Archive for the ‘PowerPoint’ Category

McDonalds, Rolex and Your Next PowerPoint Presentation

What can McDonalds and Rolex tell us about PowerPoint?  Heaps!


It’s all about Branding.


When you put together your PowerPoint presentation do you go for the McDonalds branding? McDonalds branding is everywhere and on everything. It is on the door, the floor, the roof, the shirts of the staff, the coffee cup you get and even the napkin that you wipe your mouth with! They include their name in just about every product they sell. There is the McHappy meals, the McFlurry and the one that start it all – the Big Mac! This branding has helped them build a very profitable worldwide business. But there is a down side. Every store is the same. It is the same thing over and over again.


Do you have a McPowerPoint presentation?


Or do you go for Rolex branding?


How does Rolex Brand itself? Rolex positions itself with symbols that typify their brand. Rolex pays big money to people like George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, Nicole Kidman, Michael Schumacher, Ian Thorpe, Anna Kournikova, Martina Hingis, Alex Popov and even NASA to wear their watches. Rolex does not put its logo on everything that moves, but rather, it puts it on selective people that provide the ‘right’ image for their brand. The result is a brand that is subtle, but well known, and well known for excellence.


So what is the difference between a McPowerPoint and a Rolex PowerPoint? It’s in the slides!


Do you have the same corporate background on each and every slide? Do you have the logo in the same spot on each slide, as though it is etched on the screen? Do you have the same bullet point after bullet point in the same font, in the same colour, in the same size for each of your 37 slides? Do you have slide transitions, text transitions and pointless clipart? Worst of all, do you have PowerPoint Police that must vet your presentation to ensure that your presentation is in line with corporate branding? If you have answered ‘Yes’ to any of these then you have a McPowerPoint Presentation and it’s time to change.


Turn your next presentation into a Rolex presentation!


With your next presentation, get rid of your logo. If you have an interesting presentation they will remember who you are and where you’re from. Aim for no more than 6 words per slide – tell the rest of the story with a picture. Destroy all clipart – you have a digital camera on your phone so got take a photo and use it! Use a different colour for each slide – when was the last time you found looking at a painted wall engaging! Don’t be afraid to use white space. Go Zen – less is more. Consider including video that shows your message.


By branding yourself as Rolex does, you become more than just another commodity that can be negotiated down to the lowest price. You will become unique and therefore different in the market place.


Feel free to share this with those that love to use PowerPoint. And if you know someone who works for Rolex, let them know too!




Darren Fleming

Australia’s Public Speaking Coach

Speak Motivate and Lead: How Real Leaders inspire others to follow



Speak Motivate and Lead

Do you want to know how to influence others at work? The you need this book.

How to influence in today’s work place. The

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If you are a Section Manager, Sales Manager, or Chief Executive Officer, connecting with your audience and getting your message across is often a challenge. This power-packed e-book is the answer you have been looking for.


Here is what the Head of Psychology Services for the Australian Olympic Team (1992, 1996, 2000) and Business Psychologist Graham Winter had to say:


“Darren Fleming has created a simple reference guide to the tricky task of getting your message across in a way that doesn’t just inform but actually engages the audience.  The many useful tips will make it a valuable tool for the busy manager and team leader.”


Graham Winter, Consultant Psychologist and Director, Graham Winter Consulting.

Head of Psychology Services, Australian Olympic Team (1992, 1996, 2000)

Author of Think One Team, High Performance Leadership and The Business Athlete

Adelaide, Australia


In this e-book you will learn:

  • The 5 rules of PowerPoint that must be followed so you don’t send your audience to sleep
  • The 7 rules for Presenting in Boardrooms
  • How to control your nervousness when speaking
  • How to make every person in your audience feel as though you are speaking directly with them
  • How you can make any topic interesting – even statistics training can be interesting!
  • How to use your stories to connect with every person in the room
  • And much, much, much more.


Click here to get instant access to Speak Motivate and Lead: How Real Leaders inspire others to follow.


“Don’t be deceived by this seemingly thin book (of 34 pages)! It compresses many nuggets of solid speaking advice that will take you years to find in other public speaking literature. No fluff and straight to the point! Oh, and you will feel really good about yourself because you finally get to read a book in one sitting!”


Eric Feng,

Public Speaking Coach and Author of The FAQ Book of Public Speaking


After reading this e-book you will know how to:

  • Press your audiences’ ‘hot-buttons’
  • Construct your message so people will want to listen
  • How to get the right mental focus for your next sales presentation
  • Connect with your audience in the most powerful way possible
  • Put forward a different opinion and have others buy into it
  • How to use stories to connect with others

And all this for just $17!!!

