Archive | May, 2012

Dead Wrong Trailer (2012)

26 May

Kenny here. So there’s a common saying to hire great + smart talent and just let them run free. Well, I did that and some of the guys came up with a “The Office-like” video series called “Luke the Intern.” It’s basically an extremely exaggerated version of what happens to interns in the workplace.

Extremely exaggerated.

Below is a trailer for our fourth upcoming video, Dead Wrong.

If you haven’t seen the other videos, please check out our youtube page here or check out the videos tab on this page.

Stay tuned for Dead Wrong…

5 Killer Ways to Open Up Your Next Presentation

23 May

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Did you know modern statistics state that you have 60 seconds or less to capture your audience’s attention?

You’ve might have heard it before, but maybe not in terms of presentations.  It’s crucial to understand the importance of grasping an audience’s attention in the first moments of a talk.  Your opening lines set the tone for your overall performance, so a great opener will prepare and intrigue the audience and ensure that your message is effectively received.

So, how do you enchant an audience right off the bat?

Here are 5 methods that we have found work the best for beginning a presentation.  

1. Stories

Stories are always memorable.  We crave stories because we all have them.  Proposing this shared experience with your audience allows them to identify with you on a personal level.  Now that you’ve established a connection with your listeners and viewers, you can merge your message with their thoughts while keeping them engaged and entertained.  Just remember to keep the story relevant to the requested topic/event you were asked to speak about in order to maximize effectiveness.

[For example, our CEO Kenny Nguyen recently spoke at a conference where the talked-about theme was the subject of serendipity. Watch how he opens his presentation here with his own story of serendipity and how his story created a playful and engaging bond with the audience, setting the tone for the rest of the presentation.]

2. Questions

A question is an excellent tool for jump-starting audience engagement.  A simple “How’s everyone doing?” opens up a forum of sorts for the audience, empowering them and making them more receptive to your message.  A question also makes the audience think for themselves about a topic that you control.  This is a great way to set and reinforce the agenda of your choice while giving the audience a sense of power.

3. Quotes

Referencing the words and thoughts of an expert in relation to your message is useful for establishing an overarching theme or general idea aout the topic.  You are imparting wisdom on your audience while creating a segway into your own topic.  Since you have primed the audience with a nugget of value, your information now appears to be equally as valuable. Just make sure you follow up the quote with an explanation of how it empowers your topic and how it is relevant.

[For example, don’t use a powerful quote such as Nelson Mandela’s “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” then go on a completely different subject that doesn’t tie in education. It’ll just seem like a sad attempt to make you seem smarter than you really are.]

4. Statistics

Normally, numbers or any type of data can seem boring in a presentation.  However, when used correctly, statistics can be very effective in illuminating your topic.  The key is to use very clear, accurate and relevant information in order to truly engage your audience.  A solid statistic places your incoming message in a concrete, irrefutable and trusted frame of reference.  Data not only provides your presentation with a trusted source, but also lends credibility to everything you say thereafter.

[For example, during Steve Jobs’ first keynote introducing the first generation Ipod music player, he stated that his new device had 5 gigabytes of data. He then made it relevant to his target market of the common consumer by explaining that 5 gigabytes of data gets you up to 5000 songs. This explanation made a normally boring description of data storage sound simple to understand, exciting (that’s a lot of songs), and most importantly relevant to his target audience. See here for video.]

5. Jokes

Humor is extremely powerful and is often used effectively.  A good joke can loosen up your audience and make them more receptive to you as a person as well as to your message.  Be warned, though, that humor is highly volatile.  A bad joke can be worse than no joke at all.  Make sure you have a scope for your target audience before you dive into a dud of a joke.

[A great resource you can reference is a book called, “Comedy Writing Secrets: The Best-Selling Book on How to Think Funny, Write Funny, Act Funny, and Get Paid for It.”]

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Well, there you have it.  Use these techniques in your next presentation to prepare, engage, control and entertain your audience.  Like all things, these methods are only suggestions and their effectiveness depends heavily on delivery.  Make them your own, and you will appear more natural and fluid in your performance.

What do you think?  Are these useful? Leave us a comment below or on Facebook and/or tweet us your thoughts!  We are huge fans of feedback!

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our blog and our YouTube channel on the righthand side for more intern videos and behind-the-scenes looks of the Big Fish team!

