Free Yourself From The Powerpoint Podium

powerpoint podium-speaker-650
There you are, standing behind the podium, facing a hundred people in the audience. Up on the large bright screen behind you is the display of your Powerpoint presentation for everyone to see. In front of you, perched on the flat surface of the podium desktop, is your laptop, gloriously set in presenter’s mode. You can visually see the current slide and the one coming next. You also have helpful notes for each slide listed under your slide display. Only you can see these.

Welcome to command central. You have full control of the presentation at the end of your fingertips.

One glance down, and you can see your notes and a visual of the upcoming material.

One touch of the arrow button and the slide advances.

The microphone is perched in front of you.

You have connection with the audience.

No more turning around.

Fully in control.


I used to think this was Powerpoint Nirvana. I could see the faces and my slides at the same time. No more turning to read my bullet points.

Yet something was wrong. I suddenly found myself stuck behind a podium, unable to move. [Read more…]

My Audience Came Alive After I Implemented This One Option

interactive training
As a software trainer, I speak to a wide variety of audiences, usually in a half or full day class. Some are small, more intimate groups of 10 to 15 people, while others may expand out to 30, 40 or even 50 people in a room. Each has their own dynamic, and many times what works for one type of group is impractical for others. Recently I have been training an overview course of a new web based software upgrade that has been very popular with many of my local school districts. As I have arranged training with their IT departments, the CTO’s would invariably want to maximise their class size.

I’ve recently faced large computer labs filled with Chromebooks with over 40 administrators, office personnel and teachers unfamiliar with the operation of the laptop units, especially the trackpad. Since my training is hands-on, this usually slows the start of the class as we have to get everyone logged in and ready to go. Large classes like this are a challenge, and the pace usually slows as the strange trackpad interface can produce unfamiliar results. Add to this the overload on the wireless bandwidth, and many times the whole class has to wait for screens to update. If my training computer is on the same network, I’ve had my screens slow and crash.

That being said, I’ve found some helpful solutions that have totally changed the dynamic of  the large audience training. I’ll cover these in a series of future posts. But today, I want to cover how this overload had changed a key dynamic in my training style, that caused some unintentional results. What was strange is that I hadn’t noticed the difference, until I took another trainer’s class last week at a software conference. [Read more…]

Working With a True Connector

What do you get when you combine a flight training school, an Aston Martin dealer, and over 20 men dressed in black? You get the first part of a wonderful day of connecting disparate groups of people together into an incredible event. Add in over 20 fashion models, a couple more spectacular cars and one woman who knew how to connect with everyone, and it all came together on the tarmac under a beautiful San Diego sky.

James Bond Photo Shoot
Marie Waite and her friend, Steve Matley, pulled everyone together for a James Bond Photo Shoot, to help promote a themed fashion show in April for a local non-profit, benefiting many different local charities. It was one of the most spectacular events I have ever been involved with.

The interesting thing to me, is it all started as a simple conversation at a casual dinner about a month ago. I was sitting with Steve and Marie and we were discussing how to promote the fashion show. The theme of the show is James Bond and entitled “For Your Eyes Only.” As we talked, I mentioned in jest that to pull this off you’ll need an Aston Martin, maybe a Lamborghini or other fast car, and of course an airplane. [Read more…]

Three Dry Erase Productivity Boosters

I discovered a great productivity perk a while back for my speaking audience that use dry erase markers on glossy photo paper. I just create easy to use tent cards that serve a dual purpose for my students. On one side of the folded tent they can write their name with a dry erase marker. The other side contains login information for my class. As a trainer, this has helped me get people logged in quicker and build rapport by visually learning peoples names as I walk around the room.

Taking the next step with this idea, I created three larger dry erase boards that work well for planning, decision making, and storyboarding. I’d like to make these available to you for free. These all print out on a sheet of glossy 8 x 12 photo paper, which is available at most one hour photo shops. I use Costco for my photo printing and I noticed that the 8 x 12 size prints better than 8 x 10 as it is a standard cut size. I suggest you experiment with one print first to make sure it works with your photo store. I’ve included 8×10 and 8×12 sizes below. In the U.S., Costco, Walmart and Walgreens stores all offer one hour photo printing at reasonable prices. Alternately, there are many online only photo stores that will work as well. [Read more…]