Avoid my mistakes in your Ignite talk – part 1 [Video]

Short of time? Skip the intro

Ignite Sydney logoIf you’re thinking of speaking at an Ignite night, this post can help you avoid the mistakes I made in my own Ignite talk.

And even if you give some other kind of speech, the tips you’ll find in this post (like about humour, gestures and opening lines) should still help.

In this post and my next, you’ll find a critique of various aspects of my talk on this 3-point scale:
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Don’t speak like you’re stuck in the 90s – do this instead [Video]

Old Nokia phoneHave you ever heard a presenter say something that stood out – but for all the wrong reasons?

Several times recently, I’ve heard public speakers (in webinars or on video) say something that met that description.

I wonder how you would’ve reacted if you’d heard those speakers.

To me, it made them sound dated, and out of touch with how audiences speak. (Gaffs like that damage the speaker – and their message.)

Yet all the speakers did was say 3 letters and the word “dot”. (In fact, one letter 3 times in a row.)

You’ve probably guessed what they said:

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Declutter your talk’s title! [A makeover with @LMFDesign]

Long-stemmed rose with scissors cutting the stem in halfWhich of the many aspects of giving a presentation are you best at?

I’d say I’m best at writing a strong message, and that means I often focus on a talk’s words. So when presentation blogger Laura Foley posted her neat makeover of a title slide, I thought hard about the text on that slide.

In this post, we’ll look at:
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Makeover (part 2) of a slide makeover – fewer photos please

Woman's face covered in paint of various primary coloursHave you seen my previous post? Here’s just a few sentences as a really quick recap:

“Do you find slide makeovers helpful?
I love them!

…they’re a form of ‘working out loud’ that
I find really useful”

That post’s the 1st part of the makeover shown below, and it explains changes I made to slides 1-2 from a presentation by Diane Windingland.

In this post, you’ll find details of the changes I made to slides 3-5 (of 5) from Diane’s deck:
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Makeover (part 1) of a slide makeover – fewer photos please

Woman's face covered in paint of various primary colours(Short of time? Skip ahead to the Contents)

Do you find slide makeovers helpful? I love them!

That’s because they show – in concrete terms – how you could improve specific slide layouts and formatting. And they even give you insight into the thought process of the designer who did the makeover. So they’re a form of “working out loud” that I find really useful.

Last month, presentation coach Diane Windingland published a slide makeover by a company called PunchSlide Design. The makeover included 7 slides from a presentation of
Diane’s, and she posted a before-and-after comparison of each one.

Of the 7 slides, 6 of them had photos added during the makeover. To me, that seemed a very high proportion, which led me to leave a comment on Diane’s blog:

“…using too many photos (or too many of any type of
slide) can be about as boring as over-using bullet points”

I felt strongly that I could do a better makeover!

Still, I found the makeover inspiring – partly because Diane’s slides were a great foundation to build on. And partly because, frankly, I felt strongly that I could do a better makeover!

So in today’s post, you’ll find my own makeover of 5 of Diane’s slides. Then, in this post and my next, I’ll share with you my thinking behind each slide’s redesign.

If you want to jump to a specific topic in this post, you can click any of these links:
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Quick! Make your talk’s key message sticky

Smiling man with slip of paper stuck to his forehead saying “Be happy :)”What was your latest talk’s key message? See if you can jot it down.

Then, check out the tips below, which could improve it

You might ask, “What is a key message?” Well, according to expert presentation coach Olivia Mitchell:

“A key message is
the number one thing
you want your audience
to remember or do”
~ Olivia Mitchell

Sadly, most talks don’t even have a key message

Sadly, most talks don’t even have a key message. So, that tends to leave the audience wondering what the point was. (And why they even bothered coming!)
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Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]

Check out this 1-minute video clip (from a 1-hour talk) by Jean-Luc Doumont. In the clip, the speaker critiques a shot of a sample slide (which is the white area on his own grey slide).

As you’ll see, the sample slide contains just its title and a simple chart:

Did you see how the sample slide’s title makes a classic (and very common) mistake? Namely, it simply “parrots” what’s on the slide, saying:

Evolution of the number of candidates 1989-2012

And sure enough, the chart on the slide offers no surprises: It’s a line graph labelled “Number of candidates” – with an x-axis from 1989 to 2012.

As the slide offers no surprises, and no insights, it’s of no interest to the audience. So, they’ll be turned off by it, and they’ll tune out.

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

As Jean-Luc pointedly asks:

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Don’t blame bullet points for bad presentations – too much of anything’s to blame

Close-up of angry man pointing at the viewer and shoutingAs I’m sure you know from bitter experience, poor presentations are very common. In fact, I’d say poor presentations are the norm, which means:

What a huge knock-on effect from presenters not getting their message across well!

Now, you’ve likely noticed that poor presentations almost always have lots of bullet points. So you might naturally assume that to be an effective presenter, you should ban all bullets from your slides.

But if you think that, I’m here to tell you: You’re wrong.

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7 tips for speaking on camera – review of a @CharismaOn video

Seeing the faults in my own videos gave me a new apprecia-tion for the craft

Have you ever spoken on camera? I just finished a 30-day challenge of posting 1 new video every day on LinkedIn (as organised by Karen Moloney). Seeing the faults in my own videos gave me a new appreciation for the craft of speaking on camera!

Previously, I’d come across a great YouTube channel called Charisma on Command, presented by Charlie Houpert. His channel offers fantastic tips and insights about talking to people 1-on-1 (or in groups), and he’s very charismatic himself.

So I thought it’d be useful to review one of Charlie’s videos, as there’s a lot I can learn from him – and I hope you can too.

Before you read on, why not watch the 8-minute video I chose to review? While you watch, you might even like to jot down a few notes about what you think are the video’s stronger and weaker aspects, so you can then compare your notes with mine

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25 speaking mistakes you should avoid – by @MichaelPort

Shocked man covering his mouth, as though having misspokenWhat good and bad habits have you seen speakers use? Adopting the good habits – and avoiding the bad – can be a quick way to learn and improve.

In the video near the bottom of this post, author and professional public speaker Michael Port outlines 25 mistakes that presenters often make (no matter how experienced they are). And in the table below, I’ve summarised his points, as well as adding links to related posts.

(Maybe you’ve heard of Michael’s best-selling books on speaking, like Steal the Show and Book Yourself Solid. He’s a former actor who’s been in such well-known TV shows and films as Sex and the City, Law and Order, and The Pelican Brief.)

See if any of the 25 mistakes surprise you You can also click a time in the table to start watching the related tip straight away (on YouTube):

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