Archive for March, 2008

The Point to Powerpoint

March 27, 2008

Yesterday I attended a meeting and the speaker was using powerpoint as his visual aid. At one point I thought I was there for an eye examination as the type was so small I had to really concentrate on what was up there, and so today I thought I would mention a little bit about powerpoint.

Remember to ask yourself why you are using powerpoint, is it to cover up the fact that you haven’t prepared well enough for your presentation. Visual aids are only there to assist your message, not be the message.

  • When using powerpoint use Sans Serif fonts because we are use to seeing blocks of text with this font from reading newspapers.
  • Use 30 point text – this is not too big or too small for the eyes
  • Use no more than 6 words per line, and no more than 6 lines per page
  • Use colour wisely – yellow and pink may look good on the computer screen but not when shown on a larger screen.

Remember that people can read what is on the screen quicker then you can speak, so you may have to reveal information a step at a time.

I love this clip on youtube, it is from comedian Don McMillan on How NOT to use powerpoint.

If the link doesn’t work, you can go to youtube and search for the clip, trust me, it is well worth the effort.


March 20, 2008

If I asked you what glossophobia is, would you be able to tell me?

I can tell you that it’s not the fear of wearing lip gloss but the fear of speaking in public.

75% of  people claim that they would rather die than speak in public. I think if I gave people the option of “the electric chair” or “the microphone”, most people would choose the microphone.

So why do we have this fear?

Most of the time the fear is not about speaking but about the judgements from others.

  • What if I make a fool of myself?
  • What if I forget what I am talking about?
  • What if everyone can see how nervous I am?
  • What if things go wrong?

The best way to overcome your fear is to write down all of your concerns and then write down what is the worst possible outcome.

So for example: if you wrote down – what if I forget what I am going to say – the worst thing that could happen is that you would have to refer to your notes, find your place and then you could continue with your speech.

Once you have written down your concerns and the worst possible outcomes, you’ll see that things aren’t as bad as you first thought. Sometimes we need to push our own personal boundaries and stretch ourselves in new and interesting directions.

As Susan Jeffers wrote “feel the fear and do it anyway”


March 17, 2008

We all know that first impressions are important, if you are the speaker, being introduced properly is vitally important.

The introduction that the emcee gives about you  can create a great first impression or leave people wondering why they are sitting there.

Ensure that you have your introduction prepared in advance so that the emcee doesn’t have to wing it on the day.

A proper introduction should be less than a minute and include the following:

  • Topic – What the speech is about – grab the audiences attention.
  • Importance – Why this topic is important to the audience and how they will benefit by listening – peak their interest.
  • Speaker – Who you are and why you are qualified to speak on this subject – have something personal about yourself as well, this helps the audience to connect with you as the speaker.

Having a well written introduction will make you look like a professional speaker and will go a long way to making that great first impression.

Metaphor Magic

March 10, 2008

 Metaphors in speeches are said to be Magical.

Using metaphors in your speech can help to lead your audience to an idea or conclusion they may not have thought about before.

Metaphors can be used to:

  1. Offer a broader perspective on a situation
  2. Lead your audience to a solution for a problem
  3. Leave them with a lesson

Metaphors allow you to compare two seemingly unrelated objects to get your message across. If you as the speaker just told your audience how to solve their problems, you could come across some resistance or road blocks, using the magical metaphor allows for that “aha” moment without the resistance.

Gary Bencivenga’s has some great examples on metaphors