[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.

Ten Presentation Trends to Watch Out For in 2016

While some of them may exist only for the sake of aesthetics, others have been adopted to suit the needs and preferences of modern-day consumers. For example, the use of flat design, many experts say, is more than just the latest craze; it responds to the fact that realist elements are very hard to incorporate into responsive systems designed for screens of all sizes.

To keep you up to date with the latest design techniques, we’ve compiled a list of presentation design techniques that will help you create a presentation that looks fresh and contemporary–just like the content you will hopefully deliver to your audiences.

1. Immersive photography

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Stunning, oversized images will continue to dominate presentation design in 2016, especially in line with the trend of cutting down on text and using images instead to drive home a message.

These large, beautiful background images and video not only serve to captivate your audience’s attention, but they also set the tone for your presentation and provide an immersive setting that transports viewers to a completely different scene.

2. Scrolling presentations

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Remember when you used to create a printed version of your slide deck to hand out to your audience? Well, those days are gone. While this was good practice in the sense that it gave listeners some key takeaways that they could review at their own pace to refresh the information relayed, using this as the only method of delivery is a bit outdated.

Nowadays, it is easier to simply provide audience members access to your slides in the form of a scrolling presentation that looks very much like a web page, as seen in the example above.

Instead of sending emails with large attachments, you can simply send a link to your website. If done right, your website should have a responsive design that allows content to be viewed across a wide range of platforms. Whether on a tablet, a laptop, a PC or a mobile device, your slides can be easily viewed from anywhere.

Another advantage is that in comparison with static PDF files, scrolling presentations allow you to add more interactive and immersive elements, such as videos, surveys, quizzes or forms.

Although some users prefer clicking to scrolling, the consensus leans toward long scrolling as a popular usability option that is used by content-heavy sites, such as digital newspapers and blogs.

3. Stock Photo alternatives

Eco-nomics, The hidden costs of consumption from Josh Beatty

Overused stock photos are just as bad–if not worse–as bullet points and text-heavy slides. In their stead, other forms of visual representation are being used to communicate ideas in a fresh and appealing way.

Take a look at the presentation above, for example. Here, playful graphics in combination with a small amount of text are used to send a powerful message.

4. Creative illustrations

How Google Works from Eric Schmidt

Another effective alternative to the ubiquitous stock photo is hand-drawn elements and custom illustrations. If done correctly, these unique design elements can draw attention to your slide deck like nothing else can.

For example, Eric Schmidt, Google’s ex-CEO, used this approach in the slide deck above. As you can see, it gives the presentation a very playful, personable and creative touch.

5. Graphics and Storytelling

Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint from HighSpark

As we’ve said many times before, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools a communicator can possess. It not only gets your message across more effectively during your presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable so that concepts stick for months, even years after your ideas were first relayed.

If this weren’t enough, storytelling could be even more effective when combined with visuals. Take, for example, the presentation above. If you click through the entire slide deck, you’ll find an invisible thread that ties each of the different slides together, in such a way that you feel you’re being told a story. Every image perfectly complements–instead of repeats–each of the carefully chosen phrases and words.

6. Flat design

2015 Travel Trends from Creative Lodging Solutions

Whatever is trending in the graphic design world usually makes its way into the most modern-looking slide decks.

The presentation above, for example, incorporates flat design principles to create a clean and minimalist look.

7. Originality

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

Another way to attract attention is to create something original; something with your own personal touch.

A perfect example of this is Doug Kessler’s presentation on finding meaning in B2B marketing, seen above. Here, we see that the same background image is used throughout, giving viewers the sense that the presenter is sharing intimate thoughts from his personal journal.

This is also a perfect example of how a clear storyline is combined with attractive visuals in the form of colorful doodles and big, bold text. This not only attracts the reader as they read or hear the presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable since it mimics an informal conversation or a riveting story told by an expert narrator.

