Collect Now, Use Later

Whether you are an assistant football coach at a high school or a junior executive hoping to climb the corporate ladder…or anyone in between…it’s a good idea to start collecting information that you may use someday during a PowerPoint presentation. The more slides you have, the easier it will be to combine them into a stellar presentation. You can collect photos you take or inspirational quotes…either that you think of yourself or the words of others. When it comes to collecting quotes, Tom Peters, is the best. When he presents he uses a vast number of quotes from people. Here’s just one of his slides…

Follow advice from the Boy Scouts and “Be Prepared.” You never know when you may be asked to make the presentation of your life. Have the slides in advance and be ready.

Sometimes, your best presentation can be your worst…

It was a very hot day.

The room was not air conditioned.

The audience was made up of very important people.

My team consisted of four speakers. Each of us was given about 20 minutes to speak. I deliberately went last. As the other speakers were speaking I was looking at the audience. Some were on the verge of failing off their chairs because they were dozing off. Some were looking at their watches. None were paying much attention to the speakers. And then it was my turn to speak.

A colleague was switching PowerPoint files when I told him to shut the projector off.

I started by telling them that I was going to summarize what I was going to say in two minutes or less and provide a handout with the details. Everyone perked up. I spoke. I stopped. I gave out the handout.

Several people told me that mine was the best presentation of the day.

Sometimes, you have to adjust your presentation to the day. Sometimes, your worst presentation (according to the speaking gods) can turn out to be your best presentation.

Shock ’em in a month…

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 12.31.43 PMWhen you make a presentation and have email addresses of those in your audience shock your audience by sending out an email, in a month, with a summary of what you told them. As Jack Friday would say, “Just the facts.” Avoid the temptation of try to sell anything. Just use the email as a gentle remember of what you said. Use it like a second handout.

They will appreciate it. Really, they will.

The most important part of your next presentation…

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 10.26.30 AMWhen you make a presentation planning is extremely important. So is practice. Many would say that slide creation is also critical. Few ever mention the really important part of any presentation…the handout.

Regardless of how good a speaker you are, the audience is forgetting what you are saying as you are saying it. Most of what you say is lost by the time the audience has left the room.

The best way to help the members of the audience remember what you have said is the handout you provide. If they really want to remember what your important points were they can consult with your handout.

Your handout can be on paper, a booklet, or something that they can get online later. Providing a handout is the best way to be remembered later on. Handouts help them remember you.

Your Photos vs. Stock Photos

You can buy or download free photos of everything…almost. If you are a speaker and use photos during your talk it is easy to search for ‘just the right photo’ for your PowerPoint slide. It makes sense…or does it. Actually, I don’t think so.

I’d rather use a photo that I have taken over a stock photo every time. Here’s an example.


There are thousands of photos of Pugs online. If I were speaking about Pugs, I would only use one like this. Why? I can talk about this one on a very personal level. Camille posed for this photo. She lived with my family. You may notice that the photo isn’t perfect. Her tail is partially covered by the greenery. A “professional” photographer would have Photoshopped it out. Would a perfect photo that I couldn’t talk about personally be better than Camille. Never!

Whenever possible, use your own photo…so you can make it personal.

5 Photography Tips for Speakers


If you get up to speak at a meeting, workshop or conference, you probably will be using some form of visual. By following some basic photography tips you can make your pictures more effective. Here are 5 photography tips for public speaking:

  1. The most unique photos you can use is one you took yourself. Your iPhone or other smartphone has a camera that can and should be used to take pictures. Use it.
  2. Move in, zoom in, or crop your pictures to avoid distracting backgrounds.
  3. An advantage of using digital cameras is that you can take pictures without worrying about the expense of developing film. However, the problem with digital images is how easy it is to loose track of them. Important images should be copied and re-named. For example, the (scanned version) of the photo of P.J. is named PJ_Polaroid.jpg. If it were called 229945.jpg it would be much more difficult to find in my computer.
  4. Using a Polaroid picture, like the picture of P.J.,  makes it a bit more personal and unique. Although Polaroid stopped making film for their cameras, The Impossible Project does make film for your old Polaroid camera.
  5. If you use a photo on a PowerPoint or Keynote slide, use little or any text with it. You want the audience to look at the picture, listen to you, or read what is on a slide…one at a time.

Used wisely, pictures are great aids to making an effective speech or presentation.