The Present Outside the Present

Those of us who’ve had small children will know the incredible but unforeseeable value of the refrigerator carton. Kids can make all sorts of things from robots to puppet theatres out of these cardboard structures. And, of course, how many parents out there have been bemused to give their infant toddler a gift at birthday or Christmas time only to find them more captivated by the box than the goodies inside?

I had one of these experiences recently. I had serendipitously taken part in an EzineArticles “100 articles in 100 days” challenge and only realised so after the event. Part of the challenge, of course, was a prize–a coffee mug adorned with “#HAHD” to signify the achievement. But, wait, there’s more.

When I responded to an email to register for my prize I thought at the time I’d be unlikely to actually receive it–being halfway around the world from Green Bay, Wisconsin, the home of EzineArticles, I was sure something would happen to see it get ‘lost in the post.’

I received this ‘present’ on my birthday. And not only was there a mug, but a pen, paper, some coffee, a mouse mat and more. But, the main thing that got my attention was the United States Postal Service ‘small flat box’ that the present came in.

This box was no ordinary box. I marvelled at it like it was sent from Mars or something. It had logos on it I hadn’t seen before. It specified the holding capacity in pounds not kilograms. It featured a small insignia map logo–a globe of the world, but not featuring Australia (Africa and Europe are featured in this ‘International Express Priority’ post actually). Finally, my address had “AUSTRALIA” marked in bold under the state details.

My wife and I mused for a good ten minutes about this box. It provided quite a pleasure-filled surprise for the day.

The lesson from this that I draw is, the simplest things can spur our minds. It also shows how big a world we live in. Having never travelled internationally, I’m awed by thoughts of places like America, the Middle East, and Europe.

The best things in life truly are free.

3 Building Blocks of Strong Visual Presentation to Investors

Investor presentation is an important event for every startup. It’s a possibility to show a product to public and build relationships with investors. The way it is prepared and conducted will be followed by investor’s decision to put money into the project or step aside. That is why the main goal of presentation to investors is to convince them that a product or service meets users’ needs. To achieve it, a presentation should be designed in a way to answer two main questions:

1. What is a product or service?
2. Why will users want it?

And remember that “no presentation is better than a weak one”. Keeping that in mind you should spend significant amount of time not only to develop a product, but also to build the right approach to present it.

One of the common ways to do a presentation is to make it visible using computer and special software like Microsoft Power Point (or any other). Actually, the way the presentation looks is the major thing, not the software used to create it.

The three building blocks of strong visual presentation to investors are Plan, Time and Visual Tools:

1. Make a PLAN for the presentation and put slides in order with it. A plan could be like this:
a) Introduction – who you and your company are.
b) Product description – what does it do, what problem it solves.
c) Description of usage – who and how will use it, why customers will want it.
d) Competitive advantages and success stories (if any).
e) Finance – sales and profit projections.
f) Call for investments.

2. TIME: don’t make long presentations if the opposite is not required. Your presentation should take about 10 minutes. So the number of slides that are sufficient is from 12 to 15. More slides will take the most of your time to read the text, not to explain information to investors. People won’t listen to you too long and lose interest to your presentation. And avoid presenting and driving presentation simultaneously. It’s better to ask someone of your team to turn slides during your talk.

3. VISUAL TOOLS:
a) Use at least 16 font size. No one is going to read the text with a telescope.
b) Don’t put much text on slides. Be short and precise. Use bullets to divide text into simple statements and use 2-4 statements per slide.
c) The text on slides must not have errors and typos. After completing the presentation, read it again carefully and correct all errors. Also you can give it to someone for proofreading.
d) Use schemes to show logical structures. A scheme can explain the cause-effect relation even better than bulleted text.
e) Use colors to make slides catchy. You may use corporate or any other colors, but keep in mind that they should be contrast. Green text on yellow background will look fuzzy and hard to read. Dark text on light background will look good. Light text on dark background is good for darken rooms and require powerful projector. Also try not to use more than three colors in presentation.
f) Be careful using background. Fancy textures can make the text hard-to-read. Also, if you are not going to show slides on your laptop, your texture might be absent on another computer.
g) Use pictures and photos to make greater impression of your words.
h) Use charts and diagrams to present figures. Put data labels and use readable font size. Try to avoid using 3D diagrams as they might be hard to understand.
i) Don’t use spreadsheets on slides. It’s better to pick up 3-5 the most important for you numbers and show them in text or on separate slide.
j) If you are presenting something web-based, make an off-line copy and use it. Internet connection can be unstable and die right when you need it.

