Free images from the Internet – Caution: warning letter!

Free pictures

Whether I like it or not, there are law firms who earn their money with warning letters. I personally experienced this years ago in connection with my e-mail distribution list. Hence, warning letters are a serious topic not only since the GDPR has been introduced. What happened? One of my e-mail recipients did not simply unsubscribe from my mailing list (which, by the way, is always possible with a click at the end of my e-mails), but sent me a warning letter instead. The entire matter, including lawyer’s fees and fees for the warning cost me over USD 1’000.-. If I’m not careful, this can similarly happen to me with pictures and especially cartoons for example, which I occassionally use in my presentations. So here are a few tips on how to protect yourself from warning letters about copyrighted material especially images.

Images are protected by copyright

Basically, all pictures (and all other content) are protected by copyright. Fortunately, there are also several pictures that can be used free of charge and royalty free in your presentations. The magic keywords are “free” and ” royalty free”.

For the complaints not to turn out too harsh, I have collected 10 (not conclusive) tips for a successful 1st of August speech.

Royalty free and freeFree pictures are sometimes not 100% free.

Royalty free is not the same as free. Royalty-free only means that you don’t have to pay for recurring royalties. So it is quite possible that you pay a one-time royalty for an image, but never again afterwards, because the licensor grants you a license for an unlimited period of time. This is common on sites such as www.getty-images.com, www.istockphoto.com and www.fotolia.de.

If you don’t want to pay for an image, you should make sure that it is both royalty-free and free. In technical jargon, royalty free is also equated with the abbreviation CC0. CC0 stands for “Creative Commons” and means that it is material to which no right at all exists or is claimed and can therefore be used for everything. There are numerous image databases that offer their images under the CC0 license. Good examples are: www.pixabay.com, www.unsplash.com and www.pexels.com. It is best to briefly read the terms and conditions of each page.

Image search with Google

Google has a powerful image search function. As soon as you switch to Google, the image search is currently in the upper right corner (see screenshot: Bilder = images).

Via the search field you can now search for any pictures. Enter a search term and press Enter. Now you will see the search results. Here’s the clue: Directly below the search field a menu bar with the word “Tools” will appear. If you click on it, a “Usage rights” (see screenshot: Nutzungsrechte = Usage rights) submenu is displayed (and only then). Select the option “Labeled for reuse”.

Image search with rights of use

This keeps you on the safe side of any copyright infringements.

Why pay for images?

You might ask why someone should pay for an image when both royalty-free and free images are available. The answer is simple: The paid pictures are often better, especially if you want people in the picture. Furthermore, it is much more likely that your image has not already been used uncountable times by others. For example, for the book “To catch fish, use the right bait. Scroing a s a speaker with Power Presentations” we did buy some pictures.

Citation / attribution

Even if the picture is free of charge, copyright law stipulates that the source (the author) hast to be mentioned, i.e. you have to mention the photographer’s name. From the photographer’s point of view, this is quite understandable: he wants to be named and may receive an order in this way (for other, chargeable pictures). Exceptions: On Pixabay (www.pixabay.com), for example, it says that most images do not require image attribution.

By the way, copyright law in Germany says that the photographer’s name must be mentioned right next to the picture.

 

If you stick to these tips, you will be happy to show pictures during your presentations and will be free of warning letters along the way. I wish you success.

 

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1st of August Speech: 10 Tips to succeed

1st of August speech: 10 tipsSoon the time will come again: all over Switzerland countless speakers will give a speech because of the 1st of August. The 1st of August is the Swiss national holiday. Hence there is the tradition of giving a 1st of August speech. I feel this is a worthwhile tradition, because giving a speech is always an opportunity to share a message. When else can you share your thoughts (more or less) undisturbed with a larger crowd?!

Nevertheless, it is clear to most people: you can’t please everyone. Matthias Aebischer, Swiss journalist, presenter and politician, put it beautifully in one of his speeches: “A 1st of August speech that is not criticized afterwards is like a meal in the canteen that you can’t complain about”.

For the complaints not to turn out too harsh, I have collected 10 (not conclusive) tips for a successful 1st of August speech.

Tip 1: Preparation is half the battle.

1st of August speakers are usually asked a long time in advance to speak. If you are the lucky one, do a small written brainstorming and complete the initial ideas from the brainstorming over time. Subsequently you will no longer be starring at a white sheet of paper on July 31.

Tip 2: Anyone who cannot hear you becomes a disturbing factor.

