Tag Archives: powerpoint presentations

Create a training studio for your company

class-2Training is a tremendous motivator for IT employees so identifying a training program for each of your employees is very important. The same thing is true for other employees in your company.

Something you should consider is creating a training studio for your company to develop and package training classes that can be used over and over. It’s a lot simpler and cheaper than you probably think. It can even save your company thousands of dollars in training expenses.

There are many variations to “packaging” a training class, , , anything from creating an audio file that can be listened to repeatedly, , , developing a PowerPoint presentation that you do a voice-over and record, , , to video recording a live presentation.

Each of these variations are easily accomplished and inexpensive to produce with today’s technology.

The easiest to do with both audio and video is the 2nd option, , , creating PowerPoint slides and recording a presentation, so let’s focus on this approach.

Let me clarify something. In this approach, you will record an audio voice-over and screens of a PowerPoint presentation as you deliver it in a controlled studio setting, not in front of a class or group of people, , , although you certainly could record in a live class.

recording a class

What you need:
There are just a few things you will need to develop and package training programs effectively, and you probably already have most of it:

  • Laptop or PC
  • PowerPoint software
  • Camtasia Studio software for recording a presentation
  • High quality microphone
  • Quiet room to record in

A couple of comments here, , ,

First, Camtasia Studio is one of the best and easiest recording products available and it’s inexpensive at $299.00 as of this post. I use it and highly recommend it. Camtasia records your PC screen and audio as you work through a presentation, , , browse the Internet and make comments, , , whatever you do is recorded while it is turned on, , , can even access your PC webcam to record you if you wish.


Second, good audio is a requirement so you want a good microphone. The good news here is that audio quality has improved significantly and a quality microphone is inexpensive. I have a professional grade Audio-Technica microphone on my desk that I use, but you don’t need to spend what I had to spend 7 years ago. I recently purchased a small portable mic to take with me on the road and it does a great job, , , almost as good as the pro mic in my office.

The mic I bought is a Samson Go Mic Compact USB Microphone – Plug n’ Play from Amazon.com; sells for $39.99 at time of this post, , , plus it’s usb and works with no additional software, , , it’s been a great tool for me.

Did I say portable? The case is 2 x 3 inches, , , slips in a small pocket of my briefcase.

Samson Go microphone  Samson GO-Mic

Steps to take:

  • Develop a PowerPoint presentation for your training class. Prepare bullet talking points for each slide in your presentation – it will help you focus and cover all the key points when you record your presentation.
  • Install your microphone and test it so you know it works
  • Install and become familiar with Camtasia Studio – Now, Camtasia has lots of features and capability, but you don’t need most of it initially. There are only two key things you need to learn to get started:
    1. How to record your screen and audio while you presenting
    2. How to edit out the sections where you make mistakes in the recording. In any recording session there will be mistakes, , , deleting these minor hiccups is easy with Camtasia.
  • Set up a quiet room to do your recordings. The microphone is quite sensitive and will pick up outside noise so you want to do your recordings in a quiet space.
  • Set up your PC to record – turn on the audio and Camtasia recording.
  • Do a quick test of just a slide to insure all is working as you expect.
  • Record your session
  • Edit as needed to clean up the recorded session
  • Publish your session to the desired format you want to use. Another nice thing about Camtasia is that you can publish your recordings to mp4, YouTube, and other formats that makes your recordings accessible by virtually any PC, laptop, or mobile device technology.

You can set up a recording studio in your company quickly and easily and at a very low cost to begin developing training programs that can be used again and again, , , not only for your IT organization but for your entire company.

Total cost if you already have a laptop and PowerPoint (and most of us do) – $338.00. Not bad when you consider doing this can save your company thousands of dollars by reusing packaged training programs, making them available over the internet, etc.

Why most presentations fail

When it comes to presenting, most IT managers struggle, , , and they struggle for several reasons.

First, they are uncomfortable getting in front of people. Guess what, , , this is true for most people, not just IT managers, , , but it is something that you can and will overcome with practice.

I remember being scared to death the first time I had to make a short 5-minute presentation, , , that’s right, “truly scared”. You wouldn’t notice it now because I don’t get nervous when I need to make a presentation. The reason is because I’ve done it a lot, but in my early career years it was a very intimidating issue for me.

The key is being prepared and knowing your material.

Another reason IT managers struggle with presenting is because they haven’t learned how. Presenting and communicating is not what you “jump out of bed in the morning to go do”, , , it is simply not a fun or interesting thing to do for most of us who find ourselves in the IT world.

When you do have an opportunity to make a presentation, you want it to be a good one. There are three key reasons most presentations fail, so I’m about to share them with you and give you quick and easy solutions to help you be successful.

