Oops – Geeking out with Hyperlink and Triggers in PowerPoint

Rick Altman of Better Presenting talks about how to use hyperlinks and triggers in PowerPoint to jump to different places in your slidedeck, giving you the ultimate in presentation flexibility.

Sharyn: We would like to welcome everyone to today’s webinar, Oops, Geeking out with Hyperlink and Triggers in PowerPoint, with Rick Altman of Better Presenting and the host of Presentation Summit.

My name is Sharyn Fitzpatrick, and I am your moderator for today’s event. And I’m also the editor of Presentation Xpert. So, it is my great pleasure to learn yet again, a lot of really great information and tricks from Rick. So, I’m excited to have him here again.

You can find us anywhere on the web. You can connect with us across social media. You can go to our website. You can subscribe if you don’t already to the newsletter. And if you, use #presentationxpert anytime you want to talk about something in the presentation space.

Rick is amazing. I love his conference. I love everything he does. It’s really an honor to have him here again. He’s a recognized expert, especially in PowerPoint and tennis. And he has 15 books. And he’s going to be giving us, you a chapter of one of those books because it’s very appropriate to what we’re doing today. And he is host of the Presentation Summit, which is one of my favorite places to be every fall.

So, at this time, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Rick. But before I turn it over to Rick, I want to just let you know a couple of things. One is, we’re going to be using the keyboard a lot. So, you may hear some keyboard noise. And that is Rick. He’s going to be doing a lot of live demos. The other thing is we suggest that you put this webinar on full screen so you can see everything. So, as he goes from site to site or from slideshow back to the internet, and vice versa, you can definitely see what it is.

So, at this time, it gives me great pleasure to turn this over to Rick and say, go for it, Rick.

Rick Altman:      Thanks, Sharyn. Thanks, everyone. Appreciate the opportunity to hang out here for an hour with everyone. Sharyn and I live about 25 miles apart. But we probably only have 25 degrees apart today. It’s almost 90 degrees here in Pleasanton. No webcam today. I have my swimsuit and a sleeveless shirt on and flip flops. So, that’s the dress code for the day.

As Sharyn mentioned, you’re going to be seeing, you’ll be watching the software in action about 80% of the time today. So, make your screen nice and big. And Sharyn, let me know if I’m going too fast, if we get hit by a latency storm or anything.

The other thing is that I have no script in front of me whatsoever. I have no notes at all. This is going to, like I said, largely we’re going to be driving the software. And while I have a pretty good idea of what I want to show, I have no step by step script in front of me. So, this will be somewhat impromptu.

Also, the webinar software itself usually accounts for at least one crash while I go through this. I’m going to have about eight or nine slide decks open at once. And at least once today, we’re probably going to crash and we’ll just all crash and burn together.

Now, the simplest way for me to describe the topic here is for us to start with the typical presentation. Okay, so it’s a little bit after 9:00 and we have until 9:30 and here are the slides that you want to go through before you get to your dramatic and powerful close.

Okay, so here we go, you start. And after a few minutes, you take some questions. And someone asked a really good question and you give a terrific answer. You give like one of the best answers in the history of Q&A, and that, of course, spawns more questions, and you give more great answers. And so, you indulge this. You allow it to continue because this is what you’re after, real audience engagement and interaction with them. And so, you take some more questions, you give some more great answers.

But before you know it, you’ve got barely five minutes left, and you’ve only gone through about a quarter of your content. So, what do you do? What do most people do? We motor through all of the rest of the slides so that we can get to and probably destroy our dramatic and powerful close. Has this happened to you? This has certainly happened to me. And it’s very frustrating.

And if you’re an audience member, I mean, you might feel bad for the speaker as he’s like powering through all these slides, banging the spacebar. Okay, I got to get going in the interest of time, and all this stuff starts whizzing across the slide and the human response is that you always want what you can’t have. So, suddenly, you see all this stuff flying by. Hey wait, go back. That would look pretty good. No, no, I have to get to the end.

Now, why do we do this to ourselves? I mean, part of it is just human nature. We live our lives and we are linear beings. We typically go from point A to point B. And that’s how we create our slides. That’s how PowerPoint works. That’s how we generally give presentations as a result. We just go from slide to slide to slide. We go from point A to point B. And we just do this in this very linear fashion.

I mean, even if you’re a really good storyteller and you tend to take a path that’s a lot more creative, still your slides, you start from slide one, you go to slide 15, 20, whatever, and that’s the way PowerPoint works, and so, that’s the way we work with PowerPoint and with our presentations.

But wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to? Wouldn’t it be great if, I mean, even if you just once in a while were able to break out of that that linear mode that you’re in just for the purposes of time management, or if you get a creative burst of brilliance and you want to do something in a nonlinear way, wouldn’t it be great if the software could accommodate that? Well, I’m here to tell you that it can. And that’s what we’re going to be discussing today, the techniques in which you can break out of that linear mode.

And there are three basic techniques that we’re going to be talking about. And I’m going to be practicing what I preach, because all of this is going to be using hyperlinks and triggers. And I’ll also say that this is about as close as I get to an advanced topic. And if you’re not able to follow exactly how I do everything, focus on the what, and the how can come later. [inaudible] things that PowerPoint is capable of doing that you probably didn’t know that it could.

Jumping to a Different Slide in Your Deck

And so, let’s start with this, with the basic technique, how to jump to a different slide in your deck easily. Now, here’s what this example looks like. This is a one-hour talk that I give. And so, Sharyn asked me to give this as a webinar. I did such a good job today that she decides that we’re actually going to have a webinar in July after all, and it’s going to be named after my book. And it’s going to be one hour on this topic. And she says to me, actually, I asked her, “Well, what topics would you like me to cover?” She says, “I don’t care, as long as you reserve 10 minutes at the end for a little animation segment that you do.”

All right. So, let me just show you what this deck looks like right now. So, there’s 24 slides in this deck. And here, slide 18. This is the one that Sharyn wants me to make sure that I discuss. And so, I need to make sure that at 10 minutes from the hour, I’m here right there.

Now, you might know that I could actually press one, eight, Enter, and I go to slide 18. I could also press Home, End. So, those are there as part of the navigational construct of PowerPoint. But you know what, the last thing I want you doing in the middle of a presentation when your heart rate is already up and everything else is to have to remember what slide it is.

I mean, what if you add a slide right here and then suddenly, it’s slide 19 instead? So, we got to be able to do better than that. So, let’s say that you’re here on slide five, and it’s time for you to make the jump. Here’s the basic technique. I’m going to create an object. I’m going to insert an action. I could use hyperlink. Also, this dialog box right here is a little bit easier to work in. And it’s also a little more robust. That’s the one that I use, insert action.

I’m going to hyperlink to, and look at all these options I have. Here’s the one I want, hyperlink to a particular slide. Which one? This one, animation without embarrassment. Okay. Okay, so now, I could be here. So, here, I’m working through the deck. And I get to this slide here. And watch what happens when I click this little, see the cursor change, a little hand, click once, and I’m there. Okay.

So, the solution it would seem is that on slide five, you create an ugly rectangle, then you apply a hyperlink to it. So, the folly of this is obvious. If I knew I could make myself be on slide five, I mean, couldn’t I get to slide 18? The whole idea here is that I want to be able to do this anywhere. And we also don’t want to create ugly rectangles on our slides.

So, Sharyn, are you with me?

Sharyn: Here. I just keep wondering, I wonder if we can use this one. We change back and forth between you and I, but …

Rick:      Ooh, interesting. I don’t know. I’ll leave that to you.

So, Sharyn, I can’t do this just on slide five. I need to do it on every slide. So, what do I do? Where do I go? I’ll give you a hint.

Sharyn: You just create your hyperlink. Let’s see, resume the slideshow. No? Oh, boy, you’re putting me on the spot here. Now, it’s answering … Oh, slide master, notes.

Rick:      That’s right. That’s right. We wanted to make this a global solution. So, we’re going to do this on the slide master itself. All right.

So, now, there’s a variety of layouts here that might be used. And what I want to do is I want to go to the slide master itself, not the layouts. And I want to pick something that’s already on the interface, like this cool little camera down here. So, I’m going to repeat those steps, insert, action, hyperlink, to a slide, just what I did before, 18. Okay. Okay.

So, now I know that if I click that little camera on any slide that shows it, I’m going to be able to jump right to there. So, let’s try that. So, here I am. And let’s say that I spend the first 35 minutes on this slide right here. I don’t go any further. That’s okay.

When it’s time for me, I click right there, boom, I’m here. Nobody had to know that I just skipped over 15 slides, 30, 50, 75, whatever it is. Nobody had to know.

Now, I could also program a return. I could maybe make one of these guys be your return. Let’s do that. So, now that was my segue slide layout, this one right here. So, what if I take the keyboard and I say, insert action, hyperlink to the last, not the previous slide, but the last slide viewed, that’s like the back button on my browser. Okay. So, let’s say that. And so, now let’s do this again. So, here we are. Let’s say that someone asked a question about animation. And I want to just jump to that animation slide real quick. Talk about it for a second. And then go back.

Sharyn: Yeah, you got me redoing my opening housekeeping slides, instead of me inserting extra slides, you just made my life a lot easier. Thank you.

Rick:      You’ll get my bill in the morning.

Sharyn: I bet.

Rick:      So, you’re just at the most basic level of adding a hyperlink that allows you to jump to any slide in the deck that you specify. Okay, so that’s the first part of this whole basics. And if there are any questions, Sharyn, we can start right in right now with them.

Sharyn: Well, Charles was just, it’s more of a statement. So, you can hyperlink during a slideshow live?

Rick:      Yes, you can. Now, I can’t create the hyperlink.

Sharyn: Yeah.

Rick:      That has to be done earlier. But yes, with a live hyperlink, I can click any time and make that happen. You just, I mean, I was staging that example where I had to jump to slide 18. But you do this in show mode, which means the assumption is that you are near your mouse to be able to click on it. And we’re going to actually talk a little bit about some of the other ways that you can do, use hyperlinks and actions and triggers also, but yes.

Sharyn: We have another question too. So, well, this now auto adjust if I insert a new slide 12?

Rick:      If you insert a new slide 12, or in my case, the example was 18.

Sharyn: Right.

Rick:      Yes, that hyperlink, let’s go back. This hyperlink that I created right here, oops, hold on, got to get to it, up here. This hyperlink on the slide master is to this particular slide and however PowerPoint identifies it, not the 18th slide in the deck.

I could move this slide anywhere and PowerPoint would still find it when I click that hyperlink. So, that’s a very good question. It’s not just whatever slide happens to be in position 18. But the unique qualities that PowerPoint identifies with this slide. And no matter what it’s called, no matter what it looks like, that’s what it will find.

Sharyn: So, is it a segue slide? I mean, that’s one name potentially you could have for it.

Rick:      Yeah. And that’s this next one right here. That’s a perfect segue to the next thing we’re going to talk about, unless there are other questions about this.

Sharyn: No, no. You can pay me later.

Rick:      Okay.

Sharyn: Back to you.

Jumping to a Group of Slides in Powerpoint

Rick:      I’ll pay you later. So, now, let’s talk about how we can jump to a group of slides. And for this, I’m going to go to a client’s slide.

Cisco here in Silicon Valley, they create all sorts of slide decks that are very technical. And here’s one that they put together for a presentation. And they employed a commonly used technique with an agenda slide that you can see right here. And this agenda slide has all of these different topics on it.

And what they’ve done is they have repeated the agenda slide multiple times. And notice how this one, you won’t be able to see this too well. But notice, that one’s bold. And so, this marks the beginning of the second topic called world without analytics. Then here, it says chassis, that one’s bold. Down here, advanced something. I can’t read it myself at the moment.

But you can see what they’ve done. They’ve used the agenda slide over and over again to mark different places, changes in topic, across the presentation. I’m sure many of you have done something similar to this. But the problem here is that first of all, you got to repeat the agenda slide all over the place. And that means that if you change, if you redesign the agenda slide, or if you rename one of these topics, or if you reorder them, well, then look what you have to do. You have to go change each one of these agenda slides.

So, having a repeating agenda slide like this is not the most efficient way that we can do this. Also, we are bound to going through this in a very linear way. We have to go from this topic to this topic to this topic, and we can’t change it, unless we employ hyperlinks that take us to these sections.

Well, I’m going to do something that’s a little bit more involved than that. And the first I’m going to click right here. So, I’m going to be employing my own technique. I’m going to click on this little thumbnail. And bang, I open right up here. Let me show you that again. Click here. And here opens up that slide deck. It opens it up for me so I can actually edit it and work on it.

So, here is, I’ve changed out just … Sorry, hang on a second. I’ve changed it out just a little bit. Here’s the agenda slide. And I have a segue slides that you can easily see representing these five topics, okay, but only one agenda slide.

So, I want to turn that agenda slide into a smart menu. And here’s how I’m going to do that. I’m going to assume that you all know about, actually I’m not going to assume it. I’m going to introduce many of you to the topic called custom shows. A custom show is a subset of slides that you define inside of a slide deck. And you can do all sorts of things to your custom shows.

And here’s how this works. From the slideshow ribbon … By the way, you’re looking at, what the heck is this version called, 2016. You can do, you can employ these techniques all the way back to PowerPoint XP, so, 2010, 2013, no problem doing any of this stuff.

Here it is, custom slideshow, very simple dialog box that pops up. And I’m going to take the time to actually do all of this. So, here we go. A new custom show. The first one is going to be called analytics. And that will be slides three through seven. So, I’m defining this custom show as slides three through seven. Okay?

When you define a custom show, you are not defining a range. So, if I added a slide right here, in between five and six, I would have to go back to this dialog box and then take that new slide and add it to the custom show. A custom show is very specific and manual. You can create a custom show that would be slides one, two, three, and 40. You can do a custom show that is your entire slideshow backwards. It can be anything at all. So, that’s the first one called analytics.

The next one will be called world without, okay, and that’s going to be slides eight, nine, 10, I’m just looking behind me at this slide sorter view, and it’s those right there, eight through 12, add that.

Next, chassis. And that’s slides 13 through 17. I’m going to keep going. Advanced visibility, 18 through 22. It’d be nice if this interface allowed me to select a bunch at once it doesn’t. So, that part’s a little bit tedious. And then finally, my conclusion is going to be slides 22 through 26. But not the thank you slide, which I hate, by the way, I hate thank you slides, and not the ending slide. Those will be outside of any one of these particular things.

So, there we go. I’ve got specific custom shows. And actually, I could click right now, Show, and it would take you to this slide right here and run through those. And the way that people typically use custom shows is they define subsets in their slide deck. And at any particular presentation, they might want to show only the subset.

So, from the set up show dialog box, you can see show all slides or I can now say show any one of these. That’s not why I have done this. That’s the classic use of custom shows.

The reason that I’ve done this is that we’re going to build a really smart agenda slide. So, let’s go to that agenda slide now, where you can see that this has these little objects here. These are all individual objects. And that’s by design.

Because for this first object, I’m now going to insert an action like I did before, but one of the choices that I have of hyperlinking is to a custom show. So, I’m going to say analytics. Okay. Okay. And now let’s watch that happen. So, here I am, I move to the agenda slide, see my cursor change? What is analytics, work through these slides. And when I’m done, I end up here at the interface. And that was not exactly what you would have had in mind. And I made that mistake intentionally because you will surely do this the first time also.

When you hyperlink to a particular custom show, see that little option right there which I intentionally didn’t click the first time? I’m going to click it this time, show the custom show, and then return to where you were. That’s key for this. So, now I’m going to say okay, and I’m going to do the rest of these also.

World without analytics, hyperlink. I’m going to press tab and C to get to custom show real quick, world without, making sure to click that little guy, and indulge me while I do the rest of these. Sometimes a little bit of repetition here is good when we’re working through topics that you’ve probably never done before. And then advanced visibility. And I’ve got one more and it’s this conclusion.

And now, we have put together this whole little menu. So, what we’ve done, we’ve programmed those five pieces with the content that they match. So, now, watch how flexible I can be. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to Cisco Live, where tomorrow starts here.

I’ve got a full agenda of topics that I want to discuss with you. Are there any that you’d like me to do first? Let’s pretend maybe I’m sitting in a small boardroom, where I really do want to be that interactive in front of a group of 50 people, I don’t think I take a poll like that.

But we’re in a small group, which one you’d like to hear first? I asked the boss, hey, he’s busy. Which one? He wants me to do advanced visibility first. No problem. I click right here. Let’s talk about advanced visibility, yada yada, latency monitoring, instantaneous mode, yada, yada, yada/ I say all these brilliant things and I’m done, right back to my agenda, where at this point, I can go to world without analytics. And I could talk through all of these topics. And when I’m done with them, I know that I will return to my agenda, the one agenda slide that’s here in the deck, but it sure seems as if it’s appearing whenever I want it to.

Now, I can work this deck either way. I could also just advance, press the spacebar, and here I go. I’m going to work through the deck, just in linear mode, world without analytics, here we go. But at any time, now, I do need … So, I didn’t program a jump back to the menu, but I could have. I could have made this little bar right here be my jump back to the menu. In this case, it’s going to be pretty easy to remember that the menu is slide two. There I am back on slide two, where now I could just quickly jump to my conclusion, if I needed to. And yada, yada, then back to here, and off we go.

So, if I wanted to do this completely menu driven, I could actually hide every slide in the deck and only access them through here. In fact, let me just show that real quick. Because I can take every single one of these slides except the thank you slide. Hide them all. So, now they’re all hidden. So, now when I start this deck, watch what happens here, here, there. There’s my thank you slide. Okay. But I can still reach all of these others because the custom shows are still defined.

And then when I’m done, I advance to the thank you and to there. And thank you very much for coming. So, you can do this. You have a tremendous amount of flexibility.

If you have a presentation that is modular in this way and you want to provide the flexibility either for yourself or for your audience to be able to work through this this way, these custom shows that are connected to, that are hyperlinked to objects like this is terrific.

Sharyn, what do you think?

Sharyn: I think it’s wonderful. I was sitting here writing myself notes and had to get myself off mute. But I love it. I’m seeing a whole different way to approach presentations.

Rick:      That’s typically the response, even with people that consider themselves advanced PowerPoint users, these aren’t the kinds of things that you typically encounter on your own. And so, yes, this session, it does make people’s heads explode. Because just about everybody has wrestled with this at some point or another.

Sharyn: Yeah, I mean, I’m sitting here and sometimes you have to approach slides a little different when you’re using a webinar technology, like GoToWebinar, but yeah, is awesome. I thought I was advanced, especially after working with all of you guys, but you amaze me every time I learned something different. And this is probably one of my most favorite things that you’ve shared with us.

Rick:      Oh, my goodness. So, that’s it, we’re done. I’m going to retire. I mean, we can’t [crosstalk]. If there are any questions from the audience, this would be a fine time. And if not, I will head to number three here.

Sharyn: Well, we’re good. We’re getting lots of attaboys for you and people who thought they were advanced LOL, and they’re waiting with bated breath to see what you got next.

Integrating Slides from Other Presentations

Rick:      Okay, well, so the next, so far, we’ve talked about two techniques that keep you within the same slide deck. Now, let’s talk about how you can actually integrate slides from other presentations. This becomes enormously powerful and I do this all the time. And you’re seeing it right now because when I press the spacebar, we now jump to a different presentation altogether. Okay. And so, this is the one that I’ll use.

I do this a lot. I love giving seminars on digital photography. I think it was just the most incredible. It was the killer app of the 1990s. And you’ll change the way that we all take photos and use photos and I love giving simple seminars on this. And I have a set of examples that I keep in separate slide decks, so I can update them very easily.

So, for instance, here are the four topics that I want to discuss in a simple webinar about photography. And each of these I have in a separate file. So, for this one, it’s called candids.pptx, cropping.pptx, zooming, okay?

Now, this is all just a simple little set of, just a text string. And I’m first going to show you what I don’t like to do. I don’t like to apply hyperlinks to selected text. Because when you do this, insert, action, hyperlink. So, here’s the technique to another PowerPoint presentation. At which point, now, I’ll go find it. And in this case, it’s here it is candids.pptx. Okay.

And now here, I can actually jump to a different slide if I wanted to. I can go straight to slide two or three. I don’t have to worry about that show and return thing. That was only with custom shows. And so, here we go, I’m done.

But look what PowerPoint did. It uses that old style, underlining hyperlinking crap, I hate that. So, I don’t do this that way because I don’t want to uglify my slides. So, let me undo that. And I’m going to go the extra mile here to actually create a small shape and put it in front of the text. And I’m going to give it just any sort of color for the moment so you can see it.

So, now let’s do that again. Insert, action, hyperlink, to another PowerPoint presentation. Candids, okay, okay. And then I would make this invisible. And off I go. Now, I’ve already done this on the next slide. Let me just show you there, so you can see all these little invisible boxes. And so, if I were to run this, essential skills for budding photographers, now when I click right there, see again, the cursor changes. Look what it says. It’s hyperlinking to this presentation file. And now, we’re going to talk all about candid photography and how you can be such a better photographer.

This was at a vacation. We met this gentleman who went to hell and back to adopt this girl when she was a baby from Haiti. They’re incredibly close. We became very good friends with them. And I did what most photographers do. I take a bunch of photos, the hope that I’m going to get one of them good.

But my appetite for taking photos is going to exceed their attention span. And after a while, they begin to ignore me. And, oh my goodness, that’s their relationship right there. And that’s such a better picture.

So, here’s a photo of a nine-year-old with the attention span of a gnat. Her mother asked me to take some pictures of her a portrait. She got distracted, that was easy for her to do. What a great photo. Here’s the seminal moment. This is my daughter, Erica, of course, she was about 15 at the time, now she’s 23. But I love using these old photos. And she’s with my sister, Jodi. They are BFF. They are confidants. And this was this was a seminal moment. We were at a luau in Hawaii when I was taking photo after photo after photo.

And my impatient daughter said, “Dad, are you almost done?” And the bossy big sister said, as only she could to the bratty little brother, she said, “Just ignore him.” And when they ignored me, oh, my goodness, because that’s their relationship right there. I mean, they confide in each other all the time. And it’s just such a better photo. And when you can get photos of people when they’re not paying attention, you are just going to become a better photographer.

Okay, press the spacebar once, boom, right back where I was. Nobody had any clue that I went to a different presentation file altogether, a different slide deck. And now I can jump down here and talk all about cropping and how anybody can become a better photographer just by cropping photos. So, this is going to be a better picture when it’s cut like this. Of course, not you see that big tennis ball back there. So, five minutes in Photoshop, and now we’re talking.

Okay, and so, I do what everybody does. I just put people in the center of pictures, and then you get that ugly barbecue and stuff like that. But if we just move them off center a little bit and I’m simply going to use the fact that Jamie, she’s 20 now, and I think she was eight at this photo, she’s sort of facing in just a little bit. So, I’m going to crop her from that side. What a great photo that becomes.

