This week started off busy, but by its end, I got exactly what I needed: a much-needed break. This time of year means the end of my Spring semester at UCF and Spring Break at work, so I am where I need to be: relaxing and enjoying some time to refocus on the things that are important. During that time, I am planning to read for pleasure. I just received Dan Roam’s Show And Tell in the mail yesterday, got Kafka On The Shore from my brother for my birthday, and purchased Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald today at Target. As a reader, I cannot tell you how excited I am for some pleasure reading for the next few weeks between graduate classes.
Today, I also had a bit of time to catch up on my favorite blogs. I’d like to share new offerings from Chiara Ojeda and Ethos3.
Chiara Ojeda of Tweak Your Slides shared two incredible posts this week. “Participation: Action Speaks Louder Than Your Words” shares some audience-centered advice on how to include participation and activity in your next speech. Chiara writes, “When an audience can move beyond passive absorption of information or even active visualization of an idea, that audience is more likely to not only remember the idea, but pass it along to others (whether it is through action, word of mouth, or influence). A message come alive in the audience’s hearts and minds creates that ripple effect speakers need to gain traction for their ideas” (Source). I think activity CAN be incorporated in any presentation. If you are short on time, that activity could be asking your audience to imagine something or asking for them to raise their hand in response to a prompt. If you have more time, that activity can be acting out a scene, drawing on a whiteboard, or engaging in some sort of play.
Chiara also posted “Design Smarter: Learn To Generate Color,” a must-read for slide designers. She shares tips for how we can work to create effective color schemes in our slideshows using helpful tools such as Design Seeds (my personal favorite) and Adobe’s Kuler. If choosing a color scheme is difficult for you when you create a slideshow, this article is essential!
Ethos3 also published two great articles since the last time I read the blog. Amy Cuddy is one of my favorites, and I always recommend that my students watch her TED Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” I was delighted to see Ethos3’s “Presentation Lessons from Amy Cuddy” yesterday. Ethos3 CEO Scott Schwertly gives us some great tips from Cuddy’s presentation including a strong hook, effective use of visuals and video, storytelling, and a strong conclusion. Schwertly writes, “Combining moving personal narrative, wisely-chosen media, and a strong hook, Amy Cuddy succeeds massively in her TED Talk. It makes us want to take a power pose right now” (Source). Let’s stand up and do the Wonder Woman all together now!
Ethos3 also published “The 5-7-5 Presentation Technique,” which I recognized as a form of poetry called the haiku but never imagined could be applied to presentations. The article suggests we consider the haiku style when presenting because it allows us to be “mindful about using too much text with extraneous narrative and filler” (Source). The goal is to include as little text as possible on our slides and to consider the haiku style when developing those slides. Ethos3 gives two examples here and explains, that when “broken into separately designed slides, it’s minimal and filler-free” and “a triumph of minimalism” (Source). I am definitely going to try this when designing my next Slideshare deck!
What great articles on public speaking and presentation did you read this week?