Improving Presentation Skills – Lessons Learned From the 2009 Web 2.0 Conference

I was not at the Web 2.0 conference but like many, I’ve read the twitters, blogs, and articles that sprung from Danah Boyd’s presentation. In watching the video of the event on YouTube and reading Danah’s own blog post on the incident, there are several lessons we can learn that will make all conference speakers – with or without Twitter – better, more effective presenters.

But first, before addressing what presenters can do, a quick shout out to the conference planners. The idea of having the Twitter stream become part of the frontchannel – streaming live behind a presenter (such as Boyd had as she presented) – is not a good thing. Regardless of how much we’d like to believe we modern humans are “super good” at multi-tasking, the fact is, we’re not. No one can read and listen at the same time. That’s why a bullet-filled PowerPoint slides is so naturally annoying! So for those of you with the power to determine such decision: leave the backchannel in the backchannel!

And now, back to the original point, what are the mistakes Boyd and many of us make and what can we learn.

Mistake #1 – The Presentation is about Me (the Presenter)

One of the errors that many presenters make is to think the presentation is about them. It’s not. It’s about the audience. In Boyd’s case, she was giving a new speech, rather than using the tried and true speech she’d given many, many times before. She says in her blog “Personally, I love the challenge and I get bored of giving the same talk over and over and over again.” While she later justified the decision as being good for both existing fans and new audience members, I suspect that she really just wanted the change for herself.

The Fix

Be willing to repeat the same speech you’ve given over and over again if that’s what’s best for the audience. But if you believe a new speech is in order than follow these steps.

Preview the speech in front of a friendly audience.

Make sure it’s not the first time you’ve presented the material publicly, particularly if it’s a high profile event. Present to a group of colleagues, family members, or a good Toastmasters club. Ensure your friendly audience includes people who are willing to provide you with honest feedback. The individual elements of Danah Boyd’s Web 2.0 speech were interesting but the overall speech had no framework, no indication of where this topic was going. And because she was going so quickly, and mysteriously, the Twitter chatter started. Getting feedback from a friendly audience would have given Boyd a clue that if she didn’t modify her approach, her audience was going to be lost.

Rehearse religiously

While dedicated rehearsal is no guarantee that you’ll not be nervous or stumble over a word or two, it sure can go a long way to having the kind of delivery that you want. With Boyd, the fact that she stumbled over several key words within the first two minutes of her presentation hinted to me that she did not adequately rehearse the speech. And from the sounds of her normal approach, it doesn’t feel like she rehearses her speeches. Quoting Boyd again, “The dirty secret is that I actually read a lot of my talks but the audience doesn’t actually realize this because scanning between my computer and the audience is usually pretty easy. So it doesn’t look like I’m reading.”

Actually, I beg to differ with Boyd on this point. I’m guessing that her audiences know she’s reading when she has her screen in front of her. Rehearsal tells the audience that you care about the presentation. And when you don’t rehearse – whether reading or not (and please, please don’t read!) – the audience knows it.

Mistake #2 – Not Arriving Early and Previewing the Speaking Location

From Boyd’s blog, “I only learned about the Twitter feed shortly before my talk. I didn’t know whether or not it was filtered. I also didn’t get to see the talks by the previous speakers so I didn’t know anything about what was going up on the screen. When I walked out on stage, I was also in for a new shock: the lights were painfully bright… Taken aback by this, my talk started out rough.”

Because Boyd didn’t arrive early, she found things out as she went, rather than having time to think through and prepare herself for the unexpected.

The Fix

Arrive early

For an in-town engagement, visit the venue prior to the meeting. Ask the meeting planner or the facility’s staff how the location will be set up on the day of the speech. Arrive at least an hour early, preferably more, and test out everything. Test the microphone – and always use a microphone in a large room, even if you think you’re loud enough – do this for the audience’s comfort, not yours. Test the lights – know whether or not you’ll be able to see past the first row. If you won’t see past the front row, then get a feel for where the seats are so that you can look at the parts of the room where chairs will be located. This will help the audience feel like you’re making eye contact, even if you can’t see them. If possible, ask for the house lights to remain up so you can see the audience. Check out getting on and off the stage. Watch for small cracks that you could get a heal stuck in and wobbly hand rails that aren’t attached to the stairs. Find out which side of the platform the steps are. Check out the stage to see if it squeaks – that’s something you don’t want to be distracted by during your speech if you didn’t see it coming. Check out that the audio video equipment is working for slides and videos you plan to show. If there’s something you don’t expect (such as the fact they won’t be able to project your slides) then you’ll have time to adjust for a different approach without the PowerPoint deck.

