AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Search

Hello, I’m Samantha Grant, and I serve as the Evaluation Director at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Youth Development. Like many evaluators, I am eagerly anticipating the start of the Evaluation 2016 Conference. In Minnesota the seasons are changing and we are pulling out our hats and mittens, so the thought of being in sunny Atlanta holds extra wonder for me.

One thing I’ve learned from the Potent Presentations resources is the importance of having a call to action in a presentation. Rather than ending at a low point with questions, you should end with bringing your participants back together and prompting participants to apply the concepts they just learned.

Today I’m shaking it up and giving all of you a call to action at Evaluation 2016. Take a look at this list and pick something to activate your conference experience.

Hot tips:

Download the app. Boo to paper, hooray for digital. The mobile conference app will keep you organized.

Network like a consultant. I love watching evaluators who are looking for new projects. Even though my work is steady as an internal evaluator, I encourage you to think like a consultant and network with others. Take the chance to talk with someone that you don’t know at the conference. Networking is one of the main values that conference attendees get, so use it!

Follow the crowd. By day two, my brain is full and sometimes the sessions I’ve selected seem like too much for my mental capacity. I encourage you to find where there are big groups congregating for a session. Attend this one. You might learn something new.

Get outside. You better believe that I’m going to relish not wearing multiple layers, so get outside and see beautiful Atlanta. Take in some Southern cuisine, go for a run in a local park, or tour one of the local tourist attractions.

Attend a TIG meeting. Topical Interest Groups are a great way to meet people who are passionate about the same things. Find one of the TIGs you are interested in and learn more about them by attending their annual meeting.

Introduce yourself. As a lesser known evaluator, I have the opportunity to meet some of my evaluation idols. Make an effort to introduce yourself to an evaluator whose work you follow closely. Trust me, everyone loves to meet someone that gives them compliments.

Do you have ideas for other conference presenters? If so, leave them in the comments.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Evaluation 2016. I hope you enjoy the conference and test out one of these calls to action.

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.

 

Hello All! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with some tips for navigation Evaluation 2016!

Cool Trick: If you want all of these tips described in detail, log into the AEA website (if you are a member), click on Coffee Break Webinars (under the “Learn” menu), then click the Coffee Break Webinar Archive and look for my recent webinar, Navigating the Annual AEA Conference: Tips for First Time Attendees from September 20. cbd-screenshot

Hot Tips: Here are some tips for getting the most out of the conference – before, during, and after:

BEFORE:

  1. Visit the conference website
  2. Search the conference program to find sessions to attend
  3. Read about the various presentation types
  4. Visit The Potent Presentations Initiative site and use the Potent Presentations tools to craft your presentation
  5. Subscribe to AEA365 and look for Local Area Working Group (LAWG) posts to learn about the conference city

DURING:

  1. Go to the registration table to pick up your name tag and materials; then look for the ribbon table
  2. Plan to attend the networking events on Wednesday (1st Time Attendees Orientation, Poster Session & Meet the Authors Reception); Thursday (TIG Business Meetings); and Friday (Awards Luncheon [$45], Reception & Silent Auction)
  3. Save time to visit the vendor exhibits
  4. Tweet your learning using the hashtag #Eval16 (and share on other social media as well!)

AFTER:

  1. Take advantage of publishers’ discounts on books
  2. Revisit AEA365 and become a daily reader
  3. Check the AEA Public eLibrary for materials from your favorite sessions, or sessions you missed
  4. Look for contact information for TIGs and Affiliates and stay involved with them.
  5. Find AEA, along with TIGs and Affiliates on social media to stay up-to-date on activities.
  6. Consider submitting a proposal to present at Evaluation 2017!

Have any tips to add to this list? Please add them in the comments!

Enjoy Atlanta and Evaluation 2017!

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.

 

Hello loyal readers! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with some last minute tips for your Evaluation 2016 conference proposals!

Hot Tip: Take the time to read through the main conference proposal page. It contains a wealth of information AND multiple links to additional information and key resources (such as descriptions of all presentation types) that can help you prepare the best proposal possible.

Hotter Tip: While it’s not required to link your proposal to the conference theme, you are encouraged to learn about and keep the conference theme in mind as you prepare. Click here to learn about this year’s conference theme, Evaluation + Design.

Cool Tricks: Take advantage of a treasure trove of resources available through the AEA website to inform the development of your proposal and (we hope!) your sessions.

