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In Adobe Connect Essential Training, author Tim Plumer, Jr. explains how to deliver and host interactive web meetings, webinars, and e-learning tutorials using Adobe Connect. The course covers the software's many tools for streamlining communication and engaging participants, such as the screen sharing, full-screen, and whiteboard features. Also included are tutorials on recording presentations, video conferencing, and using Connect with an iPhone or Android-based smartphone. Exercise files accompany the course.
One of the things that I really love about Connect is its flexibility. You can set up a meeting room to look any way that you want it to look with any number of pods that you want for whatever your purpose may happened to be. In fact, when you have a meeting room set up, you can actually on-the-fly, move pods around, and resize them to meet the needs that you might have. However, it's not a good idea while the meeting is in session to do this kind of thing, especially in a larger one-to- many meeting, because it creates a lack of focus and that has two problems.
One, it's a problem for you. It takes you away from your content, but more importantly it creates an opportunity for your audience to go off and update their email or update their Facebook status or do whatever it is that they might want to do if while you're not talking you created some dead air. In order to prevent this, you'll want to use something called layouts. What layouts allow you to do is to pre-configure a screen full of these pods ahead of time. Instead of actually moving the pods around in front of your audience, you're going to be able to simply select from among your layouts the one that you want for that particular part of the meeting, Connect will very quickly reconfigure things for you, so that you don't lose focus and your audience doesn't have that opportunity to leave.
To start working with layouts all you need to do is go up here to the Layouts menu and click and you can see that there are four layouts here available to you. Now these are just default layouts that are kind of in place as maybe an inspiration for you to understand how you can use them. But of course, you can create your own layouts by simply selecting Create New Layout. What we're going to do in this lesson is use this not only as a way to provide some convenience so that we don't have to do this on the fly, but we're also going to use this as a way to create a nice crisp professional meeting and flow so that you keep your audience's attention and you actually can keep yourself on track using them.
So first off, we'll start by simply selecting Create New Layout and you can choose either to Duplicate an existing layout, by choosing it from among the options here, or Create a new blank layout. We'll go ahead and create a new blank layout and we can name it. I'm going to create an Introduction layout. That's the layout that I want everyone to come into the room and see immediately. So we'll click OK, and because I created a new blank layout there is nothing in it. So let's go ahead and set it up for that purpose. I'll select Pods. One of the first things that I want is an Attendee List.
That sort of emulates in a real in-person meeting what happens when people come into the room. They start milling around and look to see who is there. Now they will also probably want to chat with one another, so we'll add a Chat pod, and I'll resize that, and that gives everybody the ability to say, Hi Bill! Hi Susan! How you're doing? How was your weekend? How are the kids, whatever. And then finally in this Introduction layout I'm simply going to add a Notes pod. Resize that. In the Note pod in an Introduction layout I'll probably have something to welcome the audience and maybe give them a little bit of information about what's going to happen next. And if I want I can even increase the size, make it nice and big.
We'll bold it and make it green to give it that welcoming feel. Now this Notes pod is something I might actually use in other places and in other layouts, and that's one of the wonderful things. I can use pods in any given layout in any combination that I want. Putting a pod in one layout doesn't mean I can't use it somewhere else. As a best practice though, when I start doing that it's a good idea to rename my pods so that I can find them quickly when building my layout. So what I'm going to do is double-click on Notes 5 and I'm going to change this so that it says Welcome.
Now notice when I do that, I'm going to go ahead and hide the pod. If I want to add this pod to any layout, all I need to do is select Pods>Notes and you can see that I have the Welcome pod here. I'll actually choose from among them the one that I want. It's also a good idea as a best practice not to have several pods with the same name, because that can become confusing to you. But either way, once you have a particular layout set up, then you can use it over-and-over again, because you can just simply select it from your list of layouts.
So if I'm sharing and I want to move quickly to the Introduction layout that I've just created, I can choose it from the list and you can see that Connect very quickly resets the room so that the particular configuration of pods is available and that's how I can use it as a way not only to make it convenient for me but also to create a structure and a flow. But there is another step here that I want to offer as a best practice, and that is when you're building your layouts don't just kind of create random layouts; create an order and a structure and a flow for your meeting with layouts.
