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Welcome to

The Standup Trainer Newsletter

May 2008

Brought to you by Ellen Dowling, PhD ("The Standup Trainer") and the fine folks of Dowling & Associates, Inc.



This newsletter is guaranteed certifiably useful as well as amusing. (If you are not completely satisfied, there are unsubscribe instructions at the end.)

In this issue:

1. Breaking the Ice: How to Win Friends and Influence People BEFORE the Training Starts!

Dear Readers:
One of my most enthusiastic and enlightened readers, Arathi Gundurao, sends in the following delightful description of a pre-program ice breaker:
The practice that I describe below is now so close to my heart that I cannot do without it. I am also proud to say that when I checked with most of the trainers that I know of, everyone says, hey that's a great idea and creative, too! So here’s what I do:
I talk to the Coordinator and get a list of the nominated trainees. Then I send a message similar to the one below as part of the invitation notice that goes to them.
Hey it’s good to get in touch with you and know that we will spend days together discussing [the topic]. I do not know more than your names now, and am curious to know a bit more before we meet up in the session.
Please tell me what "unique expectations" you might have for this training session. Send me something you wouldn't have thought of, if not for this question, so I am prepared when we meet.
In addition, to add a bit of energy to the training, can one of you volunteer to run a session in the class to discuss this question: “What made you take interest in this [training topic]. You will get 15 minutes after lunch time. (That’s when the class is beginning to doze off!)
Keep in touch! I am looking forward to meeting you!
That does the trick and when I walk in I have a team of smiling people with the ice already broken. What's more I have also exchanged emails with a couple of aspirants and know who to pick when the class starts getting dull.
Sometimes I also send a FAQ document on the training topic and an abstract/précis document that I always make for this purpose. Trust me, it’s worth spending that effort to do it. The results are amazing for you to see when you walk into the training session.
Hope you liked it!
Great suggestion, Arathi! As I always say in my trainer the trainer classes, When in doubt, FACILITATE! Any time you engage the trainees and involve them in the actual instructional process, everybody wins (and stays awake).

2. Some Useful PowerPoint Tools

Dear Readers:
After a presentation skills class I taught earlier this month, the students asked me to send them a handout with some of the useful PowerPoint tips I had shared with them in the class. I thought you all might enjoy it, too, so here it is:

Useful PowerPoint Tools

Compiled by Ellen Dowling, PhD

The MOST useful site I've found is Dave Paradi's "Think Outside the Slide" site (www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com). Here you can sign up for his free newsletter, which includes all sorts of useful PPt tips (such as how to use the "B" key to control the pace of your presentation slides and how to jump to different parts of your slide show with grace and style).

Of special usefulness on Dave's site is the Color Contrast Calculator (http://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/colorcontrast.htm), which enables you to determine if the colors you have chosen for your slide background will work with the color of the font. (You can download the link to this tool to your PPt toolbar.)

Another cool PPt technique is the use of a hyperlink, which allows you to jump seamlessly from your current slide show to another part of your show, or to a completely different slide show, or to a video, or a Word document—anything that is actually stored on your computer in a different file. Here is a site that explains, step-by-step, how to add a hyperlink to a slide: http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/workshops/biomed/ppt/hyperlinks.html.

It's always fun to look at examples of "bad" PPt. One of the most clever is "Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, PowerPoint Version," which begins:
"And now please welcome President Abraham Lincoln."

"Good morning. Just a second while I get this connection to work. Do I press this button here? Function-F7? No, that's not right. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have to reboot. Hold on a minute. Um, my name is Abe Lincoln and I'm your president. While we're waiting, I want to thank Judge David Wills, chairman of the committee supervising the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery. It's great to be here, Dave, and you and the committee are doing a great job. Gee, sometimes this new technology does have glitches, but we couldn't live without it, could we? Oh - is it ready? OK, here we go”: http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/

Lastly, there is a new program on the market, called "Perspector" (www.perspector.com), which allows you to construct really cool, three-dimensional graphics. (Animated rolling bullets! Whoo hoo!) The program costs $149, but there's a free trial version for you to check out. (Remember, though, just because you CAN add all kinds of cool animations to your slides doesn't mean you SHOULD. Analyze your audience's needs first.)

That's it for this month! If you enjoyed this newsletter please do pass it on to your friends. (Or send them to www.standuptrainer.com to get their own subscription. Why should YOU have to do everything for them?)

If you have a suggestion for something we could do to make this newsletter even MORE useful as well as amusing, please contact us:

Dowling & Associates, Inc.

Ellen Dowling, President

(505) 307-1700