5 Fears of Public Speaking and How to Overcome Them:

18 May

Scared of public speaking? Today’s post “5 Fears of Public Speaking and How to Overcome Them” can be seen as a guest post found on Wave Accounting’s blog website, part of their Small Business 500 series.

Would love to hear feedback, and props to Wave Accounting for being so awesome.

Special Thanks to the Baton Rouge Zoo for the Amazing Hospitality:

15 May

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Today’s post is a recap of yesterday’s team retreat at the Zoo:

My graphic designer Corey recently asked me when can we go out more than ten miles as a team, and it got me thinking. I was already going to see the Baton Rouge Zoo on possibly doing some work together, and I thought,”Why don’t we just all go together?” Maybe we can all share our creativity and perhaps bond on this trip. So I let Phil Frost the director of the Baton Rouge Zoo know of my idea, and he was very receptive. I had no idea what he had in store for us though.

When we arrived Monday morning, Phil and his team members Mary Woods and Sam Winslow blew away expectations by giving us a VIP tour of the zoo before even speaking about work. Which was smart because we learned quite a bit about the history behind the zoo and the animals. He even let us go behind the giraffe exhibit to feed them. Definitely crossed “going behind an animal exhibit” off my bucket list.

On a research level, I never knew the impact it has on wildlife preservation. For example, did you know the Baton Rouge Zoo participates in 30 species survival plans for critically endangered species such as the Black Rhino? We’re talking about incredible animals here.

Needless to say we had an amazing time, and I would highly recommend going to visit the Baton Rouge zoo with your family or even company team as it’s a great place to get out, relax, and think of new ideas. If you’re ever considering donations for a great program, this is definitely one to take a look at.

We’re currently chalking up ideas on how to play our part and can’t wait to share!

Till next time,

Kenny Nguyen, CEO/Founder Big Fish Presentations

7 Ways to Prepare and Rock your Next Presentation

13 May

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There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.”  – Mark Twain, American author and humorist

Kenny here. It’s been a very busy month at Big Fish Presentations and while I haven’t been able to post regularly, I’d like to make the effort today to discuss a topic that’s very important for all presenters. Many audience members that attend my presentations frequently ask me, how do I appear so confident and calm on stage (despite AV equipment crashing when I’m delivering a presentation on presentations: see here). As much as I’d like to say that it’s because I’m just that awesome, I’d be a liar. I’ll admit that I’m actually pretty nervous.

And that’s a good thing, because if I wasn’t nervous I’d probably wouldn’t care too much on the subject that I’m presenting about.

I’ll be the first to admit that the confident and cool persona I show is due to many rigorous hours of practice and preparation. And today I’d like to share with you my steps of preparation and practice for all of my presentations. These steps below are steps that I can personally guarantee that world-famous presenters like Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, and Martin Luther King have practiced at one point in their career. Practice makes perfect after all.

So without further adieu, here are 7 tips to help you prepare and rock your next presentation:

1) Find out what you’re passionate about.

Grasp the subject, the words will follow.” ~ Cato The Elder, Roman statesman

If you don’t care about what you have to say, why should the audience care? Find a way to discover what makes you passionate in the subjects you speak about. This passion is essential in portraying positive and good body language. Once you find that passion, research and learn intricately about what your subject is.  Use that information to piece together a simplistic and engaging presentation that will inspire audiences to listen to you. Just make sure to…

2) Find out who your audience is.

Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. “~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher, lecturer, essayist, and poet

Find out who your audience is. It’s important because you don’t want to try a joke on pop culture at a senior citizen conference. Chances are, cricket noises can be heard. Research before your presentation: who your audience is, what their interests are, when are they attending your presentation (audiences in the later day tend to get tired and less attentive), where are they coming to see you, and why are they attending your presentation. Be respectful to your audience and their time.

