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Might Have Missed List (03/13/11)

forbes.com — Road Warrior Secrets

Coach Walsh always thought it was better to experience pucker-butt in practice, with crowd noise blasted over the speakers, rather than face it for the first time in a game.

Road warriors similarly should prepare themselves for the worst. Assume that you might catch a cold on the first day of a 10-day business trip. That you will have too little sleep. That your bad back will flare up on a crummy hotel bed. That you will have diarrhea, or its opposite. That your big speech will be scheduled for 3 a.m. in your local time zone. That the presentation room will be too warm. That the stage lights will give you flop sweats or a migraine. That your audience will be bored, even hostile.

How will you cope?

Accepting that these disasters might happen is half the battle. A prepared mind removes the panic out of any mishap. The other half of the battle is bringing the right weapons. As a 200,000-mile-per-year traveler, I never leave home without the following pills and potions. All are over-the-counter and safe at their recommended dosages.

Get Speak Schmeak — Your time’s been cut – what do you do?

You prepare an hour-long presentation. You arrive at your venue, get set up, and are ready to go on time, but the meeting starts ten minutes late. Then there is business up front, and the discussion goes on longer than planned. Now your talk, which you had planned for an hour, is going to be cut down to 35 minutes.

What do you do?

beFluent — When Your Presentation Doesn’t Go Well

The first thing to remember when that this-isn’t-going-well panic sets in is that whatever you’re worried about probably isn’t that big of a deal. Seriously. Those few seconds where you struggled to find the right word or the time you accidentally clicked to the next slide early will likely be forgotten by your audience – if they noticed them at all.

Professionally Speaking… — No Time for Presentation Practice

Yet, practicing a presentation is the single biggest thing that can reduce anxiety, enhance confidence and maximize the likelihood that the audience will get value — all things that are highly desirable outcomes for any presenter.

Here are my tips for finding some elusive time to practice a presentation…

the status Kuo — Why do people fail at presentations

The other big mistake the speaker committed today was not properly acquainting himself with the equipment he was using for the presentation. One of the biggest distractions throughout the entire event was the speaker fumbling with the remote control. As he had trouble changing slides every single time, he was unable to maintain control of an idea from item to item.

Just Passing Through — Feb 25, Ashland Theatre

An impossible onstage mishap took place in the play: a letter was to be dropped from the rafters onto the floor near the actor who was to read the letter. Instead, the letter fell through the slit at the edge of the closed trap door. The odds of that happening have to be about a gazillion to one! Someone from below the stage slipped the letter back up through the slit and the actor grabbed it with much relief! Lots of applause and laughter from the audience.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (06/28/09)

poppinsTheater Loop — ‘Mary Poppins’ breaks down in Chicago; Nanny stuck in no-fly zone

A computer central to the new touring production of Disney’s “Mary Poppins” malfunctioned about 15 minutes into Saturday night’s Chicago performance at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, causing the entire show to be shut down and the frustrated audience sent home.

[A couple of the article’s comments seem to focus on the fact that there should have been a backup system in place. Brings to mind BML Principle #1: If you can’t do without it, make sure you won’t have to.]

Speak Schmeak — How to aggravate your audience

Audience members became more and more agitated, yelling out, “We can’t hear you!” and “Louder!” It didn’t seem like the officials even understood what was going on. A sound person would periodically run up on stage and fiddle with the sound system, then go back and sit down, but nothing changed.

Control Geek — Virus Check Fail

Chapter 4 of my book is System Design Principles and one of the things I talk about in that chapter is the impact of virus checkers on the computers we use for live shows.  And here’s why…

Open Loops — Presentation Mistakes: The View From the Audience

Know how to work your equipment – Don’t turn off your own digital projector in the middle of your presentation due to your own incompetence.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (06/07/09)

wedding

©iStockphoto.com/Norlito

So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager… — I STILL Want To Get Married Outside

Wait until she gets the bill from the DJ that she forced to setup his equipment in the damp wedding garden. His extension cords sat on the rainy grass and kept blowing the circuit breaker and finally burnt out one of his speakers.

The Webinar Blog — Bad Press For Webinars

When I work as a guest speaker or moderator, I typically use two computers and two phone lines. It’s ridiculous overkill and seems silly… Right up until the first one fails. That doesn’t happen very often at all, but if you do enough webcasts, it eventually will.

