Tag Archive: Prezi


“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” — Jerry Seinfeld

It was a Funeral for a Friend.

To be more precise, it was a service celebrating the life of my best man and my BFF.

John Newhouse moved into heaven at 62-years-young.The world would be a better place if there were more John Newhouses. Alas he was taken from us way too soon.

The author of Almost DailyBrett was honored to deliver the third of four eulogies June 30.

Having long ago conquered Glossophobia, which hails from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread, delivering a eulogy was still an unprecedented, daunting challenge. The emotion cannot be minimized. The semantic issues are real. Even the best orators are confronted by the strictures of the eulogy.

If the family requests a three-minute eulogy that does not mean you should double or triple that amount of time. As Carly Simon sang: “You probably think this song is about you.” It’s not. Time your presentation. Stick to the written script. Work on your transitions, timing and eye contract.

As an assistant professor, a PowerPoint, a laser pointer and a clicker are de-rigueur standard tools of the trade. Using the Steve Jobs technique, each slide is a prompt, making speaking notes superfluous. Alas, there are no PowerPoints or Prezis for presenting the eulogy.

Speaking extemporaneously or winging it is not an option. Don’t go there. The eulogy needs to be just right. Standing behind the podium and mentally searching for the right words at the right time in the presence of the audience can very well lead to an embarrassing rhetorical train wreck.

And yet even with a tight script, the English language simply will not rise to the occasion. Nonetheless, there must be chosen words and they may not be perfect – that’s not possible – but still they must describe my best friend for 41 years.

Borrowing from another tongue, the Latin words of the U.S. Marine Corps motto — Semper Fidelis/ Semper Fi (always faithful) — spoke to the character of John Newhouse.

Regardless of his given cause/affinity, John was always loyal: The Spirit of Troy, The Los Angeles Dodgers, our USC Fraternity Phi Kappa Tau, his fellow Rotarians, his youth baseball teams … and most of all his family.

Looking into the collective eyes of his grieving family and recounting John’s unshakeable commitment to his two sons regardless of the circumstances, and how he treasured his wife and instinctively knew he overachieved in marriage, is a testament to why the phrase Semper Fi is appropriate.

Even though the author of Almost DailyBrett endured 12 years of parochial school with its sentence diagrams and the petty tyranny of the nuns and priests, the question comes whether it is kosher to add a Biblical verse 1 Corinthians near the conclusion of a church eulogy.

“Love is patient. Love is kind … “seemed to work for this setting. John was patient, did not keep score (except at a baseball game), always protected, always trusted. Yes, 1 Corinthians did the job.

As the clock clicked past three minutes, it was time for the close and a promise to share a microbrew together, if your author ever makes it to the pearly gates.

There are a myriad of challenges that each one of us will face in life. We will do better with some than others. Crafting and properly delivering the eulogy is one of them. With proper preparation, an understanding the English language will not cut it, and with a confidence the words will make the mark, then it will be time to go forward to remember, celebrate and pay proper respects to a departed colleague, friend or dear family member.

“Love Never Fails.”

John Robert Newhouse: A Celebration of Life

“John Newhouse was my best man.

“John Newhouse was my best friend … forever.

“He was everyone’s friend.

“He was my fraternity brother … and a fraternity brother to several in this room.

“He was the kindest person I ever knew.

“John Newhouse loved the world, and was a renowned traveler.

“My grandfather told me there were two places he never wanted to go.

“One was hell. The other was Russia.

“John and I went ‘Back to the USSR’ during the height of the Cold War in 1981.

“More than a few thought we were crazy, and they were right.

“When one talked about going to The Evil Empire it was not to-and-from, but in-and-out.

“John saw Moscow, Leningrad and the Baltic States as just another adventure.

“We did come out of Russia. We came back to America.

“John literally visited every continent on the planet, and was always looking forward to his next road trip. Wendy knows this undeniable fact oh-too-well.

“Speaking about the world, we can all say ex cathedra, our planet is a better place because of John Newhouse.

“When celebrating a life of someone so special that ended way too early, the world’s Lingua Franca, the English language, simply fails us.

“The U.S. Marine Corps adopted from the Latin, Semper Fidelis or Semper Fi as its motto. Translated it means: ‘Always faithful.’”

“There are many virtues about John, but his passionate loyalty to the Spirit of Troy, his devotion to his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, his commitment to his fraternity bros, his service with his fellow Rotarians, but most importantly his faithfulness to his family, stand out when one contemplates what made John Newhouse just so special.

“John Jr. and Scott. Let’s face it: From time-to-time, you drove him insane. Nonetheless he was proud of each of you, and he literally would do anything in his power to make your lives the best they could be.

