Presentation Design Services

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the
“Presentation Design” Online Coaching Series
by Adele Sommers

1. How exactly do I participate in the online coaching program?

After enrolling in the program, you’ll attend an online orientation session for a short tour. The tour will explain how:

  • You’ll access and download the workshop materials, assignments, and the session video replays from my Online University, using either a Mac or Windows browser. (For Mac owners: You’ll need access to a Windows operating system to watch the optional video replays, as explained in #5 below.)
  • You’ll attend the online workshops in the easy-to-use GoToMeeting Web seminar environment. It lets you watch on your computer screen while you listen to the discussion by phone or using a computer headset, as explained in #2 below. (Note that for these Web meetings, you will not need a Web camera, nor must you purchase any special software.)

2. What are the system requirements for attending the Web seminars?

We’ll be using GoToMeeting, which works with both Mac and Windows browsers, as explained below.

For Windows-based participants, you’ll need:

  • Internet Explorer 6.0 or newer, Mozilla Firefox 2.0 or later (JavaScript and Java enabled)
  • Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server, Vista, or Windows 7
  • Cable modem, DSL, or better Internet connection
  • Minimum of Pentium class 1GHz CPU with 512 MB of RAM (recommended; 2 GB of RAM for Windows Vista)

For Mac-based participants, you’ll need:

  • Safari 3.0 or newer, Firefox 2.0 or later (JavaScript and Java enabled)
  • Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later
  • PowerPC G4/G5 or Intel processor (512 MB of RAM or better recommended)
  • Cable modem, DSL, or better Internet connection

Audio: You’ll have the option of connecting to the audio portion by phone (which would involve just your standard long-distance charges), or by computer (Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP, which is free). Participants using VoIP will need a fast Internet connection and a USB headset (about $29–$49 at Radio Shack or at most office supply stores).

NOTE: Cell phones often seem to cause echoing or other interference on the line. Please plan to use a regular landline phone, a cordless landline phone, or a USB headset when participating in the Web seminars.

3. Will the workshops involve constant group discussion, or mostly listening?

We’ll want to strike the right balance between the instruction and questions or discussion. Many people prefer primarily to listen and watch, asking questions only when they need to. Since our groups are fairly small and intimate, however, it’s perfectly fine to make comments or ask questions whenever you feel like it. When you’re not part of a discussion, you may want to mute yourself out to avoid introducing distracting background noises.

4. Will the live sessions also be recorded?

Yes. We record all of the sessions and then make them available for later replay. (Please see the next question, also.) The Webinar recording format plays back both the audio and visual components as a Web video.

You’ll need access to a Windows platform to play back the recorded videos. That’s because they’re encoded using a proprietary Windows Media Video format that does not have a Mac player.

Note that these recordings serve as learning aids for the coaching group only. We urge group members to respect each other’s privacy and confidentiality at all times.

5. What if I’m traveling and can’t attend live; can I replay the sessions?

Yes. Because of the video recordings, you could sign up for the program and miss all of the live sessions, yet still be able to access the recordings at any time you wish. This works especially well when on travel, and you can catch up if you have Internet access and spare time along the way — or, simply wait until you return home.

If you’re in a compatible time zone, you could participate live even while on travel if you have a computer with Internet access, and are able to use the GoToMeeting VoIP features to avoid any long-distance charges.

The main value of attending “live” is the ability to ask questions and be involved in the very rich mastermind discussions. But it’s certainly not essential to benefiting from the content.

6. Can I convert my own slide presentations to online movies?

Yes. Although this topic is outside the main curriculum, you can use programs such as Camtasia Studio or Articulate Presenter on Windows, or ScreenFlow on the Mac, to turn your presentations into Flash auto-play videos or self-paced tutorials.

If desired, we can set up one or more special add-on workshops to demonstrate some of those capabilities.

7. Is there any preliminary reading I can do?

Sure! The following readings provide guidance on both the theory and practice of presentation design:

  • Presentation Zen, by Garr Reynolds (discusses aesthetic and visual design principles)
  • Beyond Bullet Points, all editions, by Cliff Atkinson (covers visual design principles, story-telling principles, and the science behind them; and it also provides a structured presentation design methodology, the templates for which are downloadable from

For the “cognitive science geeks” among us, also see the following for underlying research that supports the various presentation principles:

  • E-Learning and the Science of Instruction, by Dr. Richard E. Mayer and Dr. Ruth Clark (summarizes research by Dr. Mayer related to the design of instruction and presentations)
  • Multimedia Learning by Dr. Richard E. Mayer (more of Dr. Mayer’s body of research)

Please let me know if you have any other questions — I look forward to hearing from you! Feel free to contact me by phone or at