Top 6 Touchy-Feely Presentation Rehearsal Tips
Practice makes perfect, right?
Not really.What about imperfect practice?
If you practice badly, your performance will likely reflect your bad practices. So what components make for a better rehearsal for your next presentation?The Great Big Technical Rehearsal Checklist.
Many folks focus relentlessly on rehearsing what I'll call the technical aspects of the presentation: the room, the PowerPoint. the computer, the back-ups, the video display, the lighting, the remote, the microphone. Don't get me wrong: all of these technical details are crazy important
to rehearse. But a technical rehearsal is not enough to deliver an outstanding presentation.Sweat the Touchy-Feely Stuff.
Don't forget to rehearse for humanity! Remember, you want to make an emotional connection with your audience. Here are six teeny tiny touchy-feely tips -- frequently overlooked -- that can enormously improve your rehearsals and your final presentation.1. Strike the Pose.
I once rehearsed a presentation standing up -- only to be given a chair. When I stood to present, the elderly board president waved me down, saying, "Please, sit. We don't want to have to look up at you." This might seem like nothing, but I lost an edge in my presentation that day. Had I known I was going to deliver a sitting presentation, I would have rehearsed seated. Find out if you'll be seated or standing -- and rehearse in the position you'll be assuming.2. Wear Your Shoes.
Oh, they don't call it "dress" rehearsal for nothing! Don't rehearse in your pajamas -- unless you intend to give your presentation in your jammies ! Instead, rehearse in the actual clothes you'll be wearing during your presentation -- right down to your shoes. You'll be amazed at how much better your performance will be just by understanding how your entire body feels in full "costume and makeup."3. Get an Audience.
When I watch video rehearsals of myself, alone in my office -- I'm often chagrined. Without the audience to buoy my energy, I can sound dull and lifeless. Ideally, rehearse your presentation with people. An audience gives you emotional energy. If you don't have people, hang pictures of friends, family, or colleagues. (I've taped faces over teddy bears, and set them up as an audience. But remember, I'm ridiculous.) Looking at faces of people you know & like gives your voice and body language more oomph and power. (Bonus points if you encourage your people to heckle you.)4. Video V. Mirror.
Yes, hang it, I video record all my presentation rehearsals. And oh, yes indeed, I loathe reviewing these videos! They're painful to watch. But I always find areas to improve or smooth. (In fact, I often long for a complete personality transplant.) Don't have a video recorder? As TJ Walker writes in his excellent presentation rehearsal post, " What year are we in, 1910?
" Of course you have access to a video camera! It's 2008! So no excuses: a mirror is NOT an acceptable substitute. You're too accustomed to looking in a mirror, preening quickly, and mentally saying, "Good enough" -- before you walk out the door. A video is merciless: you won't be able to watch yourself and say, "good enough." A video, though horrifying, will truly help you see yourself as others do.5. Audio Only.
Record your presentation without video. Then, listen to it without watching
the slides. I like putting my audio on my portable mp3 player -- and taking a walk. While listening to myself on the ellipse machine at the gym last week, I found an area of my presentation that dragged so dismally, I barely registered a heartbeat while chugging along at a high incline! I went back to the office for a rewrite and added more powerful visuals. Listening to "audio only" helps you spot pace and pitch problems -- but it also helps you later recall the words and inflections that work well.
6. Rehearse in Real Time.
If you're giving a one-hour presentation: you need to record a one-hour video of yourself. Not 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there. Start at the beginning. Rehearse 'til the end. You don't have the opportunity to chop up your presentation in front of a live audience, so don't chop your video rehearsals into little segments, either. (Bonus points: if you're giving a 7am breakfast presentation, do a full dress rehearsal at 7am, too. Ditto for lunch or dinner presentations. My 7am energy level is quite different than my 12pm energy level. You?)
Those are my top six touchy feely tips.
You can also read what other presentation bloggers recommend about rehearsing this month. Over at the "Fortify Your Oasis" blog, RowanManahan explains why he just about loses his mind if people tell him that they don't rehearse because they want to " sound fresh
". At "Make Your Point with PowR", presenter William Botha silently seethed
as an audience member who was subjected to an un-rehearsed presenter.
Make an emotional connection.
Angry? Bored? Frustrated? You certainly want to make an emotional connection with your audience: but not those emotions! A great rehearsal can lead to a great presentation. The technical stuff is important: but so is the emotional content of your presentation. Don't dismiss the value of a full presentation rehearsal!
