Bringing a Death by PowerPoint slide back to life

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

The presentation lessons of Oprah Winfrey

In the movie “The David Gale Story” a man named Bill turns to one of his clerical workers to help in accomplishing something fairly monumental, to which the clerical worker says: “Bill, I don’t make the rules. I’m a fat black woman.” The theater erupted in laughter. The point was that power doesn’t come easily to people of particular sizes and skin tones. The irony and exception, though, was that one of the world’s most powerful people (then and now) was a hefty black woman named Oprah Winfrey, one of richest and most influential people in America, and living proof that the power of truly effective communication can overcome many obstacles. I know people who are open about their racial bias yet … (click on the headline to continue reading)

Tip number eight for moderating panel discussions

Take an opportunity to build on your panelists’ answers by offering your own observations or examples. This makes you a bigger part of the discussion, rather than just a person who asks questions. It also builds rapport with your panelists. This requires, of course, that you are conversant with the subject being discussed, which is usually the case for moderators. Most people are asked to be moderators because they have some facility — or even expertise — with the subject matter that makes them especially capable of devising and developing questions for the panel. That same knowledge and experience puts the moderator in a position to … (click on the headline to continue reading)

Sting goes back home and breaks an 8-year writing drought

June 08, 2014 | Writing

Imagine having writer’s block for nearly a decade. That is exactly what happened to Sting, one of our most prolific and celebrated musicians. It just goes to show that even the super-talented among us have crises of confidence and creativity. Like all writers, Sting had bouts of writer’s block along the way but never something as unremitting as the eight-year drought he recently broke. This dreadful period of his life, as told by Sting himself during this TED Talk, came to an end when he went back in time by visiting his childhood home just outside Newcastle, England. He tells the story about being born and raised in the shadow of a shipyard, a place he was determined to escape. (Click on the headline to continue reading.)

Tip number seven for moderating panel discussions

Ask follow-up questions, rather than sticking to a predetermined list of questions. Follow-up questions add more content for listeners and create rapport with panelists. Your panel members will sometimes give answers that are obscure or incomplete. They require follow-ups. Perhaps the most power follow-up question one can ask is to, when appropriate, simply say: “Give us an example.” Let’s take a more specific instance. Let’s say you’re moderating a panel of … (click on the headline to continue reading)

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