Monthly Archives: March 2013
I just watched “Walk the Line” and these little speech stuck in my mind. Its from the record producer (Sam Phillips) that first gave Johnny Cash a chance to record. Cash had just sung a gospel song that hadn’t impressed Phillips. Phillips encourages him to do better…
Johnny Cash (complaining he hadn’t been given a chance): Well you didn’t let us “bring it home”.
Sam Phillips: Bring… bring it home? All right, let’s bring it home:
If you were hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing one song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you’re dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin’ me that’s the song you’d sing? That same Jimmy Davis tune we hear on the radio all day, about your peace within, and how it’s real, and how you’re gonna shout it out?
Or… would you sing somethin’ different. Somethin’ real. Somethin’ you felt.
Cause I’m telling you right now, that’s the kind of song people want to hear. That’s the kind of song that truly saves people. It ain’t got nothin to do with believin’ in God, Mr. Cash. It has to do with believin’ in yourself.
If this inspires you at all, check out these 3 other posts (2 from me, 1 from TinyBuddha.com):
- Going “All-In”
- I think therefore I am. Not.
- Stop betting against yourself. 7 keys for personal freedom. (TinyBuddha.com)
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Prezi offers a great function to simply import PowerPoint presentations. But if you want to do it with style, follow these 10 steps…
(Note: In this post, I have used my Cefora HRM Day PPT presentation on new ways of learning as the working example. Have a look at that first, then check out my finished Prezi presentation here – its simple, but nice.)
First of all, when you make your PowerPoint document to begin with, don’t forget to follow the basic rules:
- Build your presentation in 5 steps
- Follow these 9 PowerPoint essentials for real business people
- Turn horrible text driven PowerPoint slides into awesome big bold visual messages
You need to have a clear message, structure and content in your PowerPoint before you import to Prezi. If you have that, let’s get started!
Step 1: Start from a blank canvas
The purpose of this post is to show you how to easily create good visual style and good structure in your Prezi. So don’t pick a Prezi template when you start. Ignore all the templates and click on “blank”.
Step 2: Delete that first default Prezi frame
I mean the big circle frame. You don’t need it…
Step 3: Import your PowerPoint with “grid layout” template
The whole point of this post is that too many people are using the same Prezi standard layouts when they import their PowerPoints. Its not that they are bad, but chances are you are using Prezi instead of PowerPoint because you want to be original. And too many people have already used all those layouts.
With some small effort and the tips in this post, its easy to do SO MUCH BETTER. So ignore all the choices it offers:
- Using the “insert” button, choose “PowerPoint” and locate your file.
- Be patient with the upload, it takes a while…
- When the slides are shown on the right of the canvas, choose “insert all” at the top
- When presented with the different layouts possible, choose “grid layout” – this will give you the best overview of all your slides
- Keep the path between your slide for now
- Click the green arrow
Step 4: Move individual slides to bring a first structure to your presentation
Now you can see all your slides, you can apply some simple structure.
- Move your slides around on the canvas so that slide that go together are together – do this by dragging the frame around. Be careful not to change the size yet!
- If like me you have generic first slides (title slide, company template slide, agenda) get those out of the way for now…
- Use the canvas space freely at this point – we can fix that later
Step 5: Put some nice colourful frames around those groups of slides and name the sections/categories
Again, if you prepared your PowerPoint well, you probably know what these presentation sections/categories are all about. But your audience doesn’t, so you can name them now…
- Use the “add frame” function to put a frame around several of your slides – make it a solid frame
- Double click above the canvas near one of your sections/categories and add some text to name that section/category
- ..then drag the text into the new solid coloured frame
- Repeat per section until you have something like this – starting to look good !
Step 6: Add your new section/category frames to the pathway and put them in the “right” place.
- Click on “edit path”
- Click on each of your new frames so they are added to the path (navigation bar)
- Move the new frames to their correct position in the pathway. For example, if your first section/category is called “A” and consists of slides 1, 2, 3 put your “A” frame in front of 1, 2, 3. And if section/category “B” consists of slides 4, 5, 6, put your “B” frame after “3” and before 4, 5, 6….
Step 7: Add a presentation title to your canvas
I am going to put all my content IN my core message. Its cool – you’ll see what I mean later, but first:
- Be sure you know what your message is. If you didn’t do that before you made your PowerPoint, you probably need some “Presentation Skills” training with me. 🙂
- Zoom out a little bit on your canvas and move to somewhere blank
- Double click somewhere on the canvas to add some big text
- Write the message title of your presentation
Step 8: Choose a nice template for your Prezi – one with good “hole-y” font styles
To achieve true style when you import your PowerPoint to Prezi, it would be good to have a font style that nicely lends itself to putting frames inside it. You are looking for something with holes in it, like I found in my example with the “pastel theme” subtitle font…
- Click on “template” and choose your template
- You can customise fonts if you want to
- Find a font that has some holes in it – in a minute, we are going to place our “slides” inside those holes….
- You will see that your “presentation title” (step 7) has now been updated to the new font
- ..and your section/category frames may have a different colour
Step 9: Place your section/category frames inside the text, rotating a little as necessary
As I said in my previous post on Prezi structure, it is important to use the different dimensions and rotation possibilities in the right way. I think that navigation within sub-parts of a Prezi presentation should be done gently and big structural changes can be more dramatic. To achieve what I did in my Prezi here, start by rotating some of those big solid section/category frames you made earlier to fit them into your text
- Have a look in your “presentation title” text for a nice place to put one of your big section/category frames
- Click on a frame
- Rotate it to align with a gap in the font
- Drag it to where you want in the text
Step 10: Nurse your individual frames to perfection and finalise your pathway
You will see that Prezi does some odd things to your original PowerPoint slides when it imports them onto the canvas and you will need to spend some time finishing up now. If you had an extremely simple PowerPoint (no objects, just text always the same size) then things will probably be OK. But if not, you may like me find that some objects are now in the background, text may have moved, shapes may be screwed-up… You will need to fix that now before you finalise your pathway. Here is a list of things I had to do:
- Put some text back in the foreground (right-click and “bring to front”)
- Delete some things that looked good in PowerPoint, but are terrible in Prezi – eg: my Excel-generated graph, which is now a completely different image
- Replace some PowerPoint objects with Prezi’s own objects – eg: the arrows on my graph
There is a lot more you COULD do to improve this Prezi – I added some fade-in effects and a little more pathway movement. And because my Prezi is for a long conference, I put the “presentation title” text in-between each section/category as a transition to remind us of the general point from time-to-time.
But I promised 10 steps and 20 minutes, so that’s it for now.
If you followed my steps, your Prezi will be far more original and stylish than all the other standard PowerPoint imported Prezis out there…
To close, here are 2 links for more information on some of the things I did above:
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We live in a fast-moving, ever-changing VUCA world. Stress, depression and burnout symptoms are more apparent than ever before. Our long lives are filled with all sorts of stress. Fortunately, the 5 things listed here are easy to avoid…
STAYING UP LATE LEADS TO SLEEP DEPRIVATION
I have a friend who is always staying up late (working). He is overweight, smoking and tired. A little more sleep would change his world.
The physiological effects of sleep deprivation are numerous, ranging from yawning and minor irritability to confusion and depression …passing by headache and obesity. How much sleep does an adult need?
- According to the American National Sleep Foundation, a sufficient amount of sleep is defined as “a sleep duration that is followed by a spontaneous awakening and leaves one feeling refreshed and alert for the day”.
- Simple and quick research suggests that 7-9 hours between the hours of 8pm and 8am is about right
- In his book “The 4 Hour Body“, Tim Ferris says that these common sleep patterns are not always what is needed. The minimum effective dose of sleep is what gives us enough REM sleep and physical rest over a 24 hour period. It really doesn’t matter if you get that in one go or in several smaller sleeps (regular polyphasic sleep or just an occasional good old fashioned siesta).
