Archives for January 2017

[Webinar Recording] Using Imagery to Create Powerful, Impactful Presentation Stories

Try GoToWebinar free for 30 days, and save 20% on an annual subscription. Give it a try today.A picture is worth a thousand words and using imagery in your presentations does make an impact enabling your content to come alive. In this webinar, moderated by Editor Sharyn Fitzpatrick, we share tips on how to find the right imagery for your content and how to use it in a design. Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Nolan Haims showcases several design options for

Register on Nolan’s site, Present Your Story.com to get access to the handouts.


each slide and why it works. This is a perfect tutorial for the non-designer.

Topics include:

  • How to identify a good image from a bad image in your searching;
  • Harnessing the rule of thirds;
  • Creating “image sets” for consistency;
  • The power of transparency and gradients in PowerPoint;
  • Why you should cut the heads off people yes, really!;
  • Advanced image editing, no Photoshop needed;

The right way to compress files As a bonus, we explore where you can find images to use including sourcing across a variety of stock websites for all budgets.

About Nolan Haims:
Nolan runs Nolan Haims Creative, a visual communications and design consultancy that help organizations and individuals tell more effective stories with fewer words. As a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, he created and ran a department dedicated to raising the bar on visual communications and ensuring the firm showed up differently at pitches. During his tenure with Edelman, he oversaw nearly 500 high-stakes new business pitches as the firm grew by 64%. As a designer and art director, he has created high-end presentations 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 including at his own site, PresentYourStory.com. Microsoft has recognized him as one of only 11 PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S for his contributions to the presentation community. He is also one of three co-hosts for the Presentation Podcast.

[Video] Dishing on Presentations 2017 with Nolan Haims, Rick Altman and Ellen Finkelstein

 

In this latest edition of Dishing on Presentations, editor Sharyn Fitzpatrick has great in-depth conversations with Rick Altman, host of the Presentation Summit, and Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs, Ellen Finkelstein and Nolan Haims. Topics discussed include visual storytelling, iconography, flat design trends, the Presentation Guild,  using 3D with Office 365, and so much more.  Enjoy!

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Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert
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Presentation Guild Releases its First Presentation Industry Benchmark Salary Survey Report

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As you recently read here in the PresentationXpert October and November newsletters, the Presentation Guild is now a part of the scene. And this week, a first-of-its-kind salary survey report makes its debut.

A bit of background, in case you missed it. The Presentation Guild is the new nonprofit trade association for folks like us. I’m Tony Ramos, one of the Guild’s twelve directors, and a presentation designer since 1993. Guild members are more often found behind the stage rather than behind the podium. We carry titles like presentation designer or small business owner or (perhaps begrudgingly) the slide person.

We officially launched the Guild in October 2016 during the Presentation Summit after nearly two years of planning and preparation. The board combined its strengths as professional presenters, presentation designers, trainers, authors, and software experts to connect people like you, elevate our field, and improve the world’s presentations. No small task. To this end, we’re offering traditional association benefits like education, networking, and communications. We’ve created live webinars, webcasts, social media, forums, newsletters, and online classes. Future projects are underway, including publishing industry standards based on board and member input, professional skills certifications, software discounts, job postings, portfolio showcases, and other ideas. Maybe it’s that one idea you’ve wanted to bring to life but had no network to activate. (All the presentation entrepreneurs and innovators reading this? You’re welcome.)

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Presentation Guild at Presentation Summit, October 2016

For now, achieving the right mix of community, training, and support is our daily goal. Long term, we want to help set the presentation professional in the public spotlight as an essential industry position. It follows that we need to see what that position looks like today. Time for a survey!

Salary Survey Released

In August and September 2016, the Presentation Guild conducted a first-of-its-kind salary survey. It consisted of 18 questions designed to benchmark the compensation characteristics of the average presentationist (an individual who works in the presentation industry). We received 133 responses to our email and social media invitations to US-based presentationists. Our resulting analysis is a 26-page report available as a PDF.

