Nastia Stetsenko tells how PowerPoint can help with your work and gives advice on speech preparation

Nastia Stetsenko tells how PowerPoint can help with your work and gives advice on speech preparation

Nastia Stetsenko

Nastia Stetsenko

Nastia works in the international IT company DataArt, where she manages employer branding. Over the past 3 years, she spoke at conferences in Ukraine and the CIS countries more than 15 times to share the projects that she and her team are implementing in the HR market. At DataArt, Nastia also promotes a culture of public speaking and presentation design. To do this, she even developed a course that is accessible to all employees. It helps to prepare for reports from scratch and, including, learn how to work in PowerPoint.

— Nastia, you attended our presentation design courses about a year ago. Why did you want to learn PowerPoint?

— I needed to make presentations both for speaking at conferences and inside the company. My colleagues and I work remotely in different cities, so we have online meetings once a week: we tell our news, ideas, and projects using only a screen and audio. If you can do it well visually, you hold people's attention longer and convey ideas in a better way.

I also wanted to spend less time preparing presentations. Before I needed a lot of time to align the figures or make it so that the text is tidy. I felt like I had to learn how to work in PowerPoint quickly and properly.

— What was your skill level before the courses?

— Average or below average. Many people think that they are good at PowerPoint, but their opinions change when they need to work with it often. I felt that I was not able to realize my ideas, I did not know what tools to use to do what I wanted.

— What has changed after the courses?

— Now I can do much more in the same period of time, since I figured out the program. This also allowed me to help people in my company with PowerPoint, many of them did not even know how to animate slides. For this I created a course within which there are lessons on presentations. Almost any employee can open it and see: "yeah, these are hot keys; finally, I know how to increase the figure proportionally and why layers are needed." Layers in PowerPoint turned my world upside down - it makes work so much easier!

In addition, I stopped doing everything simplistically and began to implement my ideas. For example, I don't have to use the built-in SmartArt. Thanks to the ability to work with shapes, I can draw my own SmartArt - even more beautiful and the one that I need.

Nastia presents her final project at our PowerPoint course

— What do you remember the most about the courses and the learning process?

— I remember a very deep dive into learning. The training had a clear structure and there were exercises for each lesson. It was not like a typical lecture when all you do is sit and listen. I had my own draft presentation that I could practice with.
And after that I have homework, when I need to repeat what I learned by heart. Thanks to this, knowledge is acquired very well. You leave after the first day and already can start implementing some things.

Also cool that you can ask questions at any time and get an answer. If something doesn't work out, trainers they will come to you personally and explain everything: that's how Anton helped me (one of the lecturers of the course - note by Reprezent).

— Is the result different with online and offline training?

— I believe that quality can be good with both cases. From the pros: online studying saves time, at least on commuting. However, during online training students have more responsibility for organizing themselves. If I sit down to watch an online course, I close all the tabs, instant messengers, turn off the phone and even move to another room to concentrate.

Life hacks from Nastia Stetsenko:
The most useful functions in PowerPoint

  • The coolest function is Distribute. If you have different figures that have random position and you need to align them in one line, you can set the position for the two extreme figures and all the rest will line up between them at equal intervals.
  • I like the Align function. It immediately makes everything on the slides more beautiful and tidy.

  • Can't forget about Shift, which allows you to build shapes without losing proportions
  • I also want to add cropping of the picture or photograph using the shape of a circle. You can crop the picture with an oval, and then take a ratio of 1:1 and it transforms into a circle. I used to crop photos on the Internet, and this can be done in PowerPoint.

— Why do you think people should learn PowerPoint?

We live in the information age. You win if you can convey your thoughts, which means finding like-minded people and selling your ideas.

We live in the information age. You win if you can convey your thoughts, which means finding like-minded people and selling your ideas.
In order to convey ideas in the best way, it is necessary to be clear with your statements and support them with visual material. Otherwise, people stop paying attention during your speech.

