Event Date: 10/31/2019 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
Participants will learn:
- Brain-based presentation strategies that will make content engaging and memorable
- What makes the brain “fall asleep”
- Practical concepts and effective presentation techniques you can apply to any learning environment
- How to employ brain-based resources to enhance your use of cognitive neuroscience as it relates to learning
You should attend if you are:
- A training or HR professional who delivers training
- An independent training consultant
- A manager who delivers or purchases training as part of their role
Presented by: Sharon L. Bowman, MA
What is a fast pass?
For F2F classes, post one of the following examples on the opening slide or on a chart that everyone can see and read:
“Turn to the person sitting next to you. Introduce yourself and tell that person three things you already know about the topic.”
“Introduce yourself to your table group and tell them what you want to learn from this class/training.”
Stand and find one or two other people from other tables to form standing pairs/triads. Introduce yourself and tell them what you want to be able to do with what you learn today.
For webinar classes, the instructions might be:
“In the chat box, write 1 thing you already know about the topic and what you want to learn from today’s webinar.”
What do you think of putting the ppt on a handout without use of ppt?
Nope, I wouldn’t do that because then they have the PPT material and they don’t need you! Furthermore, you’ve just removed their “curiosity” as to what is coming up next, which is one of the major emotions that keeps us engaged during a class or training.
Is there a ‘best’ resource for getting photos without copyright infringement?
Free photos for slides include:
Does the presenter moving around add or distract from presentation?
Any changes in the learning environment (including movement on the part of the presenter) will add to the presentation and increase attention. But if the movement is repetitive, after awhile it becomes boring, just like anything repetitive does. And watching the presenter move around doesn’t increase the oxygen in the learners’ brains – they need to move too!
Are fidget items like pipe cleaners or color pages a good way to engage them?
They are fabulous for folks who are strong “kinesthetic” learners (those who need to have a part of their bodies moving while learning). I never do a F2F training without fidget toys!
Writing – Thoughts on doing this w/audiences who do not write well or quickly?
Provide a graphic organizer that has shapes to write in (Google “Graphic Organizers” for examples). Then direct learners to write an important word or phrase in each shape at certain times during your content-delivery and give them the time to do so. Also, if you have learners do a “Pair-Share” first before writing a fact or short summary sentence, they do better with the writing. Remember, it’s the act of writing rather than the end result that helps move content into long-term memory.
When you talk about writing things down, does typing within a document count?
Research indicates that writing is the better choice for moving information into long-term memory. While I don’t tell learners that they can’t use their laptops or other digital devices to take notes, I provide graphic organizers and I give specific instructions and time for using these writing pages so that they do write, even if they also type. Below are two of the research items you’ll find if you Google “writing vs typing.”
Do people remember as well if they type notes, vs. writing?
Research indicates that writing is the better choice for moving information into long-term memory. While I don’t tell learners that they can’t use their laptops or other digital devices to take notes, I provide graphic organizers and I give specific instructions and time for using these writing pages so that they do write, even if they also type. Below are two of the research items you’ll find if you Google “writing vs typing.”
Attention Students: Put Your Laptops Away; from NPR, 2016
A Learning Secret: Don’t Take Notes with a Laptop; from Scientific American, 2014
What about in general team meetings, how would you do priming? I do ice breakers/non-related social building questions. Is priming similar to fast pass? (I am in a virtual environment)
Check out the Warm-Ups HERE that model some of the pre-meeting ways to do priming (you would have to change what you send to your meeting participants to fit with the topics you plan to cover). Also, click HERE for my blog post on “Priming.”
Yes, the Fast Pass is one way to use Priming in a virtual environment. I don’t consider social, non-topic-related icebreakers as “Priming” because they don’t relate to the topic (of course you can use them just as social-connection activities, if you wish). See the question above about Fast Pass examples that are both social-connections + Priming.
How does color or smell affect audience receipt of information?
Color always makes the human brain pay more attention than the lack of color. So colorful paper, markers, sticky notes, charts, and slide photos will grab the brain’s attention in formal learning environments such as classrooms.
Smell is a different story. The human brain strongly associates certain odors with specific memories, so our individual preferences (and possible hypersensitivity or allergic reactions) to certain odors makes using specific scents in formal training rooms risky.
When turnover is incredibly high under one leader, when do we terminate them?
Once the issue has been identified, hopefully there is coaching and development opportunities for this leader before we move to termination. But if coaching and development is happening, the leader is aware of the gap in expectations, and no progress is being made – it might be time to move or remove them. In short, some patience (as long as there is a process), but minus progress, it is time to move on.
Based on the acclaimed book, “Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time,” author Kevin Eikenberry sets out to challenge participants to be more intentional about what, when, and how they learn. Remarkable Leadership: A Learning Series offers a flexible and practical learning experiences for leaders at all levels.
Learn more about Remarkable Leadership by Kevin Eikenberry here:
Have you used an Appreciative Inquiry approach to obtain input from leadership as gaining data for consideration in creating a leadership development program?
I have and I am a fan of Appreciative Inquiry. While I am not an expert personally, I know this approach can help create great data, context and goals for something like a leadership development program.
What do you think about one on one meeting between leader and staff.
I am a big believer in these – but I am not sure the exact context of the question. If the question is to get the leader feedback from the group, I would encourage, as we discussed on the webinar, using a facilitator for that process. That will provide process and make the feedback more valuable and useful.
What can you do when the most senior leadership is part of the problem?
While I am not sure what you mean by “part of the problem”, I will start with – “they need the improvement as much as anyone.” More senior leaders are often open to providing training and development for others, but don’t feel they need it themselves. Assessments can help them see their blind spots, but maybe you can’t get to this awareness directly. Get at senior leader development through offering/suggesting coaching, helping them identify a skill or two they would like to polish, or encouraging leaders to attend with their team members to show support and so they can support the learning of their leaders (this gets them in the session without calling them out as “needing the training”). I don’t love the last suggestion, as I would rather those senior leaders are in for the right reasons, but it can work if needed.
