I Hate My Company’s PowerPoint Template! What Can I Do?

In a recent Billion Dollar Graphics class I was asked, “What happens if I’m railroaded by my company’s PowerPoint template?” Meaning, “What happens if I’m forced to use my company brand standards and templates even if I don’t like them?” My answer may surprise you. However, before I share my solution, let’s conduct an experiment.

Question 1: How many of the following 40 logos do you recognize?

Question 2: What package delivery company do you think of when you see this (brown) color?

Question 3: Which color is associated with Home Depot’s brand?

Question 4: Which row of logos are colored correctly (i.e., are the correct brand colors)?

For this reason, when making a presentation, I recommend picking one of two paths:

  1. Use your company’s brand, because it is either building mindshare or already has, which elicits feelings of trustworthiness.
  2. Use your audience’s brand, which is known, and similarly, elicits feelings of trust.

Mixing the two results is a watered-down version of each. It is often unidentifiable as either brand because of brand elements conflict. Mixing is only acceptable when done judiciously for a specific, clear purpose (e.g., to identify roles). Be consistent and make professional choices.

If your company’s brand standards and templates are unprofessional, politic for a change. Show examples of good company-branded PowerPoint templates. Share the benefits of making the switch. In the meantime, unless your company’s template is egregiously bad (I mean really, really unprofessional), use it.

Your personal bias for or against your company’s template and brand (assuming you are not the target audience) is eclipsed by the power of mindshare. Mindshare builds trust and trust is needed for almost every presentation to be successful. Even if you fail to achieve your goal after presenting, you are still building mindshare and improving the odds of future success.

So, my short answer to presentation professionals who don’t like their company’s PowerPoint templates is to use it, because you want your company to become a recognizable brand. It takes time to build mindshare and it’s absolutely worth it.

About Mike Parkinson, Microsoft MVP, CPP APMP Fellow:

Mike is one of 16 Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs in the United States. He is a PowerPoint and visual communication expert, a professional speaker, an educator, and an award-winning author. He regularly conducts workshops and creates graphics, presentations, and content for companies like Microsoft, FedEx, Xerox, Dell, and Boeing, as well as at learning institutions and small organizations. In 2015, Mike sold GetMyGraphics.com (a PowerPoint graphics product) so that he could focus on helping others achieve their presentation and educational goals.

Mike owns Billion Dollar Graphics (BillionDollarGraphics.com) and 24 Hour Company (24hrco.com), and authored a successful visual communication book (Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics). Contact Mike at mike@billiondollargraphics.com to learn more.

 

What Wins When Giving Presentations: The Slides or the Speaker?

Earlier this year, Pulse Design Studio was chosen as 1 of 12 design companies to ‘pitch’ to a group of local decision makers responsible for hiring talent for their creative business needs. The event was held at dPOP! at the Chrysler House in Detroit, sponsored by several well-known organizations including Pure Michigan Business Connect, Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Michigan Film and Digital Media Office, and the Detroit Crain Content Studio.

Each company presenting was given a total of 3:00 minutes to pitch, utilizing no more than 10 PowerPoint slides. For a presentation company like ourselves, this was the chance to put our talents to the test.

What I found interesting about the event, was the buzz amongst the audience after all the presentations were given. The universal question people were pondering was when it comes to giving a presentation, what’s more effective? Is it the slides or is it the speaker?

This honestly wasn’t the first time I had heard this dilemma. It’s a common question I get asked all the time no matter what size presentation or event I’m helping a client prepare for. It’s like tug of war, in which one side seems determined to win, but no one actually does.

My answer boils down to this- it’s neither the slides or the speaker. It’s the story. This is the primary and universal foundation that will engage and resonate with your audience far beyond anything else. But what exactly does that mean?

During our presentation, we included a slide to speak to this universal truth:

Understanding your story, and how to connect that with your audience is becoming an invaluable element for any presentation these days. Why? Here are three key reasons driving this truth:

  1. Time. Our time is getting increasingly limited (as in our 3:00-minute example) to engage with one another. Having an hour or more to pitch a product or an idea is going to be a thing of the past.
  2. Competition. The number of businesses on the landscape compared to 10 years ago has grown and will continue to grow. Digital online marketplaces and growing technologies will add more and more pressure on companies to stand out, and compete with one another.
  3. Decision Makers. Engaging with key decision makers is no longer about being together in the boardroom. Connecting with your audience across time zones and the increase of file sharing will continue to impact how engaging and stand-alone your presentation should be.

