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Loren McDonald
Mocial marketing, red wine, Peet's coffee, alt rock, my girls, the backyard lifetime project
Mocial marketing, red wine, Peet's coffee, alt rock, my girls, the backyard lifetime project


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“Aha” – 6 Steps to Generate Breakthrough Presentation Ideas - My latest, and perhaps most favorite, "Present Like A Rock Star" blog post.

I outline a 6-step process to help you be more creative, generating more "aha" ideas that you can bring to life on stage and use to wow audiences. Step 1: Isolation...

I also include a short 5-question survey, asking a few questions about the environments where you are most productive in generating ideas - please do me a favor and take the survey!

And even if you never speak on stage, I think you'll find the general process helpful in how to come up with more creative ideas in general.

#speakertips #presentations #presentationtips

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Smartphone's share of #BlackFriday online sales up 75% YOY; pass tablet's share of sales 

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Speaker Tip: There Is No Bad Time to Speak*

How many times have you heard a speaker – either on stage, or privately before or after they spoke – complain about one of the following time slots?:

- First session of the morning
- Right before the keynote speaker
- Right after the keynote speaker
- Just before lunch
- Right after lunch
- A breakout session up against a “main stage” session
- The last session of the day
- The session just before the cocktail reception
- The last session of the conference/event.*

Seriously? If you do the math, this means that the only “good” time slot at a conference is the keynote session. (See the blog post for tips to address approaches to different time slots.)

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In Speaker Tip #9 I talked about the challenges of speaking in a very large room and how I approached the challenge at a specific conference. In this tip I look at the opportunities to turn a small room into the equivalent of a fireside chat.

The Small Room

When your session is in a small room, such as for breakout sessions or client, prospect or internal meetings, you have the opportunity to create a truly intimate experience for the attendees. Your approach should be very different from the example in my previous tip of dealing with a gargantuan-sized room.

As with any presentation, check the room out in advance and attend at least one other session in your or an identical room if possible. But at minimum, get their early to set up. Assess:

- What are the room's acoustics like?
- Is there a small riser for the stage or none at all?
- Where is the presentation screen located - to the side of the stage, in the middle?
- How deep is the room?
- How much room do you have to move around?

Armed with a good feel for the room you can plan your approach. The benefit of a small room is that it opens up several options to you, because of the intimacy of the audience. Possibilities include:

- If the room acoustics and your voice permit it, and your session isn't being recorded, consider not using a microphone. This let's the audience know that your session is going to be more intimate, almost a chat with friends.

- If there is a stage or small riser, consider moving to the floor to be among the audience. You can either start your presentation from the floor or I often will jump off the stage. It can help to get the audience's attention and to stop checking email. For me it us often just part of my shtick - but it signals that I want the audience to join me "on stage,"

- Don't just stand in the front of the room, consider walking around. Bring your "presence" up close and personal.

- Read the faces of audience members. If you see someone nodding their head a lot, walk toward them and ask them a question. Get the audience involved in your presentation. Have them confirm your message or start a conversation. 

- Be flexible. In a small room, especially for private events, you have the opportunity - and challenge - of the audience asking many questions or having dialog in your session taking lots of time from your planned presentation duration. I recently had a small group turn a slide I had planned to spend 1-2 minutes on into a 15 minute discussion. It was the best part of the event and presentation, but fortunately we had built in 30 minutes for Q&A at the end so we were OK on time. But also have a plan in advance on which slides you can either skip or go over very quickly so that you can still end on time.

- Use the screen as a prop. In a small room you can typically walk right up in front of the presentation screen and "annotate" aspects of various slides. I like to point to things, cover numbers up and then reveal them for greater effect. Use your imagination and spice it up.

- Use physical humor/body language. Because you are so close physically to the audience you can use facial expressions, body language and voice inflections and pauses to greater effect than if you are 100 feet away on a large stage. When you are walking around the room, have some fun and use your body, audience members, props in the room - whatever you can find and makes sense - to add life and an additional dimension beyond your slides.

