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Create Content for Impactful Presentations with Ella Marks

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Το περιεχόμενο παρέχεται από το Mike Gerholdt. Όλο το περιεχόμενο podcast, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των επεισοδίων, των γραφικών και των περιγραφών podcast, μεταφορτώνεται και παρέχεται απευθείας από τον Mike Gerholdt ή τον συνεργάτη της πλατφόρμας podcast. Εάν πιστεύετε ότι κάποιος χρησιμοποιεί το έργο σας που προστατεύεται από πνευματικά δικαιώματα χωρίς την άδειά σας, μπορείτε να ακολουθήσετε τη διαδικασία που περιγράφεται εδώ https://el.player.fm/legal.

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Ella Marks, Senior Marketing Manager at Salesforce. Join us as we chat about the keys to creating a great presentation, how to prep, and how to always nail your ending.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ella Marks.

Presenting is a core skill for admins

Presentations are an important part of every admin’s life. And I’m not just talking about speaking in front of your local user group. Admins present every time they go in for a budgeting conversation, or demo a new process for their users.

That’s why I’m so excited to bring Ella Marks on the pod. She’s presented on some of Salesforce’s biggest stages, like Dreamforce and several World Tours. So I wanted to hear her tips for how to put together and prep for a great presentation.

The cool thing is that no matter the format or venue, Ella uses the same core principles to prep for every presentation.

Know your audience

Ella’s first step is to identify the audience that you’re presenting for. Who’s in the room? What do they already know, and what are you going to teach them? Your content is going to be very different if you’re presenting to a room full of admins versus a room full of new users.

There are several situations where you might not know exactly who’s going to be in the audience or what their level of expertise is. Ella’s trick for this is to just ask them, for example, “Raise your hand if this topic is new to you.”

Experienced presenters will be able to use the information they get about their audience to change things on the fly. If this sounds daunting to you, Ella recommends that you start small. Pick one slide or part of your presentation that you’ll adjust based on the answer to your question. That gives you a manageable way to practice thinking on your feet, and you’ll soon find yourself getting more comfortable with improvising.

Make an effective outline

The next step is to make an outline. For Ella, that’s listing out everything she could say about the presentation topic in a big list. This gives her the chance to move things around, pick out some themes, decide on a call to action, and then start editing it down.

When she’s ready to start creating her slide deck, Ella uses a technique called “blue boxing” to make a rough draft. Essentially, you use blue boxes to map out what you’re going to put on each slide. So a slide might have three blue boxes that say:

  • Title about why this is important right now
  • Text of the most important point I’m going to say
  • Image to illustrate the point

This allows you to visually sketch out what each slide looks like and how the presentation flows as a whole. Variation is what keeps your audience engaged, so we want to make sure that we have a balance of slides with more text and slides with more visuals. Blue boxing lets you make these decisions before you spend time hammering out the specifics of which image or bullet point you’re going to use.

The trick to nailing your ending

Conclusions are always tricky. Ella recommends asking yourself three questions:

  • After my presentation, how do you want them to feel?
  • After my presentation, what do you want them to think?
  • After my presentation, what do you want them to do?

These are your three goals, and the secret to nailing your ending is to work toward them throughout the presentation. Every slide should be aimed at answering one of these questions so that, by the end, you’ve brought the audience with you and it feels inevitable.

This episode is chock-full of great tips for creating presentations, including how to prep with a group and the importance of a good pump-up song, so be sure to take a listen and subscribe so you’ll never miss out.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt:
This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we are talking with Ella Marks about building phenomenal presentations and the art of presenting how she gets ready. Now, if you don’t know who Ella is, Ella’s on our Admin Relations team and she’s done Dreamforce keynotes. Maybe you’ve seen her in the Release Readiness Live and at Dreamforce, also on stage at Release Readiness Live. So she’s presented to a few thousand people at a time and knows quite a thing or two about getting ready. Now, how is this relevant to you, admins? Well, you are going to be presenting at some point, either maybe to a board of directors or peers, or hopefully you’re at a user group and you’re getting ready to present a really cool idea.

But presentation is really part of what we do a lot because we’re showing all kinds of stuff and always presenting new ideas. Now, before I get into this episode, I want to make sure you’re following the Admins Podcast on iTunes or Spotify. That way whenever a new podcast drops, which is Thursday morning, it shows up right on your phone and you don’t have to do anything. You can just press play and get on the bus and go to work or take your dog for a walk. So with that, let’s get Ella on the podcast.

So Ella, welcome to the podcast.

Ella Marks:
Thanks so much, Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, it’s been a while, but I think people have seen you elsewhere in the ecosystem. I mean, we’re on the same team together, but for community members that haven’t run into you or seen the plethora of work that you’ve put out, what are some of the things you do at Salesforce?

Ella Marks:
I’ve been at Salesforce for almost seven years now and I’ve done a lot of different things and I’m so grateful. A lot of the time that I’ve spent here has been working with the admin community. You may have seen my face before on Release Readiness Live or on the keynote stage at Dreamforce, but I have the privilege of focusing on creating and distributing content for admins like you on some of our new release features and really exciting new innovations like AI. It’s really fun. I get to learn a lot about the platform and I’m always really excited to hear from admins and speak to admins and create presentations for admins. So really excited to be here today and talk to you a little bit more about that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Cool. I’m thinking ahead and for some of the admins we’re getting ready. There’s TDX coming up, but also user groups for those of us in the Midwest that aren’t snowed in anymore, we can get to user groups and presentations are important there and there’s all kinds of stuff that we present. Not to mention that it’s probably almost budget season. I got to do some presentations for budget. I got to do a whole bunch of presentations if I’m an admin.

Ella Marks:
There’s no limit I think to the type of presentations and the amount of presentations that you can do as an admin. Like you mentioned, there’s events where you’re speaking to your fellow admins and developers, there’s internal presentations. And I think the most exciting thing or interesting thing to me about presentations is no matter what presentation you’re giving or who you’re giving it to, you can go about planning for it and preparing that presentation in kind of the same way. There’s some fundamentals that go across every type of presentation that you may have or create in your role as an admin.

Mike Gerholdt:
And you’ve done quite a few because I remember seeing you on the Dreamforce keynote stage and Release Readiness. I feel like you’ve done a lot of different style presentations too.

Ella Marks:
I’ve honestly had the privilege to be on a bunch of different stages at Salesforce, whether it’s a virtual presentation or a webinar on the Dreamforce stage or even at an event. This year, I got to present and connect with a lot of people at world tour events, and like I said, they’re all very different. The people in the audience are very different, and so the way that I create content for them, while I might be covering the same things is always going to have a different output because I am trying to tailor it to the audience that I have, but I kind of use the same fundamental principles when approaching any presentation I give, whether it’s online, in person, a hybrid. There’s a few key things that I really go back to.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, let’s dive into those principles. Where do you start?

