Monthly Archives: August 2012

Faith in Trainer Required

Today I started to learn how to ride a motor-bike. Having not done this since I was 14years old, it required some effort. The biggest effort was to believe what the instructor told me to do and not fear falling over and breaking my neck. But why would I believe him? Transfering this question to my own training environments, I’m wondering: What is the role (for participants) of faith in the trainer…?

 

So here’s the thing: I am supposed to turn a 250kg machine through a tight figure-of-8 at no speed (and little momentum) without it dropping on my legs.. ..my instructor said: “All you have to do is look where you are going and trust that the bike won’t fall over.” But why on Earth would I believe him?

 

Reason number 1: Authority + accreditation

  • He’s the man. So I believe him. He is certified by the Auto-Ecole and no-one else is responsible for training me, so I accept. Fortunately for me, I don’t have (too many) troubles with authority.

Reason number 2: I saw him do it, with ease and style

  • ..and indeed, it looked just like he said it should. Just point your eyes where you want to go and the massive heavy leg-breaking moving-parts machine won’t slip on the wet-road and crush your legs. So it works, right?

Reason number 3: The last thing he told me to do worked out just fine

  • This was the most important to me. If he had told me to do things that didn’t work for me, I wouldn’t have accepted reason number 1 anymore and I might have thought that reason number 2 was due to him being a demi-god and me not.

 

So: Why this blog? If you are a trainer and you want your participants to believe in you, consider this…

  • Get some authority. Either be THE certified man or get someone else to say you are the best (borrowed authority). This could be done with accreditation, previous trainee references (preferably from participants’ own colleagues) or with a short testimonial film during the start-up of your training.
  • Show the way with clear examples where the actions and behaviours you are asking for actually attain the desired results. Note my use of the verb “show”. Don’t just tell stories and make-believe. Prove it to them. (Without showing off !)
  • Make sure that when participants do things as they should that they KNOW they did it right. Giving clear feedback on positive performance will help them to know they are capable and believe even more what you say.

 

…which, considering the next things he asked me to do (at speed, in the rain) made a world of difference 🙂

 

 

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Neil Young on leadership, creativity, performance and people styles

I’ve been watching the special features of Jonathan Demme’s excellent capturing of Neil Young in”Heart of Gold”. These words from Neil reminded me of the ASTD2012 session of John Kao on innovation and jazz improvisation …and also got me thinking about leadership skills, changing environments, the way we manage people, creativity, the differences between people etc… I won’t make an attempt to deconstruct each of Neil Young’s sentences. Just read and see for yourself….

20120803-231117.jpg

“These are songs that I’ve never performed before, so I have to remember all the words and keep on top of the band playing all the parts.

Remember, these are people that live in the moment. I mean, that’s why I play with these people. They’re not “reproducers”. They are creative people and creative musicians. They are not really supposed to do the same thing every time. So you have to give them room to be creative and still perform the same song in a way that’s reminiscent of the original record, kind of representative of the arrangement that we did on the record.

Some of the musicians are better at reproducing their parts within a framework and doing it very freely and feeling very good about them. Others can never do the same thing twice.

So you have to get them all together and that’s what happens… …you’ve got one shot… ..as soon as you start the songs you have to feel second nature about the song.. ..and that’s not easy to do with a song that you’ve never played before.. …it’s all new at that point.

These are all first time performances.”

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The Best Prezi Tips I Found Today

33 tips for Prezi users to improve their Prezi presentation. Including structure, movement, paths, backgrounds, rotated-text, quality screenshots, images, keyboard shortcuts, using YouTube, adding music and step-sounds, embedding in WordPress …

Over the last few months, I have been browsing around for cool prezi tips . This post lists all my favourites. Please share!

Given the initial success of this post and my work with Prezi, I now run a training session on the tool. More information here: Prezi training with @dan_steer

 

Right, let’s get started…

 

9 BASIC TIPS ON PREZI STRUCTURE, PREZI CANVAS, IMPORTING POWERPOINT..

 

1 Create your basic structure close up, then add details zoomed-in

This is in line with my work on how to make a presentation in 5 steps. In Prezi, focus first on getting the big picture sorted, then add the details. The big picture should be closest to the eye, the details can be smaller, zoomed in. Use the layers.

 

2 Don’t overdo movement

The movement in Prezi is one of the cool selling point features that make us like it, but as with any presentation, your content needs to be minimum effective dose : do what only is necessary to support your needs or message.

  • Use movement to show the relationship between elements and to support the story-telling of your prezi
  • Make small steps between things that will be discovered “quickly” over the course of your actual presentaion to the public
  • Use big steps to mark the transition between different parts of your presentation structure

Good Prezi movement and structure is explained in detail here:

 

3 Add frames to your path as you edit in order not to lose things in Prezi

When you add things on your canvas, sometimes they can get lost. To avoid this problem:

  • When you have added something on your canvas, click on “edit path” and add it immediately to the pathway
  • ..that way, if you move it around, resize it and “lose” that bit of your Prezi, you can just click on the frame in the “edit path” navigation bar on the left and Prezi will take you back there… 

 

4 …but don’t worry about the final presentation order until near the end

If you are clear about your presentation structure, then you know more-or-less what your final Prezi path is going to look like from the start. But don’t worry about the exact order until you have finished adding everything. You WILL make changes anyway.

