Fun with PowToon Templates

I have a confession to make: I’m not a big fan – at all – of using templates for things like PowerPoint or even in elearning design.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and earlier this week when I opened up PowToon to create a short promo video for an upcoming training initiative, I stumbled upon a host of templates that are actually pretty fun to play with. You can see them for yourself here.

Below is an example of something I could see using in our new employee orientation program. It took me less than 15 minutes to edit the template and get it to a place where I was happy with it. Continue reading

Cool PowerPoint Tricks: A Free Jeopardy Game Template

When used well, PowerPoint is a presentation tool that can engage and dazzle your audience. PowerPoint holds the potential to facilitate a give-and-take between the presenter and the audience.

One example of how a presenter can involve his or her audience is by turning the projector screen into a giant game board. Click here to download a Jeopardy-like quiz game template.

Jeopardy Game Board

The instructions are on the first slide, but feel free to contact me at bpwashburn at gmail.com if you have questions or need any help bringing this to your classroom or training room.

Looking for a different PowerPoint-based game? Click here to learn how to turn your PowerPoint presentation into a Family Feud-like game board.

Think someone else might enjoy this Jeopardy-like game template? Send this along.

Want more training tips and tricks? Hit the FOLLOW button at the top of the screen.

And finally, if you’re a mother, I hope you have a very happy Mothers’ Day this weekend!

You Down With O.P.P.? (Clean Version)

Yeah, you know me!

“O” is for “other”. “P” is for “people’s” work and preparation. The last “P”, well, that’s not that simple. It’s sorta like another way to call a map a script. There’s four little letters that I’m missing here. You get it on occasion, if the other party is a missin’. It seems I gotta start to explainin’…

Actually, that’s about as far as I dare take my little riff off of Naughty by Nature’s O.P.P.

“O.P.P.” in this context stands for Other People’s Plans, more specifically their presentation plans.

Over the past five weeks, I’ve been involved in planning and helping to deliver over 50 presentations. And other people’s presentation plans played a huge role in the success of these meetings.

Super_Lesson_Plan

The Show Must Go On

As a conference in Saudi Arabia was about to begin, I received word that heavy fog in Dubai would prevent several of my colleagues from arriving on time. I would need to facilitate their sessions for them.

Unfortunately for me, I was not an expert in their subject matter. Had I only been given their slides to work from, I would have completely embarrassed myself (and our organization) trying to present unfamiliar material in front of a room of knowledgeable participants. Fortunately, my fogged-in colleagues had completed detailed lesson plans and I was able to present with confidence and without missing a beat.

Click here to download a pdf copy of the blank template that they used.

What Would You Do?

Take a look at the following slide deck from a presentation I gave in December. Would you be able to fill in for me if I was stuck in traffic and I needed someone else to step up and present?

 

Would it make a difference if you had that slide deck and the following presentation plan (click here to download a pdf copy)?

Page 1 of 3 (Lesson Plan)  Page 2 of 3 (Lesson Plan)  Page_3_of_3_(Lesson_Plan)

Benefits of a Presentation Plan

Yes, investing some time and energy in creating a presentation plan before opening up PowerPoint and putting some slides together will make the planning process longer. But here are five reasons why using this format will be good for your next presentation:

  1. Emergencies happen. If someone needs to fill in at the last minute, it’s helpful for the substitute presenter to know exactly what to say, how to say it, and how long to say it for.
  2. Total Recall. It will serve as a good reminder if you have to give the same presentation a year from now and need some help recalling key points.
  3. Focus. It provides a systematic way to gather your thoughts on the specific objectives that need to be accomplished during your presentation.
  4. Keep it tight. It helps keep your presentation on track by defining exactly how much time you should spend talking about any specific point.
  5. Who needs PPT?! Once your presentation is mapped out, you may realize that you don’t even need to put a slide deck together because there’s a better way to present your information!

Know someone you could use some help in organizing their thoughts around their next presentation? Pass this link along.

Interested in receiving more tips, tools and articles like this? Hit “Follow” at the top of the screen.

Book Review: The Manager’s Guide to Presentations

69-word Summary:

New managers have a lot to learn. Supervising and coaching is a major element that most new managers lack and it’s a reason that many new managers struggle… The Manager’s Guide to Presentations won’t help you there. Managers also need to deliver presentations that motivate, persuade, inform and influence. This book is all about helping managers (and anyone else who presents) to prepare, deliver and assess presentations that motivate, persuade, inform and influence.

