Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Guest Blogger Meghan Dotter Explains the 3 Steps to Excel at Presentation Q&A

Presenters either enjoy the Q&A session or would rather do away with it altogether. Whether this part of the presentation is where you feel the most or the least comfortable, practicing and incorporating key transition phrases can help you keep, if not strengthen, your connection with the audience.
  1. Before the presentation, anticipate potential pushback. As you are preparing the main messages, invite skepticism. Ask colleagues to review your messages and provide feedback: what doesn't make sense?

    Rehearse Q&A as part of your presentation preparation. Practice your reaction to questions that seem to come from left field, addressing your body language and facial expressions.
  2. During the Q&A session, avoid responses like "Thank you for asking that question. . ." or "I'm glad you asked," because in most cases, this simply isn't true. We often default to these replies as we scramble to come up with a good answer. If the person raises a compelling good point or a perspective you hadn't considered, invite them to elaborate, "Tell me more about your experience." This is your opportunity to learn, and more importantly, to create a way for your audience to take part.

    Replace phrases like "Yes, but" with "Yes, and" to bridge your response. When people hear "but," they discount any agreement (or goodwill) that preceded the word, and you want to acknowledge that they've been heard.

    When someone asks about something you've explained (or thought you have), avoid reminding them with the "As I said . . ." phrase. Instead, try saying, "Lets' take another look." Even if you've explained a concept or an idea several times, if your audience doesn't get it, guess who's at fault?

    In each exchange, you want to listen, acknowledge and respond thoughtfully. Granted, this is difficult to do when you are the center of attention, but it’s a critical part of demonstrating to your audience that they are important.
  3. After your presentation, review the overall Q&A experience. If the sessions are contentious, or entirely devoid of any participation, spend more time preparing and vetting messages and your call to action to find a balance of an engaged and constructive information exchange. 


Meghan Dotter has more than 15 years of experience working with organizations to develop and convey messages to clients, colleagues, the media, investors, and analysts. In her roles at a PR agency, as head of external communications for a Fortune 200 company, and through her work at Portico, she has prepared content and coached C-level executives, managers and entrepreneurs in a range of situations—from shareholder and board meetings to internal meetings and crises. Meghan was nicknamed the "engineer whisperer" for her ability to help clients translate complex ideas.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Graphic Metaphors

Want to make your ideas more memorable?

Tie them into a graphic metaphor. Challenge your audience to make the connection between two unique concepts and that connection will stay in their long-term memory.

Here are several new graphic metaphors from Get My Graphic.

The Magic 8 Ball
Remember the Magic 8 Ball that contained liquid and a triangular shape with words on its various sides? If you do, then your audience will as well. We created an editable PowerPoint version that is the perfect graphic metaphor for predicting the future of your company or process.
Ladder Graphic
Ladder of success. Climbing the corporate ladder. Getting a boost up the ladder. These are just a few examples of metaphors involving ladders in our everyday idioms. What about using this metaphor visually and showing how your company works higher up on the corporate ladder or how your team can climb up the ladder to success with a new process?
Road Graphic
Are there challenges in your way to reaching your goals? Consider a road graphic, a metaphor that visually depicts a process flow with obstacles like roadblocks or areas where you need to take it slow to ensure better quality.
Eight Ball
Don't get behind the eight ball. Anyone who plays pool knows that when the ball you need to hit or your cue ball is behind the eight ball that's a tough or nearly impossible shot. You don't want to be in that position or else you may lose the game or your turn. That's why using an eight ball is a great visual metaphor for talking about a tough position for you or your company. Alternatively, since pocketing the eight ball in pool can mean the win, then landing this shot could mean beating out your competition. This is an example of where words and visuals can work together to create two different memorable concepts.

Monday, January 13, 2014

How to Render a Conveyor Belt Graphic in PowerPoint

More and more designers are relying on PowerPoint to create graphics, because they don't have access to programs like Adobe Illustrator. Often Get My Graphic users ask how I design these professional looking graphics in PowerPoint. Certain effects can be created easily by using basic PowerPoint shapes and tools to build an image that looks like it was created in graphic software like Illustrator. Below are the steps to building one of our most popular process graphics: the conveyor belt.

To add more visual interest, group the boxes and conveyor belt elements and select Format Shape/3-D Format and under the Depth option, enter "300 pt" (adjust as needed because the correct depth is dependent upon the size of your graphic). Next, select 3-D Rotation and under Parallel, select the "Off Axis 1 Right" option (move your cursor over the images to reveal the names). Exit. Next, select the entire group (your 3D conveyor belt with boxes) and then click on one of the boxes. Next, Shift Click (click holding the Shift key) to select the remaining boxes within the group. Again, select Format Shape/3-D Format and change the Depth to "200 pt" for the top boxes. Exit and reposition the boxes as shown below. Next, group and select the arrows. select Format Shape/3-D Rotation and under Parallel, select "Off Axis 1 Right." (This process is similar for Mac users.)