Before you start:

  • Gather the necessary material and arrange it in a logical sequence.
  • For best results, maintain a content theme and format by using common borders page layouts and colors.
  • Ensure the correct placement and usage of the company logo, if applicable.
  • Most people only absorb about three key points from a speech.
  • What about those key points and how are they best communicated visually?
  • Remember that the visuals are used to emphasize important points, not to reproduce the speaker's notes.
  • Illustrate one topic per slide.

Determine your objective, are you instructing, informing or selling a product or idea?

  • Choose a font that is easily comprehended and large enough to be seen.
  • Do not use capitals. Upper and lower case is more easily comprehended.
  • Limit copy to 6 lines maximum per slide and 6-7 words per line.
  • Use the titles to make a statement, but keep them short.
  • Use a larger font font for the slide title, 36-point is the minimum.
  • Use color to highlight important points and add interest.
  • Use complimentary colors.

Consider the impact of different colors.

- Blue portrays calm and quiet, gives a positive feeling and is ideal for the background.
- Red is related to danger, alertness and problems, use it sparingly.
- Green is seen as restful, cool and assured.
- Yellow is warm and vibrant, it gives a feeling of energy.
- Use tinted backgrounds to reduce glare and aid concentration.
- Use light colors for text and for emphasis.
- The best text colors are white, light green, light blue etc.
- The eye is naturally drawn to yellow.
- More than 4 feature colors, including the background, can reduce comprehension.
- Use illustrations and diagrams that are relevant.
- Use symbols to draw attention to important points.
- Use dark colors for background and avoid gaudiness.
- Use color, rather than underlines, to make important points stand out.
- Avoid overuse of italics, dropped shadows, bold and color emphasis.
- Remember when using color, that 4 percent of men and 1 percent of women are color blind.
- Charts are an ideal way of conveying information and they should be used to emphasize a point.
- Line graphs show relationships over a long period of time.
- Bar charts show relationships over short periods of time.
- Pie charts show percentages.
- Organizational charts show structural relationships.
- Flow charts demonstrate the flow of data and processes.
- Gannt charts show time flows and interdependencies in projects.

Preparing the presentation:

  • Become familiar with the room and its layout.
  • Check seating and lighting and the data projector position for optimal viewing.
  • Before starting check the equipment and learn the controls.
  • Try and keep a spare data projector lamp (these are expensive though).
  • Focus the data projector and adjust to obtain clear images.
  • Go to a black screen when you are talking for a long period or using a white board.
  • Ensure that the audience have an uninterrupted view of the proceedings.

 Verbal presentation tips:

  • Speak clearly and use simple language, avoid complex sentences.
  • Involve your audience, challenge their preconceptions.
  • Ensure that the image matches the spoken text.
  • Use rhetorical techniques to maintain interest, change voice intonation and vary tone and volume.
  • Use pauses for effect.
  • Rehearse your presentation to get it right!

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Where are you now and what is your vision of the future? Planning is the art of visualization. It is the bridge to the future!

It is the ability to take something in your minds eye, and transform it into reality. This process is also a safety net, as it allows you to explore possibilities and adopt or describe them dependent on your ultimate goal, before you commit resources to actualize them. The business plan starts with defining the business vision, mission and value statements.

Vision Statements

People often looked puzzled when they hear they should write a vision and mission statement. What are these and what relevance have they to their business? Vision is big picture activity, broad in scope and short on detail, a statement about where you want your business to be at some point in the future. Often referred to as a desirable state at some future point. The vision is what you are creating and moving towards, it will remain constant, in focus, and so will your values.

Mission Statements

The mission statement should answer the following questions:

1) What business are we in?

2) What will the business do?

3) Who for, and why?

4) What sets this business apart from others?

The mission statement defines your business. It does this in terms of market, product line, geographical areas and distribution channels. It provides the foundation to gather and analyze and formulate strategies. The mission statement is a declaration of how your business purpose, customers, products, services, markets, and philosophy all contribute to the achievement of your vision.

Whereas the vision statement is a succinct statement, the mission statement is necessarily longer to convey the business principles. A business's objectives, strategies, and performance measures should then flow from the vision and mission.

The statement of mission, and the resultant strategies and objectives, look to identify where you want to be, and, in the process help you to determine where you are. The statement gives you important information on how to get there, and tells you when you have arrived. It unifies your efforts and energy, and gives meaning and purpose to all that you do.

It begins with the basic question’ what business are we in?’ It will require some thought. Defining your market too narrowly will preclude you from considering other possibilities. Too broader a definition will mean you lose focus on your core business and objectives, and in the process use precious resources for a small result.

