When PowerPoint and Adult Learning Collide

Recently I’ve facilitated several sessions on more effective ways to use PowerPoint in a training setting. The simple truth is that your PowerPoint slides, like any other element of your presentation design, should align with the fundamental principles of adult learning theory.

Adult learners like to have some sort of control over what they’re being asked to learn. So how can PowerPoint possibly support this principle?   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

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

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

9 Tips for Better Flip Charts

While PowerPoint often dominates the visual scene during presentations and training sessions, flip charts are ever-present. Better flip charts can add an important visual element to the session.

One of the many advantages that flip charting holds over PowerPoint is that when a slide is advanced, it’s gone… but your flip charts can hang on the wall for as long as you need them to!

Here are 9 ideas to up your flip chart game:

Preparing to Create Great Flip Charts

1. Choose the Best Flip Chart Markers

Readers of this blog know I’m partial to Mr. Sketch markers. They have fun smells, they write smoothly, they don’t bleed through the paper and they’re the longest lasting markers I’ve ever used. Regular Sharpies are too thin (and they do bleed through the paper). Perhaps the worst choice of markers are dry erase markers – they’re not meant for paper. It still baffles me why I see them so often used on a flip chart. They fade quickly on paper and they’re kind of stinky.

good flip chart markers

Continue reading

Corporate PowerPoint Templates – SCARY!

Last week, someone asked what the scariest Halloween costume I could think of could be. I thought for a few moments, smiled, then said: a corporate PowerPoint templates!

PowerPoint templates are so much scarier than Freddy or Jason or a Demogorgon.

How so?

Because corporate PowerPoint templates aren’t the things of imagination and Hollywood magic. No sir. Corporate PowerPoint templates are very real.   Continue reading

The Best Things in Life Are Free

Price and quality are not always directly proportional. Don’t worry, this is not going to be a basic economics lesson, but we are going to talk about finances. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money on software to put out great training. With all of the software options out there, it can be difficult to pick the right one without spending hours testing and reviewing. At Endurance Learning, we use a lot of software to create our training. Let’s talk about a few of the fantastic free or low-price tools we find useful throughout the life-cycle of our training. Continue reading

Getting Started with Photoshop Hacks

Adobe Photoshop is a massive program with a lot of great tools and features. Learning the full capacity of Photoshop takes a great deal of time, which can be intimidating. Many of us who are unfamiliar with Photoshop turn to PowerPoint for graphic design, which is a great choice, albeit not as powerful.

The internet is full of instructions to make Photoshop more accessible to causal users. That, too, can be overwhelming unless you know exactly what you are looking for. I have had the opportunity to work with many talented graphic artists who have helped me distill the information I need to get the power I want out of Photoshop when I am designing training. Let’s take a look at a few of the tips and hacks I have picked up over the years.   Continue reading