Key Highlights
  • We are most likely to be between 45–64 years old
  • We are 1.4 times more likely to be female than male
  • Three-fourths of us have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • We are 4.6 times more likely to work in New York or California than any other state
  • We are 1.5 times more likely to work in-house for a corporation than other work environments
  • We have an average of 15 years’ experience
  • Average annual salary range? See page 16 of your copy of the report
Data Worth Highlighting
What is your job title?

One item that’s always piqued my curiosity is job title. For a decade, I supported a department of dozens of people, and they had almost as many names and descriptions for me: PowerPoint specialist, presentation guru, graphics guy, slide jockey.

The good news is that our professional field is still new enough that the world has not yet settled on a label to categorize us. Eighteen job titlepercent of respondents go by Presentation Designer. Nine percent are called Graphic Designer. But 39% go by titles which were not among the options offered by name in our survey. What does this mean? I think (and hope) it means we still have the latitude to define ourselves in words and aim it toward the future. I’m not saying you should suggest your boss promote you to Vice President of Words and Images, but keep in mind that Guy Kawasaki invented his own title and role (Chief Evangelist) at Apple way back when.

More realistically, however, the question of job title can get complicated. Add the survey finding that, for the majority of us, presentation work is considered an adjunct responsibility and is not considered our primary job even though a majority of our work hours are spent on presentations. To be working on a variety of tasks which are not 100% presentations may be ideal for you, or maybe not so much.

If you’re your own boss (and another survey page shows that a good many of us are), your options are even greater. President or CEO or consultant are easily understood and useful in a business context. Yet I would not downplay the potential conversations you could initiate by calling yourself PowerPoint Wizard or Digital Storyteller or even Presentationist. It has worked for me.

What is the highest level of education you have completed?

Smart set, we are. Three-fourths of us have a bachelor’s degree or higher. What this means depends on your situation.
Let’s say you’re self-employed, either as a solo practitioner or head of a small design studio. Your advancement is not tied to your level college eof formal education as much as it would be in a large organization, generally speaking. You’re more likely interested in highly specialized training that can be put to immediate and specific use, such as learning VBA coding.

If you’re an employee at a big company, though, you might read this survey with different purpose and urgency. That purpose may be to demonstrate that you might be fairly paid or underpaid commensurate with your education level. (If you are overpaid, well, I might direct you to the lovely Shopping page of our website.)

Either way, the majority of presentation professionals lack formal training in areas of presentation expertise. We clearly need more specialized training opportunities.

Conclusion

As a first-time survey, this was a rewarding endeavor for us at the Presentation Guild. We learned much about you, about the landscape we are in, and what is left to do. The last page features eleven points which plot out objectives we are embracing based on survey results. They include:

  • Establish clear and recognizable job titles
  • Develop and/or promote specialized training with CEU recognition
  • Develop a certification program
  • Encourage the inclusion of presentation design and presenting in college curricula
  • Promote the presentation industry
  • Survey those who hire presentationists so we can arrive at the table better armed, better trained, and ready to deliver a better value
Want a copy of the survey? Click here

Recognized and approved as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, the Presentation Guild welcomes all to join, regardless of experience or location.

About Tony Ramos

Square of 9261 smallTony Ramos is a founding director of the Presentation Guild. He has been using presentation software since 1993, when he started making terribly wordy slides for the world’s largest management consulting firm for nearly a decade.

Since then, he’s learned a bit about the art and science of it all. He began writing about what he and others were doing with presentation software. That now-defunct blog earned him four consecutive years of Microsoft’s MVP Award for PowerPoint.

Today, Tony tweets as The Presentationist (@tonyramos), volunteers time and labor for the Presentation Guild, and earns a living using PPT, Photoshop, and Illustrator for Fortune 500 clients, government agencies, and neighborhood garage sales. If you see him outside running with the dogs or biking with traffic, please honk and wave hi.

When Your Mariah Moment Happens

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Did you hear the one about how powerful Mariah Carey’s voice is? You can hear it even when her mouth is not open. As you can imagine, there is no shortage of jokes about the singer’s epic fail on New Year’s Eve. Several have no doubt graced your Facebook or Twitter feed, you’ve seen the memes, watched the late-night show snippets, and probably discussed it with your friends and colleagues. How could it have happened, you might ask? Here’s the question I would prefer to be asked of presentation professionals?

