Arlen Nikolli is a Presentation and Public Speaking Coach and the Founder of NIKOLLI Presentations. He is based in Munich, Germany.

In this episode with him, we talk about public speaking, sales hacks, and presentation skills. We discuss the upcoming Microsoft PowerPoint updates as well as what the future of sales and presentation skills looks like.

Nikolli revealed that his career began with organizing parties, followed by event planning and management. He said that while falling in love with event planning, he was able to listen to a lot of presentations, speeches, and keynotes at work and discovered how incredibly powerful and inspirational they can be. But then he realized that the inspiring ones were the exceptions, and because he always wanted his customers to be the good exception, he established NIKOLLI Presentations.

He was also one of our Present to Succeed 2022 attendees, and he shared with us how much he enjoyed the event. He said he’s coming back next year for the hybrid edition of our conference that’s going to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria. We swear we didn’t pay him or bribe him into saying this! Check out the conference for yourself and soon you’ll be able to get the 2022 conference recordings from our store!

We also talked about what Sales and Public Speaking have in common, as well as the importance of public speaking and presentation skills for salespeople.

Last but not least, we discussed the new PowerPoint Cameo feature, which allows you to embed your live video feed in your presentations, as well as the soon-to-be-available, improved Replace Font option for PowerPoint, which proves to be very handy once it is published to everyone. By the way, as soon as you have the Cameo feature, you can check out our how-to article on PowerPoint Cameo.

Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about PowerPoint’s latest features and about how and why presentations, public speaking, and sales skills are interconnected and crucial for any salesperson or sales manager! We hope you’ll enjoy listening!

Resources

Check out NIKOLLI Presentations here. Connect with Arlen Nikolli on his LinkedIn or follow his TikTok here.

Watch the full episode

Transcription

Boris Hristov:
Hey there and welcome to yet another episode of The World of Presentations podcast brought to you by us at presentation agency 356labs. My name is Boris, I’m the host of this episode, and today we have someone who is coming and is going to connect with us. And he’s with us, from Germany. By the way, I love Germany.
I can’t wait to go to Berlin. I know that our guest is from Munich, but I love Berlin. Been there so many times and many people say that Berlin is not Germany anymore. We may ask you whether or not he believes the same, but he is also a presentation coach and he was a part of it, I just found that you also joined us for the Present to Succeed Conference and he loved it. So, who is with us? His name is Arlen Nikolli. Arlen, welcome to the podcast.

Arlen Nikolli:
Hey, Boris, thank you. Thank you very much for having me. I’m so looking forward to this podcast and this conversation here.

B.H.:
Same here. Tell me more about that Berlin topic. Do you believe that Berlin is still Germany?

A.N.:
My brother lives in Berlin, so actually, I love the city and not only because of my brother, but it’s it is very special. Let’s say it like this. But the special part is, I think one of the prettiest parts there. It’s very urban. And yeah, Berlin is, I mean, it’s Berlin. It’s completely different. Yeah. Yeah.

B.H.:
Many people use exactly that word – it is just different. Yeah. I have been many, not many, but three or four other places than Berlin, like Frankfurt, like Cologne, just Berlin is just so different.

A.N.:
Yes, it is. It is so different.

B.H.:
Even though if I have to be honest, I love the Frankfurt Airport, it’s a different story.

A.N.:
But it’s the biggest one in Europe, I think.

B.H.:
Heathrow, I think is bigger. By the way, if you think about it now, the airport in Istanbul, I think is the biggest. I don’t know whether you have landed on the new one.

A.N.:
No, I’m not yet.

B.H.:
Okay. You are everyone who is listening, by the way, if you want to go somewhere, go visit the airports of Istanbul and be mesmerized by what an airport this is. I have a friend from Turkey who like back then when they were building it, and then let’s jump to presentations. Back then, when they were building it, he was saying that they’re actually building a city next to the airport so that they can support the airport, that was like, okay, wait. He said we’re building a small city next to the airport so that there are people that can serve and that can support everything that is going to be happening. And I’m like because you are in Istanbul, I’m from Sofia. We are more or less 7 million people. And Istanbul itself is many, many millions of people. I was like, define me a small city here.
And it was like a million, million and a half people. And I’m like, okay. Just the small city to support the airport. I got you. So, I landed there just once, and it was it is just humongous. It is humongous. Arlen, back to presentations. Tell me what happened there. Like, how did you become a presentation coach and a presentation person?

