Prezi’s Top 100 Presentation Resources

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I am excited to announce that Creating Communication was named one of Prezi’s Top 100 Presentation Resources!  Check out their list: “The #PreziTop100 Online Resources Every Presenter Should See.”

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Don’t forget to answer this week’s Wednesday Challenge with YOUR favorite online presentation resource!  You can also leave a comment here.

Wednesday Challenge: Favorite Presentation Resource

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On Wednesdays, I am facilitating a brand new audience-centered series called The Wednesday Challenge.  I’ll provide a prompt, and you leave a response in the “Comments” section.  I’ll share the best comment along with a new prompt the following Wednesday.

Last week, I asked you to tell me about your favorite TED Talk and why that particular presentation resonated with you.  Chiara Ojeda of Tweak Your Slides responded:

“My favorite TED talk (man this is actually really hard!) has to be Lisa Kristine’s ‘Photos that bear witness to modern slavery.’ When I first watched this talk I was floored–Lisa’s hauntingly beautiful imagery, richly detailed verbal imagery, superb poise, and moving call to action changed my perception of her subject and also taught me a few important lessons about crafting a message that sticks. Lisa uses her story, empathy towards her subjects, and concrete details/images to imprint the importance of bringing light to the issue of modern slavery on her audience. Such a beautiful talk!”

Lisa Kristine’s TED Talk is definitely one of my favorites.  Check out a previous Creating Communication post called “Top Ten TED Talks Delivered By Women” to learn more about my favorite presentations by women at TED.

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This week’s Wednesday Challenge is an activity AND a discussion:

Post a link to your favorite online resource for learning about public speaking and presentation.  Tell me why this resource is so good.

I’ll share one of your responses next week.

Commencement Speeches: Advice From The Experts

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Graduation season is upon us which means my favorite kind of presentations is being delivered in high schools and colleges nationwide: the commencement speech.  In March of 2013, I compiled some expert advice on graduation speeches in this article.  Even further back in August 2012, I posted “5 Best Practices for Commencement Speeches” including my advice to prepare, know your audience, keep it short, avoid getting too emotional, and inspire in an unexpected way.

This graduation season, we have a whole host of commencement speech experts we can learn from.  In NPR’s “Anatomy of a Great Commencement Speech,” Cory Turner and the NPR Ed Team analyzed hundreds of speeches dating back to 1774 to come up with a few important rules: 1) Be Funny, 2) Make Fun of Yourself, 3) Downplay the Genre, and, most importantly, 4) You Must Have a Message (Source).  Read or listen to the article in its entirety here.

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Decker Communications gives us “The Commencement Speech: How To Rock It” with three tips on effective content preparation.  Citing famous graduation speeches from Conan O’Brien, Bono, and Steve Jobs, Kelly Decker’s advice is spot on.  Check it out here.

Entertainment Weekly shares 2014’s best celebrity commencement speeches along with video of each presentation.  From Sandra Bullock to Charlie Day, you’re sure to learn presentations lessons from watching these actors and musicians delivering this year’s graduation ceremony speeches.

Along with celebrity star power, political figures are always big on the podium at graduation day.  “10 Things To Learn From This Year’s Best Graduation Speech” proclaims Admiral William McRaven as this year’s champion of commencement presentations.  The NAVY Seal who commanded Operation Neptune Spear (Google it) spoke at the University of Texas at Austin, and Inc. says we can learn a lot about life and happiness from the Admiral’s speech.  These ten life lessons are a must-read.  Check them out here.

What was your favorite commencement speech of 2014?  What public speaking advice did you glean from watching that graduation presentation?

Simon Sinek’s “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe”

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Simon Sinek has done it again!  “Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe” is a new TED Talk by the speaker who gave us wildly popular “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” or the “Start With Why” speech.  This March 2014 presentation is not to be missed.  Check it out below:

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This speech emphasizes trust and safety as the keys to establishing leadership in a company or business.  If employees live in a culture of constant fear, if they feel they could lose their job at any moment if they don’t abide by the rules or the chain of command, leadership is not good if it can be called “leadership” at all.

