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Writing for PowerPoint 3: Snappy Headlines

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It’s a bit of a myth that people won’t read bullet points. Stand near the magazine rack near the supermarket checkout, and tell me you aren’t interested to learn more about Angelina’s Hot Tub Romp Shocks Brad - Pics! You just have to make your bullet points more interesting.

Secret Men’s Presentation Tips

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Are you a man? Do you present to women? Did you know there’s a single, vital element of your presentation that you’ve probably never considered? One that’s never mentioned in the presentation tips books.

2010 65

Shock Study: Fonts Are Actually Really Important

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“Please. That font doesn’t match those shoes.&#. For years, people in black clothes and matching square-frame glasses have told you that font choice is important for successful communication. But how important are fonts, really ?

Font 66

10 Presentation Tips From Steve Jobs’ iPad Launch

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Edited launch video. Full version (1hr 20min) here. Steve Jobs is rightly regarded as a master of the presentation universe. How many presentations get that level of global PR hype, both before and after the event?

2010 65

Conan O’Brien vs The G Man

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Now where was I? Sorry about the two months off. Ironically, all my spare time got consumed by a couple of heavy-duty presentations.

2010 60

New MICE.net article: Q&A

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There’s a new issue of MICE.net magazine on the streets. This issue, my column questions the ancient convention of Q&A (the event kind, not the Tony Jones TV show that sends Twitter into hyperdrive). Sometimes, meetings are no place for democracy.

Q&A 60

Death of A Pitch: Lessons From Mickey Mouse Man

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‘Creativity is my middle name!’ ’ Researching your audience is probably the most important element of your presentation. Doom awaits those who neglect this. Over the weekend I had dinner with another school parent, a man who built a sizable fortune from selling domestic appliances.

2010 60

Practice Twitter To Cut The Blather

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All presenters should Twitter, to practice compressing an idea into 140 characters. More clarity, more impact. End of post. Blather.

Graphic Tips: Making Text Clearer On Photos

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The design guys and I are working on a food packaging project at the moment. It’s quite a fiddly task. There’s a Dan Brown novel’s worth of legal mandatories to fit on each box, much of it warnings about the two greatest threats to Western civilisation: nuts and crustaceans.

Top 5 Tips for Presenting Disastrous Numbers

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Presenting any kind of graph showing financial performance is tough these days. On any kind of charts showing figures, we’re seeing the kind of canyon-style drops that should really feature a coyote frantically backpedaling in mid-air.

2009 56

Social Media Explained in One Image

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Not many people use Venn diagrams in presentations, maybe because they remind us of school. But you won’t find a better explanation of social media than this gem: (Via despair.com , available as a t-shirt).

Never Hold Discussions With The Monkey…

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“Two pages or less, dammit!&#. Our Paris correspondent, John, writes in with an ancestor of Pete’s Law , the replacement of all PowerPoint with a Word document no more than 2 pages long.

Hold 56

Edward de Bono: The Pen Is Mightier Than The PowerPoint

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Edward de Bono ponders the human need for PowerPoint. I’ve never been chased down the street by an angry lynch mob of AV technicians before, bent on stringing me up from a lamp post with multicore cable, wrists and ankles securely gaffer-taped together.

New MICE.net article: Question Everything

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When most companies plan an event, they’re focused on the ‘ how? ‘ rather than the ‘why? ‘ So there are endless meetings about what brand of wine to serve, and whether the delegates should be arranged theatre style or classroom style. Where should the off-site dinner be?

2010 52

Revolutionary New Touch-Screen Projector

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If you’re looking for the future of presentation technology, you only need look as far as CSI Miami and its futuristic rainbow-lit headquarters.

Break The Pattern of Dullness: 10 Questions To Ask Yourself

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Pic Apremorca. Presentations are often about trying to get people to change their thinking or behavior. To try a new way of doing things. To see a subject through fresh eyes. Change is a tricky thing to achieve, because most people over 25 are very set in their ways and fear change more than spiders.

Five Things To Learn From Heston Blumenthal: Part 2

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What can you learn about presentations from a TV chef who puts vibrators into a giant, luminescent jelly to make it wiggle as it arrives at the table? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Today, the second half of what presenters can learn from chef Heston Blumenthal. A Sense Of Theatre.

2010 52

Guitar Heroes On The Move

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Last week was the annual Scene Change Christmas party tour, which was excellent. As is traditional, Scene Change Hobart held its annual staff barbecue party the day after the client event.

2009 52

Video Killed the Presentation Star: Don’t Go Blank On Your Audience

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There you are up in front of an expectant audience, buck naked, without a script, and you open your mouth and nothing comes out.

USB 52

The TED Commandments: lose hustle, win friends.

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There’s a time and a place for a sales presentation, and conferences aren’t it. People pay good money to go to conferences. In return, they want to learn amazing new things, discover future trends, and learn how others in the same industry have solved problems. They don’t want a blatant sales hustle from the lectern. Conference sponsors find this hard to resist, having paid good money to support the delegates’ voracious appetite for liquor each evening.

2010 50

Forsooth, it’s the Debt and Deficit Dragon!

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People love ye olde medieval frolics. Who hasn’t been to a Dirty Dick’s or the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur? And at least one regular reader of this blog got married in medieval style with lutes and town criers and acres of velvet.