Following those tips will help startups to provide visual support for their presentation and get investors’ attention and funding as well.

The Difference Between a Persuasive and an Informative Presentation

There are a number of reasons as to why experts host presentations. The main type of presentations held can normally fall into two different categories, persuasive and informative.

What Is The Purpose of a Persuasive Presentation?

Presentations can be held in order to promote a particular service or product, presentations such as these would fall into the persuasive category. The reason for this is that the presentation would be hosted to explain the benefits of the product, message or service. Within the presentation, it would be up to the host to highlight then benefits while still ensuring that rich content that the audience wants to hear is being delivered.

The success of such a presentation can be measured by how many people make a purchase, employs a service or join a cause. Similarly, if the presentation is for a proposal, then the success can be determined as to whether or not you received the approval you need.

What Is The Purpose of an Informative Presentation?

Informative presentations tend to deal with training or education. There can be elements of a persuasive presentation intertwined. For example, a teacher may need to persuade his students that the subject is worth learning about. But the main objective of such a presentation is for people to absorb and retain information.

Research can be another important aspect of an informative presentation. A business may have carried out market research in relation to their business, and a presentation could be held to deliver such information to members of staff. As a result of the presentation, a decision would then need to be made in light of the information. A successful presentation of this type can be measured by the outcome of the decision, and how it was implemented using the information to hand.

The success of such presentations can be difficult to monitor unless there is a test or exercise that follows the presentation. In this regard, if the test results are high, then you can assume that your informative presentation was a success.

Although both presentations are different in what they have to offer, they do share similar characteristics. For example, both should have a clear goal as to what they want to inform their audience about. With this in mind, it is important that the presentation is tailored around your audience and they are able to fully understand your content. If you happen to host a presentation that falls into either category, you should ensure that you encourage the audience to participate by adding a question and answer session, or something similar.

Both types of presentation are also likely to involve a problem and solution section. Within a persuasive presentation, it is likely that the host will present a problem, then tailor their solution with a product or service. The problem and solution section may not seem so apparent within an informative presentation, but there could be a section that focuses on overcoming problems. For example, a business may highlight the problem of poor customer service.

Outlining the benefits of any product or service you are selling is paramount for persuasive presentations. Customers like to have a clear outline of how your product or service can solve their problem and what they can gain from their purchase. Outlining benefits is not at the forefront of an informative presentation, but the content itself may be beneficial to your audience, so in this regard, you would also look to sell the benefits of the very information you are relaying to your audience.

Emotions play a large part of persuasive presentations. In fact, studies have shown that very few people are able to make a purchase without feeling good about it. So when it comes to delivering a persuasive presentation, your ability to ignite human interaction and emotion should be one of your main focuses. Evidently informative presentations can also have emotion involved, but this can differ depending on the presentation.

Trust is the drive behind both types of presentation. If your audience doesn’t have faith in you, then they won’t have faith in your product. As you can imagine, a lack of faith can lead to a lack of sales. In order for the audience to commit to your product, then they must be able to trust the presenters, and feel comfortable that other audience members feel the same. Testimonials, reviews and previous successes are a large driving force behind a person’s trust.

Many presentations will be tailored to a specific audience, so you may find that different presentations may include different factors from both informative and persuasive presentations. Both types of presentation should include a call-to-action towards the end. This could be to buy a product, contribute or for the audience to put what they have learned into practice.