Archives for April 2014

Watch: Building a Magnetic Culture with best-selling author, Kevin Sheridan

magnetic culture framed2.png

Building a Magnetic Culture: How to Attract & Retain Top Talent to Create an Engaged, Productive Workforce


To become the best in the business, it is essential to employ the best people. But how do employers build a staff that is ready and able to take an organization to its next level? Inspired by the best-selling book, this inspiring keynote focuses on how to attract talented employees to the workplace, empower them, and sustain an environment in which they are more likely to stay.

Topics covered include:

  • The bottom line benefits of employee engagementmagnetic culture framed
  • Creating an environment of shared ownership for engagement
  • The Top 10 Engagement Drivers
  • Recruiting: the foundation for a magnetic culture
  • Overcoming demagnetizers: compensation and other challenges for managers
  • The importance of embracing diversity & inclusion
  • Engagement trends & best practices


ABOUT KEVIN SHERIDANKevin Sheridan - framed

Kevin Sheridan has spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant. He has helped some of the world’s largest corporations break down detrimental processes and rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors in the process. Kevin’s newest product, PEER®, is consistently recognized as a long overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement, and his most recent book, “Building a Magnetic Culture,” made the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today best-seller lists. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Kevin’s work is regularly featured in books, presentations, and media publications, including The Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune. For more information on Kevin, please visit his website at

Modern Survey Sponsor



How to Simplify Complex Tables in PowerPoint

In January I wrote about the 5 top PowerPoint resolutions you should make for the new year. One of these was to avoid complex tables because they make the audience work too hard to understand what’s on the slide. Because tables contain mostly text and numbers, not only do people need to read them, they also have to analyze what they’ve read and determine what’s important. And if your audience is busy examining tables, do you know what they’re not doing? That’s right: they’re not paying attention to you.

I included a screen grab of a pair of heinous slides to illustrate what you shouldn’t have in your presentation:

Complicated table

Naturally, some of you questioned how I would redesign these slides. After all, there is a lot of stuff contained in these tables. If I edit them to show less information, then won’t that make the slides less informative? Isn’t everything contained on these slides important?

Well, yes and no.

Interestingly, in this example and in many other similar slides I’ve redesigned for my clients, the information contained in the tables isn’t important. What is important are the trends, results, or meaning behind the data. So you need to dig a little deeper to realize what you’re really trying to communicate.

What Do You Want to Say?

The answer was in the Speaker Notes of these slides. The copy is a bit dry, but please read everything so the rest of this article will make sense.

Speaker Notes (Slide 1)

This is a list of the 24 quality of care indicators identified and field tested in multiple countries by the Monitoring and Evaluation Subcommittee:

Purpose of developing QC indicators:

  • Develop a low-cost, practical methodology for measuring QC in clinic-based FP services
  • Provide USAID Mission with QC indicators for use in the R4 process
  • Develop an approach to monitoring quality that would be useful to CAs, NGOs and other donors

Speaker Notes (Slide 2)

The final product from the quality of care field-test will be a package of materials for organizations interested in monitoring quality of care. It will cover the following topics:

  • Short list of indicators
  • Sampling issues
  • Instruments for data collection
  • Field guide for supervisors
  • Analysis plan
  • Illustrative presentation formats for data

After I read the speaker notes, it all became clear to me, as I hope it did for you. The fact is, there’s no need to show all 24 quality care indicators broken across two slides. The presenter doesn’t want to tell her audience what the QC indicators are. Instead, she wants to tell people why QC indicators are important, who can benefit from them, and what can be done with them.

Here’s a link to a video showing how I would redesign these slides:

Is This a Cop Out?

I’m sure that many of you think that I avoided the problem by eliminating the tables and not redesigning them. Well, I took the Kobayashi Maru approach: I changed the parameters of the problem. Rather than seeing this as an exercise in table design, I recognized it as an opportunity to focus on the real message and to eliminate unnecessary visual clutter.

I’m willing to bet that when you include large tables in your own presentations, you want to illustrate what the data represent, rather than the data itself.

Are there times when it’s important to include large amounts of data in tabular format in your presentations? I’m sure there are. But remember that you’re adding a layer of complexity to your slides that may or may not serve the purpose of your presentation.

Always being aware of what you’re trying to communicate will inform your decision whether or not to include complex tables in your presentation.

About the Author:

Laura Foley is a creative thinker and marketing expert who enables her clients to effectively communicate their messages. She specializes in Cheating Death by PowerPoint, transforming PowerPoint decks into effective marketing tools through workshops, consulting, and presentation design services. Learn more at

The Art and Science of Confidence

Probably one of the most attractive and arguably influential attributes of any communicator we observe is their personal confidence.

Sometimes it’s a quiet and understated confidence yet we get a strong impression of someone who is very comfortable in their own skin and it puts us at ease.  Other times, confidence is more palpable. It’s bigger and bolder and seems to fill a room.

But no matter what form it takes, those who possess this secret sauce of influence find their ideas seem to have greater velocity and they create the strong impression they can handle just about anything that comes their way.

Yet if we’re honest, we would probably all agree not everyone possesses confidence in equal measure and sometimes it’s just plain hard to watch when it’s sadly lacking.

The Art of Confidence Building

Nowhere is the need for this attribute more evident than when our coaches are preparing managers, executives and organizational leaders to deliver an important presentation.

To be honest, elevating an individual’s perceived confidence level is actually a very straightforward process.  And presentation coaches have been selling this ability for a hundred years.

So let me distill it down to two simple skills for you:

If I only had 30 minutes to make someone appear more confident, I’d work specifically on what they’re doing with their eyes and hands.  When a communicator’s eyes are evasive, drop to the floor or search the ceiling tiles for their next thought, there is a clear sense of an underlying uncertainty in what they are communicating.

And when their hands are wringing nervously in front of them, they unwittingly send the message they are anxious or perhaps uncomfortable despite their claim to be “glad they’re there.”

When we can keep the executive’s eyes up and engaged and their posture open and with larger gestures, we can greatly enhance perceptions of confidence in a relatively short amount of time.

So here’s where the science kicks in and why we should care:

In October 2012, social scientist Amy Cuddy delivered a compelling presentation to a TED audience. And her research would give us all some interesting insight into the biochemical process of confidence.  Here’s what she and her fellow researcher discovered.

During the course of their study, they observed groups of MBA students and were able to quickly identify the outward expressions of confidence (or the lack of) in their test groups and it most often showed up in their general body language.

Those who appeared confident displayed large, open posture along with more demonstrative gestures. For those who appeared less confident, their body language was more collapsed, they had smaller gestures and were more tentative in their expression.  And their apparent influence with the group was noticeably reduced.

The Intersection of Art and Science

They found those who communicated with larger, more open body language (perceived confidence) had clearly elevated levels of testosterone – the “dominance hormone” and a very low level of cortisol – the “stress hormone.”  Conversely, the less-confident looking group consistently had lower testosterone levels and greatly elevated levels of cortisol.

So if there are chemical indicators inside us, what came first – the confidence or the chemical?

To answer this question, they brought in additional study groups and assigned each of them different body postures to emulate for 5-minutes; a high-power pose (think Wonder Woman hands on hips) and a low-power pose (smaller, seated positions with collapsed posture).

Then both groups were measured by their willingness to gamble – a clear risk-taking behavior requiring some confidence.  Those who practiced the power-pose were significantly more likely to gamble. And the low-power posers?  You guessed it – considerably less likely.

And when their hormone levels were tested, the high-power posers showed elevated levels of testosterone and lowered levels of cortisol.  And the low power-posers – just the opposite.

In other words, their physical posture for 5 minutes directly impacted their biochemical hormone levels and ultimately their outward, observable behaviors. So what does this mean to us?

The art and science of confidence are two sides of the same coin and can powerfully combine to create change in you.

I suppose you could practice power-poses before your next big presentation. But for more meaningful and lasting change, more is needed.  So here’s my advice… find a good presentation coach for you and your team.

When you go through quality presentation skills training and are coached into more confident-appearing skill behaviors (eyes/hands/movement), you are actually doing so much more than simply reinforcing rote physical behaviors.

