Thursday, November 20, 2008

3 Tips for Presenting to an Empty Room

A few days ago, I created a 'pre-recorded webinar'. I sat in a room by myself and talked to my computer for 35 minutes. It was hard! I tried to put myself in the seat of the person who would have to listen and watch. Here's what I did to spice it up:
  1. Humor

    I introduced myself and then pretended to introduce others who were attendees. I found some fun photos of people who I could introduce and welcome. Later on, I took questions from the audience and used silly photos (someone sleeping, for example) to make it fun.

  2. Video

    I used my webcam at the beginning, middle, and end to make it more personal. Admittedly, the quality of the video and synchronization with my voice (in the recording) leaves a bit to be desired. However, I felt the visual connection with the participant outweighed these drawbacks.

  3. Props

    I didn't think that a "talking head", some photos, and an occassional webcam video was enough to keep participants engaged. I went for "props" as a way to change things up. In the session, I discussed various microphones and headsets to connect to a computer. For props, I held different types of headsets and mics up to the webcam to "show versus tell". I also considered writing things on paper, using sticky notes, and other props that could be used at intervals but didn't try it this time.
What do you think of these techniques?

And what other ideas do you have for me to try the next time I pre-record a workshop, seminar, or class?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flickr and Fun

On Wed, students in my "Social Networking & Business" course competed (I do use that term lightly) in a mobile phone photo safari. They were asked to act like kids in grade school who are given a list of items to find and photograph. As you'll see from the winners, they had no trouble finding their inner kid.

Second KSB Mobile Photo Safari

"A Strange Hat"

"Something Blue"

"That should have been thrown out looonng ago"

"Now what did I forget?"

"Morning Hair"

Friday, November 14, 2008

The So-Called Millennials

They call them "Millennials" and they tell us that they are the "first generation to grow up with the Internet." While this may be true, I would argue that they are less equipped for our digital world than generations past.

The first generation to be introduced to the telephone understood party lines, tone dialing, and long distance operators (yes, I am showing my age.) The next generation simply picked up the handset and pushed the buttons -- and it worked.

The first generation to be introduced to the television understood rabbit antennas, UHF versus VHF, and snow on the screen after midnight. The next generation keyed some numbers on a remote -- and it worked.
  • If you belong to the Millennial generation, tell me what you think. Do you worry about the expectations of future employers with respect to your technology savvy?
  • If you work with the Millennials, tell me about your experiences. Did they have the skills you expected them to have?
Photo Credit: Mike McGregor Photography

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Well, I'm finally putting my money where my mouth is. I've been teaching a course on Social Networking & Business for two years. I have my students read articles on a topic and write a blog post -- every week. Yet I haven't been blogging myself. Now the time has come.

Welcome to the Digital Minds Blog where I will explore "all things digital" based on my experiences with students and faculty at American University in Washington DC. I hope you'll participate by subscribing and leaving regular comments. I look forward to the conversation...