Freak out

What’s the exact opposite of what you’re saying?

By Laura Bergells on

When you edit a business presentation that offers a numbered list or step-by-step instructions, here’s a fun way to make your content more satisfying. In your head, ask yourself, “what might the exact opposite of that action be?” “Communicate with employees” might become “Leave employees in the dark.” “Follow the company policy manual” can be …

Betty Boop Distracting Voice

What no one will tell you: your voice is distracting

By Laura Bergells on

I heard a young woman speak on the topic of feminism. Her content was valuable, thoughtful, and well-organized. However, her voice caught me off completely off guard. She spoke in a high, squeaky, Betty Boop voice. Photo credit: infomatique  Initially, I assumed the speaker was adopting a cartoonish voice to illustrate something about her subject …

talk like a robot

Talk like a human, not like a robot

By Laura Bergells on

This morning, a company rep told me, “”Customer satisfaction is our number one priority.” I laughed, because no human being actually talks like that, right? Clearly, he was badly coached. Stilted words guaranteed a clumsy delivery. This turned into an awkward, laugh-out-loud moment. Later this afternoon, I worked with another service. “Customer service is our …

Kennedy Nixon First Televised debate

For your next video conference: think Nixon…

By Laura Bergells on

Watch the first televised presidential debate on YouTube. Kennedy and Nixon go head-to-head in 1960. Today, this debate is often discussed as an example of how much your personal appearance matters when it comes to an important televised presentation. Kennedy took great care to look good on camera. He wore a neatly pressed dark suit. …

What’s next in online education?

By Laura Bergells on

Earlier this year, I wrote and performed Public Speaking Fundamentals for the Lynda.com Online Training Library. I wrote the scripts from April through June, and then flew out to California to shoot the series in July. The course went live on August 31. Go check it out — beyond my course, Lynda.com provides a massive library of …

Thank You Slide

How do you feel about the “thank you” slide?

By Laura Bergells on

At the end of a presentation, you can say, “thank you.” Sure, it’s not the strongest close in the world. However, it’s certainly acceptable to say “thank you” if you’re feeling especially grateful or moved. But a slide that reads “Thank You” at the end of your presentation? That’s weak. A “Thank You” slide takes …

Why do people love the positive-attitude presenter?

By Laura Bergells on

We have different feelings about that guy. Who’s that guy? Oh, you know that guy. He’s that presenter that’s very pumped up in front of his audience. He’s idiotically happy, and demands that you act that that way, too. HE: Good morning! AUDIENCE: Mmm. HE: I can’t hear you! Gooood MORNING! Let me hear you …

In business, do looks matter? Really?

By Laura Bergells on

When I was introduced to a man at a business meeting, I felt shocked. As I shook his hand, I stared into the face of an infamous serial killer. The man wasn’t really a mass murderer. Unfortunately, he looked exactly like him. As the man spoke to me, I tried to listen. Really. But I …

Go nuts with design

Slide Design: Try this ‘Simple’ Game…

By Laura Bergells on

I love working with talented professional designers. They can help you create slides that not only look beautiful, but really help enhance your presentation. However, most of the time, I don’t have the luxury or budget to hire a design team to produce my slides. For many business presentations, slide design becomes a do-it-yourself effort. …