If Amy Cuddy is right, you’re also altering body chemistry through the mere physical process – a change that can help your new level of confidence become an ever-increasing reality for you.

But the thing about personal change (in any category), it’s more indelible when it happens both on the inside and outside of us.  Not just chemical processes or skill building,  but also our deepest thoughts about who we are and what we can and want to become.  That’s where personal change truly begins.

Perhaps the most important point of all is knowing that it’s possible to do something that yesterday felt impossible. To deliver a presentation we never thought we could – stand up for something we didn’t think we had the courage to confront – or try something new or scary “just because.”

We usually just need to find the tools to help us get there.

About the Author:

Jim Endicott is president of Distinction Communication Inc, a Newberg, OR consulting firm specializing in message development, presentation design and delivery skills coaching. For more information about the company, visit

Solving the Missing ‘Video From Website’ Problem in PowerPoint

Ever wondered why the “Video from Web Site” option suddenly no longer shows in PowerPoint 2010? Here’s why this happened. Earlier, it was possible to insert a video clip from a web site such as YouTube or Vimeo into your PowerPoint slide. To get this option, you would click the Video button within the Insert tab of the Ribbon.

This would bring up three options in the the resultant menu. One of these options was the Video From Web Site option that can be seen highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.

Video from Web Site option within the Video drop-down gallery

Figure 1: Video from Web Site option within the Video drop-down gallery

But this option may no longer be there within the Video drop-down gallery in PowerPoint 2010! Now, you probably see only two options, as shown in Figure 2, below.

Missing Video from Web Site option within the Video drop-down gallery

Figure 2: Missing Video from Web Site option within the Video drop-down gallery

So where did the third option go? Were there only two options to start with? Well,  Figure 1 proves that there were indeed three options to start with, so let’s find out what made this third option disappear.

If you installed one of the automatic updates that Microsoft provides, then the third option may no longer exist. Usually, we just accept and install all updates without even thinking about what they actually do. An update named KB2553145 made the Video from Web Site option unavailable.

If you uninstall this update you can get this option back – and Microsoft does provide a solution on their Description of the PowerPoint 2010 update: September 10, 2013 page.

When this update is uninstalled, you will restore the Video from Web Site option, as shown in Figure 1, previously on this page.

Note: Even after uninstalling the update, you might not see the Video from Web Site option! This is because the KB2553145 update might have been installed twice – if you come across the same situation, check the list of updates and remove the other instances too.

After removing the update, any online videos inserted from YouTube will still not work. To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

    1. Select the slide in your presentation where you want to insert the online video clip.
    2. Access the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and within the Media group, click the down-arrow of the Video button to bring up a drop-down gallery as shown in Figure 1. In the drop-down gallery select the Video from Web Site option.
    3. This summons the Insert Video From Web Site dialog box, as shown in see Figure 3.Insert Video From Web Site dialog box

      Figure 3: Insert Video From Web Site dialog box.

    4. Open the required video on the YouTube web site — we used one of Indezine’s uploaded videos. Click the Share button within the YouTube website page, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4. Then, click the Embed button highlighted in blue within Figure 4, below.Share and Embed buttons within YouTube

      Figure 4: Share and Embed buttons within YouTube

    5. You can see the embed code using the new iframe code, characterized by the ”<iframe…” opening tag, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below. Ignore this code and select the Use old embed code check-box highlighted in blue within Figure 5.New embed code in YouTube

      Figure 5: New embed code in YouTube.

    6. This brings up the older embed code with the object tag, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below. You can also choose the dimensions for the embed video from the available sizes or you can even opt for custom dimensions (highlighted in blue within Figure 6). The code changes based on your selection.

      .Old embed code in YouTube

      Figure 6: Old embed code in YouTube

    7. Even this embed code will not work – you need to make some tweaks. Copy and paste the embed code  into Notepad or another text editor, as shown in Figure 7. Here you need to change the “version=3” parameters to “version=2” (there are two instances highlighted in faded red).Also add “http:” before the two instances of the YouTube hyperlinks (text highlighted in yellow).
      Figure 7 shows the code provided by YouTube.

