Archives for January 2015

The “20 Minute Template” – The Non-Designer’s Guide to Branded PowerPoint Design

In the age of life-like video games and multimillion-dollar advertising budgets, subpar design has never been so PXP_WatchNowIconobvious. Did you know that there is a growing trend to assign design-related tasks such as resizing picture or creating PowerPoints to non-designers? Does your heart beat faster when you first open up that new blank presentation? How can you communicate our expertise, knowledge and professionalism, not graphic artist at work2 - 123rfonly explicitly, but implicitly in your design?

Even if paying for the full design treatment is out of your reach, an attractive, branded slide deck is not. In this webinar, Slide Rabbit’s Bethany Auck will share her fast tips for creating a professional look for any presentation. You will learn how to incorporate branding simply so that every slide looks clean and custom designed. See below for  a Quick-start guide outlining everything you learned and a cheat sheet of for improving your slide content.

bethany headshot with caption 2About Our Speaker

Bethany has been working in the presentation design industry for nine years. She cut her teeth at small litigation consultancy where she consulted on major trials helping her clients build persuasive narratives and poignant demonstratives. Bethany founded SlideRabbit in 2012 to bring high-quality design to all industries at low cost levels.

PXpert= Auck 22515 handout cover    Download the webinar handout

PXpert – Auck – Webinar Handout – 22515

 

 

10 Places to Find Reliable Data for Presentations and Infographics

To find reliable data for presentations and infographics, you need to branch out beyond your everyday Google searches. The best data comes directly from the original source of the information, and your average Google searches typically only produce second-hand sources.

For quality data that you can confidently reference in your presentations, infographics, and other content pieces such as Ebooks and podcasts, check out the 10 resources below.

1. The Guardian Data Blog (official site)

Data journalism and data visualization from the Guardian

Tip: If you want to take your data savviness to the next level, sign up for the Presenting Data Master Class offered by The Guardian.

2. The United States Census Bureau (official site)

Quick, easy access to facts about people, business, and geography

Tip:  If you prefer to review data in a visual form, you’re in luck; The U.S. Census Bureau has a Data Visualization Library.

3. Kaiser Family Foundation Global Health Facts (official site)

Non-partisan source of facts, analysis and journalism for policymakers, the media, the health policy community and the public

Tip: Visit the graphics and interactive section of this site for videos, quizzes, and interactive infographics.

4. World Health Organization (official site)

WHO’s portal providing access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation

Tip: If you’re not sure where to begin on this tremendous site, start by reviewing the Publications section.

5. Data.gov (official site)

Home of the U.S. Government’s open data

Tip: Instead of heading straight to the Data section, start by selecting a Topic to focus your research.

6. Google Scholar (official site)

A simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature

Tip: After you enter your search query, use the filters to the left of the search results to weed out unusable materials.

7. Topsy (official site)

A social search and analytics tool

Tip:  Before you jump right into a search query via the homepage search bar, check out the Social Analytics section.

8. HubSpot Marketing Statistics and Data (official site)

All the marketing statistics you need

Tip: Download HubSpot’s resource, 120 Awesome Marketing Stats, Charts, & Graphs.

9. Nielsen (official site)

Insights and data about what people watch, listen to and buy

Tip: To get started, check out the Top 10 lists.

10. Radicati Group (official site)

Quantitative and qualitative research on email, security, instant messaging, social networking, information archiving, regulatory compliance, wireless technologies, web technologies, unified communications, and more

Tip: Download the free executive summaries of their most recent reports.

About the Author:

Leslie Belknap is the marketing director for Ethos3, a presentation design and training company.  For more information about the organization’s services, visit www.ethos3.com

Each Time You Present a Lifetime of Baggage Comes With You

Recently I had an opportunity to do some personal presentation skills coaching with Michael. That’s not his real name but his story could be your story, your manager’s or maybe even your company president’s.

Michael certainly made a very polished first impression as he walked in.  He was well groomed and very executive looking in his well-tailored suit. “Feel free to take off your jacket,” I told him.  He politely declined.

