The Three WORST Pieces of Advice Given to Presenters (and How Best to Ignore Them)

Ever hear the one about picturing your audience naked to overcome your fear of presenting to them? How about the one about practicing in front of a mirror? Anyone who has ever tried either of those well-meaning tropes knows how futile they are. Deluding ourselves that we can calm fears by laughing at our audience, or that we can convince them of anything by faking authenticity, is worse than a waste of time. It prevents us from using our greatest power as presenters: our true selves. Try ignoring the “worst advice” and substituting powerful communication instead.

Worst Advice:

Memorize Your Presentation

Now this one sounds reasonable enough on the surface. After all, much of our fear about presenting is wrapped up in our fear of looking foolish in front of others. Some of that comes from our fear of drawing a blank when all eyes are on us. If we memorize our presentation, that won’t happen, right? Perhaps, but what will certainly happen is that we’ll be taken out of “the moment” as we put all of our energy and attention on recalling the least significant portion of our presentation: the literal words. Suddenly, we’re not focused on the immediate reaction we’re getting from the audience or on making sure we’re connecting with them. We’re focusing instead on making sure the words keep coming. That sets the bar too low: surviving the presentation until the end isn’t your goal. CONNECTING to your audience is.

Instead: Know Your Presentation

Focus on the essence of what you’re presenting: namely your key messages. This is what’s most important for your audience to understand. If the worst happens and all of your materials and notes disappeared, how would you summarize what you came to say? Put those bigger ideas up front and build your presentation around them. Your audience won’t likely remember all of the supporting details, but they should remember your key points. Worry less about repeating the exact words you intended and more about making sure you’re connecting. If you see heads nodding, react. If you see puzzled looks, don’t just plow through. Stop and make sure you’re not rushing ahead of your audience just to fill space. Slow yourself down and make sure you really see your audience and gauge their reactions. Remember, no one knows what you were supposed to say, so don’t let a pause or different phrasing than you’d planned throw you.

Use a Lot of Bullets

For some reason, lots of presenters think they can take a long, dry presentation and suddenly make it come alive if they can just add enough bullets to the screen. Ever sit through one of those presentations where the bullets don’t in any way indicate an abbreviated point? Heck, they may not even indicate a point! Here’s the thing: TEXT ON A SLIDE IS NOT A VISUAL AID. There is nothing about text that makes it more understandable, or illustrative, than the spoken word, by itself.

Instead: Put the Visual Back in Visual Aid

Are there actual visuals that would help illustrate your points? Can you bring in relevant charts, graphs, photos, illustrations to help your audience “see” your points? If you must use bullets, greatly reduce them and the words you use. Your audience didn’t come to read and they didn’t come to listen to YOU read to them. (Hint: if you use punctuation in your bulleted information, you’re using too many words.)

More is Better

Ever sit through a presentation that’s a product of many hands? More detail, more slides, with the presenter intoning something like… “..and here you can see again… ” or “this is just yet another example of… ” Yes, you want to prove your key points. Data does help you do that. However, information overload may quickly confuse your audience and actually mask your key points.

The Green Man, Venus and Their Place in Modern Life

Tannhäuser and Venus – Still Showstoppers

The recently finished Tannhäuser revival at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, broke all daftness records, but is the production we shall remember. Was it the 40 hospital beds on stage for the exhausted returning pilgrims, or the 20 suits of armour that were raised and lowered randomly, throughout the 3 hours – sometimes replaced with a set of devils? Silly theatre can be so powerful!

During the overture, Tannhäuser, (played by a stunt man) is lowered the 50 feet or so from the top of the stage, waving arms and legs. He takes several minutes to descend into a sea of female flesh, albeit with artificial breasts. I assume, there cannot be a female chorus, so well endowed, with not a wobble in sight. I wondered what the women would do with Tannhäuser’s full suit of armour once he was beneath the sea of limbs. I wasn’t disappointed. During the crescendo of brass, bits of armour were thrown up from the depths and then appeared the real, exhausted Tannhäuser, ready for his domestic with Venus.

Why is Venus important to us in 2017, or why was she important in 12th century Christian Germany, or 19th century Paris? Why is she a key figure in Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser? I believe it is because she is a good vehicle for the artist to express creativity and challenge popular ideas. That is the role of the artist.