Presentation is usually your visual material. To create it you need to know the tools. PowerPoint is the most common programme, it's good, it allows you to do many things, you just need to understand it: how to work with shapes, text, animation. After that, you have a tool in your hands that allows you to visualize your ideas and convince people.

PowerPoint is a tool that allows you to visualize your ideas and convince people

— Why do you think companies need a presentation culture?

— Time is a very valuable resource for everyone. I want all the people to spend their time in meetings with maximum benefit. Each person who comes to a general meeting online or offline has 10 minutes to tell the status of their project, find partners among colleagues, or convince people to do something. It depends on each person how they use these 10 minutes and whether they can give clear, high-quality information, convey their ideas and get a result. After all, everyone will benefit from this.

In DataArt, we make internal presentations for online reports, as well as for external events, where we invite listeners. Technical specialists want and seek an opportunity to speak, share their expertise, educate people on different technologies. To do this, you need high-quality presentations.

— You have a lot of experience performing. What role do you give to presentations in public speaking?

— I think a good presentation is 50% of success. First, you need to work out the semantic part: to determine the objectives of the speech, to write the structure and script. The speech becomes clear, understandable, and one idea follows from another. Then you need to make good visuals that will complement the text, help people to maintain attention and understand the material. In this way, success is guaranteed.

— What do you pay attention to the most when seeing other perform with presentation?

It would be cool if all people followed one simple rule: minimum text, maximum visualization.

— I experience pain and suffering when I see that people didn't want to prepare well enough for the speech or couldn't do it because they don't know how. When experts in important topics show a slide completely filled with chunky text, it hurts me. At this moment, the chances that audience is listening fall rapidly. People have read the text already, why should they listen to the same thing being said? In such a situation, the speaker is a hindrance that distracts people from reading.

I also pay attention when to the sequence on the slides, when everything is uneven, for example, different indents on the sides, different fonts and their sizes. And when speakers use low-quality pictures. There is a separate room in hell for people who use watermarked pictures. Probably from ignorance, because these signs mean that pictures can't be used for free.

— Is there something that impresses you in the presentations?

  • Morph transition. In fact, one tool in PowerPoint can do truly impressive things. People will follow the presentation, they will wait for one slide to flow into another.

  • Visualizations: schemes, charts, timelines instead of text. This shows that people really put in time and effort to make what they say in words more understandable.

  • Presentation in one style. When a person not only gathered pictures on slides, but also thought of general elements that unite the presentation in one style.

  • Using characters to tell a story. You can use storytelling techniques in your presentation.
  • And, of course, thought out meaning, structure, script.

— What advice would you give to a person that is currently preparing to make a speech online or offline?

— The first and main advice – preparation for a speech definitely does not begin with the creation of a presentation, this is the last step. First, you work on the meaning.

1. Before you open PowerPoint, you need to answer some basic questions: what is the purpose of my speech? Who is my audience (age, gender, profession, what problems do they have, why did they come to the presentation)? What changes should happen in the audience? What is one main idea of my speech? A lot depends on these answers.

2. Write detailed text script.

3. And only after that go to PowerPoint. I do not recommend opening PowerPoint before the questions are worked out and the structure is written, because then you will hammer in nails with a microscope. PowerPoint is needed to complement your script with visuals.

4. Always rehearse. You will be very upset if you cannot convey your brilliant ideas, because you have not rehearsed in advance how the presentation can go. You need to rehearse in full voice and pronounce the whole text. If it is possible to do this in a room for a future performance, use it. You can ask for feedback from friends and speak to them.

I want to say that I am very grateful, it was a really cool course. I was taught in a quality manner, I got some practice, I still have a summary document, to which I can return at any time - this is valuable. It's very pleasant to work with Sasha as a teacher, because he explains everything very calmly and benevolently, shows that there is no tension and thoughts: "Already everyone, except me, succeeds." I have a very positive impression of studying at Reprezent.

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