Best of 2012: Creating Communication


With our remaining two days of 2012, Creating Communication will reflect on the year in review as it relates to public speaking and presentation.  First, we looked at my favorite presentation-related things of 2012: book, webinar, Tweets, blog, TED Talk, speech, etc.  Today, we will look at the best of Creating Communication in 2012:

Creating Communication‘s Most Popular Posts of 2012:

Most Commented Posts of 2012:

My Favorite 5 Posts of 2012:

What was your favorite 2012 Creating Communication moment?

Best of 2012: My Favorite Things


With our remaining three days of 2012, Creating Communication will reflect on the year in review as it relates to public speaking and presentation.  First, we will look at my favorite presentation-related things of 2012: book, webinar, Tweets, blog, TED Talk, speech, etc.

My favorite 2012 presentation book goes to the Harvard Business Review/Nancy Duarte partnership: HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.  My review of the text is forthcoming!  It combines Duarte’s previous texts, Slide:ology and Resonate into a short, neat, HBR-approved book, and it’s a must-read for anyone who presents.

My favorite public speaking/presentation concept was Ethos3’s “Presenter’s Manifesto.”  I printed out a beautiful color copy of the inspiring, well-designed guide to the presentation revolution, and I urge you to read it and to join us in 2013.  My favorite Tweets about public speaking and presentation also came from Ethos3.  You must follow them here.  Last, but not least, my favorite public speaking webinar this year was done by Ethos3’s CEO Scott Schwertly and was called “How To Be An Online Presentation God.”  Organized by Tony Yang, Director of Marketing at Knoodle, the one-hour webinar was the perfect compliment to everything Ethos3 has been doing this year.  I love those guys so much, and they’ve really inspired me in 2012 in so many ways.

My favorite Slideshare presentation from 2012 was JesseDee’s updated “You Suck At PowerPoint.”  Though the original was great, this updated version took the design to the next level.

My favorite TED Talk of 2012 was definitely LZ Granderson’s “The Myth of the Gay Agenda.”  My favorite speech of 2012 was Bill Clinton’s Democratic National Convention address.  You especially have to check out this article alongside the video of Clinton’s DNC speech.

My favorite website with comprehensive information about public speaking and presentation in 2012 was Andrew Dlugan’s Six Minutes.  I was lucky enough to write for Six Minutes twice in 2012, and you can check out my articles here.  While this series is my favorite of all time on Six Minutes, this article was my favorite of 2012 because I love examining charisma and what it means to be a charismatic speaker.

I can’t talk about the best of 2012 without honoring the two best overall public speaking/presentation brands: Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds.  Both blog, Tweet, speak, and write amazing things on 21st century presenting.

Who or what would you add to this list of 2012 favorites?  Did I miss anything important?

Markham Nolan: How To Separate Fact and Fiction Online


Since my husband had to work all week, my mom flew to Orlando to spend the Christmas holidays with me.  We had such an amazing time shopping, dining, running, and screening movies.  Unfortunately, during all of the holiday fun, I haven’t been able to decompress by watching any TED Talks.  Today, after my mom’s plane left, I finally got a chance to sit around my dining room table and search  I was instantly inspired by something new: Markham Nolan’s “How To Separate Fact and Fiction Online.”  Watch it here:


I love the idea that with new technology and new media, there are more “reporters” than ever before.  Websites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter break news almost instantly… and for free.  The way we received news in the past has completely changed.  This is something we talked a lot about in my Legal and Ethical Issues in Communication class at UCF.  My amazing professor, Dr. Voss, wanted us to really look at the laws of the past (especially the First Amendment) that are shifting under our feet with all of these new technologies.

Nolan urges us to think critically about the images, status updates, and videos that we see on the Internet.  We have to scrutinize the source of all of the information we receive and filter the fiction from the facts.  This relates directly to the class that I teach, Professional Communication and Presentation, because we focus on research and logos when building a speech.  A presentation has to be backed by credible, reliable source material… but how do you really know if your source is legit?