“Wendy, you were always a miracle in John’s eyes. He was so proud to have you on his arm. He loved you dearly. I can state with impunity he was always Semper Fi when it came to you and your 33-years of marital bliss. He instinctively knew that he overachieved in marriage and he treasured your union every day.

“Considering that we are celebrating the life of John Robert Newhouse in a house of God, there are lines of scripture that seem just right in depicting why John was a gift to all of us. They come from 1 Corinthians:

“Love is patient, love is kind.

“It does not envy. It does not boast.

“It is not proud.

“It is not rude. It is not self-seeking.

“It is not easily angered.

“It keeps no record of wrongs.

“Love does not delight in evil.

“But rejoices with the truth.

“It always protects, always trusts.

“Always hopes. Always perseveres.

“Love never fails.”

“John, I love you. Your family loves you. Your wonderful spouse loves you. Everyone here will always love you.

 

“And on a personal note as your best man, John: If I am good enough to enter those pearly gates to join you in eternity, the first microbrew is on me.”

 

 

 

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“If you must use more than 10 slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business.” – Silicon Valley Author and Venture Capitalist Guy Kawasaki.

“The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.” –  Moore’s Law.

kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule for PowerPoint presentations may not have the lasting power and global prominence of Intel co-founder Gordon Moore’s “Law” for the expected growth of semiconductor complexity.

Having acknowledged the obvious, Kawasaki’s rule does provide guidance for using presentation graphics to make a persuasive case to critical audiences.

Kawasaki recommends 10 slides; 20 minutes; 30-point font or above. There is a beauty in the simplicity of this rule.

One must wonder why so many rebel against this wisdom.

Sitting through more New York and San Francisco investor conference presentations than I care to remember in my Silicon Valley days, there was a War of the PowerPoints.

Companies were dueling each other with dazzling colors, impressive content and how many graphics could be jammed into a 30-minute time slot to extol their respective technology bits, bytes, bells and whistles. In short order, these presentations started to resemble real estate tours with each one-story ranch-style house with vaulted ceilings looking the same as every other one-story ranch-style house with vaulted ceilings.

Eventually these conference-sponsoring, sell-side companies rebelled (e.g., Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley)  against the so-called Death by PowerPoint. No more PowerPoints …replacing them with FDR-style ”Fire Side Chats.”

Instead of curing the problem, the sell-side folks killed the patient. There were no more projected-onto-the-screen facts and figures for the audience to chew on. Instead there was an overpaid analyst quizzing a grossly overcompensated CFO about a myriad of gross margin, operating margin, cap-ex, R&D, SG&A numbers and percentages without any visual aid for the struggling audience.

Was that 15 percent growth or 50 percent growth?

No bueno.

Reflecting back on my trips to Tokyo with the Semiconductor Industry Association and LSI Logic, I was fascinated by how much detail our Japanese colleagues in particular could pack onto each PowerPoint slide.

Some of these slides reminded me about the bewildering grid of the Tokyo subway system regardless of whether it was in Kanji or English. Both, the PowerPoint slide and the Tokyo subway grid, resembled a plate of spaghetti with meat balls, tomato sauce and parmesan to make the picture even more complicated.

tokyosubway

There was a message in these PowerPoints begging to be released, but it was trapped in the barbed wire of complexity.

Fast forwarding to our present information overload society, PR/Marketing/IR pros are even more challenged than ever to break through the competing noise and deliver messages that resonate with low-attention span, easily bored and constantly distracted target audiences.

Is Guy Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule perfect for all situations? Almost DailyBrett will let the reader make that determination.

There is no doubt this rule is far better than what is informally called, PR Agency Disease. What is this contagious malady, and how should avoid this addictive carcinogen?

Let’s say an agency is competing against seven others in responding to a huge multi-billion corporate client’s RFP (Request for Proposal) “cattle call.” The client has generously allotted 80 minutes for an agency presentation.

The agency responds with six speakers … no let’s make that eight speakers … and 60 PowerPoint slides … oops, we need 64 PowerPoint slides. Even someone with zero math acumen knows the number of presenters and the diarrhea of slides does not correspond with the time set aside for the presentation. One of the symptoms of PR Agency Disease is the insistence by the agency types to talk about themselves and not the potential client.

Approximately one week or more after this 64-slide (no typo) orgy with the potential client having virtually zero opportunity to ask questions, the competing agency finds out it was not selected. There is anguish. There are fingers pointed internally. Someone must be held responsible. Here’s the solution:

There were not enough PowerPoint slides. When in doubt: Add more slides to the presentation.

