Archive for the 'Uncategorized' category

Christmas Card

Nov 11 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

For all of my friends and family, and for those that wish to be well wished, here, I have created Ashlee’s and my Christmas Card.  It’s interactive!

Full size can be seen here.

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Flash Test

Nov 10 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

This is a test to see if I can have my Flash projecct directly inputted onto my Blog.  And it works!


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Public Speaking: Sharing Is Caring

Jul 23 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

This week in ICM 501 – Theories of Interactive Media at Quinnipiac University we have been given an outline on what our final project will be.  One of the three options for the final project is to record a video of ourselves giving a “public” speech in the format of Ignite.

The number one biggest fear is public speaking.  More people are afraid of giving a public speech than flying or even death.  Literally, they would rather die than speak publicly.  You can overcome this fear, though, and even get good at it.  In fact, some people make quite a good living from public speaking.

Though I had the option of choosing from three different projects for my final, between a 2000 word essay, a social media business proposal, and a 5-minute public speech, I chose the latter.  Though they are all about the same amount of work, I felt that the public speech option spoke the most to me, and so, according to the requirements, I will be doing so in the style of Ignite.  That is, I will give a five-minute speech that is set to 20 slides that are automatically changed every 15 seconds.  I will have no control over the changing of the slides, and 20 slides at 15 seconds a piece works out to exactly 5 minutes.

Since this has been around for awhile (both public speaking, as well as Ignite, though relatively, one much longer than the other) there have been tips and tricks that have been developed by the individuals that have given these speeches.  Scott Berkun not only has spoken at many of these events, he has given an ignite talk on how to give ignite talks.  As he said, “How Meta.”

From his blog, here is a list of tips that he developed:

  • 300 seconds kicks ass. This is super short, which means it’s easy to practice . There is no excuse for not practicing until it feels good. It also means you have to be tight in your points. 300 seconds equals 10 television commercials. You can make great points in a short time if you refine your thoughts.  The entire sermon on the mount can be read in about 5 minutes and The Gettysburg address takes about 2 and a half minutes.
  • Figure out your points before you make slides. Talking about something for five minutes is easy – really, give it a shot once or twice before you make a slide – it will help you sort out what you want to say. You only need Four or five  solid points to go 5 minutes. And practice with a timer before you make a slide. You’ll quickly discover how unlikely it is to run out of things to say during an ignite talk.
  • It is ok to breathe. There is no law that says you must fill every second with talking. When you practice, practice breathing. Take a moment between points. Like whitespace in visual design it’s the pauses that make what you do say stand out clearly. Give yourself a slide or two that’s for just for catching up and taking a breath.
  • Pick strong stories and big themes.  What do you love? What do you hate? What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? Pick stories with big themes, since they require less introduction. What are the 5 most important things to know about X that no one talks about? The stronger the topic & title the easier the work is. Top 10 lists can work, but making 10 points is extremely hard – aim for 5 or 6.
  • Don’t get hung up on slides. Good slides support what you’re saying, not the other way around. The last thing you want is to end up chasing your slides, a common problem at ignite as you’ll never catch up. Pick simple images and if you must use text be sparse. No bullet lists, just one or two points. Make the slides flexible enough that if you fall behind it’s easy to skip something to catch up.
  • Watch some ignite talks! Some of the best ignite talks get posted to the ignite show regularly and you can see the many different ways people use the format. You can watch 6 different ones in a half hour. Do this. You’ll get ideas and confidence.
  • Using the abstract ignite deckYou can hack the formatThe idea of a ‘slide’ is vestigial – they’re not slides anymore. I’ve hacked the format a few times, including using a special time counter deck to give me more flexibility (see photo at right). You can see this in action in my ignite talk on Attention and Sex or grab the deck here if you want to use or hack it further.
  • Plan to lose your first and last slide. Time will get eaten by the audience laughing,  by any ad-libs you do, etc. so plan for about 4:30 instead of the full 5:00.
  • You can find royalty free images to use. Search flickr using the advanced options to show you creative commons images. Or try or istockphoto.

Some additional tips that I have, having talked in front of large crowds a number of times myself, are the following:

  • Be confident. No one knows when you screw up.  It’s your talk, you’ve prepared it (and hopefully practiced it a number of times) and you know what you are going to say, wanted to say, and forgot to say.  No one else knows, though, because they haven’t.  So if you mess something up, forget to say something, or say something else, no one is going to be any the wiser.  I have watched Matt Cutts give the same talk on his 30-day challenges in two different forums, one with Ignite, and one with TED, and guess what, both of them were different!  Though they were very similar, there were some things said in both that were not in the other.  But that doesn’t make him any less of a great speaker, with great advice given.
  • Be engaging. With social media, we understand this (hopefully).  To get people to listen to what you are saying, you need to make it conversational.  Get them emotionally invested in you.  A short introduction will usually help with this. “Hi, I’m so-and-so, and the reason why I am talking to you about this is because I have been doing ‘x’ for so long.”  This helps to establish you as an authority, but also to let people know who you are.  That’s the first step.  The next is to ask questions.  Get people to think.  Don’t just stand up there talking without taking them into account.  Then you will start to sound like the adults of the Peanuts.
  • Have fun. Loosen up.  Get up there and act as if you will never meet any of these people ever again.  The age-old cliche is to imagine they are all in their underwear, but I don’t find that that works for me.  What I do find is that by realizing that after next week, 95% of the audience will have forgotten who I am, and that 5 years from now, virtually all of them will gives me much more freedom to be myself.  Ultimately, what people will remember, is how you made them feel.  If your information is delivered in a fun and engaging way, they will remember that you made them feel like they were having fun.  And that goes a long way.
Ultimately, what I have found, is that when I am afraid that I will mess up, I will be a lot more likely to actually mess up.  The fear of failure leads to a higher probability of failure.  If I go in, however, with the attitude that I don’t care if I mess up or fail, odds are much more likely that I won’t mess up.  I won’t be inhibiting myself with my fear of failure.  Oh, yeah, and practice always helps with both the confidence and the lack of failure.
And since it is always good to look at other examples, here is a series of Ignite talks:

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