Category Archives: Presenting

7 considerations when updating your PowerPoint template

7 considerations when updating your PowerPoint template
The PowerPoint template is an important component of an organization’s branding strategy and a critical vehicle to share information to prospects, leads, and even staff. While PowerPoint offers multiple standard templates, most firms require a custom design to effectively meet their branding requirements. We often interact with customers who have recently updated their templates, and through this interaction we have learned several lessons:

1. Build templates for all slide types and uses

Before creating your templates, catalog all the slide types you need:

  • While title slides are important, take a moment to think through the other types of slides you might also regularly need, e.g. agenda, one large chart, two small charts, customer feedback/quotes, biographies
  • Will you require different templates for different presentation types? E.g. internal vs. external, by vertical, by function

Performing this step will prevent your team from editing the template and adversely affecting your branding.

2. Use safe fonts to ensure a consistent performance

Selecting an appropriate font set for your template that conveys the characteristics that align with your business can be an artistic endeavor. However, you may want to limit your choice to safe fonts that are commonly available in different PowerPoint installations. This selection will ensure your presentation looks the same across different computers.

 3. Limit the ink required

Although it may seem rare, printing presentations is actually still common in some industries, including management consulting. If your template uses a colored banner behind every slide title, you’ll end up consuming a lot of ink. Instead consider underlining the title to leave more white space.

4. Watch the file size

Images are powerful tools to convey emotions and quickly make your point. When selecting images for your template, determine the minimum resolution required. High resolution images can quickly increase the size of your presentation, making it difficult to share with others and potentially cumbersome to edit on older, slow computers.

5. Use the opportunity to formalize your visuals

Beyond slides you might also consistently need specific images, charts, specific text blocks, and logos. If you are updating and disseminating a new slide template, you may find synergies in also collecting and refreshing all your visuals.

6. Use a slide library to share the templates with your team

If your template is small and simple, follow these instructions to make it easily accessible in PowerPoint. However, if you have a detailed collection of slides and visuals, consider a slide library solution to disseminate the slides and ensure adoption.

We have previously written about slide library best practices and the trade-offs between browser and add-in based solutions. In addition, if you’re using SharePoint 2013, the slide library feature is no longer supported and you’ll need an alternative.

7. Hire professional designers

If your budget allows, consider engaging professional presentation designers. These experts can apply a wealth of experience to build a custom, detailed template package that tightly fits within your brand requirements.

Our top 10 priceless presentation tips for event speakers

We all know there’s more to a brilliant presentation than well written words.

“When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle—people see the world differently afterward.” — Chris Anderson

The best kind are transformative, for the speaker and the audience — words and their delivery have real power. Whether you often get nervous during presentations or are a seasoned speaker, these public speaking tips and tricks will equip you for any event that comes your way!

Creating the content

Structure your presentation around a story

A great story is at the heart of every great presentation. Why? Because ‘humans are wired to listen to stories’. Narratives and metaphors place audiences into the shoes of the protagonist — it encourages the audience to have a vested interest in the presentation. When you’re creating your presentation, structure the content around a central story, following a rough path of problem to aha moment to solution.

Create an image rich, text light presentation

Everyone can remember an instance where presentation slides were a let down. Perhaps there was too much text to read. Perhaps the images were distracting and misaligned to the content. While a great presentation is essential, getting it right is all about the balance.

When creating your presentation, keep your text to the minimum — there’s nothing more mindnumbing than a presenter who just reads off the slides! An image rich, text light presentation is a win. Useful resources for sourcing free and high quality stock images include: Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash.

Making your content accessible

As a professional speaker, there are times where you’re required to present at multiple venues across different cities or countries – and there’s nothing worse than losing a copy of your most up-to-date presentation right before an event. Whether it’s a version control issue, a misplaced USB drive or a laptop crashing on you, having a plan B is key to avoiding any hiccups.