I have often experienced that the organizer skimped on the sound system or didn’t have one at all. Unfortunately I therefore could hardly hear the speaker. It only takes a few audience members to start whispering to each other and you then don’t hear anything anymore. Therefore, make sure that the audience can hear you. With more than 40 listeners I recommend you use a microphone. Preferably a lapel microphone or a headset.

Tip 3: The beginning should make them want more.

Start in such a way that the audience will pay attention to you right from the start. This can be achieved, for example, during the greeting. Instead of  a plain “Dear ladies and gentlemen”, start with a personal anecdote. Then only greet the audience.

Tip 4: Choose the content so that it suits you, the occasion and the audience.

Why not talk about Switzerland? After all, it’s Switzerland’s birthday. As Switzerland is very diverse, you can really choose any topic. Nevertheless, make sure you are clear about your main message. A possible formula for the content is: a personal anecdote, the story of someone else and what you have learned from it. Especially with the personal anecdote you make your speech memorable.

Tip 5: The end is the icing on the cake.

Prepare a crisp ending. “Thank you for your attention.” is not one of them. Instead, you can summarize, relate to the beginning and/or make a call to action. The brave ones bring a suitable joke at the end. It is best to practice the last sentence several times out loud beforehand.

Tip 6: You need a clear goal in mind.

Decide on a clear main message. You are welcome to repeat the main message several times. Your main message could refer to a virtue, e.g. courage, punctuality, reliability, love, perseverance. How about “The world belongs to the brave”, “Steady wins the race” or “I am proud of Switzerland”?

Tip 7: Variety makes life sweet.

A speech that’s serious as hell won’t knock anybody off their pedestal. Switch between seriousness and lightness. If you manage to get your audience to laugh, then that’s a bonus. In addition, it is worth researching what others have already said many times before. You can do without it or on the contrary: It is so important to you that you also want to repeat it.

Tip 8: Speak so that you are understood.

Analyze the audience. Then decide whether you will give the speech in Swiss German or High German (or any other language). If you choose a language that is not your mother tongue, you should practice your speech particularly often. For example, most Swiss-German speakers find it more difficult to speak High German than Swiss-German.

Tip 9: Keep it simple, stupid.

Mark Twain said: “A good speech has a good beginning and a good end – and both should be as close together as possible.” Ask the organizer how much time you have. Many times you will get 10 – 15 minutes. If you are writing a manuscript, you know how many words it should contain. Namely: If you speak at a speed of 100 words per minute, your manuscript will contain 1’000 – 1’500 words.

Tip 10: Tell them who you are.

The audience is curious. They want to know who’s talking to them. Tell them. However, I recommend you spice it up.  Don’t just enumerate what you have done in the past, but use a story to talk about yourself. For example, I could tell you how I can still remember how I grew up in Lucerne next to the Museum of Transport and what I experienced in the course of it all. Thus, the listeners casually learn who I am.

If you stick to these tips, you are already one big step closer to a 1st of August speech that will be positively remembered. I wish you every success.

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When does a presentation really start?

When does a presentation start?

Many think a presentation starts with the first word. That is a good idea, but it is wrong. Above all, the presentation start is at the latest when attention is drawn to the speaker. Usually this is the point in time at which the speaker moves significantly. That means, as soon as the speaker gets up from his chair, all pairs of eyes are on him/her.

Recently I heard an interview by Brian Walter with Connie Podesta in the podcast “Voices of Experience” of the National Speakers Association NSA. Connie (www.conniepodesta.com) makes the point that the presentation starts much earlier. She is of the opinion that the presentation does not start on stage, but when the first contact with the potential customer takes place, that is to say many times on the phone.

What does she mean?
Before she even makes a phone call to the potential customer, she researches the customer. She is looking for a story with which she can create a good connection to the event organizer. She mentions two examples.

Examples

Example 1: Conny told the event organizer of McDonalds her personal story with McDonalds. She grew up in the same city where McDonalds opened its first store. Her father often surprised her and the family with a white bag of McDonalds. Even today she loves to go to McDonalds at the airport to drink a vanilla latte.

Example 2: When she phoned Walmart’s event organizer, she shared her father’s story. “My father has always been a Walmart fan and was always most happy to receive a Walmart voucher from me at Christmas. After he died, I found a valid voucher in my father’s jacket pocket. I thought a lot about what to buy with it. Finally I bought a picture frame from Walmart for a picture of me with my Dad. The picture and the frame are here in front of me on my desk.”