Here is what other speaker and business leaders have said about Speak Motivate and Lead:


“Effective and persuasive communication made easy. An insightful guide to motivating by speaking – a must for people who deal with people”


John Tindall

MLC Australia

Sydney, Australia

Click here to get instant access to Speak Motivate and Lead: How Real Leaders inspire others to follow.

In Speak, Motivate, & Lead, Darren Fleming offers a quick but effective look at many areas of public speaking. He includes examples from his personal coaching and speaking, which are effectively mixed with mini-case studies.

He also offers concrete solutions and methods to many speaking situations, including impromptu speaking, handling boardroom meetings, and appropriately tackling humour.


A quick read, Speak, Motivate, & Lead is an excellent resource to keep nearby to refer to again and again.


Rich Hopkins

Speaker – Author – Coach

Judged in the Top 100 Speakers in the World by Toastmasters International 5 times since 2002. Author of Win Place and Show


At just $17 it is a great investment in your career.

Click here to get instant access to Speak Motivate and Lead: How Real Leaders inspire others to follow.


If you have to stand before any group and motivate them to follow your directions, you need to speak as a real Leader. This e-book will show you how to do that.


“The information is concise yet detailed with great examples that illustrate the fundamentals in presentation skills.”


Palmo Carpino

Applied Communications Inc

Alberta Canada

OK! Get the e-book now!

The Sales Pitch

If you want to win the business, you need to shine in front of the client!

It seems that to win business these days you have to be able to deliver a knock–out presentation to the client. And unfortunately it does not matter how good your product or service is, if you cann’t sell it and yourself in the presentation you wont win the business.

So what makes for a good sales pitch? Here are five key elements to consider.

  1. Cast Your Team.Do you have the right person in the right spot. Just as you would not put a salesman on-site to run a project, consider if it is best to have your leading project manager leading the sales presentation. While it will be essential to have their expertise when developing the presentation, consider if they will be able to sell your vision to the client. If they are not, replace them with someone who is. Then use the project managers skills on the day as the ‘expert’ on the technical issues.
  2. You are On Before You are On. From the moment you engage the client you are being judged. This is true for the day of the presentation as well. From the moment you leave your office to visit the client and make your pitch, you are being watched. When you pull up in the car park, are waiting in the reception and setting up your presentation you are being watched and judged. Act as though the client is with you always.
  3. Dress as They Expect You to Dress. Have you ever seen a politician in the outback talking to the locals? They usually have their shirt and tie on. This is the way that the locals expect to see their politicians, so this is the way that they dress. So how do you dress? Whilst I do not suggest that every person appears in a 3-piece suit, it is important that each person dresses for their role. If you are leading the presentation from a sales or ‘Company’ perspective it will probably be best to wear the suit. However, if you are the project manager you will probably be best suited to wearing a polo shirt and long pants to reflect your ‘hands on’ approach. Even if you never wear long pants on-site you will need to wear them for the pitch. Long pants show respect where short pants will not.
  4. Do You Need PowerPoint? If you consider that every company making a pitch will use PowerPoint, how will the client feel at the end of just 4 presentations? This is real Death by PowerPoint! To stand out from the crowd, construct a presentation that does not rely on PowerPoint. Use stories, word pictures and elicit emotions to get your message across. If you need to convey data intensive information then PowerPoint is fine, but just leave it at that. You want to stand out with your presentation, not become one of the herd.
  5. Remember it is About the Client.Even though you are there to sell yourself, the presentation is all about the client. Work out what they really want and then sell them that. If you are pitching for a $500,000 computer system upgrade, know what the customer wants … And I will guarantee you that they don’t want a new computer system! What they want faster, more reliable processing; they want systems that work together and they want to automate their processes. They don’t want a new computer system, they just know it’s the best way to get what they want.

Good luck with your next pitch!

Til next time,


Darren Fleming


If You Use PowerPoint You Need to Know This!

PowerPoint (or any other projection software) can be a great to enhance your message. When used correctly it can help you explain your message in a clearer way that helps your audience understand your message and learn even more.

But a constant problem that many speakers have when using PowerPoint is that they don’t know where to put their notes. To get around this, they put their notes on the screen and read from this. Unfortunately this has awful consequences for the audience. See here for examples.

But there is a way around this. The secret has been part of the PowerPoint suit for many years, but has been kept a secret from most of us. The secret uses a function of PowerPoint and a function of the operating software on your computer. As I use Microsoft XP, I will talk in terms of that.

The first step is to prepare your presentation in PowerPoint (or Imppress, Keynote, Freelance or any other program) using the “Presenters Notes”. In PowerPoint this is called “Normal View”. In this setting you can create your slide for your audience and make any notes that you will need. You can also see what slides you have in your presentation.

