Archives for December 2016

Webinar Programs: Ready, Set, Go!


In our December 1st webinar, professional speaker and moderator, James Hilliard offered us his extensive insights on creating the perfect webinar right formula in his Webinar Bootcamp event. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here and download the handouts.

Now that you have a good foundation for creating a winning formula for a webinar, let’s think bigger and figure out how to get there. Think webinar program! Why? Strive to create a webinar program and individual webinars that provide actionable knowledge and information to your audience. Virtual online events or webinars are a growing tool that we are using to market and sell to a target market; train their employees or customers, and more.

Ready, Set, Action

You need to think of each webinar and your program as a series you are producing.  You need to become a producer and set each picture3webinar up through a well-defined process. It is important to select the right speakers as your talent to tell the story that fits your business and content.  Use a checklist to make sure that you don’t miss any of the opportunities or strategies to make your webinar program and each webinar a success.  Approach each webinar as a scripted presentation with engaging interactions and polling built into the plan.

A webinar program is more than one event.  At PresentationXpert, we have created a Xpert Thinking Webinar Program and the days of the webinar are called Webinar Wednesdays. This strategy is one way you can connect with your target audience with events they look forward on each Webinar Wednesday.  A large percentage of our webinar audiences have attended more than one of our webinars. We appreciate and value that loyalty. Our goal has been to connect our community with Xperts that deliver actionable knowledge and we have accomplished that, thanks to a wonderful community of speakers and readers.

You need to think about the experience pre-live event, during the live event and post-event.  You want to create content that will entice them to register.  And start to think of it as a production because it is one.  A well-planned webinar program will work if executed successfully.  You need to understand the ins and outs of webinar production – pay attention to the details including technical, promotion, and implementation.  Follow pre-designed, customized webinar process that fits your business.  It is important to outline and detail each step.  Wondering what steps you need to put in place to create an effective program?  Here is one example, a visual way to look at creating your own production process.

picture4When they attend the live event, make sure to reach out to them in chat, use polls, and other interactive tools.  The goal is to keep the conversation going so that they get the most out of the live event. We do an ice breaker exercise in the fifteen minutes, prior to the live webinar.  It is one of my most favorite parts as you really get to know your attendees and what they are looking for from the webinar content. In the live event, plan interruptions so that the webinar is not just a one-way dialog.

Ask them to raise their hands, take polls, and share their own experiences. Follow this up with social media using a hashtag strategy, if this is a public webinar.

I have done over 2,000 webinars and I have found that the reasons why webinars are successful are because I produce them like a live program.  Understand the ins and outs of webinar production – pay attention to the details including technical, promotion, and implementation. Follow pre-designed, customized webinar process that fits your business.  Here is a formula that I use for setting up webinars:


I create a production worksheet for each webinar.  Each webinar is created from a Word template I have customized for each series.  It is a list of everything you need to produce, promote and moderate a live webinar.   It is important to outline and detail each step. Here is a sample:
Here is a list of what I capture:materials

  • Name and contact information
  • Social media account links
  • Headshot
  • Bio
  • If they have books include link to Amazon and a cover photo
  • Technical Leads and their contact info
  • Abstract of the webinar content with a suggested title
  • Confirmed Date and Time for Live Webinar
  • Confirmed Date andTime for Dry Run Practice
  • GoToWebinar (GTW) Abstract
  • GTW Confirmations and Messages Scripted
  • GTW Log-ins for each person/ per event
  • Handouts Identified
  • Website Catalog Page
  • Website Catalog Excerpt
  • Creative such as website ads, newsletter ads, etc
  • Email HTML Content including subject lines
  • Social Media Content
  • Social Media Calendar
  • Post-Event Activities
  • YouTube Abstract
  • GTW Abstract post-event
  • Catalog abstract
  • Catalog Excerpt
  • Project Schedule with due dates and assignments

If you want a copy of my template, please email me.

Content is king

Working on the presentation, you should host a content creation meeting with the speaker where you will outline key points for messaging, identify key creative assets, and set up the logistics such as providing company PowerPoint templates and setting due dates for content. Think about the experience from the attendee’s perspective and use that to guide your content. Divide the presentation and the webinar into manageable steps. Outline the content and process for each step so nothing gets missed. Here is an example you could use as a guide:


Handouts are an important way to deliver your content. Do you just PDF your slides and share them? Is there useful information provided? Think outside the box when it comes to handouts. Rick Altman did a fabulous webinar for us on “Surviving Handout Hell”. It is worth your time to watch it.


