Fear of Public Speaking is Not Real
While walking in the forest with a friend, a pretty green snake slithered across our path. I let out a yelp of surprise, which caused a number of birds to shriek and flutter, as well.
"I didn't know you were afraid of snakes," teased my friend.
"I'm not," I denied, embarrassed. "I was startled."
Hand me a snake, and I wrinkle my nose. I don't particularly care for the feel of the creatures. And I don't get much of an opportunity to interact with them on a daily basis, either.
Instead of fear, my negative reaction to snakes has more to do with that one-two punch: lack of familiarity coupled with a lack of preference.
Is it really fear?
People often state that their number one fear is "speaking in public". But are people really terrorized by public speaking -- or is it simply that they prefer not
to give presentations to large groups? Or that they don't speak in front of groups on a regular basis?
Or is it because it is considered socially acceptable to live in fear?
Consider the two prerequisites that make people thoughtlessly say they're afraid of public speaking when they really aren't:1. Lack of preference:
Perhaps people don't like the "feel" of public speaking. After all, speaking to friends in a conversational manner "feels" right and natural. Speaking in front of a group can "feel" forced and unnatural. Why?2. Lack of familiarity:
Many folks don't get an opportunity to practice public speaking on a daily basis. If these folks spoke in public regularly, perhaps the creepy feeling associated with presenting would dissipate.Add some negative programming.
Now, add to this one-two punch the repeated drumming of years of socially acceptable negative storytelling. My friend instantly tagged my negative reaction to the snake as "fear" -- but it only looked that way
. Imagine all the times you may have been amazed or startled by the unfamiliar -- your eyes widen, your heart races, your knees buckle, you may even scream -- and your friends and family label this as "fear".
What about excitement? What about surprise? What of wonder? Amazement? Why call it fear? Why repeat the myth?Fake fear is easy to spread.
The physical manifestations associated with fear can be contagious! When I yelped at the snake, the birds fluttered and squawked in reaction to my outburst. Even my friend jumped a little when I screeched -- even though she didn't even see the snake
. She wasn't "scared" of me -- she reacted to my reaction!Preference is a harder story to sell.
I still don't like snakes. And I don't care for chocolate-covered Graham crackers (yuch)! But when I wrinkle my nose and say "Ewwww!!!" at the offer of a cracker, no one labels me "afraid" of crackers! Spreading the myth of the "fear of snakes" is easy. It's a popular phobia. But spreading a story about "doesn't prefer crackers" is hard. It isn't very emotional or dramatic.You are not afraid
! Most people who claim to be afraid of public speaking -- aren't really. They don't get on stage and start screaming in terror. No, they just don't like to speak in public -- so they avoid it. And when they do, they are out of practice and nervous -- and don't know to interpret or effectively use their adrenaline. They get the shakes. Their voice quivers. This gives them the perfect excuse to parrot the socially acceptable "I'm afraid of public speaking".Don't be a parrot!
So, if you claim to be afraid of public speaking, find moments in your life when you didn't show it. For example, how scared were you in first grade, when "Show and Tell" was a regular part of your curriculum? You told an engaging story to the class using props. And you probably did it often and enthusiastically. What changed from then to now? What or who convinced you that you feel "afraid"? And why did you repeat this myth as if it were the truth?Face the real truth.
Find out what convinced you that you were afraid, and bravely face it. Make it socially unacceptable to thoughtlessly parrot "fear" as a valid label for something unfamiliar, unknown, or unlikeable.
Are Black Backgrounds Green?
Going green. Being eco-friendly. Getting LEED certified. Saving the environment.
Many organizations are touting the latest eco-friendly buzzwords on recycled paper with acid free ink. But what can these organizations do to make their websites more earth friendly?
If your site has a predominantly white background with dark lettering (most do)... read this post about Black Google. Blog author Mark Ontkush states that if Google used a black background instead of white -- the planet would save 750 Megawatt hours a year. The idea is that light backgrounds use more energy than dark backgrounds -- and that Google gets hundreds of millions of global searches.
So why aren't more eco-friendly company websites light-on-dark?
Designers often argue that dark text on a light background is more readable -- but I found the darker palette (at ecoIron, for example) to be incredibly eye-friendly. Further, after reading at the site for a few minutes and then switching to an all-white site -- I found the contrast to be alarming.
