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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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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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Hello! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor. Evaluation is my newer career. I’m actually an educator, having taught in K12 schools and at a university. I’m also a professional developer, having provided PD courses, workshops, coaching, and mentoring to educators and evaluators for more than 15 years, so I’m no stranger to presentation design.

Lessons Learned: Check out p2i tools before designing any presentation! I’ve learned so much from AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i) – AEA’s effort to help members improve their presentation skills, particularly around delivering conference presentations with specific advice about how to make your presentations more potent by focusing on three things: message, design, and delivery – and have incorporated these principles and strategies into my work.  

Rad Resource: Coming soon! The new p2i Audience Engagement Workbook. I’m honored to be able to share my experience in designing and facilitating presentations and professional learning opportunities as we add to the family of p2i tools with the Audience Engagement Workbook, featuring the WHY, WHAT and HOW of audience engagement, along with 20 specific strategies any presenter can use with limited investment of time or money.

Each strategy is described and rated on a number of dimensions such as ease of application, materials needed, cost, and the degree of movement for participants. There’s even a special section on engaging audiences in a webinar environment!

Hot Tip: One strategy to try now!

Four Corners: Choose just about any topic or question that has 3 or 4 positions or answers (e.g. In your family are you a first born, only child, oldest child, or in the middle? In your evaluation work, do you mainly use qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods? Do you consider yourself a novice, experienced, or expert evaluator?) and ask participants to walk to the corner of the room that you specify. Once there, give them an opportunity (3-5 minutes) to discuss this commonality, then return to their seats. If time permits, call on volunteers to share some insights from their brief discussion.

Variation: Ask participants a question that requires them to take sides (usually two sides, but could be three or more). Ask them to walk to the side of the room assigned to that position, and discuss with others who share their views. You can ask them to form two lines facing each other and have a debate with participants from each side presenting support for their position.

Stephanie Evergreen, information designer, dataviz diva, and p2i lead is putting the finishing touches on the layout and design of the workbook and we’ll have it up and ready for you well ahead of Evaluation 2014! In the meantime, look for Stephanie to preview additional strategies in the next AEA Newsletter!

Do you want your audience doing this? (Image credit: zenobia_joy via Flickr

Do you want your audience doing this? (Image credit: zenobia_joy via Flickr)

 

Or this? (Image credit: Chris  Hacking via Flickr)

Or this? (Image credit: Chris Hacking via Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

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, we’re Ann K. Emery and Johanna Morariu, Innovation Network evaluators and p2i Advisory Board Members. We train foundations and nonprofits on everything from Evaluation 101 concepts to logic models to data visualization through both in-person trainings and online webinars.

Lesson Learned: Want to rock your next webinar? We’ve adapted p2i’s preparation, design, and delivery strategies for our webinars, plus created a few of our own strategies.

Message: Structure (and Time!) Your Webinar Content. First, outline your content. Don’t sit down to a blank PowerPoint file and just start typing; your webinar will be much better if you structure, chunk, and organize first.

Second, consider the p2i Messaging Model. I ask myself, “How much time does each particular story, example, or resource really deserve? 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes?”

Finally, create a Pacing Schedule by writing the main headers from your outline and their corresponding time allocations onto a large sheet of paper. During the live webinar, display the Pacing Schedule somewhere visible so you can glance up and make sure you’re on track.

Emery Morariu 1

Design: Structure Your Slides. As you sit down to design your slides, don’t forget about your original outline. Through Stephanie Evergreen’s Design Demo slidedeck for p2i, we learned about creating divider slides to alert the audience that new sections are beginning. We use this design strategy in live workshops as well as online webinars so that participants can better parse and digest the new information.

Can you spot our divider slides below? We use big font against dark backgrounds, which contrast from the main body slides.

Emery Morariu 2

Delivery: Structure Your Physical Space. Deliver your best webinar ever by carefully structuring your physical space.