Following the event, an article got published by Daniel Duggan, a Crain’s Detroit Business editor who said, “…I asked a few people, informally, afterward about what pitches they liked best. The ones that rose to the top were those who were talking more about the big picture and making the pitch more about telling a story.”

So, next time you find yourself in the position to craft a presentation, start with what your ‘story’ is, rather than what the copy or graphics should be. You’ll find yourself delivering a much more effective presentation to your audience, and most importantly one that they’ll tend to remember the most.

About Tany Nagy:

With over 18 years of design experience and a Masters in Architecture, Tany Nagy transformed using her design skills from blueprints to presentations when she founded Pulse Design Studio in 2008. Her love for presenting stories as state-of-the-art communication materials launched Pulse into becoming a quickly recognized and sought after presentation design agency on a national and global scale. As creative director at Pulse, she has created hundreds of award-winning and dynamic presentations, from keynotes to pitches for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading healthcare organizations and funded start-ups. Her passion

With over 18 years of design experience and a Masters in Architecture, Tany Nagy transformed using her design skills from blueprints to presentations when she founded Pulse Design Studio in 2008. Her love for presenting stories as state-of-the-art communication materials launched Pulse into becoming a quickly recognized and sought after presentation design agency on a national and global scale. As creative director at Pulse, she has created hundreds of award-winning and dynamic presentations, from keynotes to pitches for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading healthcare organizations and funded start-ups. Her passion for pushing the boundaries on developing latest techniques and solutions drive her creativity to bring the very best in the industry to her clients. As an educator, she has been a featured speaker at several events in the Detroit area focusing on the evolution of presentations in today’s marketplace and digital landscape. You can reach her directly at her email: tany@pulsedesignstudio.com or by visiting her website.

[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.

You can download the handout here.
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…

[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…

[Webinar Recording] Slide Diets: Before & After Design Tricks to Slim Down your Content

Are you slides “over-stuffed” with too much content? Are they readable? Or, is the type so small, you need to include a magnifying Citrix sponsorship adglass to read it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then watch this recorded webinar from PresentationXpert with designer Bethany Auck. It is the perfect chance to learn how to slim down your slide content.

Learn how to take those over-stuffed slides and transform them into bite-size snacks – easier for your audience to digest and enjoy. Bethany uses real-life before & after examples to explain how to reduce content without losing data and meaning. The focus is on producing clearer visual communication to be a better and more effective presenter. Discover how to produce better slides, how to reduce content to the essentials, and how to streamline your presentation design, better communicating the important content.

Handouts:   Slide Diets Webinar Handout

Aboutbethany_square_300dpi (1) our Presenter, Bethany Auck:

Bethany has been working in the presentation design industry for nine years. She cut her teeth at small litigation consultancy where she consulted on major trials helping her clients build persuasive narratives and poignant demonstratives. Bethany founded SlideRabbit in 2012 to bring high-quality design to all industries at low-cost levels.  Her email is bethany@sliderabbit.com

 

 

[Webinar Recording] Cheating Death by PowerPoint: Slide Makeovers

Picture4From too much text to confusing graphics to garish colors, there’s a lot that can go wrong with slides. The trouble is, cheating death by PowerPont largemany people don’t know how to design clean, simple slides that communicate their messages. If you know what ugly slides look like but don’t know how to fix them, the Cheating Death by PowerPoint: Slide Makeovers webinar is for you.

Professional presentation designer and PowerPoint consultant Laura Foley of Laura M. Foley Design takes you step-by-step through a variety of slide makeovers. Using the principle of Analyze and Synthesize, she will teach you how to tackle those difficult slides and redesign them to make them more effective and better looking.

You’ll learn how to creatively edit your content and organize information to create better slides. By the end of the webinar, you’ll have the tools you need to transform slides from awful to awesome!

This webinar was sponsored by GoToWebinar. Try GoToWebinar free for 30 days, and save 20% on an annual subscription. Give it a try today.

Handout: CDbyPPT-From Awful to Awesome – PXpert – Foley

About Laura Foley:

Laura FoleyAs the Cheater of Death by PowerPoint, Laura Foley provides training and presentation design services to help people communicate their ideas and be better presenters. She has worked with Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, General Dynamics, Juniper Networks, Harvard Business School, DST, Eloqua, EMC, TE Connectivity, and VMware and has conducted training sessions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College, the Central Mass Business Expo, and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Her speaking engagements include HOW Design Live, the largest conference for creative professionals in the world. A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Laura has over two decades’ experience in presentation design, marketing, and copywriting. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Laura serves as Cubmaster and Den Leader for Hubbardston Cub Scouts Pack 12. It’s like herding cats, but more rewarding.