- A 1 hour reduction in sleep on one night (compared to your average) is all it takes to creep into the effects of deprivation.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
As a general rule, if you are wondering if you sleep enough, you probably don’t.
- Tip number 1 = go to bed just a little bit earlier 🙂
- Tip number 2 = turn off your alarm when you can. Some highly productive people set their alarms even when they don’t need to, as if it were a sin to sleep in. Don’t. Let your body wake you up when it wants to.
- Tip number 3 = try a mini-siesta. If you have 10 minutes during the day, jump in bed. If you are at work, nip out from the office to your car, or just put your head on your desk for 10 minutes. Even if you don’t sleep, its better than nothing.
Although productive and efficient people consider multi-tasking to be a strength, the risks of today’s most classic multi-tasked tasks are enormous:
- Eating at your desk is dangerous. Your desk is covered in germs, you are more likely to over-eat and not taking a break from productivity doesn’t help you to boost brain-power. Many people will read this blog whilst they eat and although they imagine it to be a sufficient break from real work, nothing beats getting up from your desk.
- According to a study by Allstar Direct Insurance, the risk of crashing your car while texting increases by 23 times, making it worse than drunk-driving.
- A report by CNN on the impact of texting while walking noted 68,000 accidents on one street in London during 2008 – people are simply not paying attention. A Las Vegas politician is right now trying to pass an anti-texting law to make this activity illegal.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Tip number 1 = Try doing one thing at a time for just one day and see how it goes.
- Tip number 2 = The next time you have to chop vegetables or vacuum the house, try a little mindfulness. Concentrate fully on what you are doing, instead of rushing to get to the next job. And don’t listen to music for once. Even if you think that’s boring, focus on the movements and actions you are actually doing.
MINI-FOCUS ON MINI-SCREENS (ALL DAY LONG)
The use of smartphones continues to rise at a crazy rate:
- Gartner says that worldwide smartphone sales increased 47% in Q3 of 2012
- According to the Ultimate Mobile Emails Statistics Overview, 90% of current smartphone owners access their email on their phone and 5 years from now, 78% of all US email owners will use their smartphone to access accounts.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Tip number 1 = Take regular breaks
- Tip number 2 = Maintain an appropriate distance
- Tip number 3 = Remember to blink!
TOO MUCH TV If you don’t use a smartphone or computer all day, you might feel like its OK to watch as much TV as you do. But how much are you watching? According to AC Nielsen, the average Americans watches 4 hours a day. That’s 1460 hours a year. And if you start at 16 years old and live to 80, that’s 11 years over a life time ! And according to a study by the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) referenced in the Independent, the average Brit is watching more TV than ever.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- If you watch TV every night, make a promise that for just one night this week you will do something else. Read a book, play a game or just go to bed.
- Watch a movie. Pick a short one, but watch a DVD, turn on the TV just before a film starts or watch something you have recorded. Anything to be sure there is a finite start and end time.
- Stop watching TV series that never end. If you are “on” season 6, this is a good sign it is going nowhere!
SUPERSIZING IMPLIES STRESS AND “EXTRA WEIGHT”
Food. Houses. Cars. Special offers. We always seem to supersize our purchases. I think this is a modern-day sickness, based on our ever-evolving obsession with growth and instant gratification.
In the comedy-drama-documentary “Supersize Me” (2004) Morgan Spurlock looked at the impact of this phenomenon by only eating McDonalds for one month. No surprises for guessing the result: Yep – fatty fast food leads to fatty slow body!
Supersizing your house might seem like a great way to have more space, but it doesn’t last long. Before you know it you are filling every space with more and more stuff you don’t need. This blog from the New York Times discusses how accumulating things doesn’t make you happy.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Tip number 1 = Don’t take the extra size up because you can. The marketeers know that by offering more for a relatively lower price, you are more likely to buy. But 3 for the price of 2 doesn’t mean you needed the extra one.
- Tip number 2 = Take some time to reassess what is essential for you. What is the 20% of your house that you are most spending time in and why do you need the other 80% ? For some good ideas, check out this wiki post on how to downsize your home.
