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Develop a PowerPoint presentation (12slides in length). It should include a title slide, an agenda slide, body content slides, a closing slide, and a references slide (if applicable). All slides count toward the required length.
The content should focus on some aspect of social media use in the workplace. Potential examples include the importance of companies embracing social media, advertising through social media, policies involving social media, proper professional communication through social media platforms, or any number of other angles.
The presentation must be submitted in .PPT or .PPTX format. Any other submission formats will be returned ungraded.
The PowerPoint presentation must adhere to the following requirements:
Your assignment must be completed in PowerPoint (using either .PPT or .PPTX format). Your professor may provide additional instructions.
Speakers who use presentation visuals are considered better prepared and more interesting, and achieve their goals more often than speakers who do not use visuals. Presentation visuals support and clarify a speaker’s ideas and help the audience visualize the message. A speaker using presentation visuals reaches the receiver with double impact—through the eyes and the ears— and achieves the results quoted in an ancient Chinese proverb: “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. But involve me and I’ll understand.” Research studies confirm that using visuals enhances a presentation.
The effective use of presentation visuals provides several advantages:10
• clarifies and emphasizes important points
• increases retention from 14% to 38%
• reduces the time required to present a concept
• results in a speaker achieving goals 34% more often than when presentation visuals are not used
• increases occurrence of group consensus by 21% when presentation visuals are used in a meeting
PowerPoint still remains the standard presentation software used in most organizational settings, even though its use has given rise to such sayings as “Death by PowerPoint” and “PowerPoint poisoning.” The problem is that too many presenters approach a presentation as if they were reading a document to their audience rather than delivering an interesting and inspiring message. The result is “docu-points,” or presentations composed of too many text slides that are overly complex, difficult to understand, and boring. One example is an “electability” PowerPoint slideshow sent by the 2008 Hillary Clinton Campaign to all House Democrats that contained nine slides, 275 words, one table, three bar charts, and two pie charts. Such “docu-points” are usually less effective than a concise, well-designed handout or summary report.11
Even though PowerPoint remains a standard in many professional environments, other presentation software packages are available. Flash is one of the best presentation software tools on the market because of its animation effects and ability to import video. Unfortunately, it also takes a high degree of proficiency to use. Prezi is another popular software tool that is available online and provides a very different experience than PowerPoint in that it is nonlinear and more interactive and dynamic. Apple users can use Apple Keynote. Other presentation tools include Google Docs and SlideRocket.
Regardless of the software package you choose, your goal is to create an appealing, easy-to-read visual aid that supports and enhances your main points without overwhelming the audience. Presentation visuals should possess the same degree of professionalism as your delivery and personal appearance. You can create dynamic and useful presentation visuals, including slides, handouts, and notes pages, by following these simple guidelines:
• Limit the number of visual aids used in a single presentation. While audiences value being able to “see” your points, they also welcome the variety provided by listening and the break from concentrating on visuals. Design compelling visuals that direct the audience’s attention to major points and clarify or illustrate complex information. Use precise, vivid language that will involve the audience and enrich your message and delivery style.
• Limit slide content to key ideas presented in as few words as possible, or better yet, visually. Well-organized, crisp slide content enhances the audience’s ability to grasp the speaker’s meaning and find immediate value in the information. Good content also leads to an extemporaneous delivery rather than a speaker’s monotonous reading of scripted slides. Short text lines are also easier for the eye to follow and open up the slide with appealing white space. Whenever possible, present complex information using graphic aids, such as tables, charts, or diagrams.
• Develop only one major idea using targeted keywords the audience can scan quickly, understand, and remember. Full sentences can be used for a direct quotation; otherwise, less is more. William Earnest, author of Save Our Slides, offers a cure for verbalitis: “PowerPoint is not a word processor”—it is a visual medium in which fewer words are always more.
• Keep type sizes large enough to read when projected and to discourage crowding slides with text. Strive for these font sizes: slide titles, 44 points; main bullets, 32 points; sub-bullets, 24 points. Do not use text smaller than 18 points, as it is unreadable when projected.
• Limit slide titles and headings to four words and follow the 7 × 7 rule, which limits text to 7 lines per slide and 7 words per line. Eliminate articles (a, an, the), understood pronouns/possessives (we, you, your), simple verbs and infinitive beginnings (are, to), and repetitive phrasing.12
• If you must use text, develop powerful bulleted lists that are easy to follow and remember. For easy recall, limit the list to three to five main bullets, but absolutely no more than seven. To eliminate confusion and rereading, use bulleted lists that are grammatically parallel. One item appearing out of place weakens the emphasis given to each item and can distract audience attention from the message. Be certain each major point relates to the key concept presented in the slide title and each sub-point relates to its major point. Unless sequence is important, use bullets as they add less clutter and are easier to follow than numbers.
