Use Data to Make a Compelling Business Case for Training

Shortly after this year’s Super Bowl, this statistical analysis began making its way around the Internet:

Statistics used poorly

As a Buffalo Bills’ fan, I appreciated it.

As a training professional, it served as a very good reminder that numbers can be very deceiving.

So how do we make the best business case for training and professional development? Numbers can be helpful… if we use the right ones.   Continue reading

Charts and graphs in PowerPoint: There’s got to be a better way!

I’ve been reading Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations and these sentences resonated with me: “Often ideas come immediately. That’s good, but avoid the potential pitfall of going with the first thing that comes to mind.”

As we prepare for presentations, how often do we open up PowerPoint and then either dump information into some sort of SmartArt graphic or create a bar graph (or a circle graph or a line graph) using the Insert>Chart function?

Creative Charts

Do either of these data presentation formats look familiar?

Since it’s what we’ve done so many times before, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind. But what if we didn’t settle for that first thing that comes to mind? What could we create? Could we make our point better for our audience?   Continue reading

One tip to change the outlook of your PowerPoint slides

At the beginning of the month, I wrote a post about some small tweaks to a slide deck that could lead to a much better visual presentation. One reader, Dan Jones, posted this comment:

powerpoint-comment

I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I actually suggested this particular tip within my organization recently after attending a monthly stats meeting. The more I look around, the more I see this particular engagement strategy being used… except it doesn’t seem to be used very frequently in the world of presentations or learning and development.   Continue reading

Using a Simple Infographic Tool to Visualize your Information

A few weeks ago I asked a colleague to present some information about what her department does during our monthly all-staff meeting. In the past, other people have created short videos to showcase their department’s work.

This colleague told me that she envisioned using an infographic to depict the work of her department and asked if I had any pointers. Continue reading

Post-Training Evaluation: How to Take Action

A while back I wrote about 8 transferable lessons from my Fitbit that I’ve applied to my L&D practice. As part of that post, I complained that the Fitbit sometimes gave me data, but I couldn’t do anything with it. Specifically, I was talking about my sleep pattern.

A typical night could look like this:

Fitbit - Sleepless

FORTY-ONE TIMES RESTLESS! That’s a lot of restlessness. It’s not good. But what am I supposed to do about it? It reminded me of my post-training evaluation scores.

Sometimes learners would give my sessions an average of 4.2. And sometimes those same learners would give a colleague’s presentation an average of 4.1 or 4.3 (even though I knew in my heart of hearts that my presentation was more engaging!!). But what could I do with these post-training evaluation scores? I’ll come back to this point in a minute.

As for my restlessness, my wife suggested something and suddenly my Fitbit sleep tracker looked a lot different. Continue reading

5 Ways to Start a Webinar for Maximum Interactivity

A while back I asked: “Why are people checking their email when they should be paying attention to my webinar?!” The answer to that question revolved around engagement and interactivity that can be designed into a webinar. That blog post had several ideas for interactivity depending on your tolerance for risk (the cooler and more engaging you may want to make your webinar, the greater the reward… and the greater the opportunity that the technology could fail).

One thing to remember about interactivity in webinars, however, is that your audience may not be ready for it. Many people still see webinars as little more than glorified conference calls (and by “glorified” I mean conference calls that simply have accompanying on-screen PowerPoint presentations… and maybe a poll or two).

Why not take the first five minutes of your next webinar – you know, the time that you’re needing to kill as you’re waiting for last-minute joiners to log on to Adobe Connect or download all the stuff that needs to be downloaded in order to hop on to Blackboard Collaborate – and get your attendees warmed up with some of the web conferencing features you’ll be using to engage them.

Here are five ideas of how to do this as people are logging on: