Online Video Resource for Training – A practical aspect

I talked about the ample resources on websites like Youtube and Vimeo which can help our training a lot.   But what happens if you do not have Internet access inside your training room?   Or even if you have it, the access is slow?

I was introduced to a website which allows us to download chips from the Internet into our computers.  It is called Miro.    I have not used it because there is system restriction on my laptop.   And unfortunately video websites like Youtube and Vimeo are now blocked in China!!  Anyway, hope that it is useful to you.   Do let me know your comment if you try it.

Online Video Resource for Training

Internet is getting more and more useful.   At least to my world of Internet.   It is the online video this time.  You can almost get any kind of video from the intenet.   The most popular site is Youtube.   My previous blog post on the ‘Sound of Music’ clip is an example.   This helps my TTT course.  In addition, I can also have a clip in the class to illustrate the ADDIE instructional design process.

And I just come across another one which can trigger lot of interesting discussion on the topic of client engagement

Another sources is  Vimeo.   The latter comes in handy especially because we cannot access youtube in the Mainland at the moment.   For example, there is a great video on Vimeo which my fellow technical trainers in the Bank can use to explain what the credit crunch in the US really means.

Video adds to the variety of your training course.   And now it is easier than before to find a suitable one.

Learning from ‘Do Re Mi’

I love the ‘Sound of Music’ movie.  Most do.  I have watched it a few times.   I learnt something new when I watched it, in particular the ‘Do Re Mi’ song, the last time.    The movie shows how to facilitate others to learn.    I was thinking to myself, ‘The kids in the movie learnt the music notes successfully.   How did it happen?   What skills did Marie apply?  Can we apply some of these into our corporate learning environment?’   I invite you to watch the following clip on the ‘Do Re Mi’ Song and think about the questions:

Here is my view – the clip gives a lively example of what a learning professional should do:

Associate– At the beginning of the clip, Marie lectured first but did not work.  The kids could not remember the notes simply by being told.   Marie then associated each note with a concrete concept e.g. ‘Doe, a deer, a female deer….’    The same applies to corporate training.   If you want your learners to learn a new abstract concept, you better give them an analogy.   For example, in my selling course when I introduce the concept of ‘Decision Criteria’, I first ask the girls how they choose their future husband.

Repeat – Marie did not teach each note once.    She repeated.   We got to do the same thing.

Break into parts – Whilst Marie’s ultimate goal was probably to teach the kids to sing, she started with the basics first and then built the learning up bit by bit.

Make it real – Marie did not leave the kids hanging with just concepts.    Marie applied the notes to make a lovely song.  She sang ‘When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything….’

Any other insight you have?  Do let me know.

I am thinking to use this short movie clip in my future Train-The-Trainer program.  Perhaps as an class opener!

My ideal slides 我的理想幻灯片

I made a casual lunch presentation last week in the office to share my personal view on time management.   Unlike the slides common in our bank, I made mine picture-driven.   Though I did not have much time to prepare, I still like them quite a lot.   Let me share a few with you here.


As I always argue, I believe that most of the time effective slides are supposed to carry pictures rather than words.   Wordy slides will only ‘compete’ with the speaker’s verbal content, which then makes understanding difficult.


上周,我以演示形式与同事分享我个人对时间管理的看法。虽让准备的时间不多,我也在前一天晚上准备了幻灯片,我还特意把它做得跟银行里大部分幻灯片不一样 – 以图而不是字为主导。我挺喜欢它的,让我在这里分享几张:


Creative Visual Aid

I got a new iPod nano (Gen 4) and was fascinated by the high resolution when I played video on it.    It is great to watch it on the iPod nano whenever I have nothing else better to do e.g. in a traffic jam.   Among all the video, I subscribe to the TED conference video podcast.   Basically, the podcast consists of numerous inspiring presentation made by thought leaders in different fields.

There is one by Hans Rosling with topic as ‘Debunking third word myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen’.  Hans used the bubble chart creatively to illustrate how various countries has been changing sociologically.    This makes me re-think how a visual aid could illustrate a point (instead of bullet points).

I admit that Hans probably has better software or even a support team.  But still, there is a big gap between his visual aid and the usual bullet points we are encountering everyday.   There must be something we could do to make visual aid work better.

‘Tell, then Show’ rather than ‘Show, then Tell’

I attended a lot of presentations on a regular basis. They include presentations by participants in my training class, product briefing by sales professionals, speeches in conferences, proposal presentations in business meeting, and so on…. There are good and not-so-good presentations. In the latter type, the presenters would mostly do the followings (yes, to my surprise, even some public speakers):

(after finishing one visual aid, most likely being a PPT slide….)

  1. They click to show the next visual aid;
  2. They then read the visual aid themselves, as a reminder (worse version – with their back now facing the audience)
  3. They then elaborate the visual aid (worse version – they just read out whatever on the PPT)

Better still, the presenters should:(after finishing one visual aid, most likely being a PPT slide….)

  1. They block the screen so that they get the audience’s attention on themselves;
  2. They talk about the next message, which may or may not be illustrated by the next visual aid;
  3. For those message with visual aid, they just talk it through;
  4. For those with the visual aid, they will show the visual aid after a brief outline about the message;
  5. They shut up for a while so that the audience can have a free mind to read a bit the slide first;
  6. They then elaborate the visual aid. If the slide content is not detailed, they even just block the screen to gain full attention.

How is the second method better than the first one?

First, you avoid burden the audience with too much information. Most people cannot read and listen at the same time. If they are forced to do so, they will get less than if they just listen or just read. This is especially the case in case of long meetings / conferences. People are tired.

