Podcast: Shel Holtz on Social Media and Speechwriting

Shel HoltzOn Wednesday October 4th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable hosted a conference call with Shel Holtz. We discussed the ways in which social and digital media — which have given rise to content marketing — offer a host of options to speechwriters to draw attention to the speech before, during, and after its delivery. Shel reviewed the rapid development of the many forms of social media available for speechwriters to use, from humble beginnings as blogs and chat rooms to the rich variety of streaming media solutions available today.

Among the tips Shel shared was the use of Poll Everywhere to engage audiences and the Mevo live event camera for streaming.

Click on the podcast icon below to listen to Shel discuss these topics and more, as well as answer questions from speechwriters who were on the call. (Apologies for the audio which suffered from occasional background noise, but nothing that should prevent you listening to whole 55 minute call.)

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Announcing: A Conversation with Shel Holtz

Shel HoltzI’ve long been an admirer of communication strategist Shel Holtz. who is a regular speaker on topics surrounding the application of online technology to strategic organizational communication. He speaks regularly at IABC and Ragan Communication conferences.

On Wednesday October 4th the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable will host Shel on a conference call. We’ll be discussing the ways in which social and digital media — which have given rise to content marketing — offer a host of options to speechwriters to draw attention to the speech before, during, and after its delivery. From repurposing parts of a speech to taking advantage of trends in online video and audio, Shel will discuss how you can get much more mileage from a speech today than ever before.

To register for this no-charge event simply go to the Roundtable Meetup Group and RSVP. We start at 11:45am (Pacific).

Shel is the author of a number of great books on topics such as podcasting, blogging and more.

Shel_Holtz_Podcasting

Shel-Holtz-Blogging

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Kombucha makes it to Middle England

KombuchaI was amazed to hear mention of kombucha on the August 31st edition of the long-running English radio soap The Archers. Two of the village women are in a competitive keifer (pronounced “kaa-fir” in an Ambridge burr apparently, not ‘kee-fer” as in the USA) making competition and a neighbor who’d been visiting farm stores in and around Boston (Mass) made a reference to the “fermented tea” he’d sampled Stateside.

I’ve long anticipated kombucha becoming popular in England, especially as it tastes rather like Scrumpy. Maybe mention on The Archers heralds the start of more general availability.

I’ve brewed my own ‘booch for over five years can heartily recommend it as a healthy option to all those pints of Shires they drink down at the Bull.

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Command and control

Linda EvangelistaI loved Tim Hartford’s column in the Weekend Financial Times Think like a supermodel to wrest control of the gig economy. While his provocative headline referenced the challenges facing Uber and TaskRabbit ‘independent contractors’ who have a ways to go until they can face up to their digital masters with the same insouciance as the supermodel who states she would not ‘wake up for less than $10,000 a day’, it was his comments on the nature of the modern corporation that held my attention.

Hartford quotes the British econmist Ronald Coase who wrote back in 1937 about the strange contradiction between the world companies operate in and how they are organized internally:

…while corporations competed within a competitive marketplace, corporations themselves were not markets. They were hierarchies. If you work for a company, you don’t allocate your time to the highest bidder. You do what your boss tells you; she does what her boss tells her.

The rise in the number of freelancers has had no effect on the command-and-control organization of work within the firm.

The challenge for freelancers is that rewards are given based on scarcity and bargaining power. So while Linda Evangelista might not get up for less than ten grand, the average Uber driver does not have anything like the same bargaining power.

Hartford speculates on the possibility innovative online tools that turn the tables:

… it is not too hard to imagine a world in which skilled workers wrest back control using open-source software agents, join electronic guilds or unions and enjoy a serious income alongside unprecedented autonomy.

One aspect of my fantasy about life as a Medieval Speechwriter that I missed was the possibility that those scriveners would have formed a guild to protect their craft.

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Infographic: How to deliver a world-class presentation

Kudos to Hong Kong based Malcolm Andrews for publishing a great infographic on how to deliver a world-class presentation.