As shown below, we use three laptops. Laptop #1 is for viewing your slides and speaking points (rather than clumsily flipping through hard copies of notes). Laptop #2 is the “live” webinar laptop, which is registered for the webinar in the Presenter role. Laptop #3 is registered for the webinar in the Participant role so you can spy on yourself and make sure your slides are progressing smoothly.

Learn more about structuring your physical space at http://annkemery.com/webinar-command-center/.

Emery Morariu 3

How have you adapted p2i strategies for your webinars? Do you have additional tips to share? Comment below or connect with us on twitter: @annkemery and @j_morariu.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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 evaluation folks! I am Laura Beals, Director of Evaluation at Jewish Family and Children’s Service, a large multi-service nonprofit in Waltham, MA. Last year was my first AEA annual conference and I was fortunate to be able to present. As I was preparing my presentation, I was alerted to p2i resources; while at first I was (admittedly) not quite sure how to apply some of the tips, they have been instrumental in how I have improved my presentation style.

Hot Tips:

  • One of my favorite p2i tips is to state your key take-aways at the beginning of the presentation, as described in the “Messaging” tutorial on the p2i homepage. Lately, especially when I am presenting evaluation findings and I want an audience-driven discussion, I also state upfront what I am asking of people (e.g., “I will be asking you to provide me feedback on the methodology”).
  • My second favorite p2i tip is that handouts do not have to be printouts of your slides; in fact, handouts should be created separately to complement the presentation. Once I mentally separated the presentation from the handouts, I found myself having more freedom in my slides, since I knew they didn’t have to be understood out of the context of the presentation. For example, below is a side-by-side comparison of two slides and the handout from a literature review training I gave at my agency:

Beals

  • I will be honest—presentations that are primarily visual take time to prepare, so allot extra time, especially when you are first learning. It has taken time and practice for me to undo the default “bulleted PowerPoint style.” While now I can more easily envision a visual presentation from the outset, I often have to make my presentation the “old-school” way (bullets) to start, which then serves as an outline of what content I want to make sure to address on each slide. Then, I go through each slide and think about the key take-away and how I can present it visually instead.
  • If you are feeling stuck about how to design your slides, poster, or handout, be inspired by others! I recently listened to a NPR TED Radio Hour show on Originality—in it the guests reflected on how we borrow ideas from others. I find that when I am stuck with where to begin, I like to use others’ as inspiration (and I stress “inspiration”—be respectful of the copyrights of other artists—only use materials that are released for re-use and always attribute!). For example, I love COLOURlovers for color palettes and I have been inspired by Stephanie Evergreen’s “rule of thirds” template and the “Fab Five” reboots on the p2i website.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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 Meredith Haaf and I work for the Evaluation Studies Unit in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. I used the p2i poster guidelines to create a conference poster illustrating the findings of an evaluation.

Although I had some ideas for creating effective presentations, I wanted to learn new strategies to make this poster stand out in the right way.

Rad Resources: The poster guidelines provide an overview of suggestions for creating an effective poster. Topics include font size, language use, and choice of colour and graphics.  It was a great resource to use as a starting point and for reference during the editing stages.

This How-to Guide uses visuals in a step-by-step guide to revamping research posters. It helped me to apply the poster guidelines with easy-to-follow instructions for reducing the amount of text, adding graphics, choosing colour schemes, and more.

Before

The first iteration of my poster used a solid dark background and white text. The charts included all of the survey items related to a given topic, in addition to call-out boxes containing qualitative data. The choice of colours made it difficult to distinguish between the charts and the background (e.g., blue on blue). Moreover, the large amount of text and data seemed difficult for the reader to digest in a short amount of time. The images are intentionally blurry to mask our data, but you can still get the gist of the layout.

Haaf 2

After

After reviewing the p2i resources, I realized it was possible to greatly reduce the amount of data presented, while still effectively communicating the results of the evaluation.

I reduced the number of survey items presented in each section, focusing only on those directly related to my key message. I also summarized the findings in bullet points. Having less text allowed me to increase the size of the graphics and the amount of white space.

