Presentation attendance is important for keeping sharp and up to date on topics and techniques. With that in mind, I often attend seminars and presentations on a variety of topics, Barco Clickshare 200 in Johannesburg from business development and consultancy to investing and asset management. Most recently, I attended a seminar from David Lerner and Associates on “Building and Protecting your Assets.” While this is clearly a sales seminar, looking to create a buying impulse, it also provided great information and food for thought. Mostly, however, I want to discuss the techniques used in the seminar, as I found it to be very well done.
I will begin by saying that David Lerner is a very polished and entertaining speaker. His use of technology was well integrated with his manner of walking the room. Three video screens were used, Click Share Barco One large central screen and two smaller screens to allow the viewers at the peripheries to see the information clearly as well. On top of this, a wireless sound system was used to project the speaker’s voice effectively. The facility was a moderate sized convention center/ballroom, with a crowd that I would estimate at 600 people.
Utilizing an array of speakers connected to a wireless receiver, and a handheld wireless microphone, every word was able to be heard clearly. Volume and clarity are both key factors for successful speakers. However, it was not so much the technical details which made this a good presentation, it was the presentation style. Mr. Lerner made several overtures to connect with the audience effectively. First, he was adept at using humor, which is often touted as a public speaking tool.
I personally liked his references to Mel Brooks’ movies, as I am a huge fan of his work. Bringing the audience back to those references at points throughout the presentation also created memory points for the audience. This is a fantastic technique for getting an audience to remember key points, Barco Wireless Display without seeming like a pushy teacher. Mr. Lerner also connected with the audience by sharing details and experiences from his personal life. Humanizing yourself as a speaker should not be discounted; an audience is far more likely to “buy in” to a speaker’s pitch if they see him as one of their own rather than an outsider. Sharing stories that the audience can relate to is crucial, but a speaker must know the audience well enough to make this work. Both the humor and personal connection set the audience at ease and allow for a greater capacity to listen and accept what is being shared without a highly guarded affect.
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What are Audience Response Systems?
Audience response systems are hardware and software combinations that allow a presenter, facilitator or instructor to add interactivity to presentations, focus groups, classroom lectures and other group meetings.
The hardware component typically comes in the form of a wireless hand-held keypad with 7 - 10 buttons that are distributed to each member of the audience. A receiver, or "base station," connects to the presenter's computer and collects data from the keypad entries. The audience response software also resides on the presenter's computer, and includes presentation capabilities as well as data collection and reporting functions.
How Do Audience Response Systems Work?
The facilitator advances through the presentation, which has been projected onto a large screen. Some audience response software packages work directly within PowerPoint, while others have their own presentation software integrated with the polling slides. The audience, which could range in number from 2 to 20,000, interacts with the presentation using the wireless keypads. Each presentation slide poses a question and offers several possible responses. When all participants have responded (or time runs out), the aggregate data is graphically displayed within the presentation for all to see.
Presenter can either track polling results to individual participants or allow all inputs to remain anonymous. Polling situations that involve voting or consensus-building typically favor anonymity. Classroom or training environments, however, often require the professor or instructor to capture responses in order to grade quizzes or take attendance electronically.
Because of its unique versatility, and its contribution to ROI, audience response is utilized across a broad spectrum of industries. AV production companies use audience response systems for large-scale meetings and conferences; corporate trainers use portable audience response systems for on-the-road employee training; universities and other educational institutions employ audience response technologies in both small classrooms and large lecture halls.
Audience Response Offers Many Unique Benefits Unattainable Through Traditional Presentation Techniques
These are just a few of the potential benefits:
- Improves attentiveness
- Increases retention of information
- Offers anonymous polling
- Provides tracking features to gather individual responses
- Tallies and displays data immediately
- Speeds up decision making
- Emphasizes participant ownership of group decisions
- Creates an interactive and fun learning environment
- Gathers data for reporting and analysis
- Confirms participant understanding of key points immediately
PowerPoint & Keynote Secrets For Projection Screen Success
I don't need to tell you that PowerPoint and Apple's Keynote applications are probably your number one tool for presentations but be aware that what you see on your computer screen is not necessarily what you will see on a video or projection screen. Here are some important techniques and tips to consider when building your presentations for your next meeting, seminar or special event. Let your attendees get the most out of your hard work.