TeamSlide’s integration with Powerpoint means that your slides can be uploaded and downloaded from the cloud with a single click. And with our intelligent algorithms, searching for specific content becomes incredibly easy so you’re not flipping through every deck you’ve ever created. Manage all your content on one platform and make it easy to access your content anywhere and on any device.

Pre presentation

So you’ve got your presentation in tip top shape for the big day. In the precious few minutes before walking on stage, there are few habits you should adopt.

Drink warm or room temperature water, with lemon

We’ve all been there — nerves can make your throat do all sorts of things. Warm or room temperature, coupled with a splash of lemon, can help alleviate the throat dryness. Where possible, ditch the ice cold water, carbonated drinks and dairy products which all exacerbate those issues.

Talk to as many people as possible

Does the thought of speaking in front of so many faceless strangers still give you the tingles? The best way to conquer this is to simply talk to the audience — as many people as you can before the presentation. As you put more names to faces, you may even gain ideas and

At the end of the day, audience and speaker interaction is a win — engaged audiences are the best kind. Consider whether your presentation will have a Q&A component or a live polling feature.

Smile

During nerve wracking moments, the first instinct is to frown. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, helps trigger endorphins, relax muscles and calm nerves.

Presentation delivery

After all that preparation and practice, it’s time for delivering your presentation. Truth is, delivery can make or break your presentation. When you’re on that stage, keep these three factors in mind.

Eye contact

The success of delivery is all in how well you can immerse your audience in the story you’re telling — and there’s nothing like eye contact to really engage and connect with your audience. Choose a handful of people scattered across the room, potentially people you’ve met before, to maintain eye contact with throughout. Ensure you don’t focus on just one segment of the audience (or even worse, just one individual) — it’s obvious and disconcerting.

Confidence boosting poses

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has performed extensive research on how “body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves”. There are several body postures you can do before, during and after to boost your confidence and get you in the right mindset.

Move on stage

Avoid standing in a single spot throughout the whole presentation. Try not to pace back and forth, treading over the same pattern either – as this may seem rehearsed and forced. Instead, let the delivery look and feel natural by letting movement be guided by your speech and the audience’s reaction – it’s okay to stand at parts and move during others. Treat your movement like you would if you were having a conversation with friends or family.

Take note of hand gestures

Did you know: hands open with palms open convey certainty in what you’re talking about.

We all know body language plays a big part in how people perceive you. One of the best presentation tips you can try is to simply change up your hand gestures. As you practice your presentation, keep an eye out for how you naturally use hand gestures and alter where appropriate to emphasise a point.

Involve your audience

Communication is a two way street. Yes, you’re the main event when presenting but if you’re talking ‘at’ your audience there’s a good chance they’ll tune out quickly. Instead, get your audience to sit up, lean in and be active participants – ask them questions, hear their comments and don’t be afraid to veer slightly from your slides if a point of interest comes up.

Apps like Zeetings are a great option to involve shy audience members, allowing them to add comments or ask questions anonymously.

Over to you

Have you got a presentation around the corner? Whether it’s an internal meeting or a large conference, a great presentation can be transformative and influential. What are your public speaking tips and tricks for delivering an ovation worthy presentation? Share in the comments below!


This post was authored by Robert Kawalsky of Zeetings

rob-kawalskyRobert Kawalsky
Cofounder and CEO, Zeetings

Robert Kawalsky is the CEO and Cofounder of Zeetings, a software company changing the way people present their ideas to the world. Kawalsky is also an active investor and advisor to technology and internet related businesses.

4 tips to effectively use images in your presentations

A quick Google search will undoubtedly tell you that images are an effective way to communicate. However, your images need to be high quality, compelling and serve a point or else the audience will quickly dismiss them.

Here are 4 tips to help effective use images in your presentations:

1. Stay legal

Google Images is often used to quickly find images for your presentation but you likely don’t have permission to use these images. Consider paying for images from a stock collection like Bigstock or Shutterstock. If you don’t have the budget for stock photos, consider using photos licensed under Creative Commons as they are typically more open and often allowed for commercial use if the original author is credited.

