Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Free Royalty Free Music For Your Videos And Presentations

Public Speaking

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if suddenly all of our moments had a soundtrack?  You know, ...like the movies.  So, you are enjoying a stroll through the park on a nice, sunny day.  Life is good.  The background music is light and airy.  Do you see where I'm heading with this now?  Later, you are sneaking up on an unsuspecting friend and in the background the JAWS theme is building slowly to the crescendo.   You strut into a crowded room.  All eyes are on you...what song announces your grand entrance?  Is it something raucous like Black in Black by AC/DC or is it sassy like Material Girl by Madonna?

This fantasy isn't too hard to visualize, is it?  We are so steeped in cinematic culture that we can almost see our lives unfolded through camera angles and scored for dramatic effect.  It's cliche now, and sometimes annoying, but when a friend reveals something shocking, the jokester in the group will inevitably deliver a few bars of the token, "DUM DUM dummmmm," that accompanies similar situations in the movies.  Music has a way of shaping our thinking and informing our emotions.  Hollywood knows this. The "DUM DUM dummmmm" would tell us what was going on even in the absence of dialog.

Presenters often use music in the same way that Hollywood does.   As you train to be a better presenter, try practicing addressing your audience's senses with music as you address their intellect with your words.   It's an excellent presentation tip to add to your accumulating list of presentation skills.

Here are some examples.  Your videos need music.  Don't you agree?  To the audience, your video is a home movie, otherwise.  Transitions between PowerPoint slides or other forms of media can be scripted with music too.  Have you thought about that?  It will add flavor to an otherwise ordinary event.   OK, so where do you get this music shy of ordering up some one on one time with an orchestra?  Don't say, "My iPod."  Yeah, you paid for it, but Lady Gaga didn't give you permission to use it in your presentation.

Here's a clever option for your magical bag of presentation tricks;  use royalty free music.  Royalty Free means you can use it without infringing on the author’s copyrights.  Lady Gaga isn't going to come around demanding a check because you used her tunes in your slides.  Royalty free means worry free.

So how do you find the best sites for free royalty free music?  There are tons of websites available that offer free royalty free music, you just have to find them.  Below is a video from IndyMogul that breaks down the absolute best sites for free high quality royalty free music.  I've included their list below the video.  Enjoy.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Powerpoint – Best Palette Selection Tool

We all know color is important to a PowerPoint presentation.  The colors of our background, text, charts and graphs or images all make an impact on the audience.  Not everyone has a good eye when it comes to coordinating colors. Although I have designed websites, created pamphlets and brochures and even done some watercolor painting; I still second guess myself with color schemes.

I recently came across this website, Color Explorer, where I could open up an image from my computer and view all the colors contained in the image to help select a palette for my work.  This is a great way to help pick your background and font colors for your presentation.

Firstly, have a great image in mind that would provide a good representation for the product, service or organization that is represented.  It could be a pamphlet or brochure you have scanned, a logo, screenshot of a website; whatever you feel is a good representation of your topic.

Visit the Color Explorer website and click “Image Color Import”, select “Choose File”, locate the image on your computer and select it, then click “Upload” and you will see your image on the left of your screen and a palette of colors from your image on the right. You will see the dominant colors from your image.  *Keep in mind images need to be 250KB for this site so perhaps “save as” to create a smaller version.

Click to enlarge Color Explorer Palette
Alternatively, if you don’t use a featured image, you could select a color from the “Color Libraries” tab, add it to your palette and then use the “Color Matching” feature.  There are a number of different algorithms available to create palettes.  (Complimentary is my favorite algorithm.) Take some time and try out some of the features of this site.  It is really a great tool, well laid out, easy to use and very fast.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Public Speaking Preparation - Anyone Can do Research!

Perhaps you thought you needed a research team when preparing a presentation?  I'm afraid not.  It is all in your capable hands and anyone can do research!