For an out-of-town engagement, you’ll want to arrive the day before your speech (to hopefully avoid issues caused by flight delays). Repeat all the same action above, preferable the day before when the room’s not being used, or before the events begin in the room for that day. Make sure you have plenty of time to figure out a fix if there are any problems. Have back up plans to your back up plans. Use the conference or venue staff to help you adjust for the unexpected. Be a boy-scout – be prepared.

Mistake # 3 – Assuming the Worst

During the Web 2.0 conference, Danah Boyd sensed something was happening in the audience, and immediately went to a bad place. You can see it in her face when you watch the video. The way she glances at the audience between reading the lines of her speech definitely changes during the speech. When she went off stage, she learned the truth about what was happening on the Twitter stream. Said Boyd, “The Twitter stream was initially upset that I was talking too fast. My first response to this was: OMG, seriously? That was it? Cuz that’s not how I read the situation on stage.”

Like many of us, if things don’t go the way we expected that they should, we assume the worst. Those worst-case assumptions can cause us to turn ugly or to retreat into ourselves – both of which make the matter worse. Things are rarely as bad as they seem.

The Fix

Remember – the audience thinks you’re doing much better than you think you’re doing

Most of us know the speech we wanted to give. And when a speech doesn’t go as well as we imagined it, we feel like we’re failing. But here’s the thing — it doesn’t matter what we think as a speaker. What matters is what the audience hears as listeners. If you are speaking at a conference with a live Twitter stream (backchannel or frontchannel) plan for that in advance. (See Olivia Mitchell’s excellent e-book on the topic at http://bit.ly/14T7wb.) Have someone monitoring the tweets and plan in breaks to check for simple fixes like “she’s talking too fast” or more serious chatter like multiple tweets and retweeks asking to cover a certain aspect of the topic. That will help you as a speaker ensure you’re meeting the audience needs, and keep you from spiraling out of control when you’re getting an unanticipated response from the audience.

The Twitter backchannel can be an extremely powerful tool when used correctly. It’s wrong to think that people are rude because they have a tool like Twitter where the feel they can get away with it. The truth is, in the age before Twitter and still today in non-technology conferences, people have had and are still having the same negative thoughts when a speaker is focusing too much on themselves and not on the needs of the audience. The difference between what Boyd experienced and the no-Twitter environment is that the only people a dissatisfied non-Twitter audience member can complain to are themselves and the people sitting next to them. Twitter gives people a tool to complain more widely. What Twitter can do for speakers is give us another avenue to get feedback from the audience so we pay more attention to their needs. If the Twitter backchannel isn’t there, and if you’re being a self-centered speaker, rather than an audience focused speaker, the results are the same – a dissatisfied audience – just fewer people know about it!

How Negotiators Gain LEVERAGE?

A quality, superior, professional negotiator, doesn’t perceive of a negotiations, as being, adversarial, but, rather, realizes, the finest, most desirable results, come from using the win – win negotiating approach! While, one tries to articulate his position, in an inspiring, motivating manner, in order to attract, as many relevant concessions, as possible, and gain focused, LEVERAGE, which might beneficial, his group’s position, he does so, in an open, honest, integrity – based, manner, seeking a meeting – of – the – minds, where, all sides, come – away, satisfied, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and how it should be used, and considered.

1. Listen; learn; leading: Leaders must demonstrate they are, truly, leading, in these efforts, by effectively, listening, and learning, gaining genuine empathy, and a mutually beneficial, meeting – of – the – minds. When this is done, both, the terms of the contract, and the final result, nearly always are enhanced!

2. Energy; empathy; emphasis: A quality negotiator makes a connection, based on the positive nature of his personal energy. He demonstrates his understanding of the needs of his negotiating adversary, and places his emphasis, on proceeding with genuine empathy, and a meeting – of – the – minds!

3. Value; values; vision; views: One achieves negotiating success, when the agreement combines both, value, and an alignment with his group’s values. He must have a vision of real, and perceived value, and, articulate his views, in an inspiring, motivating way!

4. Excellence; endurance: There are often obstacles, to the negotiating process, and the negotiator must possess genuine endurance, and persistence. He must avoid, settling, merely, for good – enough, or the same – old, same – old, and strive for the highest possible degree of excellence!

5. Realistic; responsive; reasonable; reasoning: It serves little purpose, to proceed with rose – colored glasses, so negotiate in a realistic way! You must be responsive to your group’s needs, and priorities, while proceeding with reasonable demands, so the other side, understands and appreciates, your priorities, and what you seek!

6. Attitude; attention; aptitude: You have to believe, you can create the meeting – of – the – minds, so proceed, with a positive, can – do, attitude! Pay attention to relevant, necessary details, and ensure, you have the aptitude, and skill – set, which will improve your end – results!

