Your speech should not be fighting against your PowerPoint slides

Your speech should not be fighting against your PowerPoint slides

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How many times have you been asked to give a speech and the way that you got ready for it was to sit down and create a whole bunch of PowerPoint (or Keynote) slides? Yep, I’ve done the same thing. Hopefully we all know that a speech is really so much more than just a bunch of slides. However, the slides that we use can help to make our speech that much more effective. How can we create slides that will help, not hinder, our next speech?

6 Tips For Making Better Slides

It is possible to give a speech without using any slides. Given the importance of public speaking, this is the right way to start to think about your next speech: how would I do it without any slides? Once you can picture what this would look like and you’ve got your speech built, then it’s time to come back and start to add slides.

The purpose of using slides in your next speech needs to be to make a great speech even better. Each slide that you show to your audience needs to enhance the point that you are trying to make in your speech at that time. You don’t want to confuse your audience and you don’t want to take away from what you are trying to communicate.

Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when you are deciding how you want the slides that will support your speech to look:

  1. Keep It Simple: The PowerPoint tool comes with a lot of options that can be used to add cheesy effects to any slide. Avoid the temptation to dress up your slides using all of the tools at your disposal and instead keep your focus on simple basic designs. Your audience will thank you for this.
  2. Make Your Text Easy To Read: Yes, I know that you have a virtually unlimited number of fonts that are available for you to use, but don’t. Instead, choose to use sans serf fonts (the simple looking ones without the fancy details). The best fonts for use with a PowerPoint slide include Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri. These fonts tend to be the easiest to read on screens.
  3. Use Decorative Fonts Sparingly: I know that I can’t talk you out of not using all of those fonts that you have at your fingertips, so let’s see if I can get you to use them only occasionally. Try to use decorative fonts only for slide headers, and then only if they’re easy to read. Generally speaking, decorative fonts are hard to read and should only be used for large headlines at the top of the page. I recommend that you stick to a classy serif font like Georgia or Baskerville.
  4. Love That Contrast: The worst thing that you can do is to put dark text on a dark background or light text on a light background. Instead, put dark text on a light background. It turns out that this is the easiest to read. If you have to use a dark background (if your company uses a standard template with a dark background) make sure your text is quite light (white, cream, light grey, or pastels) and maybe increase the font size.
  5. Stay Out Of The Middle Of The Road: When you are adding text to a slide, you are going to want to align your text to the left or to the right. Centered text is harder to read and looks amateurish. Align your text with a right-hand or left-hand baseline – it will look better and be easier to follow.
  6. Reduce, Reduce, Reduce: Always make sure that you avoid clutter. Keep the amount of material that you have on a slide to a minimum: a headline, a few bullet points, maybe an image – anything more than that and you risk losing your audience as they sort it all out.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers, our goal is to be able to connect with our audience. It takes a lot of effort to create and deliver a speech. We want to maximize the impact that our speech is going to have. PowerPoint slides can help to make our speech do a better job of getting our point across to our audience and enhance the benefits of public speaking.

However, if we aren’t careful, our PowerPoint slides can both distract and confuse our audience. That’s why we need to take the time to create slides that will work with our speech, not against it. We’ve discussed 6 different tips that will help us to make slides that will complement our next speech.

Making high quality slides that act as an effective part of your next speech does not require a degree in art. Rather, what is required is an understanding of what it is going to take in order to connect with your audience. Use these tips and watch your next set of PowerPoint slides help your speech to become even more effective.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should put any text on your next set of PowerPoint slides?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

We all share the same goal: we’d like to be able to deliver a great speech. However, in order to do that, a number of different things have to come together at the same time for us. These include such things as having a good speech, having a receptive audience, and just a little bit of luck. I can’t do anything about that luck thing, but I think that I’ve got a few suggestions that will help with everything else.

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A speech that sells, has to be designed to sell

A speech that sells, has to be designed to sell
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Aren’t all of our speeches about trying to make the world a better place? Because of the importance of public speaking, isn’t our #1 goal just to share the information that we have with our audience? Well, no. More often than not, when we give a speech what we are really trying to do is to sell something. It turns out that in order to do this correctly, we need to know how to create a speech that sells. Let’s take a look at what we need to be doing…

A 5-Step Plan To Create A Speech To Sell

As a speaker, if you plan on delivering a speech in which you want to sell something to your audience, then you are going to need to have a plan. Geoffrey James is a journalist who knows something about selling. He has created a 5-step plan that you can use the next time you have to create a speech that sells.

  1. Create Credibility: Your past experiences are going to count for a lot with your audience. When they are trying to make up their minds about whether or not to buy what you are selling, a major factor is going to be your personal credibility. This is going to be based on what you’ve done in the past. Do you have a successful track record of solving problems like the one that they have or is this your first time out? The more that they believe in you, the better your chances of making the sale are.
  2. Your Product Must Help Them Change The World: If you are going to get your audience to invest in what you are offering to them, then it’s going to have to get them excited. Buying is a very emotional process and so your speech is going to have to be able to reach out and connect with them on an emotional basis. They are going to have to feel that if they get your product, they are going to be able to change their world.
  3. Create Unique Stories: Every person in your audience is unique. What this means for you as a speaker is that you can’t just tell your audience one story and hope that it will convince everyone to buy your product. Instead, you are going to have to tell the same story in several different ways during your speech in order to find ways to connect with as many people in your audience as possible.
  4. Remove The Doubt: Once your audience members have made up their minds to buy your product, fear and doubt will start to crowd into their minds. They’ll start to think of reasons why buying your product won’t solve their problem. You need to anticipate this happening and take steps to deal with it during your speech. You need to provide your audience with answers to their problems and objections long before they even think of them.
  5. Momentum Sells: In order to get your audience to agree to buy whatever you are selling, you need to get them used to agreeing with you. This means that you need to take breaks during your speech and ask them if they agree with what you have shared with them so far. As you approach the end of your speech, you can ask for the next step “… are you willing to sign up today?” Do this and you can use the momentum of your speech to cause your audience to buy right then and there.

What All Of This Means For You

Many of us don’t consider ourselves to be “in sales”; however, we are often asked to give a speech whose purpose is to sell something – an idea, an approach, or maybe even a physical thing. When we are placed in this type of situation, we need to know how to go about creating a speech that can sell – this is one of the benefits of public speaking.

It turns out that there is a 5-step process for creating speeches that sell. The first step is to make sure that you have credibility with your audience. Next, you need to make sure that you are presenting your audience with the “next big thing”. Every audience is unique so you’ll have to adapt your speech to your listener. As you tell your speech, look for ways to make buying less risky for your audience. Finally, in order to convince your audience to buy, you are going to have to find a way to create momentum.

Creating a speech that contains all five steps is not easy. However, by taking the time to do so, you’ll create a speech that sells. This means that you can develop a reputation as a speaker who can convince an audience to make a purchase. This will make you a very valuable speaker indeed.

- Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Can you think of anything that you can do before your speech starts in order to boost your credibility?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
 
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How many times have you been asked to give a speech and the way that you got ready for it was to sit down and create a whole bunch of PowerPoint (or Keynote) slides? Yep, I’ve done the same thing. Hopefully we all know that a speech is really so much more than just a bunch of slides. However, the slides that we use can help to make our speech that much more effective. How can we create slides that will help, not hinder, our next speech?

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