How do you measure to see if the leadership development is working?
This is an age-old question, that people have written books to answer! I will answer with two ideas:
1. Measure the results leaders leads to:
c. Employee retention
2. Measure performance improvement directly through 360 assessments, self-assessments or other tools.
Is it a good idea to have an internal rating system for leaders, an interval survey of some sort, to track/measure improvement? to track team sentiments?
Having a way for leaders to know where they stand and how they are doing is valuable for sure. If can be done with a 360 Assessment, with some other sort of employee assessment tool or through focus groups. If doing this for all leaders in an organization the overall assessment will be useful, but might will likely lose the specificity needed to help individual leaders improve. Without more context, I would be hesitant to suggest a rating system, rather looking for ways to give leaders the valuable feedback they need to improve.
Is having us read to ourselves also a brain-based tool?
Yes, reading to yourself is a brain-based tool. But reading and listening are passive “reception” tools. You are receiving information in an unresponsive, inert, lifeless way. This has been called “sensory” learning as your senses are taking in information.
As we did during the webinar, writing and speaking are more active “sending” tools, even during a webinar. These tools allow you to put what you receive into more long-term memory while you apply what you have learned. So these brain-based tools are more lively, effective, and involving. This has been called “expressive” learning as you are expressing what your brain has processed.
Our consultants like to have participants read some content before the training experiences. This pre-work puts participants on a level playing field for the session. It helps them have things to share, have a common frame of reference, and empowers them to quickly become engaged during the training event.
We also sometimes have after session readings also. These are usually picked to reinforce what was learned during the session.
For those people who prefer reading to learn, we offer an e-learning option in our Reproducible Training Library (RTL). You might browse our Reproducible Training Library (RTL) for options to develop people and then contact our solutions consultants at 800-633-4533 to discuss what might fit your readers.
Does doodling count for taking notes?
Certainly, some research, suggests doodling helps to stay focused in long, boring meetings. But what helps you most is to stay tuned in by asking questions, proposing ideas, and taking notes. Anything you can do to actively participate will help you get through it over passively participating.
Doodling is passive because it is sort of aimless, spontaneous sketching or drawing using whatever paper and writing implement you have handy. Most of us are surprised to see doodling as a recommended technique for getting through boring meetings, but indeed it is.
How it works is this. Doodling can actually help you focus and listen. It can relieve stress and improve productivity. It can also help in memory retention but please doodle a number or word or image that pertains to what’s being addressed and it’s more likely to stay with you. And there’s no such thing as a mistake; they are your doodles, and whatever you create is just right.
Why does it work? Some researchers think that doodling helps the brain remain active compared to the strain of paying single-minded, continuous attention.
Although doodling may be beneficial to the doodler, there’s a downside. For the person who’s speaking at a meeting or in a workshop, your doodling can be distracting and annoying. While you may be skilled at texting or browsing the internet while holding your phone in your lap where the speaker can’t see it, doodling is usually a visible, table-top activity. The unavoidable impression is that the doodler isn’t paying attention. That is not a good impression to give your boss.
Who knew that doodling could be the key to improved productivity and concentration?
Does typing information have the same benefit of writing it on paper?
There is research that shows taking notes while listening helps people remember longer what they heard. But we could find no research that compares the benefit of writing on paper versus typing into a computer. However, intuitively we know that we often type things into the computer, walk away from it, and later have some trouble remembering what we typed. However, when we make notes on paper, walk away from it, later we can still “picture” in our brain what we wrote. So, we are inclined to believe writing it down is more beneficial to long term memory.
Couldn’t someone go to a stand-up meeting and be annoyed by not being able to sit, and then be distracted?
People can be distracted by any number of “hot buttons” or “pet peeves” that catch their attention. Someone could make a comment and it reminds a listener of their grandmother who just passed away – that’s distracting. Someone could be wearing too heavy of perfume – that’s distracting. Or for some people (maybe with arthritis, or who is tired, or who feels a “right” to sit), having to stand in a meeting is distracting. Standing also makes it harder to take notes. But if everyone is standing, it helps to keep the meeting short and focused. Once people sit down in comfortable seats, something that could have taken 15 minutes, now will probably take an hour. Also, standing helps us increase oxygen to the brain, which helps us think quicker.
Are screen shots that are based on the tasks learners will be doing effective?
Screen shots can be great pictures to illustrate tasks. Taking real pictures also works.
Can you explain Priming?
“Priming” is a way of getting your audiences ready to learn by connecting them to what it is they already know about your topic. In the olden days, people had a phrase “priming the pump.” In order to get a pump to give water, one would have to put a little water in the pump to get the pump to give water. So, in priming an audience, we give them a little “priming” to get them to understand what they already know.
In teaching project management, I start by telling a quick story about planning and building a deck on the back of the house. It’s an illustration that is simple but people can relate the issues to large multi-million dollar projects – money, the time, the effort, the coordination, etc.
Or in teaching negotiation skills, I start by asking someone in the audience to tell about when they negotiated to get out of a speeding ticket, or in buying a used car, or in deciding on a place to take a vacation with their spouse. The story becomes an illustration of preparing (or not), considering the interests of both parties, etc.
So priming is a warmup or ice breaker that allows people to think about what they already know about the topic. Sometimes it’s good to have the audience talk to someone sitting beside them about their experience or knowledge about the topic.
Sara: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar, Brain-Based Presenting, Getting the brain to Pay Attention, hosted by HRDQ and presented by Sharon Bowman. My name is Sara and I will moderate today’s session. We’ll be here for about an hour or so, and we will have some time for questions throughout and possibly at the end as well. Look on your go-to webinar control panel, you’ll see an area that’s called questions with a white box there. You can type in that box and then hit submit.
