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Welcome current and future Small Business Development Center online learners! Before
writing another word and especially for the benefit of new online learners who are unfamiliar
with our educational outreach efforts, some explanation is appropriate for how this, unlike
most other documents in its genre, is formatted. First, we practice and teach effective, online
marketing classes and key to any successful brand marketing effort is content multiplication.
For these purposes and going to the subject of this eBook, business presentations must be
utilized far beyond in-house training curriculum! Each piece of content created must be spread
far and wide, across the Internet, to establish your brand and individual expertise with those
most likely to patronize your business.
This presentation is a series of blog posts, available free and covering many areas of business
presentation design and development. Although specifically focused on Microsoft PowerPoint,
the principles learned here are relative to MAC Presentation software as well. More than
anything, presentations must connect with the intended audience and to do so, it presentation
must reflect your personality. How that is achieved, of course, varies with the creator but use of
impactful images, text, hyper-links as well as multimedia assets such as video embeds, will take
your presentation from good to great.
We invite the reader, through ‘blue hyper-links’ throughout this document, to visit our online
training website where we offer more than 2,500 (and growing) classes on more than 150
business related subjects of which, Powerpoint is one.
Best wishes for your success,
Brian D. Dale
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What is Powerpoint?
In this post, we are going to answer questions beyond what is Powerpoint. Further, we will deal
with what exactly you should have in your PowerPoint presentation ecosystem. As was said in
our last post, we are not trying to lock you into a particular style of presentation.
We discovered many years ago, presentations are as unique as the individual however; the
issue becomes diverse people trying to lump themselves all together with one PowerPoint
With that said, the presentation ecosystem consists mainly of three
• visual story
First we are going to deal with messaging. Too often, a presenter will isolate themselves into
a tiny room whether it be a physical or a mental room, and take on the belief that this
is my presentation and I have to do it alone. As you can see, there is no team and a lot of me!
I will not argue that there is a place for isolationism within creating power points however,
what I will argue against, is that a whole presentation doesn’t have to be brainstorm, created
and delivered by one person.
The beautiful thing about Powerpoint, although rarely spoken of, is that they or a part of the
Web 2.0 environment. This allows the presenter to take on a collaborative mindset as they
prepare for their grand presentation!
Although we do not believe in clichés, the word ‘collaborative environment’ is here to stay! As
messaging is concerned, there are some things to consider.
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Those things are, but may not be limited to;
To deliver an effective message that your audience will hold on to long after they leave,
these components, in a chronological manner anyway, must be taken into consideration. A
great example is a presentation we made to the AGRM in San Diego California not long ago.
This audience’s need, being all nonprofits, was fund raising. The question that each attendee
was: how can I raise more funds to feed the homeless and poor? How much is this going to
cost? How can I fund raise more efficiently with the resources we already have?
Truthfully, all of these organizational leaders, being from all over the country, were locked into
a mindset of “what we are doing NOW is fine.”
This conference presentation seemed particularly difficult for the following reasons;
• Everyone in the room was in their mid-50s - this wasn't a problem in itself however,
trying to communicate something, no matter how effective the PowerPoint, to people
who refuse to see the future presents a whole other level of challenges.
• Most refuse to see beyond Microsoft Outlook e-mail program - what we discovered was
that none of these organizational leaders were preparing their organizations for the
• The social media paradigm extended no further than Facebook - except for setting up
a Facebook profile, most had no idea that there were huge implications for the future
of their organizations, beyond that!
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Having gathered intelligence on the demographics of the room before arrival, it was
understood that we had to present a PowerPoint that dealt with such a limited mindset.
The way we did this, was from an old-school, Yellow Pages paradigm.
This generation was born into the Yellow Pages so we approached search engine marketing
from this very paradigm. Having not done so, this presentation would've flopped!
Remember, your audiences needs have to be addressed in a way they understand so gather
intelligence before you ever arrive.
The second part of this presentation was delivery. We understood instinctively, that a rhythmic
delivery was important.
Knowing that anything beyond Microsoft Outlook and setting up a Facebook profile
overwhelmed these attendees, the delivery had to be at its most basic. Last but certainly not
least, is the visual story.
We thought it wise to create a presentation that was very image intense as opposed to text
intense. The bulk of our presentation expressed images in chronological flow that provided the
Nexus, or ‘meeting point’, to bring the entire story of fundraising from search engine
marketing perspective, together.
All we are trying to point out is that you have to focus on message, delivery and the visual story.
This is going to take collaboration. If you are a one woman or a one-man operation, seek the
advice of friends, relatives, colleagues, or other small business owners. To forsake this, is to
prepare for disastrous results.
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Feed the Children
Over the years, we have watched the progress of an organization called Feed the Children. This
organization fund raises to feed starving children all over the world. What we've noticed about
the way they present a message is that over the years, it hasn't changed!
Amazingly, with the advent of 3-D graphics, interactive television commercials, HD video and
other, this message has remained remarkably consistent. They hammer home five key points,
no matter how long they commercial:
• Children are sick and dying
• They don't have enough food to survive
• Parents are unable to care for them
• The viewer has enough money to help
• Good people do good deeds
This message was so effective that one of our employees, who lived in Australia, heard a local
bragging about giving $10 a month to feed a hungry child! What this has to do with
presentation and the creating them is this: it doesn't take world class technology or graphics
to communicate an effective message.
Feed the Children has gotten fund raising by communicating an effective message largely
images and call to action, down to an exact science. Why don't you?
I can just hear the tons of excuses from some of our readers right now. When you take the
necessary time in creating great slides, what you will find is creating a cohesive message may
not necessarily have to be changed over time.
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The core of your presentation, being the heart of a great message, should rarely change and
only adapt to penetrate growth market opportunities. What is most profound about Feed the
Children is whoever the spokesperson, they use lots of words but it is the intensity of images
showing starving children is what everyone remembers.
Seriously, can any recall more than a few sentences Feed the Children spokespeople say? No!
It is a sure bet that most who’ve seen these commercials, can describe how impactful they are.
Let images do the talking, presenting and call text can finish the call to action which began with
As for-profit corporations go, someone who has built a strong company first based on great
products, but also an image, is Apple.
Never has the image of a piece of fruit communicated such a powerful brand message.
Although very simple, Apple was able, and continues to be, the standard bearer for one of the
oldest fruits on Earth.
What image communicates your product, business or service and can be used to define your
presentation? If you believe it’s your logo and have thus far failed to define your market with it,
you might want to revisit the design.
You don't have to be a great designer to have great design inspiration! All it takes is spending
the time meditating on what you’re trying to communicate. A great place to find how design
is incorporated into a company or individuals value system is Slideshare.net. It's easy to tell by
viewing multiple Powerpoints how seriously a company takes product design.
Yes, we said product design! Great companies view presenting their message as seriously as
designing the logo. Other design oriented firms like Target, Procter & Gamble or Dyson take
seriously every facet of product presentation. Awesome design packaging is just the end result
of well thought out processes so it is easy to tell that imaging is a core value. In doing so, it
becomes further obvious these company's value customer perception. When we think about
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design, at its core, it is about problem solving.
Your presentation must solve a problem everyone who views it has. This problem can be
one-time questions, purchase decisions or even a profound revelation sought. Whatever the
problem turns out to be, from squeezing an orange to communicating more effectively with
employees, the opportunity is great to immediately create trusting relationships.
Part of succeeding as a presenter is simply thinking like a designer. When you get into
the design mold and understand that text, shapes, diagrams and backgrounds must form
a symbiosis to hammer home your message.
Gathering Assets for Powerpoint
We believe it is important to not just talk about hiring a Powerpoint designer, but also how to
aggregate assets on their creation. With aggregating assets, the following questions need to be
asked and answered:
• What will most thoroughly communicate the message I am trying to give?
• What design assets do currently have to contribute?
• Where are the assets located on the web? Where can I find images, audio or video for
Although many more questions could be asked and hopefully answered, these are most
important from a design perspective. This isn't to say design is more important than
message but design and message must come together in to form a Nexus that puts forth a
long-lasting and impacting message.
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While looking at competitors business slides, we’ve noticed a popular website known to
many. After inspecting their offerings, we would like to give them HUGE PROPS because there
is one thing that they do well above any other.
This company brings a new 3-D-based design style to a market starving for something new.
With that said, one thing that we do not like and the reason we felt it necessary to
take PowerPoint avatar design images to another level, is all assets they offer are too
repetitive through all presentation offerings.
There is a place within brand messaging when this is necessary. However, variety is also
necessary when looking at slides from a customer based mindset. Are colors the key basis for
variety? Can it be said that using the same shapes or other assets in different presentations
The answer to both questions is an emphatic NO! Our greatest fear is that tens of thousands of
potential customers arrive here and feel that they are FORCED, through like of PPT prowess, to
choose something which is perfectly unique to their personal tastes. Such decisions are made
when lack of variety is perceived.