During the first 15 minutes with a new client, I always spend some time to try to understand who’s sitting in front of me.  I learned a long time ago  I’m never just working in the moment – I’m working with the sum total of someone’s life experiences; both good and bad, acknowledged and deeply buried.

“I wasn’t completely honest with you about setting up this time.” he continued. “And there was a reason I kept putting off this personal coaching time. Even the thought of presenting is terrifying to me and has been for as long as I can remember.”

Not much explanation was needed.  You see, I had experienced this many times before over the years.

During one coaching session a senior executive recalled an extreme presentation embarrassment 50 years earlier as he stood in front of his 6th grade class…with everyone laughing.

After a speaking gig, a young senior account representative in a large PR firm pulls me aside and asks about her incapacitating fear in front of clients.  “I completely freeze up,”  she confides.  “What’s happening to me?”

Then out of the blue a few years back, a senior officer in a large company calls me looking for some insight into his debilitating anxiety when presenting to his Board; other presentation settings were never an issue.  His coping mechanism?  Xanax for the anxiety and avoidance whenever possible.

Baggage for All

We are all the sum total of our life experiences.

I find few people who relish presenting, but for most they find a way to cope, some surviving the moment at best. For others, however, the pressure of an important presentation brings back old tapes, deeply internalized embarrassments, harsh words or confidence that has been systematically dismantled over decades by the relationship with a parent.

And it’s precisely these moments that I realize that no matter how good I may be as a personal presentation coach, I am woefully inadequate in untangling issues that have ensnared people for most of their lives.

So my counsel to them and maybe you is pretty much the same.

I can help them work on the outside and very visible manifestations of their fear. But for the stuff on the inside, presenters owe it to themselves to better understand what’s going on, if for no other reason than to live a more fulfilling life. One that isn’t metered by fear and anxiety.

So whether you’re simply a survivor of anxiety or have never turned the corner on overwhelming fear, know this…personal victories in this area can and do happen.

I’ve seen breakthroughs change people’s lives through a partnership of a coach and a clinician, all focused on helping individuals overcome the things they fear most. Deeply held anxiety slowly mitigated not only by meaningful insight, but also a client seeing with his or her own eyes a more confident, polished presenter on the video playback in front of them.

They can’t believe it’s them.  Old tapes slowly rewritten.  Self-defeating scripts joyfully discarded. Confidence blossoming.

And most of us have experienced this important truth – avoidance is not a very successful strategy.  Because presenting our thoughts and ideas to others will be something we will be asked to do the rest of our lives. And there simply aren’t enough places to hide.

So if this article strikes a little close to home for you… maybe it’s time to go to “baggage” claim.  Check your tag carefully, and finally find someone to help you carry it all to the curb.

About the Author:

Jim Endicott is president of Distinction Communication Inc, a Newberg, OR consulting firm specializing in message development, presentation design and delivery skills coaching. For more information about the company, visit www.distinction-services.com

4 Presentation Design Trends: Fads or Here to Stay?

Change is inevitable. Over the last decade, the presentations we produce, the tools and processes we use and the industry as a whole has evolved. Specifically, presentation graphics and methods for making them are changing.

As with all change, some will stay with us (e.g. the Internet) and others are merely a fad (e.g. the pet rock). The following are today’s top four presentation design trends:

1. Infographics

2. Flat Design

3. Photographs

4. Visual Metaphors

Let’s determine if they are here to stay.

1. Infographics

The ubiquity of infographics has spilled into the presentation industry. It is important to note that the strictest definition of an infographic is any graphic that clarifies or explains.
Recently, the term infographic has become synonymous with a specific style of graphic (and not a definition), rendered as an aesthetically simple and flat image using quantitative data to educate and persuade.

Displaying PowerPoint_Infographic_web.jpg

Graphic courtesy of Get My Graphic (www.GetMyGraphic.com)

A successful infographic requires its content and messages to be clear and concise so the final graphic is simple and easy to follow. Unfortunately, many presentation infographics I have seen are cluttered and confusing. The message is unclear and text has been replaced with a smattering of ambiguous icons and symbols.