By the way, both times Connie was asked to tell the respective story during her key note performance.

Take aways

What can you take with you for your own presentations?
1) The presentation does not start on stage, but long before.
2) The telephone conversation is like a short demo presentation. You show how well you understand the customer. The customer hears whether he feels comfortable with your style.
3) You can use the story, if you are booked, for your appearance with the customer on stage.

PowerPoint or Prezi: Which is better?

I am often asked if I like PowerPoint or Prezi better. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question. In a typical consultant manner I answer: “It depends.” It is not clear which software is better, because both have their advantages.

Is PowerPoint better?

PowerPoint or PreziPowerPoint is probably known to all readers of this training newsletter. Who presents without PowerPoint? Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to think about what PowerPoint is all about.

  • The software follows the same logic as the other Microsoft programs Word and Excel. Many people find it correspondingly easy to operate.
  • You write and draw page by page (slide by slide) – similar to a book.
  • It is the de facto standard in the business world. Virtually all laptops have the software installed and you will have little trouble with it at conferences.
  • The software is installed locally on the laptop/computer. You don’t need an internet connection to hold your presentation (unlike Prezi).
  • PowerPoint for Windows goes well with most projectors. (The PowerPoint version for Mac should be used with caution. Also, the Mac version has less features.)
  • https://products.office.com/de-ch/powerpoint

Or is Prezi better?

PowerPoint or PreziPrezi’s logic follows a different pattern. It was developed by architect Adam Somlia-Fischer, who wanted to show his audience both an overview and details on a map – without losing the overview. Following this logic, you will not find individual pages in Prezi as in PowerPoint, but a single, infinitely large area. You can zoom in and out on it. This way you can see the overview and details on a map as you like – similar to zooming in and out on Google Maps.

  • Prezi is designed as a cloud-based application so that it can be accessed from anywhere and the files can be easily shared. Accordingly, a functioning internet connection is required. (However, there is a downloadable version for an additional charge. This can alleviate problems in hotels with poor internet connections.)
  • It is ideal for explaining a city map to tourists or presenting a floor plan of a production line, for example.
  • Prezi fulfills the criterion to do something different than everyone else. In this respect it can be a good change and thus increase the attention of the audience.
  • If all other speakers use PowerPoint at a conference and you present with Prezi, you will have to overcome additional technical hurdles.
  • It is difficult to produce participant documents. Usually it means an extra effort.
  • If you use Prezi badly, you can cause nausea among your audience. (In the past I already had the feeling that I was on a roller coaster.)
  • The software needs (like any software) a more or less long training period.
  • https://prezi.com

Conclusion

What can you take with you for your own presentations?

  1. Both are good tools. It is crucial that they are used correctly, though.
  2. So it is not a question of “either-or”, but of which tool better serves your purpose.
  3. Use either tool correctly – and it has a great impact.

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Oprah Winfrey inspires her audience.

Oprah Winfrey

“It was 1964. I was just a little girl. I sat on the linoleum floor in my mother’s house and watched the Oscar ceremony on TV “(0:50). With these words Oprah Winfrey begins her speech. The details (cold floor, white tie and black skin) revive the event. She describes the moment when Sydney Poitier was the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor. This means a lot for the little girl, who at that time was following the Oscars from the “cheap seats”. This personal reference makes the speech very emotional.

In 1982 Sydney Poitier received the Cecil B. de Mille Award at the Golden Globes – the award that Oprah Winfrey is now the first black woman to receive. She skillfully draws attention to the fact that little girls are now watching again. So she refers twice to what she mentioned before: First black man/woman, little girl.

Tempo, gestures and repetition

During Oprah Winfrey’s speech, she changes tempo several times. She talks about the Hollywood Press Association, which has a lot of work to do these days: To reveal the absolute truth, to expose corruption and illegality. Her gestures support what she says:”What I know for sure is that truth is the strongest tool we have,” she emphasizes. She says she has great respect for the women who have gone public with their stories. “This year we have become history,” she says. She repeats the word “history” three times. She tries to keep eye contact with the audience – but sometimes it gets lost because of the wide-brimmed glasses.

#metoo

Oprah continues with the #metoo campaign by telling the story of the raped Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks, the woman who took care of the case. She brings her strong message with an anaphora:”Your time is up!” Their time is up! She repeats this sentence three times, while the people in the audience are torn from their seats and give resounding applause.

