Sunday, August 17, 2014

Making a Good Presentation

Many people are troubled when they have to give a presentation in front of a large audience. It's important to know that it's normal to experience stage fright.

Some presentations feel like magic and grab our attention. While enormous credit goes to the skill of the presenters, there are a few things we can all do to make our presentations great.
Prepare for Your Presentation
Start by considering the information you will be providing and the makeup of your audience. Whatever your topic is, some things should be emphasized, like highly technical or vital information. Often, less relevant information might distract or disengage your audience. Take the opportunity to explore resources that you may want to include in your presentation, such as charts and images. The right content makes all the difference to your audience, especially when you pass on an idea that they may not have considered before.

Storytelling
Storytelling helps your audience to remember all of the vital points that you want to get across. Try to tell stories that most of them can connect with. By framing the information into the context of a story, your audience is more likely to retain it over time.

Be Truthful
Don't give your audience a reason to doubt you because you won’t be taken seriously. You could damage the whole presentation with just one wrong statement, and you will have lost your credibility with the audience. If the audience thinks that you are presenting false information during your presentation, they’ll simply take out their smartphones to quickly check what you tell them.

Interact with Your Audience
It’s not simple to keep everyone interested, especially if you give a long presentation. One of the best ways for you to increase the impact of your presentation and improve the audience's attention is through questions. Asking and answering questions helps to break up the presentation and improves audience concentration.

Questions help your audience become part of the presentation. Encourage brief discussions between you and the audience as you make your way through important points. This maintains audience attention during the more complex points, clarifies new or confusing information, and helps conclude your presentation by allowing you to revisit the covered topics.

Visualization Attracts Attention
If you decide to make a PowerPoint presentation, use a crisp common slide layout. Keep text brief and direct. Use the text to introduce each point, then you will talk to each point. Don't make your audience have to read each slide to pass on information. You do not want your PowerPoint slide deck to be your presentation. You want to use it to emphasize the information you are presenting.

Include images and videos, where able, to help emphasize various ideas in a clearer manner.

When You're on the Stage
Know your presentation, topic, and supporting material. Do not to use any notes so that you can make as much eye contact as possible. This way you will engage the audience make them feel important. Unless you are giving a very technical presentation, do not use too many big/fancy words because the audience may consider you arrogant. 

Have a Back-up Plan
Sometimes, not everything will go according to the plan. If you experience a technical problem, you need to find a different way to keep your audience interested and informed. Consider yourself a showman while you’re on the stage. You may have to improvise. Keep hard-copies of your slides to work from.

It may take some time to plan it, but practice makes perfect. All you need to do later is sit back and wait for results.

David Schuchman

Friday, August 1, 2014

Do You Need to Backup Your Cloud-Stored Data?

Do You Need to Backup Your Cloud-Stored Data? by David Schuchman
Some organizations assume that because their enterprise data is already stored in "the cloud" that they do not need a separate backup solution for that data. That assumption is wrong. Cloud based solutions for data and application storage require the same diligence for backing up data as for locally stored data and applications. Plus, there are other situations you need to protect against that you may not have considered.

Backing up data is vital for businesses. Lost information can cause a major crisis or worse, lead to business failure. Individuals who don't backup computer data run the same risk. You need to treat your solution for data backup completely separate from your cloud-based solution for data and applications storage. Your cloud-based data and applications must be viewed simply as the virtual equivalent of having the data and applications hosted in your own facility. Therefore if you would have a data backup solution for your in-house facility, you must do so for your cloud based solutions.

Reasons for backing up your enterprise data are:

Point-In-Time Recovery
You may have business or regulatory needs to recover data from a specific point in time, such as the end of the year close. This could be for audit, tax or meet other requirements. Some databases have this feature built in, while others do not. If your cloud applications or databases do not support a point-in-time recovery, then you need to ensure your backup solution satisfies that requirement.

Accidental Deletion
Most applications allow the users to delete data. Users typically can delete network files they no longer need. When you need to recover lost data, the only means to do that may be via your backup solution.

Protect Against Virus or Corrupt Data
While it is likely that your cloud based service provider has virus protection within their operation, it may not be in force on your instance of the application or data storage. In that case should your data become corrupt, you will need to recover the data from your backup solution.

Reasons to backup your enterprise data stored in the cloud:

Don't assume the cloud provider is backing up your data
The cloud provider will agree to do whatever is in your contract. They may have their own virus scanning, backup and recovery procedures for their operations. However, that may not be applicable to you or may not meet your specific needs or timing.

Your Cloud Provider Goes Out of Business
If your cloud based data and applications storage provide goes out of business, you lost your data. You may be able to quickly contract with another vendor to host your applications and install the software. If your only copy of the current data is with the vendor that is out of business, you have likely lost that data forever. Even if you could sue the vendor to recover the data and/or damages, it will take much too long for your needed recovery.

Your choice for a data backup solution and provider will be made based on your data recovery needs. You primary consideration must be that your data backup solution provider be different than your production application and data provider. That's because of my final point above. If you have one provider and that organization goes out of business, you lost your data even though its backed up.

David Schuchman