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The Great Deception: Only 7% of Your Message is Words.

By Mark Kretschmar

How often have you heard the following ubiquitous citation from Albert Mehrabian’s research? “Only 7% of your message is from your words; 93% is from your nonverbals.”

It’s just not true.

Mehrabian’s experiment dealt with what people will believe when your words and your nonverbals don’t match — they will believe the nonverbals. Unless, as a communicator, you plan to be inauthentic most of the time, this number, 93%, does not apply to you.

Mehrabian himself has urged others to stop citing his findings in this inaccurate way.

It’s …

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The Value of Good Slides (or how I justify my obsession with PowerPoint)

By Tom Nixon

I often get a prolonged silence when at various social events I recite my response to “What do you do?”

My reply: “I create visuals for presenters, a.k.a. PowerPoint.” is enough to stop a conversation right there. If I am at a party, that usually signals the time for more liquor or perhaps a trip to the rest room.

I have long given up the need to defend my craft or to explain that what I do is not the usual image of corporate PowerPoint but rather a way of coupling an …

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Rut-Avoidance for Presenters

by Claudia W. Brogan
“I find that even small changes sometimes jog you out of a mental rut.”

~~Tom Perrotta
When I was helping a public health expert prepare for an upcoming presentation, she mentioned how she felt like all her ideas were “regular and predictable.” Her area of academic expertise is nutrition and physical activity, and she was feeling stuck about how to present her ideas in novel, interesting ways. I invited her to take a break from typing her words onto her keyboard, and pause to explain her concepts aloud instead. While …

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How To Be More Persuasive

By Natalie Gallagher

One day the Sun and Wind got into an argument over who was stronger. The Wind spotted a man walking down the road, wearing a jacket. They decided that whoever could get the jacket off the man must surely be the strongest. The Wind went first; he blew and blew in an attempt to remove the jacket. But the harder the Wind blew, the tighter the man held on to his jacket. Next, it was the Sun’s turn. The Sun gradually warmed the man, until he was so warm …

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What’s Your Excuse?

By Pam Leinmiller
I don’t need to turn up my volume…

I don’t need to slow my pace…

I don’t need to enunciate my words…

I don’t need to consider my accent…

I don’t need to add inflection when I talk…

I don’t need to make eye contact with my audience…

… BECAUSE I always use a microphone!!!
Have you ever been to a presentation with a presenter who fits one of these statements? I think each of us has been in the audience when we wished the speaker had not made one of the above assumptions. The big …

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What if There Were No Slides?


By Mark Kretschmar

Spend any time in corporate America and the rule is obvious: When giving a presentation, thou shalt use PowerPoint (or some sort of slideware). Some companies are so locked into PowerPoint, and even a particular style of slide design (usually ineffective), that when someone changes the slides to be more effective, they get blowback. “Where are the bullets!!” “Where’s the logo and tag …

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3 Reasons for Technical Presenters to Tell a Story

By Bob Goodyear

I’ve had the opportunity to train numerous technical sales teams on different soft skills, including stories. One of the techniques that I teach is the 5 C’s of storytelling, which I’ve written about previously. This is a difficult subject for many technical people. In every class, I generally get these 3 questions.

When do I tell a story in a technical presentation?
Why should I tell a story in a technical presentation?
What kind of stories should I tell?

When to Tell a Story
The “traditional” technical sales presentation is …

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Don’t Be Afraid of Big Fonts

By Tom Nixon

In general, the defaults and templates that ship with PowerPoint and other programs are meek and mild in the font size department. Go bold and use large, short headlines to introduce your ideas. Once you begin to use keywords instead of complete sentences or (gasp) paragraphs in your bullets you can enlarge those words for maximum effect.

Tom Nixon has over 3 decades of experience assisting clients with meaningful business communications. Contact Tom to see how he can work with your business leaders and subject matter experts to create stunning visual …

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Use With Care: Audience Quick-Engagement Activities That Can Go Wrong

By Claudia W. Brogan

“Raise your hand if…” or “Turn to your neighbor and tell them….” These are the kind of words that can strike fear in the hearts of some audience members, while speakers may think they’re the most normal, invitational words in the world.

Cautionary tales show up as groans come from audience members when a speaker says these words. Activities or brief involvement questions can be very potent tools when used well; activities done without careful thought or intention can deflate the balloon of a good presentation in no time.

Just like any …

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How to Maximize Filming Your Presentations

by Natalie Gallagher

Many presenters have ample reason to record their presentations. It can be for the simple reason of watching to improve speaking skills, all the way to creating content for websites and marketing materials. But very few of us have the know-how to really use the camera in such a way that we look great.

My husband Shannendoah is both a skilled presenter and an experienced videographer, and he often coaches speakers on how to work with the camera to achieve great results. I’m shamelessly ripping off his material …

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