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Hello all! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with a Hot Tip and Rad Resource for presentation designers!

On March 30, we unveiled a new, reorganized and freshened up Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) website. Here’s what you’ll find:

  1. On the p2i HOME page, you’ll find a brief introduction to p2i, and our 3 key components – Message, Design, and Delivery. Webinars for each provide in-depth learning and reference some of the resources found on the PRESENTATION TOOLS & GUIDELINES page.
  2. All downloadable resources live on the PRESENTATION TOOLS & GUIDELINES page. The page is organized with Checklists & Worksheets on top, then resources aligned to the p2i components – Message, Design, and Delivery – followed by resources for Audience Engagement. As you browse this page, you’ll find links to additional content and pages along with the tools. Just look for tool titles that are links, as in this example: Notice that “Slide Design Guidelines” is a link. This will take you to another page of content on Slide Design. Another key addition is that the authors who contributed the content are now recognized and their names linked to their websites or LinkedIn profiles.
  3. Given that posters are the largest category of presentations at our annual conference, POSTER PRESENTATIONS warranted its own page. Here, you’ll find a page with specific guidelines for designing a conference poster, along with two additional navigation buttons. One takes you to more content on Research Poster Design, while the other points to  Award Winning Posters,  from recent AEA conferences, and other organizations. Each poster image is accompanied by a brief explanation of what makes it a winner.
  4. Don’t forget to visit the ABOUT US page to learn about the folks who have contributed to making p2i what it is!
  5. We now have a hashtag that is all ours: #aeap2i. Please tweet about the p2i website and resources using this tag. Follow the hashtag #aeap2i by clicking on the top button found on the p2i HOME page, and while you’re at it, why not follow the association itself (@aeaweb) as well! 

Behind the scenes…

Over the last year, we’ve worked to migrate and reorganize all content from the original p2i website to the main AEA site at eval.org (kudos to Zachary Grays, who did the heavy lifting!). We updated the tools, and added new content and introductory language where needed. One reason for the move was to protect us from hackers. Our original site, built on a different platform, was a constant target and over the years we received countless notices from members that the site URL had been maliciously redirected (meaning it took people to a different website), or that downloads were not working. We’re confident now the new site and all of our great content will be safe and reliable.

Be sure to visit eval.org/p2i and let us know what you think!

Sneak Preview! We have exciting new content for our p2i resource collection on its way to publication. Stay tuned to learn more!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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My name is Michelle Mandolia and I work in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Evaluation Support Division.  At last year’s conference, I attended Stephanie Evergreen’s three Potent Presentations Initiative sessions on Message, Design, and Delivery (now available as a 3-part webinar series or as PDFs at http://p2i.eval.org/).  P2i has been a game changer for me.  Where I used to feel apprehensive about presentations, I feel excited to sit down to create because I know I have the tools.   Here are a few tips on what helped me gain my footing once the introduction to content was over.

Lesson Learned: Start anywhere.  P2i is a menu of many delicious options and you get to keep coming back for more.  Start where you are most excited and most comfortable and build from there.  I was eager to revamp a slide deck I had inherited.  I mainly focused on design elements—making sure my photos were high quality and full bleed; eliminating bullets; and sticking to one idea per slide.  Check out a before and after:

Before:

Mandolia 1 Mandolia 2

Mandolia 3 Mandolia 4

Developed into 3 Afters

Lesson Learned: Start small. For my coworker, a total redesign sounded daunting.  She started with a new presentation and focused on minimizing text and making it pop.  Our manager, whom my colleague was briefing, really responded to the new design.  Here are examples of a previous version of a slide she used and the new version:

 Mandolia 5

Before

Mandolia 6

After

Lesson Learned: Just start. Ad libbing from bulleted slides is my comfort zone.  Scripting the entire presentation makes for a great follow up reference document but it didn’t work for me during delivery.  Now, I make my talking points into actual bulleted slides—a subtle distinction but a psychological trick that helps me present with greater ease.  The slide deck that the audience sees is new and follows p2i principles but the hardcopy I use when presenting contains my speaker note slides.  Here’s an example:

Mandolia 7

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hi! My name is Angie Ficek and I am a program evaluator at Professional Data Analysts, Inc., a small firm in Minneapolis, MN specializing in public health evaluation. At least year’s AEA conference I had the great pleasure of attending Stephanie Evergreen’s session on presentation message, sponsored by AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i). The session was all about the key elements of a presentation and how to structure a presentation in order to engage your audience and get your message across clearly.

