Month: March 2014

Getting Creative

Just_My_Imagination_3D_III_by_cerenimoAs a kid I was always making up stories, songs and games. My teachers were constantly telling my parents about how creative they thought I was. Sadly I feel as if I have not had the time to be creative in years, unless it is with purpose. Majoring in public relations has taught me to keep everything short and to the point. There is no room for extraneous sentences and “fluffy” writing in this industry. That’s why I was so excited to learn that for a little extra credit, I once again have the opportunity to write something that’s a little silly and a little creative. Although I’ll be honest I a little worried I’ve forgotten how to do that… I’ve decided to go ahead and write from the point of view of an inanimate object. If I do this correctly it should be clear what I am writing about quite soon, not to mention my previous post is a bit of a giveaway.

Here we go:

People begin to trickle into the room. I hear their chatter, their whispers and greetings.

“Hi! How are you?”

“I’m good! I feel like it’s been months since I’ve seen you come sit next to me and we can catch up while we wait.”

The room is soon a soft roar of laughter and pleasantries, seats being shifted on a wood floor and heels softly clicking. A hand soon grips me and the room goes quiet. I can feel the blood beating rapidly in his veins as his breathing goes shallow. He a takes a deep breath holds me up to his lips and begins talking. He holds to tightly and close at first and a mist of spittle is flicked onto. Ick this guy needs to get it together.

But then a question is asked and then another, and he begins to gather momentum. Bolstered by their interest words begin to trip from his mouth in excited succession. I can feel the energy of the room hum with a low whir of interest. He relaxes his grip on me, lets me drop to six inches from his mouth and continues speaking. His heart slows and breath deepens. I can hear the soft inhales lengthen and feel him begin to hold me with command and not fear. I am now a golden scepter in his hand. And he is king of the stage.

How to not botch your presentation

6262298600_768fee8174_oSo I have a big presentation coming up. It will be just me and a power point discussing the local food movement in Oregon. My topic is huge and there are so many different ways to tackle it that I have mostly been focusing on what my timeline will be and what aspects of the local food I want to discuss. Until I started thinking, what about when I am actually standing up in front of my audience? I’ve gotten over most of my stage fright and fear of presenting in high school, but by no means am I a presentation expert.

Lucky for me my instructor and writer of PR Landscape gave a great presentation on presenting and I found this useful article on PR Daily, 5 Ways to Avoid a Presentation Disaster which offered some great tips.  From these two sources and what I have noticed through having to sit through many a bad presentation I have gone ahead and compiled my own list of do’s and don’ts that will hopefully help with my own presentation, and any presentations you might have as well.

Don’t:

1. Don’t linger too long on one slide. A presentation should always be supplemented with interesting visuals and if you leave your audience to stare at one slide for too long, you may notice your audience growing restless for something new.

2. Don’t make the presentation all about you. Yes, you have a captive audience, and no, they don’t want  to hear all about you while getting nothing in return. Thank them for taking time out of their day to listen, and be open to questions, After all questions means that your audience actually cared enough  to ask.

3. Don’t forget to make your presentation a story. We all love a good story. If your content is heavy on the facts and figures or seems dry, give it context and a storyline to drive your point home.

Do:

1. Do take the time to design. Even if you aren’t the most dynamic public speaker and you wouldn’t describe yourself as gregarious you can still offer your audience something beautiful to look at. Create clean colorful visuals that support your topic. Make an infographic if appropriate, and avoid having slides overloaded with text.

2. Do command your space and project your voice. Who cares what you are talking about if no one can hear you? Make an effort to speak to the back row of the audience and maybe even ask if everyone can hear you before you begin.

Along with that, how do you expect your audience to pay attention to your content if you’re constantly fidgeting and clearly not comfortable in the room? Command your space, stand still and stand tall. Personally this is my biggest problem. I am a squirmy person by nature and I have a bad habit of playing with my hair and jewelry while speaking, but I’m working on it.

3. Do practice! Even the best presentations can fall flat if unrehearsed. Practice to make sure you within your time limit, comfortable with your topic, and aware of how quickly and when to switch you slides. Also while you practice try and anticipate what questions your audience might have and think of answers that will tie into your key messages.

I know I will be using these tips for my upcoming presentation and I hope this helps you as well!

Social Media and the Oscars

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 5.23.33 PMIt’s finally Sunday night and that means the Oscars. For starters I was excited to watch, and second #Oscars has been trending on Twitter for three days now. After scrolling through the feed I noticed that most of the posts were predictions for who would win, and PR Daily noticed as well. Their article, Social media predicts ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ will nab Best Picture Oscar compiled the most popular Oscar predictions trending on social media.

While the analytics at general sentiment weren’t terribly accurate, Farsite Forecast generated some good predictions accurately predicting “12 Years a Slave” for best picture and Matthew McConaughey for best actor and Lupita Nyong’o for best supporting actress in “12 Years a Slave.”

In fact, aside from being filled with Oscar predictions, Twitter was shut down by the buzz of a now familiar selfie. Ellen DeGeneres’ star studded TwitPic was retweeted so many times it not only beat out Obama’s Tweet from 2012, but briefly stalled Twitter from all the traffic. It appears Ellen DeGeneres really knows how to work social media and has ensured that the Oscars hashtag will be popular for quite some time.