You can see that there is an order of the layouts here in the menu and I can actually adjust this order using the Manage Layouts feature here by selecting a particular layout, moving it in the list, and I can rename the layout if I choose to. However, I rarely use the Manage Layouts feature anymore, so I'll go ahead and click Done, because there is another way to do this that really enhances the usefulness of this tool. I'm going to go ahead and select Layouts and I'm going to choose the Open Layout Bar.
Now you may have actually noticed that when you first got started with Connect, this Layout Bar was available to you. I closed it so that I could kind of show you how it's used as an introduction to the concept of layouts. And if you don't like the Layouts Bar you can always remove it by clicking the little close button there. But frankly it's so important that I use it with every meeting that I run. So we'll go ahead and open it back up, and I always leave it there. Now what the Layouts Bar does at first is it gives you click button access to your layouts. So if we want to jump to the Video layout, I can jump to the Collaborate layout, I can jump to the Sharing layout, etcetera.
And because the layout is highlighted in blue, it's easy for me to tell which layout I'm in. By the way, I can also tell by looking up here in the meeting name. In parentheses that also tells me what layout I'm in. So if I don't want to invest the screen real estate in the Layouts Bar I can still see it up here. But it's not just about click button access to the layouts that makes this important, it also gives me some abilities to edit these layouts and to work with them. So first off, I'm going to move introduction to the top, because frankly you're not generally going to have your introduction as the fourth thing that you do during the meeting.
So I'm going to click on it and drag it straight up, and that's a very quick way that I can adjust the order of the layouts in my room. I can also rename the layouts by simply double-clicking on the layout name and I'm going to change the name from Introduction to Intro. And after Intro I'm going to add the number 10 in parentheses, and then just hit Enter. The reason I've done that is because that allows me to set a timeframe for each layout and that is a great way to make sure that you stay on track during your meeting. I know that the Intro section of the meeting should last 10 minutes.
So if I'm using this as a generic meeting that may start at 10 o'clock or may start at 3 o'clock I know that after 10 minutes I need to move on from the Intro if I'm to stay on track. Now if it's a meeting that I always hold at 10 o'clock I can even double-click here and change it from 10, indicating 10 minutes, to 10:10 to indicate that the Intro section is to only last until 10 after 10. Now I'm going to need to double- click this and back it up a little bit because the size of the information in the name may get cut off because of the size of the bar.
And I really can't change that and make it wider. But there is another way that I use this as well. If I'm having other people help me with the presentation I'm actually going to create a layout for them and name it, and that way they can keep an eye on when they're supposed to come up, but also they can set up their layout however they want to without having any impact whatsoever on my meeting, as long as they do it ahead of time. Of course, if you click on a layout during the meeting you'll send everyone to that layout. But let me show you how I can very quickly do that right here from the Layouts Bar. First off, I'm going to click on the little plus sign to add a layout and let's say that I'm going to create a layout that Olivia Napolitano was going to use.
Well, I'm going to duplicate the existing layout because she wants to use this same layout. I'm going to name it with her name, click OK, and then I can see that the time is cut off, so I'm just going to double -click on the name, shorten it up. Ol. I know that's Olivia, that's the time at which she needs to hand-control back to me, because she is going to speak right after the Introduction. I'm going to move the layout right up there in the stacking order and we're good to go. Now the final thing that I might want to do to adjust these layouts is to remove one.
Well, you can see that when I hover over a layout I get a little X. I can click to delete the layout and that will make the layout go away. Now remember, by removing a layout I haven't actually had any impact on any of the pods. They are just not visible because that layout isn't available. But if I want to use a pod that I created for that layout it will appear for me under the Pods menu and that's why it's such a good idea to rename your pods because it will be easy to discover what pod it is that I want to bring back into a layout that I might have accidentally removed by deleting a layout.
So there you've it. Layouts are incredibly valuable. Not only do they allow you to set your room up ahead of time, to really get yourself nice and prepared for your meeting, so that you can focus on your content, but they give you a nice tool to help you move through the meeting in an orderly fashion and to keep the meeting on track and allow everybody who is presenting in the meeting to understand when it's their turn to speak. And because of that, you can take full advantage of the flexibility that Connect has to offer without losing some of the professional appeal that you get from a nice, crisp, well-run meeting.
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