Bullet Points Equal Um

Bullet Points Equal Um, Ah, and Er

By Laura Bergells on

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! When I ask students to share the results of …

When was the last time you flipped someone the bird?

By Laura Bergells on

Earlier this week, I showed this image of an adorable baby during a body language training segment. I asked the class, “Is this baby angry?” The class smirked. Sure, the baby’s flipping the bird, but the infant’s not angry. A baby has no idea that showing the middle finger might be an obscene or angry …

I can haz mad communication skillz…

By Laura Bergells on

If you say you have excellent communication skills, you’re demonstrating that you don’t. Communication skills are self evident, not self described. Yet many hiring managers persistently write “strong communication skills” as a requirement in job descriptions. Sadly, savvy job hunters must include the vile term “excellent communication skills” in their résumés …or risk being rejected by …

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

By Laura Bergells on

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. …

What shouldn’t you wear?

By Laura Bergells on

“What should I wear?” I asked the event organizer. We just agreed that I would speak at her winter event. She glanced up and down at me. “What you’re wearing now is fine. We’re a very casual business.” I was wearing dark jeans, fitted t-shirt, and blazer. So was she. In the olden days, an …

Use super sticky notes for super sticky ideas

By Laura Bergells on

After a longish brainstorming session, I heard Mac Fowler quip, “I should buy stock in 3M.” He was referring, I reckon, to a perceived uptick in the use of 3M’s ubiquitous sticky note. It was true that I had flung a pack of these little devils on the table during our annual aimWest planning meeting. …

He’s Too Manly To Use the Mic – What Can You Do?

By Laura Bergells on

“I don’t need to use the mic for my presentation,” bellows our baritone speaker. “I have a strong voice.” “Yes, of course you do,” I soothe him. “But please don’t be afraid to use our microphone.” Photo Credit: Jim Bahn Fear. Many times, fear is the reason why seemingly polished presenters balk when we request …

How much meat is too much meat?

By Laura Bergells on

I like meat. Grilled, stewed, roasted — properly prepared, good cuts of meat are delicious. But when it comes to presentation, how much meat is too much meat? I was enjoying a friendly discussion with another meat-loving chum. We agreed that while the meat prices are very good at a local grocery store, we seldom …

Finding Hell in the Audience Poll

By Laura Bergells on

“Hell is other people” is a phrase from one of my favorite plays, Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. A classic existential line, I like to think that it means that other people make you self-conscious. Self-examination can be brutal. Hellish. When it comes to our own transgressions, we don’t like to acknowledge them privately. And we …

Which audience are you really addressing?

By Laura Bergells on

“The real leader serves truth, not people.”  -J.B. Yeats You have many audiences, all at once. You have the audience that is in front of you as you speak. You have the audience of people that will hear about your message from the first audience. You may even have media coverage of your message, which …