Effective Digital Presentation Skills | Five Quick-Fire Tips

Mashing up my analogue speaker coaching for digital mediums.

Was asked by the wonderful humans at Teulo to put together some insights for presenting online for their leaders, members and partners, as they (and many others) move to online presentation formats for their events.

The above is a snappy and concise look at the main aspects of effective communication when using digital means which I’ve noted during the past fifteen years of delivering, devouring and learning from stuff online, covering:

  • Lighting
  • Camera
  • Audio
  • Engagement
  • Presentation

The content side and story narrative is a whole other (series) of video(s) and depends on the person, audience and intended outcome, hence, why the tips solely focus on more functional elements.

Had permission to share with the wider (global) community during this troubling time, so thank you Teulo for allowing, means a lot for my anxious brain and heart at the moment.

Related resources: Act as if You’re Really There: What learning to speak remotely teaches us about how to compensate for the coming era of social distancing, Douglas Rushkoff & The Definitive Guide To Facilitating Remote Workshops: Insights, tools and case studies from digital-first companies and expert facilitators (free ebook)


The Power Of A Great Introduction | Be A (Helpful) Diva

How to start a conference talk and / or presentation.

We can’t all be blessed with a hype-man like the one above, although if you are to speak at any kind of event, making sure you’re introduced properly is so important. Why? Because the first line of any talk and / or presentation is not the beginning of the experience the audience has of you, that is what the MC’s role is.

And we’ve probably all been to conferences where on occasions, they go too big, expounding statements of wonderment and pedigree beyond expectation and how much wisdom is now going to ensue. Other times there’s hardly a set-up, no context and a hospital pass of ‘will allow them to introduce themselves’, oof!

As a speaker, make sure you connect with the master or mistress of ceremonies (or whomever is doing the intro) and share with them a bio which is succinct enough to take about thirty seconds to read out (if it’s longer just highlight the important bits for them). Impress on them (if they don’t already know), how the aim is to aid them in enabling you to start with that arresting question and / or statement to hook the audience in.

Be a (helpful) diva!


Twitter Basics | Plus The Things They Never Tell You

twitter basics

For the beginners and those who have been using it for a while and really should know better.

Be human (the golden rule)—if you need reminding on what being a good human means then maybe stay away from Twitter and other social interactive platforms.

It’s not a marketing channel—it’s a potential market in a channel which thrives on being human (see above).

Complete your profile (with image plus non-cryptic description)—this helps to indicate you’re not a spammer and aids others in getting to know you.

Follow good people and your industry / sector heroes (no celebrities allowed)—the good ones share ideas, links, insights, challenges, offers to help, steerage, provocations etc. (copy from them).

Listen twice as much as you tweet—read, gleam, understand the value is in sharing good content (see above).

Unfollow people adding no value—tweets about cats, lunch and kids is what Facebook exists for.

It’s not Facebook—don’t tweet about your pets, food your consuming or any offsprings you have (if you do, know folks aren’t that interested).

Don’t follow back everyone who follows—see point above.

Retweets are like forwarding an email—it’s always better to add some context though.

Don’t retweet tweets which talk about you—it’s just the same as telling folks who like you, what other folks who like you, like about you. Stop it. It makes you look arrogant and childish.

Learn how to reply or reference others—so many users still don’t know about the power of a full stop (or period if you’re an American).

Be aware that automation devalues—even if it’s an attempt to celebrate how many retweets someone gave you that week, an automated tweet has the opposite effect.

Use lists and hashtags—a built in private or public system to break through the noise and get to the signal.

Be human—see first point.

Have been using Twitter for over seven years and still think it’s a fantastic platform to learn from whilst connecting with good souls. What did I miss from above?

Slightly cropped from rosauraochoa’s image

The Ultimate Online Social Strategy | Which You Won’t Do

Just one simple thing. Big impact.

Here’s something I’ve been challenging clients with for the past couple of years during internal strategy workshop sessions.

A simple action that if done properly will produce the following:

  • more views to your website
  • deeper relationships with your audience / market
  • greater influence in your community / sector / industry
  • broader / deeper understanding of the space you serve
  • quicker connections to industry insiders / leaders

…and I guarantee hardly any of you will do it!

What is it?


Simply adding value to existing digital content out there.

Not a “hey yeh man, great post” but a “great post, really made me think about X and wanted to share this great book / video / quote with you which I thought was fitting. Thanks for creating it and looking forward to more related stuff from you.”

The simple truth is as creators of online material (whether it be blog posts like this one, videos, a tweeted image, slideshows etc) it’s extremely validating to receive a comment. And one of the first things we do is click through the digital breadcrumb to check out the persons background who took the time to connect.

Personally, loads of friendships to inspirational souls have been formed this way.

This one action also scales massively.

Just imagine the accumulative impact of every individual in your organisation / company leaving one comment, once a week on a piece of digital content out there… (a very small strategic commitment).

Imagine the gain in engagement if a council / a startup / a design firm / a theatre / a charity etc did this!

