The Key to Credibility is…


Another entry on Prezi’s Top 100 Presentation Resources list is my superteacher partner in crime, Chiara Ojeda of Tweak Your Slides. Check out this post she wrote yesterday on empathy using two great videos, one animating Brene Brown’s work…

Tweak Your Slides

Empathy! Yep, that’s right–not credentials, expertise, title, or extensive research. The key to achieving strong credibility with your audience is to empathize with them. Why is this? Because, empathizing with the audience helps speakers achieve the type of true credibility Aristotle describes in Rhetoric:

“We believe good men more fully and more readily than others: this is true generally whatever the question is, and absolutely true where exact certainty is impossible and opinions are divided. . . his character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion he possesses.” Aristotle, Rhetoric

True credibility comes from a person who is “good,” a person of good character. Empathy, the ability to become your audience’s needs, wants, values, fears, and desires, is key to conveying good character. A presenter who can empathize with his or her audience is truthful–no one likes to be lied to; a presenter who is empathetic conveys…

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The 3 As of A+ Research


Over Spring Break, I planned on a week at the beach.  Instead, I alternated my time between the ER, the hospital, the doctor’s office, and laying in the fetal position in my bed in agonizing pain.  Kidney stones are torture.  This week, I feel refreshed, happy, and lucky to be healthy.  I am excited to be back to eating, exercising, working, and – my favorite – blogging!

Chiara Ojeda had much more fun over our Spring Break.  One of her projects, an infographic called “The 3 As of A+ Research” can be seen below:


How might you use this infographic to select compelling research for your next presentation?



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?

Chiara Ojeda’s “Ideate! Create and Develop World-Changing Ideas”


After hearing about this deck and seeing her put in hours of work during the past few months, I am excited Chiara Ojeda finally debuted her latest visual presentation on Slideshare.  “Ideate! Create and Develop World-Changing Ideas” is about developing an idea through effective brainstorming, topic selection, and preparation.  Of course, it instantly shot to “Top Presentation of the Day.”

Check it out below:


What I like most about this Slideshare presentation is its focus.  I’ve found, in my experience, that content is truly king.  If a student prepares and develops strong content, he or she is significantly more likely to deliver a powerful presentation.  Delivery is more likely to be natural and authentic if the student spends time brainstorming, developing, researching, organizing, and polishing content.  The presentation is more likely to resonate if the student puts a focus on content.  But content doesn’t stand alone… Remember that effective presentations are a three-legged stool:


Chiara mentions on slide 73 that the next step in the process is to design slides to go along with the idea and then to practice rehearsing the presentation… She gives some amazing resources, so be sure to check those out!

Check out more of Chiara’s Slideshare presentations here.

What did you like most about “Ideate! Create and Develop World-Changing Ideas” by Chiara Ojeda?

She’s Baaaaack: The Resurgence of Tweak Your Slides


After a hiatus, Chiara Ojeda of Tweak Your Slides is back to blogging!  In January, Chiara wrote some must-read posts:

“Beyond Rhetoric: What MLK Day Means To Me” contains a beautiful infographic I know Chiara has been working on for quite some time.  The data display makes its debut during a perfect time: the holiday celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.

“4 (But Really 6) Steps To Creating A Visual Resume” gives us insight on how to develop a strong personal brand through a visual resume.  Not many people understand the point or the goal of a visual resume, so Chiara’s blog post is a must-read.


“Garr Reynolds on Presentation Anxiety” is an expansion of an amazing lizard-brain piece posted on Presentation Zen earlier this month.

And last, but not least, are two posts relating to teaching public speaking and presentation in the classroom.  Chiara explains her negative experience in “When Presentations Go Wrong,” and her solution in “When Presentations Go Wrong, Think Preparation and Grit.”

Follow Chiara Ojeda’s blog Tweak Your Slides here.

What is your favorite January blog post on Tweak Your Slides?

Tweak Your Resume


Chiara Ojeda’s “Tweak Your Resume” made its debut on Slideshare after a long, thoughtful design process.  Today, it was named “Top Presentation of the Day.”



Check out Chiara’s gorgeous, inspiring deck below:


This week, my students are working on their Visual Resume projects.  They will upload this project to Slideshare, so I’m excited to see their hard work go out into the world.  I can’t wait to share them with you soon.

Do you have a visual resume?

Visual Design Basics: The Building Blocks of a Great Slideshow


Fortunately, even though I get frustrated with poorly designed slides, I know a whole lot of great people who spend their lives trying to combat death-by-bulletpoint.  One of those people is Chiara Ojeda.  After reading “The Resistance Continues: Combating Bad Slides and the People Who Use Them,” Chiara wrote the perfect companion piece called “Resistance Is Futile: Bullets Kill.”  My favorite part of her article was this:

“Presenters I consult with often say, “but I like MY slides” or “what’s wrong with MY slides?” The view that slides are for the presenter is exactly what’s wrong. An audience-centered presenter cares less about the efficiency of a template and more about how design elements like color, type, and layout communicate a specific vision for the audience and help set a tone for the audience’s interaction with and reception of a message. An audience-centered presenter cares less about the number of bullets on a slide and more about how to successfully assist an audience in retaining information” (Source).

Click here to read Chiara’s article in its entirety, and check out her “Top Presentation of the Day” Slideshare presentation on effective visual design here:


Who do you stand beside in the fight against death-by-PowerPoint?