Monday, 4 July 2016

Library Marketing Workshops and Training

Some of the orgs for whom I've run training
I've redesigned this website a bit to give it a cleaner look, and added a new page on Marketing Workshops. I've reproduced the content on the new page below.

One day in ten I run workshops for information professionals. These cover two main areas: Presentation Skills (more on that here) and marketing for libraries. The most common comment I get after these workshops is ''s so nice to hear this stuff from a librarian'; lots of people tell me how they've been to previous workshops by marketers from outside the profession who don't really understand the restriction we work under or even really what we're trying to achieve.

My full-day hands-on workshops are designed to give people actions they can do right away: as soon as you get back to your desk there should be ideas and techniques to hand that will help you communicate the value of your library service effectively. The workshops involve group exercises, discussion, a focus on your own institution - they can also involve using computers to try out digital communication tools and social media too, if that's the preference.

All the workshops cover different communication types, what really matters to library marketing, segmentation and dividing your audience up into smaller groups, tailoring messages, and creating impactful comms. If you want to book some training for your organisation, please get in touch via email.

Feedback from previous workshops

"Informative, interesting, engaging. Useful insights into a wider range of tools, eg. issu and tmblr. Examples from actual libraries, and understanding of our situation that a marketing professional wouldn’t have eg. we can’t cut all the writing from our website." Oxford Brookes

“I loved the content. It made sense, it was practical, and gave me lots and lots to think about. Best thing: we’ll DO something with it!” PiCS, Sydney

“Very well delivered and paced. Ned was really engaging and the workshop was definitely useful and thought provoking. Really enjoyable session, I left with a lot of respect for Ned’s attitude and advice on communications and felt that it was really helpful to hear from someone who actually understands libraries and how librarians work!” University of the Arts

“I found the day extremely informative, Ned delivered the content very well and in a jargon-free way, he instantly made one feel comfortable about speaking up. First thing on Monday morning I made a Sway of our library!” NHS East Midlands

 “I thought this course was excellent, one of the best courses I have attended at the BL... ALL the content was useful - Ned was excellent in really understanding the BL collections and needs and shaping the course appropriately. I have already recommended this course to colleagues!” British Library

“Excellent presenter and course, would gladly attend any more of his courses.” Bodleian, Oxford

“Fantastic day again with Ned Potter. Lots of ideas, really knows his stuff. Really helps you choose what will work best for your library.” ANLTC, Dublin

“I’ll be bringing loads of new things back to teach others. I’m bursting with ideas. Great content, all legitimately relevant. Lots of good tips. I agree that everything Ned taught us can be used immediately as opposed to just talking about future trends like a lot of presenters do. Super practical!!” PiCS, Wellington

Friday, 4 December 2015

Where to begin when planning a presentation

This seems obvious, but it actually seems to happen seldom:

(As it happens, marketing should work exactly the same way. Your marketing messages should be in the sweet-spot between what you offer and what truly matters to your community.)

There are two main ways in which, when we give talks or run teaching sessions and workshops, we don't adhere to this principle. Clearly no one ever strays entirely into the blue circle (giving a talk about a subject which matters to your audience, but which you no absolutely nothing about, is pretty much impossible) but we can easily spend too much time in the orange circle where it doesn't overlap, or just not make the most of the overlapping section of the diagram.

NB: I very deliberately use the phrase 'what matters to your audience' above - rather than 'what interests them', because I'm not advocating taking a superficial approach and only telling your community about cool stuff they already care about. We can tell them things they don't know they need to know! Sometimes they wouldn't choose to hear it in advance, but they thank us afterwards. So it's very much what matters to them, whether they realise it before the session or not.

There's no excuse for telling an audience things which don't matter at all - unless it's a small part of your presentation, to serve a particular purpose.

Telling people everything we know

I don't wish to generalise but a lot of times Librarians give out too much information, particularly early on in a relationship between the institution and the user. Induction or Welcome talks often contain vast swathes of detail, or a talk at a conference will include ALL the info about a particular project - and often this can actually get in the way of the message. After a while the audience gets overwhelmed and starts to filter, or just switch off. We can only retain so much new information at one time.

So when crafting a talk or presentation, the starting point should not be 'What do I know about this subject?' but specifically what do the audience want to know about this subject, that I can tell them?

Missing out on the over-lap

There's a second, more subtle, factor here. The over-lap of what matters to your audience and what you know about can also include things which aren't part of your core message. In other words, you can establish your credibility with your audience by telling them things which matter to them, and THEN telling about the library's relevance to them - they're more inclined to take you seriously if you aren't just advocating for your own service or value. I use this a lot in infolit teaching - I'll tell the students about internet privacy, different search engines, how to use social media in an academic context etc, as well as telling them about what the library does and how to use databases effectively. Because it's in the overlap of the diagram above - I know about this stuff, and it matters to my audience. 

What's really interesting is when I started doing this *rather than just talking about the library) the feedback, both the scores and the qualitative feedback, went up hugely; they really liked the sessions. But when they're asked to rate the most useful part of the session, the vast majority mention the bits about the library!

As long as it doesn't conflict with our ethics and values, libraries can provide both services and expertise based on what our users need - it doesn't have to be a 'library' function in the traditional sense.

So: create presentations and teaching from the audience's point of view first, working back to what you know about what matters to them, rather than the other way around. It's only a small shift but it makes a huge difference.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Using Prezi in Academic Libraries

The zooming presentation tool Prezi is a very divisive alternative to PowerPoint. Prezi's 40 million users have created MANY bad presentations since it launched in 2009, and for that reason it has a bad rep in some circles - poorly made Prezis make the audience feel motion-sick, and even really well made Prezis are sometimes more about the tool and the presenter than they are about the content and the audience. Conversely some people LOVE it: "I just use Prezi for everything" is a phrase you hear sometimes, which personally I view as a mistake.

My own feelings on Prezi are somewhere in the middle - I don't use it for about 75% of the presentations I create, but I don't hate it either. It can be a really effective tool in the academic environment, and at my institution we've had students and staff love what we've done with it. The key is, use Prezi with a good reason. Otherwise, don't.

So here are some good uses for Prezi in the academic library:

1. Interactive Maps of the Library

My favourite use for Prezi is take something static, and make it dynamic. You can stretch any image as large as you want (as long as it's not a low-res image) and make it the background to your entire presentation, then add points of interaction with that image.

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