Creating Communication’s April Focus: Delivery

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March was a month about design here at Creating Communication!  March primarily focused on creating effective visual presentation, so please go back and learn about the 7 Deadly Visual Design Sins as well as how to train yourself to think like a designer.

April will be focused on absolute favorite leg of Jim Endicott’s “presentation stool” … delivery!  Delivery is an all too often ignored part of presentation because people foolishly believe you either have it or you don’t.  I think strong delivery is something that can be developed, and I think every single one of us possess the ability to deliver a presentation effectively.  How do I know?  I’ve seen my students drastically transform from terrible to talented in only one month.  If they grew that much in a month, imagine how charismatic they might be if they practiced public speaking every day for a year… five years… ten years?!  It’s why I love presentation so much: there is no limit to how amazing you can be.

What elements of delivery would you like to see covered during the month of April?  What is your delivery strength?  Your delivery weakness?

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Think Like A Designer: Garr Reynolds

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Garr Reynolds totally changed my life with his “think like a designer” concept.  Since I started learning about and practicing Reynolds’ slide design concepts, I see a noticeable difference in the engagement from my students.  They don’t have everything that comes out of my mouth written on the slides for them.  That means they have to pay attention in class instead of passively sitting back and disengaging.  Effective slide design encourages active participation, learning, and thinking.  Why wouldn’t a teacher want to employ this method?

Design Tip of the Day: 7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design

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Last month, I developed the 7 Deadly Sins of Visual Design for our visual design lecture. Here they are in one succinct place for our Design Tip of the Day.

The first deadly sin is envy.  Design envy occurs when you covet the slides of others.  Slide envy can easily be treated.  How?  Click here to learn three primary principles to treat your slide envy.

The second deadly sin is pride.  Many people feel their slides are amazing and refuse to see the light from Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte.  Their pride stands in the way of creating truly effective slides.  So how can someone correct this deadly sin?  Click here to find out how to overcome slide pride and how to create meaningful visual design.

The third deadly sin is wrath.  Please stop killing your audiences with slides filled with bullet points.  Bullets kill.  Learn how to correct your deadly obsession with bullets here.

The fourth deadly sin is sloth.  Slide sloth is the sin my students most frequently suffer from.  A slide sloth’s visual presentation took 5 minutes because a slide sloth doesn’t care about an audience’s needs; the sloth would rather eat Cheetos and watch The Jersey Shore.  To avoid slide sloth, click here.

The fifth deadly sin is lust.  Sometimes, to grab the audience’s attention, presenters rely on racy images or multimedia that have little or nothing to do with their topic.  Scantily clad bodies are never a good idea as an attention-getter if those scantily clad bodies have nothing to do with your thesis.  Instead, develop strong content and avoid lusty slides.  Learn more about lust here.

The sixth deadly sin is gluttony.  More is never better when it comes to slides.  Garr Reynolds teaches us with his Presentation Zen philosophy that simplicity in design is essential.  Avoiding slide gluttony is important, so click here to learn more.

The seventh deadly sin is greed.  If you use images without properly citing the image’s owner, you are being a greedy thief because you are stealing those images.  Click here to learn how to properly show attribution.

Currently Reading…

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When I arrived home from work yesterday, I had three blue packages on my doorstep.  You know what that means… another home delivery from the library.  Titles include Design For How People Learn by Julie Dirksen, Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie, and Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright.

Design For How People Learn is a book my friend and colleague Chiara Ojeda purchased and didn’t connect with.  I’m always a believer in second chances, especially with books, because my dad always taught me that you have to read a book at the right time in your life.  I hope that the text will be a great tool for teaching, so I promise to give it a thorough review (maybe even including some of Chiara’s dislikes).

Strengths Based Leadership (still confused about why it’s not Strengths-Based Leadership, but maybe that’s just my inner grammar nut) should be a wonderful read, as it is all about compiling Gallup scientists’ studies, polls, surveys, and research to explain the qualities of effective leadership.  I’m obsessed with using leadership tools in my Professional Communication and Presentation classes, as I think leadership and effective presentation are inextricably linked.  A motivating leader has to be a motivating public speaker, and if a person is a strong presenter, he or she is likely also a strong leader.

I’m excited to read Tribal Leadership because one review suggests sharing this book with Type A personalities… that’s me!  Since it relates to both profit and non-profit industries, I can utilize these strategies in my career as well as in my volunteer organizations.

What great books are you reading this week?

Seth Godin Interview on Linchpin

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It’s no secret that I love Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?.  It’s one of my favorite books because it relates so well to the class I teach: Professional Communication and Presentation.  Godin explains the text and the big ideas in Linchpin here:

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Have you read Linchpin yet?  Do you recommend any of Godin’s other books?

Design Inspiration: My Work Space

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Since childhood, I’ve always been a Type-A personality.  This means that, yes, I am rigidly organized, controlling, super ambitious, impatient, achievement-oriented, and, unfortunately, a little bit arrogant.  I’m also a workaholic.  Today, Sunday, I am in the office with my fellow workaholic, Chiara Ojeda, and I thought I’d share with all of you my design inspiration while I’m at work: my cubicle.

My favorite pieces are the large Charles S. Anderson “Good Grades” poster behind my monitor (buy it here); the Alexander McQueen postcards from the Savage Beauty exhibit courtesy of friends Mark and Josh; and my little frou frou miniature shoe collection displayed in front of a plaque with a “quote” from Cinderella: “One shoe can change your life.”

You’ll also find touches from my favorite presentation designers: my heavily highlighted copy of Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology; my DVD of Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen; and David McCandless’s “What Makes Good Information Design?” infographic.

What inspires you while you’re at work?