      Old embed code copied in Notepad

      Figure 7: Old embed code copied within Notepad

    8. See the changes made to the embed code in Figure 8. You can see that the two instances of “version=3” are changed to “version=2” (text highlighted in pink). And “http:” is added before the two instances of the YouTube hyperlinks (text highlighted in yellow).

      Changed embed code in Notepad

      Figure 8: Changed embed code in Notepad

      Now, copy and paste the changed embed code  into Insert Video From Web Site dialog box, as shown in Figure 9. Then, click the Insert button highlighted in red within Figure 9.

      Changed embed code pasted within the Insert Video From Web Site dialog box

      Figure 9: Changed embed code pasted within the Insert Video From Web Site dialog box

      Note: You may get a certificate message warning, so go ahead and click the Yes button. But confirm with your system administrator if this is OK.

      10.This inserts the online video into your PowerPoint slide (see Figure 10). You can also resize this video as required, by dragging the handles.

      Online video inserted on PowerPoint slide

      Figure 10: Online video inserted on PowerPoint slide

      11. Select the slide show to see the video playing. There may be a delay while your video gets loaded.

      Note: Make sure you are connected to the Internet when you play your movie within the presentation. Also, do remember that any video formatting you add such as shapes or video effects will not work with inserted web videos.

      12. Save your presentation.

Tip: Do you get an error when you play your online YouTube video? Are you asked to install a newer Adobe Flash Player? To resolve this issue, look at PowerPoint MVP John Wilson’s solution page: Insert Video From Web Site Suddenly Will Not Play. The same page also has a free PowerPoint add-in that will help inserting YouTube (and some Vimeo) videos on your slides.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint-related site ( that provides designer PowerPoint templates.



The First Step in Creating Persuasive Presentations: Mind Mapping

The presentation process I teach is called U.S.E. — Understand, Summarize and Explain. Looking at the first step (Understand) there are three core elements: audience,  need, and requirements. To be persuasive, our presentations must resonate with the audience. To do so, we want to empathize with them.

If the audience waved a magic wand, what would be the perfect outcome for them? A presenter that understands the audience has an advantage. The more we know about the audience, the more persuasive our presentations.

Audience understanding and insight is usually captured in an ad hoc manner, if at all. Early in the process, the secret is to determine what matters most. To do this, I use a special mind map exercise I call the HFB Mind Map. This mind map helps me understand the audience’s:

1. Hopes: What do they want after the presentation? What is the best-case outcome?

2. Fears: What keeps them up at night? What will make them worry?

3. Biases: What types of solutions, messages, communication styles do they  prefer? What do they dislike?

Use the following steps to create a HFP Mind Map:

• Step one: In the center of a piece of paper, large white board, or chalkboard,  write hopes, fears, and biases.

• Step two: Ask yourself (or your team, if this is a group effort) to name specific hopes, fears, and biases. Use branches to connect each element to its respective sources.

• Step three: Dissect each of those hopes, fears, and biases. Continue to do so until you can no longer break down the elements into their key contributors. The intent is to uncover and define how the audience describes its hopes, fears, and biases. These three elements are key motivators to human change and choice.

The following is an example of a HFB Mind Map:

In my experience, you will jump from one component (hopes, fears, biases) to the next when making the HFB Mind Map. It is unlikely you will complete one of the three components without populating another.

In addition, the HFB Mind Map exercise can uncover key messages. For example, if you see a reoccurrence of a resonating idea (e.g., save money), it is likely to be a dominant motivator for the audience and should be woven into your presentation.

Using the HFB Mind Map approach speeds development and helps eliminate revisions because you (plus other contributors and your client, when applicable) empathize with the audience. You are more likely to share what the audience needs to understand to take the next step.

About the Author:

Mike Parkinson is an internationally-recognized visual communications guru and presentation expert, professional trainer, and award-winning author. He is a partner at 24 Hour Company, which specializes in proposals and presentations. His Billion Dollar Graphics website and Get My Graphic website share best practices and helpful tools.

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