8. Creative Use of Typography

Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. From Velocity Partners

Another way to showcase your creative side is to play with typography to get your message across. In the simple presentation above, for example, the author only uses typography, spacing and symbols to send a very clear message that makes a lasting impression.

9. Effective Use of Colors

What Would Steve Do? from HubSpot

Not only does typography send a message all on its own; colors do as well.

Take the above presentation. If you look at slides 16 to 31, you’ll find that the use of bright, bold accent colors contrasts perfectly with the darker, subdued background color–which works in unison with the animation effects to create a perfectly weaved storyline that drives a crystal clear message home.

10. Creating Content for the Context

You Suck At PowerPoint! from Jesse Desjardins

Another trend–which will simply be a continuation of the present–is the creation of presentations designed specifically for their context.

The above slide deck, for example, was designed to be published online rather than to be delivered as a live presentation.

About the Author

Nayomi Chibana

Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. She has an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Hamburg in Germany and was an editor of a leading Latin American political investigative magazine for several years. She has a passion for researching trends in interactive long form media.  She can be reached via email at nayomi@hindsiteinc.com or on Twitter at @nchibana.

Hacks, Tricks, and Shortcuts…Oh My! Discover PowerPoint Tricks Even the Pros Didn’t Know About!

PXP_WatchNowIconPowerPoint is an incredibly powerful program with lots of capabilities built in, and there will always be things that not everyone knows about. Plus, productivity goes out the window when you are stuck trying to figure out how to improve your PowerPoint slides or fix a problem that you can’t seem to solve.

In this recorded webinar with shortcut and productivity guru, Taylor Croonquist, you will discover hidden tricks that most presentation professionals didn’t know that PowerPoint could do.  The content will focus on how to maximize the power tools you have in PowerPoint so you can get the job done. You’ll also discover tricks and shortcuts that will make your job more efficient and less stressful. For example, do you know how to break SmartArt? Break tables? Break up a list of bullets? Or, resize and crop multiple pictures in one process?

Learning these time-saving tricks will increase your productivity and PowerPoint skills. No more pulling out your hair when you reach frustrating PowerPoint issues.

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Our Speaker

Taylor Croonquist is the shortcut and productivity guru for Nuts and Bolts Speed Training company, which helps companies build better PowerPoint slides in shorter time frames. Hailing from the home of Microsoft and Starbucks, he came up with the “One Armed Mouse” technique in order to be able to combine these two passions: PowerPoint-ing with a coffee in one hand and a mouse in the other. For more information about the company’s services, visit  http://nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com

 

Webinar Handouts:
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      PXPert PowerPoint Cheat Sheet – 12115 Webinar – Taylor Croonquist

 

 

 

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PXpert -012115 – Webinar Slide Deck

2 Ways to Improve Collaboration on Presentations

Many presentations are collaborative efforts and you may have discovered that putting your comments in an email and attaching the latest version of a PowerPoint file gets confusing fast. Here are some problems with that method:

  • There are multiple versions of the file all over the place
  • It’s hard to know who has the latest version
  • It’s hard to know which edits are approved and which aren’t
  • Some people open the file from within the email (you should always save it to your computer first), make changes, and then can’t find the file

If you’ve been in collaboration hell, here is Part I of two techniques that might help.

Lots of people would like a Track Changes feature in PowerPoint, like the one in Microsoft Word. But so far it doesn’t exist. But there are two features you can use instead to collaborate with others. In fact, the second one comes close to a Track Changes feature…in a roundabout way.

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Add Comments to a Presentation

This is how the Comments section of the Review tab looks in PowerPoint 2013 (right). Comments provide a way for you to add your opinion or suggest changes. On the Review tab, click New Comment to open a text box, either on the slide (PowerPoint 2007 and 2010) or in a task pane (PowerPoint 2013).

Type your comment and press Enter. A new feature of PowerPoint 2013 is that others can reply to comments so that you can create a conversation. Comments will show your initials or even your photo, if you’re using a Microsoft account. You can easily move from comment to comment and, of course, you can delete comments.