That will come over to Sharon and I and we’ll be able to answer those questions either as we go along, or in the middle, or at the end. Go ahead and feel free. Please interact with us. As you can already see some of our pre-session slides, our presenter has really exciting ideas to share so I’m going to ahead and let her dive right in and get started. Please welcome Sharon Bowman.
Sharon: Sara, thanks so much and welcome everyone who are joining us today for Brain-Based Presenting. We’re going to begin with a somewhat very obvious fact and let me see if I can get that. Sara, can you move the slide please? Evidently, it’s not moving for me to the next slide. Okay, you have one of these. We’re going to use your brain to figure out how to get other folk’s brains to pay attention. Let me see if this slide will move again. Yes, it will. Cool. Okay, let’s go back one slide and folks you’re going to have to bear with us just a little bit. As always, sometimes, there is a little bit of technology smoothing out at the beginning of webinars until we get everything synced.
This webinar then is about your brain as well as the brains of the folks that you interact with, and the people that you share information with. You’re going to use your own brain to learn about it. You’re also going to use your own brain to learn about how to get the brains of your audiences involved, and engaged, and how to get your audiences to pay attention so that they can remember, and use the information that you’re sharing with them. Now, because this is about the brain, we’re going to begin with a quick brain warmup activity. You’re going to do two things with this little number line.
First, let me tell you what you’re going to do and then I’ll pause of a few seconds for you to do it. First, you’re going to add the numbers together to get one sum. And then second, you’re going to think about how you added those numbers together. If you’ve already done this little exercise, challenge yourself and see if you can figure out another way to do it. Add and think and I’ll pause for a few seconds will you do that. Go. Now, some of you might still be adding and that’s fine. I’m sure those of you though who are finished adding, probably got the sum 55.
Let’s take a look at a variety of the ways you might have arrived at the sum of 55. Some of you might have added the numbers from left to right, or from right to left. You might have done this way because either it was the way you were taught, or it’s easier to add from the large numbers to the small. You were taught, you read from left to right, all of that. Some of you might have grouped numbers consecutively like the circles on this slide where you’re grouping numbers that are adjacent to each other. Maybe you did this because you remembered grouping numbers in a math class and that made it easier for you.
A few of you might have grouped by tens. Either starting with ten, and then going one plus nine, two plus eight, and so on, and throwing in the extra five at the end. A very few of you might have grouped by 11’s. I know some of you are probably thinking 11’s? Who would think 11’s? Either by beginning in the middle of the number line and working your way outward, or beginning with the one and ten and working your way inward. By the way, most folks who group numbers like this are really good at math. They’re mathematicians, or they’re accountants, or they’re really good at recognizing number patterns.
You’re in the minority if you grouped numbers like this. Now, this little brain exercise has nothing to do my friends with how smart you are, nor has it to do with a right way of adding these numbers. Obviously, there are lots of right ways to get the sum, and what your brain did was, it hunted for patterns. Either patterns of adding numbers that were familiar to you, or patterns that would make the job easier, and you would arrive at the sum more quickly. This little exercise is really a metaphor for learning and presenting because there are lots of right ways to learn, and lots of right ways to present, and no one way works all the time.
As presenters of information, we need to have a variety of tools that we can choose from, and we need to vary those ways we present content to others so that they can find the patterns if you will, the brain patterns that work for them, not just for us as the presenters. Now, you’re going to have three challenges during this webinar. Your first challenge is to collect as many of the presentation tools as you can and write them down. You can decide later if you’re going to use them, just collect them all. Your second challenge is to think about how you might use some of the tools in your own presentations with your own audiences.
Your third challenge is really the most important one. You need to notice how many brain-based tools that I use during this webinar to get your brain to pay attention because we’re going to come back to that challenge at the end of the webinar. All right, to get the most from this webinar, you’ll need something to write on, and something to write with. If you’ve already downloaded and printed the handout, that’s great. Use it, but if you haven’t done that, that’s just fine because I’m going to give you some resources at the end of the webinar, and you can pick up the handout then. A blank piece of paper will do just fine.
Writing is a powerful way of reinforcing content and moving facts to long-term memory. Your brain is going to remember more of what you write during this webinar than what I say, or what you read. The same holds true for your audiences. They’ll remember what they write more than what you say, or what they read on a slide. Okay, so our second little exercise rather is to take a moment, think about how in the past you’ve gotten other people to pay attention to what you had to say. Maybe you told a joke or story, or you moved around the room, or you called on someone to answer a question, or you showed a photo on a slide, or whatever.
Whatever strategy you used, write it quickly down on your note-taking handout now. I’m going to pause for a few seconds while you do that. A few of you wrote what you already do in the question box, and you wrote at the beginning you use ice breakers, that was Julie. Ebony uses a little humor, strategies for engagement. There were a few other comments there. They’re ideas to get people participating, storytelling, and all of these ideas. These are wonderful ideas. Post a question, change the tone of voice, start with humor, connect with the audience. These are great ideas.
By doing a quick write like this, either in a webinar, in a chat box, or question box, or in a face to face presentation where people are writing longhand, they’ve just reviewed some prior knowledge and so have you about our webinar topic. When you write, what I’m saying is you’ve reviewed some information you already know about this webinar topic, and by having your audiences do a quick write, they will review some information they already know. Research indicates that the human brain learns better when it can connect new information to previously learned information.
All right, see if we can go to the next slide. Lisa, if you could, or Sara, I’m sorry. Sara, thank you. All right. Read this slide to yourself please. Patricia Wolfe is a college professor and in her book Brain Matters, she says that writing helps learners deepen their understanding of what they’ve heard, and it also helps them remember content later. Learners are more easily able to access that content from long-term memory when they summarize the information in their own written words. Okay, next slide Sara, sorry Sara, if you can please.
