Open SoSi: The Concept Jam part 3Presentation slide decks for the Concept Jam social media strategy workshop

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Today, we're releasing three versions of the slide presentation we use in our Concept Jam workshops.

If you read part 1 of our Concept Jam series, you know that a full-day workshop is the heart of the Concept Jam process. We use slides to set the stage at key moments throughout the day, but we use them a little differently from the way many presenters use slideshows. Because the Concept Jam is so intensely participatory, the presentation doesn't account for the lion's share of the workshop. Instead, it supports and informs the discussion and brainstorming that really power the session.

An overview of the workshop structure and decks

You'll be able to make sense of the basic structure of the decks by looking at our sample workshop agenda. Each deck consists of two types of slides:

  • Introductory slides that present a quick overview of what makes social media different from other forms of communications (first part of each deck)
  • Case study slides that present examples of how social media is used in a particular area (storytelling, knowledge management, connecting, fundraising, etc)

Before the slideshow starts, we get everyone on their feet and primed for a day that is participatory, not passive. You can see the workshop script for the spectrograms (a technique we learned from Aspiration) that we use in this part of the day. There are no slides for this part of the workshop.

Once we shift into presentation mode, we whip through the introductory slides in about 20-30 minutes. This is the one part of the day that feels like a conventional talking-head presentation (though we still stop for questions).

Once participants have a brief intro to what we mean by "social media", we shift into discussion mode. As you will see in the script, we ask participants to make a list of their organization's goals, audiences and strengths. The flipcharts from this discussion stay up on the wall for the rest of the day, so that participants can refer back to them. There are no slides for this portion of the day.

Next we head into the case study slides and brainstorming sessions, which are the heart of the day. These are organized around three or four different topics:

  • storytelling (blogging, video and photo sharing, podcasting)
  • connecting (social networks, calendaring, task management)
  • knowledge management (wikis, social bookmarks, digg-style suggestion & voting sites, rating & review sites)
  • fundraising (widgets, customized product sales, targeted giving, Facebook Causes)

NOTE: We use terms like "storytelling" rather than "blogging & media sharing" because that makes the topic more accessible to participants. Ask people to suggest ideas for how you can use blogs or wikis, and you'll get blank stares from two-thirds of the room. Ask them about storytelling or connecting, and you're plugging into something they already know how to do, or at least feel more comfortable thinking about. We find the brainstorming gets rolling a lot faster when we avoid using social media jargon.

Each brainstorming session kicks off with a whirlwind 10- or 15-minute overview of the possibilities for using social media. The idea is to give participants a taste of the possibilities, by showing a range of examples drawn from companies or organizations in their field or related fields. We try to include examples that represent different approaches and technologies, and ideally where we can tell participants a little something about the project's impact. (That typically includes a few examples from our own work, but we are very careful to avoid turning a workshop into a sales pitch.) If we're doing a session for an organization that has asked us for help learning social media best practices, we'll wrap up the case study slides with some brief reflections on what works well with these kinds of projects. (See the "what makes a great strategy" sections in the workshop script.)

Then we go back into flipchart mode and ask participants to think about how THEY could use this type of social media (e.g. storytelling) to reach the goals and audiences they specified at the beginning of the day, building on the strengths they identified. We spend 40-60 minutes in brainstorming mode, and wrap up once suggestions slow down or become repetitive. We could write an entire blog post (make that a white paper!) on our facilitation approach, so we'll leave that for another day.

Allocating 60-90 minutes per session, we can get through 3 or 4 brainstorming sessions in a day, typically organized around the storytelling, knowledge management and connecting sections you find in the Concept Jam Master Slides file. On occasion we'll add a specific topic relevant to a particular client, like the fundraising section you find in the Concept Jam Health Slides file.

After the brainstorming sessions wrap up, we use the last hour of the day to vote on the top ideas that emerged, and to plot those ideas on a risk-reward matrix. More notes on this part of the process are in the workshop script. There are no slides for this section of the workshop, though we usually wrap with a slide showing our contact information so that participants can follow up with any thoughts or questions.