With billions of people on the planet and certainly as many different tastes in design, and
although we can’t address every need, our goal is to bring enough variety that many of our
customers don't purchase out of shear desperation.
Any business owner can tell you when a customer feels as if they have to choose due to
immediate need as opposed to genuine love of product or service, this is a recipe a high bounce
Bounce rates are essentially customers that come to your website, scan it for no more than 8
to 15 seconds and decide whether or not to stay. Having scanned the website and decide their
keyword need wasn’t properly met; they will leave and thereby, increase a site’s bounce rate.
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As late as 2003 there was a monopoly on office applications and the dominant player with in
that market was Microsoft Corporation.
Around 2005, and although not a new movement, open source applications started to gain a
foothold in the market. For those of you who don't know what open source software is, it is
software which cost very little.
Its code is open to public and/or cooperative development. The term ‘cooperative
development’ is a better way of saying collaborative environment. A very real competitor and
certainly anti-Microsoft product which is an open source application can be found at
OpenOffice.org. When you go to this site, you will find compatible, Windows-based software
for no charge.
For the small business owner and entrepreneur, this is a dream come true! If you are
just starting your business and bootstrapping budget, would you choose to pay $199
(Microsoft Office) or download free, compatible software which meets the immediate
We digress. Whatever software you choose, be it paid or free, understand that even the
greatest software cannot overcome aggregating the wrong assets attempting to
communicate your message. We will give an example of assets that are inappropriate for
Imagine you were working for the organization known as PETA (People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals). Knowing one of their organizational objectives is protecting against
the slaughter of animals, you decided to use an image of a woman in a fur coat.
You showed up to present a save the lions message and would display an image of a fur
coat? How could any hard core save the lions PETA member not become offended? Or
worse, they may think you are mocking them.
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We said in a previous post that it takes at minimum, 20 hours to create effective
presentations. The only other alternative to this is finding paid PowerPoint backgrounds that
are already created and allows easy customization.
Even with this, do not force your message to fit the presentation template or product you
decide on using. Remember, there are those who ‘shape the world’ and there are those who
‘fit inside’ the shape of the world.
Finding Design Inspiration
Finding your inspiration to create isn't as hard as you may think. If you are currently uninspired,
think on these things to assist you and breaking out of creative block;
• What are you passionate about?
• Can that passion be effectively communicated to an audience utilizing the correct tools?
• Do you have enough design skill to communicate the message visually?
• If you lack the design skill, do you know the correct syntax search techniques to find
exactly what you want on the Internet?
Once you find what you want, can you aggregate those assets to create a cohesive
and impactful message?
One thing that's not often talked about concerning presentations is most
often you are trying to communicate an intangible product service or
message through visual means. Those services can be anything from
software, cause, mission statement, brand messaging, vision, product
rollout, leadership principles or too many others to be listed.
However, even to the best presenters it's difficult to share one's vision without something
tangible being present. The closest thing to a tangible product or service you will have during
presentations is your PowerPoint.
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Many gurus will say that these presentation applications are simply containers for ideas and
not meant to generate. With this, I strongly disagree!
Further, many more will say all trying to use PowerPoint to generate ideas is a trap. I will use
one example to disprove this fallacy. When we first got started down this road towards creating
great slides to offer to those interested, there were certain steps which needed to be taken to
form our company.
One of those steps was putting together all the technology, office supplies, desktop
applications and office furniture. For those of you who have seen our PowerPoint designs,
you know our CEO, BD Dale, has an eclectic type of taste and a slightly eccentric design style.
He took a long time and searched through literally hundreds if not thousands of desks.
Having found none that he quite agreed with, he opened up a PowerPoint shell and begin to
design his own custom desk. When asked why he did this, the boss simply said: “all desks that
I've looked at are square and I strongly disagree with squares. The reason is it represents a box
that we are forced to live in from the cradle to the grave.”
What he came up with was a round desk that resembles an old school reception desk. One
might be found in modern day Fortune 500 companies. When he started designing in
PowerPoint he really had little idea of the exact type of round desk he wanted however as
he worked through the process, using PowerPoint only, his idea was realized.
He took the design to an office furniture store and they were able to make his vision of a
reality. Why would someone make the statement Powerpoint is simply containers for ideas and
not the means to generate them?
The logic goes as such: “the goal of PowerPoint is to communicate ideas and not
necessarily generate them”. That is asinine! Anyone who thinks that ideas aren't pictures,
fail to realize what the creative process actually involves.
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Although we don't have enough space to deal with all the components involved in the creative
process, chief among them is this: an idea that pops into our minds always takes on some sort
of visual recognition. It could be a word, a direction, product, service, company or whatever
else that idea entails.
But regardless of which of these things make up the idea, if nothing else, it is a picture! One
point which these people who put forth such foolishness say and I actually agree with is
using these software programs to generate ideas takes understanding of how to use the
drawing tools within them.
To figure out programs unknown to end users could be a daunting task! One thing we've seen
frequently witnessed is entrepreneurial zeal being suffocated by lack of understanding on how
to use technology.
If you don't know how to use the drawing tools to generate your ideas, do it old school
style and breakout a pencil and paper! However, no let your lack of understanding on how
to use such software dampen your zeal to learn how to.
Powerpoint to Video
Investigating PPT to video is one of the most important steps with creating Brand recognition that you
will take. While many are online looking for PowerPoint to video conversion software, there are many
options within the desktop applications you already possess. Why would anyone want to use
PowerPoint video backgrounds?
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The answer to that question is simple: creating Powerpoints is also, in addition to
communication of verbal messaging, a great tool to bring brand consistency to your
products and services.
The first step which needs to be taken before PowerPoint slides can be transitioned into video
backgrounds is to assure that your PowerPoint is consistent with the rest of your marketing
A huge mistake even the savvy marketer makes is to communicate more than one brand
message across multiple marketing platforms. To avoid this, one needs to either rework their
current marketing literature to line up with their PowerPoint background or, design
backgrounds that lines up and are very consistent with current marketing literature.
A further question which requires asking is if we hear a PowerPoint kung Fu disagree with
PowerPoint to video conversion software? To be as plain as possible, NO! Nevertheless,
what we do disagree with is business owners or employees of an organization taking the
easy way out concerning converting PowerPoint to video
We are not going to say that there is not a time and a place for such software. However,
the question that must be asked by those creating PowerPoint presentations is: if you are
using easy conversion software, did you put together an easy presentation.
Before going any further we will preface the comment we are about to make with this: if you
have taken the time needed to create a great presentation and great slides, and you are either
in a rush and already understand how to manually create PowerPoint to video backgrounds, we
certainly agree with your decision.
In our journey to PowerPoint perfection, we have discovered that easy slides that weren't
created with the PowerPoint mindset, often lead to a mindset which says everything
about creating should be easy.
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On any given day there are millions of searches for free PowerPoint backgrounds, free
PowerPoint graphics, free PowerPoint text, and free PowerPoint presentations. Although we
do not like using clichés this certainly applies: you always get what you fail to pay for.
When choosing to take the step of creating a background for videos with PowerPoint, please
understand that the thought you put into presentations background will be directly reflected
when you stand in front of your audience.
For many who attended a presentation, take note of just a few things that you might've seen.
Those that struggle to communicate message, those who get stuck on the wrong slide and do
not know how to go back or forward and those who were unenthusiastic about what they
Earlier in this post we mentioned free assets on the Internet as it concerns creating great
slides. Please do this if that is what it takes to communicate your message.
In closing, we want to encourage all of our readers to go to our PowerPoint catalog and see
how beautiful presentations can be if you only take the time before converting PPT to video,
to assure your messages effectively communicated.
Please go to our home page How to Powerpoint and take advantage of our offer! Part of
this offer is an in-depth video tutorial on how to produce easy videos with Windows Live
Movie Maker in conjunction with Powerpoint.
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Why Buy Powerpoint Software?
So you want to buy Powerpoint? There are many things which need to be considered before
any decision is made. First, taking a big picture view requires understanding how to use it
One thing that any presenter has to stay away from at all costs is the belief that what they have
to say, is more important than fulfilling audience needs. When attendees are put first, it is a
sure bet that the content of your presentation will be both long-lasting and effective.
There are seven questions critical to understanding needs. Those questions can be, but
not limited to:
• What are they like?
• Why did they come to your presentation?
• What keeps them up at night?
• Can you solve their problems through your presentation?
• Assuming delivery of an effective presentation, what are next steps?
• What resistance might they give to messaging?
• What tools and techniques are best to fulfill expectations?