Hot Tips:

    • One key takeaway that has forever changed my presentations is to spend way less time on background information. For a 15 minute presentation you shouldn’t even spend a whole minute on background. Whoa. This is so you can set the stage for your presentation but then quickly get on to the good stuff.
    • Another tip I learned is to have a “bottom line” and provide that bottom line early on in your presentation, not at the end. This makes your audience aware of what you’re going to be talking about. Then they can either wait on the edge of their seat for you to talk more about the point of interest, or they can leave because they see you’re not going to cover what they are interested in.
    • Finally, rather than ending your presentation after the Q & A, include one more slide that serves as a “call to action” for your audience. What do you want the audience to do next as a result of hearing your presentation? This ends your presentation with more energy and helps drive home the message rather than dwindling out after a Q & A session.

Clipped from http://p2i.eval.org/index.php/p2i-tools/

Rad Resources:

As I was putting together this post, I went to the p2i website only to find that you can actually watch Evergreen’s presentation on message. I definitely encourage you to check it out and apply what you learn to your next presentation for a client, stakeholder, conference, etc.

You can also download the Messaging Model Handout from the p2i Tools webpage, which will help you map out your presentation message.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Minnesota Evaluation Association (MN EA) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the MNEA AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MNEA members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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My name is James Coyle and I am the Director of Performance and Evaluation at the Interior Health Authority; I’m also involved in the Evaluation Mentoring Canada initiative and an active evaluation podcaster. Even though the AEA annual conference is right around the corner, I want to tell you how I’ve used AEA resources outside of my conference sessions.

I’ve always tried my best to avoid the most common pitfalls associated with ‘death by PowerPoint’ (DBP). However, ever since an interview with Stephanie Evergreen for a podcast about p2i I’ve been even more concerned with the quality of presentations I’m delivering in my own organization. After reviewing the p2i resources I couldn’t ignore the fact that there was there was still plenty of room to improve my presentations. The good news was that all of the resources I needed to help me were in one place.

Rad Resources: AEA’s p2i website and tools are great yet I tend to focus on 3 resources for non-AEA presentations in my organization.

  • The 2-page Presentation Assessment Rubric is a great checklist that helps people give you feedback on your presentation and generates scores on 3 key elements of your presentation: 1. Message, 2. Design and 3. Delivery. Try using it during practice sessions of your presentation.
  • The Messaging Model Handout is critical in helping me structure my presentation and figure out how much time to spend on each part of a presentation. If I’ve only got 15 minutes to present to busy Senior Executives I really need to plan out the structure and timing of my presentation ahead of time.

Coyle

  • Lastly, the Slide Design Guidelines are an indispensible checklist to ensure your slides’ graphics, fonts, color, and other elements support your audience’s learning.

Hot Tip: Share these resources with your non-evaluation colleagues in your own organizations.

I share the p2i resources with my health care colleagues whenever possible because the principles behind giving great presentations apply to their roles too.

Lesson Learned: If you are giving a webinar test your slides on the software platform ahead of time.

