Crowd Sourcing a Scene in Storyline

Oct 03, 2012


I am creating a course on how to deliver meetings that don't suck. It's for anyone who has to, you guessed it, hold meetings. 

I created a course in Storyline after about 30 minutes of fiddling with it for the first time. Now I am going back and giving it some much needed cosmetic surgery, slide by slide and scene by scene. I was hoping to get some ideas for ways to make this scene better.

The first slide you will see is V1. The next 7 slides represent V2 of the same information. 

Anyone interested in sharing some ideas of how you would improve this scene?

The content will not necessarily be new ideas to the learners but rather this info is more to remind them of the tools they could be using to keep their meetings on track. I thought about creating a graphic of a toolbox where each technique is sort of spilling out of it to show them what they have. Or I could make it a bag of tricks too. I also thought about doing screenr videos to show how to create and use each technique. 

Any suggestions would be great!


22 Replies
Steve Flowers

Nice idea, Melani - 

You might consider contextualizing each method up front. For example, you have X challenge at a meeting. These are great strategies for resolving that challenge. You could step through an example for each one in a "meeting themed" visual arrangement.

I like conceptual / rough humanistic representations more than photographs, personally. It could be pretty powerful if you were able to model how each of these things might happen with a mixed-media approach and clear example. For instance, you could show something like this (forgive my 30 second sketch on the back of a piece of scratch paper) to accompany your copy to give a sense of environment and execution.

I like the idea of the explanations in Screenrs. Tight copy coupled with low fidelity simple illustrations make up a strong 1-2 punch and produces nice contrast.

Holly MacDonald

Hi Melani

A noble cause!

I'll bet you get lots of input from this community. There are lots of talented designers in here.

I would do a few things:

  • reduce your text and use images instead - e.g. w/brainstorming you could use a picture of people sitting around a table in animated style and you could have your text come up in a lightbox when the image is clicked.
  • Put some context in there - how are people supposed to apply this information? 
  • I am working with a client around their remote communications and I have developed a process: which is simply a before meeting, during meeting, after meeting approach. You could do something similar. 
  • If this is a how-to, I'd include more specific how tos. How to plan, facilitate and close a brainstorming session.
  • You could also create scenarios like: "Sally's meeting is not going very well, she's asked for input and there's just awkward silence". What could Sally do? Then show the options: brainstorm/5 whys, etc.

You could also use some playful techniques, Bruce Graham described it somewhere on here - frame it as a how to do the opposite, so: "how to waste people's time and become public enemy No. 1 in 5 easy steps"

I look forward to seeing the next version.


Bruce Graham

...and as if by magic.....

My Dad once held a University lecture on "Presentation Skills".

  • He waited until the seats were filled, then kept them waiting for 5 minutes.
  • He burst through the doors (backwards...)
  • He fell down the last 3 steps, dropping his notes on the floor.
  • He spent a few minutes tidying them up - whilst entertaining with bad jokes.
  • He switched on the Overhead Projector (this was the 70's), which he had rigged so that the bulb burst.
  • He then started to talk to the (dirty) blackboard, quietly......

At that point, he walked to the microphone that had arrived (in the days when lecture halls had a "gopher" that set everything up...), and said (I paraphrase.....):

" 10 minutes time you will have formed into groups, and each group will come in here, in turn, with an elected leader. The elected leader will then give a 10-minute presentation on what I did wrong, and how to do a perfect presentation".

They all got it spot-on, and learned RAPIDLY, because they saw just how much of an ar5e you can make of yourself, in so many ways, so easily if you do NOT prepare".

So simple, so wise.


Melani Ward


I love your drawings. I actually started with some of my own but I wasn't happy with them. I am going to go make them better now

Holly - thanks for the input on making it more How-to. I love the idea of creating a situation where someone gets stuck on a specific problem and then pulls out one of these tools to get the meeting back on track. I will work on incorporating that.

Bruce - love your story. I did something similar when I was showing a small group of people how to make a sale at the end of an event:) Which is only really funny if you knew how much of a sales person I am NOT. I made it so that nobody would have bought from me. For many people watching a great teacher is like seeing the work of a great designer. You know what you like but you just aren't exactly sure why you like it or how to make it happen.

Thanks everyone. I will have fun retooling it.

Eric Nalian

@Bruce - I had a course on Presentations in college, and I did that exact same thing - although, I did not do as many stunts.

I had:

  • A neon green PowerPoint with 6-pt font and slides just full of text.
  • One of those tri-fold things directly in front of the PowerPoint
  • I kept changing my tone of voice from happy to angry to confused (i put some blank slides in just for fun and yelled at the computer, because it's always the computer's fault)
  • I muttered things to myself
  • yelled at other people in class for having their computers out or having side conversations

It was a great time. At the end when everyone was confused, I asked what I did wrong, and then switched to a 'Good Presentation' to show what should have been done.


Blake Griffin

I think that it would be pretty cool to follow up your content with a scenario based knowledge check.  With some clever cropping you could create a meeting and have captions (with or without audio) showing the conversation.  You could then build questions for the learner to answer on which tool to use or how to handle the situation.  Here is a clip and the .story file with the cropped characters.

Have fun. 


Jerson  Campos

Here is a different take on your slide. It's more on the serious side. I added icons instead of words for the menus. I tought this would give a more modern edge to it. For the animated tacks. Try not to use any animations continously on your slides unless it is absolutely necessary. It is very distracting. Maybe animate the tacks once a mouse hovers over it.

onEnterFrame (James Kingsley)

Perhaps start with a scene like Blake's...  add a few more people and a screen.

Building on Bruce's (and other's) idea have them sitting there bored for a good 60 seconds... tapping feet, tossing paper wads, whistling, etc.

Then one of them jumps up and screams how much they hate this (al la Blake's second example). And she says "That's it, I want to hear a solution from each of you."

Then a bit of on screen instruction: "Click each team member to hear their solution."

When the user clicks each member they get up and explain one of your techniques which is "projected" on the screen.

We used a similar solution in the "Revenue" section of this course:

Leslie Bofill

I agree with the others about contextualizing the content. For example, in the fish bone diagram page, you provide an example of a fish bone diagram about burnt cookies. I wonder if in your organization there will be a lot of meeting about burnt cookies. I would want to have the people who take the course to walk away knowing how it applies to them. 

I also see the need to incorporate images and supporting graphics to enhance the slides and make them more visually appealing. Take advantage of those iStock credits! 

Some slides have the red arrow on the bottom, but the first two don't, but is that arrow really needed? If you plan to use the standard player, users are going to be able to navigate with the left hand menu and the next and back buttons. I don't know that the arrows are necessary. 

In the Pareto chart slide, why not embed the Youtube video instead of linking to it? Have the learner play the video while still in your course, instead of sending them out of it and potentially losing them to the Net. 

Interactivity is key with content such as this. Think about ways you can have your learners interact with the media on the slide by using layers and hover actions. 


Melani Ward

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for the feedback and great ideas. I have updated part of the scene by highlighting just one of the techniques. You can see the updated part here.

Also, I was stuck on creating a long desk (and don't look too closely or you will notice nobody has legs so Jeanette shared this great screenr for me. You can see how I did it by watching this. Thanks to David for putting that together.

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