How to Be a Great Audience Member

By Laura Bergells on

When I’m presenting live, I look for a friendly face in the audience. I like to focus on attentive, smiling, thoughtful faces. They give out a good energy that I respond to as a presenter. Often, just one friendly audience member can make me a better, more confident presenter. So when it’s my turn to …

Halloween Meets the Fear of Public Speaking

By Laura Bergells on

Imagine getting this event invitation: “Come to our Halloween party. Dress as your worst fear.” I received just such an event invitation a number of years ago. Delighted, I set my mind to the task of what I would wear. “Worst fear. Let’s see. I’ll bet people will come as ghosts, werewolves, monsters, and such. …

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.” …

Two Ways to Let Your Audience Co-Create Presentation Content

By Laura Bergells on

Your audience has the technology. They’re carrying smart phones. They have net books or note books. So why not let them use their snazzy tech tools to co-create presentations? Here are two tech-driven ways to let your audience co-create presentation content. PollEverywhere. Audience interactivity is a big part of the draw of PollEverywhere. You ask …

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 …

Three Transparently Phony Ways to Appear Less Confident

By Laura Bergells on

Confidence. Somehow, this word became virtuous in the 1980’s. It remained a positive trait — until fairly recently. Confidence men, we called them in the 1930’s and 40’s. Over time, we shortened this to “Con Men” or “Cons”. Overly charming, smooth. Hucksters. Yech. Cons transmit that they are absolutely positive in their correctness. Who trusts …

The Creepiest PowerPoint Design Trend of 2009

By Laura Bergells on

architecture.revolutionary.relationships.re-contextualize. Those were four words on four slides in a 15 minute PowerPoint presentation I witnessed last month. The remaining 700 slides in the presentation each had one word on them, as well. OK, I’m exaggerating. There couldn’t have been 700 slides in that presentation. But it seemed like it. In the presentation I saw, …