Presentations – Are You a Hand-Washer or a Reluctant Nudist?

You have written your presentation and started to rehearse it in front of a sympathetic audience who can give you reliable feedback. At this stage you will be finding your own unique style of relating to an audience and presenting information.

Be as natural as possible and certainly do not try to copy someone else, or you will come across as false and your audience may also start to doubt the accuracy of the content.

Many people find at this stage that they unconsciously adopt a repetitive pattern of behaviour while speaking to an audience! A common characteristic of the inexperienced presenter is the use of ‘crutch’ words such as ‘you know’, ‘actually’ and ‘basically’. You may not normally use them to excess but nerves can produce all kinds of unexpected tics!

Or the behaviour may be physical, such as hand rubbing, pacing about or fiddling with hair. The Reluctant Nudist is uncomfortable about being the centre of attention and will cover himself up as much as possible, crossing arms, legs and displaying other defensive body language.

Have you ever spotted a Teapot? They stand with one hand on a hip while the other arm waves around or rests along the top of the flip chart. The Change Jangler is one of the most annoying – they dig deep into their pockets while rifling noisily through the contents.

You may well have spotted other bizarre, totally unconscious behaviour from presenters. Make sure you get some objective, honest feedback at the rehearsal stage – better to be told by a friend now than after the event! Practice will help you to become aware of any irritating habits and to correct them, so allow yourself time to rehearse, review and rehearse again.

Source Free Graphics From PowerPoint For Your Presentation

Microsoft PowerPoint can be a powerful tool to convey your message or tell your story. However, when it comes to sourcing images for your presentation the Internet can be a minefield of copyright laws and stock image hazards.

Fortunately PowerPoint already has a multitude of ways in which you can find and use free graphics to help illustrate your point. We take a look at some of the ways you can insert memorable and compelling images at the click of a mouse, without ever having to leave PowerPoint.

Themes and Templates

The existing themes and templates within PowerPoint are a great start when looking to give your presentation a professional feel. These themes and templates not only have built in colour schemes and backgrounds but some also include ready-to-use images as well.


Microsoft’s ClipArt has come a long way in recent years. It now includes some excellent stock photography as well as various modern images. All of these graphics are easily searchable under a range of different categories.


SmartArt graphics are a way to give visual representation to your information. Illustrations help people to understand and recall information better than plain text. SmartArt is a quick and easy way to design quality graphics for your content.


Don’t discount the simple shape. Putting squares, circles and triangles together is a great way to create unique images relevant to your presentation. Think outside of the box in order to give visual clues that are both effective and memorable.


The symbols section within PowerPoint is not just for the Greek alphabet. Again, think about how you might use these symbols in a special way. It might be using a dollar sign in place of a ‘s’ or using a tick box in place of bullet points.

Webdings and Wingdings

Make your own icons using the different fonts of Webdings. Enlarge these graphics, string multiple ones together and play with colours. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, try this handy cheat sheet:

Remember to consider your colour scheme and layout when using PowerPoint images and graphics. You want your presentation to look sharp and not too busy or distracting.

It’s important to make your presentation pop but it needn’t be difficult. These tools are designed to help you make the most of this software. Use them to your advantage and get creative.

What is your favourite tool when sourcing images and graphics within PowerPoint?

Breathing – A Way to Get Present, and a Way to Release Emotional and Physical Pain

There are four basic breathing exercises that I would like to share with you. They are progressive in nature, which means the fourth exercise is more intense and involves more physical releasing than the first exercise. With each exercise you will be over oxygenating the body, forcing excess oxygen into your muscles, and then releasing tension. Each exercise involves breathing, holding and releasing. They can be done in a progression or individually, which ever works best for you. I would encourage you to experiment. Know that what works best one day, might not be what works best next week or next year, so keep exploring and rediscovering.

These exercises can help you to get centered and to get present before a meeting. They can be used to “get the day off” so you can let go of your work life allowing you to transition into your personal life. While some people may use an alcoholic drink to do this, I don’t encourage people to drink; I do however encourage people to breath. The exercises can also create a bubble where we can each just quiet our mind and be. Therefore, you can use them before you sit down to meditate, or before you do a task that requires focus and mental discipline.

To do these exercises, you want to be in a safe place where you will not be disturbed for a few minutes. They work best while sitting in a chair, on a couch, or on the side of your bed with both feet on the floor. Do not do these exercises when you are driving, around machinery or anywhere you can get hurt. If you have a medical condition, it’s always good to check with your Doctor to see if this type of breathing is safe for you. Always take care of yourself, and don’t do anything you think will hurt you.

