Thursday, February 16, 2017

Getting back to the Soft Skills - Presentation Skills

I count myself lucky to have landed in my job at NetSuite (now part of Oracle). I get to do some amazing work with nonprofits and spend some time thinking about how we can assist small nonprofits with their operations and financials. So awesome. But another great part is the resources available. I recently got to spend a couple days at a Soft Skills training and learned a bunch of things. So I thought I would take a bit of time to share a few things from this training and other things I have learned along the way that are relevant to anyone who needs to do a presentation.

Get comfortable with the content

Death by PowerPoint is no joke. If you don't know your content well enough to present it without reading a script or reading from the slides. If you know your content, it allows you to be natural in your presentation and have some fun with it. So practice it.

Have a plan.

Building your slide deck is not a plan in my experience.  All you are doing is planning what you are going to say and when. This would work great if your style is just to present the material and allow for questions, which for some scenarios is the only choice.  But I find it useful to create a training design, this allows me to think through the flow and objectives for each part, not just the content.

Here is what I typically use, I create a sample in a Google Doc. Beth Kanter has a good post on learning design! (Beth is wicked smart and rocks at presenting, by the way)

Pick your style for the presentation.

I think the biggest mistakes I have made when presenting is trying to do it all in one session: tell a story, run a workshop, present, interactive exercises, humor, entertainment, high level learning, detailed deep dive, etc.  I think the ones which worked best were the simple ones. I picked one hook for my session and stuck with it all the way. One theme and one approach with a clear message. You can mix a couple of these styles in, but it has to make sense with the topic and flow. How many times have you been in a session and the group activity felt forced or the story seemed to be a stretch or they spent the whole time entertaining but you never seemed to get to the content?

Techy or technical presentation?
Peter Campbell has an awesome post on how to handle this!

Yeah, I think I already mentioned practice, but practice should be repeated. And this is even more key when you have a team or a panel. Don't just wing it, unless that is the style of your presentation. But if winging is the style, make that clear in the description. However, even with a wing it interview style session, you still have to plan the time by topic, questions you will ask, prep the panel and do a dry run of the flow. So yeah, I go back to my original statement, you have to practice.

Random tips from the training I attended:

Tell, Show, Tell
Tell what you are going to show, Show it, Tell them what you showed.   Basically this goes to recency and primacy.  People remember what was repeated and what was said most recently.

Rule of 3 
Things told in chunks of 3 are easier to remember.  Read this article about it.

Limbic and Stories
There is a connection between memory and emotions (limbic system), stories are a great way to make this happen. Read this article as an example.  But there are many ways to bring emotion into your presentation, pick ones that match the plan and style you picked earlier, don't force it.

Well anyway, that is all the time I have for this post.  There is so much more you can do, but thought I would share.

Here is my list of links for you to read more: 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Where I'll be at #17NTC!

Each year I follow in the inspiring example of Peter S. Campbell by sharing where I'll be at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference and typically I link to his awesome post, but sadly Peter hasn't posted yet this year or I missed it. Peter posted his post, WOOHO, go read it now!

The annual NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference is something I look forward to all year long! This event has helped shape my career and the orgs I have worked for, plus it has impacted a number of orgs and staff I have collaborated or shared with. I love it. Anyway, here is where I will be at #17NTC.

HELP! Previous years I made awesome plans to connect with people at Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, but I don't have any of those plans yet, hit me on Twitter at @steveheye if you want to connect or leave a comment.

Or you can read what I learned at #15NTC to see if it helps you want to go! - seems like I never posted a what I learned at #16NTC, weird.

Weds, March 22

A mix of nerds and brew, need we say more? Celebrate the 9th annual #ntcbeer, the pre-conference party known for good refreshments and better conversation. Catch up with nptech friends old and new over a few brews or whatever. This year will be a bit different, our Facebook page will list a few options for you to pick from to meet up for #17NTC #NTCBEER. There are just too many of us to easily organize one place. Check it out on Facebook and meet some new people!

Thurs, March 23

Ignite Plenary!
Lucky for all of you, I am not singing this year.  But the brilliant Amy Sample Ward will be reading some of her poetry! (not sure which day ASW will read it, but in response to my challenge post she agreed to it.) It's a can't miss!

Communicating Data for Action and Impact
With my new role so focused on data and nonprofits, time to sharpen these skills. Good session description: Many nonprofits struggle with communicating data. Some jump to visualizations without considering their goals or audience needs. Some have a clear idea of whom they are trying to reach, but don’t know how to best tell their data stories. This interactive session will provide real world examples and actionable advice on applying “The Five A’s of Data Communication” to help you achieve your desired outcomes:

Technology Wellness in the Nonprofit Workplace
You can't go wrong with Beth Kanter and I haven't been to one of her sessions in a while. I am sure she will have us doing some walking or maybe even mediation.... But hey she is wicked smart and always pleases the crowd. Plus we could all stand to put our phones down and learn to deal with the overwhelming amount of tech in our life.

The Role of Technology in Managing the Operations of a Nonprofit
I will be co-presenting this session with Peggy Duvette, plus a surprise nonprofit guest!  This should be a bit of fun mixed with some learning about tech and operations.  Come on we could all use some help with managing and running our orgs a little better.

Fri, March 24

The Fully-Informed Approach to Calculating Return on Investment
How can one determine whether an investment is worthwhile? How can we align our spending more tightly with our objectives? What tools and strategies support the formation of reasonable assumptions on the likely return on investment? (Mostly going to this because Peter Campbell is presenting and I always make sure to make time in my schedule to heckle him, but he is super smart!)

Audience Research on a Dime
We're helping people solve for situations when they don't have resources for audience research, have buy-in for audience research, and understand the importance of audience research.

FUN After Hours!
Need to pick a progressive party!

Sat, March 25

Nonprofit Execs Talk about Strategic Assessment
This interactive panel discussion will feature nonprofit execs sharing how strategic assessments changed their organizations.

How to Automate Workflows to Become a Truly Data-Driven Organization
We'll review the steps involved in moving an organization to full workflow automation, including technical steps and organizational buy-in. We'll also cover ways to ensure that automated workflows are accessible to individuals with different technical skills.

Geek Games! Bring it!

SO much Stuff! If you haven't registered, DO IT NOW! If you have registered, change your travel to be there early for the Pre-Conference (Smaller crowds and more info!)