What Not to Do During a Presentation

If you are like me you have attended a few conferences or conventions in your lifetime and have most likely sat through many a presentation.  The cold hotel meeting room, lukewarm powerpoint presentation, uncomfortable chairs, sub-par A/V equipment…you get the picture.  There are times (though they may be few) that I have been really wowed by a presenter.  I was listening to every word, following along in the presentation and really enjoying every minute.  The speakers who can deliver are very, very special.

I always say that a great presenter has a gift.  Here are a few speakers I’ve seen recently who have the gift: Erik Wahl, Jeanne Robertson, General Russell Honore, Jason Dorsey, and Christine Cashen.  They all share some things in common…charisma, great speaking skills, storytelling ability and delivery.

I’ve also endured my fair share of bad presenters and I usually sit in the audience and pity the poor person on stage.  Here are ten things that I’ve seen presenters do wrong:

1. Be Immensely Boring. Come on, even if your topic is boring (like spreadsheets) find a way to make it relatable and fun.

2. Claim to be a social media guru with only 12 Twitter followers and 3 tweets. Don’t even get me started on this one, I see it all the time.

3. Start out by saying you were up late, had a bad flight, bad hotel room etc. I get that bad things happen when you travel, but we (the audience) don’t care…never let them see you sweat! 

4. State this is the largest audience you’ve ever spoken in front of. Hey that’s cool, but fake it till ya make it…we don’t need to know that this is your first big break.  Own it. 

5. Bash other presenters.  Or anyone really, the audience doesn’t want to feel uncomfortable and if you are bashing a previous speaker or competitor it makes us uneasy. 

6. Long, complicated powerpoint slides.  Powerpoint is a necessary evil when presenting but it doesn’t have to be an eye exam.  It should enhance your presentation not overpower it.

7. Skip a slide. Wait…what was on that slide? We are dying to know.  If you aren’t going to use the slide, get it out of your deck.

8. Pace too much.  Don’t move around too much, it’s very distracting and then that’s all we focus on…your moving around the stage.

9. Never move from behind the podium.  Just as distracting and it feels cold…you want to connect with your audience you need to get out from behind the podium.

10. Talk about this funny video, then video doesn’t play in presentation.  Listen A/V crap happens, I know this firsthand, but if you are going to go on and on about how great the video is in your presentation, make darn sure it plays.  We really want to see it.


Those are my ten…what about you, what would you add to the list?


Here’s a good article on what great speakers don’t say.


Friday Fab Four

image001Hello Friday, you are indeed my favorite day of the work week.  Enjoy these four great articles.

1. ‘Lean In’ Isn’t Enough: Women’s Progress in Leadership has Stalled–Aaron Taube (It’s not about fixing women…it’s about fixing the workplace. amen.)

2. Four Day Workweeks, the Trend that will Save Us All–Jacob Shriar (I would love to see this get momentum)

3. 20 Quotes from the Greatest Love Letters of the 20th Century–Brianna Wiest (#15 is my favorite)

4. 16 Things Yankees Fans are Going to Miss About Derek Jeter–Krystie Lee Yandoli (Goodbye Captain)

Thought Leaders

Are you ever just completely amazed by all the information ‘out there’ in the world? You can google any problem or issue and voilá someone is an expert, someone has been through your exact problem and solved it.   If you need ideas or suggestions for better meetings, employee reviews, marketing, job descriptions, strategic plans, it is literally all out there on the world wide web. This makes me very happy.  I read 10-15 articles or blog posts every day…I cannot soak up enough knowledge.  Which is why I post my Fab Four articles each Friday…I want you to read great stuff each week as well.

Here are five thought leaders that I like and read weekly and I think you will like as well, so I provided a few details about each one so you can check them out.

1. Michael Hyatt: Forbes ranked him one of the top 10 online marketing experts to follow in 2014.  His weekly e-mails are wonderful and informative.  Besides marketing, he also talks a lot about leadership and personal development.

Twitter: @michaelhyatt 229k followers

2. Scott Berkun: I finished reading his book The Year Without Pants and it was wonderful.  Scott is a thoughtful writer and provides great insight to career planning and leadership. And he’s one of my favorites not only for his great material but he also commented on my blog once! (so cool!)

Twitter: @berkun 22k followers

3. Alexandra Franzen: Need a kick in the butt? She will deliver! Inspiring, motivational and intentional.  I love everything she writes. She has a passion for teaching the art of writing but she also talks a lot about communication.  Just a delight.

Twitter: @alex_franzen 13k followers

4. Kevan Lee, The Buffer Blog: By far, one of the best blogs out there in my opinion on all things social media and marketing.  Kevan really does his homework and provides great content everyday.

Twitter: @kevanlee 7k followers

5. Jacqueline Wolven: I’m proud to say I know Jackie personally.  Her posts are inspiring and many times she will say those things that most people are afraid to say, which I love about her.  She provides marketing, branding and social media expertise but she also writes about simple lifestyles and doing good work.

Twitter: @jackiewolven 3.8k followers

So, you might ask, how do I keep up with all these folks and all the articles? Here’s how I do it.

1. Pocket: I obviously have a full time job and I am a wife and mom so I can’t read every great article in the moment, so I save them to Pocket for reading later.

2. Buffer: When I find a great article, I want to share them with the world, so I tweet them.  Again, I am busy and can’t tweet on the go so I buffer content and Buffer schedules all of my tweets. I know you thought I was on Twitter 24/7 but I’m not.

3. Feedly: I love to blog but even more I love to follow and read great blogs so I use feedly to follow all my favorite bloggers and read their posts when I have a free moment throughout the day.  Plus from Feedly I can Pocket or Buffer my favorite posts.

