17 Sep 2015

3 Questions your Audience is asking itself during your Presentation

While you are busy giving your talk or your presentation, your audience is asking itself 3 questions. They will not articulate it and they will not ask you. They will ask themselves these questions and it matters to you.

Question 1 - Do I understand you?
Question 2 - Do I believe you?
Question 3 - Do I like you?

I have published a guest article on FPPT.com and you can read it by clicking here. Read it and ensure you answer all of them in the affirmative.

7 Sep 2015

Interview with Brian Miller: How to prepare a TEDx talk?

Brian Miller is a magician (and an entertainer) who spoke at TEDx recently. His talk has already garnered close to 200,000 views on YouTube. JazzFactory caught up with Brian Miller and tried to understand how he went about preparing his amazing TEDx talk. His talk is short, engaging and has no slides. You can watch him speak here.

JazzFactory: Who was the audience you had in mind while preparing your talk? The global audience of TED or the immediate audience at the event?

Brian Miller: The audience I cared most about was the potential global audience of YouTube viewers. TEDx conferences are limited to 100 attendees, and therefore they represent the smallest potential audience for your speech. The real beauty of TED and TEDx talks is that they are capable of reaching thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of people around the world. I designed the speech and rehearsed it with that goal in mind.

JazzFactory: You are a performer. Did you still have butterflies in your stomach when you went on stage?

Brian: I am a seasoned performer / speaker, having performed for over 10 years in front of 1000s of audiences. For that reason, I am hardly nervous when I go on stage. This event, however, did make me nervous. The TED brand carries so much prestige that I was overcome with the pressure to do a magnificent job. I knew that if I could give a truly great talk, it had the potential to significantly boost my speaking career (and it has).

JazzFactory: How much time were you given to prepare? How much time you actually took to prepare?

Brian: I had about 6 weeks from the time I was invited to speak until the actual conference date, and I used all of that time.

JazzFactory: How did you prepare the content and decide on the flow?

Brian: I read books about giving speeches including How to Give a TED Talk by Jeremey Donovan, and watched so many TED and TEDx talks. I took notes on what I liked and what worked, and most importantly what didn’t. My speech was structured in a very traditional way, by using story vignettes to support my main points.

JazzFactory: Why did you not use slides?

Brian: The option to use slides was available, but I have never used slides for a presentation. Personally I feel that slides are more often distracting to an audience than they are useful. Most importantly, slides seem to create a barrier between the speaker and the audience. It is crucial to maintain an authentic relationship with the audience, especially in a TED-style talk, and for those reasons I chose not to use slides.

JazzFactory: How did you rehearse your talk?

Brian: After I finished writing the speech word for word and finalizing the draft, I rehearsed by reading it out loud over and over again, and always timed myself. I made notes and adjustments to the script based on those sessions and eventually found myself rehearsing without the need for a script. I would say I rehearsed the speech nearly 150 times by the day of the talk.

JazzFactory: What advice would you give to people who are preparing for their upcoming TEDx talk?

Brian: Watch as many TED and TEDx talks as you can, and take notes while doing so. Study those who have gone before you for what you think works and doesn’t work. Then use that information while crafting your speech. Rehearse until you can do the talk without thinking about it. TEDx is not the time to “wing it” from an outline. It should be polished and near-perfect. Most importantly: speak about something you care about deeply. Audiences respond to passion, and it is infectious. If you’re passionate about your topic, the audience will be inclined to listen.

We thank Brian for taking out time and sharing his secrets with us. If you want to know more about his preparation, check out his blog. Read the post here.

27 Aug 2015

6 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Investor Pitch Presentation

iamwire is a very popular website which writes about Indian startups. Today they have published my article about startup business plan presentation. You must check it out, if you too are looking to get your startup funded. In this post I talk about the following 6 mistakes:

1. Team slide is just a bio
2. Failing to understand why you are making the pitch
3. Not preparing for the tough questions
4. Top down approach to market sizing
5. Undermining competition
6. Not telling a story, not appealing to emotions

Click here to read the article. If you have any question, leave a comment below.

17 Aug 2015

7 Things that will make your Presentation better

1. Clarity of thought
Above everything else, comes clarity. You must really know what you are talking about and you should explain that to the audience in a simple manner. Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Stick to that. Choose a topic which you know really well. If you don't, prepare and present. Your lack of preparation will show.

You now know the topic well, but does your audience have any idea? Study about your audience. Talk to some of them if you can. What do they know about the topic? Plan your presentation to suit your audience. To provide more clarity use examples and analogies. There is nothing better than a case study or an example to really understand what you are talking about.

2. Brevity (Short and sweet)
Ira Hayes has famously said, "No one ever complains about a speech being too short!" You never feel good when the presenter takes 15 more minutes than planned. No one likes to go home late. No one likes to stretch a meeting. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

10 Aug 2015

What a Magician taught me about Connecting with the Audience

"The magician is the only person who cannot see his own magic" says magician Brian Miller. Because only he knows how the trick really works and this knowledge goes against him.

If the magician came and did everything on his own, people will be not be too amazed. Contrast this with what magicians actually do. They come, cracks a few jokes, allow us to participate in the magic (let us touch the rope, sometimes invite us on stage and make us do something). When this happens, the audience feels that the magician understands them. When they feel understood, they make a connection. That's when they enjoy the most.

Perspective taking is the ability to see the world from the point of view of another person. How do we do 'perspective taking'? To understand this we need to know the difference between visual perspective and emotional perspective. For a magician, the visual perspective is more important. He needs to know what the trick looks like to the audience. There are many ways to do that. Make a video recording and watch it later. Perform in front of a mirror.

7 Aug 2015

That logo on your 'Our Clients' slide is wrong

If you are using the logo of other companies in your presentation, that is because they are your business partners or clients or ex-employers. And where do you get these logos from? Mostly Google.

Let me show you something interesting. Let's Google for Walmart logo. This is a sample of what you will find on Google Images. Have you started getting confused? I was when I started out making presentations for my clients.

Not one but many types. Which one is correct? Now let us Google for JP Morgan Chase.

6 Aug 2015

PowerPoint file not opening in Windows 10 [Solved]

I am using Windows 10 and enjoying it as well. But Windows 10 caused a weird problem on my laptop. I was not able to open PowerPoint, Word or Excel files sent by others. The moment I tried to open the files, MS Office gave me an error message. It urged me to repair the file. Upon clicking repair, it failed to do so successfully.

The solution?

Download the file onto your computer. --> Right click on the file --> Properties --> Go down to the bottom (just below Attributes). You will find Security --> Click on Unblock --> Ok.

Windows 10 was blocking all external MS Office files on my computer. The solution is to unblock it manually.