Here’s a short comment conversation in PowerPoint 2013.

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If a comment is collapsed or just shows as an icon, double-click it to display it.

Compare Two Presentations

The Compare feature lets you compare two presentations. For example, you can have a presentation on your computer and then send a copy of it to someone else to review. That person will make changes and return it to you. The Compare feature shows you the differences between the 2 presentations. Follow these steps:

  1. Save your presentation on your computer. You’ll compare this presentation with the one that your colleague changes.
  2. Send the presentation to a colleague. If you attach it to an email, this process creates a copy. You can also post the presentation to a shared location, such as your OneDrive storage. In that case, you’ll need to give your colleague the link to the presentation and provide editing permission. In the email or link notification, ask your colleague to make suggested changes and return it to you with another name (such as v2 at the end of the file name).
  3. When the changes are done, open your original presentation and choose Review tab, Compare.
  4. In the Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation box, navigate to the changed presentation and click Merge. The Revisions panel opens, listing the slide and presentation changes. (Changing the theme or adding a slide would be presentation changes.) You’ll also see an icon on a changed slide showing the changes, as you see below. This is as close to Track Changes as you can get in PowerPoint.

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  1. To accept a change, check the checkbox in front of it. When text was replaced, you need to check both the insertion and the deletion. If you don’t accept a change, the presentation stays as is on your computer.About the Author:

    Ellen Finkelstein 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 her website at www.ellenfinkelstein.com

Creating and Delivering Powerful Presentations Using an iPad (with Geetesh Bajaj, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP)

With the growing popularity of iPads and other mobile devices as presentation platforms, you need to learn more than just the basics of iPresenting. Learn how to select the right app as your presentation partner and then how to use them to deliver impressive presentations the way they should be seen with full animation, the right fonts, and brilliant colors and graphics. Learn also what you need to do before you begin!  This engaging and interactive webinar recording with Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Geetesh Bajaj offers you insights into  how to maximize the power of presenting on an iPad.

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Presenter: Geetesh Bajaj Geetesh2

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.

4 Tips For Handling Mixed Presentation Audiences

As a savvy presenter, you find out as much as possible about your audience members before you address them. What do they already know about the topic?  What do they need to know?  What do they want to know? Will they be receptive or reluctant to hear what you have to say? You plan accordingly.

But almost nothing calls for more planning than a mixed audience—both technical and nontechnical decision makers, beginners and advanced learners, or groups of amateurs peppered with professionals.

Consider the following tips when you present to such diverse groups.

1)  Engage the advanced without insulting the less knowledgeable.

Make it your goal to aim for the higher end of the spectrum.  That is, plan content to interest the seasoned audience members. Their engagement and participation will interest the less knowledgeable because those audience members have even more to learn.

The beginners don’t yet know what they don’t know; therefore, almost all topics and discussion interests them. They are like the proverbial sponge soaking up all that transpires. Yet, take care that you don’t insult beginners and amateurs by locking them out of the presentation with jargon and references to other resources, tools, and processes with which they’re unfamiliar. So how do you do that?  Next tip …

2) Provide shortcuts. 

When you need to deliver complex information that will only confuse and lose the less experienced in a group, consider providing that more technical content in a truncated fashion: Can you provide it on a handout? Mobile download?  Reference to a website link?  Does the technical process, specification, or explanation really need “air” time?

3) Prefer clarity to brevity.

Brevity is good; clarity is better. Never sacrifice a few words or sentences in order to be brief. Slide screen space, paper, and air are cheap. Misunderstandings that lead to errors can be expensive. If you need to define a term, do so.  If you need to add a detail, add it.  If you need to use the whole phrase rather than the acronym, use it.

4) Use—don’t abuse—their experience.

Forcing advanced learners to sit through an elementary explanation wastes their time and causes them to disengage quickly. Instead, acknowledge and engage the more seasoned people in your group by giving them opportunity to share their expertise with the less experienced.