Good, now, you saw this on the rotating slide, some of you already did. Think about ways you’ve seen other presenters get their audiences to pay attention. And then, if you’re in a room with one or two other people, quickly tell someone what that presenter did. If you’re in a room by yourself, you can pretend to tell an invisible friend sitting next to you, or you could just think about what another presenter did to get their audience to pay attention. I’m going to pause for just a few seconds while you talk or think. Also, while you’re doing this talking and thinking, do just a quick stretch. Stretch your arms, and your legs, and your body, and take a deep breath.
Sara, I’m going to see if I’ve got control over the slides. No, all right. My dear, I’m going to have to ask you to forward the slides. Let’s forward to the next one. Good. Hopefully, the other presenters, my friends that you have seen, have not done this to get their audiences attention. Next slide Sara. Hopefully, they haven’t done this and next slide. Hopefully, they haven’t done this. Next slide, please. Hopefully, they’ve done something that made their audiences feel like this, excited about what they were learning, and eager to learn more. When you use some of these brain-based presentation tools, that you’re going to collect during this webinar, your audiences will feel like this as well.
They’ll feel really good about what they’re learning, and they’ll definitely want to learn more from you. Okay, and the next slide, Sara. Thank you. Read this to yourself please. I’m going to see if I can just do the arrow keys here, Sara. Let me see that for a minute. Yes, okay. Let me move back. Okay, cool. I think the arrow keys will work for me. Jay Cross is a technology expert, and the author of this book, Informal Learning, and he says that social engagement is absolutely crucial to successful learning because as a species, we have learned from each other far longer than we’ve learned from books, or lectures, or screens.
The fast path is a way of getting people in your face to face audiences connected and talking to each other in quick topic related ways. In webinars with smaller online groups than what we have in this webinar, we have a huge group in this webinar, folks. We have almost 500 people. Smaller groups, we could’ve used chat rooms or breakout rooms, or verbal responses. In a large group like this, we’re going to do some other things to get you engaged with each other, and we this webinar content. All right, now, I just used two presentation tools that helped you and would help your audiences make some important connections, so please take a few seconds and write them down on your note-taking handout, or your note-taking page.
You can title that, Lists That You’re Going to be Creating Your Presentation Tools. The next time you’re conducting a meeting, or delivering a presentation, I encourage you to choose one of these tools to begin your talk with because right off the bat your audiences are going to be more involved and more engaged. When you begin a training, a meeting, or presentation, with something like a quick write, or a fast pass, something that is connected to your topic, so it’s not just an ice breaker that connects people socially, it connects them to the topic as well, you’re using a technique called priming, which is a brain scientist way of saying that you’re getting your audiences ready to learn by connecting them to what it is they already know about your topic.
The handout that some of you had downloaded, or that many of you are going to go collect after the webinar when I give you the blog post to go get it, it has warmups on it. Warmups are another priming tool that you can use with your audiences and in your presentations. I’ll give you the instructions for finding the warmups in that handout later in the webinar. Now, the brain science that I’m about to share with you will forever, I promise you, forever change the ways you present information to others. I’ll let you in a little secret. You already know this brain science because my friends, you have a brain that uses it every day. You just may not know that you know it, however, once your consciously aware of it, you can use this information coming up to redesign your meetings, and presentations so that they are always brain-based.
I’m going to explain these four basic brain science elements to you and then you’re going to experience them in action. We’ll start with the explanation first. The human brain is genetically hardwired to notice four general things. The first thing is novelty. The human brain pays more attention to anything in the environment that is new to a person’s experience, and you pay more attention in your surrounding environment that are new to you. Your audiences do the same thing. They pay more attention to anything in a meeting or presentation that is new to them. Novelty can include the senses, new auditory, visual, or kinesthetic, meaning movements, or sounds, or images, those kinds of things, or anything else that is new. New actives, new photos, new things that have not been used before.
And then, that brings me to the second brain science element and that’s contrast. The human brain pays more attention to things that are in contrast to other things in the environment or to things that are in contrast to what just came before, or to what you are expecting. You, for example, pay more attention to the contrast or changes in your environment wherever you are, or whatever you’re doing, you’ll notice the changes. Your audiences also pay more attention to anything that changes in the learning environment, or anything that is in contrast to what came before, or to what they are expecting.
All right, the third element is meaning, the brain also pays more attention to anything that a person determines is meaningful to him or her. If something is super relevant for you, you’re going to pay attention to it, and the same goes for your audiences. They’ll pay attention to the things that are relevant for them, or meaningful for them. Finally, oops. Let’s go back one. There we go. Emotion. The brain pays more attention to anything that makes a person respond emotionally. John Medina is a molecular biologist, and he’s the author of the best-selling book, Brain Rules. He says the emotions are the brains sticky notes.
Emotions flag the important stuff inside your head. They tell you what to pay attention to, and what you need to remember. The same goes for your audiences. When you can tie emotions to the learning experience, or to the data you’re presenting, your audiences will remember that data longer. All right, now, let’s go to the pop quiz. What are the four general things the brain notices? See if you can answer the question mentally and if you’ve written them down, don’t look at your list, just see if you can remember them. While you’re thinking about them, stretch your arms and legs and take a few deep breaths.
I’m doing the same thing. I’m stretching and taking a couple of deeps breaths. Okay, if you remembered all four, good for you. Please write them on your tool list now. Add them to your list. We are going to explore a number of very concrete ways you can use these four brain-based elements, but first, I want to put it another way. The brain quickly learns to ignore anything that is routine, repetitive, predictable, or just plain boring. In other words, your brain is hard wired, programmed if you will, to ignore the routine, the repetitive, the predictable, or boring stuff.
There’s a reason for this. Ignoring this stuff saves time and energy. It frees up brain space to think about other more important things, and your brain does this automatically without you even having to tell it to. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Here’s a very common example. You’re driving down the highway, a highway like this, and suddenly, you realize that you haven’t been in your car for the last 30 minutes. Yeah, your body was there, but your mind was a million miles away making to-do lists, thinking about your kids, an appointment after work, your crazy neighbor, a past conversation, whatever. Your mind wasn’t there.
