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The Weekly Might Have Missed List (02/22/09)

Meet n’ Chuckle — How’s that for an ending

Then the voice continued to get louder and it became quite clear that the speaker from the session next door was bleeding over into our sound system. So we started to listen to his presentation amidst the bewildered stares and chuckles around the room.

The Webinar Blog — Still More Questions About Webinar Presentation

Jesse: What is the most embarrassing experience you have encountered?

Answer: I don’t think I want to answer this! I refuse to state whether these suggestions come from personal experience or clients, but here are some suggestions:

  • On your pre-show checklist, include the item “Use the restroom.” ‘Nuff said.
  • Write down the names of your co-presenters and moderator. Even if they are your closest friends and coworkers. Some day your brain will go on vacation right as you need to introduce them.
  • If sharing your computer desktop, remove personal photos as background wallpaper, hide icons mentioning games and competing products, and turn off instant messenger and email. Do you really want your lover’s sexy message to you transmitted for the world to see?
  • If you work from a home office, keep the pets and children out of the room. The sound of a coughed up hairball is not attractive for your remote audience.

LinkedIn Question — If you give webinars, or any sort of distance learning would you share the things that have gone wrong or could go wrong?

Great Public Speaking — Add Weight

If you are ever forced (I say “forced” because you should try to avoid outdoor presentations at all costs) to do an outdoor presentation, then make sure you have several different kinds of weights handy to help control your presentation.

When things are going good…

biron“When things are going good, people want to give you flowers. When things are going bad, heads up. The vase is coming.”

~Philadelphia goalie Martin Biron after the Flyers took a 3-1 lead in their 2008 semifinal series after a 4-2 win over Montreal

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (02/15/09)

The Risk Family — Presentation Disaster

However, almost immediately after I arrived for the meeting, my presentation began to fall apart and in the end, my presentation turned out to be a disaster. This is the story of how it all came down – literally.

Startable — Quick VC pitch tip #6

Recently an entrepreneur was meeting with me, and despite the best efforts of this CEO, our tech guy and several administrative assistants, we couldn’t get the laptop to be recognized by the projector.

Execupundit.com  — Downshifting a Presentation

At the last minute, due to an administrative snafu beyond the speaker’s control, the audience is reduced by three-fourths.

Web Strategy by Jeremiah — My Embarrassing Scoble Powerpoint Incident in front of Hundreds of People

This is a true story. Shel Holtz, Jen McClure, Katie Paine, Joseph Thornley, Robert Scoble and others were witness. Not sure why I’m telling the world this, I guess it’s in the spirit of transparency and kind of a way to deal with the embarrassment. In my social media career, this is THE most embarrassing public moment I’ve had to date.

Nick Morgan’s Blog — Bill Gates does something he shouldn’t

The disaster happened about half-way through the speech, in the section on malaria.  Bill suddenly moved toward a little table placed in the middle of the stage, and released a (small) swarm of mosquitoes into the crowd, as he put it, of millionaires.

Old news but I couldn’t resist…

Obama pictures and McCain pictures

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (02/08/09)

Craig Strachan — You will never fit everything in

stopwatch2I have seen many presentations where the speaker says “I have three points to share”, and then about five minutes before the end, he says, “Ok, and now my second point…”. This inevitably ends up in his presentation going overtime, or on him rushing through the last two points of his presentation.

Yale Daily News — Stephen: WordArt and porn

Professors often use Powerpoint presentations that are completely worthless or simply jarring, that often pose more problems than they’re worth. Video clips in slides never open. Ever. They just bring up a picture of the Quicktime icon and leave the professor struggling to find the program on his or her desktop that is, meanwhile, projected to the whole class, who are all the while scanning it for anything moderately incriminating or embarrassing.

Power Presentations — The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

I can think of many times where a corporate executive refused my offer to rehearse their presentation. They figured it was better to be “fresh and spontaneous”, but when they got up to the podium and the adrenalin kicked in, the material was not familiar enough and they fumbled and grasped for their words. They lacked confidence and control. The effect on the audience? Out came the Blackberries and the laptops. The presenter failed to engage them.

Nick R Thomas – A Public Speaker’s Blog — The Law of Distraction

The room where they meet at the New Milton Community Centre is very long with windows at the back so the speaker is facing a fairly busy town centre road as well as the audience. I was about halfway through my presentation when a couple of teenagers, one male, one female, glanced through the windows as they were passing, noticed someone with a microphone speaking to an audience and stood gormlessly grinning and waving!

Overnight Sensation — Bill Gates Takes Using Props to the Next Level by Unleashing Swarm of Deadly Bugs on Crowd

Of course the mosquitoes weren’t carrying malaria, but I’m sure quite a few audience members were a bit antsy as the swarm of flying bugs was unleashed. Was this a good idea? In my honest opinion, yes and no.

Talking Points — Justice Scalia Gives Lesson in How Not to Answer Questions

“That’s a nasty, impolite question,” said Scalia. He was responding to a question from 20-year-old Sarah Jeck, a Florida Atlantic University honors college junior.

Can You Hear Me Up the Back? — Rehearsals Might Have Saved Her

JFK’s daughter Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn her candidacy for Hillary Clinton’s old Senate seat, citing ‘personal reasons’. Helping her decision was a firestorm of media ridicule for a interview in which she said “y’know” 139 times. It made the average teenage girl sound like JFK by comparison.

Great Public Speaking — Doors And Windows

When deciding how to set up a presentation room when you have full control of the logistics, pay close attention to these two major distracters . . . doors and windows.