The Details:

  • Author: Lauren Hug
  • Price: $17.99 on Amazon; $7.99 as a Kindle book
  • 68 Pages

Bright Spots:

  • The Length: I’ve read a lot of books on presentations, and after the first 100 pages or so, they tend to get very redundant. In this book, Lauren Hug respects her readers by making her point and then moving on.
  • The Tight Organization: Related to the length and the author’s ability to make her point and move on, this book is tightly organized: what to do before presenting, during the presentation and afterwards. Period. There were very times that I thought: “Huh, that’s an interesting concept and if I had unlimited time I might someday try that, but honestly I’m too busy to ever actually do that in real-life.”
  • The templates! This isn’t just a book to read and put away on the shelf, never to be touched again. There are templates to help organize your thoughts on your audience’s needs and expectations, addressing your personal concerns and fears about public speaking, putting together your content, creating interaction with your audience and once your presentation is over there is a template for getting meaningful feedback. Truly, this is a book to work through… unless you buy the Kindle version, which makes it tough to write in. Which brings me to my next point…

Room for Improvement:

I do really like the templates in this book. It would be nice to be able to print them out and write on them. It would be great if downloadable, printable templates were available on the Hug Speak website. Until then, I’ll just have to re-create the templates in Word.

Who Should Buy It?

As mentioned earlier, this book is not only for new managers but anyone who finds themselves needing to put together a meaningful presentation. It’s $7.99 (e-reader version), it’s less than 100 pages, it can be read in one evening, it has templates for organizing your thoughts and it might even help you prepare for and deliver an engaging presentation that leads others to act. What do you have to lose?

Using a Lesson Plan Outline to Organize Your Presentation

Being intentional and methodical when it comes to organizing your thoughts around a presentation – whether a 5-minute presentation during a team meeting, a formal training session or even a sales pitch – is such an under-utilized art form.

When I write the words “intentional and methodical,” I don’t mean just having an outline and then spending time on developing your slides to illustrate your point. I use the words “intentional and methodical” to mean obsessive use of a formula that has been proven effective and successful in producing observable results.

And there are a number of people searching for such a formula to use obsessively. “Lesson Plan Template” is one of the most common search terms that leads people to the Train Like A Champion blog. In general, those three key words (and variations thereof) will take readers to one of the following previous posts that feature a blank lesson plan template:

02042013 - Lesson Plan  Modified Lesson Plan - 9

If you’re in the market for a new way to organize your thoughts, and you want to try a formula that has been proven successful (a previous post entitled The Evolution of an SME offers more details on this claim), by all means, please visit one of those previous posts and download the free lesson plan template.

Several readers have asked for a sample template that has been filled out in order to get a feel for how best to use this lesson plan template and how much information should be included (ie: should it be a verbatim script, should it simply have bullet points of key ideas to be presented, or should it have something in between these two extremes?). If you’d like to see an example of this lesson plan template in action, please click on this link to view a webinar lesson plan I created using this template.

If you do end up using this format to help organize your thoughts, I’d love to hear how it works (so please drop a line in the comments section below). If you use a different method to organize your thoughts, I’d love to hear what method works for you (again, please drop a line in the comments section below).

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

Anatomy of a Training Lesson Plan: The Basics of Lesson Plan Design

“training lesson plan template” or some variation of that phrase is the #1 search term to steer viewers to the Train Like A Champion blog over the past year.  The two most popular articles on this site are Training the Trainer: A Free Lesson Plan Template and Training Lesson Plan Templates: Design vs. Delivery.  Neither of those posts describe, in detail, how to effectively use each component of the lesson plan.  This post is an attempt to rectify that situation.

02042013 - Lesson Plan  Modified Lesson Plan - 9

Click here to access a pdf version of the basic template.  Click here to access a pdf version of the Design vs. Delivery template.

Dissecting the Basic Lesson Plan Template

Title of Training Segment: This is a simple field, where the name of the segment can be as plain as “Advanced Sales Training Techniques” or it could be something more creative like “To Train or Not to Train: Why Not Training is Sometimes the Best Training Intervention”.  While the lesson plan is generally for your eyes only, a catchier title can help steer traffic to your presentation if you’ll be facilitating a workshop at a conference.

Date & Time: Sometimes you’ll design a presentation for a specific day and time, and if you’re offering multiple workshops during a trip, this field can help you keep track of which presentation you’ll be facilitating on which day and at which time.  Sometimes you’ll design a lesson plan that will be used over and over again, and you may wish to simple enter “90 minutes” into this field.  Keep in mind that this template is designed to provide structure to your presentations, but should be adapted to best meet your needs.

