Monthly Archives: April 2014

Presenting Tips from TED, Nancy Duarte, and Forbes

Many business communication courses include—and sometimes conclude—with students giving presentations. Share these pointers from some of the top experts in the field with your students.

From TED Curator Chris Anderson…

Chris Anderson suggests that TED speakers get their message across by using narratives. Although most students won’t be on the TED stage anytime soon, Anderson’s advice can be applied to anyone who has to give a talk.

Unknown1. Frame the story. Humans are hard wired to enjoy stories, and metaphors engage listeners more than facts. However, he urges, don’t tell the long version of the story; focus on one unique aspect instead. Use a narrative structure that mimics a detective story by starting with a problem and continuing by finding the solution.

2. Plan the delivery. Rather than read a script or use a teleprompter, memorize the talk if time allows. Rehearse until the words flow and become second nature. If time doesn’t permit memorizing, use bulleted points on note cards and focus on remembering the transitions between cards.

3. Develop stage presence. Avoid moving too much. Swaying or shifting weight from foot to foot diminishes stage presence. Only walk around the stage if it can be done naturally; most people do best if they remain motionless. Make eye contact with several people in different parts of the room, and don’t be afraid of nerves—they can actually help provide the extra energy needed to pull off a great talk.

4. Plan the multimedia. Keep technology simple. Never repeat words that appear on slides.

From Communication Guru Nancy Duarte…

Author, CEO, and communication guru Nancy Duarte suggests that speakers find the best mix of information and storyspeakertelling for presentations. Most talks lie on a continuum between a report and a story, she explains. On one end are reports, which are heavy with facts, data, and information. On the opposite end are stories, which should be dramatic, evocative, and experiential. Deciding where a speech should fall on the continuum depends on the presentation’s content.

If a talk will focus on research findings, Duarte suggests sending out a report beforehand and leaving the presentation to key takeaways. For financial presentations, she recommends combining factsthe audience will expect with narrative to appeal to listeners’ emotions. Finally, if giving a keynote address, Duarte advises that speakersuse a story to frame a larger purpose.

From Forbes Contributor Nick Morgan…

Nick Morgan, a contributor to Forbes and author of Give Your Speech, Change the World offers these presentation pointers.

1. Talk to the back of the room. It’s tempting to focus on people in the front rows, but doing so will make those in the back half feel excluded.

2. Limit “fake” audience interaction. It’s futile to encourage interaction with large audiences. People feel intimidated to participate no matter what the speaker does. However, it’s OK to ask for a show of hands as a warm up.

3. Don’t try to be funny. Comedians take months to hone one joke. A speaker needs to instruct and teach rather thanwork on eliciting laughs.

4. Dress like a star. Speakers should set themselves apart from the audience. Dressing down just means the speaker will have to work harder to receive even mediocre reviews.

5. Avoid Q & A. After prepping for a formal talk, why suddenly turn things over to chance with a Q & A?

Sources: Anderson, C. (2013, June). How to give a killer presentation. Harvard Business Review, 121. Morgan, N. (2014, March 25). Five quick speaker success secrets. Retrieved from Morgan, N. (2014, March 27). Five more quick speaker success secrets. Retrieved from




Shake off First-Day-on-the-Job Jitters

You nailed the interview, landed a job offer, and are set to start in a few days. But you’re queasy with anxiety.

It’s natural to feel nervous about the first day of a new job. However, the best way to overcome those first-day jitters is to be prepared. Experts suggest taking these steps before walking into a new job.shaking hands

1. Learn the lay of the land. Determine the organizational structure and who reports to whom before your first day.

2. Map your route. Determine how long it will take to get to work. Wake up in plenty of time to get ready and leave enough time to arrive a few minutes early.

3. Choose clothes the night before. Whether your position calls for business casual or more formal attire, pick out your ensemble the night before. Avoid wearing new clothes that may be uncomfortable. Make certain everything is clean, pressed, and appropriate.

4. Come in with a smile and a script. You may be a ball of nerves inside, but smile and be friendly to all. Prepare a script to introduce yourself and be ready to shake a lot of hands.

5.   Take notes. Bring a notebook and jot down the myriad of details that are bound to be thrown at you, including names. (Don’t be the person who says “I’m bad with names.”) You’ll be grateful you can refer back to these items as things settle down.

Discussion: Why is it wise to make an effort to learn peoples’ names in a new work situation? How will co-workers and supervisors react if you are the first one to leave the office on your first day? What tactics can you employ to learn about the new organization on your first day?

Source: Frierson, W. (2013, October 3). 7 survival tips for the first-day-of-work jitters. Retrieved from Salpeter, M. (2013, June 12). First day on the job: 9 ways to make a great impression. Retrieved from

Interviewers Pick Fits in 5 Minutes…Are Business Cards Dead?…Personal Mission Statements

interviewInterviewers Pick Good Fits in 5 Minutes

Nearly half of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder said they knew whether a potential employee would be a good fit within the first five minutes of an interview. Close to 90 percent said they knew within 15 minutes. The survey measured responses of 2,201 hiring managers across all company sizes and industries.

Are Business Cards Dead?

business cardMany Silicon Valley execs won’t “waste” paper by using business cards. Yet despite the trend to exchange contact information using smart phones, many people continue to hand out cards. Even actor Daymon Wayans, who is marketing an app that claims to eliminate the need for business cards altogether, had to gather cards at world’s largest mobile phone conference in Barcelona last month. Still, he only gave out his own card to a few people he really wanted to connect with.

Enhance Career with Personal Mission and Career Vision Statements

Creating a personal mission statement can help provide young people entering the work force with important insights. A personal mission statement describes an individual’s essence in a nutshell and can help define the person’s core beliefs. By defining those values, job seekers can look for employers who share them.

A career vision statement defines what an individual wants from a career. Creating a career vision should take a big picture view of where the job seeker would like to be in the future.

The career Website offers excellent articles on how to create both types of statements.