What should you do when it happens to you?
Let’s clean up the facts just a bit before we begin, because while I believe that Carey is deserving of plenty of criticism, I want to make sure that it is fair. First off, she did not get caught lip-syncing. Lip-syncing is like playing air guitar: you go through the motions while the sound is produced elsewhere. Most live performances, especially in difficult environments, include a vocal track, over which the singer sings. That is what Carey was intending to do, but when her in-ear monitor went out, she lost her composure. The second fact, for whatever it is worth, is that she and her team warned the producers and stage managers of the balky transmitter pack well ahead of time and they evidently did nothing. The third thing to keep in mind is what a crazy and dynamic environment Times Square must have been. This would have been challenging for even the most consummate of professionals.

It’s easy to wonder why she couldn’t just sing the song without the benefit of her in-ear monitor? Shouldn’t a professional be able to do that? After all, it was her song! We can debate how demanding the environment was and speculate on whether she could hear the music at all, but that misses the point and brings us to the criticism of Carey that is most relevant to the presentation community: her image as a professional. You see, Mariah Carey is perfect. Her wardrobe is always perfect. Her hair impeccably coiffed. Her choreography painstakingly staged. Her background vocals exquisitely integrated. I recall when she was a judge on American Idol, many of the camera cuts to the judges’ table caught her fiddling with her hair. Everything about Mariah Carey’s on-stage persona is about being perfect.

And that’s the problem.
What do you do when you are supposed to be perfect but circumstances out of your control prevent it? What do you fall back on? There are no degrees of perfection–either you are perfect or you’re flawed. And that’s a really tough place to be as a performer, because of three axioms of our profession, which hold up across all public performances:

  • Audiences don’t want perfect presenters. They want people whom they feel are just like them.
  • Audiences respond best to presenters whom they feel are genuine and passionate.
  • Audiences root for presenters to succeed.

From this perspective, Carey was doomed from the very beginning. If your whole thing is perfection, what does that say about your ability to roll with punches? And unless you really are perfect in real life, does that stage persona evoke feelings of authenticity. No, this was a technical problem for which Mariah Carey was uniquely ill-equipped to handle.

Here is a continuum of possible responses to the situation:

  1. You stop performing, become visibly upset and frustrated and blame everyone around you.
  2. You stop, wait for the technology to be fixed, and if it can’t be, you continue anyway.
  3. You pretend nothing has happened and you fake it in the hopes that you make it.
  4. You apologize to the audience and tell them you’re going to do the best you can.
  5. You rally the audience to your side, you turn it into an experience, you start a singalong, you lead rounds, you laugh at yourself as you do a goofy dance, and in the process, you prevail over the moment.

Why would anyone pay the outrageous sums of a live concert?
I would tell you it is for the chance at No. 5 moments. As I think about my own concert experiences, the ones that are indelible are when unexpected things happened. Like when Paul McCartney started a song by singing the wrong lyrics, made his band stop, and then wondering if he had just happened upon something cool, a capellad his way through the mashed-up arrangement for a few bars. We ate it up. Or the time when Mick Jagger ran the length of the Candlestick Park outfield in the middle of Satisfaction, and Keith Richards dared him to not sing out of breath. They both cracked up and we ate it up. Or the time when the conductor of the San Jose Symphony Orchestra invited a seven-year-old boy from the audience to take over for him, making his musicians promise that they would try to keep time according to his direction. The pace became so fast that they could not keep up. And we ate it up.

Mariah Carey did not get past No. 1 and she made it worse in the following days when, instead of letting the whole thing blow over, her team defended her, lashed out at Dick Clark Productions (isn’t that a bit like blaming God?), and went so far as to suggest self-fornication to the producers for refusing to pull the performance from the West Coast telecast, destined to air three hours after the incident.