• Choose an effective template and powerful images to reinforce ideas, illustrate complex ideas, and enliven boring content. Images and shapes are more visually appealing and memorable than words, and they enable audiences to grasp information more easily. Today’s audiences expect media-rich, dynamic visuals, not a speaker’s dense crutch notes displayed on screen. Although photographs and clip art available in your presentation software gallery are acceptable, avoid images that are overused, outdated, grainy, and convey an unprofessional tone. Instead search for or create high-quality, professional images that convey the desired message and can project onscreen without distortion.
• Choose an effective color scheme. The colors you choose and the way you combine them determine the overall effectiveness of your presentation and add a personal touch to your work. Follow these simple rules to plan a non-distracting, complementary color scheme that has unity with the template graphics:
• Limit colors to no more than three colors on a slide, to avoid an overwhelming feel.
• Begin by selecting a background color that conveys the appropriate formality and tone. Choose cool colors (blue and green) in muted shades for formal presentations; choose warm colors (red, orange, and yellow) or brighter shades of cool colors for a less formal and perhaps trendy look. Think carefully about whether your color selection has a natural association with your topic or organization. For example, a presentation on environmentally friendly policies might incorporate colors naturally associated with nature and cleanliness (earth tones, white and blue); a presentation to Pepsi-Cola likely would be designed around the company colors of red, white, and blue.
• Choose complementary foreground (text) colors that have high contrast to the background to ensure readability. To ensure high contrast, choose either dark text on a light background or light text on a dark background. For example, the often-used color scheme of yellow slide title text and white bulleted list with a blue background is a good choice because the colors are complementary and have high contrast. Choose a slightly brighter color for the slide title that distinguishes it from the color chosen for the bullet list.
Black text against a white background has the greatest contrast. A blue background with yellow text contrasts well, but a light blue background with white text would be difficult to read because of low contrast. Evaluate the readability of the following contrast variations:
Because the lower resolution of projectors can wash out colors and make them less vibrant than what is seen on a printed page or computer screen, choose options with very high—not minimally high—contrast. Project your presentation ahead of time in the room where you are to present so you can assess the color scheme. You can also double-check for readability and typographical errors at the same time.
• Choose the accent colors that complement the color scheme. Accent colors are used in small doses to draw attention to key elements: bullet markers; bars/slices in graphs, backgrounds (fills) of shapes and lines, selected text; or drawings that are color coded for emphasis. Avoid red and green when differentiating important points as almost 10% of the population is color impaired and cannot distinguish between red and green. The red and green bars in a graph would be seen as one large area.
• Choose an appealing font that can be read on-screen easily. Avoid delicate, decorative, or condensed choices that are difficult to read when projected. The clean, simple lines of a sans serif font, such as Calibri, Tahoma, or Verdana, are ideal for projecting on a large screen, newspaper headline, sign, or billboard. A sans serif font has no short cross-strokes, known as serifs, which provide extra detail that helps guide the eye on print media. Examples of serif fonts are Cambria, Times New Roman, and Garamond.
• Follow these keyboarding rules for easy reading. Use capital letters sparingly as they are difficult to read from a distance. Capitalize the first letter of important words in slide titles (initial caps) and the first letter of the first word and proper nouns in a bulleted list (sentence case). Omit hard-to-see punctuation at the end of bulleted lists and elsewhere, and avoid abbreviations and hyphenations that might cause confusion.
• Reflect legal and ethical responsibility in the design of presentation visuals. Like the graphics you developed in Chapter 10, presentation visuals should be uncluttered, easily understood, and depict information honestly.
• Proofread the visual carefully following the same systematic procedures used for printed letters and reports and electronic communication. Misspellings in visuals are embarrassing and diminish your credibility. Double-check to be certain that names of people, companies, and products are spelled correctly.
FIGURE 12.2 DESIGNING COMPELLING SLIDES
© Cengage Learning®
Figure 12.2 offers a review of slide design guidelines. The poor example (left) relies on text to convey the message, while the good example (right) illustrates the point.
Audience handouts should add value for individual audience members; otherwise, the information can better be conveyed in a projected format for group benefit. An effective handout can help audience members remember your message, serve as a reference for later consideration or action, and encourage involvement when space is provided for note taking or response. You can prepare useful presenter notes on small index cards or on pages generated by electronic presentation software.
After you have organized your message, you must identify the appropriate delivery method, refine your vocal qualities, and practice your delivery.
Four presentation methods can be used: memorized, scripted, impromptu, and extemporaneous. Impromptu and extemporaneous styles are generally more useful for business presentations.