Pagans helped us to Chrstianity

We can understand why Wagner uses Venus as a dramatic vehicle, but why does St. Chad’s Church in Harpswell have William Harrington, (rector, died 1350), resting on a superb Green Man? The Cathedral in Würzburg has a Green Man overlooking God. Nicosia churches have multiple Green Men. The 13th century minstrels were fascinated by Venus.

Is there a connection? Is there an explanation?

Waldemar Januszczak has an offering I’d like to test. In his fascinating BBC4 program on the Dark Ages, he pointed out that early portrayals of Christ gave him a feminine, or at least very boyish face. Only later, with the Mary cult well established in Christianity, do Jesus depictions move toward the heroic Jupiter-face. Waldemar explains thus. Early Christianity had an image problem – how to appeal to the 50% of the population, who were women. To get around this, artists often went for an androgynous Jesus. The later, post Mary-Cult version of Jesus with Jupiter’s face, was designed to bring the pagans on board, without detaching them from their old religion.

Once one starts looking, Waldemar’s argument stands up in many scenarios.

St. George’s female side is beautifully portrayed in any number of early 15th century sculptures by Bernd Notke. The Katherine Church in Lübeck has plaster copies. One of them cannot be a mistake. George is more feminine than the princess waiting to be saved from the dragon. Is the female George another example of the boyish Jesus?

It didn’t happen in a day.

During early Christianity, there were still pockets of pagan sympathy, and belief in gods such as Venus was a staging post between pagan and full Christian. Venus helped keep new Christians in their old comfort zone. Minstrels and poets used her to express sides of their characters, that were no longer acceptable as medieval Christian dinner talk. Was an androgynous St. George a useful comforter for both genders? Why did Venus reappear so many years after her demise as a Roman goddess?

The theory is, that the middle ages were not as Christian as our history lessons have us believe. For example, the Slav King Jaczo, reigned over the area we now call Berlin Brandenburg. He crossed to Christianity in 1154. That was when, with his horse sinking exhausted into the Havel, he did a few try-out prayers to various deities. Things improved after summoning Christ and his horse was helped to the bank of the river. He decided to become a follower, but did he give up his three-headed pagan god Triglav, immediately? Probably not. We all need islands of safety within our vision, before we can take the leap.

Wagner and Venus

Time to apply Waldemar’s theory to Wagner’s Tannäuser. Wagner merged two medieval sagas for his opera. That apart, he remained (nearly) faithful to the original yarns.

Venus lived in the Venusberg, somewhere in what is now Thuringia. Tannhäuser told Venus that he wanted to leave her, because he missed the sky and birdsong. The Venusberg was subterranean, in a mountain, rather than on it, and hidden from mortals. Hold that thought. The protruding bone, which supports female pubic hair is called the mons veneris in anatomy – Latin for Mount of Venus. In the saga, men who entered the Venusberg, accepted perdition.

Let’s assume Venus and Tannhäuser were in a vast cavern, waited on by as much voluptuous flesh as a man could want to gaze upon and sample. You can have too much of a good thing – apparently. Tannhäuser, after an hour of operatic wailing, shouting and accusations, leaves Venus, and returns to the Wartburg. This medieval castle is on a mountain in Thuringia, and is where the rest of the operatic action takes place. The hall can still be visited. In the Wartburg, he rediscovers his love for Elizabeth, the symbol of Christian female purity. She is waiting to be taken and dominated by an honourable knight. Tannhäuser, a knight and minstrel, had been her dream man, before he went sampling without portfolio in the Venusberg.

Tannhäuser gets embroiled in a singing contest on the theme of true love. Elizabeth’s hand is the prize for the winner. Tannhäuser’s friend Wolfram, dutifully sings of pure love – no lust. Tannhäuser blows a gasket and tells them that a bit of lusting after flesh hurt no one. Elizabeth is enthusiastic about the idea. Tannhäuser gets carried away and admits to a sojourn in the Venusberg. He is turned out the castle and told to join pilgrims underway to Rome to see if such a sin can ever be forgiven.

