Keeping it Structured – 3 Steps to a Better Presentation Structure

How many times have you asked yourself during a presentation “wait a minute, how did we get here”? That question is the result of feeling lost in the presentation and not necessarily because you were dozing off. A well thought-out presentation structure will help you keep your listeners on track and make your presentation that much stronger.

One of the inherent problems with a slide-based presentation program like MS PowerPoint is that takes you visually from one picture to another, breaking up the various pieces of content. It’s easy therefore for inexperienced users (and even some old pros) to concentrate too much on the content of the individual slides and to give less thought to slide order and transition.

A good presentation is a logical progression of ideas that should build up to an ultimate statement, question or call to action. If you are not building good arguments step-by-step you will lose the listener and you will be less effective in your presentation.

So, how do we give our presentation a good structure, you would be correct in asking. Here are three things that I have learned and used successfully over the past few years in my consulting career. I hope that you consider them and that they will be equally successful in your presentations:

1) Ensure that you are using a uniform slide design template for your presentation. Most companies have proprietary PowerPoint template designs, a so-called CI (Corporate Identity), but if your company does not or if you are a student, it is fairly simple to make one (I have tutorial about this coming soon). In either case, company CI or self-created template, you should use it! This will, surprisingly, help to keep your listeners on track.

2) Always include a “goals” or “target” slide at the beginning of your presentation. This will tell you listeners immediately what your are hoping to achieve with the presentation (not dissimilar to writing a good paper) and helps keep you honest and on-track when doing the final checks of your presentation.

3) Separate main points with an agenda point slide. If your presentation is longer than 10 slides, I would encourage you to separate your main sections or chapters with a slide that introduces the fact that you are moving onto another section. It can be simply a blank slide with the name or purpose of the next section on it.

If you use these three tips in your presentation you are bound to have made an improvement. Remember, providing a good structure to your presentations will help you better make your point.

Remote Presentation

There are few opportunities when you get to interact with your higher management other than meetings, hence you should make use of this and show your communication skills as well as prove your understanding of the business. The most effective tool you can use to communicate to people in the meeting is through presentations even if it is remote, as you have audio and video in this too.

Giving a remote presentation is not very different from the real one except for the fact that you are not physically facing the people you are talking to, however they can see your visual so give an effective speech using the following tips which also apply for real meetings.

  • It is well known that people are more attentive when watching visuals so make sure that the presentation you have prepared contains a few pictures along with text to explain yourself.
  • You obviously have knowledge about the subject matter that you will speak about but it is important to do a thorough research on it before the meeting so that you can deliver your speech with confidence and are ready to answer any questions thrown at you.
  • Knowing a little bit more about the people you will be addressing will help you to interact with them and involve them thus keeping the attention level high and your presentation appreciated.
  • Do not overdo with charts or graphs that people will not pay the slightest attention to. Share only those graphs or charts that you will refer to during the meeting.
  • Speak within your limits. If you know that you have limited knowledge on a subject do not tread too deep into that topic.
  • Planning is important in all spheres of life and so while preparing for the meeting make sure you are clear on how you will begin and end that is your presentation should have an introduction followed by the main context or subject matter, then a brief summary followed by a good closing.
  • Check your system,devices and also whether you have all the files or data ready to share online before the meeting because time is precious and the reason you are doing a remote presentation is that all participants are busy and you cannot make them wait online while you search for some some lost file.

Job Offer Negotiations: Getting What You Want

You have worked hard at finding your next job. You have come through many obstacles and have reached your career objective. You have received a job offer. You’re thrilled. Mission accomplished. After all, what else is left to do?

A majority of job candidates do not negotiate their offer. They are happy just to have received it. They just want to start their new job and start getting paid again. Besides, there’s a myth that the process of negotiating could turn the employer off and cause the offer to be rescinded? Does this kind of thinking sound familiar?

Offer negotiations are certainly an optional part of the job search process. You don’t have to negotiate. Should you? Absolutely! In fact, when you don’t negotiate, negative ramifications can occur.

For example, you’re in Sales or Customer Support or any other profession that requires a persuasive style. As a final “test”, an employer may extend to you the position contingent upon how persuasive you are at negotiating the offer. If you don’t negotiate, or negotiate poorly, you lose. A runner-up may be offered the position on a similar basis.

Even if you are not in a profession that requires a persuasive style, you should seriously consider engaging in a negotiating process. Employers expect you to negotiate. There is always a higher amount that you can receive over and above the compensation you are initially offered. How much more will be a function of the bargaining chips you have, and the finesse used to negotiate them.

Let’s take stock of the bargaining chips you may have:

o Your educational degrees

o Being currently employed (assuming you are)

o Your level of expertise and number of years in the field

o The salary you currently command

o Your assessment of your true worth

Depending upon the type of position you are seeking, each of these areas has validity and relevance, and a specific “chip” value that can be called upon when negotiating. Probably the most esoteric yet most valuable of these is your own assessment of worth.

Your true worth is far greater than your current compensation, or what a salary calculator would reveal. Your worth can be defined by what you bring to the table that is unique and valuable. Look at the skills, strengths, core competencies, marketable assets and accomplishments you can declare as your own. This is what describes your uniqueness. It is what differentiates you from the crowd.

What number would you associate with your worth? If you’re having difficulty coming up with a figure, just ask your spouse or best friend how much they think you are worth. You’ll probably get a surprisingly high yet fairly accurate number. Let’s assume you came up with one million dollars. I know, that doesn’t even come close. The point is, can you expect an employer to pay you this amount as your compensation?

For sure, salary negotiations based on your true worth or unique gifts take on a whole new dimension. No, you probably won’t be compensated one million dollars; however, with the right blend of negotiating skills and patience, your efforts will be substantially rewarded!

I have seen up to forty thousand dollars added to starting compensation through diligent negotiations. It is common for signing bonuses, stipulations calling for substantial six-month performance-based increases, several weeks of additional vacation time, stock options, profit sharing, and more to be added as part of a negotiated package.

Negotiating is an opportunity to get what you truly want, and deserve. It is a way to significantly raise your standard of living and sense of self, simply by taking stock of what you have and then knowing how to use it for your advancement. Remember, what you receive now becomes your benchmark for future positions.

We all have choices. Some people would rather keep things the way they are. That’s ok. However, you have worked very hard to come to this point, so why stop short of getting what you truly want, and deserve. Wouldn’t you rather be compensated more on the basis of what you’re worth than on some arbitrary figure designed to keep the status quo? Go for what you are worth – your life will never be the same!

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