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

TAG | PowerPoint

Hello! It’s Sheila B Robinson, aea365 Lead Curator and sometimes Saturday contributor with a fabulous and  free sign tool for polishing your presentations!

Great presentations are complemented by great visuals. Using icons on your slides are one way to organize information visually, and direct your audience’s attention to the topic at hand.

There is no shortage of help out there for downloading and even creating your own icons for use in presentations. Want some ideas? Check out Stephanie Evergreen’s blog. Just type “icon” in the search box there and you’ll have the opportunity to read several posts about using and creating icons. In fact, it was Stephanie who turned me on to iconfinder.com, my new favorite free tool!

chalkboard

Lesson Learned: I recently had to create a presentation reporting evaluation results from several data collection points. There was a telephone interview, an online survey, and a paper survey. As I created my presentation, I added icons to each slide – a phone icon, a computer icon, and a paper icon. Using these ensured limited text on each slide, as they eliminated the need for “Phone interview” or “Online survey” to appear on each.

tools

Rad Resource: Try iconfinder.com for all your icon needs! While there is an excellent selection of free icons, they also have a huge selection of low-cost high quality icons. I found prices ranging from $0.48 to $1.98. You can filter your search by price and by license. You can also search specifically for vector graphics, a favorite among graphic artists and presentation creators for their inherent flexibility.
toolsRad Resources:  Presentation-Process.com has a great tutorial on creating your own icons in PowerPoint, and Haute Slides features a tutorial  on creating custom icons from clip art.

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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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.

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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.

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AEA365 began on January 1, 2010. Before we promoted this resource, we reached out to dedicated authors who believed in the project in order to populate the site with starter content. Those who contributed in week 1 wrote for an audience of fewer than 10. One year later we have over 1500 subscribers and are re-posting the contributions from those trailblazers in order to ensure that they receive the readership they deserve for their great ideas – Amy was kind enough to update hers for 2011!

My name is Amy A. Germuth,  and I am Founder and President of EvalWorks, LLC (http://EvalWorks.com) in Durham, NC and blog at EvalThoughts.com. Over the last year I have worked improving my reporting of findings to better meet my client’s needs and have a few great resources to help you do the same.

Rad Resource: “Unlearning Some of our Social Scientist Habits” by Jane Davidson (independent consultant and evaluator extraordinaire, as well as AEA member and TIG leader). She added some additional thoughts to this work and presented them at AEA’s 2009 annual conference in Orlando. Her PowerPoint slides for this presentation can be found at: http://bit.ly/7RcDso.

Frankly, I think this great article has been overlooked for its valuable contributions. Among other great advice for evaluators (including models or theories but not using them evaluatively and leaping to measurement too quickly), she addresses these common pitfalls when reporting evaluation findings: (1) not answering (and in some cases not even identifying!) the evaluation questions that guided the methodology, (2) reporting results separately by data type or source, and (3) ordering evaluation report sections like a Master’s thesis. This entertaining article and the additional PowerPoint slides really make a case for using the questions that guide the evaluation to guide the report as well.

Rad Resource: The “Evaluation Report Checklist” by Gary Miron (professor at Western Michigan University and former Chief of Staff at The Evaluation Center at WMU) provides a great outline of the eight main sections in an evaluation report (Title page, Exec. Summary, Table of Contents, Introduction and Background, Methodology, Results, Summary and Conclusion, References) and the various things that should be included in each.

The author notes that this checklist can be used as a “tool to guide a discussion between evaluators and their clients regarding the preferred contents of evaluation reports and a tool to provide formative feedback to report writers” and can help writers identify the strengths and weaknesses of their report. However, as Gary  notes, evaluation reports differ greatly in terms of purpose, budget, expectations, and needs of the client, thus one may need to consider or weight the checkpoints within sections as well as the relative importance and value of each section when reviewing one’s own writing (or someone else’s).

Rad Resource: Why assume all findings have to be reported as a paper?  Try reporting using PowerPoint and heed the advice Garr Reynold’s provides in his great book “Presentation Zen Design” to ensure that you do not subject your clients to DBP (death by PowerPoint).

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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