On Friday, August 16 we’ll be meeting at the usual spot (RTP Marriott) for our August meeting. Book club will start at 10 AM, professional development session at 11 AM, and the networking lunch in Newton’s Restaurant at 12 PM.
Send an RSVP to Amy Germuth (agermuth @ gmail . com) if you plan to attend.
This month we’ll be doing something new, beaming in Kelci Price via Webinar to lead our professional development session. I have a little pre-meeting Q&A down below, here’s the preview.
Communication in Evaluation: Professional Development Preview
Communication in evaluation involves evaluators translating complex data into understandable information for stakeholders. It sets the stage for the utilization of evaluation findings, so is a foundational skill for all evaluators. In recent years there has been a renewed focus on how to better communicate evaluation findings in ways that engage stakeholders, improve their understanding, and inspire them to take action.
The key elements of good communication include considerations of content structure and visual communication (e.g., data visualization). This presentation will demonstrate how these concepts can be addressed in both written deliverables and presentations. The goal is to provide both novice and veteran evaluators with innovative ideas and concrete strategies for creating reports and presentations that will communicate their messages, engage audiences, and inspire stakeholders to action. Real-life examples are included, as well as resources for evaluators to use in their own practice.
A little Q&A with Kelci Price
Kelci was kind enough to answer a few of my pre-meeting questions.
You will be our first ever Webinar. When the webinar starts what will the group see, your face, your slides, or both?
“I’ll admit that I’d just assumed I’d put my slides up first, and I don’t have a webcam on my computer. But now that you mention it, I should start with a picture of me!”
Now let’s go beyond preview, how about a little teaser? What is one of the strategies or ideas you plan to address?
“There are some really simple changes you can make to amp up the utility of a report. One that I love is using your headings differently. Instead of using a generic heading, have the heading reflect a take-home message (e.g., “Successful clinics organize their staff differently”). A simple but powerful way to draw in the audience!”
Instead of using a generic heading, have the heading reflect a take-home message
It seems like the TED conference and the loads of experts found on the web are having an impact on the way we approach presentations. It also seems to be ratcheting up audience expectations. Are the days numbered for the bullet point laden, clip art-filled, presentations of the past?
“I certainly hope so. It seems like we might be increasing our understanding that presentations should be informative and inspiring – even the ones about evaluation! The audience should expect more, but presenters should also demand more of themselves. We presenters need to give presentations the respect they deserve as vehicles of information and change. Hopefully we can do away with throwing together a few slides the night before with text that was copied directly from the report.”
In the past couple of years the American Evaluation Association has been making a big push to improve presentations with things like the potent presentations initiative. They even brought in a little fun with the Ignite presentations. You were at last year’s conference, did you notice any change in the quality of presentations?
“I am so excited by the attention that AEA has paid to this – I’ll admit that I jumped for joy when AEA announced the Data Visualization and Reporting TIG. They have really done an amazing job educating folks and providing resources. The changes I have seen people make so far have mostly focused on good slide design.
I admit that I’m concerned that we’re not paying enough attention to the structure of the story we tell – slide design and fancy infographics are one thing, but the narrative matters even more. I could stand in front of a black screen and hold you in rapt attention with no slides if I have a great narrative. We need to remember that knowing how to tell the story is key.”
We need to remember that knowing how to tell the story is key.
Personally my favorite presenter is Hans Rosling (He ended a presentation about data by swallowing a sword!!!), who is your favorite?
“Hans Rosling is definitely fabulous. I love Nancy Duarte for her storytelling prowess – her book Resonate was a turning point for me (she has a great TED talk). I love searching out new speakers with passion and a great story because it reminds me that you don’t have to be a professional speaker to give an incredible presentation! TED talks are my go-to place for this.”
Prior to the webinar, what else should we know about Kelci? You’re an Applied Social Psychologist, I had a few classes undergrad, they were always so much fun. You’re in Colorado are you an avid outdoors kind of person? Do you ski?
“I have a significant nerdy side and love to teach myself new things. My husband and I have been known to spend our Friday nights coming up with neat Excel formulas. I am also an avid wet felter – a little known art form that involves creating textiles from raw wool. On the weekend I can generally be found felting handbags and wall hangings. If this whole evaluation thing doesn’t pan out, I will probably get a farm and raise alpacas. And yes, I love to hike the mountains of Colorado!”
More about Kelci Price
Kelci Price has 10 years of experience conducting evaluations and supporting organizations in their use of evaluation in strategy and learning. She currently serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Colorado Health Foundation, a grant-making organization with over $2.3 billion dollars in assets which seeks to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. Previously, Kelci served as an internal evaluator and Director of Data Program Management for the Chicago Public Schools, and as a senior evaluator with The Evaluation Center at the University of Colorado Denver. She holds a PhD in Applied Social Psychology.
Kelci has a passion for good communication in evaluation, having discovered early in her career that how the information is presented is a critical component of whether evaluation findings will be used. Her focus is on ways to communicate evaluation findings so that stakeholders engage with the evaluation, understand the findings, and are inspired to take action. She has found that that the key elements of good communication include considerations of content structure and visual communication.