To answer the question what are they like, demographics of your audience is a great place to
start. To connect first means understanding personal needs. More simply put, take a walk in
their shoes and understand why they used those very same shoes to walk into your
The reason why they came is a very simple question with a simple answer: you have
something that may interest them and it is your job to make them understand this!
Whatever it is that keeps them up at night isn't actually their problem, it is your opportunity.
Capitalizing on this opportunity means recognizing that most attendees have come to have a
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specific, geo-targeted need met.
Somebody has to address the pink elephant in the room so I will; although unpleasant as it may
be, to solve their problem, more than anything else, takes accepting that the effectiveness of
your presentation is gauged on whether their need has been satisfied.
Assuming delivery of an effective presentation, what many presenters fail to do is to give
very specific instructions for follow-up with attendees. There are number of ways to do this,
here are just a few:
• Getting and distributing business cards is dead - Typically, people will take your
business card, as you do also to them, and stick it in a briefcase, wallet or other and
forget it is ever there. We recommend quickly discerning who was the most impacted
in the room and immediately engaging them through one-on-one conversation.
• Offer freebies - Who doesn't like free items? Before key decision-makers leave, make
sure that you either place a free item in their hands or offer them something that they
have to go to your website to receive.
• Organize all free webinar for interested attendees - There's a tendency to wind down
after a presentation when talking to those most interested in future follow-up. Don't be
overcome by this syndrome, keep your passion and drive alive when delivering
instructions for next steps.
If you've done everything you can from the conception all the way through a great delivery,
you have to accept that there are still those who will resist your message. Although it may be
tempting to gather volume of follow-ups, only focus on those which you believe there is a
The tools and techniques used by you, the presenter, must be tailored to audience needs.
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With that said, there are going to be those, if your presentation is effective that will see the
value of what you are presenting. First trust your instincts on who is engaged and assuming
these are key decision-makers so start to build your client list beginning with them.
Having raised more money and funding for companies than I can count, let me give you this
small bit of advice: there is going to be a sifting process even with those most actively
engaged during and after the meeting.
Don't spend too much follow-up time trying to accumulate further interest, if those who
you believed future clients now seem uninterested.
Designer’s Powerpoint Eco-system
There is something that has to be addressed with a PPT Presentation. That concept is known
as the ‘presentation ecosystem’. As the presenter in a meeting, you rely on the nexus of ideas
graphics and execution to get your message across.
How many times have you been in a presentation and you sat wondering just five, or maybe 10
minutes into the presentation, why you were even there?
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The presenter may be very well prepared, but they forgot to communicate their message and
focus on the content delivered visually. In this scenario, it is very likely that the presenter’s
focus on the message they wanted to communicate by individual slides-but forgot to give
that same attention to the ‘visual story’ and the delivery legs of Powerpoint.
Years ago, when we first began this journey to slide presentation perfection, we never focused on
the visual portion of the slide ecosystem which, truthfully, the background is a part of.
Many years later, we've well recognized the disastrous effects on audience attention when the
presentation ecosystem doesn't deliver the necessary visual engagement to get the message
Whether or not the content and delivery are good, poorly constructed media will force
attendees to walk away slightly agitated and feel as if they wasted their time.
Even worse, visually absenteeism with visual message and lack of clarity can cause
a subconscious lack of trust in what was just presented.
One thing that is needful to put together great presentations is to anticipate audience need.
Initially, many may not even know why they showed up other than having received an
invitation or are required to do so.
It is your job to provide that clarity through the nexus of visually appealing presentations,
chronologically ordered slides, and multimedia assets. This is what is known as a ‘sensitive
ecosystem’. Striking a harmonious balance is important because odds are high that you been
on both sides of the podium.
This simply means you've been both the presenter and an audience member as a presenter,
this reality may produce a natural tendency is to stay in your own slide zone.
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Stepping out of the slide zone is what is necessary to bring all of the key features of your
presentation together. Nothing is more dangerous to delivery of a great message than to
stay locked in your own slide comfort zone.
The question then becomes; how do I step out of my comfort zone and still deliver an effective
Stepping out of your comfort zone is critical. Knowing this, you should concentrate on two key
features of effective presentation. The first is not inserting so much text that you lock yourself
into a certain mindset.
Being flexible even when you blindly believe your anticipation of audience need must be part of
preparation. The reason is that you can anticipate audience needs yet still be ineffective by not
responding to their immediate needs.
The presenter can try as hard as they possibly can to keep the audience on THEIR message,
but one question, can take the conversation into a whole different direction! The second is
you have to understand that power points are not Word documents, they are que-cards.
What's the difference? The difference is too much text on a slide becomes distracting to your
audience members. They will spend more time reading the tax been listening to you. How is
this risk mitigated?
If at all possible, put no more than five or six words by each bullet point item, on each slide.
Next, make sure that the multimedia portion of your presentation, whether it video or audio or
other, is strategically located to not only communicate your message, but will bring an
audience back to a focused state of mind during distracting moments.
In part two of this post series, we are going to deal with exactly what the presentation
ecosystem may look like.
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Quick Presentation Tips
Today were going to talk to about quick presentation tips as it concerns something that is very
near in dear to our hearts. With that said, what we are talking about is PowerPoint.
PowerPoint is misunderstood for a few reasons the first of those is very simple.
Most people confuse PowerPoint with a Word document. Powerpoint is not Word documents
and this is why they’re called Powerpoint! It just kills me when I see a PowerPoint that would
otherwise be decent, with the whole paragraph of information.
Paragraphs are for documents, bullet points are key to great slides. The next thing that really
bothers us is when we see people that obviously had someone else design their PowerPoint
and they haven’t done so themselves.
Having somebody else design PowerPoint in itself is not a bad thing
however, what is bad is when someone outsources this will have someone
else and they don’t take the time to master the subject matter, within the
context of how it is presented!
What are the signs that someone has not mastered their own PowerPoint
subject matter? First, when they seem to stumble through the presentation. Second, when
they can’t figure out whether they are going backwards or forwards, hit slides transitions to
soon as they work through their presentation.
Who hasn’t seen someone struggle through like this? So what are we getting at? All we are
pointing out is that when it comes to PowerPoint presentations, there is an allotted time of
intense study and creation which is mandatory to both crate and deliver a great presentation.
I’m not going to be the one to tell you how many hours a PowerPoint presentation should take
to create. But what I will say is that if it’s just a few hours, you are going to show attendees how
undedicated you are to the subject matter.
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It matters not whether just a 15 minute team brief or a full workshop, you should at the least
take at least 20 hours on a PowerPoint presentation.
Although that seems a lot of time, the alternative is to have a disastrous presentation in front
of key decision-makers! Imagine if you will, that your boss is in the room, they told you how
important a presentation was and you took one or two hours and didn’t get your point
What would that cost you? What kind of trust would that erode between you and your
immediate supervisor? To answer that question is to go to the heart of why you need to take
your time creating a great presentation.
Four Crucial Creation Tips
In Part 2 of business Powerpoint, we discussed great tips for deploying impactful
Powerpoint presentations. To conclude this three post series, here are our final four tips.
Before going there, it may be surprising that we haven't talked about correct fonts,
backgrounds etc. The reasons for this are three-fold;
• There are other websites that deal with such things. We are interested in teaching
you the psychology of presentations.
• You know your business better than any other. When you learn effective mind-sets, the
rest will fall into place.
• We've taken all of the guess work out of Powerpoint design!
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Having done more presentations that I can count, there is much to be said concerning look, feel
and delivery. These three things must have a nexus which puts forth your product, services
message and personality, in a cohesive. With the catalog, our particular design style is that of
• Affirm points of attendees but NEVER concede one
Remember, you've done your research and too concede a point to an attendee will make
you appear as if you don't know what you are talking about. Powerpoints convey your view
on a matter based on relevant facts. Never let these disagreements alter the mood or
direction of your presentation. Move on as quickly as possible.
• Finish with Questions and Answers
The slide(s) that directly proceed your strong Q&A session must be filled with the value
proposition. What has your entire presentation communicated? What is in it for the hearer?
What are the next steps you want them to take? Every question you answer, must lead back
to your value proposition.
• Give away FREEBIES!
Everyone loves FREEBIES so with that said; these freebies need not cost ANYTHING. Here
are tips on how to make this happen;
• Make sure there is a way to deliver the free items, should they not be deliverable
in person. Email addresses are great!
• Use free, download items which reinforce your messaging
• Free items are easily located by using the following syntax search on Google;
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intitle:free item description.
No spaces should be put in this syntax and substitute the above item description with the
desired free giveaway description. All in all, it is imperative that you take your presentation
seriously. Most people focus more on fonts, colors and number of slides in a presentation and
neglect the weightier matters.
