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…

[Video] Dishing on Presentations and Infographics with Mike Parkinson, Microsoft MVP

It is always a pleasure to have a conversation with Microsoft MVP, Mike Parkinson. He is so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. Infographics continue to grow in popularity and Mike has written an insightful article for us on how to create them in PowerPoint.  In his conversation with Editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick, the Microsoft MVP shared his views on how to capitalize on the social marketing opportunities you can take advantage of in promoting your infographic. His nuts-and-bolts tutorial provides easy-to-understand instructions. For more information and to read his article, click here

 

 

 

Sharyn Fitzpatrick
Editor, PresentationXpert
eMail: sfitzpatrick@presentationxpert.com

[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 with Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj

Editor Sharyn Fitzpatrick and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj have a lively discussion about what are the latest trends in PowerPoint, tips for how to maximize your PowerPoint experience, and what features we hope Microsoft brings to Office 365.

About Geetesh Bajaj:

Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India. Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements–these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He has authored six books on PowerPoint and trains corporate clients on how to plan, create, and deliver presentations.  For more information on Indezine and Geetesh, click here.

[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

 

 

How to Embed Fonts In Your Presentation

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One of the most popular question asked by our attendees during our Laura Foley webinar on May 18th was, “How do you embed fonts in a presentation.” Laura liked the question so much that she provided a more detailed answer.  Enjoy!

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You can use beautiful font types that make a statement when you create your presentations. But, if the audience doesn’t have the same font installed on their computers, it will not display correctly and PowerPoint substitutes a similar font. How do I embed fonts in a presentation so I can fix this?

Laura FoleyLaura Foley
Email
Website

Why embedding fonts is a great idea…

Using non-standard fonts in your presentations makes them stand out. With the right fonts, presentations can look fresh and modern (even if the non-typographically inclined can’t exactly figure out why). But you’ll know why…it’s because you took the initiative to spend a few minutes locating and installing a fresh-looking font!

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Calibri, the humanist sans-serif typeface so familiar to users of Microsoft calibiri noOffice. But everybody’s using it, so if you are too then your presentations might look the same as everyone else’s. Here’s how to stand out from the crowd.

Calibri, you’ve overstayed your welcome.

In The Incredibles, the main villain, Syndrome, declares, “When everyone’s super, no-one will be!” It’s the same with Calibri. When everybody uses it, it ceases to be special. So if your presentations feature Calibri, which was once fresh and new, then they look like millions of other presentations. That whole “blending in with the crowd” thing might work for some people. But if you’ve read this far, I’m confident that you’re not satisfied with going with the flow. It’s time to customize your presentations with a non-standard font.

Google, your main source for awesome fonts!

There are loads of websites where you can find free fonts. Ignore them all and head right on over to Google Fonts. Here, you’ll find well-thought-out font families that contain boldface, italics, ligatures and all kinds of amazing typographical goodies. But the main thing is that here you will find a typeface that 10 billion other PowerPoint users AREN’T using. Oh, and did I mention they’re all free?

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1. Follow the instructions on Google Fonts to download your chosen font.
2. Unzip the file
3. Double click on the .TTF file.
4. Click on Install

These are the steps I follow to install fonts on my PC. Your operating system might be different, so if this doesn’t work for you then you’ll need to look up how to install fonts on your own PC.

Embedding a font in your PowerPoint presentation

It’s very easy to embed fonts into individual presentations. By embedding the fonts, you ensure that they will look the same when opened on other systems even if they don’t have your custom font installed.

  1. Click on the File tab in the ribbon then select Options.
  2. Click Save on the left side of the dialog box that appears.
  3. Under Preserve fidelity when sharing this presentation on the right, put a check next to Embed fonts in the file then choose Embed only the characters used in the presentation (best of reducing file size) or Embed all characters (best for editing by other people).
  4. Click OK and continue saving normally.

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The bad news for Mac users

The Mac version of PowerPoint doesn’t allow you to embed fonts. I guess it’s just too complicated to ensure that embedded PC fonts display the same on a Mac and vice versa.

About Laura Foley:
As 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.

 

 

Webinar Wrap-Up: More Q & A with Laura Foley

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In our May 18th webinar, Cheating Death by PowerPoint with presentation designer Laura Foley, the questions were coming faster than we could share them with both Laura and the attendees. Our presenter was kind enough to answer many of the webinar questions so we could share them with you.

