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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

6 Tips for Turbo - Charging

6 Tips For Turbo-Charging Your Presentation

Do you know what makes the difference between a plain presentation and a turbocharged presentation? Passion. The more passionate a speaker is, the more their presentation comes alive, and the more their audience becomes transfixed. A well-delivered presentation may seem like an effortless act, but in truth any dynamic presentation is the result of extensive planning and their efforts during delivery.

Delivering A Strong Presentation Will Help You Excel In The Business World.

Eventually, most employees at any given company are going to need to deliver a presentation, or be compelled to deliver a presentation to introduce a new idea or initiative. If you have a presentation in mind or one assigned to you, heeding the six tips below will put you on the right track to delivering a stellar presentation that leaves a lasting impression.

6 Tips For Delivering A Turbocharged Presentation:

Tip #1. Prepare Accordingly: If you think you will be able to pull off a dynamic presentation by the seat of your pants, one that engages your audience, well, you have another thing coming. The foundation of any presentation is the amount of preparation the speaker puts in behind the scenes. Develop a topic, flesh it out into concise, relevant and specific bullet points that tie back to the central theme and develop a narrative arc to follow. Then perform a handful of dry runs -- in front of the mirror, a friend or colleague, your partner, your family, etc.

Tip #2. Open With Something Strong And Unforgettable: There is a saying in the writing community that you need to capture your readers within the first 100 pages (some contest 50 pages, others say as few as 25). Well, you can apply this idea to your presentation as well. Perhaps through a hypothetical, perhaps through anecdote -- whatever method you choose, the first 2 to 3 minutes of your presentation can make or break your audience's interest in what you have to say, so make it count.

Tip #3. Keep Your Presentation Short: Be wary of long-winded presentations that seem to have no real direction or purpose. You have probably sat through such a presentation on more than one occasion. If you want to avoid being a bore that makes the audience snore, you should pare down your presentation to its slimmest, trimmest, most refined form. Each bullet point should pack a meaningful punch that, once delivered, leaves the audience in anticipation for the next verbal blow you have to deliver.

Tip #4. Maximize Visual Aids: Including a visual aid with your presentation is a must these days. The trick is to incorporate it in such a way that it never overshadows your presentation itself, but complements it. PowerPoint is the most common means through which people add a visual (and audio) element to their presentations. But scale back the glitz and glam, the crazy transitions and the musical accompaniment. Keep your visuals aesthetically noteworthy, but not so brazen as to steal focus from you.

Tip #5. Avoid The Statue Routine: That is to say, be animated. Don't stand behind a podium, relax and be casual, loose. Move around, wander about and most importantly, make eye contact with a handful of the members of your audience. Locking eye contact with someone will not only hold their attention, but others nearby will also pick up on the subtle action and find themselves drawn in more to your presentation. Remember, when it comes to presentations, periodic contact with your audience is a necessity.

Tip #6. Never Apologize During The Presentations: This is a Public Speaking 101 lesson. Never apologize for mispronouncing a word or losing your place, confusing the order of your presentation or having difficulty with technology. Doing so will:

(a) Compromise your command/air of authority.
(b) Break the flow of your presentation.

This will in turn cost you the audience's full attention. If you trip up, just move along. The best way to avoid this is to pause frequently. Just gather your thoughts and take a breath.

Executive Summary: There are four core components to dynamic presentations: (1) how much preparation you put into your preparation, (2) how well you maintain momentum during the presentation, (3) how animated you are and (4) how well you integrate visual aids into the presentation. These components need to come together seamlessly and flow naturally in order to captivate your audience and make your presentation memorable -- a presentation that leaves a strong impression.

Let Firelight Media Group help Turbo - Charge your next presentation with exciting and creative Digital Media Solutions today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 Memories

This post is a slightly more fleshed out version of some thoughts I wrote down not long after the tragic events of 9/11/2001. Since this weekend is the 10th anniversary of those attacks, I thought I would share my experience and memories.

In 2001 I was 22 years old, and had been working as a Page at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York for about 3 months. Pages were essentially temp workers for the network. We would fill in for people on vacation in almost
every department. We also worked for a couple of live TV shows filming in the Center in audience services, moving audiences in and out of the building in a safe, orderly manner.

I had just gotten to work at the CBS Broadcast Center on the upper west side of NYC. I remember my immediate supervisor coming in a few minutes later and informing us that a small plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. The pages were all a little incredulous (it was a clear day, no clouds at all) and we went to watch on the TV monitor in the next room. Most of the conversation was along the lines of “what stupid idiot did that?”