When you make a point, call on them to share a case study or ask them to elaborate on how they’ve applied this principle, strategy, or truth  in their own work.  In a teaching session, pair the advanced with the less skilled learners to pass on additional teaching points and tips to extend the learning.

Handling a widely diverse audience can be a challenge.  But with forethought and creativity, the outcome can be stimulating for all.

About the Author:

Dianna Booher works with organizations to increase their productivity and effectiveness through better communication: writing skills, presentation skills, interpersonal communication, and client communication. An expert in executive communication and a keynote speaker, she is the author of 46 books, published in 23 languages. For more information, visit www.booher.com

No One Loses When Presentations Finish Early

Next time you’re planning a presentation consider finishing at least five minutes early. Most presenters shoehorn 60 minutes of content into a 60-minute time block and it rarely fits. The audience’s lasting impression of you becomes that of a presenter clicking feverishly through slides, speaking at a break-neck pace and being obsessed with your watch.

A better approach is to take the pressure off and plan to finish five minutes early. That gives you two appealing options. First, you can simply give that time back to your audience, and they’ll remember you favorably as the only presenter in recent memory who let them out early. Second, you can provide additional time for always-valuable Q&A or a relaxed summarization and close.

Either way you’ll set yourself apart from the mass of presenters who race against time or exceed scheduled speaking slots, leaving audiences feeling they’re unprepared or simply unprofessional.

Creating a Lasting Impression

“People will not usually remember what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel.”

That maxim holds as true for presentations as it does for other interactions in our work or personal lives. Presentations created to have more than short-term impact are usually about changing or moving an audience’s belief system. Beliefs about your ability to meet a goal, create change, solve a vexing business problem or sustain excellence.

Before you get too far into planning your presentation or creating slides, write down your thoughts about what you want your audience members to think or believe differently when they leave your presentation. Then craft a plan to create the feeling you hope to leave them with as you go your separate ways.

How Much Time Does it Take to Build Presentations?

Here are some complaints I hear frequently from presentation designers:

 “Typically, when I craft a presentation that is effective and visually appealing clients complain that I take too long.”

 “When I am faithful to a specific budget, viewers say that it was no fun having to view all the slides, occasionally having to pinch themselves to stay awake.”

 “When I develop a presentation on time, clients complain that it cost them too much money to meet the deadline.”

What does it take to complete a successful presentation ? By corporate standards, you can be certain that you have created an outstanding presentation when you used a well-defined process that enabled you to:

  • Finish on schedule
  • Within the anticipated cost
  • At the quality required by your clients
  • While effectively using your assigned resources (i.e., money, people, and technology).

If you know anyone who is doing all of this well, call me.

Multiple Presentation Hats

Seriously speaking, given today’s stern economic conditions, I am assuming that many of you are wearing design and project management hats. How do you approach this challenge, especially if you handle the design of complex presentations which include different people with different temperaments, schedules and the right to be wrong?

Your first responsibility as the manager of a complex presentation project must be to ensure that you have control over at least one of the three sides of the triangle shown in Figure 1. This is the most important piece of advice in this post.

Figure 1. Components of a successful presentation

Visualize your clients holding the sides they wish to control. Your responsibility is to tell them what must be done to balance the triangle. For instance, if clients wish to control the quality and cost, then you must be given full responsibility for the schedule. If they are holding the quality side, then you can make recommendations for the cost and time. If your clients give you a fixed schedule, a fixed timeline, and fixed specifications for quality, it will be close to impossible to finish the project well and sane.

In this post, let’s look only at the time element in the project management illustration presented in Figure 1, or the development schedule.

Industry development ratios

Forecasting an optimal schedule in presentation development becomes traumatizing because, typically, clients impose pressure; given today’s improved technology, ongoing competition, and corporate thirst for success, stakeholders and audiences expect you to deliver presentations as fast as you can say PowerPoint.

