Be yourself? Why not be someone else?
Say you're giving a live presentation to a large audience. And let's say this is not something you do on a regular basis.
You might be a little nervous about your presentation, so you turn to friends or the internet for some public speaking advice. As you do, you'll undoubtedly hear or read this strange bit of folkloric wisdom:
Just Be Yourself! Act Natural!
The problem with this advice is that you'll find yourself in a completely unnatural environment -- alone in front of a large group of people, lights shining in your face, a mike wire dangling from your lapel to your fanny, monster visual displays behind your back -- just exactly how do you go about acting "naturally" in such an unnatural situation?
And suppose your "natural" self is rather shy, nervous, or introverted? How does that help?
Telling a nervous neophyte speaker to "act naturally" on stage sets them up to flop. Rather than trying to "act naturally" -- whatever that is -- why not try one of these three more specific courses of action?1. You can make the environment seem more natural.
Nothing takes the jitters out of a presentation like a real, live, full dress rehearsal. Get lots of practice! Physically walk on the stage. Feel the lights on your face, the fanny pack on your belt, the video remote in your hand. Once you've experienced your surroundings, the stage environment is going to seem more natural -- so there's a better chance that you can act naturally, too.2. If you're going to be yourself, be your best self.
There's really no point in being yourself if you're naturally dull. Getting up on stage will only amplify your natural witlessness and bore your audience. Instead, natural dullards would do well to work with professional speech writers and coaches. Professionals can help buff a dull personality or presentation so that it shines on stage. If it's an important presentation, don't mess around -- hire a pro.
3. You can be someone else.
OK, you can't really BE someone else. But you can channel the spirit of someone you admire, and project their personality when you speak. This actually takes a speech out of the realm of "presentation" and into the realm of "performance." It's called "acting" -- and you may have heard that many audiences find a good
performance highly entertaining and enriching.
If you know who you are and are completely comfortable with the stage -- you might do well to act naturally. You might do even better to act appropriately for the audience and the situation.
And hey -- what exactly does it mean to "be yourself
Labels: content ideas, Presentation
Two Ways to Let Your Audience Co-Create Presentation Content
Your audience has the technology. They're carrying smart phones. They have net books or note books.
So why not let them use their snazzy tech tools
to co-create presentations? Here are two tech-driven ways to let your audience co-create presentation content.PollEverywhere.
Audience interactivity is a big part of the draw of PollEverywhere
. You ask your audience a question; they can answer using Twitter, text messages, or the web. The PollEverywhere online service instantly tabulates audience survey results in chart form in your PowerPoint presentation.
I used PollEverywhere in class earlier this week -- it took me only a few minutes to craft a few cheeky surveys using the service. Downloading the poll as a PowerPoint slide (ppt or pptx) was a smooth, one-click operation. When students took the poll, results weren't exactly immediate -- I estimated a 15-20 second lag time before the graph started moving and changing before our eyes. Not bad at all.
PollEverywhere also allows you to ask open-ended questions as well as create bar or column charts. You may download survey results in CSV format, tweak colors and font sizes, and embed polls in web pages. This tool is very simple to use, yet fun and potentially quite powerful. Free for a small audience of 30 or less, PollEverywhere also provides more robust options with its paid services for use with larger audiences.Twitter Hashtags.
In the 1990's, I would often moderate candidate forums during election years. To keep these town hall meetings civil, we would pass out index cards and ask the audience to write out their candidate questions. Audience members passed their written questions to volunteers who made sure that the most popular and well-framed questions were brought forward to my lectern.
Today's audience may warm to a similar approach that is more transparent than using index cards. Why not ask a modern audience to Tweet their questions with a special Twitter hashtag
for panel discussions? This lets a tech-savvy audience easily see the most popular and well-framed questions, while preventing boors from hijacking the Q&A portion
of the program with tiresome or poorly-framed questions. Services like Tweetchat
let the panel and audience easily visualize the scope of questions surrounding the topic at a larger meeting, forum, or conference.
How else have you used technology to encourage audience interaction in your presentations? What works well? What doesn't?
Labels: content ideas, PowerPoint Presentation, Twitter
What Every Leader Should Know About Nonprofit Practices
"Google the word 'nonprofit' and you'll get over 40 million results," explained Krista Rye, Marketing Coordinator for the Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Grand Valley State University. "For most nonprofit leaders, being overwhelmed with information is not helpful. They want easy access to relevant information from a trustworthy source."
Enter the online Nonprofit Good Practice Guide. Maintained by the experienced staff at the Johnson Center for Philanthropy at GVSU, the Nonprofit Good Practice Guide website is a clear and comprehensive resource for nonprofit professional development. You can find carefully researched and pointedly relevant nonprofit resources organized by topic area. You'll see practices and pitfalls in each area, along with a thorough glossary, as well as access to trusted experts. And while nonprofit leaders will find the site enormously helpful, for-profit entities can learn much from it, as well.
Melvene Tardy is Research Coordinator for the Nonprofit Good Practice Guide.