Then we saw the second plane hit. I knew almost immediately that it wasn't an accident. The plane was too big, the flight path too deliberate.

I remember the dread I felt that morning. Each attack seemed timed so that just as you were getting over the shock of one thing happening, the next thing happened. The plane hit the tower, then reports of

I remember the chaos as we informed people waiting to get into the show I was working on what had happened, and told them we were cancelling the taping and that they had to leave. I remember the security team for the show, which was made up of retired cops, taking charge. Being that we were a media center, there was a fear that we would be hit by something. Again, it was chaos, no one knew how big the attack was or how organized or anything. the Pentagon being hit. Then the first WTC Tower falling, and on and on it seemed at the time.

I remember that my parents were vacationing in New Hampshire and someone else was staying at our house to take care of my elderly grandparents. I remember calling her to make sure she knew I was okay. She informed my parents I was okay. That was the first they heard about the attack.

I remember working on a security detail for the Center, escorting people without a CBS ID into the building to wherever they were going. I remember Charlie Rose throwing a fit when he was informed he

couldn’t just walk in because he had forgotten his ID badge. I remember Mel Karmazin, the head of Viacom which owns CBS, waiting patiently when informed of the same thing.

I remember seeing the Naudet brothers come in, all dusty and sweaty, with their camera containing the footage of the first plane hitting the Towers, as well as their experience being with a group of firefighters who were on the scene. I didn't know any of that at the time.

I remember being transferred to work in the Hard News center, logging a live feed of the aftermath.

I remember going up to the roof of the building to see the smoke plume rising in the distance for myself.

I remember the smell when the wind changed. It had been blowing away from Manhattan toward Brooklyn for most of the day. It was a horrible, acrid smell.

I remember the eerie feeling of seeing no cars on the streets in NYC, just a few buses and taxis, as I walked through Times Square to a friend’s apartment to stay the night. I remember seeing the Empire State Building standing in the distance, dark.

I remember it all happening only a few miles away.

What do you remember?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Final Cut Pro...ish

In the past 5 years Apple’s Final Cut Pro quickly became an industry standard for those of us who work in the media field. It had relatively inexpensive start-up costs, was easy to learn, but had the depth needed for professionals. This past June, Apple released its latest version of the software, “FCP X.” When I first heard about the release and saw some of the screen shots I was like a kid at Christmas, anxiously waiting to get my hands on the next gift that Apple would bestow on the editing world.

To make a long story short, after month-and-a-half, countless blogs posts and a petition to Apple, Apple just announced that it is “re-releasing” Final Cut Studio 3 for purchase, a product that when “FCP X” was released was removed from the shelves. That’s the good news, the not so good news is that if you would like to purchase the “old” Final Cut you have to call 1-800-MY-APPLE to place your order, it is still the same price of $999 it was before the release of “FCP X,” and supplies are limited.

So why the change of heart Apple? Was it the outrage, and abandonment felt by the professional editing community the world over...maybe. Or could it have something to do with the new CEO Apple recently welcomed into office? Whatever the case may be it is most likely that they started to get hit where it really hurt...their wallet. When the new software was first released and the negative reviews started to flood in, post-production companies, including Firelight, began to really think about whether or not they would use the software that Apple marketed as the next generation of professional editing software, which it clearly wasn’t. Final Cut’s biggest competitor, AVID, who had been loosing many
of its users to Apple, jumped at the opportunity and are offering their latest version of Media Composer at more than 50% off, and all you have to get the price reduction is, offer up a valid Final Cut serial number, talk about a slap in the face.

So Final cut users have a huge decision ahead of them: Do you “upgrade” to FCP X, and reinvest thousands of dollars in an edit system that doesn’t really work the way it should? Do you stay with Final Cut 7, a system you know and love, but is quickly becoming outdated and eventually will not be supported by Apple? Or do you jump ship to AVID. Yes you would have to reinvest, and learn a different way of editing, but it is a system that in the past few years has really begun to listen what editors want, and updating their features but keeping the same work-flow used by editors for years.

The future of Final Cut Pro is still unclear, but as Final Cut user I am glad to see that the editing system I first started to edit on, and work with everyday is not completely obsolete...not yet anyway.

Now with all of this being said, I have to admit I have not had much experience with the new software. But it looks like the fine folks at the Conan O’Brian Show on TBS can’t say enough about it.

I know not everyone reading this is familiar with the software but we would love to hear your feedback in the comments below.