As a venture capitalist, Kawasaki, and his colleagues have sat through more PowerPoint (and conceivably Prezi) presentations than they would care to count. Obviously, some are better than others.

sleepingaudience1

Likewise students have endured PowerPoint-assisted lectures (including my musings), which brings to mind the research by University of Oklahoma Professor L.D. Fink. His findings indicate that approximately 15 minutes into a lecture, 10 percent of the audience is showing signs of inattention, and after 35 minutes everyone is inattentive. Fink concluded that as the length of a lecture increases, the proportion of material remembered by students’ decreases.

When one contemplates Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule, one pictures the ubiquitous service club luncheon. There is the pre-lunch grip-and-grin, followed by the rubber-chicken entrée covered by a mysterious sauce, the 20-minute presentation by the invited speaker, the obligatory Q&A and followed by Rotarians, Optimists, Lions, Tigers and Bears etc. glancing at their watches to get back to the office.

The general rule for PowerPoints is two minutes per-slide with some taking less than that time and some taking more.  This simplistic math translates into 10 slides for 20 minutes.

Keep in mind the poor folks in the back of the room have to be able to read the slide, and that’s where the 30-point font comes into play.

And if you can add a photo, pie or bar chart or caricature to graphic without complicating the message all the better.

moore

Here’s to hoping that Kawasaki’s 10-20-30 Rule matches Moore’s Law in terms of longevity and influence. Maybe, there will even be a museum dedicated to the man who saved the world from Death by PowerPoint.

http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html

http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/10-20-30-rule-guy-kawasaki-powerpoint/

http://www.guykawasaki.com/about/

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/history/museum-gordon-moore-law.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/09/20/no-more-plugging-chugging-and-forgetting/

http://finkconsutling.info/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PowerPoint

 

 

 

When I first heard about this “fatal flaw,” I thought the rule was unusually harsh.

The dictate of USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism way back in the mid-1970s was simply this: If you misspelled a name on any document or any length of any level of importance, the result was swift-and-final: a “Falcon” on the paper.

uscannenberg

As a result, one double-checked…sorry, one triple-checked every name on every page of every document and then asked a fellow student to do the same. Nothing, and I mean, absolutely nothing was left to chance. That was then. That may not be the case now…but it should be.

Two years later, the wisdom of this rule was validated by the look of horror on the face of the society editor of one of my first employer’s, the Glendale News Press in Southern California. She was having her ear burned off by the furious, foaming-at-the-mouth, mother-of-the-bride. Her precious, crying daughter’s name was misspelled in the cut line of the family wedding photo that ran in the home town paper. Hell knows no fury like a pissed off mother-of-the-bride. Guess receiving an “F” on an academic paper, even the final, is not so bad in comparison.

bridemother

Fast forward to the present day and as Almost DailyBrett readers know, I am a Graduate Teacher Fellow at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. As such I am working with students and in some cases, mentoring, helping them in their pursuit of their degree and hopefully a career-path job right after that.

Wonder who is going to hire the student that spelled the name of the leader of the free world in a headline: “Barrack Obama?” He wondered why he was receiving a “C” on his paper. I then showed him the headline. Please don’t suggest that I am getting soft in my mature age.

We certainly live in a digital world. And that means that communicators regardless of the discipline – advertising, public relations, broadcast, social media, print – need to be proficient in technology skills. These marketable skills include Apple’s Final Cut Pro for audio and video editing; Adobe Bridge and Photo Shop for photographic work; Microsoft PowerPoint and Prezi for presentations; Excel for spread sheets and many more now and in the future.

Having said that, there is still a need for old-fashioned analog skills including basic writing and editing. Spelling, grammar and following the good ole Associated Stylebook all still matter. They all speak to professionalism.

Are Journalism schools literally throwing out the baby with the bathwater by overly concentrating on the digital and giving short shrift to analog skills? Whatever happened to Newswriting 101? There is still a need for this course; in fact there is a compelling need. I see it every day editing papers, pointing out the same errors over-and-over again to a multitude of students.

The blank stares from far-too-many students when they are asked to recite the cherished five W’s and one H of Journalism tells the story. They need to use the “Inverted Pyramid” to tell the reader in a paragraph or two, the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of the story. This skill is going to survive any change to Moore’s Law. This is the basic hard news lead that serves news hounds around the world and always will.

Journalism may be changing, particularly with the advent of Web 2.0 and conversational marketing. The insatiable demand for news is growing as literally millions in developing nations are moving into the middle class. They want news and information like all the rest. There is no doubt that bites, bytes, bells and whistles will play an increasingly prominent role in delivering the news reports of the future. They still need to be professionally written whether they appear on stone tablets or digitally in cyberspace.

And that means that spelling still matters, grammar still matters, editing still matters and style still matters. Let’s get back to the future…before it is too lait…err…late.

http://annenberg.usc.edu/

http://journalism.uoregon.edu/

http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/top-features/

http://www.photoshop.com/tutorials/1985

http://prezi.com/

http://www.apstylebook.com/

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