Secret #7 of star presenters: @JonAcuff on how to instantly be a better speaker

Woman's EyeIf you’re like me, you won’t believe that anyone can be a better public speaker instantly. It takes repeated practice – often for years!

At least, I used to think that. But then I read a short post by Jon Acuff, and I saw that it is possible – in one sense – to be instantly better at speaking.

The instant that Jon’s talking about is the moment when you say your opening line. As he notes in this pithy quote:

“The beginning seals the deal
or ruins everything”

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Slide makeover: Take your introductory slide… [Part 2: Video]

In a recent post, I suggested changes you might make to this “before” slide, to make it look more professional:
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That slide ended up looking like one of these “after” options:
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But in that recent post, I didn’t show you how to make those changes. So that’s where this post comes in – the steps are in this 3-minute video:
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Slide makeover: Take your introductory slide from everyday to excellent [Part 1]

Do you use a slide that introduces you as a speaker? (That is, with your name, contact details such as your company logo or Twitter handle, and often your photo on it.)

There are certainly good reasons to use that sort of slide:

  • When you’re presenting online, if people can’t see you, having a slide with your photo on it helps people engage with you and your message.
  • Even in a big in-person venue (with no video feed showing your face), putting your photo on a slide not only helps people engage, it also helps them approach you after you’ve left the stage.

I’m betting that if you do use that sort of slide, it looks a bit like the typical example below. (If it looks quite different, I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below or via @RemotePoss on Twitter.)

weekly visitors6If your speaker slide does look like that, this post and a later one will help you make it look far better:

  • In this post, you’ll see the changes that could make your slide look much more professionally designed, so you leave the best impression on your audience.
  • In a later post, you’ll find video tips that step you through making those improvements in PowerPoint.

You might be thinking:

“What’s so awful about that slide?”

And if you are, you’re right – it’s not so bad. Yet it could be a lot better.

Let me show you what I mean, and then you be the judge. (Or, try out some of the tips in this post, and then let your audiences’ feedback be the judge!)

You’ll find the following topics covered in this post:

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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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4 neat Storyline (and PowerPoint) shortcuts – help you save 8 days a year!

keyboard shortcuts for productivityIf you’re looking for keyboard shortcuts for Articulate Storyline, check out this list on their site. Or you might prefer their (slightly shorter) 1-page PDF, which prints well.

In particular, I like using Ctrl+Shift+C and Ctrl+Shift+V to copy and paste formatting between objects. (Despite the likeness to the shortcuts for Copy and Paste, you don’t need to worry about affecting what might be in the clipboard. And unlike the Format Painter, you get to choose which clicked objects get formatted, so you can work on other aspects of your course and then still format objects later on.)

Here are 3 more handy shortcuts that aren’t listed above (and which work the same in PowerPoint), plus a 4th that’s only in the longer of those 2 lists (and which differs in PowerPoint). They’re all for use in Normal view:
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Rotate meter needles in Articulate Storyline (or PowerPoint) – via David Anderson @elearning [Video to watch]

Easily rotate an object around any point

If you use either Articulate Storyline or PowerPoint, you might find this video handy. It shows you how to easily rotate an object around any point, not just its centre. So you could find this tip useful if your slides have things like meter needles, clock hands, or levers on them.

You can use the tip either to:

  • Control the angle of objects when you place them on your slide.
  • Animate objects to spin around a chosen point when people view the slide.

I was inspired to make the video after watching fab tutorials by David Anderson of Articulate. In his 9 videos (totalling 45 minutes), you’ll see all the details you need to show quiz results on a dial.

The 5th video in David’s series fascinated me

I’m new to Storyline, having developed just one course with it so far, and am learning how its states feature works. So the 5th video in David’s series fascinated me, because it uses states to show the learner’s score.

It can be tricky to place the meter needle at a certain angle though, because when you rotate any object, by default Storyline and PowerPoint rotate it around its centre. So then you have to put the needle’s end back to where you want it, which can be quite fiddly.

Using the tip in the 7-minute video below, the meter rotates around its end, so you don’t have to struggle to put it back.

(If you’d like to make the video bigger, you can click the Full screen symbol below the right end of the video’s timeline.)


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Secret #6 of star presenters: 3 great benefits of pausing (by Keith Bailey of @DeckerComm)

pauseRight now, why not take a moment to vividly imagine achieving these 3 outcomes whenever you present?

  • Feeling relaxed.
  • Influencing people more.
  • Delighting your audience.

Those 3 are the Holy Grail of public speaking! No doubt you’d be glad to achieve any 1 of them, so to get all 3 would be bliss.

Well according to Keith Bailey of Decker Communications, you can achieve all 3 of those outcomes simply by pausing effectively.

In fact, in a quote of just 15 words, Keith encapsulates not only those 3 outcomes but also how simply (though not easily) you can achieve them:
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12+ ways to be remembered when you present (F!RST framework – part 3)

Does your talk’s goal involve your audience taking action afterwards? I hope so, because only by people acting on your talk can it be truly effective.

To act though, your audience needs to remember afterwards:

  • What they should do
  • Why they should do it – that is, how important it is to them.

This post helps you make those 2 aspects of your presentation vividly memorable. And if you happen to have read the overview of the F!RST framework (of which this is part 3), you’ll already know about the acronym “SMS”, which represents the 3 types of tips in this post.

Here, SMS stands for:
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What’s the best webinar polling question ever? Maybe this…

Woman on ComputerIn a webinar, what’s the best poll question you’ve ever heard? I just thought of a doozy, I reckon, yet I’ve never heard a presenter ask it. (It’s only “6½” words long, too!)

More on that shortly. But first, why not think for a moment about what might make a good poll question?
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Secret #4 of star presenters: Scott @Berkun on “slide slavery” (with @NancyDuarte and Garr Reynolds)

enslaved presenterWhen you’re preparing for a presentation, what’s your first impulse?

If you’re like most people, you’ll begin preparing for a talk by opening PowerPoint (or Keynote, or whatever’s your preferred slide tool) and building slides. But this brief post is here to plead with you to do something different

My plea is that you heed author Scott Berkun’s warning when he says:

“If you make slides first, you become a slide slave.
You will spend all your time perfecting your slides,
instead of perfecting your thoughts.”

To help you with a better approach, in this post you’ll also find 3 specific questions that Scott recommends you ask when you begin preparing your talk. (And you’ll see what expert presenters Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds have to say on the subject, too.)
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