Archives for April 2017

[Webinar] PowerPoint Presentation Hacks for Business with Nolan Haims

Nolan Haims
Microsoft PowerPoint MVP

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
11 am PDT/ 2 pm EDT

Special Introductory Price $169


Effective and impactful presentations are integral to your job success. We use presentations to sell an idea or a product, both internally and externally. How do yours stack up? We all know the kinds of presentations we like to see: those with less text, fewer bullet points, and more visuals. And yet time pressures and habit too often lead us to break the “golden rule of presentation” when we have to create our own slides. Join presentation expert and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Nolan Haims for a 1-hour special PresentationXpert webinar on creating better presentations through more efficient use of PowerPoint and by implementing time-tested techniques for eliminating the major causes of tiresome slide decks in the corporate world.

Nolan will show you how to:

• Work faster and more efficiently using the best unknown PowerPoint tricks & hacks
• Customize your Quick Access Toolbar to reflect your working style
• Reduce text with the “three-word challenge”
• Eliminate bullet points through “chunking”
• Avoid creating slides destined to be cut later through “bumper stickers”
• Easily create handouts by exploiting PowerPoint’s notes page design features
• Write effective headers
• Source and choose effective imagery

Managers, supervisors, graphic and PowerPoint professionals, administrative assistants, sales professionals, marketers – anyone who uses Microsoft PowerPoint and wants to save hours and save hours of productivity.

You’ll get a list of sources for imagery – both paid and royalty-free, access to Nolan’s magic list of corporate brand logos, a cheat sheet for hacks and shortcuts, and more.

With more than 20 years experience in the field of visual communications, Nolan Haims helps organizations and individuals show up differently and tell better stories with fewer words. As principal of Nolan Haims Creative, Nolan leads a team of visual design professionals dedicated to all types of visual communications including presentation, data visualization, traditional print and identity design. 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. Most recently as a Vice President and Director of Presentation for Edelman, Nolan helped the world’s largest public relations company consistently win multi-million dollar pitches by communicating more visually. 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, For his continuing contributions to the presentation industry, Microsoft has designated Nolan one of only eleven PowerPoint MVPs in the U.S. As such, Nolan consults regularly with the development team on the industry standard software. In a past life, he was an award-winning magician and juggler and performed with the Moscow Circus and Vermont’s Circus Smirkus before turning to theatre. Nolan directed and wrote professionally, creating stories on stages in New York and around the country for a decade. He holds a degree in media writing and theatre from Northwestern University.

The Evolution of the Presentation Specialist Job Grows as Does Demand for Talent

The demand for presentation design experts is growing significantly as the role becomes a critical part of an organization or team. Why? First impressions can mean the difference between the success and failure of a product. Today, presentations are a critical part of how we communicate our business messages.

A text-heavy slide that is hard to read is not going to win you any business. Would you want to buy anything from someone who used any of these slides?

But, you are swamped with multiple projects and you really don’t have the best PowerPoint skills. So, what do you do? Organizations are realizing that they need to work efficiently and use their resources wisely. This is a perfect reason to work with a presentation specialist who can help your presentations be that strong visual message needed to close that deal. It can be an internal resource, often found working in marketing and sales, or an external resource.

Presentation Specialists are in high-demand both internally and externally. According to Artisan Talent Agency, there is a growing demand for high-end presentation design skills by their corporate customers. It is a job position that they have a high demand for qualified candidates. 

“What is driving this increased demand for presentation specialists?”, I asked. She explained that for their agency, it is the emergence of the infographic as a key information tool that has really been a driving factor. Health-care and consulting firms are the sectors that seem to be driving the increased reach of infographics as a messaging tool. Did you know that in the last five years, the use of infographics has increased 800% per year? Google trends research concludes the demand for mobile and visual learning are key factors to the continued growth.

End of the year financial data projects has also become a perfect project for a specialist who can create an understandable way of presenting financial and other analytics. Here is one example of a bad data slide which also happens to be one of Nolan Haim’s favorite for “Worst Chart Slide”:

Nolan Haims did a wonderful PXpert webinar on how to tell the story of your data. It doesn’t have to be hard to understand or boring. He shows us how to design charts that are both clear and beautiful. Here are two examples of how to show the story of data:

Having the ability to see the story of the data and how to present it is an important skill to have.

Who are presentation designers?

They go by many names or classifications. They are called PowerPoint experts, PowerPoint designers, Presentation Experts, Presentation Specialist and more. There is now a wonderful trade association, Presentation Guild, that is a great resource for this role. I am proud to be a member. One of my favorite descriptions of this job is theirs. Their job title is “Presentationist”.
In their 2016, Presentation Guild Salary Survey Report, they offered a great profile of a presentationist. Let me share it with you.

Another interesting detail is that 39% of the participants in the survey have “presentation” as part of their job title which is great news for the industry and a show of respect for this role.

The Salary range in the Presentation Guild report was between $51K and $75K. This is consistent with other salary surveys for this role., a job searching site, has the salary range between $43K and $69K with the national average being $57K. also offered salary ranges but at $20.70 per hour or $43.6K per year, their information seems too low.

To get more details on the information provided in the Presentation Guild Salary Survey Report, click here. It is free for members. You can join for $99 per year and get it free. Or buy it for $59. Guild membership is a worthwhile investment in yourself. It is a great resource and community.

