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Practice Your Presentation: TJ Walker with Geetesh Bajaj

Monday, August 08, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST



Last week, we released the first podcast that I recorded with TJ Walker. In today's podcast, we will look at this topic:

Many presenters spend considerable effort and time to create their slides—but they do not get the time to practice. Did you know that PowerPoint has had a built-in practice tool?
Do note that the video embedded here contains the podcast content of two posts. This is the second post, and you can find the transcript of the first post in our Prepare Your Presentation feature.

Advanced PowerPoint Creation Tips August 5 and 6, 2016 from Geetesh Bajaj on Vimeo.

And here's the second part of the transcript:

TJ: We are speaking with Geetesh Bajaj, who is one of the most renowned experts in the world on PowerPoint: PowerPoint slides, PowerPoint creation. This is a special coproduction between Speaking with TJ Walker and Indezine.

Geetesh, many people are constantly enamored with the latest special effects, dissolve, build, animation features on PowerPoint. There are a lot of older tricks, gizmos, buttons that can be even more helpful to people. Walk us through one of them—for example the Rehearse mode.

Geetesh: Sure. Now, that’s not a gizmo. The Rehearse mode has been there in PowerPoint for the last twenty years, or maybe more. And very few people have actually gone and looked at it, or are even aware that something of that sort exists.

So why would you want to go and rehearse? First of all what happens is, you have seen it and everybody has seen it—that when you have a 60-minute slot to give a presentation, and the speaker or presenter takes an hour and a half. That’s not very uncommon. The audience is not too happy about that, and they are not very interactive. They do not ask too many questions because the time is already up, and they don’t want to extend it by another half an hour. So essentially when you take too much time, you are sending your audience away, and making sure they don’t remember what you are trying to tell them because they are not "accepting" at that point in time.

Not Accepting?
Copyright: Image by StockUnlimited

TJ: Walk us through where is the button. What does it really do when...?

Geetesh: Sure. See, essentially what happens if you go to the Slide Show tab of any of the newest versions of PowerPoint, you'll find an option there called Rehearse Timings and you will find a second option called Record Slide Show.

Rehearse or Record Slide Timings in PowerPoint

They are pretty similar. But what the Rehearse Timings button does is only records the timings, whereas the Record Slide Show option; what it does, it also records your voiceovers if you have a microphone connected. It also records your animation timings, and it also records when the next slides move in, timings and everything else.

So with that, you just go and sit in front of your computer, laptop and have a PowerPoint ready over there, play with your presentation. But make sure that you play with your finished presentation because you want to not really make too many changes at that point in time unless you find that you are going beyond your time allotted to you and, and then you want to cut-down on something.

Practice Your Slides
Copyright: Image by StockUnlimited

So once you do that, what PowerPoint is going to do is it’s going to record all timings over there, animation, and everything else as I told you. So it’s a very good idea, at that point in time to open your presentation, and choose the Save As option. And save that presentation as a new presentation so the presentation that you have and the new presentation that you have saved at this point in time they are identical.

So you will leave the original presentation alone and then take the copy of the presentation and press the Rehearse Timings (option) if you only want to look at the timings, or the Record Slide Show option if you want to record everything else, and then at every slide you would actually imagine that there is an audience in front of you, and speak exactly how you want to speak about.

You know, this is very refreshing because, when you actually go across the presentation this way, a lot of things that you had never imagined before, you will actually think about them at this point in time. When you look at figures, you will go and substantiate them, and make sure that everything is accurate. And a lot of this stuff is something that the speaker actually encounters at the time of presenting to the audience. And he is not very well prepared for stuff like that. So that decreases his or her confidence level. So if they go and practice it at that point of time, they actually do a revision of everything they want to go and say. And, just proceed this way.

Go to the end of your slides, and you can hit the Escape key on your keyboard. And then PowerPoint may prompt you with the dialog that says, "Do you want to save your timings", and you would say Yes. And then, what you will do is you will go to Slide Sorter view where you can see all the slides in one screen, and right below each of the slide, you will see a time slot mentioned over there. So that is the exact amount of time that you have taken for each slide. And you can go and study that, and find out where you take too much time, where you take little time. And if there’s something that you spend a lot of time above on, is it important enough to break it into more than one slide? And what are the slides where you don’t take much time about? What about... can you remove them? And also you can see the total time you spent over there. And you can play back this presentation. Your voiceovers are recorded, your animation timings are recorded. And your slide timings are recorded. You know exactly where you are doing well and where you are not doing well.

This is the process that can be repeated over and over again. Now, there is one thing that you have to remember, that you are not going to play the presentation, the copy of the presentation you created when you are actually going and delivering that. Because slide timings are recorded in that and you may be on slide number 2 and because they are automatic timings, it might go to slide number 3 or 4 before you know it. And that’s the reason I suggest you that you keep an original copy of the presentation unaltered without the timings.

TJ: Geetesh Bajaj, thanks for being our special guest. Fantastic insights today!

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