To watch the webinar and get the handouts, click here


Question:
Do you have any tips for a “welcome” slide that might be used during opening speeches, etc. but not actually referenced directly?

Answer:
It’s always a good idea to have your organization’s logo, the name of your presentation, your name and your contact information on your opening slide. Repeat this at the end of the presentation so people know how to get in touch with you if they have questions.  See example below:

CDbyPPT-From Awful to Awesome

Question:
Do you have font recommendations? Including size

Answer:
Think of a slide as a billboard. If you have to slow down to read it, then the type is too small. While I have no set and fast rule for point sizes of type on a slide, I try to make the text very large so that people can read it no matter how far away from the screen they may be.

Question:
I notice you use a lot of Orange against a white background. Has this combination been proven successful or just your preference?

Answer:
It’s one of my corporate colors.

Question:
How do you work with (around?) a mandatory company template or one that is a very generic company background?

Answer:
I use the typeface and colors specified in the template, but I’ll usually never use the established text boxes and bullet points. I prefer to use very large text on a slide and no bullet points. Also, you can make text bold, italic, or all caps to give it many different looks while still using the same typeface.

Question:
Are gradients opportunity or threat?

Answer:
Now that flat design is the rage, I don’t use as many gradients. When I do, they’re very subtle. Any gradient and highlight that makes a graphic look three-dimensional or glasslike also make it look dated.

Question:
Could you comment on using company logos and names, etc. in the footer?

Answer:
Do it if the client demands it. Otherwise, you can just use it at the beginning and the end of the presentation. By deleting the standard header and footer, you free up a lot more slide real estate to be used for information.

Question:
What do you think about decorative themes? For example, if we create a title slide that looks like a movie poster (maybe an ocean theme to discuss a “deep dive” into a subject)…do you think keeping ocean imagery on every slide is cohesive and engaging, or purely decorative and distracting?

Answer:
There’s nothing wrong with being creative with your slides. But if the theme is as you suggest a “deep dive,” that’s just another way of saying an in-depth view of a subject. I wouldn’t carry the “deep dive” analogy through every slide, maybe just the title. Make sure that the design of your slide reflects the content of the presentation, not the type of presentation it is.

Question:
What is the best font to use for numbers (like in charts)?

Answer:
The same typeface that is standard for the template you’re using.

Question:
What are your thoughts on using custom (non-standard) fonts?

Answer:
It’s amazing! Your presentations will look different from everyone else’s, which helps make them memorable. For more ideas, and step-by-step instructions on how to do it, click here.

About Laura Foley:
As 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.

Bringing the Skills and Spirit of Live Events to B2B Presentations

This month, our featured presentation expert, Damjan Haylor, Managing Director of POPcomms, a B2B Damjan_Haylor_POPcommspresentation design agency, hails from Bristol in the United Kingdom. His background and that of his co-founder, Holly Worthington is rich in managing live events and shows for companies such as for Renault, Ford, Lexus, Microsoft, Sony and the UK Government. According to Damjan, “working on live events teaches you the importance of creating an experience for customers and wowing them. I soon discovered that the presentation itself, even though central to the whole creative, was still only a very small part of the wider experience and didn’t always get the attention it needed.” He continued, POPComms logo“Although there are quite a few dedicated presentation agencies out there I really felt there was a gap for a dedicated presentation agency that brought some of the skills and spirit of the live events business to the B2B presentation world. That is why we started POPcomms in 2010.”

What is the focus and mission of POPcomms?

POP xmasOur focus is very much on the B2B sector and we have a large proportion of technology clients. As a sector they are an ideal fit for us – they have complex businesses and propositions, they are ambitious, dynamic and innovative, operating in a highly competitive market. Through our expertise we’re able to bring their ideas, solutions and brands to life visually, creating experiences for their customers that ultimately help them to win business.

As a team, we give our all but we have fun at same time. Here is a picture of our whole team from last Christmas – it really sums up our whole team and how we come alive when we work together.

One of your specialties is how to make a presentation come alive by using visual storytelling. Why visual storytelling? Why does it make a difference?

eXpd8-POPcommsBusinesses spend vast amounts of time, money and resources developing products and services, they’re also creating expensive marketing campaigns to get customers in a room – yet quite often, when it comes to the critical moment of presenting to a customer, what they see and hear doesn’t reflect that huge amount of effort or any real understanding of their needs.