Problem #1 – Too much text
This is by far the worst problem. IT people are high detail and we tend to try to put all the content we want to say on a slide. I’m sure you have seen a slide like the one below where there are lengthy detail bullet points the presenter talks about, , , or worse yet, reads from the slide.

Nothing turns an audience off faster than when the presenter simply reads his slides.

The good news is that there is certainly some valuable content on this slide, but there are many problems with it:

  • Too busy
  • Includes too many points
  • Not memorable

We will address these issues in a few minutes.

Problem #2 – People don’t understand your message
When there is lots of text on a slide it creates a challenge for your audience. Most people have difficulty in reading and listening at the same time, , , plus many who are high detail tend to take notes as well. That’s as many as three things going on, , , and what gets the least amount of a person’s attention is the listening part when you have all of this activity.

There are a couple of things you can do to reduce the competition that’s taking place in getting your audience to listen and to hear you, , , and one of the best ways to help people understand your message is by creating an environment where they can focus on your verbal message.

  1. Create slides that contain one key point
  2. Spend time to discuss your point so it is understood
  3. Discuss your points in conversational mode
  4. Prepare handouts to minimize the note taking

In the case of our sample, it’s better to have 6 or 8 slides to discuss all of these points than to try and discuss them from 1 slide. Multiple slides won’t be as busy, you will have your audience’s attention for the key point you are making on each slide, and you have room to make the slide more interesting, , , and maybe even memorable.

Problem #3 – People’s memories are limited
In most cases, people only remember about 20-30% of what you tell them. Knowing this to be the case is a plus and gives you insight to do some things that will help your audience “remember” your presentation.

  • Handouts can help
  • Images are memorable and make a presentation more interesting
  • Repeat key points to drive home your message

Let’s take our example, , , a “presentation remake” is in order. Below are revised slides that I think help you achieve better understanding, create more interest, and make your presentation more memorable.

Slide-1:  Start the presentation with “why” project management is so important. Your audience needs to hear, “what’s in it for me” and “why this presentation is important” right up front.

Slide-2:  Next, lay out the three phases of project management (project definition, project development, and project execution). Then explain that 70% of a project’s success is based upon the planning (project definition and development) work done in the beginning before you actually start doing any of the project work.

Slide #3:  The first phase is Project Definition. Explain the two key things are defining the project goals and objectives and quantifying specific project deliverables.

Slide #4:  You don’t have a real project unless your project sponsor agrees with the objectives and what you will deliver.

Slide #5:  Phase 2 is Project Development. Once you know what is required (objectives and deliverables), you develop the project plan made up of the Project Scope document, Project Schedule, and Budget. When you have all the tasks identified, you know the skills required so you can assemble a competent project team.

Slide #6:  Developing the project schedule is a key part of the plan. It defines what needs to be done to complete the project (tasks), who should do the work, and when the work must be completed to deliver the project successfully.

Slide #7:  Phase 3 is Project Execution. Executing the project means kicking off the project to get everyone on the same page and manage your team’s expectations and then monitoring and shepherding the project along to success with project status meetings.

It takes a few more slides but your total discussion will be about the same amount of time. Show the slides and discuss the key point of each slide, , , don’t read text.

It will make a big difference in your next presentation by helping your audience better understand your material and make it more memorable.


Make your presentations interesting

I’m sure you have sat in a boring presentation before. Everything in it is so boring it is all you can do to sit through the whole thing.

Presentations don’t have to be boring, , , in fact, they ought to be fun, informative, and interesting, , , something that makes the audience sit on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the next slide.

Here are some quick tips to “spruce up” your next presentation:

Tip #1 – Create an appealing slide master

  • Keep it simple, use warm colors and a theme that ties into your presentation topic.
  • Minimize background “noise” so it does not distract from your bullet points

Tip #2 – Slides with impact

  • One key thought per slide
  • Minimal bullet points
  • Don’t read your slide, , , discuss your key points
  • Incorporate personal experience stories and examples

Tip #3 – Create visual interest

  • Add an interesting graphic to enhance your point
  • Animation can be good but also distracting
  • PNG files are made for PowerPoint slides with background

Tip #4 – Energize your audience

  • Raise your energy level and it will boost audience interest
  • Use pauses and emphasis on key points for effect
  • Keep it moving
  • Smile and have fun

Tip #5 – Prepare

  • Become very familiar with each slide to glide through them
  • Know your key points on each slide
  • Practice in front of a mirror until you are comfortable

Delivering a presentation is frightening for many, but don’t let it intimidate you. Being nervous is not only natural, , , it is a good thing and shows you care.

The more you present the easier it gets, , , even becomes second nature over time. Remember to have fun and enjoy the opportunity and experience.