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The Weekly Might Have Missed List (05/31/09)

©Jonathan Potts

©Jonathan Potts

Meet Prepared — Contingency 101: Retail Event’s Not So Grand Opening

Everything went well, he told me, except that they forgot to plan for a sudden rainstorm. Sure enough, it rained. When I asked what they did, he replied: “Panic ensued.” Although we as professionals will typically work out an inside venue back-up location should an outside event need to be moved, it’s imperative that we look at the myriad things that will be impacted by weather, even with an indoor function, such as the valet issue and power outage cited above, or access roads flooding.

LinkedIn Answers — What is the worst thing that has happened to you when presenting to a board of Directors?

I sneezed and the button of my skirt flew off and landed somewhere where it clinked pretty loudly. I paused, red-faced, then said: “In just another minute my skirt falls off – but it’s not a distraction, I actually have good news to report.” Got the laugh, moved on. (Nicole Filiatrault)

Controlbooth.com — Something To Share

If anybody is ever unsure about the health or capacity of a plug/connector, double check!!!

Speak Schmeak — Practice like you mean it

Practice using your props and flip charts. Practice using your remote device if using slides. Practice using your timer. If you’ll be recording yourself, practice with the microphone and recorder so they won’t distract you on the day. Pay attention to the details. Details count.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (05/24/09)

So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager…  — Air Walls and The Cranky Customer

airwallThe other day we had two different groups on either side of the ballroom airwall – one was a small group of around 35 people with a presentation and the other side was a group of 110 pharmaceutical sales reps. You can already see the problem. The sales reps had music playing between the breaks, cheering and clapping, all the usual sales mind games. The smaller group on the other side were very quiet and reserved. But they were pissed.

Distinction Services — Worst Presentation Disaster!

Sure enough with 30 peeople standing there, and during a demo of some embedded video in PowerPoint, the laptop froze.

More than PowerPoint — Presentation Diet Plan – Or Superstition?

You see, I can’t just eat ANYTHING on the day of a major presentation. I need to keep my energy up, so protein and carbs need to be on the menu. And I cannot afford a fit of, em, gastronomic distress during a presentation, so greasy, fatty, spicy, and carbonated items are definitely OFF the menu. And as much as I love a glass of wine with a big carby meal, that combo can leave me prone to sleepiness or drunken rambling — both highly undesirable to audience members.

Nick Morgan — Questions for speakers to ask meeting planners

Following is a list of questions that speakers should ask meeting planners in getting ready to speak at an event.  You won’t need to ask all of them all the time; the list is meant to give you a broad set of ideas.

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.

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.

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

©iStockphoto.com/redmal

©iStockphoto.com/redmal

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.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (01/25/09)

My Toastmasters Blog — Public Speaking Secrets – Your Audience (and Google) Know More than You

hamburgLast night I attended an open speaking event, that wasn’t Toastmasters, where speakers were tasked to give an interesting 5 minute presentation. One of the presentations was a fabulous demonstration of drawing the audience in with an interesting story, making good use of PowerPoint to reinforce spoken points, and dressing to fit the speaker’s speaking style. However, the presentation was ruined when I got home, Googled the speech topic, and found out that the presenter lifted the major points of his speech from a British business writer without citing the source.

Evil Genius Media + Events — Write it…so you can read it.

4. Insist that the lectern has a lip or a rest at the base to sit your presentation on so it doesn’t slip off.
5. Ask ! Is there a lectern ?
6. Be a prima donna. Insist on enough time in the room, with the lighting set to how it will be on the day. ( So you can tell if you can see your notes or the audience if that’s important. )
7. Make changes to the lighting if you need to. It’s your presentation ! Better still, insist you speak with the event organiser prior to the event and tell them what you want. If they can’t supply or organise it, you can adapt your presentation to suit the circumstances.
8. Have a pristine copy of the presentation that you are going to read from. It’s a nightmare when you pull the pages from pocket or bag to find them crumpled so they won’t sit on the lectern.

Biz Asia — BBC’s Tasmin’s “breathtaking” on-air moment [with audio]

BBC Three news presenter Tasmin Lucia Khan left viewers gasping for more after reading a bulletin hopelessly out of breath.

