Death by PowerPoint

By Michell Coats

Death by PowerPointTM is a common phrase that we have used or heard.  As professionals engaged in training and presentations, we have experienced a fair share of these presentations.  If we are completely honest, a large number of us are guilty of subjecting others to these types of presentations.  Why does this happen?  How can we minimize the effect?   I recently reviewed an article titled the “The Neuroscience of PowerPointTM” along with several other blog post regarding presentation “tactics”.

“The Neuroscience of PowerPointTM” article reviewed neuroimaging findings, research that demonstrates brain processes, and how the brain responds to contextual and direct attention cues.  It concludes with concrete ways to implement the findings and improve the strength of slide-show presentations.  The author explored the ideas that written text and spoken word conflict at levels of perception, comprehension, and retention, whereas images and spoken word do not.  The findings were linked to multimedia learning principles of redundancy and modality, then addressed ways to enhance material comprehension and retention by using cues in presentations that draw the audience’s attention to essential material with cues. 1

“Slides are visual aids and should be designed with this purpose in mind. Notes, study aids and other supplementary material should be produced separately, using tools that have been designed for those purposes.  Don’t ban the hammer – simply use it for what it was meant for.” 2



AIHce will provide several opportunities to learn more about training and communication skills including:

  • New! PDC 303: Death To Death By Powerpoint: Highly Effective Training Through Storytelling
  • How to Deliver a Safety Matters Presentation, Monday, June 5, 2017, 9:30am – 9:55am (PDT)
  • H14: How to Use Creative Nonfiction Narrative to Improve Training, Tuesday, June 6, 2017, 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Don’t forget to observe techniques of presenters that you find interesting and engaging. Ask yourself, “what do they do differently that I can incorporate into my next presentation?”

[1] Horvath, J. C. (2014), The Neuroscience of PowerPointTM.  Mind, Brain, and Education, 8: 137–143. doi:10.1111/mbe.12052

[2] Horvath, J.C. “It’s not PowerPoint’s fault, you’re just using it wrong.” The Conversation. The Conversation, US Inc.  June 25, 2015.



Tech Corner: Using Outlook More Effectively

By Michelle Coutu

Most of us outlook as an email client however it was designed as a digital personal organizer. Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes, and Journal Features allow you to manage and track you 2016 goals. Here are three underutilized features of Microsoft Outlook that will help you with tracking meetings, training, sampling, and compliance needs.

Using Inbox Folders and Rules

In order to avoid distraction while working on tasks, create rules that filter your email in to separate folders so that you can check on them later.

Create folders in outlook by navigating to the “Folder” tab in the ribbon bar and clicking the “New Folder” button. You will be asked to name the folder and selected a location. Click “Ok” when complete.

Then navigate back to the home tab on the ribbon bar and select the email you would like to create a rule for. Click the “Rules” button in the move section and select “Create Rule” from the drop down menu. You will then be presented with a form to set the conditions to file your email. In the example below all e-mails from Selwin Gray will be automatically moved to the RCB folder.

To change or delete a rule simple click the Rules Button and select “Manage Rules and Alerts.” You will be presented with a list of rules to edit or delete.




Categorize (Color Code) Your Calendar

Categorizing or color coding allows you to organize events and quickly scan your calendar for upcoming events.  It also gives you feedback on how much time you are spending on a particular project or focus area, which allows you to re target your priorities.  Outlook allows you to categorize appointments and meetings when creating your event. The “Categorize” button is located in the meeting tab of the ribbon bar of the new event.


Once you click “Categorize” Outlook will open a preset list of color coded choices. Click the last option “All Categorize…” at the bottom to make edits to the categories and colors. Outlook will open a menu that will allow you to change the names of categories and colors.



Emails to Action

Plain emails can be turned in to meetings or tasks in just the click of the mouse. To create a task from an email simply click the little flag outline. This will make the flag turn red and place that task on your to do list for the day, which you can see via the Calendar or the Tasks section of Outlook. Once you complete that task click the red flag again, this will turn in to a check mark and strike that ask from your list.

You can also create meetings or appointments from emails by dragging and dropping  the email from you email list to the date on the right hand calendar. This will automatically open a new appointment window  where you can enter the date and time of the event. The body of the email will be transferred to the body of the event.

Don’t have outlook, no problem, Gmail offers many of the same tools and features (for free!) that will also sync with your Android device.




AIHA Volunteer Group Spotlight: Computer Applications Committee

By John Campbell

Computer applications are an integral part of our personal and work life. They offer power and efficiency to help us live better and work smarter. The industrial hygiene profession relies on the latest technology to further advance our work and the profession.  It is this technology that provides us the ability to efficiently maintain access, interpret and trend critical data needed for informed decision making.


Computer applications used in the industrial hygiene profession range from cloud-based data management systems, to advanced statistical tools and mobile apps.  The importance of computer applications continue to gain further traction in our profession, in fact ‘Big Data’ is one of AIHA’s six big picture priorities.


The AIHA Computer Applications Committee is committed to providing valuable resources and support to the industrial hygiene community as it relates to successful integration and use of computer applications. Participation as an active member of the committee offers a tremendous educational experience and the opportunity to network with peers and technical experts while contributing to the advancement of this important element of our profession.