And I’m a big fan of body parts also, when you decapitate people and stuff like that. It’s just a better photo now. And here’s just a little too much noise as this woman is regarding his beautiful coastline. Let’s get rid of that bar and everything else. Let’s cut her off a little bit also, much better.

Sometimes you need a little bit more than cropping. Because once I crop this the way I want, now we have all these weird things like that toaster thing and this guy’s leg. So, again, five minutes in Photoshop. And now we have a photo that’s usable. I would have thrown this away otherwise. Now, I think it’s usable. All right, too much noise in Capitol Mall in Washington, DC, just the right amount of noise. There, anybody can become better. You can improve your photos by cropping them.

And when I’m done, press escape. If I want to be done in the middle, right back where I was. I love this technique because now it’s just very modular in my head. I know where these examples live. And I may have five or six different slide decks that are all linked to that candids slide deck. When I update that one slide deck, every other slide deck that’s linked to it will show the updated slides. So, I really enjoy using this technique this way.

And I’m going to ramp up in just a moment, if there aren’t any questions or comments about anything I’ve done so far.

Sharyn: I have been trying to get a word in edgewise, but you were on a roll. There are several questions.

Rick:      Yes.

Sharyn: There are a lot of questions about how did you make the box invisible?

Rick:      That’s easy. So, how did I make the box invisible? I simply removed the outline and removed the fill.

Sharyn: Well, that’s a duh.

Rick:      Yeah, that’s a duh. Yeah, it’s still there. And so, like, I’ll show you. Watch my cursor. See, my cursor change. It’s still there. It’ll still work even though it’s invisible. I wish I didn’t have to do this. I wish I could select the text. But again, the text looks ugly with a hyperlink applied to it.

Sharyn: So, there’s an interesting question that said, why did a blank area appear at the bottom of the slide when you use the grouping example with the custom show?

Rick:      A blank? Oh, boy, I’m not sure. I still have that slide deck open. Okay, so this slide deck here, ask that again, Sharyn.

Sharyn: So, why did a blank area appear at the bottom of the slide when you use the grouping example with custom shows? That might just be the way you have the slide set up. I can see what he’s talking about.

Rick:      Okay, there’s a blank area right down here.

Sharyn: Exactly.

Rick:      And that’s just because I had to remove a bunch of confidential information from Cisco slides. I’m going to invite that person to clarify the question and see if I can understand it better. What else you got?

Sharing Your Powerpoint Files with Links

Sharyn: Okay, so, I was going to suggest them same thing, we’ll send them a note. So, Belinda wants to know. “So, Rick, does that mean that if you send the files to someone, you have to send all the link files together with the main file?”

Rick:      I’m guessing that’s Belinda Gonzales.

Sharyn: Yes, it is.

Rick:      Who comes to the conference every year and asks great questions. And yes, there is baggage to this. And this, I was planning to discuss it later. I’ll discuss it right now, that this solution works best when you control your environment. It’s great on your own computer. But if you want to share this with somebody else, then you do need to consider this.

And in fact, where are my own slides? Here we go. Give me just a second here.

Sharyn: So, while you’re doing that, you’re thinking, could you use a flash drive? Or?

Rick:      Yeah. Okay, so this URL right here is to a zip file that contains all of the examples that you are seeing today. So, you can open these up and reverse engineer them. That zip file, you put it into any folder, and you’ll see a slide name with the ampersand in front of it, which is the slides that you’re seeing right now in front of you. And then a whole bunch of other slide decks that are all the example files. They all live in the same folder. And PowerPoint will always look in the folder that has the main slide deck before it gives up.

So, the simplest thing is if you put everything in the same folder and you create your hyperlinks, it’s going to work even if you share it with others. But if you start hyperlinking to network drives, cloud drives, subfolders, other hard drives, then you are complicating matters. And if you were to send that deck with its files to somebody else, those hyperlinks might fail. You might have to reestablish the links.

So, the safest thing is use this strategy when it’s just you and your computer. If you do want to share it with somebody else, as I’ve done with this zip file that I’ve made available to all of you at this URL, note that they’re all in the same folder. And so, those hyperlinks should all work for you.

Sharyn: Okay, I mean, that makes perfect sense. So, why do you use insert, action instead of insert, hyperlink?

Rick:      I could use insert, hyperlink. The reason I use insert, action is because this dialog box is not as full. I could link to a file or a webpage, a place in the document, a new document, an email address. It does a couple things there that I can’t do with actions. But the actions dialog box is more robust. It gives me more options. Here’s where I can … I mean, I haven’t even talked about any of this stuff yet. But just the hyperlinking alone, it’s a friendlier dialog box and it gives you access to more things. So, that’s why I prefer it.

Sharyn: So, I’m going to hold off the rest of the questions toward the end, but it’s 11:40, so I’m going to let you move on.

Rick:      Okay, very good. How much time do we have? Now normally, we’re kind of loose with the ending.

Sharyn: Yeah, you were always loose with the endings.

Rick:      So, now let’s talk … I’m going to switch gears. So, up until now, you’ve seen me click things and we’d go places. Go to a different slide. We go to a custom show. We go to a different slide deck altogether. You’ve seen that a few times now. But there’s a whole different way that you can use hyperlinks and actions and triggers, and we’re going to talk about that now.

Other Ways to Use Hyperlinks, Actions, and Triggers

Because what if I’m standing up in front of my audience, I mean, those people have come to the conference who have brought me into their organizations. And I recognize several names here, from companies that I’ve done work for. Most of the time, I’m giving a workshop, I’m standing a good 20 feet away from my computer. I don’t want to be clicking the mouse all the time. If I want to make a choice of several different things, that’s fine. But I want to be able to implement some of these strategies, but I want to be standing up in front of my audience next to the screen away from my computer.

And so, that suggests an entirely different way to do this. And so, I break it down into whether you are pro-choice or pro-freedom. Pro-choice is what you’ve seen so far, where I choose what I want it where I want to go. And I do that with the mouse next to my computer. But if instead I don’t want to be next to my computer, then how can I use some of these techniques. That’s what we’re going to talk about next.

And so, here we are in a slide deck. This is one of the typical ones that I do. If I’m brought in to an organization, I always do something on presentation design. And this is a very significant talk. This is 75 minutes long. But I want to show you what the slide deck looks like. That’s it, eight slides. I’m going to cover 75 minutes of material with these eight slides. And I’m going to do that by integrating many, many other slide decks into this one, starting with this slide right here, slide six.

This is where I tell people there’s these three questions they have to ask. I’m sure many of you have seen me do this either at the conference or in your own organization, or Sharyn, you and I did a webinar a year ago on this very topic.

Sharyn: Definitely did.

Rick:      And I say you have to be able to answer yes to these three questions, including this third one here. And if you can, then you might do okay, and I show an example of a bad slide. It’s called my preparation slides.

Now, I don’t want to click anything on the screen. I want to be standing up in front of my audience next to the slide. I don’t want to have to go to the mouse and click something. So, instead, I’m going to insert the example slides which live as their own presentation file. I’m going to insert them into this deck, not the way I did it before as an action where I click on something, but instead on an object.

Now, at first, you’re going to be wondering what the hell is he even doing and I promise I’ll make it all make sense. But the object is going to be from a file. I’m going to go find that file. So, on my K drive. This is my Presentation Xpert folder. Here’s the one I did for this webinar. And here it is, I call it preparation. If you are really prepared, then you could revive these slides that I’m about to show you. That’s why I call it my preparation slide deck.

I say, “Okay, I want to link to it.” I want to keep the external link. And I could choose to display it as a little icon or as a thumbnail. I’ll allow it to be a thumbnail. There it is. So, this little representation is of my example slides. And I could leave this here on the slide or I could just drag it off altogether.

And so, now is when you’re probably all wondering, what the hell is he talking about? Because how does this become an example. And now, I could click this right now, and actually open that slide deck. Here’s the slide deck that open just by clicking it, there. So, you can see.

And so, here’s what this looks like. So, there’s a really ugly slide and a much simpler slide. And then I show the two of them together. And the whole idea here is that if I was prepared, I could survive this slide right here. But the irony of all of this is that if I was really prepared to speak about this topic, I wouldn’t need that slide. I would do just fine with this slide. And then I show them together to say what a difference of experience this would all be.

So, these are the examples that I’m going to give. And I want those examples to live in a separate slide deck. So, here’s the key to all of this. This inserted object, this is an OLE object, and I’m dating myself. How many of you remember object linking and embedding? Probably only a fraction of you because this was a failed initiative from Microsoft way back in the early days of Windows.

But the whole notion of embedding an object in a different file is quite sound. And the beauty of all of this is that I can actually apply, I can take this object and I can place it in my animation stream.

Now normally, I have animation … Yeah, okay. So, there’s already some animations set up on this slide. I bring these up gradually. And then after they come up, I want to animate the object. And I’m going to go down here to a place that you’ve probably never paid attention to. And it’s very poorly named OLE action verb. And I want to show this OLE object, there, you see came up in my animation task pane as object one.

And if I double click this, I can actually say I want to hide this before it happens all together. And so, now, I want to point out that the next slide here is this one. Okay. But watch what happens when I’m on this slide now.

So, here’s the way I go about this. And we’re talking all about design. You have to be able to answer yes to these two questions right here because a lot of people take that for granted that you actually have to practice and prepare and know what you’re talking about.

And if you could answer yes to those two questions, then you ask yourself a third question. And I talk a little bit about this. I say something about how the projector explode and you don’t have any of your slides, could you still give your talk? And you have to be able to answer yes to all three of these.

If you can answer yes to these three questions, then you might stand a decent chance dealing with the next slide. I’m going to click once. There, there is that example. As if it were right here in this slide deck. I talk about this slide. I show how ugly it is, yada yada. Go to the next slide. You don’t have to if you’re prepared, then this slide is good enough, show them together. And then I’ll press the spacebar one more time, right back where I was.

And with this thing now showing up, that’s my choice, whether I want it to show up or not. And nobody has to know. Nobody has any idea that I went off to a different slide deck altogether. And while now this is not pro-choice, this is pro-freedom, because I didn’t have any choice.

When I’m here, my next click is definitely going to take me to that example. Okay. So, there’s no choice in what’s going to happen next. This is a linear path, but I don’t have to be anywhere near my keyboard with my wireless remote. I could be out working the room. And what I love about this solution is that I pretty much give this talk anytime I’m hired to give an all day workshop.

Presentation design is something I’m always going to talk about. And my basic structure for this hour and hour and a quarter or so is in place. There it is. I’m going to talk about how you are the presentation. I’m going to talk about how this is the way people are creative with their thoughts. Nice quote from Albert Einstein. What does the word “design” even mean? It’s different from decoration. Here’s the slide that I was just working on. Then this slide here, I’m probably going to spend an hour at this slide here, the reasons why people put too much text on their slide. And you can see them all right there. And I have examples for each one of these.

So, if you were to hire me, I would be asking you to send me all your slide decks. And I’m going to look through all of your slides and I’m going to look for relevant examples. I’m going to look for slides that would work well as the preparation slides. I’m going to look for ones that do the three-word challenge, which is what I always do.

The whole business about creating handouts, all the stuff, these are all going to be separate examples. I know what the file names are. I look for the slides. I save them as those file names, I’m done. The structure of my talk is already in place, I just go fill in the blanks with examples from slides from your organization. And I’ve got this thing ready to go. I love how modular that is.

And this whole notion of creating embedded objects that live in the animation stream, that’s really the key to this whole thing. And you will probably, if you start thinking about it, find places where you will want to modularize your content like this. And this is just phenomenal for that.

Questions, comments, Sharyn?

Sharyn: We have a question from Wilma. How do you spacebar from your remote?

Rick:      Okay. The spacebar is simply advanced to the next. So, the wireless remote, that’s just basically advance. When you advance your slides, what you’re really doing is you’re advancing to the next thing. So, in this particular slide, the next thing, if I have my wireless remote in my hand and I press the next button, that takes me to the next thing. And the next thing was to have those two come up together. The next thing is this piece of text right there. So, this is just basic animation. The next thing is that object. And so, that shows up here. And now I work through this particular slide deck. There’s advance, advance. One more advanced will end that slideshow, take me back to where I was.

So, that’s just advancing to the next thing. Here’s the listing of things in the animation task pane. If there wasn’t anything left on that slide, that takes you to the next slide. I mean, that’s just basic navigation with a wireless remote.

Sharyn: Okay, so now that I can read, my eyes are getting old here. So, do we have a choice as to whether we show the OLE object on our slide to the audience during the slideshow?

Rick:      Yes, you do. The simplest thing is this doesn’t have to live on the slide. I could drag it off the slide. It’s still going to operate.

Sharyn: Nice.

Rick:      That’s the first thing. But also, I believe that you’ve got these options. So, first of all, I can have it hide before it happens. And then I can also hide it afterwards, I think. And I’ve never done this before. So, let me just see how this works.

So, with hide after, okay, so there we go. Here are those things. There’s this. Now, I work through these. When I’m done, I come back. Yeah. So, it stays completely hidden now. You’ll never see it, even though there it is. So, yeah, a lot of control for that. I generally just drag it off the slide if I don’t want it to be seen.

Sharyn: Great. I’m going to turn it back to you.

Rick:      Okay, so we’re nearing the homestretch here. Because now, let’s talk about the ultimate in flexibility. This is a hidden menu that appears only when you want it to, because I’m sure this has happened to you that you are wondering what you want to talk about. You’ve got your list of topics, but hey, what if somebody asks me about this? I’d rather not talk about that, or that might derail me. But if someone asks, I want to be ready. So, what do you do? Do you put the slides there? Do you not? How do you deal with that sort of thing? Wouldn’t it be great if you could be this flexible?

So, I’ve invited all of you to one of those seminars where I buy you a lunch in some crappy Holiday Inn ballroom, and you have to listen to me talk about some wonderful investment. Okay. And I wasn’t intending to talk about negative amortization. But somebody might ask me about it. And sure enough, somebody does.

And so, I say, “Well, I’m glad You asked me that,” and I come down here, and I click once, pops a little menu, there’s negative amortization. I click. And now we’re talking all about negative amortization. I spend a couple minutes on these slides, yada, yada, blah, blah. Here’s this, here’s that. Boom. When we’re done, right back where I was, where now if I wanted to, I could talk about low risk versus high yield. Or I could just make that go away, and then go and continue on where I was.

And as an audience, your jaw drops. If you’re a PowerPoint user, you say, “Wow, how did he do that?” I mean, because isn’t that just the coolest of all to be able to anticipate audience’s questions, but not have to be encumbered by possible topics that you would otherwise not discuss? So, how did I do that? Any takers? Sharyn, what do you think? How did I make that happen? Here’s the slide.

Sharyn: Gosh, that’s a good question. I don’t know. You got me stumped.

Rick:      Here’s the slide. And here’s those four things. But as you can see, I can’t click on them.

Sharyn: No.

Rick:      I’m clicking and nothing’s happening. Why? Because where do they live?

Sharyn: In another slide, the slide master.

Rick:      They live in the slide master. So, here’s the slide master. And now, these are just your basic actions like you’ve seen before. Okay. Hyperlink to.

Now, I intentionally have kept these as old slide decks because I started doing this back when the extension was ppt, not pptx. That’s like version XP of PowerPoint. And I’ve never bothered to update these examples. Now I do just to show you that you can hyperlink to slides that are literally 10 years old and five versions old now. Okay.

So, here are these things. But they don’t appear. They don’t appear. Remember, they didn’t appear until I did what? What did I have to do to make them appear?

Sharyn: Well, you basically had to have a link somewhere else. And you could do it off the screen, or I mean-

Rick:      I clicked on something. Do you remember I clicked? I clicked on this little guy right down here.

Sharyn: Right.

Rick:      I clicked on him. And that made these appear. That’s called a trigger. And let me just take a moment to discuss triggers in a very general way.

So, I’ve got two objects on my screen, okay. I got a circle, I got a rectangle. I want the rectangle to appear on a fade when I click, but you know the default of on click that it makes it appear when you click your little remote or when you press the spacebar. I instead want to make the rectangle appear when I click the oval. So, I’m triggering the animation of the rectangle to another object.

So, watch my cursor. See that? Click, there’s the rectangle. That’s called a trigger. And I’m going to now use that same technique. The most advanced part of this really is knowing what object to click on. And PowerPoint doesn’t make this easy. Okay, hold on a second, I need to get to … Give me just one second.

I need to bring in the selection and visibility pane. This is one of the coolest parts of PowerPoint. You get there from Home, select Selection Pane. That brings up this little floating box here that gives you access to every object and verifies. The PowerPoint gives some really strange names to things, Auto Shape 7, Rectangle 15.

So, I’m going to come in here and I’m going to rename this object. I’m going to call it my trigger. So, this little box down here in the bottom right is now called trigger. And you’ll note that these techniques drive my design. My slide designs, I always want to have little bubbles like this somewhere down at the bottom. As you saw before, the little camera icons, just stuff that I can use for hyperlinks.

So, I’m going to take all of these guys right here, and I want them to fade in. And I also want them to fade out. And I just learned of a simpler way to do this. Sharyn, you and I didn’t talk about this, the whole oops part of this.

Sharyn: Right.

Rick:      The oops part of this session is because when you experiment around with stuff like this, you always find things that you didn’t anticipate. And I found one of them myself.

But first I’ll show this the way that I’ve always done it. So, there’s those things fading in. I also want to create a fade away, an exit fade. So, here they all are, fade in, fade out. I’m now going to take all four of these and I’m going to trigger them to, there it is, the object that I renamed trigger, that little guy down here in the lower right corner. Okay.

Sharyn: So, while we’re doing this is using triggers, is this the same thing possible with the freedom of choice method that you showed us earlier?

Rick:      This requires that you be clicking on the screen. So, yes, this is pro-choice, not pro-freedom so much. Although I mean, you can buy a wireless remote that has cursor control and clicks and all that stuff.

So, here we go, watch this. Click, there they come. Click again, they go away. And while they’re here, now, the actual hyperlinks work. So, here we are, da-da-da, blah, blah, blah. Come back, done. Okay.

Here’s what I just discovered. I discovered that I don’t actually need these four. I can do all this by coming here to Effect options, and saying hide on the next mouse click. And when you trigger an item, what this should really say is hide on the next mouse click of the trigger. So, if I’m correct, now, I can click. And I can click again, and they go away. And so, that was my oops for this, because I just learned this a month or so ago.

So, this is fabulous for when you want to be able to be more interactive with your audience. And if you can carve out a little bit of space for a little menu like this, and you put the things on this menu that you want to be ready to speak about, but you don’t want to put them into the flow of your talk, because they might come up or they might not. And it’s ideal for this. You can take this apart yourself from the zip file that I created that shows you all of that.

Questions about that anybody might have?

Sharyn: Nope, I think we’re good. We’re good to go.

Rick:      All right. So, let’s sum up here, the things we’ve talked about so far. That linear slide decks, they might mirror the way we live in life, but they don’t necessarily represent the best way to present. They’re too confining. And it’s this notion of a hyperlink that gives you better ability to manage both your time and your topics.

Inserted objects are awesome for integrating slides from other slide decks and being able to still just use your wireless remote to go from one to the other. And these hidden triggers, they are what really enable you to anticipate what your audience might be thinking of.

So, those are the basics for this. And, at this point, indulge me with a quick commercial because if you enjoyed this topic today, you would absolutely love attending our annual conference held in the fall, the Presentation Summit. Across four days, we will cover the whole of the presentation experience from software, or technique, message crafting, slide design, all the way through to delivery. Three tracks of seminars. We have a help center that is a total hands-on experience from morning until night, sometimes very late at night.

We have an expo that features all sorts of new technology. We create an atmosphere that is unique for a business conference. That photo in the center was not staged. You will not be able to help but make lasting and meaningful relationships. We have watched business partnerships forged, permanent friendships formed. We have had three couples meet at our conference and then marry. So, we are indeed a full service event.

And we found this great property that is just off of the strip in Las Vegas. I don’t really like the Las Vegas Strip. It’s loud, it’s noisy, it’s smelly. About five miles away, we found this incredible resort that we think you’re just going to love.

All the critical information is on your screen now. I would love to hear from you if you thought you might be interested in attending. I recognize from the attendee list we’ve got several people that have multiple stars on their badge. They have come to conferences over and over and over again. We do get a lot of people that treat this like summer camp and they just come every single year. And we’re very grateful for that. And we do our best to give them a nice experience year after year.

And so, at this point, Sharyn, the floor is open to any questions that anybody might have about anything.

Sharyn: Well, several people said best conference they’ve ever been to. [crosstalk].

Rick:      That’s nice.

Sharyn: So, great session. And we do have a question about, can you give a recommendation for a wireless remote with cursor control?

Rick:      Yes, I can. And I can do that. Because of the conference, some several companies representing wireless remotes attend an exhibit at the conference. And there’s one in particular, the old Interlink Electronics is now owned and operated by SMK-Link, S-M-K dash Link.

And they make a whole family of wireless remotes from simple all the way through to super elaborate. And if you come to the conference, you will certainly get a chance to meet John Blair, who heads up that company. And in the meantime, Google search SMK-Link.

Sharyn: Great. Can you tell us again how to advance the next “thing” if you want to skip the OLE object, please?

Rick:      All right, so let’s go back to that one. Look, how many slides, how many things I have open right now. Hey, and I didn’t crash either, that’s pretty cool.

So, that was this one here, where we … So, if you don’t want to advance, if you don’t want to do this, how can you skip past it? Right, that’s an interesting question.

For that, I’d want to do this differently. If I wanted to have the option to do it, then I would not want to have it in the animation stream. I’d want to have it always appear there. And then what I’d want to do is I’d want to go to insert action. And I would set this up so that the action of clicking the object would be something. I can either open it for editing, which by the way is incredible if you are a PowerPoint trainer. If you’re a PowerPoint trainer and you want to be able to just create slides that automatically open your demo slides for editing, that’s just phenomenal.

In this case, what I want to do, I lost my cursor, sorry. Are you seeing my cursor? I can’t see my cursor. That happens occasionally when I’m working inside of slides.

Sharyn: I’m not seeing your cursor.

Rick:      Yeah, sorry. Hang on a second. I just need to …

Sharyn: Hit Escape. There you go.

Rick:      Okay, so that’s what I want to do right there. There we go. Sorry about that. I want the action of clicking it to be showing it.

So, now, here comes the content. So, that little guy is down here. And I don’t have to click on him if I don’t want to. But if I do want to, there we go. So, that’s how we would do that and have the option of doing it.

Now that’s pro-choice, not pro-freedom, I have the choice of doing it, which means I need to get my hand on the mouse. If I want to just be able to click advance, advance, advance to my remote, then I am committing to having this be part of the animation stream. And that’s what I showed before.

Sharyn: So, Rick, I have a question about that. What happens if you want to provide the audience with a handout of your slides? Will the OLE object print? It may print on the slide, but will it print also as the full slide? And if not, what would you do?

Rick:      It won’t, no. And don’t even get me started on printing of slides. Because I think printing of slides is a bad technique and a bad habit. Because it compels people to put way too much content on their slide.