A.N.:
Thank you. Well, my career started when I was 17 or 18. At that time I started to organize parties, and that was the first time I experienced how much fun it is to organize and manage events. And ten years ago, I moved to Vienna and studied there and started working for an event company with this company I did pretty well, and I was invited to work, for example, for Formula One from 2012 to 2014.
And after that, well, from that moment on, I fell in love with event planning, and I joined several agencies and I already worked with a lot of companies like car manufacturers, medical and I.T. companies. And during this time, I was able to listen to a lot of presentations, speeches, keynotes, and whatever. And I realized how amazing how mobile moving and motivating these kinds of performances can be. But unfortunately, it can be. Yes. But unfortunately, it was only an exception, and I always wanted my customers to be these exceptions. And so, when I was working for the event agencies, we did not only plan the stages, the schedules, and events and all the things that are connected to events, but we also focused on the performance of the speakers and the moderators.
And the beginning of 2020, one of my customers had a great product presentation. And after this event, she jokingly actually said, “Well, Arlen, ha-ha, you should do this professionally”. And well, five months later I started NIKOLLI Presentations and here we are talking to you, and we are focused on high-quality business presentations as you are at 356labs.
And of course, we are focused also on speaker coaching because these two parts are connected obviously. And now almost two years later, I was able to work with a lot of cool customers, and a bunch of super exciting projects. And a couple of weeks ago I was, as you mentioned, a participant at the Present to Succeed event. And I absolutely loved it.
Like the amount and the quality of the content there. And yeah, a couple of days ago or after the event, we got in touch and now we are recording this event, this podcast here. And let me say, I’m not getting paid to say this, I’m just expressing my excitement yeah.

B.H.:
By the way, to everyone that is listening to this podcast, watching us on YouTube, or whatever you are doing, and you don’t know about the Present to Succeed Conference – come on. Really? You have to know what we’re doing here because next year in 2023 we’re actually doing it in a hybrid fashion. So, we’re going to turn Sofia, Bulgaria in this case into the capital of presentation skills. So, join us on April 28, 2023, for one day that will be historical, I would say, day. Anyway, tell me more about … we decided to talk a little bit more about the sales managers and what’s going on there.
You have this opinion that sales managers should if they have to decide on what they should learn first they should go for presentation skills, and public speaking and not go for the hacks in selling. Why are presentation skills more important than the hacks in selling, or the tips and tricks they utilize during a sales process than yeah, the public speaking part. What’s going on there?

A.N.:
Well, to be honest, I wouldn’t say it is better to learn public speaking before the sales hacks, and not the other way around. But what I’m 100% sure of is that both parts are very important skill sets to own as a salesperson, not only offline but also online. And because in Germany there is a study from the Bundesverband Deutscher Unternehmensberatungen, which is something like the Federal Association of German Management Consultants and they said, what the study said – new presentation skills would be essential in business for the upcoming years and new presentation skills, especially in front of the camera and in meetings.
And that’s why I founded my latest baby, which is the Sales Communication Academy where sales managers can learn to improve their sales skills by using techniques from the big speakers which are out there. And yeah, actually, I want to make one thing super clear. Good salespersons are not the ones who know all the sales hacks, and good salespersons aren’t even the ones who actually express themselves like poets. In my opinion, good salespeople are the ones that can take the best of both worlds and use them to turn the potential customer into real fans. And I think that’s all that’s what it’s all about in sales, getting and making the customer a real fan.

B.H.:
What would you say is the best place for a salesperson or a sales manager to start from? Like, where would you point? What is going to be the resource or the resources?

A.N.:
There are five topics which are, in my opinion, the most important ones. To start with, the mindset. This is the very first part, which is actually very important to know how our mindset can influence our performance and most of most people underestimate this influence of our mindset. And the next thing, of course, is to know your mindset barriers and how to eliminate them. So, we can start in an open way with new challenges and new causes because a new cause probably can get very challenging.
Then the second step would be the personalities you are and to which you are talking to. And this is, for example, there are a huge amount, of models for how you can identify different personalities. But I think the easiest one and the one which is appliable very fast is the DiSC model. I’m not aware if you know it, but for the listeners who do not know it, this model is, is a model which is based on the assumption that every person has characteristics of all four types which is the DiSC, that’s why it’s called DiSC model, but that some of them are more pronounced. So, we can, we can talk in several manners to people with characteristics. For example, there is a dominant person, there are influencing people, there are cautious people and of course, there are steady people. And you can’t talk with a small voice to a dominant person, for example, because they want to get some kind of challenge. So, this is also important to know the personalities.
The third thing is the very first language we learn, which is the body language and the expression, of course, because people judge us, and they know if they like us even before they even know they know because their subconscious mind has already decided before it even before you even know that. So having the right body language is very important. Then the fourth part is your voice, especially on the phone and on calls, it is very important to have a decent voice, and a strong and confident voice. I mean, I’m not talking about aggressive voices, but the color of the voice. And yeah, for example, you can imagine your favorite singer. You can hear your favorite singer in the very first second and you know, okay, it’s her or him.
And the last part is the messaging and of course, messaging means how do I express my ideas? How do I convince the customers one of the easiest and strongest ways is storytelling. I mean, I’m not talking about tales, but storytelling in business is mostly underestimated. And I have five steps on how to create the right story in business, which is the first thing would be – prepare a story that makes the customers feel understood and grab their attention. Then the second part is to discuss his or her problem and to make sure you understand what they are talking about.
Then the third part is to give them a solution. For example, your product. The fourth part is to show the evidence that your product is working. For example, social proof and case studies. And the very last thing most of you will know, it’s the call to action, call the customer to action. And yeah, there are a lot of amazing books to learn all this stuff. But I also teach these skills to my participants, for example, at the Sales Communication Academy here and in Germany. And yeah, it is a lot of fun and necessary for most people.