Ella Marks:
The first thing that I do when I’m putting together any presentation is identify the audience that I’m presenting for. Now, this can be super straightforward. Sometimes you’re going to know exactly who’s going to be in the room. You might be doing an internal presentation at work, the stakeholders, the names on a meeting invite, and you can take the guidance from there. In other times, you may not have the list of everybody exactly who’s going to be in the room, but you have a sense of who they are. So a user group presentation, for example, you may know there’s a mix of admins and developers and maybe architects in that room.

And you need to know who those people are in order to build a presentation that is really going to engage them and teach them or persuade them or whatever your goal is. You need to start with knowing who that audience is to understand where that goal fits in and how can I communicate this information best to them.

Mike Gerholdt:
But I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say, so what if I’m presenting to a user group and maybe I’ve only been there once and I don’t know all the people that are going to see my presentation. What do you do then?

Ella Marks:
One of my favorite things that presenters do, and I use this trick sometimes. And Mike, I’ve seen presentations where I know you’ve done this too, is you can ask the room. I think it’s important for us to not make any assumptions about the audiences that we’re speaking to. I think that can lead sometimes to a lack of clarity and confusion. And so if you’re presenting to a user group about a topic that you know a lot about, I think it’s a great tool. Sometimes even just engage the audience and bring them with you to say, “Before I get started, raise your hand if you’re an admin or raise your hand if you have familiarity with the topic that I’m going to cover.”

And that does two things. One, it tells you how you can tailor the rest of your content or your presentation to the people in the room, but it also kind of opens up almost a dialogue between you and the audience. So even if they don’t speak for the rest of your presentation, you’ve created a real human moment of engagement with them that is going to be super important and key to holding their attention for the entire time that you’re presenting.

Mike Gerholdt:
And much like that, and Ella, I’ve seen you do this, is if you’re going to ask the question, make sure it’s data that you’re going to actually act upon. Because I feel if you’re going to somehow tailor your presentation and make a couple versions, which I’ve done for user groups because I wasn’t sure what the level of interest or the level of knowledge of the topic that I was talking about was, then you can kind of immediately pivot based on that. And I think everybody appreciates when they took the time to raise their hand that you’re actually curating the content for that.

Ella Marks:
There absolutely needs to be a payoff. If you’re someone that’s not as comfortable giving presentations, starting with the question at the very beginning and trying to weave that throughout can feel intimidating. And what I would recommend instead is to pick a moment within your content where you can do exactly Mike, what you just said. Which is, you have a slide that hits on, maybe it’s a new feature or a different topic. Instead of asking a super broad question that you then need to weave into your story for the rest of your presentation. You can tailor your question to exactly what you’re talking about on the slide.

And that can help you build that muscle to incorporate who’s in the room and that audience into your talk track without having to start with that big broad question at the beginning. We have to start somewhere. And I think a great place to learn that skill is really starting with something small, a specific slide or a specific product, and learning from there how to incorporate the questions that you’re asking to a more broader scale to cover a whole presentation.

Mike Gerholdt:
So sticking on the theme of building content, there’s a lot of mechanics to a presentation, but building the content. Depending on the topic you’re choosing, it can feel like you’re boiling the ocean. “I have all this to show, and I’m on slide 68 already. I can’t possibly show “What are some of the techniques that you use to really boil down what you’re presenting given sometimes the restricted timeline that you have?

Ella Marks:
First, before I go into tips, I just want to reiterate that phrase, don’t boil the ocean. That is the number one thing that literally…

Mike Gerholdt:
Literally don’t. If you have a big death ray, please don’t boil the ocean.

Ella Marks:
Please don’t boil the ocean. Global warming, we don’t need that. But I think with presentations, it’s super important because you usually have limited time to communicate whatever it is in your presentation you’re going to communicate. That’s not even considering the fact that people’s attention spans are short. So you need to do that work to figure out what are your key points. And one of the things that I really like to do is I create a document and I will just start an outline. I’ll start typing out what I think the points are in the story that I need to cover.

I’ll include any important examples, include a CTA, kind of those key pieces of a presentation, but I’m not actually putting it together yet. I’m just making a huge list of everything I think might be included. And then from there, I go in and I kind of prioritize. So that list is usually way longer than what the presentation ends up being or has way more information, but it is a starting point. And that’s the starting point that I kind of use to say, “Okay, I’m identifying that I’m seeing a couple common themes in what I’ve written out here. How can I communicate those most effectively?”

And what I like about the list is that if you’re doing it… Whatever platform that you’re using, a Google Doc, a Quip Doc, whatever, it’s really easy to copy and paste and move around the order as well to think about not just, “What am I including, but how am I going to start creating this story?” And that gives you kind of a framework to use moving forward.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would agree. So you mentioned story, and I think a big part of storytelling is the visual element. How do you balance just not putting paragraphs of text up on the slides and that imagery?

Ella Marks:
It’s a really good question, and it’s something that I ask myself all the time. Because I’m not a designer, I do not consider myself to be good at graphic design. And so when I build a presentation, it can feel really intimidating to think about what are the visuals that I need to create? And there’s a technique that I learned at Salesforce that I was taught called blue boxing, and that’s really what I use. And the way that it works is once I’ve gotten to that state, I have my outline, I kind of know what I’m going to put on slides. Instead of jumping right to what is my final slide going to look like, here is the exact paragraphs, here’s the exact talk track, here’s the exact visual.

I kind of take a step back from that and use blue boxes, literal blue boxes on a slide to map out what I think it could look like and how I think the content on the slide can reinforce what it is that I’m going to say. So if I know that I’m going to put together a slide that has some tips, for example. I might put together a placement of where those tips might go and think, “Oh, there could be a supporting image for this.” What I don’t do is I don’t dive in and find that image right away. I really take that step of thinking through, “Okay, what is a visual that can support what I’m saying?” And I go through the whole deck like that first and then come back to really hone in on what the message is on that particular slide and pull in those core visuals.

But taking that step to do that kind of blue boxing framework really helps you identify how the story is going to flow and how those visuals are going to support you. Because I will say there are times when you’re going to want more text on a slide than others, and so you want to have a good balance of that. You don’t want folks to also just only be reading the content on your slides while you’re speaking to them. And so if you take that kind of step to build it out first, you’ll have a better idea of what the mix of your presentation is going to look like, how you might use different slide formats to engage people, because we know people have short attention spans, so you want to make sure that we’re kind of switching things up.

