Archive for July, 2009

How to Give a Killer Online Presentation | The Corner Office | BNET

By Steve Tobak on July 30, 2009

As an early adopter of WebEx (now owned by Cisco) about a decade ago, I grappled with the unique challenges of presenting without being able to visually connect with your audience. Training, virtual, sales, multinational, board of directors, webinars, more and more meetings are done via the Web. So when I received an email (excerpted below) from a reader the other day, it got my attention:

My normal presentation venue is an online meeting without video conferencing – other than PowerPoint and screen sharing. While reading your post, How to Give a Killer Presentation, I kept thinking about the difficult challenges online meetings present such as the inability to read body language, not knowing when participants are having side conversations, and all the associated challenges that arise when you cannot see and visually interact with your audience.

So, do you have advice for giving killer online presentations using service providers such at GoToMeeting and WebEx?

Jerry Anderson

I sure do. Here are 7 Tips for Giving a Killer Online Presentation:

  • Gratuitous analogy. Movies can direct viewer’s attention using the camera. Theater doesn’t have that luxury, so stage actors use voice and other tactics. Online presenting isn’t much different. To direct your audience’s attention and get them to engage without the benefit of visual cues, you have to go a little over the top.
  • Keep your energy level up. It may feel a little exaggerated at first, but you’ll get used to it. Be animated. Make big verbal gestures, statements, or rhetorical questions from time to time. Being a little funny or dramatic will help people remember what you’re telling them. It’s surprising what holds people’s attention.
  • Tell anecdotes. I know, if it’s a technical or training presentation that may seem odd or out of place, but it’s not. People passionate about a subject or experts in a field can usually point to an engaging teacher in their youth, and it usually involved funny or dramatic anecdotes or stories.
  • Modulate your voice. If it doesn’t come naturally, learn to modulate your voice and practice. Take a voice class if you have to. Ask associates to sit in on your presentation and be critical. Tape it and listen for yourself.
  • Ask engaging questions. Ask unusually engaging questions. I’m not kidding. Come up with a few zingers the night before and use them. Also use out-of-the-blue analogies to different industries or activities (like I did here with acting … you think it’s easy engaging an audience just with words?). If your audience isn’t in “speaking” mode, then rhetorical questions work just as well. But stop short of standup comedy, okay?
  • Pause for emphasis. Nothing’s worse than a presentation where the speaker drones on and on from point to point, slide to slide, without pause. Pause is the most dramatic way to emphasize a point. Practice getting comfortable with it.
  • Avoid “slide show” speak. Direct the audience’s attention conversationally, sort of like this, “there’s a cool diagram on slide 8 that attempts to explain …” instead of the usual, “on the next slide …”

Well, the blog experts say I’ve lost your attention beyond 500 words, so I’m done here. But I’m sure all you online presenting experts can help Jerry and everyone else out with some of your own tips, so fire away.


All Things Workplace: Purge The Victims and Villains Syndrome

All Things Workplace: Purge The Victims and Villains Syndrome.

‘Who’s Got Your Back’ by Keith Ferrazzi | BNET Intercom | BNET

In his book, Who’s Got Your Back, author Keith Ferrazzi argues that behind every great leader there’s an inner circle of a few trusted advisers. Managers and executives need these “lifeline relationships,” as Ferrazzi calls them, as a way to solicit insightful, honest feedback.

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Categories: learning

The Holiest Word in Business


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Be a Guest Blogger

Do you already blog? Do you enjoy writing?  Are you looking for a way to improve your communication skills?  Blogging has become a key tool for professional development — listen to these two top, well-known bloggers (Seth Goodin and Tom Peters) discuss why YOU should be blogging.

If you are afraid of conflict, you are afraid to grow.

We humans are stubborn.  Even those of us who claim to “handle change well” or “love learning new things”.   At some point or another (or maybe all the time), we avoid things that challenge our view of the world.  Most often, this challenge comes in the form of conflict.

“If you are afraid of conflict, you are afraid to grow.”

Some wise person sent me this quote. I’m not at all certain who it’s attributed to, nor where my wise friend found it… But isn’t it so true?

The situations that we find ourselves avoiding are typically the ones we learn the most from, once we face the challenge.   Every difficult person, challenging goal, or stressful project teaches us something.  We learn something new about ourselves, or maybe we find a new strength to leverage in the workplace.  No matter what type of situation it may be,  if it challenges the way you view the world, I can guarantee you’ll discover something new if you have the guts to experience it.

~Kristin (with a little help from Mr. Anderson)KristinMeezHeadshot66x66

Categories: conflict, diversity, learning

Thanks for catching that error, Joe! We couldn’t do this without you!

Acknowledgement_of_AwesomenessWondering how you can motivate and engage your team, despite a lack of time and a dwindling budget? Showing appreciation is the #1 way to improve morale and drive results — and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

In the United States, The Gallup Organization has found disengaged employees cost the economy $300 billion a year whereas companies with higher employee engagement yield higher sales, higher productivity and higher retention than companies with low employee engagement (Baudville Day-to-Day Recognition White Paper).High Employee Engagement

Work days now are more jam-packed and go by faster than ever before; employees have more work, more pressure and less time.  So unfortunately, recognition often falls by the wayside.  Infrequent recognition won’t reinforce the behaviors you see occurring on a daily basis, and it’s hard to maintain momentum when your boss hasn’t told you that you’re on the right track, doing a great job, or provided you a needed boost.

Day-to-day recognition is defined as the genuine everyday expressions of appreciation given to reinforce and reward positive behaviors.


Today, recognition is more than just a pat on the back. It’s a means of giving feedback to employees about the job they’re doing.   In a recent Watson Wyatt survey, 66% of respondents said appreciation was a “very significant” motivator in the workplace.  All it takes is a small hand written note or a token of appreciation.


Here’s some “on the cheap” ways to tell your employees you’ve noticed how awesome they are:

  • A hand-written note of “thanks”
  • Post that thank you note on the employee’s door
  • Create a Hall of Fame wall with photos of all your employees
  • Make a photo collage about a successful project that shows the people that worked on it, its stage of development and its completion and presentation
  • Plan a surprise picnic
  • Sponsor a “Super Hero” party (everyone wears a superhero costume) at the end of an assignment, for a job well done
  • Answer your assistant’s telephone for a day
  • Hold informal retreats to foster communication and set goals
  • Encourage and recognize staff who pursue continuing education
  • Swap a task with an employee for a day – his/her choice
  • Establish a “Behind the Scenes” award specifically for those whose actions are not usually in the limelight
  • Design a “Stress Support Kit” that included aspirin, a comedy cassette, wind up toys and a stress ball – or design your own
  • Present “State of the Department” reports periodically to your employees acknowledging the work and contributions of individuals and teams
  • If your team is under pressure, bring a bag of marbles to work and take a break to have a contest – a sure stress reliever
  • Serve ice cream sundaes to all of your employees at the end of a project
  • Have staff vote for top manager, supervisor, employee and rookie of the year
  • Give a shiny new penny for every helpful thought that is shared with the team
  • Send a letter to all team members at the conclusion of a project, thanking them for their participation
  • Give employees tokens of thanks from various recognition vendors, such as Baudville, Gifts for Professionals, Motivators, and Despair, Inc.

And many, many more!!  Give me a buzz if you want help creating a recognition program for your team, or if you just need some good ideas for getting your folks re-energized!