There are a lot of ways to obtain information for a topic including the internet, books, magazines, journals, or in-person interviews. The most important factor is to ensure that the information is from a credible source. It can be a grey area as to what is considered "credible" and you may have to use your own judgement but I tend to stick with the following guidelines when researching:

1) When was the information written?  Is it current?

2) Is the information provided from a well known reputable source? (university, hospital, government agency, well known business)

3) Does the writer or interviewee have a degree in a particular expertise related to the topic or equal experience?

4) Does anything give you doubt in what you read that causes you to question its authenticity?

5) When in doubt, check it out ...is my thinking.  Try to come up with more than one good source that may give you peace of mind that the information is accurate and true.

So, although anyone can do research, there are no guarantees of any source and its authenticity and even those that are considered reputable have made mistakes.  Be thorough, ask questions, and search for multiple sources is my best advice.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

PowerPoint Equipment Malfunction - Preparation is Key

The thought of an equipment failure during a PowerPoint presentation can certainly bring a *gasp* to your lips, but staying composed is critical in this situation.  Panic will create frustration and anger, and in turn this will impact your audience. As you are aware, all eyes are intently on YOU at this point.

There are always elements of presenting that are out of our control, ie. audience interruptions, power outage, Charle Sheen runs in the room "WINNING" or just sometimes presentation equipment is just not working as it should.  This does not mean that you are doomed and should crawl under the lectern for fear of the audience witnessing a meltdown by their presenter.  We hope! My husband, Chris, always makes a little joke when encountering equipment issues "Oh, I hope I get this working so I don't have to do the whole presentation in interpretive dance".  Lightens the mood, while you sort things.

PowerPoint Presentation Malfunction
Always, the best plan is a pre-emptive effort to prepare you well in the event of an equipment crisis.  There are a few options to get you through this predicament while maintaining your professionalism and demonstrating the ability to think on your feet.

Check your equipment before you begin -  Never step up to a microphone, turn on your slideshow or use props without testing everything first.  Don’t depend on the facility you are using to ensure everything is working correctly.

Be competent by thoroughly knowing your presentation content - Simply note a technical issue and continue to discuss the topics as planned.

Keep index cards on hand – Note your topics per slide on an index card to assist with keeping your presentation flowing smoothly.  Have your cards clearly marked or color coded to quickly move to the correct spot with little hesitation.

Printouts – If your presentation involves a lot of graphs or tables, try to have printed copies available to hand out if you feel they are necessary for impact.
Keep a whiteboard handy – If your audience isn’t too large you might consider having a white board on hand to demonstrate any points necessary.

Apology – Your natural reaction may be to apologize for the technical problem, which is appropriate, ONCE.  The audience does not want to hear your repeated apologies throughout the remainder of the presentation.  Keep it short and move on.

Preparation is the key and having a plan is essential for a smooth transition in the event of equipment failure. You will discover that most people will understand when issues are arise, as long as you stay calm and keep things moving.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Presentation Skills - Time Management

Are you managing time or is time managing you?


time management
Presentation Skills - Time Management
If you are speaking at an event, the audience has an expectation as to the length of time you will be speaking.  It is important to manage your time effectively, not only in the office, but also when public speaking.   Perhaps the venue is only available for 60 minutes or your audience is only permitted to be away from their office for 45 minutes.  Either way, you must work within the time constraints provided.


An important part of presentation skills is to divide your presentation into timed segments.  Speak at a natural pace when practicing so that you can obtain an accurate reading on the clock.  Note areas in your speech that could possibly evoke a question or two or indicate at the beginning of your presentation “I would happy to answer any questions you may have upon the completion of my presentation”.  Set aside a pre-determined amount of time for questions.

Looking at your watch while speaking is not the best idea as it gives your audience the feeling that you are anxious to get out of there.  If there is no clock in the room and you are concerned, show your presentation using “Presenter View”, there is a clock available in the corner which you can discretely view if needed.


