Archives for February 2016

[Webinar Recording] How to Make Powerful Infographics in PowerPoint

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In today’s world of information overload and shortened attention spans, organizations are using infographics – graphic visuals that combine words and data into education, persuasive, audience-appealing designs – to quickly deliver information to audiences, both external and internal.  Infographics have quickly become one of the major forms of communication in the digital age.

Watch this webinar with graphics guru, Mike Parkinson and you will learn tips and tricks to make professional infographics fast and get low-cost and free tools to help quickly render them. NO design skill or previous experience needed. Explore the current trends and best practices then apply those techniques in your next presentation. Review infographics from around the world and discover how to do it yourself (and what not to do), and improve the quality and effectiveness of your presentations by adding powerful infographics.

In today’s world of information overload and shortened attention spans, organizations are using infographics – graphic visuals that combine words and data into education, persuasive, audience-appealing designs – to quickly deliver information to audiences, both external and internal.  Infographics have quickly become one of the major forms of communication in the digital age.

 

About our speaker:

Mike2015_bigMike Parkinson, CPP APMP Fellow, is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation guru, solution and strategy expert, award-winning author, and trainer. He is a key contributor on multi-billion dollar projects and helps Fortune 500 companies improve their success rates. Mike shares his expertise through books like Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics, articles, and online tools. Learn more at BillionDollarGraphics.com. He is also a partner at 24 Hour Company (http://www.24hrco.com), a premier creative services firm.

Handouts for the Webinar:

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GraphicCheatSheet

Mike’s Infographics Slides

How Ideation Figures into Presentation – It Starts with an Idea

SmartStormer_guide-26- NolanIf there’s one thing drives me crazy, it’s seeing people putting together and designing a presentation before they even know what they’re trying to say. Often, this cart-before-the-horse approach is the result of laziness and simply not wanting to outline a story first. But I also see cases where presenters are literally trying to generate business ideas and solutions at the same time they’re deciding what font color to use. This couldn’t be more counterproductive to successful ideation, and it shows me yet again that idea generation is a vanishing art. “Innovation” is what leaders say time and again is most important to their businesses, and yet few of us know how to actually generate and select innovative ideas—be it an iPhone or a better way for signing up for the office softball team.

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Keith Harmeyer is one of the two principals of SmartStorming, one of the best ideation consultancies there is. I talked to Keith to ask how ideation figures into presentation.

SO, HOW DO YOU SUCCESSFULLY IDEATE?
I’ve written before about the book SmartStorming which I still consider the single best book I have ever seen on this topic. The authors, Keith Harmeyer and Mitchell Rigie (good friends and former colleagues, full disclosure) are simply the best in the business when it comes to helping others generate new ideas and innovate.

1. WHAT DOES IDEATION HAVE TO DO WITH THE MAKING OF BETTER PRESENTATIONS?

One of the key objectives for anyone sitting down to create a presentation, is to make that presentation as engaging and persuasive as possible, right? Well in order to accomplish that, you need ideas. Ideas for how to most effectively structure your content. Ideas for how to visualize it, and present it. There are tens of thousands of people sitting at a computer right now, working on their next presentation. What’s going to make YOURS stand out? What will make your audience say, “That’s one of the best presentations I’ve seen.” I believe the first, and possibly most crucial step in the presentation design process is to generate fresh, innovative ways of approaching your work.

In other words – take the time to come up with some great ideas.
2. HOW CAN SMARTSTORMING HELP THE AVERAGE PERSON WHO IS NOT LOOKING TO CREATE THE NEXT IPHONE, BUT HAS MORE BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES AT WORK?
One of our missions at SmartStorming is to “demystify” the innovative thinking process, and make it relevant to everyone. Lots of people get hung up on the term “innovation.” They think being innovative requires that you come up with something ground-breaking that no one’s ever seen before. But in fact, the most common type of innovation is simply taking something that already exists (a product, service, process, idea, whatever) and making it better. Simple. And anyone can do it, at any time – and in the process, deliver greater value and benefits to their employer, customers, clients, etc. At SmartStorming we give people the basic understanding, skills and confidence necessary to approach any type of work more innovatively.
3. IF SOMEONE COULD TAKE AWAY JUST A SINGLE SPECIFIC TEACHING FROM THE SMARTSTORMING TRAINING, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT IT TO BE?
In terms of a practical tip that will instantly help someone generate bigger, better, more innovative ideas, simply this: never judge your own (or others’) ideas prematurely. When you’re engaged in the process of generating ideas, anything goes. Don’t reject anything; allow even “bad” ideas to survive, for awhile, to see where they might lead. There is a time to judge and eliminate ideas, but later, during the evaluation and selection process. Keep the two processes separate, and your creative problem-solving ability will improve exponentially.

nolan side shotAbout Nolan Haims:

With more than 20 years’ experience in the field of visual communications, Nolan helps organizations and individuals show up differently and tell better stories with fewer words. Most recently as a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, he helped the world’s largest public relations firm consistently win multi-million dollar pitches by communicating more visually. As a designer and art director, he has created high-end presentations, keynote addresses, and pitches for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions, top foundations, and all the major television networks. Nolan trains organizations to think visually and to create and give more effective presentations. He speaks at national conferences and writes extensively on visual storytelling. Microsoft has recognized him as one of only 11 PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S for his contributions to the presentation community. In a past life, Nolan was an award-winning magician and juggler and performed with the Moscow Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus before turning to the theater. He directed and wrote professionally, creating stories on stages in New York and around the country for a decade. He can be reached at nolan@nolanhaims.com.

Innovation from the Heart: Delivering Powerful Visuals with Great Content

Innovation comes to us from all places – some we would never expect. I was impressed by breadth and depth of yancey and jimresources and presentation decks that are available from Empowered Presentations, an award-winning presentation design company, based in Hawaii. Founded in 2010 by CEO, Cory Jim, and President, Yancey Unequivocally, they create customized one-of-kind, high-impact presentations designed to engage and target specific audiences. In a nutshell, you will have a presentation that will knock your socks off!

Their list of awards (and there are many) include a first place win as SlideShare’s “World’s Best Presentation” slideshare presentation contenwsContest and the chance they took when they entered the contest and the road they took with their win came from the heart. Yancey told me that Cory’s love of PowerPoint was personal. While serving our country overseas, he wanted to find a way to communicate with his four-year-old son, Andrew, and teaching him the alphabet seemed like a perfect way to spend time together. Cory turned to PowerPoint to create ABC slides to help Andrew learn the alphabet and how to read. It was definitely a labor of love. The innovation came from his heart and started an adventure that still goes on today.
Fast forward and they decided to enter a contest but with what content? Yancey’s father had lung cancer and it was a growing epidemic. Many of us have been touched by it – I know I have. So, they decided to do a presentation about smoking and the statistics about the cigarette industry and how it is affecting people. Visually, the presentation told a strong, impactful story that made you think. That combination of right pictures, the right information, and the right presentation told a story that has and emotional impact. No wonder it was named the “World’s Best Presentation”. I shared a few slides with you but click here if you want to see the entire deck.

smoke presenatio;nPassion also leads to innovation and it was great fun to see the out-of-the-box ideas that they use to tell the stories – whether it is for fun, for a client, or for themselves. Their personalities are definitely a part of the appeal.  You can feel the emotion in some of their slide decks – see for yourself:

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And they give back to the presentation community.  In addition to the 100+ presentations on SlideShare, they also offer a number of resources on their website that is meant to make you think. Think how you approach presentation design so you can tell your story in a way that closes that deal, or gets you the job. It is worth your time to download these resources. They contain excellent content as being visually appealing. The visuals they selected in The Presentation Tool Kit fit the content perfectly to the content. I would add a few things to the list such as a backup laptop, an extra power cord and a thumb drive with the presentation loaded on it.

This article is the start of a monthly column where I get to introduce our community members to you.  If you have someone you would like me to profile, please email me at sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com

5 Ways to Get Your Presentation to Stand Out

When was the last time you saw a memorable presentation that raised your eyebrows? Most presentations look and sound similar. So, how do you differentiate? The secret is to do things that are obviously helpful. The following are 5 proven ways to ensure your presentations stand out and rise to the top:

Do the Unexpected
Content isn’t king, contrast is. Humans pay attention to that which is different. Do the opposite of what your others are doing. For example, consider the following options:

  • Don’t use slides. Instead, use a whiteboard and simple drawings (e.g., stick figures).
  • If your slides are typically text-heavy, use visuals, a single photograph or a single word per slide.
  • Consider summarizing your presentation in an infographic.
  • When possible, use a non-standard (legible) font or layout.
  • Use clever transitions, animations, or builds to better explain your ideas and connect your presentation into one cohesive story.
  • Engage the audience with interactivity (e.g., questions, relevant physical examples to hand out, live demonstrations that support your assertions).

Most thought leaders have touted that design is the best way to stand out because aesthetics quickly evoke a strong emotional response. What we see helps our brains distinguish one thing from another and usually results in split-second judgments.

Focus on What is Unique and Beneficial
What is it about the content you are presenting that is unique, superior, or special? Perhaps, it is a tool or procedure that makes it easier for the audience to their job. Whatever your answer, highlight it in your presentation and clearly show how it helps the audience achieve their goals.

Make It Easy
Highlight the benefits of your presentation on each slide. Make it clear how the information on each slide helps the audience. Connect the dots between your content and the audience’s goals. Keep it simple and make it completely obvious.