In Part 1 of business presentation, we gave our three of ten tips you MUST have t0 effectively
present. To build on this, here are additional, key points of effective presentations;
• Include social media impact
Whether you are raving about how great your services are or attempting to attract wider
interest, to exclude social media's impact will hurt message credibility. In the previous post,
we learned about the need to insert some form of multimedia into presentations.
Assuming it is video or audio, the impact of social media has already
been proven! Many may think; "I am creating a presentation for
other people in the company I work with and no one else."
To this, I say; HA! Accept this friend, even a gathering of other employees who you work alongside
in itself, is a social gathering. To believe your presentation may not one day, make it into the arena
for public view, misunderstands the invasive nature of emerging technologies.
Understand the following;
• Google, the #1 search provider, constantly has indexing BOTS on the hunt for relative
information to serve. Google DOCS, documents stored in FREE email folders and on
collaborative websites and not hidden behind protective firewalls, WILL end up on the
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• You may save your presentation on a flash drive and transfer it to personal computers.
When you leave a company and start a new job, part of making yourself marketable may
be creation of personal portfolios (stored online) to showcase previous work. No matter
what the website used for storage says, your assets may be indexed.
• Spyware is becoming more invasive and harder to block by normal security
measures. How do you know it isn't grabbing files from your hard drive?
Shall I go on? The point; create your presentations with the understanding that it may make
it onto the web.
• Communicate ENTHUSIASM!
To do so, your presentation must be done well. I will tell you something very few others will (for
FREE anyway); if you spend any less than 20 hours on research, aggregating assets and creation,
no amount of enthusiasm in your voice will matter. Sloppy presentation will always equate to
An example of a sloppy presentation is using stock background within Powerpoint suites.
Please love your work and refuse partaking in such laziness.
• Make copies available
Because our society tends to move on to the next thing so quickly, the danger with not
making copies available for attendees to take away, is loss of business or results.
Here are easy ways, but not limited to, that will stretch messaging impact beyond initial
• Investment seekers - Chances are there won't be a huge audience for your
presentation. Assuming your targeting of appropriate investment is laser focused,
a small group will attend. Make copies available through Flash Drives.
• Community events - In the lead up to your presentation, form a geo-targeted,
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FREE community for attendees and interested parties to join. Social Network
provider 'Ning' is one of many options.
• Internal company messaging - Send follow up emails to attendees. Attach the
presentation or should your company have an internal, collaborative tool such as
SharePoint, post it for viewing.
Whichever your choice, build groundswell by using slide sharing sites like Slideshare and
Slide Boom. The above three just scratch the surface and aren't mutually exclusive however,
expecting anyone to follow up with you is a recipe for disaster. Believe me, I've been there!
Video in Powerpoint
One of our favorite topics is video in Powerpoint whether it be PPT 2007 or 2010.
Truthfully, 2010 is much more effective for creating video assets.
Except for video tutorials, every promotional video or other we've
created, have been produced using PowerPoint!
This isn't because we are trying to save money.
We understand the value of non-designers being able to use such suites to get their
message across. Being able to start with a blank slide and understanding that programs such
as Photoshop's aren’t necessary to bring forth a great product is something that boot
strap businesses need to know.
In this post were going to give you some tips on creative processes with PPT to video and try to
help you understand the perpetual value of making the conversion.
As case studies, we will use Slideshare.net and Slideboom.com. Both allow anyone to upload
a PowerPoint presentation but there are two other features, among many, that must be
known and thereby utilized.
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What marketing gurus fail to disclose (keeps you dependent upon them) is there is a feature,
especially with Slideshare, which allows not only a presentation to be uploaded and shared but
also video insertion and PDF sharing!
As inserting video into Powerpoint is concerned, once your ppt is finished uploading,
you can choose exactly where in the want to insert your video (slide by slide basis).
This is most useful because an embedded video (free services) can’t be played within the slide
itself after upload. However, what we found is that being able to select when and where the
video is played, allows the flexibility to put forth further messaging.
Let us explain. If you've created more than one video as part of your marketing efforts and
slides as video backgrounds, the consistency with branding will be dramatically increased.
Think about how useful brand consistency would be if you convert slides into video
backgrounds, insert them at strategic points on slide sharing sites and multiply that messaging
across multiple websites.
We make it a habit (for marketing purposes) to create a thirty-second promotional video for
Powerpoint template we create. Many of you have been brought to this website by those
promotional videos! If there is one marketing tip we want every reader to remember (if none
other) is this: your creations have perpetual value far beyond any in person presentation you
Although it could take us much more space than is available here, when you create slides never
forget further marketing opportunities such as:
• Creating short promotional videos using readily available desktop applications such as
Windows Live Movie Maker
• Using image intensive slides as video background
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• Creating consistent brand message using presentations already created
• After videos are produced, uploading all videos, Powerpoint and other, to relevant
document sharing sites with a link back to your website.
• Inserting hyperlinks if click ability creates direct traffic
These tips aren't some far-flung theory on web marketing, they are tried and tested. It is a
beautiful thing when you create a process, find it works, deploy assets and receive website
traffic for your efforts!
Creating short promotional videos isn't as hard as you may think. Windows Live Movie
Maker allows you to do this with no previous video production experience. As we have
pointed out in previous posts, using image intensive slides as video background allows cross
cultural messages to be communicated when language is a barrier.
We won’t insult your intelligence by pointing out that consistent brand messaging is
important however, how powerful is it when someone sees a video you created using
PowerPoint backgrounds, arrives at your website and sees the same brand imaging?
These assets (consistently produced) will enhance brand messaging through repetitive images
and text. Inserting hyperlinks if they are able to be clicked on sites such as Scribd, will produce
monster amounts of traffic and increase your business's bottom line.
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Featured this week, is an AWESOME Powerpoint maniac! This guy is passionate about
creating mega HOT presentation videos using slides. However, most people will not want to
learn Photoshop in order to get their message across.
Is Photoshop necessary to create world class Powerpoints? NO! However, we aren't taking
anything away from this man's enthusiasm. Think about this; there is a time and a place for
everything and truthfully, if our company was publicly traded (not far off), we would certainly
take every opportunity and explore all available avenues to out-pace and out-class competitors.
Tell the truth my friend; can you feel the LOVE for creating great presentations from this
These sorts of creations are the top of the HEAP. With that said, understand that assets
aggregation is key if you don't know, neither care to learn how to design avatars, clipart, tables and
graphs. When I say asset aggregation, I mean finding the free resources on the web, which
will both enhance messaging and fit your personal, design style.
Ask yourself this important question; "How do I avoid using stock features in Powerpoint
2007 and 2010, to set myself apart from the competition?" There is one question which must
be answered before EVER approaching that.
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Simply; "Who am I and what is my product?" Every great brand message must begin with the
designer knowing themselves. Although we blindly believe that some form of social media -
web 2.0 feature must be incorporated into every presentation, there is a time and place for
these things to be separate.
For instance; recently, we had a mini sales presentation to make concerning a client who
wanted to buy our Powerpoint Kung-Fu package for her father. He had a big presentation
to make for construction contracts.
For him to receive templates which had Facebook, Myspace, Bebo and all such icons, into
his presentation, was inappropriate. We went a different direction and designed a
presentation with 3D, construction themed icons and backgrounds.
The point; who he was and the business he was in, had to both speak to him and the audience
which was present. With MILLIONS in contracts on the line, nothing could be left to chance.
Many things must be taken into consideration but what we want to communicate these,
above any other;
• Aggregate only relative information
• Locate icons and pictures which will enhance messaging
• Don't become so CREATIVE that your message is lost
• Make sure the flow from opening slide to ending with Q&A is easily followed
• Never let the audience leave the room without contact information
Live, love and create with a passion unmatched. Once you begin to live the Powerpoint
excellence lifestyle, watch the results flow in.
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A much overlooked feature with creating presentation slides is the ability to sketch ideas. It is
a beautiful thing when you can take rough ideas, fine tune them and organize all sketches until
they meet your expectations. For most people, storyboarding and idea can be the most
intimidating of experiences.
It’s always good thing to have sticky notes or scratch paper available to realize your visual
ideas. However, part of learning slide design is mastering shapes, figures, blocks and lines to
bring intangible ideas to life.
Most people begin sketching stick figures by drawing the head. Many will say this is a
mistake because a stick figure should begin with body sketch.
We strongly disagree with this. The reason the less informed encourage
designers to begin by drawing a head is the assumption that one
almost always sees a body, when noticing a person from a distance.
Maybe the people who say this do however, in our processes we
always start by sketching the head.
The reason is: heads have to fit the body instead of the body fitting the head. Don’t assume
that these two paradigms are the same! We certainly aren’t trying to confuse anyone by but we
want it understood that where ever you start, let your ideas be tailored to the message you
want communicated to your audience.
In the movie the Legend of Sleepy Hollow starring Johnny Depp, there was a skull buried and
the headless horseman did the bidding of the person who had in their possession his head.
