Archives for August 2014

Create Training Courses with Screenshots Inside PowerPoint

Screenshots are a staple of training courses, especially computer-related ones. So trainers are accustomed to using screenshot software to illustrate tutorials.

Often, these screenshots end up in PowerPoint, which is used as the basis for online courses or self-running presentations. In PowerPoint 2010, you can create these screenshots within PowerPoint.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Create the slide that will contain the screenshot.powerpoint-tips-take-a-screenshot-1
  2. Make sure that the screen that you want to show is displayed. It can be a browser tab or an application screen — anything you want.
  3. Back in PowerPoint, choose the Insert tab and in the Images group, click Screenshot.
  4. You see thumbnail images of the available screens, as shown on the right. Click one of them.
  5. Move and/or crop the image.

Here you see an example based on a course I teach.


Have you tried using PowerPoint’s screenshot feature? I also use Techsmith’s SnagIt because of the editing options it provides.

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information, visit her website at

7 Vital iPad Apps for Sales Presentations

More and more people are trying to use iPads during their sales meetings, but often get stuck with just email, CRM, and maybe a brochure or PDF presentation, none of which is really going to rock your audience’s world.

So, to change all that, we’re going to run down a list of some of the best apps to use to help you revolutionize the way that you conduct sales meetings, with the iPad playing an integral part in the conversation.

Sadly, this doesn’t include either Angry Bird or cat videos on YouTube. Sorry, but they’re just not going to work. Also, these recommendations make the assumption that you know to ditch bullet points and use visual animated sequences.

1) Compelling Presentations – SlideShark

You can’t just put your traditional text-based PowerPoint slides onto your iPad as your audience will not only fall asleep, but also really struggle to see small text shaking around. By using visuals, you’re not only providing more compelling material, but also a clearer viewing experience, as people will actually be able to make out the visuals that you have.

If you use plenty of animation, your audience will be drawn in to your story, giving you a good deal of control over what they absorb.

SlideShark is really the only way to achieve these kinds of things on your iPad. It is the best app that supports full PowerPoint graphics and animations (I know, you’d expect MS Office for iPad to do it, but it’s not a great viewing experience), and the ability to easily navigate around the slides in your presentations. It’s ideal for creating an interactive, visual conversation with your prospect.

2) Sketching & Annotation – Bamboo Paper

You can create a truly interactive sales meeting by using sketching and annotation to make a specific argument live with your prospect. Draw a graph to demonstrate your ideas for the prospect’s particular challenges and what they might get out of it, or show how other solutions or options might work for them.

Using all of this interactively with the prospect on your iPad means that you can communicate far more clearly. Better yet, physically give them the iPad so that they can add to your sketches, and co-create the story being told. You can get so much more insight into their needs, and they feel like they’re able to steer the conversation much more directly to something that will be relevant and useful.

Bamboo Paper is really good for this, as it allows you to draw anything you like freehand using a variety of pens and colors, but also import images and annotate over the top of them which works really well if you have something complex to explain that would be too time-consuming to draw from scratch.

3) Polling & Interactivity – Poll Daddy

A great interactive tool that the iPad offers is the ability to ask questions or promote responses to surveys and polls. This approach is not only useful for basic fact finding for the individual prospect, which can steer the conversation more easily down the right track in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore, but more interestingly the information gathered from many different polls can be aggregated to give you useful insight into your customer base.

It’s worth looking at, as these results can help inform a whole host of things across the company, such as sales messaging, targeted marketing, and customer support. You can also build these surveys around specific sales methodologies so you always follow the right approach and don’t miss anything vital in the heat of the moment.

I’m going to recommend PollDaddy as your go-to survey tool, as it produces some neat, easy to navigate response pages. As it’s so reliant on non-iPad functionality, it may be worth looking at some of the other options too to see whether the entire package does it for you.

4) Brochures, Specifications & Documents – iBooks

At this point, if you’re following along carefully you may quite rightly exclaim: “What’s this? Documents on the iPad? But I thought you said no text!”

You’d be right, but you might enter a part of the conversation that requires an in-depth look at some technical details. Remember that in a meeting it’s fine to allow your prospect to read something for a minute or two, so why not have a collection of brochures in PDF form that you bring in on your iPad and then hand over to your prospect for them to read briefly?

Just don’t hold the iPad yourself and talk whilst they’re trying to read – that won’t work. In fact, why not use this as a basis for sketching and annotations too, potentially highlighting elements of the technical detail that are important to the prospect, or how they work, or what value they deliver.

The standard PDF reader on iPads is iBooks, and it works very nicely if you have a list of brochures, spec sheets, price lists, or whatever you need to access that you can put into different folders, or collections, to make things easier.

If you want to go a bit further and annotate on these PDFs, then you’ll have to look elsewhere, and iAnnotate is a good one, as you can draw and sketch all over the PDFs that you have in your library, which for spec sheets and some brochures can really help to bring them to life.

