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8 Aug 2019

NBlog Aug 8 - loopy intros [UPDATED]

Normally in an awareness seminar or training course, we display a static title slide on the screen as people wander into the room, sipping coffee and chatting among themselves then settling down for the show. The title slide tells them they are in the right place at the right time but it's a boring notice - and the audience soon gets NoticeBored.

So, how about instead showing something more interesting to catch their eyes (and ears?) as they arrive?

It's not too hard to set up a looping mini-presentation by following these instructions. Essentially, you add the loopy slides to the start of your conventional slide deck, set them to automatically advance every few seconds and 'repeat until escape'. The 'escape' can be achieved by adding an action button to the loopy slides, that when clicked launches the main part of the presentation.

An alternative approach is to separate the loopy from main presentations. Run the loopy presentation as people arrive. When everyone is settled down, terminate it and launch the main presentation instead. 

Although this involves a couple more clicks for the changeover, it has some advantages:

  • The main presentation is totally unchanged. You can add a loopy intro to any slide deck without changing those slide decks at all. The slide numbering is unchanged. You can still print the speaker-notes pages as handouts without worrying about or wasting paper on those loopy slides.
  • The loopy intro can be something generic, ideally eye-catching and perhaps amusing, perhaps customized to show the title of the main presentation (or if you can't even be bothered to do that, simply write the title on a sign!).
  • You might like to play some background muzak quietly as people arrive, partly to let people know that the show is on, partly to help things settle. Video clips are generally better with sound too.
  • The loopy intro can be re-used across numerous presentations, becoming part of your awareness and training program's branding. Before long, the audience will learn to recognize the style and content of the intro, as well as the main presentation ... hence it's worth investing a little of your valuable resources into preparing something appropriate and impressive. Please make it professional: remember you have an adult audience not a bunch of pre-schoolers. Minions are probably not the best role models.
  • The loopy intro can be updated over time - for example, you might use it to promote your upcoming awareness and training activities, planned sessions, topics, current issues, new stuff, team members, policy snippets, major incidents, news headlines or whatever. Proudly display your best security metrics. Display embarrassing photos from past infosec events, or physical security incidents. Get creative! This is also part of your branding, and fits very nicely with the ongoing/rolling approach to security awareness and training that we heartily recommend.

Maybe we should prepare a generic loopy intro for the InfoSec 101 module, something customers can adapt to their needs? We're planning to update that module early next year so we have time to get our thinking caps on and try out the idea in the NoticeBored slide decks between now and then.

UPDATE Aug 24: I tried out the idea, and yay it works!

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