Had it not been for a flashback scene pointing out how his head was severed, no one would've
ever known what the head ever looked like.
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With that said, the body of the headless horseman gave no indication of what the head looked
like absent flashback. 1000 artists could've tried to draw an accurate depiction of the head and
have all been wrong.
Once that it was given back to the horseman, it was the head that seemed to bring the image of
what the body looks like instead of the body given rise to an accurate image of the head.
We are sorry for using such a gory example but the skinny head of the horseman fit the skinny
body. After you've drawn the shape, color and dimensions of the circular head in PPT,
placement in relation to the rest of the body shape is essential.
Before drawing eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth or any other feature, the most important
consideration is the expression you want your audience to see.
Is the stick figure happy? Sad? Surprised? Although it may seem a small thing, this is essential
for communicating the right message to the right audience. After you visualize the emotion
you want to communicate, set forth drawing the facial expression.
Decide on the basic shape of the mouth first. Whether it is smiles, frowns, announcement or
surprise, it must fit with the rest of the facial features to communicate a cohesive emotion.
Next, adding the correct angle for the nose is essential. It shouldn't be disproportionate to the
size of either the head or mouth. Next, draw the shape of the body. This hearkens back to our
gory example of the headless horseman. If the face is skinny make sure the body is
Next, draw legs because legs are more essential to communicating emotion then are the arms.
Last, but certainly not least, draw the arms.
This will allow you to complete the emotion you are trying to communicate with the rest of
the body. We spoke in another post about the importance of spending quality time.
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To make this clear, we did so by setting forth number of hours spent creating your
presentation. Sketching stick figures can be a critical way of communicating the message you
are trying to get across.
With that said, please be reminded to go on Google, Yahoo, being or Ask to see if there are 3-D
avatars, clip art or photographs that will communicate a more powerful message than sketching
Let's face it, business presentations are key to building brand messaging. Although there are
THOUSANDS of tips on how to create perfect presentations, there are only ten tips which
must be followed to receive buy-in to messaging;
• Use key phrases on topic
To savvy presenters utilizing buzzwords by industry present opportunities to both quickly
educate audiences. Having raised more funding in pursuit of building companies than I care
to mention, I say with the utmost authority that subject matter experts in your audience, are
going to challenge key points.
The difference between effective and ineffective is this; when audience members
challenge your presentation points, reaffirm their expertise and politely correct errors.
I worked with a guy who had a habit of totally taking over and driving the agenda of
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meetings. We've all met someone who is smart and wants everyone to know it.
The truth was that he was incredibly insecure and sought to reaffirm himself by this obnoxious
behavior. He had expertise in the subject matter so I affirmed his expertise, but went places
he couldn't follow.
The point; using key phrases leaves you in control of the presentation while receiving buy-
in from even the most obnoxious.
• Slide layout must be chronological
For me, especially when asking the RICH for millions of investment dollars, this was among the
most important considerations. Remember; Powerpoint presentations ARE NOT Word
This becomes important because when walking your audience through messaging, too
many words may affect the overall picture you are attempting to paint.
I blindly believe part of a GREAT chronological message, is inserting multimedia at key,
chronological moments. I always urge students of Powerpoint Kung FU, to use an
embedded video slide and immediately follow with a video discussion slide.
• Multi-Media insertion must be cohesive
With hundreds of millions of videos uploaded to the web (10,000 daily on Youtube alone),
chances are there is someone else, who holds the EXACT opinion as do you!
Although controversial in many presentation circles, it is more important to aggregate the
multimedia of others which back up your facts. It is tempting to insert internal media
assets to HAMMER HOME your points.
However, place yourself in the shoes of audience members. When something you may not
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know much about is presented, wouldn't you like to know that trends and opinions on them
are more widely held?
If someone is asking YOU to invest money, wouldn't you like to see more market evidence
than the narrow opinion of those you are listening to?
• Have COMPLETE control of multi-media assets
I learned a hard lesson; NOT controlling every asset within presentations, can lead to disruptive
and eventually, messaging killing bottle necks. Whether it is within your company or another
location, no one controls bandwidth usage and network up-time.
Knowing this, and assuming videos are inserted (embed), why would you take a terrible
chance that it won't work when key decision makers are present? Download any video or
audio intended for use and create a link from YOUR OWN Material!
World Class Presentations Have…
In furtherance of PowerPoint presentations, we're going to give you this small bit of advice:
world-class presentations require both time and focus. As you know, it is easy to get
impatient with creative processes.
Investing the time needed to blow away your audience and have them leave understanding
exactly what you were trying to communicate is critical. If you don't listen or believe anything
else that is written here, leave with this: charisma never overcomes sloppy slide
Sure, people will say what a great speaker this person was but we guarantee if the presentation
is sloppy, asked those same people who love the presenter’s charisma, a few days later, what
were the keys points.
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Just because the creative process may seem sloppy and unorganized to begin with, the creative
process is about aggregating all assets necessary. This could lead to piles of papers, CD-ROMS
and other, stacked on your work area!
Next, once those assets are aggregated, begin the process of sorting out appropriate
media. This can be most accurately described as ‘organized chaos’. The beautiful thing
about presenting is that out of this organized confusion, you can bring order.
The payoff of bringing order to this organized confusion is a powerful message that will
leave audiences wanting to know more about you, your message, product and service.
If you were an employee of an organization, this will increase your credibility among
key decision-makers, colleagues and subordinates.
In another post we spoke about having someone else prepare your PowerPoint. Since we are in
the business of preparing ready-made business and social media PowerPoint templates, as well
as education using video tutorials, we certainly believe that there is a time and place for this.
Nevertheless, even if you buy ready-made templates backgrounds and video tutorials, this
should never define your personal presentation style.
Think of developing your own PowerPoint style in the light of your individual D.N.A. which
makes every individual unique. This includes identical twins who may share the same genetic
code but even then slight mutations or variances make them unique.
Your PowerPoint must be different than any other which came before, just like your genetic
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As we spoke of in another post, and intense Web 2.0 presentation conference attendees at
AGRM would've totally overwhelmed them. The result of this would've hurt our credibility and
Let's briefly speak about the time needed to create a world-class presentation even if you
choose to buy ready-made templates. Time estimates for developing a world-class presentation
are as follows:
• 6 to 20 hours - research and collect input from the web, colleagues, industry
professionals or other
• 1 hour - gather intelligence on audience needs
• 2 hours - generate ideas on scratch pieces of paper or sticky notes
• 1 hour - aggregation of assets
• 2 hours - organize your thoughts and ideas
• 2 hours - sketches structure, storyboard and eliminate unneeded assets
• 10 hours - Build slides into a rough draft presentation
• 5 hours - refine your draft presentation
• 3 hours – rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse! However, do not become locked
into a particular style of delivery. Remember audience needs might shift doing
As we close, if you believe that building world-class PowerPoint presentations take any less
than the aggregate number of hours above, you will reap the rewards of being
unprepared, looking unprofessional, and being unwilling to invest the time necessary.
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Some of our clients who take part in our Powerpoint design online video tutorial asked a
very important question. We believe it is so important that it deserves an entire website
post. The question: “how much should I collaborate with others to realize my vision of a
There's no easy answer to that question. If there are 1 million people trying to create
great presentations, there are at least as many ideas of what that presentation should
look like communicate and produce.
The first consideration is whether the group that you intend on collaborating with brings
value. We have found that in the workplace, most often the enemy of break-out companies
are dissatisfied employees.
Whether someone is a lone wolf or leading a group trying to realize a cohesive idea, great
presentations are about AWESOME energy! If there is a group four collaborating, all it takes is
one who either doesn't want to be there or is dissatisfied with working conditions to kill the
Although we are in dangerous waters with answering this question, from our vantage point
what is most important is if you are going to use a collaborative style environment, sift
out energy killers. Our chief designer and marketing director prefers another approach
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He has ideas that seem to be wider than all outside and realizes them completely, before
evolving anyone else. What is great about this style is that although he is stuck on his
own ideas, he welcomes criticism that will lead to improved creativity.
However, and because most of his ideas are eccentric, it takes a while for collaborative groups
to understand what he's trying to communicate. In most companies, this can be seen as an
obstacle and the question of why not include everyone from the beginning is difficult to
We will not try to answer that question in this small space but will only put forth this:
whether using a lone wolf or collaborative environment to create, the only thing that really
matters is RESULTS!
Next, we will deal with those in the workplace who believe they are being collaborative but
actually assign the creation of their presentation to someone else. This is a big mistake! It
doesn't matter if you're a CEO, assistant secretary or creative director. To assign internal
image management to someone else often leads to being dissatisfied with results.
Your reason for delegating this task doesn’t matter, what truly matters is reasoning for
doing so. Let's be frank here, 90% of the time, creating are reassigned out of sheer laziness!
