Meet Lauren Sergy, Professional Speaker, trainer, communicator and Author. Lauren talks about the technology that empowers her business.
My name is Lauren Sergy. I am a public speaker. I am also an executive speech trainer and the author of the The Handy Communication Answer Book. What technologies are important to you? Oh, I mean… [laughs] Within my speaking I actually try to go relatively tech-free, but the technology that is important to me—it is basic internet. It really is. It’s basic internet stuff. I rely quite heavily on YouTube for sending out my content to the world, to whoever at large wants to see it. I use video conferencing services like Zoom in order to both coach clients but also to provide webinar and corporate training to clients all over Canada and within the US as well, and basic mailer services like MailChimp. You know, it’s incredible what a free MailChimp account can allow you to do in terms of reaching more people with your message. The stuff that has made the most difference in terms of my business and in terms of the quality of my presentations is remarkably low-tech and actually quite inexpensive. The first thing for my business is this little guy: This is my Logitech HD Pro C920 webcam. This enabled me to set up high quality, good HD videos with reasonable audio capture quickly, easily, and at minimal cost. I wasn’t about to, at the time, fork over several hundred dollars for a really nice camera that I would then have to learn how to use. That thing gave me such a great shortcut in terms of producing decent quality videos that were easy to film, that it was worth every penny that I spent on it. The other item in terms of my presentations was getting a really good remote presenter. Get yourself a good remote presenter. This one in particular, the Logitech R800, I like because it has a timer function on it. I believe that if you are going to speak properly you want to be able to do as little thinking as is humanly possible, and the last thing I want to think about is “Oh, where is my countdown timer?” and “How much time do I have left?” This thing does the countdown timer for you and it gives you a very gentle vibration in the hand when you hit the five-minute mark, the two-minute mark, and the zero mark, and then it starts to count up. So those little cues from this thing made my presentation so easy and the range on it is incredible. So if I have a tech guy who is fully set up and they offer me their presenter, I swap out with this and I know that anywhere within a large ballroom or a large auditorium this thing works. Hundred bucks—completely changed how comfortable I was in terms of dealing with the tech during my presentation. Slides are wonderful. I like slides. I like PowerPoint. PowerPoint gets a bad shrift because “Oh no, now we’re going to have an awful PowerPoint presentation.” It’s not PowerPoint; it’s your ability to visually design a good slide deck. It does not matter what slide system you use, as long as you’re able to think, “Okay, what sort of visuals? What sort of images are going to complement what I’m saying versus compete with the words that are going to come out of my mouth?” Then you can put together a good slide show. But within using this tech a thing that I caution people to avoid is using every single bell and whistle within the software. Generally speaking, the more static your images, the better, and the fewer words you have on the slide, the better; because then people’s eyeballs aren’t distracted from what they’re listening to in terms of their ears. We are visual. If you are looking at someone giving a presentation and they slop up a big slide that is full to the brim of words or that has a lot of complicated animations going on, they’re going to look first and listen second. So you don’t want that slide to be competing with what it is you have to say. Make it big. Make it a beautiful image; have that image be meaningful and complimentary to your message, but don’t allow it to compete with the words that are coming out of your mouth. PowerPoint won’t save you; neither will Prezi. It’s not the bells and whistles in the software you’re using; it’s your use and your design of those visuals. My main wish list item is, I kid you not, someone else to do most of the tech stuff for me. This is partially [laughs] because I am a little bit of a control freak so I want to be able to understand these systems to run them myself. On the other hand, I am by no means a tech genius and I’m very impatient, so it’s this constant vacillating between how much time should I spend learning the systems myself versus how much of this can I offload onto another person but still understand enough to be able to dialogue with them on it? And some of the systems that promised a lot of really easy implementation, I found fell short. So a lot of the funnel services, like ClickFunnels, or Leadpages. On the surface they look great, but when you get into them you better really be prepared to think along the lines of a system in order to implement them properly and make good use of them. I will admit, that’s a bit of a weakness on my part, so those are things that I prefer to outsource. You can check out my articles as well as videos that I produce on laurensergy.com. That’s l a u r e n s e r g y .com. I’ve got all of my stuff up there. I’ve also been regularly producing items of interest such as breakdowns of political speeches, how people use rhetoric, the different presentations mannerisms people have, in my YouTube channel. Just look up Lauren Sergy on YouTube—you will find me. And I’ve got plenty of advice for business presentations, for just general social public speaking, for communication overall, in my book, which is The Handy Communication Answer Book, and you can google it. It is in all major bookstores and it’s on all major online book retailers as well. Tech helps you transmit your message. It is not your message. So you always want to look for the sort of gadgets, the sort of devices, that make it easier for you to deliver your message. Like I said, this thing, it’s so simple, but it made it easier to deliver my message. If the thing that you’re using you’re finding is making it more complicated, you’re worrying more about “Is the tech going to work” rather than “Am I getting my message across?”, then you need to find different tech.