Should you tell a deeply personal story? 3 ways to help you decide, from @KindraMHall [Video]

How do you decide whether to tell a deeply personal story in public, such as at work?

In this 4-minute video, Kindra Hall gives you 3 ways to help you choose whether (and how) to share a tricky story like that:

Recently, I came across Kindra’s work online, and I love it! She shares some great advice, and the topic she’s passionate about is storytelling.

In this video, her 3 main points are:
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Create your last slide first (Secret #9 of star presenters, by Jim Endicott) [Video]

When you build a deck of presentation slides, how do you keep on track? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve sometimes felt pressure (from yourself or some-one else) to include more and more content.

You know, like:

  • Background on your topic, even though most of your audience doesn’t care (or already knows it)
  • Existing slides on your topic, but which were made for a different purpose

Here’s one great tip that’ll help you resist pressures like those, and it comes in just a
20-second video clip from experienced speaking-coach Jim Endicott:

As Jim suggests:
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Critique of Toastmasters video: “Managing Fear”

Have you ever stood in front of an audience and felt so nervous that you couldn’t remember what you wanted to say?

I’m sure you’ve been nervous about speaking in public

I bet you can relate to that feeling, and even if you’ve never felt exactly that way, I’m sure you’ve been nervous about speaking in public. (I have, for sure!)

Because so many people can relate to that question, and it’s emotionally charged, it’d make a great opening line for a talk on public speaking.

In fact, it is the opening line for the 3½-minute Toastmasters video below. At least, you could say it’s the opening line – or you might argue it’s not.

More on that shortly, but 1st, why not watch the video and make up your own mind?
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Starting your talk with a startling statistic – 3 examples [Video]

You’ve likely heard it said that opening your talk with a startling statistic helps you grab people’s attention. But what exactly does that technique look and sound like?

In this post, you’ll see 3 clear examples on video, and I’ll discuss key takeaways from each. So you’ll come away with solid tips you can use in your own talks.

Ultimately, I hope these examples inspire you to use some startling statistics yourself.

Here’s what you’ll find in this post – you can click any of these links to skip ahead:
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What’s the best font for your PowerPoint slides? (A cautionary tale!) [Video]

danger thin ice - warning sign by a lakeDo you ever wonder which is the best font to use on your slides? If so, I’ve a simple answer for you:

Pick a font your
audience won’t notice.

(That is, unless you happen to be presenting to “arty types” – like graphic designers. In that case, pick a font your audience approves of. More on that shortly.)
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Simple, realistic backgrounds for cutout photos in Storyline or PowerPoint – [Video]

If you use Articulate Storyline, you may well have used photographic characters, which let you insert a headshot or other cut-out photo of a person:
Articulate Storyline character

Even if you use PowerPoint, you might’ve inserted a very similar portrait photo with no background, as they’re available from many suppliers (like Elearning Art, Elearning Brothers, and Articulate Global itself).

This 2½-minute video shows you a quick, built-in way to give a photo like that a realistic background, so it looks like it was taken in an office.

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Gesture from right to left in your talk [Video]

Here’s a tip you might like, because it’s used by elite professional speakers. Three points about the tip are that it’s:

  • Subtle
  • Counter-intuitive
  • Yet surprisingly effective!

Let me show you how it works

In your talk, suppose you’re discussing the passage of time, or the steps in a process, or items in a list. At times like those, you might often gesture with a sideways movement of one or both arms (or hands, or with your whole body – depending on factors like the size of the room, how much emphasis you want to add, and so on).

If you don’t think about what you’re doing – and you don’t practise on video beforehand – you’ll likely gesture from your left to right, because that’s what feels natural to you.

Take a look at this 5-second example to see what that type of gesture looks like:

Note: If you’d like to replay the clip, please use this link to open it on another tab, because when embedded in a blog post, YouTube doesn’t support replaying a clip from the same point. (Or, you can press F5 to refresh the page, and then click the video below again.)


 
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Critique of Allan Pease’s TEDx talk on body language [Video]

Short of time? Skip to the critique itself

Have you seen Allan Pease’s great TEDx talk? It’s called:

“Body language – the power is in the palm of your hands.”

As you might feel too (if you watch it below), I found it enthralling for 2 reasons:

  • The topic’s fascinating: How you routinely use your hands has strong yet subconscious effects on your dealings with other people, and even on your own feelings.
  • Allan delivered the talk in a highly engaging way, with passion, humour, and audience involvement too.

You’ll find specific tips on how you can avoid some of its weaker aspects

In this post, you’ll find some of the talk’s best points picked out, plus specific tips on how you can avoid some of its weaker aspects in your own talks. In particular, parts of the talk’s opening and closing could have been stronger, so that’s where I’ll focus.

You might like to watch the talk here. Or, you can click the links later in the post to watch key parts of it.


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Body language bullshit – beware, public-speaking baloney!

BullThis post aims to dispel 2 myths you might have heard about public speaking:

  • an old, very persistent myth, and
  • a new one that seems to date from just 4 months ago.

So let’s get straight into the myth-slaying

Have you heard people say that you convey only 7% of any talk through your words? The same people will likely say you convey much more of your message through tone (38%) and body language (55%). Well

If anyone tells you that,
please let them know it’s nonsense!

Here’s why that’s the case

The 7-38-55 figures come from studies by Albert Mehrabian, but his work focused on:
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Using true eye contact, meaningful movement, and natural gestures when you present [Video]

jugglerNo doubt you’ve heard a lot about using eye contact to engage people when you present. It’s certainly one of the best ways to keep people’s attention, and to connect with them.

But do you manage to keep true eye contact for about 5 seconds or more? (By “true” eye contact, I mean with just one person at a time!) Only with such a gaze do you give enough time for a meaningful connection with that person.

If you look at them more briefly, they (and the rest of your audience) will likely feel that your eyes are flitting around the room. That’s because there’s not enough time for you to share a complete thought with the person you’re looking at.

Share a complete thought with the person you’re looking at

So check out this neat 3-minute video by presentation coach Jim Endicott (at the 2012 Presentation Summit). In the video, you’ll see a simple, natural technique for lengthening your eye contact.
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