The show in which Tasmin gives a minute-long current affairs update from around the world in ’60 Seconds’ was terminated on Thursday after just 30-seconds due to the mishap.

During the embarrassing episode, she was not seen on-screen but was audible only. Seconds into the bulletin, she was heard gasping between words before giving up after the first item.

Rexi Media — How do you present to multitaskers?

A friend recently described to me how his 12-year old son did his homework and I admit I was a little shocked by how much times have changed. The boy would type frantically on his computer with his I-Pod in his ears blaring hip hop, constantly shooting IMs to his friends, while periodically being interrupted by beeping text messages from his cell phone. Apparently the youngster actually got his work done, but I have no idea how. When I was a kid, we had TV, the stereo and the (one) family telephone, and we certainly didn’t talk on the phone with one I-Pod earpiece in the other ear while typing on our MySpace pages at the same time.

Daily Writing Tips — The Chief Justice’s Prepositional Slip

The preposition switch may not be evidence of parapraxis, but the fact remains that Roberts did mess up the oath. Poor guy! He’s earned himself forever the distinction of being the first justice to to stumble over the 35-word oath in the course of sixty-four years and eleven Presidents.

Webinar Wire — Giving Demos Via Webinar

I’ll make one last recommendation. If you choose to do a live demo, have a hot backup of everything ready to switch over during your session. Log in as a presenter on a second computer (preferrably on a separate network) and have the demo software fired up. If something goes wrong on machine number one, abandon it and carry on from machine number two. Audiences are sometimes bemused, but almost never assuaged by watching presenters try to fix things that are going wrong in their demos.

Jay Raskolnikov — half hillbilly, Demi-Culture — Some Thoughts

She was fine, but managed to unplug a cable leading to a special which was the only light on an actor later in the show. Got that fixed for the next scene. Show went pretty well other wise.

Fortify Your Oasis — Phil Schiller’s keynote – how to not confound expectations

In a word, he was over-anxious and under-rehearsed. Yes, I felt some empathy for him; but he did nothing to win me over with his opening. And he was under-rehearsed. If you have your material down cold – particularly your opening – you simply don’t have to refer to your prompt screens that often, and certainly not that obviously.

Overnight Sensation — Public Speaking Myths: You Should Never Open With a Thank You

In the event that you start a speech with a thank you and everyone in the audience comes up to you afterwards and says you lost them at the onset, please let me know as I’d love to know which planet your audience was from.

Presentation Zen — Apple’s Keynote Remote: first impressions

It won’t replace my Keyspan (the Keynote Remote app does not have a black-out-screen function and the iPhone is a bit bulky in the hand compared to a tiny, plastic remote), but if I ever forget my remote control, my iPhone will do the trick just fine.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (01/18/09)

Speaking about Presenting — PowerPoint Design in 2009

There’s been a fantastic response to my invitation to write about PowerPoint Design in 2009.

40 contributions. That’s a wealth of material to guide you in making presentations in 2009. They include strong opinions, the odd rant, and many perceptive “hit the nail” comments.

I’ve created three pages where you can follow links and read the e-mail contributions.

Speak for Success — What Don’t You Know About Yourself that Others Do?

I remember the first time I was videotaped giving a presentation. It was about 12 years ago and it was a Toastmasters speech. When I had built up the courage I watched the tape and I was horrified! I was rocking back and forth from side to side. It looked like I was on a boat in choppy waters! What the heck was going on here? And, why the heck didn’t anyone tell me this! I looked like an absolute idiot!

Pro Humorist — Public Speaking: Causing Offence (or not)

I did a charity gig a couple of years back and the organiser was pleased when I said that I worked clean because she had taken a group to a comedy club recently and was upset when they went “off message”. In a situation like that I think it’s difficult to expect a comedian not to go off message when you’re on their turf. A comedy club is a comedian’s home-ground, where they have that freedom.

2theadvocate.com — Our Views: PowerPoint failure OK

Angelle’s assistants did get the PowerPoint running, but we detected a sense of quiet relief in the audience that listeners would not be subjected to the entire thing.

