Throwback Thursday: Spinning the Wheel of Fun!

At the Chamber, we've recently undergone a renovation of sorts, which has featured a good deal of fall cleaning.

Today, we feature an item pulled out of some nook — an old-school carousel slide tray (an Apollo 3280, to be exact). So back in the day — long before Powerpoint — if you wanted to display images, graphs, etc. during a presentation, you utlitized one of these bad boys to wow your audience. Granted, it was just a still image, so the dancing hamster was not yet available, but still…

Here are some fun facts from Wikipedia (so you know they're legit) about the slide tray:

  • A carousel slide projector is a common form of slide projector, used to project slide photographs and to create slideshows. The first carousel slide projector was invented by Louis Misuraca, who immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy when he was a child. Louis was paid a one-time fee for his invention by the Eastman Kodak Company and did not earn royalties. He used the money to take his family on a trip to Italy.
  • The carousel slide projector was highlighted in the popular TV-series "Mad Men" (Season One, Episode 13, titled "The Wheel") as a product for advertiser Don Draper to pitch. There, it was named the "Carousel," instead of "The Wheel", because it was nostalgic and let its viewers travel through their memories as a child would, "around and around and back home again to a place where they were loved."
  • A common series of carousel projectors with a horizontally mounted tray was introduced in the spring of 1962 by Kodak (Kodak Carousel/Ektagraphic). The earliest Carousel models (mostly known as the 500-series) are compatible only with the 80-slide trays.
  • During the 1970s, Kodak also produced a Pocket Carousel projector for use with miniature 110 format Kodachrome slides.
  • The Kodak Carousel projector was discontinued in October 2004.

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Katie Coffin for bringing this gem to our attention.

Spooked by Public Speaking? You’re Not Alone

As trick-or-treaters descend upon neighborhoods this weekend, there likely will be a fair share of miniature vampires, witches and werewolves ringing your doorbell. Sure, those costumes don’t scare us like they did when we were kids, but there is something else that inspires fear in millions of adults. It’s inescapable in most business, education and social circles. And, it eclipses even death as people’s top fear in study after study. It’s – gulp – public speaking.

Toastmasters International offers several public speaking tips. No matter the size of your audience or the nature of your presentation, you can find helpful suggestions (and maybe even take some comfort!) in the list below:

  • Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech. Use humor, personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.  
  • Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary. Work to control filler words. Practice, pause and breathe. Practice with a timer and allow time for the unexpected. 
  • Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers. 
  • Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.  
  • Relax. Begin by addressing the audience. It buys you time and calms your nerves. Pause, smile and count to three before saying anything. (One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. Pause. Begin.) Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
  • Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.

Don’t Give Lousy Presentations

If your business is looking to gain any edge it can, one surefire way to stifle progress is for your representatives to give lackluster presentations. Carmine Gallo of BusinessWeek recently took a sarcastic look at "How to Give a Lousy Presentation." Here are the steps that are sure to get folks talking about you in a less than flattering manner, and you can read the full article for expanded explanations:

  1. Misspell words
  2. Create distracting color combinations
  3. Use inconsistent fonts
  4. Use a really small font size
  5. Insert improperly sized photos that are stretched to fit the slide
  6. Look completely and totally disinterested
  7. Look disheveled
  8. Ready every word of a slide
  9. Don’t bother with a backup plan
  10. Don’t practice
  11. Call attention to your mistakes
  12. Open with an aggressive or off-color joke
  13. Use wild animations
  14. Use cartoon clip art
  15. Use ancient presentation software