Haaf 1

The p2i poster examples showed me that a light-coloured background with dark text and brightly coloured graphics are more easily viewed from a distance (i.e., higher contrast). My new poster used white columns with a solid grey background to emphasize the charts and tables:

Lesson Learned: The most important take-home message I gathered from the p2i resources on poster presentations is to “keep it simple”. Your poster does not need to illustrate all findings related to a particular project; rather, ensure you are presenting key findings in the most clear and engaging manner. Your audience will appreciate being able to easily grasp the basis of your project, and any further questions can be addressed by you during the poster presentation or in follow-up communications!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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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I’m Kate Haley Goldman, and I’m the co-owner of Audience Viewpoints Consulting. We work with informal science and arts and cultural institutions.

Last year, I applied p2i Design principles to a presentation I gave at the Visitor Studies Association conference. It was the best way to showcase my content for several reasons. First, it fit my topic – Nimble Evaluation, which focused on the overlap between design thinking and rapid iteration. Second, I was trained in the academic-style approach to reporting but that clashed with the key approaches of the technology developers I work with. My developer friends found our reports and presentations too dense, too dull, and non-actionable. My academic colleagues were concerned that without graphs and extensive background, our complex work would be taken out of context and watered down. The p2i approach to presenting helped bridge these ideas.

While I’d made similar presentations within the tech field for years, I hadn’t tried it with researchers and evaluators. Nonetheless, I took a leap and employed the lessons from the Potent Presentations Initiative and my graphic designer friends and presented slides in their style when I talked about Nimble Evaluation at the VSA conference.  No graphs, few words, mostly pictures. Full-bleed color pictures help the audience deepen their connection to the context and the lack of bullets allow them to focus on the speaker.

Rad Resource: Since then I’ve moved the majority of my presentations to this style. I’ve also discovered the p2i Rad Resources, which give not only examples of how to present in this more effective manner, but they do so in ways that academic, data-driven evaluators can appreciate. In particular, I’d like to draw attention to the Design webinar session hosted by Stephanie Evergreen, which can be found on the p2i homepage.

Because Stephanie offers the rationale for the design choices made, you can not only make more effective presentations but understand why they are effective. You’ll still need the same amount of preparation time (or perhaps even more) for your slides, as fewer words on the screen forces you to be an organized and engaging speaker. We’ve found the Rad Resources at p2i help support and reinforce better speaking in all our presentations, at conferences and elsewhere.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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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I’m Taj Carson and I’m the CEO of CRC, where we help organizations to tell their stories using data and data visualization. Last year, the Data Visualization & Reporting TIG hosted an Ignite session at the annual conference. I knew our work in mapping, including the development of the Baltimore DataMind, would be a great way to introduce people to the beauty and wonder of maps. The Ignite format involves a five minute presentation, using only 20 slides. That means I had better get to the point quickly.

Lessons Learned: Trying to be funny (haha) makes you feel funny (strange). I rehearsed my presentation and co-wrote it with two colleagues, Sheila Matano and Jill Scheibler. We laughed so hard making this presentation. But the whole time I kept saying “What if WE think it’s funny, but no one else does? What if other people don’t get it?” Trying to do a dynamic presentation in a new format is scary. Lucky for me the other evaluators in the room liked it as much as we did.

Hot Tips: Practice like your life depends on it. I practiced my Ignite presentation so many times that I had it unintentionally (but not robotically) memorized.

  • Figure out what you want to say, what’s your message? For me it was to convey our enthusiasm and excitement about maps and mapping data and to show others how beautiful that can be, while making them laugh at the same time. We wanted to be funny and irreverent because that’s how we roll here at CRC, so it was a good fit for us, and entertaining for the audience.
  • No more than a handful of words per slide! Words are over-rated. Seriously, don’t read your slides. Doing this in a regular presentation is bad enough, you will be shunned if you do this (or have giant tables full of tiny numbers) in an Ignite presentation.
  • Use the opportunity to show, not tell, what you want to say. We showed good maps and bad maps. We mocked the bad maps and pointed out why the good maps were so easy to understand.

Carson 1

 

Carson 2

  • Don’t be afraid to hack the format. Layer multiple photos onto one slide. For me it meant that the timing had to be down to within 2-3 seconds as we went from image to image, but it was still only 20 slides!