Elizabeth’s Libido, in his Dreams

Nowadays the same soprano sings Venus and Elizabeth, in the same costume and make-up. We have to ask – was the Venusberg a figment of Tannhäuser’s erotic fantasy? Did he fantasise about Elizabeth’s female libido? Is Elizabeth ready to show the lustful part of her femininity? Was this a match made in the Venusberg, rather than in heaven? We never find out. Tannhäuser leaves the distraught Elizabeth to wonder what might have been. She agrees that her husband must be presentable and accepts he must go to Rome. She prays for the Pope’s forgiveness.

Stunning Redemption

Tannhäuser returns from Rome and relates Pope Urban IV’s words. He is as likely to be forgiven such a heinous sin, as Urban’s staff is, to sprout leaves. Elizabeth sinks exhausted to the floor. Wolfram covers her with a shroud. Tannhäuser wants to return to the Venusberg, Elizabeth rises from under the shroud. Now she is Venus and tries to seduce him. Wolfram holds Tannhäuser back, and prevents him approaching Venus. Tannhäuser dies, as pilgrims enter to declare the staff has sprouted leaves – Tannhäuser is forgiven and can join Elizabeth in heaven.

Accepting Sex Drive

In 19th century Europe, many men believed, if women possessed sex drive, they were whores. No one asked the question, was Tannhäuser without guilt, when Venus and he engaged in so-called, sins of the flesh. Did the staff sprout, because there was no sin to be forgiven? In the medieval version of the saga, Tannhäuser does return to the Venusberg, and the staff still sprouts. Were those poets and minstrels trying to tell us, lustful sex is not a sin? Is this why we still love those ancient stories?

We know what Wagner thought. He celebrated female sex-drive on stage, most notably in Tristan and Isolde, although he did let the love potion take the blame for Isolde’s wanton behaviour. No one is fooled, nowadays. We know Tristan and Isolde have the hots for each other, long before the love potion is administered.

Why did Wagner go for the soft ending in his version of Tannhäuser? These operas divided society. The Paris premier of Tannhäuser, (1861) was a disaster and wrecked by the audience’s protests, because the dance was in the wrong place and disturbed dining habits. Perhaps, with such an audience, the medieval ending was unthinkable. The lovers had to go to heaven, not the Venusberg!

Jean Shinoda Bolen, in her Jungian analysis of the role of Goddeses in our lives, defines Venus as the woman with serious sex-drive. I left my copy of Bolen’s ‘Goddesses in Everywoman,’ in a prominent place in my house. No visitor has managed to pass the book without stopping and having a peek. We all need a bit of pagan!

Venus goes other Places

The Tannhäuser story has inspired many works of art, literature and the occasional film (Blade Runner). Aubrey Beardsley added to the genre in the 1890s, with his thin volume, The Story Of Venus And Tannhäuser. It wasn’t printed in full until the 1960s, because no one had the courage. Beardsley died before completion. He describes Tannhäuser’s entry into the Venusberg and the high jinks thereafter. It is pure smut and great fun. Another reason we need Venus – to remind us that life is to be enjoyed and you never know what you might like until you have tried it.

I couldn’t resist Venus and Tannhäuser either. The lovers, in my novel Goddesses, role play Beardsley’s ideas. The complete novel should be a published this year, providing my courage doesn’t desert me.

Goddesses set us Free

Gods and Goddesses, are there to let us let our hair down. They allow us to act out a bit of our character, which otherwise, wouldn’t find an outlet. They appeal to the non-Christian part of us today, as they did for the early Christians 1000 years ago. Waldemar is right. They let us off the hook, but in so doing, keep us on the hook. Let off steam sometimes, is the message. A little bit of what you like, does you good.

Bolen defines women as character types, by using goddesses. If that sounds trite, read her book.

What about the Green Man?

We all love a mystery and the Green Man remains one. We have no idea of his symbolic meaning in pre-Christian society. Why was he so popular with gothic-church builders? Most mysterious, is his enduring popularity as a garden ornament. What position in our character does he personify? We don’t know, but we all like to be a bit mysterious. That is a character trait, too.

