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    How to give an amazing talk: Part 1 – the killer visual presentation

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    By Jes Egan

    So, you’ve been asked to give a talk to an audience on a topic that you’re somewhat of an expert in (even if the topic is yourself and your career/business!). Congratulations! Speaking publicly may strike fear into the hearts of some, but for those who want to overcome this hesitation or who simply love engaging with a captive audience and sharing your story, I’ve composed this two part series to make your talk even more amazing.

    While the ‘talking’ part of the talk is a given (I’ll go into this in more detail next month), what is optional is a visual presentation to highlight key sections, underline points, and generally give the audience something else to engage with. But, you can’t just create a visual preso ‘off the cuff’ – it requires careful preparation and planning, even if your presenting style is more freeform on the day.

    What is on your slides, paper, boards, or whatever it is that you are presenting from, can be simple but it needs to be considered. Here are my top tips for designing a killer presentation.

    1.Text on screen: Less is more.
    This is personally my biggest bug bear, but also one that I have been guilty of in the past. When putting the presentation together, it is very tempting to put every single word you want to say as copy on the slides. But often times this distracts your audience from what you are saying, given that they are trying to read and listen at the same time. This practice can even lead you down the path of simply reading your presentation from the screen. Use a text slide to highlight the topic or key phrases, and if you are worried that when you leave your audience won’t remember what you said, consider summarising via a flyer, emailable presentation file, or other takeaway item.

    2. Images are your friend.
    Images and infographics on screen can replace words in many instances. Heard the saying ‘a picture tells a thousand words’? For a killer presentation, it is true. Find relevant imagery that helps communicate your story, and let the image support what you are saying while your audience listens to your words.

    Infographics can be a creative way to present information/data in an attractive visual format, and it can make it much easier for the audience to digest information that might otherwise be technical or dull. There are many online applications that will assist you to create infographics. Using these where you can keeps your presentation interesting and visually exciting without losing the integrity of the information.

    3. Don’t overlook the basics
    When putting together a presentation, some basic things can be overlooked, but they may be crucial when the purpose of a presentation is to pitch for a job or represent your brand in its best light.

    • Spell check! If the program you are using to compile your presentation doesn’t have a spell check option, simply copy and paste the text into a program that does and fix errors where required. Don’t forget to double check that the company or client’s names (if they appear in the presentation) are spelt correctly. It’s a rookie mistake but often overlooked, and these types of errors are unfortunately more obvious on the big screen!
    • Name your sources. If your presentation includes any statistics, quotes, images or content created by a third part, be sure to give due credit or ask permission from the source. Name it, either on the relevant slides or at the end of the document. Don’t claim it if it is not yours.
    • Check the presentation file loads correctly on a third-party computer, and have a backup saved somewhere else with you when you go in (e.g. on a USB stick or online). Make time to ensure the equipment at your presentation location is able to handle your presentation file, and test it (with time to make changes, or come up with a plan B if necessary).
    • Consider adding slides that ‘Open’ and ‘close’ the presentation, to make sure your audience know when you’re done.

    Finding the balance between what goes in the presentation slides and what you say can be difficult, but spending a little time to consider these things can make for a stronger and more successful presentation. Plus, feeling prepared can help to make you feel more confident for when you get up and present.

    Stay tuned for my next post in September, where I’ll cover things to consider when you actually get up to speak!

    Jes is a ‘practical creative’ and a very busy lady, doing the business in a digital agency, being an artist, a university lecturer, and small business owner who can creatively be found cutting up a storm at paperchap.com. Follow Jes on Instagram and Facebook

     


    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: advice for students, business tips, how to, technical tips, workshop | Comments Off
    Posted on

    How to design your own creative workspace

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    By Diana Scully

    I was never much of a desk or office person. In my previous profession as a lawyer, I had the opportunity to work at a communal desk and then was later given my own private office. While I do enjoy working in a quiet environment, attending the same location/room/chair each day was a challenge for me. So it’s no surprise that having now moved out of the corporate world and running my own interior design studio, the opportunity to work where it suits me best, is such a benefit to me.

    While I still have my own office, where I get to display, decorate and style my own way, I don’t have to confine myself to this location, every day. Luckily for me, my role as an interior designer means I’m not always designated behind a desk, so I embrace the opportunity to mix things up and find spaces that give me the freedom to work at my greatest capacity and feel creative.

