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Closed Captioning with Google Slides provides CC for live presentations

In an attempt to make live presentations more accessible, I first used Closed Captioning in Google Slides for a presentation I gave around a year ago. Closed Captioning in Google Slides is easy to use and does a terrific job.

All you need is Google Slides, Google Chrome, a live internet connection, and a microphone. That’s it. In the above video, I show you how to activate it. The video is under a minute. It’s that easy.

But does it work? Yes. And it works really well.

I was in a room with about 100 people. The internet connection was steady but slow — and yet, Google translated what I said in real time with about 97% accuracy for a 45 minute presentation.

In the video above, you’ll see that I get 100% accuracy. This was a one-take video that I filmed on my laptop, at home, with a laptop mike. Nothing fancy.

But now I have a confession: even though I’ve established that Google Slides Closed Captioning for live presentations is a great tool: I still don’t use Closed Captioning for 100% of my presentations.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Old habits dying hard?

I felt bad about this, and vowed to do better in the future. I mean, WHY NOT make live presentations more accessible? Why not use it for EVERY live presentation?

And then, I was surprised that I got some pushback for wanting to make my live presentations more accessible.

“Not every presentation needs closed captioning, Laura,” came the naysayer. “Why not ask your audience whether they want it or not? After all, not everyone needs or wants Closed Captioning. It might be distracting.”

To those naysayers, I say this:

Remember when I said “old habits die hard?” I think that’s the case here. For the past year, I didn’t used closed captioning because it wasn’t my HABIT to do so. For years, I’ve been presenting live without closed captioning.

But if I use Closed Captioning every time I present, it will become a habit.

And to those who say, “…but not everyone needs it, so why not ask your audience if they want it or not?” — I have this to say:

  1. These are early days in providing closed captioning. If you’re against it, it might simply because you’re not exposed to it. Once you become familiar with it, you might find you appreciate the visual support.
  2. The last thing I want to do is make someone in my audience uncomfortable. To single them out. To make them admit, to a roomful of people that they need Closed Captioning.
  3. Your day is coming. Someday, you might need to rely on Closed Captioning or other Assistive Technologies. When we design an inclusive experience, we’re improving the design for YOU.

In the future, I’ll do a better job of using Closed Captioning for my live presentations. I’ll get into the habit of using Google Slides with Closed Captioning for my presentations. If we have the technology, why not use it?

And if you use PowerPoint, it’s easy enough to run your show through Google Slides to give your audience a more inclusive experience. What else can we do to make our live presentations more accessible to our audiences?




Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.



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PowerPoint PowerPoint Presentation Presentation social media video

Get a QR code that links to your LinkedIn profile – put it on the last slide of your presentation

How do you get a QR code of your LinkedIn profile? You can do it directly from within LinkedIn!

I often put a QR code that leads to my LinkedIn profile on or near the last slide of my presentation. I sometimes will put one in a video.

With a QR code that leads to my LinkedIn profile, an audience member can scan the code and connect with me on LinkedIn, if they wish.

A few people asked me how to get their own QR code to use in their presentations and videos — and the answer is that it’s available right from within LinkedIn!

In this short video, (45 seconds) I show you how to create and scan a LinkedIn QR code.

If you feel so inclined, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Scan the code in the video, and you’ll go straight to my profile!


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.

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Blogging Coaching communication content ideas design Education PowerPoint PowerPoint Presentation Presentation public speaking social media Twitter video

How to transform presentation content into video social media posts

Here’s a question about presentations and videos I started to get a lot last month. I’ll paraphrase it:

Hey Laura. How do you do those square, short, silent little videos that you share on LinkedIn and Twitter?

The answer is: really easily! I use a tool called Canva. Update: And here’s a direct link so you can use Canva to create presentations and slides.

As a stand & deliver trainer, I have oodles of presentation content. Canva lets me repurpose bits and pieces of this content for easy social media sharing.

Yes, Canva excels at quick online video creation. I’m finding a lot of people use Canva — but we tend not to think of using it for video. We tend to think of it for images.