2. Use images that align with your message

Random images that are placed to just fill space are distracting and reduce the impact of your presentation. Take time to select images that amplify your message:

3. Use PowerPoint to modify images to improve the fit

Now that you have an image, you can use PowerPoint to make simple edits that can make a world of a difference. For example, you can overlap images with your content as in the example below:

Or even just adding text or your company logo can help:

You can even make larger modifications like in the example below where we filled in the computer screen to match our application. Note that this was done solely with PowerPoint.

4. Organize your assets

Consider using a slide library solution to organize your images and ensure that your entire team has access to it (assuming covered by license terms). This help will stop duplicated images from being purchased. When uploading content, use a defined set of tags so that your colleagues can quickly search or browse assets to find the one they are looking for. Note that SharePoint’s slide library has been deprecated and is no longer supported.

TeamSlide Partners with PowerPoint Design Agency Buffalo7 to Help Customers Build Amazing Presentations

As you likely know, building a great presentation takes time and attention to detail. From the messaging to the actual delivery and all the slide manufacturing that happens in between, there’s an art to building engaging, effective presentations that leave a lasting impression.

At TeamSlide, our customers often ask us for insight into developing great PowerPoint presentations. While we dedicate our blog to providing presentation support, some customers just don’t have the time or need additional help. As such, we are proud to announce a partnership with Buffalo7, the UK’s leading PowerPoint design agency, to better meet our customers’ presentation needs.

Buffalo7 offers complete presentation design services encompassing the entire presentation lifecycle. From developing your story and refining key messages to bringing your slides to life with impactful visuals, Buffalo7 has the skillset and experience to make your next presentation shine. Everything they do is made to measure: they apply their knowledge in a way that is relevant and tailored to you, your brand and your audience. Buffalo7 has worked with some of the world’s best brands like UEFA Champions League, Sony PlayStation and Unilever to transform their presentation collateral.

For example, the agency was recently approached by Red Bull to build a marketing dashboard built around the DNA of its brand. Buffalo7 rose to the challenge and delivered a robust presentation template in PowerPoint that Red Bull’s team could use internally to report on their work in a very engaging, energetic way. The dashboard combined first-class visuals with the intuitive drag-and-drop editability that’s associated with PowerPoint.

If you need help building slides, ensuring your presentations works across platforms or pressure testing your messaging, consider checking how Buffalo7 can design PowerPoint presentations that deliver your content in an impactful and engaging way.

For more information on how Buffalo7 can help design presentations that blow the competition out of the water, get in touch at: hello@buffalo7.co.uk.

 

Mapping your PowerPoint slides

Mapping your PowerPoint slides

In the last blog entry, we shared 3 steps to build your PowerPoint story. With your story written out in paragraph form, you can start mapping your slides.

This step doesn’t require PowerPoint – map your slides with pen and paper, with a word processor, or with a notes application on your phone. You can complete this step while riding a cab, on the plane once your laptop has died, or at your office desk.

Write Action Titles

Each paragraph of your story should correspond to a slide and the first sentence of the paragraph, which consists of your primary point, maps to the title of the slide. These are called Action Titles as they they alone can clearly tell your story and make it easy for the reader to quickly discern your primary points and insights.

Action Titles are far more effective than descriptive titles which provide little information:

  • Action: Price and brand recognition are our customers’ primary purchase decision criteria
  • Descriptive: Customer decision criteria over the last 5 years
  • Action: 70% of widget growth is driven by demand from manufacturing automation
  • Descriptive: Widget sales by customer segment from 2009-2016
  • Action: Our market share has dropped 5% as we have been challenged by new entrants
  • Descriptive: Market share analysis

From a visual standpoint slide tiles should be located in the same position and typically written in a larger font than any other text on the slide. Slide titles should not have a hanging or widow word – a single word that doesn’t fit on the first line and is placed alone on the second line. Either shorten your title or increase its length so that more than one word appears on the second line. Alternatively, adjusting the line break position may be an option. Hanging words are considered poor typography because they leave too much white space. In addition, concise slide titles that fit on one or two lines are more impactful as they are easier to grasp and understand.

