University program solves fear of public speaking using virtual audience

Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman
statesman, scholar and writer

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.”

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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.

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.

14 tips for building more effective PowerPoint presentations

I like to think of Microsoft PowerPoint as a test of basic marketing skills. To create a passing presentation, I need to demonstrate design skills, technical literacy, and a sense of personal style.
If the presentation has a problem — such as an unintended font, a broken link or unreadable text — then I’ve probably failed the test, writes Jamie Cartwright, marketing manager at Weidert Group. Even if my spoken presentation is well rehearsed, a bad visual experience can ruin it for the audience. Expertise means nothing without a good presentation to back it up.
Regardless of your topic, successful PowerPoint presenting depends on three main factors. (Click on the headline to continue reading.)
I like to think of Microsoft PowerPoint as a test of basic marketing skills. To create a passing presentation, I need to demonstrate design skills, technical literacy, and a sense of personal style.
If the presentation has a problem — such as an unintended font, a broken link or unreadable text — then I’ve probably failed the test, writes Jamie Cartwright, marketing manager at Weidert Group. Even if my spoken presentation is well rehearsed, a bad visual experience can ruin it for the audience. Expertise means nothing without a good presentation to back it up.
Regardless of your topic, successful PowerPoint presenting depends on three main factors. (Click here to continue reading.)

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.

 

Story coach Doug Stevenson on storytelling and brain science

May 01, 2018 | Presentations, Writing

Why do you think Malcolm Gladwell is so successful? All three of his books, The Tipping Point, Blink and most recently Outliers — The Story of Success, are best sellers. The answer lies in the subtitle of his most recent book, The Story of Success. Malcolm Gladwell is a synthesizer, a pattern recognizer. After he’s done his research and compiled lots of examples to illustrate the points he wants to make, he writes his books by telling stories. He’s a good storyteller. So says storytelling coach Doug Stevenson in his blog post about how the brain responds to stories. (Click on the headline to continue reading.)

Designing your PowerPoint presentation in 7 easy steps

With these easy PowerPoint presentation design tips from Software Spring, create a presentation that will have a positive impact on your audience. How to design PowerPoint presentation? Here is a video containing seven easy PowerPoint design tips that will assist you to create a compelling design for your presentations, starting with ... (click on the headline to continue)

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