I’m also thinking a lot of people have PowerPoint presentations. Why not try using Canva to repurpose your presentation content for social media posts?

Canva lets you do this in a way that’s super easy to accomplish. I show you how in this two minute video. Enjoy!


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.

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Coaching communication content ideas Education PowerPoint PowerPoint Presentation Presentation public speaking video

Introduce emotional relevance to your presentations

Brain Rules by John Medina

“We don’t pay attention to boring things.”

John Medina, Brain Rules

Sounds basic, right?

But how do you NOT be boring when you’re speaking or presenting?

Medina tells us to be sure to introduce something emotionally relevant every 10 minutes.

At least every 10 minutes!

If we don’t, we risk losing the attention and interest of our audiences….because….

“We don’t pay attention to boring things.”

What can you do to shake things up for your audience?

Click on the video to discover 5 things you can do…in under 51 seconds!


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.

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Coaching communication design PowerPoint PowerPoint Presentation Presentation public speaking

Never end your presentation with Q&A.

Never end your presentation with a Q&A.

Got that? Don’t end your next presentation by saying, “Any questions?”

There’s no need to announce that it’s time for questions and answers.

You can do better.

Always plan a strong closing.

If you’re planning a Q&A session, you can have it near the end, but not at the end.

Answer audience questions, then deliver your closing statement.

Don’t risk letting your super awesome presentation drift off into whatever might be on the mind of the last person who asked a question.

Wrap it up, partner. Put a bow on that presentation. 🎁

Consider this: I cover five strong closing techniques in my public speaking foundations course on LinkedIn Learning.

The full course is one hour. It’s a great resource to revisit before your next big speech or presentation, free for LinkedIn Premium Members.

Check it out. >>> http://linkedin-learning.pxf.io/JAb4N

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Coaching communication PowerPoint PowerPoint Presentation Presentation public speaking

The 5 Worst Ways to Begin a Speech or Presentation…

5 worst ways to start a speech or presentation

Let’s explore 5 of the worst ways to open your next keynote or major presentation…that we hear ALL TOO OFTEN!

  1. Ahem! (clearing your throat – do vocal warmups beforehand, please!)
  2. Thank you…. (your audience doesn’t need to hear this.)
  3. It’s really great to be here….(you’re wasting even more time.)
  4. Can you hear me? (do your audio check before you hit the stage.)
  5. Hey, can you see my slides? (check your visuals beforehand, please!)

    If you’ve done one or all of these, you can do better. I know you can!

    Start with a strong opening technique.

Consider this: I cover five strong opening techniques in my public speaking foundations course on LinkedIn Learning.

The full course is one hour. It’s a great resource to revisit before your next big speech or presentation, free for LinkedIn Premium Members.

I get paid when you click on the link and take the course, though.

Check it out. >>> http://linkedin-learning.pxf.io/JAb4N

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PowerPoint PowerPoint Presentation Presentation

Who else remembers a world before PowerPoint?

Who can remember the first presentation they ever gave using PowerPoint? Can you remember with any specificity, or is PowerPoint so ubiquitous that you can’t really remember?

For those of use who are over 23 years of age — we are not PowerPoint natives. Some of us can remember a time before PowerPoint existed…and we gave presentations, anyway.

My first PowerPoint… it was in the early 1990’s. As a leader of a corporate IT user group, I was charged with giving the team’s recommendations to the executive staff.

I gave my first PowerPoint presentation a yellow background. I used few words — mostly pictures and headlines — and picked the “dissolve” transition between each slide. I gave it on a computer, as the executive staff circled around the monitor, amazed by the potential to use this whiz-bang new technology to tell a convincing story.

I remember a lot of “oooooh’s and aaaah’s”, followed up by “Neat. How’d you do that? Can we do that for sales? How about training?”

The executive staff approved our proposal. And PowerPoint became a global standard for business presentations.

Are you a PowerPoint native? Where were you when you delivered your first PowerPoint presentation?

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Coaching fun PowerPoint Presentation Presentation

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

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.

Thank You Slide

A “Thank You” slide takes the focus off the genuine emotional gratitude of the speaker. It reduces authentic warmth to an emotionally hollow visual cliché.