Or, perhaps you’re just listening to a speech kind of like this right now, and your mind kind of floats away for a bit a and you realize that you haven’t heard a single word the speaker said, hopefully, that hasn’t happened, but it might. You basically went on autopilot for a few seconds. When a subconscious part of your brain says to the conscious part, “You can take a hike. You can think about something else because I’ve got this covered.” We do this all the time folks, and our brains are hardwired to do it and we don’t even notice half of the time that we’re doing it.
Of course, the challenge for us as trainers, and presenters is to stop our audiences from tuning us out and going on autopilot. Here’s the million-dollar question, how do you make a routine, repetitive, and boring environment like these formal learning environments more brain-based and brain-friendly? You already know the answer to that question. You add novelty contrast, meaning an emotion to your presentation or to your meeting any time you speak. We’re going to take a look at concrete ways to do this, and you’re going to be collecting some tools, and you’re going to be experiencing some of the ways to add novelty, contrast, meaning, and emotion.
We’re going to take novelty and contrast first. I’m going to give you three simple ways to use these two brain-based elements the next time you present. The first way really applies to meetings. It doesn’t so much apply to training or presentations unless you have a small group that you’re doing a presentation, or training, or a class for. There are many companies around the world now that are doing standup meetings. They keep their meetings short, usually around 15 to 20 minutes or so, and meetings participants might stand around a table, or in front of a wall chart, or just in small standing groups.
The reason why standup meetings work and have become so popular globally is really very simple. The reason why is, oops, let’s go back, oxygen. More oxygen flows to the brain when the body is standing and moving folks, then when it’s sitting. More oxygen means that the brain can pay better attention, it can learn better, and it can remember more afterward. All of this from simply changing from a sitting to a standing position. Okay, read this slide to yourself. Now, I mentioned the molecular biologist, John Medina earlier and I mentioned his book, Brain Rules. It’s one of the best 21st-century brain science books around and one that highly recommend.
Think about the ways at work, think about the places, rather at work, and at home, and where you sit a lot, or in classes, or whatever. Think about how you might insert more movement in those places in order to get more oxygen to your brain. The ways that you increase movement at work and at home are the same ways you can increase your audiences movement, and we’re going to do two of those very short quick little exercises now to more movement and more oxygen flowing to our own brains. The first one I call a stand, stretch, and speak. You can do this with your audiences when you’re presenting it all. It only takes about 30 to 60 max.
Please stand up now. Do I know you’re standing up? No, I haven’t a clue, but hopefully, you are because if you are, you just started a nice flow of oxygen to your own brain. Even in a webinar, we can suggest that learners stand and stretch, and even in asynchronous learning like self-study, or online self-study courses, and that, we can write into the script, please stop reading and stand and stretch. Let’s add the stretch and speak parts to the stand part. Take a moment now to stretch any way you wish, and I’m doing the same thing with you. You’ll hear me stretching and creaking a big as well.
Stretch your arms out, roll your shoulders, roll your neck, bend at the waist a little bit. Now, if you’re in a room with a friend or a few other people, please tell that person or people one thing you know about brain-based presenting that you didn’t know before this webinar began. If you’re alone, you can either type your response in the question box, and I’ll read a few of those responses out loud, or you can simply pretend you’re talking to an invisible friend and tell your invisible friend something that you’ve learned so far. We’ll pause here for a few seconds while you stretch and speak.
Okay, and I’m seeing some responses here. Oxygen, novelty, contrast, meaning, and emotion. Super, what’s it in for me? I believe there’s a question there. Sara, can you read that question? I don’t have the full question in front of me. What about in general, from [inaudible 00:25:51]?
Sara: My area, we’re getting so many responses.
Sara: It’s scrolling a lot. I don’t quite see [inaudible 00:26:08] question right here. Oh, here it is. What about in general team meetings, how would you do priming? Generally, they do ice breakers, nonrelated social building meetings, but they’re asking about the priming you were talking about and just like in your standard weekly team meeting.
Sharon: Okay, and I have a response to that question that I will share with you at the end of the webinar because you’re going to be picking up some resources from me that have to do with warmups, which are priming, ways to prime audiences, even in weekly teams meetings and follow-ups, which are what brain scientists call spaced practice. I’ll cover the warmups and the follow-ups toward the end of the webinar. Thank you for asking that question. The question, another question I see is, what is a fast pass. We’ll get back to that at the end of the webinar as well. If you came in late, you can always access the archived webinar, I believe, Sara, is that correct?
Sharon: And view it again, okay, cool. Thank you all for your comments in the question box. Okay, so you’ve got to stand, stretch, and speak, which you can insert into a presentation, or training, or meeting, and again, it only takes about 30 seconds. Let’s do a quick sit, stretch, and think. It’s a variation on the movement that you just did. You’re going to do exactly what the slide shows you and you’re going to think about what it says to think about. I’ll pause here for a few more seconds.
Even in a webinar, even in a meeting, even in a presentation with a huge audience, or a small audience, it doesn’t matter the size of the group, you can insert these tools into content just like I’ve done here. You won’t know obviously, if it’s online, a virtual session, if your audiences are moving, but there’s a good chance that they will be moving because you’re the presenter, and you’ve directed to do so. The other thing folks is when they are involved and engaged like this, and moving with you, and doing the activities that you’re asking them to do, they’re not going to be multitasking, checking their texts, checking their email, typing something while the webinar plays in the background.
They’re not going to be doing stuff like that because you’re online. Your virtual sessions are interesting enough for them to pay attention to. All right, now, please add these tools to your list and while you’re adding them, think about how you might use these tools in your own training programs. And then, choose one of these tools that you promised yourself you’ll try out the next time you present information to others and circle that tool. Okay, let’s go on to meaning and emotion and how they go hand in hand. I’m going to give you two simple ways to use these two brain-based elements whenever you present.