 

“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.

Ideas Thoughts Knowledge Intelligence Learning Thoughts Meeting Concept

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.

 

Here’s What PowerPoint 2016 Can (and Can’t) Do For You

It’s time to talk about PowerPoint 2016, since it’s been out for a few weeks now. Here’s a screenshot of it.

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-1
Different Look

With each release, the look is a little different. The tab titles are no longer all upper case and have returned to the 2010 (and previous) initial caps. Upper case letters are considered a little harder to read — keep that in mind when creating slide titles.

You have a choice of three color variations. The one you see above is called Colorful. To change the “Office Theme” — called that just to confuse you and make it sound like the type of Office theme that lets you create backgrounds, theme colors, and font sets — choose File, Options.

In the General category, choose one of the Office Theme options. Here you see the others: Dark Gray and White (which looks like PowerPoint 2013).

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-2      powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-3

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-4a‘Tell Me What to Do’

There’s a new Help feature called “Tell me what you want to do.”  It’s at the upper-right of the PowerPoint 2016 window. While you can access the standard Help content there, the unique aspect of it is that when you type something and choose one of the options that are presented, PowerPoint opens the actual interface right there so you can use it.

It’s great for people of a certain age, like me, who read instructions and then can’t remember all the steps when I return to PowerPoint to actually try to do them.

For example, if I type “Save a theme” and choose Themes, I see the screen below, where I can actually choose Save the Current Theme.  I’m not sure how much I’ll use this — I know PowerPoint pretty well! — but I like the idea.

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-4

Use Smart Lookup

You can right-click a word and choose Smart Lookup to open the Insights task pane with links to definitions from Wikipedia and other places on the Internet. You’ll also get an image search. It’s all powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

General tip: Be very afraid of online image search! While the process tries to find images with Creative Commons licenses (for which you generally need to provide attribution), it’s often impossible to check the license.

6 New Chart Types

  • Treemap: Treemap charts are popular these days and they provide a hierarchical view of your data. The hierarchy levels are called branch, stem, and leaf. Each value is shown by the size of a rectangle. Treemap charts are good for comparing proportions and can show a lot of data in a small space. See the treemap below.
  • Sunburst: A sunburst chart also shows hierarchical data, but in layers around a center. A sunburst chart shows how one ring is broken into its components. See the sunburst below.
  • Box and Whisker: A box and whisker chart distributes data into quartiles, showing the mean and outliers. “Box” refers to a basic column chart, but lines extending above and below (whiskers) indicate variability outside the upper and lower quartiles. Any point outside those lines or whiskers is an outlier. Box and whisker charts are often used in statistical analysis.
  • Histogram: A histogram is a column chart that shows the frequency of data. It’s also used in statistical analysis. Bins are ranges, so the results show how many data points are in each range. You can use the Automatic option or specify your own bins by formatting the axis. See the histogram below.
  • Pareto (a histogram option): A Pareto chart is a variation of a histogram. The columns are shown in descending order and a line (actually a curve) shows the cumulative value of the columns. See the histogram/Pareto chart below.
  • Waterfall: A waterfall chart shows a running total that adds or subtracts subsequent values. You might use a waterfall chart for financial results, since income (positive values) and expenses (negative values) affect initial revenue. See the waterfall chart below.

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-5

A treemap chart

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-6

A sunburst chart

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-7

A histogram/Pareto chart

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-8

A waterfall chart

Easier Math Equations

Mathematical equations have always been difficult to create, with all of those numerators, denominators, square roots, squares, etc. I explained the old Equation Editor in “How to display equations and formulas in PowerPoint.” It’s so much easier to just write them, and now you can.

If you have a touch device, you can use your finger or  a stylus; if not, you can use your mouse. The only problem is that it doesn’t work too well. Here’s my attempt at the quadratic equation. Can you read my “handwriting” done with my mouse? People beat out computers, don’t they?

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-9

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-10More Shape Styles

When you insert a shape, you can quickly choose a style for it from the Shape Styles gallery. These styles have changed slightly — and I think Microsoft applied the change to 2013 as well, if you’re updated. I might be wrong about this. In 2007 and 2010, the last row is a 3D look and that’s now gone. (3D is now out of favor in design circles and I like the flat look, but sometimes the design police think they can tell us what we should like.)