Malcolm AndrewsMalcolm is UK national who has been involved over the last 10 years in the development of business management and communication skills for companies across Asia. As well as corporate programmes, he has conducted 1:1 Executive Coaching assignments for clients in Hong Kong and Singapore. This material is posted with his express permission.

From global stats on the fear of public speaking, to ways to prepare and deliver content, this infographic is packed with facts, statistics and practical advice.

Click on the image below to see the complete infographic.

Infographic

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A Conversation with Tim Pollard on Fail-Proofing Your Communication

Tim PollardOn Thursday May 18 members of the Silicon Valley Speechwriters Roundtable were in conversation with Tim Pollard, author of The Compelling Communicator: Mastering the Art and Science of Exceptional Presentation Design.

In his new book, Tim Pollard has developed a systematic approach to the design and delivery of presentations and speeches that is applicable to everything from sales pitches to keynotes to TED Talks. The framework outlined in The Compelling Communicator is supported by research in how the brain processes information and how human beings learn; and it’s buttressed by Tim’s years of in-person experience communicating with, and coaching, leaders in business and non-profits worldwide.

Click on the podcast icon below to listen to Tim discuss some of the key concepts in his book, as well as answer questions from executive communications professionals at Cisco and Hewlett Packard.

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Toastmasters International Announces Founder of Freedom Writers Foundation as its 2017 Golden Gavel Recipient

Toastmasters International announced today that world-renowned speaker and educator Erin Gruwell is the recipient of the organization’s 2017 Golden Gavel award. The award, presented annually to an individual who exemplifies excellence in the fields of communication and leadership, will be presented to Gruwell during the Toastmasters International Convention, Aug. 23-26, 2017, in Vancouver, Canada.

Here’s a video of Erin’s thoughts on receiving the 2017 Golden Gavel award:

Gruwell was a high school English teacher in Long Beach, Calif., in the 1990s. At that time, gang violence and racial conflict was rampant and took the students’ focus away from learning. Gruwell developed a unique approach to reach her students: She introduced literature written by others who faced similar life challenges.

Her students found they could relate and soon after, Gruwell began to encourage them to write about their own life circumstances. Students recorded their thoughts and feelings in raw and graphic detail on topics such as gangs, the killing of family members and friends, growing up in broken homes, drug use, finding love and other teenage concerns. They called themselves the Freedom Writers after the 1960s American civil rights activists the Freedom Riders.

Freedom WritersThe powerful essays inspired the best-selling book, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them. The book was followed by the critically acclaimed movie, Freedom Writers, starring actress Hilary Swank as Gruwell.

“The difference Gruwell has made in her students’ lives epitomizes the importance and impact of instilling confidence in others,” says Toastmasters International President Mike Storkey. “We are thrilled to announce her as this year’s Golden Gavel recipient and look forward to her inspiring presentation at the Toastmasters International Convention in Vancouver.”

After the Freedom Writers movie, Gruwell went on to form a Toastmasters club and create the Freedom Writers Foundation through which she instructs educators on her teaching methods. She’s also a motivational speaker who travels the globe sharing her powerful message to vulnerable and at-risk youth.

“Toastmasters was a game-changer for me personally and professionally, and contributed to the growth of the Freedom Writers,” says Gruwell. “Being selected as the 2017 Golden Gavel award recipient is an incredible honor and I accept the award on behalf of all of the teachers out there who, every day, go into a classroom and give of themselves so their students can learn to use wings to fly.”

Gruwell will accept the award and address attendees during a presentation on Friday, Aug. 25, at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Gruwell joins an illustrious list of Golden Gavel honorees, including Walter Cronkite, Stephen Covey, Anthony Robbins, Muhammad Yunus and Zig Ziglar.

Click here to learn more about the 2017 International Convention, Aug. 23-26. The public is invited to attend.