We’re providing different visuals every few minutes, and I think using design is a very powerful tool to help you do that.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would agree. I would agree. Plus pacing, when you’re thinking that through, you mentioned people have short attention spans, so keeping the slides moving also helps keep people’s attention as well. I think often when I’m reviewing decks or I’m watching presentations at events, and these are outside of Salesforce too, sometimes people have a hard time closing their presentation. I feel like it’s either one, they kind of fade off into the distance. It’s like an eighties’ movie where they just walk off into the beach into the sunset and we never hear from them again. Or it’s like a steel door slamming shut where it’s like, “Okay, so that’s this. And if you have any questions, thanks.” Bam.
And the presentation’s done. What’s your approach for the closure because I feel like the closure is the most important part?

Ella Marks:
I’d agree that if you don’t have people with you at the end, I think you’ve really missed a big opportunity when it comes to creating presentations. The way that I would think about it is throughout your entire presentation, as you’re putting together that outline. There are three things that you can think about that you want people to take away, how you want them to feel, what you want them to think and how you want them to act. And I would say that’s not just your final slide or the thing that you leave the audience with. That should be at the core of why you’re putting that presentation together.

I think the final slide in that CTA is incredibly important, but I also think that as someone in the audience who doesn’t know anything about your presentation going into it, I think that they should know where you’re going throughout the presentation. And that’s really how you make whatever it is you share, whatever your CTA is super impactful. So I’ll give you an example of that. If you’re going to do an amazing presentation, let’s say it’s on new release features and you’re going into great depth about… We have the spring 24 release right now, I know that’s top of mind for a lot of admins.

If you go through great content throughout, at the end, to your point, if you don’t leave folks with something to do next, they start to question what the purpose was of you sharing all that information. And as a speaker, that is the opposite of what you want. You want to be able to say, “I’m doing this presentation to help you prepare for the release, and I’m going to do that by showing you features and leaving you with either a resource or an approach or tips for you to take and go do this at your own companies or deliver your own presentation.”

And I think where sometimes people fall flat is they think, “Great, I’ll throw a CTA in my presentation at the end, and then everybody will go read my blog post or they’ll all go follow me on various social media networks.” And unfortunately, if you’re not working in the purpose of what that CTA is throughout, it’s not going to have that same impact. So you need it to close strong, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Everything in your presentation should in essence be pointing towards your end goal, whatever you want to leave the audience with.

Mike Gerholdt:
I’ve many a times seen an entire slide devoted to resources and thought to myself, “I don’t know where to start.” There’s a lot of resources, but a library is a resource too, and it’s full of books, but I don’t know where to start. [inaudible 00:16:32]

Ella Marks:
It’s so common. Well, and that’s the thing, it’s kind of a double-edged sword, right? Because a lot of times there’s so many resources because there are so many good resources out there, and that’s awesome. But one thing to keep in mind when you’re putting together a presentation is you’re presenting because you have expertise or you have a message to share. And so really rely on that. Use that to say, “Okay, great. I know there are tons of resources.” But actually share your recommendation. What is the number one thing that you would do. That’s something that you as a presenter bring that no one else can that’s unique to you, what that next step is.

We know that where most presentations, if you put 10 resources, people usually don’t look at all 10. I hate to say it, but they probably won’t look at more than one anyway, so focus on that one thing. And you really use your credibility that you’ve built with your audience to drive towards something more specific than a laundry list of things that people can do or read or engage with.

Mike Gerholdt:
A lot of this content creation focused around a solo presenter, but I think it carries over if you’re presenting with someone else. And I see this a lot at our events, even user groups. It’s a lot easier. And myself included, the first time I presented at Dreamforce, I had a co-presenter. It’s a lot easier to feel like more people carrying the weight of a presentation. What advice or what best practices do you have when you’re pairing up with somebody to present on how you divide up content and how the two of you interact during the presentation?

Ella Marks:
The first thing that I would do if I was presenting with someone else is have a meeting, get together with them, chat with them. I’m someone that prefers a meeting. I know some folks like to communicate on Slack or other formats, but I just love to chat with someone about this because you are going to be presenting and speaking. And to me, that’s the best way to get a sense of that person’s presentation style. And in that conversation, we might divide, if we’re building content together, we might talk about our own expertise and where we feel like we can add the most value to the story and divide up the content that we work on and the slides and who’s speaking based on what we think our strengths are.

And then making sure that we’re having a really open conversation about that. And I think one thing that you can do that when you divide a presentation, a lot of times what you see is, “Okay, Mike and I are presenting together. I’ll take one slide, Mike, you take the next one, then we’ll go back and forth.” And sometimes that doesn’t feel super. It feels a little disjointed when you haven’t had the chance to actually talk through your content and rehearse. Rehearsing is so important for any presentation, but if you have more than one person, it is absolutely critical because that’s how you’re going to feel out how that story is going to come together.

And what you may find is, “Yeah, I’m presenting with Mike, and Mike has a ton of expertise in this one area, but I have something to add there too.” And actually switching up who’s speaking on a particular slide that can reengage the audience. That’s another tool that we have in our toolkits to make sure that people are staying with us throughout our presentation. And all that’s going to come down to whether or not you’ve communicated all of these things with your co-presenter. Making sure that you guys are connected every step of the way is I think the best way to make a successful presentation with a partner or with the group, whoever it is.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would agree. And I feel to that point of, I’ve seen decks and presentations where it’s every other slide. Change it up where it makes it most relevant because there is a little bit with the audience of context switching going on where they’re trying to understand who’s speaking and it should be relevant if the person’s speaking and not just, “Oh, well, that means if we go every other one, I’m on this slide and I don’t know anything about this.” It can also help you regroup content that you’re putting together.

Ella Marks:
Absolutely. And there’s a lot of different ways that you can do this, but I really think that having that conversation with your co-presenter or co-presenters is going to be the best way to highlight how can you use your collective energy to get your message across in the best way possible?

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. Stage presence or stagecraft, even in small presentations where boardrooms I think are super important. How do you prepare for that? What are some of the things that you’ve gone through as you’ve kind of honed your ability as you were getting ready for a Dreamforce keynote to kind of make sure that your presence was there and it was adding to what the content you were presenting?

Ella Marks:
There are definitely a few things I do before every presentation, but I think a lot of it for me personally comes down to some important self-talk and pump up for a presentation. When you’re chosen to present at an event or you’ve submitted something to a community conference, sometimes you need to remind yourself the day of, you get a little bit nervous, you might be scared to present. You were chosen for this, and you have knowledge and expertise to share. And going back for me and giving myself that confidence is probably the most important step that I take before I present anything. I always have to remind myself there’s a reason I’m here.

