Excerpted from the Winter 2002 Newsletter
Maybe you noticed a cover on Presentations magazine that said:
"PowerPoint: Why we love it. Why we hate it." That's not a bad
relationship for you to embrace with this ever present and overly
I'll not go through the many pluses and minuses discussed in the
magazine, reasons you may have already thought of.
Instead, I'll focus on a basic risk PowerPoint poses: planning the
slides before planning the talk.
PowerPoint is seductive because it offers an easy fix. It's siren song
leads us happily to crash upon the rocks of too many slides
containing too much information and too many words, that don't
necessarily make our point.
Its easy fix calls to us, "Just open the program, follow the prompts
and voila! A presentation with slides."
Perhaps that's true. That is, maybe it's a good way to help you focus.
If you fill in all the prompts, it can help you get started on your
Unfortunately, although you may have a presentation outline, the
process usually doesn't result in effective slides.
You may have a much better idea of what you're going to cover. You
may have an outline. You may have handouts. You won't have visual
Perhaps, if the presentation isn't a high level go-for-broke This Is
Really important presentation, some of those slides -- after heavy
editing -- may actually be okay to use.
It's a cart before the horse thing. Rather than starting with the slides,
start with what you want to say, whom you want to say it to, and
Think about your audience in relation to your subject and what you
want or expect them to do with the information. Organize your
thoughts and then decide which ideas would be clearer or more
memorable with a slide.
Visuals should be chosen for their ability to highlight certain parts of
your message. Therefore you have to know what your message is and
to whom it's being delivered before you know what needs to be
clarified or highlighted.
So go ahead and use PowerPoint. And if you take charge of it,
deciding how best to make your point, you can take advantage of
what it has to offer you AND have effective visuals.
If you've attended many presentations, you've observed a variety of
visual aids and a number of things you've liked and disliked about
1. What is the most effective presentation you've seen using visuals?
2. What is the worst experience you've ever had or seen regarding
To be included in the official results, please send your responses to
Barbara@BarbaraRocha.com by December 18
Joanne Myers, Industrial Hygienist, State Compensation Fund: " The
message I got from your class is that if you focus on your audience,
in effect love your audience and try to project that love to them, you
will be much less nervous. Maybe that is the same as 'Perfect love
casteth out fear'? I really did learn from the class I took from you."
Greg Games, Regional Sales Manager, Verizon: "I'm much more
comfortable BREATHING at the lectern -- thanks to you!"
Mike Kairis, Project Manager, Turner Construction: "While I was
initially skeptical of the styles you suggested in our Train the Trainer
sessions, I have been able to develop and incorporate techniques that
are in line with my personality - techniques that have proved to be
both beneficial to those I teach, as well as to me individually.
"I would encourage all of your students to openly consider all of the
techniques presented, no matter how weird or quirky, in an effort to
formulate and develop their own style of presentation skills."
While I'd rather not think of it exactly as weird or quirky, it's true
that certain aspects of training do take people out of their comfort
zones. But, as Mike says, it's all designed to give you the freedom to
be yourself when you're in front of a group. Short term discomfort in
exchange for long term freedom.
Sayings to weave into presentations
"Only those who risk going too far will ever know how far they can
"If you think you're too small to make a difference, you haven't been
in bed with a mosquito." Anita Roddick
"You never saw a fish on the wall with its mouth shut."
"You are the only person on this earth who can use your ability."
"If there's no wind, row."
"Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge."
"We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not be the lights of
every passing ship." Omar Bradley
"You can't base your life on other people's expectations."
"Courage is very important. Like a muscle, it's strengthened by use."
"The man who has no imagination has no wings." Muhammad Ali
"You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you
don't try." Beverly Sills
"Pride is tasteless, colorless and sizeless. Yet it is the hardest thing to
swallow." August B. Black
"A ship in a safe harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built
for." William Shedd
"Money will buy a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his
When technology fails
"What do you do when your equipment fails? Do you mention it to
Anything the audience is aware of that goes wrong should be
acknowledged. It's not what goes wrong, it's how you handle
whatever it is.
As a matter of fact, you'll get more good will from dealing well with
the malfunctioning equipment than you ever would from a smooth
It's clear to most people in your audience that using technology
during a presentation is the digital equivalent of walking a tightrope
over Niagara Falls. So, it isn't a shock when something doesn't work.
It is a welcome relief, however, when the presenter graciously and
unselfconsciously says, "Well, apparently we're not going to be
looking at these great slides on the screen, today. But let's take a
moment to pass out hard copies [and then redirect them to your
Or, perhaps, "I don't know who let Murphy in here, but let's take a 5
minute break while we try to get him to leave."
You're acknowledging what they already can see, and showing them
that you're in control. And that's a relief to most audiences.
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
"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:
$9.95 each (+$1.50 Shipping and Handling)
"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to
frequently asked questions"
"Love to Talk/Hate to Speak: Selected articles by Barbara
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
Call (888) 800-2001
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
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
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