How to rock at webinars – 9 concrete tips to keep people engaged

Microphone clinched firmly in male fist on a black background.Think back: How many of the webinars you’ve attended were worth your time?

Sadly, I find they’re often time- wasters, and I’m sure many people agree. (If you have a strong opinion either way, please say so.)

So, to stand out from your competition, here are 9 tips to help you rock at webinars! (Each tip’s marked as being easy, medium, or hard, so you can choose the ones that suit your current skills.)
Continue reading

How not to kill your audience’s engagement stone dead [Part 1: Use the PACE approach]

Do you think you’d have bothered reading this post if I’d called it this instead:

“Audience engagement and contemporary presentation materials”

Not likely!

This post’s title deliberately uses 4 “keys” to engage you (in just the first 9 words). For a moment, look at the post’s title again. Can you guess what the 4 keys might be? (You probably guessed that their initials make up the acronym PACE.) Well, read on to see how many of the keys you spotted!

(And, for a very pleasant change from so many posts about presenting, this post has nothing to do with bullet points – despite the bullets in the photo above!)
Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Need to present a 1-hour slideshow in 30 mins? DON’T speed up! Do this instead…

Alarm ClockEver had to give your presentation in a much shorter timeslot than you’d planned? You know – like when one or more of the speakers before you at a conference or workshop runs over time, and the organisers want to start getting things back on track.

Recently, Rob Beisenbach wrote a great post about that, which inspired me to tell you about a rarely-used PowerPoint feature that can help you out in situations like that.
Continue reading

200,000 views – and counting!

I owe you and other readers here a huge

THANK YOU!

Thank you for your part in taking this blog to over 200,000 page views, which happened just now.

When I started Remote Possibilities in November 2011, I never dreamed it’d clock up that many views over time. It’s also amazing to me that I’ve been blogging for 3½ years now.

After all, over those same years, it’s sobering to realise how many great public-speaking blogs have ground to a halt, like these 10:
Continue reading

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”

Continue reading

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:
weekly visitors6

That slide ended up looking like one of these “after” options:
weekly visitors8weekly visitorsA

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:
Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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:
Continue reading