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Book Review: The Compelling Communicator, by Tim Pollard

The Compelling Communicator Cover The true value of Tim Pollard’s excellent new book is conveyed by the subtitle: Mastering the Art and Science of Exceptional Presentation Design. While much of the literature on what makes a ‘compelling communicator’ focuses on cultivating delivery skills and stage presence, Pollard rightly consigns these topics to a brief Epilogue. Rather, his focus on what makes a presentation exceptional is around design and content. This makes the book of equal, if not greater, value to speechwriters and communications professionals as it is to those who deliver presentations.

Pollard is a welcome enemy of two of my own pet hates: Subject Experts who force an audience to drink from a firehouse, and executives who start out by building every presentation in PowerPoint, which he condemns as ‘absolutely the wrong way to start–it’s like laying bricks on each other as a way to design a new office building.’

The Need for Presentation Design

His indictment of the delusions that many, if not most, presenters suffer from is a telling one. Pollard is relentless in calling out the sorry state of business presentations in the world today, which include:

  • Cramming in large amounts of irrelevant material that crowds out content that really matters to an audience.
  • Subject experts who drastically overestimate an audience’s ability to absorb complex information.
  • Delivering an unstructured message which confuses the audience. (Sorry Guy Kawasaki, just numbering points from 1-10 does not cut it.)
  • In sum: content that is boring, confusing, forgettable, sender-centric and unlikely to drive people to take action.

The root of the problem is ‘selling the car using the owner’s manual’ by failing to identify the ‘big ideas’ that will grab the audience’s attention.

Mastering Presentation Design

The second part of the book is a step-by-step guide building a speech around a few big ideas to make an impact. This requires us nailing three key presentation design aspects:

  1. Selecting the content that deliver insights to influence the audience in the ways we want.

    Building a comprehensive audience profile is a necessary first step. It forces us to think of the world in terms of the audience and how the arguments we present intersect with their world.

  2. Simplifying and sequencing the content, paring down excessive material and structuring a story that packs meaning into each word of the speech.

    The importance of building presentations that tell a compelling story has been addressed by others such as Nancy Duarte, Justina Chen and Michael Hauge. Pollard gives us the practical tools we need to create presentations in a corporate setting that make effective use of stories.

  3. Engaging the audience with relevant information that grabs attention by appealing to both sides of the brain.

    This starts by crafting an effective opening, creating supporting visuals that add impact and are relevant, and closing with a simple, memorable, proposition.

    I especially liked Pollard’s sensible advice on supporting materials and handouts.

A Valuable Online Resource

A hidden bonus in the book is a complimentary six-month subscription to Tim’s Message Architect Software Tool which manages the process of designing presentations according to the steps described in the book.

It’s worth the price of the book to gain access to this software.

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Guest Posting: How to be a Presentation Hero, by Adam Noar

Adam Noar is the founder of Presentation Panda. He’s an expert marketer, entrepreneur, and presentation design expert. After building a successful website in the sportswear industry, he’s refocused on what he loves most: Building and designing exciting presentations for clients. Presentation Panda uses a simple, clear, and vibrant approach to presentation design. This material is posted with his express permission.

Presentation Hero vs Presentation Zero

In today’s competitive world, to pull off a KILLER presentation you need to:

• Think creatively … no more lazy bullet points
• Use tools and shortcuts so you can spend your time on the important stuff
• Create clean and captivating slides that appeal to people’s emotions
In other words, you need to be a presentation HERO.

Here’s 10 clever tips on how to be a Presentation Hero displayed within a simple infographic from Presentation Panda.

Click on the image below to see the complete infographic.

Hero vs Zero

Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 presentation tips covered in the infographic:

1. Give yourself plenty of time to work on your presentation so you can go above and beyond

Set aside plenty of time to work on your presentation so you can make sure that everything looks great. Avoid slapping your slides together at the last-minute hoping that it comes together. By giving yourself time you will be able to make sure the flow, the theme, and the content goes above and beyond.

2. Use keyboard shortcuts to save time

PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts can save you valuable time. For example, if you need to select all the objects on the slide, don’t select all your images one-by-one with you mouse. Instead, press Ctrl+A!