After spending hours (days?!) of hard work creating a presentation recently I was very sad to learn that the high quality graphics we used for our slides were distorted on the audience side of the webinar (even though the slides looked fine on my local screen). I didn’t test the presentation on the platform ahead of time; that won’t happen again!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings this is June Gothberg, Senior Researcher at Western Michigan University.  A few years ago, I became involved with AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative and worked with Stephanie Evergreen to include universal design principles.  I currently hold a position on the p2i advisory board.  What I didn’t anticipate when I started working with the group is how much p2i would change my presentation worldview.  At conferences or watching any presenter, I find myself reflecting on key p2i principles.  I’ll say things like, “too many bullets” or “that picture doesn’t bleed off the page.” Today, I thought I’d share my own lessons learned.

Lessons Learned:

Evaluators need presentation skills.  As professional evaluators we are often called upon to provide an overview of evaluation results.  Our presentation skills and message can directly impact an organization’s evaluation use.

Often, you don’t know what you don’t know.  I think we’ve all sat through mind numbing presentations.  I’ve always blamed it on a boring speaker with poor delivery.  What I didn’t know was to create potent presentations, delivery is just one component.  Potent presenters need to attend to:

  • Message
  • Design
  • Delivery

I highly recommend these two p2i tools: Presentation Assessment Rubric and The Messaging Model

If you are unsure where to begin, start with eliminating bullets.   As a past classroom teacher, this was difficult for me.  I thought if I didn’t put my content in bullets, the students wouldn’t learn what I intended.  The problem with bulletsis your audience can read your slides faster than you can read it to them. When you use bullet points, you risk reducing your presentation to a read-aloud session (BORING!).  Research shows that text heavy slides not only correlate with boring presentations, but also reduce learning.  Cognitive researcher Chris Atherton found “sparse slides” increased memory and attention.

If I don’t give bullet points then how will they remember what I said? 

  • Find an image to represent your point.
  • If you feel you must use bullets, use only one per slide. Here is an example from my own slide deck:
p2i example

p2i example

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Give handouts.  One thing I’ve used from the field of Universal Design (UD) is the use of handouts with key points.  For your audience members with visual or hearing challenges, this increases their ability to participate.  It also gives your whole audience a space to take notes and follow along with key points without distracting from the presenter.

The devil is in the details and details take time.  Through our work with p2i we’ve found you need to begin at least three months in advance to create potent presentations.  A good planning tool with timeline for preparing presentations is the p2i Presentation Preparation Checklist.

Ensure your presentations are accessible to all.  For ideas to include all people please refer to Creating Presentations Potent for All.

Rad Resources:

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Hey there. I’m Stephanie Evergreen, AEA’s eLearning Initiatives Director and general data communications geek. Susan Kistler has a family obligation this weekend, so I’m stepping in to share with you the newest developments in AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i).

Potent Presentations Logo

You’ve heard about p2i, right? It is a new initiative to help AEA members improve their presentation skills, particularly around delivering conference presentations. We come together once or twice a year to teach each other about our practices and processes, so shouldn’t we do everything we can to make it easy to learn from our presentations? That’s why p2i will feature online and in-person training before and during the annual conference around the three facets of presenting: message, design, and delivery.

We have just launched p2i.eval.org, which will be the hub of this activity.

Rad Resource: Our home page features our upcoming webinar-based training on how to prepare for and deliver an Ignite session. When you receive the proposal status notice for your Ignite session on July 3, head to our site to sign up for one of the two trainings, either on July 17 at 11:30am ET or July 26 at 4pm ET.

Rad Resource: Our first tool to help you rock your conference session is the Presentation Preparation Checklist. Download this PDF to find out what to prepare when, keep yourself on track, and minimize the last minute rush many people experience leading up to a conference presentation. The checklist include time frames specific to this year’s annual conference, October 22-28.

Rad Resource: During the conference we’ll provide a demonstration on research-based effective practices around slide design. But you don’t want to wait until then to begin working on your session slides. So we’ve released the handout for that demonstration already. Head to the p2i site to snag the Slide Design Guidelines (with extra tips for handouts, too). It covers how to handle fonts, graphics, colors, and arrangement and includes links for step-by-step instructions (we’ll add links each month) and awesome extensions of these guidelines from your AEA colleagues.

