OneLook Dictionary Search looks up definitions of words in over 1000 online dictionaries with just one search! It’s not a fancy website but it’s fast and efficient at getting you all the information you need on any word either to understand it or to ensure it captures just the right meaning you want to convey in a message.
Plain English Campaign is an independent group dedicated to fighting for plain English in public communication. In other words, no gobbledygook, jargon and legalese allowed! PEC has put together a fabulous set of resources to help you write and communicate clearly. Their free guides on How to Write in Plain English and The A-Z of Alternative Words are ones you’ll find yourself reaching for on a regular basis.
Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Mignon Fogarty, the creator of Grammar Girl, gives you a few different options for seeking advice on grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers! You can listen to or read transcripts of her weekly 5 minute podcasts, search her database for your specific grammar questions and/or sign up for her grammar tip of the day. She offers clear and interesting explanations with really helpful examples.
The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto, a former McKinsey consultant, offers a “how-to” methodology for organizing your ideas so your message comes across clearly. The book is written for business writers but the principles apply equally well to speaking.
There are many, many websites where you can search for the perfect quote but this site is one of my favourites. It has an expansive topic list and a large selection of famous quotes from famous people that makes it quicker and easier to find the perfect one.
Polls are a great way to get your audience to interact with you, as well as get feedback for your presentation. The unique aspect of Poll Everywhere is that it gets participants to enter their answers via text messaging or Twitter, so expensive poll hardware need not be purchased. Responses are then displayed on a medium of your choice, such as Keynote, or Powerpoint. It is simple to use, and free for audiences of up to forty people.
If you ever find yourself getting anxious before you present, this Charlie Rose episode will give you invaluable insight on what happens to our brains when we experience stress, anxiety and fear. Charlie Rose has assembled a first-rate panel of leading medical researchers to help us not only understand the nature of these negative emotions but how to manage them as well. Although fear is discussed in the context of anxiety disorders, the information is directly relevant to the anxiety and fear we experience when we present.
TED is a small nonprofit that believes passionately in the power of spreading ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. They give you free access to the knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers. These thought-provoking talks offer a great source of learning for people who want to be better public speakers. You’ll see three important things done consistently well: slides are simple yet powerful, ideas are limited to a core message and a few key points and stories are used to great effect to bring meaningful and inspiring ideas to life. Enjoy!
If you could only read one book on how to improve your non-verbal communication, this is the one. The author, Joe Navarro, has been studying non-verbal behavior for the past 30 years. Twenty-five of these were spent in the FBI catching spies. You’ll learn how to observe, decode, and use nonverbals in your professional and personal life. The insights will immediately take your presentation style to the next level.
Looking for a more natural picture to add to your presentation? Flickr is the place to go. Flickr’s collection includes photographs taken by everyday people from around the world as well as licensed photographs from Creative Commons. As long as you link back to Flickr and the photographer, any photo can be used in your presentation. Flickr can also be used as an online photo management tool – so you can keep all photos for different presentations separate. Photos can be browsed through by choosing a time point, or a ‘tag’. To download a picture you like, click on the size (small, medium or large), and click ‘Download’.