"Nonprofit leaders use the Good Practice Guide to facilitate their daily work," said Ms. Tardy. "Many nonprofits are notorious for being understaffed; famous for having limited budgets. This doesn't allow for extensive professional development. People don't want to be overwhelmed trying to sift through general search results to get the information they need. It's about quality of information. When you use the guide, you're going to save time. "
And you'll know that you're getting solid information that's been carefully vetted for relevancy and accuracy. As an internet marketer, I'm particularly impressed with the Marketing Good Practices section of the site. I have recommended that my for-profit clients subscribe to the content via the site's RSS feeds. Melvene assures me that she and her team regularly scout and add fresh content to keep the site up-to-date and oh-so relevant.
Before any content is approved for inclusion at the site, it goes through a rigorous inspection. Most items don't make the final cut -- only the best get to go online. And if you have questions in any content area, experts in residence are available to share their knowledge.
My advice? Whether you work for a nonprofit or for-profit entity, go visit the Nonprofit Good Practice Guide and bookmark it. Once you use it, you'll keep going back for more!
Labels: content ideas
Read a Book Through Email or RSS
Get caught up on your reading! Daily Lit
lets you read a book online, one chapter at a time. Here's how it works:Search the site.
Go to Daily Lit
, and find a book that you've been meaning to read -- but somehow, you haven't quite found the time. For example, I am bashful to admit that I have yet to read Frankenstein
. So I was delighted to find that this classic title is indeed in the Daily Lit database. And further, because Frankenstein
is in the public domain, subscribing to this book is free. (Many books not in the public domain are available at DailyLit for a small fee.)Subscribe to a book.
When you subscribe to the book of your choice, you can elect when and how you want to receive your chapters. For example, you can elect to receive one chapter a day via email. For me, I chose to read Frankenstein
via RSS feed -- one chapter a day. I'm on day four and loving it!A novel presentation of a classic.
I find it interesting to read a classic novel in a new way: shoulders forward, in a business setting, minutes at a time. Had I read this book 25 years ago (as I should have!), I would have paged through it hours at a time, shoulders back, in an overstuffed chair. And I would have likely finished it in a few days. I still love/prefer reading books this way.
But how will the shoulders-forward, minutes-at-a-time approach affect my enjoyment and comprehension of this timeless novel? What would Mary Shelley make of this approach? ;)
And what do today's teacher's think of this kind of presentation? Thumbs up or down?
Labels: content ideas
Christmas PowerPoint Goodies
Oh, the Christmas season is upon us yet again. Time for the free Christmas PowerPoint template link roundup:First, Get Your Christmas Lyrics.
You can find lyrics to your favorite Christmas carols
online. Paste the lyrics into PowerPoint, and you're set to lead the chorus.Next, Download Christmas PowerPoint Templates.
All sorts of free Christmas PowerPoint Template madness abounds online. Here is the fave freebie countdown. (I wish we could sing it it the tune of "12 Days of Christmas". This is close, though:
Who's got more?
(Oh, go ahead. Bookmark this page now. You'll be back before Christmas....)
Labels: content ideas, PowerPoint Templates
Transform posts into podcasts
Some people don't like to read.
They're not illiterate or uneducated. They simply prefer other modes of communication, entertainment, or information exchange.
Me, I'm somewhat compulsive about reading. I often have to visit foreign countries where I don't speak the language to force myself to take a vacation from reading. (And even then, I try!)
But there are times that I simply cannot read a word.
- In a car, train, boat, or plane (I get motion sick.)
- When my eyes are tired (at the end of the day.)
- On the treadmill (too much jouncing.)
I started to wonder about how to serve blog readers that might be visually impaired. Or how to reach people who prefer listening to reading. And I still believe some people -- info junkies like me -- might prefer to get caught up on blog news while they are commuting or exercising.
So I decided to give Odiogo a try at my other blog site
. Odiogo automatically transforms blog posts into podcasts. The free service gives your written content a spoken "voice" -- and by creating a special podcast feed, it also claims to give a blog "legs".Here's how Odiogo works:
By implementing Odiogo, an articulate male voice reads each one of my blog posts. While "the voice" is somewhat robotic, he's pretty good with inflections and pretty easy on the ears. People can choose to subscribe to the audio feed instead of the written feed -- and hear
my content rather than read
the posts. Further, those who prefer to take their feeds "on the road" can save the audio content to their iPods or other portable mp3 player devices.What do you think of services like Odiogo?
Implementing the service was a snap -- I filled out a form, and pasted in some code to my blog template. And I do like the idea of being kinder to the visually impaired. I also like the concept of better serving those who don't find themselves in a position to read.
But how will people respond to services like Odiogo?
Labels: content ideas
Fun New PowerPoint Add-In Is Named "Opazity"
Today, Steve Hards of SteveHardSoft Skyped to tell me the news: his fun new PowerPoint add-in
that applies a Gaussian blur to images finally has a name!
It's… (drum roll please!) Opazity
Of the three name choices, both Steve and I were in favor of "Fuzzy Touch". But we were overruled by public preference, so...
Opazity it is.Thanks for voting!
“I’m extremely grateful to the people who voted,” said Steve. “Colleagues thought I was mad to put up the options for people to vote on, but the result shows that without testing these things, you never really know what is going to be best.”Beta testing is going well.
