ESN Playbook 5; Structure.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 3.30.08 PMI’ve been working on chapter outlines for the ESN Playbook, there’s so much to say about this topic but I’ve developed a simple structure that is helping me stay on track, and not stray (too far) into those nice to have topics that can be so distracting – I want this to be useful.

So here’s a mindmap of the structure I’m working on, you can see the topic breakdown that I’m starting with. I’m trying to think of each endpoint of the mindmap as “three blog posts worth” just to keep me sane.

ESN Playbook MindMapThe ESN Playbook Survey is still live – I’d love to have your input.  You can reach it here, it’s about 20 questions and will probably take 20 – 25 minutes to answer.

You can read more in a previous ESN Playbook update for more detail. Once I’m happy with the chapter drafts I will publish them for input and comment, based on current progress that will be about mid-March.

If you’d like to be part of the research, suggest a resource or offer feedback you can contact me;

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Happiness at Work is Linked to Success

Lasting positive change is apparently simple, just repeat the following habits for 21 days;

  • 3 Gratitudes
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random Acts of Kindness

(Go to 11.05 on the video, Shawn Achor cites the research supporting this).

The last item on the list inspired a bunch of students to share biscuits with classmates stuck studying in the McGregor (no relation) Reading Room at the University of Virginia. If you’re looking for ideas for Random Acts of Kindness, there’s a whole website on the subject.

The idea of happiness as a work outcome is an easy target for the cynics, but the research is there, and it’s not a new idea; Alexander Kjerulf wrote a book “Happy Hour is 9 to 5”  first published in 2007 which talks about the connection between happiness, motivation and success.  It’s perhaps not surprising that he comes from Denmark recently assessed as the world’s happiest country in a UN report.

A fact that the national brewer was quick to adopt for an advertisement in Copenhagen’s airport. Fair enough, I did find their product an agent to feeling happy when I was there last week.


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Lessons from Implementing an Enterprise Social Network

I went to Copenhagen to attend the IntraTeam event last week and talk about what we’d learnt implementing an enterprise social network at ING – that ESN was called Buzz. Here’s the presentation I gave – with some added speaker notes.

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Implementing an Enterprise Social Network?

About 40-50% of companies have implemented an Enterprise Social Network. Are you one of them? If so please help me understand how you’re implementing it, what have been your challenges, what have been the successes.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.24.20

The survey will take about 15 minutes and if you have have any further questions please contact me on twitter (@changememe) or email (changememe AT outlook DOT com)

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The Week I was Europe

For the last week I’ve been running the @I_am_Europe twitter account. Just for fun.  I choose to tweet about Digital Europe, and came up with a few themes to focus on across the week. There was a slight delay getting a working password so I got to tweet for six days but on the first day I rested.

My themes were; Digital, Commerce, Education, Relaxing and Entertainment, and Creativity. I didn’t stick to the themes particularly tightly as I threw in some news from the digital world as well.

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I came up with some background images to match the themes, all photos I’d taken. There’s a prize if you can correctly identify all locations.

If you’d like a turn being Europe you can apply on their site.

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Internet is a Human Right

InternetRightsThe internet is a human right, and everyone should have access.

Sounds far-fetched, we’re used to thinking of human rights as connected to security, equality, freedom; all the big stuff.

But Article 21 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights states

Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.

A quick search online shows that many countries are putting their public/government services online including;

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • India
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • UK
  • USA

The UN has run a survey (latest data 2012) looking at “e-government”, which evaluates how ready a government is to provide information and services online, and how ready a country is to use those services. A lot depends on the political and economic situation of the country, just compare Somalia and Sweden to see this difference.

The Charter also lists “the right to education” and “the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community”, both of which increasingly have an online dimension. Governments, including local governments, are also seeking citizen participation online for local decision making.

Across Europe internet penetration is high at about 73%. It reaches close to 93% in Netherlands, but that still leaves more than a million people not using the internet. Across the EU it’s a third of the population.

As governments move services online they reduce the offices and physical services at the same time. At what point to governments have a responsibility to make sure online access is available to all? At what point does the drive to rationalise services and put them online start to infringe people’s rights?

I’ve been managing the @i_am_europe twitter account this week, and posting on a digital theme. It’s got me thinking about governments role in digital. A week ago I resisted the idea that governments had a role to play in the digital world – an attitude that probably marks me as one of the “digital elite”. But discussing some of the issues around digital and reading up on the EU plans it makes sense that governments and international bodies take a role in shaping the digital world we live in, making it a fairer place.