There are now 5 more rows of styles, which are called presets. (I don’t know why they’re called that, as all of the styles are really presets.) What I do like is that some of them have transparent and semi-transparent fills.

Insert a Screen Capture Recording as a Video

In PowerPoint 2013, you could take a screen capture and insert it on your slide. Now, you can now include screen recordings as well! Go to Insert > Screen recording, select a region of your screen to record, and specify if you want to include the mouse pointer and audio. The click the Record button and record your video. You press Windows logo + Shift + Q to stop recording and then you’ll find the video on your current slide. If you have the most recent updates, this option is also available in PowerPoint 2013.

Higher Video Resolution

When you export your presentation as a video, you can create a file with resolution as high as 1920 x 1080. This is ideal for large screens. If you have the most recent updates, this option is also available in PowerPoint 2013.

powerpoint-tips-powerpoint-2016-11

…and more

If you keep presentations on OneDrive or Sharepoint there are also new options for easier sharing, better collaboration, and improved version history.

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein is a PowerPoint MVP who can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information visit www.ellenfinkelstein.com

2 Ways to Salvage Your Presentation When ‘Jumping Slides’

The presenter, Jim, was happy and the audience seemed engrossed. Why? Jim’s story delivered at the beginning of his presentation had hit the target and had everyone’s attention.

It was around 20 minutes into his presentation and he still had another 25 minutes left. But Jim wasn’t aware of the time – he was just happy that his session was progressing well.

In the next 15 minutes Jim took some questions, answered them with attention to detail but he was only on his third slide. Jim had 25 slides in his presentation.

It was around that time that Jim realized his predicament and panicked. He realized that he still had not even started talking about his main topic. And that’s the story of many great presentations that start well, progress well, but end miserably.

Any guesses about what Jim did in his anxiety? He “jumped” slides.

Jumping-Slides

 

How to Avoid Jumping Slides

What do we mean by jumping slides? Jumping slides is the act of moving between slides very rapidly, and in fact skipping many slides altogether.

If you’ve attended your share of presentations, you know how many presenters jump slides. To make this panicky act more kind to the audience, and also to  reassure themselves, presenters often offer excuses such as:

1. I know you are all busy and I don’t want to take too much of your time. Let me skip to the important part.

The audience will wonder,  “If you knew that we are all so busy, then why did you spend all your time with the not-so-important parts?”

2. These other slides mainly relate to the several issues we have already discussed – so let me get to the part that will benefit us the most.

The audience wonders, “If those slides contained issues we already discussed, then did the presenter not know about this little detail before he started? Does he expect us to believe that he did not know what was coming up in the subsequent slides?”

3. These slides are not required or valid for this audience. Let me skip to the slides that matter to you.

The audience is confused, “If those slides were not necessary, then why did they exist in the first place?”

The presenter is doomed if he shows all the slides – and he is in no better position even if he does not show them! What started as an amazing presentation has turned into a disaster, or in other words, a “lose-lose” situation.

I have sympathy for Jim. Yes he should have been careful with his time – but he is human, and humans make mistakes. So rather than criticize him, let’s look at two ways in which he can salvage his presentation.

Remember that Jim need not just use any one of these approaches – he can combine parts of both these approaches too.

1) He can be truthful.

Jim can admit to his mistake and say that he got carried away by his audience’s enthusiasm. He has to say this in a way that celebrates the audience’s enthusiasm rather than blaming it. And then he can ask the audience for more time – of course, if another speaker is scheduled to present after him, then that may not be an option.

Even if his speaking time does not extend, the act of being truthful will help him win the hearts of a fair percentage of his audience members, and he can then skip slides. But although he is still skipping some slides, this is not considered “jumping,” because the audience is now more involved with his decision.

This is not an ideal situation – but Jim is now only looking at making a better ending than a worse one.

To salvage this situation even further, Jim can ask everyone to leave their visiting cards with him – and he can then email them a copy of the slides and set up a phone call with them later!

2) He can be savvy.

How can being savvy help Jim? Well, if he knows the keyboard shortcuts for a program like PowerPoint, he can just jump slides without the audience being aware.

To do so, he can quickly press the numbers 2 and 3 in quick succession followed by the Enter key. That will get him straight to slide 23 without showing any skipped slides.

This approach is certainly not as truthful as the first option, but cannot be considered deceitful. Even now he can save time by skipping slides, and compensate by speaking about related topics. Every expert presenter will agree that the presenter is the presentation, not the slides.