Keep in mind that less experienced presenters tend to speak a little faster in their live presentation than in practice.  Nervousness and anxiety often make us speak a little quicker.  The clock is ticking and every word counts.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Today's Featured Stock Photographer


Regularly, we will be recommending stock photographers that we have come across that offer exceptional images.  When giving a PowerPoint presentation we certainly realize the topics vary, and so we will feature photographers from many different business realms.

Our Featured Photographer today is:
Yuri Arcurs out of Denmark.

His business style images are crisp and varied and will give any presentation, website or brochure that professional edge.

Sample Image of Yuri Arcurs
stock photos
Possible PowerPoint presentation image
We purchased Yuri's images from Depositphotos.com.  This image can be purchased for $2.00 at a size of 866 x 577 (0.5 MP), 12.0" x 8.0" (72 dpi).  They have some great packages available as well.  Certainly, a great image for the price. Please visit Yuri's profile to see his many great business images.

Important Consideration When Purchasing Images

Always remember to review the License Agreement when purchasing an image to ensure it is suitable for your business needs.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Presentation Skills - Artful Vocabulary


Having a healthy vocabulary can make the difference in getting a job, a successful marriage proposal, writing that report that management raved about or giving a great presentation.  Words can certainly open doors if used wisely.

Public Speaking Tip:

“Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.”
Pythagoras

There are many ways to increase and improve your terminology and reading is the prime vocabulary educator.  Take 15 minutes before bed and read something that gives you a little challenge and broadens your personal lexicon.  Jot down the couple of new words that you come across and look up their definition if necessary.  The next morning challenge yourself to use those terms at some point throughout the day.

Using the built in thesaurus in your word processing software is a great way to discover artful language and avoid repeating the same word several times in a short period.  Choose a term that you could possibly use in your day to day work/daily activities.  Building a great vocabulary within the aspects of your life will make them easy to remember and create a wonderful impression.

Grab one of those “365 New Words-a-Year” desk calendars as another way to build your communication skills.  Besides acquiring a great glossary, you will be tough to beat in that next Scrabble match! 

So the next time you have something to say, say it brilliantly.

Searching for Presentation Training?

The world of corporate training is big business.  If you look on the internet, you will see a lot of companies offering public speaking courses, presentation training, communication skills courses etc.   For some, public speaking comes very naturally and they just need some fine tuning. For others presentations are a nightmare filled with stress.

Most presentation courses are very expensive and although filled with a lot of tools, they are not often affordable for the general public.  Thankfully, we have the internet with thousands of articles regarding public speaking and a lot of great Youtube videos. TED.com (TED embraces the latest and best of technology, entertainment, and design.)  

Don't be discouraged if you can't find an affordable option for presentation training, use the internet as a great resource for tips and techniques.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Public Speaking - Project for Better Effect

Ever notice how easy it is to project our voice when we get upset? You will find that passion will certainly help your words stand out.  If you are passionate about your topic of discussion, your exuberance comes through in your presentation and projection becomes natural.  Use that tool to not only make your presentation heard, but have your enthusiasm for the topic flow to your audience.

Articulation – “To pronounce distinctly and carefully; enunciate.”

Nothing is more annoying than asking someone constantly “pardon me, what was it you said”.  Perhaps we text and type too much, as I from my experience, young people seem to be mumbling more.  In our day-to-day conversations, we become lazy about our manner of speaking. It is always important to articulate your words, look the person in the eye and speak with an appropriate tone.  Everyday conversations are a great place to start working on your dialogue etiquette.

When giving a presentation, your articulation is imperative.  It is not in every venue that you may have a microphone; and therefore your voice must show proper diction and volume to let everyone in the room hear you clearly.  The last thing you want to worry about is that you weren’t heard or understood.
Recording your presentation and listening back can be a great way to note any points in your speech where perhaps your volume drops or your articulation is lacking.

