Is There A Magic Number Of Slides?

March 20, 2012 in Author, Delivery, FAQs, Myths Debunked, Organizing Your Content, Preparation, Sarah Stocker

Question: I’ve been told that I should use no more than X# of slides. Is that true?

It depends. If this is a rule coming down from your bosses, then you should follow it. They probably want you to use a specific template for your presentation.

Otherwise, there is no magic number of slides you should use. Just make sure that all of the slides contribute to your goal. If they don’t, eliminate them. By the way, the same is true for the number of bullets per slide.

For more information on what to include in your slides check out Greg’s post: How much detail should be included on PowerPoint slides?

by Sarah Stocker, Trainer and Workshop Coordinator at Turpin Communication

It’s so difficult to keep everyone focused on conference calls and web meetings. Any pointers?

February 13, 2012 in Author, Delivering Your Presentation, Delivery, FAQs, Preparation, Sarah Stocker, Virtual

I agree. Keeping people focused on a conference call is a challenge. Here are a few ideas to make it easier.

First, make sure everyone is aware of the ground rules. Do you want to be interrupted? Do you want everyone’s phone on mute? Do you want everyone to introduce themselves? Letting them know what you expect, and that their involvement is welcome gives them some ownership over the content, which makes them more likely to stay focused. This recommendation is, of course, not going to be appropriate for ALL things, but it’s something you should consider.

Second, create an agenda for your call and share it with everyone. Creating an agenda will help you think through what you want to talk about and create a clear message. The clearer your message, the easier it is for your listeners to stay focused. Plus, an agenda provides your listeners with a framework for the call, much like the introduction to a presentation. In fact, you can use our 4 part introduction strategy for conference calls and web meetings as well as presentations.

Third, once you get into the content of the meeting, spend extra time making sure that everyone is looking at the right thing. If it’s a web meeting, make sure you set up each of your slides carefully. (Assume that attention has wandered and that people won’t realize that a new slide has come up.) If participants are advancing through your deck or handout on their own, be sure to tell them when to move forward and what slide you’re on. If their minds have wandered, hearing something like, “moving on to slide 4” will get their attention and give them the opportunity to tune back in.

Finally, do all that you can to keep your energy up. Make sure you are speaking loud enough for everyone to hear you easily; they can’t stay focused if they can’t hear you. If you can, stand up and deliver the presentation speaking and gesturing as you would to a live audience. That may give you the boost in enthusiasm you need to keep everyone with you.

by Sarah Stocker, Trainer and Workshop Coordinator at Turpin Communication

Permanent Marker + Whiteboard = No Problem!

March 10, 2009 in Facilitation, FAQs, Sarah Stocker, Training

It’s happened to all of us.  You’re writing on a dry erase board and look down in horror to discover that you’re holding a permanent marker.  Have no fear, the solution is quite simple.

Solution #1: The Easy Fix
Pick up a dry erase marker and write over the permanent marker – make sure you cover it all.  Then simply erase.  The marks should come right off.  You may have to repeat the process or let the ink sit for 5 minutes before erasing.  (FYI – The same technique works for ghost marks left when dry erase ink sits on the board too long.)

Solution #2: The MacGyver Method
Can’t find a dry erase marker?  Or have so much area to cover that this would be tedious?  I’ve been told that any of these products will also work.

  • Aerosol deodorant (not antiperspirant)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Any cola beverage
  • Pencil eraser (be careful not to scratch the board)
  • Deep pore cleanser
  • Nail polish remover (this can ruin some surfaces so test it on a small patch first)

by Sarah Stocker, Trainer and Workshop Coordinator at Turpin Communication