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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 …

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 …

hearts are with those affected

Our hearts and thoughts are not with you at this time…

By Laura Bergells on

Enough with organizations offering generic sentiments and abstractions. Be specific. Give me something concrete, or don’t say anything at all. Let’s say I’m on a company’s email list. It sends me an email telling me to enjoy a happy and safe holiday weekend. It generously tells my family to have one, too. And then 100 other brands send me something …

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 …

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 …

Telecommuting: are you ready for your close up?

By Laura Bergells on

Owing to global weirding, those who can are making plans to telecommute today. If you’re a writer, teacher, or communicator: you might have access to tools that allow you to do your jobs remotely. In a pinch, remote tools can often allow ‘the show to go on’. I remember speaking at an out-of-state conference a …

sleep is the enemy

7 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Sleeping

By Laura Bergells on

“Help me! I can’t sleep!” I see variations of the “I can’t sleep” post on Facebook almost every week. I know that some friends have serious health problems and need medical help: this post is definitely NOT for them. This is just a “hey, friends — if you’re having a tough time sleeping lately, here’s some …

pro peace

How can you positively frame your core message?

By Laura Bergells on

A number of people and organizations have gone out of their way lately to tell me that they are non-violent. They remind me of people who go out of their way to tell me that they are not racists. Not sexists. Not homophobic. It’s a tell. Let’s take a look at what a person who …

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 …