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

TAG | ignite

My name is John Nash, and I am an associate professor at Iowa State University in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with a joint appointment in Human Computer Interaction. I’m also a program strategist, evaluator, and design geek.

2014 Update:  I am now an associate professor at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies and director of  the dLab (http://dLab.uky.edu).

Today I’d like to share ways to improve slide presentations.

Hot Tip: Know Your Audience – This is an oft overlooked tip from Nancy Duarte, author of slide:ology, a wonderful book on the art and science of creating great presentations. Duarte suggests seven questions to ask before developing any presentation:

  1. What are they like?
  2. Why are they here?
  3. What keeps them up at night?
  4. How can you solve their problem?
  5. What do you want them to do?
  6. How can you best reach them?
  7. How might they resist?

It’s easy to see how these questions would be important to answer in a business or sales presentation. However, amongst evaluators, they are often overlooked when designing a client briefing or conference presentation. I’m especially drawn to question 5, which reminds me that every presentation should be a call to action.

Hot Tip: Let Go of Text – Text can be a crutch for the time-pressed and insecure presenter. Duarte suggests three strategies to excising text as a crutch on your slides:

REDUCE: Practice presenting your slides a few times, then highlight one keyword per bullet point. Deliver your slides from only the keywords, using the rest as notes. Eventually, consider replacing the keyword with an image.

RECORD: Read your presentation out loud and record the audio. Play it back. Once you get over the horror of hearing your own voice, you’ll be able to concentrate on your content and not focus on the slides.

REPEAT: Practice, make note cards, draw a mind map, do anything that helps you visualize or create a cheat sheet. Then, look at your slides and delete as much as possible that’s covered already on your cheat sheet.

Rad Resources: If I could recommend only two books on presenting, they would be the aforementioned slide:ology and Gary Reynold’s Presentation Zen.

Hot Tip: Ignite! Ignite-style presentations are exactly five minutes long using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. Using Ignite means delivering the most salient content, from a point of passion, while remaining story-focused (and thus, I argue, more audience focused). For example, watch Molly Wright Steenson’s presentation on the otherwise arcane topic of pneumatic tube networks. Did you adsorb more information than in any other five minutes of your day? Notice how she uses minimal text, good images, and a great story to grab your attention.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Best of aea365 week. The contributions all this week are reposts of great aea365 blogs from our earlier years. 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.

· ·

I’m Sheila Robinson Kohn from Greece Central School District and the University of Rochester, both in Rochester, NY. I’m here in Minneapolis at AEA2012 and while most of my mornings are ignited with oatmeal and coffee, THIS morning I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at my first Ignite session.

Chris Lysy, our session chair, set the mood by asking the audience to smile. Ignite sessions are, after all, both fun AND informative, and with 11 presenters, there were many of us who needed to begin by relaxing a bit! He also asked how many had seen an Ignite event; about one fourth of the 100+ attendees raised their hands.

Lessons learned:

  1. You can learn a lot in 5 minutes! Of course, I wished I had more time to process some of the information, but can take comfort in knowing I can access presentations at my leisure via the AEA elibrary and Ignite website.
  2. Our presenters practiced! Each presentation went off without a hitch, and even one momentary technical glitch didn’t rattle the presenter at all. Slides generally adhered to principles good slide design with limited text and powerful images that enhanced, rather than distracted from the message. Presenters limited “chart junk” and their graphics conveyed messages that could be understood within in the 15 second time frame. Many used humor to convey their messages.

Hot tip:

  • Attend an Ignite session at AEA12 or plan to at AEA 13!

Hotter tip:

  • Propose an Ignite presentation for AEA13! Spend considerable time developing your slides and script, and practice! It’s easy to underestimate just how much preparation is necessary for what eventually results in a high quality five-minute presentation. In fact, one of the greatest challenges beyond slide design is creating the script. I had a lot of content to share, but also wanted the audience to understand the message, so there was a delicate balance to achieve between saying too much and saying just enough. My first draft had me talking like an auctioneer trying to adhere to the 15 seconds per slide rule. There is a fine art to being concise, and one we must learn whether we’re charged with writing evaluation reports, grant proposals, tweets, or Ignite presentations!

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.