Come full circle

She comes full circle by returning to the little girls. With that she addresses all the girls who are watching to give them hope:”A new day is coming”. “And this day will be wonderful, especially because of the wonderful women and some phenomenal men who will make sure that no one ever has to say,” Me too!”

Conclusion

What can you learn for your own presentations from Oprah Winfrey?

  • Tell personal stories
  • Make references to events, history, people and facts.

Click here for the video.

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Using a common reproach against your opponent

AfD politician Bernd Baumann uses a reproach against his opponents, that is usually used against his own party – and this at the first AfD speech in the German Bundestag. He certainly convinced at least his base. In his speech, Baumann criticised the decision taken at the end of the previous legislative period to determine the opening speaker no longer on the basis of years of service rather than years of life. The aim is that an AfD representative should not be allowed to open the first session.

“Only in 1933 did Hermann Göring break the rule because he wanted to exclude his political opponent. Do you want to go on such a wry path? Come back to the line of the German Democrats,”emphasizes Baumann. A rhetorically well-prepared speech in which Baumann is supported by the regular applause of his party members. What is more, in his speech the politician also referred to the press reports according to which this decision “does not cast a good light on the parliamentary culture in Germany” (focus). And this despite the fact that the press “is not usually in favor of the AfD”, says Baumann.

He skillfully takes elements from German history and tradition as supporting arguments for his point of view.

“How big? How great must the fear of the AfD be?”repeats Baumann. The icing on the cake is the end of the speech: In just one sentence, Baumann lists all the topics that are important to his party. “From this hour on, the issues are being renegotiated here. … also about the euro, gigantic borrowings, gigantic immigration numbers, open borders and increasingly brutal crime on our streets, ladies and gentlemen “, says Baumann.

What can you learn for your own presentations?

  1. Use analogies, including those from the history of your country.
  2. Make verbal judo and take a reproach that is often made to you and turn it around.
  3. Make sure you have people in the audience to support you.
  4. Summarize everything in one last sentence.

Click here for the video.

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Christmas – once particularly contemplative

Light a candle for a change

For most of us, a successful Christmas includes many elements: the special food, the appropriate decoration, the festive music, the beautiful clothes, the invited guests, the reflective stories … Which brings us to the theme of this article: contemplative stories.

A contemplative story also needs several elements to be well received. One of the elements, which you should not forget is the lighting. Here is my suggestion for this year:

  1. Tell a story and
  2. Replace ordinary light with candlelight before starting to tell your story?

The candlelight will give your story a very special, contemplative atmosphere.

Incidentally, lighting is also often a (neglected) topic in business presentations. Just seen again: The speaker left the lighting on the canvas on, so the slides were barely legible. This has nothing to do with contemplation, but with the fact that the message comes across better or worse, depending on the lighting.

In this sense I wish you and your dearest a contemplative and Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year.

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Every kid needs a champion.

In a TED lecture Rita F. Pierson explains  that every child needs a role model. She herself comes from a family of teachers. In the first sentence she makes that very clear. And thereby establishes a personal connection to the topic. The introductory sentence contains the word “schoolhouse” three times. This is not only funny, it also establishes her as an expert. It gives her credibility. In particular, her humor allows to reach her listeners.

She also connects to the experiences of the listeners when she says key sentences such as:”Children don’t learn from people they don’t like”. Relationships are extremly important. Unfortunately, this is all too often forgotten in school. I suppose everyone in the audience agrees with her.

She underlines her assertion with two quotations. One of James Comer:”No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship” and one of George Washington-Carver:”All learning is understanding relationships”. A little later, she takes up the subject of relationships again and describes a moving personal example during her mother’s funeral.

In her speech she also uses direct speech. She talks about a student who has only solved 2 out of 20 tasks correctly. She’s replaying the scene. She imitates the voice of the student and exaggerates her facial expression. Despite or because of the poor performance of the pupil, she manages to make the audience laugh without making the pupil look badly. This is very funny and makes the audience receptive to her message.

It’s not that hard to use Pierson’s speech techniques in your own presentations. Here is a selection of three techniques she used in her speech.

  1. Build a first sentence that is not only funny, but also strengthens your credibility.
  2. Emphasize your statements with quotes from well-known people.
  3. Play scenes from real life, including direct speech.

Click here for the video of Rita Pierson. The video is about 8 minutes long. Very inspiring.

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Gunter Pauli

Move your listeners, if necessary right at the beginning of your presentation

The number one rule of public speaking is,”Don’t bore your audience.” Because that many times leads to the audience falling asleep.

