Archives for May 2017

[Webinar Recording] Marvelous Makeovers: Presentations Edition with Rick Altman

 Fan Favorite, Marvelous Makeovers: Presentations Edition is back!

Watch Rick Altman transform ugly slides provided by our subscribers into marvelous makeovers. Did you know that makeover seminars are the most popular of all at the Presentation Summit, the annual conference for the industry, but what exactly is a makeover? Is it just the prettying up of a bad slide? In fact, there are many forms of makeovers, and they are all on display during recorded webinar. Watch it now to find out what magic Rick will pull out of his hat to make “Marvelous” slides.

If you’re a golfer, your favorite word is “mulligan.” That’s when you hit a dreadful shot, usually into a forest or a lake, and you drop the second ball at your feet and essentially proclaim, “that one didn’t count.” You then hit again and go on your merry way, a happier camper for it.

In PowerPoint parlance, our mulligan is the makeover – that fantastic and fantastical opportunity to press Pause and create an alternate reality. That horrible slide with eight long-winded bullets and a postage-stamp photo? No, you didn’t really mean to do that; that doesn’t count. Take a mulligan! Here’s a do-over.

Makeover seminars are the most popular of all at the Presentation Summit, the annual conference for the industry, but what exactly is a makeover? Is it just the prettying up of a bad slide? In fact, there are many forms of makeovers, and they are all on display in this hour:

Message: Well-intended content creators often lose sight of the story they mean to tell.

Structure: If the foundation of your presentation is flawed (like trying to create slides that serve as visuals and as handouts), you will be swimming upstream the whole time.

Slide design: The classic case of “who created this sludge and how can we fix it?”

PowerPoint technique: Most users of the software are undertrained and rarely go below the surface of PowerPoint’s feature set. That can have a profound effect on how they build their slides.

Delivery: A well-designed presentation both relies on and encourages presenters to be at the top of their games.

About our speaker:

Rick Altman has been hired by hundreds of companies, listened to by tens of thousands of professionals, and read by millions of people, all of whom seek better results with their presentation content and delivery. He covers the whole of the industry, from message crafting, through presentation design, slide creation, software technique, and delivery. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, the preeminent learning event for the community, attended by an international audience of 200 since 2003.He would have traded it all in for a career on the professional tennis tour. He wasn’t good enough, though — all of this was his Plan B…

Make Complex Graphics Easy to Understand (Part 1 of 2)

Most complex presentations do not need complex graphics. Clear, easy-to-follow content improves understanding, recollection, and adoption. The KISS—Keep It Simple Silly—rule applies to all forms of communication.

However, there are times when illustrating complexity is required. For example, you may want to show that the information or solution you are presenting is complex and, therefore, requires specific experience or expertise to complete. For other presentations, you may have a mixed audience of technical and strategic thinkers.

A complex solution does not need to be confusing. It should be clear, concise, organized, ordered, and easy to understand. Albert Einstein once stated, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Because the confused mind says no, a complex graphic must quickly and clearly communicate the main point (the message). It is our job as presentation professionals to help the audience understand the content.

The following are three methods I use when making a complex slide graphic:
1. Get to the Point
2. Chunk It
3. Connect the Dots

Get to the Point

Summarize your graphic with one, concise message (i.e., headline or takeaway). The main point should be obvious. It should give your audience a reason to care. Provide them with a benefit. Make them want to spend time reviewing your graphic. If the main message is that your solution saves money, speeds delivery and lowers risk, the graphic should clearly show this. It must be blindingly obvious. Never bury the main point. Highlight it through aesthetic choices such as icons, symbols, size, style, color, and positioning.

Chunk It
Chunking breaks complex content into bite-sized, digestible morsels. Group and label similar elements to avoid confusion. For example, arrange your approach into a timeline. Drawing a box around each phase chunks those activities and clarifies when they occur, making the content more approachable. (You are grouping solution elements into labeled “buckets” of information.)

The reason most complex graphics fail is because they are created by the author for the author. They apply their knowledge of the subject to make assumptions about the audience’s proficiency—and often these assumptions are wrong. Instead, see it from your audience’s perspective and how they relate to the subject. Group your content hierarchically. Use labels and titles to categorize similar elements.

