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Never again speechless – with the little book Impromptu Speaking made simple! (2nd edition)

Impromptu speaking made simple! (2nd edition)We have completely revised and expanded the Little Book of Speaking off the Cuff so that you will never be speechless again. Now the 2nd edition is ready. The new edition is called:

Impromptu speaking made simple!

A guide to speaking off the cuff.

So that you will never again be speechless when, for example, your boss asks you to say something in front of a group of people.

Or when you want to say something at a reception, birthday party oder wedding.

The 2nd, completely revised and expanded edition of the Little Book of Speaking off the Cuff. By Thomas Skipwith.

The book and e-book are available on Amazon.com (affiliate links).

P.S.: If you want to practice your presentation skills with a professional, sign up for one of my presentation skills courses.

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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When does a presentation start?

Start of a race as an analogy for the start of a presentationMany 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.

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. 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.Thomas Skipwith is interviewed by Bruno Erni.

What can you take away from this 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.

Listen to the podcast here: www.thomas-skipwith.com/podcasts. (Bonus: You will here many more useful tips during the interview between Bruno Erni and myself.)

If you want to hear the original of Connie Podesta’s contribution in English, the best way is to download the Speakernomics app (formerly VoE) and listen to the April 2018 edition of “Voices of Experience”.

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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

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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Bernd Baumann Nazi Card

A Nazi analogy made by the AfD

Bernd Baumann Nazi CardAfD politician Bernd Baumann makes a Nazi analogy – at the first speech in the German Bundestag. Doing so he surely convinced his followers. In his speech, Baumann criticized the decision made at the end of the previous legislative period to appoint the senior president according to years of service rather than years of life. With the aim of not allowing an AfD deputy to open the first session of the Bundestag.

“Only in 1933 did Hermann Goering break the rule because he wanted to ostracize his political opponent. Do they want to go down such a slippery slope? Come back to the line of the German democrats,” Baumann stressed. A rhetorically really well prepared speech, in which Baumann is supported by the regular applause of his party members. Even more: in his speech, the politician also addresses 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 in the majority favorable to the AfD,” according to Baumann.

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

Repetitions and conclusion

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

What can you take away from this for your own presentations?

  1. Use analogies, including those from your country’s history.
  2. Do verbal judo and take an accusation you are often given and turn it around.
  3. Make sure you have people in the audience to support you.
  4. Summarize everything again in one last sentence.

Click here for the video in which Bernd Baumann, AfD, pulls the Nazi card.

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Besinnliche Stimmung: Kerze

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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Christian Lindner Fdp 2012

Rage speech by Christian Lindner

Christian Lindner Rage SpeechPresent convincingly and engage the audience: Not everyone can do that. Leaders, in particular, should have the communication skills to captivate audiences and, most importantly, convince them of their own words. In the following recording, the German FDP party leader Christian Lindner proves how to make use of rhetorical elements.

Visibly irritated by the interjection of a colleague from the SPD, Lindner reacts energetically. He takes up the words of the heckler again, addresses him, but also his party colleague, the prime minister, directly, repeats many statements, leaves nothing unheard, switches on pauses so that the listeners can digest what has been said. His arguments are particularly convincing when he supplements them with gestures. From minute 1:40, for example, he incessantly raises his right arm and gives the beat with his arm. A fascinating reinforcement of his point.

“There you have one.” and “I’ll tell you one more thing”: phrases he repeats three times, just to score one more point at the end. Definitely word requests to learn from.

You too can use the techniques described. Why not do it at your next presentation?

  1. Speak forcefully.
  2. Repeat sentences that threaten to be lost in the applause or noise or that are particularly important to you. This can also be a useful technique at the beginning of a presentation when some participants in the audience are still talking to each other.
  3. Refer to content that has been mentioned before.
  4. Give the beat with your arm on important statements.

Click here for the video of Christian Lindner. The video lasts only 2:45 minutes. Look at it. It’s worth it.

Datensicherheit erklärt am Beispiel eines Einkaufs in einer Bäckerei

“How do I tell my child?”

“How do I explain it to my child?” This is a challenge not only for my own children, but often also for adults. If you sometimes feel the same way, I recommend the following short video. It draws attention to the topic of data security. Probably a subject that seems to be very boring. In my opinion, however, Stiftung Warentest has prepared it so well that it gets the message across immediately.

In the video we see a daily situation in the bakery. Customers buy baked goods. The salesgirl asks extraordinary questions. The customers are irritated – and rightly so, in my opinion. Thanks to the change of the frame (re-framing)  our eyes are opened: without much thought we give our data to an an app (and online websites), which we would never do in the real world.

I think the video is good for many reasons. In my opinion, particularly from the following three:

  1. Title:”If the saleswoman was an app. (Hidden Camera)”
  2. First comes the teaser, then the solution.
  3. We connect to a situation that we are familiar with: purchasing in the bakery.

Firstly, the title arouses curiosity. The hypothetical idea that a salesgirl could be an app makes you curious. This is topped with the two words in the parenthesis: “hidden camera”. Anyone who has ever seen a program with a hidden camera will be fascinated once and for all.

The second reason: only at second 57 and 1 minute 23 do the key points come into play: the core question “Would you agree with it in the real world?” and the core statement “Facebook etc….. have access to your contacts, your calendar, SMS, photos and GPS.” This revelation comes almost to the end. With good reason. If the key question and the key message were to come right at the beginning, the video would be much more boring. A good introduction to a presentation should be the same way.

The third point shows that the more familiar a situation is, the better the analogy works. Because it is usually easy for us to draw conclusions from one familiar situation to another. In this case, the analogy of buying in the real world makes it very clear how differently, or rather absurdly, we behave in the virtual world.

You too can use the described techniques. Why not in your next presentation? Then your kids will understand.

Click here for the video of Stiftung Warentest. The video takes only 2 minutes. Take a look at it. It’s worth it.

Barack Obama

The analogy: a powerful rhetorical device

An analogy is a particularly powerful rhetorical device. It often allows to present an issue much more clearly than if one did it directly. It sometimes takes a little effort to find a good analogy. But those who take the time are at an advantage. Here’s an example.

“Imagine: You go to the doctor, no, better, you go to 100 doctors and 99 of them diagnose “diabetes”. So 99 doctors are telling you that you are diabetic and therefore you should stop eating bacon and donuts. Then what do you say? You say, “It’s a conspiracy! 99 doctors sat down with Obama and want to stop me from eating bacon and donuts!” [Pause] You would never say that! That’s exactly how it is with climate change …”

The words come from the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama, who in his speech criticized the position of some Republicans on climate change and the Paris treaty. The analogy is convincing and delivered with humor. You have to see and listen to it in the original.

See the video here. (It takes less than 2 minutes).

Or right here:

As always, practice makes perfect. Only if you make the effort to implement the tips, will you have a chance to give a good speech.

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