A few points to keep in mind:

  • Speak clearly/articulate your words
  • Use appropriate tone
  • Use appropriate volume
  • Show passion about your topic
  •  Record your presentation
  • Practice the necessary changes noted

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Presentations Using Royalty Free Images

One day, out of the blue a friend received a legal document stating that he owed $2,000 for the use of an image.It was an expensive lesson that no one would soon forget. Most people don’t give a second thought as to where their images come from when creating a presentation but the risk is there and the penalty can be high.  Through a lot of experience in creating sites, presentations and documents; obtaining quality inexpensive images has become very important.

Quality images do come at a price, but there are affordable options.  Also, keep in mind the resolution size affects your price.  Generally, you purchase an image and the price increases as the resolution increases.  You don’t need the biggest resolution for a presentation; 72dots per inch (dpi) is all that is required but keep in mind you want to get the appropriate size photo for the slide.  Images can be scaled down without losing quality, but cannot be enlarged without sacrificing quality.

If any part of a presentation is being printed you may require a higher resolution/dpi for a higher standard of image.   Often our presentations are changing so we may not know the exact size we require. Going larger is easy as you can simply shrink it down.

Avoid using sites that do not provide royalty-free images as you may be charged for each use of that image or yearly fees.

www.123RF.com is one my favorite websites for images.  The prices are very fair and quality is great.
So the next time you are looking for a presentation image, visit a site that offers royalty free images or find an affordable option that meets your budget.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Type it, Write it, Text it, Blog it

typewriterThis was similar to my high school typewriter.  I can still hear the constant loud clicking as everyone in the class typed. Yes, I actually wrote a presentation on one of these beasts. "A Man's Reach Should Exceed His Grasp" was the title and it was a speech about going above and beyond and the ripple affect it can have. Terry Fox was the inspiration at that time, as he had passed away a couple of years previously and I was certainly impacted by his story.

Whether you are writing with a pen and paper, an old typewriter or a modern system; whether you are texting, blogging, content writing or presenting, it is all about the words that come to life.  Through our research, education or experiences, we all have the ability to tell a story, share information, educate, deliberate or just say whats on our mind. Sharing ourselves and knowledge is a great thing!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Appropriate Gestures While Public Speaking


Research psychologist, Albert Mehrabian, is best known for his "7%-38%-55%" rule which states the following regarding human communication:

  • 7% - the actual words being spoken
  • 38% - the vocal tone
  • 55% - body language

Although this rule is often misinterpreted or overly simplified, it does allow us to see that our gestures are a very important part of what we have to say. An appropriate gesture can give your audience confidence in you and your presentation and demonstrates authority of the topic.

Generally, gestures will be made with your hands and will increase the impact of your statements. Not every motion has to be in-your-face and big.  Most are slight hand movements or a head nod that are naturally appropriate to your personal style of speaking and some may be larger gestures that help pack a punch.

Your movements should feel natural to you and if not, don’t use them or create something different with the gesture.  Practice your presentation as if you are speaking with a friend. Generally, we all use gestures when we are speaking and don’t even realize it.

No matter what the subject, we should always be passionate about the topic when public speaking. You will discover that natural gestures are in abundance if you are passionate. For those that generally do not use much gesturing when speaking day to day, you may need to be more conscious and practice in front of a mirror or to a friend.  There are some folks who are overly animated and it could be a distraction to the audience. They  may need to pull in the size of their gestures to maintain the importance of what they have to say to avoid distraction by the audience.

Your audience will be drawn to you when movements are used fittingly. Make an impact with your next presentation with appropriate gestures.

Welcome!


Welcome to the All Things Presentation! We are excited to share with you all that we have learned about public speaking and have certainty that through this journey we will also learn a great deal.

We will discuss even the smallest details about Public Speaking that perhaps you never thought of and review some of the basics.  Most importantly, we are eager to hear from others about their presentation experiences.

Thank you for visiting.