I have valuable knowledge to share. I’ll reset on whatever the topic or the goal is of the presentation. And then my hidden trick, I would say. I was like, “I don’t know where I was going with that sneaky trick.” I guess. Sneaky trick, my trick or treat tip, which is not uncommon at all, is I love a pump up song. I just love something to help, I don’t know, make me feel energized and excited because I know that if I go into a presentation not pumped up, it’s going to be really hard for people to listen. A lot of times we present… Internally, we present in a meeting and there’s a lot of other people presenting or we’re in a lot of meetings that day, or at Dreamforce, people attend a lot of sessions.
That’s a lot of listening. And if you come out there with flat energy and aren’t excited to be there and excited to get going, it shows and it makes it a lot harder for people to actually listen and absorb the content. And so going in pumping myself up is actually something that when I don’t do it, I feel like I can tell in the presentation that my energy is not there, that I’m not communicating what I could in the best way possible.

Mike Gerholdt:
You know I have to ask what your pump up song is, right?

Ella Marks:
I know. It changes. A lot of my pump up songs are Lizzo though. I have to say Lizzo. I do love Taylor Swift as well, but I just… Lizzo, the number one song for me last year was Truth Hurts. There’s some lyrics in there that I can’t repeat on the podcast, but if you listen to the song, I think…

Mike Gerholdt:
My pump up song…

Ella Marks:
I think you’ll know.

Mike Gerholdt:
A lot of lyrics I can’t repeat on the podcast.

Ella Marks:
If you do listen, I think you’ll know exactly what part of the song I’m referring to where I walk out and I’m like, “Aha, let’s go. Let’s get into it.”

Mike Gerholdt:
So if you see people at community events or at Salesforce events, walk up to the stage with their AirPods in, it’s probably a pump up song that they’re listening to. I can’t blame them. If you were to boil down and think of maybe, I don’t know… Let’s choose five because five’s a good number to remember. What are five things that you always try to include that you really look for in like, “Wow, that presentation knocked it out of the park?”

Ella Marks:
That’s a good question. As a reviewer of a lot of content, I’m just trying to think the things that have absolutely wowed me. Well definitely first, when it comes to presenting a good title to me, I’m immediately locked in. If there’s a description associated with it like it would be for an event or maybe even a calendar invite. That to me is a sign of a good presentation. I know what I’m going to see. I’m excited for that content and I’m kind of hopeful to dive in. The second is probably… This is tough. There’s just so many different ways to present, but I think looking for people that engage with the audience.

So either doing what we talked about before, getting that post-check of who’s in the room or have some sort of engaging component to their presentation. That for me, because my attention span is very short, tends to be a very effective way to get my attention. And I enjoy presentations that have that. I think when people also set context by sharing their own expertise, we didn’t talk about it in this conversation, but I think one important thing that you really need to do when you present is make sure that you highlight who you are. You need to have an introduction that is, “Here’s who I am, here’s why I’m here.” And that builds credibility.

So when I hear something or see a presentation that I know the person is credible, that usually also is an indicator to me that it’s a great presentation. Mike, I feel like you wanted five quick tips, and I’m giving you a lot longer than that.

Mike Gerholdt:
I don’t know. I just picked five out of the air because it sounds good. It doesn’t have to be five.

Ella Marks:
I also can’t count, so I don’t know what I’m on, but I’ll say…

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, as a good host, you’d think I was paying attention and counting.

Ella Marks:
This is where I would use a visual to reinforce what I’m saying and remind me. If I was presenting this, I would put together a slide and I would have probably five horizontal bubbles on the slide and a few words about each, and that would help me stay on track. And at the end, I would have a super effective CTA, which I think would be one of the things that I look out for. If I know what… If I’m feeling inspired or motivated, or even just know the next steps I have to take after a presentation. That’s how I know that it was good and it was effective.

And then I think my final thing would be, and this may seem counterintuitive, but if I have questions, a lot of times that’s a sign to me that the content was really interesting. I think if I want to approach a speaker after their presentation and want to learn more and want to continue the conversation. I have follow-ups or things like that, that’s a sign that they did a really good job in engaging me. It could sometimes be a sign that they didn’t share the right information. So I think you have to be careful there, but wanting to connect with the presenter, wanting to learn a little bit more and asking a question, I think is engaging in itself. So that to me is a good sign that it was a good presentation as well.

Mike Gerholdt:
I go back and forth with questions, but I see your point. I think for me, I mean if I was to boil it to one thing. I don’t have a word, but the comfort ability that the presenter has with the content. I really love it when somebody, it doesn’t feel like their first time going through the content. And it so bugs me when I see somebody walk through and they click and goes to the slide and it surprises them. You’re like, “Really? Okay.” I really like it when somebody knows something and the slides are almost happening in the background and they’re really paying attention to the audience. That to me, really gets me. And that comes with rehearsals, it comes with knowing the content, everything that you said previously.

Ella Marks:
Absolutely. I think a lot of us think, especially people who give presentations all the time, we’re like, “Oh, we can win this. It’ll be fine. I know the content.” But the reality is people can tell when you have not done the preparation necessary for a particular presentation. And so I think it is a great sign of a good presentation and good content when someone isn’t overly relying on their visuals or words on the slide to tell the story.
It’s actually a story that they’re telling where the visuals are supporting. It’s not at the center of everything that they’re doing. It’s really more of a show that you’re watching.

Mike Gerholdt:
I often compare presenting to athletes. Some of the greatest athletes that we’ve had in baseball or basketball or whatever sport you watch, they practice and there’s a reason for that. They don’t just show up and naturally wing it. Derek Jeter didn’t naturally winged being good. It’s repetition and it’s doing and becoming comfortable with the moment. So it’s great stuff. Thank you, Ella for coming on the pod and sharing. This is very relevant for where we are right now. Not only heading into TDX, but heading into world tour. And I feel like community group season, not to mention just budget presenting. I want more things in Salesforce season to my executives and all kinds of presentation times.

Ella Marks:
This is definitely super timely. So thanks so much, Mike, for having me.

Mike Gerholdt:
So it was a great discussion with Ella. I feel like we only scratched the surface. We talked about content creation and also stagecraft. I know there’s so much more. I could probably do two or three more episodes with Ella. So if you enjoyed this episode and you’ve got some content ideas that you’d like to have her speak on, ping us, let us know. I’d love to have her back on to talk more about content and the art of presenting. Now, I need you to do one thing, the art of presenting, which is press share on this episode. So if you’re listening to it on iTunes, it’s super easy. You just tap the dots and click share episode and you can post it to social.

Maybe you got a friend that’s getting ready for a big user group presentation or they’re going to do a presentation to their company. This would help them 20, 30 minutes, they’d go out, walk the dog, “Hey, come back. I got a whole bunch of knowledge about how I’m going to get my presentation together.” And of course, we have way more resources for admins at admin.salesforce.com, including a transcript of the show. Now, if you got more interesting things, questions, comments, concerns, you can go to the Admin Trailblazer group in the Trailblazer community. Of course, the link is in the show notes. And with that, until next week, I’ll see you in the cloud.

The post Create Content for Impactful Presentations with Ella Marks appeared first on Salesforce Admins.

