Blog Archives

A few of my favourite posts for today’s new visitors

If you’ve just read Juana Lloren’s “Inside L+D” emailing to the ASTD Learning and Development Community, thank you for clicking on my name.

Wondering why she says I’m a “just a really good writer” (me too!)? Or interested to see a little more about from that wide variety of L+D posts? Have a look around or subscribe via the menu on the right.

In this short post, I’ve collected some of the more popular resources I think might be interesting to new visitors… Some of my favourites too.

 

L+D general resources

 

Social Media for Learning

 

Gamification

 

Prezi, presentation and communication skills

 

(Self) Leadership Resources

 

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Consultancy competences

In a recent training delivered by one of my colleagues, new joiners in one of the world’s leading consultancy companies got together to create a list of competences required to be a good consultant. Here is what they said:

 

You have to know some things…

  • ..technology solutions
  • ..how people work & listen
  • ..how to work with different character types
  • .. know about the client and how the work benefits them
  • .. how to be FAB to be heard…how to create rapport
  • .. the situation, values and needs of a client

 

You have to be able to do some things…

 

..and of course, you have to have the right attitude

  • ..be open to change (who is??)
  • …be pro-active
  • ..accept differences in opinion
  • ..being relaxed around new people
  • ..be confident
  • ..dare to ask for something, things you don’t understand or want to know
  • …be prepared
  • ..be open minded (and kill your sacred cows)

 

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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!

 

Have fun!

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Random things to do when presenting

..list created by trainees recently

 

  • Modulate your voice VISA
  • Share eye contact
  • Deliberate gesticulation, not waving hands around for nothing
  • Deliberate walking around; not hot-flooring
  • Introduction with message and/or agenda
  • Power position
  • Strong positive words
  • No fidgeting
  • Avoid long phrases and lots of details
  • Only say useful things!
  • Finish with the key message, like the diamond structure says
  • Use humour and be light-hearted where possible
  • Enthusiasm
  • Smile!
  • Stay and look calm
  • Use visual supports
  • Build up imagery step-by-step when necessary
  • After interruptions, rewind and replay
  • Only do 1 thing at a time

 

Answer 3 questions to convince your audience

When presenting for an audience, selling something or even just talking to another person, you need to answer 3 key questions. If you don’t, you will not get the attention or result you want.

 

In “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs” @carminegallo notes one of these questions and says that its the only one that an audience cares about: “How can this help me?” or “How is this interesting for me?”. I agree that this is the bottom-line when it comes to presenting.

 

In order to answer that question clearly, I ask my training participants to get in the habit of literally answering the following 3 questions the audience is asking themselves and to do it asap in the opening of their presentation:

  • What is your point?
  • What’s in it for me?
  • What do you want from me?

 

An example would be as follows:

“Hi. My name is DAN and I’m here to tell you that the best way to kick-off a presentation is by answering the 3 core questions your audience wants to here about. If you listen to me, I’ll explain these 3 questions, their motivation and how to answer them. I hope you will be convinced to do this in the future when you present.”

 

Another example:

“Thank you for joining the presentation. I only have one thing to say tonight and its simple: My product will make your work easier. In the next 10 minutes, I will show you how its different features can help benefit you with very little effort from your side. I am convinced that you will be ready to collaborate with our company and I’m ready to answer all your questions in order to win the business.”

 

These 2 examples are quite different. Both are equally direct. Some might say too direct, but the 3 questions are clearly answered.

 

So: Go forth and answer these question as soon as possible. If you do, you will have the ear of your audience. The rest is up to you…

 

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What can you learn from Dora-the-Explorer about presenting?

If you’ve ever had the “pleasure” of watching Dora-the-Explorer you have already seen at least 10 times what makes Dora a great presenter… … is it the annoying girl voice? The overly bright clothing?

 

No: Dora does a great job of TRANSITIONS

have a look at this short film and you’ll see what I mean

  • In fact, DORA does this in every episode when she regularly pulls out her “map” to let the kids know what they are going to do today…

 

In a presentation, it is important to let your audience know where they are and where they are going. Dora does this at the very start of each episode and regularly throughout the episode. If you compare her behaviour to the diamond structure of an Inductive presentation, Dora gives us:

  • An agenda at the start (19 secs into the film)
  • A reminder at each transition moment (56 seconds and 1m18 secs into the film)
  • A summary at the end (1m40 seconds into the film)

In the film above, she implemented this agenda/transition behaviour IN one specific part of her “presentation”..

 

What is the effect of this?

If you’re a work-at-home mother or father, you already know: You can plonk the kids in front of the TV and for at least 20 minutes, they are stuck to Dora * Compared to other TV programmes or activities, Dora does a much better job. Why? Because she immediately and regularly answers the kids’ most regular questions:

  • Where are we going?
  • Are we nearly there yet?

 

…but what about adults? We don’t need Dora, right?

Wrong! If you are presenting, your audience is asking the same 2 questions:

  • What is your point?
  • Are we nearly there yet?

 

Good agenda and transition behaviour, coupled with an inductive presentation structure will help you to:

  • Get the attention of  your audience
  • Create understanding of your message
  • Increase retention during the presentation (they stay glued to the TV !)
  • Improve recall after your presentation

Thanks Dora 🙂

 

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* I know, I’m a terrible father 😦 ..but hey, I’m a great trainer 🙂

 

Prezi: How to Build Effective Presentations

My 1st Prezi effort – love this tool!

Storytelling increases recall

I received this email yesterday, spontaneously, from a Presentation Skills training participant. We had discussed the power of storytelling, including how it increases recall… For more on this topic, follow this link

 

Dan,

 

I couldn’t find your business card straight away for your email address so I picked this one up at your website.

You challenged each of us at your training to remember your bee story. I don’t remember it completely but I do remember the moral of the proactive bee story. If they would’ve carried bags as the proactive bee wanted, they could have been more efficient in their harvest, meaning that proactivity could lead to improvement.

 

 

 

 

Make a presentation in 5 steps: Overview

Trainees sometimes ask me: “What is the most efficient way to make a presentation?” Follow these 5 steps and you will know the answer… Objective, Audience, Message, Structure, Content !

 

The pages linked above outline what to do at each step – follow the links and follow the instructions and you will be able to make a great presentation.

Don’t cheat on these steps. The next time someone asks you to make a presentation, just follow one at a time… Don’t go adapting previous presentations and PPT documents you have already made, start from scratch…

 

…and even if you prefer other ways to make your presentation, you will still need to deal with 5 basic steps. I can tell you now that the most efficient way is not opening PPT and just getting started on your visual support! Design your presentation first!

NOTE: This is not about making nice PPT documents, but building the whole presentation. PPT is referenced in the entry on building content…

 

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me: mail@dansteer.com

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