I’m terrified of presenting. Just thinking about it, I can feel my mouth getting dry, my stomach filling up with butterflies and my heart starting to race. Imagine my surprise when a few colleagues complimented me on a presentation I gave recently (thanks by the way!). Because I was so terrified, I spent a lot of time preparing. Which must have helped because once I actually got into the presentation, I completely forgot my fear (well, almost…). In spite of my terror, I actually enjoy presenting now and I’ve been looking for ways to improve my style. Very few of us in the tech and non-profit worlds can get away without speaking to a group of people at least once in our careers, so I’d like to share with you some tips and inspiration that might help ease your anxiety the next time you have to present.
Zen is not a four letter word
Garr Reynolds, a presentation guru and author of Presentation Zen, tells us that “PowerPoint is not the presentation” - YOU are. So in the beginning, don’t just stare at that blank slide deck, curse and wave your fist at your computer screen for hours on end. Jot your ideas down on paper before you even open PowerPoint. Brainstorm what you want to talk about and then outline your content. Keep it simple and put yourself to the test. Really ask yourself the tough questions in the beginning to help weed out unnecessary material. What is my point? Is my point relevant? When you finally do get to the PowerPoint slides, you’ll already know what you want to say and how you want to say it.
But don’t just stop there - add visuals. I’m a huge advocate of imagery in presentations, as my colleagues can attest. Images help your audience retain information. Don’t be afraid! Surprise yourself and your audience by conveying your message in a simple, concise way with images and as few bullet points as possible.
Find out more…
There’s entirely too much for me to fit everything into one blog post, so I highly recommend checking out Garr Reynolds presenting at Google. Also, if you haven’t experienced a TED talk, I recommend stopping by their website to view some of their remarkable presentations. My favorite so far is by the highly intelligent and eccentric Clifford Stoll.
And then do it!
So dear reader, now that you’re prepped and ready to start presenting, why not sign up to be a part of the next Convio Summit this November? Your future as a presentation guru awaits…
Right after ringing in what’s sure to be a big year in nonprofit technology, we teamed with a group of nonprofit bloggers to both share our New Year’s resolutions and to hear from you on what your top nptech resolutions will be in 2009. Our goal was to create an industry-wide dialogue and take the feedback we received – from both the online poll we provided and the comments you sent all of the participants – to better help nonprofits keep their resolutions in the new year.
With responses from hundreds of people throughout the nonprofit industry, we pulled together your insights, determined the main areas where nonprofit organizations and professionals are focusing and created a Resolutions Guide chock full of lessons learned, priorities and real world examples of how other nonprofits have achieved the goals many of you have set in place for 2009. And starting today, the Resolutions Guide is now available online.
A few of the responses we heard throughout the last few weeks included:
"To get more staff involved with building and engaging online with communities of interest and passion around the issues we address."
"We spend a lot of time and money changing information for our donors and volunteers in our database. In 2009, we're going to use our website to let our volunteers and donors help manage that for us."
"To explore what it means to take action online - beyond signing petitions and fund raising - and really stretch the boundaries of using the web for social change."
The participating bloggers who participated also shared the following resolutions of their own:
Judi Sohn resolved to "take the technology we already have and use it to help C3 focus our attention on our constituents and supporters as effectively as we focus on what we do to fight colorectal cancer"
Roger Carr resolved "to teach and coach more nonprofit organizations and volunteers how to take advantage of the online technical tools that are available for promoting their mission and raising needed funds"
Beth Kanter resolved to "use social media more effectively"
Jeff Brooks resolved to "evangelize fundraising" and "be not afraid"
Matt Wilson resolved to "work to make all those things possible that aren’t currently available with the existing mobile giving applications (including our own), make them easy to use, and make them produce real results"
Holly Ross resolved to "use technology to 'work smarter'", "experiment with technology" and "share your successes (and failures)"
Peter Dietz resolved to "scale, translate, report, change, measure, standardize, collaborate, lead and inspire"
Trew Marketing resolved to "test, measure and act", "leverage content", be constituent-focused" and "innovate"
Robert Weiner resolved to "be good to your data"
Is there another resolution or comment you would add to the lists above? Or is there any advice you would add to the Resolutions Guide?
Here's to hoping we can all look up on January 1, 2010 having accomplished all the goals we set out to achieve...and then some!