 

5 You can “bring-to-front” or copy/paste just like in PowerPoint..

..in order to move things from the front/back of the canvas

Note: I don’t mean zoom in/out, I just mean that in any one 2D-position on the canvas, you can change which things are on top of others, just like would in PowerPoint.

 

6 Select multiple elements on a Prezi canvas

There are 2 ways to do this:

  • Hold down the “shift” button on your computer, then click and hold your left mouse button while you drag the pointer over the canvas to select several elements
  • Click one element, hold down the “shift” button on your computer, click on the next element, keep holding “shift” and continue…

 

7 Group elements together so you can move, resize, rotate and work with them as “one element”

Just as you can group things in PowerPoint, you can do the same in Prezi.

  • Follow tip 6 to select multiple items
  • … then click on the little “padlock” icon to lock them all together
  • (You can unlock them later if you want to)

 

8 Make a big bold call-to-action with a font that contains all your content inside it…

No idea what I mean? Watch this video to see how sexy-fonts can help you make beautiful Prezi presentations…

 

9 If you have a PowerPoint presentation, import it into Prezi

Yes, you can import PPT into prezi! Watch this movie for a functional explanation.

Once you have done that, you can place your slides in order to create structure, show level of importance of content, groups slides together using frames, add formatting, images, arrows etc…

 

 

12 TIPS FOR BEAUTIFUL PREZI PRESENTATIONS .. GOING TO THE NEXT STEP…

 

10 If you want your rotated text to still look rotated in “SHOW” (presentation) mode, you can..

Just put an invisible frame around it and point to that (instead of the text itself) when you create your path.

 

11 Use 3D backgrounds

The guys at Prezi send me emails with tips from time-to-time and this is one of my favourites. The backgrounds that are possible with 3D and multiple 3D are awesome.

 

12 Fade-in things within a frame

Sometimes it can be handy to have things fade-in onto the screen just like we do in PPT. Follow this link to see how to achieve this in Prezi. Its very easy to fade in anything in a frame…

  • (As I said above, it is important to focus on minimum effective dose and in general I’m not a fan of this kind of animation)

 

13 Create extremely high-quality webpage “screenshots” in your Prezi

Because of the zoom feature in Prezi, what at first looks good when screen-captured from the web can look pretty bad when you zoom in. If you want to do a good job of zooming in on things you screenshotted from the web DO NOT use print-screen on your computer:

  • Instead, create a PDF of the web-page you want to show
  • Use this website to do this for free: http://www.web2pdfconvert.com
  • Import the PDF image of your web-page into Prezi and it will be super high-quality at all zoom levels

..as a side-note here, if you do screenshot things, set your computer screen preferences to 1024 * 768

 

14 Try some cool templates

If you read my other post on how to import PowerPoint to Prezi with style you know I’m not a fan of the standard options in Prezi. They are nice, but already starting to get a little old. If you want something new, check out some of the Prezi templates at prezzip.com. There is a limited collection of things free to download, but the price of an app will get you something really tasteful…

 

15 Customise theme colours in Prezi and keep your marketing department happy

You can do this by manually custom formatting the colours + fonts via the theme wizard in Prezi

  • Go to “Template” menu
  • Click on “Customise Current Theme” at the bottom of the “theme” area
  • Click on “advanced” and choose your colours

 

16 …then save your custom theme for the future

At any moment when you are editing your Prezi, you can click on “Theme” and scroll down to the bottom to “Save Current Theme”. Easy!

 

17 Add background music to your Prezi

If you want your Prezi to have music playing in the background, this is easyto achieve now (March 2013):

  • Click on “insert”
  • Choose “add background music”
  • Most obvious music file types will work (MP3, M4A, FLAC, WMA, WAV, OGG, AAC, MP4, and 3GP) and certainly if they already work in iTunes. Prezi will convert them if necessary.
  • You can see that the music has been added by looking at the top of the “edit-path” navigation bar on the left
  • …that’s where you go to delete the music as well

 

18 Add sound at a specific moment of your Prezi presentation

Have a look at this Prezi. You will see that I’ve added sound files at specific moments in order to explain my content. This takes a bit of work, but is really easy.

  • Record your sound file. You can do this with your PC (sound-recorder) or, as I did, with an iPhone.
  • Select the relevant step of your path in the “edit-path” navigation bar on the left
  • Click on “insert”
  • Choose “add voice-over to path step [#]”
  • As with background music, most sound file types will work and Prezi will convert them if necessary
  • ..you can easily delete them from the step by using the “edit-path” menu on the left

Prezi ZenDesk has published a tutorial on how to insert music into your Prezi – this tutorial explains tips 16 and 17 in detail so you can add music in the background or at specific steps.

 

19 Manage the way YouTube videos are treated when showing your Prezi

When actually delivering a presentation, it might be good to first say a word about a video before showing it, but you other times you might want it to play automatically.