Connect the Dots

Prove that you can deliver to the audience your stated benefit by connecting the solution elements to the promised outcomes. For example, use symbols to flag those tools, people, or processes (solution elements) that are responsible for delivering the results (e.g., saving money, speedy delivery and/or lowering risk).

I recommend sketching your ideas before rendering a graphic. Sketches increase objectivity when evaluating your message and method for communicating it because simple drawings are judged more on content than appearance. Rendered graphics are judged by aesthetics before the associated message and method

The following sketch is an example of how I used these three methods to showcase a benefit to my audience.

After your concept is approved, render your graphic in your tool of choice. The following slide was created in PowerPoint. (In my next article, I will share how I made this graphic.)

Clear, compelling communication is a critical success factor. The three methods—Get to the Point, Chunk It, and Connect the Dots—work together to improve communication quality and your win rate. Use them when creating your next complex graphic to deliver a better presentation.

About Mike Parkinson (Microsoft MVP and APMP Fellow):

He is an internationally recognized visual communication and presentation expert, professional speaker, and award-winning author. Mike is one of 16 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and learning materials for companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Dell, and Boeing as well as at learning institutions and organizations.

Mike owns both 24 Hour Company ( and Billion Dollar Graphics ( He authored a popular Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics book and is completing his latest book on PowerPoint for educators. Contact Mike at now to learn more about how he can help you hit your goals.

[Video] Dishing on Presentations with Adam Tratt, Haiku Deck

In this month’s “Dishing with Presentations” interview, we chatted with Haiku Deck co-founder, Adam Tratt. Adam is an entrepreneurHaiku Deck logo with start-up experience and as a consultant with the Microsoft Office team. Haiku Deck is a free app that makes presentations simple, beautiful, and fun.

10 Tips to Transform Your Presentations – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Adam shared his insights on how all things presentations and the presentation industry trends he expects to see in the next five years. The growing applications using Artificial Intelligence (AI) has impacted their product plans.  Haiku Deck Zuru is a powerful new application that uses artificial intelligence to instantly transform your ideas into beautiful presentations. Haiku Deck Zuru beta is available exclusively for Haiku Deck Pro subscribers.

Haiku Deck has set up a special price just for PXpert readers.  You can get a 15% discount on a yearly subscription.  Just go to their website.  Use the code MPC15.




Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert

NEWS: Prezi Announces Acquisition of Infogram


It has been a busy month for Prezi, the visual presentation platform that helps people connect more powerfully with their audiences and customers. They just acquired Infogram, a leading, web-based data visualization company as their first wholly-owned subsidiary. Infogram specializes in charts and infographics for customers who need to quickly and effectively convey complex ideas. This is Prezi’s first acquisition and financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Prezi was inspired to unite with Infogram because of our shared mission to help people make better decisions by providing more effective tools for visual communication,” said Peter Arvai, Prezi’s CEO and co-founder. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the data that backs it up makes it credible. And without a story, data falls flat in effectiveness.”


“Joining forces with Prezi means our mission to bring beautiful and informative infographics and other data visualization technologies to more users will happen even faster,” said Mikko Järvenpää, Infogram’s CEO. “With Prezi, we will continue our work as a world leader in data visualization to create more powerful, delightful and useful products than ever before.”

Founded in 2012 and based in Latvia, Infogram has exploded in popularity and emerged as an innovator in the area of data visualization and has over 3 million users, who have created over 5 million charts and infographics that have been viewed over 1.5 billion times. Infogram conveniently offers multiple data import options. Users can create a variety of charts, maps, and infographics by simply uploading a file, connecting to various cloud services, or taking advantage of Infogram’s API.

Infogram has been adopted by a wide variety of customers, including media companies, key businesses, and educational institutions. Infogram is also the most successful startup that has originated from Latvia–just as Prezi is the most successful startup that incubated in Hungary and bridged that success to create a global company with offices in San Francisco, Budapest and Mexico City.

What’s Next?

Infogram will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Prezi and will remain in Latvia. Prezi will continue to invest in research and development of Infogram and will create a Data Visualization Center of Excellence in Latvia.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, click here.