7. Guarantees; growth: When negotiating any contract, always, include some types of guarantees, to ensure, you receive, what you’ve been promised. The effectiveness, and growth, of your results, often, depend upon, paying keen attention to all relevant details, and necessities!

8. Experience; expertise: Experience and expertise are often, significantly different, and sometimes, unrelated, unless/ until, one effectively learns from his previous experiences, in a way, which improves his judgment, and, hopefully, provides him, with more wisdom!

Smart negotiators develop the degree of LEVERAGE, which makes their agreements, most relevant, meaningful, and effective. Will you be, up to the task?

Healthy Shopping Tips to Ensure the Quality of Ladies Plus Size Clothing in Wholesale

Being a store owner isn’t an easy thing. You need to deal with numerous things. You need to fulfil your clients without fail. When a woman comes to your store, she would surely be demanding fine quality, best and trendy outfits, and affordable prices. This would lead you in having permanent customers. At the point when ladies buy something, quality is their most significant viewpoint. They are paying for the clothes so they want them of the most premium quality. This blog here will help you to have the best quality ladies plus size clothing for your customers. You just need to work on the following lines and you will surely be good to be in the competition.

Never Rely On A Single Brand or Store
Never confine yourself to a single wholesale source. Always make a point to visit various sites, brands and stores and have the best attire for your stores. There is a number of different websites, brands and stores that are actually delivering the best. Make a point to have the best and the exceptional quality substance for your stores so, you can have the best attire for your stores.

Manage to Have A Sample
To check the quality of the product one should ask for a sample prior to any purchase. Many stores provide trendy plus size clothing wholesale uk collections that aren’t durable. The colour of the clothing fades after washes. So, make sure you do have a check to make your store the best one. If you got clothing that doesn’t fade after some washes. Then no one can beat you in the competition. Since every customer want that his purchase should last for a long. It should stay fresh. So do have a check by ordering a sample.

Quality Craftsmanship
To see the fabric isn’t enough to get to know whether the quality is premium or not. You surely need to look for craftsmanship. See the tailoring, look for seams and bounds. Examine if the clothing is finely stitched or not? Are there any extra threads to cut off? All these points count a lot. Since it is the final appearance that counts. Do double-check your purchase for the purpose.

Never Miss the Trends
You can possibly expand your deal when every one of your items is sufficient with respect to form. Assuming you overlook this factor, you can’t pace up with time. In the event that you visit diverse retail locations in the UK that are managing quality clothes you will track down the limit of them are providing popular things. The design factor shouldn’t be disregarded at any expense. Those retailers frequently deal with issues that stock wholesale plus size clothing uk for ladies without thinking often about this component. At the point when ladies go out on the town to shop then, they like to purchase from those locales that offer fine items dependent on design. As a retailer, you should be mindful of the overall style and patterns so what your stock may sell promptly. Now, look for the wholesale websites for clothing and then select the most reliable one to shop your clothing.

Don’t Limit Your Variety
Whether you are dealing in Birmingham, Manchester, or London, do purchase different assortments concerning these items. Greatest ladies manage such garments stores that consistently keep their cheap plus size clothing store refreshed with respect to plans and development. You can also search for the finest wholesale clothes suppliers uk to let yourself have the best clothes at your store in no time.

Keep Your Rails Refresh
In each attire item, plans and prints continue changing and designers present new and current items over the long run. Like women ordinary dresses, quality dresses come in new plans and prints. Remember to stock fresh introductions while filling your store with the best clothing and abroad with advancement and innovation. Those things that have recently been presented by wholesale womens plus size dresses supplier ought to be in your stock immediately.

Look for Durable Stuff
Ladies have a thrifty nature. They want to make full use of their payment. They don’t want to throw away their money at all. That is why they are always looking for some quality and durable stuff. This becomes more essential when they are looking for some plus size products. Since these plus size products usually cost a little more than the regular sizes. So never try to bypass quality and durability at all. It wouldn’t generate a good sale for you. On other hand, it will ruin your repute as well and mar your future prospects. It is the ingredient that couldn’t be compromised at all. Stay vigilant while making your purchase. Never fall prey to any womens plus size dresses distributor who is selling some lower quality clothing in the name of the sale. Do check the quality of the stuff before making any purchase.

Select the Trusted Platform
No matter what, always make sure to have the best of wholesalers around you. Wholesalers play an important role in making your business successful. They are the ones who provide quality clothing to you. Therefore, no matter what always make sure to have the best clothing in your store to have more customers. Make your one-time customers the permanent ones by providing premium quality. Now all you need to do is to search for a reliable and trustworthy wholesaler that can never let you down. You surely need to have the bulk wholesale clothing suppliers your way to let yourself have the best clothing at your store steps on time. Try this web link for the best wholesale clothing at an affordable price to meet all the prescribed tips.