We see visual storytelling as a way to address this issue. By building a story around the customer we are providing a tangible visual narrative that they can actually relate to and that tells the story in a concise, persuasive and memorable way.

Ideally, you want to spend less time explaining a solution through slides and more time having valuable conversations based around the value you bring to a customer and visual storytelling does just that.

Can you share a client experience and how that process worked? Results?

itaska picsAs an example Isotrak, who provide fleet telematic solutions to major retailers, logistics and distribution companies wanted us to help move their presentations away from being product-focused and more customer-centric, focusing on their customers’ needs and the real value that their solutions could provide.

With Isotrak we looked at their customers, working out their personas, and the daily challenges they faced as businesses, ultimately identifying what the opportunities would be for them by working with Isotrak.

We decided that the best way to tell this story would be through ‘A Day in the Life’ visual, showing how a typical user would interact with the Isotrak system during their average working day.

The beauty of this approach was that it demonstrated in a simple way, how the complex system helps the end user – the drivers and therefore the wider business as a whole. We built a clear interactive ‘Value Dashboard’ allowing the customer to see how the business as a whole benefits on a daily basis. The interactive cityscape we developed brought the whole experience to life for the customer.

Let’s talk about the growing trend for interactive presentations. Do they belong in a business presentation? Why? Or Why not?

The key to an effective presentation is to make it personal and relevant to the customer, to make them feel you understand their challenges and needs and that you can solve their problems and add value to their business. interctivyt 2Interactivity is critical to this process as it allows you to seamlessly steer a presentation in the direction that a customer wants to go.

The problem with a linear slide deck is that it needs to be generic enough to appeal to a wider audience. An interactive presentation enables the customer to steer the conversation, to drill down to that content that resonates most with them. It allows you to have a single presentation that covers all possible scenarios and when the customer has a question it’ll only take a couple of clicks to get to the relevant information.

It’s all about personalization, making that customer feel as though the presentation is solely about them and for them.

How are your clients sharing or displaying that interactivity?

Touchscreens are becoming a big area for us as our clients invest in touchscreen systems, and they are the perfect device for our interactive presentations. In addition to this, we are starting to look closely at virtual and augmented reality as the technologies present some interesting possibilities for presentations. Every day there is something new happening and we’re learning all the time which makes for a fun and exciting work day, and that is the key to a successful business.

Looking at your portfolio, you seem to use Prezi quite a bit. What do you think of the new Morph feature in PowerPoint 2016? Will this replace Prezi? Compliment it?

Prezi has been great when customers need to tell a linear story, and we tend to use it for events where there is limited audience interaction. However, as already mentioned, interaction is key for us, and this is where Prezi has its limitations.

The new Morph tool, when combined with interactive features, will enable us to tell an even more compelling story. Even on its own Morph can provide far more possibilities than Prezi in terms of animation allowing us to show the big picture and then drilling down into the smallest of detail. We don’t think it will replace Prezi but for our B2B customers, there will be less appetite to use Prezi in the future.Citrix-POPcomms

In the past we’ve used motion graphics for looping video presentations for our clients at events, now the new Morph tool will allow us to get the same effect faster and more cost effectively. We are also having a lot of discussions with clients about interactive touchscreen presentations and exploring how Morph’s fluid movement of content can be applied to other applications.

If we’re honest, we feel that we’ve only just explored the tip of the iceberg on this one. We’re excited.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  POPcomms just released a great video about Morph – check it out:


Tell me about your company culture and how you “live the talk”. And why do you have a pool table in your office?

POPcommsWhen we receive a client brief we all get stuck in and discuss it, we come from a real mixture of backgrounds and experience, so everyone’s input and ideas are valuable.

The pool table is a great way for us to let off steam and discuss ideas rather than being stuck behind a computer hoping the problem will be magically solved – the only issue is one of our designers, Johnny, keeps winning almost every game, I’m still trying to solve that problem.

The photo of us by the pool table shows 4 of our six-member team, and two are away today. From left, Stuart Janicki aka Slippery Slope; Johnny Henderson aka Deathstar; Holly Worthington aka Wannabehotshot, and Damjan Haylor, aka Six Ball Wizard.

You can reach Damjan via their website or email.

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