But the simple answer is no. If I print these slides, I’m going to get this. You’ll see this little guy, which might remind somebody, but this is all you’re going to get. You’re not going to get the printout of those slides or I mean there’s about 50 slides in those three examples right there.

But I have always advocated creating separate handouts, not just printing your slides. And the separate handouts, they could indeed have all the content that you’d want to put on them from the examples that you show here and everything else. So, no, they won’t print if you just print slides. Don’t print slides as handouts.

Sharyn: And as a matter of fact, for my last birthday, I believe we did surviving handout hell.

Rick:      Exactly.

Sharyn: So, you can find that on our website as well. So, just go to presentationxpert.com/webinars and you’ll find it there.

So, I know that we are running out of time. So, what I’d like to do is I’m going to take control back and just let you know that we are taking the summer off to late August. We’re not going to have a new webinar next month. But there are plenty of webinars if you want to go back and give yourself a tutorial. We have all of our webinars on our website. Again, presentationxpert.com/webinars.

And again, you can find us everywhere on social media. You will get a link to the recording and also a link to the handouts as well. And we want to thank you for coming and hope you have a wonderful rest of your week.

Rick, you rock it as always.

Rick:      A pleasure to be with everybody and I didn’t even crash. How do you like that?

Sharyn: I know, wonders. Thank you, everyone.

15 Hilarious (And Awkward) Remote Meeting Moments

July 15, 2021

Working from home and remote meetings are just some of the many challenges professionals faced last year.

Many workers had to navigate the intricacies of remote Zoom meetings on the fly.

And as we’ve all discovered last year, one man’s learning moment is their team mate’s entertainment.

From tech issues, weird background noises, and awkward moments, there’s no shortage of goofy moments in these remote meetings.

Here’s a collection of our favorite remote meeting etiquette fails and funny zoom meeting backgrounds:

1. What happens when you don’t ‘leave the meeting’ properly

All was well with this team meeting, until they said their goodbyes and one team member, Tony, stood up, without ending the meeting.

Whoa and behold, he wasn’t wearing pants.

Watch this video to see how his teammates reacted, and what they did to make him realize the video is still on!

Credits to 987TheBull

2. That time when Alexa and Google also attended your meeting

Many remote meeting etiquette fails are about kids barging in or awkward outfits. Turns out, that’s not all we have to worry about.

So sssshhh… they’re listening! They’re always listening!

I’m in a WFH meeting and my Google Home just answered a question someone on the video call asked, unprompted.

I nearly jumped out of my skin. pic.twitter.com/Z5Bv4coG3u— Ashley Casperite (@missalwayswrite) October 16, 2019

Credits to: Ashley Casperite

3. Kids interrupt dad’s BBC interview – goes viral

Ah, this video was a crowd favorite last 2020.

Prof. Robert Kelly was being interviewed by a BBC reporter when his daughter barges into the room demanding attention.

In fairness to Prof. Kelly, he kept his composure and continued answering the reporter on North Korean scandals.

It didn’t work. A few seconds in, his baby barges in on a walker followed by their mom, who then proceeds to drag the kids away while trying—and failing—to not get caught on the shot.

This remote meeting video interview went viral with more than 86 million views, to the point the family got into several interviews with major news outlets. This time, the kids were included.

Prof. Kelly’s funny experience is a great example of why a locked door is the number one tip in many remote meeting best practices.

Watch “Presenting in a Remote World” by Microsoft MVP Nolan Haims for more tips on how to facilitate better remote meetings and presentations.

Credits to: CBS This Morning

4. When cute and funny Zoom meeting backgrounds fail

Zoom tried to make remote meetings a bit more fun with custom backgrounds, as more users started using the software last year in the wake of the lockdown.

While looking like you’re in a huge mansion or an idyllic beach sounds like a good idea on the surface, not all backgrounds work.

Some funny Zoom meeting backgrounds are cute and fun to use, some are just weird.

Studio Ghibli background:

When you find out that #StudioGhibli released iconic background images for online meetings – but you try and it fails  #ZoomFail https://t.co/Pq34WnOQSm pic.twitter.com/BcdoV3oPKX— Dama Sathianathan (@Dama_Yanthy) April 24, 2020

Credits to: Dama Sathianathan

5.  When you turn into a donut…

The meeting starts out okay, everyone is even on business casual.

One guy, Barry, starts reporting the numbers – business as usual, right?

Well, now that we’re on remote meetings, we should expect that our teammates can turn into donuts… among other random objects.

Kudos to his team for trying their best to stay on topic and observing remote meeting best practices.

Despite Barry’s numerous avatar changes…

If you think the face changes is the only thing that makes the video funny, stay tuned ‘til the end.

This just goes to show, however experienced you are in your professional life, using new technology always comes with its challenges.

Credits to: St Stephen’s Church Gardenvale

6. My new ‘coworker’ called my boss

When you walk into your WFH office and realize your #newcoworker just video called your boss…

Anyone else dealing with a lot of new “coworkers”?! pic.twitter.com/3RRqlGvjDb— Matt Staneff (@MattStaneff) March 18, 2020

Matt walked into his new home office one morning to find out that his new ‘coworker’ called his boss.


Depending on how early that call was, I imagine it would’ve been a really funny or awkward conversation.

It looks like she came prepared for that meeting though!

So lock your computers, cellphones, and tablets, folks. It might be easier to keep them unlock if your kids also use them. But passcodes and pins are part of remote meeting best practices, too.

All the parents out there can certainly relate to this…

Credits to: Matt Staneff

7. Cat Interrupts UK MP Remote Meeting

We know cats like interrupting our work, but we love them anyway.

Does that apply though if that cat interrupts an important parliamentary meeting??!

What’s funny is the cat doesn’t just saunter into the background or jumps into the MP’s arms.

One moment he’s explaining, and in another there’s a cat wagging his tail right at the center of the shot.

“Rocco, put your tail down!”

Until now, there’s a huge divide on whether cats are banned or welcomed in remote meetings. Remote meeting etiquette says distractions aren’t good, but cats and other pets are good distractions, right?

Credits to: Global News

8. A good example of how to lead a meditation session, while your kids are around

The guide tries her best to explain the benefits of meditation, all while her daughter does funny antics in the background.

Her viewers didn’t miss her not so subtle signals to shoo the child away though.

Credits to: Agile Mind Meditation

9. Remote meetings can bring your class closer, plus a few awkward side effects

They say the real college experience isn’t just in the classroom but in how you get close to your classmates.

While many thought remote meetings and classes took that element of camaraderie away, turns out, it didn’t.

These Zoom meetings brough everyone closer… a lot closer than students originally expected— or wanted.

First class of the day, Professor asks us to unmute our Mic’s to make the classroom setting on zoom more “real”. Now listening to lecture plus 2 people breathing heavily and 1 munching on chips loudly into the mic #COVID19 #Virtual #ZoomUniversity #zoomfail— John Kemper (@jtkemper_) March 30, 2020

Credits to: John Kemper

10. When a special visit by the kids goes wrong

Credits to: CBS New York

One way to pre-empt kids from interrupting remote meetings at home is just to let them in on them…

A good idea, but not always easy to execute.

Lonnie’s weather report starts out okay when he introduces his daughters. Unfortunately, they weren’t just gonna sit in the background after a brief introduction.

Both girls wanted to be in on the whole weather forecast.

Watch this video to see how weatherman Lonnie handled it:

11. “Take me seriously, this is a business meeting”

What do you do when you’re the boss but you’re stuck as a potato in your remote zoom meeting?

Credits to: Damn Cat https://youtu.be/rQ5BkOvzxew

12. Who says you need to be on campus to drop in on the wrong class?

This guy randomly dropped in on the wrong remote meeting classroom on Zoom. Haha!

Who says you need to be on campus to experience the embarrassment of entering the wrong room?

And after the professor tells him to exit, he doesn’t even know how to go.

Oooofff. Awkward…

Nothing worse than showing up to the wrong class…in the wrong country. #ZoomFail #Zoom pic.twitter.com/ZQ3Pv903Ce— Zoom Fails (@ZoomFail) March 25, 2020

Credits to: Zoom Fail

13. A reminder of why you shouldn’t multi-task on remote video meetings

Words can’t even describe the epic, cringe-worthy fail of this remote zoom meeting.

It starts out normal, one presenter is explaining things.

Seems normal, seems legit.

But if you watch the video thumbnails, one team member is particularly not paying attention.
You can literally see everyone cringing!!

Credits to: Rey Santos Cripto

14. Breakup broadcast on remote Zoom video class

Girl gets mad at guy for flirting… breaks up with the guy.
Meanwhile, her classmates are listening in on the background.

Some of them might’ve wanted to avoid the awkward conversation.
The rest might be tuning in, munching in on popcorn as the drama unfolds

Just a reminder, always be on mute.

Rule one of zoom: always be on mute. pic.twitter.com/EOmBcIAJkD— Zoom fails (@ZoomGoneWrong) March 31, 2020

Credits to: Zoom Gone Wrong

15.  Ooops, did they see that?

Long time work at home peeps say it’s okay not to wear pants, because nobody will see them anyway on their remote meeting.

Well, it’s not always the case.

Will Reeve, ABC News correspondent, was caught without pants after the camera view zooms out. Watch this short clip to see.

Credits to: Newscast Studio

Adjusting and Learning Remote Meeting Best Practices

You weren’t born with the knowledge to search the web and use Facebook right? Like everything else in your professional and personal life, you’ll learn to adjust.

There are plenty of webinars, courses, and even helpful YouTube videos that teach the technical skills and remote meeting etiquette.

Presenting in a Remote World by Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Nolain Haims, is a great webinar that covers the technical, design, engagement, and physical factors involved in successful remote presentations. Tune in to avoid snafus in your next meeting.  

Practice using these software on your own. It only takes a few minutes. If nothing else, avoiding snafus that could land you on funny articles like this one is a good motivator.

What Are the 4 Types of Communication Styles in the Workplace?

Communicating with people effectively in the workplace is key to helping make tasks go as smoothly as possible for all parties involved. Understanding your communication style and the styles of others is an important factor in being able to do this successfully.

Here are the 4 types of communication styles, what to expect when working with them, and how to get access to employee training to improve communication across the board.

1. Passive

Passive people typically do not like confrontation and will do whatever they can do avoid it, whether positive or negative. They’re often people-pleasers who don’t want to upset anyone and would rather burden themselves than someone else. They may have passive communication and may be dishonest with themselves and others about their emotions and how they feel about a particular person, place, or thing.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

A passive person at work may:

  • Take on tasks they don’t have the bandwidth for
  • Blame themselves for problems at work that they aren’t involved in
  • Not volunteer for jobs or tasks, even if it’s something they enjoy doing
  • Readily accept criticism, even when it is undue
  • Do whatever they can to keep peace in the workplace

2. Passive Aggressive  

A passive aggressive person also does not like confrontation, but generally isn’t a people-pleaser and has little desire to go out of their way to benefit someone else. In fact, they may be a little off-putting or short in their speech or mannerisms as they often don’t try to be overly polite. They tend to show aggression in passive ways that have plausible deniability.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

A passive aggressive person at work may:

  • Take on a task they don’t enjoy doing and do it poorly to get back at the person who assigned it to them
  • Discreetly suggest others might be to blame for a problem in the workplace
  • Make catty comments about tasks or coworkers they don’t like
  • Fail to communicate their needs directly to their supervisors
  • Act in unpredictable ways

3. Aggressive

An aggressive communicator has no qualms about confrontation, positive or negative; in fact, negative may be more welcome. Aggressive people can be very motivated to perform well but may have an angry outburst if they aren’t able to meet their own high expectations of themselves.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

An aggressive person at work may:

  • Directly blame someone else for a problem in the workplace
  • Start arguments with coworkers instead of calmly talking through disagreements
  • Use others to get ahead
  • Appoint themselves as a team or group leader without consulting management or being assigned as a leader
  • Talk over others during meetings

4. Assertive

An assertive communication style is often the easiest to engage with, but it’s the one that comes the least naturally. Most people have to put in a solid amount of effort into learning and consistently using assertive communication skills. However, this often pays off in droves when working with others.

This Communication Style in the Workplace

An assertive person at work may:

  • Appropriately express honesty and tactfulness when discussing work-related tasks
  • Be quiet yet confident in their own abilities to do their job
  • Feel empathetic towards other team members who may be struggling and offer them a helping hand
  • Help delegate and distribute work evenly among employees
  • Maintain a respectful demeanor in the workplace most or all of the time

Help Your Team Communicate Better with Employee Training Webinars from Business Watch Network

Good communication is one of the most important aspects of a well-functioning team, especially now that many teams are and will continue to work remotely. However, many employees need help finding out what communication style they use and how they may be able to improve it to better understand others and help others understand them.

Related Webinar: Walk That Walk and Talk That Talk: What the Most Confident Leaders Do and Say

Business Watch Network offers 24/7/365 on-demand recorded webinars to help you train employees when it’s most convenient for your company. We also offer live webinars for maximum engagement with your team. Browse our plethora of resources now to learn how to better support your team or contact BWN to find out how to use webinar training to enhance their skill sets.

Webinar Bootcamp: Proven Steps to Success

In this discussion with James Hilliard of Hilly Productions, we discuss webinars, and some tips that you might use to think about webinars a bit differently and make them more effective.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I want to welcome everybody to today’s event and as you’ve been hearing, we’re talking about webinars, which is one of my favorite topics. So just to remind you I’m Sharon Fitzpatrick, the editor of PresentationXpert. And with me is James Hilliard, from Hilly Productions, who’s done a lot of webinars. We’ve enjoyed getting to know each other and learning about the different philosophies and stuff we have about webinars, and I know he’s got some great content for you as well. Want to thank Citrix for being our sponsor for today, we’re really excited to have them on board. And we’re using Citrix platform today so you can try it for free for 30 days, all on your own. Join us, stay connected, we’re on Twitter, we’re everywhere. You can also, if you decide you want to share this with someone after the fact, you can find it on YouTube or our website. So at this time, what I’d like to do is turn it over to James.

Bootcamp for Webinars

James Hilliard:  Hey thanks Sharon and what I want to do right out of the gate here, Webinar Bootcamp, I want to kind of define what that is, what it means to me, and kind of give us a mindset so we can think about today’s presentation. A bootcamp. Typically, if you’re exercising, those boot camps are ways to kind of shock your system, do things a little bit differently. And so that’s the mindset that I had what I put this presentation together. So whether you’re someone that’s just getting started with webinars or whether you’ve done a ton, think you’re going to be able to take ideas throughout all this. I say these are proven steps to success because I’ve tried them all, they’ve all worked. Will they work for you? I think they most likely will but what it always takes, any time you’re putting these types of presentations together, is a little experimentation. With this audience today, this is a much more community-based group. So based on that, will do things a little bit differently, we’ll make some adjustments.

If I was doing this at another outlet, some other group that had a different focus, maybe less of a community focus, then I might do things a little bit differently, right? Experiment and trying to really hit the audience. Fast and furious ideas and tips as we go through and that we do have some handouts which I’ll talk about in a little bit which are really geared towards doing your extra work at home. Yeah, you go to the gym to work out but you should be doing a little bit extra outside of the gym as well, so that’s the idea behind those handouts.

What I love from all of you right now is touching your computer. Doug, calling out to you, Judith. And just let me know many webinars have you produced, coordinated, been the lead on whatever language you want to use their want to get an idea of how many of you have really done these. Miguel, zero. Right, so you’ve attended a lot as we heard, you and Sharon know each other through this platform and these platforms that haven’t done any. Owen, zero. Ray, hundreds. Awesome. Teresa, six or so. Gretchen, four. Brian you’re in the hundred-plus club as well. Pretty cool. I’m going to let more of you type on and we’ll come back to a few more or those here in a bit to see how many you have done.

As you’re continuing to let me know that, I want to let you know that our goal is to talk about and give you an idea of getting away from 60 minutes and moving towards 30 minutes with maybe some 15 minutes of Q&A. Now today, we’re probably use a majority of the hour but I’m going to share with you how to move towards 30 minutes. We’re going to talk about those handouts, you can download them now. They’re really useful to again, continue experimenting and practicing after this event is over. You can ask any questions any time which I really do encourage. Sharyn’s going to be along to continue to move some of those in. We’ll have a couple section breaks and that’s where Sharyn’s definitely gonna jump in with some of the questions that she’ll be watching from all of you. And a couple polls that we’re going to be popping out to you as well, those are coming a bit later in the presentation.

Camille, you designed and deliver some of these events, which is awesome. Linda, you’ve done about 10. Dozen says Karl. A few dozen says Gary out there. Five to six from Audrey. So we’ve got a range, we’ve got some in the hundreds, some kind of just getting started and in the few. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of approximately 3,000. Haven’t done the official audit but doing about 200 a year for 14 plus years and some years were bigger and more, about 3,000 and I enjoy this as a medium. And I want to start, as I dive into a little bit of the content, kind of flip the script a little bit. Oftentimes you might go to a webinar and someone will make an argument for a whole bunch of things and then at the very end they say, “Hey, here’s my key takeaway.” Well my key takeaway, I’d like to surface right at the beginning for all of you. And it’s, have a plan. It goes back to the bootcamp idea. You might start a bootcamp, you might start an exercise program, you might start jogging because we’ve just come out of holidays and we ate a little too much so we want to trim down a little bit.

We might have gone to the doctor and said, “Hey James, cholesterol, a little high, let’s get some more exercise so that we can lower that.” Whatever reason when one starts usually some type of exercise, you have an end goal, you have a reason to be doing it. I suggest that a lot of teams are missing that reason, that why, to do a webinar and so I really want teams to focus on that. And one of the big key kind of why’s that I suggest two teams is webinars, as I said a bit earlier during our icebreaker, great to have a communication and share information with audiences. But also a great opportunity to listen to audiences and hear what they are saying.

And so I think there’s a ton of content that gets created in a webinar. And a lot of teams just don’t do anything with that. They think the end game is just get through the webinar just present it and then they’re done with it. I suggest there’s so much material you can mine from these events. One of the things I love doing is transcripts of these for my customers. Rev.com calm is one of the places you can do them yourself as well. If you get a transcript of a sudden you’ve got a ton of content that you can now start using on your blogs, Twitter, infographics. The items on the right, those are some highlights from my website. Just little cut downs, two and a half, three minute spotlights of some content that happened on a live webinar. Little voiceover says, Hey, on a recent webinar Sharyn talked about this.” And then there’s a clip of Sharyn sharing some great info. And then that little voiceover, “Hey, if you liked what Sharyn said, she also talked about X and Y, go listen to the archive.

Much more dynamic than the typical reminder emails that say, “Hey sorry, we missed your event, you didn’t come out, here’s the link.” So keep your eyes on the endgame, why are you doing these events, what is your end goal? I think a lot of teams don’t think about that so I think you should.  [inaudible] segments and we’re going to break it down this way, we’re going to structure, talk about ten minutes or so kind of the timing of events. We’re going to talk about setting up for success, that’s going to be the more technical, it’s going to be talking about audio, lighting, video usage that type of thing. And then we’ll talk about some engagement with your [inaudible] just going to jump on in and facilitate some of the questions that are coming in from all of you out there. So really appreciate all you being on board here.

I’m going to go ahead and kill the webcam so we can focus on some of the slide content in those right now, we’ll probably bring it back on during the final Q&A session. Let me turn that off right now and talk about timing. I mentioned earlier that one of the things that I believe is that we need to have these shorter. And it’s not just me thinking that. I got this email earlier this year just about two months or so ago. Major PC manufacturer. And in their email they said, Hey, IT decision-makers,” and I work with a lot of technology and IT firms. They’ve got busy schedules. We see our webinars are not getting as many people and they’re too long. So what can we do about it? And I was just smiling ear to ear. I was thrilled to give this email because it played into an idea I’ve been sharing with a lot of team that we need to start thinking about 30 minutes for webinars. Are you getting to there overnight? probably not. If we start working out in the boot camp we don’t go from a size 36 waist to a 32 overnight, go from a 14 to a 10 overnight, it’s a process. So I’m going to share with you some ideas on how you might start trimming and cutting your content down in terms of time here.

30 Minute Webinars

Look at your calendar. Probably 30 minute meetings all over the place, might have an hour here or there, but most likely 30 minute meetings. It’s that type of world we live, we live in a Twitter world, 140 characters to try and get a message out. These are the types of things that if we think about our lives, now let’s start thinking about our audience. Our audience has these shorter time frames as well. You may have seen a Microsoft commercial, not a Microsoft commercial, Microsoft was behind some of the survey data that was used but it’s a television commercial out there and a young lady’s driving and she starts singing and all of a sudden she disappears into her mind and she’s on stage and everything. And the whole premise is that then the car can be taking over and break for her and keep her safe.

It goes to this idea, it came from a Microsoft survey, looked at content consumption by consumers between the years 2000 and 2015 with all this digital media and content that we have coming at us. Our 12 second attention span back in 2000 is now an eight second attention span in 2015. One second smaller of an attention span than goldfish. Apparently goldfish have attention spans of nine seconds. Who knew? Who did the research? I’m not quite sure but the bottom line is we want to try and get to content sooner and faster for audiences. So let me give you an example or two of how we can do that.

My argument is that we should be shorter. One way that all of you immediately could cut time out of your events is cut out, if you haven’t already, i-charts like this one. Well, I know it’s hard to read on the screen but I’m going to read it to you anyway. If you’re in Scottsdale you want to get on the 51 and go south towards Phoenix and then… These i-charts, how many of you, you can actually raise your hand, we got the raise your hand function enabled on the GoToWebinar tool today, you can raise your hand. How many times have you been on an event where someone brings up a very busy slide and says, “Hey, I know this is hard to see but I’m just going to read it to you and waste your time anyway.” Lauren, Ann out there, Tammy, I think you were the first ones throw your hand up. We’ve got like 30% of the audience almost now, Clinton raising your hand, Julie out there, right? People do that.

If you’ve done it, knock that off. That’s not what a webinar is for. Maybe that’s a one on one demo. Maybe that’s a phone call with your customer. But not in an environment like that so that’s one way that you could shorten a lot of content. Or use some handouts, I’m going to kind of demonstrate that at the end of this section in talking about several the handouts that I have, which are the real tactical tips I think you can use when you walk away from this event. So cool, thank you for raising your hands on that, we’ll do that one or two other times throughout the presentation here.

Let me show you just a couple of real simple examples, these are oversimplified. But when we’re trying to deliver content to our audience we want to give it to them in a manner that they are used to. In the left-hand side A is a problem. B is kind of a solution to that problem. And C, this is how your world is now, this is the benefit, this is the end game, It’s a very simple way of sharing content in a world where we’re bombarded with so much content. We have these short attention spans, why not go with a very simple easy formula to share your story. That’s one option on the right hand side, those chevron’s is just another repeatable way of structuring content. Main point number one, then maybe give a little example, and then share a story. Then main point number two, examples, story, and then so on. And what you’re building is a repeatable pattern that your attendees start saying, “Oh yeah, I know that pattern. “Okay, I’m going to hear… He just gave me a main point, I’m going to hear an example now. Now I’m going to hear that little story.” It’s just a very repeatable easy way to deliver content. So those are ways that you can shorten and start editing your content.