B.H.:
Yeah, completely. I completely agree that it’s it is so necessary in the business world, to be honest. And I’m not surprised that there is service or there is research that’s saying that presentation skills and new forms of presentation skills, like online communication, for example, will be one of the top skills of the upcoming years. That is, to me, it’s a no-brainer. The important part is for every businessperson who needs to communicate often, especially with clients or with people that yeah, more or less are important stakeholders. They need to understand that presentation skills are playing a crucial role in their overall success in an organization, be that their own organization or the organization that they represent and work for. This is a journey, and you know that this is a journey for people. It’s taking years, at least for us. It’s taken six years to kind of influence and persuade people that these are needed skills. And I think if these six more years.

A.N.:
One thing that I learned, for example, was when I used to work for event agencies. We drove to our customers to pitch our product, to pitch the event. Nowadays, you just can turn on Zoom or whatever tool you use and pitch your product from the office or from your home. So, it changed a lot how people and especially businesses communicate.

B.H.:
Yeah. Talking about online communication and talking about online pitching. Do you think that like the case with public speaking and pitching a project or whatever you may be pitching, or presenting, is kind of different now with this remote world?

A.N.:
Absolutely. So, to make it short – yes. And to explain it a little longer, I mean, nowadays people are overwhelmed with meetings on their computer, with webinars, with whatever shows they are invited to. But it is so that’s why we as presentation designers, coaches, and companies need to change, for example, they need to grab the attention and hold it as long as possible. And this is this changed. For example, my very first online event, which was March 2020 was like just like a meeting, then a share screen and that’s it. The very last actual event I planned was like a small TV show. So, this is the I mean, in between two years it changed so, so much.
And I’m very happy because the meetings before this digitalization were kind of boring, but now it is actually a lot of fun and even PowerPoint nowadays, not nowadays but a couple of weeks, months ago, they introduced Cameo and I think this is very cool. I mean, there are other tools where you can where you have kind of the same effect. But I think in PowerPoint Cameo is amazing. So, it has changed a lot how people interact online.

B.H.:
Oh, let’s spend some two or three sentences explaining to our audience what PowerPoint cameo is because I think almost no one will know about it. Give us the overview of what are you talking about because it’s indeed a major feature here.

A.N.:
Yes, that is a major feature. And I think right now it is still in beta so.

B.H.:
Yep, yep. Coming up soon to everyone.

A.N.:
Yes, to everyone. But for the ones who are able to use it, it is… you are able to place your video feed from the camera into PowerPoint and have your video streamed inside your presentation live. I hope you understand what I’m saying, but for example, you have a dot, you have bullet points, and then you can have a dot with your video in it and a guide from one point to the other. And like this, you can guide the view of the participants of this event, for example. And it is a very strong tool, and it is very cool because you have the possibility to decide the shape of your video feed like Circle, Square, Star, whatever, and you are able to place its full screen, half screen, just as big as you wanted. I think that’s very cool.

B.H.:
And I will tell you that the one other feature that truly impressed me is that what you’re saying is that the video feed is a separate object by itself. And because it’s an object for everyone that knows what morph transition is, that actually allows you to morph yourself and to morph your video feed from slide to slide, which enables very interesting design scenarios and presentation scenarios. Let’s put it this way. So, everyone, keep an eye on the upcoming months in the upper right-hand corner of your PowerPoint, because at some point you will see a button that says come in or click on it and have some fun. See how it can be of help to you.

A.N.:
You’ll love it.