NEW: Microsoft’s Presentation Translator Translates Presentations in Real Time

Creativity and ingenuity have fostered some great ideas that drive our lives today. Microsoft continues to challenge its community to find innovative applications for its products. At the recent Microsoft Build 2017 conference, the focus was on using Microsoft AI to “amplify human ingenuity”. Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Microsoft AI and Research spoke to the audience about how the ever-changing landscape of technology innovation. He said, “Thanks to the convergence of three major forces — increased computing power in the cloud, powerful algorithms that run on deep neural networks and access to massive amounts of data — we’re finally able to realize the dream of AI.”

What is inspiring about Microsoft’s approach to AI is how easy they have made it for all levels of technical skills from that experienced designer to students in a classroom. Fostering innovation is one of the cornerstones of Microsoft’s out-of-the-box projects coming from “The Garage”, an internal resource that supports and encourages problem-solving in new and innovative ways. This is a worldwide initiative with a community of thousands of employees who push the envelope of technology, creating new and exciting solutions to every-day problems. A robust product management process and team back it.

One of the most exciting new releases is an Office add-in for PowerPoint – Presentation Translator. Using Microsoft’s Translation API for real-time translation in multiple languages during any PowerPoint presentation, presenters can display translated subtitles in one of more than 60+ supported text languages as they speak. Additionally, up to 100 audience members in the room can follow along with the presentation in their own language, and on their own phone, tablet, or computer.

Key Features

  • Real-time subtitling: Speak in any of the 10 supported speech languages – Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish – and subtitle into any one of the 60+ text translation languages.
  • Customized speech recognition:  The accuracy of speech to text and then, the translation of the content is critical for the add-in to be effective.  Using Microsoft Cognitive Services’ Custom Speech Service,  the add-in will use the content of both your slides and your notes to learn any jargon, technical terms, names of people and places, or acronyms you may be using in your presentation so that they appear correctly for the audience. It also transcribes audio streams into text suitable for display to a user. Transcription includes adding appropriate capitalization and punctuation, masking profanity, and normalizing text.
  • Translate PowerPoint Text: Translate the text of PowerPoint while preserving the original formatting, including translation between left-to-right and right-to-left languages
  • Audience Participation: Share a QR or five letter conversation code and your audience can follow along with your presentation, on their own device, in their chosen language.
  • Open up to multi-language Q+A: Unmute the audience to allow questions in any of the supported languages (10 for spoken questions, 60+ for written ones)
  • Inclusivity through Accessibility: Give the deaf and hard-of-hearing the opportunity to join the presentation without the need for a physical interpreter with closed captions.

Powered by Microsoft Translator live feature, the audience can use their own device to follow what the presenter says, translated into their own language.

Which languages are supported with Presentation Translator?

In its current iteration, the service supports Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. While the focus here is on translation, you also could use the same service to caption a presentation for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The list of supported speech recognition (presenter) languages and translation (subtitle, slides translations and personal device real-time translations) languages include:

Afrikaans Filipino Klingon (plqaD) Serbian (Cyrillic)
Arabic Finnish Korean Serbian (Latin)
Bangla French Latvian Slovak
Bosnian (Latin) German Lithuanian Slovenian
Bulgarian Greek Malagasy Spanish
Cantonese (Traditional) Haitian Creole Malay Swedish
Catalan Hebrew Maltese Tahitian
Chinese Simplified Hindi Norwegian Thai
Chinese Traditional Hmong Daw Persian Tongan
Croatian Hungarian Polish Turkish
Czech Indonesian Portuguese Ukrainian
Danish Italian Queretaro Otomi Urdu
Dutch Japanese Romanian Vietnamese
English Kiswahili Russian Welsh
Estonian Klingon Samoan Yucatec Maya
Other Language Lists:

To learn more about  the other language lists – Conversation (speech) Translation, Neural Network (NN) Powered Languages, and all-text translations – click here


Presentation Translator opens communication channels to wider audiences where joining the conversation is possible, regardless of their language. If you travel abroad for work and need to present to local country audiences, this could change the way you communicate. Breaking that language barrier enables everyone to hear your message and understand it in their language, whether it is your content or just instructions on how to participate. You make that connection with your audience in their language which makes them more comfortable. In today’s world, our diverse audiences are multi-lingual and having the option to share the content in multiple languages at the same time is a key for our future.

