Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Free Professional Videos For Your Presentation

Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat during a suspenseful scene in a movie? Have you ever laughed during another part?  Cried?  Gotten angry?  Felt pity? Why?

The moving pictures, the music, and the dialog, play a symphony with our senses and emotions. Together they reach places within a person that sometimes words have a hard time penetrating. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to produce a high quality video without the deep pockets of a big budget studio.   

Most of us don’t have budgets for hiring a production team nor the skill to pull it off on our own. There are a host of production tools and cheap HD cameras available but often they come packaged with steep learning curves.  

Supplementing your presentations with video content doesn’t have to be a production bankrolled by a Hollywood studio.  You have another option. There are plenty of free, high quality videos on your topic waiting for you on the web.  So, use them instead.  

Here’s what I’m talking about.  Below is an example of a video that demonstrates proper CPR technique.  It was produced in cooperation with the American Red Cross.

Does the video look professional?  Yeah!  Do you want to know why?  It’s because professionals were paid to produce it!  That’s the beauty of and magic of it all.  You can use it and coat-tail that professionalism right on into your own presentation.  This means you have a professional video to use!  Give credit where credit is required, make sure that the video is licenced for general use, and you shouldn’t have problem!  Thank you Red Cross!  Someone’s using this video in a presentation right now and looking like a Rock Star doing it!

There are numerous sources for quality video that pertain to your topic no matter what it is. Below are a few examples that will give you a general idea of where you can look.

Search organizational websites: AARP, World Health Organization, OSHA.
Search news outlets: Fox News, CNN, BBC.
Enthusiast sites: Kiteboarding, Engadget, ESPN.

Oh, and let's not for the Granddaddy of them all,... Youtube!  Really?  Did you think I was going to skip right over Youtube? 

Here's some Youtube advice. Filter your search for High Definition video. You can also search for Creative Common videos. These are videos that have granted permission for reuse.

Search for HD videos for your presentations

The examples above don't come close to representing all the possible sources available on the Internet. I’m only whetting your creativity with the few I've provided.  Use what we've presented today to spark an idea or two, and let us know in the comments what you come up with.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PowerPoint Presentation Writing Tip - Less is More

Effective presentation skills
Do you have a great topic you want your audience to find just as interesting as you and yet, you find your audience is distracted, many do not make eye-contact, and at the end, you have a lackluster response.

You may think, Maybe it is me?

But maybe it is your slides.

Writing an effective PowerPoint presentation is not about how much you can write on each slide, but what you write on them.
PowerPoint presentations are full of fantastic tools to enhance your presentations and it is very easy to fall into a common problem commited by presenters.

Writing too much on their slides.

Too much information on screen will hurt your presentation more than it will help. Presenters may feel safe to read directly from their slides, but doing this you may inadvertently alienate your audience, undermine your credibility and distract them from what should be their main focus--you and your topic.

Slides are meant to be like line-coaches for actors on stage, prompting you to remember your next point with a meaningful trigger.

Let’s look at a iconic presentation given by Steve Jobs.  His presentations were the famous for their simplicity. But because his presentations were so bare, it forced the audience's attention to Jobs and his dynamic personality.


Tips for writing an effective slide:
  • Keep it simple.
  • Use meaningful triggers for yourself
  • Do not clutter slides with too much text
  • Remember, keep it simple and hit your mark!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Speak Up at Toastmasters

Effective Presentations - Toastmasters
Toastmasters is a non-profit organization helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. As a member of Toastmasters for 3 years, it was a very pivotal time in my career as I moved into more training positions within my job.  Aside from the wonderful people I met at Toastmasters, it was an opportunity to practice speaking techniques, obtain feedback, and implement new tips and tools to improve my presentations. I gained a great deal of insight from watching and listening to others that spoke at meetings; their timing, gestures, expressions, use of the space, and WOW was I impressed at some of the amazing speakers I came across.  

Toastmasters is an opportunity for you to practice without the worry of being uncomfortable if you mess up, go too fast, stammer or fall off the stage.  In either case, they will pick you back up, dust you off and stand you on that stage again.  The thoughtful critiques and suggestions they are offer are invaluable.  Toastmasters want each and every member to become an exceptional speaker.  You can be new to public speaking or perhaps a very experienced public speaker; either way you are welcome to Toastmasters.

Improving your speaking skills can help in many aspects of your life.  Job interviews, promotions, toast master at your brother’s wedding or just a great confidence builder.  With over 270,000 members and more than 13,000 clubs, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a meeting near you.  Bring your presentation skills to a whole new level.

Find a Toastmasters near you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Presentation Training - Use of Space

We all strive to bring our presentations to life and movement can be a very powerful tool to accomplish that goal.  It can give importance to a statement, raise the energy, or bring a presentation down to a thoughtful ending.  Movement can completely change the audience response and create a very effective presentation.

Use different areas of space to create distinctive impacts:

1. Moving Forward - Moving forward towards your audience can create a very close connection with your participants. This is the most powerful position and used to emphasize an important point, draw emotions or simply get the audience’s attention to your topic.

2. Moving Backward - Moving back will put your audience in a more relaxed-listening frame of mind.  Be certain to maintain appropriate body language to keep your audience listening and attentive to your topic.

3. Moving Left to Right - Moving from left to right, even with small movements, is a great way to demonstrate contrasting points. Left to right movements are a great method for representation of pros and cons, past and future, before and after or two points of views.  Remember, the movements don’t have to be big walking the length of the space, but can simply be a small step either side and perhaps using a hand or arm gesture in that direction.  Occasionally, using all of your lateral space is a great tool to engage all of your audience.  If you stick to one side of a stage or room, you run the risk of isolating the opposite side.

Presentation Training - Use of Space
Presentation Training - Use of Presentation Space

Use your movements wisely and don’t wander aimlessly in the space as it will appear that you are uninterested in your topic or bored.  Just as you rehearse a speech, you should be rehearsing body language, facial expression and yes, even movement.

Move smart and keep our audience moving with you.