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Might Have Missed List (07/17/11)

Gub doo gia bee? (Language Log)

[This post is chock full of all sorts of wonderful things going wrong during a series of presentations at an academic conference. This brief passage represents just a sliver of a very entertaining story]

And the other problem was that, impelled by some irresistible psychological imperative (I saw this later with several other speakers), he instinctively pointed the remote projection controller at the screen, desperately trying to get it to respond. But the computer he should have been pointing the remote at was ten or fifteen yards away on a table in a totally different direction. It was just too counterintuitive to turn 180 degrees away from the screen, so his back was toward it, in order to change the screen image. We humans are simple mammals, and we imagine that what we are focusing on is where the action is. So his clicking away with the remote was not being detected by the computer, and even if it had been detected, he would have had no idea whether anything had happened to the screen as a result.

Presentation Tip: First Impressions Matter (Professionally Speaking…)

Be prepared, with AV equipment checked, handouts sorted and slides ready. If you seem disorganized and rattled over logistics, your audience may assume that your presentation will be equally disorganized.

How to recognize someone for their service to an organization when they can’t be present in person (Conferences That Work)

  • A week before the event, Nancy and I set up a test call with me calling from the laptop I would be using at the conference. It was good we did this, because it took a while to get Nancy’s camera working. We arranged for her to start Skype when she arrived at work, thirty minutes before we would start the recognition ceremony.

  • About twenty minutes before the call, Nancy was not showing up as connected on Skype. I called her from my cell and she assured me Skype was running. I restarted Skype on my machine & this time she appeared. Phew! During the next few minutes, I muted our audio while the audience assembled.

 

Google+

I joined Google+ the other day and I’m liking it. Still needs a few features and a lot more users but I think it shows a great deal of promise and I can see how it might be a real threat to Facebook and Twitter. In case you were wondering, it’s definitely not another Wave-like social media debacle.

If you are part of the public speaking or presentation professional communities, feel free to add your Google+ info to the directory I started. It’s just a Google doc spreadsheet. Use the form here to add your info: http://bit.ly/qi8tA0. To view the directory, go to http://bit.ly/qMgEHL.

If you prefer,feel free to just add me to one of your circles: http://gplus.to/leepotts.

Need an invitation? Send me your email address and I’ll send one as soon as I can the next time the Google gods make them available.

You can’t present…

if you can’t get to the venue.

USA Today: Lost your travel documents? How to avoid being grounded.

Living Room

Dr. Jim Anderson, (The Accidental Communicator), reminds us that controlling the room is much better then letting the room control your presentation.

I’ll bet that you didn’t know that the next time that you give a speech, the room is going to be actively conspiring against you! Yep, it’s true – no matter how cozy and inviting the room that you are going to be speaking in may appear, it is actually working against you. This room has chewed up and spit out tougher speakers than you – what makes you think that you’ll do any better?

It’s absolutely crucial that you get into the room where you will be presenting, well in advance of when you will actually be presenting in it. Showing up 5 minutes before you’re supposed to go on is asking for disaster.

Speak up!

Sometimes, in retrospect, it’s clear that a mere word to the wise would have been enough to prevent problems:

I recently provided a sound system for a high profile seminar hosted by the governor of a state that will remain nameless. When it came time for the governor to pose questions to panelists, rather than asking them to move a little closer to the table mics we had placed in front of them, here’s what he did: He unclipped his wireless lavalier and passed it back and forth among the panelists as they attempted a dialogue. Between mic handling noise, lavaliere element overload from holding the mic about an inch from their mouths and a couple of drops to the floor (not to mention tangling the lavalier cable around the arm of the chair) the audio was completely unusable.

The producer for the television production company that hired me was livid (his wrath was aimed at me, not the governor) and the audience was leaving the hall in droves.

The rest of Jeff Harrison’s story details what he took away from the experience,what he’ll do next time and includes some great tips for using lavaliere mics.

If you only read one thing this week...

make sure it’s “The Last One Percent that Kills You” by Dan Pallotta. A huge percentage of the all the presentation mishaps and disasters written about on this blog in the last three years could have been avoided by adhearance to the principles it outlines.

They assured us that they had a flat screen TV that would accommodate the slide show. I arrived an hour before the party to set up. Sure enough, the TV was there, but the input jacks were inaccessible. They were on the back of the TV, and it was bolted to the wall. I wasn’t until the party was nearly over that we learned that we could access the input jacks through an outlet in the floor.

For example, I’ve seen more charity events than I can count at which expensive banners get produced but no one has thought about the last step — how they’re going to be rigged. People think they’ll figure it out when they get there. But 40 mile-an-hour winds require a little more thought than that. The work of a branding company, a graphic design firm, and a banner production company are all thwarted because the banner can’t be hung.

We could chock it all up to the fact that accidents happen, but I think that does a disservice to accidents. The last 1% gets overlooked because of a lack of rigor in communication. We play fast and loose with language. Here are a few things we can do to prevent our efforts from being upended:

  • Beware the tacit agreement. If someone says something that doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t politely nod, pretend that you understand, and let it go. If you don’t understand what they’re talking about, there’s a damned good chance they don’t either. We’ve all experienced a thousand conversations in which neither of us understood what was just said, but we both just let it go and implicitly hope for the best. Don’t be reticent. Speak up.

