Presentation Hack: Impact of Audience Size

Presentation styles do not scale well.

I'm using a loose definition of "presentation" here. Think not only about college lectures, conference keynotes, or wedding toasts...but also other workplace training, office meetings, or learning workshop environments.

Right now, I'm imaging a friend who owns a training business. He is a skilled public speaker. Having helped coordinate a 700+ person annual conference for over a decade (and attended many more), I've seen hundreds of speakers in his industry. And he's among the most polished! He's got well-designed slides, great timing, strong confident appearance, appropriately dressed, and a general tone that draws you in. Totally impressive.

I watched him give that two (2)-hour lecture to an auditorium audience of multi-hundreds. He was awesome!

Months later, I attended a multi-day class he gave to 40 students. And I was less impressed.

What I realized is that his presentation style did not change one (1) bit. If y…

Presentation Hack: Using Analogy

Whether you are conveying a message through lecture, webinar, blogging, tweeting, e-learning, workshop, or any other you tell the story matters. 
Yes, a story.
And not necessarily a story with characters, plot, a beginning, middle, and end. But maybe just some sort of emotional imagery. And yes, characters do help!
People respond to emotional, relatable characters and situations. It's how we are programmed. But it's not necessarily intuitive to develop or identify these stories when we are presenting new, often complicated research, concepts, theories, or principles.
Effective imagery can compare or contrast. Especially to show contrast, I gravitate towards example and analogy.
What are some of the contrasting analogies I use? Caveman vs ProfessorChess Player vs Sports CoachCharcoal BBQ vs Electric SmokersPotty Training vs Changing Your Own DiaperAdjustable Wrench vs Box WrenchBull Shark vs Princess & the PeaIrrigated Grapevine vs Dry-Farmed GrapevineSwim Teams vs…

When They Make Wine Out of You

A few years ago, I listened to a story about how grapes are grown. 

More specifically, two (2) different ways they're farmed before being made into wine:

Most grapes in the United States are grown underirrigatedconditions. Farmers use drip systems to add water to the soil at the base of the vines. The roots suck up the provided water. The grapes grow to be large and plump.

In many other countries, grapes are grown without irrigation systems. This is called dry-farming. Roots fight to find water. The grapes grow to be considerably smaller, producing a smaller yield per acre.

Both types of grapes are used to make wine. Some experts claim that water-filled irrigated grapes require the addition of sugars to the wine during the fermentation process. These experts cite these artificially-plumped grapes lack the nutrients, integrity, or chemistry to make good wine by themselves. As such, they need something extra. 

These same experts claim that dry-farmed wines do not require additional sugar…

Resources & Links to Learn More About OODA

This is meant to be a living, breathing, evolving post to continually update links and resources to help my readers learn more about John Boyd's OODA. 

I continue to publish blog posts that reference or dig deeper into US Air Force Colonel John Boyd's OODA framework. (This label is a link to all such blog posts on The Illinois Model, several of which are also linked below.)
It seems that enough readers feel my posts are the equivalent of jumping into the deep end of the pool. I rarely spend time introducing OODA, or give the foundational background. While I do post warnings about this purposeful omission of introductory narratives, it's only fair that I curate a post like this to share that foundational knowledge.
I'd also like to open this up to others who have recommendations on OODA, however I deserve (& reserve!) the right to separate them from my own suggestions and endorsements.
Lou's recommendations - I've read or listened to all of these. What sort…

(How) Can Cynefin Help the Police Criminal Intelligence Community?

NOTE: This is a followup piece to Criminal Investigations Through the Lens of Complexity & Design Theory

In its most basic sense, "intelligence" is the output after "information" is processed. In the criminal justice and law enforcement realm, this intelligence is used to help prevent, disrupt, respond to, suppress, investigate, arrest, and prosecute crime and criminals.

What exactly is the processing? It depends greatly on the information. And also greatly on what the desired use of the intelligence product is. 

Intelligence work is the development of workable theories. In many cases, it's about using current or historical facts and clues to create theories of how crime(s) occurred. This theory can be used to further investigate and/or prosecute historical crime(s). Theory can also be used to disrupt, prevent, or better investigate future crime(s).