Experts, Recruiters, and Agencies all seem to agree that a presentation specialist needs to be a good business communicator with a creative visual eye. They should be proficient in Microsoft PowerPoint and use graphic tools like Illustrator, InDesign, PhotoShop, and others. In addition to PowerPoint, presentation specialists should also be proficient in Keynote, Haiku, and/or Prezi.

Where do you fit into this world of presentations? I am curious. Email me.

The Graphic Design Industry – Where Does a Presentation Designer Fit?

In the last decade, the emergence of Presentation/PowerPoint Designer roles has skyrocketed from the darkened corner of Desktop Publishing (DTP) to the heights of keynote speeches and world-viewed presentations as well as touched on practically every design discipline in-between. The niche lovechild of DTP and Graphic Design, Presentation Design, now sits on the precipice of becoming the newest specialization in Graphic Design.

A Phenakistoscope

The history of graphic design has seen the development of three major disciplines each of which have various levels of overlap. Of the three key disciplines, the print-based design was the first and oldest. The next development was motion design with the earliest examples being the Phenakistoscope and then the animated flipbook in the early-to-mid 1800s. As the century ended, there was an explosion of interest in motion and animation design which then thrived for the next 100 years and now every time you turn on a TV, you are bombarded with motion design, everything from the intro reel of your favorite news channel to the credits at the end of a movie. The third discipline, Interactive Design, evolved broadly with the advent of computing. The user not only watched motion or looked at print, but could also interact with it by giving commands or prompts. The first broad use of interactive design was in the mid-to-late 1900s with early computer systems. As computers became more sophisticated and operating systems were designed and improved upon, the visual design became more and more important. This was the first boom in interactive design, with early operating systems leading the way. As the World Wide Web developed, this form of design branched out and exploded across the world, every website is an interactive design, every program on your computer (including PowerPoint) is an example of this design discipline. In fact, anyone reading this article either on a phone or on a computer is engaging in at least 3 levels of interactive design.

The development and emergence of these disciplines of design have been largely chronological, however, the big question that is most relevant to us today is: where does Presentation Design sit? After discussions with many people from these disciplines, there is a feeling that Presentation Design sits outside the scope of Graphic Design altogether. I’ve met many professional and highly skilled Graphic Designers across all these disciplines who will simply not touch Presentations. Why? Because there is a significant stigma associated with working within the programs available to create presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.). Some blame lack of features, some blame inexperience, some blame operability, but ultimately it stems from the elitism of specialist Graphic Design software and the ‘commonness’ of Presentation Design software.

I see PowerPoint a little differently. I see it as a tool that can encompass all of these design aspects. Admittedly, there are pros and cons of using PowerPoint as a tool to produce each of these designs, however, show me a program that allows you to display on one screen your design, which encompasses the principles of print design, then seamlessly integrates animation into the design all the while allowing the end user to navigate them, or allowing a pilot to navigate an audience through a non-linear presentation based on the needs of the audience, all whilst being a program that is included in the world’s most famous productivity suite of applications and on over 500 million computers worldwide. Nearly everyone with a computer has PowerPoint. Anyone can open the program, create some slides, some bullet points and press ‘Start Slideshow’. This does not make them a Presentation Designer. The hurdle we need to overcome is not introducing Presentation Design to the world, the hurdle is to show the world what Presentation Design SHOULD be.

The good news is that a Presentation Designer is always in relatively high demand. Industry demand will only ever grow for this service as pitches and inter-business presentations become so competitive many companies are moving from ‘getting whoever knows how to use PowerPoint in the office’ to ‘getting a professional with knowledge of audience communication and best practice in designing for these circumstances’.

The big question is, will the Graphic Design industry eventually accept Presentation Design (and by extension, PowerPoint) as a new specialization? What do you think? Let’s get the conversation started.

Email me and with your thoughts.

About Tom Howell:
Tom Howell is a PowerPoint designer and the founder of Synapsis Creative, a boutique presentation design agency. Tom started his career as a designer for multiple disciplines and specialized in PowerPoint 10 years ago, and has never looked back. With a talent for animation and interactivity, his work has been featured on Microsoft’s webinar series on PowerPoint and in multiple online magazines and articles. He regularly speaks at conferences and seminars and is a key figure for presentation design in the industry. His clients come from an array of different industries. Tom loves the challenges and successes that are achievable in PowerPoint and lives to make presentations stand out for all the right reasons.


Don’t miss my “Dishing on Presentations” conversation with Tom Howell. It is engaging and packed full of presentation wisdom from “down under”. Click  here to watch


[Video] “Dishing on Presentations” with Tom Howell

In this month’s “Dishing with Presentations” interview, we went “down under” to speak with Professional Presentation Evangelist, Tom Howell in his Synapsis Creative office in Sydney, Australia. What comes across in the conversation with our editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick, is how much Tom is passionate about PowerPoint and all it can do for his clients and our industry. He is enthralled with what you can achieve with presentations using skills and creativity and how it continues to evolve as a creative tool for graphic designers and presentation designers. His global client list includes Microsoft, Universal Pictures, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Goldman Sachs Investment Banking, Proctor & Gamble, Nestle, and the United Nations. All of which add credibility to his successes and his wealth of knowledge and experience. He shares his insights into how to become and grow as a presentation designer. Enjoy!

Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert

P.S. I use Zoom to record the interview and Power Director to brand it.

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