Spice Up Your Presentation With Quotations

Add one or a few quotations to your presentation to make it more entertaining and insightful. Your quotation might spur your listeners to think or laugh. Sprinkle lightly like pepper. Use a quotation that emphasizes or clarifies your message.

Here are three sources you can search for quotations:

Quote a Famous Person

This is the most common method. Be sure to quote from a person who is well known and well liked by your audience. That ensures that the quotation lends more weight to your message.

Name the person who said it. Don’t pretend to be the source of that phrase and don’t make your audience guess. An appropriate quotation helps you tap into the credibility of the person who first spoke that piece of wisdom. Select the right quotation from Albert Einstein and it sounds as if he agrees with you.

Avoid repeating the overused quotes. It looks bad when speakers are using the same quotations. If most people have heard the quotation several times you appear unoriginal in your thinking.

Instead, search for a quotation that is not so well known.

“I went to the gym on the days that I felt like it and I went to the gym on the days that I didn’t feel like it.” Muhammad Ali

Quote a Client, Colleague or Industry Expert

Another source of valuable quotations could be your clients – especially if you are talking to your staff or company colleagues. You could use praise or complaints.

The company or association founder could be a source of colorful insights. But don’t just look to the leader for words of wisdom. With a little research you might uncover hidden gems from the janitor or the guy on the loading dock.

“We hurry to ship it out and it comes back on the next truck. Why not get it right the first time?” Truck Driver

The Twist

A third variation is to take a common phrase or quotation and twist it. This technique can add an engaging element of surprise and humor to what might have been a dull presentation

“He who laughs – lasts.”

Children will offer you useful twists as they rephrase the words they hear and describe the world as they see it.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some email.” 4 year old girl

How to Deliver the Quotation with Drama

Pause just before you deliver the line and just after. While you are stating the quotation, shift your stance so you look slightly different and alter your voice a bit. Then resume your previous stance and voice to demonstrate that you are back to your own words. You don’t need to deliver a perfect impersonation of the person. Just make the little shifts. Those tiny changes will help the audience perceive you as the character you are quoting. It adds drama to your presentation and makes your message more memorable.

What if you can’t remember who said it or you’re not sure if you’ve got the words right? Then preface the line with, “As my grandmother used to say…” No one will get annoyed with your grandmother for altering the line.

The right quotation and appropriate source can inject spice into your presentation. It will help make your message more engaging, insightful and memorable.

“All we have to fear – is being boring.”

How to Make a Good Sales Presentation Great – The Role of the Presenter

A presentation is a performance. And while it may be true that some people are naturally better performers than others, it is also true that a few solid presentation techniques along with some serious practice can transform an ordinary presenter into a masterful one. And to achieve mastery, you must first understand your role as a presenter. So, here’s the score.

When faced with a major sales presentation–or even a minor one–it’s common practice for presenters to prepare by cramming as much “stuff” as they can on their PowerPoint slides. These presenters believe they need all that “stuff” to persuade the audience to make a buying decision. They are convinced that their role as a presenter is just to spit it all out. Big mistake!

The reality is, when you take center stage at the front of the room, when you turn on your computer to turn on your PowerPoint, your job is to turn on your audience. All the content in the world will not do that for you. It’s your presence that counts–because people buy from people they like. So it’s your job as presenter to be likable.

Simply put, as a presenter, your role is to be the star of the talk show. When you shine, you are likable. And when you are likable, your audience turns on to you and to the product or service you are selling.

That’s not to imply there is no place for detail. Of course there is. But it’s not on the screen. You wrote it in the proposal that got you to center stage in the first place. It goes in the handout you pass around just before the Q&A so you can refer to it when appropriate. It may also be in the promotional materials or brochures you leave behind.

So, let’s examine what great performers do and how, as a presenter, you can do it too–because great performers have several key traits in common, traits that make an audience tune in and turn on day after day or week after week. These are the traits that turn good performers into stars.

Now, I’m not talking about actors who skilfully deliver their lines in a play or a movie. The performers I mean are talk show hosts or news anchors or MCs who keep an audience listening to every word or keep a game show moving right along. Nobody expects you to become the Howie Mandel of the presentation circuit or the Oprah Winfrey of PowerPoint, or even the Anderson Cooper of the sales pitch. But you can learn a lot from them–and you should.

