The marvelous social media sommelierGary Vaynerchuk gives us an excellent 3 minute video outlining the necessity of "working the room" versus "giving a presentation."
If you're still "giving presentations" -- note the distinction. For years, brands became accustomed to "giving presentations" and "controlling" the message. In the age of social media, with blogs and sites like Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube -- merely giving a presentation is less effective than "working the room".
The video you see above is also a fine example of how an audience can talk back. Note the comments that bubble up from the audience as you watch the video. Mr. Vaynerchuk puts himself out there -- inviting feedback and criticism. He's working the room.
How will social media change the way you present your brand?
Phenomenal Features. So why did I yearn for Jing Pro, when I currently enjoy using the free version?
Social Media Ready. One button lets you pump your Jing Pro video straight to your YouTube Channel. Or you can "save as" MP4 to your hard drive -- so that you can upload your video to your FaceBook page. You can also use Jing to capture an on-screen image, which you can upload directly to a Flickr set (or save on your hard drive.)
Logo Free. With Jing Free, you see the Jing logo at the beginning and end of each video. Not so with Jing Pro! The new Jing logo has been stripped for a 100% clean video. (Although when I previously sent Jing videos to clients, the logo was often a conversation starter! "What's this thing called Jing? It's neat: can I get it, too?")
Blazing Fast. All too frequently, I can record & post an online Jing video in less time than it takes for me to leave a voicemail for a client. By avoiding the "voicemail + return phone call maze", everyone saves time. I post the video, email a link, and ask clients to watch a video response. This improves productivity, while creating a better "Show & Tell" presentation experience.
Better for you than candy. You can get Jing Pro with a one year subscription. And get this -- it's currently only $14.95 for 12 months. The low price made it a better-than-candy impulse purchase -- but I rather expect this is a non-fattening purchase I will enjoy throughout 2009!
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!
Right now, Techsmith is giving away their popular screencasting software, Camtasia 3.
This is not a 30-day trial. It's the full version.
At the moment, the most up-to-date version of the software is Studio 5. When you use Camtasia 3, TechSmith believes you will love it so much, you will want to upgrade to get the latest version.
Camtasia 3 has a ton of great features, though. Certainly enough for you to create training and sales videos. Or record PowerPoint presentations. And maybe even to upload your newly created videos to YouTube. (For example, I used Camtasia 3 to create this YouTube Video about PowerPoint in August 2007.)
Here are instructions for getting your free, fully-functional copy of Camtasia 3:
That was August. And while these "summer of 2007" instructions still work, today, there's an even easier way...
Enter the autumn of 2007. Microsoft MVP Shyam Pillai offers a PowerPoint Add-In called YouTube Video Wizard, or YTV. It took only minutes for me to download, install, and test this new and extremely useful PowerPoint add-in.
After installing the YTV add-in, you will see a new tab under "Insert" titled "YouTube Video". Click it, and a wizard will walk you though everything you need to do to insert a YouTube Video into your PowerPoint presentation. Easy!
One small caveat. You must have a live internet connection for this add-in to work properly during show time. If you do not, you still must download and convert the YouTube Video before inserting it into your presentation.
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.
Here is yet another free service for downloading videos from YouTube and other video sites. Beyond mere video downloading, Vconvert also automatically converts the video into a variety of popular formats.
Try Vconvert. You just enter the video URL at Vconvert, select which format you want -- and click "Convert and Download". After a few minutes, you'll be asked to click on the "Download" button. That's all there is to it. (See screenshot below.)
No muss, no fuss -- but some formats work better than others. For example, Vconvert had no problem converting my online video files to Quicktime (.mov) -- but all my .wmv files got "lost in translation" -- i.e., they became damaged or corrupt, and therefore unusable. Bummer.
Now, when do you suppose YouTube will embed a service like this within its own site? And how popular will this feature become?
The whole idea of "naming" has come up a lot for me lately. I am frequently asked about that old devil - "what should I name my new website / company / product / blog: especially since all the good names are already taken?"
Great question. But I'm not so sure that all the good names ARE taken!
A better question: "What's a good name for my new company, product, or website?"
I think if you are a small business, you'll want to start with that question instead!
(Notice: I didn't say the "ideal" or "perfect" name. Just a good name. There is no such thing as the perfect name, so get over any perfectionist tendencies you might have right away!)
When I consult with companies on the whole "naming" issue, I tell them that there are a few things they should know about the theory of picking a new name, as well as a few online tools they can use to make sure their name is a) unique and b) available.
This is valuable stuff-- it's information that ad agencies and marketing firms don't want you to know!
The truth is: you can do this. You can name your own company and land your dotcom URL. And you don't have to pay some marketing gurus tens of thousands to do this basic task.
If you know your customers, niche, products, offerings, services, etc. -- then you ARE the best person to name your company or website! But a word of caution: if you spend over a week on this most basic task, you are PROCRASTINATING! This is not the toughest task when it comes to running your business.
So I'm going to cut through myths and get to reality -- and I'll give you the tools to DIY quickly - so Do It Yourself Today!
Tool #1 - The Naming Podcast -- This podcast is about 20 minutes long. I usually give this presentation as a chalk talk -- but because you might be driving or running, I'm just talking my way through the visuals. Listen to this podcast first -- then go to Tool #2:
Tool #2 - The Nitty Gritty Naming Tools - In previous posts, I alluded to the idea that there are some free and cheap online tools that can let you brainstorm and snap up great names for your new website or company. This is a 6.5 minute video presentation that shows you exactly how to pick a "hip and now" name for your company.
And if you think that all the "hip and now" dotcom names are taken by December 7, 2005 -- think again.
The video shows you unequivocally -- it's not true! There are several hip and now names that are available for you to snap up online right now!