    Transitioning from a practising lawyer into an interior designer, I have learnt how how to set up my work environment to maximise my ability to think and dream creativity for my clients. In this two-part series, I will share with you how you can adapt your environment to give yourself the opportunity to maximum your working capacity and allow yourself to be creative. In my following post, I will interview other creative women from Creative Women’s Circle to see what others are doing to inspire their creativity. Hopefully, during this process, you will gather some inspiration to covert your workspace into an inspiring, creative one.

    Think beyond the desk

    I think we’ve all learnt to believe that you are most productive when you sit at a desk. After all, for many of us, going to work means sitting at your workstation in an office environment, right? Not necessarily. Some of my best work has taken place in my favourite cafe with my headphones on, in the local library on one of their many armchairs with my feet up, or even taking my meeting calls as I walk through a city park or stroll along the beach. After spending the last year in LA and not having a designated workspace, I’ve learnt that I can equally if not more so, be productive at locations that make me happy and accommodate my needs (i.e. internet access). So think beyond the office desk and immerse yourself in various environments to allow yourself to think differently.

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    Your space is an extension of you

    If however, routine, consistency and organisation is what you need to work productively, then a designated workspace may be the winning formula for you. In that case, before you set yourself up and run down to the nearest office supply store for your standard desk and chair combination, reconsider your space. Why not create an environment that makes you feel excited to come to everyday?

    A few ways to avoid working from a typical workstation:

    • Choose an unconventional desk chair  - maybe a favourite armchair or dining chair? Or set up a few different seating arrangements in your space like a bean bag or sofa.
    • Bring in your favourite table lamp or floor lamp.
    • Choose a dining table for a desk and use boxes, crates, baskets and bedside tables as alternate storage options.
    • Create a vignette of little pots in one corner of your desk, filled with greenery to offer you constant energy throughout your working day.
    • Avoid bare and blank walls by hanging up your favourite prints or posters to keep you motivated and inspired.
    • Place a sheepskin rug at your feet to keep you cosy and warm at the desk.
    • Be adventurous with colour and paint a wall in another hue, or for the bigger risk taker, introduce some wallpaper!

    Co-work spaces and four-legged friends

    Last year, in LA, I spent some time in a co-work space in Santa Monica. Not only was this space a breath of fresh air from the stagnate interiors of the corporate world, it was an opportunity to meet new people, each doing their own thing. A fabulous place to network, discuss and explore your ideas with like minded attitudes and work in an environment that was comfortable, relaxed and free from rules and systems.  Plus, most co-work spaces allow you to pick and choose the days you want to come in – so there’s no on-going commitment!

    One of my favourite perks from working in this LA co-work space was it allowed guests to bring along their dogs for the day. This was such a delight! I instantly felt more relaxed and comfortable in my unfamiliar surrounding with a furry friend at my feet. Generally, dogs were well behaved, even as they roamed the hallways or nuzzled their noses into your legs, begging for their next scratch.

    If you are lucky to have a gorgeous four-legged friend, next time consider taking him on a walk on your next meeting call or to sit beside you when you work from your laptop at your favourite cafe. I found that having a dog near by helped me keep calm and relaxed during my work day and a good excuse to take a break and pop outside for a walk.

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    Look inside then look around

    To maximise your creative energy each day, you need to understand what sort of environment you work best in. Be open to exploring different locations like a home office, co-work space, local library or cafe and if it suits you, don’t restrict yourself to the same space every day. Give yourself the opportunity to explore new surroundings in hope to encourage you to think a little differently. For some of us, who thrive on routine or require a point of reference for work, don’t limit your environment to a mundane, boring space. Avoid conventional furniture arrangements and use unexpected pieces that will help you create something special. Be passionate about where you work! Setting up a workspace that makes you feel comfortable, as well as address your business needs, will no doubt keep you feeling creative and excited about what you do. Choose to create a space and find a location that reflects who you are. After all, how you work and play is a representation of your business and brand. Embrace this to design a space that is an extension of you.

    { Image credits 1 2 3 }

    Interior Designer, Diana Scully owns and operates her own interior design firm, Spaces by Diana that’s all about designing beautiful, personalised homes to reflect the people who live in it. Diana also has her own lifestyle blog, Spaces + Places, where she regularly writes about inspiring spaces to see and visit from around the world and shares her recent travel adventures. This year she has plans to spend time abroad in the US. Follow Diana on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: business tips, organise me | Comments Off