And as long as Jim makes sure that his message is not diluted, he can manage with fewer slides.

But don’t use this trick of accessing slides by their numbers unless you have practiced it well and are confident of doing so. Also, this trick assumes that you know which slide you want to skip too quickly. This way of working, in turn, requires that you know your slides well.

Takeaways from the situation

Here are some takeaways from this scenario:

1. Always practice your slides before you present. This may seem obvious, but time your slides and also time your delivery. Also only prepare for around three- fourth of the time allotted to you, so that you have extra time to take questions – and also some extra time so that you never need to jump slides.

2. Know your slide numbers well. Create a sequence of your most important slides and memorize it – something like slides, 1, 3, 7, 14, 18, 22, 23, 24, and 25! That way you can use keyboard shortcuts only to show your most important slides.

3. Don’t get too carried away by the audience. And if you want to get carried away, ask their permission! The next time Jim gave a similar presentation, he responded to a question from one of the audience members, “That answer needs a fair amount of time. Can we make this presentation a little longer? If not, I can meet you later and give your answer the time it deserves.”

That works most of the time because the audience now decides whether they can give you the time they need!

Whatever you may do, make sure you only jump slides as a last resort.

About the Author:

Geetesh Bajaj has been designing and training with PowerPoint for years and is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional.) He heads Indezine (www.indezine.com)  a presentation design studio and content development organization based in Hyderabad, India. The site attracts more than a million page views each month and has thousands of free PowerPoint templates and other goodies for visitors to download. He also runs another PowerPoint-related site (http://www.ppted.com) that provides designer PowerPoint templates.

Why PowerPoint’s Critics Have it Wrong

I have a lot of designer buddies who think that PowerPoint is the most cumbersome, clunky piece-of-junk software that’s ever been written. When their clients come to them wanting a new PowerPoint theme or a redesigned presentation, they say “No problem!” Then bust their humps learning how to use PowerPoint so they can get through the project and keep on pretending they provide a full range of graphic design services.

Not me.

I’ve always liked PowerPoint. When I worked in an ad agency, I got all of the PowerPoint jobs because nobody else wanted them. Now that I have my own company,  I specialize in PowerPoint. Not “presentation design,” not Keynote and not Prezi. Plain old PowerPoint. And business has never been better.

Whether you’re an in-house designer, work in a design agency or run your own business, specializing in PowerPoint is a smart move. Here’s why:

#1 Other designers hate PowerPoint

PowerPoint is the world’s number-one presentation design software. Millions of people with no design background whatsoever create presentations every day. That means that there are potentially millions of opportunities to redesign these presentations or help people create new ones. Yet many designers turn PowerPoint business away because they never wanted to learn how to use the software. “Ew, Microsoft!”

Two words: job security. If you become a PowerPoint specialist then you get all the PowerPoint work that other designers don’t want. They don’t know what they’re missing, because…

#2 PowerPoint lets you be creative

PowerPoint has a lot going on. How many other tools allow you to manipulate photos; play with audio and video; draw complex shapes; create interactive, clickable files; and build sophisticated animation?

Not only can you create slides in PowerPoint, you can make movies and even do page layout. When you’re designing a slide, you’re solving the same kinds of problems designers have always tackled: How can you simplify complicated subjects? How do you effectively tell a story? What is the best composition for this particular layout? How can typography be used to get the message across? The only difference is that the medium is primarily onscreen.

#3 Your work can make a big difference for your clients

People use PowerPoint to score new sales, close deals, get investors interested in their new businesses, introduce new products, influence public opinion, teach, build membership etc. Great presentations can help organizations prosper.

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to give your clients an advantage over their competitors? Professionally written and designed presentations can be so much more effective than those done by people with no formal training.

I hear it from my own clients all the time that after we’ve worked together their presentations are more effective, they’re seeing better results from their sales calls, their audiences have an easier time understanding complicated subjects and so on. I derive a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’m giving my clients a competitive edge.

There are a lot of opportunities to do creative, exciting work using PowerPoint. So I have come to love it when designers complain about clients who have PowerPoint projects they don’t want to do.

“Send them my way,” I always tell them. “Send them my way.”

About the Author:

Laura Foley helps people become more fluent in PowerPoint through workshops, consulting, and presentation design services. She has developed presentations and provided training for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Juniper Networks and the Harvard Business School. Her Cheating Death by PowerPoint training has been featured at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.  For more information, visit www.lauramfoley.com

Pin It on Pinterest