22 pieces of timeless advice from Stephen King on how to be a great writer

June 11, 2018 | Writing

Renowned author Stephen King writes stories that captivate millions of people around the world and earn him an estimated $17 million a year, according to a recent article in The Independent.

In his memoir, On Writing, King shares valuable insights into how to be a better writer. And he doesn’t sugarcoat it. He writes, “I can’t lie and say there are no bad writers. Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers.” Don’t want to be one of them? The Independent distilled from King’s book 22 pieces of writing advice that can make all the difference. Click here to read the article.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.


The pros and cons of PowerPoint master slides

PowerPoint is a robust software program filled with features designed to make creating presentations easier. However, like most things in life, while those features can be great, they can also work against you depending on what you’re doing. And PowerPoint’s Master Slides feature is a perfect example of that, writes Kelly Allison for the Ethos3 blog. While Master Slides is a great tool for some presenters, it can also be incredibly frustrating for others. To decide whether it’s something that will help or harm your presentation prep, check out the pros and cons, as outlined by Kelly Allison. (Click on the headline to continue reading)

5 ways to improve your verbal imagery

May 29, 2018 | Writing

Humans are highly visual, and this holds true when we are reading. We don’t see the images while reading, we form them in our minds. Pack in brilliant verbal imagery and your readers will enjoy and remember your writing. Drawing powerful verbal imagery is a skill that defines natural-born writers, but it can also be learned. Dawn Field, author and columnist, offers these five points to think about with respect to using the power of the pen to draw images. (Click on the headline to continue reading.)

University program solves fear of public speaking using virtual audience

Public speaking can heighten anyone’s anxiety, but a new program named Cicero is promising to help people overcome that fear — with the help of a virtual audience.
Cicero, a program named after the famed Roman orator, calls for participants to use glasses that have the effect of immersing them in the virtual world, making it as real as possible, according to USC News, a University of Southern California publication. In that world, animated avatars that look like real people are coded to react to the speaker. Feedback depends on the speaker’s aptitude. If the speaker is interesting, the audience will lean forward, display facial expressions that convey engagement, nod heads, etc. If the speaker fails to engage the assembly, the audience will convey dissatisfaction by leaning back, looking disinterested, shaking their heads, etc.
“Public speaking is threatening to many people,” says Stefan Scherer, who designed the project with Mathieu Chollet at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. “We wanted to see if we could use virtual humans to create a less threatening, more safe environment.”
Click on the headline to read the story and learn more.

11 tips for making your writing sound brilliant

May 14, 2018 | Writing

Do you sound smarter when you use big words? According to a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, the answer is “no.” In fact, complex writing makes you sound small-minded, writes Dean Rieck in an article on Copyblogger. Rieck, who has been called “the best direct response copywriter in America,” asks us to consider the title of the study: “Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly.” Wouldn’t it be better to title this study something like “The effect of using big words when you don’t need them?” To sound smart, you must stop trying to sound smart. Brilliant writing is simple writing, a relevant idea delivered clearly and directly. For Dean Rieck’s list of 11 ways you can start making your writing sound brilliant, click on the headline and continue reading.

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