5 Tips for a Great Presentation

Capture and Maintain Attention When Making Presentations

At work, employees are required to present in front of clients or senior managers. In school, students are also required to prepare presentations frequently. To truly impress an audience, here are several tips to improve one’s presentation skills.

Presenter: Not the Presentation Slides

Very often, people prepare for presentations by focusing most of their time on their presentation slides. However, this is not the most important part of the presentation. When presenting to an audience, the presenter should be what the audience focuses on. Any slides should serve as a guide or to help the audience understand the topic better. Therefore, any presenter should know the topic well in order to ensure that the presentation flows smoothly.

For presenters who find it hard to remember every single point of their slides, it is acceptable to prepare small notes to refer to during the presentation itself. However, do ensure that the notes are written or printed on small pieces of cards and not huge A4 size papers. This would be too distracting and look less professional.

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

Although presentation slides should not be the main focus, it still plays an important role in bringing across the main gist of the presentation or speech. An important thing to note is that pictures attract more attention than words. An interesting picture could have the power to explain more, in comparison to having four or five bullet points on one slide.

Besides that, a graph or a chart can be used to show a clearer example of trends (especially for business-related presentations). On the other hand, science students who wish to illustrate the process or development of an organism can include a video or a slide show.

Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice Makes Perfect

It goes without saying that without practice, no one will be able to deliver a good presentation. A rehearsal allows for better preparation and the ironing out of smaller details with each extra round of practice.

A good way to prepare would be to record a video of the rehearsal. This would ensure that any inappropriate body language is noticed before the actual presentation itself. Besides that, if possible, rehearse in front of a live audience. This would enable the presenter to practice eye contact with the audience.

Public speaking is a useful skill to obtain. By preparing well before the presentation and allocating time to rehearse, this will enable presenters to capture the audience’s attention and maintain it throughout the presentation.

Improve Communication Skills

Identify and Understand Common Barriers to Effective Communication

The world is completely reliant on communication to perform even the most basic of all daily tasks. Without communication almost all daily functions would cease and the world as it is known today would grind to a halt. On any given day, one participates numerous times in the Communication Process.

Importance of Effective Communication Skills

The importance of effective communication skills becomes apparent when one looks at how much of one’s life is dependent upon communication. Think about it, every time one sends an email, updates a Facebook status, leaves a voicemail, writes a memo, makes a phone call, or rolls eyes in frustration, they are actively participating in the communication process.

And those are just a few examples of the many times and ways people communicate on a daily basis! At any stage during the communication process misunderstandings and conflict known as miscommunication can occur. With these things in mind, it is clear to see why effective communication free of misunderstandings is a necessary and valuable skill.

Barriers to Effective Communication

Miscommunication happens because of barriers that can arise at any stage during the communication process. A communication barrier is anything that gets in the way of the purpose of communication or causes people to misunderstand each other, information, or a message. Learning to recognize and identify various communication barriers is the first step toward minimizing misunderstandings and building effective communication habits.

Physical Barriers is any physical thing that hinders effective communication between one person/group and a second person/group. A physical barrier can be an actual physical structure or distance. Examples include walls, desks, cubicles, doors, yelling down a hallway, or being located in different buildings or rooms. Physical barriers are also anything that causes distractions or breaks concentration. Examples include background noise like radio or ringing phones, poor lighting, seating, or temperature that is too hot or cold.

Perceptual Barriers is any individual perception that causes intended message to be received incorrectly causing barrier to effective communication. No two people view the world exactly the same. Each person has different ideas, thoughts, behaviors, mentality, experiences, and backgrounds. When people communicate, they formulate words to transmit messages based on their own perceptions. The receiver can perceive and interpret actions and words very differently than the sender intends and vice versa. This makes effective communication very tricky!

Psychological Barriers are any emotions or personal feelings that cause misunderstandings that hinder effective communication. A person’s emotion at the time the message is communicated can impact how it is sent or received. Fear, mistrust, happy, sadness, anxiety, and anger are all strong emotions that can heavily influence communication if one lets it. If one does not trust a co-worker because of some deceit, one will hold back and not communicate what is truly thought.

Gender Barriers is any misunderstanding or confusion in intended message caused by male and female differences resulting in communication barriers. Each gender has distinct ways of communicating that often cause misunderstandings. Each gender’s communication style is based on the brain’s structure and how information is processed. Men are direct, logical, task-oriented, analytical, and assertive with a “report” type style of communicating. Women focus on bonding, feelings, are relationship-oriented, intuitive, and submissive with a “rapport” type communication style.