We are humans, creatures of habit. We remember things in patterns. In the Q&A, tell me whose phone number this is? Do not, please, please, please, please don’t go to Google and don’t put this in there. This is from your own memory, whose phone number is on the screen? I will come back later on, Teresa you’re right, but I will come back later on and share whose phone number that is. The reason I put this in here is I bet you could also, you can do your own little experiment right now, think about your home phone number when you were growing up as a kid. It’s the same little seven digit pattern I bet many of you can remember it. Clinton you’re right, it is a song, think about it it will come to your mind. And I promise Clinton, I’ll tell you at the end of the event if you don’t remember who it is, I’ll tell you who it is so if you’re not suffering the rest of the day trying to wonder what’s going on there. Repeatable patterns, that’s the general idea that I’m sharing here.

In terms of, I said that you want to try and move towards 30. A lot of us do 60 minute events, you can’t just one day do a 30 minute event. It’s going to be hard so you might want to start chunking your content. Maybe you do a two part series, share part of the content on one event, share part on another. Another thing I’ll share, if any of you happen to do technical content. I run into a lot of teams that try and talk to technical people as well as business people in the very same event. That’s going to need to be like a 60-minute event, that’s two conversations you’re trying to have at once. My suggestion, how about two different conversations? How about a 30-minute technical conversation and then at the end of that saying hey technical audience I’ve got some business ideas to share with your business partners there will be much more focused kind of on the language and the challenges they face. Share this with them have them register for the business conversation it’s only gonna be 30 or 40 minutes of their time, and then you’ll both have heard content related to a main subject but really geared towards your individual audiences. IT maybe and business, and then you can have a better conversation offline about this new technology while user what have you.

So the idea of doing things in segments, ongoing conversations, those types of things are ways you can start shortening things down. Now it does take some work. I pulled this quote, many of you maybe have seen a quote like this before attributed to Churchill, other heads of state. I pulled it from an old book about public speaking back from 1915. The gist of it here is, if you ask someone to do say a little ten minute speech, takes a little editing. If you’re doing a presentation, all of you right, we’re here with PresentationXpert, you understand that it takes a lot to trim down and create a really concise presentation. So if you need to do a 10 minute deal, it’s going to take you a while to put that together. If you want to do a half hour presentation, and you’re starting already at an hour, you’re gonna have to whittle and edit and cut some things down.

If you want to do, like me, if I want to talk for three hours about webinars right now, Sharyn and I could easily do that, that’s what we do, we love this stuff. So it takes effort to cut things down. But if you do, I suggest you’re going to get to the real key nuggets that are of interest to your audience, it’s going to benefit you, it’s going to benefit them as well, they’re not going to feel like any time was wasted when they finally do join you. This is almost the very end of section one, there are other items that go into your timing and it goes into the idea of preparing your content, promoting your content, things of that nature that all go into a successful webinar program. The GoToWebinar organizer checklist that you can download from the handout section, that is really tied to some of the things I’ve just talked about. It’s a great I think just two page guide that walks you through all the little steps that you could be doing four to six weeks before an event, two weeks before an event, hours before, minutes before, et cetera.

The dry run conversations, that’s really going to tie towards the next section that we’re going to get into. It’s a bit of a checklist that I’ve created and there’s some of the conversations I like to have with teams about a week or so before we do a live event and then the five steps to moderating a webinar is something that I wrote for Citrix and GoToWebinar about two years ago, still really relevant I believe and it’s going to tie really to the third section the idea about engagement and if you find yourself in a moderator roll, some of the things you can do. So those I would love to have you [inaudible] would be a little more technical, be set up for success. Love to toss it back to Sharyn and see if there are any questions or comments again we’ll share that song later, but if there are any other questions or comments or anything Sharyn you want to add here on the timing ideas I’ve talked about.

Webcams During Webinars

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Actually Jim just came up with a question asking what was the strategy to turn off the Webcam? Isn’t visual variety really important in a webinar? I think that’s a great question.

James Hilliard:  It can be and there are many different ways to use webcam. Some folks keep the webcam on the entire time that they do a presentation. There are certain presentations that I do, Jim, where I do keep it on there. In here we chose, start at the beginning, little bit of in the engagement, cut it back down. Especially because I’m going to be doing, as is a little bit different from these PresentationXpert webcasts that Sharyn often hosts. A little more of a back seat today from Sharyn in terms of allowing me to get through the contents in a very short period of time instead of just having her there kind of as a bobble head, just listening and nodding around or anything like that we chose to cut those down there was less distraction there on that.

I also talked to a lot of teams, Jim, that are just getting started with webcams. I think it’s a really great way to start by starting small. A lot of people don’t like to be on camera. I used to be on video and do some television, news reports and things like that so I’m very comfortable with it and enjoy doing that. I know Sharyn is as well. There are teams, Jim, that aren’t, so it’s a demonstration of start small, use the tool effectively and then move on. But definitely you can experiment and if your audience is calling for, “Hey, we want that video all the time, it’s something you can absolutely work on. And Clinton, the handouts should be on the GoToWebinar tool on the right hand side of your dashboard, should have a handout section to download those, Ed’s work with some of you all those as well. Anything else that you saw there Sharyn.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          No, everything is pretty quiet I’m going to turn it back to you.

Webinars – Setting Up for Success

James Hilliard:  All right, well let’s talk about setting up for success. A team is a great thing to have Sharyn on board, me, Ed working on some tech questions on the back end, I’ve got one of colleagues from Citrix joining in watching as well learning, she and I are going to be… Actually she’s going to make an appearance later on the presentation, she might not know that but a colleague Erica is with us, she’s going to make a special appearance later, so get ready for that Erica. Bottom line, I hope, I would wish all of you could have a team this big. Raise your hand again if you have a team this big. Odds are you don’t, you probably have a team of one, maybe two, maybe three or four. A lot of you are probably going to find yourselves out there doing your own type of events. Whatever your team is, if you do have a team, it’s great to get together. Sharyn and I today, we’re talking about some execution ideas, we’ve spoken in the past, so we know what we’re going to do. Ray, you would love to have one or two to help out, yep I bet you would. I would as well, it’s great when I have someone like Sharyn on board. But oftentimes, many of us are going to find we’re doing things by ourselves.

And so I’m going to share with you through the section a couple things that you can do to set up, make things easy for yourself so you could execute an event as a solo or maybe two folks out there. If you’re lucky enough to have a big team, and I saw a few people raise their hands, you want to make sure everyone’s involved. Does your sales team know that you’re doing a marketing webinar? And if they do know, do they have access to those handouts? So that when someone, a potential client, emails their sales rep and says, Hey, just watched that webinar bootcamp thing, you got those handouts?” Your sales person doesn’t say, “What bootcamp and what handouts?” So make sure as many people know about the event as possible.

Locations are important. This is actually a pretty recent picture of the location I’m in right now. I’ve got some lighting, I’ve got microphones and extra headsets, I’ve got telephones, I’ve got extra mics, I’ve got lighting, I’ve got sound proof, I’ve got a lot of things that make me very, very comfortable. My idea here is not to say you have to go out and set up your location just like this, because some people might get freaked out by a bunch of lights and a bunch of cameras and things like that. If you’re lucky enough to have a space, get people in there ahead of time. It’s kind of like any of you that have done presentations on a live stage, you probably feel a lot better when you get to be on that live stage before your event. So let people be in a comfortable location. I would suggest that a cubicle farm, not the best place to do a webinar because there are a lot of distractions. If you’re using video, Jim, you might have people walking back and forth behind distracting from the events, those are things to consider.

But you want to make sure that your attendees your speakers are at a really good comfortable location. Might be a home office, could be a conference room. But it is important to think about that and think about the environment so that you can be in a very comfortable place to deliver the content. Your audience needs to hear you. That, first and foremost, is still a foundation for webinars. Do you use the telephone or you do you use some type of microphone or headset? Quick little story on the phone there you might be saying, “Man, rotary phone, why would you pick something so old? Those old AT&T rotary phones were magnificent. Great microphones in them so they sound amazing. If you could get your hands on one, more power to you. Probably can’t. A lot of phones these days, cell phones in particular, aren’t the greatest on audio. So I do encourage teams to stay away from that. I happen to use a microphone, I’ll actually show you the one I use a bit later on, but this is a USB microphone that I use.

What’s cool about the GoToWebinar tool that we’re using, is you can quickly scale through different types of audio. My biggest suggestion is hopefully the platforms you choose, hopefully it’s GoToWebinar, but if you’ve got other platforms, get into that platform and do a test. See what your audio sounds like. See if people could really hear you. Now sometimes, I’ll do a quick call with a colleague and I’ll just use my laptop microphone. It’s good enough for 10 minutes. I wouldn’t want you all to suffer listening to me for 45 minutes here on that crummy audio. I want to respect my audience more so I’m going to try and give the best sound possible. So my big advice here, test, see what sounds good. If you’re using a headset, see if it’s comfortable for you for a longer period of time if you’re going to be doing 30 minute or hour long type presentations. Is that comfortable for you? If it’s too heavy, try and get something smaller and test every time you go live because sometimes you might use another program and your microphone might get hijacked by that other application, so test those before you go live just to make sure That’s where you’re having one or two other people to be part of your team would be great just to be able to listen in, make sure that ultimately your audience can hear the message you’re trying to share.

There’s Erica. I told her she would be making a special guest appearance. She did me this favor of taking this unflattering photo and sharing it several years back with me. We did it to demonstrate that when you’re using video you want to make sure that you’re looking as good as possible. There she opened up the shades it was staring right into the sun, right, making it very difficult for her to see and not a good visual ultimately for the audience. So that’s something you want to avoid. Again, my suggestion here is testing. Jim, you mentioned one I’d use webcams all the time, it’s definitely an option. Whatever choice you make folks about using video, test it. It is a tool, it can distract from your event if it’s not set up correctly.

And I’m actually going to be a little demonstration of my video here in just a moment. This is an example of a layout, me doing a pre-call from my house, you notice the headphone but I’m kind of in grubby clothes, my kids or my wife could go walking in the back [inaudible] we just slid forward on slides a little bit, we’ll leave it here for a second because I’m gonna go right to the demo anyway. But I wouldn’t want to a webinar, there’s a little shadow on my face there are some things that can be done to make the video better. So let me pop the video camera back on here. There we go, and I’ll advance one more slide here just this little demo here.

And the idea is having good line sight with your eyes, so I’m looking right into the camera now. Jim, that’s another reason that I suggest the team’s practice a lot before keeping their camera on the whole time because often what I see is something like this. I see people have a camera on but they’re looking down at notes or content and that’s not connecting with the audience. That I think is more distracting, right? So I like to be able to get that line of sight. You saw my setup, I’ve got my laptop I’ve got a second screen now and that screen, this is high tech folks, is up on a little wicker basket. But what that does that raises the webcam up so I can have that good line of sight, If you didn’t have that opportunity, maybe a tripod? You can put the camera on a tripod and raise that up?

It’s another thing you can do, if you have multiple people in the room, and you’re trying to use one camera, one existence, let’s say GoToWebinar to communicate, if that’s on a tripod, you could gently move that and now you can have again that same line of sight using one camera for multiple people in a room. So experiment, play around with what you want to do there. You see the headset in the screen grab here is how I’m talking to all of you today, this is a AT2020 USB microphone about 120, 150 bucks. I get no residual, those are kickbacks on it. I just love the microphone, it sounds strong, it sounds good, and coming from my old radio background, I’m just used to talking to microphones and then so the feel for me and my location helps. And I have it just below the screen so it’s not distracting it’s not in the way but I can still gives really good audio.

You notice my background, not very distracting. I’ve actually changed things up a little bit got rid of a couple pictures and put in an old radio I had there. Maybe I’ll keep it, maybe I won’t. But you notice the background not distracting. I also have some lighting which you saw in the picture previous. Maybe I’ll scroll back up there just a little bit to my desk area. As I do that, have some lighting in front and put the lighting up there so that you can have a good look, not a lot of shadows and things like that and we’ll come right back in here, you see there’s one of the light rigs in front of my computer, that’s where you see the webcam is elevated. So those are a couple things that you can think about in terms of if you are going to use the video, make sure you use it so that is very effective, make sure you’re using the best audio. Test all these things, that’s the big key with all of these slides in idea, is test it before you’re out there with your audience.

Cool thing about these tools is you can share video and you can immediately take it away. You can switch audio if something happened to your computer, you could move quickly over to the telephone. So there are a lot of things that you can do in that manner in terms of just testing and making sure it all works. Last thing, I’ll show you here, back to this slide, is that you see I’ve pulled out the polls, I’ve pulled out the questions. This allows me to see a lot of things. Some tools allow for it like GoToWebinar, others don’t. I really suggest teams fine tools where they can spread out and have as much access to all the tools as possible. Utilize two monitors if possible, really makes organizing and delivering event, especially if you’re doing it solo like so many of you said earlier, gives you that opportunity to do that because you can see everything at your fingertips.

Last idea I’ll share on kind of the setting up for success is don’t forget that we are really in a mobile first world, and this is something, you saw a picture of Erica earlier, that she utilizes when she logs in, she logs in on a tablet as well so that she gets an idea of what the audience is seeing. And I don’t want any of you to forget about that because more and more, you will have people on their tablets, on their phablets, on their phones, logging into these types of events, don’t have a lot of words on the screen. You see that I’m trying to do a lot more visual, I’ll talk a little bit about visual presentations and design in a couple of moments, but it’s really important to understand the experience that your attendees would be having and because so many of us are going to be consuming these presentations and events mobilly, make sure you know how things look and this can help you start adjusting your slides, your content, your interactions things like that. So don’t forget, mobile world, some teams are really focused on presenting for the PC, for the Mac, but they’re forgetting that oh yeah, people are coming in. So something to think about and consider there.

We will be talking about engaging with your audience, that includes things like slide design, I’ve got some examples from PresentationXpert that I’m going to direct you to that I want you to engage with because I think there’s really good things on the site that talk about design and all that. But before we talk about some engagement, let me come on back to Sharyn and see… I know that we’ve been a little active here in the Q&A, is there anything else that we can address in terms of setting up for success Sharyn?

Microphones for Webinars

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Well I would say we have a couple of things. Number one is, let’s tell everybody about your mic again because we’re getting a lot of questions asking it. So they want to know what model it is.

James Hilliard:  Yes, it is the AT2020 Audio Technica is the company. It’s the AT2020, the USB version, again about 120 to 150 dollars. Blue makes some very good microphones, there are some two, three, four hundred dollar USB mics out there Sharyn, I think that’s probably overkill for most people. Yeti has some good microphones out there right? Lauren saying, yep Yeti. Mike, it’s awesome. And glad to hear I’ve been an Audio Technica guys since I was radio so I just gravitate that way, but love to have that in, and there’s freedom in having the microphone. I also had mentioned the idea of putting a camera on a tripod, you can put a microphone like this on a little mic stand if you’ve got multiple people in the room, you can just swing that mic stand around and then everyone’s using that great strong audio as opposed to maybe looking down and talking to a speakerphone, that’s not the greatest experience for your audience. So a lot of things you can do by using in microphone. You also notice folks, I don’t want to mess up my hair so that’s why don’t use a headset. Oh wait, I don’t have hair. So yeah, AT2020, great thing but yeah, there tons of great mics out there.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I think it’s a good point, I mean I had some audio challenges this morning with a brand new pair of Bose headphones that I just got and I would up having to go on the phone. So making sure you do the audio check before so you’re not saying, “Hello, hello, is anybody there? Can you hear me?” is a great way to do this.

James Hilliard:  Absolutely. I saw one question here from Ray just confirming the transcript service. And Ray I’ve used rev.com, I think it’s a dollar a minute of audio 30-minute presentation it’s gonna cost 30 bucks for the transcript, usually get it within a couple hours and again I love having that because now you’ve got Tweetable excerpts that you just can highlight and pull from, you can do memes, you can do infographics, you can now use it just on your blog. Lots of great stuff, so yeah, Rev.com R-E-V.com, rev.com, and has been a good service. There are other transcription services out there, you might have internal people to your organization that can do it, you might be a good transcriber so definitely things you can do. But I love just the general idea of being able to get a transcript.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Okay…

Speaker 3:           Anything else there Sharyn that we should address at this point ?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I think we’re doing great, let it go back to you.

Engaging Your Audience

James Hilliard:  Alright cool. So engaging with your audience, hopefully that’s what I’ve been doing this whole time. I see that our numbers have grown and are still steady, we’re not losing folks so that is important. It goes back to what you saw from again, a major PC manufacturer that said to me an email, “James, dude, our events are not engaging enough, what can we do?” So let’s talk a little bit about this and again the moderator download is something that you can look at and I think is going to talk a little bit about the engagement as well.

So engagement. One way that we as humans engage with each other it’s through emotion. And so I want to introduce you to two of my kiddos, my third one will make an appearance a bit later on. Dylan is on the left. Madison is slipping sliding on the right. Emotions, pictures, those are ways that you can make connections with your audience and pictures often can tap into emotions in a way that text can’t. Let’s turn this into an interactive experience instead just telling you, “Hey, emotions are important,” I want you all to go to the Q&A box and I’m going to be quiet here for about 20 seconds. I’m gonna let you look at these pictures, think about Dylan, what he is, what he’s showing, what he’s doing think. About Madison, what she’s doing, what she’s showing, the emotion she has, and type that into the Q&A. Quiet time, 20 seconds, think about it and share in the Q&A what emotions are you seeing on display?

All right, well I have done this presentation a handful of times and it’s really cool to see the comments as they come in here, and they’re flying by quickly, but I’m seeing a lot of ideas about determination, right, especially on Dylan here. Total determination, focus, says Lauren that about Dylan. A joy on the right, Judith saying Madison joy unfettered, having a blast loves to play. Mylene, glee. No one else has said that word yet in the several I’ve done with that is great. Ray, Dylan, serious, wanting to throw that strike, absolutely the determination. So there’s a lot that that comes across and in seeing pictures and images, those are great ways to get your ideas across. So thanks for playing with that, again, I’ll introduce my third little guy later on in the presentation.

Emotions, what about this, right? You can look at these Reebok exercise balls, bring us back to the boot camp idea. Maybe you have a good experience of going to a gym using these exercise balls and you look at that like, “Huh, maybe I’m a little motivated, I should get back in there and do some more exercise.” Or maybe you’re like, “Heaven no, I never want to see one of those again.” The importance of using images is well known. There are webcasts on PresentationXpert about the importance of slide design and pictures and things like that. But it’s also important to understand how pictures can have different meanings to different people. And so this is where some of the experimentation may need to come in place and you need to be cognizant of that. I would not want to, and I chose not to use any political references here, it’s too much of a charged atmosphere now to use any political type of imagery, so I’ve taken that out of this and other events that I’ve done, I just think it needs a little cooling off period there.

So those are things to think about when you’re choosing your images and ideas. I often get people asking me where you get a lot of your images. Morguefile.com you’ll see is reference they’re, great free resource and you just need to attribute and then you can utilize those images, you don’t want to be stealing anything through Google or anything like that I think we all know that as presentation folks. But that’s one resource that I use that I find some good images on. Other ways to tap into emotions, you can create word lists, and what I mean by that is you can go back and see through things like the questions you get. I mentioned that I think webinars are great for listening to your audience. You can listen to your audience and see what types of questions, what types of words, what type of language are they using with you and that might be a way that you can learn how to tap into the emotions of your audience.

For those out there doing various versions, right, some a/b testing, any of my marketers out there that do that type of versioning. Webinars I think a ripe to do a/b testing you really try to tie in and hone in on what does your audience really relate to. And an example can be positive or negative type emotions. Do you use more language in your promotional material like challenges and overcoming obstacles? Or are you more optimistic in your language? So those are things that are important to think about as you’re trying to tap into emotions and really connect with your audience. And that’s where there is a [inaudible] mother-in-law so I had permission from him to use his little post from Facebook here.

Language is important. I’ve said images are but language is as well. Oops got a little ahead of ourselves there, we’ll go back. Here on the… This was a Facebook video that was being shared a lot like almost 60 million views or so, but it had great language. Feast your eyes on this. The most satisfying video in the world. That’s some strong language, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t the most satisfying video. But I definitely want to click on it to make that determination myself. If I had just seen, “Check out this great glassblowing video,” I might not have wanted to click on that. But feasting and satisfying, those are things that got my attention. So I suggest to you try and think about that type of language, this is really important when it comes to your promotional material, your email sends, your landing pages, trying to really find an emotional way to engage, and then utilize that when you’re going through your presentations as well, trying to avoid cool or great or nice, right, language that really just are filler words they don’t really mean much two people. So that is my little thought here.

That will move us into one more little engagement section here, I’m going to launch our first poll this is just a placeholder here, I’m going to actually launch the physical poll for all of you right now so you can go ahead and vote on it. And the question is which headline would you most likely share? Hotel travel tips. I’m trying these brilliant tricks during my next hotel stay. Make your next family hotel stay bearable. Or you wouldn’t share any of these with anybody at any time because they’re all horrible they’re not interesting and that is fine if you choose that go ahead again vote here on one of these four if you want to go back to the Q&A you can give me a reason why you may or may not share something.

Now, if you don’t have, say kids, or maybe your kids are grown and moved on to college, maybe the idea of a family hotel stay being bearable isn’t something that interest to you because that’s not your lifestyle right now, right? Hotel travel tips, maybe they’re just a little bit boring. Doesn’t matter what you share in fact I’ll give that you one second, two seconds, three seconds, I’m going to go ahead and close the poll. I’ll share the results, they don’t really mean anything except to give you an example of what people were willing to share. Their biggest vote-getter happen to be what has most often then, I’m trying these brilliant tricks, Jill I see you in there in the audience you’re saying, love the word brilliant.

The idea behind sharing this poll in doing this little activity more so goes along the lines of can you create webinar content that people want to share? Are most of your webinars more hotel travel tips or are more [inaudible]? If you find that you’re saying, Oh man, James doing a little inventory, yeah, maybe my webinars are more hotel travel tips,” then try and be a little more engaging, visuals, with your language, with how you interact with people. Make content that they’d want to share. Which goes back to my key takeaway earlier when I said, “Hey, create an event where you can pull out these little highlights. Where you can pull out a transcript and utilize good content now in different avenues and venues to meet your various audiences.” So that is the whole point behind this little example of trying to share with you what to do.

Let me close out the poll there and I’ll move on to the final idea or two and then we are going to be opening up to the rest of the questions that are coming into the queue. So you got the questions, you got the comments, you have the ideas you want to share with me, absolutely do that. And we’ll move on to the final kind of sequence here which is about engagement. And it’s really finding a good flow to your event. So an opening hook, having some short introductions, interacting with your group, doing segments and having some good visual design.