Let’s compare two singers. Let’s compare Mariah Carey’s response to New Year’s Eve with how Adele handled a complete sound failure during a 2016 performance. While Carey had a vocal track and complete accompaniment behind her (even if it was noisy), Adele found herself with no accompaniment at all.

Click here to watch the video at YouTube — it happens at the 2:30 mark.

Why is Adele so popular?
By her own admission, she misses notes all the time. And her range is just average. Is it incredible songwriting? Perhaps, but that is rarely the basis of the praise she earns. And her wardrobes are nothing like Mariah’s; they’re usually semi-frumpy dresses with sequins. And that’s just it: Adele is real. She can do something that less than 1% of the population can and for it, she earns obscene amounts of money, but she gives her audiences the powerful impression that she is just like them. Watch the clip to the end and listen to how she schmoozes them about the moment they had. I’ll issue a modest profanity alert, but you know what, that actually makes her even more real.

Thanks to Mariah Carey, our industry has a perfectly gift-wrapped new year resolution. Do not practice your polish, do not work on your image, and do not try to be the best dresser you know. Your audiences do not care about those things. Instead, ask yourself who you truly are and whether your audiences could recognize your most genuine qualities and characteristics. Ask yourself how you can manage all of the demands of a public presenter — the technology, the slides, audience expectation, and your own nerves — and reach a place where you are showing the room your most authentic self.

Above all, your authenticity puts you in a position to be the very best storyteller you can be, and that is your No. 1 aim.
In addition, finding your real self gets your audiences to a place where they can root for you, where they might be endeared by you. And it gets you to a place where you can confidently deal with the most unexpected circumstances of all. Stuff happens to everyone so it’s no big deal if it also happens to you.

Mariah Carey has not shown herself to be capable of finding that quality within herself. Here’s hoping that you can.

Rick-AltmanAbout Rick Altman

He is one of the most prominent commentators in the presentation community today. Rick is the author of 15 books. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, the internationally-acclaimed learning event for presentation professionals.  An avid sportsman, he was not a good enough tennis player to make it onto the professional tour. All the rest of this has been his Plan B.

My 10 BEST Tips for Female Presenters to Rock It

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It has been my experience and observation that women presenters tend to be more reserved and self-conscious. Female presenters tend to overthink everything and strive for perfection, even when perfection doesn’t exist. It’s a combination of things that make it more difficult for female presenters to begin, much less finish, a presentation. I have put together my list of advice that female presenters need to know.

  • Don’t let self-doubt creep in.Women are infamous for self-doubting their capabilities and shrivel at the thought of stepping in front of other people to talk. This doubt leads to feelings of inability to perform and allows the mind to wonder how listeners will judge and criticize. Women can do everything that men can do, and sometimes better, you just have to trust yourself that you know your subject matter and are extremely qualified to give this presentation.
  • Overcome the fear of public speaking.The chronic thoughts of self-doubt generally morph into full blown presentation anxiety complete with sweating, nausea, tension, and sickness. Even if fearful presenters get enough courage to step in front of others, they usually cringe and fold into themselves and struggle to finish. The fear of public speaking is a perceived fear, where the brain has been trained to react in a way that demonstrates one is inferior, you can overcome it with a little effort. You can avoid not only the fear but all of the feelings that go along with it. (Check out my article 5 Quick Tips to Overcome Presentation Fear.)
  • Stop overthinking.Women are well known to change their mind a time or two, but they also tend to overthink the situation. The debate on what to talk about, can I afford to leave this out, how do I explain the situation and not babble on and on, can leave your mind in debate for extended periods of time with no resolve.
  • Stop the madness!All of this thinking, wandering, and debating can make you tired before you even get to the presentation site. Ladies, we have a big job to do, and nobody is more qualified than you to do it. Any presenter has a single obligation to fulfill, and that is to educate the audience and ensure that the listeners walk away with information that is helpful to them; ladies just do it with more grace and poise.

Here are my best tips for female presenters to let go of the self-doubt and overcome the fear of talking to other human beings.