Language Barriers are any differences in language like slang, jargon, translations, dialects, or semantics that hinder effective communication. Companies, schools, clubs, and even some neighborhoods often have their own group specific lingo and assign unique meanings to many words. Miscommunication occurs when people from different areas or companies are communicating and assign different meanings to words or are unfamiliar with the terminology.

Cultural Barriers are any barrier to communication that occurs during the communication process attributed to differences in culture. Every country in the world has a unique history and culture. Growing numbers of people are communicating with people from other countries. Different linguistic and cultural backgrounds impact communication. Understanding other cultures will help lessen miscommunication. In America, splitting the bill on a date happens frequently and is not a big deal. However in other countries it is viewed as disrespectful.

Effective communication is when the receiver hears and understands the exact message the sender intends to transmit and feels the information at the end of exchange is clear. Effective communication can only take place when barriers to communication are eliminated during the communication process. By identifying the common barriers that impact communication, one can begin to understand the reasons for miscommunication and conflict. Recognizing communication barriers is the first step in overcoming them and improving communication skills.

How to Start Networking

The Best Ways to Expand a Professional Network

Here are some ideas to consider when trying to network and expand those career options.

Take Advantage of Social Networking Sites

Become familiar with the online networking world. Making friends online is the new trend. Sign up for a Twitter account and search for organizations and firms. This is the quickest and easiest way to keep up-to-date. Usually jobs available are announced internally first before it becomes public. So regularly following an organization’s tweets can come in handy.

It is equally important to establish an online presence just as it’s important to make appearances at corporate parties and events. So gaining followers on Twitter, creating and recruiting members to a social networking group, or establishing a personal website that showcases a professional portfolio are all important things to do. It allows for people to advertise him or her self, and for prospective employers to find qualified people.

College Professors and Classmates

Professors tend to keep up-to-date in their business. Some may still be actively involved in their industry. Either way, they are sure to know important people, and their recommendations for applicants can go a long way. Set a lunch date to talk about industry trends and opportunities. Professors are valuable sources because they are interested in hearing about people who care about the industry and who want to get their foot in the door. So keeping in touch with those old professors could be the difference in getting that job.

Keep in touch with classmates and never burn bridges. Remember those classmates that sat in the front of class and aced every test? Those are the classmates to stay connected with. Never burn a bridge because no matter how big the industry is, companies within an industry often keep in close contact with one another. Burning a bridge at one company can likely mean that all other companies will know what happened.

Search the News and Company Press Releases

The media is a good place to find social events within a company, like a product launch. Keep up-to-date with the news. Look up press releases from the major companies in the industry. Press conferences and social events are great ways to meet interesting people. Check local listings in the paper and employment centres to find job fairs or professional development days around the area.

Be willing to volunteer, and let people know this. Finding contact information is easy, but making contacts is harder. Many managers are often very busy to meet for a discussion, but nothing will get their attention more than hearing people say “free work”. Volunteering at an organization is a good way to meet contacts within the company.

Networking Overview

Develop an “elevator pitch” and practice it. Be polite and friendly all the time. Sometimes networking happens when it’s least expected, and it’s important that people know what to say to pitch their professional skills and credentials in 30-seconds.

Hurdles for a Young Professional

Overcoming Age-Related Difficulties in the Workplace

At a young age, entering a field dominated by people who are much older is a challenge. But being the youngest one in a department has as many advantages as there are disadvantages. It is crucial to make an impact and make supervisors and managers see an employee’s value.

The Age Perception

As the youngest employee, some people may act condescendingly because they think age is equivalent to life experience and maturity. Some people in the same age range may not possess the same ambition and motivation so it may form a negative perception of young professionals.

Remember that age is not a factor in professional maturity.

Standing by Convictions in Following Workplace Rules

All careers come with their own sets of rules and regulations. As someone who is just entering the field, it may feel like it is an obligation to follow these guidelines. However, it seems that the longer someone is working in the profession, the more lax they may become, and guidelines become less important. It is difficult to try to do what’s right when all others are slacking. As the new person, it doesn’t feel right to outdo those who are considered veterans in the field.

If a superior teaches by using incorrect methods, the new employee should follow along and as he gets settled, start to slowly enforce the correct methods so as to not step on any toes or upset anyone’s sense of authority. After some determination and possible resistance from those who are used to the old ways, changes will eventually stick. This persistence in following set guidelines may actually make superiors notice the strict adherence to previously set procedures that have lately been overlooked.