I’ll explain each one of these as we go through. The opening hook. I’m hoping that in the future you can all move to a point where you no longer say, good morning good afternoon or good evening depending on where you are in the world, the slides will be pushed to you blah blah blah, who cares. We all know how webinars work, that is wasted time for the audience. What I tried to do is a little more of a James Bond opening for all of you today. We did our icebreaker, which I think is fabulous that Sharyn does with your teams here. And then we went right into, “Hey, here’s a our presentation, quick definition and tell me how many events you did?” And I got you touching your computer. And we went through some content, I had the camera on. We tried to do a little more it wasn’t really gun firing explosions but a little more of a James Bond opening than a stiff and stale boring open.

On the introduction, you didn’t hear a whole lot about me. Hilly productions was mentioned by Sharyn. I’ve done 3,000 of these events, I don’t think I mentioned that to at the very beginning. It wasn’t important, you’re not here to hear about me you were here for some proven steps to success, you were here learning some tips. I can tell you right now you can reach out to me hillyproductions.com, you can see examples of the work that I do, you can hire me to come in and consult and or do events just like this for you. But I don’t want to start with that, because that is all about me and that’s not why you’re joining the event. So you all, I encourage you to think about your audience. How can you engage with them right away.

Another thing I love doing on intro says, “Hey welcome to the event. I’m James, she’s Sharyn. Hey Sharyn, let me ask you a question,” and get the guest speaker speaking immediately and sharing a great nugget of information. Then you can go back and do some agenda and things like that. I hope I demonstrated that in the beginning. [inaudible] had you raise your hand, I’ve had you type things in. We stop down for some Q&A. I hope that’s pretty self-explanatory. If you’re doing polls I hope it is not polls that say, “Hey, when you’re going to buy from us?” Right? I just used to pull about these travel tips to [inaudible]. Again, that pole didn’t mean a whole lot in terms of I’m not gonna take this way and say,  “Oh I saw that Karen out there is going to share the how to make your next family stay bearable so now I’m going to market to her.” That’s not going to be the case. So make sure that it’s related to the content and not just a marketing type ploy if you’re doing your interactions.

Segments. I try to break it up, give you a little bit of time to digest one bit of content, stop, move on to something else, right? We set up for success than we stopped. We’ve talked about engaging for your audience, we’re going to stop shortly and just do a general Q&A. So segment things for sure. Visual design, I am not going to claim to be the best in the world. I try and continue to learn on a regular basis. In fact, there was I believe Sharyn on your side, there were two, Laura Foley did one webinar which was about slide design and went through some great tactical steps about taking really busy slides in getting him down into short sweet and attractive type slides. I think there was one that was also called Slide Diet Sharyn, is that correct?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yes well we had… Laura did Cheating Death by PowerPoint, which is always a big audience favorite. And then Bethany Auck did a great webinar on Slide Diet and how you can put your content on a diet so you can make it more appealing.

James Hilliard:  Awesome, and what I’ve done folks is I’ve learned from some good design people out there and presentation folks about slide design, colors, the ease of use. You notice that I tried to do the segments, those were the big gray charcoal backgrounds, very large fonts told you what we were doing. Blue slides kind of like this one’s kind of where I was talking, it’s where we’re sharing ideas. Again, tried to take in the idea of not having too many words so that my mobile attendees can still get benefit out of here. And then anything that was orange, I ended up… Those are the like the interactive points. They’re also key for me, they help remind me, “Oh yeah, I’m doing something interactive here,” so that I don’t have to have something written out verbatim, scripted, but I’m using color cues and ideas that help me know where I’m at in my presentation. So visual design is important, there’s a lot to learn out there. You may have some great ideas. Ray you use Prezi out there, I have not used Prezi. A lot of people have found great success doing that. So bottom line though you definitely want to make your content more visually appealing. I hope mine has been close to that.

If you’re a great new presentation individual and you have some good tips or ideas on slide design everything you all share with me, I’d love to hear from that, but I think I’ve been doing a whole lot better. If I’ve done this with you all like two years ago, you’d be like, “Man, those slides suck.” So I think I’m getting a lot better at that. I told you that I would introduce my last little guy. There is Aiden, he’s behind all the pumpkins. Bottom line that I’ve tried to share with you is that 30 is the new 60, if you can start moving your content to shorter content understanding that audiences are looking for shorter, digestible, usable content. Webinars are a great way to put that across. 60, that’s starting to go away. Try and trim down, get closer to 30 if you can.

Be emotional if you can, emotional language, emotional images, ways to connect with them. Tell stories which are ways to connect with people. And if you can engage yet people touching their computer, whether it be with a poll, raising their hand, doing something instead of just listening to a long boring college lecture then you’re most likely going to be setting yourself up for success and you’re going to be improving the webinars that you put out there to your audience. With that, the final poll is coming up on the screen right now. How long is the attention span of a goldfish? Is it four seconds? Is is eight seconds? Is it nine seconds? Is it 12 seconds. Or what, I’m sorry, what was the question I mentioned this early on in the presentation.

The other thing that I mentioned early on in the presentation, I’m going to go back, Clinton, I’m going to call out to you because I put a phone number up on the screen in Clinton you said, “Hey, it’s a song, I can’t remember it but did sing it back in the day.” Clinton do you remember did that come back into your mind as to that song tied to the phone number I’ll give you like five seconds here’s we give folks five more seconds. Ah, Clinton’s saying, no it did not come into his mind. Jenny 8675309. I won’t sing it to you but that was Jenny’s phone number. Maria, you’re welcome. So yes and Clinton, I appreciate I said don’t go to google and cheat and Clinton did not so awesome Jenny’s phone number.

Here are the results of the poll I will share them out there 27% of you said four seconds. 16% of you said eight seconds. 40% of you got it right, nine seconds. I’m sorry what was the question, oh yeah we were talking about attention span I’m sorry I was starting to drift there. The point is, and this is another great little example, that’s just something I said you won’t find it anywhere in the slide deck, I didn’t have a print out there. But it was just a little throwaway comment and we are bombarded with information. Whatever you can do to focus down to your main points are going to serve you and your audience well. There are a bunch of things that you can do moving forward from here, we’re going to hang out for another maybe 10 minutes or so for some Q&A. You can go to GoToWebinar com 30-day free trial of GoToWebinar. You can also download those handouts, all of those handouts are going to be really useful for you to go after the fact and practice and work on of course the archive is going to be available as well.

Michael I see your thank you comment to Sharyn and I’m glad that you picked up some good tips here today. With that Sharyn, what I want to do is hand it back to you full control fire away any questions comments you have. I’m actually also going to, for Jim, throw my webcam back on and we’ll have that on for the remainder here.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I can do the same I’ll put my webcam on so we’re live. And yeah we have lots of great questions so first, I want to go back to Ray and just talk to Ray about Prezi and say that one of the things you may want to look at is in Powerpoint 2016 which is part of Office 365 online, you’ve got Morph which is kind of their answer to Prezi. And I love it it’s definitely one of the fun things to do. So James can we take the poll down so we can accurately see everyone? See each other, that would be great.

James Hilliard:  There we go.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Also, people have asked where they can find out about the Slide Diet webinar and we have a section on our website presentatioxpert.com/webinars or if you go to the front page you’ll see a picture of Bethany, you just click on that, or the one below which is Laura’s, and you can go to both webinars to see it. Want to make sure our audience knows that. We have a question from Gretchen. Our content is often so lackluster because we train on regulations but I have that tone of voice and my performance seems to get better reviews. Any other ideas or suggestions?

James Hilliard:  Stories Gretchen. Obviously, when you’re dealing with this, there are some organizations that we work in that are highly regulated, legalities, many of you probably have to put content through legal approval often, so it can be tough. I definitely suggested that your presentation your story-telling the voice that engagement that’s going to be the biggest tool that you have. Video might be another way. So if you’re not already using webcams that could be a way that is going to allow people to see you a little more animated see you may be smiling about the content so they might be having a little more energy in there. A co-hosting type situation, don’t know if you have that, but two people to play off of content, especially content I find that in a lot of the technical work I do. If their technical events, having people to bounce off is great. Metaphor language, things that can make those connections with people.

Was doing something with a team recently all about computer security and we ended up using the idea of driverless cars ended up being our metaphor vehicle. And it really tied the conversation together and helped people out and got people thinking about kind of a boring topic but in the new fun sexy way because who doesn’t want an electric car or a self-driving car, that’s all in the news today so making your content connect to things that have a little more interest is a way to do it. Storytelling, maybe having a hero, is there a way that you can create or utilize a character that is going through these technical processes or these highly regulated processes and how that person navigates? Those might be a couple of the ideas I’d share with you without knowing the full details.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. I think there’s lots of things we can do to kind of get across. I think one of the things that’s really interesting is for some of the regulation, and we talk a lot about this, this year. The big trend for 2016 was the year of the story, and that was really what we really saw as a trend in the presentation community that this was a story year and we did a lot of webinars and articles on that this year including one with Keith Harmeyer the author of smart storming or Nolan Hames, who is the king of storytelling and a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP. Both of those webinars are on our site, also we’ve written several articles about it as well. So I think there’s some really good information there and I think it’s really a good point.

So we have a couple of other questions and then we’re running out of time. So we want to have… Somebody talked about, there was a whole conversation offline I’ll share with everyone, about words and how can you find great words like [inaudible]. So we suggested words that sell, there’s greatwords.org so just want to suggest all of you do that and look at that. So let me kind of at this point I know we’re running short on time, I’m going to ask James to advance the slide and we’re going to close this out with a thank you and just a reminder that we need to always come back and tell us what you think of webinar bootcamp and anything that has to do with PresentationXpert, we love hearing from you. You can always call or email me at webinars@presentationxpert.com or editor@presentationxpert.com.

I really enjoyed today and I think James is a lot of fun and I learned some stuff, a different way to do presentations, that I really enjoyed. I’m going to use some of it and I think that’s just a wonderful way to do that. We do have a question. Simon wonders where James got the info on the average attention span?

James Hilliard:  Yes, one of the sources out there was Microsoft went back and looked at a whole bunch of other surveys, it was tied towards the idea of the flooding amount of content that’s coming at us these days, was done between [inaudible] all those surveys between 2000-2015. So that’s where that came from. I can go back through some of my materials if need be and we can get you the exact source in there but if you do a search Microsoft 12-second attention span, you do that nine second goldfish, that’s where where that came from.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          That’s great information I love it. Well, I think we’re at the end of our program here today but I do want to thank you all for coming, so thank you again and have a wonderful holiday season and a great rest of your day. Thank you.

James Hilliard:  Take care everyone.

How to Destroy Public Speaking Anxiety Before a Presentation

It’s common to feel nervous and maybe even a little bit panicky before a presentation. This is true whether you’re giving a remote presentation or will be standing in front of a crowd behind a podium.

Here are some ways you can diffuse panic and anxiety before giving a presentation, so the information you want to share comes across smoothly and is easily absorbed by your audience.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you’re giving a presentation that you don’t know much about or haven’t practiced very well, naturally you’re going to be nervous (and look that way to everyone watching your speech). Prepare your presentation with plenty of time to spare before the day you’re due to give it so you have multiple opportunities to practice your speech and go through your presentation slides if you’re using PowerPoint.

Ask friends and family to sit for a mock presentation and ask for critique, so you can fine-tune any issues prior to presentation day.

Ground Yourself  

Grounding yourself in reality before going up to give a presentation can help you stay calm and focused on the task ahead. It’s common for the human brain to attempt to dissociate from stressful experiences, potentially leaving you feeling like you’re giving a dream presentation or that perhaps you’re somewhere or someone else.

A good grounding exercise is to take a few minutes to name five things you can immediately see around you, like a picture on the wall or desk lamp. Then, name four things you can hear, like the sound of cars passing in the background or television noise coming from another room. Then, name three things you can touch, like your computer keyboard or the soft fabric of your shirt. Finally, name two things you can smell and one thing you can taste, like the scent of fresh paper or the coolness of a breath mint.

Use this technique whenever you begin to feel detached from reality, whether you’re having public speaking anxiety or just need help tethering yourself to back to the real world again after a long day at the computer.

Use Diaphragmatic Breathing

There’s a reason you start to get sweaty, your heart races, and your knees feel weak when you get nervous about public speaking. This type of anxiety triggers your sympathetic nervous system, or your fight or flight response. Once the adrenaline starts coursing through your body and causes this physiological response, it can be very difficult to reign in.

One way to help physically soothe your fired-up nervous system is to use diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing techniques. Before your speech, place your hands with your palms on your belly and the tips of your middle fingers touching each other over the top of your navel. When you breathe in, your belly should expand out so your middle fingers are no longer touching. When you exhale, bring your abdomen back in where your fingers touch again.

Repeat to stimulate your vagus nerve and engage your parasympathetic nervous system – your deescalate response.

Don’t Lock Your Knees

It’s normal for your knees to feel wobbly or weak when standing up and giving a presentation, but don’t give into the temptation to lock them. It may make you feel steadier in the short term, but it prevents your blood vessels from effectively carrying the blood in your legs back up to your brain, causing you to faint.

The phenomenon itself is harmless so long as you don’t injure yourself in the fall, however, it’s certainly not something people are likely to forget very soon.

Learn How to Create Killer Presentations with On-Demand Webinar Training from Business Watch Network 

Business Watch Network is a top provider of business training webinars that are accessible live and on-demand 24/7/365. We believe that comprehensive, readily available training is the cornerstone of a company’s success, and we’re dedicated to making sure our clients have the resources they need to ensure their teams are prepared for anything.

7 Ways to Avoid Zoom Draining Post-COVID-19

As the world adjusts to live post-COVID-19, it’s clear that video conference calls will continue. For many companies, the pandemic proved that a Zoom conference call is often more efficient, cost-effective, and timesaving than an in-person meeting.

That said, Zoom burnout is a real thing and your team will need to actively take steps to prevent Zoom draining for remote workers. Here are 7 ways to curb Zoom exhaustion.

1. Be Firm About Stop Times

If possible, avoid leaving calls open-ended. Let meeting organizers know that there will be a planned stop time that will be adhered to. Begin letting attendees know 5-10 minutes in advance of the end of the meeting and start wrapping things up.

2. Leave Breaks In Between Calls

Don’t schedule back-to-back video conference calls if you can help it. Leave breaks in between to get a drink, something to eat, or just to catch your breath and file away the information you just absorbed during the meeting.  

3. Go Outside

If you can, go outside during your breaks. Don’t spend them at the computer screen, or you’ll likely feel like you didn’t really have a break at all. Even if it’s just for a few minutes to get a breath of fresh air or to sit in the shade under a tree, the small change in your environment can help reinvigorate you and prevent Zoom burnout.

4. Avoid Multitasking While on Zoom Calls

If you’re on a Zoom conference call, it may be tempting to try to multitask to get other things done at the same time. However, this is a big contributor to Zoom draining. Ideally, your remote meetings will be short and focused enough that you can stay on track during the presentation and avoid Zoom exhaustion before the end of the meeting.

5. Find Creative Ways to Reduce the Number of Meetings

Whenever you can, make a meeting an email. Post a memo instead of gathering everyone together on a video call if you’re simply going over updates or informing employees of new policies.

It can be difficult switching out of meeting mode when working remotely and you may be tempted to get on a call at every chance to make it feel more like your team is together. However, this takes away from the time they have to focus on completing work, which is counterintuitive to your overall business goals.

If you need to be able to communicate with your team instantly, consider implementing an IM feature that allows you to chat live with staff members in real time.

6. Switch Off Your Camera When You Can

Not all meetings require your visual presence on camera. When they don’t, switch your camera off and relax a little bit. You’d be surprised at how much energy it takes to appear put together on video versus attending the same presentation with only your audio on.

For example, you could introduce yourself on video at the beginning of the meeting, and then switch your camera off so you can focus on the person presenting the meeting material.

7. Drink Enough Water

Dehydration will cause fatigue and exhaustion anyway, even if you’re not spending the majority of your time on the computer having video calls. Staring at a computer screen can dry your eyes out and not drinking enough water will exacerbate stress headaches caused by extended exposure to electronics, keyboards, and screens.

Keep a glass by your desk at all times and fill it up with fresh water each time you get up. Don’t avoid drinking enough fluids so you can reduce the number of trips you have to excuse yourself from a Zoom conference call to go to the restroom. Your body needs hydration, and the call can wait.

Get Access to Comprehensive Online Training with On-Demand Webinars from Business Watch Network 

Business Watch Network is dedicated to helping small and large businesses in a wide variety of industries succeed. Our carefully curated webinars are recorded live, so your team can enjoy them now or anytime with 24/7/365 on-demand access.

5 Communication Tips from an Online Training Webinar Library

Communication is key when it comes to presenting information you want your team to retain and act on. Without good communication, your team members can be left feeling confused, at odds, or unsure of what their priorities should be. As a result, productivity starts to tank. Here are 5 of our top communication tips from Business Watch Network’s online training webinar library, where you can get reliable, on-demand access to training when you need it.

1. Everyone Has a Different Communication Style

One of the most common causes of miscommunication for teams is that team members don’t understand that they have different communication styles or how to best use them. When you consider your own communication style and how it’s received by others with different types of communication styles, your message comes across exponentially more effectively.

Take some time to discover your own way of communicating, and then pay attention to the way others communicate with you. For example, if one of your team members has a much easier time with written communication, consider sending meeting notes or transcripts after the fact. Chances are, staff who have difficulty with hearing or auditory processing will miss some key points of important meetings, but you can combat this by offering critical information in a variety of formats.

From: Walk That Walk and Talk That Talk: What the Most Confident Leaders Do and Say

2. Visual Communication Works

Studies show that visual information is processed by the human brain exponentially faster than text-based messages – to the tune of 60,000 times faster, to be exact. Any time you can bring visual elements into a presentation or educational seminar, the greater its impact will be. Consider ways you can use visuals to enhance your presentations or even your email communications. For example, infographics are a great way to get across crucial points in an easy-to-digest way that is much more likely to be remembered.  

From: Visual Communication Using Excel Dashboards

3. Communicate More Effectively with One Person at a Time  

When you’re working with a team and there’s an issue, you may think it’s more efficient to try address the topic with the whole group. However, communicating with your staff one-on-one is much more effective when handling potential problems, especially if one of your employees is particularly difficult to manage. If you need to have a serious discussion with an employee, consider looking for a private but non-intimidating place, like an outdoor picnic table or empty conference room.

From: Managing Difficult People

4. Lacking Communication Can Be a Sign of a Larger Issue

If an employee is lacking in the communication department – and it seems to be more than new-job jitters – this may be a sign of a bigger issue. Employees that have been with your company for some time that suddenly drop off in communication could be having an issue at work that they don’t feel comfortable bringing up themselves, or they may be demotivated and have lost their initial drive to succeed in the workplace.

From: Motivate or Terminate

5. Good Communication Can Resolve Internal Conflict

Conflict in the workplace is one of the most significant contributors to lost productivity and increased overhead costs. Training your employees to be able to communicate with each other effectively to resolve internal conflicts can seem superfluous, however, this type of education has a long-term payoff and great rewards for both your business and your team members.   

From: The Five Behaviors of a Successful Team

Business Watch Network: 24/7/365 Online, On-Demand Webinar Training

Business Watch Network provides 24/7/365 live and on-demand webinar training for professionals in a wide variety of fields, like finance, human resources, management, sales, and more.

Keeping up with the most engaging and effective training for your staff is key to meeting your quarterly and yearly goals. Schedule live education sessions online or in-house or set up a time most convenient for your team members to attend a recorded training seminar. Business Watch Network’s extensive webinar library puts you in control of your team’s success.

Creating Visual Presentations – Approaching PowerPoint Correctly (Webinar Preview)

This is a clip from our Business Watch Network webinar, “Creating Visual Presentations” featuring Nolan Haims. To register for the webinar, visit https://www.businesswatchnetwork.com/events/369-creating-visual-presentations


But let’s first talk about this first phase of presentation creation. The first phase that I usually see is people doing things like this. They take a bunch of slides or content, throw it on slides. They start creating their Frank index, Like, “Oh, Jim used that triangle graphic last month and that was good. I’m going to throw that in there. No, I want to get these bullet points in. And oh, here’s an image.” And then even before they start thinking about what this slide is about, they start designing. They start moving, “Oh, well, I’ve got to have them all be the same color. I got to get my logo in there. Oh, well let me format the bullet points.” Stop. Okay. Stop. Don’t just start designing before you understand what it is you are saying on a presentation, on an overall presentation level and on a slide by slide level. You’ve got to outline your presentation no matter how casual you think it is, no matter how many times you’ve given this presentation before.

There are lots of ways to outline a presentation. This is one of my favorites. This is the one that I bring my clients through when they’re having trouble with their story. It’s very simple. You have a copy of this, but anybody can make it. It’s just a three column table in which each row represents a slide. Okay. Each row represents one message that you want to give. The first column is actually I think the most important, it’s how much time you want to spend on that one message. Now, if you’re given 20 minutes for a presentation, you start filling this out. And what happens every single time I have a client do this is they fill it out, they look at it and they’re like, “Oh, I have 40 minutes of content.” Now is the time to start cutting. Now is the time to start realizing, “Ah, they don’t need eight minutes of the background in my company. Nobody cares. Let’s just get to the point.”

Now is the time to start cutting before you start creating slides and wasting time. The middle section is what you want to say on that slide. And this doesn’t have to be so formal right now. Ultimately, that middle column often becomes the speaker notes, the talk track. But the third column is the visual that might be on the screen. Now, again, at this phase, you may not know. You may know what you want to say. You may not know how to visualize it. That’s fine. We’ll get to that into the design phase. Or you might know instantly, “Yes, I need to show this headline. I need to show this chart to make this point.” So put it in here now. This is where you get buy-in, this is where you start looking at your time. This is where you start moving into a slide by slide outline, which is crucial. Now this is just one way to do it.

I worked with a lot of nonprofit foundations and nonprofit organizations and the leaders in those places, they tend to be real writers. So very often with them, they’ll write out their whole presentation sort of verbatim, even though they know they’re not going to give it verbatim. That’s the way they think. So sometimes we’ll take this and start outlining and start literally highlighting, saying, “This could be a visual. This could be a visual.” And we can visually see, “Oh, it’s been a whole page with only one slide and we’ve got to get more in there.” Especially in these days of remote presenting. We want to use more slides rather than fewer to keep things moving. So that’s one way to do it. If you insist on working in PowerPoint, please just keep the design for later. Just do things in black and white. Don’t worry about the design. Don’t even worry about the template. You can use Outline mode, if anybody’s interested in that. That’s a feature of PowerPoint we can show later. Some people really like it. I don’t use it.

But get your headers down, we’re going to talk about that. Just don’t start designing. That is my plea to you. Whether you want to outline with yellow sticky notes on a wall, or if you want to use a whiteboard, however you want to do it. There are lots of ways. I even use Excel sometimes to outline things. I kind of like moving things around for that. However you do it, please just wait on the design phase. Okay. Enough of that. I know I sound like your high school English teacher. “Outline your term paper before you start writing.” But it’s going to help. All right. So that’s how we approach it, PowerPoint, before we start getting our hands dirty in the software.

