Your body has something to say: Body Movement

Whenever we speak in front of an audience the way we use our body can have an impact on how well we are able to communicate our message. This is the non-verbal communication part of speaking. Today we will be looking at one of the things we can do with our body and how it can help us get our message across to our audience.

Body Movements

Body movement is to change your position or location during a speech; moving around. This is a very broad and highly visible non-verbal communication. Because of this it can be very powerful; a real asset or a real liability. Body movement can reinforce what you say. For example if you are talking about getting close to someone you can move your body closer to the audience.

Body movement can attract audience attention. Since body movment is so broad and visual it is sure to attract people’s attention if you move around a lot. Body movement can also help you burn up nervous energy and release physical tension.

However, body movement can also be a liability. If you move in a way that is inconsistent with what you are saying it will be confusing for the audience. For example if you are talking about getting close to someone but you move away from the audience. This is inconsistent and confusing.

One rule is: Don’t move without a reason. Moving without a reason or randomly will attract attention and your audience will likely search for meaning in your movement. This will distract their attention away from your spoken words. By moving with your spoken words you will attract attention and alertness from your audience and enhance what you are saying.

Before – After: Fun with Type

This “Before/After” post will be a bit different than my usual ones. I have included more than one example of a “Before” and “After” pair. I did this because I felt this topic needed more examples to be really clear.

Which brings us to today’s topic; fun with type. We have all be recommended using full bleed images on our slides and I am a big advocate of that myself. But it is not always necessary to use a large image. Sometimes the point can be expressed simply with text. By being a little bit creative with the formatting of the text the result can have a significant impact.

For example we are expressing or making the point that something is big. Instead of finding an image of a large boat, an elephant, a skyscraper, a mountain or whatever else you can think of, just type the words “BIG”. Then make the text super big, maybe even bleed the text off the slide. This is shown in the “Before” and “After” below. This clearly communicates the point that we are talking about something BIG.

Not everything lends itself to this type of creative use of type. For example it is possible to write the text “small” and use a really small font-size. The problem is that no one will be able to read it and it might annoy the audience. People like to see and understand what is on the slides even if you as a presenter say the word small.

Below are the “Before” and “After” examples.

What are some examples you can think of?

Before 1:

Before-Big

After 1:

After - BIG


Before 2:

Before - Spacious

After 2:

After - Spacious


Before 3:

Before - Warm

After 3:

After - Warm

How to add live webpages in PowerPoint

Today I just wanted to mention a free add-in to PowerPoint I read about over on makeuseof.com. It is a free add-in called LiveWeb that can be downloaded here.

It basically allows you to place a webpage on your PowerPoint slide. The webpage will be live meaning it will be updated (provided you are connected to the internet). You just specify the URL of the webpage and some options such as whether to refresh the webpage automatically or not and the size/shape of the webpage on the slide.

It can be a neat way to avoid having to switch applications to show the audience something from a webpage. You can read more about it on makeuseof.com and download here.

Let me know what you think about it.

Before-After: Make it BIG

When designing slides always remember to design for the last row. Make sure that whatever it is you are showing on your slides is big enough to be seen from the back of the room. If you have text on your slides, make the font size big enough so that it can easily be read from the last row. There is nothing worse than being in the back of the room not being able to see what is on the slides being presented. So remember to make it BIG.

Before:

Before - Small Text

After:

After - Big Text

Image Credit: OeilDeNuit

How to manually change kerning in PowerPoint 2010

When using really large font sizes in PowerPoint the space between some characters might not come out perfect. The area between characters is know as kerning and you can read more about its importance here. The bottom line is, if the kerning is off the text will look funny. So here we will look at one way you can use to adjust the kerning in a large typeset text in PowerPoint.

1. You can see that the space between the first 1 and the 0 is much bigger than between the other characters. This is very noticeable and it feels like the 1 doesn’t belong to the other text.

Bad Kerning

2. Select only the 1. Or the first character before the space you want to adjust.

Highlight First Character

3. Click on the character spacing drop down in the “Font” group on the “Home” tab and choose “More Spacing…”. You can also get to this by clicking on the little icon in the bottom right of the “Font” group to see additional options.

More Spacing Drop Down

4. A dialog box will show up that allows you to change character spacings

Character Spacing Dialog Box

5. There is a drop down menu with 3 options:

  • Normal – This is just the normal spacing
  • Expanded – This is if you want more space between the characters
  • Condensed – This is if you want to reduce the space between characters

Drop Down Alternatives Character Spacing

We will choose “Condensed” since we want less space. Now we must decide by how many points we will reduce the space in the text input box. We experiment with different values and end up with 20.

Condensed By 20

6. And now we have text that has better kerning and is more balanced

Better Kerning

Before-After: Widow Word

Writing a paragraph of text, also know as typesetting a block of text, can bring some challenges. One such challenge is what is called a widow. This is a single word by itself at the end of the paragraph. This is something that should be avoided. Another challenge is with what is know as the rag. This is the shape the text makes on the non-aligned side. So if the text is left-aligned the rag is on the right. We should always look at the rag and make sure it doesn’t create a distracting shape.

Below is a “Before” showing a quote typeset with a widow word and the words “past” and “the” perhaps sticking a little bit far out.  The “After” with the same quote is typeset much better.

Before:

Before - Text Block with Widow

After:

After - Text Block with No Widow

How to adjust Line Spacing PowerPoint 2010

Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the line spacing (or leading) in paragraphs of text (see here).

1. Slide with paragraph of text with perhaps a bit too much line spacing.

Slide with Text

2. Select the text box and click on the additional options button in the lower right corner on the “Paragraph” group on the “Home” tab.

Select Text on Slide

3. A new dialog box will open with the Line Spacing options in the lower right side.

Line Spacing Dialog Box

4. There are several different options in the drop-down menu.

  • Single – This is the default line spacing
  • 1.5 Lines – This creates 1.5 times the normal line spacing
  • Double – This doubles the line spacing
  • Exactly – Here you can specify exactly how many points you want the line spacing to be
  • Multiple – Here you can specify a number to multiply with the normal line spacing. So if you specify 2 that would give the same result as Double

Line Spacing Drop Down Options

5. Play around with the different options until you find the perfect one for your particular paragraph of text (here shown with Exactly and 60 pt).

Slide With Text After Line Spacing Adjustment