• open panel

Don’t “Start with a Bang” – How to Improve the Opening of Your Presentation

I knew it would happen at TEDxAtlanta.  I hoped it wouldn’t.  But it did.  Several of the speakers started their presentations with the old blah, blah, blah opening.  The blah, blah, blah opening occurs when a speaker starts her presentation by… thanking the event planners for having her… or thanking the audience for coming… or mentioning how nervous they are… or stating how the guy before them was a hard act to follow… or any other “blah, blah, blah” that the audience doesn’t care …

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Who Were Your Two Favorite Speakers? Why?

“Who Were Your Two Favorite Speakers?  Why?” Those were the questions that caused me the most pause as I completed the feedback form for the TEDxAtlanta event.

As I thought about the speakers, I was impressed that this year’s line up was predominately women (my first TEDxAtlanta in September 2010, there was only one speakers who was a woman).   I thought about the elements of the messages of different speakers and how they affected me.   I thought about what I would do differently as a …

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Kelly Vandever at TEDxAtlanta – Creativ!ty

Yesterday, March 15, 2011 was the TEDxAtlanta event – the theme:  Creativ!ty.

The presentation skills person in me wanted to praise those presenters that just started with their content … those who got right into a story rather than spending their first few minutes with the blah, blah, blahs (thank you for coming, happy to be here, hate to follow that person, blah, blah, blah).  That side of me also wanted to say “Please just stand still!” to the couple of speakers that seemed to a do-si-do around the platform.   And …

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This Presentation Geek Loves TED… Do You?

Last year, I was networking with a woman who graciously told me about a TEDxAtlanta event.  She explained that I had to apply to attend and that the organizers read the entries to discern who will be given one of the limited seats.  She told me the date they started accepting applications so I marked my calendar.  On the appointed date, I sent in my application and after waiting a couple of anxious days, I was accepted!  Does that make me a total presentation geek?   Let’s just say if there …

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Presentation Skills Books

I recently was chatting with a woman who’s new to the speech coaching business and she asked me what books I’d recommend.  Here’s the list I shared with her.

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds – Changed the way I do PowerPoint. His slides are beautiful! And he gives you enough details that you can do them too.

So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience by Mark Magnacca – It’s like he stole my lines — so of course I agree …

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Your Higher Speaking Purpose

I taught two sections of public speaking in the fall of 2010 at Kennesaw State University, the third largest university in the University of System of Georgia.  You hear the old clique, kids are different today than when I was in school – and there’s some truth to that – but maybe not in the way a lot of people think.  Kids today have dreams.  They have ideals.  Their speeches ranged through all kinds of topics but as a whole, they were pretty amazing.  One of my …

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What Do YOU Think about… Answering Questions During a Presentation?

Do you remember what it was like taking on your first job after you completed your schooling?  For me, I started as an ensign in the Navy.  I remembered not knowing anything.  Sure, Navy ROTC taught me about leadership and how to wear my uniform.  But when it came to actually performing in my first job, I was clueless.  I didn’t even know the questions TO ask.  After a lot of fumbling around trying to figure the job out, things started to …

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Adding Video to Your PowerPoint Presentations

I’ve been engaged in a few discussion groups on LinkedIn lately about PowerPoint presentations and someone asked the question “Have ever done a video for a client presentation?”   That got me to thinking about the few ways I’ve used video in client presentations.  I’ll share my experiences with you – I hope you share yours with me too!
The Target Market Testimony
One of my clients is a computer franchise organization whose target market is small businesses.  I reworked one of their standard presentations they give at chamber …

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Make Your PowerPoint Slides Better by Thirds


It doesn’t take a lot to improve your PowerPoint slides.  The bar has been set really low.  If you represent only one point per slide, add pictures and only put one or two words per slide, you’ll be ahead of most presenters who use slides in their presentations.  To take it one step further, trash the default slide format and consider using the Rule of Thirds as the way you format your slides.
The Default Position in PowerPoint
Does this slide look familiar?  …

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Tell Stories that Move Your Audience to Action

Don’t you just love winning free stuff?  I know I do.  I recently won a copy of the book Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky.  I cracked it open over a bowl of cereal this morning.  I’d listened to a podcast of Clay Shirky speaking at the RSA in England about the book so I suspected that I was going to enjoy this piece of non-fiction.  Shirky starts the book with a story.  Immediately I was sucked in.  After a few paragraphs I realized, I needed to start eating …

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