Reading on a white background after reading on dark is actually painful. It's like staring intently at a bare light bulb that is arm's length from my face. (And I have an LCD monitor!)
Reading on a darker palette is definitely more soothing for me. Easier on the eyes.
Is the black-on-white standard a holdover from the print world? By using an eco-friendly palette for our websites -- are we possibly being even friendlier to our health?
Which do you prefer to read online? Light on dark -- or dark on light?
Delivering Bad News: The Ultimate Template
Sometimes, there's no way around it. Sometimes, you have to be the bearer of bad news.
I'd rather be the bearer of delightful news -- but that's not always possible.
Oh, there's a core contingency of die hard Pollyannas out there -- "Always tell people what they want to hear, and you'll never go wrong."
But that approach is irresponsible. One must
tell the truth.
Of course, using the infamous "Communicating Bad News" PowerPoint template isn't the answer. But the template does have one element right --
To begin communicating your bad news, just say it. No couching it with "There's no easy way to put this, but..."
No, you must lead clearly and concisely with the bad news. This is your lead story, so you must state it up front. Let's look at a classic example:
"Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan."
It's clear and precise. Who, what, where, and when.
You can use this one sentence as the only template you'll ever need for delivering the lead line of any bad news. For example:
- "Last quarter, our company lost our biggest client to a competitor."
- "Mrs. Jones, your son will be repeating the 5th grade next year."
- "I will not be serving spinach salad tonight because of E. Coli concerns."
In fact, the entire text of FDR's famous "infamy" speech
could be the ultimate template for delivering bad news....in just about any situation. What do you think?
On Emmy Nominations and Industry Awards...
Today's Emmy Nominations
got me thinking... just how important are awards and award shows to industries and individuals, anyway?
Like me, you've probably got some awards littering up your office, lobby, or display case. And so do your suppliers, customers, and students. There isn't a single industry that doesn't give out an award for excellence.
And there isn't a single company that hasn't won at least one award! If you have yet to win, why, you can always scrounge for a high-profile award on eBay
and often buy one for less than the contestant's original entry fee. What a bargain!Award shows can be huge publicity events.
And they bring attention to the industries they serve. But do the pieces of metal and neatly framed certificates really impress anybody? I've got to admit -- my own awards look a little dusty. I tend to set 'em and forget 'em -- choosing to focus on the work at hand instead of lovingly polishing and reminiscing about my past. And over the years, I've thrown a bunch of awards away.Should I have done that?
Or will my little pieces of gold sustain me in my old age? And will seeing them delight my clients? Do awards help convince prospects that I'm brilliant? How long do you keep awards? And do you throw the silver and bronze ones away immediately? What's the protocol?I'm thinking -- sell the award on eBay after a year!
Why? Well, the publicity hub-bub that surrounds the award is the real
value of the award. After all, you can't have an award show without entries and nominations -- and the press releases that accompany them. And then there's the pre-show parade of spectacular outfits and make-up. More publicity.Don't forget: it's all about presentation!
And of course, who can forget the actual award show presentation? In this blog, I am rather fond of saying, "It's all about presentation..." and in the case of award shows, this is particularly true. There's the presentation of the nominations. The pre-show presentation of gowns and tuxes. The presentation of awards. The post-show presentation that summarizes the feelings of everyone involved...And it doesn't stop there.
The marketing maelstrom surrounding the award can live on and on. How many times have you read web copy that asks you to "see our award-winning such-and-such"? Never mind that the product won the award in 1982...But wait -- there's more!
When you win an industry award, you also get a little more post-presentation publicity when you distribute your own press release. This is where you present your own spin on how excellent you are, and how "proud and pleased" your CEO is. You reach far beyond your industry, and tout your award-winning brilliance to a broader audience.Awards can be a horribly addictive substance.
Once you have one, you might feel compelled to enter your work again and again, craving that praise and publicity! I don't know why, but lately I feel mostly embarrassed by my awards -- except for the ones I lie about. When people ask (they usually don't) "What's that award for?" -- I usually lie and say,
"Street fighting. Yep. Used to be a street fighter. Undefeated. Quit while I was ahead. I keep the trophy up to remind me of the violent life I used to lead, and to look to a more peaceful future."Don't take me too seriously.