Quality is important when you create your content. Make sure that your speaker delivers visual elements that can make their presentation flow. No “Death by PowerPoint” allowed! Work with them to ensure consistency and style of the presentation. Make sure the message is coherent, consistent, and concise. Ensure that the ideas that are clearly conveyed; data is convincingly displayed; charts and diagrams enhance the logic and flow of the presented work; and that those visual elements- images, animation, background, color, and text – deliver the content message. And please proof-read the presentation and provide edits to make the content look professional.


Sometimes an audience is quiet and you have no questions. One trick I always use it to the speaker prepare questions in advance that they think an audience would ask when they deliver the content. Use them to create an interactive dialog with the speaker(s). And in the case where you have a speaker, who might have intermittent internet connectivity, make sure they provide the answers to some of the questions. You may chuckle but in January 2016, Taylor Croonquist did a webinar for us from Thailand. We lost him for three minutes. I took the questions and answered them as if they were audience questions. No one knew but Taylor and I (and now you all). Prepare with a Plan B, and a Plan C!

Most of all, enjoy it!  Webinars are a lot of fun and can be very engaging.


Sharyn Fitzpatrick,                        Webinar Chick






Shopping for Holiday Presentation Templates: Free, Paid or Make Your Own

Happy group people in santa hat at Xmas business party.

It’s the holidays and you must create that presentation for the holiday party or the company celebration. And you are so busy still trying to catch up on shopping, decorating your house, and working on those projects due at the end of the year. And having that PowerPoint slide or template would be a big help. So what are your options?

Option 1: Use a Free Template

Picking one may be your hardest option. There are a lot of free PowerPoint templates available online. You might be required to register or to watch a short video commercial which is not unusual on free games, templates or apps.

Check These Out:

Free PowerPoint Backgrounds: Click on each one to download the template




PowerPoint to DVD Website: 


Download Christmas Template 1
Download Christmas Template 2
Download Christmas Template 3

There are many others to choose from on their site so go explore. 

Check out this Hanukkah Template from


Download any of these free templates from or KingSoft.

Option 1: Buy a Holiday Template

Presenter Media:  They offer packages as low as $39 per month which include over 10,000 images to choose from including holidays. Here is a sample of their animated templates. 


Option 3: Build Your Own

Yes, you like the templates that are available but you want something that you can brand or present as your own. So, let ‘s look at some choices. First,  you could use a template that you found online for free but change the colors or add something else to make it your own. Struggling with ideas. This is where PowerPoint’s Design Option will inspire you. Just open a new slide deck. Insert  your picture and if you PowerPoint 2016, the magic happens and you see options to consider


Still looking for some inspiration. That is when I use the command Insert online pictures. These offer royalty free images or ones that can be reused under Creative Commons attributes licenses.

None of the ones I could find on Bing were what I was looking for nor did I feel they were high quality. So, I went to Big to search on New Year’s and there were over 57K choices.


I searched for the most popular and settled on two that I liked. 2017 is the year of the Rooster so using that imagery is different and fun.


Using the Windows Photo editor, you can play with your images and discover options such as those in the picture below:



I also brought it into PowerPoint and looked for inspiration but it really didn’t help with this rooster picture.


Let’s look at the other Rooster Picture as well.rooster-ppt-desng-optoin-2

I decided to make my own version of these pictures and from there, make my own templates.  First, here are the two pictures with the PXpert logo added:


And here is how I used each one in a PowerPoint template.  The Design Feature definitely gave me good ideas to start with and adapt.


What PowerPoint Design suggested



What I changed it to…


How I changed it with the second picture and changing the color

So there is no limit to what you can do so be creative, have fun and enjoy the holiday season!

Sharyn sig - first name


[Video] Dishing on Presentations with author, Dr. Simon Raybould

The science of presentations is not a formula you need to remember. According to Simon’s Presentation Genius Manifesto, he wants simonto share the science of what works in presenting to help you change the world. His joie de vivre is infectious. It was a delightful conversation. One of my favorite points is when he talks about using credibility as a hybrid presentation intro option.

picture1I read Simon’s book, Presentation Genius last year and it is based on extensive research and creativity. Everyone who reads will walk away with gems to polish their presentation content and skills. This book is written with Simon’s affable charm and wit. It is an invaluable read whether you are a presentation novice looking for guidance or a seasoned pro. There is science enough for everyone.

