Meet 10 already existing or new Evangelism Reps and deliver a great training to get them started.
I easily achieved that mission but I was a bit disappointed when I saw that we only had an hour of training rather than the originally planned 2 hours. I partnered with the man who got me excited about Mozilla in the first place, Tristan Nitot, to introduce the attendees of our training to the Mozilla mission and get them excited about presenting and producing posts, screencasts and code examples.
When I plan trainings, I have something for every minute of it and the main trick is to make the attendees do the work. This is not because I am lazy, but as humans we tend to retain information we found out by ourselves much better than things we just listened to. The plan for this session was:
00.00 – 05.00 – Introduction and aim of the course
“By the end of this training you know where to find information to promote Mozilla in person and on the Internet”
05.00 – 10.00 – Introduction of different ways to promote Mozilla:
36:00 – 52:00 Group presentations on all the results
52:00 – 60:00 Joint presentation Chris/Tristan on the resources we have.
The idea is to have four groups and make them each for 4 minutes collect information on the topic and then shift around, so in the end each group has their own findings and those of others to use in their presentations.
So much for the theory – 10 people had signed up for our session which is a good size. When our session started though, about 45 showed up and we had neither the whiteboards in place or enough chairs, so we had to get them from other rooms.
The beauty of the 4 group training is that it scales so in the end we had groups of 12 people which made for longer discussions and appointing speakers but it worked out. Incredibly well, actually – I am always amazed how you can make a group of people work very concentrated together when you set a simple goal and a fixed time frame.
As there was a lot more interest in evangelism training Shezmeen Prasad and me thought it a good idea to offer another, after-mozcamp session in the hotel. We set it on Sunday at 8 – 10pm after two days of a packed schedule and again wondered if anyone would show up. They did, 35 of them this time.
As the room layout did not really lend itself to a training in the style of the other we spent the two hours with open Q&A about speaker tips and tricks and watching a few talks analysing how the speakers made them great – again in a group information gathering and presenting session.
As a follow-up (and as this was a common request) I cleaned up the HTML5 slide deck we have for evangelism reps and created two screencasts on how to get the slide deck and present in it and how to write your own slides.
As part of the Mozilla Evangelism Reps program, I am right now preparing a training on how to learn from other talks. As a demo I went through a few talks showing what makes them interesting and pointing out good tricks the speaker (in most cases subconsciously) used and how you could use that for your own talks.
I really enjoyed this talk as it shows that enthusiasm about a subject matter and just “having a go” can work out really well. It also shows that everything can go wrong when you present and that it isn’t the end of the world – you just need to move on swiftly.
Today the Developer Engagement Team has launched the Evangelism Reps program – a special interest group within ReMo. Each year, we get thousands of requests to send Mozilla speakers around the world to talk about HTML5, new web technologies, Mozilla’s mission, our projects, products and more. Now, we would love for you to join the effort and become a Mozilla speaker too!
This program is open to paid staff and Mozilla Reps of all skill levels and capabilities. If you are a new speaker and have always wanted to represent Mozilla at events, you can take advantage of our advanced speaker training where you can learn from people like Christian Heilmann and Robert Nyman on how to give effective presentations and get access to their best practices. People who are veteran speakers can also benefit by having the tools and resources available to host events, prepare stunning screen casts and be mentors to new Evangelism Reps.
We encourage all current Mozilla speakers to please join our Speaker Database even if you don’t join the Evangelism Reps program. This will help us know who you are and match you up with the speaking opportunities that fit you best.
One of the things we want participants in the The Evangelism Reps program to do is give us a quick introduction video of themselves to have a face to connect to a name. This should not be anything big, a simple, “hi, here I am” will suffice. So here is my introduction as an example.
All in all the production and publication time of this was an hour – and that included cycling a mile to find a shop that has Tofu sausages and Babybel cheese. Here’s what I used:
A MacBook Air (could be any laptop with a camera)
Photobooth (or any other tool that can record a camera – this could be on your mobile, too)
The first thing to remember when trying to do something like this is to simply for go for it. So I wrote myself a little script and just had it open next to the recording tool:
Technically, this is not good, but I wanted to do this quickly. You can see my eyes flicking to my script from time to time. I shouldn’t have to as I knew what I wanted to say but humans work that way. Give us a “Linus blanket” and we will always come back to it.
Be professional (no racism, sexism, calling names)
No political and religious views
Have something to say
Speling duz kount
Doing research and finding gaps to fill
Tone of voice
Use active voice
Use short sentences
Skip the foreplay
Give a full disclosure
Answer the WIIFM – “what is in it for me”
Stick to one thing and explain it well
Give credit where credit is due
Structuring your post
Use proper headings
Tell your story
Give away everything at the beginning
Add breathing space
Extra value goes to the end
Link meaningful text
Links are proof, not context
Know your link targets
Test your links
Provide “read more” resources
Link to the resource
Use absolute image paths
Have a sensible alternative text
Crop what is not needed
Play nice with people’s bandwidth
Multimedia (Screencasts, Audio)
Provide a fallback link
Keep them snappy
Cross-link from the video site
Link the original source
Embed readable code (colourcoding, Gists, interactive code examples with JSFiddle/JSBin/Tinker.io/Dabblet)
Make your code work
Write code for the web
Cross-posting and promotion
Do not publish the same blog post on different blogs
Write targeted smaller posts linking to the main one
Link all the resources back to the blog
Find outlets to promote the post
A lot of this might appear basic to the casual observer, but I am constantly amazed just how many simple things are done wrong when posting technical content. So I hope this will help some people get started on solid footing.