Pro Humorist  — How Room Design May Affect Your Presentation

You also want to make sure that you’re not involved in the opposite extreme of speaking in an atrium or, even worse, outside. I did in a gig in a atrium once and it was like being in a huge greenhouse. Hundreds of plants everywhere, running water and… swimming fish; I wish I was exaggerating. The danger with a place like this is that there are too many distractions for the audience. Not only that but due to the spaciousness, lack of seating and super high ceiling the laughter didn’t exactly contage.

Speak Schmeak — Awkward

Upon receiving her award for Best Female Performance, she proceeded to give her acceptance speech, clearly nervous. While balancing the heavy award in her hand, she lost her grip and it went flying several feet onto the floor as she desperately tried to catch it.

Presenting Matters — Presentation Mishaps: The Mental Game of Bouncing Back

We have all been there… You work hard to prepare for the big day. The success of the moment rests on your shoulders. You are focused and determined to make this presentation powerful and persuasive. And then… something goes terribly wrong. It doesn’t work out the way you anticipated. You leave bewildered and in shock at the disappointment. What now?

todmaffin.com — Whistler help needed urgently!

Agh! I just arrived in Whistler to give a presentation tomorrow morning and en route my MacBook Pro died.

controlbooth.com — Monkey Walk

1. n – A final check of a facility done before leaving to make sure you’ve packed up all your gear. The idea is that you walk through the facility and touch/ pick-up / move everything to make sure something isn’t hiding, just like a curious monkey.
usage– ” Ok we’re packed! Let’s do the monkey walk.”

Dave Paradi’s PowerPoint Blog — PowerPoint Tip: Equipment to carry when presenting

None of these items are high-end technically, but they are three of the most valuable items I carry in addition to the normal items presenters carry. Think back over your own experiences and see how often one of these pieces of equipment would have been valuable to have. Now you know why I carry them – and suggest you may want to as well.

Presentation Zen — Presentation Zen Design (the book)

As I mentioned before, I’m in the beginning stages of writing and designing another book, this one called Presentation Zen Design. For many of us, there is a hole in our education when it comes to communicating visually, and knowledge of even the basics of graphic design is missing for most people. This book intends to do its small part to help fix this problem by focusing on concrete graphic design principles and techniques in the context of presentation design, though the concepts and knowledge can be applied to other areas of one’s professional life.

FAIL Blog — News Clip Fail

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 (10/05/08)

Maniactive: Top 6 Touchy-Feely Presentation Rehearsal Tips — “2. Wear Your Shoes. Oh, they don’t call it “dress” rehearsal for nothing! Don’t rehearse in your pajamas — unless you intend to give your presentation in your jammies ! Instead, rehearse in the actual clothes you’ll be wearing during your presentation — right down to your shoes. You’ll be amazed at how much better your performance will be just by understanding how your entire body feels in full ‘costume and makeup.'”

©iStockphoto.com/DaydreamsGirl

©iStockphoto.com/DaydreamsGirl

Work•Play•Experience: How not to close a presentation… (A true story) — “I experienced this live and in terrifying Stampede-o-rama last week, exactly as described above. As soon as the word “buffet” was out, jackets were being grabbed, chairs were scraping and conversation had started. What followed was not just drowned out, it was ignored by 100 lizard brains who could already smell the steaming flesh.”

Great Public Speaking: Check Local References — “On the international speaking tour I just returned from I could have made a serious flaw had I not checked out material with the locals after I got in the country. Apparently one country hates a certain kind of animal to the point where some natives actually try to run over the animal when driving on the road. A nearby country loves the same animal.”

Speak Schmeak: Another reason to avoid the lectern — “Did you see how high John McCain had to raise his arms for his gestures to be seen over the top of his lectern? He seemed uncomfortable having to use exaggerated arm movements (which were reenacted in the SNL skit the following night).” and Don’t go on a juice fast before a big appearance — “Don’t try anything new right before a presentation. It might throw you off, just a little.”

SpeakerSue Says: How to pick yourself up after you fall — “I was so bad, so awful, that I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone as I left the stage. (This wasn’t that big a deal really because no one was making eye contact with me either.) We all wanted me to exit the room as quickly as possible.”

The Humble Nailbanger: Life in the dark — “Never before, however, have I done what I did the other day, which was make it all the way to work and halfway through the day before realizing that I was wearing a button-down shirt inside out. The collar was up the way it should have been, but the buttons were on the inside, tags hanging out, the whole gigantic embarassing bit.”