The second part of the secret is to set your computer up to run on Dual monitors. First ensure that you have your computer attached to the projector or this wont work. In XP this is done by following these steps:

  1. Go to the “desktop”
  2. Right Click and select Properties
  3. In the Properties box select the ‘settings’ tab
  4. Ensure that 2 monitors are showing (if they are not you will not be able to use this functionality.)
  5. Click on the second monitor
  6. Check the box towards the bottom of the settings box that says (something like) “Display monitor on this screen”

Once you have completed this set up you will be able to have the audience see the slides that you want them to see and you will be able to see your notes, the slides that the audience can see, what slides you have just shown and also the next slide to come.

By setting up the computer this way you will be able to control your notes, presentation and your message to achieve the results you are after.

You can get more info on this from Microsoft by following this link

‘Til next time,


Darren Fleming





The Focus of PowerPoint

Yesterday I was in a three hour lecture where the speaker used a ppt presentation as the basis of her message.  As I watched her speak, I noticed that her attention was constantly being diverted between three places. The result of this was that she found it hard to concentrate on what she was saying.

Where was she focusing?

She was trying to focus on three places at once. She was focusing on the screen where the audience was looking. She was focusing on her computer to control her presentation. And finally she was focusing on us – the audience. The trouble is that when you divert your conscious attention to so many places all at once, you are unable to pay adequate attention to any of them.

As a result of her constantly changing her focus, she constantly had to change her thought patterns. Even though the changes were only slight, it was enough to distupt the flow.

Why does this happen? It is because of the way the brain is structured. Whilst all visual information is processed in the visual cortex, there are different parts of the visual cortex that process different types of visual information. By constantly changing visual inputs in such a disjointed and random matter, she had to re-establish her thought patterns after each change. This caused he to lose her place for an instant with annoying consequences.

What was the result? In 5 minutes I counted 64 ‘filler words’. These included the traditional ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’, but also she said, ‘I guess’ a lot. Now when you are a speaker – and speaking as an expert – telling your audience that you are ‘guessing’ is not good for your credibility.

At 64 filler words in 5 minutes, she spoke an extra 2304 words for the three hour presentation. That is about 15 minutes of speaking! That’s huge!

If she was able to place her attention on the audience and forget about looking at her computer and screen, she would have made a much stronger connection with her audience, reduced the number of filler words used, and been able to remember her presentation more clearly and concisely.

Til next time.


Darren Fleming


Perfect PowerPoint

PowerPoint has become the modern tool of today’s corporate trainer. PowerPoint can be a great tool when used properly and the following tips will help you with it!

  1. Before you start presenting, ask if you really need PowerPoint. Did you know that before PowerPoint (and Freelance etc) came along, trainers and speakers spoke without it! If they needed a visual aid they used Over-head projectors or white boards. Sometimes they used nothing. There is no rule saying that you have to use PowerPoint! At your next conference, shock you audience by speaking without PowerPoint! That will certainly get their attention.
  2. What are you putting on your slides? PowerPoint works best with pictures, diagrams and data intensive information that cannot be easily explained with words alone. By keeping the text to a minimum you will be able to keep the focus on you and your message.
  3. Follow the 10/20/30 rule. No more than 10 slides for a 20 minute presentation (that’s 2 minutes per slide) and no smaller than 30 font for the text. Yes, that is big text! This forces you to simplify your slides!
  4. Handouts – Ideally your handouts SHOULD NOT BE your presentation slides. Consider having three sets of notes/slides:
    1. Audience slides – these are the slides that the audience sees. Keep them simple and relevant. Also avoid over doing the text.
    2. Your notes – these are the notes that you have to look at. They should have enough detail for you to remember what to say.
    3. Audience handouts – If you choose to have audience handouts, there is nothing to say that they have to look like the slides on the screen. In fact, there is a great argument that says that your notes should be much more detailed than the notes on the screen. After all, the notes are to re-enforce and also EXPAND on what you spoke about.
  5. Another way to interact with your audience is to give them electronic notes. Send them a link to your website/database/data warehouse where they can get notes. This will save a heap of printing, time wasting and save your notes going into the bin by those that only took the notes because they were there. If you are an external speaker/trainer, you can direct people to your website or blog to show your other products/services!
  6. Remember that your goal as a speaker at a conference or a training session or a team meeting is to engage and connect with your audience. If you can achieve this without PowerPoint then FANTASTIC!

Til next time


Darren Fleming

How to Make Statistics Training Interesting!