Other approaches include the following:

  • Start with a clear, benefit-driven message and prove it throughout the presentation.
  • Include a powerful, succinct, audience-focused “Cheat Sheet.”
  • Use a “quick compare table” to compare your content / solution with alternative content / solutions.
  • Use the same vocabulary as your audience.
  • Have one speaking and writing style and one voice with clear, compelling content.

Keep it Simple
Most presented content is complex but our explanation doesn’t have to be. Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Authors of presentations communicate as if their customers are just like them. Most presentations include bullets that stretch over two lines with nonlinear explanations and puzzling, illegible diagrams. Unwanted complexity is a stumbling block because the confused mind says no. Keep your slides and explanations simple and provide detailed slides as backup information, when needed.

Prove It
Validate key assertions. For example, prove a qualitative statement with evidence such as testimonials, past performance stories, and quantitative charts. Validating important content builds trust.

The following slide demonstrates four of the five approaches. The unique benefits are listed at the top. The information simplified making it easy for the audience to understand and connect the features presented with the benefits. The content in the orange boxes support and prove the benefits.

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Use these five approaches together to ensure your presentation stands out in a sea of presentations.

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Mike2015_big
Mike Parkinson is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation guru, solution and strategy expert, award-winning author, and trainer. He is a key contributor on multi-billion dollar projects and helps Fortune 500 companies improve their success rates. Mike shares his expertise through books like Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics, articles, and online tools. Learn more at BillionDollarGraphics.com. He is also partner at 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com), a premier creative services firm.

“How to Approach Presentation Design Like an Innovative Thinking Genius”

“Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes.” —Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Richrecording ad - feb 16 - smart storming

It’s no secret that today, we live and work in an innovation-driven world. The trail-blazing companies and individuals we all admire, are the ones that continuously reinvent themselves and the things they produce.

Of course, all that innovating requires ideas—fresh, bold, game-changing ideas.  It doesn’t matter whether you manufacture smartphones, run the latest Internet startup, or design compelling business presentations…customers, clients and even employers today expect every one of us to show up at the table with new, better, more innovative ways of doing our jobs and delivering greater value.

They want ideas.

In fact, all great work starts with an idea, and presentations are no exception. And the more innovative the idea, the more exceptional the end product will be. So when it’s time to sit down and tackle your next presentation, why not approach it the way an innovative thinking genius would? Sure, honing your craft and mastering your tools is important. But before you start applying the newest techniques, tricks and hacks, take a few minutes to go through these six idea-inspiring steps. You’re certain to have greater success.

  1. Know Your Audience—How can you possibly design a unique and effective presentation if you don’t have a thorough understanding of the people being presented to? Who are they? Why will they be attending your presentation? What are their needs, wants, challenges? When it comes to your message, what’s in it for them? Try thinking of yourself not just as a designer, but as an “experience architect.” As Nancy Duarte suggests, take your audience on a journey from “what is” to “what can be.”Clarify Your Vision
  2. Clarify your Vision—According to author Stephen Covey, one of The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People is to “Begin with the end in mind.” Armed with a clear understanding of your audience and their needs, you can now determine what you are actually trying to accomplish with your presentation—your objective. What is the key takeaway you want your audience to have? What action do you want them to take? Envision what a successful presentation would have to accomplish. Be as specific as possible. Your objective serves your roadmap, leading you from where you are now, to your desired destination: a killer presentation. Every decision you make regarding content, design, and technology should be measured against achieving your goals. Ask yourself, “Is this choice going to move me closer to my objective?” If not, forget it. It’s superfluous.
  3. Play “What If?”—Lack of knowledge, skill and experience can all be underlying causes of poorly designed and executed presentations. But perhaps even more damaging to presentation success is a lack of imagination.What If True innovators don’t conduct “business as usual.” They proactively search for new, better ways of doing things. They depart from the status quo. What can you do differently in this presentation to make it stand out and be more effective? What do you assume you “must” do? What do you believe you “can’t” do? What if you could do anything you wanted to do—what would you try? Innovators tinker, experiment, play. And so can you.
  4. Be Audacious (With at Least One Element)—We sometimes get intimidated or overwhelmed by the notion of “innovation,” believing that we have to come up with something revolutionary, something that’s never been seen or done before. But in fact, the most common type of innovation is simply taking something that exists, and making it incrementally better (e.g., the iPhone 6 was an iIdeas Thoughts Knowledge Intelligence Learning Thoughts Meeting Conceptnnovative improvement on the iPhone 5). What one element of your presentation can you make better and more interesting than it was in the past? Can you do something unexpected in the way you structure and present the content? Can you incorporate images, video or audio in a way you never have before? Could you employ color in some manner that will make the audience sit up and take notice? What if you went “template-less,” and made each slide just a little different from all the others? Go wild! Try at least one audacious thing. Remember, you never know how far you can go until you go too far!
  5. Be Willing to Experiment and Fail (Temporarily)—All great innovators understand that temporary failure is an important step to success. Thomas Edison “failed” over 1,000 times when working to find a Ideasuitable filament material for his light bulb. But when a reporter asked him what it felt like to fail so many times, Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Innovative thinking geniuses, by definition, try new and different things. But when something doesn’t work, they don’t give up and return to the status quo. They course-correct, make adjustments, tweak, and try again—until their ideas work and they change the game. (Here’s a tip: make a “safe” version of your presentation, then create a “save as” version that pushes the envelope. Then kick it up another notch and “save as” one more time!)
  6. Measure Your Success – Finally, great innovators determine a benchmark for success. In other words, they determine, ahead of time, what a successful outcome looks like – and they evaluate their work against it.Success_519111
    That way, the next time they’re up at bat, they can make the necessary adjustments to become even more successful. Remember earlier, when we were talking about your vision, we said, “Begin with the end in mind?” That Vision serves as your inspiration, your North Star – but it also serves as your benchmark.  Did your presentation do what you wanted it to do? Did it get the response you intended? Did the audience take the action you wanted them to take? And what can you do differently next time to produce even more positive results?

