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I love the Lego metaphor! The picture on the box and the numbered instructions are powerful symbols. Writing a good title’s vital. It tunes the presenter into including only material that’s helpful. And it tells the audience what they’ll get out of the event – and even that there WILL BE takeaways! Coincidentally, my upcoming blog post’s also about titles. It suggests the mnemonic “ABCD” as one recipe for writing a good title. That stands for: - Action (through use of verbs, rather than rampant nouns) - Benefit (like saying “Improve X” in a couple of your examples at the bottom) - Conversation (speaking to people directly e.g. “YOUR Bottom Line” or “What YOU Need” in your examples) - Digit (saying exactly how many takeaways to expect e.g. “3 ways to…”) Look out for my post, and see what you think!
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I just visited your blog on my (old, very small) Android phone, and was pleasantly surprised how readable the text was. Even the images were amazingly clear. Interestingly, I also got a horizontal scroll bar – even though it didn’t seem to be needed. So scrolling down the page often resulted in a pleasant, slightly off-vertical motion! (In portrait mode, the window was about 50% wider than the screen, but the text wrapped at the edge of the screen rather than the edge of the window, so all was well. Similarly, in landscape mode, the window was about 10% wider than the screen, but wrapping still worked fine.) Even on my laptop, when I make the browser quite narrow, sure enough the widgets jump to the bottom of the page, which is helpful. The font size becomes smaller, too, which I like. So it’s a thumbs-up from me!
Toggle Commented Jan 10, 2018 on New Layout For The Webinar Blog at The Webinar Blog
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I agree with you Ken. If the presenter uses it well, subtle animation can be extremely helpful – to the presenter and the audience. For instance, I think it’s handy to intrigue people by showing “cues” on-screen, which you gradually replace with content as you talk through the slide. (An example would be to say “There are 4 reasons for this” and show 4 grey squares, then say “First, the budget”, at which point the 1st grey square changes to a picture of cash and the word “Budget” …and so on.) That keeps people solidly in sync with what the presenter’s saying, which is so much more engaging for the audience. See what you think of my take on using animation in webinars. (Your thoughts always welcome.)
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2017 on Slide Animations - Good Or Bad? at The Webinar Blog
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Remember that British and Australian usage differs from US. (I’m British and live in Aus.) Here’s a more open-minded viewpoint: (Coincidentally, it’s by someone called Lynne who also counted commas in her birthday greetings. She’s an American, but lives in the UK.)
Thanks for explaining your viewpoint. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree! Sadly, very many people find that the time needed to properly apply so many rules (with their various nuances) is far more than a second. And of course, most people never master them all, for their whole life! I think we’re both aiming for the same goal: clear writing. I can see that having many “strict” rules for people to follow COULD make writing easier, but unfortunately I don’t think it does (partly because there are many exceptions, like not needing a comma in “Hi Dan”). I’d say having so many rules makes most writers doubt themselves, so it’s a major obstacle to people expressing themselves freely but clearly. Of course, we need rules, and to me the overriding one is “Be clear!” There’s nothing unclear about “Happy birthday Lynn!”, no matter who’s reading it. Therefore, for me, a rule that says a comma’s needed is a harmful rule. Regards, Craig P.S. I’m hoping there’s no problem with me splitting “to… apply”‼
I’ve a different (less prescriptive) view: Unless omitting the comma would cause readers (other than grammar-sensitives) to stumble or misunderstand, then it can be left out. What’s the REASON for the rule? For instance, what problem does “Happy birthday Lynn!” (without a comma) cause?
I had no idea such a useful piece of kit existed, so thanks for sharing how you use it.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2017 on The Benefits Of A Foot Pedal at The Webinar Blog
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Ah right, having tested it I see what you mean now. Thanks for explaining.
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Handouts are a topic close to my heart! I’d not come across the glitches you mention, so thanks for the heads-up. With the animations, I wonder if there’s a need for the Appear setting? (Given that all content’s visible by default, maybe just the Disappear would suffice.) Like you, I’ve a post about creating handouts from notes pages, so I hope you find something of value there too.
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This looks great! I look forward to exploring the videos. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the reminder, and for the alarming examples! I've recently started using WebEx myself. At first it seemed simpler than Adobe Connect, but now I'm finding the differences between Meeting Center, Training Center and Event Center are a bit perplexing and rather hard to learn. When you take a close look at any webinar platform, it seems there's always a potential "gotcha" waiting to snare the unwary presenter. So I agree that a run-through is vital!