Overnight Sensation — Public Speaking Myths: There’s No Such Thing as a Dead Audience

You’re giving your presentation but the audience just isn’t reacting. They’re distracted and not showing any emotion at all. Was it something you did? While it’s very possible that you may have put your audience to sleep, this happens only on rare occasions as most audience members are professional enough to at least pretend to be interested. If the audience is completely comatose, chances are that you’re not the reason.

Get Me Jamie Notter — Is Asking Questions Rude?

She had brought in a financial expert to do a presentation to her staff about their 401k benefit, as this can be fairly complicated topic. When the presenter finished and asked if there were any questions, no one raised their hand. My friend was a bit surprised, but when the presentation was over, she went back to her office.

Then the instant messages started coming in.

Project : Secure House — ExCo Meeting

Actual system unable to be accessed if uploaded into the web server, due to security settings. For this meeting, we are showing in on our notebook, which acts as the local host. Mr Prem remindered that this is suppose to be a web application project. He expects it to be up in the server next week.

Call Center Cafe — Presentation Skills – Be Prepared for Diverse Audiences

Some speakers would not know that. Instead, they would try to “wake them up” by talking louder or jumping around the stage. But this speaker knew his audience. He appreciated the respect shown by these visiting Japanese executives. In return, he paid them the respect of continuing his presentation without any loud antics.

Presentation Facts — Does PowerPoint Make Us Think We Are Better Than We Are?

This study does not show (at least from what was published) that presenters giving oral business presentations rate themselves better than their audiences do.  But it does indicate that presenters and audiences seem to evaluate what is going on differently.

Stand and Deliver — Moving into the Zone

Your presentation really begins the moment you get out of your car in the parking lot:  you are “on” … and you are in your Zone. Think of your Zone as your suit of armor.  No matter how you feel, no matter how fast your heart is racing, or how much sweat has dripped into your socks, your Zone will protect you.

The Webinar Blog — Bad News For Meeting Planners

Only 20% said they would miss seeing speakers in person. That may say more about the sorrowful state of most on-stage presenters and presentations than it does about the audience!

ThinkGeek — Touchpad Sans Laptop

Control your Media-PC or a boardroom presentation from across the room with this handy Pocket Wireless Touchpad with Media Controls. It gives you a portable laptop-style touchpad in the palm of your hand with full media controls and a built in laser pointer. The built-in rechargeable battery gives you 4 hours of play time and you can charge up via USB or docking in a standard PCMCIA slot. Secure 2.4Ghz Bluetooth connection means no one can muscle in on your mousing action.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (01/11/09)

Brad Montgomery’s Laugh-O-Nomics: Meeting Planner Sabotages Keynote Speaker

©iStockphoto.com/design56

©iStockphoto.com/design56

I got my gear set, was all-systems-go with the AV team, and had chatted with the big boss (who by the way had hired me two times in the past.)  So far, everything is easy and fun.

But here is where it gets hinky.  I was about to grab a box lunch… I was starving and was needed calories before I spoke for an hour and a half  … when I casually asked  the meeting planner if I could have a sandwich.  I asked her knowing it was a formality.  Of course she would feed her speaker.   I nearly didn’t ask.

I was wrong.  She said, “Oh no, those are for the participants.”  I thought she was joking.  “You’re kidding, right?”    I honestly thought she was joking about not feeding me.

BBC: Cat turns up on weatherman’s set

A cat wandered onto the set of a live weather forecast by Germany’s leading meteorologist Joerg Kachelmann. Kachelmann had just started his two-minute forecast when the cat appeared – but he scooped it up and finished his forecast. (Video. Would you be able to handle a distraction like this with this much aplomb or would you be completely derailed?)

Pro Humorist: Public Speaking Advice: Reading Audiences

I noticed one of the audience members in the front row falling asleep. I’m not normally known for being the sort of soporific speaker to send someone into a slumber. My mind immediately began racing through my potential options whilst my mouth carried on on auto-pilot. Here were the choices as I saw them:
1) I could draw attention to sleeping beauty
2) I could let sleeping dogs lie.

