Two Tips for Curing the “Trailing So…”

By Laura Bergells on

Americans find the word “whatever” annoying. They find it way more annoying than the phrase “you know” and “it is what it is.” This factoid comes courtesy of USA Today, as quoted in a recent Marist Poll. Really? As for me, I have trouble with another pervasive verbal tic. I call it “The Trailing So.” …

How do you EARN attention when presenting?

By Laura Bergells on

“No computers or handhelds during my presentation,” barks a presenter. “I don’t know whether you’re playing games or paying attention. For the next hour, all eyes up here, on me!” photo credit: Ana Marta 7 I ignore this insane outburst, of course. I’m an adult. So is the rest of the audience. I take notes …

Just Who Do You Think You Are?

By Laura Bergells on

“Just be yourself.” How many times have you heard this three-word bit of useless advice? Yes, you read that right: I wrote “useless”. Why useless? Two main reasons: There’s nothing “just” about being yourself. You’re complicated. You’re deep. If you were a rock or a piece of wood, perhaps you could “just” present yourself without …

The Days of Talking Heads Are Nearly Over

By Laura Bergells on

I ♥ David Byrne. I even ♥ David Byrne’s “I ♥ PowerPoint.” Really, I do. But the days of the Talking Heads are over. I’m not talking about the band. I’m talking TV. And presenters. And presentations. We have social media to thank. photo credit: andyket Interactive presentations are in. Authoritative anchors reading dispassionately from …

Crowdsourcing Presentation Content with Twitter

By Laura Bergells on

What’s Crowdsourcing? According to Wikipedia, crowdsourcing is outsourcing a task to a large group of people in an open call. For example, when I was asked to present on the topic of social media & reputation management to an audience of college students earlier this month, I turned to the community at Twitter as an …

Are you nutritious or superstitious?

By Laura Bergells on

My host told me to go ahead and fill up at the wet burrito bar a half hour before I was scheduled to talk to a large audience. I politely declined. I can’t eat just ANYTHING before a major presentation. I don’t want to subject the audience to a fit of, em, gastronomic distress during a presentation. …

The 4 Most Important Elephants of Presentation

By Laura Bergells on

In grad school, a marketing professor insisted on an oral report. One student in class did not speak English as her first language. When she gave her report, she began talking about “The Most Important Elephants of International Marketing”. We all thought, of course, that she mispronounced “elements”. After the first time, most audience members, …

PowerPoint Pet Peeve: The Passive Voice

By Laura Bergells on

Which sentence do you like better? A PowerPoint presentation was given by the CEO. The CEO gave a PowerPoint presentation. Both sentences relay the same information. So why do you like the second one better? The first sentence is longer. It uses the passive voice. The second sentence is shorter. It uses the active voice. …

How Twitter Can Enhance Your Presentation

By Laura Bergells on

Much ado over a Twittering Congress. Last week during the President’s address to the joint session of Congress, some members Twittered through the speech. Almost immediately, two basic attitude camps sprang up among pundits: 1. How dare they! Congress should be paying rapt attention, not providing color commentary.2. Kudos! Now, the public gets to immediately …

How Public Speaking Can Make You Richer, Thinner, and Better in Bed

By Laura Bergells on

Bill Gates released a container of mosquitoes as part of his presentation schtick at the exclusive TED conference last week. Apparently, his gimmick intended to teach a privileged TED audience that mosquitoes cause malaria. However, what happens at TED doesn’t stay at TED. Gates’ stunt earned major media buzz. The worldwide backchannel chatter is that …