If you’re not adding value into the community by recognising their work then why should you expect them to give you their attention when you produce content?

SMALL PRINT: I’m taking for granted what you have to offer in terms of your service / product etc is of quality and you know that by engaging it means genuinely conversing and not promoting.

Curation As An Emerging Skillset | A 5 Step Guide

5 step curation skillset plan

How to become a curation king / queen.

Traditionally, a curator researches and puts together a collection which speaks to a narrative and / or serves a larger idea in art galleries and / or museums.

In the current digital habitat, all can participate in this activity, so the challenge is honing the skills and leveraging the tools. Why?

Because for you and the organisation / company you serve, curation will be at the forefront of:

  • developing new ideas;
  • broadening discussions;
  • navigating and sifting through information to concentrate it into action;
  • celebrating those in specific industries; plus
  • uncovering / creating / deepening relationships to those that matter.


Here we go:

1. Find : Track other digital curators to emulate / learn from.

Follow / learn from Tina or Jason or Maria or Shaun or the Open Culture peeps etc—rather just serving individual tastes, these guys are also aiming to inspire, educate, challenge, explode wonder, intrigue, curiosity, in their audience.

2. Find : Deliberately forage content from many sources.

Online is a noisy place and it’s not simple to find the signal. For many of us with the tools such as advanced search techniques plus RSS it’s a simple case of making the web work for you. RSS allows for a filtering on a delicious scale which when mashed up with things like IFTTT and Yahoo Pipes can become the perfect recipe for making yourself look double awesome.

3. Follow : Click those inspirational digital breadcrumbs.

Be careful not to get stuck in the filter bubble—sites like Tumblr and Pinterest exemplify curating platforms plus once you start clicking you will discover how deep the rabbit hole goes. Don’t worry too much and just click away, flow around areas of interest, follow those links and see where those web-roads take you. You’ll be astonished with the gems you’ll find.

4. Focus : Sharpen the sights and cull the chaff to find the good stuff.

Now you’ve been using the above tools / techniques for a while it’s time to sort and strain. It might be you’ll decide to stop following certain feeds and replace them with ones who serve more specific content. It should always be a trial and error process in pursuit of revelatory inspiration.

5. Frame : Context is king so reposition & tell stories with the new found ideas.

The best curators (some listed above) contextualise the treasures found by weaving a narrative around. This adds the much needed context for the audience and yourself when you return years later plus demonstrates your ability to join ideas into salient points. It’s time to shape the reason and link the work to creative action (whether that be an infographic, white space in an established industry, applying divergent technologies into traditional approaches, learning from obscure voices from other sectors to influence innovative strategies etc). Wrap those finds up in beautiful potential.

So examples of where this can be applied:

  • students can be taught the above as a research methodology for their studies;
  • product designers can utilise these steps to gain a deeper picture of the problem / industry their serving;
  • teachers can employ these techniques as a way to collate content related to their subject focus;
  • start-ups can use these tools to aggregate ideas around the market they are entering;
  • leaders can illustrate brand stories in which they would like to emulate.

…you get the idea!

Follow the plan and basically suck the juicy wisdom out of the web then humanise it for good.

How relevant is curation in your role / organisation? And who else is talking about this as a skillset (am keen to learn / connect)? Riff in the comments!

Related / inspired / remixed from original post 2013 | Create / Curate plus all images from Graphics Fuel

Crossing The Chasm | Small Numbers Matter


How the diffusion of ideas can be used in creating socially literate University departments.

The above idea originally was developed regarding how technology is adopted into a culture through consumerism. Within the graph there exists a ‘chasm that needs to be crossed‘ between the innovators / early adopters and the early majority (Simon Sinek does a great job at dissecting and detailing this). Knowing and focussing on this tipping point ensures a piece of technology (and subsequently, an idea) could take hold and become part of the global consciousness.

I recently used this model with the client below regarding creating an internal culture (rather strategy) of social media use.

Ensuring the innovators / early adopters become joined by the early majority sometimes means literally a handful of people rather than the larger department as a whole. Inspiring three or four souls can shift groups into a transitional point and simply thinking about it in this way (a few rather than a whole) makes the task immediately more achievable.

I have had 9 separate emails, 4 passer-by comments, and 5 texts this evening from people who attended the ‘general’ session. All comments were thanking, and praising of you, your talents, your gifts and your style.

You absolutely and undeniably rocked our world today…!!! In Maori we would say:

E kore e mimiti te puna mihi ki a koe e te tautohito, e te pou whirinaki!

(a metaphorical spring of acknowledgement and tribute that would never diminish / dry up… i.e. forever grateful for your expertise….you as a pillar of support (dependable, reliant) and adept / experienced and skilled).

Dee Reid, Te Toi Tupu – Kaihautu (Programme Leader), Institute of Professional Learning, The University of Waikato

In this session we focussed on how we can inspire a small number of people to curate content of interest, celebrate success, acknowledge their growing ambassadorial role, as well as mentoring champions coming through. Remember, we’re only talking three or four people here to create this bigger change.