The first way will probably put a smile on your face, at least I hope so. The first way is to create meaning and emotion by adding images to your content. Images can be full-screen slide photos, like this example, or they could also be stories, or metaphors, analogies, case studies, person vignette, and alike. If the image is powerful enough, it will evoke emotions which will, in turn, make the content more personally meaningful and relevant. I have to tell you that when I created this slide example, I hoped it evoked an emotion in you. At the very least, I hoped you would feel some curiosity about what is coming next.
I also have to tell you that a group of dental care professionals now use this slide when they introduce their dental care plans to their customers. I’m guessing that the next time you visit a dentist, a blue alligator just might pop into your mind. John Medina in his book says, “Vision trumps all other senses.” There’s more physical space in the human brain devoted to vision than to any of the other five senses. We’ve evolved primarily as a visual species and we learn better, and remember more when we can see an image that reinforces content, or when we can create mental images for the important information that we have to remember.
I’m going to show you another slide and I want you to read it to yourself and I’ll pause for a few seconds while you do that. My friends, this is an example of what not to do with a slide. Slides like this are brain antagonistic. Meaning that the brain quickly begins to ignore the slides when they look like this and the brain will ignore all the content on them as well. If you feel that you have to cover content in this fashion, or perhaps your company says, “Well, we’ve got this set of templates that you have to use with a scripted company training.” Then show an image or tell a story first and then share the details. That way your audiences can connect the data that’s on a slide like this with a mental image, or with a story, and that will create more meaning and emotion for them.
Better yet, put all the detailed content in a handout for them to read later, or as you’re lecturing this information, they can circle or highlight the main ideas, or the important facts, or write a summary statement on the handout as you’re delivering the content. Instead of just sitting and passively listening to you read from your slide, your audiences then become more engaged, and more involved in what you have to say. All right, now I’ve already referred to a second way to create more meaning and emotion and that is tell stories. Stories are very powerful ways to help others learn and remember new information and the more emotionally evocative the story is, the better the brain will remember it.
You can create or collect short topic related stories that are descriptive and relevant to your topic and your audiences, and whenever you use photos, rather than clip art, emotions, pardon me, are always engaged. Clip art does not engage emotions like full-screen photos do. I have to tell you again that the dental care professionals that I mentioned earlier, whenever they do dental hygiene workshops, this is one of the slides that they start their workshops with. I thought that was kind of cute. All right, these tools add meaning and emotion to any presentation so write them on your tool list, please. Think about how you might use them the next time you deliver information to others, the next time you present, or instruct, or train others.
Okay, now, I’m going to pause here for a moment and let you know, if you have a question about this topic that you want answered at the end of the webinar, please type or questions into the question box. We’re going to continue the webinar, and then depending on how much time we have left at the end, we’ll take as many questions as we can. Sara will read the questions and I will respond. If you don’t get your question answered though, you are more than welcome to email you. I will give you me my email address and some other information at the end of the webinar and I’ll respond via email you can get a response that way.
All right, let’s take one more, see if it will come up. One final way to add novelty, contrast, meaning and emotion to any presentation is change anything. Remember the human brain notices things have changed and ignores things that stay the same. It also ignores anything obviously that is repetitive, routine, or boring. On the next slide that I show you, you will skim a list of things you might change in a future presentation to make it more brain-based and then you’re going to choose two of the items from this list to add to your presentation tool page. You’ll have a few seconds now to skim, choose, and write, go.
Remember folks, if you missed some of the slides, or I’ve gone once in a while, I changed them a little too fast, maybe you want to go back and look at another one, you can always view the archived presentation at the end of the webinar once HRDQ has it archived and up and running for you. All right, we have another pop quiz now. Which sentence is correct? Read and mentally decide on your answer. If you choose answer number two, good for you. Okay, add these tools to your list now. Now, I know you’ve noticed by now that this presentation is probably very different from most webinars that you’ve attended and that the slides look really different because they’re image-rich, without highly repetitive logos, or templates, the images are as I pointed out earlier, full-screen size, and they’re photos, not clip art or cartoons, and the fonts are really big and fat, they’re not small and skinny.
Hopefully, your brain has been paying more attention to the slides than if they all looked similar to each other. Now, please take a few seconds to read into what this slides says without looking at your tool list. I’ll pause. Okay, let’s see how much you’ve learned about brain-based presenting so far. Thumbs up and thumbs down is a real quick way to test your knowledge and it’s an absolutely delightful way to use slides as a learning tool, or as a tool to revisit content, which is the way I’m using the little strategy now. Here’s how it goes. Read the statement on the slide, if you agree give it a thumbs up, and if you disagree give it a thumbs down. If you’re in a room with others, check out how many of the thumbs you, thumbs down agree with you, or disagree with you as the case may be. Look around.
If you gave the statement a thumbs up, you’re absolutely correct. Let’s do another one. Here’s the second statement. Thumbs up or thumbs down. If you gave it a thumbs down you’re correct. It should say, the human brain is hard-wired to ignore anything that is routine, repetitive, or boring. How about this one? If you gave it a thumbs up, good for you. The last statement. Of course, you gave it a thumbs up. Just like the pop quizzes, this activity is a way to make slides more interesting and interactive, especially when you’re reviewing content that you’ve already talked about. I find this, I find the pop quizzes, I find some of these little strategies absolutely delightful.
I didn’t make all of them up, folks, but I had been collecting them for decades. As you use them, they become yours, and you can pass them on. As I’ve used them, they become mine and I pass them on to you. Okay, now, we’re going to begin wrapping and the first little strategy is an action plan. You’re going to write your action plan at the bottom of your note-taking handout. This is the commitment you’re making to yourself to use something that you’ve learned from the webinar. You’re going to begin the sentence with, I plan to. And then, write what change you will make as a result of what you’ve learned here. You’ll have a few seconds to do so, and if you’re done writing the action plan on your note-taking page, and you want to write it in the question box, that would be great as well. A few of you could do that.