  1. Prepare – Yes, you need to include the necessary points without any extra, and you can solve this with index cards. Writing one idea per card and laying them all out on a table can help the most indecisive presenter fully see what is necessary and what is not. Write it up in an outline and you have officially begun the presentation plan.
  2. Evaluate – Every presenter needs to take a step away and think for a minute to evaluate the plan. You are looking for reassurance that your presentation is not overflowing with content, that it includes stories and examples, and follows some logical order to ensure that you know where you are going, and your audience can easily follow along with little effort.
  3. Prep until comfortable – This advice is different for every person, so you will have to figure out what is the right amount of preparation for you to feel comfortable. You want to practice your presentation as many times as necessary that you can easily recall it without notes. Do not resort to memorization because this will cause many additional complications, trust me.
  4. While you are still in preparation mode, now is the perfect time to go to the restaurant or hotel where the event will take place and get a good look, maybe even take some pictures of your own to study back at the office. If you are preparing for an event out of town, ask your contact person to send you pictures of the room or at least a sketch of the setup. Knowing this information will allow you to visualize the situation in practices and strategize where is the best place to stand for maximum effectiveness.
  5. Dress for success – Plan out your wardrobe in advance, taking into consideration what the atmosphere of the presentation site will be like and if you’ll be wearing a mic. (It can get complicated running a lavaliere microphone cord through some outfits.) Take into account the decor of the room, and what you expect the audience to be wearing. Check my blog, What Do I Wear for My Presentation, where I go in depth on how to weigh your options.
  6. Arrive early – One of my personal anxieties is not the presentation itself, but the travel to get there. Regardless of whether the travel time includes a simple car trip or a plane ride, you want to make sure that you have arrived early. If you have confused the location, then you have time to fix it, otherwise knowing that you are where you are supposed to be is a relief in itself and now you are not out of breath from running and rushing.
  7. Meet the audience – Arriving early has its benefits because you have the time to take a few deep breaths and to meet new people. You are meeting the people that sacrificed their time away from work or family to see you present. You are meeting new friends that will be rooting you on and are excited to learn the new things that you have to teach. Most importantly, having the opportunity to meet the audience means you are no longer speaking to strangers; you are talking to new friends and knowing that tiny piece of information can turn your presentation from a lecture into a conversation just like speaking to any friend.
  8. Own the room – Imagining that you are wearing your power suit can make you feel powerful. According to a 2010 study, taking a high-power pose, one that takes up maximum space with your body can make stress hormones ineffective. Take a quickcapture potty break and psych yourself up, a one-person pep rally. You have done all of the necessary steps to make this happen; you are in control. Now is the time to own the room!
  9. Celebrate because you did it – You followed through on the commitment and not only did you fulfill your obligation, but it was much better than you thought it would be. Maybe you even had fun and would consider presenting again in the future. Revel in the lives that you have enriched with your message and how all of that stress was for nothing. Concentrate on how interested the audience was the entire time you spoke and that they had so many questions about applying the lesson to their individual situations. Remember that for at least this moment, you were the teacher, and you made a difference.
  10. Debrief & improve – After the celebration (maybe it even includes champagne) it’s time to think about the situation as a whole from an objective point of view and debrief with notes on what went well, and what can be improved. Consider any moments that you had to rephrase something because it wasn’t clear, or you had to add something that wasn’t supposed to be there but was, in fact, necessary. Remove any pieces that you initially thought were necessary, but weren’t. Now is the time to pull the index cards back out that weren’t incorporated into this presentation and think about how you can integrate them into a future presentation.

 

img_8893-682x1024Erica Olson, founder of Speak Simple, has delivered 1,000+ presentations, coached hundreds, and won her clients millions of dollars. She is an author, professional speaker, interpreter, and presentation coach that helps her clients become comfortable when presenting and relate with their audience. Erica specializes in helping with technical professionals to simplify their message to engage audiences and win new work and includes strategy, preparation process, learning styles, simplification, & delivery. Her book, Speak Simple – The Art of Simplifying Technical Presentations, and her self-guided presentation course, SpeakU, are great resources for her numerous clients, many of whom Erica has helped to win millions of dollars in new work via bid presentations, thought leadership presentations, and increased keynote speaker fees.

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