An Anchor Activity in Every Presentation

“If we’re running short on time, I’ll typically cut the anchor activities and jump right into the content.”

I was leading a train the trainer workshop and some of the people who were using our curriculum were sharing tips and tricks for how to facilitate a session, especially when the curriculum was so packed and it was so easy to fall behind.

I cringed. 

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Training Handouts: Essential to Training Design

Recently I was asked to facilitate a webinar on how to create better training handouts. I hesitated initially because I’m not a graphic designer. Then a thought struck me: graphic design may lead to prettier handouts and training manuals, but instructional design leads to more effective and engaging handouts and training manuals.

If you have 45 minutes and would like to see a recording of the webinar in its entirety, here is the link. During the session, I discussed the following five mistakes that many people make when distributing traininghandouts to participants: 

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Why does it matter how long it takes to design a presentation?

When it comes to designing an effective presentation or training program, there are some fundamental questions that need to be asked.

  1. What will success look like? (Specifically, what will success from the participants’ perspective look like?)
  2. How much time will it take to put together the presentation?
  3. Will investing more time to put together the presentation mean that it will be a better presentation?

A recent ATD study suggested that it takes between 28-38 hours (on average) to develop one hour of training. The amount of time spent on presentation design matters for several very important reasons.   Continue reading

3 Principles for Effective PowerPoint Presentations

Last month I had an opportunity to write a 20-page booklet for ATD entitled PowerPoint: Your Co-facilitator.

Powerpoint Your Co-Facilitator - effective powerpoint presentations

Since then, a number of friends and colleagues have asked me to boil the booklet down into the top five or ten tips that lead to effective PowerPoint presentations. As I reflected on that question, I think there are three guiding principles that can make any PowerPoint deck better. And these principles have very little to do with conventional advice such as “bullets kill, so eliminate bullet points” or “only use three lines of text, no more than 8 words per line, and no smaller than 36 point font”. My principles have little to do with the need to hone your graphic design skills, either.   Continue reading

20 Training Activities in a Simple Training Model


Training activities
can be fun. Training should be engaging. Training must be meaningful.

I have been asked to design many training modules and have worked on several teams that value the fun aspect of training over the other two aspects I mentioned. I like fun training as much as the next person, however meaningful and engaging training is paramount in training designing. Continue reading

Effective PowerPoint Checklist: Is Your PowerPoint Good?

I’ve been working with a number of presenters to help them develop more effective, engaging presentations for upcoming conference or training sessions. While PowerPoint should never be the focal point of a presentation, effective slide design is important for those presenters who choose to use PowerPoint in their sessions.

To help presenters determine whether their slides are any good, I put together the Effective PowerPoint Checklist to help them perform a self-assessment.    Continue reading

Presentations for Non-presenters

Who is a presenter?

I am an instructional designer and a facilitator, I am a presenter.

My sister is a director at a sustainable energy non-profit, she is a presenter.

My husband is a Civil Engineer for the department of transportation, he is a presenter.

The difference between my job and the other two I mentioned is that developing and delivering presentations is defined in my job title. I study instructional design theory and practice my craft regularly. I present at Toastmasters, or to my team, or clients at least weekly, and I am comfortable keeping presentations on track and sticking to objectives during facilitation sessions.

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