Leverage your message. And my first polo match.

What happens to your presentation after it’s over? Does it fade away like the memory it has become? Or can you find ways to repurpose it to help add value to your organization, your audience, and your own unique brand?

It all depends on you!

Villa Sesta Polo club with the Tuscan hills where Chianti comes from in the background!
Villa Sesta Polo club with the Tuscan hills where Chianti comes from in the background!

Yesterday, Lulu and I went to our first polo match. In the Chianti hills between Siena and Arezzo, we nibbled on Tuscan-style snacks like Bufala mozzarella and prosciutto served to us by the Villa Sesta Club staff.

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As we looked out on the field, we learned that each of the four players on a team has four separate horses to use for each of the four “chukkers” or periods that take place in the fast-paced game.

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Four horses each? No wonder it takes a lot of money to play this sport. But, in spite of the apparent wealth, it wasn’t a snooty crowd like I’d imagined from that scene in Pretty Woman –which is about my only previous exposure to polo.

By example, our hosts, equestrian and country-inn Il Pozzo owner Carla Veneri and her dentist boyfriend Federico (plus their dog Amelie) couldn’t be more down-to-earth and laid back.

Carla, Federico, Amelie, Me and yes, squint, Lulu is there too. She said the sun was making her "go blind."
Carla, Federico, Amelie, Me and yes, squint, Lulu is there too. She said the sun was making her “go blind.”

The exciting game, plus the great food and sun-filled Tuscan sky, made for a, as our very-British-sounding announcer said so well, “Splendid Sunday afternoon.”

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So! I could carry the day in my mind, or I could take photos and share my experience – along with my lesson not to prejudge a group before meeting its members – with others. It’s the same with your work.

YouTube. If your presentation isn’t proprietary in nature, have someone record it and put the video on your company’s YouTube channel. Or put it on your own. You or your organization do have a channel, right? If not, it’s super easy to set-up!

Newsletter or Blog. Adapt the transcript of your presentation into a piece for a company newsletter or blog. If you have your own blog, post it there. This way, you can reach employees or potential clients or whoever wasn’t able to attend in person.

SlideShare. Post your wonderfully simple and graphic PowerPoint presentation (see my previous article about this!) on SlideShare.

Publications. Yes, you heard me! Depending on your content, you can tweak your presentation and submit a query letter to a variety of trade magazines and/or business journals. The Wall Street Journal and WIRED magazine, for example, both offer member-blogs. Why not?

When you consider the variety of ways that you and your hard work can continue to be amplified – by repurposing and promoting your message – you are making yourself more valuable and relevant to your company. That’s another valuable lesson.

Lulu enchanted by Villa Sesta Polo Club's topiary ponies.
Lulu enchanted by Villa Sesta Polo Club’s topiary ponies.

As our polo announcer would say, “Simply splendid, indeed!”

Baci, tutti! Gina

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How to make your next PowerPoint simpler!

If “Death by PowerPoint” is a cliché, why are so many business professionals still trying to kill us?

By now, you know you shouldn’t be putting too many words or too much detailed information on your slides, but many of you seem to insist on doing it anyway.  Maybe you’re not killing your audience, but you’re probably putting them to sleep.  And that means you’re not connecting.

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Maybe if I really squint I can read these graphs.. Naaaah!

Everyone can make their slides simpler.

A client recently lamented to me, “I can’t.  I have a global quarterly financial statement to present, so I have to put in a lot of information.”  Perhaps. But you don’t have to put it all on one single slide!

Your slides are supposed to reinforce your presentation and give it punch –  not  become a follow-along, word-for-word text of your presentation.

Dos:

Use pictures and photos. Get graphic!  But, again, clean and simple is more memorable for your audience.  keep the photos per slide to a minimum.  One or two is best!

Break up your information.  Sure, you know how to bullet-point a list. But how many bullets do you have on one slide?  How much information do you have following each bullet?  Keep it short! Your verbal words should be telling the story, not your written ones.

Make two versions. When I coach with Aileen Pincus, we have often encouraged clients who really feel they must have a “long” version of their presentation, to make it.  But, also make a shorter, more visual version and use this one for your presentation.  After you’re finished,  hand out your long version as a take-home for your audience to review.

Consider Prezi.  Do you know about this alternative to PowerPoint site?  It provides a graphic-based, fun way to present your information. It’s free and once you get the hang of it, easy to use. Here, for example, is my Prezi take on “Leadership.”

Join SlideShare. If you haven’t already joined this popular site, it’s a great resource. Before you make your next PowerPoint on any given topic, plug in some search terms on SlideShare and see what is already out there.  There are some duds, mind you, but you will also find some lovely slides from which to draw inspiration! Here, for another example, is my recent PowerPoint on “Communicating Change.”  Let me know what you think.

Don’ts:

Read your slides.  Your audience is there to see and hear you, not your PowerPoint.  If you write out your script on your slides, the audience will read ahead and not follow you.  You will have lost control and relevance.

Use over-detailed graphs.  We’ve all seen the US Government’s crazy undecipherable slide for planning tactics in Afghanistan.  But, a detailed graph outlining quarterly financials is bound to be too complicated too.  Point out the take-aways in your slide and hand out the financial statement as a supplement to study – after  your finished.

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The poster-child of bad PowerPoints!

Use fussy themes or silly transitions. The best slides are the simplest. If you’re spending time agonizing over which colorful theme to use, or whether to use a “star-shaped” dissolve between slides, stop. It’s likely to look amateurish and be distracting anyway. Standard transitions and a white background is a good starting point unless you’re a graphic designer.

Go over “three.”  Think in groups of “three.”  Three bullet points maximum on a slide. Three illustrations to make a point. Your audience won’t remember more than that, so don’t try to force them.

Forget to rehearse.  Practice presenting with your slides in real time.  How do you feel when you see each one? Do they make sense to you? If you can’t follow your slides, how can you expect your audience to?

Take a moment to learn how to simplify.   If your slides are simpler, they will have more impact. And then, so will you!

This is from one of my PowerPoints!
This is from one of my PowerPoints!

Let me know how you’re doing with your slides. Need more advice, let me know!

Baci, 

Gina