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Hi folks. Susan Kistler normally contributes the Saturday post on aea365, but she’s busy cleaning and updating your awesome proposals. I’m Stephanie Evergreen, AEA’s eLearning Initiatives Director and the lead of a new AEA project initiated by the AEA Board of Directors – the Potent Presentations Initiative. We’ll be identifying and sharing research-based strategies to improve the quality of evaluators’ presentations, increasing the likelihood that your message is heard, retained, and used.

Come now, you must admit that at least once in your experience you’ve fully realized what people mean when they refer to “death by PowerPoint.” We know. That’s part of why we’ve started on this mission, but definitely not the only reason.  We want to help evaluators make great presentations in whatever context, whether at a conference, working with stakeholders, or sharing your findings with the public.

In the Potent Presentations Initiative, you can expect professional development targeting slideshows, research posters, and written reports. We’ll share guidance on everything from how to improve the readability of a graph to how to deliver an engaging talk that conveys your key messages.

Hot Tip: Well, actually, that’s why I’m writing to you. What are the hot tips you have about presentations? What do you think makes them potent? You know a good presentation when you see it. What has the presenter done so well? What should you and your fellow evaluators improve? Submit your suggestions in the comments below. Oh, and we’ll make it worth your while. We’ll select, at random, one commenter from among those submitted by April 1 to win a copy of Presentation Zen (2ed) by Garr Reynolds (this new December 2011 edition has some great updates focusing in particular on delivering your message).

Rad Resource: Again, that’s why I’m here. We’re looking for two students who want to take on small research projects as part of this initiative. One study will involve interviewing fantastic presenters and the other will entail a bit of research on rhetoric. Are you interested? Good at research, writing, and in one case interviewing? Available between March and May and up for 40-50 hours of work for a $1500 stipend? Are you my rad resource? If so, send a note of interest and an example of your work to me at stephanie@eval.org by Friday March 30.

Can you extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may learn of your great ideas for improving presentations. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Greetings aea365 readers and potent presenters!  Sheila B Robinson here, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor doing double duty as coordinator for our Potent Presentations Initiative, aka p2i. P2i is about helping evaluators improve their presentation skills, whether it’s for the AEA annual conference, any other conference, or any other type of presentation or meeting. Our p2i site is chock full of free tools, guidelines, videos, and checklists to help you develop your presentation’s message, design, and delivery and help you engage your audience with interactive strategies.

Hot Tip: Now is a great time to check out and download some of our free resources on the p2i Presentation Tools & Guidelines page. They’re organized around three primary components of a great presentation: Message, Design, and Delivery. Engaging your audience is an additional key element and we have a resource for that as well.

Hot Tip: Read what some of our aea365 authors have had to say about their experiences using p2i tools and resources.

Cool Trick: Check out what people are saying about p2i on Twitter using our new hashtag, #aeap2i!

Get Involved: Have you used a p2i tool to help with your presentation? Tweet about it (don’t forget the hashtag!), or consider composing an article for aea365 on how you used it and how it worked for you!

Not presenting, but chairing a session? There’s a tool there for you too! Our Session Chairs Checklist offers advice for preparing for your role and supporting presenters.

Finally, check out the Presenter Resources page for Evaluation 2017 for more info!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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Hello loyal readers! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with a few tips on creating handouts for your next presentation (#Eval17 perhaps?).

Repeat after me: Slides are not handouts! Slides are NOT handouts! I know, I know…it’s just so easy to print out your slides and give them to workshop participants, team members, or meeting attendees. The trouble is that when a presenter does this, one of two things tend to happen:

  1. The slides are loaded with text (because the presenter wants participants to go home with some key points to review later, a noble intent) and that compromises the effectiveness and success of the presentation. The thing is, according to Nancy Duarte, “An audience can’t listen to your presentation and read detailed, text-heavy slides at the same time (not without missing key parts of your message, anyway).”
  1. The slides are well designed with very little text and instead feature relevant graphics and images such that the slides themselves make little sense when separated from the presenter and presentation.

