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Speaking PowerPointVisual communication is the new language of business. When a leader explains an idea clearly, persuasively, and simply, that idea can spread to others. Therefore, leaders who can master visual communication will drive their business strategies. In his book Speaking PowerPoint, Bruce R. Gabrielle outlines the Mindworks Presentation Method for visual communications. This method of creating PowerPoint presentations helps leaders use this tool to communicate more effectively. It focuses on three main strategies: (1) the story should be carefully planned out on a storyboard before the PowerPoint presentation is created; (2) visuals should be easily understood and each slide should promote a single message that ties into the overall argument; and (3) the design should feature color and decorative elements that draw attention to the message.

According to the author:

  • Every business is an idea marketplace in which managers jockey to get their ideas heard and implemented. Used well, PowerPoint can be the key to winning in today’s business environment.
  • When creating a boardroom-style PowerPoint presentation, the first step is to determine the main message of the deck. The best way to figure this out is to ask the question, “What does the audience want?”
  • A successful PowerPoint deck is like an iceberg, with 10 percent above water and the rest submerged below. The main message and three to four supporting points make up the above-water argument. The rest of the evidence and explanations should be kept underwater until necessary.
  • The title is the most important element of a slide. The best way to make the title memorable is to put it in the form of a sentence. Using a full sentence to clearly state an argument also makes it easy for the audience to understand the point of each slide.
  • The average person can only understand four ideas at one time. This Rule of Four is based on neuroscience and should dictate how much information should appear on each slide.
  • Research has shown that most people think in pictures. Adding pictures to a document makes it easier to understand, agree with, and remember.
  • Research has shown that people are more likely to agree with something if it is easy for them to process. Slides that are more visually pleasing are easily digestible and more memorable.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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Boring Meetings Suck by Jon Petz is intended for leaders who want to end, or at least minimize, useless time consuming meetings. To be great, a meeting must deliver real value by providing useful information, fostering creativity, supplying motivation, and building unity among participants. Petz offers techniques that seem radical but can make meetings more efficient and effective, including tips on how to recognize what meetings to skip, how to address poor meeting facilitation or bad etiquette, and descriptions of alternative style meeting formats to speed things up. Specific pointers on eye contact, stage presence, and speech patterns show how to make presentations more engaging. Petz also offers innovative ideas for enhancing meetings with technology, along with clever ways to politely wrap up meetings or gracefully get out of them.

Petz offers readers the following advice:

  • An established agenda with clearly defined goals and desired outcomes is essential for any meeting.
  • Every meeting attendee has the right and responsibility to make the meeting productive, and when attendees are empowered to diplomatically keep the meeting on track, especially when a facilitator fails to do so, everyone benefits.
  • Technology can greatly enhance meeting communication, build deeper engagement, and increase input, but it must not overshadow the intended meeting objectives.
  • To avoid boring meetings, people must only call meetings when it is absolutely necessary, then use creative ways to move the meeting along quickly — such as holding the meeting in a room without chairs or walking up and down the hallway stairwells.
  • The key to effective meetings is for both the facilitator and the attendees to prepare at least 24 hours in advance to be knowledgeable about the issues and objectives.
  • Limit invitees to those who are true stakeholders directly affected by the meeting’s objectives and desired outcomes.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: 10 Steps to Successful Meetings, No More Pointless Meetings, Standing in the Fire

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