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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2 kickass training activities – put your learners’ needs 1st, and last!

You can use this pair of audience activities or interactions to “bookend” your training:

  • The 1st is a superb addition to your session’s opening.
  • The 2nd is an engaging way to get feedback at the end.

Interaction #1: Let the “attenders” set the agenda(*)

Athletic male high in the air kicking a soccer ballHave you ever seen a trainer do something that stayed with you for decades?

More than 20 years ago, way back in the 20th century, I saw a trainer use such an awesome technique that I’m still talking about it now – in the next millennium! So before I start to feel too old, let me share it with you.
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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.
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200,000 views – and counting!

I owe you and other readers here a huge


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 all these:
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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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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 too might feel (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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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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Spotlight part of a picture with PowerPoint’s slide-background-fill [Video, part 2]

Do you want to highlight part of a photo or screenshot (or other picture) as though you’ve shone a spotlight on it? In this post, you’ll see just how to do that, with the 2nd in a short series of videos on using PowerPoint’s slide background fill option.

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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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