1.) Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i): Look for resources on three key elements of a presentation: Message, Design and Delivery, resources for engaging your audiences, as well as those to help in designing your research posters and Ignite sessions.

2.) Check out the AEA Public eLibrary for handouts from previous conference sessions for a little inspiration.

3.) Skim through the aea365 archive (look for the link up there…yes, right above the title of this post!), or use our search box (it’s there…on the right…see it?) to find out what’s been written on your topic or related areas.

Hot Tip: Make sure your proposals are submitted on time! Proposal Submissions must be received by 11:59 PM ET March 15, 2016.

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.

Greetings! We are Donna Podems, Amiee White (AEA board members), and Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator with some tips and advice for creating a killer conference poster.

We served as judges of the Evaluation 2015 Potent Presentations (p2i) Poster Competition and used p2i criteria to identify the top two posters that came closest to meeting all and would be named “Best in Show.”

Cool Trick: Use p2i design principles for conference posters.

Posters should be:

  • Readable from at least six feet away with fonts no smaller than 24pt for body text, 48pt or larger for headings, and 64pt font or larger for titles.
  • Printed on one large sheet (3’8” x 3’8”), and not on multiple smaller pieces of paper.
  • Understandable, focusing on “big picture” points with a minimum of jargon, acronyms, abbreviations, etc.
  • Free from electricity. The poster session cannot accommodate computers.
  • Logically organized into sections with text and graphics that flow well.
  • To the point with elements that highlight the work in a way that is understandable in a very short time.
  • Colorful with well-chosen graphics and intentional use of color to emphasize key points.
  • Visually engaging, and attractive to passers-by with large, clear graphs, photos, diagrams, color blocks, or other graphics/images related to the work.
  • Conversational in nature, as opposed to using language suited for a journal article.
  • Succinct with text and titles that can be read at a glance. URLs and references should be place on a supplementary handout. 

Cool Trick: Learn what not to do. We saw many fabulous posters and it was quite difficult to choose this year’s winners. What made it especially challenging was that many included high quality research and interesting studies. Many met some, but not all of the p2i criteria. Here are some of the “deal breakers” we saw:

  • 3D graphs and color not used well or intentionally on graphs
  • tiny fonts that were difficult to read from barely one foot away
  • too much clutter! We couldn’t understand the research or the story the exhibitor was trying to tell with so many details shared
  • poor contrast between font and background colors
  • shocking fluorescent color that hurt our eyes
  • clip art (as opposed to higher quality images or icons)
  • all text and no graphics, images, or visual cues

Lessons Learned: We were already familiar with p2i design principles but learned even more from observing posters through a different lens in our work as judges. We realize that posters present unique challenges and recognize the intense design work that exhibitors put into them.

Congratulations to all Evaluation 2015 poster presenters!

Rad Resource: The Potent Presentations (p2i) website at p2i.eval.org has excellent resources on poster design!

·

Happy Fall loyal readers! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with a reminder to register early for Evaluation 2015.

Hot Tip: Be an early bird! Register now. If you are planning to attend Evaluation 2015, the American Evaluation Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois this November, and have not yet done so, register today to receive early bird rates. After Tuesday October 6, registration rates will go up.

Hot Tip: Take advantage of high quality, in-depth learning opportunities. Register for professional development workshops now. AEA’s professional development workshops* are taught by some of the best presenters/facilitators in the field and with 60 half-day, full-day, and two-day options, you’re sure to find a session that meets your learning needs. Workshops are filling up fast! *PD workshops are an additional cost and require separate registration, but early bird rates apply here too!

Hotter Tip: The American Evaluation Association is proud to announce a partnership with the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) to offer a unique thread of professional development training options as part of the pre- and post-conference offerings during Evaluation 2015 in Chicago, IL. CREA will offer a thread of six professional development workshops on evaluation theory, methods, and practice grounded in culturally responsive evaluation.

Cool Trick: Learn about Chicago in order to plan some “down time” and take in some of the sights. Click here to find out a little about the city from the AEA website, and search on this blog for “LAWG” (that’s Local Area Working Group)  posts from this past July and September to learn more from AEA members who live and work in that area.

