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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Value of Simple Process Steps

 

Last fall, I blogged about COVID-19 “bounces,” which I described as quick progress that would otherwise take some time. I used the analogy of a personal colonoscopy prep from which I dropped three pounds overnight.

 

This is similar to “financial bounces” that some Americans experienced during COVID-19. With reduced discretionary expenses and commuting costs, they had an opportunity for increased savings and reduced debt.

 

In this post, I describe another “Barbservation” from my personal life and its implications for financial education (and learning in general) and for encouraging positive behavior change.

 

Banish “Click Here” Messages and Connect Dots for People

 

The Challenge: I was recently selected to do a 10-minute pre-recorded Ignite presentation about charitable gifting for a virtual professional conference. Think: a recorded TED talk where slides advance automatically while you are speaking. When I asked the sponsors exactly how to prepare the video recording, I was sent a “visit this web site” e-mail with multiple “click here” links to screen shots from both Zoom and PowerPoint.

 

The Frustration: Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed. Why? I didn’t know how or where to start. What I really needed to complete the task at hand was a one-pager with a consecutive series of simple and succinct “how to” process steps starting from adding timings to my slides through saving the presentation as a mp4 video file. Instead, what I got was pages and pages of not-very useful information from multiple sources. Ugh!

 

The Determination: I almost decided to bail on the conference presentation but, to paraphrase the famous feminist slogan, “Nevertheless, I persisted.” It took me about six hours to review and crosswalk information from the multiple links, determine process steps in chronological order, add slide automations, get set up to record in Zoom, do a couple of practice takes, and record, save, and upload the final Ignite presentation.

 

The Results: If you are interested in tax-advantaged charitable gifting, you can watch the presentation here. If you are interested in recording your own TED-talk like video presentation, here are the process steps that would have made my own video recording process so much easier had they been available. I wrote them down in case I need them again and am happy to save you the frustration and learning curve that I experienced.

 

The Personal Finance Analogy: I could not help but think that some people must feel as frustrated about personal finance topics as I did about creating the Ignite presentation. They need to understand where and how to start to take action (e.g., invest in a mutual fund) and they need process steps. People who don’t know how to do something often feel stupid and don’t ask questions. They are not stupid. They simply haven’t learned how to do something yet!

 


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