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Getting one-on-one help; Video tutorials

Presentation planning

Source: © Common Craft, 2018.


Whether it’s in class or at work, there are times when we must stand in front of a group of people and present information.

It’s one of the major ways we share ideas and doing it well can be a very important skill. But where do we start? What goes into a great presentation?

Let’s assume you’ll use presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote and your goal is to educate a group about space travel.

To start, think about all the ideas you’ll want to cover and document them .One way to do this is on sticky notes. Take some time to write down all the points you think are relevant, one point for each note, and stick them on a wall. Then, take a step back and think about groups of ideas. Are some of the notes related to others?

Move the sticky notes into 3-5 major groups and take out what’s not relevant. Now that your ideas are organized, it’s time to think about what you’ll say about each idea.

For this, you can create an outline. Give each group a name and add the ideas in that group as sub points in the outline. These points should all relate back to the group subject. Feel free to write out specific things you’d like to say on each point.

Now you’ve accomplished something very important - the ideas in your talk are organized in a logical way. This makes your presentation easy to follow.

Next, let’s consider the actual presentation. Open the presentation software and create a bunch of blank slides. Here, each slide will represent a major point in your talk.

Referring to your outline, add your notes slide-by-slide until all your points are present. Now you have an organized presentation with major points for each slide.

But you still need visuals that your audience will see. Resist the urge to include everything you say or create bullet points for each idea. The best, most effective presentations don’t use a lot of words on the slides.

Instead, consider how photos, drawings, diagrams or shapes can support the points you’ll make. It’s this combination of speech and on-screen visuals that works best because visuals make your points easy to remember.

With the visuals in place, you can use the notes for each slide to document what you’d like to say in the presentation.

Before you know it, your presentation will be ready for lift-off.

Social media and the workplace


Source: © Common Craft, 2018.


These days people have new powers. Not that kind. I mean on the Web. We can create websites and post messages to the world with the click of a button. Blogs, social networking sites and Twitter - all make it easy. But this power comes with new responsibilities, especially when it comes to the workplace.

Organizations often monitor what is said about them in the media and control every message that comes from the company. But these days blogs and social networking sites mean that companies can't keep up - the media has become social. New ways to understand and react to what's being said online are new needed. That's why organizations are beginning to encourage employees to understand and be a part of online conversations. Consider this:

Chair Hero had made quality chairs for twenty years. Recently something happened: one of their chair models was defective and people were falling down. Soon enough, blogs, social networking sites and Twitter were all writing about their defective chairs. Within two days, they were overwhelmed.

The company started to panic. What could they do? What will work in this new world?

At first, they wrote press releases and posted information on their website. It helped a little, but they could see the conversations were happening elsewhere. They felt powerless, like they had lost control.

A potential solution to this problem requires a new way of thinking about company communication. These days, customers want more than just another press release - they want to have an honest conversation with someone from the company - often outside the company website.

To make these conversations productive and reduce the risks, companies need to have a few things in place:

  • 1. Official accounts on popular social media sites
  • 2. A way to monitor what's being said about them, using services like Google Alerts or Twitter Search
  • 3. Guidelines that give employees clear direction

Let's look at how this works. Silas recently went through Chair Hero's training sessions on using social media. It's now a part of his job to identify and respond to people talking about the company online. Before responding to a recent blog post, Silas goes through a quick checklist:

He asks himself, Does this need a response? In this case, Yes - he can offer valuable information.

Is he the right person? Yes - He knows the facts. Does he know the culture? Yes - he knows the blog and what's been said before

So, Silas decides to get involved. Following the guidelines at his company, he introduces himself as a company representative and provides a short disclaimer. He's careful to speak in the first person and focuses on the subject and not the person. His goal is to be personable, respectful and never angry. In this case, he may just need to provide a link to clear up the issue and an offer to help in the future. Before posting it, he quickly makes sure no confidential info has been shared. The next day, Silas receives a quick "thank you", and an added benefit - his response will now be seen by others - and even appear in search results.

Silas was able to take a risky situation and turn it into an informative message - without taking the rest of the company's valuable time. He added value and built trust with customers - and that's the main role of employees using social media, whether is a crisis like a defective chair model, every day customer support or just sharing information.

The web is too wide for a company to control every communication. But a company can understand the growing influence of social media, and create an environment where employees are empowered to participate and build trust with their customers.

Digital Footprint

Source: © Common Craft, 2018.


Let’s pretend, for a moment, that you are a detective trying to solve a crime. You and your hound find the trail of a criminal in the woods and notice footprints. Because of your training, you can tell what direction they were headed, how fast they were going, what size shoe they wear, what kind of shoe, approximate weight and more. This is valuable information for the investigation - the criminal didn’t even know that clues were being left behind automatically.

Something similar happens on the internet. When we visit websites, search for information, leave comments, upload videos, like pages and more, we leave another kind of footprint that’s also valuable. This is your digital footprint.

To understand why your digital footprint is valuable, we have to consider how business works on the web. Organizations depend on collecting and analyzing what people do on their website. That information can help the website, make recommendations, inspire helpful features, connect people, sell products and more.

The organization may also be able to sell the information to advertisers. The bottom line is that your digital footprint is being tracked and saved because it’s valuable. And leaving tracks is unavoidable. By simply using the web, we leave digital footprints by default. And for the most part they are harmless. However, digital footprints do come with risks. Unlike a footprint left in the woods, our digital footprints don’t get washed away. Your digital footprint leaves tracks across the web that lasts much longer than we can remember.