How to use these slides

The workshop slides go with the workshop script, so you'll be able to make the most sense of them if you go through the decks with a copy of the script open in another window (or printed out). Note that the example script does not correspond exactly to any of these particular decks, though the Health Slides probably come closest.

In theory you could wake up tomorrow morning, print out the workshop script, and then use a combination of the workshop script and our annotations in the Concept Jam Master Slides to deliver a workshop. Then you could sit down at 6 p.m. (we're giving you an hour for your post-workshop martini -- you'll need it!) to send us an e-mail, tweet or comment telling us how it went. In fact, if you have that kind of chutzpah -- and you're not wasting anyone's time or money on the experiment -- we'll buy you the martini. (And some iodine for those nasty scratches you'll get.)

But we can't recommend treating this as a plug-and-play operation. You'll want to go through the set of slides that corresponds to your needs (or your client's) and visit each of the sites in the case study slides (ideally doing a Google or Technorati search to get additional perspectives on each one). You'll want to practice your introductory spiel explaining what social media is all about. You'll want to come up with your own version of the spectrograms so you ask questions that will really engage the people in your session. You might even want to visit Noise to Signal to find additional cartoons that will support your presentation. There's only one thing we ask you not to do:

Do not add PowerPoint slides spelling out what you are going to say.

We are not asking you this because we regard our slide decks as sacrosanct. Au contraire: please feel free to add cases, change the intro, add sections, delete examples -- whatever makes it work better for you, your organization or your client. In fact we'd love to see what you do with the Concept Jam decks -- or the workshop decks you use yourself -- so if you can post them on SlideShare and tweet, e-mail or comment a link, we'd be thrilled.

We ask you to leave out the slides that say....

  • the title of the next five minutes of your talk
  • an explanation of your first point and then the bullet that spells out the complete text you use to make your second point
  • and then a long colourful quotation here, ideally with some impressive words or figures
  • and then another bullet here with another complete sentence that says exactly what you're saying except look I'm reading it while you're saying it

...because these slides suck. They are the PowerPoint slides of doom. Whenever someone delivers a presentation that is accompanied by a slide deck showing a complete transcription of the speaker's notes, a tiny toastmaster dies. So please, don't kill toastmasters -- or the people at your workshop -- by transcribing your presentation onto your slides.

Don't believe us? Believe Garr Reynolds (swoon). Or Nancy Duarte (Oscar-winning swoon). Or download and read this free and invaluable book by Andy Goodman (guy-who-shares-his-stuff-for-free-too swoon).


Enough presentation advice, just give me the slides!

Fine. Here they are - in Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote versions!

The presentation (PowerPoint | Keynote)

Health edition (PowerPoint | Keynote) (Includes fundraising section!)

Education edition (PowerPoint | Keynote)


Anonymous says

October 21, 2009 - 6:14am

Thanks so much for your boldness in sharing your intellectual property.

While I don't see leading social media workshops, I find your information helpful as I learn more about the features and benefits of this new means for storytelling.

Unfortunately, I could not open the keynotes for any of the presentations. Can you all help me?



Bonnie H. Schulte

bonnie.schulte24 [at] gmail [dot] com

Rob Cottingham says

October 21, 2009 - 12:47pm

Hi, Bonnie -

Well, there's the peril in a) my not being clearer, and b) Apple giving its products generic names. "Keynote" is Apple's presentation software. My apologies for any confusion - I've edited the blog post to make that explicit.

(If you're rolling your eyes because you knew this already and you were trying to open them in Keynote, even more apologies... and do let me know so I can check the files.)


Anonymous says

October 24, 2009 - 5:03am

You all are amazing, Rob. thanks for the reply and the clarification.

Through your materials, I'm actually able to have a shot at beginning to understand social media. Thanks!


Social Ch@nge » Blog Archive » Building says

October 30, 2009 - 12:35pm

[...] your strategy. I’ve worked on these presentations, and I still learned something new from this post where they mention an excellent downloadable book by Andy Goodman (”Why Bad Presentations [...]

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