The person assigned to present feels they don't have enough time or simply believe creating
such a thing as beneath them. If you are this person we have one thing to say: “Shame on
you!” If that costs us business, so be it.
We are not speaking about the actual design of the presentation. Mastering PowerPoint design
is a difficult process and should only be done by the creative. However, the shame comes from
not even bothering to insert relevant text once the design process in complete.
How could someone be serious about communicating message and not even bother taking the
time to insert necessary text? The answer is simple: they are not! Another excuse we’ve heard
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is that presentation templates are too long and presenters have no tome the time to
go through 100+ slides.
We teach in one of our video tutorials that there is no reason why a presentation should be
100+ pages. The pushback we received was that some people have to do multiple day
seminars and have to provide lots of content. That is the whole tragic point friends. Focus on
providing value laced ppt and what you will find is text will probably decrease.
I would submit that if you are doing a multiple day seminar and all you have to offer is
PowerPoint, you need to re-examine the value of your presentation. Let us give you some
ideas for enhancing the level of a multiple day presentation:
• Have the audience get up from their seats and be more interactive through
• Trim your PowerPoint down into digestible parts such as creating an e-book as a
free handout with links back to your website, product or services.
• Make your presentation more image intensive which allows you creative freedom to
adjust to your audience needs instead of inserting tons of text
• After every four slides conduct a question-and-answer session
• After every three slides make an interactive video apart of the experience
100+ page PowerPoints should be turned into marketable e-book product and not sleep causing
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In part one of this series on Microsoft PPT, which deals with the Smart Art feature
in Powerpoint, we dealt with the following features of PowerPoint Insert:
creating simple animation
This post finds us dealing with the rest of the features available on this tab. Although we are
not designers prone to do a lot of chart insertion, we do understand the value.
Primarily, Smart Art provides the ability to use charts and graphs to demonstrate either process
flow or relational combinations.
With that said, the question that was once asked was this: “I bought your video tutorial series as
well as the 50 presentations containing 300 slides and they were great! But it didn't do a video
tutorial on how to insert Excel worksheets.”
Our response to this may have seemed harsh but goes to the heart of understanding the
difference between PowerPoint and other office documents. If you don't remember anything
else written here, remember this: PowerPoint isn’t Word or Excel!
Although you may know this, we want to challenge your mentality by pointing out a subtle but
often overlooked difference between the three.
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Word is meant to enhance written communication. Finally, Excel is meant to communicate
numeric concepts. Is there a nexus between the three? YES! However, none is meant to be
used in lieu of the other.
Our response to the above question was importing an Excel worksheet into a presentation, no
matter how colorful, smacks of both inexperience and lack of care! We are sure you’ve seen at
one time or another, a nice-looking Excel worksheet.
We will be generous before getting to the meat and imagine the worksheet you saw inserted
into a presentation was absent visibly marked, rectangle cells. We will even be more generous
and assume the worksheet is done so wonderfully that you believed it was done in a third party
software program and imported.
Knowing that 99% of the time this is hardly true, did you look at the imported Excel document,
no matter how wonderfully prepared and think: “Wow that looks wonderful in the presentation
if it is absolutely necessary to avoid the Smart Art feature; there is an easy way to include
worksheets without actually inserting it into your presentation.
Import a button, or use one within shapes, near the Smart Art tab. Next, highlight the button,
go to insert tab and click on the link button. Before doing so, find a place on your hard drive or
a document sharing site to save or upload your Excel worksheet to.
Whether the worksheet is kept on your drive or document upload site, it is necessary to copy
the link from your hard drive or URL where the worksheet is located. Go back to where the
button is located in the presentation and simply insert a hyperlink. What does that do for you?
It allows more space to visually enhance your presentation without necessarily adding another
slide. Next, it keeps a necessary part of the slideshow (worksheet) without being actually
inserted. Last, it doesn't disrupt either the background or flow.
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If you wanted to be real fancy, yet keep your Excel worksheet in the presentation, you could
save the document and save it as an image file and then create a short video to insert into
the slide! What I recommend this step to my clients? You better believe it.
However, we would never give this recommendation without first giving proper
instructions. In our next post, we will deal with several other features also on the insert tab.
More than a Presentation!
We once read a ‘what is Powerpoint’ article about preparing a professional presentation. As
we read through the article, it became apparent what the writer was trying to communicate. It
was apparent that the writer was suffering from the often use mindset which causing unwilling
regurgitation. As we said in a previous post: “for everything there is a season and a time in
purpose to everything under the heavens.”
Nevertheless, what the writer was pointing out was their professional opinion of what
professional presentation means. Truthfully, we've done the same thing but our main goal
has always been to get creative juices flowing! If you’ve read any of our blog posts, you will
know that we’ve never tried to keep any in a little PowerPoint slide box.
Our overarching theme of any creation which comes from that creative spot within all must be
uniqueness. Sure we've given you questions to answer as it concerns creating of great
presentations, but what we wanted to communicate even more than the answers to those
questions, is that professional is what YOU believe it to be!
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For audiences needs to be met, several principles must be adhered to. They are as
follows: collaboration, effective design and flawless delivery.
Knowing these things, how do you, the presenter, be uniquely you and redefine what
audiences believe professional is? We certainly can't answer that question because truthfully,
we don’t know you personally.
There was a time when we did design presentations for clients. That time has long passed and
the reason is chiefly this: there was no way for us to speak to a client on the phone or in-person
and determined their personal uniqueness. Really knowing someone often means long-term
relationships have developed.
Due to the immediacy of client needs, the process was often rushed. Sure, we provided
thorough questionnaires and did many things to try to communicate their slide vision to
However, before realizing their creative vision, frustration was rampant and conversations,
intense. Most read and passed our website services to friends, family and business associates
on such sites as Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, Chimed in, and Manta because they were so
satisfied with our product.
Although they were satisfied, we were not! It's not that we didn't love our work because as you
can see our posts, design style, veracity and aggregating the right assets to create ppt art,
there is little chance we don't do great design.
However, we thought it more important to teach client’s to be Powerpoint self-sufficient. It
was a big risk and the largest of gambles but releasing our knowledge to any interested, turned
out to be a wonderful decision for all.
We’ve followed up and witnessed our client’s create uniquely, powerful presentations by using
our templates but more importantly, the most exhaustive and informative Powerpoint video
tutorial classes on the web!
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We further believe that creating a professional PowerPoint presentation and keeping within
the self-sufficiency model, we haven't done our jobs thoroughly enough if any who purchase
our products return and continue to spend money with us!
That sounds like business suicide does it not? This strategic decision was based on very sound
business principles. With more than 50 million, presentation related search engine queries each
and every month, repeat business isn’t necessary!
Further, it is not our desire to grow so large that we lose touch with individual customers. A
web 2.0 environment is built on collaboration and partnership. This doesn't escape the
industry in which we have chosen to operate. Moreover, many of our former clients have
become so expert with design, they are now paid, freelance designers!
Using Stick Notes While Brainstorming
While learning how to Powerpoint, there is a practice scorned by some and praised by others
in the creative process. This practice using the ever present and plentiful sticky note!
Truthfully, great inventions combined emerging technologies with widespread applicability.
Since we mention sticky notes, let us give you a brief history on how they came to be.
A scientist at the 3M Corporation applied low tack, adhesive to paper and used it to mark his
hymnal for choir practice at the church he attended. This is how the
most favored of brainstorm tools was born. It could hardly be argued
that sticky notes allow ideas to be immediately captured, sometimes
sorted and rearranged as needed.
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If you currently lack the skill to generate your ideas using the drawing tools within
PowerPoint, a great practice is to write one idea per sticky note and afterwards, put them in
order of presentation.
We won't go as far as to tell you to use a sharpie, pen or pencil but what we will tell you is
use the writing device that spurs the creative genius within you.
The great thing about the transferability of ideas from sticky notes to power points is that
they are quick, easy, immediately available and easy to understand.
Additionally, sticky notes make it easy to rearrange and reorder your content into a structure
that can clearly be communicated. On the other hand, some prefer a more traditional
approach of storyboard creativity which is a linear practice of articulating detailed ideas.
Whatever your end in mine, use the following guidelines to order your sticky notes if this tool
will help EXPLODE the eclectic genius within you:
•Postpone the final judgment of your ideas!
•Encourage Buck wild, exaggerated ideas!
•Never refuse to put up anyone's idea no matter how stupid.
•Quantity counts, not quality of idea at this point.
•If someone comes up with a better idea than you, build on that idea.
•Every person and every sticky note put forth by your team has value
Once the ideas are put up, begin to sort them according in relation to vision communication.
Remember, encouraging your team members towards creating a great presentation often
requires acknowledging their ideas are better than yours.