Verdict:

Use infographics sparingly in your presentations. Do them well or don’t do them at all.  Start with a simple message. All content must support that simple message. Use simple
icons your audience will recognize. Images should complement and highlight your content and not distract or muddle your message. Infographics work best when quantitative evidence tells a clear, compelling story.

The push to get to the point and provide (quantitative and qualitative) proof is here to stay. However, the current infographic aesthetic is a trend. As with all aesthetic trends, it will evolve over time.

2. Flat Design

Flat design is seen as the modern graphic style due to the popularity of small electronic devices. To improve content legibility on hand-held devices, aesthetic embellishments such as highlights, depth, and shadows were eliminated.

The opposite of flat design is realism (skeuomorphism).

Displaying Flat-vs.-Realistic_web.jpg

Graphic courtesy of Get My Graphic (www.GetMyGraphic.com)

Both styles have pros and cons. For example, flat graphics are associated with newer design; therefore, applying this style subconsciously conveys the message that your company and solution are modern and innovative. Because of its plainness, flat design is often less expensive and time-consuming to produce. On the other hand, flat design can oversimplify or under explain critical pieces of information. Flat graphics limit aesthetic choices, making it difficult to highlight important or subtle concepts.

Skeuomorphism can communicate the realness of your solution. Because realistic visuals are often considered more labor intensive and superior than simple designs, using a more realistic style can improve the perceived quality of your company and solution as well as demonstrate your commitment to the project.

Verdict:

There is a time and a place for both flat and realistic graphics. With a skilled designer, you can mix both into one template to reap the benefits of each style. For example, you could use flat icons with realistic graphics within your slide deck. Be sure that your decision to choose flat and/or realistic graphics is driven by objective goals (e.g., legibility, customer perception/preference, messaging, brand standards).

3. Photographs

It is common to see a slide with a single photograph and minimal—if any—text. Using a single image to reinforce or replace content places more emphasis on emotional factors. Less textual content (e.g., bullets, sentences, paragraphs) also forces audiences to turn their attention to the presenter.

Displaying pict_web.jpg

Slide courtesy of Fotolia (Fotolia.com)

Verdict:

Dominant photographs are here to stay for three reasons:

1. The focus is on the presenter to give the narrative.

2. Pictures tell stories. Stories are one of the most powerful presentation techniques because stories are felt not heard.

3. It is a relatively inexpensive, easy approach to slide design.

The style of the photographs, placement, and cropping will evolve with stylistic trends of the time. (Because this aesthetic approach does not work well for technical information, expect related slides to be text and graphic-based.)

4. Visual Metaphors

Using a visual metaphor, simile or analogy helps the audience understand complex information. For example, explaining a transition plan to an audience unfamiliar with the concept is challenging at best. Using a visual metaphor, such as a bridge, improves understanding by using a familiar concept that shares characteristics with that which is being compared. A deeper understanding improves retention, adoption and persuasion.

Displaying slide2_web.jpg

Graphic courtesy of Get My Graphic (www.GetMyGraphic.com)

Verdict:

Popular books like Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational help presenters use behavioral psychology and learning theory to evolve best practices in our industry. We will see more sophisticated visual metaphors, similes and analogies as presentation design matures.

Because they are stylistic trends, expect the popularity of infographics and flat design to wane over time but remain far into the future. The lessons presentation designers learn from these stylistic trends will be folded into future trends.

Using more sophisticated photographs, images, icons, and graphics will increase. Sites like Get My Graphic (http://www.getmygraphic.com), Fotolia (http://fotolia.com) and iStockPhoto (http://www.istockphoto.com) make it easier to add professional clear, compelling graphics and photographs to slides. The more these approaches are proven effective, the more we will see of them.

About the Author:

Mike Parkinson is an internationally-recognized visual communications guru and presentation expert, professional trainer, and award-winning author. He is a partner at 24 Hour Company, which specializes in proposals and presentations. His Billion Dollar Graphics website and Get My Graphic website share best practices and helpful tools.