5) Videos & Animations – AVPlayerHD

Videos are another great tool to have at your disposal during a sales conversation, with the ability to share a minute or two of video often being key to help explain complex ideas, or make an emotional connection to generate some real excitement about your prospect’s chosen topic of conversation. Having a selection of videos available, perhaps related to different implementations of your products, or maybe showing case study testimonials, can all work really well when used in the right way.

To play video on the iPad is a little tricky, as Apple gets sensitive about giving you free reign over a potentially very lucrative source of revenue. The standard video app doesn’t really work as it’s quite restrictive, but AVPlayerHD is great.

The interface is clean and slick and you can easily access the video you want from your library. Playback is also very smooth and great quality, so you can jump into the video that you want quickly and navigate around it without any lag too.

What’s nice is that it plays pretty much any video format that you care to mention, so you’re not restricted to the .mp4 or .mov formats that the iPad natively supports, giving you much more freedom in what you show, or reducing the amount of time to convert your videos to an iPad friendly format.

It is a paid app costing $2.99, which often puts people off, but there aren’t any free apps that are quite as good. One option is the now restored VLC player, which is probably the best free video app, but it’s a little trickier to navigate around, slower to respond, and I’ve found it to be less than brilliant when you just want something to play – you really can’t afford loading time on an iPad with a prospect waiting for the technology to catch up.

6) Planning Conversations – Mindjet Maps

So now you have all of these different pieces of content to use, combined with a selection of great apps to share them with. What’s really important is that you don’t get lost. A good way to ensure that your meeting goes well is to plan out the kind of conversations that you’re likely to have. Start by thinking about what your audience is most likely to be interested in – what are they doing now? How do you add value and how can you get them to recognize that value?

What do you want them to do both as a direct result of your conversation and over the longer term? And don’t forget to think about how you differentiate from your competitors, and what your audience’s perception of that difference is. Answering questions like these will help you frame the content and topics that you need to cover.

A great way to plan all this out is to use a mind mapping tool. We like Mindjet Maps, which is a free app that gives you a pretty neat mind map. It’s fairly easy to use, guiding you through all the steps of creating a mind map. You can create main themes, sub-topics, and content for each section, as well as create links between topics, so that you can plan a potential route through all the content.

The mind map is good as it allows you to see everything in one go, rather than trying to plan something out in a Word document, or PowerPoint presentation, where you’re somewhat limited to a linear flow. The app also links to the much more powerful desktop version too, in which you have a lot more control and loads of other functions, so it’s worth investigating.

7) Seamless Shifting

This isn’t an app, but remember that within your meetings, you need to be flexible and tailor your content to the needs of your audience. A great tip to help you seamlessly move between your different apps is to use a four finger swipe, either left or right, to move between apps by turning on the multitasking gestures control in Settings.

Coordinating Content – Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and more.

Having all of this content available at your fingertips (literally!) means that wherever your audience wants to go, you can join them. If you have a series of short presentation snippets – perhaps based around a set of different value messages, such as cost saving, productivity, or flexibility – then if they tell you that they’re under real budgetary pressure, you can jump to the appropriate (cost) snippet and tell them things that they care about.

The article is about seven vital iPad apps, and I’ve cheated a bit by offering some alternatives, so it’s up to at least eight so far. This next bit is really cheating. Sorry. There are a couple of different approaches to take, but Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or any of the other similar services provide great apps for this purpose, as you can store pretty much any file, of any size and access it when you need it.

The neat thing about most of them as cloud-based content solutions is that you can access your content from any device, anywhere, which is great when you’re on the road. However, you can also download the content for off-line access. This means that they really can be a single source for all content whether your online or not.

It’s not just that they store content in a single place (although this is pretty useful), it’s the fact that most have integrated with so many useful applications that makes them such a great tools, so you can link all of your content to the appropriate app.

There is no one app that does it all, but a combination of them can be very powerful, meaning that you can show your prospects what they need to see to be convinced to buy from you. And if you need help to create it all, there’s an App for that too.

About the Author:

Richard Goring is a managing consultant at Bright Carbon, a presentation skills consulting company that  helps sales and marketing teams create effective sales tools. Mostly that means presentations, but it can also mean dynamic animations or Visual Conversations – anything that uses  the company’s visual storytelling abilities. For more information, visit

A Primer for Creating Diverging Stacked Bar Charts

When I first heard the name of this visual, diverging stacked bar chart, it seemed complex. As I learned more about it, I realized how valuable it is to know about this type of visual in business presentations.

Let’s start with an example of such a visual:

Issue 310 visualsA diverging stacked bar chart is a bar chart that can have one or more segments on each side of a dividing line. The dividing line separates the two groups or categories of data. The above example has only one segment on each side of the dividing line (which is not explicitly shown) and the two groups of data are hardware sales (HW) and software sales (SW).

The reason that this type of graph works well is that it allows the viewer to easily compare the relative size of each group of related data. Each group starts at the dividing line and moves either right or left. In the above example, it is easy to see that in each year software sales are much larger than hardware sales.