Further, it shows that you assume that your audience will be grateful for your presentation. What if they aren’t? What if they’re hostile to you and your message? And then you go ahead and put up your ‘thank you’ slide while they’re all booing, further antagonizing them with your sarcasm.

What’s your excuse for using a “Thank You” slide at the end of your presentation?

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PowerPoint Presentation Presentation

Bullet Points Equal Um, Ah, and Er

The next time you watch someone deliver a presentation that’s bullet point heavy – make a mental note. The speaker will often verbalize the bullet point with a filler word like “um, uh, ah, so, or like”.

They’ll actually say “um” where the bullet point is!

Bullet Points Equal Um

When I ask students to share the results of their group brainstorming sessions, most begin by reading their lists. Before every item on their list, they usually say, “um’ or ‘ah’.

However, when I ask a student to tell me a story that illustrates a point from the list — the verbal fillers almost disappear! When we share stories, we’re less likely to use filler words. However, when we read lists, we are far more likely to add filler words.

Go through your presentation and find any areas where you might be reading a list or using bullet points. How you can transform a bullet point list into a story or a even a series of stories?

Look for those opportunities. Eliminating bullet points not only eliminates the ‘ums’ from your presentation — it helps you to better engage your audience with more powerful storytelling.

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design fun PowerPoint Presentation Presentation

Three vital presentation lessons learned…from a walk in the woods

For close to two decades, I take an almost-daily walk near my office. It helps the creative process to get out and clear my head. My office is located in an old forest. A creek runs through it, creating a sizable gully. I’ve seen deer, coyotes, rabbits, and all sorts of birds on my constitutional.

As one of the more civilized creatures, I walk on the sidewalk that cuts through the forest. No sense muddying my shoes on the way to and from work.

A few weeks ago, something new caught my eye on my daily walk. Someone had crawled down into the depths of the gully to place a red sign on a tree. The bright red spot caught my eye and raised my curiosity.

Sign from the sidewalk
The sign, as seen from the sidewalk

Squinting, I gathered that there were words on the sign. However, the sign was too far down the hill for me to read. An innately curious person, I simply had to know what the sign was trying to communicate. In a typical January, the forest would be filled with drifts of snow, making it near impossible for me to get close to the sign. Even so, the forest floor was filled with slick leaves, so I half slid down the gully to get a closer look. Halfway down, I snapped another photo:

Sign, halfway down the hill, with zoom.
Sign, halfway down the hill, with zoom.

Curses! I still could not read the sign. Determined, I continued to slide down the hill until I got a few feet away from the tree.

No Hunting or Trespassing.
I'm going to be prosecuted.

I felt entrapped. Twenty years, and I never once think to wander down a steep hill to go into the forest. A bright sign inflames my curiosity, and boom. I’m a trespasser.

Vexed, I trudged back up the slippery hill. A Pileated woodpecker gave me a stern lecture, then banged his head on a rotted tree top. The judge banged his gavel. I had been dismissed. Case closed.

What three presentation lessons had I been reminded of from my foray into the forest?

The unexpected will rivet audience attention. Breaking a pattern is a very basic way to grab attention. I was accustomed to seeing only forest: the red sign caught my interest because it was different than what I had expected to see. How can you break a visual or sensory pattern in your next presentation to grab attention and get your audience to take action?

Be careful with negative instructions. If you don’t want your audience to do something, don’t even put the idea into their heads. If I tell you to NOT think about woodpeckers right now, guess what you’re going to do? You’re visualizing woodpeckers right now, aren’t you? Yet, you had no intention of doing so… until I told you NOT to do it.

Take words seriously. If you want me to take your words seriously, how about making your font size huge and clearly visible? What about placing your sign (or your PowerPoint) almost smack in front of me, instead of making me peer down a gully or around a post or from the side or through someone’s head?

I’m pleased to report that the woodpecker let me off with only a warning. I will be doing no serious time or paying a hefty fine for my trespass  — other than scraping what appears to be an unpleasant mix of mud and coyote dung off the bottom of my shoes.