Archive for the ‘PowerPoint Tips’ Category

Using Videos in Your Presentation

March 16, 2010

Incorporating video to your presentation has many powerful benefits to keep your audience engaged. It’s a great way to illustrate a point, or even show visually rather than only tell how something has occurred.

In fact, it’s a great way for “businesspeople… to show new stores or products in action or to show interviews with customers,” notes design guru Garr Reynolds in his new book, Presentation Zen Design, which is sort of sequel to his 2008 best-selling book, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery.

Reynolds says adding video to a long presentation is especially useful to break up the pace, since research shows audiences’ attention tend to drift after about ten minutes, unless some aspects of the presentation are altered.

If you are a Mac user, embedding video (from your movie folder) onto a slide in Keynote 2009 is a simple drag and drop process (see video tutorial).

PowerPoint 2010, which is expected to be released in June as part of Office 2010, promises to include the ability to embed videos. A beta version is already available from the Microsoft site.

Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations includes other great tips on designing effective presentations that contain text, graphs, color and images.

Reynolds first book, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery, provided the framework for planning, putting together and delivering presentations.

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No Distractions: Using Fonts with PowerPoint

No Distractions: Using Fonts with PowerPoint

December 14, 2009

A friend of mine spilled coffee down his white polo shirt moments before taking the stage for a presentation. Quick on his feet, he opened his speech explaining his dining mishap. Then went into his material.

This was a great technique: to allow the audience to notice the stain, and then forget it. If he had ignored the stain, the audience wouldn’t have. They’d be thinking: Does he know about it? How’d it happen? Has he been wearing that shirt all day?

Rarely fonts can make a presentation, but if misused, they certainly can ruin a presentation, just like a distracting stained shirt.

Choosing the appropriate font for your slides is important, because the right font will make your text easy to read. But even more importantly, it can keep your audience focused on your message. That’s because a bad font or misuse of fonts are often distracting.

Here are some basic font rules to follow:

  1. Keep it simple: Don’t mix font styles. If you find the need to use more than one font, make sure they are complimentary fonts (e.g. – Arial and Arial Bold)
  2. Serif vs. Sans-Serif: Serif fonts have  tails on the edge of the letters. By contrast, sans-serifs don’t (sans means “without”). Serif fonts (e.g. – Time New Roman) are commonly used in magazines, because they are easier to read when there is a lot of text. However, on a PowerPoint or Keynote slide, it’s best to use a sans-serif font. Some of the most common are: Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma and Verdana.
  3. Don’t capitalize full words: Because it’s like screaming at your audience. Instead, use bold or italics to emphasize a word or thought.
  4. Font Size: Try to avoid using a font smaller than 30 point. If you need to reduce the font to squeeze all the text on a slide, chances are you’re using too much text. As an alternative, replace most of the text with a visual that indicates the same message.

Following these steps should keep your audience focused where you want them to be: on your message, rather than on your coffee stain.

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Top 5 iPhone Apps for Presenters

Top 5 iPhone Apps for Presenters

May 25, 2009

Tons of programs are being designed for the iPhone every day, and quite a few are making life easier for public speakers. In fact, the Top 10 most downloaded Business Apps (today, anyway, since this list may change tomorrow) includes four voice-recording programs.

Here are five iPhone apps you’ll probably find useful before your next public presentation:

Speakeasy Voice Recorder allows you to record and playback verbal notes and reminders from your iPhone’s built-in microphone. If you get a burst of inspiration for a future speech at an inconvenient time to write the speech, speak reminders into your phone.

This app sounds like the perfect program for anyone like Michael Keaton’s character in the 1982 comedy “Night Shift.” Keaton played a self-described “idea man,” who carried around a tape recorder so he could record his crackpot ideas, such as feeding mayonnaise to tuna-fish, or creating edible paper to eliminate garbage.

QuickVoice Recorder is another popular voice recorder for the iPhone, which includes a voice-to-text email feature.

Evernote allows you to capture information in a variety of environments using multiple devices or platforms (Mac, PC, etc.), and makes this information accessible and searchable at any time, from almost anywhere.

This program allows you to capture To-Do lists, notes and research, Web pages, twitter messages or snap photos of business cards/whiteboards/wine labels and more.

Remote Desktop, by MochaSoft, enables you to have secure access to your work computer through wifi or the phones network (EDGE). Using your iPhone, you can connect to your Windows work computer and see the files, programs, and resources exactly as you would if you were sitting at your desk… but of course, squinting on a far smaller screen.

Speech Timer: This program is designed with the Toastmaster Timer (or any longwinded public speaker) in mind. This timer app will make your iPhone vibrate or sound when the flag changes colors.

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Preparing Your PowerPoint Presentation as a Leave-Behind

March 28, 2009

When presenters learn the importance of using PowerPoint only as a visual complement to their verbal presentation, they are often perplexed on what to leave behind for attendees to share with coworkers who were absent. Often visual slides don’t tell the whole story without the presenter’s narration.

Rick Altman, author of Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck, suggests preparing two presentations. But it’s not quite twice-as-much-work as it may sound.

“The one you leave behind is a printout from the Notes portion of PowerPoint,” Altman said, during a recent Presentation Camp workshop at the San Francisco office of “There’s no need to go into [MS] Word to create the document. You do it straight in PowerPoint.”

This is a very handy trick that many PowerPoint users don’t know.

In PowerPoint, click on the View menu, then click “Notes Master.” This will create two placeholders. The top one is a reduced visual of your PowerPoint slide. The bottom will be your notes, either describing the slide, or the narration of your speech that goes with that particular slide.

That’s what you print out as a leave behind.
Side note: I have yet to read Altman’s book, Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck: And how you can make them better (Harvest Books, 2007), but I like the title of Chapter 6: Does PowerPoint Make You Stupid?

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Converting a PowerPoint for Mac’s Keynote

Converting a PowerPoint for Mac’s Keynote

February 15, 2009

Converting a PowerPoint presentation for a Mac so that you can take advantage of Apple’s sleek design and features of Keynote ’09 is easier than ever. All it takes is dragging and dropping the PowerPoint file onto the Keynote icon on your Mac desktop. The presentation file then opens in Keynote. (Keynote ’09, is an application that is part of iWork ’09, released last month.)

Conversely, if you’ve designed your slide deck in Keynote and will be one of a series of presenters (at a seminar, for example) who will all be using the same PC, no problem. It’s simple to convert your Keynote presentation into PowerPoint. The easiest of two ways to do this is by email. In the “Share” menu at the top of your Mac browser, select “Send via Mail,” then choose the format (Keynote, PowerPoint, or pdf). Keynote then launches the Mail program with the document already attached.

The second way is to go to the File menu in Keynote and select “Save As.” In the popup window that appears, check the box that says “Save Copy As,” then make sure “PowerPoint presentation” is selected. Then Click Save.

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