3) Outline your Presentation

Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary.” – Evan Esar, American Humorist

Outlining is a very important step to find out what major points you should focus on in your presentation. This process builds the canvas for the actual script and the thought roadmap for your audience on where the presentation is going. For example, in my “3 Ways to Deliver a Kick-Ass Presentation” presentation, I knew I was going to speak about 3 things: storytelling, simplistic design, and passion. This set an outline for my presentation as shown below:

  • Story Opener:
  • Explanation of opener and relevance to presentation:
  • Introduction of Topics:
    • Storytelling
    • Simplistic Design
    • Passion
  • Thesis Statement:
  • Main Idea One: Storytelling
    • Creating Stories
    • Activity
    • What makes great TED speakers
  • Main Idea Two: Simplistic Design
    • KISS Principle
    • Use More Imagery
    • Use less text and animations
  • Main Idea Three: Passion
    • Have fun while you’re presenting
    • Keep in mind the 38-55-7% Rule!
    • Questions to ask yourself when you present:
  • Conclusion
    • How to implement these practices
    • How audiences remember presenters more than presentation
    • How to combine these three ideas into your next presentation

After developing this outline, I then was able to fill in the supporting content below the bullet points. This resulted in me being able to maintain structure, flow, and control before writing my script.

4) Script your presentation.

A speech is like a woman’s skirt: it needs to be long enough to cover the subject matter but short enough to hold the audience’s attention.” – Author Unknown

Using your outline, begin to write the verbiage and supporting content you’d like to use when actually speaking.  But remember to keep it simple, short, and to the point! Always ask yourself after making a statement, “So what?” Why should the audience care? Is what you’re saying relevant to progressing the flow of the presentation? If not, remove it! Read the script regularly and hear if it sounds conversational rather than just informational.

Build the supporting content where it’s still easy to remember the key takeaways from the outline. Keep your content simple easy to digest. I’ll be honest that I personally feel like it’s more difficult to be simple sometimes, but at the end of the day I know my audience will appreciate it. After all, this presentation is more for them rather than myself.

NOTE: Also remember if using slides to not overload slides with content. You should be the one telling the audience why you’re excited, not the slides.

5) Tie in body, tone, and speech.

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain, American author and humorist

Now that you’re done with the script, it’s time to tie it in with the actual delivery of the presentation.

While it’s important to have great content, I believe it’s equally important, if not more, to be able to deliver it. A frequent rule I speak about is the 38-7-55% rule by psychologist Albert Meherbrian. This rule states that audiences tend to judge presentations 38% on vocal tone, 7% on verbal arrangement (actual content), and 55% of the body language (with facial expression being the most important). This is amazing considering that most people would think they are done by the time they finish the script right? Not so fast. Audiences remember the presenter more than the presentation, so presenters have got to be on their a-game during delivery.

Common questions to ask yourself when preparing your body language for a presentation: What hand gestures are you planning to use at certain points? What certain words do you want to emphasize in your statements? Would you like to include pauses after certain statements? Are the emotions you’re portraying on stage properly matching your content?

6) Conquer Stage Fright; visit the stage.

Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.
– Michael H Mescon, Founder/Chairman of The Mescon Group

Now if you’re hundreds of miles away before your event and you’re unable to test out the presentation at the venue before the event, make a huge effort to test the equipment out at least 24 hours ahead of time. You never know what can go wrong. Whether it’s the clicker dying, the presentation being incompatible with the venue’s computer system, the A/V system crashing, or even the resolution of the monitors being terrible for your slides, something always can go wrong. Come prepared with an action backup plan.

After all, if something goes wrong there’s the saying that “the show must go on”. It’s your fault for not being prepared and not the venue’s.

7) Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!

It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” -Mark Twain, American author and humorist

Practice makes perfect. Say the presentation to yourself and ask yourself constantly, “Would you want to sit through this presentation?” If not, back to the drawing board. Rehearse your presentation multiple times before you begin. I usually prepare piece by piece, then do 1-3 run-throughs of the actual presentation. A very helpful strategy I perform before big presentations is to record myself delivering the actual presentation. That way I can catch the verbal disfluencies, body language mishaps, and confusing statements that need to be revised.

When I’m not embarrassed to watch myself presenting, then I know I’m ready.

It also doesn’t hurt to present in front of trusted colleagues and hear their comments. You never know what last minute revisions you may be able to make that could improve your presentation.

All in all, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse.

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If this blog post helped you on your next presentation please let us know at hq@bigfishpresentations.com. We love to hear feedback from our readers and would love to answer any questions you may have on presentations.

To keep updated with Big Fish Presentations, please subscribe to our blog to find out our latest presentation tricks and strategies.

Thank you for your time visiting our blog today and happy presenting!

