Archive for February, 2008
No user servicable parts inside
That’s what it says on countless electronic and mechanical devices. “Don’t touch this,” it says, “you’re way too dumb to open it… you’ll get hurt”
The problem, of course, is that pretty soon you start looking at the entire world that way. Whether it’s web design or Google analytics or backing up your hard drive or just talking to the guys in the plant about your new ideas, it’s really easy to see the world as a black box.
Here’s a simple secret of success: ignore the sticker.
Figure out how to use the tools that the most successful people in your field understand innately.
The same should be said for using technology in ministry. Yes, it takes some work, and yes, schedules are tight and time is in high demand. But, we have to see the longer road, the bigger picture – learning these technologies will change your ministry and reach people that you never dreamed you could reach.
So ignore the sticker – dive in and start to explore.
Ok, this is cool! You can get the Logos Bible Software startup sound as a ringtone for your cellphone for free. Just download the ringtone to your phone and you are ready to go. I always hear the startup sound for Logos in my Ministry Technologies class as students are trying to get their laptops up and running, so I am used to it.
To get the free Libronix ringtone, text the number 349388 to 69937 (MYXER) or visit Myxer and follow the simple instructions. It will work on most phones, but there are a handful of phones whose carriers have disabled this service.
Let’s talk about traffic. No I don’t mean how long it took you to get to work today or that logjam of cars on the Interstate trying to get across town. I am talking about who is coming to your website or blog. Traffic is obviously important in this sense of the word. If no one is coming to your website or reading the posts that you labored over and posted to your blog, then why do it? If, on the other hand, you have people visiting your site from Korea or Ukraine or India, and you are in Denver, Colorado are what time your services are held and cool Mapquest directions to your building really all that important? We need to understand that the web is an international tool. That visitor from Korea, quite honestly, couldn’t care less about what time services start. You need to provide him (or her) with more. Teach him some biblical truth that he didn’t know before. Share something that will plant a seed in his life that may bear fruit for the Lord.
So who is coming to your site and where do they come from? I am often asked if there is a way to tell when people visit your website or blog. The answer is a resounding YES with the help our our friends at Google. Google Analytics is a free statistics package that you can easily add to your website or blog. Once installed on the pages or your website or blog you can get detailed stats about the number of people visiting your site and even where they come from. The amount of detail that can be gained from this tool is really impressive. You can learn the number of new visitors vs. returning visitors and dozens of other stats to help you understand who is looking at your site. One of the more interesting reports shows you a map of the world and when you hover you mouse over a color coded country (the color coding indicates traffic volume) you can see how many visitors have come to your site from that country. A simple click on the country shows a close up map of that country with dots from the various cities containing visitors. As an example, I know that within the last 30 days our school website (www.bvbid.org) has received:
– 2090 visits
– 55.89% of those visitors are first-time visitors to our site
– 50 countries had visitors
– within the U.S. we had visits from 49 states – North Dakota was a no show
Certainly this information can be very useful to a ministry website or blog. Knowing that a vast majority of your traffic come from a particular region or area of the globe may help you realize that you have an opportunity to reach out to people in places and lands you never dreamed were possible.
I just read a post on Guy Kawasaki‘s blog where he interviewed Garr Reynolds (see my previous post about Garr and his work) about what makes good and bad PowerPoint presentations. While both of these men are geared for making presentations in the business world, there is no doubt that many of the suggestions made translate to preaching and teaching with PowerPoint as well. Garr answers thirteen questions about what makes good presentations and his answers are concise and right on target. If you really want to use this tool well, you need to read this interview
I have ordered Garr’s book, Presentation Zen, but it hasn’t arrived yet. I will post a review as soon as I have read it. From what I have read about it, it is very good. I can’t wait to dig in….
I have just run across a website by Garr Reynolds that you really must visit. Garr has a website and blog (Presentation Zen) that deals with issues related to creating and giving presentations using PowerPoint (and Keynote if you are a MAC person). His information goes far beyond the basics of how to set up a good slide (although that is included). His information is about visual communication using these tool. He has posted an article on his website entitled, “Top Ten Slide Tips” that should be a MUST READ for everyone using these tools. If you will simply follow his suggestions your PowerPoint presentations will improve and be far more effective.
Garr makes a very strong point on his website that should be a reminder to everyone making these types of presentations:
“Your presentation is for the benefit of the audience. But boring an audience with bullet point after bullet point is of little benefit to them. Which brings us to the issue of text. The best slides may have no text at all. This may sound insane given the dependency of text slides today, but the best PowerPoint slides will be virtually meaningless with out the narration (that is you). Remember, the slides are meant to support the narration of the speaker, not make the speaker superfluous.” - Garr Reynolds
Let that sink in for a minute – he slides are there to SUPPORT what you are saying! Without the benefit of what your narration and speaking, the information on the slide will probably not make sense to anyone.
Visit his website and blog….take his suggestions seriously and your sermon and class presentations will definitely improve, your audience will learn more, and maybe, just maybe they may stay awake more!