If you have other rehearsal tips or links, please comment! Love to hear from you!
Labels: PowerPoint, Presentation, video
Designing Presentations in the Cloud
Yes, you can design a PowerPoint presentation without using PowerPoint. And you don't need Keynote or OpenOffice, either. With speedy internet access, you can design a presentation "in the cloud".
What are Presentation Design Cloud Apps?
Think Google Docs Presentations
. Or 280slides
. Or SlideRocket
. When you access any of these three (currently free) online apps, you can design a presentation "in the cloud". (That's what the kids are calling it these days!) Loosely speaking, designing in "the cloud" means you can produce your presentation content online, without downloading any presentation software to your computer.Enjoying the Cloud Slideware Experience.
Earlier this week, I tried each of the three cloud slideware applications I mentioned above -- Google Docs, 280slides, and SlideRocket. Before I discuss their differences, let me comment on four similarities and user advantages you get with cloud slideware:
1) They're all feature light.
At this stage, cloud presentation design apps are light on features. Well, much lighter than the gazillions of options PowerPoint and Keynote and Open Office pack into their software, anyway! But why do I tout less features as "an advantage"? Face it: we've all noted an alarming tendency of PowerPoint producers to over-use many features. Feature abuse often detracts from the story line. By streamlining features, the tendency to overwhelm with special effects is mercifully reduced. Further, less features mean that learning how to use cloud applications is usually a breeze. Basically, if you know how to use PowerPoint -- you already know how to useSlideRocket, 280Slides, or the Google Docs Presentation application. Seriously: expect a learning curve of about a minute or three.2) Cloud presentation apps allow collaboration and sharing.
With a few clicks, 280slides lets you post your presentation to SlideShare, the popular presentation sharing site. The "Share" button at Google Docs Presentation lets you invite collaborators to edit your presentation, or viewers to experience your results. SlideRocket lets you publish your presentation publicly -- or to invite select people to view it. SlideRocket also integrates statistics, so you know how many people have experienced your content. Google Docs lets you see who has been editing your presentation -- and when. For those of us who build content in teams located all over the globe, the ability to share, collaborate, and review revisions provides a phenomenal project management advantage.3) Cloud apps play nicely with many other popular online content venues.
Want to insert a YouTube video into PowerPoint
? You've got quite a few gyrations to make that happen! But with two of the presentation design cloudware options, it's a coupla clicks, tops. Want to use a FlickR image into your presentation? Each of the cloudware apps I used let you search and add unique FlickR images with the same ease you'd have inserting a stale piece of clipart to a PowerPoint presentation. Easy access to fresh videos and pictures can make your presentation more visually unique and compelling than sticking to the over-used, cliched, packaged stock images and clip art built into standard software.4) They all cater to the offline popularity of PowerPoint.
Each cloudware service lets you download and save your presentation as a PowerPoint file. And each service also lets you upload a presentation that you originally created in PowerPoint. Many folks need the security blanket of backing up a presentation on a hard drive -- and in a familiar format. With cloudware, you don't really have to leave your PowerPoint comfort zone. You have the option to "go old school" with PowerPoint -- but you also get enhanced sharing and easier access to online content.
So, what about the differences in each cloudware program?
When I used each of these programs to create a presentation from scratch, I noted a few feature differences in each application.
|SlideRocket||280 Slides||Google Docs Presentations|
|5 background options||9 background options||15 background options|
|6 Flash backgrounds||no Flash backgrounds||no Flash backgrounds|
|9 slide transition options||0 transition options||0 transition options|
|FlickR integration||FlickR +Google Images integration||No FlickR integration|
|Opaque image slider||Opaque image slider||No opaque image option|
|20 font styles||30 font styles||6 font styles|
|No YouTube Integration||Easy YouTube integration||Easy YouTube integration|
|Image manipulation: 9 build options & 9 effect options. Resizing, but no rotating images.||Image manipulation: resizing and rotating. No builds, no effects.||Image Manipulation: Resizing only.|
The above chart is not a comprehensive comparison of features. And I fully expect that feature sets at each service will change and grow. By the time I hit the "publish" button on this blog post, who knows? Another feature can be added at any time. That's what happens in the cloud -- new features can be added and changed more rapidly than they can in the boxed software world.How are you using cloud presentation applications in your work or school?
And how likely are you to design and present "in the cloud" over the next year?
Labels: design, Presentation