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Το περιεχόμενο παρέχεται από το Mike Gerholdt. Όλο το περιεχόμενο podcast, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των επεισοδίων, των γραφικών και των περιγραφών podcast, μεταφορτώνεται και παρέχεται απευθείας από τον Mike Gerholdt ή τον συνεργάτη της πλατφόρμας podcast. Εάν πιστεύετε ότι κάποιος χρησιμοποιεί το έργο σας που προστατεύεται από πνευματικά δικαιώματα χωρίς την άδειά σας, μπορείτε να ακολουθήσετε τη διαδικασία που περιγράφεται εδώ https://el.player.fm/legal.

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Ella Marks, Senior Marketing Manager at Salesforce. Join us as we chat about the keys to creating a great presentation, how to prep, and how to always nail your ending.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ella Marks.

Presenting is a core skill for admins

Presentations are an important part of every admin’s life. And I’m not just talking about speaking in front of your local user group. Admins present every time they go in for a budgeting conversation, or demo a new process for their users.

That’s why I’m so excited to bring Ella Marks on the pod. She’s presented on some of Salesforce’s biggest stages, like Dreamforce and several World Tours. So I wanted to hear her tips for how to put together and prep for a great presentation.

The cool thing is that no matter the format or venue, Ella uses the same core principles to prep for every presentation.

Know your audience

Ella’s first step is to identify the audience that you’re presenting for. Who’s in the room? What do they already know, and what are you going to teach them? Your content is going to be very different if you’re presenting to a room full of admins versus a room full of new users.

There are several situations where you might not know exactly who’s going to be in the audience or what their level of expertise is. Ella’s trick for this is to just ask them, for example, “Raise your hand if this topic is new to you.”

Experienced presenters will be able to use the information they get about their audience to change things on the fly. If this sounds daunting to you, Ella recommends that you start small. Pick one slide or part of your presentation that you’ll adjust based on the answer to your question. That gives you a manageable way to practice thinking on your feet, and you’ll soon find yourself getting more comfortable with improvising.

Make an effective outline

The next step is to make an outline. For Ella, that’s listing out everything she could say about the presentation topic in a big list. This gives her the chance to move things around, pick out some themes, decide on a call to action, and then start editing it down.

When she’s ready to start creating her slide deck, Ella uses a technique called “blue boxing” to make a rough draft. Essentially, you use blue boxes to map out what you’re going to put on each slide. So a slide might have three blue boxes that say:

  • Title about why this is important right now
  • Text of the most important point I’m going to say
  • Image to illustrate the point

This allows you to visually sketch out what each slide looks like and how the presentation flows as a whole. Variation is what keeps your audience engaged, so we want to make sure that we have a balance of slides with more text and slides with more visuals. Blue boxing lets you make these decisions before you spend time hammering out the specifics of which image or bullet point you’re going to use.

The trick to nailing your ending

Conclusions are always tricky. Ella recommends asking yourself three questions:

  • After my presentation, how do you want them to feel?
  • After my presentation, what do you want them to think?
  • After my presentation, what do you want them to do?

These are your three goals, and the secret to nailing your ending is to work toward them throughout the presentation. Every slide should be aimed at answering one of these questions so that, by the end, you’ve brought the audience with you and it feels inevitable.

This episode is chock-full of great tips for creating presentations, including how to prep with a group and the importance of a good pump-up song, so be sure to take a listen and subscribe so you’ll never miss out.

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Full show transcript

Mike Gerholdt:
This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we are talking with Ella Marks about building phenomenal presentations and the art of presenting how she gets ready. Now, if you don’t know who Ella is, Ella’s on our Admin Relations team and she’s done Dreamforce keynotes. Maybe you’ve seen her in the Release Readiness Live and at Dreamforce, also on stage at Release Readiness Live. So she’s presented to a few thousand people at a time and knows quite a thing or two about getting ready. Now, how is this relevant to you, admins? Well, you are going to be presenting at some point, either maybe to a board of directors or peers, or hopefully you’re at a user group and you’re getting ready to present a really cool idea.

But presentation is really part of what we do a lot because we’re showing all kinds of stuff and always presenting new ideas. Now, before I get into this episode, I want to make sure you’re following the Admins Podcast on iTunes or Spotify. That way whenever a new podcast drops, which is Thursday morning, it shows up right on your phone and you don’t have to do anything. You can just press play and get on the bus and go to work or take your dog for a walk. So with that, let’s get Ella on the podcast.

So Ella, welcome to the podcast.

Ella Marks:
Thanks so much, Mike. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, it’s been a while, but I think people have seen you elsewhere in the ecosystem. I mean, we’re on the same team together, but for community members that haven’t run into you or seen the plethora of work that you’ve put out, what are some of the things you do at Salesforce?

Ella Marks:
I’ve been at Salesforce for almost seven years now and I’ve done a lot of different things and I’m so grateful. A lot of the time that I’ve spent here has been working with the admin community. You may have seen my face before on Release Readiness Live or on the keynote stage at Dreamforce, but I have the privilege of focusing on creating and distributing content for admins like you on some of our new release features and really exciting new innovations like AI. It’s really fun. I get to learn a lot about the platform and I’m always really excited to hear from admins and speak to admins and create presentations for admins. So really excited to be here today and talk to you a little bit more about that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Cool. I’m thinking ahead and for some of the admins we’re getting ready. There’s TDX coming up, but also user groups for those of us in the Midwest that aren’t snowed in anymore, we can get to user groups and presentations are important there and there’s all kinds of stuff that we present. Not to mention that it’s probably almost budget season. I got to do some presentations for budget. I got to do a whole bunch of presentations if I’m an admin.

Ella Marks:
There’s no limit I think to the type of presentations and the amount of presentations that you can do as an admin. Like you mentioned, there’s events where you’re speaking to your fellow admins and developers, there’s internal presentations. And I think the most exciting thing or interesting thing to me about presentations is no matter what presentation you’re giving or who you’re giving it to, you can go about planning for it and preparing that presentation in kind of the same way. There’s some fundamentals that go across every type of presentation that you may have or create in your role as an admin.

Mike Gerholdt:
And you’ve done quite a few because I remember seeing you on the Dreamforce keynote stage and Release Readiness. I feel like you’ve done a lot of different style presentations too.

Ella Marks:
I’ve honestly had the privilege to be on a bunch of different stages at Salesforce, whether it’s a virtual presentation or a webinar on the Dreamforce stage or even at an event. This year, I got to present and connect with a lot of people at world tour events, and like I said, they’re all very different. The people in the audience are very different, and so the way that I create content for them, while I might be covering the same things is always going to have a different output because I am trying to tailor it to the audience that I have, but I kind of use the same fundamental principles when approaching any presentation I give, whether it’s online, in person, a hybrid. There’s a few key things that I really go back to.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, let’s dive into those principles. Where do you start?