Memorized presentations are written out ahead of time, memorized, and recited verbatim. Memorization has the greatest limitations of the speech styles. Speakers are almost totally unable to react to feedback, and the speaker who forgets a point and develops a mental block might lose the entire speech. Memorized speeches tend to sound monotonous, restrict natural body gestures and motions, and lack conviction. For short religious or fraternal rites, however, the memorized presentation is often impressive.
memorized presentation a presentation in which a speaker writes out a speech, commits it to memory, and recites it verbatim
©Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com
Manuscript, or scripted, presentations involve writing the speech word for word and reading it to the audience. For complex material and technical conference presentations, manuscript presentations ensure content coverage. Additionally, this style protects speakers against being misquoted (when accuracy is absolutely critical) and fits into exact time constraints, as in television or radio presentations. Speeches are sometimes read when time does not permit adequate preparation or when several different presentations are given in one day (e.g., the speaking demands of the president of the United States and other top-level executives). Manuscript presentations limit speaker-audience rapport, particularly when speakers keep their eyes and heads buried in their manuscripts. Teleprompters that project the manuscript out of view of the audience allow the speaker to appear to be speaking extemporaneously.
manuscript presentation a presentation in which a speaker writes out the entire speech and reads it to the audience; also called a scripted presentation
Impromptu presentations are frightening to many people because the speaker is called on without prior notice. Experienced speakers can easily analyze the request, organize supporting points from memory, and present a simple, logical response. In many cases, businesspeople can anticipate a request and be prepared to discuss a particular idea when requested (e.g., status report on an area of control at a team meeting). Because professionals are expected to present ideas and data spontaneously on demand, business-people must develop the ability to deliver impromptu presentations.
impromptu presentation a presentation in which a speaker is called on without prior notice
Extemporaneous presentations are planned, prepared, and rehearsed but not written in detail. Brief notes prompt the speaker on the next point, but the words are chosen spontaneously as the speaker interacts with the audience and identifies this audience’s specific needs. Extemporaneous presentations include natural body gestures, sound conversational, and can be delivered with conviction because the speaker is speaking “with” the listeners and not “to” them. The audience appreciates a warm, genuine communicator and will forgive an occasional stumble or groping for a word that occurs with an extemporaneous presentation.
extemporaneous presentation a presentation in which a speaker plans, prepares, and rehearses but does not write everything down; brief notes prompt the speaker, but the exact words are chosen spontaneously as the speaker interacts with the audience and identifies its specific needs
The sound of your voice is a powerful instrument used to deliver your message and to project your professional image. To maximize your vocal strengths, focus on three important qualities of speech: phonation, articulation, and pronunciation.
Phonation involves both the production and the variation of the speaker’s vocal tone. You project your voice and convey feelings—even thoughts—by varying your vocal tones. Important factors of phonation are pitch, volume, and rate. These factors permit us to recognize other people’s voices over the phone.
phonation the production and variation of a speaker’s vocal tone
• Pitch. The highness or lowness of the voice is called pitch. Pleasant voices have medium or low pitch; however, a varied pitch pattern is desirable. The pitch of the voice rises and falls to reflect emotions; for example, fear and anger are reflected in a higher pitch; sadness, in a lower pitch. Lower pitches for both men and women are perceived as sounding more authoritative; higher pitches indicate less confidence and suggest pleading or whining. Techniques discussed later in this section can help you lower the pitch of your voice.
• Volume. The loudness of tones is referred to as volume. Generally, good voices are easily heard by everyone in the audience but are not too loud. Use variety to hold the audience’s attention, emphasize words or ideas, and create a desired atmosphere (energetic, excited tone versus a dull, boring one).
• Rate. The speed at which words are spoken is called rate. Never speak so quickly that the audience cannot understand your message or so slowly that they are distracted or irritated. Vary the rate with the demands of the situation. For example, speak at a slower rate when presenting a complex concept or emphasizing an important idea. Pause to add emphasis to a key point or to transition to another major section of the presentation. Speak at a faster rate when presenting less important information or when reviewing.
An inherent problem related to speaking rate is verbal fillers—also called non-words. Verbal fillers, such as uhhh, ahhh, ummm, and errr, are irritating to the audience and destroy your effectiveness. Many speakers fill space with their own verbal fillers; these include you know, I mean, basically, like I said, okay, and as a matter of fact. Because of the conversational style of impromptu and extemporaneous presentations, a speaker will naturally struggle for a word or idea from time to time. Become aware of verbal fillers you frequently use by critiquing a recording of yourself and then focus on replacing fillers with a three- to five-second pause. This brief gap between thoughts gives you an opportunity to think about what you want to say next and time for your audience to absorb your idea. Presenting an idea (sound bite) and then pausing briefly is an effective way to influence your audience positively. The listener will not notice the slight delay, and the absence of meaningless words will make you appear more confident and polished. Also avoid annoying speech habits, such as clearing your throat or coughing, that shift the audience’s attention from the speech to the speaker.
The following activities will help you achieve good vocal qualities:
• Breathe properly and relax. Nervousness affects normal breathing patterns and is reflected in vocal tone and pitch. The better prepared you are, the better your phonation will be. Although relaxing might seem difficult to practice before a speech, a few deep breaths, just as swimmers take before diving, can help.
• Listen to yourself. A recording of your voice reveals much about pitch, intensity, and duration. Most people are amazed to find their voices are not quite what they had expected. “I never dreamed I sounded that bad” is a common reaction. Nasal twangs usually result from a failure to speak from the diaphragm, which involves taking in and letting out air through the larynx, where the vocal cords operate. High pitch can occur from the same cause, or it can be a product of speaking too fast or experiencing stage fright.
• Develop flexibility. A good speaking voice is some-what musical, with words and sounds similar to notes in a musical scale. Read
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