Hotel Chatter — If a Hotel with Cold Water Can Have Free WiFi…

In the decidedly non-tourist town of Zacapa, Guatemala, exists a bare-bones bedpost called Hotel Torre Fuerte, where we stayed recently. A few, uh, highlights: icy cold water spouting from the shower; a golf-ball-size hole on one wall (leading to lord only knows where!); a thin mattress dressed in thinner sheets. Oh yeah, and free wireless Internet.

CrunchGear — Can you explain to me again why I should trust Google?

Say you create the best PowerPoint presentation, filled with evocative action verbs and the like, and store it on your G Drive. You go to work, launch your browser, only to discover that Google is down, taking your presentation with it. What to do? Why bother burning a CD or DVD, or moving the .ppt file over to a cheap thumb drive, when you can store it in the cloud, accessible all over the world—but only when it works!

YouTube — Obama thanks AV crew

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (02/01/09)

Great Public Speaking — Improvise Your Flipchart



Oops! I broke my own rules and did not follow a checklist on my last presentation. It was two minutes until start time and I realized there was no flipchart in the room. Oh oh!. Better think fast. I was not using an overhead projector either, so I could not simply write on a blank transparency.Now one & 1/2 minutes left . . . . I thought, “Never let em see you sweat.”

Speak Schmeak — Reading your audience

I didn’t realize what an accomplishment it was to come in third in the whole school at the age of eight. What I heard in that applause was an audience who was glad to see me eliminated! I thought they must be applauding so loudly because they didn’t want me to win. I cried, of course, and had to be comforted by my parents. Somewhere along the way, it was explained to me that I got so much applause because the audience was acknowledging my achievement.

Have you ever misinterpreted your audience’s responses to your presentation? Do you see someone on her Blackberry and assume she’s bored? Do you see someone with crossed arms and a scowl and assume he’s angry? If no one raises hands when you ask a question, do you assume they’re not engaged?

The You Blog — Think You Got It All Covered?

HOW MUCH ARE YOU ON AUTO-PILOT in your preparations and your presentations? It’s pretty easy to reach that state, after you’ve been up in front of others a few times.

Of course, there may be those times when the audience just didn’t seem to get it. Or where you didn’t have all the equipment you were supposed to have. Or — well, there could be all sorts of glitches that somehow come up.

And you muddle through and snap back into auto-pilot the next time a presentation rolls around. In fact, it’s in our nature to fall into this pattern.

BUT . . .

Presentation skills ~ tellingpeople — Over the shoulder?

Unfortunately, of course, his shadow is a couple of feet away (on the slide) from where Boris thought he was pointing to. Sadly, this lead to confusion on the part of the audience, as you can imagine because from their point of view, Boris was talking about one bullet point but pointing at another.

Michael Wade in U.S.News & World Report —On-Staff Whistleblowers Can Help Companies Prepare for Disaster

I have a modest proposal: All large organizations should charge three to five bright, creative, and somewhat eccentric people with the sole task of identifying disasters that may come from or afflict any area, department, and aspect of the organization’s operations.

speechmastery.com — Mastering Public Speaking Timing

The last speaker of the program said, “I have just a little more. I don’t think anyone will mind if I go over time.” His little was about 30 minutes.

Dave Paradi’s PowerPoint Blog  — PowerPoint Tip – Using Motion Paths

Probably the worst use of animation I have seen was on a slide from a salesperson. They were showing the prospect the inside sales team that would be supporting the prospect after the sale. The slide had the four people in the group, with their picture, name and areas of expertise. To build the slide, the salesperson had each of the head shot pictures bounce in to place. It made the staff look totally unprofessional! I asked the salesperson if they had ever shown those four people how he presented them to prospective clients. After a long pause, he changed the subject.

Turbo-Charge Your Marketing — 9 Secrets to Better Speaking

Take your time walking. The more time you take walking, the more status your audience will subconsciously give you. Let the audience’s clapping carry you to the stage as if you were gliding on a magic carpet. Remember to watch where you are walking. There could be cords and wires on the ground or chair legs in your path. Any one of these obstacles could cause you to have a nice trip. If something awkward should happen on your way to the lectern, remain calm and use humor. Using humor connects people and is more effective than using self-deprecating remarks. Let your audience know that there’s nothing to worry about, you’re okay, and the show will go on.

I remember seeing Robert Allen, famous author and millionaire, fall off the stage moments after he arrived. Instantly, he jumped back up on stage and poked fun at the hotel stage lighting, which had caused his fall. Allen’s humor set the audience at ease, and they roared with laughter at his quick wit.

Speak! Communications, Inc. — Think the Spoken Word Doesn’t Matter? Ask Caroline Kennedy

What we do know is that the more New Yorkers heard from her, the less they seemed to connect with her.

The New York Times — The Frigid Fingers Were Live, but the Music Wasn’t

Mr. Perlman said the recording, which was made Sunday at the Marine Barracks in Washington, was used as a last resort. “It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way,” he said Thursday in a telephone interview. “This occasion’s got to be perfect. You can’t have any slip-ups.”

Pro Humorist — To Memorise, or not Memorise

Then I came across the above quote from Dale Carnegie, one of the grandfathers of modern day public speaking. I think he is absolutely right; you are potentially courting disaster because you might find yourself forgetting sections of your talk which will throw you completely.

Memo to C-Level Speakers — Is Your PowerPoint Velcro or Teflon?

But when it’s used poorly, PowerPoint turns into Teflon. Audience attention slides right off into confusion, frustration, and apathy. Blackberrys appear. Work comes out of briefcases. Mentally, your audience has walked out on you. The ones in the back are actually out the door.