Do you think the widespread use of social media has changed the landscape of “the news” in a positive or negative way?  How do you separate fact from fiction online?

*PS: Be sure to check out the data visualization at about the six minute mark.  It’s amazing!

A Star-Filled Christmas: Top Yuletide Films Since 1980


Infographics are a beautiful way to communicate complex information in a more elegant, easy to understand fashion.  With this particular infographic, I love the typefaces, the color palette, and the repetition of the data visualization: box office earnings; critic ratings; and audience ratings.



Which of these is your favorite holiday film?

Personal Brand “Mechanics” – An Interview with Garr Reynolds


In this video, Peter Sterlacci interviews Garr Reynolds on Presentation Zen and the personal brand Reynolds created:


The question and answer session can help you to brand yourself, to promote your brand, and to make sure people “get” your brand.  Reynolds suggests several techniques to boost your personal brand including 1) building a website with a specific focus and 2) constantly updating a website.  Did you know that Reynolds didn’t seek out a publisher for Presentation Zen?  Because of his website, publishers came to him!

The question Sterlacci asks at about the 6 minute mark is my favorite question of the entire interview.  He asks, “How does being a good presenter help promote someone’s personal brand?”

Reynolds’ answer is amazing.  He explains that he learned some great advice from Guy Kawasaki: give it away.  Reynolds says the medium he uses to give knowledge and information away is through presentation.  Through presentations, he grew his network and his community – which led to his business and the money he makes.

What were your favorite take-aways from Garr Reynolds’ interview?  How do you communicate your brand to an audience?

8 Beliefs About Life… and Public Speaking: Part Two


Catch up on the first half of the article containing the first four beliefs here: “8 Beliefs About Life… And Public Speaking: Part One.”  Geoffrey James’ four final beliefs about life that we can relate to public speaking are essential to conquering our presentation anxiety.

The fifth mantra James says we should repeat to ourselves is, “What I say reinforces what I think, so if something is about to come out of my mouth that doesn’t serve my purpose, I should simply keep my mouth shut” (Source).  I teach a public speaking and presentation class to business students, so I’ve seen a nervous breakdown or two.  These usually happen on speech day while a student is waiting to present.  Students can actually talk themselves out of presenting by engaging in negative self-talk.  Both thoughts and speech should be positive; otherwise, you can give into your lizard brain and allow your nerves to control you.  While you are waiting to present, it’s best to go over your speech in your head.  This helps you focus on the task at hand: delivering a strong speech… but it also helps you to stop thinking negative thoughts.

James’ sixth belief is, “I am responsible for my own happiness, so when other people are unkind to me, it reminds me to be kind to myself” (Source).  We can use this belief to help us with a speech that doesn’t go over as well as it could have with an audience.  Perhaps an audience member was offended by the presentation and says as much.  Maybe audience questions are a little confrontational.  If your speech doesn’t go over as well as you planned it, and if your audience is unkind, you must still be kind to yourself.  This rarely ever happens, but it could if the presenter doesn’t properly prepare or accidentally misspeaks in his or her presentation.  Keep in mind that as long as you are honest, authentic, and sincere when dealing with audience members who heckle, you can feel confident in your presentation at the end of the day.


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Seventh, James says we should believe, “There are five magic words that make even the most difficult business situation easier to handle. Those magic words are: ‘Do not take it personally'” (Source).  We have to remember, alongside belief six, that a presentation is out of our hands the moment we begin speaking.  The presentation is designed for the audience, so the audience determines whether or not the speech resonates with them.  We have to take our audience’s needs into consideration above all else in order to plan a successful speech.  However, even though the audience is important, we can’t take their reactions personally.  What if, instead of feeling pathetic and terrible about ourselves, we can work to take constructive criticism from an audience into consideration without taking it personally?  It is difficult, but if we can learn to do this, we can push ourselves to be stronger presenters and stronger people.