Today (6th May 2013) when you insert a YouTube film, Prezi puts a frame around it and adds the frame to your path. This means that the film will not play automatically. You have to click it.

If you want to get Prezi to play the film immediately when it gets to that point in the path:

  • Remove the frame (be careful not to delete the film)
  • Click on “edit path” and then click on the film element itself
  • This will add the film to the path, thus is will play automatically

If you change your mind, just put a frame around the film again and add the frame to your path. This will mean you need to click on the “play” icon to play the film. 

 

20 Add some free flash to your Prezi

UNFORTUNATELY – PREZI STOPPED SUPPORTING FLASH, SO THIS IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE….. PLEAS IGNORE

Prezi works quite well with (SWF) flash files and you can insert them onto your canvas like any other element. A few additional tips:

  • If you are making flash files for Prezi yourself, work with a 30fps frame-rate. That’s the speed Prezi will run it at, so you won’t get any surprises like my friend who had prepared a jogging Flash man who ended up sprinting!
  • If you need free Flash files, you can get some here: http://www.ffiles.com – I used a free file from ffiles.com for the smoking background in this Prezi

 

21 Convert GIF files into SWF files to use the animation

Animated GIF files do not work in Prezi. You need to convert them to an SWF (flash) file first. You can do this with a free GIF to SWF convertor. More information from the Prezi team here.

 

 

12 TIPS FOR WORKING MORE EFFICIENTLY WITH PREZI

 

22 Add things to the path regularly

Sometimes I get lost in my Prezi, wondering “Where did I put that word?” The more I use the dimensions and depth, the more this happens. To avoid this:

  • When you add something you don’t want to lose, add it to your path
  • ..click on “edit path” and add the object”
  • That way, you can always navigate back to it later and edit some more
  • ..and delete it from your presentation path if you want to

 

23 Delete frames without deleting content

Be careful when you delete a frame. It will delete everything inside. Unless ….

  • Click on the frame
  • Choose “frame options” (to the left of the classic “delete button”) and click on on the “delete frame only” button (at the bottom)

OR:

  • Right click on the frame
  • Choose “remove frame without deleting content”

 

24 Use an external mouse to edit, not a laptop touch-pad

Really. Just stop it. I’ve seen so many people struggling in training. Just buy a mouse!

 

25 Prezi has shortcuts too. Use them.

Here’s a list of keyboard shortcuts you can use when creating your Prezi online or on the desktop version: http://prezi.com/learn/keyboard-shortcuts.

  • If they don’t work, you need to enable shortcuts via the settings menu on the top-right of the Prezi you are editing.

 

26 Use a remote mouse to control your Prezi presentation (in a conference, like with MS PPT)

According to the Prezi guys, most remotes will work with Prezi straight away and if not, you can use the desktop software. Frankly, I couldn’t get mine to work at all at first. (Note: 26th Sept 2013 – It does now!)

It works now (update: March 2013) but just in case: Here is a work-around for presenting via your online account that I found on this Prezi community page:

  • Create your path as you would
  • In edit mode, click anywhere (not twice, as that adds text) then press “space-bar” to enter “show” mode
  • If your browser is still showing all the menu-bars, change it to full-screen mode
  • Your remote will take you through the path. Simple as that!

 

27 Embed your Prezi in WordPress

For an example of what I mean, have a look at this post.

It’s quite simple to do, but not so obvious to figure-out.

 

28 Use your Prezi as a whole website!!

If you don’t want to develop a whole website, why not just use Prezi as one. You can have a Prezi presentation as your homepage, with none of the prezi.com page around it.

 

Note: Today (26th Sept 2013) I can’t open this link any more, so here it is step-by-step:

 

29 Choose good Prezi titles for search engine optimisation

Prezi.com has a high SEO score and is a really popular site. Presentations published on the Prezi platform are easily found by Google.

If you want your Prezis to be found by Google-searchers, then use good keywords in the title, eg: Your company name + content-related words.

 

30 Give your audience a hand-out

Easy! Just click on “print” in Prezi and save a PDF copy.

 

31 Use prezi at the right time of the day, in the right browser

  • If you are using Prezi in Europe, do it in the morning. It goes a lot better, probably because the USA is still sleeping.
  • …and use Firefox. Its far more reliable for Prezi editing than Internet Explorer.

 

32 Change the url of your Prezi

This is perhaps the world’s most obvious Prezi tip, but in case you (like me) were wondering: If you update the title of your Prezi presentation, it will correspondingly update the url. Bearing in that Prezi is pretty SEO friendly, this may have a positive (or negative) impact on your page-ranking via search.

 

33 If you have good images, save them to “My Collection”

If you are sharing a Prezi logon or regularly using the same images yourself, it is efficient more efficient to save them to Prezi in “My Collection” rather than have to upload or copy them each time:

  • Right click on the image
  • “Add to My Collection”
  • You will find them all waiting for you when you next use “insert”
  • ..in the part “My Collection”

 

 

That’s all for now!

 

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