PowerPoint Disks are On Their Way

We’ve been a bit behind on sending out the PowerPoint disks, but will be sending out about 95 disks this week and that will get us current. We’re into our second printing now and have distributed over 1,500 PowerPoint disks. There are a lot of examples on this disk. If you can’t find some great ideas from looking at these, then you’re just not trying hard enough.

The disks are a collaborative effort. Everyone is pitching in an example. I’m not charging for the disks, but requesting a sample PowerPoint in return. It could be a mediation, a motion presentation, opening statement or closing argument. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it’s a real example. If you haven’t used PowerPoint in the past, then all you have to do is promise to send one when you get the chance.

If you haven’t ordered one, but would like one, you can order a disk here.

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Focusing on What People Need to Hear

PowerPoint gets a lot of bad press. There’s nothing wrong with the software, but there’s a ton of bad PowerPoint presentations out there. I think PowerPoint allows a bad presenter to give bad presentations more easily. Cliff Atkinson’s book Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate, and Inspire does a great job of moving away from the horrific presentations we’re used to.

Cliff urges us to consider what the audience wants to know and how the information will help them. Then take that information and put it in a classical Greek story format so that you’re not just giving facts, but telling a story. Good stuff. Cliff has also set up a template to help people storyboard and turn their information into a story. As a trial lawyer, I appreciate Cliff’s structure and find it helpful, but don’t feel the need to follow it 100% of the time.

I’ve also been reading Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds recently. Garr uses the same concepts as Cliff; e.g. getting away from bullet points, working to focus on what the audience wants to hear and using carefully selected graphics to anchor the points. Garr is an American living in Japan and when focusing on simplicity he focuses on a zen approach. As Garr quotes "Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means." — Dr. Koichi Kawana

For trial lawyers this is important stuff. How do we get across information so that people will actually understand and accept the information? It’s not enough that we say things, it has to be understood, accepted and internalized by the juror or audience member. If we don’t have that, we’re just talking in the wind.

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Smart Boards Replacing Chalk Boards

While we lawyers have been slow to adopt smart boards, smart boards have been replacing chalk boards in the classroom:

Wired News reports on the rapid growth of interactive, computer-driven whiteboards in classrooms…smart boards are being used in more than 150,000 classrooms in the U.S, with even more being put to use in 75 other countries. The boards let teachers and students share assignments, surf the web and even edit video using their fingers as pens. And, by all indications, the market for the devices is booming, with more than a dozen manufacturers in the field, although one company, Smart Technologies, has a 60-percent market share.

It looks like we need to start catching up to the schools. I’ve had been using a projector and multi-media for 5 years, but don’t have a smart board yet. It looks like that just jumped up my tech priority.

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PowerPoint Disks, Redux

Oops. I forgot. The best way to get a ‘Winning with PowerPoint’ disk is to contribute an example. That’s really the price of admission. Because this is a project of lawyers helping lawyers and not a profit venture. If you don’t have an example to send, that’s fine. Just send an example when you get one.

And don’t be shy. Don’t think that your work isn’t good enough. If it worked on the insurance adjuster, if it worked on the jury then it has appeal. It will resonate with someone.

I love that technology allows us to help each other out without large organizations and lots of cost. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

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PowerPoint Disks are Getting Close

If you ordered a PowerPoint disk, they will be coming soon. I have finished sorting, organizing and labelling them. The graphic designer has completed doing the cd label and disk cover and the disks are now being pressed. We should get them in a week or so and it will take about another week to get out all of the disks. If you’ve already ordered a disk, it will be soon now.

If you are wondering what I’m talking about, I’ve put together a disk ‘Winning with PowerPoint’ that has over 100 examples for plaintiff’s attorneys. There are more than 10 opening statements, 10 closing arguments, 35 full mediations (medical malpractice, nursing homes, premises liability, car wrecks…) and more than 50 partial examples (timelines, lost wages, liability, damages…). The examples come from attorneys throughout the country.

If you’re a plaintiff’s attorney, all you have to do is click on the ‘Free CD Rom’ button, put your name and address and we’ll send the disk to you. There’s no cost. We’re not doing this to make a profit. This is a project of lawyers helping lawyers to better use technology and learn from each other.

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PowerPoint Makeover for the Lawyer Guy

I did a ‘pre-review’ of Cliff Atkinson’s new book Beyond Bullet Points a few weeks ago. I have since bought the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. A lot of great tips and advice on giving more effective presentations. I’ll do a more full featured review of the book at a later date. Even if you don’t use PowerPoint, this book has a lot of great tips for putting together better presentations.

