We have all sat through and delivered training in PowerPoint before. A good presentation is able to hold our attention for 10 minutes maximum without any sort of stimulus. Without that stimulus our minds start to wander. We start thinking about our stomachs, we start thinking about how quickly we can get out of there or worse we start to fall asleep. An ulitmately our minds wonder to the same place every time…there has got to be a better way to develop and deliver training in PowerPoint.
Well the good news in there is a better way. The bad news is in order to improve we have to change our development strategies.
Now I know that for some change is scary, it’s much more comforting putting together the same slides, with the same graphics, the same colors and the same bullet points time after time. But
Sometimes we need to take a step back and re-evaluate our current strategies in order to identify what is not working and what needs to be improved.
So that is why we are here today. To improve how we all create and deliver our PowerPoint presentations.
So what is wrong with PowerPoint presentations today? Open for discussion…Open shared notes for the shy folk
First, many people simply do not know how to create a professional PowerPoint presentation which leads to some common presentation pitfalls.
Cutesy graphics and undecipherable fonts are used that make the presentation seem like it was created as a template for a tween’s Myspace page. We want to gravitate away from using “clip-arty” graphics in our training presentations…
And gravitate towards using professional, high resolution graphics that capture the learner’s attention and tell a good story.
Colors hook us emotionally so it’s important to use colors that look right together and fit the context of your course. You don’t need to be a color scientist to know what looks good. Generally, you can tell when you see it, even if you can’t really explain it. The same goes with your learners. So, coordinate your color schemes. Also, don’t be afraid of white space. White space does not hold content but it gives meaning, through context, to both image and text. In fact, white space can make or break the effective transmission of image and text. Okay, let’s get off of this slide because I am starting to trip out a bit but keep in mind that PowerPoint does have some default color schemes that you can choose from the get started. But remember do not rely too heavily on one color over another. The human eye is drawn to variations in color so changing it up a bit will draw your learner in and hold there attention.
Do not overuse animations. In fact, if you can get away with it, don’t use them at all. They may grab your learner’s attention but they can also distract from your lesson. You want the learner to pay attention to you not the bouncing text.
Too often we become pigeon holed into what we preceive as the rules of PowerPoint. This mindset hinders creativity by keeping you from thinking outside of the box. Just like a game, you can have a lot fun with PowerPoint. But you are not constricted by any rules. One hard and fast rule that people seem to not want to let go of is that the only way to illustrate a point in PowerPoint is by using bullets.
BUT YOUR KILLING YOUR LEARNERS! In fact, here is an interesting statistic.
Okay this may not be true, but bullet points are at least partially responsible for one recent tragedy.
When the Columbia space shuttle broke up upon re-entry to earth in 2003, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board(CAIB) was created to look into the causes. When NASA discovered that a piece of foam had fallen off the shuttle during take off and had impacted its wing, a team of engineers and scientists began a series of analyses to assess any risk that such impact would have upon re-entry. The concern was that the damage done to the wing during take off might impair its ability to withstand the tremendous heat that would be generated when the shuttle began its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. That turned out to the fatal cause of the incident. So if this information was such a large concern, why was something not done about it? As part of the investigation, the Board looked into how engineers and contractors at NASA transmit their technical information to their management. They found that the engineering team presented the results of its risk assessment findings to NASA management in a PowerPoint presentation while the shuttle was still in space. The Board hired Dr. Edward Tufte – a Yale Professor who is an expert in information presentation and a critic of PowerPoint– to analyze that particular PowerPoint slide.
As information gets passed around key explanations and supporting information is filtered out. In this context, it is easy to understand how a senior manager might read this PowerPoint slide and not realize that it addresses a life-threatening situation. The important information was lost in the bullet points.
Here is what the PowerPoint should have looked like.
Speaking of rules and bullet points has anyone heard of the 1 – 7 -7 rule? This rules states that your slide should have only one main idea, only seven lines of text and only seven words per line. Sounds like the PowerPoint Haiku in fact…
Sound the 1 – 7 -7 rule sounds like a good idea in theory. But here’s the rub…no one can do a good presentation that has slides after slides of bulleted text and keep it interesting. Here’s a new bullet point rule…Use bullets to summarize not to sermonize. Visuals are always the best alternative to bullet points…Why?
We are visual people and we are able to recall facts and figures better when they are presented to us visually. Dr. John Medina’s book Brain Rules “Pictures beat text because reading is so inefficient for us. We have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them. That takes time.”
In fact here’s a stat that is actually true. That is a 55% improvement by simply adding a picture. Still don’t believe me that pictures beat text?
In his book Back of the Napkin, Dan Roam asserts that Any problem no matter how complicated can be made clearer with a picture. Here’s an example…does anybody know what this is? This napkin is the original business plan for southwest airlines. First, the airline was originally conceived of on the back of a napkin. In 1967, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher sketched out their idea for an airline that flew connecting flights to Dallas, San Antonio and Houston at the St. Anthony's Club in San Antonio, Texas. Southwest airlines was born from a picture that was sketched on the back of a napkin…isn’t that cool?
So what do you do with your bullet points? Here is a presentation that I worked on recently. I had to communicate the items that could be expense by the employees. Here is the list in bullet point form. Boring right? So I tried something else.
When possible, dump the bullet points and replace them with graphics.
Be sure that the graphics that you choose are appropriate for the audience to which you are presenting.
Put some time and thought into the graphics that you select. Remember a picture tells a story and you want to make sure that your pictures tell the right story.
Here are some resources that you can use. There is a resources document in the handouts section with links to these resources.
Make sure that you are crediting the right people. We are going to be making some decisions based on how we are going to do this in the future.
Put thought into your design. PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!
What is the goal? What will the learner do differently that will improve the business? Link program objectives to business needs. How will the company benefit by having someone attend the program. What will participants do differently as a consequence of the training that will improve business results? Here’s a great quote “Everything else a company does is translated into dollars and cents and so should should training and development.” Show that we are not an expendable or a “nice to have” department. But that our training delivers value that contributes to increased improvement that contributes to the bottom line.
What is your definition of success? How will you measure it?
Use those details to design the complete learning experience for the
Sometimes boundaries are helpful. A template helps you put the puzzle pieces together. Not a PowerPoint template, but a storyboarding template. Its like a map of your presentation that lets you see the whole picture before you start developing.
Book called Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson. Here is how the books is described on his blog “BBP is a method of communicating that helps you effectively persuade, inform and educate your audiences. It's much more than about pretty PowerPoint slides - it's about finding the clear and compelling structure that cuts through the clutter and guides people to memorable understanding. “ He provided a template on his site that applies a story structure that provides a framework for the information you want to communicate, Here is the BBP template that Charles Warole and I put together for today’s presentation. It helped us focus our ideas and eliminate those that did not work!
Newspaper headlines are big, bold, filled with action words that tell you what information you are going to get without even reading the article. But they make you want to read the article. They pique your interest. Write newspaper headlines for each slide that distill the facts to their essence.
LAST STEP. IT TAKES TIME TO DEVELOP!
A movie needs a director to tell the story and bring all of the elements together into a cohesive story. Your eLearning development should be no different. Just as a movie needs a director to coordinate the project, an eLearning production needs a director who can efficiently translate ideas into reality
The first act sets up the story (what am I going to learn), then the second act develops the action (heres the information and what you can do with it) and then finally, the third act is the resolution (go forth and change your culture).
Slideshows provide a snapshot. Movie’s give you the full experience.