Ella Marks:
The first thing that I do when I’m putting together any presentation is identify the audience that I’m presenting for. Now, this can be super straightforward. Sometimes you’re going to know exactly who’s going to be in the room. You might be doing an internal presentation at work, the stakeholders, the names on a meeting invite, and you can take the guidance from there. In other times, you may not have the list of everybody exactly who’s going to be in the room, but you have a sense of who they are. So a user group presentation, for example, you may know there’s a mix of admins and developers and maybe architects in that room.

And you need to know who those people are in order to build a presentation that is really going to engage them and teach them or persuade them or whatever your goal is. You need to start with knowing who that audience is to understand where that goal fits in and how can I communicate this information best to them.

Mike Gerholdt:
But I’m going to play devil’s advocate and say, so what if I’m presenting to a user group and maybe I’ve only been there once and I don’t know all the people that are going to see my presentation. What do you do then?

Ella Marks:
One of my favorite things that presenters do, and I use this trick sometimes. And Mike, I’ve seen presentations where I know you’ve done this too, is you can ask the room. I think it’s important for us to not make any assumptions about the audiences that we’re speaking to. I think that can lead sometimes to a lack of clarity and confusion. And so if you’re presenting to a user group about a topic that you know a lot about, I think it’s a great tool. Sometimes even just engage the audience and bring them with you to say, “Before I get started, raise your hand if you’re an admin or raise your hand if you have familiarity with the topic that I’m going to cover.”

And that does two things. One, it tells you how you can tailor the rest of your content or your presentation to the people in the room, but it also kind of opens up almost a dialogue between you and the audience. So even if they don’t speak for the rest of your presentation, you’ve created a real human moment of engagement with them that is going to be super important and key to holding their attention for the entire time that you’re presenting.

Mike Gerholdt:
And much like that, and Ella, I’ve seen you do this, is if you’re going to ask the question, make sure it’s data that you’re going to actually act upon. Because I feel if you’re going to somehow tailor your presentation and make a couple versions, which I’ve done for user groups because I wasn’t sure what the level of interest or the level of knowledge of the topic that I was talking about was, then you can kind of immediately pivot based on that. And I think everybody appreciates when they took the time to raise their hand that you’re actually curating the content for that.

Ella Marks:
There absolutely needs to be a payoff. If you’re someone that’s not as comfortable giving presentations, starting with the question at the very beginning and trying to weave that throughout can feel intimidating. And what I would recommend instead is to pick a moment within your content where you can do exactly Mike, what you just said. Which is, you have a slide that hits on, maybe it’s a new feature or a different topic. Instead of asking a super broad question that you then need to weave into your story for the rest of your presentation. You can tailor your question to exactly what you’re talking about on the slide.

And that can help you build that muscle to incorporate who’s in the room and that audience into your talk track without having to start with that big broad question at the beginning. We have to start somewhere. And I think a great place to learn that skill is really starting with something small, a specific slide or a specific product, and learning from there how to incorporate the questions that you’re asking to a more broader scale to cover a whole presentation.

Mike Gerholdt:
So sticking on the theme of building content, there’s a lot of mechanics to a presentation, but building the content. Depending on the topic you’re choosing, it can feel like you’re boiling the ocean. “I have all this to show, and I’m on slide 68 already. I can’t possibly show “What are some of the techniques that you use to really boil down what you’re presenting given sometimes the restricted timeline that you have?

Ella Marks:
First, before I go into tips, I just want to reiterate that phrase, don’t boil the ocean. That is the number one thing that literally…

Mike Gerholdt:
Literally don’t. If you have a big death ray, please don’t boil the ocean.

Ella Marks:
Please don’t boil the ocean. Global warming, we don’t need that. But I think with presentations, it’s super important because you usually have limited time to communicate whatever it is in your presentation you’re going to communicate. That’s not even considering the fact that people’s attention spans are short. So you need to do that work to figure out what are your key points. And one of the things that I really like to do is I create a document and I will just start an outline. I’ll start typing out what I think the points are in the story that I need to cover.

I’ll include any important examples, include a CTA, kind of those key pieces of a presentation, but I’m not actually putting it together yet. I’m just making a huge list of everything I think might be included. And then from there, I go in and I kind of prioritize. So that list is usually way longer than what the presentation ends up being or has way more information, but it is a starting point. And that’s the starting point that I kind of use to say, “Okay, I’m identifying that I’m seeing a couple common themes in what I’ve written out here. How can I communicate those most effectively?”

And what I like about the list is that if you’re doing it… Whatever platform that you’re using, a Google Doc, a Quip Doc, whatever, it’s really easy to copy and paste and move around the order as well to think about not just, “What am I including, but how am I going to start creating this story?” And that gives you kind of a framework to use moving forward.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would agree. So you mentioned story, and I think a big part of storytelling is the visual element. How do you balance just not putting paragraphs of text up on the slides and that imagery?

Ella Marks:
It’s a really good question, and it’s something that I ask myself all the time. Because I’m not a designer, I do not consider myself to be good at graphic design. And so when I build a presentation, it can feel really intimidating to think about what are the visuals that I need to create? And there’s a technique that I learned at Salesforce that I was taught called blue boxing, and that’s really what I use. And the way that it works is once I’ve gotten to that state, I have my outline, I kind of know what I’m going to put on slides. Instead of jumping right to what is my final slide going to look like, here is the exact paragraphs, here’s the exact talk track, here’s the exact visual.

I kind of take a step back from that and use blue boxes, literal blue boxes on a slide to map out what I think it could look like and how I think the content on the slide can reinforce what it is that I’m going to say. So if I know that I’m going to put together a slide that has some tips, for example. I might put together a placement of where those tips might go and think, “Oh, there could be a supporting image for this.” What I don’t do is I don’t dive in and find that image right away. I really take that step of thinking through, “Okay, what is a visual that can support what I’m saying?” And I go through the whole deck like that first and then come back to really hone in on what the message is on that particular slide and pull in those core visuals.

But taking that step to do that kind of blue boxing framework really helps you identify how the story is going to flow and how those visuals are going to support you. Because I will say there are times when you’re going to want more text on a slide than others, and so you want to have a good balance of that. You don’t want folks to also just only be reading the content on your slides while you’re speaking to them. And so if you take that kind of step to build it out first, you’ll have a better idea of what the mix of your presentation is going to look like, how you might use different slide formats to engage people, because we know people have short attention spans, so you want to make sure that we’re kind of switching things up.

