How Bill Gates Improved His Presentations – And So Can You!

On his blog, Presentation Zen author Garr Reynolds gives well-deserved credit to Bill Gates for improving his presentations over the years. Being the master of gorgeous visuals, Reynolds of course addresses the tremendous improvement of Bill Gates’ slides. Gates slides now include full screen pictures, minimal text and greatly simplified data. Having attractive slides has an overwhelmingly positive visual impact on a presentation. And since sight is the sense we as humans seem to trust the most, improving slides is very important.

Reynolds also points out from the 2009 presentation by Bill and Melinda Gates presentation and the 2010 Ted presentation by Bill Gates, that Bill’s delivery has gotten better. As Reynolds notes, in 2010 Gates is no longer able to read his presentation so he make much better eye contact with the audience. The truth I suspect is that Gates never needed a script in the first place with either presentation. Gates knows this material well – it’s very much internalized. The improved eye contact helps Gates make a better connection with the audience and he even appears more relaxed as a result.

There’s one other improvement between the 2009 and the 2010 speech that Reynolds doesn’t point out but which deserves attention: In the 2010 presentation, Bill Gates skips what I call the “blah, blah, blah opening.” In the 2009 presentation, Gates starts by saying, “Well, good evening. It’s great to see all of you here. If you came for the hockey game…” which is what I would classify as the blah, blah, blah start. Gates spent 15 seconds saying trite, disengaging blather that was totally unneeded, did nothing to connect him to the audience, and provided no value to the topic on which he spoke. Contrast that with how Gates started his TED talk where his first words were, “I’m going to talk today about energy and climate.” Boom. There it is. No blah, blah, blah. He got right to his talk. Such a start is a vast improvement over lame references that get a nervous, uncomfortable laugh from the audience. It makes the audience sit up and pay attention – and don’t we all appreciate it when we know a speaker isn’t wasting their time.

But to get an even bigger improvement, I’d like to challenge Gates to do something that few executives dare to do – but when done, is extremely powerful. To improve even more, I suggest Gates start with a personal story.

The 2009 presentation started with a film, pointing to individual people who were “Living Proof” that financial aid to Africa is having a positive impact on real people. The film had the words “Living Proof” tagging individuals featured in the film. The film was very powerful. Now, imagine the impact Gates could have had if he’d started with a personal story about his real life encounter with one of these individuals who is “Living Proof” that financial aid works. It would be easy for him to tell such a story because he lived the event. Being more at ease would help him and his audience. In the 2010 speech on energy and climate imagine Gates really grabbing the attention of the audience by telling the story of seeing school boys studying under the street lights because they had no electricity. Audience members would be naturally more drawn in to such as story. While Gates dropped the blah, blah, blah start, which was a big improvement, a story would have been even better in engaging the hearts and minds of the listeners.

Executives and technologist are often reticent to include personal stories in their presentations. After all, many of them are successful because of their wonderfully logical brains. But all humans, technical and nontechnical, are wired by emotions. Tapping into that emotion makes for better connections and engagement.

Bravo to Bill Gates for being open to improving his presentation graphics and his speech style. I’d love to see him take it up one more notch, so that next year, I’m writing about his further transformation of audience engagement by telling a personal story.

(To see Garr Reynold’s post go to http://ht.ly/2vUsK.)

So how about you? Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone? Can you change your slides so that instead of bullets, you have full screen picture, minimal text and simplified data? Can you trust yourself to know your material and not rely on reading your notes when you address your audience? Can you resist the temptation of starting with the blah, blah, blah opening? Are you willing to be different and connect with your audience by telling a personal story? If you are, send me links to your speeches so I can praise you in future articles! If you need help, come see me at Communications for Everyone and let’s talk!

Underwater Camera Christmas Gifts Guide – Know the Top 10 Xmas Presents Now

Christmas is the season of giving, and there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing that glow in a person’s eyes when they open their present and see the gift they’ve been wishing for inside. However, sometimes, we just don’t know what to give a person. So, why not give something fun and original, right? This is a list of the Top 10 Underwater camera – Christmas gifts for 2008. Underwater cameras may not sound like the common gift, but it can be very useful and fun, too! Check out the list below.

1. Olympus Neoprene Soft Digital Camera Case - although this is not an underwater camera, it is still the hottest item for people who want to make sure their digital cameras are protected from the elements. It also has pockets for storage and a strap for easy handling. Definitely a good buy.

2. Flip Video Underwater Case for Flip Ultra Camcorders – this is a gift that would put a smile on your friend’s face. If they own a Flip Video Camera, they’d love to have this accessory which would allow them to take videos underwater for up to 30 feet (and some users say even more than that!). It’s easy to use and dependable, as well.

