Tips for More Effective Presentations from Steve Hughes

By , September 5, 2014 8:00 am

by Laurel Evans

Last year I attended Steve Hughes’ “Own the Room: Presentations That Captivate and Win Over Any Audience.” Apparently it was such a hit that they had him back for AALL 2014 in Texas. Hughes’ talk came up in our most recent LLOPS meeting, where members shared their favorite takeaways from this year’s conference. I thought I’d share my notes from last year with you all. I still use what I learned from this session in presentations today!

Steve Hughes’ advice was directly applicable to the teaching and training I do regularly. He shared techniques for more successfully soliciting questions from the audience. Hughes recommended making handouts interactive by leaving blanks that participants need to fill in. Keeping programs interactive makes them more effective by capturing audience members’ fleeting attention. Hughes mentioned the startling fact that the average attention span is 3-8 minutes, so at these intervals you need to do something different to keep the audience engaged: change a slide, pause for questions, move around the room for no reason, ask them to fill in the blank on a handout, etc. And so, moving on…

Some other useful tips from Hughes for more effective and interactive presentations:

  • Pre-load the point. (Interestingly, another session I attended on writing recommended this same tactic, calling it by the military acronym “BLUF” for “bottom line up front.”) Frame the point you’ll be making from the perspective of the audience and put it FIRST. I’ve started using this in emails where I have to ask a question or make a point. Before I send an email, I often end up moving my question to the beginning.  It seems like I get a better response rate with this method.
  • When you use PowerPoint slides in a presentation, obey the 4×4 rule: no more than four bullet points per slide and no more than four words per bullet. The audience should be listening to you, not reading your slides.
  • Ask the audience to do things. (For example, ask someone to share their search string or ask everyone to be thinking of their most important takeaway from the class for later on.)
  • Use phrases like “Make a note of X.” (This helps reiterate the point you’re making and also suggests action. Suggesting that your audience do something may prompt action and thus reboot their attention span.)
  •  Ask questions often and throughout your presentation. Get comfortable with silence so that people have enough time to respond. Ask questions like:
    • What is your experience with X?
    • What have you found when you do X?
  • Suggest specific areas where they may have questions or comments. (“Are there any questions about selecting search terms?”)
  • If you ask whether there are any questions and no one has any, be ready to supply your own example questions. Hughes suggested couching your questions in terms like “What people often want to know is…” to make the audience feel more comfortable with the idea of asking questions.

9 Reasons to Submit an AALL Program Proposal for Philly

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By , September 4, 2014 7:00 am

posted on behalf of Carol Watson, 2014-15 AMPC Chair

9 Reasons to Submit an AALL Program Proposal for Philly (It’s ok to ask, “What’s in it for me?”)

  1. Get valuable speaking and/or program development experience.
  2. It’s a resume builder.
  3. Create positive change.
  4. Share your knowledge.  Use your skills to benefit others.
  5. Be a part of AALL.
  6. Make new friends and professional contacts.
  7. It’s a scientific fact that volunteering has many health benefits.
  8. AALL members are in need.
  9. You can be a hero!  Now is your chance to make an impact.

The Call for Proposals for AALL’s 2015 Annual Meeting is now open.  AMPC would like to extend a special invitation for chapter members to collaborate on program submissions.

  • Has your chapter held a well-received program that could be repeated for a larger audience?
  • Do you have special expertise within your chapter, particularly in the top 30 must-have programming topics?
  • Is your chapter sponsoring a VIP who would be a good speaker or panelist on a program?

If you have any questions about the program proposal process or if you would like feedback about your program proposal before submitting it, contact AMPC Chapter Liaison, Carol A. Watson.

The deadline for submission is October 6.

2014 WestPac Annual Conference in Seattle

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By , September 2, 2014 8:52 am

WestPac in Seattle is right around the corner (the opening reception is at the Burke Museum!):

WestPac is also looking for dine around hosts. This will give you the chance to show of our city/local cuisine and meet other librarians. Reach out to Tim Kelly, WestPac President or Alana H. Carson, Local Arrangements Chair if interested.

SANDALL Winter Institute

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By , August 22, 2014 12:37 pm

Authenticating Electronic Legal Materials: UELMA & Beyond

 Friday, January 9, 2015


University of San Diego

Several states, including California, have enacted the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act. Learn about best practices, authentication technologies, and advocacy efforts from state officials, government relations experts, and law librarians.

Escape the winter blahs and spend a weekend in San Diego!

More information available at

Questions? Email

LLOPS Reconnects in August

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By , August 7, 2014 11:30 am

When: Wednesday, August 27th Noon – 1 pm

Where: Lane Powell, 1420 5th Ave #4200 Seattle, WA 98101 (42nd Floor Conference room – behind the reception desk.)  Please have your ID with you.

What: Tales from the AALL Meeting in San Antonio, Stories from those who stayed in Seattle.  If you cannot make it  to the physical meeting, you will be able to attend via GoToMeeting – more details coming soon!

Photos from AALL San Antonio

By , July 28, 2014 7:30 am

by Philippe Cloutier

My trip began bright and early at the Chapter Summit program. Some of the day’s events involved member recruitment, retention, and engagement, and why change is an opportunity. Setting the stage is the AALL Mission:

AALL Mission

“The American Association of Law Libraries advances the profession of law librarianship and supports the professional growth of its members through leadership and advocacy in the field of legal information and information policy.”

Continue reading 'Photos from AALL San Antonio'»

San Antonio On My Mind

By , July 25, 2014 8:01 am

by Brenna Louzin

Have you ever nursed a secret desire to, you know, run away and take good care of yourself, like at one of those spas advertised in the back pages of THE NEW YORKER or SUNSET MAGAZINE? Attending the 107th American Association of Law Libraries Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in several ways, provided me with some “spa features”, the most important of which was the extended opportunity to think and learn about the law, new technologies, communications, marketing, and networking.  Although I consider attending a conference work, it was very nice not to be multitasking at the reference desk or composing a new client analysis under a deadline of an hour or less!

I attended the Private Law Libraries Summit on Saturday, July 12th. This all-day program featured some terrific speakers including Susan Hackett, Founder of Legal Executive Leadership. Hackett, a lawyer, and irreverent, hilarious speaker, hammered on the principles of disruption. She evangelized about the need for (firm) law librarians to become part of the business solutions and project management services delivered to clients. “The $200 an hour librarian is important to the profitability of the firm. Focus on the most efficient way to do the work. Use the librarians!” Hackett was followed by a panel of in-house counsel (including Casey Flaherty from KIA) who were really amazed to find out what firm law librarians could do and what cost-effective services they provide. Last, but not least at the Summit was Arin Reeves, lawyer, President of consulting firm, Nextions, and author of THE NEXT IQ: THE NEXT LEVEL OF INTELLIGENCE FOR 21ST CENTURY LEADERS. Reeves led a fine discussion about leadership and the theory of inclusion in the workplace.

Andrew Keen, an Internet media investor and darling (?) from the U.K. delivered our keynote address, urging librarians to strive to be superstars. He emphasized that current times were not kind to ordinary people and that only superstars survived. Needless to say, he was both very arrogant and provocative.  And, surprisingly, he did not seem to really understand what most librarians, even those who might already be superstar librarians do.

Besides spending copious amounts of time in the Exhibit Hall meeting with current vendors or learning about new products like Modio [new program to turn pushed newsletters and alerts into audible files for mobile phone access], Darts-IP [patent research]; Ravel [new graphical case law research]; PacerPro [new commercial Pacer case file tracking product]; and multiple  aggregator products, I packed in as many programs as I could. Big Data.  Competitive Intelligence.  Law Firm Pricing. Frugal Intellectual Property Research.  Current Awareness tools (aggregators).    This may not sound like much, but I learned a lot.

Oh, getting back to the spa idea… Did I mention that it got up to 99 degrees? But then, we had super-cooled conference rooms, hotels and restaurants.

The Thomson Reuters [West] party at the Knibbe Ranch in the Texas hill country was a hoot: brisket and all the picnic fixings you could eat; beer; longhorns; a rodeo; fireworks; fantastic country band. Lots of fun except for learning that I need intense line-dancing tutelage!

Perhaps one of the best parts of my trip was the opportunity to hang out with fellow LLOPS members in the San Antonio Airport as we waited to fly home to our beloved Seattle.

Thank you, LLOPS, for allowing me to fully participate at AALL 2014!


Barbara Holt inducted into PLL Hall of Fame!

By , July 18, 2014 8:33 am

The PLL Hall of Fame award is designed to recognize a retired member who over the entire course of their career made significant contributions to the private law library profession, their organization, and the Private Law Librarians SIS.

Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section Hall of Fame 2014 Recipients

Anne Ellis

Senior Librarian Relations, Retired

Thomson Reuters, Legal

Barbara Holt

Director, Library Research Services, Retired

Perkins Coie LLP

Joan Jarosek

Director of Library Services

Jones Day

Please join us in congratulating Barbara Holt!

Tell Congress to Oppose H.R. 4195, the Federal Register Modernization Act

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By , July 8, 2014 3:02 pm

by Peggy Jarrett

This week’s AALL e-news includes this urgent message about H.R. 4195, a bill which removes the statutory requirement to print the Federal Register and CFR and eliminates all requirements to produce indexes for these materials:

Act Now: Tell Congress to Oppose H.R. 4195, the Federal Register Modernization Act

The Government Relations Office has learned that the House of Representatives may soon vote on H.R. 4195, the Federal Register Modernization Act. Please contact your representative NOW to urge him or her to vote NO on H.R. 4195.  The bill, which AALL opposes, would remove the requirements to print the Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations and their indexes. Read more about the bill in our advocacy one-pager. Thank you in advance for taking action!

Mary Whisner Receives Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award

By , July 8, 2014 10:19 am

Mary Whisner (a LLOPS member and Reference Librarian at the University of Washington’s Gallagher Law Library) has received the Roy M. Mersky Spirit of Law Librarianship Award for her work with the Youth Tutoring Program sponsored by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington.

From the nominating letter:

Since 2004 [Mary] has tutored youth on a weekly basis offering academic support and serving as a role model and friend to the students. The program targets six low and middle income housing communities in Seattle. Thus, most of Mary’s work has been with immigrants from eastern Africa and Southeast Asia. Mary’s commitment to this program and her volunteer work make a difference in many kids’ lives.

Congratulations Mary!

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