More simply put, great ideas are great ideas no matter who they come from. We have so
often seen great PowerPoint presentations that were a result of collaborative team efforts.
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The greatest leaders in organizations will openly admit not only to their employees, but also
those attending presentations, it was a team member who came up with the great idea and
not themselves. Do you really think Steve Jobs of Apple created IPod, IPads and MAC himself?
Jobs said it best: “I don’t have to come up with great ideas, just ask GREAT questions.”
The value of open praise of great ideas is incalculable! There is a wonderful book that I
encourage all to read called ‘Back of the Napkin.’ In this book, the author puts forward that
great ideas can be sketched anywhere and on anything.
In this endeavor, if you don't have immediately available sticky notes, you can grab a
scratch piece of paper or whatever else may be available. However what you don't want to
do is let great ideas slip by in a dismissive manner.
As we close here, we want to give you a great piece of advice. Even if your team members come
up with a better idea than you, don't throw away other, less deserving ideas. Sure, maybe the
ideas are stupid right now but remember in a previous post we said: “for everything there is a
season and a time in purpose to everything under the Heavens!”
Transforming Words into Images
Today we will deal with the PowerPoint skill of transforming words into visible images. As we
said in another post, it is imperative to create loose sketches of several ideas for the concept
you want to convey. Reasoning?
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When presenting to audiences, slideshows should be image intensive and not text heavy.
Take for instance trying to convey a message of process involved with developing software.
No matter how linguistically gifted the presenter is, the development of software is about
process. This process can be communicated in words but is always more effectively presented
This isn't to say there is no room for text during within process however; trying to
substitute text to explain process will leave audiences confused, dazed and uninterested.
There are many ways that processes can be communicated using images but when it comes
to doodling ideas, it is best to sketch what you believe can be effectively transferred to
Do all of ideas in rough, hand-written sketches have to be complete? We say no! Other
gurus will tell you to sketch complete ideas but we say if you sketch at least four contrasting
ideas, you may find that even the incomplete among them possess a nexus with others.
Somewhere in this part of creative processes, you may look at sketch #1 and realize it would
work well with ideas from sketch #2. Sketch #3 may have more cohesive shapes to add to
the others while #4 might be a total bomb!
Whatever the outcome, the fact that you generated several ideas that are drawn into visible
images, scenes or other, will stimulate a creative process beyond your wildest dreams.
The sketching process should be loose, fast and contain doodles, stick figures, shapes
or anything else that will help you convey a cohesive message.
Generate as many pictures as possible while keeping in mind the slide layout must contain
elements that define a larger vision. Just because, and assuming that sketch #4 was totally
unacceptable, you don't use it during this collaborative process, doesn't mean it won’t
have future value.
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Create an archive were ideas that haven’t yet been part of a process, may have future use.
This archive will allow reference points for future slides if appropriate. We want to give you
this small piece of advice: if four sketches aren’t enough and you are highly creative, make as
many separate sketches as necessary.
This will require more work but will present a wider array of presentation options. Some ideas
you generate me require multiple scenes, diagrams, shapes and images to lace throughout the
On the other hand, there are times when you will only sketch a few ideas and find the perfect
feel for artwork immediately.
We’ve said before and will do so without apology: it is necessary, especially for lone Wolf
creators, find somebody that can critique your ideas. Many times creating a groundbreaking
presentation doesn't require you to do everything, just begin the process and seek feedback.
There are those who manage people and processes by being totally dependent upon buy-in. It
is with much regret we say such leaders are mediocre, teach mediocrity and are dangerous to
the future of any company.
This isn't to say that creating an atmosphere that may require buy-in isn’t sometimes necessary
during the creative process. Such written in cement logic is certainly fool-hardy! However, if
there is one thing we’ve learned over the years is having all ideas come from someone
considered great rather, great leaders ask the right question to form cohesive ideas.
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Powerpoint Diagram Psychology
It is with much pleasure that bring one of the great features of creating slides. It's the
diagram phase! Great presenters use sketchbooks, sticky notes and scratch paper to generate
as many ideas around concepts as possible. Many times, employees are also given books and
told to work separately on ideas for a presentation.
After much sifting, it isn't necessarily the ‘best drawings’ that should be accepted rather,
the best ideas. Too often creators believe that quality drawings mean rock star
presentations. Could anything be further from the truth? We have seen beautifully designed
presentations that left audience totally confused.
The reason is simple: as with website design, those who prepared them associate high level
artwork with effectiveness. To disprove this fallacy, we would like you to do a small
exercise. Pick out your favorite keyword.
Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo, Ask or Bing) and search the top 10 websites.
After you look through these websites, skip to age #3 and go as far back (pages) as you think
What is readily noticeable is those websites may be absolutely stunning, yet tend to be less
effective. No matter search volume, any site past page #2 is ineffective if a homepage. Why?
Typically, many focus on having a nice website instead of effectiveness with search engine
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As it concerns top websites in search, most we've seen over the years aren't as visually stunning but
took the time to produce immaculate SEO. Is there a point where both stunning design and
effective SEO meet? Absolutely! However, this is the exception as opposed to the rule.
All we are attempting to point out is the greatest artwork doesn't always produce the greatest
results with presentation design either. In a perfect world, there is a place where great design,
effective collaboration and flawless delivery meet.
As diagrams are concerned, we believe that tools available in Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 and
2010 are more than enough. When one goes to the design tab in this program, they will find
a page set-up button, slide orientation button, colors, fonts, affects and background styles.
Once you begin the processes, within each design tool used leads to another ribbon of sorts
which allows further design tweaks. These are typically for the more advanced. It takes a bit
of training to get used to these advanced features but once you do, the results will be totally
Don’t be someone who expects others to love your presentation yet you always take the easy
way out, doing as little work as possible.
If we could narrow down diagram tools into separate categories, they would be:
• Data display
Each category allows the diagram creator to communicate multiple concepts. There's even a
tool that allows creation of less linear and more abstract diagrams. We want to caution the
creative concerning use of abstract concepts and diagram tools.
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Such people need collaboration and feedback from others most urgently! There are minds so
creative that they believe themselves to have produced effective, abstract concepts, but fail
to think about audience needs. In these situations, absent feedback, audiences are left
frustrated and wondering what exactly the presenter was trying to get across.
Most have seen our PowerPoint templates and will notice that linear concepts aren't our
forte. This is very intentional and what we have found out from our customers is that those
more artistic tend to favor our product offerings.
Hey, the artistic among us have Powerpoint needs also!
Help the Visionary
We've pointed out on more occasions than one, Powerpoint isn't Word or Excel! We've also
passionately put forth the case that too much text on presentations kills their effectiveness.
Nevertheless, and there's always a nevertheless in life, there is a time and place for inserting
Nowhere is that made more plain than inserting it into diagrams. Text should never define
a diagram neither should a diagram define the text. They should work
together to communicate a streamlined process flow.
Assuming that you have chosen an appropriate diagram, it is
essential to take the time to think through your diagram’s
relationship to the text and vice versa.
This will results in communicating a clear message. Too often, people just insert process
flow diagrams type in text that fit within the diagram and think that's enough. It is not!
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If you are a business owner with this mindset, stop this foolishness and pay to have a
professional design and if an employee of a company, stop being a business killer.
Within the initial phase of transfer from sketch to slide, you may find that your hand written
don't translate well into PowerPoint. This could be for a number of reasons but we will share
• Inexperience and PowerPoint design
• Being unsure whether you’ve sketched the right idea at all
• Not having clear enough direction on the process you are trying to communicate
Many more reasons can be given but we’ve found these rampant. There are whole host of
options available to those challenged with design.
Something more challenging is certainly being unsure whether you
sketched the right idea to begin with. This typically happens as a result
of the third bullet point item.
When one thinks of not having clear enough direction on PowerPoint
creation, this is usually a result of being assigned a task that is clear to those assigning the task
but not those charged to carry it out.
This is where hand written notes are most important. We aren't saying that hand written notes
should be transferred directly to slides rather; your direction has to come from, especially
when assigned the tasks by another, thorough notes.
If someone is paying you a salary to design a presentation, we plead with you to understand
the reality of business. Most employees don't think far enough ahead to appreciate products
Revenue creates a viable business and thereby, money to pay employees. As someone who
has been both an employee and business owner, I say without hesitation that business owners
are always more serious than employees. Who believes in the vision more than the visionary?
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If you don't have clear enough direction, asked the person who cast the vision more specific
questions. Usually, visionaries who start and manage companies, see a very big picture view.
They are often short on details, but that's where they assigned the task of creating demonstrate
All we are attempting to point out is that from the first conversation (hand written notes)
sketches until presentation design, make sure you understand what the person who
assigned the task wants communicated.