3. Sanyo VCP-STB1 Water Leash for Sanyo E1 Waterproof Camcorders - coming in at number three of this list of the Top 10 Underwater camera – christmas gifts for 2008 is another accessory for those who own a Sanyo Waterproof camera. Not only does it keep the camera attached to the owner’s hand, it also has a small floating device attached to it, so that when the camera slips, it doesn’t sink.

4. INTOVA INWD-IC600 6.0 MP Digital Camera with Waterproof Housing -180FT – if you know someone who’s into water sports, or any other “wild” and “rough” sports that would involve contact with the elements, then this is the perfect gift for them. This full featured 6MP camera can be used for normal occasions. However, if the need arises (such as when they decide to go snorkeling or surfing, for example), they only need to slip on the Waterproof Housing and they can take pictures on the go!

5. Canon WP-DC17 Underwater housing for Canon SD870IS Digital Cameras - this device can take care of your friend’s Canon camera in all ways. It can guard it against water (salt or otherwise), sand, mud, and even protect it from falls and scratches. Not only that, all of the camera’s features can be used even with the housing on. It’s simply amazing.

6. Canon WP-DC21 Underwater housing for Canon G9 Digital Cameras – coming in at the second half of this list of the Top 10 Underwater camera – christmas gifts for 2008 is this beauty. If your friend owns a Canon G9 camera, then why not give them something that would let them maximize the usage of the camera? With this housing, they can take pictures underwater and not worry about destroying their camera. It is also great against sand, humidity, and scratches and bumps.

7. Canon WP-DC22 Waterproof Case for Canon PowerShot SD1100IS Digital Elph - this housing for Canon PowerShot SD1100IS cameras is great for all sorts of fun and adventure. Whether your friend is skiing or snorkeling, this housing will protect their precious camera. All features can be used, and controls are easy to manipulate, making this gift a very good one indeed.

8. Sony SPK-HCD Waterproof Sports Pack for underwater use with DCR-SR220, 45, 55, 65 Camcorders - this waterproof housing can be used with all 2006 to 2008 Handycam Camcorders. It will allow you friend to dive up to 15 feet and take pictures and videos. There’s also sound as well, because this one has a built in microphone!

9. Canon WWDC1 Weight for Canon Waterproof and All Weather Cases -we’re almost at the end of the list of the the Top 10 Underwater camera – christmas gifts for 2008 but not without mentioning these ingenious little devices that will keep your friend’s camera from floating when using them underwater. This is to avoid the camera from slipping or to make them even easier to use.

10. Sony MPK-WD Marine Pack for Select W Series Digital Camera (Clear) – Sony’s W Series of digital cameras are one of the most popular, so I bet you know a friend or two you can give this gift to. This would allow them to take pictures for up 132 feet underwater and all full camera features can be used, too!

Best Presents for Men

Deciding on the best presents for men often times can be quite frustrating for a lot of women. This is partly due to the fact that when it comes to giving gifts and receiving gifts, men are more subtle than women. While a woman will most likely come outright to convey her needs and desires, a man would probably be tactful about it.

Nevertheless, I have come to realize that men much like the ladies love receiving gifts as well. They may not be as outspoken as the women about what they want for a gift but from my experience, men truly feel special when they receive one.

This in my opinion should be the reason we as women should learn to understand our men so that we can be able to give them a different but relevant gift each and every occasion. No matter how small the gift is, they would still appreciate it. Men absolutely love to be cared for, love the attention, love to be pampered, and certainly love to be showered with gifts.

After a few years of studying my man and some of his friends, I have some understanding of the sort of gifts most men would love and in this piece of writing, I have highlighted a few of the best presents for men.

Fashion: Believe it or not our men love to look good. Gifts like shirts, trousers, shoes and belts would make them even better-looking. Make sure you know your companion’s size before you get him any of these items.

Chocolate and desserts: Much like women, men love sweet things. Chocolates and desserts will be a real treat for those men who really love them. Chocolate represents so many things and would be a good and simple gift to give a man especially on Valentine or Christmas.

Jewellery: if you’ve got a boyfriend or a husband who loves gems and glittery, then go ahead and get him some jewellery, watches and accessories. You will never go wrong with a wrist watch especially if you want to play it safe. Wrist watches are one of the best presents for men and are also readily available.

Be romantic: Do something romantic, unusual! For his birthday, give him a surprise birthday bash or a surprise day of pampering. You can include handwritten love notes to lead him to the surprise package.

A Special treat: It is important to note that when considering gift Ideas for men, physical items are not the only type of gifts to be considered. You can also give a gift of experience, event or occasion. Treat your man to a romantic getaway in a special place or take him on a cruise.