· · ·

My name is Susan Kistler. I am the American Evaluation Association’s Executive Director, and I post each Saturday to aea365. Earlier this month, the AEA Data Visualization and Reporting TIG hosted Ignite the Night at AEA’s annual conference – a fast paced and fun series of presentations where each presenter gets five minutes and 20 slides, with each slide forwarding automatically after 15 seconds.

My presentation focused on strategies for great presentations. It didn’t focus on preparing individual sides, but rather the bigger picture of tools and tips for making it faster and easier to prepare and give quality, engaging presentations.

Rad Resource – Ignite Website: Learn more about the ignite presentation format on the Ignite website. Be sure to check out the “Video” tab where you can see recordings of Ignite presentations from around the world.

Examples from My Master Deck

Hot Tip – Create a look and feel for your slides: I tend

to use slides with a single, large, iconic photo on a white background. I have a master deck of over 500 prepared slides with photos representing various concepts coupled with text in my favorite presenting font and with my usual font size and color. When I want to develop a new presentation, I can pull from this master deck at least some of the key slides, and need only to update the text. When I create new slides for a presentation, I put generic versions into my master slide deck. I actually have a couple of master decks with slightly different looks to them. I add to them as a hobby – some people knit, I make new slides, searching free photo sites for great images.

Rad Resource – Zoom: Zoom is a software program that indexes all of your slides, organizes them into a single library, and then allows you to select individual slides from within the library, across multiple slidedecks if needed, and then to extract and compile them as the starting point for a new slide deck in a matter of seconds. I have over 2500 slides among my master deck and various presentations. Zoom has saved me hours of hunting, decreased the time it takes for me to kickoff a new presentation, and even helped me to be more aware of the evolution of my own presentation style, pushing me to improve in terms of consistency and organization. It costs $80.

Rad Resource – Slidedeck: If you want to download the full slidedeck from the Ignite presentation, it is in the AEA eLibrary here. I put a version of the full presentation narrative in the notes.

Rad Resource – Pearltree of Presentation Links: Looking for a Pearltree with links to the blogs, free photo sites, and comics from the presentation? It may be found here.

The above represents my own opinions and not necessarily those of AEA. 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.

· · · ·

I’m John Nash and I’m the program co-chair, with Stuart Henderson, for the American Evaluation Association’s new Topical Interest Group, Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR TIG). I’m here to tell you about some innovative events taking place in Anaheim during the 2011 AEA Conference.

Hot Tip: Ignite Yourself at the Conference

You don’t need matches or a lighter, just an interest in evaluation and love of a good time.

The DVR TIG is throwing caution to the wind by dispensing with it’s usual business meeting and devoting its meeting slot to Ignite the Night at AEA

What’s Ignite? It’s a presentation event wherein presenters share their personal and professional passions about some aspect of evaluation, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. That’s right, those slides keep going whether the presenter wants them to or not.

Do you have five minutes to learn something new? Come to the California Ballroom, Section B, at the Hilton Anaheim, Thursday, November 3, at 7:15 PM. We’ll have snacks to eat, networking events between the talks, and a lot of fun. Expect talks from the likes of David Fetterman, Susan Kistler, Chris Lysy and many more.

Hot Tip: You Can Give an Ignite Talk!

Can you be passionate about something for five minutes? Want to share it with the world? Get in touch about giving an Ignite talk at AEA 2011. Contact John Nash at john.nash@uky.edu for more information.

Rad Resources: AEA’s Ignite the Night on the Web

Visit the IgniteAEA website (www.igniteaea.wordpress.com), follow the event on Twitter via @igniteaea, or check in with us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250608891640443).

Hot Tip: Get Your Slide On

The DVR TIG is running a special pre-conference slide clinic on Tuesday,

Tuesday, November 2 from 6:00-9:00 pm in the Laguna room. Think of it as slideshow triage. Any AEA presenter can bring her or his conference slides to the clinic and get individualized expert advice on layout, design, and aesthetics. The clinic is a way to promote our TIG’s goal of helping evaluators make their data more clear, so that it more useful and usable for audiences. For more information on the slide clinic contact Stephanie Evergreen at stephanie@evergreenevaluation.com.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

· · ·

Archives

To top