Second, delivering the message without the visual aid raises your creditability. The audience would think ‘Hey, this guy knows the stuff. He does not need the slides to remind himself about the content.’ The worst is reading straight from the slide. The audience would think ‘I can read myself. Why do I have to be here at all?’

Third, people love watching a human being presenting rather than a slide. The second method guides the audience’s eyeball to focus on the presenters most of the time. The visual aid is just an aid. With this method, your eye contact and body language can work to a greater effect to help you deliver the message

Of course, there is a price to pay in order to present in the second way. You need to really know the content. More importantly, you need to memorize the flow of your presentation. Most presenters use the visual aid as the presentation note because they have not comprehended the presentation flow. (Realty here…. most do not have enough time to memorize and rehearse…) Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!! It is preparation again….

[I once thought to put this post as a Presentation Quick Fix. I decide not to at the end because I do not think it to be a quick fix by nature. Simply, it takes time for all of us to stop using the visual aid as the speaking note…..]

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PQF #4 – Blocking the projector

The Presentation Quick Fix this time is ‘block the screen whenever you speak for a considerable period of time’. And here is why and how.

The visual aid e.g. flipchart, PPT, projector does not always ‘aid’ our presentation if we do not use it properly. This is especially true on projector. Nowadays, projectors produce very bright and clear image. More importantly, participants / audience have generally developed a tendency to look at the screen NO MATTER WHETHER the content is relevant or not. This is true. In fact, the same applies sometimes to presenters as well. Some presenters are so used to look at the screen when they talk. I had a participant who turned back and looked at the screen as he talked, even though it was a blank screen. Habit rules. This phenomenon is like that at home – sometimes we look at the TV set without really paying attention on the content. People are more and more used to look at the TV set or screen with brain blanked. Perhaps we are resting our brain, somehow. Observe yourself next time at home.

In some sense, the visual aid is competing with the presenter for the participants’ attention. So, the question is how to ‘win’ the battle. Easy, block the screen and stand to the middle of the stage whenever you need to talk for a considerable while. But how? There are a few ways:

1. Use the ‘B’ or ‘W’ key – When you are in Powerpoint ‘Slide Show’ mode, you can empty the screen by simply press a button. If you press the ‘B’ key, the screen will be totally black. And white for the ‘W’ key.

2. Use the remote presentation device – There are a lot of good remote presentation devices. Basically, they allow you to page up and down without using the keyboard i.e. you can freely walk on the stage. Some good devices even have a button equivalent to the ‘B’ key on the keyboard. See the picture on the right – it is the Kensington device which I use. Oh, and Kensington now has a better one which you can use AAA batteries i.e. easier to replace the power.

3. Use the ‘STILL’ / ‘HOLD’ / ‘PAUSE’ or ‘MUTE’ / ‘NO SHOW’ key on the projector remote control – There is a downside using above 2 methods – you can do nothing on your computer e.g. amending a slide or retrieve another PPT. For example, after you press the ‘B’ key, both the projector and the computer screen will become black. However sometimes, you block the screen because you want to find out a file from c: drive and open it. Well, you do not want to let your Coca Cola client see that you have a Pepsi Cola file on your c: drive!! Here is the solution – your projector normally comes with a remote control. Use it. There is likely a ‘STILL’ / ‘HOLD’ / ‘PAUSE’ button. If you press it, the projector will stay on the existing image, even though you change the image on the computer. In addition, there is a ‘MUTE’ / ‘NO SHOW’. If you press it, the projector will project nothing.

Remember, point this remote control to the projector, NOT your computer!!

4. Simply block the projector physically – I like this trick the best – just simply put a cover in front of the lens. See the pictures on the right. Very straight-forward. You do not need to find the remote control which hides somewhere on the table. You will be embarrassed because you are already holding the mic, the notes and the pens. And this trick will never disappoint you like what an electronic device will!! I always use unless the projector is hung from the ceiliing!!

PS Note however that you should not block and unblock the screen too frequently. And if you find the participants are paying real attention on the screen, tell them that you will block the screen before you do it. Otherwise, it will be very disturbing to them.

RAC – Tackling ‘Murphy Law’

  • Course: A Cash Management course
  • Date: 19 Oct 2007
  • Location: A good sunny autumn day in Hong Kong, China
  • # of Participants: 28
  • I am feeling: Tired but Good

It is an interesting experience this morning.   The projector did not work when I examined it before the class started.   It still did not work after repeated ‘rescue’ attempt.   There was only 10 more minutes before the class started and the participants were down-stair already.   They are external participants, not internal ones.   And this is a technical knowledge training i.e. lot of hard content instead of a soft-skills one with lot of experimental activities.   What would you do?

I chose to do my training without projector instead of delaying the start or finding another room.   I was glad that I was quite calm about this.  This may be because I have been more and more suspecting about whether visual ‘aids’ the delivery.   See my upcoming post ‘Blocking the Projector’ for more of my thoughts on this.   In addition, I am the one who developed the course content, and thus I know the content and flow well.

The no-projector delivery went very well.   I was so satisfied that I almost decided not to use the projector even though it was fixed after the first break!!   This experience strengthens my thought of avoiding reliance on projector / PPT:


  • It will disappoint you some day (…well.. Murphy Law..)
  • Audience hates PPT more and more these days
  • PPT is more a speaking note than visual aid these days.  Using it will just lower your creditability since you speak only after looking at what is on the slide.   (Yet, it is a good safety net if you really do not have time to prepare)