We’re providing different visuals every few minutes, and I think using design is a very powerful tool to help you do that.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would agree. I would agree. Plus pacing, when you’re thinking that through, you mentioned people have short attention spans, so keeping the slides moving also helps keep people’s attention as well. I think often when I’m reviewing decks or I’m watching presentations at events, and these are outside of Salesforce too, sometimes people have a hard time closing their presentation. I feel like it’s either one, they kind of fade off into the distance. It’s like an eighties’ movie where they just walk off into the beach into the sunset and we never hear from them again. Or it’s like a steel door slamming shut where it’s like, “Okay, so that’s this. And if you have any questions, thanks.” Bam.
And the presentation’s done. What’s your approach for the closure because I feel like the closure is the most important part?

Ella Marks:
I’d agree that if you don’t have people with you at the end, I think you’ve really missed a big opportunity when it comes to creating presentations. The way that I would think about it is throughout your entire presentation, as you’re putting together that outline. There are three things that you can think about that you want people to take away, how you want them to feel, what you want them to think and how you want them to act. And I would say that’s not just your final slide or the thing that you leave the audience with. That should be at the core of why you’re putting that presentation together.

I think the final slide in that CTA is incredibly important, but I also think that as someone in the audience who doesn’t know anything about your presentation going into it, I think that they should know where you’re going throughout the presentation. And that’s really how you make whatever it is you share, whatever your CTA is super impactful. So I’ll give you an example of that. If you’re going to do an amazing presentation, let’s say it’s on new release features and you’re going into great depth about… We have the spring 24 release right now, I know that’s top of mind for a lot of admins.

If you go through great content throughout, at the end, to your point, if you don’t leave folks with something to do next, they start to question what the purpose was of you sharing all that information. And as a speaker, that is the opposite of what you want. You want to be able to say, “I’m doing this presentation to help you prepare for the release, and I’m going to do that by showing you features and leaving you with either a resource or an approach or tips for you to take and go do this at your own companies or deliver your own presentation.”

And I think where sometimes people fall flat is they think, “Great, I’ll throw a CTA in my presentation at the end, and then everybody will go read my blog post or they’ll all go follow me on various social media networks.” And unfortunately, if you’re not working in the purpose of what that CTA is throughout, it’s not going to have that same impact. So you need it to close strong, but it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Everything in your presentation should in essence be pointing towards your end goal, whatever you want to leave the audience with.

Mike Gerholdt:
I’ve many a times seen an entire slide devoted to resources and thought to myself, “I don’t know where to start.” There’s a lot of resources, but a library is a resource too, and it’s full of books, but I don’t know where to start. [inaudible 00:16:32]

Ella Marks:
It’s so common. Well, and that’s the thing, it’s kind of a double-edged sword, right? Because a lot of times there’s so many resources because there are so many good resources out there, and that’s awesome. But one thing to keep in mind when you’re putting together a presentation is you’re presenting because you have expertise or you have a message to share. And so really rely on that. Use that to say, “Okay, great. I know there are tons of resources.” But actually share your recommendation. What is the number one thing that you would do. That’s something that you as a presenter bring that no one else can that’s unique to you, what that next step is.

We know that where most presentations, if you put 10 resources, people usually don’t look at all 10. I hate to say it, but they probably won’t look at more than one anyway, so focus on that one thing. And you really use your credibility that you’ve built with your audience to drive towards something more specific than a laundry list of things that people can do or read or engage with.

Mike Gerholdt:
A lot of this content creation focused around a solo presenter, but I think it carries over if you’re presenting with someone else. And I see this a lot at our events, even user groups. It’s a lot easier. And myself included, the first time I presented at Dreamforce, I had a co-presenter. It’s a lot easier to feel like more people carrying the weight of a presentation. What advice or what best practices do you have when you’re pairing up with somebody to present on how you divide up content and how the two of you interact during the presentation?

Ella Marks:
The first thing that I would do if I was presenting with someone else is have a meeting, get together with them, chat with them. I’m someone that prefers a meeting. I know some folks like to communicate on Slack or other formats, but I just love to chat with someone about this because you are going to be presenting and speaking. And to me, that’s the best way to get a sense of that person’s presentation style. And in that conversation, we might divide, if we’re building content together, we might talk about our own expertise and where we feel like we can add the most value to the story and divide up the content that we work on and the slides and who’s speaking based on what we think our strengths are.

And then making sure that we’re having a really open conversation about that. And I think one thing that you can do that when you divide a presentation, a lot of times what you see is, “Okay, Mike and I are presenting together. I’ll take one slide, Mike, you take the next one, then we’ll go back and forth.” And sometimes that doesn’t feel super. It feels a little disjointed when you haven’t had the chance to actually talk through your content and rehearse. Rehearsing is so important for any presentation, but if you have more than one person, it is absolutely critical because that’s how you’re going to feel out how that story is going to come together.

And what you may find is, “Yeah, I’m presenting with Mike, and Mike has a ton of expertise in this one area, but I have something to add there too.” And actually switching up who’s speaking on a particular slide that can reengage the audience. That’s another tool that we have in our toolkits to make sure that people are staying with us throughout our presentation. And all that’s going to come down to whether or not you’ve communicated all of these things with your co-presenter. Making sure that you guys are connected every step of the way is I think the best way to make a successful presentation with a partner or with the group, whoever it is.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would agree. And I feel to that point of, I’ve seen decks and presentations where it’s every other slide. Change it up where it makes it most relevant because there is a little bit with the audience of context switching going on where they’re trying to understand who’s speaking and it should be relevant if the person’s speaking and not just, “Oh, well, that means if we go every other one, I’m on this slide and I don’t know anything about this.” It can also help you regroup content that you’re putting together.

Ella Marks:
Absolutely. And there’s a lot of different ways that you can do this, but I really think that having that conversation with your co-presenter or co-presenters is going to be the best way to highlight how can you use your collective energy to get your message across in the best way possible?

Mike Gerholdt:
Right. Stage presence or stagecraft, even in small presentations where boardrooms I think are super important. How do you prepare for that? What are some of the things that you’ve gone through as you’ve kind of honed your ability as you were getting ready for a Dreamforce keynote to kind of make sure that your presence was there and it was adding to what the content you were presenting?

Ella Marks:
There are definitely a few things I do before every presentation, but I think a lot of it for me personally comes down to some important self-talk and pump up for a presentation. When you’re chosen to present at an event or you’ve submitted something to a community conference, sometimes you need to remind yourself the day of, you get a little bit nervous, you might be scared to present. You were chosen for this, and you have knowledge and expertise to share. And going back for me and giving myself that confidence is probably the most important step that I take before I present anything. I always have to remind myself there’s a reason I’m here.