2009 52

Scene Change Tasmania: Mo Heroes Raise Over $2200

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The great cliche of presentation blogs is that people fear making a speech more than death itself. Speeches, though, only win the silver medal in the Phobia Olympics.

2009 52

Writing for PowerPoint Part 2: Simplify Your Words

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Legendary circus hustler PT Barnum used to put a sign at his overcrowded American Museum: This Way To The Egress. Visitors would assume that an egress was some kind of amazing creature, like the Bearded Lady or Iguana Boy, so they’d flock through the door and find themselves out in the street.

2009 52

Writing for PowerPoint Part 1: Active Voice

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Pic: Business Week. A big part of the art of PowerPoint is the ability to write slides with clear, short sentences. So your ideas leap off the screen with the power they deserve. So your bullet points never stray into the fatal second line.

2009 52

10 Great Lines Rewritten For Today’s Manager

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“I am the benchmark!&#. Ever wondered why some quotes live on for decades? The great ones use clear, vivid words. Words everyone can understand and relate to. Just because you’re in management doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to greatness in what you say.

Misguided message fails to stop spread of germs

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They’ve built an excellent new library just around the corner from my office. It has free wireless and looks like some kind of Apple flagship store, so it’s quite a pleasant spot to do some work when you need a change of scenery.

2009 52

Win Designer Sunglasses For Making Stuff Up

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Are you a cool person? Neither am I, but that doesn’t matter in Scene Change’s Australia’s Coolest Event Person award contest. Most event industry awards involve writing thesis-length submissions and getting written references. Not this one, you can just make stuff up.

How To Be Everyone’s Cup Of Tea*

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I’ve been trying to drink a bit less coffee lately. That means drinking tea, a product so dull it makes me feel like stabbing myself in the thigh with a pocket knife to check that I’m still alive.

2009 52

The Mo State Backs Up For Movember

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David Boon: Mo Hero. There’s no doubt which state leads Australia in moustache production. That would be Tasmania.

2009 52

Tips For Putting On A Better Show

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Last post we spoke of how two revolutions have overlapped to lower the quality of picture and sound reproduction in every area of our lives.

Creating A Memorable Live Experience

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Nobody Forgets The Claw. As a piece of Youtube entertainment, the global U2 show was pretty good. The sort of production values that you can rely on from U2, and another epic bit of staging with their giant claw.

2009 52

Setting A New Standard

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A friend who works in finance is responsible for, among other things, liability insurance for the board of directors. Insurance companies come in and make presentations all the time, hunting for his business.

2009 52

Information Is Beautiful

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When you present with numbers a lot, the reflex instinct is to go straight for graph template #1 on the PowerPoint menu. Good old trusty column graph, a friend you’ve known since primary school.

2009 52

Twitter in meetings: opportunity or apocalypse?

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“There’s an invisible underworld of delegates in your audience hooked on Twitter: commenting on the presenter, the food, themselves, and their favorite character from Star Wars.&#. I’m writing a monthly column now for MICE.net magazine.

Old Photos Prove Human Evolution Has Peaked

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. Hemingway, you ain’t. . Big presentation at the weekend. It was our Dad’s 80th birthday party. He was a sixties marketing guy called Don, though more of a packaged foods man than Don Draper.

Sales Presentations Part 2: Make Your Business Seem Bigger

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Pic courtesy Eva. Last post we spoke of some of the traps small business people make when they’re doing sales presentations, particularly the relentless use of the exclamation mark.

Sales 52

Top 10 Lines That Make You Look Small

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Pic courtesy Stephen Damron. I’ve seen a lot of sales presentations lately from small businesses. Part of the fun of small business is trying to make it into a larger one. To do that, you have to come across like you’re already larger than you are.

2009 52

Presentation Astroturfing: The Grass Isn’t Greener

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Pic courtesy Sheeshoo. Your word for the day is Astroturfing. It’s using devious means to create the impression of a ‘grassroots’ movement, but on closer inspection, that bright green grass is purely synthetic.

Enough DIY Already: Hire Professionals

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“Uggg… spiral text fly-ons! Nnnyyruurrghh!&#. After 3.0 days, the short life of iSnack 2.0 is over. As a professional product namer, I’ll admit to some pleasure from this proof that crowdsourcing from 48,000 punters still came up with something that feeble.

Managerial Language in Life-Or-Death Situations

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Last post we talked about calls to action. Imagine you live in an area that’s about to consumed by massive, fatal bushfires. Now compare these two calls to action: “There will be signficant fire activity with potential to impact.&#.

2009 52

What’s Your Call To Action?

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Pic courtesy Net_efekt. Time to get a bit philosophical, grasshoppers. Why are you doing this presentation? The instinctive response is: “Because someone asked me to.”. Because it’s in my job description.”. “To To fill half an hour on the program.”.

2009 52

Presentation Words That Mean The Opposite

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Some words really should be handled with care in presentations and corporate communication, because they actually carry the opposite meaning in those situations. If you use the words ‘ cool ’,‘ edgy ’ or ‘ stylish ’, then your audience will know your company is the complete opposite of those things.

2009 52

Kevin Rudd: Man of a thousand mannerisms

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If you watch any speaker long enough, you notice interesting patterns in their behavior.