I have worked on countless programs that have used PowerPoint and Keynote as a major focal point for their sales meetings, award show celebrations and other events and I can't tell you how many times I've seen attendees struggle to see what they were invited there to see. Why loose your audience in the back of the room if you don't have to? One or more of them quite possibly could be your next company superstar but they missed your presentation because they simply couldn't see it and decided to play solitaire on their smart phone.
Lets add another layer to the necessity of reaching the attention of your attendees from the front row to the back row. With a phone or laptop, a wireless connection and a little social media at your attendee's fingertips, they may be posting in real time what a bore your presentation is. Not good. You can avoid much of this by following these guidelines when building your program for a projection screen in any venue or meeting space. You may have heard the phrase, "Presentation is everything." Never take this phrase for granted.
*Lets start with font / point size.
Here is a quick test you can try right now. Enter a sentence in your document in 6 different point sizes **(10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20). Then simply move 4 feet back from your monitor or laptop screen. Without straining or squinting your eyes, which is the smallest point size that is easiest or most comfortable to read? I'm going take a shot and say you chose a point size of 14 or 16. Keep your font size at 14 or higher and you will be on the money every time. If you can't see your text content at this distance, neither can your audience or attendees viewing it on a projection screen regardless of screen size. We call this The 4 Foot Rule. It's a good idea to have satellite plasma screens in exceptionally large venues but you really want to keep your guests focused on the action on your stage.
Understanding Negative Space
For many years I've had discussions with event planners in need of a solution for making very architecturally busy meeting spaces or pre-themed environments disappear and turning giant, daunting spaces into intimate environments with the use of lighting. Understanding the concept of negative space is the key and the same applies to your screen presentations. Direct your viewers eyes where you want them. White backgrounds with black text is not recommended. The white space overpowers your text. You want your presentation to be dynamic. You want to hold the viewers attention. Use dark backgrounds with high contrast text, put borders around your photos and don't clutter your slides. An image with a single line of text or a handful of bullet points is the most effective use of your slide real estate. It draws the viewers eyes to the exact content you want them to see without distractions.
I'm going to cut to the chase here and say there are lots of web sites that discuss color schemes and the use of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary colors but for now, lets focus on what works on a projection screen. Color theory and colorimetry may be a topic for another day here. Take note, what you see here, the color saturation and contrast is not what you will see on a projection screen. **See link below for color image of this chart.
- Blue text will not work on dark or black backgrounds.
- Cyan text will work on dark or black backgrounds.
- Green text will not work on dark or black backgrounds.
- Yellow text will work well on dark or black backgrounds.
- Orange text will work on dark or black backgrounds.
- NEVER use red text on dark or black backgrounds.
- Pink text will work on dark or black backgrounds.
- White text will work best on dark or black backgrounds.
- Here is one last secret for squint proof, easy on the eyes presentation. If you have an extensive program that you can't break up with images or you must have slides containing a paragraph of text, go to your color picker and use a very very light shade of gray.
- Never use graphics that do not pertain to your message. The phrase "Less is more" in this respect is without a doubt, 100% true.
- Stick to one font set in your presentation. Sans Serif fonts are best for projection screens as Serif fonts are meant to be used with more text (Like a paragraph or book).
- Take a look at your favorite news program on TV and keep an eye out for how text is presented. Use it as a visual guideline. You will notice subtle movement such as swipes and fades, bulleted text and very minimal animation.
- Use or create custom key slide / key frame backgrounds or background images. Stay away from using the backgrounds included with the software. Everyone on EARTH has seen them already.
- Use the highest quality / resolution graphics and photos you can find. Don't acquire your images from the internet unless you know how to find high resolution images. Graphics and text decorations online are generally low resolution. Understanding some copyright law on using web images is a good idea as well.
Your presentation is not a stand alone document. If your slides are well crafted, your PowerPoint or Keynote document must require YOU, your narrative to have meaning. It is a tool to emphasize your key points, to add a bit of visual depth and possibly an emotional connection with your viewer to initiate action. It is a tool that ties a visual flow to your words, not the contrary. If it is more than this you have to much content on your screen. Put all of this together and you will have a successful presentation at your next event or meeting. Someone may even Tweet a nice comment about it back at the office.;-)
*The point sizes shown above will vary depending on your monitor or laptop screen resolution.
** See size and color reference.