Don’t you think the world has seen enough “me too” presentations? Haven’t too many people been lulled to sleep by status quo design?

You owe it to your work and your audiences to make your presentations the best and most innovative they can be.

What will you do, the next time you’re diving into a new presentation, that will blow your audience’s minds? How will you make them say, “I’ve never seen anything like that,” and most important of all, take the action you want them to take?

It all starts with an idea.

recording ad - feb 16 - smart stormingSmartStorming Partners Keith Harmeyer and Mitchell Rigie are authors, speakers, consultants, and trainers on the topics of innovative thinking, idea generation, and persuasive presentation skills. Co-authors of the book, SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas (http://SmartStorming.com/book), they have a combined 50+ years of experience working in the fields of advertising and strategic marketing communications and personal development. To learn more about their programs and keynotes, visit http://SmartStorming.com.

“How to Approach Presentation Design like an Innovative Thinking Genius”

[Webinar Recording]

Don’t you think the world has seen enough “me too” presentations? Haven’t too many people been lulled to sleep by watch nowstatus quo design? All great work starts with an idea, and presentations are no exception. And the more innovative the idea, the more exceptional the end product will be.

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Watch this interactive and engaging webinar on how to approach presentations in a way an innovative genius would. Mitchell Rigie and Keith Harmeyer, authors of the best-selling book, SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generation Bigger, Better Ideas, show us how to use out-of-the-box thinking and six idea-inspiring steps to get your ideas started out right and then apply it to presentation design and delivery. They will share real-world examples of how their clients used this to improve their presentations, both in style and in delivery. `

You missed playing the “What if” game to see how innovative you can become but download the handout and you can try it for yourself.  The “Idea Sprint” will inspire you.  Remember, no idea is off the table. This is the foundation to get the Picture2ideas started and build that innovative, wow presentation. Are you game?

Handout: How to Approach Presentation Design Like an Innovative Thinking Genius

Congratulations, Hilary Miller!  You won a signed copy of their book!

About Our Speakers:

Keith HarmeyerKeith Harmeyer’s professional background includes over 25 years in advertising and strategic marketing; sales and business coaching; and advanced communication and presentation skills training. As a marketing and creative executive at agencies in the Omnicom and Publicis networks, as well as founder and principal of his own marketing communications firm, Keith created countless successful brand marketing programs and business presentations for many of the world’s best-known and most successful companies, such as American Express, JPMorgan Chase, Sony, Time Warner, ABC, Disney, Philips, Fujifilm, Conde Nast, Sports Illustrated, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, McDonald’s, Footlocker, and many others. He has also coached and trained numerous business leaders on their sales and presentation techniques, utilizing his proprietary system for persuasive communication. Keith is a graduate of Loyola University and Tulane University, both in New Orleans, and of Coach University, the world’s leading training organization for professional coaches. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and the Florida Speakers Association.
Mitchell RigieA top creative professional for over 25 years, Mitchell Rigie has expertise spanning the fields of art, design, communications, strategic marketing, and human development. He is a thought leader in the emerging field of peak creative performance; his “Creative Flow Principles” have helped thousands of creative professionals in different industries achieve higher levels of productivity. As a Vice President and award-winning creative supervisor for advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi and Foote Cone Belding, and as a consultant for Grey Worldwide, he has managed creative teams in the development of campaigns for Fortune 500 clients including: Johnson & Johnson, American Express, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, and General Electric. Mitchell is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and Coach University, the world’s leading training organization for professional coaches. He also served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Rhode Island School of Design.

 

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