Steve also gave me the opportunity to Beta test Opazity. The fun little add-in installed in minutes. And it took me less time than that to actually learn how to use Opazity to "blur and reveal" different images in PowerPoint.So for Beta test fun,
I quickly created a 5 slide PowerPoint presentation called "Stupid Questions" -- and used Opazity to reveal the "Stupid Answers". (You can see the lighting-fast video results
at YouTube...)Worked like a snap...easy and fun.
Steve said that he will be launching this new PowerPoint add-in product in a few weeks. If you didn't get a chance to view the demo before, go ahead and visit opazity.com
. The voting is over, but you can register for a launch alert at this new site.
Labels: content ideas, fun, PowerPoint Presentation, Presentation Applications, video
How to Deliver a Winning Proposal...
Over dinner (many years ago!), a guy asked me,"Would you like to get married?"
I was eating, so I didn't see him fumbling with an engagement ring.
"Maybe some day. If I ever meet the right guy."
When I looked up and saw his wounded-puppy face with a ring, I rolled my eyes.
Honestly. I ended this relationship. Fast!
Really, gentleman. There is only one way to get a gal to marry you.
You actually have to say the words, "Will you marry me?"
(Or put in writing -- like this creative chap did with the assistance of PowerPoint and an eye doctor.)
Here are some variations on the "Will You Marry Me" phrase that just don't work:
- Would you like to get married?
- What do you say we get engaged?
- How would you feel about marrying me?
No, none of these phrases will do. They're wishy-washy. And the last thing a worthy woman wants to do is marry a timid flake.
Think about this when it's make-or-break time in any relationship -- romantic, social, business, or what-have-you.
How you phrase your proposal makes a huge difference in the kind of response you're likely to get.
Please make a note of it.PS -
What worked for you? (Or what didn't?)
Labels: content ideas, fun
Embed YouTube into PowerPoint
How can you embed a YouTube video into your PowerPoint presentation? Basically, there are
two ways to go about showing YouTube videos from PowerPoint:
1. The "Live" Way. If you are giving a PowerPoint presentation and you have a "live" internet connection, you can embed the YouTube video into your presentation directly from the internet.
2. The "Offline" Way. If you don't have a live (or reliable!) internet connection, you can download a YouTube video to your hard drive, convert it to MPEG, and insert the video into your presentation.
Let's tackle the "Live" Way first...
PowerPoint 2003 - Live! In this 4 minute, 13 second YouTube video titled "Embed YouTube into PowerPoint", charming 24-year-old reponzo01 shows you exactly how to insert a live video into a PowerPoint 2003 presentation. His clear instructions quickly guide you through everything you need to do.
PowerPoint 2007 - Live! If you have PowerPoint 2007, the instructions are only slightly different. In "Embed YouTube Video into PowerPoint 2007", I take 4 minutes and 45 seconds to show you what you need to do in 2007. (Warning: the sound quality is poor. I need a new mike...the 4th one I've blown through this year! Anyone have a suggestion for a QUALITY mike?)
Now, for the "Offline" Way...
PowerPoint 2003 - Offline! Once again, you can't go wrong with reponzo01's instructions, aptly titled Embed YouTube into PowerPoint Offline . This helpful young man takes about 9 minutes to carefully explain everything.
PowerPoint 2007 - Offline! But of course, inserting a video is a hair different in PowerPoint 2007. This 6 minute video titled, "Embed YouTube into PowerPoint 2007, no internet connection" shows you the mild differences.Caveat:
There's nothing fancy about these four videos -- they merely walk you through what you need to do as quickly as possible. The point of the videos is to show all the nuances that go between the sparse written instructions
on how to accomplish this increasingly popular task.
And of course, there's hope that all these inelegant instructions will become unnecessary in the very near future! As Ph.D. student Alice Marwick points out in her feminism and technology blog
, Google's long-awaited PowerPoint killer
may include YouTube video embedding as a standard.But who knows?
It might happen, it might not. And if it does, who knows when? Until then, you've got more than a couple of options to pursue. They may be a bit of a pain, but at least they get the job done!
Labels: content ideas, Presentation Applications
The Ultimate in FREE Research....
A newspaper publisher reminded me of this: you don't **have** to register for the NY Times or many other online newpapers to access their archives or articles. Here's how:Get a local library card.
Then, go visit your local library's URL. Depending on your library, you can enter your card number and access hundreds of online newspapers, archives, databases, and research tools....without the hassle of registering for the news sites' "free" registrations.
(Hurray! This means no passwords to remember! No email onslaughts begging you to subscribe for a fee! No micropayments for accessing archives! Those three represent the real cost of "free" registration at many of the news and research sites!)
My Kent County Library
Card here in Grand Rapids Michigan is just fabby. I can have one stop shopping for most of my presentation research needs. I keep my library card number handy, in a word file on my computer (just in case I don't have my handy library card on my person!)
Cut, copy, paste: and I'm researching hundreds of sites for free! Wheeee!
Public libraries ROCK!
Labels: content ideas