The inevitable question we hear is: How many hours does a designer need to produce one hour worth of presentation content? The answer is simple but distressing: it depends. Development time is a measure of the content and objectives provided by the client, the amount of visual sophistication required, the designers’ skills, financial resources, etc.

However, an “it depends” answer is rarely satisfying to clients. So we look more deeply and inspect other fields that are similar to presentation design and take the concept of development ratios seriously.

Practitioners in the instructional design field advertise development ratios based on certain variables that are likely to impact development time. We can learn from them. For instance, some instructional designers claim they can develop 15 content screens in 3 minutes, provided that the content offered by subject matter experts is already in a form appropriate for presentation delivery.

Other developers report the ability to produce a one-hour presentation in a 40-hour week. Others claim they need one hour of research for each minute of presentation time, plus approximately one hour for each slide in a presentation (so for a 20-slide, one-hr presentation, you would forecast 80 hours).

Yet others warn that for a complex multimedia-based presentation, featuring custom graphics and video, production can reach up to 800 hours. Results of studies in the instructional design field vary. Many authoring tool providers market development ratios that range from as few as 10 hours to as many as 1,200 hours for producing one hour of content.

If you do not trust development ratios as recommended by industry standards, there are a few other methods for time estimation.

Ratios by similar projects

If you have been developing presentations for some time, one of the easiest ways to forecast schedule is to compare your current presentation project with similar ones. For instance, you could estimate that if a presentation with 6 objectives and 50 slides took 100 hours to develop, another one with 3 objectives and 25 slides would take roughly 50 hours (or slightly longer if you stopped for lunch).

Such a comparison, called analogous estimating, may be inaccurate because rarely are any two presentations alike. Use analogous estimating only as a starting point in your conversations with clients/stakeholders just to give them an idea of how long something might take.

Using formulas to establish ratios

If you are fond of numbers and math, you can use parametric modeling to forecast schedule. Parametric modeling involves the use of variables that describe certain activities involved in a project and formulas can get fancy. For instance, you identify variables included in presentation design (e.g., level of expertise, administrative work, content research) and assign a weight to each of these factors.

Then you select a task from your presentation design process – let’s say “agenda slides.” You estimate how long it will take – let’s say two hours. Then you apply the weight factors to achieve an even more accurate project time. Check out more details about parametric modeling in Lou Russell’s book Project Management for Trainers.

Bottom-up calculations

Some designers are more comfortable estimating time by breaking down the project flow into deliverables and forecasting how long each phase will take (see Table 1). This process, known as work breakdown structure (WBS), is useful because it enables you to estimate time for tangible tasks rather than forecast the schedule for larger, more generic milestones.

The drawbacks of the bottom-up calculation method are that it is time-consuming and often designers either forget to include a task, or underestimate how long a step will take. Also, tasks in a presentation project are rarely carried out sequentially. This makes it harder to break down certain steps but it can be a useful starting point in time estimations.

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In Conclusion

We’ve looked at different techniques for estimating time and the amount of hours necessary for producing one hour of presentation content. I would love to hear how you estimate your own presentation design timelines.

Regardless of the method you use in forecasting, the word to remember is risk. Risks are caused by all other components identified in the project management chart: process, cost (money), quality, and resources (people and technology). Becoming familiar with the other project management components will help you in determining a sound risk management strategy.

Donny Osmond used to sing: “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch, girl.” This statement, while rhythmic and refreshing, does not hold true in presentation development. One unidentified risk may indeed spoil the whole schedule.

In subsequent articles, I’ll address the remaining components of the project management chart so you can see how they may plague your carefully set timelines.

As an ending thought regarding development time and schedule, a healthy habit when estimating time is to post on your wall calendar a reminder of a ruthless truth: “Dates in this calendar are closer than they appear.”

About the Author:

Dr. Carmen Simon is a cross between Tony Robbins and makeover specialist Robert Irvine. She works as a psychologist at Rexi Media, www.reximedia.com, where she consults with top executives on improving their presentation skills and is a leader in the virtual presentation movement.

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