I see a few action plans in the question box. I plan to create slides and I can’t see the … Sara, do you have the complete sentences there? My sentences are short because the box is small.
Sara: I do, yep. I have them. I plan to create slides that are less content heavy. Amber says, “I plan to utilize standup meetings more.”
Sara: We have another standup meetings, but also schedule them for 30 minutes, or less because I’m sure they will be much more shorter.
Sharon: Okay. Great, read a few more, please.
Sara: Yeah. I plan to have learners create an action plan after each training session for reflection and engagement.
Sara: Susan likes the thumbs up and thumbs down and adding more emotional relevant quick stories.
Sharon: Okay and a couple more.
Sara: Yep, using stretch in virtual learning. We’re getting a couple of those comments around the stand, stretch, think activity. And information is coming in and we’ve got several who are saying, “Photos and clip art.” One says that might be a little tricky, but they’ll convince their team.
Sharon: I love it. I love it. That’s great. Okay, thanks Sara so much. I want to let you know everyone, that when you write your action plan, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll follow through and do something with what you’ve just learned and the same holds true for your own audiences when they write their action plans. They will probably then go out and use the content that you have taught them and that’s the value of the action plan. It reinforces the content and it moves us towards obviously, action.
Now, quickly compare your tool list with the one that is on this slide and if there’s anything on the slide that’s not on your list, add it to your list now. There may be at least one or two, or possibly three items that aren’t on your list that are on this list. And just in case you missed the, here they are. If you don’t have these last three items on your presentation tools list, add them now. All right, you now have over a dozen quick easy topic related presentation tools that are guaranteed, honestly, guaranteed to get and keep the attention of your audiences. You don’t have to use them all. You just need to pick and choose a few of them.
Better yet, you have the brain-based reasons for using these tools. In effect, you know the why, as well as the how. In order to get your audiences to buy into doing some of these short quick activities, you can give them the why, as well. Your audiences will leave your meetings and presentations feeling more like this. Definitely, more excited about the learning, and hopefully, eager to learn some more because it’s been fun, it’s been memorable, and it hasn’t been routine, repetitive, or boring. Now, let me tell you a little secret about presenting this way, my friends. You are changing the traditional presenting paradigm in which one person talks and a whole lot of people sit and listen.
This kind of traditional presenting works well for the presenter. It works really well for us, but it doesn’t work so well for the listeners in our audiences, or for our learners because listening is not synonymous with learning. It’s even more difficult for the listeners when the content we’re teaching is complex, or dry, or very technical. By inviting your audiences to participate in short quick activities, like the ones you’ve written on your tool list, you’re helping them remember and use the information you’re presenting, but more than that, you’re making your presentation a more brain-based, brain-friendly, fun and memorable learning experience.
I want to leave you with a few final thoughts about brain-based presenting. First of all, I want to remind you that there are no perfect presentations. Your goal is not perfection, your goal is to help your audiences learn in more brain-based and brain-friendly ways. The second thing I want to remind you is to be patient with your colleagues who may not yet know the brain science behind effective presenting. Be patient with your companies as well. Teach them what you know. Teach them what you’ve learned here. They will learn from you when you do that and you’ll master what you teach, and you’ll get more of a buy-in from your colleagues, from your learners, and from your companies when you teach them what you know, and explain to them why you’re doing this presentation differently.
Finally, take what you can use and let the rest go by. Experiment with the tools from your presentation tool list and use the ones that work best for you and your audiences and let go of the rest. You don’t have to use them all nobody is saying that. Just take one or two each time, play with them, see what works, and then use those because you know your audiences better than anyone else does. You’ll be great and your audiences will love you for it. All right, now, at the beginning of the webinar, I mentioned three challenges for you to do.
The first was to create a collection of presentation tools and you’ve already done that. The second was to think of ways you could use the tools in your own presentations and training, and you’ve done some of that. The third was to notice how many brain-based presentation tools I use during this webinar. Here’s the surprise at the end. You have a pop quiz optional because it’s an optional homework assignment. I call it a follow-up. Brain scientists call this spaced practice that helps move learning into long-term memory. All you have to do is answer this question and in a few short paragraphs. The question is, how were the elements of novelty, contrast, meaning, and emotion in this webinar used to get your brain to pay attention?
You don’t even have to write down the question my friends because it’s already written for you on a brand new blog post that I have just posted this morning. It’s the pop quiz homework for the HRDQ webinar. I posted that on my blog and the question is written there for you. You can email me your answer. My email is up here on the slide, it’s also in the blog post, or you can type your answer in the comment section on the blog post and it will appear in my websites administration folder, and then I can answer it that way. I will pause here so you can write down my email and my website to grab a hold of the blog and then I’m going to show you the surprise that you will receive for doing your pop quiz homework.
Here is the surprise. I have a complimentary eBook that will come your way. It’s just a little tiny book about presenting with pizzazz to give you a few more brain-based ideas to use. I will email it to you as my way of saying thank you for going ahead and doing your pop quiz homework. There you have it. A little wonderful surprise at the end. Now, I also want you to know that you can find dozens of brain-based presenting resources on my website. There’s just loads, and loads, and loads of stuff there folks. It’s all downloadable, printable, and sharable. It’s free. I’ve made a lot of infographics recently that are just short colorful little pages full of reminders, and tidbits, and strategies, and tools, and tips, and things like that.
There are also little micro courses that I call them. Short, quick image-rich slide presentations on various topics preventing death by PowerPoint is one of the topics. So, do, when you have a few minutes here or there, explore some of the resources on my website and feel free to download them and share them with friends. All right, now, I want to personally thank you Sara and I want to thank HRDQ. Let’s go to the last slide, the one right after this one so people have my, there it is. Again, if you need my email address or the website it’s there. Sara, my thanks to you, to HRDQ for doing all of the behind the scene’s text stuff that is just way over my head. I really, really appreciate that.