The Charleston Gazette: Behind the curtain with stagehand Joey Ansel — “Stagecraft is taught in colleges, but Ansel says he learned his trade on the job. None of what he does, he says, is extremely complicated. ‘It’s a lot of little things.’ It’s important to be organized and able to remain calm. He says it helps to be open to change. Each show has its own set of concerns and issues. He can’t rely on everything working the way it’s always worked or even people behaving the way they did last time.”

Encore Design Group: Podium or Lectern? — “The word ‘podium’ is one of the most misused terms in the public assembly world. It is common to hear this word misused in church, government, auditoria, and schools. The proper use of terms is one way of separating the professionals from the rest.”

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (09/28/08)

Blue Room technical forum: Wifi interfering with Radio mics, Strange goings on — “The strange problem we are having is that at some venues we seem to have a conflict between the radio mics and wifi, whilst at other venues there is none. When there is conflict, the signal stength on the Sure recievers is all over the place (normally rock solid in this size venue) and the signal drop out is very high, this occurs over all frequencies in the group. With all radio mic transmitters off, there is no sign of a signal being picked up from the wifi on the Sure recievers. Looking at the frequencies used by the mics and the wifi there should not be a conflict, but there most definately is at times.”

Speak Schmeak: What not to do at the end of a presentation — “We plan a lot for what to do before and during a presentation, but not much for what to do at the end — or what not to do.”

The Codebelay Blog: How Do You Avoid Presentation Disaster? — “But the code used for my presentation didn’t work because the machine it was working on wasn’t configured correctly. There might have been an issue with someone overwriting my code, too.”

Dave Paradi’s PowerPoint Blog: Presenting when you are not allowed to use a handout — “A participant in one of my workshops recently presented me with a new challenge. In his position as a sales professional, he has now encountered two large organizations who have stated that when he presents to them, he is forbidden from bringing handouts for the audience.”

Lynn Espinoza: When YOU should NOT be the spokesperson! — “You’ve been tapped to be the speaker at an industry event.  There is a nagging feeling deep inside your gut that you are being set up for failure.  The content for the speech is not your own, and in fact this is not your area of expertise. You feel like you’re over your head. Guess what? You are.”

Mary Hanna: A day for nitpickers — “The room was full of professional speakers, both beginning and accomplished. The presenter, a well-known marketing expert, was talking about achieving credibility as a speaker. A bullet on his PowerPoint slide, which I was following on the handout, said ‘Always site your sources.’ As I always do, I corrected the handout, crossing out ‘site’ and writing ‘cite.’ I turned to my friend and pointed it out. She acknowledged it with a nod. ‘It affects his credibility,’ I whispered.”

TJ Walker: Should I rehearse and for how long? — “Yes, you should rehearse. From a presentation coach’s perspective, the following 25 words are the dumbest phrase in the English language: ‘I don’t want to rehearse because I don’t want to seem canned. I want to seem spontaneous and fresh so I’ll be better winging it.’ Ugh!!!”

CNET News: ‘Google Moderator’ tool takes on lecture-hall chaos — “There was never enough time for all the questions, and it wasn’t clear that the best questions were the ones actually getting asked,” Heath wrote in a blog post. “And since many of these talks were led by offices outside of Mountain View, it became harder for distributed audiences to participate.”

blogcampaigning: Public Speaking Tips — The last one is best.

Brad Montgomery: What to do when your humor fails? — “When I coach others about how to be funny, I teach saver lines. Basically, these are jokes that you tell after a joke goes bad to “save” the situation. Johnny Carson was the king of savers. I just found this video….check out the master.”

KNOWHR: Writer’s Remorse — “Here’s what else I know: Those last-second edits rarely add anything to the quality of the communication.”

Great Speaking Coach: Avoid the Deadly Quotations Trap — “Why not? Because what could be a living, memorable moment when delivered by you with vocal variety and gestures becomes a flat, two-dimensional inert set of words.”

The Power of Reflection: Do You Make This Mistake When Ending Your Presentations? — “Gord’s terrible ending damages his career.  He looks weak and indecisive.  His presentation fails to generate any enthusiasm for his cause.”

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (08/23/08)

Geek News Central: Richard Cheese the Ultimate Classless Act — A case study in how to not treat your audience.

