Categories
communication

Body Language Tip: when networking, look at feet

networking look at feet

Some people find networking awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Not if you get in the habit of looking at feet.

Feet???

Yes, feet!

Feet point toward interest. If you’re talking to someone and your feet are pointing toward each other, cool. You’re both interested and engaged.

But when someone’s feet start to stray, it’s a good time to walk away. It’s been swell, but it’s time to move on.

As you approach a group, you might wonder if it’s a good time to join in. Watch for an opening. When someone’s foot starts to stray outward, it may be a good time to step in.

Body language doesn’t lie. Look for body language cues when you network. It can make connecting and moving on much easier.

Categories
Coaching Presentation public speaking

Why might speakers cross their legs on stage?

standing with legs crossed while presenting

A woman stands on stage. She’s got her head down as she reads from her index cards. She’s tugging at her scarf and hair with her left hand. Her voice trembles and shakes. Then, she crosses her legs as she stands.

If you talk to many body language experts, they’ll tell you that crossing your legs while standing is a sign that you’re comfortable. But in this case, it’s not. The woman is nervous.

But why do we see anxious speakers cross their legs on stage? Isn’t leg-crossing supposed to be a sign that they’re comfortable with their audiences?

Consider the context. When you see a lot of other behaviors that signal fear – head down, trembling voice, and self-soothing gestures like playing with scarves and hair – the cross-legged stance can be considered yet another form of pacifying behavior.

It’s also a pose. Crossed legs are meant to signal comfort to the audience.

However, standing while crossing your legs isn’t an ideal posture when you’re delivering a talk. It can prevent you from getting the full breath support you need. It can contribute to your trembling voice.

Worse – standing cross legged while you’re nervous makes it look like you’ve got to pee!

If you find yourself standing cross-legged on stage, uncross. Widen your stance. Look up at your audience. Smile and take a breath.

You’ve got this.

Categories
Coaching communication Presentation public speaking

Weird is where the growth happens

A client was rehearsing her presentation. She stood on stage with her arms crossed in front of her. I stopped her.

“Try standing with your palms out,” I told her.

She did, then stopped.

“That feels weird,” she said.

“Good,” I said. “Try it again.”

She did.

“Still feels weird,” she said.

“Again.”

“Still weird.”

“Again.”

Weird is natural when you’re learning a new approach. When you’re training new muscles, it’s bound to feel uncomfortable.

It’s weird.

It’s why we drill and rehearse. Until it feels natural, it’s going to feel weird.

It might be comfortable to do what you’ve done before, but weird is where the growth happens.


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, her courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy classes à la carte.

Categories
communication design PowerPoint Presentation video

6 Tips on Using Color in Slide Design.

using color in slide design

Color choices on your slides are important. People react to color on both a physical and emotional level.

Often, we see color on PowerPoint slides that don’t seem to have a purpose. Or worse, the color undermines the emotional intent of the message. Sometimes, setting constraints or following basic rules on colors can help you make better color choices.

Here are 6 quick tips that cover the basics of using color in slide design.

1. Use bright colors to attract + stimulate. Don’t use color merely for decoration. Use it for a purpose like drawing attention or setting a mood.

2. Use muted colors for reflection + contemplation. You don’t want to be in “attraction + stimulation” mode all the time. Think about the emotional content of color and how it can enhance learning outcomes.

3. Be careful about using too much color on one slide. It can be confusing. Remember the design concepts of contrast and sameness: without balance, you can create clutter and chaos.

4. Beware of bevels, gradients, and red text. They can be hard to see.

5. Check contrasts for accessibility. For those who are color blind or have photosensitivity, some colors may be difficult or impossible to see. Check contrasts at https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/

6. Consider a limited, coordinated color palette. Pick one that meets your needs here: https://color.adobe.com/

What’s your fave quick tip for using color in slide design?


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.

Categories
crisis video

5 Common Crisis Response Mistakes

5 crisis response mistakes

Let’s explore 5 common crisis communication response mistakes… and what to do instead.

I’ve seen all five of these mistakes play out in the media recently. How about you?

1. Don’t ignore warning signs: conduct routine threat assessments.

2. Don’t cover up: take responsibility.

3. Don’t speculate: verify and confirm facts.

4. Don’t say “No Comment” or “I Don’t Know” : drill tough questions

5. Don’t appoint an outside spokesperson: train internal spokespeople.

How many of these mistakes have you seen play out in the media recently?

Consider this: I teach crisis communication on LinkedIn Learning.