I have valuable knowledge to share. I’ll reset on whatever the topic or the goal is of the presentation. And then my hidden trick, I would say. I was like, “I don’t know where I was going with that sneaky trick.” I guess. Sneaky trick, my trick or treat tip, which is not uncommon at all, is I love a pump up song. I just love something to help, I don’t know, make me feel energized and excited because I know that if I go into a presentation not pumped up, it’s going to be really hard for people to listen. A lot of times we present… Internally, we present in a meeting and there’s a lot of other people presenting or we’re in a lot of meetings that day, or at Dreamforce, people attend a lot of sessions.
That’s a lot of listening. And if you come out there with flat energy and aren’t excited to be there and excited to get going, it shows and it makes it a lot harder for people to actually listen and absorb the content. And so going in pumping myself up is actually something that when I don’t do it, I feel like I can tell in the presentation that my energy is not there, that I’m not communicating what I could in the best way possible.

Mike Gerholdt:
You know I have to ask what your pump up song is, right?

Ella Marks:
I know. It changes. A lot of my pump up songs are Lizzo though. I have to say Lizzo. I do love Taylor Swift as well, but I just… Lizzo, the number one song for me last year was Truth Hurts. There’s some lyrics in there that I can’t repeat on the podcast, but if you listen to the song, I think…

Mike Gerholdt:
My pump up song…

Ella Marks:
I think you’ll know.

Mike Gerholdt:
A lot of lyrics I can’t repeat on the podcast.

Ella Marks:
If you do listen, I think you’ll know exactly what part of the song I’m referring to where I walk out and I’m like, “Aha, let’s go. Let’s get into it.”

Mike Gerholdt:
So if you see people at community events or at Salesforce events, walk up to the stage with their AirPods in, it’s probably a pump up song that they’re listening to. I can’t blame them. If you were to boil down and think of maybe, I don’t know… Let’s choose five because five’s a good number to remember. What are five things that you always try to include that you really look for in like, “Wow, that presentation knocked it out of the park?”

Ella Marks:
That’s a good question. As a reviewer of a lot of content, I’m just trying to think the things that have absolutely wowed me. Well definitely first, when it comes to presenting a good title to me, I’m immediately locked in. If there’s a description associated with it like it would be for an event or maybe even a calendar invite. That to me is a sign of a good presentation. I know what I’m going to see. I’m excited for that content and I’m kind of hopeful to dive in. The second is probably… This is tough. There’s just so many different ways to present, but I think looking for people that engage with the audience.

So either doing what we talked about before, getting that post-check of who’s in the room or have some sort of engaging component to their presentation. That for me, because my attention span is very short, tends to be a very effective way to get my attention. And I enjoy presentations that have that. I think when people also set context by sharing their own expertise, we didn’t talk about it in this conversation, but I think one important thing that you really need to do when you present is make sure that you highlight who you are. You need to have an introduction that is, “Here’s who I am, here’s why I’m here.” And that builds credibility.

So when I hear something or see a presentation that I know the person is credible, that usually also is an indicator to me that it’s a great presentation. Mike, I feel like you wanted five quick tips, and I’m giving you a lot longer than that.

Mike Gerholdt:
I don’t know. I just picked five out of the air because it sounds good. It doesn’t have to be five.

Ella Marks:
I also can’t count, so I don’t know what I’m on, but I’ll say…

Mike Gerholdt:
Well, as a good host, you’d think I was paying attention and counting.

Ella Marks:
This is where I would use a visual to reinforce what I’m saying and remind me. If I was presenting this, I would put together a slide and I would have probably five horizontal bubbles on the slide and a few words about each, and that would help me stay on track. And at the end, I would have a super effective CTA, which I think would be one of the things that I look out for. If I know what… If I’m feeling inspired or motivated, or even just know the next steps I have to take after a presentation. That’s how I know that it was good and it was effective.

And then I think my final thing would be, and this may seem counterintuitive, but if I have questions, a lot of times that’s a sign to me that the content was really interesting. I think if I want to approach a speaker after their presentation and want to learn more and want to continue the conversation. I have follow-ups or things like that, that’s a sign that they did a really good job in engaging me. It could sometimes be a sign that they didn’t share the right information. So I think you have to be careful there, but wanting to connect with the presenter, wanting to learn a little bit more and asking a question, I think is engaging in itself. So that to me is a good sign that it was a good presentation as well.

Mike Gerholdt:
I go back and forth with questions, but I see your point. I think for me, I mean if I was to boil it to one thing. I don’t have a word, but the comfort ability that the presenter has with the content. I really love it when somebody, it doesn’t feel like their first time going through the content. And it so bugs me when I see somebody walk through and they click and goes to the slide and it surprises them. You’re like, “Really? Okay.” I really like it when somebody knows something and the slides are almost happening in the background and they’re really paying attention to the audience. That to me, really gets me. And that comes with rehearsals, it comes with knowing the content, everything that you said previously.

Ella Marks:
Absolutely. I think a lot of us think, especially people who give presentations all the time, we’re like, “Oh, we can win this. It’ll be fine. I know the content.” But the reality is people can tell when you have not done the preparation necessary for a particular presentation. And so I think it is a great sign of a good presentation and good content when someone isn’t overly relying on their visuals or words on the slide to tell the story.
It’s actually a story that they’re telling where the visuals are supporting. It’s not at the center of everything that they’re doing. It’s really more of a show that you’re watching.

Mike Gerholdt:
I often compare presenting to athletes. Some of the greatest athletes that we’ve had in baseball or basketball or whatever sport you watch, they practice and there’s a reason for that. They don’t just show up and naturally wing it. Derek Jeter didn’t naturally winged being good. It’s repetition and it’s doing and becoming comfortable with the moment. So it’s great stuff. Thank you, Ella for coming on the pod and sharing. This is very relevant for where we are right now. Not only heading into TDX, but heading into world tour. And I feel like community group season, not to mention just budget presenting. I want more things in Salesforce season to my executives and all kinds of presentation times.

Ella Marks:
This is definitely super timely. So thanks so much, Mike, for having me.

Mike Gerholdt:
So it was a great discussion with Ella. I feel like we only scratched the surface. We talked about content creation and also stagecraft. I know there’s so much more. I could probably do two or three more episodes with Ella. So if you enjoyed this episode and you’ve got some content ideas that you’d like to have her speak on, ping us, let us know. I’d love to have her back on to talk more about content and the art of presenting. Now, I need you to do one thing, the art of presenting, which is press share on this episode. So if you’re listening to it on iTunes, it’s super easy. You just tap the dots and click share episode and you can post it to social.

Maybe you got a friend that’s getting ready for a big user group presentation or they’re going to do a presentation to their company. This would help them 20, 30 minutes, they’d go out, walk the dog, “Hey, come back. I got a whole bunch of knowledge about how I’m going to get my presentation together.” And of course, we have way more resources for admins at admin.salesforce.com, including a transcript of the show. Now, if you got more interesting things, questions, comments, concerns, you can go to the Admin Trailblazer group in the Trailblazer community. Of course, the link is in the show notes. And with that, until next week, I’ll see you in the cloud.

The post Create Content for Impactful Presentations with Ella Marks appeared first on Salesforce Admins.

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