Clive La Pensee has used Beardsley’s take on the Venus/Tannhaeuser story, as a major part of his third novel, called Goddesses. He lets his two main protagonists role-play Beardsley’s action, with hilarious and ultimately, disastrous consequences. His heroine Connie, uses a variety of goddesses to achieve sexual liberation, in a way, which would have pleased Venus and Elizabeth.
His second novel – out soon, celebrates women risking disaster, to organise a hostile world to meet their needs. ‘Someone Tell Me What Is Going On!’
Clive has just released his first humorous/sad/wistful collection of poems, dealing with love in old age, Brexit, Fake News and the wisdom of youth. You can ask for your money back, if he doesn’t get a chuckle or a tear out of you.

Does He Still Love Me And How To Get Him Back In My Life

It’s not too late to win your lovely ex-back! Do you want to find how to get your ex-husband truly back in your life? You can discover how to make your ex start CRAVING you again and begging to have you back in his arms.

Have you made some of these critical mistakes for getting back together?

Have you been emotional or demanding to win him back?

Have you called him or followed him around town?

Perhaps you’ve even begged him to come back to you or driven by his home repeatedly, constantly worrying over getting back together for good.

Did you know that most relationship breakups can be saved, and the reason why so many women end up heartbroken is because of what they do the first few weeks after the split.

You see what gets most women in trouble isn’t that they’re mean, selfish or demanding.

No, after a breakup most women try to coax their man back using methods that would be effective on another woman, but often prove severely disastrous on a man.

The Course in Miracles states, “Yet in this world your perfection is unwitnessed.”

The truth is you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed.

You need a plan to win your ex-back.

Yes, I mean a proven strategy that gives you step by step instructions on what to do, and if you still love him He needs your help not to make the biggest mistake of his life in losing you.

Don’t let that happen to you!

Here are a couple of warnings you need to be aware of:

– #1: If you DON’T want your ex-husband or boyfriend back – this isn’t for you.

– #2: You need to understand male psychology, I mean how men act and think.

If you DO want to know how to get you ex-husband or boyfriend back – you’re going to need to discover a couple of sneaky little secrets about MALE psychology, that will show you how to quickly REVERSE your break up situation and get him to start chasing you again!

Getting Him to Chase You again

In a previous session we discussed what do men want in a woman and how to enhance your love relationship.

Remember, this plan for how to win your ex-back is ONLY for those who feel a deep connection with their ex and want the opportunity to get a SECOND chance!

If you think he is someone special that you don’t want to lose then you’ll discover:

– Why what you do in the next few weeks is critical to reversing your breakup.

– The specific Step by Step Strategy to reverse the break up so he is the one CHASING you and BEGGING to want you back… all his idea of course.

– Why listening to your girlfriend’s advice can actually kill any chance of getting him back.

If you want a Proven Plan to win your ex-back, first think perhaps why he’s ignoring you completely, or maybe he told you he “just wants to be friends, and that sort of thing.”

In this situation, you CAN NOT afford to make the same mistakes that most women make when trying to find does he still love me.

You want him back… you want to start fresh, and give it another try without him shutting you out.

A lot of women have been through this system and this situation has helped them to not only win back the men they love… but to build new, happier, stronger relationships.

And you’re racking your brain about getting back together?

You might be trying to figure out WHY he suddenly turned so cold, and HOW to convince him to talk to you and to try to work things out.

And it’s especially painful and difficult when the breakup is HIS idea, not yours.

I like this program which has a proven step by step plan that is used to help thousands of women and can help you win your ex-back.

You have to take action because the longer you wait the greater the chance that he might forget you, as the great memories of the two of you together start fading away in his mind.

One aspect about male psychology is that the longer you are apart the more likely the fond memories will fade and he’ll never come back.

The sooner you begin learning to put together a life changing plan the sooner he’ll be back in your arms!

I know firsthand that breakups are one of the most emotionally difficult and painful situations you can go through, that’s why I hope you take good care your over-all well-being and happiness.

Why Art Collectors Are in Love With Floral Paintings These Days

Reproductions of floral paintings are selling like hot cakes in online stores dedicated to modern art for sale, sculpture home décor and more

With floral art and floral paintings becoming coveted products for art collectors globally, smart replications and reproductions of some of the most valued floral art forms are making their presence felt in art stores online. Art lovers have a fancy for floral art for two significant reasons, their beauty and meaning. Different flowers tend to have different kinds of symbolic messages attached to them; therefore some flowers tend to be more popular and wanted than others. Across history, artists had been inspired by the prettiest flowers and found them to be the perfect objects for their paintings.