The full course is one hour. It’s a great resource for leaders (and students!) to view together to plan for crisis response.

Check it out. It’s free for LinkedIn Premium members. I get paid when you take the course! >>> https://lnkd.in/ePsngqj

Categories
communication content ideas storyfinding

Creating a culture of storytelling: 4 areas to begin your story hunt

4 places to find stories

Are you creating or nurturing a culture of storytelling at your organization?

In my storyfinding workshop, we talk about 4 areas to begin a story hunt:

1️⃣ Online reviews. Start mining online reviews. People will sometimes describe an experience they had with your company. How can you follow up to create a story?

2️⃣ Complaints + Compliments. Talk with the people on the front lines. Ask them: what’s the weirdest complaint you’ve received this month? Or try: tell me about a compliment that you didn’t expect. How can you transform the offbeat or unusual into a story?

3️⃣ Interviews + Conversations. Set out with the intention of collecting stories in your interactions with people. Say “tell me a story about a time when you faced a challenge at work” to hear a classic story about overcoming obstacles.

4️⃣ Meetings. If you want to create a culture of storytelling at your company, start with meetings. Kick off every meeting with a story — or ask someone else in attendance to do so. “Heard any good stories lately?” or “What did you learn today?” can often yield some vivid employee storytelling.

Where else can beginners look to find great stories?

Create a Culture of Storytelling at your Organization: Where to find stories


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.

Categories
communication crisis video

The four near enemies of noble emotions

Let’s UNMASK four near enemies. A near enemy is a WICKED emotion that comes disguised as a NOBLE emotion.

Near enemies can be more dangerous than far enemies. That’s because far enemies are easy to spot.

For example, hate is the far enemy of love. Or sadness can be a far enemy of joy. Since it’s easy to detect a far enemy, you know what you’re dealing with.

But near enemies are tricky. They pose as noble emotions while destroying the noble emotion. Near enemies are so good at disguising themselves, you might even mistake a near enemy for a noble emotion.

These dangerous four enemies can TRICK others…and they can even TRICK you.

😟 Pity can look like Compassion.

😍 Codependence can look like Love.

😑Indifference can look like Equanimity.

😂 Exuberance can look like Sympathetic Joy.

Beware the 4 near enemies! Unmask them!

Practice self-awareness. Gain emotional intelligence.


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.

Categories
fun

Zhooshing up your business language with made-up or unusual words

the word Zhoosh

“Zhoosh”. It’s a word that’s fun to say, but hard to spell.

It has its roots in Polari, the slang language of low creative and underground subcultures. And yet, I used the word “zhoosh” in a client work email last month.

Was I being professional? In the context I used it, it was a low creative risk.

It worked as a piece of flair to zhoosh up an otherwise dry, workaday missive.

As Stan Phelps of Purple Goldfish fame writes:

Wouldn’t the world be a brighter place if we all strove to put a little more zhoosh into the lives of others? Here’s a handful that I’m trying my best to make a small dent in the lexicon of life:

Lagniappe – similar to Zhoosh, a little something extra that’s added in customer experience for good measure. Mark Twain called it a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get.

Plussing – coined by Walt Disney, it’s kind of the verb of lagniappe. The act of looking at something and dong a little more to improve it and make it better by plussing it up.

Flawsom – the art of embracing what’s weird or weak, because our flaws hold the key to what makes us awesome.

Humanware – improving how our brain functions by sharpening our soft skills as we manage ourselves and perceive others.

Diamond Rule – the art of managing yourself under pressure and addressing the needs of others to avoid their triggers.

What unusual, risky, or completely made-up word choices have you used lately in a professional setting? How’d it work out for you?

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.

Categories
PowerPoint Presentation Presentation public speaking video

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.



Categories
Presentation public speaking video

Walk and Talk meetings for data and research briefs

Do you do “walk & talk” meetings at your organization?

One of my favorite times for a “walk & talk” is when I’m presenting research findings. If it all possible — due to the weather and other constraints — I want to get my clients out of the office and into nature.

My reasoning? Clients tend to want to dive into spreadsheets and data dashboards — while I want to keep the discussion on key findings.

My solution? Get them out of the office and into the woods!

While walking, I’ll present key findings and a summary. We can talk through any issues that come up.

And if clients want to dive into the data, they know it’s in the report. They can review it when we’re back in the office.

If you don’t want clients to get lost in the data — lost in the woods — why not try a walk and talk meeting?

Serve as a guide. Lead your audience out of the woods so they can see the whole forest!

When’s the last time you tried a “walk and talk” meeting? How did it work out?


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.