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 …

Welcome

How well do you welcome?

By Laura Bergells on

Your “Welcome” mat may be a visual cliché. You may think it’s de rigueur — but is it really making your audience feel welcomed? We’ve reached a point where merely saying or writing “welcome” doesn’t even mean anything. It’s too generic to be useful or inviting. That’s why you don’t see many websites with a welcome …

word mashups

Are word mashups pathetisad or helpfunctional?

By Laura Bergells on

I came across the words smetiquette and framily for the first time in January. I didn’t need to look these words up: I knew what they meant instantly and intuitively. Smetiquette is a portmanteau: a mashup of the phrase social media (SM) and etiquette. Framily is Sprint’s marketing mashup: it means “Friends and Family”. We …

Balaclava Laura

How do you dress for success during a cold snap?

By Laura Bergells on

“We’re enduring a subzero cold snap, so pack warm clothing. Bring a coat, hat, gloves, and boots,” I advised a southern client over the phone. She was planning to fly up to deliver a series of training presentations for her northern clients. I was to make introductions and serve as her co-presenter in my home …

uncanny valley

Beware the uncanny valley of presentation design and delivery

By Laura Bergells on

A performer and presentation can be overly polished and perfect. Creepily so. Borrowing from the world of robotics, I call this phenomenon the uncanny valley of design and delivery. This is when a presenter looms a bit too near perfection. I don’t run into the uncanny valley of presentation design and delivery too often, but when I …

OK, so never start a sentence with these 10 words…

By Laura Bergells on

No offense, but I recently had to leave a lecture because the speaker began every other sentence with either “So…” or “Alright, so…” His information may have been spectacular, but after a half hour, I felt too distracted to listen anymore. When your audience starts playing a mental drinking game based on taking a sip …

Sloth Doing Nothing

Doing Nothing is the New Doing Something

By Laura Bergells on

Recently, I noticed this absurd trend of gallantly and heroically doing nothing. About 19 months ago, I accidentally left my cell phone home and traveled out of town on business. When I arrived at the hotel, I needed to find the conference organizer. I used my laptop to call her via Skype & explained that …

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 …

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 …