The Public Speaking Blog: Book Talk at DP Architects (and What To Do When PPT Fails You) — “The reason why I am asking this question is because it happened to me! Everything was fine till the final minute. My laptop was connected to the projector but no matter what I do, nothing seem to appear on the screen.”

Corporate Presenter: Another TV Presenter Blooper — “A tv presenter must always do his/her research, otherwise you look stupid. And as for the mic handling – rubbish.”

Speak Schmeak: Where do you put your notes? — “Ideally, you will make these arrangements with the organizer of your talk well before the day of the presentation. This is a critical part of your preparation, making sure that all the equipment you need is available.” And Using a lectern: do or don’t? — “But using a lectern is problematic for several reasons.”

Can You Hear Me Up the Back?: Can You Kick The Lectern Habit? — “Here are five reasons why lecterns are bad for your presentation.”

Great Public Speaking: Audio Failure — “Wouldn’t you know it? I just got my laptop back from getting fixed because it was locking up. That problem was fixed beautifully, but the shop must have done something to mess up the headphone / audio output jack which I never thought to check.”

The New Yorker: Going for gold in the bimonthly status meeting by John Kenney — “Al, this is an event dominated by the Dutch, the Swiss, and, to a great extent, the North Koreans. These are active participants in bi-monthly status meetings, people who really prepare, whereas Americans- new to the sport-tend to be far more lethargic, taking it more as a pastime than as something to really prepare for.”

The AV Report: How Many Screens and Lumens? — Make sure you don’t undermine your presentations with the wrong projector or room set up. And Before You Play Back Audio or Video from Your Laptop Computer… — “Bottom line – until all computers and projectors get along in the real world (not the product literature world), AV presentations must be checked and double checked through the exact equipment which will be used on the day of a presentation.”

The Power of Reflection: Presentation Skills: How to Handle Cell Phone Interruptions During a Meeting

Advanced Presentation by Design: A new book about the Extreme Presentation method

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (08/03/08)

Speak Schmeak (yet again): The power of language (or, how I got in trouble for saying “pee”) — “But it has revived an old question for me: How far can you push the comfort level of your audience? ”

slide:ology: Tips for Remote Presenters — Great tips from Nancy Duarte for avoid problem while doing a webinar. “When delivering a presentation online, each application used to display your content is very different. Host a dry run of your presentation in which you click through ALL your slides. Many of the applications lose transitions, builds, and animations. What works in PowerPoint may not work in the application hosting your presentation.”

Execupundit.com: What Can They Do To You? — “Somewhere I read about an executive who calmed the fears of an associate who’d blundered by telling her, “What do you think they (upper management) are going to do? Burn down your house? Take your children? The most they can do is fire you.”

Arunn Narasimhan: Decorum at an Academic Interview Presentation — “The Laser pointer used by the nervous candidate should auto turn off whenever it is pointed away from the board and in particular when the candidate turns and addresses the gathering.”

Toastmasters & Etc.: Let’s All Introduce Ourselves… — “Do you want to start out a meeting with “Let’s all introduce ourselves” at the beginning? I’m not a huge fan of this in general because it can get kind of out of control time wise (or very out of control), even with a small crowd, unless you’re careful. Three little anecdotes about this follow.”

Speaking about Presenting: How to manage unruly question time — “Ask each questioner to state their name before they ask their question or make a comment. They’re likely to behave better.”

CenterNetworks: I’ve Had Enough of “Live” at Conferences — “When I spend thousands of dollars and my time to attend a conference, I am really not interested in watching the Qik CEO broadcast the session live to everyone without paying attention to what’s going on in the moment. I also really don’t give a rats ass what people outside the conference think of what’s going on inside the room. I want to have the speaker’s full attention. I didn’t have that today – not by a longshot. And again, I am using this session as an example but the issue is much more widespread.”

Working Blue: They tried to make me go to conference, and I said NO, NO NO. . . — “I’m slated to give a brief talk to grad students about delivering conference papers, so I thought I’d start with the usual “conference blunders” routine. There are some immediate biggies that come to mind, but I know I’m overlooking some more subtle problems of conference paper downers. Any that I’m missing? Here’s my list:”

Seven Red: Top 20 4C’s Presentation Mistakes (Part 1) and Top 20 4C’s Presentation Mistakes (Part 2) — “The Technophile – I see you there messing around with your brand new MacBook Pro. You’ve got the A/V hook-up working, and you’re testing out the video. You even brought those portable speakers so that we hear the audio clearly. Good. I’m the last person to complain about a little tech stuff at the presentation. But why, why I ask you, must the video be longer than your explanation of why I’m supposed to care about it?”