Dealing With Workplace Adversity

Working hard and efficiently may cause some ire amongst other co-workers. Some people may even find something to complain about to superiors. New employees need to remember that they can’t please everyone, but it’s usually more important to please the ones who have a say in the future of their job. Younger workers should aim to ignore jealous ramblings of discontented employees. The unhappier people are, the harder they try to bring others down. It’s not time to worry until the manager calls a meeting to discuss performance issues.

Understanding Age Diversity in Today’s Workplace by Robert W. Wendover shows the different perceptions of work that different generations may have. This tool also outlines stereotypes that many people may have in the workplace.

Being the newbie in the field is always hard. This is why it is so important to make the correct bureaucratic moves as well as proving that one has something to offer, whether it be persistence in getting something done correctly or efficiency to perform a job that is well beyond the capabilities of others.

Harnessing the Power of Language

Clear and Effective Communication Relies on Listening

Clear and effective communication is more about listening than about what is said or how it is expressed. To be able to actually hear what is said by others requires a shift in how people typically operate during conversations.

“Miscommunication is at the heart of many of our problems as individuals and as a society, and at the heart of much of that miscommunication is the fact that most people don’t have very good listening skills,” according to David Cunningham in a series of recent online articles. Cunningham is senior program leader with Landmark Education, a global enterprise that offers communication training and development programs in more than 120 cities. Landmark Education helps people discover barriers to effective communication and it helps them master both hearing what others say and expressing themselves fully.

Three Principles of Communication

Cunningham advised that, with practice, anyone can master the three key principles of good communication – listening, distinguishing and creating. Used together, these principles can dramatically impact the quality of life.

People are not as good at listening as they think.

“We’re often so busy thinking about what we’re about to say, or remembering the last time we interacted with the person, we are likely paying more attention to our own thoughts than to what the other person is really saying,” Cunningham conveyed to Suite 101.

The second principle of good communication – distinguishing – involves learning how to tell the difference between what was said and what people think was said.

“Once you’re really committed to hearing what the other person is saying and are actively listening,” said Cunningham, “then you practice looking for where you are adding your own interpretation of what that person said. We do this every day, but the trick is, we’re not usually aware we’re doing it.”

Use Language Creatively

Using language to create is the third communication principle. Cunningham explained that typical conversations, however, use language to report.

“We talk about what happened, the weather, what we’re going to do, how we feel, and so on,” added Cunningham. “Which is all fine, but it doesn’t actively create anything.”

Masterful communicators, he concluded, use language to actively create new possibilities and relationships after carefully listening to others and distinguishing between the actual messages and the personal interpretations.

Find a Job in a Tough Market

Change Careers When the Economy is Tough

When the economy is depressed and times are tough, many companies are struggling not to lay off current employees. Hiring may not be a priority for most in these conditions. However, it is still possible to get your foot in the door of a new company even when times are tough.


Network for a New Job

Networking is key when you are searching for a new job. It is especially important when companies appear not to be hiring due to the conditions in the economic and financial aspects of the country. Many companies will not openly advertise positions that may be available including for those to replace employees who have moved on from the organization. By effectively networking with others in the industry, you can learn about these positions that may be available.

Attend networking events in the industry where you wish to work. Find out about networking events from industry organizations as well as the local Chamber of Commerce and other business groups. Civic and volunteer groups are also excellent ways to network with other professionals. Get to know people, exchange business cards and then stay in touch on a regular basis.


Ask for an Informational Interview

Contact the manager of the department where you would like to work and ask for the opportunity to meet with him to discuss the industry. This can be done over a meal or even just coffee in the office. Specify that any amount of time they could spare would be beneficial and you would appreciate the opportunity to discuss the current market with an expert in the field. If you can use your networking contacts to make this introduction, it may be easier to arrange this meeting. Even if the person is not hiring at the moment, you can leave a favorable impression for future positions as well as expand your own network.


Apply for Qualified Positions

When most people begin the job search, they send their resume to every available position. This does not allow their cover letter or resume to be matched to the advertised position and waste the time of the hiring manager. Be dedicated in your job search and show respect for the management of the company by only applying when you meet the qualifications of the job. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the position and detail how you can fit into the company atmosphere while contributing to performance. Your attention to detail and customization of documents will shine through the stack of generic cover letters and resumes.


Use Your Social Network

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can be a simple way to stay in touch with professional contacts and make new ones. LinkedIn especially can get you recognized by potential employers since your job history and education can be detailed on the site. Maintain a work-like appearance on these sites and maximize on their effectiveness by remaining professional at all times.

Even in bad times, new jobs can be found with diligence and persistence. Dedicate a set amount of time each day to your job search including making networking contacts and sending out customized resumes for positions. Let colleagues know that you are searching and ask for their assistance in sending qualified job leads your way.


