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Does Presentation Anarchy Rule?

By Mark Kretschmar

As a presenter, you can and should be in complete command of the audience. Using current rules, anarchy reigns, and it’s costly.

Well-intentioned rules are hurting your presentation skills. This problem is compounded when we look at several rules at the same time and see the dysfunctional presentation culture they create.
 A Deadly Affliction
We’ve all been in too many presentations where the presenter advances slide after slide of bullet points and reads them from the screen. We begin to contemplate sticking a pencil in our eye as an excuse to leave …

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Storytelling Brings Along a Point

by Bob Goodyear

Storytelling in business presentations is a big topic today. It’s something that has been discussed for the last several years and continues to grow. If you Google the term “business storytelling,” you’ll find over 30 million references. The importance of storytelling in business has become essential.

I’ve written about storytelling several times. I’ve written about how to construct a story, where to put a story in technical presentations, and why to use stories. I want to expand on the why.

Recently I …

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Type Size Matters

By Tom Nixon

What is the correct size for type on a slide? How big should a headline be? What is the minimum size you can use for body text?

For those unfamiliar with design basics these are difficult questions. The simple (and flip) answer is “whatever works.” That doesn’t help very much. Here are some of my guidelines:

Legibility is the critical concern. Can your audience clearly see and easily read your slide from the back of the room? How often have I heard a speaker apologize, “I know that …

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Putting the FUN back in to your Speaking FUNdamentals

By Claudia W. Brogan

Whether you are new to public speaking or have plenty of practice under your belt, it never ever hurts to keep learning and polishing your speaking habits.

Speaker and coach Ryan McLean offers enjoyable tips for improving our speaking techniques; even the clever title of this piece on his website, Public Speaking Power, will get you curious: “15 Fun Public Speaking Activities.”

One of the aspects I enjoy most about this positive, encouraging set of ideas in his post is that he clearly believes that the more we practice creative …

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3 Reasons Why You Should Practice Pausing While Presenting

By Natalie Gallagher

When we are scared, anxious, or excessively nervous, our body kicks into fight-or-flight mode, a natural survival instinct. Because public speaking can be a terrifying experience for many, the brain can trigger the “flight” response, and cause us to speak as quickly as possible in order to get off the stage as soon as possible. For me, speaking incredibly fast was one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome to improve my speaking. On stage, my nerves combined with excitement over my topic made it sound like I …

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The Presentation Before the Presentation: 5 Tips to Set You Up for Success

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash
By Pam Leinmiller

You have developed a killer presentation, practiced the delivery, and know your material. You have prepared for questions that might arise. You are ready to go! Or so you think…

Don’t let all this preparation go to waste! Consider these 5 tips to avoid undermining your presentation before you utter the first word:
How are you?
Yes, I mean how are YOU, really? You may be nervous, but have you stacked the physical deck in your favor? Did you …

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If PowerPoint Were a PowerSaw, Most Presenters Would Be Missing Fingers

By Mark Kretschmar

“PowerPoint makes us stupid.” That astute observation is from our current Secretary of Defense, James Mattis. As a result of this view, PowerPoint has been banned from many military conference rooms. Some academic institutions and corporations are following suit (Psychology Today).

They’re right – essentially. But PowerPoint itself is not the problem – exactly. Displays of appropriate visual support are powerful in their ability to drive meaning and retention.
The User, Not The Tool
It’s not PowerPoint; it’s how presenters are using PowerPoint that leads to “stupid-making.” A …

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Permission to Speak – The Leadership Blog for the Tech Industry – Mary K. Pratt Discusses Why IT Projects Still Fail

In this recording, Kelly Vandever interviews Mary K. Pratt.  Mary discusses what she discovered in researching for her CIO article, “Why IT Projects Still Fail.”  The teaser for the article reads, “Despite new methodologies and management techniques meant to head off spectacular failures, critical technical initiatives still fall flat at an alarming rate.”  In an age with Agile and DevOps, Mary shares what she’s learned from technology insiders about why IT projects still fail.

About Mary K. Pratt
Mary K. Pratt is freelance journalist who reports …

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Have a Planned Question for Your Silent Q&A

By Bob Goodyear

Have you ever asked, “Do you have any questions” during your presentation and received no response from the audience? How did that feel? How long did you wait before moving on?

As a technical presenter, it is expected to have a Q&A period during your presentation. However, having no one raise their hand to ask a question is one of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever experienced in my years of presenting. I tried all kinds of methods to handle this. I would many times laugh it off with a …

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Fast Talkers and Valley Girls: How a Message is Delivered Matters Just as Much as the What of It

By Claudia W. Brogan

One infamous quirk of the popular TV series “Gilmore Girls” was the quick pace of the dialogue between the two leading characters, the mother Lorelai Gilmore and her spunky daughter Rory.

The lead actress herself, Lauren Graham, even titled her autobiography “Talking as Fast as I Can.”

Being notorious for speaking quickly is one thing when used as a comic device in a TV show; it is altogether a different matter—and not a laughing matter—when used by public speakers.

Those who speak quickly when delivering presentations are often doing so for various …

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