I'm just a little burned out on award shows right now. I continue to advise them for my clients -- but the parade of award shows for the entertainment industry is getting to be a little much for me. When contestants win and don't even espouse the values of the competition -- many award shows seem to have lost their luster. And many great artists who don't have a giant publicity machine aren't included, making the award shows look scammy.
Seems celebs spend more time accolading than acting lately...
Labels: fun, Presentation
Back to School Presentation Resources
Back to School? But it's July!
Nonetheless, with Google Co-op
, educators and others can create their own search engines this summer -- and get them up and running just in time for the upcoming fall semester. A custom search box on a website can look something like this: Now, just why would webmasters want to create their own search engines?
Think of it this way: a regular Google search can deliver results from millions of websites. Sometimes, that's not so desirable! But with a Google Co-op search engine, webmasters can hand pick only the sites they want to include in the search -- delivering a more focused result for visitors.So let's say you're a school webmaster.
With Google Co-op, you can select the sites you want to include -- and exclude millions of other sites. This can create safer, more specialized results. For an example, I quickly created a Google Co-op search engine called "Back to School Presentation Resources
" -- and included only 44 college and school sites. This eliminates a ton of commercial sites, so a searcher can get more education-focused results.But let's say you're a corporate webmaster.
Using Google Co-op, you can choose to include only the websites in your corporate umbrella -- and eliminate competitive websites. Searchers can stay at your site to receive their results, instead of leaving for elsewhere.
Google delivers ads along with results when you use Custom Search on for-profit sites. But if you're a school or non-profit, your custom search engine can deliver just the search results.
How will schools and corporations use Google Co-op this fall?
Labels: Presentation Applications
Picking PowerPoint Palettes: Have Fun with 3 Great Color Sites
What color is your PowerPoint presentation?
Naturally, you can choose any background, font, and accent colors you wish for your slides. Your color choices are important because they help communicate the emotional content
of your presentation.Have fun with color.
Here are three exceptional sites that offer inspirational ideas and useful free tools that can help inspire you as you pick your palette for your next presentation.
1. Colour Lovers Blog. Not only will you will gain knowledge by reviewing color trends -- you will feel more motivated about by viewing, creating, and sharing inspirational palettes. For example, this recent post shows how great artists inspire with color choices. Fabulous!
2. Color Schemer. Color Schemer lets you explore a wild variety of fresh, free color schemes. Bonus: you can download ColorPix, a nifty and free little app that "grabs the pixel under your mouse and transforms it into a number of different color formats." Cool.
3. Color Blender. You can quickly create a 6-color matching palette by using this free online tool. Further, you can easily send your blend to a friend ... or download your newly created blend as either an .act or .eps file. Excellent!
Now, will you use these three sites for PowerPoint presentations...or for choosing colors when you paint your living room? ;)
Labels: design, fun
Avoid Monumental Presentations!
How is a politician's speech like the Washington Monument?A:
It goes a long way before it gets to the point.
In honor of Independence Day:
Avoid "monumental" corporate PowerPoint presentations and long-winded politicians! It's a summer holiday must!
Happy Fourth of July!
Helpful PowerPoint Tip: T is for Type
It is PowerPoint Week at the Windows Keyboard Shortcut
Blog. Yesterday's tip is a big time saver, especially if you have converted to PowerPoint 2007.Remember Ctrl+T?
I forgot all about this helpful shortcut in PowerPoint. Go ahead and try Ctrl+T: PowerPoint will bring up a Font dialog box, where you can easily change your fonts, style, size, color effects, and color.Save Time...
I didn't use Ctrl+T much pre-2007, because my font menus were always front and center. In PowerPoint 2007, though, the font tool bar isn't always immediately available in the ribbon. And floating over the text box waiting for font commands to slowly appear like a ghostly apparition can take too long.And Gain More Control...
When you use Ctrl+T in PowerPoint 2007, you will also be able to adjust kerning and character spacing. Save time and get more control -- these are two great reasons to make Ctrl+T a PowerPoint habit!
Labels: PowerPoint Tricks