Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Reynolds: 15 Tips For Your Continuous Improvement

Reynolds: 15 Tips For Your Continuous Improvement

September 27, 2009

Presentation design expert Garr Reynolds posted a fascinating blog item today about the kaizen approach to improve, or ways to continuously strive to improve your presentation skills. (BTW – many of the 15 tips can be applied in other areas of your life or career beyond public speaking.)

In his lengthy blog item, he stresses the importance of daily, continuous steps toward a goal are far more valuable than most people think.

“Tiny improvements are o.k.,” he writes. “Over the long-term, these add up to great improvements.”

Reynolds is a former Apple Computer manager, author of Presentation Zen and a marketing professor at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. As a result, his design methods are often heavily influenced by the Japanese culture.

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Why Some Presentations Really Connect With You

Why Some Presentations Really Connect With You

July 9, 2009

If you ever wondered why some presentations and keynote speakers really connect with you, it’s often because they use the power of storytelling and great images (rather than bulletpoints) that help their audiences to visualize their message.

In this fascinating Ted Talk recently posted online, information designer Tom Wujec discusses why animation, graphics and illustrations are powerful ways to create meaning for audiences emotionally.

One of the key points that drives home Tom’s message is in a slide shown half way through the talk about the fact that we make meaning by seeing. If you consider that for the next time you prepare a slide deck, remember Tom’s three points:

1. Use images to help clarify what we are trying to communicate.
2. Make the images interactive so we engage more fully
3. Augment your memory by creating a visual persistence

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Google to Release Communication Platform

Google to Release Communication Platform

June 28, 2009

Google said it plans this year to release a real-time communication platform that allows people to collaborate on a project using a format called waves.

In Google Wave, you create a wave and add people to it. Everyone on your wave can use richly formatted text, photos, gadgets, and even feeds from other sources on the web. People on your wave can insert a reply or edit the wave directly.

It’s concurrent rich-text editing, where you see on your screen nearly instantly what your fellow collaborators are typing in your wave. The company claims Google Wave is just as well suited for quick messages as for persistent content — it allows for both collaboration and communication. You can also use “playback” to rewind the wave and see how it evolved.

Google has yet to announce a release date of the platform. If you’d like to be notified when its launched to the public, you can sign up here.

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How to Write Great Speech Openers

How to Write Great Speech Openers

March 22, 2009

All public speakers should learn to grab their audiences’ attention within the first 30 seconds. One of the best ways to do that is to appeal to their emotions.

And you do this by building anticipation, said Carmen Taran, managing partner of Rexi Media, during a Presentation Camp workshop at the San Francisco office yesterday.

“We love to anticipate the future,” Taran said, as she listed examples, such as things that are “new” and events that are full of “uncertainty.” As she echoed that word uncertainty, Taran flashed up a presentation slide of a tennis ball teetering on a net.

It’s hard to imagine a more effective visual.

She went on to discuss things to avoid in introductions. Things that can kill a speech opener include presenting a slide of bullet points (i.e. – agenda), lack of enthusiasm, showing a lack of preparation, and of course, self-indulgence.

“It’s much better to make (the opener) about your audience, rather than about you,” she said. “Get your audience involved early.”

Following an engaging 30 second opener, an audience’s attention will start to drift, unless the speaker shifts gears, or adds “variability,” Taran said. That’s because the audience will be craving closure, unless the story takes a turn. This closure (in psychology) is known as the Zeigarnik Effect.
BTW: Taran is not only an engaging presentation coach and a former United Nations interpreter, but she is also a Phd candidate in psychology, according to her LinkedIn profile.

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