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Archive for ‘Other Stuff’

All Uppercase is Hard to Read

by Tom Nixon

Graphic Design 101: Text, especially in larger quantities, full sentences or small sizes must, above all else, be reader-friendly. It simply has to be easy to read or your audience will not bother to put the effort into digging through it. And to make text the most difficult to read, the most uninviting, set it in ALL CAPS. (When you see all caps in a legal document you can be sure the lawyer who wrote it doesn’t want you to read it).

Using all capital letters …

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Avoid Being Uberized: Tap into the Innovation of Your Employees

by Kelly Vandever

According to recent research from IBM, one of the biggest fears of executives is competitors “coming out of nowhere” to disrupt their industry and business in the way that Uber has upended the taxi business.

That got me to thinking. If organizations were more tapped into their employees, if employees were more engaged and comfortable speaking up, could they avoid becoming the next disrupted business?

What do you think? Comment below.


Disruption Isn’t New.
On September 14, 2014, I took this picture and posted on Facebook, …

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Microsoft Sway – Putting Content & Presentations into Design Templates – Trying Embed Code Feature

by Kelly Vandever

Sway is a new Microsoft produce available for free…  but it’s a little hard to explain.  Wikipedia calls it a “presentation program” and it can be used for presentations, but it’s probably better suited for publishing content.  It’s part of Microsoft Office, but it’s free and not part of the Office 2016 download.  You can access it online at Sway.com or you can download Sway app to your laptop, iOS, Android device or your Windows phone.  You have to have a Microsoft account …

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When A Speaker’s Mind Goes (Completely) Blank

by Claudia Brogan

When working with aspiring speakers, I have found out at least one secret fear that we all have about public speaking.

What will I do if my mind goes blank?

Even more than the fear that there is a trap door in the center of that speaking area, it’s like we WISH there would be a trap door, once our mind has gone blank!

The truth is that this happens to most speakers. The second truth is that –though gulp-inducing— this occurrence is quite survivable, by employing one …

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Rock Star

by Tom Nixon

This slide could be a call-out to a valued employee at your next staff meeting — recognizing her hard work and bravery above and beyond.

In this case it is my wife, Shirley, the Rock Star, during our recent trip to Havasu Falls at the Grand Canyon. She is standing on a rock ledge overlooking a straight drop of at least a million feet (I was much too anxious to get that close).

A simple slide like this shown to your employees says so much more …

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An Invasion Heading Toward Us

by Claudia Brogan

Watch out, grab your sturdy helmet, prepare to take action: there is an invasion coming. And it’s affecting public speakers and presenters nearly as frequently as newscasters and pundits.

Yes, that’s right. There is indeed an invasion going on. And I like to call it The Invasion of Over-Used and Unneeded Phrases.

Beware. These phrases and tired words can sometimes sneak into your presentations when you least expect them. Perhaps this might happen to us during our speeches, when we’re trying to sound well-educated and intellectual. Or …

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The Leadership Balancing Act – Professional vs. Personal


By Kelly Vandever

One of the things that makes leadership difficult is that it’s not a matter of “do these three things and you’ll be a great leader.” Leadership is very nuanced. Leadership is adjusting to dichotomies that both need to be true. Leadership is a balancing act.

Over the next few posts, we’ll take a look at what that balancing act looks like for leaders and give you some thoughts on how you might deal with the gray that comes from your leadership role.

The first of these topics…maintaining a …

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Sound Check, Testing…1, 2

by Bob Goodyear

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.

We’re so glad you could attend

Come inside! Come inside!

– Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

You may be asking yourself, “What can this song lyric possibly have to do with speaking?” Well, come inside and I’ll show you!

One of the trivial tasks that a speaker has to do when getting ready for a presentation is to do a sound check. The purpose of the sound check is to test the venue’s sound system and get it tuned in …

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Permission to Speak: The Dignity and Power of Speech

by Kelly Vandever

In their May 2015 issue, Toastmaster magazine republished an article titled, The Hanoi Hilton Toastmasters by Jan Henrikson (the article was originally published in the October 1999).

I was struck by the quote, “The [Toastmasters] activities were aimed at helping the men rebuild their dignity. They spoke to feel themselves alive, to activate the elegance and nobility of the human spirit under impossible circumstances.”

While an Ensign in the US Navy, I had the privilege of hearing CDR Ralph Gaither speak to a group of newly commissioned officers. …

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Need to Show a Website While You Present? Two Quick Tricks Using PowerPoint

By Kelly Vandever

Recently I watched a conference presenter who used Google docs slides as part of a presentation. In addition to his Google slides, he went to the live websites (rather than using a screen shot of the website) because the live sites better illustrated the points he was making.

When he came to the point in his presentations where he wanted to show a website, he stopped, look across a dozen or so open tabs, found the one he wanted, clicked on it, then resumed his discussion.

It’s wasn’t a huge deal though it did interrupt the flow of …

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