Fun with PowToon Templates

I have a confession to make: I’m not a big fan – at all – of using templates for things like PowerPoint or even in elearning design.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and earlier this week when I opened up PowToon to create a short promo video for an upcoming training initiative, I stumbled upon a host of templates that are actually pretty fun to play with. You can see them for yourself here.

Below is an example of something I could see using in our new employee orientation program. It took me less than 15 minutes to edit the template and get it to a place where I was happy with it. Continue reading

Engage your Audience Before Your Presentation Begins

Last week I had an opportunity to accompany my daughter on a field trip to listen to a National Geographic photographer speak about the rainforest.

As we settled into our seats, I could hear students all over the auditorium shouting seemingly random letters.

At first it was: “A! A! A!”

And then “C! No, B! It’s B! B! B!”

trivia

Students jumped out of their seats shouting answers as trivia questions flashed across the screen in the auditorium.

Then I looked at the huge screen hovering above the stage and realized they were shouting out answers to trivia questions. There was a buzz in the air even before the speaker took the stage. I loved it. And I immediately began thinking of ways that trainers and presenters could imitate this idea.  Continue reading

One Way to Keep an Audience Engaged when Presenting Data

Eye Popping 2

I find data and numbers and charts and graphs interesting. To an extent. But I can’t sit through 30 minutes of data being presented in a dry format. I heard similar comments from a number of co-workers after walking out of our monthly staff meetings.

One person suggested projecting slides so that we could see the data being discussed. We tried that, but the slides were often crammed too full with information and were hard to follow.

Yesterday, I reached deep down into my bag of tricks to see if we could come up with a way to keep people engaged with the statistical review during our monthly all-staff meetings. It seemed to work.  Continue reading

Presentation Lessons from a 5-year-old

On Friday, my 5-year-old son gave his “Star of the Week” presentation before 19 of his kindergarten classmates. I’ve taught kindergarten, and let me tell you: keeping the attention of 19 5- and 6-year-olds is no easy feat.

On the one hand, he declined to use my laser pointer in lieu of a more traditional wooden stick-style pointer, which I felt made the presentation appear a little amateurish (don’t roll your eyes at me for criticizing a 5-year-old’s presentation; just because he’s 5 doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement!). There were, however, three things he did during his presentation that I don’t even see on a regular basis from conference presenters and corporate trainers.

Star of the Week

Continue reading

Mixing It Up: 15 Activities to Prevent Stale Training

About a week and a half ago I began going to a fitness bootcamp at a neighborhood gym. I figured it was time to start mixing up my routine from solely distance running. I was getting bored with my exercise routine, which was incredibly de-motivating.

As I was in the middle of a set of burpees, it dawned on me just how important it really is to mix things up in a professional development and training setting, too.

Bored2

I’ve found that even though I pride myself on designing engaging, interactive, creative training programs, I will often go to the same activities time and time again. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here is a list of 15 activities that can help stave off routine, boring, stale training programs:

Want to get people to brainstorm ideas?

Mix some of the following into your session: Continue reading

3 Reasons to Swap Out Your Slides for a Google Doc in Your Next Webinar

Over the last week, I’ve had several virtual meetings in which I’ve chosen to forego slides and instead use a spreadsheet that I had set up in my Google Drive and shared with participants.

Google Drive

Depending on the purpose of a webinar or virtual meeting, there will always be room for a variety of visual aids, including slides, here are three reasons I plan to use more Google documents and fewer slides (or white boards or chat boxes or other standard virtual meeting tools): Continue reading

Case Study: Training Challenge – Covering 18 Topics in 45 Minutes

The Training Situation

SightLife, the eye bank for which I work, is dedicated to eliminating corneal blindness within our lifetime. In order to do this in India, there will need to be 100,000 corneas available for transplant every year (last year there were approximately 25,000 corneas available for transplant). It’s a big goal, and in theory, the eye banks of India are aligned with this goal.

But what does rapidly growing in order to help support 100,000 transplants actually mean? What will it take to actually get there? What policies, procedures and practices need to be in place? There’s a lot that will need to happen in order to move this from a big idea to a concrete reality.

The Training Challenge

Each year, we hold a meeting with eye banks in India to discuss these challenges. There are so many areas to focus on that we normally only pick one or two. The problem with this is that some eye banks aren’t ready for the topics we pick, some eye banks are in the midst of dealing with the topics we pick, and some eye banks have already found some solutions and ways to address the areas we focus on.

The other challenge is that this meeting is only one day long, and there are many other items we need to accomplish in addition to educational and professional development sessions.

This year we were left grappling with a question: how could we address everyone’s learning needs, bring all of the issues and challenges we’ll face in order to reach 100,000 transplants per year (we identified up to 18 key challenges, although there are probably more) and do all of this within a 45 minute block of time?

The Training Solution

Taking inspiration from The Game of Life, Monopoly and a few other family board games, our L&D team set out to create a game Continue reading

Product Review: Kahoot! (An online trivia game platform)

A few weeks ago I wrote about how excited I was to stumble upon and then be able to use Kahoot! in a live training environment.

Kahoot2

On January 30, I facilitated a session with surgeons, high powered businessmen and healthcare professionals in the room. Overall, it was a very fun tool to use. Following is a more detailed review of what I liked about it as well as things you’ll want to keep in mind if you want to use Kahoot! to play a trivia game in a live classroom session.  Continue reading

18 Training Activities that Engage Your Learners AND Get Results

Over the weekend I spent some time playing around with a series of micro-videos that demonstrate 18 different ways that classroom facilitators can engage their learners. Having used these activities in my own workshops, I’ve seen the power and potential that each of these activities has in leading to concrete, sustainable behavior change.

Here is a link to the videos on YouTube (a new window will open). If you have the time, please come back and let me know your thoughts in the comment section – either immediate reactions or observations once you’ve integrated one of these activities into your next workshop.

If you found any of the components in the micro-videos confusing or if you’d like a more basic breakdown of the activities in the video, a complete explanation can be found here.

Happy Monday!

Academics May Be The Least Patriotic Presenters On The Face Of The Earth

John Hancock

John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence was written so big because he was the president of the Continental Congress. The fact is, his was the only signature necessary to make the document official. Everyone signed the Declaration in a sign of solidarity.”

These were the words from a tour guide last Saturday as my family and I wrapped up our vacation in New England by walking part of the Freedom Trail. This information about John Hancock was new to me, and the tour guide didn’t stop there. He went on to say: “John Hancock had bigger ambitions. In fact, he expected to be named general of the Continental Army. After all, his fortune helped bankroll the army’s expenses in the early days of the American Revolution. There was only one problem… he didn’t have any military experience.”

Can you imagine how world history may have been different if the Founding Fathers of the United States had acquiesced to John Hancock’s ego and named a passionate, rich man dedicated to the cause of the American Revolution (yet without any military training or experience) as the top commander?

The desire to be the commander was, in part, a result of John Hancock’s ego and sense of entitlement. Patriotism and the cause of the American Revolution were only secondary. Ironically, his ego-driven desire to lead the army for a cause he was willing to give his life for (even though he had no experience or expertise in the matter) was itself an act of un-patriotic delusion. Thankfully there were people who understood this and named George Washington as the leader of the Continental Army. The rest is history.

As I listened to this story, I of course thought about learning and development and presentations that people are forced to sit through – either at work or at a conference – on a daily basis. Some presentations are phenomenal. Many are not.  Continue reading