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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the February 2008 Newsletter

Power Up Your PowerPoint

Most of us have experienced the “Death by PowerPoint” presentation. The experience can be so painful you might even have sympathy for the perpetrator. (There but for the grace of God, go I.)

In the December newsletter I suggested taking note of good advertising techniques to spiff up your closing words. And, once again, consider how all that money spent on TV ads can come to your rescue when you’re designing your slides.

Preparing and organizing your slides can certainly be time consuming.
But it takes very little time to prepare your thinking for more effective slides by watching effective commercials.

Then, when the presentation really matters, you’ll be prepared to design slides that: 1.) support and communicate your point effectively, and 2.) keep your audience alive.

To do this, you can’t Tivo out the ads while you watch the tube. Think of those TV spots as free design seminars, full of ideas for you to understand and adapt for your own purposes.

Consider these creative inspirations:

Commercial Sponsor/Message:

Grant Thornton Accounting: Visually looks gray denoting the serious side of accounting. Shows pictorially what the words portray. And ends up with a flair (red rose against gray ad) and the tag line includes, "a passion for accounting."

Kaiser Permanente: All their ads are upbeat and focus on wellness: "We believe in broccoli." The music to "Stayin Alive" plays while lively senior dances down the street. A chunky young boy who’s no longer living a decadent life.

FloMax: Voice over describes the medical problem while showing middle-aged guys happily kayaking, bicycling, and river rafting.

MasterCard Instant Savings: A piggy bank follows the card user as she shops, travels, stays at hotels.

Most of the cell phone ads visually make their point about reliability and coverage; and note how investment companies so cleverly illustrate the benefits they sell.

The lesson to be learned? Pay more attention to commercials from the point of view of the principles involved and see how you can adapt the concepts in your slides.

Take a tip from those commercials to see how you can visually support your point and get your audience to remember it. The ultimate purpose of a visual aid is to generate an "aha."

If your slides are actually visual, aha is more likely the response that you’ll get from your audience. Words . . . and Heaven knows, bullet points . . . aren’t visual. Leave out as many as you can. Your audience will follow their "ahas" with "Thank Yous!"

First Person

Leslie Frank, Bodyscape Integrative Physical Therapy

“I love helping my clients become more flexible and mobile; I donít love speaking. When I accepted an invitation to speak to a college audience about a favorite topic of mine, I was torn between my desire to help and my dread of speaking.

“Your coaching was right on. After we scrapped my slides and created a story about the content, it became much easier. It was a mixed audience made up of people interested in the science of the subject and others who just needed to identify the symptoms if they were exhibited in their classroom.

“With your approach (and my passion for the subject), I had compliments from both parts of the audience saying I kept their interest as well as learning something.

“Thanks for your help and guidance.”

How to Wrap Up Quickly?

Dear Barb: “If youíre running out of time, how do you wrap-up without cutting out info?”

Well, you can’t actually do that. Sometimes it’s a matter of better planning. But there are other factors: previous speakers ran too long, the boss has something else to do, or some other unknown.

One point to remember is that most people don’t know or care if you leave something out. And if they do, they’ll ask questions, in which case the running over is their fault. Or they’ll ask after the meeting.

Planning ahead would include organizing the talk to be shorter than the allotted time and organizing it in chunks that can be included or not, based on the time.

I always have a large schoolroom type clock placed where I can easily see it so the time is never a surprise. That way I can include or omit topics or examples according to what I see on the clock.

If you suddenly find out you’re running out of time, do not speed up; you’ll lose credibility instantly and look out of control. Instead, pause and decide what take away message you want to leave them with.

Look at them and deliver it with complete focus.

Quotes to Make You a Better Speaker

“Great ideas start with completely unrealistic thoughts.” —Markus Mettler, The Brainstore

“Them thatís going, get on the wagon. Them that ainít, get out of the way.” —The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., quoting a Georgia preacher.

“Truth is shorter than fiction.” —Danny Thomas

“Your chances of success are directly proportional to the degree of pleasure you derive from what you do. If you are in a job you hate, face the fact squarely and get out.” —Michael Korda

“A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled.” —Sir Barnett Cocks

For more great quotes, check out these websites:


Think gifts. Someone you know is going to be giving more presentations soon. Give them a practical gift that will make those presentations easier and more effective. Learn more or Order Online.

"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking...and More" by Barbara Rocha 208 pages, illustrated, cartoons $19.95

Audiotape or CD ROM
The "Getting Over Yourself" book on audiotape read by the author ($17.95) or CD ROM ($19.95).

Booklets by Barbara Rocha:
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"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
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"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to frequently asked questions"
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"Love to Talk/Hate to Speak: Selected articles by Barbara Rocha"
121 pages

Speeches on Tape:
"From Bored Room to Board Room" $10.95
"Stand Up and Stand Out" $10.95

"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking" featuring Barbara Rocha in excerpts from her book, seminar classes and interactive coaching. VHS $99.95

Learn more
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Call (888) 800-2001
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Write: Bouldin Hill Press at 17-555 Bubbling Wells Rd., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241


**How to Overcome the Stress of Public Speaking
Pasadena: 3-day workshop October 25, 26, 27, 2010.

We have two public seminars each year: May and October/November. If you have several people who could use this training, contact us regarding an in-house seminar.

As a refresher, workshop graduates (from any of our 3-day workshops) may attend for half price at any time. People tell us they get as much or more out of the workshop the second time around.

Visit our seminars section for details or call (888) 800-2001

For more information, contact:

Barbara Rocha and Associates

PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116

(626) 792-8075

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