Some situations are easier than others to keep the listeners awake. Especially with rising temperatures – at the moment it’s about 30 degrees Celsius in my office – and with meetings that feel as long as a marathon it can be very difficult to keep the listeners and participants attention. Karem Albash, a colleague from the GSA, has brought to my attention a video on YouTube, in which this problem is masterfully solved. It is a video excerpt from the Entrepreneurship Summit 2014 in Berlin. Even if this occasion is a while back, I think everyone can learn something from it.

In the video we see Gunter Pauli, entrepreneur and designer and co-founder of The Blue Economy. He’s one of many speakers. What does Gunter Pauli do to wake up the audience?

  1. Gunter Pauli is in a good mood.
  2. He’s brimming with energy.
  3. He sets the audience in motion.

In particular, I think the third point is worth mentioning. Even though the first two points are a prerequisite for the third point to be successful. Namely: He makes the audience get up. At first glance, he doesn’t seem to be able to do it with all spectators. But he doesn’t give up: He insists. The audience seems to follow him. Especially as he has to ask the audience to sit down again at a later date. Acoustically, we hear that the audience has fun to participate. Yes, often this is the case: the audience wants to have fun or at least be entertained. Don’t be boring. As mentioned at the beginning, this is the highest rule of public speaking.

In addition, the third point is interesting because it helps the audience to take a different viewpoint. This contributes to the audience’s willingness to take new ways of thinking.

Why not also invite your audience to stand up, stretch out and move in a meeting or conference?

Click here for the video of and with Gunter Pauli

The sequence takes only 40 seconds (00:07 – 00:47). Look at it.

As always: Practice makes perfect. Only if you take the trouble to implement the tips, you have the chance to make a good speech.

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The British Exit - and the European Future

John Major on The Brexit

John Major on The British Exit – and the European Future; University of Zurich, KOH-B-10, October 17, 2016, 18:40 – 19:26 h. Organised by the Schweizerisches InstitutJohn Major on the Brexit - and the European Future für Auslandforschung SIAF.

It was an honor and a privilege to have the former British prime minister visit the University of Zurich.  It was great to be able to experience the Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH at first hand. The presentation was even more relevant because of the recent vote of the UK to exit the European Union. Therefore it was no wonder that the lecture hall was filled to almost the last seat available, i.e. about 440 attendees.

Former prime minister John Major argued that the exit came as a surprise to many. According to him there were going to be many negative consequences. Subsequently he praised the overall achievements of the European Union, acknowledging some difficulties. In particular the key achievement being peace in Europe after the first and second world war. On the other hand, one of the mistakes the EU in his opinion did, was to let too many countries  adopt the Euro too early. As a result, Sir John argued that the vote in favor of the Brexit had to do with the fact, that many British citizens hadn’t seen a raise in their living standard for the past 10 years.

Now to the topic of this blog: How good a public speaker is John Major?

On the positive side:

  • Use of humor: He opened and ended his speech with a joke. First with a joke about Gorbachev, then with one about Jelzin. John Major also deflected some potentially difficult questions with humor during the Q&A session.
  • Declaring his standpoint: He clearly said what his personal opinion was about the Brexit: He thinks it was a mistake. Comment: This puts things into perspective and let’s the audience understand more easily that he leans to one or the other side of the argument.
  • Relate to the audience: Sir John related to a large part of the audience when he (sarcastically) asked the students in the audience: “Are 65 million British citizens going to get the same deal as 500 million citizens of the EU? Discuss!” He earned a big laugh from that (, assuming that that will not be the case).

Areas for improvement:

  • Voice: John Major’s voice was not constantly audible. His voice tended to soften at the end of sentences to the point that he could no longer be understood. Suggestion: Articulate clearly and loudly until the end of every sentence.
  • One sided: Many arguments were unbalanced. E.g. NATO is good, Russia is bad. (No mention of the promise that NATO gave to Russia: We will not expand NATO if you let us reunite Germany.) Suggestion: When preaching to the converted that works fine, probably less so when speaking to a large number of (most likely) critical university students.

Conclusion:

Most noteworthy is Sir John Major’s humor. Unfortunately he could not always be acoustically well understood. In addition, in a school paper (and, in my humble opinion, hopefully by the press) he would have been asked to give a more balanced view.

This was a worthwhile event to go to, if only to experience first hand how a former and current leader speaks.

On a scale of 1 (stay home) to 10 (world champion): 7