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (07/27/08)

(Diigo bookmark list)

Speak Schmeak: Don’t waste time talking about time — “She didn’t say it just once. In the course of her 20-minute presentation, she mentioned that she didn’t have enough time about five times.”

Loot Ninja: Konami Exec Fails at Her Own Game — “This lady is a Senior Product Manager, but has some of the worst microphone skills I have ever seen. She starts her talk by calling the crowd “lame”, that should get everyone into it. … Overall this lady needs to be booted from public speaking and never allowed to play a video game in front of a crowd.”

The AV Report: Would You Like a Mac Dongle With That? — “When I asked three (3) Mac users if we could try a Mac to run the slides from, not one of them were able to do it because they didn’t have their Mac VGA dongle with them! It’s just one more item to add to a checklist, but often forgotten about. I’ve seen three versions of this dongle/adapter – DVI, Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI! Which do you have?”

Shane Gibson: Blogathon 2008 – Entry #1 – Murphy’s Law — “What this means is if you are going to a clients office to demonstrate software or a web application we must assume and prepare for the following circumstances.”

Pro Humorist: Presentations: Fast Tip — “If you get the two muddled up, as people invariably do, then you’ll find yourself having to get permanent marker off whiteboards. Not fun.”

Face2Face: Privacy? What’s that? — :Cindy relates the tale of an association that found something from their meeting on YouTube that they really, really didn’t want to be out there for the world to see.”

Man In The Mirror: Check This “Avoid At All Costs” List.

The Weekly Might Have Missed List (07/13/08)

Nicholas Bate: 9 Things Not to Say in your Presentation — Brilliant.

The Eloquent Woman: testing the kindle on the lectern — “Here’s what I learned about what you should expect when using this new device in a live setting, from preparatory steps to actual use.”

Speak Schmeak: When audience members attack — “Do you ever feel like an audience member is attacking you when they ask challenging questions during your presentation?”

Linkedin Answers: Care to share your most embarrassing, awkward, or unusual speaking experience?

Law.com: Peaks and Valleys of PowerPoint Presentation — “What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made (or seen) in a presentation using Microsoft’s PowerPoint?”

Corporate Presenter: TV Presenters and animals — “Ouch!”

Presenter Gold: White Death on the Podium — “And yet in a presentation situation, many of us put black text on white screens. I want you to think for a moment about what that’s doing to the audience. It’s been described as trying to read the lettering on a switched-on light bulb.”

Live Musician Central: Settle Your Nerves – Dealing With Stage Fright — “I’ve played with guys that were throwing up before every gig because they got so nervous.”

Services Safari: Delivering a Great Keynote Presentation Part 1 – The Delivery –“I know a person’s a bad speaker when I can imagine my 14-year, with absolutely no advance preparation, could be way more entertaining with the same material.”

Nury Vittachi: — I got the public speaking blues — “I know about these things. Somewhere on earth there is an “Institute of Introducers” at which citizens have all detectable grey matter surgically removed. They are then released back into the wild as certified Masters of Ceremonies.”

Web Strategy by Jeremiah: Fail Fast — “I screw up a lot, always have, always will, but what matters is what I do next. My first presentation to a Forrester client was a total F-up.”

Indexed: A real spectacle. –“Sweating, staring, crowds.”

Make Your Point with Pow’R: Pre-Presentation Speaking — “Remember to speak before your presentation. In some cases, even before you arrive at the venue.”

Jessica Hatchigan’s speechwriting blog: Time Matters: Scheduling Your CEO’s Speeches “Do you have the option to choose the time of day your CEO will deliver his/her speech?”

Great Public Speaking: Public Speaking : SEATING TIPS

Linkedin Answers: The Un-Planned question – the impromtu – throws the best of us, but what are the toughest situations you find yourself confronted with?

9 Months to birthing my BESTSELLER!: Two Words that Make Most Audiences Cringe! — “Which brings me to the last lesson. Do Not, I repeat DO NOT do what I did (you’d have to be really brave or crazy!) Do not use language that will turn some or most of the audience against you!” (Slightly NSFW image)

Charli Jane Speaker Services: Top 10 ‘do nots’ when working with meeting planners.