Sinek teaches us that good leadership is about nurturing and opportunity, education and discipline, as well as a focus on building self-confidence.  He says if an employee at a company with good leadership is having performance issues, that company focuses on coaching and support.  He also says good leaders sacrifice numbers for people.  Companies with strong leadership know that people are the bottom line and not money.  Sinek tells story after story after story of companies with leadership that empowers people.  You have got to watch his Talk.

Leadership is infinitely fascinating to me.  I recently shared several articles I’ve been reading in the last edition of Links of the Week.  I began a new leadership training at my company today.  Yesterday, I had a meeting with my professor to flesh out my leadership-centered graduate thesis topic.  I can never read enough or learn enough on the topic, and I think I am most curious because I see leadership and presentation/communication skills so closely linked.

What great resources on leadership have you enjoyed lately?  Did you like this Sinek talk on leadership as much as his first TED presentation?

Wednesday Challenge: Favorite TED Talk

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On Wednesdays, I am facilitating a brand new audience-centered series called The Wednesday Challenge.  I’ll provide a prompt, and you leave a response in the “Comments” section.  I’ll share the best comment along with a new prompt the following Wednesday.

Last week, I asked you to tell me about the best compliment you’ve ever received from an audience member about your public speaking and presentation skills.  Presentation expert Phil Waknell responded:

“After teaching at business schools, I often get asked, ‘When are you going to train the other teachers to present like that?’ I take that as a compliment.

But perhaps the best I ever had was a young tech student who followed my course and won a pitch contest.  He told me:’You changed my life.’

Comments like that make it all worthwhile.”

Follow Waknell on Twitter here to learn more about the amazing work he does.  You can also read previous mentions of him on Creating Communication here.

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This week’s Wednesday Challenge is another question:

Share a link to your favorite TED Talk of all time in the “Comments” section.  Explain why that presentation, above all others, resonated with you.

I’ll share one of your favorite TED Talks and the reason why you loved it next week.

Conference on College Composition and Communication

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Yesterday, Chiara Ojeda and I submitted our presentation proposal for the Conference on College Composition and Communication which will be held in March 2015 in Tampa.  Learn more about the conference here.  Learn more about the National Council of Teachers of English here.

Our proposal combined all of the work we’ve been doing for our Professional Communication and Presentation class in the past few years with the hopes of sharing these best practices with other teachers in our field.  Check out our proposed session below.

Redefining Paradigms of Professionalism:

Personal Branding, Online Identities, and the New World of Work

Traditional college courses in professional communication focus on teaching students best practices for creating documents such as emails, memos, and reports as well as resumes and cover letters.  However, many of these materials relate to an outdated model of work.  In our new world of work defined by innovative and conceptual thinking, we must focus on teaching students skills they can utilize to thrive in an evolving, fast-paced, demanding professional environment.  Developing a professional identity and using communication and presentation tools to communicate that online identity with others is essential.  While branding has historically been linked to a business product or service, thought-leaders Nancy Duarte, Seth Godin, and Pamela Slim among others emphasize the importance of a personal brand that clearly defines how one’s experiences communicate his or her professional mission.  Students must develop a coherent body of work showing who they are as professionals, targeting a specific audience, linking all of their past experiences together, and providing supporting examples.

In “From Cattle and Coke to Charlie: Meeting the Challenge of Self Marketing and Personal Branding,” Ifan D. H. Shepherd explains that despite its popularity in business, entertainment, and politics, personal branding has not yet made its way into college curriculum or class textbooks largely because little academic research has been conducted in this area.  Personal branding recently made an appearance in the Journal of Internet Commerce.  Chih-Ping Chen’s qualitative study “Exploring Personal Branding on YouTube” links social media and personal branding.  Chen’s results indicated the growing importance of individual brands due to the increased permanency and variety of digital and social media environments.

Creating a recognizable and sharable personal brand revolving around a comprehensive body of work requires sacrifice and risk. Professionals must share their triumphs, failures, and areas of weakness/growth with the world–this level of vulnerability is intimidating. As budding professionals, students must also relinquish their old views of work, particularly the view that work is a stable, linear process. Teachers too face risk when implementing these practices. Educators must let go of traditional modes of teaching professional communication in order to find solutions that better prepare students for the new world of work. However, the reward is great: increased job, professional, and networking opportunities for students; strengthened learning outcomes, course structures, and learning-centered assessment for educators.

