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Image Trying to engage your audience or put them to sleep? Facilitator and Coach Lin Sagovsky offers 10 of her popular tongue-in-cheek insights on presentations that let the pictures do the talking.

The days lengthen and green shoots burgeon in the garden. Our balance sheets, however, may still be telling a more wintry story...

If so, perhaps it's time to take a look at the Bigger Picture - from a new angle. Time to frame things differently for the people you meet, the ideas you plan out and proffer...

Starting with a good long look at the way you present those ideas.

So here are some more fantastically handy reminders from Play4Real on how NOT to do it. Many presenters turn PowerPoint into their WeakPoint (not you of course) - so read on: you never know who you might recognise...

    1. It's the screen that everyone's interested in - so be sure your face is in as much darkness as possible!
    2. Allowing bright sunlight to bleed into the room will ensure your slides have that kicked-back, just-bleached look. It's quite fun looking at the whole audience screwing up their faces as they try to decipher them.
    3. Remember that the best type of screen is a free-standing one which makes all your slides undulate attractively whenever the wind blows in. If the room is air-conditioned, you can get the same effect by tapping the screen a lot as you point out things on the slides.
It's the screen that everyone's interested in - so be sure your face is in as much darkness as possible!

    1. Set the screen on the skew in relation to the projector to give your slides a wacky slant along the edges. (The audience might even interpret this as a subliminal way of you demonstrating your professional ability to see things from strange perspectives. On the other hand, they might not.)
    2. Make sure you begin by showing a really naff photo of yourself on a slide with your name and title alongside, and keep it up there for as much of the presentation as possible. Saves a lot of confusion for your audience, not having to wonder who the name on the slide could possibly be referring to, as you drone on in front of it. And certainly more entertaining for them throughout your talk to be able to play 'Spot the Difference' between your photo and you in the flesh (different hair? different tie?). A great way to get across an essential message for any presentation: how naff you can look in a photo.
    3. If there's a mike, crane your neck forward like a tortoise and speak right into it. Except, of course, when you're turning your head to look at the screen (with any luck it won't be an omni-directional mike which means you'll create an engaging variation in your volume levels without even trying).
  1. Remember, the PowerPoint is the most important part of the presentation, especially when it's got lots of whizzy effects. You don't really need to be there at all (and everyone knows you're only gritting your teeth and getting through this because everyone else was too scared to volunteer and anyway you were tricked into saying yes).
  2. Keep one particularly densely text-packed slide on the screen for ages and ages while you talk about something else.
  3. Facts and figures speak for themselves. So quote as many as possible in as neutral a tone as possible. (This is business, after all: no-one's paying anyone to get enthusiastic about this stuff.)
  4. Using slides in a small space for a few people or even in a one-to-one presentation is just as impressive as for a large audience. No need to adapt your vocal tone or the way you explain your subject - just set up your laptop, disengage your eye contact, and away you go.
Following a BA Hons. in Drama from Manchester University, Lin Sagovsky trained to act at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, then studied for a Master's degree in Playwriting in the USA. Over the years she has become passionate about taking drama beyond the walls of the theatre or recording studio to combine her skills in a spectrum of live business contexts: as a role-player and forum theatre performer, a writer and director of interactive plays, a facilitator of interpersonal skills workshops, a private coach in speaking with confidence, and a creative consultant. You can find more information about Lin and her work at www.play4real.co.uk – or contact her on 07957 331997, or at info@play4real.co.uk.
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