We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Prezi Launches “Prezi Next”, Offering Real-Time Audience Feedback and Analytics for Presentations

Did you know that 90% of the information we take in comes to us through our eyes¹?  The growing demand to add visual storytelling and engaging interactivity to the presentation experience has triggered innovation and focus in the presentation industry over the last year. Capitalizing on insights from their 85 million users, Prezi has created a groundbreaking, interactive, and robust next-gen visual presentation platform with the launch of Prezi Next.

According to Peter Arvai, CEO and co-founder of Prezi², these insights drove the creation of Prezi Next, so presentations will be “transformed from a typical ‘one-way’ dialogue to an interactive conversation that supports immersive storytelling.” “Prezi Next also sets the foundation for us to adopt, support, and implement emerging and future technologies, such as the augmented reality preview we’re sharing at TED 2017,” he continued.

Building on the storytelling elements of the original Prezi product, the new product offers a more flexible intuitive editor with customizable designer templates and an interactive format which lets presenters move freely between topics and adapt on the fly, without having to flip through slides. Through this approach, called “conversational presenting,” presenters can focus on what interests their audiences most, a method that is proven to be more engaging and effective.

Role of Analytics

Understanding how your sales targets interact with your content is a key indicator of how to personalize their experience all the way through the sales funnel. Previously only available to teams, this feature enables you to polish your presentation based on real-time analytics. Personalization is the key to success in demand-gen so using this tool will enable you to tailor your presentation to what is most important to your target and drive more defined and effective sales funnel.

In their knowledge base online, they have great tutorials on analytics including viewing a presentation’s statistical data, page view summary, breakdown by viewer, and editing a link’s analytics.

What’s New in Prezi Next?

It is built on the latest HTML5 technologies and includes the following features to help users more easily create, present, and analyze their presentations.

For creation:
  • A new editor: Prezi Next is built on a completely new editor, which is easier and more intuitive to use, and enables customers to create presentations more quickly.
  • “Smart Structures”: To help users more easily structure, modify, and move information in their presentations, Smart Structures allow you to easily expand on your messages to show context. Information containers behave in a smart way and make it easy to expand your content with one click.
  • Designer templates: Prezi Next includes 100 new designer templates that can be easily customized to fit any brand or topic. Even new users can quickly create professional-quality presentations that set them apart and make them more memorable.
For presenting:
  • Conversational Presenting: Through a new dynamic, flexible format, users can more easily navigate a presentation from point A to point Z, or go straight to point M, without flipping through slides.
  • Zoom Reveal function: Allows presenters to tell their story and reveal information as they go, adding excitement to their narratives.
  • Prezi Viewer for Android and iOS devices: Users can present anywhere at any time.
For analytics:

In the Premium package, Prezi Next includes analytics features which allow:

  • Real-time view tracking: Users can see who is viewing their presentation, and when.
  • Real-time sharing: Users can see who is sharing their presentation, and with whom.
  • Content optimization: By providing data on view times for each part of their presentation, users can see which content is resonating best with their audience, where they spend most of their time, and where they drop off.
Getting Started with Prezi Next

Learning a new or updated technology is certainly easier with a tutorial. Prezi has set up a quick start knowledge base with clear, easy-to-digest tutorials. There are seven topics including:

  • Installing and logging in
    • Supported browsers:
      • For editing: Prezi Next presentations can currently be edited using Chrome, Firefox 64 bit, and Safari 10.
      • For viewing: Presentations are best viewed with the latest versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, or Internet Explorer.
  • Working in your language
  • Starting a new presentation

If you want to learn more about “Conversational Presenting”, download their free eBook here.

Take the time to go check out “Prezi Next” and then take it for a test drive.  It is free to download. Prezi Next is available now worldwide. For more information on Prezi Next premium pricing, please visit

Let me know what you think of Prezi Next via email.






  1. Hyerle, D. (2009). Thinking Maps: Visual Tools for Activating Habits of Mind. In Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B.(Eds) Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success (pp. 153). Retrieved from:
  2. Prezi Press Release on PR Newswire: 

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