Great talk show hosts and great performers exude energy. They are not rooted to the spot like potted plants. They are not drones or automatons reciting memorized lines. They use their hands and their bodies like real people do when they are speaking to friends. Even when they are stuck behind a desk or perched on a stool, their energy is obvious. You see energy in their demeanor and you hear enthusiasm in their voice–because they know that energy is engaging. An audience responds to energy with excitement of their own–and that makes for a winning arena.

Great talk show hosts and great performers are passionate–and it shows. Politics aside, compare Obama’s smile to McCain’s and you’ll instantly know what I mean. Think of the contrasting styles of their delivery–one comfortable and easy and warm, the other not. When it comes to presenting, you want your warmth and passion to show. You want to look comfortable so your audience feels comfortable with you. Eliminate anything that gets in the way of your ability to be warm and likable and passionate so you can become the star performer you have always wanted to be.

Great talk show hosts and great performers connect with their audience. They make great eye contact — with individuals they may be interviewing or with the camera–and they smile often and talk naturally. They use what I call “shirtsleeve English.” They don’t search for fancy phrases in an attempt to dazzle their audience with ten dollar words when a fifty cent vocabulary does a better job. They talk to express–not to impress–and so should you.

Great talk show hosts and great performers understand how to use props. Since the star is the focus of the show, every prop they use–whether it’s a map or a phone or a graphic visual–is a support for their performance, not a replacement for it. Translated to a presentation, that means your PowerPoint should enhance your performance, not provide reading material for your audience to focus on while you are trying to hold their attention. I’ll say it another way: you are the presentation; your PowerPoint is a prop. Do not use PowerPoint as a crutch because it impedes your ability to star.

The very best presenters warm up their audience right from the get-go and you can learn more about that later in my article on presentation openings. But for now, practice getting these performance techniques right and knock ‘em dead. Stand in front of a mirror and catch yourself being natural. Videotape yourself as you talk through your material and check to be sure you are smiling often, speaking with energy and enthusiasm, moving your hands and your body like a real person with something fascinating to impart.

When your goal is a great performance, you can’t afford to play it by ear. You must hit the right notes–and deliver with style and flair. That’s the score.

How to Effectively Present All of Your IT Skills

Effectively present all of your IT skills with the IT Technical Skills Summary – an exceptionally powerful document that should form part of every resume submitted.

The IT Technical Skills Summary ensures that every IT skill you have acquired – computer software, computer hardware, applications software, and so on, will be indexed in resume databases or viewed by hiring managers or recruiters. It will prove to be a valuable tool in helping you to get the job interview that will lead to the right job.

The layout uses 4-columns to allow you to effectively present a complete, quantified, qualified, very easy to read, summary of the IT technical skills and experience that you have acquired over the course of your career.

The 4-column layout enables an employer to quickly scan, in a matter of seconds, the complete document to see if you have the technical skills and experience that they need.

Resume databases are used by most recruiters, headhunters and employers. Every word – every skill – that is included in a resume is indexed when your resume is added to the database. If the skill or experience is not inlcuded in your resume because you have edited your resume down to one or two pages then vital skills that may get you interviewed are missing.

The IT Technical Skills Summary ensures that your resume is database ready and that each and every skill that you have worked so hard to acquire will be indexed when your resume is entered or scanned into a resume database.

When is searched is done for a required skill, or set of skills, your name will be part of the top search listings – if your skills match the skill-set needed.

Your acquired skills are what make you unique and of potential value to an employer. Differentiate yourself. What is considered an acquired skill? Just reading a book about something does not count as an acquired skill.

Generally, to be considered “acquired” the skill has been used in a work environment, in unpaid work done for a volunteer organization or learned through formal instruction in a school, college, university or on-the-job training. Of course, there are always exceptions and the skill could have been acquired through self-study and work.

People are constantly bombarded with the idea that a resume should only be one or two pages long. Nonsense. The number of pages required will depend on how long you have been working and how many skills you have acquired. The greater the number of years worked and the greater the number of skills acquired, the more pages required.

It cannot be too long if the IT Technical Skills Summary includes the skills that you have acquired over the course of your career.

You need to present your skills so that employers and recruiters know that you have them. You have worked hard and made a large investment of time and money to acquire your skills.

So get out your pen and begin to write down every skill that you have acquired and prepare your own IT Technical Skills Summary.

Richard E Ward is a Sounding Board, Communications Consultant,Guide who uses his eclectic experience in life, business, government and holistic healing to help his clients. He has more than 40 years experience as a personal coach, guide, sounding board, author, political organizer, communications consultant, business owner, headhunter and shamanic practitioner.