That comment you left on a blog five years ago? It’s still there. This means your digital footprint is part of your online identity and doesn’t go away. The problem is that your digital footprints could be discovered and used to make decisions when you apply for school or a job. What seemed like a funny video to share 3 years ago could seem inappropriate today - and keep you from getting a job.

So, if digital footprints are unavoidable and saved by organizations, what can we do? First, we can choose to be respectful and responsible online. Before posting on a public website, imagine how it would look to a future employer or on the front page of a newspaper.

Second, we can take steps to protect our privacy. This means understanding how our favorite websites and services collect and use our information. Find the site’s privacy settings and choose a level that works for you.

Third, consider having more than one account or persona online. This could be a professional account and personal account. By consciously switching between accounts, you can keep private information private, but still have an online presence that can be found easily.

Our digital footprints can be both helpful and a risk. As you use the web for work school or to be social, keep in mind that your actions are being tracked and it’s your responsibility today to prevent problems in the future.

Protecting reputations online

Source: © Common Craft, 2018.


In the past, doing something embarrassing wasn't a big deal. It happened, and then people moved on. But now that things can be shared on the Web immediately, those embarrassing moments can last forever and impact your reputation and those of your friends.

Let's talk about what happens on the Web. Search engines are constantly scanning it. Their goal is to take a snapshot of every word, picture and video on the web and save it for search results. This means that once a page has been scanned, it may be there forever. Even if the image is deleted from a site, it may still be found in the future - which is when problems can occur.

Think about it this way. If you share videos of yourself or others doing illegal things, or photos that make people look bad, it could seriously harm their reputations. And sometimes it's hard to tell. What seems like a funny photo today, Yaaay! may look very different to someone who finds it the future - Boooo! By understanding a few things now, you can help avoid problems later.

It starts with what you choose to put on websites. Sharing on the Web can be fun and productive. But it could also cause problems. So, it's up to you to think about the people in the photo or story, including yourself, before you share it. Would you want your grandfather to see this photo? Or a future boss? Once you click, you lose control of who can see the photo on the Web. This means your friends have to depend on you to take responsibility for the images, stories, and videos you share on the Web.

Luckily, you don't have to share everything publicly. Find ways to share your life privately without having it scanned by search engines. And be careful using people's names - names are easy for search engines to scan.

Another step is asking your friends to think about what they share on the Web. Let them know that, from now on, you're going to take responsibility. Talk about the risks and what photos could do in the future. Agree to think before you click. This way, you can act goofy today and still have the respect you deserve tomorrow.

Of course, you can't control everything on the Web. If you feel your reputation is at risk, you can take action. Contact the person who posted it and ask them to remove it - they should understand. Taking action today can make it harder to find in the future.

Sharing your life online can be fun and productive, but it can also mean losing some control. You have a responsibility to help protect your reputation and the reputations of those around you. Think before you click.

Copyright & Creative commons

Source: © Common Craft, 2018.


Julia’s dream is to make a living as a photographer. In this dream, she takes amazing photos, people buy them, and their purchases fund her future work.

But it’s not that simple. Julia wants to publish some of her photos to help spread the word, but she’s concerned because photos are easy to copy. She could lose control and not be able to make a living from her talent.

So she does some research and learns that in the U.S., as with other countries, we have laws that give creators of materials like books, images, movies, artwork and music a way to own and protect their creations. It’s called copyright law. Owning the copyright means having the exclusive right to manage and sell the material.

And she’s surprised to find that when she creates photos, she owns the copyright to them automatically, without taking any other action. Though she can always register them with the U.S. Copyright office for good measure.

She likes being covered by copyright law, but it limits her exposure, because her permission is required for sharing a photo. She needs a way to make some of her photos more sharable.

Her research leads her to Creative Commons, which is a set of licenses that she can use to make her copyrighted photos free for sharing.

By licensing specific photos with a Creative Commons license, she doesn’t have to approve each person’s request for sharing, as long as a few simple rules are followed. She chooses a license that requires the user to provide attribution, or credit for her work, and to be non-commercially.

Using Creative Commons means she retains some rights while her photos and name have the potential to be seen by many more people because they can be shared for free.

After considering the options, Julia decides to license a few photos with Creative Commons, and use copyright with “all rights reserved” for the rest of her portfolio because it will be important for her goals. So she adds copyright information, which includes the year the photo was first taken and her name, wherever those photos appear.

Across the country, Kelly needs a travel photo for his magazine article. He searches, and finds a nice one online and notes a Creative Commons license and Julia’s name. His use is commercial, so he visits her site and finds more photos that fit his needs.

The one he wants is marked “all right reserved”, so to avoid copyright infringement and potential legal issues, he contacts Julia who gives him permission to use the photo in exchange for a license fee. This way, Kelly can use the photo in his magazine and Julia can build her career.

Both Kelly and Julia understand that ownership and proper use of materials can be difficult to navigate, especially because the Web is global and copyright laws can vary by country.

So here are a few things they always consider...

When they see a copyright symbol or notice, they ask the creator about proper use. And they still ask even if they don’t see a symbol.

When they see Creative Commons licenses like these, they know they can share the material for free, as long as they follow the rules of the license, found at

Both copyright and Creative Commons are important parts of a system that come with a responsibility to follow rules, rules that support the future work of people and organizations who can make our world a better place.