When I first arrived at my current place of employment, I used whatever I could lay my hands on for safety training. I found several CDs at the site with a bunch of presentations on them, and went to town. Don't misunderstand me--purchased training presentations can be a good starting point. But once I got past the initial rush, I began to create my own site-specific training.

In my PPE training for example, I used a football equipment analogy to get the employees to "buy into" my plan to change and upgrade their PPE. So I showed them a visual history of football helmets. Much like football helmets had changed over the years, our PPE would also be changing. I had to overcome the "if is not broken, don't fix it" syndrome. (Not that that doesn't happen anywhere else, of course.)

Now, besides being site-specific, another benefit was realized. The employees knew I was putting in the time to create the training and this made the training have a greater value to them. After all, perception is often reality when it comes to effective training.

Of course, I'm not the first person to realize that good training can be made better with a well-designed presentation. There are lots of books on the subject, so I'll only mention three of them here.

Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds is a decent book, and worth checking out, but I think I can sum it up with the following – "Use Pictures". Images are remembered longer by people. There are several examples of before and after slides in this book.

Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson is another book on the subject and is a decent read. It's big message is – "Tell a Story, Have a Plot". Think of the presentation as a mini-movie, with a beginning, middle and end. One of the interesting ideas from this book is the use of hidden slides for organizing a presentation when in "view all slides" mode.

Then you have Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte, this is a pretty good book with lots of insight into slide design. It covers Fonts, Colors, Placements, Space, Arrangement, Backgrounds, Text Use and Images. It also gets into some fundamental animation, motion and multimedia methods. I've gone back and have re-read this one a few times.

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