Tag Archives: David Rose Brussels

Presentations: Tips for Effective PowerPoint Design

Do your PowerPoint slides help engage your audience…or just switch them off?

By David Rose, Director LACS Training Brussels


Link to LACS Training Services


I came across a really pertinent quote recently that summed up my experience of sitting through lots of presentations…

How does this connect with your experience? Have you ‘suffered’ PowerPoint presentations over the years where your attention simply started to fade after a few minutes?

Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence. But why does it happen?

As I’m sure you’re aware, there are a wide range of specific skills that contribute to consistently effective presentations.

I’ve previously published a series of articles on these key ingredients: structuring, transitions & signposts, emphasis & pausing and body language [have a look if you haven’t yet done so].

However, even with strong, conscious command of these four techniques, you’re still missing a crucial element to avoid your audiences getting that ‘long’, ‘boring’ and ‘deadening’ feeling…

appropriate and well-designed PowerPoint slides.

Question 1: Which role should PowerPoint slides take in your presentation?

Should slides be fully comprehensive ‘speaking notes’, short and simple bullet points or limited to one or two key messages only?

Worst case – they contain every word you are going to say, so you basically ‘read’ them to the audience, most likely with your back to them or standing side-on and therefore not making much eye contact… i.e. giving them every reason not to listen to you and either just read the slides themselves or switch off and read the (lengthy…) PowerPoint handout afterwards…

Best case – they summarise you main messages, with you ‘expanding’ on them orally while actively facing the audience and maintaining eye contact – so giving them a reason to listen, engaging them and keeping their attention.

Importance of Effective PowerPoint Design

Question 2: Which core guidelines should you follow in designing your slides?

There are six main steps to ensuring your PowerPoint slides provide the right platform for an effective presentation:

1) Making your main message clear through limiting content

2) Ensuring simplicity and consistency of layout

3) Choosing graphics carefully

4) Maximising graphs, charts and diagrams

5) Paying attention to colour, fonts and text size

6) Using animation selectively

So, let’s now take a look at each of them in turn:

Continue reading


Filed under 1 Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

Chairing Meetings: 5 strategies to do it better than most

By David Rose

What is an effective chair? Arguably something that we don’t always see in meetings…

1. Why are meeting chairs often not effective?

Considering the central role meetings play in our day-to-day working life, why indeed?

Well, let’s consider a parallel.

I’m sure many of you give presentations in your work. None of you would dream of giving a presentation without planning it carefully. Additionally, if you give them at least reasonably regularly, you’ll probably be given or choose to follow some specific training or coaching, recognising presentations is a learnt, technique-driven skill.

Chairing meetings effectively also requires a specific skills set that equally needs to be learnt and developed over time.

Surprisingly, many organisations that provide presentations training for their people then expect them to chair meetings with little or no training support at all

So, I’d argue the inconsistencies we often see in the ‘quality’ of meeting chairs are due not to a lack of motivation or effort on their part, but simply a lack of technique.

2. What should an effective chair be?

Continue reading


Filed under 2 Meeting Skills

Public Speaking and Presentations: Good Examples Part 2

By David Rose

As you may have already seen on the blog, I’ve published a series of three articles giving practical tools to improve your public speaking and presentation skills.

In tandem, I’ve provided some good examples of public speakers illustrating the key techniques outlined in the articles.

By popular demand, here’s a second set of example videos of excellent public speakers in action.

You’ll realise one thing when watching them… Continue reading


Filed under 1 Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

Prepositions: Small but Tricky Little Things…

By David Rose

Happy New Year everyone 🙂

I’m often asked about prepositions, for example: ‘Why are they so complicated?’, ‘What’s the rule?’ and What’s the best way to learn them?’

Well, in a bid to deal with these and other such relevant questions, let’s start with the ‘technical’ definition of a preposition:

“A word used before a noun, a noun phrase or a pronoun, connecting it to another word, for example ‘We jumped in the lake’, and ‘She drove slowly down the track”

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press

Possibly interesting, but really not useful in helping you consistently choose the correct ones in your written and spoken English, is it…?