- Handouts and gifts. Always make sure your marketing and events teams are involved. With a group of 25 versus 250, you might be able to print up copies of ebooks, white papers, put materials on USB sticks, provide gifts or toys, place business cards on every chair or desk, and other items that convey the more personal nature of the room or event.

While very large rooms are very exciting because you on a "large stage" and your message is reaching hundreds or more, small rooms and audiences present the opportunity to turn a presentation into a meaningful conversation and greater value for the audience. Make sure you are prepared to take advantage of that opportunity.

Please share any experiences or tips you have on presenting in small rooms. Until my next tip, remember to be aware, prepare and respond.

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Excellent blog post from +Matt Byrd of +Litmus on the latest changes with Gmail and images in your emails.

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Excited to speak at Emirates Stadium #figdigdhc

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Some great lessons in hear from Martin Luther King...
I have been receiving endorsements for "public speaking" (social networking on the internet) and then I wanted to compare my speaking with other leaders and their style. Take a look. I noticed I carry some of the same qualities as written from this article.

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Speaker Tip #9: Surviving a Room the Size of a Large Airplane Hangar

In Speaker Tip #8 I talked about the importance of preparation beyond your slides. The need to be Aware, Prepare and Respond to situations - mostly out of your control. These include aspects such as the size and layout of the room, the speaker you follow, type of microphone and presentation screen, time of day you speak, size of the stage, and more.

In this tip, the first of two that look at room size, I share a personal story of how I approached speaking in a gargantuan room.

The Airplane Hangar-Sized Conference Hall Room

A few years ago I spoke at a large retail conference and had a 30 minute slot, the last session of the day at 4:45 pm. Not only was I up against the cocktail reception that started at 5:00 pm I was in the main room where Arianna Huffington had been the keynote speaker in front of more than 4,000 attendees earlier in the day.

My first tip off of what I was up against was when I was giving my slides on a USB memory stick to an A/V guy earlier in the day. After realizing which room I was speaking in, he laughed and said "Oh, you are in the airplane hangar."

I immediately went to check out the room and discovered it was indeed the size of a huge airplane hangar, set up for roughly 5,000 people. I was anticipating between 250-500 attendees for my session. Yikes I initially thought.

At moments like this you can either panic, get nervous or frustrated - or start figuring out how you are going to prepare and respond to the situation.

During a break between other sessions in the room, I took the liberty to walk on to the stage and get a feel for what it is like moving around on the massive stage and looking out into the cavernous audience.

I then sat in the audience of a few sessions prior to mine that also had a just a few hundred audience members to get a feel for what it was like being in the audience - potentially hundreds of feet away from the speakers. And this conference did not have video screens so that no matter where you were in the room you could see the speaker in near life-size dimensions.

One thing I noticed was that audience members were spread out throughout the entire room, including the back row and farthest corner. But that the majority of people congregated in two areas near the right side of the stage. I decided my plan would be to focus my energies and eye contact on those two areas which made up 80% of the audience.

Because my session was the last of the day and up against the reception, I knew I had to keep my pace fast and energized - which is what I did once on stage. I also had quite a few slides for a 30 minute session, and so kept my usual banter and elaboration to a minimum. That approach would not have worked this time.

The other goal was to leave them wanting more. I was presenting the results of a study and the build up to the end was for people to come by our booth to get the complete study report. The session went well, the audience was extremely engaged despite the time slot, and more than 200 people immediately walked to our trade booth to get a copy of the study report.

The point and lesson, is that every room you speak in has its own unique characteristics - some positive and some negative. But it is your responsibility as an experienced speaker to be prepared and have a plan as to how you well make the best of every room you present in.

In Speaker Tip #10 I will look at the opposite scenario - speaking in a small, breakout room.

Until then, please share any experiences or tips you have on presenting "super-sized" rooms.

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Decent little window sign promoting email sign-up ... but where is the QR code +Scott Stratten guess they didn't want to kill any kittens?

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Too funny, but true
CNN: any excuse for a countdown clock.
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