– Kenny Nguyen, CEO/Founder of Big Fish Presentations

Rory Sutherland: Perspective is Everything

10 May

This week’s presentation breakdown features brand specialist Rory Sutherland.  “Rory Sutherland stands at the center of an advertising revolution in brand identities, designing cutting-edge, interactive campaigns that blur the line between ad and entertainment.” (TED.com) We take a look at his newest TED talk as he delves into the realm of perspective, applying psychological solutions to economical and technological problems.  Take a gander, and let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter or Facebook as well!  Enjoy!

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Rory Sutherland

Perspective is Everything

 

0:00-1:25 – Begins presentation with a personal insight about smoking

  • Sutherland’s insights on smoking bans in bars give the audience an immediate sense of where he stands as well as the tone of his perspective.  By giving the audience a solid tone, which includes humor, we are more readily primed for receiving his insights to come.

1:25-1:49 – Transitions from the joke into a broad message

  • He has the audience laughing, which is a great way to get them listening.  Once he has them listening, he introduces his first real concept: “The power of re-framing things cannot be overstated.” Now, after having heard a humorous example of the concept and then a brief summary of the concept, we are ready to dive into the subject at hand.

1:49-2:56 – Delves further into the concept by giving an example

  • Moving on, Sutherland continues to address the concept, but instead of speaking in generalities, he gives an example, in this case it is about the framing of unemployment in England.  As we all know, using an example is a useful tool in explaining a concept, but it is also an effective Segway from summary to breakdown.

2:56-3:12 –Breaks down his previously mentioned concept with a basic informational slide

  • Here is the breakdown we were expecting.  The unique thing about this breakdown is that Sutherland keeps it very brief and  doesn’t overburden his audience with an in-depth look just yet.  We can take a guess and assume that he will refer back to this slide once he sprinkles in a few more examples.

3:12-3:54 – Gives another example of his concept by explaining an experiment

  • We are returning to an example.  This time, Sutherland explains a brief, clear experiment that proves his point.  We are given a scenario that reinforces an ideal.  This further solidifies our understanding of Sutherland’s concept, which keeps us interested and curious for more.

 

3:54-5:05 – Addresses another principle, then follows-up with an insight that relates to the principle

  • “The circumstances of our lives may actually matter less to our happiness than the sense of control we feel over our lives.” This is a new principle, but it does relate to the previous one in a sense.  Humans perceive happiness based on the amount control they have over their circumstances.  We’re back to the idea of perspective.  After giving a brief, real-world application, we can begin to see how Sutherland is blending multiple angles in order to shed light on a bigger issue.  A great presenter slowly and carefully builds up his case with examples and smaller concepts in order to fully enrich and entertain an audience.

5:05-6:23 – Enters a deeper discussion concerning psychology as it relates to economics and technology

  • As Sutherland continues to unfold his ideas, he makes the shift into a deeper discussion about perspective in the realm of psychology.  As an audience, we begin to gain a greater understanding of the big picture, so to speak. 

6:23-7:20 – Gives yet another example of the previously stated concept (psychological solutions to technical and economical problems)

  • Sutherland continues to create an easily understandable path for the audience by weaving examples and numerical values with his broader concepts.  Sutherland’s idea of merging Psychology with traditional practical solutions is showcased through the Eurostar example in an engaging, slightly humorous way that informs and entertains the audience.

7:20-8:02 – Segways from the example into yet another concept

  • Sutherland has given us a grasp of what psychology can do for practical solutions. Now, he is shifting into what this idea means in terms of the psychological and creative practitioner’s role in the traditional forms of problem solving.  He proposes the notion that creative people have been labeled inferior to the logic-based ideas of technologically-minded and economically-minded people.  There is asymmetry.  This shift of concept is key in terms of explaining Sutherland’s overarching idea.

8:02-9:22 – Reinforces the previously stated concept with two examples

  • Sutherland is the king of examples.  As he explains the concept of psychological solutions, he addresses case studies that support his claim, explaining why they work and how they relate to perspective/psychology. 

9:22-10:53 – Refers to a diagram that explains the “Sweet Spot” between Psychology, Technology and Economics, then provides two examples

  • Sutherland uses a visual to enhance the audience’s understanding of the concept of the “Sweet Spot.”  It’s important to remember the power of visuals in your presentation.  If Sutherland had merely stated his concept, it would become muddled with the rest of his words.  However, by using visuals he has given his audience a reference point and a distinct symbol that will make more of an impression in their memories.  Also, Sutherland’s concept of the “Sweet Spot” becomes further developed, and therefore understood more clearly, by his use of examples (Google and television sets).   