Rad Resources:

  • Then read Jon Udell’s thoughts on how to actually practice the presentation.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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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Potent Presentations aren’t just for paper sessions! This week’s posts, curated by dataviz dynamo Stephanie Evergreen, highlight ways that AEA members have used the Potent Presentations Initiative beyond paper sessions at the annual conference. If you think p2i doesn’t apply to your session type or situation, read on for inspirational guidance!

Kia ora (greetings, from New Zealand), evaluators! I’m Jane Davidson and I’m an evaluation coach, trainer, facilitator, and consultant (check me out at EvaluationCoaching.com).

Looking forward to the AEA conference in Denver? Had a presentation or workshop accepted? Now is the time to start thinking about how to ROCK that room!

Lessons Learned: Ever had one of those “Where do I start?” moments when trying to create a conference presentation? I have had more than one of those, and p2i snapped me out of my mental block! Better still, it’s useful for demo sessions and workshops too!

Rad Resource: Check out my all-time favorites: the p2i Messaging Video and the Messaging Model Handout. These have literally saved me again and again!

Hot Tips: Just this one diagram was pure gold – stick it up on your wall right this second:

Davidson

Now, be honest, people. Have you ever nailed the background piece of a 15-minute presentation in just 45 seconds? And then gone straight to the bottom line? No, I hadn’t either!

But here’s the really cool thing. I use the same guidelines to plan demonstration sessions, mini-workshops, and even my big 2-day preconference workshop at AEA. When I’m explaining a particular concept, method, or example, I use roughly the same time proportions to make sure I get the message across in the most understandable way.

I particularly love that all-important part at the end: What do you want people to DO differently once they leave your presentation or workshop? For example, the next time someone tells one of my workshop attendees that it’s “all just subjective” whether a result is good or not, I want them to totally nail the response with the great explanation I give them. The p2i Messaging Model reminds me to say so!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating p2i Week with AEA members who have used our Potent Presentations Initiative. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members who have used p2i strategies in their presentations. 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 the lead of the Potent Presentations Initiative. We merged those two things in a project to revamp five slides from five of AEA’s eStudy presenters. This month I’ll share the reboot we did to Michael Quinn Patton’s slides.

Michael is somewhat predispositioned toward use, so his slides have always been a visual support, a way to make the material more useful to the audience. This redesign was about making them better reflect Michael and the nature of his content.

Before

Before

 

After

After

Michael’s slides needed to be made at least a little more consistent with the design choices in his book, Utilization-Focused Evaluation. This is why I brought in the orange color. Then I applied that orange color to the key words in the whole quote. I put the other text in gray so as not to compete with the orange (black would be too dark). I switched to a condensed font that’s still readable to give more white space on the slide and make it feel less overwhelming. And speaking of readable, I normally would argue for removing text when a slide contains this much but since this is the actual definition, it needs to be conveyed word-for-word. So I broke lines into conceptual chunks of text & animated each so they appear as he speaks. This way, what people can read at a glance will match what Michael says. Together these strategies make the slide easier to digest.

Evaluation

Before

 

After

After

 

For bullet-heavy slides like this, one good strategy is to break up the content so there’s just one bullet per slide. But as I was reading this slide content, I realized the relationship between these bullet points. The first bullet was providing a definition of sorts and the rest were illustrating how an evaluator enacts that definition. This was the perfect type of content for an overarching visual metaphor. The first After slide introduced the overarching definition and a picture of a piñata. Then the slides that explained how an evaluator deals with the evaluation-equivalent of the exploded piñata were represented with different pictures of candy, which accurately reflected their associated bullet point.

 

Each added piece of text and its corresponding picture are on their own slide so that as Michael works through the slide deck it looks like one chunk of text is added and the picture is changed.

Read about all 5 of Michael’s redesigned slides on the Potent Presentations Initiative. Michael will be giving workshops on Development Evaluation and Utilization-Focused Evaluation at the annual conference – check him out!

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