Marvelous Makeovers: Presentations Edition

Learn how to make your presentations communicate better by watching as our team of experts makes over your slides and presentations to make them more interesting and readable.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Sharyn Fitzpatrick. And welcome to today’s event, Marvelous Makeovers: Presentations Edition. We’re starting. Rick is there in the background, if you hear him a little bit. But before we start …

Rick Altman:      I’m here.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          He’s here. Yay! Before we do start, one of the things we would like to do is to introduce you to something new, which is a new platform that we’re using for our webinars. So, you’ll see on the bottom, you’ll see a bunch of icons, and you’re probably, “Well, what are those icons for?” Really easy.

Slides is where you’re going to see the slides on. Media player is what the audio is coming through. Speaker BIOS, you can figure out. Questions and Answers, you can probably figure out. The Resource List is where you will get the links to the handouts, copies of Rick’s slides, as well as other additional information, including a link to the Presentation Summit. We’re also going to try group chat and see if you would like to talk to each other, which is the first time we’re doing that.

And of course, please feel free to share as much as you can. And we’re hoping that you will share using the #pxpert. And it gives me great pleasure at this time to introduce Rick, who is just an amazing personality, great at his knowledge, and as we all know, the beloved host of the Presentation Summit. Rick, let me turn it over to you.

Rick Altman:      Well, it’s all going to be downhill from there after an introduction like that. Thanks, Sharyn. Thanks so much for having me.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I know.

Rick Altman:      Happy summer, everybody. I hope that it’s not 105 degrees where you are. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sharyn and I are sweltering. And the fan is on. The AC is on. There, we go. This topic, this is not just a phenomenon of presentation. People just love the whole before and after dynamic.

I mean, look at all the television shows today, in which people what? They buy a tear down house and they fix it up. The group of misfits that win a football championship. How about The Biggest Loser? I mean, isn’t that just one gigantic makeover? So, I don’t really think this is something that’s unique to our industry. But one component that makes our makeover sessions so compelling, in my opinion, is that we get our content from you.

I think one thing that distinguishes our makeovers is that you all send us your content and there’s just nothing more vital than watching work that’s relevant. So, I just want to start by saying, I’m so grateful for those of you that sent me slides. This is your livelihood. I get it. And you’ve placed your trust in me or at least your hope in me that I’m going to do something that might, in some small way, improve your lot in life.

Now, Sharyn, how many stars on your conference badge? You’re a veteran these days. I mean, you’ve had what? Three, four times you’ve been to the conference?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yeah. I think the one coming up in September will be my fifth one and it is my favorite four or five days of every year. I look forward to it every year.

Visual Makeovers for Your Presentations

Rick Altman:      And so, you’ve seen how Julie Terberg just packs a room, as we describe her as the Makeover Maven. Her sessions are just so incredibly popular. This is she here in front of just a packed room, going through her befores and afters. And as a brilliant designer, she just makes people’s jaws drop to the floor. But hers are not the only makeovers that we have however.

Mike Parkinson also does makeovers and he’s like the Message King. He’s just so skilled at taking a look at people’s messages and showing you how you can make them better. And I, too, create my annual makeover session at the conference. And mine are different, I won’t make anybody’s jaws drop. But I will take slides and I will hopefully turn them into clean, simple messages that might resonate to a corporate audience.

And that’s key here. I’m not expecting you to react with shock at all. In fact, I really don’t want you doing that. It is truly not my objective to leave you thinking, “Wow.” And thinking that you couldn’t possibly produce something like what you’re about to see.

In fact, just the opposite. I want you leaving this webinar saying to yourself, “Hey, you know what? I could have done that. I see how he did that. I see why he did that, yes, I can do that, too. It’s no big deal.” Because if your audience can’t relate to a makeover that I believe that you’ve produced something that is less than a success.

So, there are lots of definitions of a makeover just in the presentation space. So, let’s talk about this. Let’s start with the classic makeover. The awful slide, the dog’s breakfast, the ugly duckling. And this is just all too familiar. It’s no surprise why these are the most popular makeovers. Everyone can relate to the slide that undergoes some dramatic transformation, even if the end result is not a thing of beauty. Even if the after slide is just a much simpler version of that slide. That’s usually way better.

In fact, I haven’t yet encountered a visual makeover that involves adding extra content to a slide. That just doesn’t happen. Makeovers are almost always the case of reducing what’s on your slide, not adding to it. So, that’s the first one, the classic design makeover. All right.

Now, there are also what I would call message makeovers, where a well-intended presenter is saddled with slides that just tell a terrible story. You’ve probably all seen it and a bunch of you have probably done it because you’re required to. In corporate culture today, it’s practically compulsory that you start out with the About Us slide, and then the Our Unique Vision slide and people standing up there, “Well, let me tell you a little bit about our company.”

I’m sorry, but unless your mother is in the audience, nobody cares about that. They have their own issues. And good storytellers know to speak to those issues right out of the gate and wait until later to tell audiences how great they are. Nothing endears you as a presenter more to your audience members than when you give them the impression that you understand why they are in the room, you know what their issues are and you are prepared to speak to those issues right away.

And message makeovers typically are what take you from that corporate autopilot where you start out by telling you a little bit about how great you are, from that to something that’s much more audience centric. All right, so that’s number two.

Now, next. One of the great paradoxes in our community is the dilemma that PowerPoint is really too easy. People declare themselves proficient in PowerPoint after about an hour of training. And they rarely go beyond that. And as an industry, we are notoriously undertrained. And so, if you try to go anything past the surface and something doesn’t work. Well, what do I do now? We all learned how to create slides, probably when we were teenagers, or even younger, and creating slides is really pretty easy.

But then, what happens when you want to do something a little bit more involved? Many of us, we just get hosed. So, you’re to be congratulated just for attending webinars like this, because it means that that you are willing to go beyond where most people are. So, yeah, whether it’s our conference, whether it’s webinars like this or even just reading a good book that shows you some simple solutions to things with the software itself, that too, can be thought of as a makeover.

So, yes, those are technique makeovers. And then finally, speaking coaches, the world over have performed makeovers on the people themselves, who are standing up there. And now we can’t quite do that in a one-hour webinar, but many of the principles that we will discuss here can most definitely help people with that whole stand and deliver component.

And so, there you go, four different ways that you can make over the presentation experience and it’s my hope that we’re going to touch upon a little of each of those as we get going. Okay, so Sharyn, if there aren’t any more glitches or technical things, here we go. I’ve got five sets of examples that we’re going to show. And, as always, you can interrupt me anytime, if there’s some good questions coming up, even either from the people in the audience or from you.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          No problem. That’s quite an invitation. I can’t wait. Let’s get going.

Powerpoint Slide Makeovers

Rick Altman:      Oh, boy. What have I done now? Okay. So, most of these slides were sent in by all of you. And again, I’m so grateful for that. In this first one, there are always people from the company that used to be called Malt-O-Meal. Remember that famous cereal Malt-O-Meal? They are now called MOM Brands. And they are one of the most prominent makers of breakfast food today.

And they go out and they look for customers. They look for partners like this one here to a company in North Dakota, and they create slides like this that are challenging. They’ve got quite a story to tell. And like so many companies, they just sometimes get a little bit lost in the weeds. And one thing I note about slides like this is that they’re just more difficult to edit. And you can miss things like these obvious typos or grammatical errors or style issues like this because they’re just easy to lose out.

And then, there’s just the question of what a slide like this does to the whole presenter-audience experience? Who’s going to read all of this? Will the presenter give them time to read all of it? If not, why is it all here?

Secondarily, I’m a little concerned about that gradient at the top, and why we would want to reduce the contrast to the headline and the wavy line at the bottom. I like the logo down there. But that wavy line, that’s just asking for some content that goes a little too deep to encroach upon that space. So, the first thing I want to do is just clean that up a little bit. I want to get rid of the gradients at the top. I’d like to make a solid line at the bottom. And then, off we go, let’s also make the title bigger and move that down to the bottom, the company that this pitch is actually for.

Now at this point, we are ready for what many of you have seen many times. And that is what I call the three-word challenge. So, I know that for some of you, this is not new, but this is something that I think we all need to continually remind ourselves of. And that is that most of the time, our slides like this one, just have too much flotsam on them. And so, the three-word challenge, can you reduce all of your bullet points to just three words or fewer?

And while that might be very difficult to do, you must always try. As I’m going to now, starting with this first one, you can see the words that are going to gray out on your screen, those are the words that I think aren’t necessary in order to tell the story of, in this case, BetterOats or Boxes. And we’re just going to continue down the way here. Now, the words that I’m targeting for elimination, the words that are gray on these slides, I’m not necessarily suggesting that they’re unimportant.

They might be very important. They might be so important that you need to say them because what I want to remind everybody on this call is that your slides are not your presentation. You are the presentation and what you say to your audience is always going to be more important than what you show to them in the form of a slide. Now, I thought long and hard about this last one. And I decided that all of it can go. That that can be said or it can be offered in a different medium than displaying it on the screen.

So, as you can see, except for that last one, I failed every time. I didn’t get under three words, even once in these four, but I assure you that the reward is in the attempt because look what I have done now. Look what I’ve done to add to this slide. And even if I go no further. Now, this is going to be a better experience for everybody in the room.

Now, I mean, this is still a conspicuously undesigned slide. And now, what you see are all these bullet characters hanging out there leaving everybody to wonder why there are bullets in front of the all of this? Well, that’s just because most of us go on autopilot and that’s what we do. But if you take a moment, and now it’s possible to scrutinize this slide on a different level. And if you take a moment, you say, “Well, wait a minute. Those aren’t bullets. Those are headings and subheadings.”

Headings and subheadings don’t need bullets in front of them. There’s a far better treatment that’s really quite simple. And in this case, I’m just emphasizing those subtitles, those headings, with a lighter color. They’re still bold and prominent, but they don’t have to be solid black. In fact, I often like emphasizing with a different color, picking up the color of MOM Brands that you see down below. And now, this slide is done. I mean, I could declare this slide done right now.

But the beauty of the three-word challenge, the opportunity you give yourself when you hone and distill your slides like this is that now you can think like a slide designer. Prior to this, there was really no opportunity to do that. And now, you can do that. And one of the first things you want to ask yourself is, “Is there an image? Is there some image that would be evocative of the breakfast experience?”

Well, I’m here to tell you that there are just thousands of images in the public domain that would be very complimentary to this message. I mean, here are three that I picked up. Again, all in the public domain, it’d be very easy to use. Let’s just take one of these. Let’s make a full slide. Because that’s my suggestion is that when you find a good photo, just take it all the way edge to edge like this. And there’s going to be plenty of opportunity now for me to carve out some space on this slide like I’ve done here.

Now, the issue at the moment is obvious that you can’t read any of that text. And if we stopped here, this slide would be a failure, but with a very simple technique within the software. And again, many of you that have been on webinars with me that have come to the conference, you’ve seen this technique. It’s one of my favorites of all and that is to just drop a semitransparent shade behind the text. And I’m going to show you in a moment how I did that.

So, that is just a rectangle that has a little bit of transparency. But it’s creating enough contrast, so that now we have blended. We’ve blended this text with this photo that fits so well. And now, we have a slide that works. And I can shuttle in any one of those other photos. And you’ll see that each one of them, there’s plenty of space on these photos in order to be able to do this.

Now, after seeing those three photos, I went looking for some others. And also, let me just point out, I think you’ll be able to see at the bottom of the slide, it might be a little bit cut off that if I still want to have it branded and I still want to have my footer down there, that’s no problem. That’s going to fit just fine down there. Then, I went looking and I just found this absolutely killer photo.

I mean, what is more evocative of a breakfast scene than these two adorable girls having breakfast together? Now, the space on this photo is going to be on the other side. But that’s fine. I’m a big fan of right aligning text if that works. I could have flipped the photo. There’s nothing on this photo that has text or lettering. So, I could have flipped it. But I’m going to keep it like this. And playing off of these two girls, I want to change the headline of this.

And now, we have a slide that is going to resonate at a completely different frequency than our original slide. When you blend simple text messages with evocative photos, you create experiences from your audience that are entirely different than the standard one. And when you do that, not only do you make yourself a better presenter when you can free yourself from going on autopilot and just reading all the text that’s on the slide, you will distinguish yourself from 99% of the people that are creating slides today in corporate America and the world over.

It’s kind of a no brainer here, which you’d rather have as the backdrop to get 10 minutes of why you’d want to partner with MOM brands, right? So, this one’s pretty obvious.

Now, let me take a moment, and like I said, I want to show you that technique, because it’s not difficult at all, and it’s one of my favorites of all. You’re looking at the interface now. And Sharyn, I think, that you’re seeing everything from top pretty close to bottom. Let me know if that’s not the case but I want to just go ahead and work through this.

Here is the slide that you saw before we did our little trick. And here’s the trick, and gang, if you have an opportunity to make your preview window bigger, I think there are just those two little buttons, this would be a time where you might want to toggle this into a larger view as I’m working with all these small little things on the interface.

I’ll also give you as much play by play as I can. I’m going to just take the rectangle tool and I’m going to come out, and I’m going to create a rectangle, just sort of over this area right here, okay? Now, to this rectangle, I’m going to remove the outline and now what I want to do is I want to simply move it backward, so that it is in front of the photo, but behind the text. So, the stacking order is photo, rectangle, and text.

So now, I’m going to bring up the format shape task pane and I’m going to go to the fill section and I’m going to fill this with a gradient pattern, okay? Now, this gradient pattern is going to go from right to left, so the angle is going to be zero. And I don’t really need any of these intermediate stops along the way that you see here, so I’m going to get rid of both of those and the gradient stops. And this is going to sound a little silly at first, but the gradient stops are going to be from black on one side to black on the other side, all right?

But here’s the key, on the left side of this gradient, we’re going to dial up a level of transparency and I’m going to do this slowly so you can see it happening. You see here, that now the left side is becoming more transparent. I’m going to take it all the way to 100, and in doing that, that’s what makes that rectangle just fade away.

On the right side, there’s plenty of contrast. And you decide this, I don’t necessarily have to have the right side be completely opaque. I can have maybe a little bit of transparency on the right side. But no, sorry, not 90, let’s go with 10. And you play with this and you can also change how far you want this to go. I’ve just sort of eyeballed or I should say eared the left side of this, but you can see this works. This creates contrast and readability for the text and blends the whole thing together.

I love these semi-transparent shapes. I use them all the time. And you can see they’re not difficult. Now, you could be following along and taking copious notes, but you don’t have to, because everything that you’re seeing in this webinar is available to you as a download, including a 16-page handout of the general ideas with some examples. So, all of that is available to you. I mean, if you want to be following along, you can, but you don’t have to.

Branding on Slides

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          We have a question, it says from Tom, “Hey, when do you skip branding or not on the slide?”

Rick Altman:      When to skip branding or not? That is an excellent question. And what I will tell you is, I don’t believe that you need to brand every slide. I think it’s fine to brand the title slide and your ending slide and call it a day. But I am tilting at windmills there, Tom. I know from my experience as a consultant, that corporate America is going to want to brand every slide more often than I will. And so I’ve conceded that point, which is why you can see that the final slide here has its branding in place. I try to make it as unobtrusive as possible, small, down at the bottom.

But in general, while I don’t believe you have to brand every slide. I don’t think I’m going to win that battle. So, I go with the flow.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I keep trying, Rick. I do that a lot for my clients and I keep taking it off and they keep putting it back on. And then, they’ll cover it with an image and you see half the logo. So, I think we should keep working on the battle.

Rick Altman:      Rome wasn’t built in a day, Sharyn.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          That’s true.

More Powerpoint Slide Design Makeovers

Rick Altman:      All right. Next shout out goes to Catherine Gray. Catherine, thanks so much for sending me your slides. This one here in particular, which shows that you had quite a challenge on your hands in trying to show the various training locations and what takes place there for your organization.

And Catherine did what I see often. In order to try to create definition for elements, she puts them in boxes. And we indeed, do go box happy with our slides. This is very common. And I understand why when you are saddled with having so many elements on your slide, you just feel like you need to give each one its due. You need to try to call attention to each one. And before long, you have a cacophony of competing elements like this one.

I want to start by scrutinizing the background here because I’m not sure why we have a gray background, a gradient background, and then a darker gray background. I mean, all that does is tend to confuse the eye and reduce contrast.

So, the first thing I want to do here is just to make the background uniform, all white. And then let’s get going on the rest of this. I don’t understand why the title is underlined. I’m going to scrutinize all the underlining here because underlining is just an anachronism. That hearkens back to the old typewriter days, when the only way we could emphasize was to do it that way. Half the people on this call weren’t even born then.

And today, a hyperlink, well actually not even today, but if I go back, what, 10 years ago, underlining meant a hyperlink. But today, it really means nothing at all. So, I guess all it means is that we’re old, those of us that do it. So, I want to get rid of that also.

But first, let’s get rid of those boxes because the boxes just aren’t needed. As soon as we do that, then you get a sense of the slide can breathe a little bit more. And as I now take a look at the elements that are on the slide themselves, first, let’s get rid of the underlining and let’s go back to that simple emphasis of a softer color set in bold like this.

And next, now that I can actually see the elements, I noticed that two of the photos are identical and that leads me to believe that two of this training takes place in the same location. So, I don’t think we need four photos. I think we can do fine with three photos here.

And let’s also just do a simple little honing and distilling of the text itself. Same thing, the text is in gray, I don’t think it needs to be here. And now with that text gone, thinking like a slide designer here is going to be a much simpler proposition where let’s just take those three photos, let’s line them up together, and let’s just drop our text next to them and we now have a much cleaner slide.

Once again, when you scrutinize your slide per content, you’re going to generally be more critical than you would have otherwise. And it was that process of simplifying the slide that led me to conclude that we don’t need four photos, we only need three. Three photos fit really nicely on a vertical stack like this and there you go.

Okay. So once again, the before and after. We have eliminated one photo, a little bit of text. But mostly, once we do that, we can then just allow the slide to breathe a little bit. And my guess is that Catherine might be able to take that after slide and continue to hone and distill it a little bit because the more she does that, the better the result is going to be.

Okay, so that’s our first one. Next, we’re going to take a look at message. And this next one is all about retirement and this was sent in by Lona. Is your last name Berndt? I think I’m going to get it’s Lona Berndt and I’m very, very grateful for her as well for sending in her slides.

Starting with, it’s showing us why we might not want to use all uppercase with titles. Not only are they harder to read, but it’s really easy to miss typographical errors and spelling errors in them. I also am wondering about these dollar signs. I think maybe they’re supposed to look pixelated like that. But I think that when they were extruded out and given their 3D shape, something went wrong there, because I just don’t think that’s the look that whoever created these dollar signs we’re after.

Now, here’s what the whole deck looks like. Let’s see that slide, 20 slides here, and this is all about smart investing in eight steps, actually no, 11 steps. And there’s some really good ones here. And this whole idea of becoming a millionaire air man, that came about from this case study of Todd Nielsen, who managed a plan to be able to retire at the age of 40. And this is the magazine article that was written about him.

And so, Lona included that, and actually, I think that, that’s a really nice potential title slide here. As we work through some more of these slides, each one of these has some principles and some issues. Now, if it really is so important for you to create a grid like this, please give your audience as much contrast as possible.

This black text should be on a stark white background, not a gradient background that goes all the way down to a navy blue. Black on navy blue doesn’t work, no matter how big your text is, and it certainly isn’t going to work for something like this. Better still, figure out some better way to present data like that.

Generally, there’s good ideas through all of these steps and some nice graphics. But generally, each of these slides, I just feel like they’re trying a little bit too hard. And the step graphic up here, I think is a little too messy. But there’s good information here, especially I really liked step seven. Step seven, I thought was really cool.

It starts like this. Now, do we really need to zoom in that car? Perhaps not. And I’m quite sure that we don’t need two words to come spiraling onto the screen like they are right now. But this whole notion that being smarter with the way you buy your cars could be an important investment. I was, really, I stopped and I looked at all of these.

And on the second slide, I went out and I watched that YouTube video. It was quite a challenge for me. I had to click on here and then up came a browser window. I needed of course a live internet connection. These are things that I’m just not sure you want to have to deal with in the middle of a slide presentation. I think, there’s a better way to show a video than to include a YouTube link like this.

And these five bullet points here, they were quite a heavy lift. Because each one built from the other and I had to do a lot of thinking about that. But again, I was quite impressed with the message that was being given and I’d like to hope that we can make that message be a little bit more evocative. And in so doing, come up with a cleaner way to approach all of these slides.

So, let’s go back to the title slide with these unfortunate dollar signs. And again, I mentioned that the second slide on this deck, there’s a magazine article, this one right here. Let’s use this, I mean, this is a really nice theme. Let’s play off of that. What if we made that photo as big as possible, free at 40? Do that as the title. And then where there’s plenty of space for a very simple message that can be dropped in there, spelled correctly also, and you even can answer that question if you want.

So, I would suggest that this would be a cleaner and a more inviting title slide. That’s the whole idea. Can you think like Todd? Can you create a strategy, where when you first get out of college that would allow yourself to retire at the age of 40? How cool would that be?

So, let’s go back over to step seven and let’s put step seven on a big old diet. Let’s fire a lot at this. And again, the second slide to step seven, was this one here, which I want to find a better way to tell you the key points of that. So back to this first one, what can we get rid of? Oh, I’m going to get rid of damn near all of this, the car payment, let’s get rid of the car, warning buyer beware. I understand that.

If it’s that important, then Lona or whoever it is for whom she’s creating these slides, you can say it. But let’s get rid of all of that. And we’ll bring back the text [inaudible] to step seven. What if we instead just took that little seven and we moved it up to the top right corner with a little bit more contrast on the slide? And now, we have this big old open canvas. What if instead, we put one key phrase?

Because if you think about this, what if I said to you, what’s the number one impediment to building wealth? The number one thing. I mean, the thing that stands in our way more than anything else to wealth. You may come up with a lot of answers to that question. Would it be that? Would it be the car payment? My goodness, I think, that’s pretty shocking, that buying your car is the thing that might prevent you from accumulating wealth.

When you get rid of all the other stuff on this slide, that statement right there, that’s pretty amazing. Now, if you wanted to integrate it with an image, that would be pretty easy to do, because there’s no shortage of cool car photos. And I found one that’s some souped up Porsche. But, really, as I’m thinking about this, once I created this makeover, I then started to think about it again. My makeover needs a makeover. Because really, the whole point here is that even a $25,000 car is problematic.

So, really, I should put some Toyota Corolla on the screen here instead of this Porsche. But either way, now we’ve got a slide that is really evocative, that makes you think, and that’s what we’re after here. The second slide of this one here. Again, this is a pretty heavy lift. That’s the key right there. The car that you spend $26,000 on, it’s actually going to cost you $33,000. And this video, in this link here, tells the whole story. It’s really quite a good video, but if you’re going to put videos in a slide, then what I want you to do is go get that video, rip it to your hard drive and drop it on your slide like this so that you can actually play the video simply and on a click.