Sketch out your slides

You should now have blank slides with completed titles. For each slide, quickly sketch out how you’d like the slide to look. Use a combination, of charts, visuals, and text boxes that will best support your title or assertion and can capture the remaining portion of the corresponding paragraph from your story.

Experience helps when sketching slides as the more slides you’ve read the more visualizations you can pull from. To jump start this process you can complete the following exercises:

Put the presentation frame in place

With the bulk of presentation in shape, step back and review your objective (as we’ve previously discussed). Does your presentation need an executive summary, conclusion, or next steps slide to frame the story?

An executive summary typically follows the title slide and provides a complete overview of the presentation. A well written presentation story can quickly be adapted into an executive summary. As a starting point you can use your slide titles from the body of the presentation (or first sentence from each paragraph of your story) to form a rough executive summary. The conclusion slide provides an opportunity to provide a summary, state any overall insights, and pull the presentation toward the final objective. And the next steps slide helps align a small audience on their tasks prior to the next meeting

Consider breaking long presentations into chapters and placing a rolling agenda – a slide that is repeated with the new agenda item highlighted each time. The agenda reminds the audience how the section fits within the broader story. Or if some slides are not critical to the story, create an appendix or back-up section. An appendix can contain extra analyses or research that may answer audience questions.

Writing your PowerPoint presentation story

Writing your PowerPoint presentation story

Before diving into the slide manufacturing process, it pays dividends to step back and map your story. This 3 step process involves determining your objective, understanding your audience’s perspective, and crafting your story to ensure you have a clear, comprehensive and concise presentation.

Determine the objective of the presentation

To start, write down the single primary objective of your presentation.  Some potential examples are:

  • Teach the audience to use a social app
  • Convince the audience to switch from bleached to whole wheat bread
  • Motivate perspective customers to buy your widget
  • Obtain funding for a drone research proposal

Focus on the objective of the current presentation. While your ultimate goal might be to close a sales deal, your current objective might simply be to engage the audience and schedule follow up meeting.

If you have multiple objectives, determine if one is more important than the other. In general, communicating several objectives at the same time risks the chance of confusing your audience or losing their focus.

Your objective guides the construction of your presentation – every slide, visual, and bullet should serve your objective. All other content likely distracts and should probably be removed.

Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes

While the objective defines the end goal of the presentation, understanding your audience’s perspective tells you where to start and what path to take:

  • Is your audience familiar with the content?
  • Are they friendly or hostile?
  • What does your audience want to get out of the meeting/presentation?

With the audience in mind you can compile a list of the content pieces required to achieve your objective. For example, new members not familiar with your work will require additional context and background information. In addition, you can choose a tone that will best engage the audience. If the group is a little hostile, soften the language around big statements:

  • Instead of saying “Adwords will double your revenue”, say “Adwords has shown to double the revenue of companies similar to yours” or “Adwords will likely double your revenue”

Craft your story by first writing it out

With your objective and audience in mind, write out your presentation story. Applying a story format gives you the opportunity to build a more compelling message that your audience will remember. You can write it in paragraph form where each paragraph represents one point. The first sentence states your point and the following sentences support it. For example:

Company X is the market leader in the widget industry with $300M in annual sales. Globally, X has a 35% market share and a near monopoly in Europe. Their widget paint product represents 80% of their business and is growing at a healthy 10% CAGR.

The story also acts as an initial draft of your delivery script.