So, now  I’d like you to consider my more ‘practical’ definition:

A) Types

How many types are there? Two – variable (e.g. I live inBrussels, I was born in November) and fixed (e.g. it depends on you).

B) Difficulty

Are they ‘easy’? No, even advanced learners of English find prepositions difficult, as a 1:1 translation is usually not possible. One preposition in your native language might have several translations depending on the situation.

C) Rules

Is there one ‘rule’ to help me choose the correct one? No, the only real way to learn them is by heart.

This second definition leads us to two important conclusions: Continue reading


Filed under 4 English Language Skills

English Tenses: A Practical Usage Map

By David Rose

Do you ever have any doubts about the correct tense to use when speaking or writing in English? Do the same doubts sometimes make it hard for you to properly catch what you’re reading or listening to?

I’d ask you to consider these two quotes:

(i) Writer Bill Bryson on how English grammar is ‘different’ to other languages:

“Making English grammar conform to Latin rules is like asking people to play baseball using the rules of football”

 (ii) The American poet and journalist Walt Whitman on how English has evolved as a language

“Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all”

So, as I’m sure you’ve already realised to some extent, English grammar is different to Latin grammar and the Language itself is a complex mix of inputs from many languages.

Hardly surprising you have some doubts then, is it…!

So, without any further preamble, I’m now going to outline a practical usage map of the most frequently ‘problematic’ tenses and forms to hopefully take away your doubts: Continue reading

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Filed under 4 English Language Skills

Professional Writing Part 3: Efficient Proofreading and Editing

By David Rose

As some of you will already know, I published a two-part series earlier this year outlining the six key principles of ‘Effective Professional Writing’.

Containing a framework of ready-to-use tools to immediately boost the quality of your professional documents, I urge you to read them now if you haven’t done so yet:

Part 1 – Audience, organisation and conciseness

Part 2 – Precision, tone and language

These two articles focus on the before and during of an effective, time-efficient writing process.

Now, logically, it’s time to focus on what follows after you have produced your draft document proofreading and editing.

1. How do most people proofread/edit?

Through absolutely no lack of effort or professionalism, most people’s proofreading and editing is unfortunately time-inefficient and frankly not as comprehensive as it could be.

Consider your own experience…

In all honesty, how many times have you proofread/edited a document, only to discover some errors and inconsistencies of style and clarity after it’s been submitted/published/ sent… i.e. when it’s too late…?

I have a 14-year experience of providing drafting training in the institutional and corporate sectors, as well as providing editing support for ‘key’ external documents e.g. position papers, marketing materials and annual reports.

Throughout these years, I have continued to see a pattern of avoidable errors, inconsistencies of style and lack of clarity in what are intended to be final documents…

Why? Because like consistently high-level writing, consistently comprehensive and time-efficient proofreading and editing is a schematic process rather than a linear, often (slightly) disorganised act, regardless of time constraints.

In a moment, I’m going to present a concrete, schematic procedure for the day-to-day proofreading and editing of your own and/or others’ texts.

First, though, I’d like you to consider a few key questions: Continue reading

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Filed under 3 Professional Writing Skills

Effective Professional Writing: Linking Words

Effective Professional Writing: Linking Words

By David Rose

As some of you will already know, I published a two-part series earlier this year outlining the key principles of ‘Effective Professional Writing’ with a series of practical guidelines and immediately applicable tools

If you haven’t read them yet, then I suggest you go first to part one.

Since then, I’ve received quite a number of requests for a ready-to-use ‘map’ or ‘menu’ of one of the key ingredients for writing clearly and concisely in Professional English – linking words.

Frankly, these requests came as no surprise… linking words are, after all, a 3-dimensional puzzle.

A 3-D puzzle, you ask?  Yes – using them effectively means being fully aware of three specific aspects: use, level of formality and grammar.

1. Use

What exactly do we use each one for – e.g. what’s the basic difference in meaning between ‘however’, ‘consequently’, ‘additionally’ and ‘although’? Continue reading


Filed under 3 Professional Writing Skills