IttyBiz: 7 Lessons From A Big Launch

This Christmas, I bought Jamie the full series of The West Wing on DVD and we’ve been watching a few episodes each night. What never ceases to amaze me is how many colossal fuck ups take place. They have an in-house staff of hundreds and TENS OF THOUSANDS off-site. Their staff are among the most highly trained people in the world, and shit still goes horribly wrong. They do their best to predict, but there’s only so much they can do.

They have thousands of people employed to predict and prevent disaster. You have you. Cut yourself some slack.

FailBlog: Pen Trick Fail (Video. You need to watch to the end.)

CNET: Steal the slide show with Victorinox Presentation Pro

At this year’s CES, Victorinox announced the newest member of its team, the Presentation Pro. This convenient business tool is small enough to slip into your pocket or onto your keychain, but don’t be fooled by its mini size–this thing has every gadget you’ll need to give a business slide show presentation.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (01/04/09)

First post of 2009. Happy New Year!

Relational Presentation Blog: Fear of Public Speaking

Some time ago, I confidently waltzed into a conference room, ready to give a small group presentation in front of a gaggle of professors. We sat around talking, and then I got up to speak on the benefits of interactive presentation, something I’d done countless times before. All of a sudden my voice became constricted and my head began to swim. Nervousness hit me out of nowhere like a tidal wave … and for absolutely no reason.

Great Public Speaking: BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP

Just when you think you’re on top of the world . . . ZAP! The computer Gods bring you down a few notches. This past Friday while setting up for ButtCamp in Orlando, FL my new laptop that had just easily checked email for me in my hotel room would not boot up. I thought, “Gee this is a pain, but no big deal. I’ll just get my trusty old backup computer which has been chugging along for a couple years. I got it out and OH NO! It wouldn’t boot up either.

Brad Montgomery’s Laugh-O-Nomics: Brad’s New Rule: I will never speak in this venue again

I’ll never again speak in a gym.  Ever.  I’ve spoken to tons of youth and high school groups, and love the kids.  I love the teachers.  And I love the energy that only youth audiences can generate.  But I gotta tell you:  I’ve spoken in my last gym.

I’ll call it the First Rule Of Brad:  No Gyms.

Why?  The sound system is always bad.  Even the good ones are bad.  People cannot see.  Folks are sitting on those horrible bleachers so at the best they way spread out to your left to your right.  And at worst, they are on BOTH bleachers with you at the end of the gym.   (Can you say, “Hey Jim Bob!  I can’t see a darned thing from here!“)

New York Times: Internet Use Grows at Meetings, as Do Challenges

Erika Powell, a meeting planner for Global Knowledge, a company that provides software training to corporate clients, said she was recently forced to move an event because the hotel’s Internet connection could not keep up with her group’s demands.

“On Monday, we started getting reports that the Internet was very slow and they weren’t able to access the labs,” she said. “We communicated with the facility to find out what the problem was, but they were at a loss.” Ms. Powell said she had to pull up stakes and relocate her students to another nearby hotel in the middle of the week so their training could be completed without slowdowns.

Los Angeles Times: Making a point in Washington? You’ll need a prop

There is, of course, always a possibility that the use of props will backfire.

“Political theater still has a role in highlighting a cause or issue, but . . . it’s important not to get buried in the part,” said Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union. “Given the wealth of online video, for example, a failed publicity stunt can be seen by millions instead of just a roomful of people.”

As a reminder of that lesson, former House GOP leadership aide Kevin Madden said, he kept in his office a picture of Republicans holding toy windmills in an attempt to ridicule Democrats’ energy policies. It looked silly, Madden said, and “the message it sent was one that was not serious at all” about energy policy.

Acronym: Track Speakers & Board Members

Do you have a keynote speaker or board member flying in the day of the event? If you need to know their flight status in order to gauge whether the situation reaches ‘code red delays,’ you can easily track flights using several tools.

ready2spark: tents 101 . part one

I can’t tell you how many times we’ve come across clients who don’t consider the weather. I’ve already talked about rain, but there are many other types of inclement weather to think about.

Slides that stick: Too much – “painful graphics”

Before I argued that slightly irritating the audience’s senses could support your presentation. Two cases of overdoing it…