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Why Your 2014 New Year’s Resolution Should NOT Be Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

by Kelly Vandever

It might sound strange coming from a presentation coach… but if you have decided that “overcoming the fear of public speaking” as your New Year’s Resolution for 2014, I argue that you should reconsider.

What?  Have you gone crazy, Kelly?!

Well maybe.  But I think, if you have a fear of public speaking, instead of concentrating on yourself and your fear, I encourage you to set your resolution to… “Serve My Audience.”   Here’s how….

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10 Most Popular Presentation Posts of 2013 (at least at this blog site anyway)

As the year draws to a close, it’s time once again to recap the top 10 most visited blog posts of the year here at Speaking Practically.

As you think about your upcoming presentations, I hope you’ll find these topics and thoughts helpful.

Thanks for a great 2013!


#1 – What If I Don’t Like the Default Size 16:9 in PowerPoint 2013?

Currently, when opening a new slide in PowerPoint 2013, it will open by default to a larger sized slide.  Instead of the traditional 4:3 dimensions most people are used …

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Removing the Background of a Picture Using PowerPoint

PowerPoint has got this pretty slick function where it can remove the background of a picture so you can isolate just the image you want to present. When it works, it is super groovy.  The challenge is, that it doesn’t always work well.

In the video below, you’ll see how you can remove a background in a photo using PowerPoint, and what you can do when it doesn’t work smoothly.

Hope it helps you with your PowerPoint adventures!  (And if you need more help for you or your team, give me a call at 770-597-1108!  Let’s talk!)


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Things I’m Thankful For in 2013 and Beyond!

I have so much to be thankful for.

I pray that you too have much to be grateful for and can take some time to express thanks for the people in your life!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!  God Bless!!





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Uses for Presentation Skills After the Zombie Apocalypse

My husband and son have each been called “MacGyver” on multiple occasions by friends and family. They are both intelligent, resourceful and the kind of men you’d want to hang out with during a Zombie Apocalypse. (My son even has a t-shirt that declares, “In Case of Zombie Apocalypse, Follow Me.”) They can handle weapons. They can build things. They can survive off the land. They have all the skills that would be essential to survival in the case of a Zombie Apocalypse.

I …

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It’s Amazing What You Can Do in PowerPoint! Changing Colors & Cropping Images to Create a Whole New Image

“I like your slides, but I don’t have any editing software to make changes to my images.”

Those were the words one of the participants in a recent training class said.

We’d finished the session and a few stragglers stayed after the program to ask some questions.

“There’s a lot you can do in PowerPoint,” I told her.  And then I showed her how I to create this slide*…

Start with the Image on Two Blank Slides
First, I find a picture of a silhouette of people (I …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 5

When you need to represent information within a larger context consider…

Technique #5
What if you have something more complex yet that you want to give perspective to and give more details such as a process or a hardware diagram or screen shots?

One option you might want to consider is an online application called Prezi.

For those not familiar with Prezi, it’s an alternative to PPT or Apple’s Keynote.

Rather than transitioning linearly from one slide to the next, all the information is laid onto a big mat, then you zoom in and out of the mat as you go …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 4

Some times you really need all the information.  But how can you help the audience understand it better?

Technique #4
Sometimes you want the information on the same page to give the sense of perspective or relationship

What you might want to consider then is how do you do a slow reveal – or a staged reveal.

Reveal Information in Stages as You Tell the Story.
So for instance, in this example, we want to talk about our store growth over the last few years.

We could reveal all the numbers at once.

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 3

Don’t say, “I know you can’t read this slide.”  Instead, consider this technique!
Technique #3
We’re at that point where you’ve considered techniques 1 & 2 (see earlier posts) and you just don’t think simplifying will work.

Then we need to transition into how we serve up the information.

If you need to go through multiple pieces of material, then the next thing to ask yourself is can you address each piece of information with a new slide – in other words, one idea per slide.
Tell the Story of the Data.
The slides below are based on slides from one of my clients.  The numbers …

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5 Techniques for Representing Complex Information on Your Presentation Slides… So Your Audience Can Actually Consume It – Part 2

For the times when you don’t want to say to your audience, “I know you can’t read this…” consider this approach:
Technique #2
If having no data doesn’t seem appropriate, then ask yourself how can you simplify the information to something you know your audience cares about.

So for instance, let’s say you’re addressing a group of data centers who support small to medium sized businesses.  And you know they care about the fact that Microsoft will stop supporting XP, server 2003 and Office 2003 in 2014.

Now could supply a chart like this one which breaks down by percentage of users who uses …

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