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Microsoft Sway: give it a try, avoid the hype

By Laura Bergells on

Microsoft Sway is now freely available online. If you’re a story teller, check it out. Take a few minutes to watch the Microsoft tutorial video.  It will give you a broad overview of what Sway is and how you might use it. Then, go monkey around with it a little. It’s at Sway.com. Whatever you do, …

Do you want me to bore you?

By Laura Bergells on

“I can bore you to death with a couple hundred PowerPoint slides for the next hour, or we can have a discussion and make this fun and interactive,” said the speaker. Seriously. Those were the first words out of his mouth. The audience of around 50 just sat there, including me. After about 5 silent …

direct question

How good are you at answering simple questions? Take this easy quiz.

By Laura Bergells on

As an intelligent business person, you might think you are excellent at answering simple, direct questions. But are you? Take this easy, 5-question quiz to find out: 1. A venture capitalist asks how much your new service costs. You: A: Explain how you and your team arrived at the various price points. B. Respond, “$79 …

read it out loud

Say it out loud

By Laura Bergells on

Here’s my number one tip for writing scripts and speeches. It’s simple, powerful, and only four words long. Say it out loud. 1. Say 2. It 3. Out 4. Loud Four words. It’s such an easy tip. So simple. And so overlooked. I get to write and edit scripts and speeches and dialogues for a living. And …

Team Building & Crisis Communication Fundamentals

By Laura Bergells on

I hope you never experience a crisis. But when you do, be prepared. Introducing Crisis Communication Fundamentals, my latest online course. It’s available now in the Lynda.com content library. I felt inspired to write this course because I’ve watched people struggle to figure out how to communicate when something unexpected and unpleasant strikes their organization. My aim is to …

no bombshells

When making a surprise announcement, don’t say this…

By Laura Bergells on

You made a surprise announcement. You didn’t drop a bombshell. I’m more than a little strung out when I hear those in the news media say something like, “Mr. Peacock dropped a major bombshell at Wince Country Club today. We’ll give you details after the break.” Instantly, my mind goes to actual bombs. Wounded people. …

spin doctors gotta spin

Spin doctors gotta spin…

By Laura Bergells on

Public relations pros don’t like the word spin. Call one a “spin doctor” and that’s a low blow. A rude insult. So how can we put a better spin on our profession? As a child, my mom gave me this piece of life advice: “Don’t call people names they don’t want to be called.” However, …

stock photo

Why sign the photo release?

By Laura Bergells on

Stock photos pretty much suck. Perhaps they had their time and place, but their moment has passed. After a few years of looking at your friend’s photos on Instagram and Facebook, your eyes have been accustomed to seeing real people doing real activities. In contrast, stock photos of people faking their emotions doesn’t quite resonate …

sound jeopardy

What can you do in 30 seconds?

By Laura Bergells on

Throwback Thursday… In 2005, Merv Griffin said he wrote the Jeopardy! theme song in under a minute. “That little 30 seconds has made me a fortune, millions,” he said. How much exactly? Somewhere between 70 and 80 million. And that was ten years ago. Let’s pretend it took you 30 seconds to click through and read this …

george carlin

Why bother with a cover-up?

By Laura Bergells on

People in Washington say it’s not the initial offense that gets you in trouble. It’s the cover-up. They say you should admit what you did, get the story out, and move on. What this overlooks is the fact that most of the time the cover-up works just fine, and nobody finds out anything. I would …