I want to thank everyone for participating, and for joining me in this hour of brain-based presentations. Now, I’m going to turn the webinar over to Sara so that we can take a few of those questions.
Sara: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Sharon. We’re getting great feedback. People really are so happy with the tips that you shared. We do have questions so I’m going to go right into those. The first one was that came in here is from Jack. He asks, “Does the presenter moving around add or distract from the presentation?”
Sharon: The presenter moving around has tons of oxygen flowing to the presenter’s brain, but not to the learner’s brain. I would say, in my humble opinion, it adds to the presentation because it’s new. Any kind of movement will keep learners attention riveted, rather than somebody standing behind a podium and reading off their own PowerPoint slides, or their lecture material. That’s going to get boring really, really fast. With that said though, if there’s no oxygen flowing to the learner’s brain’s, they’re just sitting there and watching you move back and forth as you’re talking, it’s still going to get old. They need to be moving as well in order to get oxygen to their brains. Okay.
Sara: Great. We have a lot of people who are asking about images, so I don’t know if you have, they’re aware of copyright and possibly a cost and such for there. Do you have any kind of tips where you may go and find your images?
Sharon: I have two excellent tips, Sara, and that’s a great question. Thank you, I meant to cover that. I go to clipart.com because it has the most generous licensing policy for photos, rather, all of the photos that you saw on this webinar are from clipart.com. They don’t just have clip art, they have full-screen photos that are a nice resolution. If you have a week to spare, you can pay $15, or $16 and download hundreds of photos. I pay yearly, just because it’s so inexpensive and I can download photos from that site at any time. There are free photo sites as well, Unsplash is one I use, gorgeous full-screen photos that are donated to that website with a creative commons license. You can use them on your slides, in your handouts, and things like that. You just can’t sell them.
You can also go to sites like Flicker and iStock Photos. Some of them charge by the photos. Some of them you’ve got to scroll through a gazillion photos to find something you can use, so for me, clipart.com and Unsplash are my two. The other third idea though is to take your own photos and training programs and use a checkbox on the evaluation page. You know, check the box, use a default. The default is if you don’t want me to use your photo, check the box. If the box isn’t checked, then you can use the photo. Something like that works every bit as well. Thank you. That was a great question.
Sara: Another person here, Teddy mentioned a Pixabay, P-I-X-A-B-A-Y as another free resource, so you can check those sites out.
Sharon: Nice, I’m writing that one down.
Sara: You’re writing that one down?
Sharon: I didn’t know that one. Yeah, okay, thank you.
Sara: We have some people who are asking about the fast pass, either some more examples of it or define it a little bit more.
Sharon: I’m sorry, the what? I didn’t catch that.
Sara: The fast pass activity.
Sharon: Oh, the fast pass is just a real quick one minute, two minute, three minute pair share, or table group share, or triad share at the beginning of a presentation that just says, “Turn to your neighbor, or tell your table group one thing you already know about the topic.” Or, “One question you want answered about the topic.” Or, “Three facts you know about the topic.” It gets people connected to each other socially, but in a topic related way, so you’re not just doing an icebreaker that has nothing to do with content. I call it a connection activity. I don’t call it an icebreaker because a lot of icebreakers aren’t connected or related to the topic. Our connection actives are.
Sara: We have a question here from Katie about fidget items. Her question here is are fidget items like pipe cleaners, or color pages a good way to engage an audience?
Sharon: They are awesome. Katie, they are absolutely awesome. I will not do a training without some kind of fidget toys, and colored paper, and colored sticky notes, and colored markers on the tables because the color wakes people up. It’s interesting. It’s different. The fidget toys help people take that extra energy in their bodies when they’re sitting and put it someplace so they can concentrate on you. What you’re saying, if you’re lecturing or if they’re watching slides or something. It’s kind of, it’s a philosophical thing that many of us do when we’re kinesthetic learners. We learn through movement and right now we’re sitting and paying attention to something. If some part of our body can be moving, or our hand can be fidgeting with something, then we can sit more quietly and pay attention, then if we had nothing in our hands. They’re awesome things to use.
Sara: Good. We have time here for one more question, so if we haven’t gotten to your question, or if you have one and you haven’t typed in yet, go ahead and do that now. We’ll reply to all of those by email. We’ll ask Sharon to be responding to those, so we’ll get those back to you. Our last question here I think can apply to a lot of our audience, who does training, but they’re doing training in a demo format, or a software program, or something. Susan here asks, “How would incorporate some of the techniques if I am training on how to use a software program such as a demo?”
Sharon: Okay, you can write into, well, number one, you can have more than one person sitting at a computer, so if you have people sitting in pairs at computers, then they’re helping each other, they’re giving each other feedback, they’re correcting each other’s mistakes. You can also pause during the software demonstration, or the procedure, and have them repeat back, have them write on a little note-taking pad, have them stand and stretch. Oh, my gosh, to stand and stretch in a computer lab, what a novel thought. A lot of these things can be incorporated in a laboratory, computer lab type setting.
If you’re teaching online, then again, do what I’ve done during this webinar. Pause some of the teaching to have people stand and stretch, take a few deep breaths. Have a note-taking handout, or a graphic organizer that they need to do a little bit of longhand writing on to review some of the information, or the procedure, or to answer a question, and the like. A lot of these things can be used in very technical training classes. It’s just a matter of being a little creative in terms of using them there. I hope this helped.
Sara: Good, thank you so much, Sharon.
Sharon: Okay and think you Sara and again, please send me your questions via email if you didn’t get your question answered, I’d be happy to answer them that way as well. Please do go to the new blog post that was just posted this morning. Your pop quiz homework is there and I’ll look forward to seeing your responses and sending you the complimentary eBook. Thanks, everyone.