Condition #1 leaves participants with a set of key points that could have been distributed as a handout with no need for the presentation, while condition #2 leaves participants with a potentially great presentation experience but no easy way to review or remember key points (unless they were taking their own notes).

Hot Tip: Creating a separate presentation handout mitigates both of the above conditions. Here’s one caveat before we continue: Not all presentations require a handout. In fact, not all presentations even require slides! And, it’s certainly feasible to have a “slideless” presentation that does include a handout. The point is to be intentional about whatever resources accompany a presentation. Our Potent Presentations Initiative p2i Messaging tools can help with that aspect of presentation planning.

Rad Resource: So, without further ado…The newest tool in the p2i toolbox is our Guidelines for Handouts, now available on our Presentations Tools and Guidelines page. Use this tool to gain insight and perspective into WHY we use handouts, HOW to create effective handouts, WHAT should be included in a handout, and WHEN to distribute handouts – before, during, or after a presentation. Guidelines for Handouts includes an example of what a presentation handout could look like, and also features loads of Insider Tips and links to additional content.

So, let’s make a deal. I promise to deliver an idea-packed handouts tool, and you agree to stop printing your slides, OK?

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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Julie Bronder Mason

My name is Julie Bronder Mason, Ph.D., and I am the Deputy Director of the Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications at the National Institute of Mental Health.  I have spent a fair number of years conducting, overseeing, advising, and presenting on program evaluations, and the tips I will share stem from a corpus of professional presentation coaching; AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i); communications and leadership development courses; and practice, experience, and observation.

Lesson Learned: Give thought to your (often neglected) transitions!

Often, presenters place primary emphasis on slide content and design, and give little (or no) thought to transitions within and between those striking slides!  So how can you polish your evaluation presentation and provide a seamless flow?

Hot Tip # 1: Use the logic model as a unifying thread

Just as your logic model is the guiding light for your evaluation, consider using it as the cornerstone for your presentation.  Reveal the elements in tandem, fading away components you have already discussed or have not yet reached.  Return to the logic model as a reminder throughout the talk.  For instance, “we just highlighted the input variables, and before diving into the specifics (fade to gray), let’s discuss program activities (emphasize) and how we will collect our data.”

Hot Tip # 2: Reflect on within-slide transitions

If you must use a bulleted list in your slides, think about the relationship between those list items. Why did you group them together in the first place?  Imagine a slide where you will be describing data you are collecting on biomedical research training program outcomes.  Your slide may have the following three bullets: early-stage investigators, co-authorship networks, and subsequent publications. You could tick those outcomes off in list fashion, (e.g., “bread, butter, cheese”) or you could appeal to your audience with the linkage between those items (“aha, we’re making grilled cheese”)!  Rather than discuss each bullet separately, define how they interlock. “We’re collecting data on outcomes from our training program that include examining how many new early-stage investigators have emerged, because expansion of this population will be an indicator of workforce sustainability.  How well this workforce collaborates, as estimated by development of co-authorship networks, is key to understanding information dissemination…” and so forth!

Hot Tip # 3: Plan (and practice) between-slide transitions

Even more crucial than the within-slide transition is the between-slide transition.  Here again, a little planning can reap large gains.  In the notes section of your slides, jot down a sentence or two to connect your evaluation thoughts from one slide to the next.  Your goal is to facilitate an introduction to the next slide and speak to it before advancing.  Resist the urge to click ahead and pause dazed, wondering how you landed on that next slide.  And practice those transitions!  Be familiar enough with the transition material so you can convey it in a variety of ways without appearing rehearsed.

Tips like the above three are simple to implement and can showcase you as a seasoned presenter!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Research, Technology and Development (RTD) TIG Week with our colleagues in the Research, Technology and Development Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our RTD TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

 

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