Here’s one more:

If you’ve made a mistake, instead of moving your mouse to hit the undo button simply press Ctrl+Z.

There are many keyboard shortcuts to memorize. Start with the common ones and add new ones over time.

3. Practice the art of slide cleanliness

Organization and consistency are one of those details that fade to the background if you do it well, but stand out as glaring errors when you neglect them. By placing everything on your slides with intention and precision your audience will be focusing on your message and not on your untidy slides.

4. Forget boring bullet points

Bullet points are simply not fun to look at. They are usually heavy on text and light on visuals, which usually means that they will be forgotten by your audience just as soon as the next slide pops up. You can do better! Getting rid of bullet points can be a challenging task, but there is no reason you can’t have a great time flexing your creative muscles to come up with some stylish alternatives.

5. Use a consistent theme of good looking visuals

A theme encompasses everything from font, images, colors, layout, formatting, and even to a certain extent the content that you put on display in a presentation. Once you have landed on a theme to use in your presentation, making decisions on how to design your slides becomes much easier.

6. Save lots of time by customizing PowerPoint with the tools you use most

Customizing your PowerPoint setup with your most commonly used tools will save you tons of time. Why search for the same tool over and over within the menus of PowerPoint when you can put it in an easily accessible place where you can easily grab it?

7. Get inspired before you start designing your slide deck

Don’t stare hopelessly at a blank canvas. Instead, take action and get inspired by looking around for presentation ideas online! A blank canvas isn’t really idea inspiring – a lot of times it’s intimidating, overwhelming, and frustrating. Who wants to feel like that before they even get started?

8. Get to know the many tools that can help you create nice looking slides
Presentation professionals know that many tools are needed for the job. In other words they keep an extensive set of tools with them when creating slides. They know what tools to use to do all sorts of things that make their presentation stand out.

9. Practice your presentation many times before giving it

Once you have finished creating your awesome slide deck you now have to practice giving your presentation many times before giving it. When you practice, you get comfortable with your message, hone what you want to keep (and get rid of), and get an understanding for how well your slides and content are placed.

10. Invest some time learning about the art of designing presentations

You aren’t born a presentation hero! If you want to create great looking PowerPoint slides you’ve got to put in some work – and that mostly means learning from the right resources and putting what you learned into action.

Conclusion

I hope you found this infographic and presentation tips helpful. Here’s my question for you:

Do you have a favorite presentation tip that has helped you achieve great results in the past? Sound off in the comments below!

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Pseuds Corner: The language of perfume

Back in 2007 I commented on the pretentious language of wine reviewers with their overblown phrases such as ‘dried cherry, pebbles and black tea aromas’ and ‘roasted red cherry, warm oak to round the edges’.

I’ve now discovered a topic even more worthy of inclusion in Private Eye’s Pseuds Corner — the language of perfumiers.

BibliothequeThe Weekend FT Fashion pages list a half dozen new fragrances for Spring. The reviewer shares that the Jo Malone’s Whisky and Cedarwood cologne “is part of a collection of five fragrances that evoke a lily pond at dawn, linseed oil, and waxed wood floors.” Flower by Kenzo, Eau de Lumière eau de toilette “is aimed at capturing the sensation of light” while Byredo’s Bibliothèque eau de parfum “suggests a traditional library”. Herbe PerfumeNot to be outdone, Hermès Eau des Merveilles Bleue eau de toilette “bottles the spirit of childhood summers and the escapism of the ocean” and Atelier Bloem’s 1614 eau de parfum “replicates the olfactory experience of Amsterdam’s floating flower market”.

Quite how the specificity of these descriptions is beyond comprehension. Does anyone know what a lily pond smells like a dawn, versus mid-day or dusk? Do all traditional libraries smell the same? Was everyone’s childhood summer spent escaping on the ocean, and does Amerstandm’s floating flower market not have notes of diesel from the barges mingled with the blossoms?

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