B.H.:
Yeah. I also I was also impressed when I saw what it was like. Okay, that is up. Yeah, that’s a huge one. Now, back then in 2016 when Microsoft announced Morph, I was like, wow, that is a huge feature then. Then they announced Zoom. And I was like, Okay, this is getting serious now. Yeah. And they continue to just push new features, push new features. By the way, I don’t know if you noticed it. They are testing because we’re talking about PowerPoint for a second, I don’t know if you know this tell me if you saw it, but the replace fonts feature. By the way, everyone, if you are replacing the fonts in PowerPoint, slide by slide, you’re wasting your time. All right. Just go to the home tab, go to the right-hand side, and click on the replace button, there will be a dropdown, and click Replace Fonts to replace the fonts in your presentation with one click.
Right. So, the replace fonts feature also got an upgrade, and it is a major one. One of our machines here in the office actually got it, but none no other machine got it. So just one out of 15 or 20 machines got it. And it was everything that we asked for. And when I saw it, I was like, I cannot believe this. This is impossible. It is. I’ll have it now.

A.N.:
I’m curious. What is it?

B.H.:
They introduce the option for you to change the font in a range of slides, for example. They also added the feature when the font is changed, do you want to go up or down on the new destination font. So, because some ones are different widths and heights, yeah. And when you replace it, sometimes something becomes larger so you can actually change it again on a global level for the whole presentation from there, just click replace, it will do everything. I was like, okay, that’s incredible. And some other features that look really, really well there was an issue with, with some fonts or not being able to be replaced because of some restrictions in the definition of the font itself, everything like all of it is fixed now.
It’s so nice. It is like, thank you, Microsoft. Thank you, Shawn. Thank you, everyone. So, then back to our topic. One last here. Because you’re working with so many people and so many organizations helping them in the academy, etc. What do you think, how long does it take for a person to see the first results, the first improvements in their public speaking once they start working on them? What is your take here?

A.N.:
Yeah, well, the overall procedure is a process, so you need to learn during the whole process. But the very first effects, you can see are in the very first moments. When I started training my voice, for example, there are some techniques where you can find your voice because people are either too loud or too low, so they get tired with their voice. And when I started to find my voice, this process needed like 20 minutes. I found my voice and I trained to work with my voice in this position. And yeah, as I mentioned, for example, this here needed just 20 minutes and you can see the first effects, you can see almost immediately. And that’s why I love this game.

B.H.:
Now you can see changes and you can see improvement ASAP. Yes, like immediately. Anyway, all in 24 minutes and almost 25 minutes in. One last question here from our end. Is there a person on top of your mind that you think that we should get on our podcast? Someone that made a huge impression on you, business person, presentation person, someone from your person in your academy that did such a major improvement… like improved so much that you are now okay every single time when I hear the word presentation skills and public speaking right now or anything related with presentations, that’s the name of the person that I come up with for some reason. Do you have someone?

A.N.:
I have someone. His nickname here in Germany. Well, at least in the community I am working with, he is called the Presentation Pope. Yes, and his name is Mathias Garten. And so, Mathias and Garten, German Garten. He knows a lot about presentations and improving your skills.

B.H.:
Yeah, brilliant. I wrote down the Presentation Pope. We’re coming for you. All right. Yeah, I learned one last here. The two-part question that we also that we always ask at the end, is where can people find more about what you are doing in the sales academy and as a presentation coach, and what is the best social media network where people can directly reach out to you and just chat?

A.N.:
Yeah, I am I am visible on TikTok, on Instagram. You can go to my website, www.nikolli.de, or just search on social media for Arlen Nikkoli. And then you can find my social media presence.

B.H.:
Okay, which is social media where you are most active. Is it TikTok really? And. No, it is.

A.N.:
It is. It is probably LinkedIn first and then TikTok. Yes, actually, TikTok is a very strong tool. So yeah, sometimes it can help.

B.H.:
Of course, no one underestimates the power of people right now. If you underestimate the power of the social media network, we have to talk. Thank you so much for this one!

A.N.:
Thank you, Boris.

B.H.:
Super nice to have you here. And hopefully, we’ll see you also here in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2023. Have you been to Sofia?

A.N.:
Nope, not yet, but I’m coming. I’m coming in 2023, for sure.

B.H.:
Here you have it. Again, thanks for joining us. This was a blast and I hope everyone that’s listening to this one or that is watching this one, found some insights here. Everyone, thanks for listening. We’re going to make sure that we link his website, his LinkedIn, and his TikTok profile in the show notes or the description. If you’re looking at it on YouTube. Hopefully, you found that useful. Again, take a look at what we are doing at presenttosucceed.com – the biggest presentation skills conference out there. And see you in the next one. And by the way, if you still haven’t subscribed, liked, or commented, you need to do that. All right? Help us push all those crazy algorithms that all those platforms have. Thank you, everyone. And see you soon.