As you write your story consider how your audience will react to it. Are your messages inline with their thinking or provocative? Typically, strong stories follow an ‘answer-first’ approach where the presentation starts with the key take-away message and follows up with the rationale. However, for provocative messages, consider an ‘answer-last’ approach where you first share the underlying facts before delivering the hard take-away message.

Your Business Presentation Isn’t About You (It’s About Your Audience’s Question)

Your Business Presentation Isn’t About You

Your presentation is days away, but already you’re feeling panicky and sick to your stomach. You hate public speaking, always have, and even though it’s just a hand-full of your colleagues, you feel like it might as well be the entire company.

So you read up on business presentations and learn how to get over your fear of public speaking. You learn techniques for projecting your voice, for appearing confident, for what to do with your hands. You practice over and over until every tiny movement becomes second nature. Then, on the big day, you walk into the conference room without fear. You deliver the performance of a lifetime.

The only problem is… no one cared.

This may be a little blunt, but it’s not about you. You weren’t asked to give a presentation because your co-workers wanted to hear the sound of your silky smooth voice. You were selected because you understand something that your audience doesn’t. Your business presentation isn’t about you, it’s about your answer to a question important to your audience.

Most of us will never give a grand speech in an auditorium with hundreds of listeners – but we will have to give more than one “sit-down” presentation to a handful of our work colleagues.

For these smaller, more common, boardroom presentations, your message is critical. To be successful, skills to identify the critical question and to structure, articulate, design and deliver a compelling answer are needed.

Unfortunately, the presentation training market is flooded with public speaking tips (as if we’re all giving TED talks). Have a look – advice on how to create an effective presentation is drowned out by tips on how to deliver an entertaining one. While a fear of public speaking is common, what should scare you more is failing to effectively answer your audience’s question.

TeamSlide helps you organize, plan, and ultimately present your slideshow, but we can’t design it for you. The structure of your argument, the order and pacing of your topics, the visualization of data, and the other critical nuances of crafting your answer are presentation skills on a whole different level.

SlideHeroes is a course that focuses on getting the substance of your presentation across.

With 20 video lessons ranging from 5 to 20 minutes, the SlideHeroes course covers in detail the process of creating a business presentation, plus the five main elements every effective presentation needs:

  • The Process: SlideHeroes’ step-by-step who, why, what, how process for building your presentation. SlideHeroes shows you how to identify the key question of your audience and organize an answer around that question. The course also focuses on how to ensure the objective and next steps of your presentation are clear.
  • Power of Logical Structure: A chaotic and flimsy presentation is a quick way to lose the attention of your audience. This section teaches the tried-and-true structures of building a logical argument, how to apply them to business presentations, and ways to generate the right ideas to flesh out your argument.
  • Art of Storytelling: Business presentations can be stories with a more practical message. Learn how to create a narrative arc within your presentation. Learn how the same storyboarding principles used in the movies can be applied to slides.
  • Harmony of Design: Looks aren’t everything, but they’re still something. The proper visuals can improve legibility, comprehension, retention, and can even set the proper mood. This section explains the science of sight and explores principles of visual processing. It then examines how these insights can be applied to the composition of your slides.
  • The Science of Fact-based Persuasion: The most reliable method of persuasion is hard-evidence. Here you’ll learn which facts are most useful and how to display information. The course compares the pros and cons of tables and graphs, analyzes the different types of graphs, and gives direction and when to use each type.
  • Drama of Performance: Learn the techniques of delivering a presentation that go beyond mere public speaking, including the best ways to rehearse and small tips that can add life to an otherwise dull graph parade.

The video format of the course is a practical, easy to digest means of learning how to write a presentation. Their segmented video lessons let you learn at your own pace, one topic at a time, with quizzes after each video to reinforce everything you have learned. The static online manuals of other presentation training can’t capture the intricacies of giving an actual presentation – some things you can’t just read about, you have to see in action.

Try SlideHeroes by signing up for their free trial. It will give you a very good sense of the SlideHeroes platform and course. We think you will enjoy it. Let us know what you think!