Who are champions?
Champions are people in all walks of life that chase after a goal. You see them cheered in competitions and applauded in contests. Those who persist have a clear set of priorities and pursue their goals uncompromisingly. In addition, champions are people who support, promote or defend an individual, a cause or an idea.
Presentation champions are public speakers who have committed themselves into being informative, effective, inspiring, enlightening, engaging and motivating.
What is their secret?
There are three areas of interest that describe the act of developing, creating and delivering a presentation: Function, Form and Content.
Function refers to the workings of software and hardware and how they can be configured to work to the speaker’s advantage. A Presentation Champion pays attention to the following:
1. FUNCTION The speaker uses many tools when designing
2. FUNCTION The speaker uses Keyboard shortcuts
3. FUNCTION The speaker goes the extra mile
4. FUNCTION The speaker personalises slideware
Form refers to the layout, arrangement and use of information and how they can be manipulated to convey the message and fulfil the speaker’s intention more effectively. A Presentation Champion pays attention to the following:
5. FORM The speaker practices repeatedly
6. FORM The speaker learns rules of good design
7. FORM The speaker gets inspired before design
Content refers to the structure of the constituent parts of the speech and how they can be combined to form a unified whole conceptually and aesthetically. A Presentation Champion pays attention to the following:
8. CONTENT The speaker keeps slides nice and tidy
9. CONTENT The speaker displays info in creative ways
10. CONTENT The speaker makes consistent choices of (high quality) visuals
Four aspects of function revisited.
Function implies, or even dictates, familiarisation with software and hardware. Familiarisation is defined as the accumulation of knowledge or skill that results from direct participation in events or activities. It is not a random or accidental process. It requires serious engagement and clear understanding of what options and opportunities are available and what they can accomplish.
This may refer to a higher order thinking processes, i.e., knowing what the speaker’s aims are and how they can be realised.
In short, familiarisation can be achieved through exploration, practice, experimentation and evaluation.
1. The speaker uses many tools when designing: The slideware has 10 slide transition possibilities. The real question is not how many the speaker uses. It is rather why a speaker should use a specific one. If no transition effects are used the presentation could be boring. If too many transition effects are used they could be distracting. So, which ones and how many does one choose? Familiarisation is the best way to answer that.
2. The speaker uses Keyboard shortcuts. The next step to knowing what is available, is knowing where everything is and how it can be accessed seamlessly. Keyboard shortcuts help you to keep your focus by avoiding wandering off or searching
pointlessly. In addition, using the keyboard is effective and economical both in terms of the volume as well as in terms of the quality of the material produced.
3. The speaker goes the extra mile. Designing and creating a presentation can be a daunting task. To begin with, it requires preparation and incubation: identifying what tools are required, selecting where and how materials are going to be stored, recognising what format that is compatible with the software, selecting how much materials are to be included, deciding what tools should be used to edit the content and determining the reasons why all of the above are necessary. This process involves time management skills and careful planning.
4. The speaker personalises slideware. This may sound like a technical process best left to the computer experts. Wrong! The software user has the opportunity to adjust the menus and toolbars to suit his individual needs. As a final step in the processes 1-3 outlined above, the user can remove clutter and bring to prominence those features that best match personal style, goals and intention. Software personalisation should not be a random and, definitely, not one to be attempted while creating a presentation. As a rule of thumb, keep a log-book of what facilitates or hinders work for you and spend time at some point to review what changes you would like to make to the software and why. If you do not feel confident enough, enlist the help of experts explaining to them with the help of the log-book what you would like to achieve.
In the words of Canadian businessman Ryan Holmes, remember that: “The point is that instead of a monolithic brick of printed content – delivered more or less unchanged to all subscribers – social media offers news that is personalized and nimble.”