You can read more about progress so far on the EU website for the Digital Agenda, from the site it seems that good progress has been made – it’s harder to assess the actions of national governments, which is where citizens might notice a difference.

Of course this doesn’t mean that governments should build and deliver a full suite of online services, but that there is a need for a digital strategy for a country, and a need for international co-operation.

In my digging around the internet I also found out about the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, which, according to their website

The purpose of  World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

There is a call to add your local initiative to celebrate this day to the site – so far there’s just one event from Geneva, but there is time to add yours, the date of celebration is 17 May. I’d give you more detail, but to download the “circular letter from the ITU Secretary-General” I’m required to log-in for no good reason. I recall facing the same thing when I wanted to read some of the documents relating to the EU’s digital agenda – so I logged in using a fake identity out of peevishness.

The role of governments/regulatory bodies is about rules, policies and control. The internet world strives for openness and the technology lets us remove communications barriers. In my world people share ideas in 140 characters, there’s a dialogue across social media, books are co-created. Governments and regulatory bodies miss this mindset,  which begs the question; are they fit to lead a Digital Agenda?

Image: Internet, 5 minutes, $1.00 / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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7 Steps to Creating a Great Presentation

presentationI’m speaking at the IntraTeam event later this month, and I have started working on my presentation -  from scratch as it will be something totally new right down to the slide template. I got distracted thinking about how I present, and what makes a presentation successful. I happen to enjoy presenting – which helps, but there are definite steps to making sure your presentation is a success.

Presenting is an essential skill; whether it’s presenting your project to your team, convincing a management board to fund your project, or telling a conference audience about the fantastic results of your project/idea. Public speaking is still a common fear, and even the most experienced speakers feel some nervousness before a big speech. I’m find once I’m on the stage but I always want to cancel about an half an hour before I take the stage.

I don’t think anyone finds it easy, but by following these steps – especially practising – you’ll get better at it, and come to enjoy it.

1 Purpose

candyjarI once presented to new employees, all I wanted was for the people to know how to find my team and that we did digital projects. Every other presenter had slides crammed with text. I had four slides; projects we’re working on, who is in the team, where we are in the building, and where the sweet jar was kept in our team room. It was the only one people remembered.

I had a simple purpose – and threw some candy in to help people remember my presentation.

So before you start creating your presentation think about what outcome you want, what do you want people to recall afterwards. Are you informing, persuading or entertaining people?

And what “candy” are you adding to help people remember?

2 Audience

audienceFor the presentation I’m working on I’ve asked the conference organiser for a list of participants, I know they’ll also have some expertise in the field I’m speaking on, but I want to know more. There’s a good chance I’ve already met some of them, and a chance that they’ve heard me speak before.

I want to know these three things about my audience;

  • who they are, what industry they work in
  • level of expertise in this field
  • what they’re looking for in the presentation

The first two are pretty easy to figure out from public information, the third one is tougher to get specifics on – in this case I’m making an assumption that they’re at a conference to learn and if they come to my presentation it’s because they’re interested in social intranets.

You need to find a way to identify their needs, the “sweet spot” of your presentation is the overlap of your purpose and their needs.

3 Storyline

storyroadI did, what I thought, was a pretty good presentation. It happened to be videoed, so I asked someone who’s a prize-winning speaker to review the video and give me feedback. His advice was really good, he suggested that instead of telling the story in a chronological way I structure it into “lessons learnt”. That would force me to focus on what was really important, and I’d give my audience more content.

This step could also be called “building structure”, if that makes more sense to you. And sometimes chronological will be the right way to structure your presentation. But a list format such as the lessons learnt gets to the useful content in a structured way. If you’re presenting to a management team you can be more convincing with a problem – solution structure.

4 Building Content

postitMap out your main ideas, the order they will come in, add sub-headings, notes on resources.  I start with post-it notes, or pencil and paper. Something I can move around and play with – and remove.


There are two reasons for this, firstly it’s harder to see the whole overview of the presentation with just one slide on screen, secondly I think it locks you in to your first idea.

Think about the amount of time you’ve got to give your presentation, aim to speak for about 80% of the time alotted. Things regularly go wrong even at the best conferences; if you’ve left extra time you won’t become flustered when the computer goes into sleep mode, or the lights go out. And if nothing goes wrong you’ve got some time for your audience.

