In 1996 I attended a training course presented by Franklin Quest (NowFranklinCovey) called “Presentation Advantage.” In addition to the course workbook, the handouts included a Presentation Review form that is no longer available. The form was designed to guide the reviewer in rating the presenter’s over all design and delivery in 20 categories.
With FranklinCovey’s permission I have recreated a modified version of the form, attributed the copyright to Franklin Quest, and made it available for download in two formats. While this version of the form is free, if the current course is anything like the one I attended in 96′, I highly recommend attending.
When using this form both the presenter and reviewer must be committed to accepting the brutal facts. A large portion of the form could be used by music reviewers when rating concerts or by musicians unfamiliar with the importance of on stage delivery. Everyone can improve when they are open to outside feedback.
However you choose to use this form, I wish you the best in improving your act.
This morning I attended the annual all staff meeting at the American Cancer Society National Home Office in Atlanta, GA. Out of all the interesting information that was shared this morningDr. Otis W. Brawley, our Chief Medical Officer, comments were the most profound:
When dealing with very complicated things our obligation to the American people is to say what is known, what is not known, and what is believed, and label things accordingly.
How much better would we be as a nation and as individuals if we could be as forthright to recognize and admit what is known, what is not known, what is believed, and label them accordingly in all aspects of life.
I watched a brief yet revealing TED talk this morning by Public Radio International CEO,Alisa Miller, titled “Why we know less than ever about the world.” Sadly, American news media spends most of their resources focusing on myopic issues, like personal tragedies in the lives of pop stars, while ignoring the rest of the world. Watch this four minute and twenty nine second clip to see the statistics and hear Alisa Miller in her own words.
Note to news media: Next time you’re tempted to report on something relatively trivial, like an athlete turned actor running from police in his white Ford Bronco, chances are high that something of true importance, like the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, is happening at the same time. If you don’t tell us, how will we know?
These six words can invite chaos into the classroom. Whether you’re teaching online or in a more traditional setting, getting adults back to class after a five or ten minute break can be a challenge.
A few years ago I came up with a simple remedy. When it’s time to take a break I start a simple PowerPoint timer I created that counts down from five minutes to zero, accompanied by a song that is just under five minutes. Everyone can see how much time is remaining and when the music stops, people tend to find their seats.
You’re welcome to use, share, or modify them, just don’t try and sell them. They are free for everyone. To start the timer open the presentation and click on the first slide. It’s that simple. If you want to add more slides for a longer break, remember that only the first slide is set to begin with a click.
Pixar’s short film One Man Band is an excellent example of presenters who don’t know their audience. Here is the story from Pixar:
With one coin to make a wish at the piazza fountain, a peasant girl encounters two competing street performers who’d prefer the coin find its way into their tip jars. The little girl, Tippy, is caught in the middle as a musical duel ensues between the one-man-bands.
The street performers become so competitive that they lose sight of their role as musicians. Each makes several assumptions that weaken any chance of “winning” the coin:
They have what the audience needs
The more they push the better the message
They must compete in front of the audience to win
Their art/product/message is secondary to winning
They have more skill than the audience
Unfortunately these assumptions are not limited to cartoons. Trainers who assume they know the subject matter better than the audience and disparage the competition are far too common. Another problem is when the services being provided are viewed as secondary. A presenter who wants to stop on the edge of what is wanted, at the expense of the audience, misses the point of being a messenger.
Fortunately, Pixar didn’t stop on the edge and delivers an excellent story. They could have stopped producing short films years ago but they’ve chosen to deliver greatness in small packages even when the audience has already paid.
The opposite of One Man Band is my favorite Pixar short, Boundin’. Buy all four minutes and forty-three seconds of Boundin’ on iTunes and watch a master teacher embodied in a jackalope.
The Universe is filled with infinite data and our access to that data is begining to blossom. In the past decade an incredible amount of information has been placed within public reach. Once the wow factor of endless access has worn off, making the old numbers relevant and bringing the digital archive to life is challenging. Can new tools bring life to old data?
A hand full of designers are successfully pulling back the curtain to reveal hidden beauty in the numbers. Here is a synopsis of what a few of them are doing.
Hans Rosling has created something brilliant with Gapminder World. Visit his site and watch each nation progress as statistical data changes (Additional data can be displayed by clicking on the words “Life Expectancy in Years” on the far right of the Gapminder screen). To hear Dr. Rosling explain Gapminder, watch these entertaining presentations recorded at TED(June 2006, June 2007).
In most training environments a lectern is an unnecessary barrier between you and the audience. Unless you are reading an extended portion of text or perceive your audience as hostile, as one might in theWhitehouse Press Briefing Room, think twice before you set up shop behind a lectern.
You may need it as a stand for your laptop, but there shouldn’t be a need to stand behind itfor very long. Get a clicker with a built in mouse so you can run your presentation software from anywhere in the room. I’ve know instructors who take a lectern with them wherever they are teaching, as if to establish their authority with the class.In my experience this can limit a learner’s interaction with the content. The message of a lectern is a message of dissemination. You’re broadcasting; it’s not a two way conversation.It can come across as a “You are the masses and I am enlighten” approach.
Having interacted with experts in the field of teaching and leading, it’s clear that they would much rather teach one on one or is smaller settings. These leaders can be extremely effective in large settings, yet each of them understands the disadvantages created by emotional distance. This applies equally to the digital realm.
Ever walk into a room and the first thing you feel is the tension? You couldn’t see it but there was no denying the obvious. You could literally feel the barrier. As an instructor, don’t think you are protected by the magic of the wires. If you have a lectern mind set your audience is at a disadvantage. Remember, there is no “us” in lectern.
Erin McKean is a lexicographer who believes “the book is not the best shape for the dictionary.” In her 2007 TED talk “Redefining the dictionary” she explains that we use the word “dictionary” synecdochically. We use it to represent all of the English language when the dictionary, like a flag, is only a symbol of the language. “The dictionary” doesn’t contain everything and online versions are not much better. They give us very limited context and without context words have no meaning.
Watch her delightful talk “Redefining the dictionary” (16:02 minutes) and you may come to see how at times, as Erin says, “paper is the enemy of words.”