Here is another example. In this case, there are multiple segments on each side of the dividing line. The dividing line here represents the goal for customer service ratings (8 out of a possible perfect score of 10). To the left of the line are the ratings below the goal and to the right of the line are the ratings above the goal. The more the overall bar is to the right, the more that call center has ratings above the goal.


It is easy for the audience to see how much of the bar is to the right of the dividing line, indicating performance above the goal. Because we wanted to also see the breakdown of scores on each side of the goal, the data is broken down into segments based on the score given by the customer (5 or lower, 6-7, 8-9, and 10). There are more good examples in this article by Darkhorse Analytics.

It seems like this would be a complicated graph to create, but it is actually much easier due to an online calculator I created. You can use the Diverging Stacked Bar Chart Calculator to calculate the values you enter into the data table for a regular stacked bar chart in Excel or PowerPoint. The values to the left of the dividing line are negative and the calculator organizes them so that they appear correctly. The calculator page has additional ideas on formatting the chart and adding text labels to create the type of charts you see above.

When you want to communicate the values of two groups of data that are related, consider whether a diverging stacked bar chart would work for you.

About the Author:

Dave Paradi runs the Think Outside the Slide website, is a consultant on high-stakes presentations, the author of seven books and a PowerPoint Most Valuable Professional (MVP.) For more information, visit

How to Use QR Codes in PowerPoint Presentations

QR codes are 2-dimensional barcodes that link to digital online content. This information may consist of text or links to virtually anything on the web such as images, videos, websites, audio, etc.

Not only can QR codes be quickly generated online with websites such as, but most smartphones and tablets have free apps that can detect QR codes. Here are three ways that QR codes can be integrated into a new or existing PowerPoint presentation to inspire maximum audience engagement.

Contact information

If you are preparing for a formal presentation, it’s likely that you will include a slide featuring your contact information. In this manner of delivery, you’ll leave it to your audience to copy this information. A QR code can be created using your Vcard information including name, business address, phone number, and website.

Audience members simply need to hold up their mobile device and scan the code on the screen. This information is instantly added to their contacts. Not only will this approach leave a lasting impression, it will make it easier for audiences to reach out to you.

Replace web links

We’ve all seen PowerPoint presentations loaded with links to various supplemental documents or image attributions. These are sometimes essential to the overall presentation. But unless participants are following along with a digital copy of PowerPoint slides, navigating to these links is nearly impossible.

If you’re planning a presentation where participants will need to access various documents throughout your presentation, a QR code can be generated to automatically open these links without having to type in an elaborate web address. For participants, scanning a QR code will be far more engaging than trying to manually type in a web address that could be hundreds of characters long.

Generate audience feedback

One unfortunate aspect of PowerPoint presentations is that they tend to be passive on the part of the audience. A QR code can be added at appropriate places through the presentation to redirect participants to an online survey, form, or other method of feedback or data collection.

This will make it possible for you not only to address the needs of the participants while they are at the presentation, but it also enables you to reflect on the presentation after and create better presentations in the future.

Augmenting PowerPoint presentations with new or emerging technologies is a smart way to improve the impact of your presentation. Applying QR codes to your PowerPoint may be out of your comfort zone, but your audience will appreciate the opportunity to experience and  interact with your presentation in a whole new way.

About the Author:

Janet Bornemann, design director at PowerPointStudio, is a communications and graphic design professional with  21 years of experience in all aspects of business communications. Janet’s background includes developing corporate branding, marketing campaigns, brochure, direct mail and annual report design, websites, and of course, many PowerPoint presentations. She has extensive experience working in the scientific, biotech, and high tech industries, in addition to financial, hospitality, service and fashion industries. For more information about her company, visit

Best Practices for Incorporating Multimedia in Webinars with Ken Molay

PXP_WatchNowIconWebinar content can be so much more than PowerPoint slides and narration. Have you considered adding live video, prerecorded content, audio clips, web interactions, quizzes, or interactive exercises to your webinars? Multimedia content can improve attention and engagement from your attendees, but only if you use it carefully and correctly.

Watch this 60-minute webinar and learn best practices for incorporating multimedia components in your webinars. You will gain valuable tips such as:

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  1. Ways that multimedia can increase or inhibit interaction and engagement
  2. Techniques for smoothly integrating recorded content into your live presentation
  3. How to avoid making the most common and annoying webcam mistake
  4. What technical factors you need to be aware of before adding multimedia
  5. Fair use considerations for referencing publicly-posted content

The session was led by Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success and a recognized expert in webinar production and presentation. Ken will Ken Molayshare tips and tricks gleaned from 15 years of webinar experience, with plenty of practical examples for webinar administrators, moderators, and speakers.

Listen to the audience questions and Ken’s live answer to how to enhance your webinars and make them more attractive and memorable to your target audiences.

You can also download Ken’s white paper on best practices after you register.

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