For many of us, it’s difficult to write about ourselves without feeling uncomfortable. Maybe that’s because of childhood messages we heard about being modest. I, for one, had an imposing old aunt who announced, whenever I was happily bragging, “Self-praise stinks.” Yet even my twenty-something daughter, raised in a...
A young friend of mine was giving her first presentation in her first professional role. When she was still on the opening slide, a senior executive asked a question. The question threw her off, and she never got back on track--at least not in the way she wanted.  Hearing about...
Imagine this scenario: You got approval and budget to attend a four-day work-related conference. You're back now, and your boss says, in passing, "I'd like a report on the conference. Can you get it to me by tomorrow at 2? I want to share highlights with our VP."  Your mind...
I recently attended a dinner meeting whose featured speaker told about her life in a foreign country. Her story inspired everyone, but her slides frustrated and confused us. You can easily avoid her presentation faults, pleasing your audience, if you recognize the problems and make a few small changes.  Fault 1. Including too...
On the job, we strive to think big. We try to see the big picture and the long view. But thinking big can weaken our writing. This post explains how to avoid that problem. Yes, big ideas are important. Organizations thrive because of their vision and innovations. But readers need...
Webinars have gotten a bad reputation. Too many dense, slow-moving slide decks presented by long-winded speakers have caused people to think of webinars as snoozers. Not only that--plenty of them ooze sales and marketing messages that make participants feel used. That’s why I am here to defend and tell you about a...
The other day I attended a Christmas pageant put on by amateur actors. Before the pageant started, the emcee said, "This is such a wonderful pageant. You are going to love it!" Last month I decided to patronize a business whose slogan calls it the "world's greatest" of its kind.  A couple...
Lately clients have been asking about how to help people improve their PowerPoint presentations. In a tidy package, here is my best advice for presentations:  Less is more. Less data--just a few powerful pieces--is more compelling than heaps of numbers. Ten slides are more memorable than fifty. One clear idea moves an audience more than three, four, or five ideas, especially muddy ones. One relevant story...