The specific questions you’ve asked them during preparation also helps them with thinking the
process through. A great example of how to strategically get answers from the visionary is to
understand this: visionaries are standing at point ‘A’ and see point ‘Z’, but often fail to realize
there are 24 other letters in the alphabet!
To create a great presentation, you need to fill in the other 24 letters.
Image Intensive Powerpoint Slides
We’ve spoken at length about videos and Power Point marketing however, in this post we get
to write about one of our favorite topics: following data rules in PowerPoint. It doesn't escape
us that some use PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 while other have upgraded to 2010.
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It doesn't matter which program you use, with data anyway, what matters is that you follow
these five text insertion rules:
• Slide text isn’t about the text rather, meaning of the text
• Get to the point as quickly as possible without interrupting effectiveness
• Pick the right software and tools for the job
• Keep it as simple as possible
• Highlight what is most important
Too much text can overwhelm even the most information hungry audience. A nexus must exist
where your background, diagrams and text meet. Not having the right mix will make your
presentation much less compelling.
It sounds like an oxymoron to say written words aren’t about the words themselves but the
meaning. As with many other things in life, oxymoron exists. However, they don't have to
confuse an audience.
The English language is one of the most confusing in the world. When you think that one word
can have three for a more meanings, and as many spellings, that in itself is confusing.
To lessen the confusion, use a thesaurus when creating text. This may be necessary to
effectively communicate. Getting to the point is probably the area which requires the most
It is dangerous to let the presentation drag along without giving an interesting, introductory
message for the audience to hold onto. On the other hand, giving them the message you want
to communicate to quickly might cause a severe loss of attention throughout the rest of the
Just for the sake of expanding your knowledge in the area of web marketing with PPT files, it is
most often effective to get to the point as quickly as possible if your presentation is online for
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As web marketing experts, we’ve found it tried and true that when a visitor arrives at a website,
you have exactly 8 to 15 seconds to grab and hold their attention.
This is the amount of time it will take the average person to scan your page and make the
decision whether to read on or leave. Are we saying and try to sale your website visitor in one
or two slides? No!
All we are saying is that you have to find a balance with both creating and marketing your
products and services online.
Picking the right software and tools for the job isn't as time-consuming as it may sound. We do
not withdraw our statement, put forth in previous posts, that PowerPoint tools are often not
enough to create great slides.
Certainly there are those thoroughly dedicated to the mediocre and will only use the tools within
this office suite, however, for the more creative, other assets that have to be imported.
Although we have railed against using Photoshop exclusively for image creation, we understand
that vector art created by Photoshop, is necessary and FREE as well as available on the web.
If you believe that tools available within PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 are enough, at least
consider using a more impactful background image than is available in Microsoft!
Keeping it simple should always be the overriding theme of creative processes. Creating
complicated slides will lead to a complicated presentation as it concerns the following:
• Effective visual aids
• Effective delivery
• Lessing confusion among attendees
Can levels of confusion with any particular audience be measured only using number of
questions asked? No! Lots of questions could mean many things but usually means either an
engaging presentation or a confusing one.
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This is one of the main reasons we’ve urged our students to use image intensive presentations.
Lots of text hinders presenters to locked-in scripts while images allow a more extemporaneous
Highlighting what is most important doesn’t mean it is what an audience will think important.
This requires knowing your audience demographics, creating a message around it and
tailoring your message to fit audience needs.
Al Gore Powerpoint
Revealing yourself and the message you are trying to communicate through design decisions is
critical. One thing that is often not thought about as it concerns slide design, is one of the
greatest challenges to overcome is aligning design decisions with your thoughts. Although it
pains us to tell you this, one exercise for those challenged in the area of design that is needful, l
is to look at other PowerPoint shapes.
We aren't suggesting you need to go online and do this however; the design tools available in
either PowerPoint 2007 or 2010 are more than enough. If you were to
write out, on paper, what you're presentation was going to communicate,
what would that be?
One thing that top PowerPoint design coaches do is have their clients write
out either what they are trying to communicate or a personal life mission
statement. Many branding exercises employ adjectives to describe an organization.
However, adjectives only tell you what the description is while shapes communicate what they
mean. If you have a design in mind, before beginning, take time to write 15 adjectives that
describe the message of you are trying to communicate.
After those are written, whittle them down to seven.
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We set this forth because disastrous presentations are often the result of attendees spending
too much time reading text, and too little time listening to the presenter.
One of the most effective presentations we've seen was made by former Vice President of the
United States, Al Gore. Who could argue that he breathed new life into a dying, global
warming movement? Of course there was text inserted into Gore’s slide however, the images
used told the story, much more than anything written.
As we say here at Howtopowerpoint.org upon witnessing Powerpoint perfection: “His Kung-Fu
As he spoke during the presentation, he easily moved from slide to slide, chronologically of
course, and effectively presented the case using mostly images. Eventually, and no matter
where you stand on the global warming issue, Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in
We aren’t supposing to tell you his PowerPoint was one of the key reasons for winning
however, tens of millions saw this documentary, in which he used Powerpoint and it was this
film which sent him down the path to accepting the prize.
His use of adjectives during was flawless and moreover, he let the images more than words,
communicate a message. What was further evident was that as he went through the slides,
he was very well rehearsed that he appeared as the top expert in the world on the subject.
Al Gore, by using this tool, has done more than any other in recent history to legitimize
multimedia presentation. Branded as boring and not a great public speaker, this multimedia
presentation would catapult Gore onto the speaking circuit and earn him MILLIONS in
Not surprisingly, it all began with the slide show! The adjectives and verbs he used in this
presentation combined with the PowerPoint slides was one of the greatest corporate
initiatives speeches ever given.
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An Inconvenient Truth is now widely distributed on the Internet across all manner of video
platforms. The slide show was prominently featured and we encourage all to go and watch it.
Gore has proven that presentations can incite emotions that produce a grassroots level change.
With no disrespect meant to the former VP, he is THE poster child for the transformational
power of a great presentation!
As we continue the series dealing with visual elements within PowerPoint, we now arrive at
incorporating color. Color is one of the key elements in presentation but often misunderstood.
First, we want to remind you as we have often, colors you may personally like may not be
most effective with your audience.
The question any presenter must resolve is if their personal likings overrule audience needs? If
your preferences dictate direction, we can tell you without doubt you aren’t being as effective
Color combinations must be well thought out. For instance, although you may LOVE using wildly
bright colors, they may not be appropriate for older audiences. There are many other examples
we could give of inappropriate color usage according to audience needs but we leave you to
understand your business and audiences.
What color combinations can you insert into your PowerPoint that will make audiences more
receptive to messaging? This question, properly answered, is the difference between good
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Let's dig a bit deeper. We often see PowerPoint presentations whose color combinations are
so generic that although the speaker is engaging, the slides are not.
If we can make what we are trying to communicate a little bit more vivid, think about people
who may wear pants and a shirt that are meant to provoke response from others. These clothes
are often wild and outrageous and combinations so provocative that it is almost impossible not
This isn't to say that it's not a good thing for the eccentric and attention seekers among us to
express themselves! Obviously this opinion ends where lawbreakers are concerned.
In contrast, most who wear clothing whose color combinations work well together, are
Powerpoint is really no different, wild, shocking colors that express individual personality
as opposed to audience needs will quickly erode whatever value proposition put forth.
Of course having images, assets, text and other necessities that work well to produce a
cohesive message are vital however; it must start with the overall color scheme. If the colors
used are distracting to viewers, they will spend more time focusing on the color than what you
are trying to communicate.
We can't tell you what color or color combinations will produce the best result in your
particular product, service or industry. What we will say is that above many
considerations, color should be chief among them.
Let's quickly deal with just a few ways to alter colors on slideshows. When we put together
presentations, the contrast and brightness tool in Powerpoint are usually important.
There may be a wild color that you actually need to use however, make sure you work with
the brightness and contrast tools to see if it's possible to keep colors toned enough to be easy
on the eyes.
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Some time ago we did an article on working with high-resolution images. What we put forth is
that high resolution images of people, places and things are often great assets to include as a
background or images.
Nevertheless, if these high-resolution images are inserted as backgrounds they may need to be
altered within the PowerPoint suite a bit to not distract away from your delivery.
The example in that particular post and a later video tutorial was the image of a wedding cake
in a reception hall. This was one of the most beautiful photos we've ever seen. When we
inserted the high-resolution image onto the cover slide, it looked great!
Nevertheless, when we copied the image to the rest of the slide backgrounds, it immediately
distracted from text. Ultimately we kept the cover slide of the unadjusted high-resolution
image however, we thought it wise to adjust the transparency and contrast on the rest of
the presentation slides.
As we close, to neglect effective color usage is to neglect audience needs!
Microsoft Powerpoint Design Classes HERE!
Adobe PRO X Document Creation Class HERE!