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:
If 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 bluntly notes:
“The beginning seals the deal or ruins everything”
Here’s a tip you might like, because it’s used by elite professional speakers. Three points about the tip are that it’s:
- 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.)
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.
No 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.
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.
If 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:
Make your slides look like you used Flash
Want to make your humble slides look like you used Flash, Photoshop, or another fancy (and pricey!) Adobe tool – when you only used PowerPoint? Well here are some videos to help you do just that.
In 2013, the Duarte blog featured an animation of objects emerging from behind a line, as though rising over the horizon. And in a great 12-minute video tutorial, last month Nick Smith of AdvanceYourSlides.com showed how you can use that same effect on your own slides.
To extend Nick’s method, the 4-minute video below shows how you can reuse the effect on any slide, without having to customise it each time:
Do you use PowerPoint to train people? That’s very common of course, and there are many ways you can do it:
- Face-to-face, in the same room;
- Remotely, using something like Microsoft Live Meeting or Adobe Connect;
- Asynchronously, perhaps using a tool like Brainshark or Articulate Storyline – both of which do a good job of importing PowerPoint slides.
Here we’ll look at that 3rd option, because recently I read a short but fascinating post that compares PowerPoint and Articulate Storyline as training tools. (If you’ve seen my about page, you’ll know I’m a training developer – hence my interest in the topic.)
Storyline’s the “new kid on the block”
Storyline’s the “new kid on the block” of major e-learning tools. When you open Storyline, it looks a lot like PowerPoint, and it has many similar features. But it’s designed to make e-learning, rather than just slides.
Anyway, the post I mentioned is by Brian Washburn, and it’s provocatively titled:
Here’s a 3-minue video showing how you can highlight text in yellow in PowerPoint (while you’re designing your slides, rather than just when you present) – much like you can with text in Word.
This method has the advantage that if you move or copy the text you highlighted, the highlight stays with the text. (You might have seen people suggest workarounds like putting a yellow shape behind the text, but if you do that it doesn’t move with the text of course.)