Did you know that some of the earliest known paintings depicted flowers and plants? Here, we have assembled some floral paintings, sculpture home décor that are being purchased by art enthusiasts globally.

‘Roses and Sunflowers’ (1886):

A masterpiece by Vincent van Gogh, this 1886 creation is currently hosted at ‘Kunsthalle Mannheim’, a much famed museum showcasing modern and contemporary paintings. Like most paintings and art forms by Vincent van Gogh, this one was also created with oil upon canvas. An art store online selling floral painting reproductions would surely have this on its cards.

‘Bouquet’ (1599)

If you have already invested in the best modern art for sale online and would like to opt for something flowery for a change, then this Jan Brueghel the Elder painting is what you should go for without any further ado. Painted in 1599, the epic creation is one of the oldest floral paintings known to mankind. It portrays many beautiful flowers and serves to be a wonderful example of conventional floral art

‘Vase of Flowers’ (1480)

This coveted painting, like many others belonging to the same era, depicts religious symbolism to the hilt. These symbolic messages go back in times and may not have their desired relevance in the contemporary world; nevertheless, the painting in which they are presented is notching favors everywhere.

Still-Life of Flowers’ (1614)

This painting is unique in itself and showcases the talent of Ambrosius Bosschaert who created it in 1614. Depicting the still life lead by flowers in the best possible way, the detailing, realism and shading of the painting is beyond compare.

These and many other floral paintings are making it to the art collections of amateur and professional art enthusiasts in a big way. You may like to check out a few of such paintings for your personal or office space as well.

Dating Too Long With No Success? Stop Dating and Take the Time to Understand What Makes You Fail

If you date too long and see no success, what does it mean? Well, there could be many possibilities: that you haven’t yet found your “soul-mate”; that you haven’t yet recovered from past-relationship; that you are afraid to start again, and so on and so forth.

But if might also be that you have dated too much and feel exhausted from endless trials, disappointments. That you are disillusioned; that you are unsure whether to keep on dating or not.

When this is what you feel, keeping dating might be counterproductive; it might take you no where. The reason being, that you don’t project happiness to your date, but fatigue; not empowerment, but desperation; not patience, but impatience; not self-respect, but neediness.

The problem is, that at your age you might feel that “time is short”. That if you won’t go on yet another date you might miss someone special. That reading a book or go to a movie while still not having a partner is a waste of time.

But then, if you haven’t succeeded until now, do you have any guarantees – except hope – that “next time it will happen”?

When you find yourself in such a situation, having these kinds of fears, thoughts, hesitations and disappointments, what might you do? You may want to take time off from dating and find a way to understand what made you fail until now.

When you take some time off from dating you need to do so with a strong belief that this is for the better; that this will eventually lead you to finding a partner; that this is only a pause you are taking to re-charge, re-vitalize in order to start again, more empowered and more confident in who you are.

So while you take the time off you can engage with other activities; meet other friends; stay home by yourself and enjoy your own company.

But not only enjoy your own company: devote the time to develop to understand what made you fail in your dating attempts. This you can do by developing your Self-Awareness: Looking inwards and see what makes you desperate and needy to have a relationship; realize the fears and needs that control you, such as: the fear of loneliness; the fear of being alone; the incessant need to be loved and have a partner.

Take the time to observe – in retrospect – your attempts at dating and relationships. Notice whether there are any patterns which repeat themselves: do you immediately become dependent on your date? Do you begin to suffocate your partner? Are you driven by the fear of being alone therefore trying to please your partner as much as possible, thus allowing yourself to become a victim within the relationship? and so on and so forth.

Looking inside and observing your patterns is not easy: you confront your own issues, attitudes, self-regard (or lack of); patterns of behavior; the ways in which you sabotage yourself (some of which you haven’t been aware of until now).

But looking inside is crucial for becoming empowered to find a partner with whom to develop a successful intimacy. Observing your past experiences and learning what and how to change is crucial for making the changes you need to make. Gaining insight about yourself is of uttermost importance to realizing what you have done wrong and how you can embark on the road to success.