You can see that video playing now. I’m only going to show you a little bit of this. This is all the whole question about what happens to your car payments and it’s worth showing to the right audience and it’s worth doing right. It’s worth it to get that video, rip it to your computer, and if necessary, getting the appropriate permissions to do that, and then playing it in the animation stream so you don’t have to click on anything. All you have to do is advance your slide deck and the next element in the animation stream would be this video, and it would play.

All right now, let’s go a step further here. Let’s really illustrate these points that are being made because we’re talking about an investment of $475 a month. That’s the standard car payment that we all make, $475. What if you invested that instead? Okay. What if instead, for every month from now until you retire you invested that? Well, what would the road to retirement look like if you did that?

There it is. There’s the road to retirement all right. And now, I’m going to create some stops along the way, 10 years, 20 years, 30, and 40. So, 10 years in to your quest to be able to retire early. If you would take in that $475, how much do you think that would be worth today in a standard investment? How does $100,000 sound? Okay. How about at 20 years? At 20 years, that investment will be worth nearly a half a million dollars.

These are just simple blocks, simple rectangles that I have created in PowerPoint, create a little bit of shape to them, some depths, simple shadowing. So, this is a modest attempt on my part to make them look like they’re sitting there on the road. There are graphic designers who could do a much better job of this than I. But still, you get the idea here. At 30 years, your investment will be worth over a million and a half dollars. And if you do this all the way until you retire 40 years, hence, how does $5.5 million sound?

That’s pretty incredible. I mean, I’m still shaking my head over that. And to be able to illustrate that on a slide in a way that’s just more evocative to your audience is going to really bring some power and some impact to your story. So, there were the original slides. And here’s what I’m suggesting for Lona’s makeover. And the key is that last slide, because the last slide has a lot of significant information there. But we can really just ,I think, do a better job with that. Okay. Sharyn, questions?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Gosh, we have a lot. So, let’s see. One of the questions we have is, our brand owners are really trying to encourage us and almost say a must be done to hand out PowerPoints that have everything on a two-point type. What are the options around that?

Rick Altman:      For the options …

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Can you suggest ways to get around it?

Rick Altman:      I think…

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I just say, “Go listen to Surviving the Handout Help.”

Rick Altman:      Well, that’s next. I think that what is being asked is that, that there’s a requirement to stuff onto your slide every possible thing that you want to give to your audience. And so, I’m going to defer that question because that’s our next topic. But if that’s not what this person was asking, I’d like them to come back to us with the elaboration. What’s next?

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yeah, I think what it is, is I think people realize and think that all you do is hand out the slide. You maybe don’t use it as …

Rick Altman:      Yeah. We’re going to talk all about that.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yes, exactly. And I know you are. So, I think that’s where that question was. And during that, if we can also address the best use of handouts before, during, and after a presentation. We have that request as well.

Rick Altman:      Okay. So, I’m going to table both of those because in five minutes or less, we’ll be talking all about that. Any questions about the stuff that we have just done?

Embedding Videos in Presentations

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          We did. There is a question or a comment about pulling a video off of YouTube should not ever be done. It’s called freebooting. It prevents the slide owner from getting YouTube views. I will go back and say partially, I’m not sure I agree with that because if you embed the URL or embed the file, it does count the first four or five seconds. So, I don’t know if you have a different opinion of that.

Rick Altman:      Okay. Well, I might have been a little too flippant in what I said. So, let me emphasize the point that I made kind of in passing that you want to pull a video off of the internet after you get permission to do so. Well, because what I’m suggesting is that you create it in such a way that it does not send somebody off to YouTube, where then they get credit for clicks and perhaps having an impact their advertising revenue.

But I’m not suggesting that you pull a video off the internet, and then you then distribute that video to hundreds, thousands or millions of people. I’m suggesting that you put it into your presentation, so that you can show it. And perhaps, you show it with attribution, you show it with the URL in place, so that then the audience members can then go see that video on their own. But yes, all of this must be done with permission, so that you are not freebooting it. That’s a good term. I had never heard that before. I like that.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yeah, I had neither. And it’s true. But if you do embed a video and even showcase just the first couple of seconds, they will get credit for it. Just FYI. And then, we have another question concerning your handouts. People are looking for the instructions on how to do the photo transparency, can you … They said they found slides, but there’s no instructions. Are we missing something?

Rick Altman:      Well, I didn’t do step-by-step on that because I just did it. But anybody who wants a step-by-step, I can provide that for them. I do have that available.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Okay. Terrific.

Rick Altman:      At some point, I should have my email address here somewhere.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I was just going to say, I’ll send your email address to everybody offline. Let me let you get back to the live event.

Audience Takeaways and Handouts

Rick Altman:      Okay. So, clearly, this next topic is one of interest because several people have already noted this, and that is this whole notion of how to deal with audience takeaways. And the people attending this webinar from Cisco had indeed quite an issue with this, when they needed to explain about Microbursts. I will not try to explain Microbursts to all of you. But what I will point out is that the folks who put together this presentation felt like they needed two slides in order to do that.

Now, why would they put all of this information across two slides? Why would they do that to their audience? And I know the answer, because Cisco is a client of mine, and I helped several people with their Cisco Live presentations. And it was because they wanted to deliver this information to them in the way of a printed handout. And that created tremendous compromises for them because that … I mean, look what that’s doing to the live in the moment experience, saddling your audience with slides like this.

That’s just a train wreck waiting to happen. That impacts everybody, including the presenter, maybe especially the presenter. And that’s really the only explanation other than complete cluelessness, which is not the case in this particular instance. That’s the only explanation for why you create slides like this for the handout. So, let me be clear, your slides should not be your handouts.

When you try to create a set of slides that would succeed both as the visual component of a live presentation and as a printed handout, you will fail every single time. In 18 years as a presentations consultant, I have not yet encountered an exception to that axiom that you will fail every single time. You must think about your handouts separately from your slides. Let’s separate out the two experiences because as soon as you do that, then you can take all the content that you’re looking at right now, and you can distill it down to this.

Here are the five key points that will allow the presenter to speak to those, even to a technical audience, will speak to those in a way that makes sense. And from this now simple slide, it really was not difficult at all to find some little piece of artwork that would bring this together in some way. And so, those two slides went all the way down to here.

And the reason, the reason that we could go from this unattractive looking slide here to this nice one here, is because we are not done yet. Now, this slide gets married with this handout. And that creates a presentation package that will speak so much better of your sensibilities. What you’re looking at here is the product of about 10 minutes of work in the notes view, the notes page. Starting with about five minutes in the notes master where … And many of you don’t even know the notes master exists. You know all about the slide master.

But in your first hour of training with PowerPoint, you probably didn’t know, you probably weren’t told that there is also something that governs the global look of your notes pages. It’s is called, the notes master. And you can place any elements you want on it and move things around and change them up, so that you can create a format, which then would allow you to use your notes pages for your handouts.

And that’s what you’re looking at here. Here is all the text you saw across those two slides, placed instead on the notes page. And notice that I’ve only gone two-thirds of the way down the page. If necessary, if I need to put some more technical notes on here, I can do that. There are some footnotes, that’s 9-point type, 9-point type would be a train wreck on your slide. It is perfectly appropriate for your printed handout.

And that’s the other thing, your slides are usually 18, 24, 30-point type. You don’t need that for a handout. That’s why God invented reading glasses for heaven’s sake. So, here, the text on this is 10-point, 10 or 11-point. That’s what you want for a handout. It’s also portrait, not landscape. It’s tall, not wide. People don’t want printed things that are wide. They want them tall like this.

So, together, you are creating a presentation package when you separate the experiences. Sharyn will recall, we did a whole hour on just this topic alone. And I bet Sharyn could give you the URL to that webinar. And I’ve got articles on my website about this also, because I’m not doing justice to this in this 10 minutes. And those of you who that want more detail about how I do this, I can give this to you.

But for now, what I want you to hear from me is that, there are three critical parts to a presentation, what you say, what you show, and what you give. What you say to your audience, what you show them in the form of slides, and what you give them in the form of a printed handout. Those three things need to be different. They need to be separated, and you need to make each one of them as good as you possibly can, and you can’t do that when you try to make your slides performed double duty, that won’t work.

So, this might be the most important makeover of all of these 90 minutes. And that is the makeover that has you separating what you create for the visual component of your presentation, and then what you give to your audience.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          So, at the same time you were talking about it, I had hit send to everybody with a link to Surviving Handout Help.

Rick Altman:      Thank you. Thank you. Great, great, because yeah, because Sharon and I did 90 minutes on this topic. And so, you can see all of that. And like I said, at betterpresenting.com, I’ve got articles about this. I think this stands as the single greatest impediment that content creators have toward really being able to engage with their audiences. That’s why PowerPoint lives on because people try to have their slides do it all for them and it just doesn’t work.

All right. And so, that’s the Cisco example of this. And if there aren’t questions about anything we’ve done so far, I’ll keep going.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          No. I think we’re telling people they’re really loving all of this. And I have thank you with all caps from several people, and I want that. So, I think we’re in good shape.

The Technique Makeover

Rick Altman:      Cool. Okay. All right. So, next, the technique makeover. This slide needs that. Thanks to my friends at Consumers Energy for sending this to me because this is a pretty cool slide, and this tells a nice story. This is the story of how a power plant distributes electricity to the residents, and then the people who live and work in a community. But the way this is now, I have to work pretty hard to tell this story, and I’m choosing my words carefully here.

I am a storyteller. When I’m presenting to an audience, that’s what I’m doing. I’m telling a story. But this story sort of is like once upon a time they lived happily ever after. I mean, I’ve given you all of it at once, and it’s going to be difficult for you to digest all of this. And so, what can we do here? Now, this graphic came to me all as one image. It was produced all as one image, and it would be too much to ask the designer to go back and give me separate little things, so that I can sequence them.

But sequencing is what this needs. This needs animation. This needs some smart animation where I can sequence these elements and give them to you in bite sized pieces, so that I can tell the story better. But while, again, the perfect world is, if I had each of these pieces individually, I don’t. So, how can I do that? So, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to create some shapes in PowerPoint. And you’re looking at some scribbles that your 7-year-old could do.

This is just using the edit points to take circles and turn them into blobs. And as you can see, what I’ve done is, I’ve just tried to define each of the different pieces that I want to sequence. So, now, these are all closed shapes. So, each of these closed shapes can take a fill pattern. And so, I’m going to give them a fill pattern that is almost completely solid white. Most of you should be able to see that the elements are peeking through because there’s about 10% of transparency here.

Now, I could do it completely solid white. I like the idea of showing you the overall, but making it clear to you that you shouldn’t try to really focus on it yet. You’re just sort of seeing the forest a little bit, then I’ll give you the trees, okay? So, how does this all play out? This all plays out as animation, but not your standard animation, which typically is how things enter your slide. These are exit animations.

So, with each click that I’m going to give you, and we’re going to start. I’m going to get rid of all the text also. I think the text could be done a better way also. So, I’m going to start. This slide will start with nothing more than this. And if we were going to tell this story of how the people in our community get their power, it starts with the power plant. And that click that you’re about to see was not something arriving on the screen but something leaving.

The blob, I think that’s the technical term, Sharyn. The blob that was over the power plant exited with a one-second fade. And that, therefore, sort of brought to prominence this first piece. There’s the power plant, the high voltage transmission, it connects with a substation, and here’s my next click. The substation then distributes out to a secondary distribution area, which produces low-voltage distribution. And that’s what our rural customers will tap into is the low-voltage distribution for their farms, and for all their rural needs.

Then, the neighborhoods, the neighborhoods are going to tap into this other substation that gives them all the power that they need. Also, commercial customers, like the stores downtown, they’re also going to be able to tap in here. But our heavy industry, heavy industry has to be handled separately. They are going to tap directly into the high-voltage that comes from our power plant. And that is how our community receives its power.

One more click to give you some text along the right, I’ll integrate all the text together. And you can see, I’m such a better storyteller, with some very simple sequencing like that. There are plenty of examples of when animation gets misused. But when done right like this, there’s just few things that are better to making you a good storyteller than some smart sequencing.

Now, this one needed just a little bit of outside the box thinking in order to how to obscure everything, and then bring it back. And you saw how that was done, and you can reverse engineer this yourself on the download by those semi-transparent shapes that are set to go away with each click. Okay. And real quick, I appreciate Judy having sent in some slides to me because well-intended as it was, she showed me why, maybe you shouldn’t do this with your text because this slide all about how to think about your professional arc, and the kind of skills that you need.

Each one of these bullets was coming in on a click, they’re flying in. That is just such a lot of work. I mean, I’m getting tired of doing all this clicking, and then comes something on the right side, and I’m not really sure why it appeared, and then sure enough, there was something above it that showed up. I kind of think I’m done with this slide, but I’m not even sure. And then we go to the next one, apply soft and hard skills.

And this slide two comes in now. These are all flying in from the right. When I asked Judy about it, she said, “I wanted to bring some energy to the slide.” And I get that, I totally appreciate that. But I just think that slides like this need a different type of help than sequencing. I mean, I’m of the belief that you shouldn’t add animation to any text slides. And if you have to, because there’s so many points on your slide and you need to separate them in some way, then you’ve got bigger problems.

And now, that one, I clicked too quickly, it went to the next slide because I didn’t know that we were done. That’s the other thing when you … Most of us, we tend to forget how many things appear on our slides when we’re doing it with texts like this. Now, this next one, they all came in together as one big mash up on the left, then a second one on the right. And then, one little click for the attribution at the bottom. And then the next one, they fly in. I’m going to go quickly through these. They fly in from the right. And the final slide there didn’t fly in at all. Everything was just there as one piece.

So, this suggests to me a set of slides that just need more coordination, and they just need to give the audience the sense that you understand how they want to receive their information because I just don’t think this is it. I think that we can do better with those slides. And so, let’s start with just a simple makeover here. Here was the template that Judy started from, and I think this came with Office. So, maybe, some of you will recognize.

Why that little thing at the top doesn’t go all the way across? I mean, if you’re going to have it at all, send it all the way across. And once you send it all the way across, then you could consider maybe moving the title up into that space. And that’s what I would like to do. I’d like to put the title up in that space, and then it calls into question, why we have this navy blue bar here? It’s got some nice rounded corners and this line motif does have rounded corners.

But what if we just sort of move that into a whole different way, and played off of that little rounded corner thing. And now, let’s just move our text out where it belongs in the middle of the slide, and let’s change those bullets to pick up on that nice green color, and this is fine. So, we now have a template that’s going to work just fine for standard text slides.

So, then, how this all plays out with the slides that Judy created? We go back to this one here that had all this stuff flying onto the screen like this. And as I look at this, I see that there are points along the left, and then the three things on the right, those are actually quotes from a speaker. So, maybe, we could do this in two parts. I really think not though. I think we can do this whole thing, if we hone and distill those points a little bit, then we end up with something like this.

And now, there’s the column on the right. And if it’s a quote, let’s make it a quote. Find a quote from this Robin Crow and use it like so. And now, this is a slide that doesn’t need animation. And again, I would argue that it shouldn’t have any. We have this debate at the conference, sometimes, in the bar over a glass of wine. Should we animate text slides? I say no. And I’ll happily have that debate with any of you.

Okay. I’m going to cut that off there. And, at this point, Sharyn, you know what I’m going to do? Let’s do this. Let’s sort of do a mini wrap up here, and then I’ll keep going with this final topic, which gets pretty geeky. So, let’s hit a quick commercial here because if you enjoyed this topic today, you would absolutely love attending our annual conference this fall, The Presentation Summit.

Across four days, we are going to cover the whole of the presentation experience from software technique, through message crafting, presentation and slide design, and delivery. We have three tracks of seminars. We have a Help Center that is a total hands-on experience. That’s the one of our Help Center reps up the top-right corner, our friend, Geetesh.

It’s a hands-on experience from morning all the way into night. We have an expo that features all sorts of new technology. We create an atmosphere at this conference that is unique for a business conference. That photo in the center was not staged. You will not be able to help, but make lasting and meaningful relationships. Part of that is because we limit attendance, if you came, you would be one of just 200 people at this conference.

We have watched business partnerships forged, permanent friendships formed. And as I have said many times in commercials like this, three couples have met at our conferences and married. So, we are indeed a full service event. All of the information is on your screen now. The date, the time, the URL, and everything else. I would love to hear from you, if you thought you might be interested in attending. And at this point, Sharyn, let’s open it up for some more Q&A.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Okay. Great. And I’ll second that, I learned so much every time I go. I feel like I’ve become better at presentations in PowerPoint design thanks to this conference. And I know I can pick up the phone and call somebody right away and get an answer, and that’s because I form that relationships at the summit.

So, we have a question from someone who says that they always want to highlight a certain word in a bullet list, is there a good way to do it that it really is effective and just not a blob on a piece of paper?

Highlighting Words in Presentations

Rick Altman:      Yeah, really good question. Is a good way to do it and not to be a blob? Well, I will tell you that first off, if I want to highlight something on the screen, if I’m the presenter standing in front of a screen, my first choice will always be to use my hand, to walk up to the screen and to touch the word. That is so much more tactile and immediate and intimate.

The screen is the primary visual component of the presentation. Everybody is looking at the screen. It’s completely natural for me to interact with the screen also. I find that that’s just so much more human, that if I can use my hand instead of a laser pointer. Now, that said, if you need to highlight a word, what I typically would do is I would highlight that word in bold and in a color other than black.

So, if we have black text, I’m going to highlight the word with bold and blue. I’m sorry. If it’s white text on a dark background, I’m going to highlight that word with bold and a very soft, like a powder blue. I find that that works well for me. Now, if I have to animate that, I just so resist doing things like that. But if there’s a place where it really makes sense to do that, that I think what I do is, I would look for the new feature Morph in Office 365. And I would Morph that slide into a second slide where that word then becomes emphasized.

It’s not as easy to do it with the standard animation techniques. But you can, you could take that word and separate it to its own textbox and you could emphasize it in some way. So, it could be done. You make your life so much easier if you simply go point to that word in the live presentation.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yeah, I think you’re so right. And sometimes, just don’t have it for the sake of having it, having it because it actually has a purpose. And I think Morph is a great way to do that. I love that idea. I’m in love with Morph since it came out last year.

Widescreen vs Standard Powerpoint Presentations

So, we have another question about please address the use of widescreen or standard only. Besides being only dependent on the projection equipment, is one more effective than the other?

Rick Altman:      Is one more effective than the other? One is more dramatic than the other. And in that regard, it could be more effective. Sixteen by nine is more dramatic. That’s why today, we watch movies, they’re widescreen, you get these beautiful sweeping landscapes, and that holds true in presentation also. You up the ante though, when you do that.

When you need to fill an entire 16 by 9 with some evocative image, it might be more challenging to do that. You’ll need to find ones that are much wider than they are tall, or you’ll need to really do some serious cropping in order to get it to fit. So, there are challenges with that. There are plenty of times when 4 by 3 is going to be just fine.

It’s not so much a question of projector limitations any longer. I find that just about every projector today can do widescreen. But often, you’re going to be in a room where you may only have a ceiling space that allows you to go so high. And you may find that it’s just easier for your audience if you do it 4 by 3 instead of 16 by 9. Generally speaking, you have the opportunity to create a little bit more drama and impact with widescreen.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Something else too that something that you and I kind of practice when we’re getting ready for today since this is a new platform for us. Actually, go into the room if you’re in a room and try it, put it up on the screen, see what you’re dealing with, so you don’t walk in cold and you’re kind of stuck. So, I think knowing the devil you have is much better than trying to figure it out on the fly.

Rick Altman:      Being able to see the room before you speak is always good, even if it’s just so you can start visualizing what it looks like to be up in front of audience, that’s huge.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          It’s really huge. Okay, that’s it for the questions at this time. So, for those who are going to drop off because you have to eat lunch or go to another meeting, thank you, but Rick is going to stay on. So, we’re going to go to the next section.

Rick Altman:      Yeah, I got one more topic here. Organization, a foundation on the East Coast, MESSA, they sent into me a fantastic slide that shows a dilemma that we all face. Now, I’m back in edit mode and that means I need to find my cursor. Hang on one second. There is my cursor. Okay.

So, let me start by adjusting my screen a little bit. I need to get down to the bottom of my screen. Hang on a second. One quick moment here. There we go. Okay. Sharyn, you let me know if the screen looks okay.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          It looks fine from my end. I’ve got it both on my tablet and on my laptop. So, it looks great.

Rick Altman:      Good. All right. So, here are the 20 slides in this deck. And actually, let me get rid of that one. So, this slide two that my cursor is hovering over, that is the agenda. And I know many of you create agenda slides like this, and then oftentimes, thinking further through this, you might duplicate that slide each place where you’re changing topics, so that you give people the context.

Okay. We’re done with that one. Now, we’re on this one. And I appreciate the value of that. But I want to show you a better way to do that. Because first of all, when you create a static agenda slide, if you change it, you’re now going to be changing … You have to go back, you have to go through your deck and change all the others also.

And also, what if due to any one of a number of constraints, time or the person that you’re pitching to wants you to speak about topic number three before you have topic number one, what do you do? You’ve got to blast over to that topic, you got to go fly him through a whole bunch of slides. I want to create a better agenda slide that won’t require that of you.

So, this is a very simple representation. You can see this, there are four sections. So, first, there’s this section that represents the uniquely MESSA. The other three slides, I changed the background just so you can see that they belong to that one. The second one is green, you got this light green. We have orange, and then three slides after that. And then, you end with I think this is purple, and then three slides for that. So, four very simple sections to this slide deck.

Now, let’s go zoom in on slide number two. On slide number two, what I want to do is, I want to create more intelligence to this slide. And I’m going to do that by creating custom shows. A custom show is a definition of slides that live inside of a slide deck. From the slideshow ribbon, I’m going to go to custom slideshow, bring up this very simple little dialog box here. Sharyn, you let me know if I’m going too fast. And from this dialog, I’m going to create four separate custom shows.

This first one and I’m just going to be working off of the four topics here. It’s called, Uniquely MESSA, and it is going to be these six … Oh, so sorry. These five slides right here. Okay. Next, I’m going to create a slide deck called, Health Reimbursement. And when we’re seeing one of the limitations of this dialog box. This doesn’t give me any little slide thumbnails. So, I may be off in the ones that I’m picking here, but bear with me.

So, I’m going to take these three. I think it’s just those three. It’s probably more. I’m going to have to fix this a little bit later. And I’m going to now say, okay. In fact, I know exactly what I need to do to fix this. And you know what, I’m sorry, I screwed that up. I didn’t save the first one when I created the second one. So, let me go back.

Uniquely MESSA, that was these right here, add. I didn’t say, “Okay.” Now, there’s two of them. Okay, they’re in the wrong order, but you’ll forgive me for that. Next one is going to be called, Moving From Self-funded. And I’m going to guess that it’s this one. These right here and this one, those four. Add, say okay. So, now, there’s three of them.

