Category: Presentation Training


The One Time I Love Cluttered PowerPoint Slides

Clutter: To fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness.

Disordered. Impede. Reduce. With a definition like that—provided in this case by Merriam-Webster—it’s no wonder our culture views clutter with contempt.

So it’s no surprise that when it comes to PowerPoint design, virtually every expert advocates simplicity and the generous use of white space. That’s good advice—most of the time. But there’s one time I love clutter on a slide.


The Perfect Point At Which Speaker And PowerPoint Meet

Think back to the last time you saw a television meteorologist reporting on a severe storm.

You may not have realized it at the time, but if the meteorologist followed the most common format, he or she offered you a great clue about the best way to present PowerPoint slides.

In this post, you’ll learn how to move from slide to slide in as graceful a manner as that weather person moved from chart to chart.

LikeSo Blog Image

The New “Like So” App Counts Your Filler Words. Does It Work? recently ran a story about a new app called “LikeSo” that tracks verbal filler—crutch words such as “like,” “actually,” and “whatever.”

Because I’ve written a lot about verbal filler, I downloaded the app to try it out (it costs just 99 cents). The app is a good idea that adds something unique to the public speaking world, so I’m generally positive about it.

But while there are some things I like about the app, there are others I don’t.


A Brand New Way To Practice Your Presentations (Really!)

I’m generally skeptical of new technologies that purport to make you a better public speaker.

But a useful new product, called VirtualSpeech, allows you to download an app and practice your presentations in front of a “real” audience. Using the app, you can practice in front of animated people in a large auditorium, conference room, or small interview space.

I’m not very tech savvy but found the product easy to use. Here’s how it works — and when it can be helpful.


In The Washington Post: My Teleprompter Tips To Donald Trump

(July 12, 2016) Earlier today, Washington Post writer Philip Bump asked me to assess Donald Trump’s use of the teleprompter.

In this post, you’ll find excerpts of my interview, which contain the most important ideas I offer all speakers who use a teleprompter.

I also discuss a theory of mine that didn’t make the final cut—that Trump may win points just for using a teleprompter, regardless of whether of not he uses it well.


Two Common Storytelling Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

During our presentation training workshops, we always emphasize the importance of narrative.

Stories, anecdotes, case studies, and analogies are stickier than abstract concepts—particularly for audiences that lack a depth of knowledge in your topic—and serve as easy memory hooks that draw audiences to your message.

Most of our trainees buy into the concept of using narrative during their talks—but they often make two mistakes that undercut its power. In this post, I’ll help you correct both mistakes.

Uncover The Facts iStockPhoto

How To Be (And Why You Should Be) Skeptical Of Your Facts

Facts are funny things. Sometimes, we interpret them in a way that seems so obvious to us that we don’t even consider how someone could possibly view them differently.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go through the facts in our presentations, try to view them as a skeptical audience member might, and address any unhelpful interpretations before they take hold.

This post will show you where one recent speaker went wrong.


The “Yes, And…” Approach To Managing Audience Questions

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey writes:

“The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures,” now we’re getting somewhere.”

The “Yes, and…” approach applies not only to comedy, but to many of the questions you’ll field as a public speaker.

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