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I Love the Smell of PowerPoint in the Morning: The 5 Sensory Approach to Business Presentations


You're in a conference room. You're giving a PowerPoint presentation to several of your colleagues...and your boss.

On a scale of 1 to 5, how sensual is this experience? And just how important is sensuality in business-related PowerPoint presentations?

Believe it or not, live PowerPoint presentations can be sensory, full-bodied experiences. Sadly, many presenters focus primarily on the visual elements of PowerPoint, adding a dizzying display of wild backgrounds, pictures, charts, animations, and bullet points...simply because PowerPoint makes it easy to do so.

While focusing solely on visuals may stroke a presenter's ego, it does very little to provoke a positive emotional response from the audience. That's because information arrives in our brains through all five of our senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound.

Just how sensual are you willing to be when you give a PowerPoint presentation? Put another way, how well do you address each of the following five sensory areas?

See PowerPoint Run... The best sensual presenters only use visual elements to activate the audience's imagination or emotions. As an audience member, when you feel your brain cells spark or your heartbeat increase upon seeing a graphic, you've been visually stimulated! Great visuals can stir your emotions?and spur you to take positive action. Sensual presenters skip endless, needless, hard-to-read, or boring visuals. They might be easy to add, but they do nothing positive for the audience.

Now Hear This... Sound is an incredibly important part of any presentation. I went to hear a widely recognized expert on PowerPoint design speak last week...and almost went straight to sleep! It wasn't his visuals, it was his voice! His slides might have been eye candy, but they weren't enough. His bored monotone didn't match his widely purported passion for demonstrating and promoting excellent multimedia visuals. The most sensual presenters use a voice that projects enthusiasm for the subject matter at hand. And they skip the cheesy "ta-dahs" and other trite sound bites that inspire groans and eye-rolls!

The Aroma of PowerPoint... If you think that you can't smell a PowerPoint presentation, think again. Oh, the fragrance of dry-erase markers on a white board! The odor of perspiration, day-old pizza, and stale cologne that lingers from the coworkers who met in the room before you! What kind of scent best compliments your message? An aromatherapist I know anoints her room with essential oils that elicit audience attention and interest. If this sounds too new-age goofy for you, how about a fresh pot of brewed coffee, a vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit - there are many business-acceptable ways to improve the aroma of your PowerPoint!

PowerPoint is a Banquet... What's a business meeting without a nosh? Tasty little treats can really win over an audience. Sensual presenters score big points for providing a box of donuts, pizza, pastry, boxed lunch or other edible goodies for their audiences.

Feel the PowerPoint... As an audience member, you're always touching or feeling something during a PowerPoint presentation. Super sensory presenters provide pleasant or useful items for their groups to feel. If you're presenting, consider pencils and paper, product samples, and porcelain cups instead of styrofoam. Make sure the room temperature is a little cool...the more bodies you have in the room, the warmer it will get (and warmth can make the audience sleepy!)

All five senses provide a portal to the human mind. The more you can awaken and enliven your audience's senses, the more powerful your PowerPoint presentation can be.

Since 1999, over a million people have accessed free PowerPoint tips, tricks, techniques, and templates at Laura's website, http://www.maniactive.com. Now, you can learn even more about using PowerPoint more effectively by listening to Laura's PowerPoint Podcasts or by subscribing to herPowerPoint blog


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