This is a small preview of a new thing we are working on in Mozilla. The Evangelism Reps program involves Mozillians getting help, mentoring and training to become public speakers, start blogging and running local events. All of this will be open and available on the Wiki. So here is a sneak peek.
How to create screencasts
Screencasts are amazingly powerful things. There is nothing better than showing how to use a tool or write a certain piece of code. There are several different types of screencasts:
Soundless screencasts – these just show how to do something. They can be one-off things for Twitter to show a certain effect. For example showing how something looks for browsers that might not support it: demo canvas cropper. These are also great for presentations. Instead of live using a product and wasting time typing in data you can run the screencast and give the audience a blow-by-blow explanation what is happening
Personal screencasts with overlaid video or cutting betweeen video and demonstration – these are the most complex to do as you also need to look good and exciting. This is the most personal screencast type.
Regardless of which you go for, you should prepare and know your tools so here are some tips on how to do screencasts.
Get yourself a headset – the main reason is that your voice will be much clearer and you don’t have the issue of the mic recording feedback or outside noises like keyboard clicks. I use the Plantronics 655, which is affordable and comfy to wear
Turn off any social media channels and email clients on your computer – you don’t want any instant notifications popping up on the screen. You record now, this is all that should go on.
Have a script ready that you want to follow – this includes what you want to talk about and to have all the things open that you want to show. Loading times of apps and sites you want to show in your screencast is wasted time.
Be prepared to record a few times as you will get stuck from time to time. You can stitch together one screencast from various steps.
Take breaks – don’t try to record everything at once. When you are ready with one section, pause recording, have a sip of coffee or a walk and then come back – you’ll sound much fresher.
Speak clear and at a moderate pace. There is nothing more frustrating than a screencast where the presenter mumbles or is too fast to follow
You can record the screencast and then record your audio – in a lot of cases this will have better results
Plan your screencast and show only what is needed. Screencasts should follow a few rules
Be short – nobody wants to listen to hours of talk. If you can keep it under 3 minutes – win. You can also cut up longer topics into several screencasts
Be indexed – you should offer time stamps for people to jump to when covering a few topics so that more advanced viewers can, for example, skip basics
Be easy to watch – remember that not everybody will see the screencast fullscreen, but embedded. Thus use a larger font size in your editor and make examples that don’t rely on low contrast or pixel-precision. Especially video conversion will blur a lot
Be relevant – show what can be done, not what people need to set up to get there – this could be accompanying text info.
There are a few tools to do screencasts. Many are free, but it makes sense to spend some money as you avoid hosting issues and watermarking or limited features.
If you don’t want to install anything, you can use screenr to record a screencast on any computer. Screenr is a Java Applet that allows you to define a part of the screen to record and gives you five minutes of screencast time. It can record the audio from your microphone, too. You sign up with Twitter and the videos are hosted on screenr.com for embedding. You can also download the MP4 and directly send it to YouTube.
The downside of Screenr is the five minute limit, that you can not edit the final screencast and that you need to crop a certain part of the screen rather than have a full screen recording that can be cropped and shifted afterwards. You can stop and start the recording though.
iShowU is a very minimalistic screen recorder for mac that allows you to define a section of the screen and follow the mouse cursor. For $20 is it pretty cheap and does the trick.
Screenflow is very much worth the $99 it costs. As you can see in the demos on how to use it it records the whole screen and you can then crop to what you need. You have several tracks to edit and shift and you can annotate your screencast and have effects to transition in between sections of it. Screenflow exports to YouTube or various local formats. I really got to like screenflow as it also allows you to edit other video and images into your screencasts easily.
Once you done recording, it is time to get your video out there. The simplest way is to upload them to YouTube or Vimeo – both are supported as direct uploads from the apps mentioned here. If you have the chance and bandwidth, export and upload high quality video – you can always make it smaller later, but you can’t make a bad quality video better quality.
Seeing that we are an open company it seems prudent to avoid closed formats. Nobody wants to download a WMV and then have issues playing it. What I normally do is upload the original video to Amazon’s S3 for safekeeping (or use DropBox) and then use vid.ly for conversion. Vid.ly converts any video to 20 formats and redirects the system you watch the video on to the correct format. Notice that free vid.ly accounts are rate limited, so it might be a good plan to use them for conversion, but host the videos yourself – or get a full account.
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