First Exercise

Inhale through your nose very deeply, almost to the point of over inhaling, and exhale through your mouth. These are not short breaths, but long breaths. This is not a slow inhale and exhale, but rather a quick inhale to the count of 3 to 4 seconds and then an exhale to the count of 3 to 4 seconds. You want to over oxygenate the body. You do 5 inhales and 5 exhales. On the 6th inhale, hold your breath as long as you can. While you are holding your breath, tighten your shoulders, your arms, your stomach, your buttocks, your legs and your toes. Tighten and hold. When you exhale release any tension you might be holding onto and relax your body. If you are holding a lot of tension, you will feel a rush of energy. That is the tension you have been holding in your body. Don’t be afraid of this, it will pass very quickly.

Do a quick scan of your body. What are you feeling in your shoulders, your heart area, your stomach, your buttocks, your legs, your knees, and your feet? Be aware of any tension. Sometime you will feel a pain that you haven’t felt before. This just means you have dropped to another level of awareness. Is there any tingling going on? Tingling usually starts in the feet area. This means your body is starting to come alive again. As you progress through each exercise, the tingling tends to move up the legs, into the hip area and then the rest of your body.

Second Exercise

During this exercise you will do the same type of breathing as you did in exercise one. The only difference is that you will be taking 9 breaths instead of 5 breaths. You will be taking more breaths because there are some physical movements that are added, thus you need more breathing to help over oxygenate the body.

When you inhale, raise your shoulders up high toward your ears and when you exhale, drop and release your shoulders. This will help you release any tension that you might be holding in your shoulder area. At the same time that you are raising and lowering your shoulders, I want you to dig your heals into the floor, push your knees together and push back. This will help you focus on your lower back and buttocks area. Many people hold a lot of tension in this area. Tightening and breathing into this area of the body can be very empowering.

So, putting this all together you will be inhaling, raising your shoulders, digging your heels into the floor, pushing your knees together and pushing back. When you exhale, you will release and relax all the muscles in your body.

After doing the above for 9 breaths, you’ll inhale one more time. On the 10th and final inhale, hold your breath and tighten all your muscles. Hold your breath as long as you can and then release your breath and relax all of your muscles. Quickly scan your body and notice what you are feeling in your shoulders, your heart area, your stomach, your buttocks, your legs, your knees, and your feet. Is there a change anywhere? Are you feeling less tight? Are you feeling any new pain? Has the tingling moved up your legs?

Third Exercise

During this exercise you will again do the same type of breathing as you did in exercise One and Two, only this time you will now be taking 12 breaths. On your first inhalation, push your right fist into your left palm. Relax when you exhale. On your second inhalation, grasp your fingertips together and pull apart. Relax when you exhale. During this exercise you are externalizing that inner struggle of “Come here – No, go away!” “Do this – No, Do that!” “I want you! – No, I don’t want you!”

At the same time you are pushing and pulling, I want you to dig your heals into the floor, push your knees together and push back as you did in exercise Two.

After doing the above of 12 breaths, you’ll inhale one more time. However, on the 13th and final inhale, hold your breath and tighten all your muscles. Hold your breath as long as you can and then release your breath and relax all of your muscles. Quickly scan your body and notice what has changed. Are there still places you are holding tension? Are you feeling the tingling in your lower back area?

Fourth Exercise

For this exercise you’ll want to remove any watches or excess jewelry because you are going to be very physical. During this exercise you will be inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. I want you to breathe like you would after you ran a 100 yard-dash. I want you to breath deep and fast because you will need a lot of oxygen for this exercise.

While you are breathing rapidly, I want you to be stomping your feet on the floor. I want you to stomp hard enough to make impact, but not so hard that you hurt your feet. At the same time, I want you to make two fists, and I want you to hit the couch or bed with full force. Again, not so hard that you hurt yourself, but I want you to hit the bed or couch with a strong impact. I want you to do this breathing, stomping and hitting process for a few minutes. There will be a voice inside that will say, “Okay, I’m done.” Keep going a little longer. At some point in time, I want you to take a deep breath and hold it. While you are holding your breath, I want you to keep hitting and stomping. When you can’t hold your breath any longer, exhale, sit back and relax.

Quickly scan your body and notice what you are feeling. You will be breathing. Good job. At this point, I would like you to repeat the first exercise. Take 5 deep breathes in and tense every muscle in your body, and hold your breath as long as you can. Exhale and relax. Notice what you are thinking. Your mind will be empty and quiet. Nice. It’s possible to go through life with our mind being quiet. You are now present. Breathe in and enjoy.

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Robert C. Jameson focuses on helping clients understand and overcome issues, such as anger, hurt, depression, anxiety, love, relationships, boundaries and limiting beliefs, to name a few. During his years of private practice, Mr. Jameson found it useful to give many of his clients “homework” in the form of handouts to support their work while in session. The Keys to Joy-Filled Living was born from his handout of tried and true exercises and techniques.