- Tip number 3 = Eat more slowly. How many chips do you actually need to eat to be full up?
That’s it. Just stop it. Get some sleep, stop multi-tasking, turn off the screens and stay small. Easy!
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In the new world of work, we are (supposedly) all free, all mobile, all connected. But is it really true?
In his book “Drive”, the author Dan Pink tells us “the surprising truth about motivation”: What really gets us up in the morning is not capitalistic benefits packages, but a search for purpose, mastery and autonomy. Gone are the days of my grandmother dragging herself to a factory to scrape a penny together to survive. Now that we have everything we need we can work on what is important to us, to develop ourselves and because we want to. This is motivation 3.0.
But is it truly so awesome that IT professionals working for a ROWE company can punctuate their programming work with surf sessions on a beach in Thailand? Or is it rather absolutely bloody terrible that when they take a holiday the other side of the world, they can’t stop thinking about their jobs and never switch off? Addicted to their iPhone (laptop, iPad) and mobile internet-based you-can-work-anywhere-anytime work ethic, they work in their “free time” to avoid Information Deprivation Disorder.
And many “engaged” American white collar (no collar?) workers today work far more than they ever did before: The amount of work required to survive a week in medieval times has not at all been replaced in the 21st century by Tim Ferris’ best-selling notion of the “4-Hour Work Week”. And despite office conditions being more ergonomic, open-spaced, ping-pong-table friendly, more and more workers suffer from burnout, depression and stress.
Fashionable HR gurus like Nigel Marsh continue to talk about work-life balance, the need for “engagement” and the joy of working from home. I train new leaders on the same topics. But has our quality of life actually improved or is it just work propaganda that has everyone has “sold” (including the people in HR closing the sale)?
In her book “Get Real: How to see through the hype, spin and lies of modern life”, author Eliane Glaser tells us that much of what we are asked to believe about our wonderful life today is actually some form of covert ideology. This “soft power” is designed to get us to believe that we, the people, are doing better. But in reality, the invisible hand pushing many of these modern models of freedom of choice and people-power simply aims to reinforce the same kinds of class-control that have always existed: Politicians who are supposed to “listen to the people” outsource market-research sessions with their “customers” in order to find better ways to tell them whatever they want to hear, whilst they continue to eat 5-course meals in Harvard and Eton; the Britain’s Got Talent “everyone can succeed” dream of Susan Boyle hitting the big-time conceals the fact that the majority of people are watching this dream at home on a credit-paid oversized TV, no better off than they ever were before. Regardless of what policies may or may not actually be implemented by our politicians and regardless of the inability of the majority to rise above the mundane, we continue to believe that we actually have a say and can all become famous.
When it comes to new forms of motivation for work, Eliane Glaser suggests that whilst we are encouraged to want it more-and-more, work actually gives us less-and-less. Work seems more purposeful (yet relaxed) but its concealed demands are greater than ever.
I interviewed Eliane Glaser recently to get an in-depth look at this idea and find out if it’s true that I work 60 hours a week because I’ve been sold a lie, or if we really can find purpose and enjoyment at work…
DAN: What made you start thinking that this new motivation story was not all it seemed to be?
ELIANE: According to ‘Motivation 3.0’ as I believe it’s called, we are no longer wage slaves oppressed by authoritarian bosses, but we now work because we want to, because it fulfills us. We don’t just work to live, we live to work. The new language of management – and, incidentally, of marketing – is all about ‘engagement’, ‘two-way conversations’, and authenticity. Workplaces offer free food and drink and install ‘break-out’ or ‘chill-out’ areas with bean-bags and table football. But, as I argue in my book, I believe that this funky, pseudo-spiritual language of empowerment really masks a new power-grab by employers and financial elites more generally. In an age where people are working longer hours than ever before, where union rights are being eroded, where job security is diminishing and wags are stagnating, this rhetoric about fulfillment and ownership functions as a kind of fig-leaf or window-dressing for what’s really going on. And in many work sectors, for example creative and journalistic work, there’s a new notion that you don’t just work for money, you work ‘for the love of it’, as if working for money is some narrow, materialistic endeavour. The internet is awash with utopian promises of freedom, democratisation and empowerment for ordinary people, but if you are not paid for your work, you simply cannot afford to do it, unless you are lucky enough to be independently wealthy. Which is not very egalitarian after all.