10:53-11:19 – Proposes a psychological solution to a medical problem

  • Even though Sutherland has given examples of possible solutions to an array of problems, in this solution, Sutherland has addressed another realm of problems: the medical field.  By giving a diverse range of problems and solutions, Sutherland has built credibility for his proposed idea.  Throughout the presentation, we have seen Sutherland’s knack for introducing, explaining and reinforcing concepts.  Keep in mind that a consistent and thorough discussion of any topic establishes and reinforces your credibility as a speaker and a source of information.

11:19-13:12 – Discusses the psychological forces behind economic choices

  • Sutherland explains that money isn’t just money.  People’s payments are influenced by where the money goes.  Sutherland is slightly shifting the direction of his presentation by speaking increasingly of real-world changes.  This is the first step to calling the audience to action, which is a crucial factor in a great presentation.  He proposes that this mode of thinking could radically alter the current approaches of economics, medicine, technology, etc.

13:12-18:25 – Concludes the presentation by funneling the broad concept of perspective into an analogy, then explains the analogy in terms of the “big picture”

  • Sutherland has touched on many, many things throughout the course of this presentation.  Now, in the last five minutes, he is condensing his previous mass of concepts, theories, explanations, examples, studies and exercises into a single analogy made by Dr. Ludwig von Mises.  The analogy is very effective, especially at this point in the presentation because it makes use of everything Sutherland has addressed thus far.  We have seen how psychological solutions to a variety of everyday problems can impact certain situations.  We have seen how perception is vital to the condition of society.  Now, we are seeing all of these elements come together in this specific analogy.  Sutherland is using his previously established credibility to launch us into further thought.  He ends this talk by opening our eyes to the larger concept at work, here.  We can actively participate in this analogy because he has given us the tools to do so.  Having learned and participated, we can now take action, whether literally or mentally, and that was Sutherland’s main objective.

Society has established rules and ideologies based on pure logic and straightforward strategies.  If we applied the principles of Psychology to Economics and Technology, we could radically alter the way we perceive situations and ultimately solve problems more effectively.  Perception can be applied to a variety of social, economical and technological issues in order to increase their efficiency, accuracy and structure.

Rory Sutherland uses a plethora of smaller concepts, explanations and examples to establish a foundation for his overarching discussion of perception.  By building upon easily digestable blocks of information, the audience is able to gather and understand more readily the concepts presented.

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25 Awesome Public Speaking Quotes

3 May

Public speaking is the number one fear in America.  Death is number two.

From sweaty palms to cracking voices, speaking publicly can be terrifying, yet it is a crucial skill to have in the business world.  We’d like to alleviate some of this stress by offering up some inspirational, informative quotes.  These quotes are in no particular order, and the speakers range from well-known orators to presentation gurus.  Some are serious, some are classic, and some are short and funny.  Feel free to spread these around, write them in your journals, whatever you want! Enjoy!

“You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart.” -John Ford  

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” -D. H. Lawrence  

“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” -Dionysius Of Halicarnassus  

“What we say is important… for in most cases the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” -Jim Beggs  

“If you can’t write your message in a sentence, you can’t say it in an hour.” -Dianna Booher  

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” –Dale Carnegie

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” – Mark Twain

“A good orator is pointed and impassioned.” -Marcus T. Cicero

“Oratory is the power to talk people out of their sober and natural opinions.” – Joseph Chatfield

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” – Joseph Conrad

“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” – Alexander Gregg

“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” – Lilly Walters

“If you don’t know what you want to achieve in your presentation your audience never will.” – Harvey Diamond

“Best way to conquer stage fright is to know what you’re talking about.” – Michael H Mescon

“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” – Mark Twain

“No one ever complains about a speech being too short!” – Ira Hayes

“90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” – Somers White

“It takes one hour of preparation for each minute of presentation time.” – Wayne Burgraff

“The most precious things in speech are the pauses.” – Sir Ralph Richardson

“Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.” – Martin Fraquhar Tupper

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” – Carl W. Buechner

“The problem with speeches isn’t so much not knowing when to stop, as knowing when not to begin.” – Frances Rodman

“Words have incredible power.
They can make people’s hearts soar,
or they can make people’s hearts sore.”
-Dr. Mardy Grothe

“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain