Presentation Topics and Expertise

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Recently, a few people have approached me looking for an overview of the kinds of topics I typically talk about for presentations, and after writing that email out a few times, I decided to make a page here to refer people to instead. You can see all the topics I’ve spoken about in the last few years by navigating this site’s posts backwards, especially in the presentations category, but here is a short portfolio of talks, descriptions and presentations that my favorite venues like to ask me to present on.


201107029 (Photo credit: lemasney)

In general, I talk on the following topics: technology, open source software, technology standards, presenting, social media, organizational development, branding, visual branding, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Android, Dropbox,, LinkedIn, Inkscape, GIMP, Chrome, Linux, Servers and services, system administration, video, Hangouts, Google Plus, blogging, nutrition, food, holistic living, media, streaming video, audio production and management, music, mindfulness, meditation, walking, graphic design, creativity, design principles, Make and the Make movement, infographics, instructional technology, library technology, communication, cooking, mediation for organizations, generational learning differences, and cloud computing.

10 presentations: Some audience favorites

2011071215.27.22 (Photo credit: lemasney)

These talks are often customized to a venue’s particular needs and wants. They can be given in two 3 hour sessions, one full day session, or abridged to a 1 or 2 hour standalone session. They can be lecture style, presented to BYOD audiences with laptops, or computer lab setups. These descriptions cover what would typically happen in a daylong workshop, and shorter sessions will have a more concise scope. They can be designed to talk about specific needs within an organization, such as a launch of a web service using open source software, or generalized for an anonymous audience where the presentation is more of a moderated discussion where needs emerge as we go.

  1. Best Practices in Graphic Design: Design for non-designers
    papercraft (Photo credit: lemasney)

    It’s likely that in your work or personal life, you have been asked to create some communication on paper, on-screen, or in some visual presentation. One problem with this is that the only tools that you are given to complete the task are ones like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint or Publisher, which are not dedicated design tools, but rather fill-in-the-blank approaches to design, where your creativity is limited to what the application provides in a pre-packaged way. Another issue is that in our society, we are typically taught reading, writing, and mathematics, but seldom taught even the most basic visual communication concepts. This workshop gives you the foundations of design principles, key (free) tools for design and illustration, and sources for inspiration so that you can go from simply creating a solution to the visual communication problem, to creating the best solution for your particular needs. Come learn about color theory, typography, layout skills, inspiration sources, tools, critique, and start creating more effective visual messages.

  2. Google Services and Cloud Computing
    English: The Google search homepage, viewed in...
    English: The Google search homepage, viewed in Google Chrome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Google is well-known as a contemporary behemoth in the technology industry. People often dip their toes into the Google ecosphere with a Gmail account or through the purchase of an Android phone, but know few of the possibilities or benefits of embracing the rest of their tools. Aside from getting your email through Google, or doing searches, you can become a part of deep communities of practice through Google Plus, share, backup, and store all of your digital photos with Picasa and Google Plus photos, upload and stream all of your music with Google Music, collaborate, backup and edit your documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and more with Google Drive, manage events through Google Calendar and Plus events, meet virtually, share your screen, broadcast and archive video with Google Plus Hangouts on Air, find your way, discover new venues, and store that information with Maps, and so much more. Come and discover the wealth of possibilities available for free with Google’s suite of services.

  3. Using Inkscape and GIMP for Graphic Design
    Screenshot of Inkscape 0.45 on Ubuntu, showing...
    Screenshot of Inkscape 0.45 on Ubuntu, showing outline view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    You have probably heard of Adobe’s ubiquitous visual design and image manipulation products, Illustrator and Photoshop. Many people think of them as the only real solution for professional design. People sometimes explain to me proudly how they were able to convince Adobe to sell them a fully working version of Photoshop for a highly discounted price of just a few hundred dollars. I can tell you what I told them: as an artist, photographer and designer who does not have the hundreds or thousands of extra dollars for licensing these products that there are fantastic, powerful alternatives in the open source world. Inkscape is an alternative to Adobe Illustrator, a serious vector-based tool for digital illustration, and perhaps my favorite application to work in. It supports standard SVG, PDF, PNG, and many other formats, and offers calligraphy, font, path, and layering tools. I use it just about every day and think of it as an extension of my fingers and mind; A way to get what’s in my mind on the screen or page without barriers. GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program, is an alternative to Adobe Photoshop that offers alpha layer manipulation, masking, marquee selection, color play, histographic manipulation, effects, and brush creation and selection. These tools are free, but make no mistake: They can give you the power to make rich, dreamlike images; to faithfully recreate what you have in your mind. Come learn how to wield that power.

  4. Using WordPress to manage and organize your online presence
    WordPress logo blue
    WordPress logo blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    On, I share the things that I find useful, interesting, or insightful about technology, organizations, and life. By posting text, images, and video there, I give people who are interested in my services and thoughts a single point of contact and discussion. I leave a breadcrumb trail of my thoughts and activities for people to find and share. I am also able to easily share the items on the site to social media, allow people to subscribe to posts, add functionality like Google Calendar events and a Facebook Like button, and start polls and surveys. I’m able to help people find my content my adding keywords, categories, and other taxonomies. This is all due to the extensible free platform that is WordPress. This open source content management system can allow you to start publishing in just a few minutes on any topic and with remarkable power and ease. Come learn how to use what was once just a simple blogging platform as your home base of operations.

  5. Branding for Organizations
    Smile! Welcome Back =]
    Smile! Welcome Back =] (Photo credit: blentley)

    What are the five things, ideas, emotions, or concepts that you think represent you best? Mine are technology, design, openness, creativity, insight. Now, if you were to ask someone else what five they would choose for you, would they be the same? This is the core concept in organizational and personal branding; Matching your intended impression with the perceived perception of others. We do this by being realistic about what it is that makes us stand out among others that do the same things that we do, because no one does it exactly the same way. We also do this by identifying what it is that we want the perception to be, and doing everything to that end: verbal interactions, language choices, the art on the walls, the color of our walls, and visual branding, such as our logo and public facing visual communications. Come learn how to assess, improve, and shape brand, or else you may find that it has already been shaped for you, and not necessarily in the way that you had intended.

  6. Social Media for Organizations
    Social Syndication WorkFlow
    Social Syndication WorkFlow (Photo credit: JNFerree)

    We’re in what I refer to as the third wave of Social Media: The first wave was one in which people got Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, Hootsuite, and other social media accounts to connect with others socially and casually. The second wave was one in which organizations discovered that everyone was on these services and that they should probably be there too to take part  in the conversation, without necessarily knowing what that might look like, what their intent was, or what to expect about outcomes. Now, organizations are starting to make sense of how those social media accounts can help them to engage stakeholders differently than they do in person, track and make sense of visits, interactions, and connections and how that affects the rest of their work, and develop plans for success in social media in similar ways to the way that they developed their strategic plans. Come and learn how to make the most out of your social media efforts, how to decide if what you are doing is what you should be doing, and to discover what success looks like in social media outcomes.

  7. Making better presentations (without PowerPoint)
    136/366 - Death by Powerpoint
    136/366 – Death by Powerpoint (Photo credit: p_a_h)

    I have been asked a few times to teach a class on PowerPoint. I’ve even done it on occasion, but I usually respond to the initial request with the question “How about a class on presentation building?” We often think about PowerPoint as the way presentations are given. We have all sat in lectures where long slides of text and a thousand bullets are flashed, animated and transitioned across the screen, and perhaps wondered what the relation of the slide was to what was being said. In this workshop, we start with asking the key questions of what the intent of the presentation is (e.g. to generate new business or tell of a concept) and whether the form of the presentation meets that need in the best way. What are our key concepts? What will make it memorable? What do we want people to take away? What is the big idea? Will our audience fall in love with the idea? Often the answer is not in the slides of a slide deck, but rather the voice, eyes, and spirit of the speaker. We begin the important work of re-establishing what is most important in the potentially beautiful transaction of a presentation or meeting, and discovering what tool helps us best to bring that to the front of the mind of the audience.

  8. Infographics and visual development.
    Automotive Social Media Marketing Infographics
    Automotive Social Media Marketing Infographics (Photo credit: DigitalRalph)

    There is a trend in social media towards the visual. Images, videos and graphics get the most attention and lead more people to your other content. Social media platforms like Pinterest have grown powerful in a short period and reflect and strengthen the trend. The issue: while many of us are visual learners, not everyone considers themselves a visual creator, and so participation in the trend often is limited to simply sharing others’ images. In this session, we discover new tools that will help you to develop a beautiful visual representation of your ideas without having to become a certified graphic designer, photographer or visual communicator (even though you are likely doing those things already without much help or guidance). Learn how to create and find great images that support your ideas.

  9. Scratch, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi: getting started with the make movement and open source development.
    The Open Source Initiative keyhole.
    The Open Source Initiative keyhole. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Scratch is a low-threshold-of-entry programming tool that even 8 year olds can master, though adults find it a great platform for developing games, animations, stories and more. Arduino is a programmable integrated circuit with lots of community support and low or no cost development tools that allow you to create anything from a twitter account that shares when your dog eats from her food bowl to an always-on GPS reporter that tells a spreadsheet where it is every 30 seconds. Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer that you can use to do everything your desktop computer does, but because of the very low price, people tend to use them for more interesting dedicated projects, like an art project where lights and sound are affected by the presence of people. Come and learn where and how to get started with this exciting international movement away from consumerism and towards creation.

  10. How to lose 100 Pounds in a year: achieving fitness without equipment, meetings, or diets.
    John LeMasney at over 300 pounds, September, 2002
    John LeMasney at over 300 pounds, September, 2002


    John LeMasney
    John LeMasney at 195 pounds, 2013

    So in the last year, I went from being six-foot-two and over 300 pounds, where I was for most of my adult life, to just under 200 pounds, which is just where I should be. The key for me was education about the consuming and burning of calories, and how little else matters in the effort to lose weight. I can tell you from personal experience that while exercise is great for you it is not essential to weight loss. Unless you have an allergy or aversion to a food, you can eat it and lose weight. You do not need any memberships, exercise equipment, or to avoid bread, bacon, or cupcakes. You just need to know a few numbers, keep track of them, and watch them go down. Come and learn how I did it, how easy it was, and why what’s keeping you from losing weight is in the perceptions, beliefs and advertisements we endure about weight loss, rather than any special dysfunction that you have been led to believe you had.   

I hope that if any of these presentations interest you that you contact me at or call me at 609-553-9498 so that we can discuss the best date and time to offer it to your audience! I am willing to present virtually in a webinar format, in person as long as we can work out travel expenses, and given your status or circumstances, I will always consider volunteering or exchanging my services. Did I mention that I love libraries?

This content is published under the Attribution 3.0 Unported license.