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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the Winter 2002 Newsletter

Before PowerPoint

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 used software.

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 presentation.

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 aids.

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 why.

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.

Survey questions

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 them.

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 visual aids?

To be included in the official results, please send your responses to Barbara@BarbaraRocha.com by December 18

Dear teach

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!"

First person

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 go."

"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." Ruth Gordon

"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 tail."

When technology fails

"What do you do when your equipment fails? Do you mention it to the audience?"

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 presentation.

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 point].

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 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:
$9.95 each (+$1.50 Shipping and Handling)
"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
103 pages

"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to frequently asked questions"
154 pages

"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
Order Online
Call (888) 800-2001
E-mail: BouldinHil@aol.com
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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