DAN: You say that we now “live to work”. I remember when it used to be fashionable to say exactly the opposite: Work was ONLY about what it could give you outside – more partying, more holidays, more “stuff”… Surely if we’ve all been “sold” something else, we must have been ready to buy it? What is it in the working population that made us ready to switch to “the engagement ideal”?
ELIANE: I think that we all have a desire and a need for community, camaraderie, and meaningful individual and shared goals. Employers have realised that if these desires and needs can be situated in the workplace, this will result in greater investment by employees. By offering on-site free food, social events, social spaces, and away-days etc, corporations and other employers encourage workers to find what they need at work. Furthermore, opportunities for social and community participation and idealism outside of the workplace have declined: there are fewer opportunities for civic and community engagement, or contact with networks of neighbours or extended family. The rise of new technologies, commuting, consumer culture, and long working hours themselves – all these developments are eroding the opportunities for finding satisfaction and meaning outside work.
DAN: In your book, you talk about politicians who no longer talk honestly and openly about their own ideals, oil giants who position themselves as “green” and mass-produced brands who pretend to be artisanal and ethical. What would you say to the readers who brush off your ideas as cynical and simply “anti-establishment”?
ELIANE: I think there is an assumption that cynicism and optimism are opposed; that to be cynical is not to be constructive. But I think that questioning belief-systems and being critical is an underrated activity. By critiquing the deceptions and illusions in our politics and culture we can start to see things as they really are and start to influence things in a real way. So actually I am pretty optimistic, because I believe that by pushing concealed agendas out in the open, we can start to have a proper explicit debate about the kind of world we want to live in. I’m not sure that I’m anti-establishment, but I am critical of the elites in our society that unfairly monopolise power and resources. The gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless in our societies is getting ever wider. It’s also ironic that those elites regularly adopt anti-establishment language themselves – for example that ‘radical’ Yahoo slogan: ‘The internet is under new management: Yours’ and the funky T-Mobile ‘flash-mob dance-athon’ ad campaign. Big corporations and political leaders are exploiting anti-establishment imagery in order to claim that they are not themselves the establishment.
DAN: Back to motivation: The evolution of motivation/work seems to have gone from “get up and do what you need to do to live” (caveman) to “do it for someone else, provided they give you enough pay” (basic “carrot” work model) to “do what gives you a sense of purpose, autonomy and freedom, whilst getting paid for it” (“motivation 3.0”, the subject of this interview). What do you see as the next trend in motivation/work? How will things change in the future?
ELIANE: I’m quite pessimistic about work in the future, in the sense that I think there are big changes ahead and that existing ways of doing things are going to break down. In the age of austerity and economic contraction, unemployment is high and job prospects are poor. Those management values of motivation 3.0 are increasingly being applied in the low-pay, low-status sector: in call-centres and vast dehumanised Amazon warehouses. Our pay is stagnating and our job security is being eroded, but the management language is getting more and more focused on “fulfillment”. This is creating a kind of tragic irony. The other big change that’s happening is that a great deal of professional and creative work, like journalism and writing, is going online, and those workers are not being paid for their work. They are supposed to produce their creative or journalistic work for the love of it. This I regard as a really corrosive trend, because fulfillment is increasingly regarded not as a counterpart to pay, but as a replacement for it.
Eliane Glaser is a writer for the Guardian and others, BBC producer, associate research fellow at Birkbeck and the author of “Get Real: How to see through the hype, spin and lies of modern life” which is published by Fourth Estate. She is based in London, UK and you can read see her press cuttings here: http://elianeglaser.blogspot.co.uk/p/press-cuttings.html
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