Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Professional Presentation Pointers

Fast Company has a series of Professional Presentation Pointers

Part 1: Prepare
1. Start to prepare the minute you get an assignment to speak or present.
2. Brainstorm.
3. Organize your thoughts.
4. Practice.
5. Practice more than you think you have to.
6. Practice using mirrors, audio/video recorders or in front of a small group of trusted colleagues.

Part 2: Stage Fright
"Skilled speakers know a secret about Stage Fright: It helps make them more animated, more exciting to watch and better at delivering their presentation. So instead of worrying about it, they embrace it.

There is a caveat: Stage Fright works its magic best when you are prepared. Just as someone who is physically fit and experienced would be better able to fight off or flee from danger, so would a presenter who was well-prepared and/or who had experience be much better able to make Stage Fright work positively."

Part 3: Nonverbal communication
• Voice.
• Hands
• Body and Movement.
• Eyes.
• Facial Animation.
• Dress and Adornment.

Part 4 everything else

"My experience has shown that the most successful, engaging speakers use notes. But they really know their presentation, though it is not completely memorized. They have practiced and/or done the presentation enough times so that they know what's coming next."

"With very few exceptions, it's a good idea to step out from behind a podium."

"Finally, most presentations need to have some spice, some lighter moments that foster the connection between speaker and audience"

Read the whole series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

tips for successful podcasting:

The Wall Street Journal provides these tips for successful podcasting:

"1. Be professional. Approach it from your listeners' viewpoint. If you're taking up even five minutes of their day, you want to make it worth their time. Use a high-quality microphone to ensure the sound quality is top-notch and even consider adding some short introductory and ending music to pull the piece together into an engaging segment. There is royalty-free podcast music available on some sites, such as When you set up to record, steer clear of background noises like barking dogs. Audio-editing software can help you delete some of the awkward pauses and "ums" that can slow the broadcast down.

2. Be consistent. Set a regular schedule for your podcasts so followers know when to expect it. Perhaps you could post it every Tuesday or the first Wednesday of every month. Whatever you decide, stick to the schedule.

3. Make it worth listening to. Face it, lots of people are podcasting these days and nobody has the patience to listen to everything. So you need to make your podcast better than your competitors'. Talk about current issues or provide advice that your customers care about. Or invite an interesting guest to do so. But don't be overly promotional -- your audience will tune out if the podcast starts sounding like an advertisement. And keep it to a manageable length. Most people won't listen to a recording longer than 10 minutes. "

Web design

Gerry McGovern writes on Why Simplicity Is Essential to Web Design

A few quotes:

"We don't pay for visiting a site with our money; we pay for it with our time. The longer we spend on a Web site, the more we pay..."

"Visiting a Web site is about now. We have a particular need and we visit the website to meet that particular need."

"We like sites that resemble sites we're used to visiting, because they are more familiar and easier to navigate."

"If people loved complexity on the Web, then everyone would be using Advanced Search. We'd all be going to the 10th page of search results instead of clicking on one of the first three results on the first page.

We may still end up buying complex products on the Web, but our Web behavior will remain relentlessly simple and hugely impatient.
We simply don't have time to waste on complex navigation, convoluted language, or the vanity publishing of navel-gazing organizations."

Creativity on Command

Idea Sandbox summarizes the design process presented in the book Zing!: Five Steps and 101 Tips for Creativity on Command (by Sam Harrison.)

1. Explore: Observe & Research - Gather all the information possible about the challenge. Become a sponge. Notice people. Anticipate. Don't just look, see!

2. Freedom: Brainstorm & Visualize - Have a "free-range brain" and come up with as many solutions as possible. Judge not. Assume nothing is impossible. Observations + Connections = Ideas.

3. Pause: Pause & Detach - Step away from the problem and let it stew in the back of your mind... Einstein said his best ideas came while shaving.

4. Embrace: Edit & Select - While you were pausing "the subconscious mind was doing the heavy lifting. Now the brightest idea floats before you." With the embrace step, "we find a solution that zings."

5. Life: Prototype & Implement - "Breathe life into your idea... In this step you add flesh, bones and heart to your idea. You make it lively and likable." Verify the idea. Modify it to make it better. Be the idea champion.