Twitter Augments Webinars

When you do a face-to-face seminar, the side conversations around the table help participants understand the information being presented, and to apply it to their own needs. For example, Charlie turns to Jane and whispers, "This would solve our problem on the new High School project."

This interactive aspect has been missing in many webinars.  Until now.
Twitter conversation during webinar enabled participants to ask questions and share insights.
Joy Davis, manager of CSI's online programs, conducted a demonstration during a seminar she presented recently at a CSI Chapter meeting. Her presentation was about use of social media in the construction industry. So she incorporated social media by simultaneously sharing her slideshow and talk with specifiers across the nation via webiar. Participants were also encouraged to engage in side conversations via Twitter.

A transcript of the Twitter feeds is at While some of the comments are just chatter, serious information is also being exchanged, and relationships are being fostered. The tweets were projected on a screen at the live CSI meeting so the people in seats could benefit from the comments, and I suspect a few people in the physical audience were also conversing online.

Like it or not, this type of interactivity and further social media innovations will affect your business in the near future. Since anyone can create a hashtag to start a side conversation during a webinar, it might as well be you -- at least you will know about the conversation and be able to follow-up. Used wisely, Twitter feeds like this can be an important way to extend your sales effectiveness.

Press Conference Preparation

When planning a successful press conference, here are important steps and time lines to consider:

A month before the event:
  • Select a media-trained speaker who is very knowledgeable about your product or service.
  • Reserve the room. (Consider a date and time that isn't too early, that will not conflict with a large competitor or a lunch break (unless you provide a quality lunch replacement), and try not to plan it on the first or last day of a convention.)
  • Send press releases to the press well in advance so they can help publicize your event.
  • Promote the event to other applicable media outlets (magazines, newspapers, online press, blogs, TV, and radio).
  • Promote the event to local media.
  • Create a slide show or other visuals.
  • Hire a professional videographer to film the event (for B-roll footage, website use, general promotion).
  • Prepare and print a press kit or save an electronic press kit on a USB drive or website.
A week before the event:
  • Create and print handouts.
  • Make sure you have a compatible laptop, a compatible slide show presentation and a back-up, back-up projector lamp, connector cords, power cords, etc.
  • Hire people to be greeters at the event.
  • Order refreshments for the event (if applicable).
  • Set up individual interviews with reporters for after the press conference (if applicable).
  • Rehearse.

The day of the event: 
  • Train your greeters.
  • Pass out handouts.
  • Have extra pens and paper available for reporters.
  • Turn off cell phones.
  • Encourage interaction.
  • Plant questions.
  • Collect business cards and/or have a newsletter sign-up sheet somewhere in the room.
  • Hand out press kits.
  • Be available for individual interviews with reporters after the event.
  • Edit your B-roll footage.

A day after the event:
  • Send edited B-roll footage of the event to TV news stations.
  • Send a thank you letter to everyone who attended.
  • Provide other proper follow-up.
  • Send a press release covering the event.
  • Set up Google Alerts with keywords to track press clips.

A week after the event:
  • Track press clips.
  • Any additional follow-up necessary.

Gigabyte-Sized Photos add interest to website

A new digital photographic technique has exciting potential for building product presentations, websites, and social media.

Back in the days of film photography, I would take a dozen or more overlapping photos of a scenic panorama, then cut and paste individual snapshots together to show the entire vista. Software like Photoshop made the job easier as one could "stitch" images together digitally, even automatically. Recent advances take this a step further, making it simple to stitch together dozens of images. The composite files, which can contain gigabytes of information, capture an awesome amount of detail.

For example, this image of the most recent presidential inauguration is made up of 220 separate exposures. The composite image size is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels.

While an ordinary camera with a wide angle lens could capture the same view, it would not allow the viewer to zoom in to see details like the following:
When viewed online, one can see an amazing amount of visual information. In addition to the president, one can pan and zoom in to see thousands of individuals and details of Washington. For example, these architectural details are just below the dome of the Capitol:
If you have ever used Google Earth or the satellite or street views on Google Maps, you already know how powerful composite images can be. What is new is that an inexpensive device from Gigapan Systems now makes it possible for almost anybody with a digital camera to create gigabyte images that are easy to display and manipulate online. While the "pro" model costs $900, for only $300,
"the GigaPan Epic robotic camera mount makes it fun and easy to capture gigapixel panoramas with most compact digital cameras and works seamlessly with GigaPan Stitch software and Compact and lightweight, yet powerful and durable - the GigaPan EPIC is ideal for travel and adventure."

Scale: One of the challenges of architecture and engineering is to be able to move between scales. The architect needs to see an entire space or even an entire building within the context of its environment, but also has to understand how a doorknob or window detail fits into the the project. The structural engineer must understand how forces get distributed throughout an entire structure, but must also pay attention to individual joint and anchorage details.

GigaPan allows you to present your products in context. Beneath the overall composite, you can show thumbnails of interesting close-ups. When a thumbnail is clicked, the software zooms from the macro image to the indicated item.

A typical photograph will capture a viewer's attention for a fraction of a second. But a GigaPan invites a viewer to explore, increasing his or her time on your website page where other product-related messages can also be displayed.

Games and Contests:
This may be the ultimate "Where's Waldo" puzzle. A contest can encourage viewers to search an image to find your treasure or clues. Information about your product can be embedded throughout the image. Games like these can be especially attractive to a younger audience that grew up playing online games.

Technical and Quality Control Issues:
The stitching works not only with vast vistas, but also with micro photography. This opens many opportunities for use in technical presentations or for offering evidence of quality control.  Click here for micro images of insects.

Training and Presentations:
Complex products, machines, and systems can be made easier to understand when the viewer can move around and get in close to see parts of interest.

Social Media and Mobile Media:
These giga images can be inserted into websites or e-mail and used in other social media applications. They offer a way to display large images on a small mobile platform like an iPad or smart phone.

Search Engine Optimization:
Images can be posted at the GigaPan website and linked into Google Earth. Undoubtedly, other platforms will embrace the format and they will become integrated into video and photo sharing sites. These sites allow the use of tags and keywords that can help search engines and potential customers find you.

New Advertising and Publishing Format:
I can imagine giga photos as a type of online banner ad that allows one to zoom in or out to get more information. An entire catalog or magazine could be captured in a single giga image.

Final Thoughts:
I am sure I have just touched the surface what will emerge from this technology. Eventually you will be able to use systems like this to transmit real time images, and photos like this will be integrated into building information models (BIM) and virtual reality worlds.

I invite you to contact Chusid Associates to discuss how giga photos can be most useful in your marketing mix.
Here are links to a few architectural or construction images from the GigaPan website:
Burj Khalifa Tower
Burning Man Waffle Structure
Frank Gehry's Fred and Ginger Building
Leonardo Dialogo (nanotechnology art) - Interior
Union Station, Washington DC - Interior
Building after gutting by fire - forensic record

Another publisher of panoramic giga photos is at

There's still time!

If you'd like help preparing a continuing education presentation proposal for Greenbuild 2011, contact Chusid Associates as soon as possible to have your entry completed by Monday January 17.

For more information contact
Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
What does it take to write a winning Greenbuild or Government Summit session proposal? USGBC's conferences are recognized for leading the industry, so we are looking to fill Greenbuild's approximately 100 education sessions and the Government Summit program with the very best, most innovative educational content. Submissions that shine will rise to the top.

Jeremy Benkin, LEED AP, at CB Richard Ellis chairs the Program Working Group for USGBC (a volunteer position). He recently spoke with CONNECT, a newsletter that supports a sustainability events database, developed by the Green Earth PR Network, and we thought his tips were worth sharing.

Remember: Submissions are due Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. PST, no exceptions.
  • It's an online submission. We recommend that you prepare your submission ahead of time in a Word document and then cut and paste it into the required fields, paying attention to the word/character count for each section ahead of time. For more help in creating your submission, check out the Submittal Guide document (PDF). Using the template will also help you to easily submit one proposal for multiple USGBC Educational Events.
  • The 2011 theme for Greenbuild is NEXT, and submissions should address the theme. The event is in TORONTO this year (have those passports handy!) and it's OCT. 4-7.
Here's what's different this year, according to Jeremy:
  • The 2011 Call for Session Proposals (PDF) now includes the Residential Summit and the International Summit as well as Greenbuild and the Government Summit (renamed from "Federal Summit"). The Federal Summit was renamed to acknowledge that much of the innovation, progress and experiences to share are coming from the state and local levels as well as our federal government.
  • Pay attention to the new Topics Areas in the Call for Proposals – you'll need to choose one for your submission.
  • You also need to identify a Session Framework for your proposal, choosing from: Proven Performance, Projects with 12 Months of Performance Data, Challenges and Failures in Green Building, Human Impact, Costs/Benefit Analysis, and Forward-Thinking & Visionary Concepts. These were based upon the feedback from the Greenbuild audience. The goal was to ensure proposals be educational and relevant.
  • Finally, there is a new Thought Leadership & Research track that will follow a new review process including a peer review of published papers prior to inclusion in the Greenbuild program.
Speaker proposals are PEER-REVIEWED, and you're invited to be a part of that process!

USGBC uses a three‐tiered review process to review all submitted and complete proposals. In other words, you really have to grab the reviewers on the first round to make the cut and continue in the process.

To opt out of USGBC announcements please update your USGBC personal information by clicking here.

U.S. Green Building Council, 2101 L Street, NW
Suite 500, Washington, DC 20037
U.S. Green Building Council

SWRI Call for Presentations

The Sealant, Waterproofing & Restoration Institute (SWRI) is looking for presentations for the Winter Technical Meeting in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Feb. 27-March 2, 2011. This is a great opportunity for manufacturers and sales reps to display your expertise in a large variety of areas, make technical contacts, and to get some sunshine in the frigid months. 
The committee is looking for a variety of business/technical presentations with topics ranging from the following suggested items. They are interested in both presentations for a 45-minute time slot and the 20-minute Project Showcases. The committee is also actively searching for projects focusing on sealants and waterproofing as the backlog is a bit thin on these topics. 

Possible topic presentations....
  1. Unforeseen Conditions: Numerous unique cases about what you encountered and how you handled the situation?
  2. Job Gone South: How to prepare for arbitration/mediation/litigation regarding a case involving design flaws, material failures or workmanship related issues. How do you handle a lien on real property or funds and what to do when a vendor files bankruptcy?
  3. Forensics Associated with Failures: Presenting various case studies on product failures; identifying the testing and research performed to confirm the root cause; followed by offering any corrective measures.
  4. Safety: Language barriers or age & accidents or confined space entry programs/permits or spotlights
  5. Contract Verbiage and Word Tone: Reviewing various contracts and identifying clauses you want to avoid. In addition, recognizing key words and how they may be perceived in a different light than you intended causing consternation.
  6. Effective Marketing/Management in a Downturn Economy:Identify proactive measures to employ during a slowdown or recession so as to catapult and rebound effectively when the market changes.
  7. Insurance 101: Discussion identifying the plethora of exclusions in your policy. Recognize various forms to avoid, importance of additional insured, what waiver of subrogation legally means and what is covered if workmanship is not?
  8. Effective selling: Do you really know your company?Identify effective internal tools and controls resulting in the accumulation of corporate data needed to negotiate work.
  9. Manpower: Where do we go from here? Where is the labor source being found? What are you doing to train and educate your employees? How are you bridging any communication gap? How are you retaining good workers? How are you coping with uneducated external sources? Etc.
  10. Bridges: Department of Transportation Update. Identifying the impact if any the Stimulus has on roads and bridges, both new construction and repairs. Recognize common states of deterioration to corrective measures. Review a possible failure case study.
  11. Hurricanes, Tsunamis & Earthquakes: Economic Impact of Catastrophes Review the systemic effect of catastrophes within our market from liability insurance impact, material availability to servicing everyday clients. Local interest projects?
  12. Unique “Out of the Box” Project(s): Brief overview on out of the ordinary industry related projects (i.e. wind turbines, tunnels, dams, bridges, ships, lighthouses, historic monuments, amusement parks, zoos, etc.)
The topics listed above are only a suggestion of ideas; the program is by no means limited to the above topics.

Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training Call for Presentations Extension

The 2011 Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training has extended the Call for Presentations Deadline to September 13, 2010. Now in its second year, this is the only industry event focused exclusively on the full spectrum of decorative concrete.

From the webpage:
The Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training is headed to Nashville, Tenn. We are looking for innovative and informative presentations and workshops on the art and business of decorative concrete. By submitting a proposal for the 2011 Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training, you will help shape our educational programs as well as the future of your industry. As a speaker/trainer, you will gain visibility in the industry and contribute to the advancement of your profession. Earn recognition for your expertise and leadership, and help the industry grow at the same time.

We are looking for hands-on workshops, seminars and panel discussions to complete our educational line-up. Also, just like in 2010, when we partnered with the Children's Museum of Phoenix for workshops, we have a special community outreach program planned for Nashville. The Concrete Decor Show & Spring Training will partner with Nashville's popular youth community center, Rocketown. The decorative concrete industry will perform the ultimate concrete makeover there as part of our Spring Training program.

Don't wait! We are selecting courses now for our 2011 program. To review presentation guidelines and submit your presentation online please visit Presentation Information.

Good Looks Don't Always Sell

A recent issue of Architect Magazine had an interesting report on architectural compensation and other practice-related issues. Instead of using conventional bar, line, and pie graphs, the article explored new ways of constructing charts. One of the resulting graphics was even featured on the cover:

While visually interesting, the graphic is almost impossible to understand. A simple bar graph would have been much easier to read and understand, allowing trends to be identified at a glance. This chart contains data, but it obscures information.

Perhaps one can forgive an art director that wanted to create a cover that would catch the eye. But the charts in the body of the article were equally confusing. This reflects a tension in architectural practice: the drive to create new forms versus the need to create structures that perform well.

Building product manufacturers and their ad agencies can also experience the same tension. Sometimes, in the drive to create visual excitement, they end up with an ad, website, or brochures that no longer communicates usable information.

For useful guidance on how to create useful charts, I recommend How to Lie with Charts by Gerald Jones, an interesting read and a handy reference in our office.

CONSTRUCT 2011 - Call for Presentations

Call for Presentations
Due 9/6/10

Theme: Progressive Thinking. Practical Solutions.

CONSTRUCT is committed to promoting a comprehensive education program for construction and design professionals, the people they serve, the environment, emerging technology and the economic impact to businesses.  CONSTRUCT is now accepting submissions for the 2011 educational program.  

CONSTRUCT provides an excellent opportunity and venue to showcase the latest industry updates and case studies for the commercial building and construction market.  The presentation theme focuses on taking design ideas using progressive thinking and the interpretation by offering practical solutions. 
Education - September 13-16, 2011
Exhibits - September 14-16, 2011

Location:   McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

Audience:The primary audience of the educational program includes: contractors, designers, architects, specifiers, owners, facility managers, suppliers, engineers and students.

Courses:Session format will be two-three hours (pre-show) on 9/13 and 90-minute and/or 60-minute courses from 9/14 thru 9/16.  Presenters must be available to present on any day of the conference program.  Program submissions must not be presented at any other industry event 9-months prior to scheduled date of program at CONSTRUCT and must include the latest industry updates.

Session Deadline:  September 6, 2010 

AIA 2011 Announcement & Call for Presentations

Announcement & Call for Presentations Due July 1

AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition
Regional design REVOLUTION: ecology matters
New Orleans, May 12-14, 2011

·   Regional Ecosystems
·   Regional Community Development Patterns
·   Regionally-based Sustainable Reinvestment in Cities and Towns
• 60minute seminar
• 90minute seminar
• Halfday preconvention workshop
• Fullday preconvention workshop

·   Read the Call for Presentations
·   Submit a Proposal

Apple's Tech Failure

Apple had a technical failure during a keynote demo, and it provides an important reminder for us all: always, always, always practice extensively with any technology you will be using in your presentation before you arrive at the presentation! Know how to set it up, how to operate it, how to take it apart, and have a backup plan in place for when you forget the one cable that makes the whole thing work, batteries die, or they give you a projector but no screen.

Sometimes there is no opportunity to practice, such as at a trade show where you use the projector they provide when you get there. In such cases I always bring an "emergency kit" that has all the wires I could possibly need and a flash drive with my presentation materials on it. I also keep a copy accessible online, but again, I've learned the hard way not to rely on having a good internet connection.

Lastly, remember that you don't need Powerpoint to do your presentation. Know your material well enough to speak without the slideshow if needed. It should compliment you, not the other way around.