus, they are guaranteed to make everyone smile! Remember, when you’re stumped on your holiday gifts this season, consider a stuffed animal for those of all ages.