Last, but not least, James suggest we keep this in mind: “While there are situations (such as a death in the family) where strong emotions are appropriate, most business situations are not worth even an ounce of misery” (Source).  Again, it’s important to remember that even if your presentation falls flat and doesn’t connect with anyone, we must pick ourselves up and try again.  The outcome of a speech should not determine whether or not we are miserable that day/week/month… It’s just a presentation!  Putting the speech in perspective might just help us overcome our fear and push ourselves into exceptional speaker territory!

What beliefs could you add to the ones in James’ article to help us with overcoming our presentation anxiety?  How do you keep your fear in perspective?

8 Beliefs About Life… and Public Speaking: Part One


Geoffrey James is one of my favorite contributing writers on’s Leadership section.  His most recent article is called “8 Beliefs That Make You More Resilient,” and we can apply these 8 beliefs to public speaking and presentation.

First, James says we should believe that “[t]oday’s success can breed tomorrow’s failure if I let success make me complacent about staying motivated and moving forward” (Source).  When it comes to public speaking, we must never be so self-satisfied after one speech that we forget the hard work, preparation, and practice that it takes to be a successful presenter.  To be a superstar presenter means continuously moving forward, pushing and growing; otherwise, that one successful speech might be your last!

James’ second resilient belief is, “I learn more from failure than from success. Failure renews my humility, sharpens my objectivity and makes me more resilient” (Source).  Although I remember what it is like to successfully deliver a speech and have that positive audience reaction, I also learn from my terrible, boring, failed presentations.  These help me learn!  Clearly, I know what it takes to make that one successful speech successful.  It’s those failed speeches that make me work to uncover the mystery of how, why, and where I went wrong… and what I can do to turn things around next time.


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Third, James says we should believe, “Goals that contain the phrase ‘I’ll try…’ are self-defeating. If I want goals that truly motivate me, I use phrases like ‘I will’ and ‘I must'”(Source).  When it comes to presenting, students will often say to me, “I’ll try to get over my fear.”  Those students struggle because they don’t have the proper mindset.  Instead, they should say, “I will conquer this anxiety of speaking in front of a crowd” or “I am going to do this.”  The defeated mindset leads us into James’ fourth belief.

James’ fourth belief encourages us to embrace our fear: “What holds most people back is fear of failure, but if I don’t take action, I’ll fail by default, so what have I got to lose?”  (Source).  No one enjoys public humiliation.  Since the primary reason people don’t enjoy public speaking is because of that fear of failure on a large scale in front of a large audience, we must definitely understand that this fear holds us back from success and from greatness.  The fear of public speaking is so paralyzing that we may refuse to stand up and present our ideas in front of others.  However, we can understand our lizard brain and work to reframe those negative emotions and feelings.  If we keep repeating beliefs #3 and 4, we can reshape the way we view public speaking.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part Two of “8 Beliefs About Life… And Public Speaking” containing the final 4 beliefs from James’ article!

Holiday Project: Teaching Portfolio


Over the next three weeks, my fellow faculty and I are tasked with doing one of three things: retooling our CVs; creating/updating our teaching portfolios; or establishing a professional online presence.  I really want to work on all three, so I’m going to work for the next three weeks to supplement what I already have and to improve my blog to include even more of this information.

My goal is to create a new section under “About Me” to include an online version of my teaching portfolio.  As far as the contents of a teaching portfolio, I loved this link from Washington State University and this link, the Teaching Portfolio handbook, from The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning.  However, I want to include this information that I already have in print format in a visual format, but I want to do something a bit different from my Visual Resume.  I don’t yet know the shape this will take, so I’ll be spending the next few days brainstorming and thinking…

After our meeting at work, I read “5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 Years.”  This interesting article helps me to see and to understand why I should work now to include my professional/work information in an online environment beyond just LinkedIn.  I’m going to continue to research and study all of the information I can over the next few days before carrying out this work project.

How have you been keeping up with your CV and teaching portfolio in our 21st century, digital world?  Is your online presence as professional and comprehensive and it should be?  Do you have any suggestions for me regarding this project?