I recently had the opportunity to offer some presentation coaching with a client – Trina – who spent her day delivering statistical training. Her area of speciality was ‘imputation’, which looks at how you estimate certain numbers. As you could imagine, you could make the topic very dry and boring without even trying!

As I watched Trina deliver her training, I noticed that the people in the room were actually becoming involved and excited (well OK – Just involved) in what was being presented. Granted the participants were interested in the information, but lets face it, this was the fourth day of a full week of advanced statistical training! People were bound to be tired and over it. Why were these people so interested?

At the end of the training, Trina came up to me and apologised for all the things that she did wrong, and wished that she could do better. She said this was why she needed public speaking coaching. She apologised for holding her notes while she spoke, apologised for being nervous and apologised for being genuinely excited about the topic when no-one else was. What she did not realise was that her excitement for the topic was what made her so successful at her job.

Her enthusiasm for her topic was evident from the start. She told the participants that she was genuinely excited about the statistical Normal Curve, and what could be achieved by understanding it. She told stories of how her last employer ignored the normal curve, and how it cost them dearly. She showed the participants how they could follow the rules and avoid the same dire consequences. This is what involve the audience.

It was her enthusiasm for the subject that really entertained the audience. She was excited, and happy to be training and the carried her through and the audience through what was at times very tough and tedious learning

The fact that she held her notes, was no real distraction. The audience knew it was a technical presentation, and knew there was a lot of information to be presented, and understood that it would have been difficult to present off the top of your head. I gave her a few pointers on how to reduce the number of notes. She had several pages of the notes she was using. These were primarily be PowerPoint slides she was talking to. She could have made these notes more useful to her by reducing the amount that she wrote on them. Simple bullet points instead of full sentences would have helped her.

She also would have been better do not read the slides verbatim. Many public speaking articles have been written about how to use PowerPoint properly. They all suggest that you should not read what is on the slides as it simply distracts the audience. In fact, there is some research coming out of the University of New South Wales suggesting that reading the slides at the same time as people listening to you and reading them reduces the amount that they take in. This is due to cognitive overload. Our brain can only do so much at once and if we have to listen and read the same stuff, we will not taken as much information.

So yes it is possible to make statistics interesting! If Trina could make statistics interesting, can’t you make you all topic interesting? How do you do this? Follow Trina’s example: be excited about your topic; have stories relate to your topic; & show how the stories relate to your audience.

You can get more information about stories in public speaking by following this link to Executive Speaking.

Till later,



If you liked this, there are more great tips on making any speech interesting at Speak Motivate and Lead.
Australian Public Speaking courses

Presenting in the Boardroom

The most common form of public speaking and presenting occurs across the table, or in a clients Boardroom.

Presenting in the Boardroom requires a special understanding of certian unwritten rules and territorial factors.

SeatingBefore taking a seat, wait for your host to direct you. Never assume a position around the table.  When preparing, ask permission as to where you should set up, and if it is OK to set up now.  If you do need to sit down, ask if it is OK to sit in a particular seat. 

Respect the status in the room.  In some organisations there will be a very clearly defined hierarchy.  This may even include calling someone by their title such as “Mr”.  Make yourself aware of what is happening along these lines and follow suit.  In some groups, people will have clearly defined roles.  

Know your audience.  Do as much homework as possible on your audience.  Know what their hot-buttons are.  Know what they like and dislike, and tailor your presentation accordingly. 

Help them save face.  Ensure that you do not cause your host to lose face.  If you suspect that your host does not fully understand what you are saying, try re-phrasing your point another way.  If you are not sure if they understand, try something like, “Have I made that clear enough?”, as opposed to, “Do you understand what I am saying?”  This lets them feel that the reason they don’t understand is not due to them.  This is very important when dealing with Eastern Cultures.   

Be adaptable.  Be ready to bounce off what the people in the room do or say.  Being able to incorporate this into your presentation will give the impression that this is a completely unique presentation. 

Study the room dynamics.  In any group of people there will be some that are closer friends than others.  Some may even dislike each other.  If this is evident, avoid being drawn into it. 

Don’t skip slides.  If using PowerPoint, never skip a slid in front of a customer.  If you do, you will give the impression that you are hiding something from them.  If you need to tailor a presentation for a prospect, hide any unnecessary slides before you get there. 