Cool Trick: Get ready to be a potent presenter! If you’re preparing a presentation for the conference (or for any other event!), learn more about our Potent Presentations (p2i) Initiative and read through some of the resources to up your game and deliver a strong, audience appealing presentation. It’s not about having “pretty” slides, but rather, about purposefully crafting your presentation’s central message, designing appropriate visual content that supports your audience’s understanding of the content, using audience engagement strategies to encourage and support their attention to the presentation, and learning how to deliver a strong presentation.

Eval 15 banner

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.

No tags

Hi, my name is Cheryl Keeton. Throughout my career, I’ve been responsible for program evaluation, review, and success. Most recently I transitioned to independent consulting to focus my energy and passion to the field of evaluation. I want to share my experience as one way to make the transition.

Lessons Learned: Three years before I decided to become an independent evaluator, I began exploring evaluation from the 50,000 foot view. I attended my first AEA Conference to learn about the many ways evaluation is used outside of my field. I wanted to know who is doing evaluation, how are the various approaches different from the way I do things, and how can I use the sessions to help self-evaluate my strengths and weaknesses. The sessions were fascinating and the community of AEA members was very friendly and helpful. I made new friends and began to establish a network of support.

Next I attended an AEA Summer Institute for in-depth learning and practice. I knew I had a firm foundation but the summer study program allowed me to build and grow, extending my understanding, and learning techniques that were new to me.

Since those initial steps, I reached out to resources around me to help establish my independent consulting. Gail Barrington gave me the best advice for how to begin when I met her at an AEA conference “do it now while you are still working.” Before making the transition, I read Dr. Barrington’s book– Consulting Start-Up and Management: A Guide for Evaluators and Applied Researchers. I got advice from the career center at the local community college and created a web presence. Dr. Barrington’s book has been the best investment and reference for me as the process unfolds.

I reached out to the evaluation community through AEA and my regional organization, volunteering on the local and national level and taking advantage of training such as Ann K. Emery’s Data Visualization workshop. Her blog and resources are amazing. I also follow Sheila Robinson, AEA365 Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators, and advice on Potent Presentations, p2i.

I found that knowing what you are good at helps to provide direction as you begin. Fields of experience help me to narrow the scope so I know what projects to consider and where to place my energies for marketing. Gail Barrington outlines this in her book very well.

My experience transitioning from in-house evaluation to independent evaluation and consulting has confirmed for me that membership in AEA is essential to provide the big picture and grounding in principles, training is imperative to stay current, and connecting with others in the field is invaluable.

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.

·

Hello All! Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor here with even more good news about audience engagement! Last Saturday, I wrote this post introducing the new Audience Engagement Workbook, the new Potent Presentations (p2i) tool 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. Look for the workbook to be posted on the p2i site any minute now!

In just a moment, I’ll share another strategy from the book, but in the meantime, I want to let you know about another opportunity to learn about audience engagement. Are you excited? Raise your hand if you want to learn more! (Are you feeling engaged now?)

Hot Tip: Join me for an AEA Coffee Break Webinar* – Audience Engagement Strategies for Potent Presentations – on Thursday October 9 at 2:00pm EST where I’ll preview several key strategies appropriate for a variety of presentation types. Click here to register.

Cool Trick: Try a quote mingle. This requires some preparation in that you will gather quotes about a topic and print them out on cards – enough for each participant to have one (either print a few quotes on cardstock or on paper, cut apart, and paste to index cards). Use this activity as an icebreaker opportunity for participants to introduce themselves, or during or at the end of the session to have them make a connection to your content. Distribute cards randomly, and ask each participant to stand and get with a partner. Partners take turns reading their quotes, saying briefly what the quotes mean to them, and then introducing themselves, or answering your question, or relating the quote to their situation, etc. Once the exchange is over, call time and ask partners to exchange quotes, and find a different partner. Do as many exchanges as time permits.

Quick tip: You don’t need to gather as many quotes as participants. You can repeat quotes two or three times to produce larger sets of cards.

Caution: You will need a microphone or loud projecting voice to be able to call time to switch partners and to call an end to the activity. This activity will likely be very challenging with a group larger than 60-70 people.

Image credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Image credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

Rad Resource: The p2i family of tools and resources to polish your presentation to perfection!

Hot Tip: Type”p2i” in the search box (just look to your right…see it?) and read some great aea365 posts from people who have used p2i tools to spice up their presentations.

*Coffee Break Webinars are free for AEA members. Not a member? Why not join now? Click here for more information.

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.

·

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.

 

· ·

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.

·

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.

·

<< Latest posts

Older posts >>

Archives

To top