[Video] Dishing on Presentations with Peter Arvai, Prezi’s Co-founder and CEO

In this month’s “Dishing on Presentations”, PXpert editor, Sharyn Fitzpatrick chatted with Prezi’s co-founder and CEO, Peter Arvai while he was on vacation in Sweden, visiting the farm he grew up on. It is timely that we spoke with Peter because Prezi has been in the news quite a bit over the last few weeks. We talked about how Prezi Next was created with feedback from their 85M users, the thoughtful acquisition of Infogram and how it fits into their product roadmap, the presentation industry and the role of cognitive thinking, and the Harvard study results. We hope that this is the first of many conversations we have with Peter. His passion and deep thinking about the medium comes through – he is an engaging speaker. To learn more about Prezi, go to Prezi.com.

Enjoy!

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

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

A Phenakistoscope

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

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

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

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

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

Email me and editor@presentationxpert.com with your thoughts.

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

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

 

[Video] “Dishing on Presentations” with Tom Howell

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

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

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

Reader Questions: How Do You Bring PowerPoint Files Down to a Smaller File Size?

“by Nolan Haims, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP”

Bringing PowerPoint Files Down to Size

Hard drive capacities, cloud storage, and bandwidth keep increasing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we can or should let our PowerPoint files increase in size unchecked.

Text, vectors (such as .svg and emf content) and animation won’t add much to your file size—in fact, I’ve seen 100-slide decks without any images take up just a couple of megabytes—but photos and video can quickly balloon the size of your presentations if you don’t take care.

Images

You can begin to control file size by choosing smaller images, to begin with before inserting them into PowerPoint. JPEGs will generally be smaller than PNGs (but always use PNGs for logos and detailed illustrations), and presentations designed to be printed or shown on extremely high definition screens will want higher res images. I won’t go into all the technical details of pixel size here but will say that the easiest thing to do to make sure your image has enough resolution is to place it in your presentation and project or print it and judge quality with your own eyes. Unfortunately, this will tell you if it’s big enough, but not if it is larger than it needs to be.

And so, you may find yourself in a situation of wanting to reduce the size of your images after they have been placed in PowerPoint. The easiest solution is to select the image in question and then select “Compress Pictures” from the Format tab (or Picture Format tab on the Mac). Here you’ll find options for compressing the image at different levels of quality as well as checkboxes for deleting cropped areas of pictures and compressing ALL the images in the file or just the selected one.

You’re free to make use of PowerPoint’s built-in compression tools, but be warned that they’re just not very good in my opinion. In the words of my friends at SlideRabbit, PowerPoint’s compression tools are more like a hatchet rather than a scalpel. The compression results in clunky sometimes over-pixelized images. And once you compress everything, there’s no going back, so be sure you have made a backup of your file first.

NXPowerlite to the Rescue

If Microsoft’s tools are a hatchet, then the scalpel you want comes from a company called Neuxpower in the form of NXPowerlite—hands down the best compression software for Microsoft Office that there is. NXPowerlite comes in a few different forms for Mac, PC, desktop, enterprise, etc. It is not expensive and entirely worth the investment if you spend your days creating presentations. How it works I have no idea, but I can say that I use it all the time and the results are magical. The interface is drag and drop, and it is all very well thought out. I’ve seen 100MB files filled with images compressed down to 5MB with no visible loss of image quality. I should note that while it is compressing images, it is also compressing the PowerPoint file itself, removing old and redundant code and other items. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy here.

Video

While you can insert YouTube videos onto slides (PC-only) or even just hyperlinks to nonYouTube videos, in general, I recommend embedding videos as you never know when internet access will be spotty or unavailable. None of the above tools will help with compressing video, and unless you want to compress your videos outside of PowerPoint (by re-encoding them using video software), your only solution is to head to PowerPoint’s “backstage” File tab: Info and select “Compress Media.” Here you’ll be given options for levels of compression. In my experience, PowerPoint’s video compression is a bit better than the image compression, but you’ll just have to experiment and judge the results for yourself.

Final Tips and Tricks

Every once in a while, compression will still fail to reduce file size enough for your needs. In these cases, you can actually unpack a PowerPoint file by changing the file extension to .zip, unzipping it and navigating to the media folder to search through all the image and video assets used by the file. If you discover a 20MB image somewhere, you can target just that one item.

And if you find yourself expending time and energy trying to keep file sizes down, take a step back and ask if it is worth the hassle. If your file is too large to be included as an email attachment, you can always make use of services like WeTransfer, Hightail and Box to transfer large files to others. My typical workflow is to keep presentation files in Dropbox folders and then simply send a download link to clients for items that are too large for email.

Don’t forget to register for my free webinar on Wednesday, February 15 in which we’ll discuss much more about using imagery in your presentations.

About Nolan:

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.

 

[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.

Improving Your Online Presentation Skills with Ken Molay!

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Ken Molay, president of Webinar Success, presents tips to help you become a more effective online speaker. Presenting on a webcast or webinar is fundamentally different from speaking in front of an in-room audience. Since you and your audience cannot seeach other, your vocal style and the way you interact with the web conferencing software determines how you are perceived.

Our Webinar Sponsor

Our Webinar Sponsoe

You will learn how to prepare a presentation that complements the web environment and how to deliver it with confidence and professionalism. Discover ways to consciously adjust your vocal style in order to build rapport with your audience. Identify common presentation errors that can detract from your message.

As an added benefit, attend this event and receive a free speaker evaluation form that can be used to help identify strengths and weaknesses in your own presentation style.

 

About Ken Molay:

Ken MolayKen has a background in software development and marketing, working for companies such as Advanced Micro Devices, Syntelligence, Blaze Software, Brokat, HNC Software, and Fair Isaac. He has acted as development manager, product manager, and product marketing manager.

Ken has been producing and delivering business webinars since 1999. His background in public speaking, radio, stage acting, and training has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to create a compelling and effective presentation.

Ken enjoys world travel and spent a year on his own in Europe. He also spent five years as an international tour guide, leading groups throughout North America, England, and the South Pacific. Currently Ken offers consulting services through his company Webinar Success (http:/www.wsuccess.com).

 

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