Take each idea in your presentation and work out what you want to say, there’s something magic about the number three, it reassures listeners and you can use it to structure  your presentation. “We found the most important things to do were a, b and c” or perhaps “we took a three phase approach; first a local test roll-out, then across Europe, now global”.

It’s at about this point that will be ready to start using powerpoint. I like to use single images and 1-4 keywords on my slides, by the time I present that’s enough for me to recall what I planned to say. My favourite resource for designing presentations is Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds. There’s also handy advice on creating effective graphics from Thomas Baekel.

Leave stuff out, there’s a temptation to tell everything you know as if this proves your expertise, it’s much better to present the key insights. People can only absorb so much listening to you.

Prepare for questions – some will be on the detail that you’ve left out, others will be on things you’ve never thought of. “I don’t know” is a good answer if it’s honest – if you can offer to find them the answer and get back to them, or perhaps refer to the audience to answer. It’s also OK to say “I’m sorry that information is not to be shared outside the company”.

Plan your conclusion; there’s an old rule about giving presentations “tell them what you’re going to say, tell them, tell them what you said”. Summarise what you’ve talked about and finish with the main point you were trying to make.

5 Tools

It’s not compulsory but it’s likely you will be using powerpoint, so here are a few tips;

  • presentation content is in what you say,  everything you use should support your words
  • fewer slides
  • aim for about two minutes per content slide, more if you have a lot to explain on the slide
  • few words per slide – don’t read from the slide
  • use images or simple graphics
  • everyone has seen a boring presentation, don’t be that guy, don’t contribute to  death by powerpoint.

Video is great, it can bring something lively to your presentation and it can make a point or set a mood better than one person on the stage. If you use video make sure it is part of the story you’re telling, make sure it’s new and keep it short. No more than 10% of your presentation time.

Live Demos are often used by sellers of software and they can be a great way to show how well something works, until it doesn’t. Create some screenshots to make your point as a back up.

6 Practice

practiceWhen you think you’re at about final draft stage give your presentation in front of people; colleagues, friends, the office security guard it doesn’t matter who. This will help you get used to that nervous feeling. Ask for feedback.

Think about the trombone player’s first attempt to play a tune, then thing about his 500th. The 500th was better than the first. The first time you ask for feedback is tough – but it works.

If you’re really stuck finding someone to present to, just present in front of a mirror, watch yourself.

Time your speech, make sure you’re within the conference guidelines.

Say yes to speaking opportunities – it will get easier with practice.

7 On the day

magicpresentingArrive on time, make sure you have a digital copy of your presentation accessible and a spare (just email it to a web-based email address).  Check with the conference organisers regarding the timing of the event, and what time you need to pick up your microphone.

When it’s your turn, begin by introducing yourself, smile, talk slowly (the nerves can make you rush).

Move. You should know your content well enough that you don’t need to refer to your notes constantly, so move across the stage.

Look at the audience, eye contact.

Never complain during your presentation, not about your project or about the conference. I saw a presentation where the speaker began by complaining about how he’d rushed to get there and spilt raspberry on his shirt and felt grubby and the organisers wouldn’t switch his time to later so he could get a clean shirt. You know what? I don’t remember anything else he spoke about.

Telling a joke can break the ice, it can help you connect to your audience. But make sure the joke is on you, it supports your presentation and it’s clean.

If something goes wrong, keep going. I gave a presentation last year and in the middle of it a login box came up screen. It wasn’t my computer and it was in a language I don’t speak. I looked at it said “I’ll ask Kristian to take care of that while I tell you…” Kristian lept onto the stage and sorted out his computer and the presentation went on. Other presenters have had it much worse, lights going out, falling of stages or a fire drill. Keep going unless it’s a fire drill – then get out.

To improve your speaking skills even more ask the conference for feedback, ask the audience, check the event’s twitter feed.

If you’re really serious about getting feedback join Toastmasters, it’s a global organisation of clubs run by members and for members. You’ll hear some really good speeches, get many opportunities to speak, and your speeches are evaluated.

Got any other tips for people giving speeches? Add them below.

Presentation / BY-NC-SA 2.0
Candy Corn / BY-NC-ND 2.0
LT – Presentations – Audience Participation / CC BY-NC 2.0
“Story Road” / CC BY 2.0
Leave A Note On Me! Cosplay / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Trombone 1 / CC BY-NC 2.0
Tara on stage / CC BY 2.0

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