Value Statements

This is a list of the values that you hold in conducting your business. This could be described as a set of non-negotiable minimum standards to which all of your work and dealings must apply.

The values of the business can be demonstrated by statements that:

1) Include a customer focus.

2) Underline the importance of people.

3) Acknowledge the business's responsibility is to the greater community.

Mission and vision statements should be statements that energize employees, customers and suppliers. Some people find the ‘warm and fuzzy’ approach too difficult, because there are no hard and fast rules. Often such values are those of the owner, or they are statements dreamed up to satisfy people’s expectations. However when value statements are incorporated, they can be a strong motivating force.

Values may relate to levels of technical competence or how dealings with clients are conducted, both on a business basis and a personal basis.

By always having an awareness of your values can prevent many of the dilemmas that can arise in business situations.

Values are what keep you on track to achieve your vision, you may need to re-visit them from time to time as a pulse check in order for you to say yes, this is the right thing to do!

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Market research enables a business to keep in touch with what consumers think about it's products or services and those of it's competitors, and to monitor their actions in the market place. It provides reasonably objective information on which to base decisions and forms a lifeline between the consumer and the business.

The key questions which your market research should uncover are:

  • How do consumers evaluate your products and/or services against those of your competitors?
  • What are consumers looking for in this market and how are you in providing this effectively?
  • How are consumer tastes or preferences changing?
  • What are consumers buying in the market place, from whom, why and how often?
  • How do consumers react to your marketing activities?

Answer these questions and you are well on the way to understanding your market!

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Generation X (gen x) has been synonymous with young people since the name was first coined in 1991. However many X'rs are now in their 30’s and when it comes to understanding school students we're talking about Generation Y.

So why are young people so different when it comes to understanding generations?

SeniorsBefore 1925
Builders1926 - 1945
Boomers1946 - 1964
Gen X1965 - 1981
Gen Y1982 - 2000
Gen Z2001 +

In understanding generations obviously the age or life-stage of X'ers makes them unique to others. Being young they have different priorities to older generations. They generally have no financial commitments, thus over 70% of their income is spent arbitrarily, with the majority going on entertainment, travel, and food.

They have different recreational pursuits to other generations with their top 3 spare time activities being: “go to a party” (74%); “listen to the radio” (74%); and “go to a movie” (72%).

The point is that people operate in different ways because of their age. However age is not the sole reason for generational behaviours otherwise teenagers today would be indistinguishable from teenagers of a generation ago.

Yet this is clearly not the case, and it is because life-stage is just one of three broad factors that differentiate the generations.

The current economic, social, and political conditions which we all live under actually further divide the generations. The same conditions act upon people of different ages in different ways.
Take text messaging on mobile phones as an example: the technology is available to all, however 74% of messages are sent by Generation Y’s and so they are developing the new text language (e.g. “CU L8R” for “see you later”).

Experiences that occur during the formative childhood and teenage years also create and define differences between the generations. These social markers create the paradigms through which the world is viewed and decisions are made.
Baby Boomers were influenced by the advent of the TV, Rock and Roll, the Cold War, Vietnam War, the threat of nuclear war, and the decimal currency.

X’rs saw in the Personal Computer, AIDS, single parent families, the growth in multiculturalism, and the downsizing of companies.
Generation Y’s have lived through the age of the internet, cable television, globalisation, September 11, and environmentalism. Such shared experiences during one’s youth unite and shape a generation. There is an ancient saying that bears much truth: “People resemble their times more than they resemble their parents”.

What most influences Generation Y?
While the Builders’ Generation are most influenced by authority figures and Boomers make decisions based on data and facts, post-modern youth are more likely to make a decision based on the influence of their own peers.

Research has further confirmed that the biggest factor determining the choice a teenager will make is the experiences of their core group of 3 to 8 friends.
Rather than making independent decisions based on core values, they live in a culture encouraging them to embrace community values, and to reach consensus.

It is understandable that young people today are less idealistic than generations past due in part to the media and pop culture that fills their life. The most popular song of the 1940’s was Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” (1942), for the 50’s it was “Rock around the Clock” (Bill Haley and his Comets, 1955), and the 60’s it was the Beatles’ “I want to hold your hand” (1963).

A quick listen to the music of choice for Generation Y reveals what different times they live in.

The influence of music is second only to the influence of TV and movies in Gen Y culture. Research has found that when teenagers were asked, “What/who has a lot of influence on your thinking and behaviour?” One quarter of the influence on their lives is from TV and movies.

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