You are there to make a sale.  Regardless of what you are presenting, you will be making a sale.  You may not be asking for an order number there and then, but if you want to have a future relationship with this audience, they will have to buy your credibility.  As in all sales situations, keep the following in mind:

  • K.I.S.S.  Keep it short and simple.  Attention spans are only getting shorter.  By getting to your point as soon as possible you will avoid wasting everyone’s time.
  • Understand what they want, and know what they need. Many people in a buying situation know what they want, but are unaware of what they really need.  Find out what their needs are, and fill them and you will have a better chance of success.
  • Use feature and benefits.  People do not buy the features of any product.  They buy the benefits those features give.  For example, people don’t buy a car with a V8 engine (feature) just because it has a big engine.  They buy a car with a V8 engine because of the power it has (benefit).  Understand the features of your product, and what benefits it brings to your client.
  • Use Questions.  A great way to understand more about your audience is to ask questions.  By asking questions, your audience will give an insight to what they really want.
  • Don’t over answer.  If you are asked a question, avoid the temptation to give a long answer that leaves no stone un-turned.  Answer as much as is needed to satisfy the person who asked the question.  If they ask more, great.  If they are asking questions, they are showing interest.
  • Leave questions to be asked.  By carefully omitting some information from your presentation you can prompt a question about it.  Some audience like to ask questions.  It lets them show that they understand what you are presenting.
  • Don’t finish with a Q&A.  Avoid finishing on with a Q&A session.  After you have dealt with all the questions, give a brief summary.  This allows you to have the last word and control what happens next.

 ‘Til next time,


Darren Fleming

How (not) to give a PowerPoint Presentation

If you are looking for information on how to put together a PowerPoint presentation, you should see this 7 minute video.
As Homer Simpson said, “It’s funny ‘cos it’s true”Cheers

Darren Fleming


These days it seems that every business presentation you go to has to have a PowerPoint slide show.  While PowerPoint is a great presentation aid for delivering a message, if you’re not careful it will smother what you have to say.  PowerPoint should improve your message, and not become your message.  PowerPoint is about making it easier for your audience to understand and accept your message.  It’s  not about showing off how clever you can be.  Below are a few points to keep in mind when you next need to use PowerPoint.

  1. Should you use PowerPoint?  Not every message should be put into a PowerPoint presentation.  if you are considering using PowerPoint ask yourself if it will help your audience understand your message.  If it wont help, be different and don’t use it! 
  2. Don’t let the PowerPoint presentation be a substitute for knowing your message:  Don’t fall for the trick of reading the slides to deliver your message.  If you simply read your slides, your audience will read them too. They will read ahead of you and blank out what you are saying.
  3. Minimise visual distractions:  Everytime your audience sees movement on the screen they will look at it. If they are paying attention to the screen, they are not paying attention to you. 
  4. Just because PowerPoint can, does not mean that you should:  PowerPoint is fun to play with and can do some amazing things, but that does not mean that your audience wants to see it.  After they have seen the first slide fly in from the right, the heading type itself out and the bullet points twirl in from the distance they will become tried of it.  If your doing it to keep them entertained, can I suggest that you should look more closely at your content.
  5. Use contrasting backgrounds:  Make your background 1 solid colour and choose a font colour that can be easily seen against it.  If your audience has to struggle to see the text they will have trouble reading it.  If you make regular presentations to clients consider getting a professional template made.  Standard Microsoft templates stand out!
  6. Know and use the ‘B’ key:  When you no longer want the audience to see what is on the screen simply press the ‘B’ key and this will turn the screen black.  When there is nothing to look at, they audience will pay attention to you.  This is what you want. When you want to move to the next slide, simply press the space bar or click as you normally would.  The ‘W’ key has the same affect and turns the screen white.
  7. If you are going to use a laser pointer, have a reason to use it:  The reason you have a laser pointer is to point out specific things.  If you are using a pointer to simply point to the words that you are saying, what message are you giving about your audience?
  8. Moving from slide to slide is easier than it looks!  There are many ways to move forward with slides.  Pressing the left button on the mouse is the most obvious.  But did you know that the left and right arrows will move you around the slides too, as will the space bar.  If you want to go to a specific slide, simply type the number in and press the enter key and you will go there.  You can get a ton of other tips by pressing the ‘F1″ key!
  9. Never skip a slide!  If there are slides in your presentation that you don’t want to use, hide them from your presentation before you get up to speak.  If you are standing in front of the audience and you skip 2 slides, the audience will wonder what was on those slides and wont pay attention to what you are saying.  This will brake your connection with the audience and ruin your credibility.
  10. Limit the number of slides:  For those old enough to remember your aunties slide show of her trip to Europe you will know why you have to minimise the number of slides you use.  If you weren’t around in the 70’s and don’t know what a slide show is consider yourself lucky!
  11. Get to the point:  As with any type of presentation, you need to get to the point ASAP.  After all, time is in short supply these days.

PowerPoint is a great tool that can help you deliver your message.  Just don’t let it become your message.

‘Til next time.



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