4. Daily: Created by Buffer, this app curates some of the best content ‘daily’ and you can choose to send the content to Buffer right from the app.  Genius!

There you have it, now go out and read, tweet and save great content!

Friday Fab Four

image001The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler! Happy Fall Friday, enjoy these four articles hand picked just for you.

1. What You Should do Before Downloading iOS 8–Samantha Murphy Kelly (Who’s getting a new iPhone?)

2. How to Spot a Bad Boss Before You Accept the Job Offer–Lisa Quast (Good things to keep in mind)

3. 7 Rules That Keep My Life Simple–Leo Babauta (I really like a few of these rules)

4. Personal Branding: 3 Easy Steps to Advance Your Career–William Arruda

What About Gen X?

agechartIf I read one more article about working with millennials, I might scream! I understand they’re important and moving up in the work force but what about Gen X? We are still here and trust me, we are not going anywhere. I work with and manage millennials and honestly I love them; they keep me young and innovative.  However, I (the Gen Xer) don’t want to be overlooked.

There are a lot of articles written about how to manage a millennial, how to work with them and what they want from the office culture.  Cool…sounds like the road will be well paved for Gen Y.  I have to wonder, who did that for Gen X? I don’t feel like anyone specifically prepared to manage us, or work with us and I sure don’t remember the culture changing to accommodate us.  Why all the hype now?

Do I sound bitter? Maybe I am.  I feel like Gen X is the overlooked generation when we are the generation that is about to take over many C-suite positions…if and when the boomers will retire. I feel like Gen X is about to be the squashed generation between Boomers who cannot afford to retire and Gen Y’s who are ready to lead.  Gen X is in a unique position because they have most likely worked for boomer’s who were slow to embrace technology and social media and behind them is a generation creating the technology and social media. This makes me believe that Gen X is in the right spot to lead but how will Gen Y feel about following?







Friday Fab Four

image001Is there anything better than a Friday? Yes, four great articles to read on Friday!

1. How we Work is Changing–Jaleh Bisharat (boy, is it ever)

2. 5 “Stupid” Ideas that Became Million Dollar Businesses–Drew Hendricks (just wow)

3. The Absolutely Essential but Most Overlooked Skill You Need in Management–Walter Chen (So true)

4. The NBA’s Silver and NFL’s Goodell–Jena McGregor (Interesting contrast)

Let’s Huddle



via Getty Images

Most every team sport huddles together several times in a game.  Players get in close, wrap their arms around each other and talk strategy, design a play or just take a breath.  It is one of the most important team actions in a game.  A player will tell you that a huddle is a moment away from the action, the cheering crowd and pressure of the game.  A coach will huddle up his players to give out accolades, criticism or to gauge how his players are doing.  A huddle is sacred, no one can break the huddle and the team bonds in a huddle.  Most every huddle has a leader whether it is the coach, quarterback, point guard, etc.  The leader who gives instruction, sets the tone for the game and also breaks the huddle.

At work, I would say the huddle has been replaced with the staff meeting. Co-workers sit around a table, exchange ideas, and discuss strategy.  The boss will use the staff meeting to execute plans, praise or criticize and get a read on their staff.  While a team will huddle 2-4 times a game, an office staff may only meet once a week.

What is said in a huddle or staff meeting can make the difference in the game or strategy.  A coach or boss who uses the huddle/meeting to praise and support their team will see positive results.  If the huddle/meeting talk is all negative, the team will respond negatively as well.

I think offices could use the ‘huddle’ more in their culture.  In addition to the weekly staff meeting, start a Friday ‘rah rah’ meeting where co-workers who can attend talk about what went well that week, celebrating the wins.  Throw in a few high fives or fist bumps and you have the making of great team bonding.

A huddle doesn’t have to be with a team of people it could be with only two people.  Managers should consider ‘huddling’ with their staff one on one more to get a genuine feel of how that person is doing.  Remember, not everyone can talk in a large huddle which means some folks don’t get a voice at all.  No matter how big or small your team is, don’t forget to huddle up once in a while and come up with new ideas or just take stock of how your team is doing.

Go Team! Break!


The Friday Fab Four


It’s Friday again! Enjoy these four articles handpicked just for you.

1. Let’s Kill the Job Title–Sean Blanda (Yes, let’s! What are you passionate about? Love this.)

2. Seven Communication Sins that Kill Simplicity and Business–Kathy Klotz-Guest (I’m guilty of a couple)

3. 9 Easy-to-Steal Habits of the Super Successful–Miles Kohrman (Gotta love an Office Space reference!)

4. 7 Things You Can do on Friday to Make Monday Awesome-Kevin Daum (Something to work on today!)

Be Good at Your Job

Last week I met a friend for dinner at a restaurant that’s been in business 23 years. That is a really long time for a restaurant.  Towards the end of the dinner my friend wanted to order a sandwhich to take home to her husband.  She asked the waitress if the sandwich had bacon on it.  The waitress replied “You are asking the wrong person.” Really? You are the waitress…the person who is supposed to know the menu!! I could not believe my ears.  She hadn’t been the best waitress all evening but this really floored me.  “Who then should we ask?” I countered…and even then she did not have an answer.

I realize there are millions of people in the world right this minute stuck in a crappy job and hating it…I get that and I’ve been there.  However, if you have a job and get paid for a job…you need to be good at your job. It takes as much energy to be angry and bad at your job as it does to be happy and good at your job.  I feel that you are always ‘auditioning’ for your next great job…so it only makes sense to work hard now until your dream job comes calling.

What examples do you have of someone being bad at their job or someone being really great at their job?