For a Great Presentation, Practice the 10/20/30 Rule

Guy Kawasaki is a technology guru and venture capitalist who listens to a lot of presentations from entrepreneurs seeking money for start-up ventures.  The overwhelming majority of the presentations he hears are, as he says, “crap.”

And so he demands that all presentations at his business, Garage Technology Ventures, follow what he calls the “10/20/30 rule.”  It’s a rule that should be embraced by anyone  who wants to connect with audiences.

The rule states that all presentations should be limited to 10 slides, 20 minutes, and have no words on the slides smaller than 30-point type.  I love the rule because it keeps you out of the weeds by forcing you to keep your message focused on key issues.

1) Limit Your Presentation to 10 slides. Too many of us create presentations by opening up PowerPoint, picking a template, and typing. Before long, we have a “presentation” with 40 slides.

I was coaching an executive once as he prepared to speak at an industry event.  He arrived at our practice session with 60 slides for a 45-minute presentation.  Flipping through, I noted that every slide was loaded with bullet points.

“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Would you want to listen to this presentation?”

“Well . . . , ” he muttered, seeming startled. “I guess not.”

His presentation was packed with too much information.  Limiting your message to 10 slides forces you to answer the question “What do I really want to say?” PowerPoint has no template for that question.

2) Speak For No More Than 20 Minutes.  When Kawasaki listens to a pitch for start-up capital, he allocates an hour.  Limiting the pitch to 20 minutes allows for 40 minutes of Q&A. As Kawasaki knows, all presentations improve with lots of Q&A.

Last weekend I went fishing in Tampa with a guide named Rick. He told me that one way he markets his business is by giving presentations on how to catch fish in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I usually speak for about fifteen minutes and then take questions,” he said. “I’ve found that people have a lot more fun at my presentations when they get to ask questions.”

That’s a nice lesson in hooking an audience from a professional fisherman.

3) No Slides with Words Smaller than 30-Point Type.  For many people, this seems impossible. You can’t get more than five or six words on a line with 30-point type.

But all businesses should mandate this rule. Smaller type  is so hard to read that it becomes distracting.

To me, corporate America tolerates tiny type on slides in the same way that mill town residents tolerate the stench that fills their community.  It’s so prevalent that everyone just gets used to it and no one even notices anymore.

But your slides will be far more effective if you minimize your bullets and keep your type size big.

And if you follow the 10/20/30 rule, your presentations will be a breath of fresh air to all.

About the Author:

Joey Asher is president of Speechworks, a selling and communication skills coaching company in Atlanta.  His new book 15 Minutes Including Q&A: A Plan to Save the World from Lousy Presentations is available now. For more information, visit the Speechworks website.

Hacks, Tricks, and Shortcuts…Oh My! Discover PowerPoint Tricks Even the Pros Didn’t Know About!

PXP_WatchNowIconPowerPoint is an incredibly powerful program with lots of capabilities built in, and there will always be things that not everyone knows about. Plus, productivity goes out the window when you are stuck trying to figure out how to improve your PowerPoint slides or fix a problem that you can’t seem to solve.

In this recorded webinar with shortcut and productivity guru, Taylor Croonquist, you will discover hidden tricks that most presentation professionals didn’t know that PowerPoint could do.  The content will focus on how to maximize the power tools you have in PowerPoint so you can get the job done. You’ll also discover tricks and shortcuts that will make your job more efficient and less stressful. For example, do you know how to break SmartArt? Break tables? Break up a list of bullets? Or, resize and crop multiple pictures in one process?

Learning these time-saving tricks will increase your productivity and PowerPoint skills. No more pulling out your hair when you reach frustrating PowerPoint issues.

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Our Speaker

Taylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other. For more information about the company’s services, visit  http://nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com

 

Webinar Handouts:
Taylor Cheat Sheet for 12115 webinar - icon
      PXPert PowerPoint Cheat Sheet – 12115 Webinar – Taylor Croonquist

 

 

 

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PXpert -012115 – Webinar Slide Deck

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