For more information regarding joining the AIHA Computer Applications committee, please contact


Chair: John Campbell




Secretary: Monica Melkonian


AIHA Ignites YouTube

By Michelle Coutu
Were you too late to get a seat at this year’s Ignite session? Maybe you were double (or triple!) booked for meetings and were unable to attend. Don’t worry! AIHA has you covered, all 16 of this year’s Ignite presentations are now ayt logovailable on YouTube (in fact you can watch ALL the past AIHA Ignite sessions on YouTube). You can find the videos by visiting this link or by searching google for “AIHA Ignite 2015”).
The Ignite presentation style was formalized by a couple of technology innovators, and the first ignite session took place in Seattle in 2006. The format is simple, one speaker is given 5 minutes to present on any topic they are most passionate about. The catch is presenters are limited to 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds (no clicker needed for this presentation!). This style forces presenter to bring thoughtful, high energy ideas to their presentations that immediately engage and entertain their audiences. While primarily developed to get audiences excited about new ideas, the style has also been adapted for education purposes. Many groups now use this format for their safety moments before meetings or as an introduction to a boarder topic. To learn more about the Ignite presentation style check out:

ignite logoSince 2012 AIHA has been hosting an Ignite session at the annual AIHce. The first year eight brave participants stepped up to explore this new medium and show their passion for IH. This year 16 speakers put together presentations and shared their triumphs, failures, learnings, and hopes about their professional lives. Each presentation brings a unique and personal touch to the profession while building a strong sense of community. This has been a standing room only event since it began and YouTube is an excellent platform for ensuring all that want to ignite their passion for IH can catch that spark.

Tech Corner: AIHce 2015 Mobile App

By Michelle Coutu

With only a few short weeks leading up to this year’s AIHce in Salt Lake City, UT it is only natural to start planning andss2 preparing for all the meetings, receptions, roundtables, and podium sessions you are going attend. For the past few years the AIHce has offered a mobile application (app) to schedule and streamline your conference experience, and this year is no exception.

The app, which was released in mid-April, can be downloaded (free of charge) from Google Play or the iTunes Store and can be used on all your mobile devices. The app was developed by Pathable, who specialize in developing mobile platforms to support the events industry, and was sponsored by Ion Science.

Downloading the app is straight forward as long as you have a wireless connection. The app does not ask for extra permissions, like access to you calls or text messages; it only requires access to a wireless connection for conference related updates.

ss1When you initially open the App it will prompt you for an email and password. Make sure to use the same email you used to register for AIHce. You may be tempted to enter the password you created when registering for AIHce, however you will need to make a new password before using the app. Once your AIHce app account is configured you will be able to use your login information to sign in across all your mobile devices.

The app has all the features we have come to expect; convention center maps, meeting schedules, exhibitor info, and presentation feedback, as well an interesting new feature. This addition creates a personalized social media platform where attendees, speakers, and exhibitors can network, discuss, and share ideas. This function creates a LinkedIn type feel that is unique to AIHce 2015 guests.

Need help navigating the app? The developers have created a great tutorial to make you an ‘App genius.’ To learn more check out:

Tech Corner: The Industrious Hygienist Blog

By Michelle Coutu

While blogging about her adventures and observations in the consulting world, Morgan Bliss takes the time to inject creativity and humor into her work. Frequently she uses manga, a Japanese cartoon style, to illustrate herself as “The Industrious Hygienist,” tackling current issues and obstacles. Her most recent posts include a series of holiday-themed manga that address workplace grievances in Santa’s Workshop and a “Sock Puppet Safety” feature on proper PPE donning and doffing procedures for Ebola Virus Disease infection prevention. Check out her work at: We got a chance to catch up with Morgan, and ask her some questions:

Why did you start your blog?Industrious hygienist_never too busy for safety

“I started my blog as a way to share my experiences, useful resources, funny (redacted) stories, and manga with a wider audience. Most of my early drawings were a “client appreciation” activity, where we would have a particularly trying or frustrating experience on a project, and I would make a manga about it to help bring the humor back into the relationship.”

How has the online community responded to your creative depiction of the profession?

The online community seems…bemused. Some of them feel that safety and industrial hygiene should be a very serious thing, while others beg to use my posts and drawings in their EHS training to lighten things up and keep the workers’ interest. Fans of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, where my character stylings are borrowed from, find the adventures entertaining.”

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in the field of environmental, health, and safety?

Network, network, network. Go to society (ASSE, AIHA, EIA, etc.) meetings in your area whenever possible. Attend every free or cheap educational event you can – there’s always a chance you’ll meet a potential client or company to partner with. Don’t assume your employer (future or current) will help you with your career growth. You’ll have to do that yourself. Seek out training and certifications in areas that challenge you. Learn to be a generalist before you become a specialist, otherwise you might find yourself pigeon-holed into a specialty you don’t particularly enjoy. Don’t be afraid to be your complete self – it takes a special kind of crazy to be successful in safety and industrial hygiene.” industrious hygienist_panel 1