Do Your Eyeglasses Detract From Your Presentations and TV Interviews?

In the past, people used the pejorative four eyes for people who wore glasses. Name-calling is never appropriate, especially when someone has poor vision or a serious disability.

Elton John

Today eyeglasses have become a popular fashion statement. Glasses are an accessory to your wardrobe that can enhance – or detract — from your overall appearance especially when you’re making a presentation or being interviewed on TV.

Celebrities like Johnny Depp, Tina Fey and, most famously, Elton John and Sarah Palin are known for the distinctive eyeglasses they wear in public appearances – so why not you? …Read more…

Using Technology to Leverage Your Virtual Communications

We live and work in a virtual world now. By virtual communications we’re referring to meetings where people aren’t in the same room

But being successful in the virtual world is quite different than it was when we gathered in person around a conference table for a meeting about the budget, had lunch with a reporter to discuss a story idea, or spoke at an industry conference in an auditorium full of potential clients.

What’s Different?

Virtual communications is more technology driven then message driven. What’s the same is the goal of every meeting or presentation — Virtual Communicationsto gain the audience’s support your ideas and calls to action.

Technology provides the opportunity to make your presentations even better when you’re using a virtual communications channel like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

You can set the stage, but the technology has to be working correctly.

Remember the olden days before Zoom and other virtual platforms when we had conference calls? Remember when the leader of the call asked for John’s opinion and there was a long silence? That’s because John was multi-tasking and not listening. In a virtual meeting all John has to do is turn off his video. That’s a sure sign he is up to something else and he’s lost interest in what you’re saying.

At virtual meetings you are also at a disadvantage because you can’t always catch the subtle social cues that you would see when presenting in person – hands and feet fidgeting, or someone sneaking a look at their smart phones.

In this post, we’ll review how a speaker can engage the audience in a virtual presentation by using the newest technologies. In future posts, we’ll describe specific technical tools and strategies to make your virtual meetings the best they can be.

The Four P’s

Consider these steps when you decide to have a virtual call.


Be prepared – always. First, research the virtual channel that best meets your needs. The New York Times compared four different services in The Best Video-Conferencing Service.

Decide on the overarching goal of your presentation and then prepare the key messages that support your desired outcome. What do you want the participants to do after the call?

Keep your presentation short, under 20 minutes. TED Talks clock in at 18 minutes or less and they are hugely successful. You need a laser like focus on your presentation so have someone on your staff, or your company’s IT person, handle tasks like forwarding the slides and monitoring the chat box.

What’s the dress code for your organization? The audience may be working remotely from home in their sweats, but you need to project a professional image. Dress the way you would if you were in the office.

Be sure your hair is combed and not sticking out all over. Get a haircut if you need one. Women need to tone down the makeup. Even light colored lipstick can look garish on a virtual call. Too much eyeliner is gross. Avoid very busy prints.

Logitech CaptureThere is a program available that will enhance your appearance and center your face. No one wants to look at your forehead or up your nose.

If the material you’re covering is technical or quite complex, send information packets in advance to the participants to expand their knowledge and understanding.


There is no substitute for practice. Record several practice run-throughs of your presentation or proposal. Then, review them with a critical eye. Ask a colleague or two to watch the presentations on their computers. Use their feedback to improve your talk.

Halo Light

Halo Light

Are you looking directly at the audience? Is your head centered? Are you using appropriate gestures that don’t hide your face? Is the lighting and background enhancing or detracting from your presentation?

Be sure you’re not sitting in front of a wall light or a plant that looks like it’s growing out of your head.

Sometimes technical things go wrong and the image on the screen freezes Or, you may want to scroll back to review a point you’ve just made. You can’t do that on Zoom or other channels until the call is completed. However, there is a software program that makes a separate, parallel recording that allows you to stop at any time or place and review the video. Have the software running before the call.Debut Professional Software


Presence is difficult to describe. It’s something that’s experienced. Actors call it “being in the moment.” It’s the ability to be acutely aware of what you’re doing, projecting a sense of ease, poise, and confidence that reassures your audience you are comfortable and in control. They don’t have to be nervous for you.

Presence means making a visceral connection with participants so they feel you are talking directly to them, even virtually. It’s being likeable.

Don’t lecture and talk at people. Your presentation should be an interactive conversation where you elicit feedback and ask questions. Tell a story and then ask, “Has anyone ever had a similar experience they’d like to share?”

Ask those invited to the call to submit questions in advance so that you’re sure you’re meeting their information needs.

Have a colleague monitor the chat box for questions that arise during the session. Wait until the presentation is over to answer questions that your material hasn’t covered. You can also ask the audience to vote by raising their hands or by using the polling function in the platform you’re using. Keep track of the number of people who drop off the call early. When the call is finished ask yourself why they dropped off. Were you present and “in the moment” at all times?


Following your virtual presentation or a meeting with a reporter, review the recorded session. You’re the best judge of your performance. Evaluate your presentation, identify what went right and what went wrong. Adjust your next presentation accordingly.

Review the comments in the chat box for any negatives. If you didn’t have time for all the questions, get back to the individual participants with the answers. Distribute the materials you promised during your talk or conversation with a reporter.

That’s one thing that hasn’t changed from in-person meetings. You still need to follow up on the promises you made.

If you’re not familiar with any of these new technologies, let us help. Leave a note in the comments or give us a call. Let’s talk about how we can work together.


Was That Me You Just Introduced?

If you’ve ever attended a conference, you’ve probably witnessed a keynoter being upstaged by his introducer who goes on…and on…and on.HeresJohnny

But nobody is squirming more uncomfortably than the speaker, who is listening to the equivalent of his premature obituary.

Approve Your Introduction

Speakers devote great attention to their keynote speeches or acceptance remarks — as well they should — but the first words on the stage come from someone else: the person introducing them. An introducer who is unprepared will …Read more…

Reports of PowerPoint’s Death are Greatly Exaggerated*

It’s been a joke for sometime to get up after a boring presentation and tell someone you experienced “death by PowerPoint”. But don’t think PowerPoint is going away anytime soon as a presentation format, despite what you read or hear.

In an earlier post we discussed the logistics of preparing for a presentation. In this post, you will find tips on how to create a PowerPoint presentation that will have people on their feet – applauding you and not heading for the door.

The Growth of Webinars

PowerPoint has no doubt grown in usage because of the huge popularity of webinars – for web-based seminars – and the rebirth of virtual meetings via Zoom and the like. Many presenters who are procrastinators find PowerPoint presentations easier to create last-minute than old-fashioned slides that required more work and a longer lead time. …Read more…