"2008 is going to be a challenging year." That was the lead sentence in an article Convio Chief Strategy Officer, Vinay Bhagat wrote for the Convio Connection newsletter last January titled, "10 Online Marketing Strtegies for Fundraising in Challenging Times." He wrote that:
"In addition to the recession, we are also seeing some other troubling indicators. Direct mail-based donor acquisition is getting harder and more expensive due to postage rate increases, mailing list fatigue, and postal mail delivery challenges. Many nonprofits have cut back on direct mail-based acquisition efforts as donor files shrink and current communication approaches fail to align with a more empowered "new breed of donor" — constituents who value transparency about how their funds are being applied, are increasingly taking an active role in their philanthropy, and have high expectations as to how they should be communicated to online.
Current economic conditions, the shift towards online marketing and the trends in donor empowerment make a strong case for investing in an effective online marketing program."
While I don't think anyone anticipated that the end of 2008 would be as ugly as it was, the content of the article is probably even more valuable today. It's worth reading again, or for the first time if you haven't seen it.
Many of us made resolutions last year - we probably kept some and let others slide. I'm curious about what you resolved, if you kept it and what obstacles you faced. I would love for you to share them as part of our industry-wide discussion on resolutions at www.convio.com/resolve2009 - but you're welcome to comment here as well. We're taking that information and creating a resolutions guide to help nonprofit professionals keep their resolutions, so please share.
Here's to a properous New Year. I'm not even going to try to give a prediction on what '09 has in store...
My days were out of control. I felt as though I was a married to my inbox. Something had to be done so that I could regain control and have time to just breathe at the end of a long day. So, about a month ago, I took a class called the Effective Edge . And, oh, was it effective.
As a sort of continuum of Robin’s Obey My Blog, here is my story.
What wasn’t working for me was my constant obsession with checking my e-mail. It ran my day and made it hard to give one project my full attention. I tried closing Outlook for a couple of hours at a time to see if that helped. But, it didn’t work in my case. I just always felt like I was missing something, so I’d find myself constantly opening and closing it – and that just took up a lot of time.
I had high hopes for the class I was enrolled in and I showed up completely ready to learn a new way of doing things. Here are some of the main takeaway points that have helped me:
I’ve been following this mantra now for a little while and it has made a huge difference in my stress level and my productivity. I get more sleep at night, my inbox and I give each other our space and I’m getting things done faster. I have regained control. I am Master of my domain.
Yesterday, Lacey wrote about how to engage folks who are interested in volunteering for organizations. It's a great segue into another area that I find lacking in most nonprofit websites: staff and organizational employees. What do they both have in common? Your volunteers and paid staff are part of a diverse community within your organization. However, it's this diversity in community that is often neglected.
Frequently, staff can get left aside in the community. Why? Is it because they are paid members of the community? Are their roles separate from the community that includes folks like donors, volunteers, Board members? If you're thinking 'yes' to either of these questions, I would argue that these ideas can't work in today's world where employee engagement is a true key to strong organizational health. It's time to bring your staff more fully into your organization's community.
Here are some ideas that can help you better integrate your own staff into your organization's community:
Let your staff tell their stories. Why they work for your nonprofit. What they enjoy in life. Let their unique characters come out so donors and other external folks who are passionate about your cause can connect with them. Don't sequester them to mere names, phone numbers, and email addresses on your Contact Us page. For instance, here at Convio, we have this blog as one way to allow us employees to share ourselves and what we know with our community.
Don't settle for stock employee photos when you have real pictures. I'm not a big fan of stock photos of shiny happy people. They just don't connect with me. Instead, consider using real pictures of your staff doing the work that matters to your cause. Put these in relevant spots on your website. Your donors and activists want to see staff passionately serving their cause.
Engage your staff as ambassadors. I wrote in more detail about this last month. Again, if you're committed to creating a work environment that focuses on employee engagement, then help your staff find ways to speak openly and enthusiastically about their work. Feature this work prominently on your website. Guide your staff into talking about and sharing their successes and best practices at conferences. For more ideas on employee engagement, visit http://www.baileyworkplay.com/?s=employee+engagement.
I'm not advocating that you make your website completely staff-focused, just more balanced to reflect the true community that your organization creates daily. Nonprofit work is demanding. And while it can also be rewarding, every individual wants to know they are seen and valued for the work they do. Donors, advocates, and other folks on the outside of the organization don't often know and appreciate the work that goes on inside. Don't be afraid to shine a spotlight on your own staff and what they do every day.
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