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Archive for 2012

Go with the Flow – How to Organize Your Technical Presentation to Get Business Results – Part 3 – Chunking by the Numbers Structure

I once broke up a fight at a truck stop diner.

One summer while in college, I waitressed during the graveyard shift at the Truck Stop Cafe in Jefferson, Iowa.  One night, around 3 AM, I heard a commotion and spun around to see two guys in a rope-a-dope hold.  From the body language of those around them, I could tell one of them had taken a swing at the other.  One man was dressed in a softball uniform, no doubt coming to …

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Go with the Flow – How to Organize Your Technical Presentation to Get Business Results – Part 2 – Step-by-Step Structure

I took a training class of Ken Blankard’s years ago called Situational Leadership.  In one exercise, I was set up as a person who was what is term “disillusioned learner” someone with some competency in a task or job, but with low level of confidence.  In the role play, managers used different leadership styles to “manage” me.  I remember experiencing first hand how good it felt to get very detailed direction when I was in the confused state of …

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Go with the Flow – How to Organize Your Technical Presentation to Get Business Results – Part 1 – Start with the End Structure

One of the men I admired early in my career was the late Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda.  At the time I came to know of him, he was in charge of the Naval Personnel Command.

Among the lessons I learned through his leadership was that you can’t just tell people things one way.  Your need to repeat yourself but in different ways to help the information to get through.

I think something similar can be said about presentations, but I’d …

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Thank You to Big Fish Games

Yesterday, while pulling up my bank statement online to look at my balance, I noticed a recurring charge to a well known company who used to be huge in the movie rental business but who didn’t keep up with the move to digital.  (I’ll let you guess which company it is.)

I know for a fact that I have never ever had a recurring account with said company, and realized someone had stolen my credit card number.  Crap.

Upon going back through my statement, I noticed 3 …

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Connection in Imperfection

I used to say, that with presentations, it’s not about perfection…it’s about connection.

And the reason I said that was I believe that for a presenter to make a difference, the speaker has to connect with their audience.  I still believe that.

I also believe you don’t need to be a perfect speaker — with perfect gestures and phraseology and vocal variety — to be effective and to make a connection.

Therefore I came to the conclusion that with presentations, it’s not about perfection… it’s about connection.

 

But now …

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Using Stories in Presentations – How to Spontaneously Uncover Personal Stories

I worry sometimes that I’m a one-upper… you know, that person that hears you tell a story, then tries to one-up you with a story of their own.

I don’t like to think of myself as a one-upper, but whenever I listen to a story, my mind instantly goes to work searching for something in my background that is similar to the circumstances that I’m hearing.

If you tell me the story of how you met your spouse, I immediately think of the great story about how my …

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From Lame to Fame Presentations – Don’t Blame the Audience for Your Lack of Communication

You’ve seen slides of this ilk before.

The title on the slide said something like the 3 Most Important Points to Remember about XYZ.

That was followed by

1.  Here’s the First Point

2.  Here’s the Second Point

 

Then instead of the Third Point, the speaker had a cartoon pasted at the bottom of the slide.

 

It was a cleaver cartoon and the caption along the bottom made the speaker’s third point with brilliance and humor.

 

But here was the problem.

 

The cartoon was at the bottom of the slide.  The caption …

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Even Microsoft Is Getting on Board: No More Default PowerPoint!

Many of you know that I’m an Apple convert.  But I have to give props to Microsoft.

 

Today in Ellen Finkelstein’s newsletter she shared a link to her website where she talks about a series of 15-minute webinars that Microsoft has started.  Thanks Ellen for sharing!!

 

I watched the first of the series called Working with photos in PowerPoint.  About 8:30 into the webinar, the presenter actually recommends making the photograph bigger and even expanding it outside of the …

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Need More Time in Your Conference Presentation? Drop the Self-Discovery Monologue

One of the common challenges for conference presenters is that you have so much great content to share and a limited time in which to share it.

 

Whether you’re speaking for 15 minutes to 2 hours, if you’re struggling to have enough time to cover the important items and still leave time for Q&A, there is one place that you can begin that works like a charm — eliminate the Self-Discovery Monologue.

 

The Self-Discovery Monologue
 

I confess.  I’ve been guilty of the Self-Discovery Monologue.

 

It sounds something like …

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Want to Get Better at Public Speaking? Flail Around Like a New Drummer!

At the age of 48 years and 11 months, I decided to take up the drums.  Yes, under this nerdy exterior lurks the heart of a wannabe, uber-cool, rock-n-roll chick.

 

My son-in-law Eric is an amazing drummer who played professionally in a number of local Atlanta bands.  He offered to give me lessons.

 

He originally had me pick out a few songs and we decided to start with Eric Clapton’s song Cocaine.

 

During the first lesson, Eric (the son-in-law, not Mr. Clapton) showed me some basic drum rhythms to …

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