Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Laptop setup Time


   When I reached the event I had problems with both the computer and backup.
   My Apple laptop did not connect to the projector. I had discovered this about a year ago and somewhere in my vast collection of lads and gadgets I had it. But I left this at home on the grounds that more clutter simply led to more confusion. Wrong. Have a spare bag of all the leads and connectors you don't think you need in case you do need one.
  Our second backup was my mentor's laptop which was on Powerpoint. She had a duplicate of the slides.
   Unfortunately when she switched on she could not find them. She lost two or three minutes. Finally she gave up and switched off. As she shut down the front window shut revealing the second window with the slides which had been concealed behind. problem solved. We'll know for next time. Moral. Close all other windows except the slides. Then nothing conceals them. You are ready. Have front slide up first.

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Time needed to set up laptop on stage for speech

  I took my laptop to give a presentation on stage about Conflict. The conflicts I had were with myself, the event organiser, and the technology (joke). All well-intentioned.
    I had had the forethought to email in advance asking if the venue had a projector and screen - answer yes! (Previous venue event had none so this time I was one step forward.)
  I also asked for an easel, flipchart, and markers (as backup).
They said they had an easel but bring your own flip chart and markers. So far so good, I thought.

  My foray around my home produced various A4 drawing pads and a huge A3 pad. It looked huge.
   I had an A3 easel or kiddie art board but it was heavy to carry. At the last moment I dashed back for a large IKEA bag to carry the drawing pad.
   I also dashed back at the last moment to get two extension boards with four plugs. Both were too short. But I reckoned that the shortest 2 meters would connect without a lot of trailing wires to trip up myself or bystanders. The longer one about 6 meters might fit. If not, still too short, the two together gave me even greater length of about 8 meters.

   When we got to the venue, the easel was much bigger,  A1 size. The ledge had no guard so the balanced pad fell forward. By extending the legs and ground area I got the easel leaning backwards which kept the chart more secure. However you could not flip the pages over the top of the easel because it was much higher than the pad. So you had to tear off the pages - which I wanted left attached for next time. Tearing takes time. Or remove the pad, tear off the page, then replace the pad. You need an assistant. But my assistant was busy sorting out whether she would introduce me or leave it to toastmaster of the evening. Later she was busy fixing up her laptop. As for networking or selling a book or socialising, all this fixing up of equipment takes away chatting time and prevents the speaker enjoying the socialising and appearing friendly.

   The club event organiser then helpfully offered the smaller lectern. This was in use by others during the meeting, so I had to leave my pad on a table at the back. My laptop was far right of the stage and my backup pad at the back. This resulted in my running between the two, creating a distraction while setting up between the speeches during the introduction to myself by the speaker and my mentor.
Moral - carry the easel which fits the size of your flip chart regardless as backup. Check the size of the easel.
   Later, when my mentor and I reviewed the situation, I realised I needed an elastic strap with a Velcro (touch and close) fastener on the back of the pad to secure it.

Most important - one minute between speeches is not enough time for all this hoo-hah. You need to know the sizes, shapes, position of all equipment. Also who else is using the equipment previously. Will they exit leaving their notes, pen, laptop plugged in, screen pointer?  Can they be asked to remove their equipment? They won't know somebody else needs the desktop, sockets, leads, unless they are told.

How long will it take to clear this? Will the Seargeant At Arms or tekkie expert have time to clear away the previous speaker's  

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Friday, June 06, 2014


Business Presentations

I have seen two different types of business presentations:
1 Self-promotion where an editor or author tries to present themselves, their book, publishing company, marketing company or service to friends and strangers, and rivals, including a mix of fans and foes
2  Company presentations and conferences where the presenter thinks everybody else knows slightly more or slightly and is trying to impress

When preparing a speech you have three different objectives:
1 Satisfy yourself - are you being paid. If not, does your speech ensure you sell yourself or your product?
2 Satisfy the audience - what's in it for them? A signed copy? Reduced price book/product? Save on postage? Two for the price of one. Can't buy it elsewhere? Out of print - last one? Chance to learn more about the subject of your speech? Whodunnit - answer is in the book. Problem solved - this gadget / software will solve the problem described in your speech. A free handout/ copy of your talk if they send their email or give you a business card.
3 Satisfy organiser - did you thank them, relate how you know them, their skill in finding you or suggesting the subject, how lucky the audience is to have such a great club chairman
4 Self-deprecating/ delayed reaction - more information on your website, or free newsletter, or how to find the book/product if they choose to buy it later.
5 Glossary of terms used if they need it or are mentoring a novice in their club/company who needs it.

Self-promotion Challenges
1 Q You arrive in the village hall on a wet or snowy January Monday to find au audience of one, or two. When this first happened to me I was too embarrassed to tell anybody. Then I heard the same story from lots of authors. And lots of events and club meetings.
   Lots of causes include:
a) Rival events - ranging from The World Cup, to a fete in the car park outside offering free food.
b) Small potential audience not reached.
c) Lack of publicity.
d) You are too shy to promote yourself.
e) Organisers did nothing - although they promised help. (Reasons ranging from their memory loss to the fact they or their next of kin died or they lost their job.
f) Venue shut down, car park closed, police closed road.
g) Bad weather. Good weather sent everybody out to play or on holiday.
i) Event or transport to get there too expensive.
j) Potential audience needs transport. (Answers: School bus, lifts in cars, coach party, you taking three supporters, neighbours, friends, rivals who want to learn how it's done, in your car.)