Cliff put out a call to do PowerPoint ‘makeovers’ in the style of his book and I sent him one of my mediations. Using the principles in the book and with Cliff’s help and feedback from others, we’ll do a makeover. There’s a discussion group for the makeover, so mosey on over and say your piece.

Cliff’s Blog – Beyond Bullets

Cliff’s Makeover Homepage

Dave’s PowerPoint Makeover Page – Check out the original mediation presentation

Discussion Group for Dave’s PowerPoint Makeover Page – Go and give your opinion

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Tips for Using Visual Aids from David Dempsey

I did a short review of David Dempsey’s book,  Legally Speaking: 40 Powerful Presentation Principles Lawyers Need to Know. After that review,   Al Nye the Lawyer Guy did a little research and found out that David Dempsey has a website about his book. The website includes a couple of great tip sheets. So if you haven’t bought the book yet, here’s some good advice:

Ensure That The Visual Aid Is Visible
Far too frequently, visual aids are hard to see. The lettering or the graphs are so small that even the speaker standing right next to the visual aid strains to read them. Other times, the speaker displays an object that is difficult to see. Make your visual aid visible from every vantage point, and if you cannot, either use a different visual aid or none at all.

Highlight Only Key Concepts
Focus on the key points that you want to reinforce with an audience or a jury . . . Use numbering, lettering, or bulleting to facilitate easy understanding of the visual aid. Limit the number of lines per page, as too many lines make a visual aid difficult to read.

Select Appropriate Lettering And Fonts
Use crisp, easy-to-read lettering, and use no more than two font styles per page. Artistic, cursive text is frequently illegible. The size of the lettering will be dictated by the size of the audience. A visual aid that may be appropriate for a courtroom setting, where only twelve people will view it in close proximity, may be useless at a luncheon meeting with one hundred people.

The rest of his tips are here. Good stuff. and thanks for the find, Al.

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Beyond Bullet Points: PowerPoint Book on Steroids

DennisKennedy reviews  Cliff Atkinson’s book Beyond Bullet Points. Dennis raves about the book. Based on his recommendation, I ordered a copy from Amazon before even reading to the bottom of his post. Dennis says:

In the course of the book, however, he also demonstrates that telling a story, especially telling the story that makes sense for your audience, is the necessary foundation. Technique helps you tell a great story, but technique won't save a poor story.

That is what I always tell people about PowerPoint (or any other presentation for that matter). Don’t worrry about doing ‘fancy’ presentations. Focus on your client’s story. As plaintiff’s attorney we have great stories to tell. Focus on the story and not the presentation. From the sounds of the review, Cliff has carried this far beyond what I’ve done with presentations. I’ll report back after reading the book.

Also, check out Cliff’s blog Beyond Bullets.

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Book Review - Legally Speaking: 40 Powerful Presentation Principles Lawyers Need to Know

David Dempsey’s  Legally Speaking: 40 Powerful Presentation Principles Lawyers Need to Know is in my pantheon of top five favorite law books. David does a great job of breaking down public speaking, how to organize a speech, how to start it, how to end it, how to practice and refine the speech and so much more.

His writing style is short and to the point with a wealth of great quotes from a variety of sources like Mao Tse Tsung, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and so on. It’s an eclectic collection of quotes that really add to the book. While David has some specific points on opening statements, closing arguments and questioning his book really applies to any public speaker, not just lawyers. I’ve bought 6 copies of this book and have given them out to friends. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

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Having Your Laptop Display to a Projector or External Monitor

When using a laptop with a projector or an external monitor, some laptops will automatically display to the external port. Other laptops, you need to change the settings. Most laptops have a [FN] key in blue and under the function keys (F1, F2, F3…) there is a separate function that will show a laptop monitor and another monitor, or sometimes says LCD/MONITOR or something to that effect. On my laptop it’s [FN] [F3], the specific key might be different on your laptop. By pressing these hotkeys you can cycle through from laptop only, both monitors, external  monitors only. Keep on pressing the hotkeys until you get the desired monitors.

If you want the laptop monitor and the external monitor/projector to be different, check out this tip.

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Presenter's View in PowerPoint

Michael Hyatt of Working Smart has a fabulous post on Using Presenter's View in PowerPoint. This allows your audience to see your presentation, but allows you to see the slide, the next few slides along the left, your notes, the amount of time you've been talking and many other things.

This can be accomplished by changing one setting in PowerPoint and another on your desktop. Pretty slick. Michael explains how to do this in detail and with pictures.

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