Incoming information may come with varying levels of confidence. At its best, information is absolutely factu…

Weekend Building Blocks - 15 MAR 2019

There's no value in collecting blocks unless you're connecting them to build something awesome! First, this week'sWeekend Building Blocks goes heavy on podcasts, a bit slanted towards the military. Lately, I've been listening more and reading less. But no worries..I added a sixth (6th) bullet point this week! ;)
The Learning Insurgency: It's an Evolution, Not a Revolution. This is a post by US Army MAJ Don Vandergriff (ret). Don's books and articles continue to be a source of inspiration for adaptability and leadership. In this piece, he really breaks down Outcomes-Based Learning, as it applies in the US Marine Corps. It goes beyond task training and into cognitive skills education. If you are responsible for teaching, instructing, or developing others, you need to read this!Visualization and Collaboration.This is an episode of the Agile Chicago Style Podcast, with host Rick Waters and guest Maria Matarelli. In the first half, they discuss visual facilitation b…

Bull Sharks & Princesses

I want you to consider two (2) categories:

-- BULL SHARK = adaptable, tolerant of multiple environments. -- PRINCESS & THE PEA = sensitive, aware, finicky, intolerant.

We can hold different traits in different parts our lives. I'm not certain that any one (1) is better than the other. They are simply different. They have tradeoffs, compromises, and side effects.

This theory overlaps with: preferences, tolerances, sensitivities, awareness, generalist vs specialist, and more.

There are times to be the Bull Shark...and times to be the Princess.


Lou Hayes, a criminal investigations & intelligence unit supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. With a passion for training, he studies human performance & decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Follow Lou on Twitter at @LouHayesJror onLinkedIn. He also maintains aLinkedIn page for The Illinois Model.

Q: Is policing too generalized at supervisory level and too specialized at the operational level?

I'm not one (1) to shy away from discussions about generalism vs specialism in policing. Heck, I start many of them! 

So when Liam Mahon posed this question, I knew I'd need more space than tweets: 
Here’s one to consider:

Is policing too generalised at Management level and too specialised at the delivery level? — Mahoo (@SystemsNinja) March 10, 2019 My thoughts:

Supervisory (management) levels should be more generalized than those below. Operational (delivery) levels should be more specialized than those above.

Generalists are those who make connections and jump specialties. They are the bull sharks who can swim in fresh and salt waters. They coordinate the complex work of multiple, diverse specialists by seeing relationships and forecasting implications that a narrow-minded specialist cannot.

Specialists have deep expertise in a narrow context or set of circumstances. They understand the complicatedness of the long as they have education, understanding, or expe…

Teams versus Groups

I played team sports most of my childhood and early adulthood: baseball; basketball; volleyball; men's slow-pitch; rugby.

As a police officer, I also gravitate towards teams: SWAT; training cadres; investigative task forces.

But though reflection, I question whether some of these teams were actually groups.

I anticipate this post will draw criticism for my language. My intention is to share differences in concept and principle, more than selling anyone on distinct labels of Team or Group. Stick with me, and offer more appropriate terminology rather than beating me over the head with your dictionary.

My kids are on a swim team. However, there is really no "team" aspect to swimming; it's a collection of individual swimmers. Team scores are merely a summation of individual points. Even for relay teams, it's one (1) swimmer at a time. Swim teams, and even relay teams, are plug-and-play; it's quite easy to swap out individuals. This is because a swim team lacks …

Fallacy and Complexity of Police Accountability

I tend to roll my eyes when I hear screams for police accountability. Not because I don't believe in holding our cops to standards. But because those screaming loudest rarely reference or discuss which standards aren't being maintained. And if so, they use a different vocabulary from that used within that particular body, group, realm, arena, or community. 

Police powers and force are complex topics -- because of how many perspectives, values, beliefs, experiences, and ideas are out there. Some philosophies are simply a tad disjointed or misaligned. Others are in direct conflict with each other! 

So which standards, bodies, or realms am I talking about?

I've grouped, separated, and outlined ten (10) of them here:

CRIMINAL LAW determines whether a police officer is sent to prison or not. The standard is criminal statutes, especially those regarding special powers given to peace officers in the performance of official duties. Findings are fairly binary: Guilty or Not Guilty. Sen…