Objectives: COMPLETE THIS SECTION PRIOR TO ANY OTHER PLANNING YOU DO IN YOUR LESSON PLAN.  This section is intended for you to design learner-centered, action-oriented objectives.  Put differently, what should your learners be able to do by the time you’re finished with your session… and how will you, as the facilitator, know that your learners have accomplished this objective?

Well-crafted learning objectives will basically write your lesson plan for you.  Do you want your learners to be able to explain a concept?  Then be sure to make room in your lesson plan for an activity that allows your learners to actually explain the concept.  Want them to demonstrate something?  Then you may need to design an activity that involves role playing or some other simulation of a skill.

Ways to Assess Whether Learning Objectives were Accomplished: As I alluded to earlier, you want to design activities by which you, the facilitator, can determine whether or not your learners are able to do what you set out to teach them.  Going back to your traditional school days, some make call this a “test”.  And a paper-and-pencil, multiple choice exam is indeed one way to assess whether or not the learners get it.  Take a look at the verbs you’ve used in your objectives, and then be sure to craft an activity that allows your learners to demonstrate those verbs.  If you have a learning objective such as “by the end of this presentation, learners will be able to demonstrate the five phases of coaching,” then you’ll need to have an activity in which the learners can show off the coaching skills they’ve learned.  And  you may wish to have an observation rubric to provide feedback (or even to provide a score) on the skill your learners have attempted to demonstrate.

Materials: Do you need blank flipchart?  Markers?  Are you going to prepare flipchart prior to the session?  A PowerPoint presentation?  Handouts?  Post-its?  Tape?  Name tags?  Name tents?  Be very specific about the materials you’ll need.  In the event you’re in a hurry to get to the training room, a complete list of materials you’ll need can be a very good reminder for you.  Showing up unprepared for a session is a good way to lose credibility with your learners.

Estimated Time: It’s helpful to break your session down into smaller segments in order to be sure to keep a good pace and to keep on time during your presentation.  How much time do you want to devote to the welcome/introduction?  Icebreaking activities can be fun, but if you don’t have a plan, they can run way over time, which means you’ll be playing catch up for the rest of your presentation.  How much time do you want to allow to introduce a topic?  How much time should your learners have to practice a given skill?  Don’t forget to leave time to wrap up and tie everything together.

Content/Key Points: Here is where you want to describe, in some detail, how each section of your lesson plan should be facilitated.  While it’s not necessary to write a verbatim script, it may be helpful to be fairly specific in your instructions.  If you have to give this same presentation a year from now, you’ll be happy you took the time to write out specific instructions for each section.  And if you’re stuck in traffic and need a co-worker to cover for you, they’ll need a fairly detailed explanation of how to facilitate your activities.

Instructional Technique: Here you should simply describe how you plan to deliver your content.  Will you use some lecture? Small group activities?  Large group de-brief?  Role play?  Simulation?  Will you show a video?  When you describe how you plan to deliver your content, you’ll be able to see, at a glance, whether your lesson plan would appeal to auditory learners (lecture, discussion, listen to recording), visual learners (use of visual aids, flipcharts, handouts, video) and kinesthetic learners (simulations, role plays, gallery walks).  If each instructional technique field relies too much on one technique (such as lecture), you run the risk of a monotonous, boring presentation.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.

How Do You Know If Your Training Is Effective?

“How do you know if your training actually has an impact?”  It’s a question I hear often, especially regarding soft skills training.  It all starts with a needs assessment.  When I’ve led teams, the easiest way I’ve found to assess needs, recommend training and then measure results is through a professional development plan (PDP).  If training isn’t tied to a need, if it’s not written down and if an employee isn’t held accountable for improved performance, the impact of the training will not be fully realized.

Here is a generic version of a professional development plan based upon one that I’ve found to be quite effective.

04292013 - PDP

I like this PDP format because it illustrates how metrics and key performance indicators should be directly tied to soft skills.  Metrics and numbers tell a story, but what is that story?  Are performance numbers down because of team dynamics and dysfunction?  Then perhaps a focus on teambuilding skills would be appropriate.  Are quarterly results suffering because team members haven’t established the correct priorities?  Perhaps time management is an area that needs to be improved.

Identifying baseline performance metrics, identifying appropriate learning opportunities (training on hard or soft skills) that should impact those performance metrics, then monitoring those performance metrics and results to identify if there has been improvement in those metrics is how I can feel confident that training is effective.

I’ll write it again: if training isn’t formally tied to a need, however, its full effectiveness will not be felt.

The Train Like A Champion Blog is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it along.  If you don’t want to miss a single, brilliant post, be sure to click “Follow”!  And now you can find sporadic, 140-character messages from me on Twitter @flipchartguy.