Attitude is Important in Dealing With Employment

Finding Solutions to Bossy Co-workers and Lack of Job Finding

It’s hard working with co-workers who know it all, and try to take control; it’s even harder to find a job when the attitude of self esteem is low. Read on to find solutions to bossy co-workers and low self-esteem.


How to Handle a Bossy Co-Worker

Q. I work overnights with my co-worker its just her and i, she likes to tell me what to do, how to do it and explain why to do it her way when i have more experience in the field and know the job very well, I have no problem working as a team or alone dont really matter and i already told her to stop and back up she not my boss or supervisor and she keeps doin it and she pissing me off and its just not with me but she does it to every one else and its the same thing over and over, and its making my shift a terrible nights, thats how bad it has gotten and yes my boss knows about it every one complains about it even me, what can be done in this case?

A. It’s always annoying to work with a “know-it-all”, and the fact it’s only the two of you makes it difficult to get away from a co-worker. As long as you were polite and factual when telling her that you are competent at your workload, you did the right thing. But telling anyone to “back off” is an invitation for continued harrassment, which is what this situation sounds like. You have told the boss, but have you explained if it is interfering with the completion of tasks?

Your best bet is to smile sweetly when she tells you what to do, then say thanks, and unless the boss tells you how to do it, you will continue to do it in the best way – which may mean a different way than hers. Tell her that perhaps it would be best to have a meeting with the three of you – you, her and your boss. Let your boss know this ahead of time, and ask for his/her support in completing the workload in both your own ways. Of course, all this depends on the workload being independent of each other. If you depend on each other to get the work done, then the meeting should concentrate on both parties contributing to a solution that involves limited contact.


Attitude is a Key to Finding Employment

Q. this article (Having Trouble Finding a Job) was not helpful.how can you get a part-time job when no one will hire you?also i’ve been putting in applications for 4 years and still can’t find a job.I am struggling to find one for 4 years so i can have my own place.i’ve made phone call after phone call and even the fast food places reject me.my appearance and attitude are good,but most of them tell me i’m “too serious”.

A. The answer actually is in your complaint. Making a phone call will not get you a job. Answering ads, going to the Employment Centre for help, learning how to handle interview questions, creating an appropriate resume and cover letter – all these will help you in job seeking. More importantly though is the fact of attitude, which you mentioned. If the feedback says you are too serious, it’s a polite way of saying you are putting yourself down and look sad and dejected and give the impression you wouldn’t hire yourself, so why should they? No one wants to hire a sad sack, but you don’t need to be a jumping jack either. You may have a low self esteem right now due to a lack of success in job hunting. Think about what you can do, not what you can’t do. Look interested in the position, and be positive about yourself and your abilities.

Employment centres offer free help for those looking for work – full time or part time. Get over there and get help on your business documents, interview skills and attitude. You may not feel confident, but you need to look confident, not desperate or depressed. Smile! It is catching.


Bottom Line

Both of the reader’s questions really centre on attitude. Working with a bossy co-worker is difficult, but needs an attitude of finding a solution. Being told one is too serious at a job interview means a shift in attitude is needed; it’s time to think more positively of oneself and one’s ability rather than being down for not finding a job.

No mask or cape required!

The ‘Hero Forge’ project is founded upon a particular code and way of life. However, there are as many flavours of heroism as there are heroes; by reading the articles and listening to the interviews and conversations on this site, you’ll come to appreciate the full spectrum: there is room for us all!  While we would encourage you to dive into the material elsewhere on this site to get a clearer sense of the journey of the everyday hero, in a nutshell, this is what we believe and stand for:


  1. Heroes are not born; they are made.
  2. Anyone can be a hero- there are no barriers to entry.
  3. The hero’s journey is not only good for the world at large; it can enrich and add value to the life of the hero at the same time.
  4. Heroes need no special training to make a difference, but are most likely to be effective if they have optimised their physical, mental and emotional skills and resilience.
  5. No act of service is too small; we have no idea of the impact and reach of our actions. The smallest kindness might save a life and no one is keeping score anyway!
  6. Heroes are present, connected, courageous and sovereign beings.
  7. Heroes are fallible and subject to all of the flaws and weaknesses that the rest of us are afflicted by. They stumble and they fall, but they get up and keep going anyway.
  8. Heroes acknowledge their mortality and choose to commit some of their remaining time and energy to alleviate the suffering of others, and to leave the world a better place for future generations. In this sense, heroes presents an unapologetic middle finger to the forces of entropy.