How are you crossing the chasm?


Exporting Skype Contacts Hack | Broken Software

skype logo

Why does Skype make stuff so hard?

Recently, I wanted to move my Skype contacts to my username but there’s no way to export to make it easy.

Here’s a hack I found:

  1. Open old account > click ‘Contacts’ on the left hand column and make sure to select ‘All’ (not just those ‘Online’)
  2. Open up a blank textedit file
  3. Back in Skype, Cmd > A to select all contacts and literally drag and drop them into the text file

All the contacts usernames should now be in the text file.

Now there’s no way to import these into the new account but at least you can search via their usernames (which is half the battle as many people are hard to find without this).

The above is for Mac and would love if anyone can confirm this works in Windows as well… leave a comment.

Hope this helps someone.


OOooooohhhh Vienna | A Google Reader Substitute

Vienna RSS Reader

A kick-ass replacement for the doomed Google Reader.

The smiles:

  • open source: no more Google indexing your feeds and using your data against ads to make money;
  • social channels integration: Faceache, Tweetmails, Buffermeup etc all covered (can even route the article content directly into whatever blog creation software you’re using);
  • integrated browser: basically allowing the user to surf the sources of the content without leaving the app (via tabs)
  • a plethora of keyboard shortcuts: current favourite is the space bar navigation function. Clicking it will not only scroll you through the article that’s open but when it reaches the end the app will direct you to the next unread article (nice);
  • free: *head-nods.

The frowns (kind of):

  • desktop / Mac only: not an issue for me but could be for some;
  • no sync to the cloud: currently syncs with Google Reader but obviously that will die in the coming months (would be great to have a Dropbox option for your subscriptions file so they are kept safe);
  • ‘mail link’ option: will probably work if you have an external mail client although not integrated with gmail (the only piece of the puzzle in terms of my workflow from Google Reader that I’ll miss).

Want to give it a go?

Grab your feeds from the Googles takeout page, download Vienna RSS Reader, import feeds (it’s just the “subscriptions.xml file”), play around with the preferences and ensure you customise the toolbar to feature all the social sharing / navigational stuff you need (see options below), then smile and carry on with your rss feasting.

vienna rss toolbar options

If you want it to do anything else check out the forums for help.

Have a go and let me know what you think. Maybe you’ve already found a replacement, what is it?

Long live RSS!


As Reader wasn’t going to be shut till 1st July I thought I had plenty of time to find an alternative and flirted with a few online options discuss in my previous post. The idea was to write a blog post closer to the closure time as by then lots of these other platforms would have tightened up their offerings. Then again, why wait when you got something that works…

Related post: Why Closing Google Reader Is A Good Thing | A Retrospective

BlackBox SocialMedia | Automated Communication

George Bernard Shaw communication quote

Going fishing.

It started with the casting of this tweet:

BlackBox SocialMedia bait tweet

A little bait to catch a bite… four days later, they bit:

BlackBox SocialMedia automated tweet reply

Much in the same vein as SplashMedia (please read the comments), it looks like BlackBox SocialMedia first capture mentions of Twellow, Facebook, Twitter and social media training, then hit these Tweetmailers with an automated reply service directing them to articles on their website (which is basically trying to sell you their services).

It’s easy to understand the above approach as social media presents an enticing opportunity to offer wisdom through targeted communication. And in sharing knowledge the aim is to build a connection (and for these guys, a sale).

There’s another way.

By creating a relationship first, not only do you become aware of the context (which is so important, otherwise, you’ll be responding to questions which haven’t been asked and you’re made to look a little silly—see my tweet and then their response) plus it’s simply more honest.

So what do you think, are BlackBox SocialMedia being savvy or is this lazy marketing? Have you experienced a similar thing on Twitter? Btw BlackBox SocialMedia, feel free to respond in the comments below.

Related posts : Splash Media U And Pete Aspen | A Twitter Mystery
Image credit

Tweriod | When Your Audience Is Online For Engagement

tweriod graph for followers

Guiding and aiding engagement through data.

Tweriod is a neat little free service which offers an insight into when your Twitter audience are online and therefore what times to post content into the stream to gain maximum reach and response (see above).

As you can see from the graph below, the data offered also illustrates your optimum reply window (love that there’s an increase in responses around lunchtime):

tweriod replies graph

Now, there’s an obvious danger of tweeting out during a short period of time and clogging up your networks stream with your stuff. However, managed correctly, will take the information above and do a little testing around focussing my tweets during these certain times to see if more engagement occurs.

Tweriod also offers an ‘Influence Graph’ which links in the Klout—bah, here’s my opinion.

I also dropped the $5 for the one-off pdf report but it’s not really worth it (as it’s basically the stats in presented in a daily graph—nothing else). If you know how to screengrab just don’t bother and save your money.

How do you decide when to tweet? What do you make of the above service? Would it influence you to tweet differently?

UPDATE Just came across this infographic by Fusework Studios:

buddy media twitter infographic