Simon is a highly-respected speaker and trainer, based in the UK. He worked for 24 years as a university researcher, publishing in many peer-reviewed journals and developing an international reputation. He worked with several government and ministers and was the head of the largest social science research unit in the UK. He can be reached via email.

Watch and enjoy!

Collaboration in Real-Time: Using Co-Authoring to Streamline Your Presentations

Collaboration Collaborate Connection Corporate Concept

Did you know that you and other members of your team could work on the same Word document at the same time? You can and it is called co-authoring. And now it has come to PowerPoint! I was working with a client on a product launch deck that was like a moving target. So, I uploaded it to One Drive, the Microsoft file hosting service, and then invited other members of the team to update their portion of the slide deck. No more version frustrations with version “X” when you are already on version “Y”! When you co-author your presentation, you can all work on the PowerPoint presentations at the same time.

Getting Started: The Basics

To co-author, the document needs to be on OneDrive consumer, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, or SharePoint server. For real-time co-authoring, the Office 365 document does have to be in the cloud, so it works with OneDrive or SharePoint Online, but not SharePoint server. If you store documents only locally on your computer, you can’t co-author.

Share your presentation with others and collaborate on it at the same time
  1.  Open your PowerPoint presentation, and choose Share in the top-right corner of the ribbon when you’re ready to collaborate.


       2.  Choose Save to Cloud and choose a location to save your presentation to.


NOTE: If you haven’t saved your presentation to OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Office 365, you’ll be prompted to do so now.

3.  Once your presentation is saved to a shared location, you can invite others to work on it as well. In the Invite people box, enter the email address of the person you’d like to share the presentation with. If you already have the person’s contact info stored, you can just enter their name.


See where others are working in your shared presentation

Open the presentation and start working in it.

If someone else is viewing or working on the presentation, their thumbnail picture appears in the top-right corner of the ribbon. PowerPoint will alert you when people enter or leave your presentation.


You can instantly chat with the people who are working in the presentation by using Skype for Business. It opens a chat window for instant conversation. Choose the Skype for Business button to start a group chat with everyone working in the document.

Choose Comments icon-for-collaborate-4 to make or view comments. Also, you can reply to or resolve comments and then mark them as complete.

You’ll also see the name of anyone viewing or editing the presentation in the Share pane. There’s an indicator—on the thumbnail of the slide and in the actual slide—that shows where someone is working in the presentation.collaborate-5


When you’re done working, choose File > Save.

When other authors have made changes, you’ll see the following when you save.


If your updates and other authors’ updates don’t conflict, they’ll be merged automatically, and you don’t need to do anything else.

Resolve conflicting changes

If there are conflicting changes, a visual comparison between your changes and the conflicting changes from one of your collaborators will pop up when you select Save. You can choose the changes you’d like to keep.


NOTE: Only changes made by others that directly conflict with changes you’ve made will show up in the comparison. Non-conflicting changes will be merged automatically into your presentation when you save, and you’ll see them in the My Changes view.

  1. Choose either My Changes or Changes by Others.
  2. If there is more than one conflict to resolve, do one of the following:
    1. Choose Next to keep resolving conflicts. Choose Previous to revisit an earlier conflict.
    2. If you’d like to choose the same set of changes for all the remaining conflicts, select the Do this for remaining conflicts check box.
    3. When you’re done resolving conflicts, choose Done.
Document activity

The Activity pane lets you see the complete list of changes made so far. It also gives you access to the earlier versions. Choose Activityicon-collaboration-8 on the ribbon to see the Activity pane.


Real-time collaboration with auto-save

If you are an Office Insider who has an Office 365 subscription, you can use real-time collaboration with auto-save. This feature builds on the other work together features described in this article by allowing you to see what other users are doing (such as typing words) while they are doing it, and by auto-saving all edits that are made. Only one person can work in a particular box at a time. (You’ll see a brightly colored border around a box that another user is working in.)

Turn on this feature by going to File > Options > General, and selecting the option under Real-time collaboration options.



Special thanks to Kirk Koenigsbauer and Microsoft for the step-by-step content.

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