He continues with five more suggestions that are even more useful (Develop a Pavlovian reaction to the words “I think”, Have multiple conversations about the same thing, Fill in the blanks, Speak like an air-traffic controller, Visualize disaster).

I can’t say enough about this article. It should be taped to every cubical and office wall in the world.

Might Have Missed List (04/03/11)

©iStockphoto.com/anthonyjhall

Your preso toolkit (Presenting is Simple)

The first time I burned my fingers changing out a lamp in an overhead projector was a salutary lesson for me. From then on, I always carried a glove in my presentation bag. Over the years, the contents of my bag have evolved to reflect the technology that I am using and every now and then, I sit down and strip out items that I no longer use. But it’s still a fairly long list…

Lesson learned #1 – Turn off Twitter during a work presentation. (Cec’s Babblings)

But I think I could have considered this presentation as not completely disastrous if I hadn’t committed any more mistakes… mmmmm… yeah, it would still have been ok if I hadn’t forgotten to turn off my twitter application…
But yeah.. the issue with these background applications is that they not always stay in the background and guys, you had a lot to tweet about on Friday afternoon!

So I learned a lesson during what will be the worst presentation I would have ever made in my professional career:  always, always, always turn off twhirl before a meeting.

Through the ears of an attendee… (Pulse Staging and Events)

Whenever we provide AV for an event, I always log on to monitor the Twitter stream. I  derive two benefits.

  1. Quality Assurance. It’s like being able to hear the event through the ears of my audience. If a certain area can’t hear the music or someone has problems seeing, we can adjust our settings or at least let the event organizers know so they can try to remedy the situation. It’s one more way we offer a value add as an AV company. Nancy Zavada of MeetGreen actually wrote a blog post about this from the viewpoint of being an event planner checking things out remotely, jumping on Skype and alerting her team on the ground. Awesome!

25 considerations for choosing a venue for your event production (Sound n’ Sight)

You may or may not go on the site visit, so here are the questions you the Producer will need answered specifically.

Quote: When the sea is calm

Any one can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

~Publilius Syrus (via @KristinJArnold)

Might Have Missed List (03/27/11)

Event Signage – A Case of Bad “Sign-You-Sight-Us” (PlannerWire)

Imagine, a conference going perfect until 30 attendees walk to the wrong end of a resort hotel for a meeting only to find out that the arrow was pointing in the wrong direction. They are now late for the keynote, late for their education session or late for a luncheon all because you did not double check.

A couple of things you can do to avoid bad “sign-you-sight-us”…..

How to look confident… even though you’re speaking in public (Douglas Kruger)

If you’re nervous about the next big presentation, try these 12 tips to create (the perception, at the very least!) of confidence:

Get a copy of the agenda, so that you know when you will be speaking, and how much set-up time is available to you. Work out beforehand whether you will need to change laptops or slides between presentations, and who can help you do so, so that you don’t have to fiddle at the beginning of your talk.

Thoroughly rehearse your presentation beforehand. You can do this both as a mental exercise, as well as out loud. Ever got half-way through telling a joke, then realised you had botched the set-up? That’s what tends to happen if you don’t practice a speech. You need to be familiar with what goes where. If you are able to rehearse in the actual venue, then so much the better. There is no substitute for having ‘done it already’.

Use checklists for anything that causes you anxiety. For example, if you have to travel to your venue, use a checklist of items to take with. If you struggle with equipment set-up, use a checklist of ‘how to’ steps. Take any measures to make your life easier on the day.

The MC is your friend. Get to know him or her well in advance. Bring your own intro and discuss your needs with him. Find out if there have been any unexpected changes.

Presentation Skills – Stage (Great Public Speaking)

Also check to see that any risers and stairs to the risers don’t squeak and are sturdy. You may fall down on purpose some time for fun, but you don’t want to accidentally fall if you can help it. If you do fall, use a pre-planned ad-lib like: “Give me an inch and I’ll take a fall.”

I think I found the cause of the Office 2011 toolbar bug (Idea Transplant)

I was in the process of designing a beautiful chart on my new Mac when I got too confident and decided to modify the toolbars of PowerPoint 2011 and… lost all my work again (see my previous rant about this bug)

In sbort: if you customize your toolbar in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac, the program will crash as soon as you enter slideshow mode. Googling around reveals that many users have similar problems: corrupt toolbar files that cause crashing. I decided to dig a bit deeper…

 

Might Have Missed List (03/20/11)

YouTube — South African MP falls off chair

(Hint: Don’t ignore the any cracking noise made by the chair you are sitting on.)

SplitSider — Eight Types of Hecklers and the Comedians Who Shut Them Up

In the 2007 documentary Heckler, Joe Rogan says that “the number one thing about hecklers is 100% of them are douchebags.” A stand-up comedian’s act depends on the audience reaction by nature, but when someone attempts to derail the performer’s work, well, that’s something a douchebag would do.

TJ Walker — Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Apologize

They complain that they didn’t have time to rehearse their PowerPoint or that their video wasn’t working with their other software or their staff didn’t prepare the right material-everything but the dog ate their speech. It’s embarrassing, and yet it happens all the time. Before you make such an egregious blunder, stop and realize one thing: Your audience doesn’t give a darn about you. They don’t car about the process you went through to creat your presentation; they just want the results of your preparation.