   My first inkling that I wasn't the only author to find After they'd had the opposite experiences at two venues the same week, they knew that it was not solely their image as a speaker. If it was, marketing the event was the first problem which needed to be addressed. Maybe these things happen to everybody, like so many ups and downs in life and you simply need to shrug and move on, or to think confidently, 'you can't win them all'.

1 A
2 Q You have your dream audience of 500 people but the publisher has not sent your books.

1 Q How do you promote a book without getting all the rival authors looking sour, saying, 'He/she was just promoting their book - told us nothing about writing at all.
1 A

Successful Self Promotion

Public Presentation Challenges
What do you do to solve the following problems?
1 Q You are last minute substitute speaker, know the subject but no notes and no visuals.
2 Q Slide/video fails.
3 Q You forgot your notes.
4 Q Audience includes novices and foreigners and spouses.

4 A Always include a glossary, however small the print. If any know-all objects that 'everybody knows that' explain that somebody else (your proof-reader at the slide company - people on the web) will need to know, and the presentation could be used again later for a wider audience. The glossary also helps foreigners who know the term but cannot understand your pronunciation. When they see the words, they will get an extra clue as to what the speaker is saying. It also helps late-comers, and those hard of hearing.

1 You can't start by saying you are the substitute because the audience then feels you are aggrieved and they are getting second best. However, the chairperson thanking you, before question time, could praise you for willingness to step in at short notice.
2 Lost Slides - Print out the slides to remind yourself. Hold them up so the audience can see them. Let them come up and look afterwards in case those at the back could not see. Keep the printed version with you so if the airline loses your computer you can still give a talk - or get the print-outs copied onto another laptop and projected.
In Singapore the club president who invited me to evaluate his speech on aquarium fish - all visual, lost all the slides except the title because of a projector failure. At a Swanwick writers opening evening the main speaker suffered a video blackout. Whether his fault or not, he did very well by having a backup talk not needing the visuals.
3 Lost notes - Email your talk and visuals to your smartphone or to the organisers the day before as backup.
4 Email the notes to your phone the day before.

Q question
A answer
FAQ frequently asked question
i.e. that is

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Tuesday, June 03, 2014


My Winning Evaluation Of A Speech On Believing In God

A speech on religion has to win over a sceptical or anxious audience who may be wary that the speech is trying to convert them to another faith. Warren's speech won over the audience by starting by explaining that he had heard two speeches advocating atheism and he wished to present the opposite point of view.  So his speech was one of three speeches on religion, already a minority point of view, one of three in which he was outnumbered. He raised three fingers to emphasise the point and count off the number of speeches.
   He further won over the atheists or those of another religion by presenting the views against theism first. So this was a 'for and against' speech.
  At this point he told us about how he changed his view and why he was searching for a God because of his experiences as a child.  We now had the interest of a personal story, a bit about his family and rivalry with a brother and trying to impress peers and parents and succeed at school, with which we could sympathise. When you relate stories about your past, you are giving the audience new information, confiding in them personal details, and you are the expert.
   He helped us remember by holding a prop from his schooldays, a prizewinners booklet, which was an attention- getting device during the speech and a visual aid for our recall.
   Finally we reached the tipping point, his arguments about prayer to God for help, free will, and for the existence of a God. He produced arguments I had never heard before, about why God could not grant us every wish automatically, because farmers need rain although we need sun, and to grant all our thousands of wishes would make God our servant instead of our God. The objective was to persuade and he did that admirably.
    His last argument was specifically on belief in Christianity. To believe in that it is first necessary to believe in a God and having got us to agree to his first premiss, we were more inclined to attend to and take seriously his second and final argument.
   An audience always thinks, what's in it for me? What action should I take? He offered us two free (Gideon?) bibles so we could find out more.
  He had only two bibles, not enough for everybody, so he did not offer them during the speech. In a five minute speech that might have caused a delay and distraction. Even jealousy and hostility if two people had received bibles and others gone without. Or a scrum and race for the free gifts. (I've seen that happen once when a lady with a stick ran to try to outrun more humble members of the audience and fell over.)
  Instead he suggested that anybody wanting to know more should see him afterwards. That reduced the appearance of a hard sell (or 'buying the audience). But it also enabled him to have a follow-up chat.  We are often told to end with a call to action. He ended with a call to action.
  But what had those who did not want bibles gained? He ended, 'Now you know why I am a Christian.' He had shared information, creating friendship and understanding. A win-win situation, an effective persuasive speech which achieved its objectives. The speech was well-constructed, we knew when it ended and when to applaud.
    Angela Lansbury is a member of two Toastmasters International clubs and former President of Harrovians and ongoing committee supporter of HOD. 
Quick Quotations for Successful Speeches by Angela Lansbury.
Other books on quotation and public speaking in preparation.

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