In this session, specific topics will include the process for creating a body of work (what to share, how to share it); self-analysis and critical thinking (identifying a target audience, creating a brand mantra, developing a through-line story to tie experiences together, defining your competitive advantage, and determining what evidence supports the overall body of work); as well as the presentation of the body of work (through the visual resume and articulating that vision in person or online via social media).

 

Works Cited

Chen, Chih-Ping.  “Exploring Personal Branding on YouTube.”  Journal of Internet Commerce.  12.4 (2013): 332-347.  Print.

Duarte, Nancy. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2010. Print.

Godin, Seth. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. New York: Portfolio, 2010. Print.

Shepherd, Ifan D. H. “From Cattle to Coke to Charlie: Meeting the Challenge of Self Marketing and Personal Branding.”  Journal of Marketing Management.  21.5/6 (2005): 589-606.

Slim, Pamela. Body of Work: Finding the Thread that Ties Your Story Together. New York, N.Y.: Portfolio, 2013. Print.

Slim, Pamela. Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur. New York, N.Y.: Portfolio, 2009. Print.

What do you think?  Would you attend a conference presentation based on our proposal?  If we are accepted, what should we be sure to?  What would you like to learn by attending a session like this? 

11-Step Guide To Awesome Presentation Content

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If you’re working on a presentation, check out SOAP’s 11-Step Guide to Awesome Presentation Content:

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I love the focus on audience analysis, storytelling, and support for the core message.  I would have liked to see a focus on “why” before “how.”  As Simon Sinek’s golden circle tells us, our focus should be “why” first followed by “how” and “what.”  I would have also liked to see a focus on content as opposed to a transition into design… Design took up half of the presentation, which was disappointing.  Even so, there are great lessons to be learned here, and I hope you enjoyed the Slideshare deck.

What great Slideshare presentations have you flipped through this week?

Links of the Week: 2014.08

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This week, I’d like to share some great articles on leadership and management.  As I am transitioning into my new position as Vice President of Marketing and Communications with my volunteer organization this month, I have been reading and studying leadership best practices.

I’ve also been thinking back to great leaders I’ve worked with and comparing them with not so great leaders to really help me define what kind of VP I want to be.  INC.com’s Jeff Haden compiled a list of the top 50 leadership and management experts.  This list is excellent because it lets me know the thought-leaders in the field I should be reading up on and following on social media.  Some of my favorites made the list (Nancy Duarte, Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Simon Sinek, John Maxwell), and I was also introduced to so many new people.  It does disappoint me to see so few women on the list; however, many of the women I would have added are professors.  Haden’s list was compiled to find “globally the most popular management and leadership writers in the English language.  In other words, we did not focus on local countries or languages; we did not focus on teachers, professors, or CEOs; and we did not measure any other topics besides management and leadership” (Source).

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Since Haden’s article focused on the English language and American culture, “How To Lead Well Across Cultures” from Forbes was important for me to check out.  Power distance was the central focus.  Power distance was defined for the purposes of the article as “the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations accept and expect that power is distributed equally” (Source).  That got me thinking about the kinds of meetings I want to lead as VP of Marketing and Communications.  I want to facilitate round-table meetings where we all brainstorm, think, and talk through issues together.  Sharing the power requires confidence in yourself and your team, and this can be a difficult task.  I think back to all of the leaders I’ve worked with in the past both at work, at school, and at my volunteer “jobs.”  In my experience, my favorite leaders have emphasized collaboration and an open, honest space to share ideas.

In “Great Leadership: 7 Traits Of True Leadership,” Leigh Buchanan explains what I love collaborative, team-focused leaders.  She says the most important traits of a leader include empathy, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity, balance, and patience (Source).  These are qualities I would assign to the strongest leaders I’ve worked with in the past.  The best boss I’ve ever had supported me by listening to me and making my needs a priority; challenging and pushing me to be better and stronger at my job; and including me in times of important decision-making.  Even though she was my boss and my superior, she trusted my input and ideas.  She earned the respect of everyone around her by showing people that same respect along with support and love.  She is the kind of leader I want to be and will work hard to be.

What qualities do you look for in a strong, effective leader?  Which of these new experts on Haden’s list of 50 leadership/management experts should I start reading about and studying?