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Thanks for sharing your review, Kathy. Sounds like a great little book. (I’m a big fan of quick learning, and even watch TED talks and Vimeo clips at higher speed!) What a neat line: “talk from the heart, not the chart.” That’s one to add to my quote log! Paradoxically, I think figures can be the basis for strongly emotional content – as well as for regular charts and tables, which don’t get the heart racing! I’ve written a couple of pieces on doing that, like about these 3 opening lines on video. (A couple of those are from TED. See what you think.)
Toggle Commented Apr 15, 2016 on It's Not What You Say at Professionally Speaking...
Hi Ken. Some time ago I posted a link to a recording of a non-linear webinar you’d done ( Sadly that recording no longer seems to be available. Is there an alternative URL I could use please? Thanks.
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Thanks Lynn, these are great tips. Your 1st tip reminds me of somewhere I worked a few years ago. A couple of my colleagues interstate were in the habit of sending emails (out of the blue) with no greeting. Not only that, but they sometimes opened with quite a blunt question, so the whole email came across as rude, even if that wasn’t intended. More recently, I learnt a valuable lesson through my own email gaffe: Having given someone feedback that he took personally, he told me what I should have done to avoid the issue I’d come across with his work. So he began a sentence with “You should have…”. When I replied, at the end I said “By the way, starting any sentence with “You should” isn’t usually a good idea, because it’s telling the other person what to do.” Unfortunately, my comment only made the problem worse, which in hindsight I can understand. Ironically, I’d been avoiding using personal pronouns (“I” and “you”) to try to take the heat out of the situation. The lesson I took away is that if you feel offended by something in an email, it can help to be clear about that in your reply. So I could have written “When you wrote “You should have…”, I felt offended because it seemed you were telling me what I should do. And, it was something I had in fact done.” I haven’t yet needed to use wording like that, but I hope I’ve learnt now that I should when necessary!
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2015 on 10 Ways to Earn More Valentines at Business Writing
Thanks Ken, this is a very useful commentary on what happens (sometimes very quickly) in the video. It’s eye-opening how complex (and labour-intensive!) INXPO’s setup is. I suppose once you get a couple of cameras involved, that becomes almost inevitable. Recently I posted a critique of a TEDx talk and used time codes to refer to specific points (like you did here). I hope it proves as helpful as this, because I’ve found this fascinating!
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Thanks Kathy – this is great! It’s so true about most people not having had any training in speaking. How short-sighted that so many companies fail to invest that way, as poor communication wastes so much time and money. I love the analogy of hearing from your pilot that they’re nervous. That makes the folly clear! In this recent post, I too debunked some speaking myths: I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2015 on Presentation Myths at Professionally Speaking...
I hope the workshop goes well! Unfortunately I won't be able to attend, as I'm a Toastmaster in Sydney. Still, you might like this video of a TEDx talk on body language, which I've evaluated. Your views on the talk or eval would be most welcome: Once again, good luck with your speaking!
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Nice makeover. What an effective way to make the point! Some years ago, my then employer had all its employees complete an online compliance course. In it, I found a 50-word sentence where 9 of the words were “or”! Believe it or not, that mega-sentence was a definition of a term, meant to help such a general audience understand. Guess what term was being defined? “Customer!” That definition of that everyday word was grammatically correct, but worthless. These days, I rarely come across extremely long sentences, because my speciality is spoken English. Still, people often use WORDS OR PHRASES that are needlessly long. I’ve listed many of the most common, and warmly welcome your comments or additions:
I’m on a mission against harmful myths like that! (I’ve a couple of draft posts on the go, and one of them is about busting similar myths.) I really like the analogy of foam and beer. Coincidentally, I was just reading another speaker’s blog, and she listed analogies as 1 of 3 key tips for being memorable: I wish I was better at coming up with analogies, because they can communicate so well!
I strongly agree with most of your points here, Ken, but not with your opening remark. In fact I believe polls are a highly overrated and overused way to engage people. You also say they’re often used poorly. Well I’d go as far as saying they’re usually used poorly! Coming from a background in elearning, I liken webinar polls to the lip service paid to interactivity in most online training. In elearning, people really aren’t engaged by repeatedly being asked to click Next (or some other button) to see or hear the next few sentences. What’s in it for them? Likewise, I don’t believe audiences are engaged by polls that ask (for instance) how much knowledge of the topic they have, when the presenter’s in no position to alter their talk to properly respond to the results! Again, what’s in it for the audience, other than satisfying their mild curiosity about the rest of the audience’s responses? After all, polls are mostly about other people’s answers! I’ve written more about this in a couple of recent posts, and I’d love you to leave a reply on either of them. I look forward to hearing your always well-considered thoughts.
Toggle Commented Apr 30, 2013 on Tips For Webinar Polls at The Webinar Blog
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Susan, I love the points you make here! Your post inspired me to add to this conversation about consistency:
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Jun 24, 2012