Finally, this last one is going to be called, Resources. And that’s going to be these final slides right here. Okay. Add them. Say, okay. Close this. And let me just point out that it probably would have been better for me to do this in this view right here. And if I go back, I want to just see if I did those right. Uniquely MESSA, let’s edit those. That should be slides 3, 4, 5 and 6. And so, if I do that again, it would be slides 3, 4, 5, 6, add that, okay. There we go. We’re done.

All right. And so, now, I have these custom shows, why have I done all of this? I’ve done this because now, I’m going to go back to these four little boxes, and I’m going to apply intelligence to them in the form of inserting an action on each one. And the action is going to be a hyperlink to a custom show. That’s one of the options that I have. Hyperlink to a custom show, to which one, to this one called, Uniquely MESSA. And I’m going to make sure I click this little box that says, when I’m done showing those, return me to this slide here.

All right. So, that’s one. Next, Health Reimbursement, hyperlink, custom show. Health Reimbursement show and return, okay, and okay. It’s possible that I’m going faster than your window is, I’m just now repeating these actions for the orange one. Hyperlink to the custom show called Moving From Self-funded. And I’ll do this one more time with the bottom one Resources, hyperlink, custom show called Resources. Okay and okay.

All right. So, I did that pretty quickly. But now with that intelligence in place, watch how interactively I can work through this slide deck. Let me press F5. Let me bring this up. And after the title slide, here comes my agenda slide. It’s slide number two. And on this agenda slide, now, let’s say that we’re sitting down, and you say to me, “Hey, Rick, I got a plane to catch, I want us to start with Health Reimbursement. Can we do that?” And I say, “Well, of course, we can do that.”

Look at my cursor, you see how my cursor changes to be a little finger for all of these? I’ll just go up here and I’ll click on Health Reimbursement. And that did not work. Why did it not? Oh, sorry, that one worked. Let’s say that you wanted me to go to Moving from Self-funded. So, now, there, we click on there. And now, as I work through these slides, these are all the slides for the section called, Moving from Self-funded.

And when I’m done, I come right back to here where I can now go to the next one. And the next one is, whichever I say it is, Uniquely MESSA. There is Uniquely MESSA. One click on that, we’re going to work through those slides, and we’re right back here when I’m done. We don’t have to worry about multiple slides that act like the agenda. There’s only one of them in this deck. Here’s Resources. And then we’re done and we come right back here.

Now, I want to drop back out for a second because this one didn’t work. Health Reimbursement didn’t work. I did something wrong there, and I want to find out what I did. Back at the moment, I can’t even press Escape. There. Okay. So, let’s go back and see how I screwed this one up. Insert action, Health Reimbursement. So, I did the wrong … Well, that’s correct. That should have worked. And for the life of me, I don’t know why it didn’t. Just one second here. Health Reimbursement, edit. Oh, there’s too much here.

So, it was actually doing it, but it was starting on the same slide. So, I messed up this one, but I can fix that by just grabbing these slides that were part of that. Add them. Say okay. Now, that should work. Let me try it again because the intelligence of where this goes is still there. There we go. And so that’s how I wanted this to be. And when we’re done, right back here.

Now, I could work through this slide deck linearly also. I could just advance to the next one. I could also create a hyperlink on any slide that takes me back to here, so that I can then move to any other section at any time I want it. And if we’re working through this section right here, but I decide I only want to show the first two slides, this one and then this one. That’s no problem. When I’m at this slide right here, I just press Escape, and I instantly stop the custom show and go back to the running of the main show. So, that’s …

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Wait. Let me interrupt you for just a second, because I think there’s a great comment that came in from Lisa. She said, “Going back to the agenda slide, each time brings the logo back to the eye, which is why we’re no longer putting the logo on every slide.”

Rick Altman:      Mm-hmm (affirmative). That …

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          The comment I like where we had our earlier conversations.

Rick Altman:      Yeah. I see Lisa’s question here in the Q&A panel. And so, that comes back to this argument. Do you want it on every slide? Or do you want it on just certain slides? This actually might be a good compromise. In this case, this will bring the logo back to the person’s eye at each section change, but not on every slide.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          I think it’s a great compromise, and I think it’s something more people should do. And I think especially as we have some new tools coming from PowerPoint, it gives you more opportunity to do this.

Rick Altman:      Very good. Now, I just realized something. The download has this slide deck and its before state so that you could experiment and try this on your own. If people would like to see, like me to send them what this slide deck looks like in its after state, they can email me. And Sharyn, do put my email address in the set of resources, so people can reach me.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Okay. Great. I’ll do that. And then I’ve also put it into this, and I’ll include it in the post event as well.

Rick Altman:      Okay.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          We do want to answer one question, because we’ve had a couple of people. Yes, we are recording this session, and we’ll make it available within two days. You’ll get an email telling you where you can download everything as well. Or you can also check presentationxpert.com/webinars, and it will be on our webinar page. Rick, it’s about 12:25. So, I’m going to give it back to you. I think, if we have no other questions, we’re running pretty short towards the end of time here.

Rick Altman:      And I’m good. I’m good to be done. I’ll thank everybody one last time. I loved all the questions. Makeovers are one of my favorite topics and I know it’s one of yours also. Like I said at the conference, we solicit submissions for about a half a dozen sessions. They are always the most popular. So, I’m very grateful for having this opportunity to address one of my favorite topics with one of my favorite communities of all, my peeps in the presentation community. Thanks so much, everybody.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick:          Yes, myself as well. I always learn so much even though I see a lot of this content. I’m always learning something new with Rick that I get to use. So, we want to thank everybody for coming to today’s event and you’ll see a recording. And if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we hope you have a great rest of your day.

Cheating Death by PowerPoint: Slide Makeovers

Learn about visual techniques and designs that you can use to make slides communicate a lot better in PowerPoint, from expert Laura Foley.

Sharyn Fitzpatrick: Good morning, good afternoon, depending wherever you are. My name is Sharyn Fitzpatrick, and I’m really excited today to have Laura Foley of Laura Foley Design doing Cheating Death by PowerPoint. She has written for us. She’s been a great contributor and we’re really excited to have her on today’s webinar, which is sponsored by Citrix. Citrix has been kind enough to offer us a 30-day free trial. You’ll find it in chat and I will probably put it in chat again. You’re welcome to just go to the website and try it for free. It’s what we’re using today and I happen to be a huge fan. We want you to stay connected with us. We’re all over social media. If you want to tweet today, just use the #PresentationXpert. And at this time, what I’d like to do is turn this over to Laura Foley and say thank you very much, Laura. I can’t wait to see what you have going for us.

Laura Foley: Great. Thank you so much. Welcome everybody. I’m so glad that you’re here today with me to learn about some visual techniques and designs that you can use to make slides communicate a lot better in PowerPoint. From Sharyn’s introduction, I know that you come from all varied backgrounds and all over the world. So I hope that I have something that you will be able to take away with and take to your own positions, your own jobs, your own presentations, and be able to use what I’m going to teach you to help to be better communicators.

Oh my God, I love PowerPoint, said nobody ever. I have yet to meet someone who is really in love with using PowerPoint. That’s really interesting because PowerPoint is very widely used. In fact, it is the single most used software in the world. I mean, not software, presentation software in the world. But people tend to use PowerPoint because, do they want to use PowerPoint or do they have to use PowerPoint? Well, what I’ve been noticing is usually the case is that people are using PowerPoint because they have to. It is everywhere. It is the world’s most popular presentation software. And for that reason, because it is so popular, because everybody has it, because it’s installed on Windows computers all over the place, just about everyone in business or academia already knows how to use PowerPoint.

But not everybody uses it well, because just like knowing how to use a hammer or knowing that you have to hit nails with a hammer, that doesn’t make you a master carpenter just because you have a hammer and you know how to use it. In the same way, knowing how to use PowerPoint doesn’t make you a presentation design expert. But that changes today because during this webinar, I am going to teach you five top tips for using PowerPoint well. The good news is that these tips are easy to remember and to use every day when you’re working in PowerPoint. You don’t have to be a graphic designer or a marketing expert to create great PowerPoint presentations. These are learnable skills and they’re easy to learn and you can start using them right away.

Today you’re going to learn how to redesign slides to make them better in every way, not only just the way that they look, but easier to understand and easier to communicate your messages. We’ll focus on four main points that will come up again and again when I show you the slide make-overs, and they are to think like the audience. It’s not always easy to separate yourself from your content, but it is important to realize that the people you’re presenting to don’t necessarily share your experience with your topic. In fact, they usually come to you to learn what you know about that topic. So, keep the audience’s experience in mind when you’re working on your slide. Be clear, be concise, and be informative.

We need to start putting less stuff on our slides. Now, nobody comes to your presentation to read slides off of a screen. They’re at your presentation to listen and to learn from you. So you have to learn a way to get your message across in fewer words, using more pictures. A great way to make your ideas easier to understand is to use pictures. Now, we’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words about a million billion times. But it really is true. Pictures do communicate in ways that written words and speech do not.

We are going to combine these first three things: thinking like the audience, putting less stuff on your slide, and using more pictures, as we apply the analyze and synthesize method of redesigning slides, which I’m going to explain. So let’s get started.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said very famously that less is more. He was an architect who was speaking about how simplicity and functionality can be a lot more powerful than complexity and needless decoration. If you remember nothing else from this webinar, I hope that this sentence, less is more, sticks with you.

Do not read your slides. That is a big, big, powerful lesson. It’s funny but people who put lots and lots of text on their slides are typically using them as teleprompters. They’re reading from their slides to the audience. This is by far the most annoying thing a presenter can do. It’s not just me saying that, it is thousands and thousands of people on Twitter complaining about their classroom Professors reading from PowerPoint, it’s about people in training reading from PowerPoint. It is a big, big problem.

If you’re reading your presentation to your audience, it’s kind of like a story time for little kids. Your audience probably already knows how to read so it can be insulting and annoying to do it for them. Another important thing is that if you’re reading to people, they’ll probably be wondering why they bothered to be in the same room with you when they could have read the presentation themselves. Presenting is a real gift that we as presenters have, that we are able to connect directly with an audience. So we do want to make sure that we’re doing that in the most positive way possible, and that is definitely not by reading your slides to people.

Well, let’s start with analyze and synthesize. This is a method of redesigning overly wordy, complicated, or busy slides. The first step is that we analyze each slide to determine the most important parts of the message. You may find that when you analyze a complicated or a very busy slide, it will be necessary to create more than one slide to communicate all of the messages that are there. Once we’ve determined our main messages, it’s time to distill them down into new, more concise slides. That means getting rid of excess texts and adding images that do a better job of explaining concepts. Let’s take a look at this analyze and synthesize method in action by looking at this slide, and I’m going to pause for a moment to give you a chance to read that slide.

Okay, that’s enough reading. The problem with this slide, and there are many, I’m going to start with the words first. There are just too many words on this slide. If you ask people to read the slide, it is distracting them from you, the presenter. You risk alienating people by zipping through this slide too quickly and not giving them a chance to catch up to the reading, or you alienate them by waiting too long and the fast readers start to think, well, I’m already done, why am I sitting around watching this slide? Aside from the too much text being on the slide, the colors in the background are not really that attractive. They don’t speak about family farming. And the image, while I applaud the idea of using an image, it is really, really tiny and very hard to make out, and it really doesn’t stand a chance against all of the text on this slide.

In the first path of analyzing this slide, we can read the text and figure out that there are three main themes going on in this slide. First, we’re talking about the definition of family farming. What is it? Then we’re talking about what it used to be in the past, and then we’re talking about what it is now. So there are three main themes. That means we can break this down into three slides. Let’s focus first on the definition of family farming. Now, in this case, all of the text that’s there is really helpful because it is helping me to figure out what kind of pictures to put on the slides.

Now, when you are dealing with a slide like this that is overly wordy, and you are doing this analysis, you will end up with a slide, the finished slide, that only has maybe a sentence or a couple of words on it, but all of the text does not go away. That goes into the speaker notes, and the speaker notes will help the speaker to practice the presentation and be able to touch on the subjects that he wants to. Here is the redesigned slide. We have a large version of that tiny little photograph, and we offer the definition, the family farm, the economic base of much of human history. That is the distillation of all the words that we saw in the slides before.

Where Can You Get Photos for PowerPoint?

Sharyn: People are loving the picture and want to know, where do you get your pictures?

Laura: Well, that is an excellent question. There are a lot of places where you can get pictures. I use Wikimedia Commons a lot, and I use that because a lot of the photographs are free. They are in the public domain, which means that you don’t need to purchase them or to attribute them, and you can use them commercially or privately, or really for any use that you want. In Wikimedia Commons you’ll also find some photographs that have certain copyrights to them, but they are still free to use. And on each photograph that you find there, you’ll see what kind of copyright they ask for, or rather what kind of attribution they ask for, so that the cost of the image really is just indicating someone’s name, the original author of the work, where it came from, the website it came from, and the type of copyright that it has.

Sharyn: That’s one of the things I love from PowerPoint 2013 on where you can say insert pictures, you can insert an online picture, and Bing will bring up creative comments pictures. And that really, I think, has been a really nice addition to give people a wide range of resources for pictures. Back to you.

Laura: All right. Very good. I’d say that the Bing search is a good place to start, but you really do have to be careful because the onus is on the user to make sure that the pictures are correctly attributed, that they do have creative comments licenses and that they are something that you can use. And that’s especially important if you are working for a company that distributes these slides or that they might see a wide audience, but the copyright talk is really a talk for a whole other webinar really. But I will throw out a couple other image sites that I like. It’s Mourge File, M-O-U-R-G-E. No, I’m sorry. Morgue. Just forgot how to spell Morgue. I’ll get back to you on that. But Morgue File is one and Pixabay is another one that I like for free images. It is important to have these images. It’s really… Yes, thank you. Morguefile.com just appeared in the chat window.

Getting back to this family farming slide. This is the second idea where we’re talking about what family farming used to be like. When we synthesize it using a photograph, and this is something you might be able to see in the bottom right corner, it might be too small, but in the bottom right corner it does say copyright German Federal Archives. This is a historic photograph of a woman and her daughters working in a family farm. And we say that it used to be a way of life. And then the present, all of this text can be distilled down into those days are gone. And again, down at the bottom, it’s image copyright 2010 Philip MC. So that’s the attribution for that photograph.

Here’s another delightful slide. This was a slide that was submitted to me for redesign, and I have taken away the identifying marks on it so that right now it’s just Acme Medical Services. There is a lot of stuff going on in this slide. A lot of information on this slide, not to mention this kind of word art name going vertically up the side of the slide, which I never recommend that you put vertical text like that because people have to tilt their heads to read it, and it’s very awkward. The first problem is of course that there is too much stuff on the slide, and the first idea that I found on this slide is that 10% of the posts of medical officers, and then the rest of that. And then this is the second idea on this slide. This is the third idea, the fourth, and the fifth.

It’s not important, for the purposes of this webinar right now, for you to read all of those things. But I have done that and I have figured out that there are five separate things that are going on in this slide. For the redesign, I introduce a picture of a physician that might be in this organization, and I have put the heading, the title, across the top, and the title stays the same on all of the redesigned slides. I’m pulling out each idea one at a time on these slides so that people can get a glance at it and understand what they’re talking about.

Now, in a situation like this where it might be a briefing, they’re trying to give a lot of information to people, no doubt they will have other resources to look at. They might be given a website to go to, they might be given handouts. So you don’t need to go into a great deal of detail on the slides. It’s enough to pull out these different things, different items on a slide. I’ll go through these fairly quickly but these are the basic ideas on the slide. The people will probably need to have some kind of supplemental resources for them to refer to, and that could be, as I mentioned, in the form of a handout, or it can be in the form of a website that they can go to.

Remember, a lot of times these presentations are just to introduce ideas to the audience. They’re not for the people to memorize and study and know exactly what was talked about. They need to get the idea of these ideas are present, and here’s where you can go for further information.

Now, one thing you might have noticed is that when you analyze and synthesize slides, you increase the number of slides in your presentation. We started off with a family farming slide with one slide that went into three, the medical slide started at one and it went to five. But I would argue that the number of slides in your presentations really isn’t that important, and this is an argument that I make to my clients. And when I explain it to them, they come to understand that it’s true. The reason is, think about a movie, any movie you’ve seen. I don’t think anybody in the world talks about how many frames per second goes into a minute of this movie or that movie. It really isn’t important because it’s the experience of seeing the movie that’s important, not the number of frames that’s go into it.

Similarly, that’s what I’d say to people about PowerPoint. I’ve seen 30 minute presentations that have one slide, and I’ve given 30 minute presentations that have 50 slides. But you really can’t tell that there are so many slides because they move very quickly, they’re a part of the animation, and it really breaks the information across in one idea slides that help audiences to understand so they don’t really know that there are that many slides. In fact, people are often surprised when I tell them how many slides my presentations has. So, don’t worry that you’re increasing the number of slides because if you’re speaking at the same pace, then the information will come out of your mouth and the flag will appear behind you at about the same pace as before when everything was crammed into one slide.

I’m going to be quiet for a moment so you can read this slide. Now, many times people will overly describe things that are much better communicated with just a simple picture. Now that you’ve read this and you have looked at this supporting clip art, see how much better it is with a picture. Now, look at this guy. He is not doing something that’s very smart, and in case the audience doesn’t understand that this is not the best idea in the world, we have another image that comes up. Now, this is a universally understood symbol for no or something that you shouldn’t do. That can be as important drawing on symbols as the photographs that you use because a symbol like this, because it is understood, saves you the trouble of explaining what it means and you can communicate your ideas instantly by drawing on symbols and photographs like these that have a universal appeal and that people universally understand.

This is a slide that is from a student. He was doing a report about the famous people of Mali. Now, for this makeover, I’m going to cut the student a little bit of slack because this is a young student. I’m going to not take out all of the words that he’s put in, but I’m going to split this slide into two because this slide is speaking about two people. But apart from the words, there is a lot going on with this slide. First I want to applaud him for using a very interesting set of pictures, but because he is talking about the famous historical figures of Mali, having a photograph of these camels and these riders in modern day Mali does not really speak to what the words are talking about.

In fact, what does speak to what the words are talking about are those tiny little pictures that are covering up the text. You see the first picture of a man on a horse is right in the center of the slide, right below the background picture of the man on the camel. And there’s another tiny picture in the lower right corner. When I was analyzing this slide, I saw that these two pictures are of the people who are described on the slide and also that they were of pretty high resolution and great for use in the slides. So for the redesign, I took away the busy camel background and I made the pictures of the historic figures a lot bigger.

I’ve got the text is a lot bigger. And again, if this were a slide that was being presented by a professional, a teacher or a presenter, I wouldn’t want this much text, but because this is a student slide, I’m allowing a little bit more text to be on this slide. In the background, I still have a pattern but it’s a lot less busy than the photographic background before. This supports the idea of Mali because the background is in fact some fabric that was decorated in Mali, but it is very faded back so that it doesn’t compete with the foreground. And for the second slide, because we’re talking about two people, it’s a similar thing where you have the historic picture and the text on this rather neutral background.

The next slide, I’m not going to cut her much slack because this came from a professional, and this is a slide that was given to people who were just hired as sales reps. They needed to find out what to do to handle complaints. You can see that there is way too much text on the slide. First we have the title is Complaint Handling-Sales Rep’s Duties. We’ve got the first level bullet points of the first three bullet points. Then we have a sub bullet points starting with incident report. And then another level about the document can be completed electronically, and so forth.

This is an outline, and outlines are great to start with when you’re working on your presentations. But there’s way too much information in there for the audience to read. Again, in a training situation, the people who you were speaking to would no doubt have either handouts to look at, a website to visit. They might have a person they can contact with any questions that they might have, but they’re not going to get all of the information and memorize it by looking at the slides. That’s why you can afford to take out a lot of this information, put it in the speaker notes and redesign it so that there’s a lot less stuff going on.

Start off by clarifying the title, how you should handle complaints. You see, I’ve changed it to how you should handle complaints because we’re speaking to the audience of sales reps. So I want the speaker to be able to have a connection with the audience. We’ve kept the background the same, but we’ve added a picture of a sales rep, and there he is smiling away. The first thing you should do when you hear a complaint is you should immediately notify your branch manager. After you’ve done that, you should review your guidelines and procedures, and then you should complete and file an incident report.

Now, the good thing about having animations coming in like this is that the presenter can control when the animation for the next step comes up. So if the class has questions, then the presenter just doesn’t click on the mouse until the questions have been answered. All of the information that was on this slide are things that the presenter would know about, or that are in the speaker notes so that she could refer to them and learn about them before she gives the presentation. This control of the timing of information can be very important because depending on what your audience reaction is, they might need to slow down a bit so that you can completely explain yourself to them or clarify concepts, or they might understand it very quickly so you need to go through a little quicker. But having this information reveal itself on clicks gives the presenter that control, the control of information.

Now, I know that in the audience we had aviation instructor. Hello there. This type of slide might be familiar to you. What we are looking at here is an example of not so good color use. I’m not going to pick on the photograph because it’s a nice big photograph that’s clear, but the colors that are being used here are very confusing. Usually if you had colors that were similar, such as the red text with the heliport instrument landing and heliport approach lighting, those two items would relate to each other. In a similar way, the two things in yellow would relate to each other.

In this case, it just appears as if the person who designed the slide just chose a bunch of different colors that they like rather than making them mean something. Up on the top where we’ve got the title, that red on blue creates what they call a vibration. It’s a visual kind of as a blur, and depending on the monitor or the screen that you’re looking at it, it can be very distracting to see those two colors together. And it’s taking a lot of attention away from the actual captions on the image because it’s in that big dark heading.

Now, let’s see what this is going to look like with some better color choices and maybe a little bit bigger typeface so that you can see really what’s going on. We move the title down to the bottom. And as I mentioned on the other slide, I can control the flow of information like this. I’ve got my file approach and take off area, and I talk a little bit about that. Then with another click, this is revealed. With another click, and so on. It just goes through and talks about all of these different approaches and the different lighting that’s on there. And then at the end, if you want, you can put all of the texts back up on the screen so that people can see what’s going on in an overall view. But by having it animate in one at a time, you can concentrate on each type of landing in each area of the airport so that you can make sure that your students understand completely what’s going on.

Recommended Fonts for PowerPoint

Sharyn: Laura, we have a question about fonts. What are your recommendations including size? I mean, one of the things that you’ve got is you can have like 20 point type, five point type, 72 point type. What’s the best recommendation to make it stand out?

Laura: Well, I generally don’t like to say that you have to do certain types of font size or a certain color, because then something comes along that blows that rule out of the water. But I will say that I rarely go below 14 point, and that is 14 point is on the very small end of what I use. And that might be for a chart or some kind of an image that requires typing it that you don’t necessarily have to read it that well. But you have to consider what the viewing experience of the audience is going to be. If you’re in a room where people might be 12 feet away from you, say a conference room, you can have the text a little bit smaller.

If you are presenting a keynote address at a giant conference where there are 1,000 people in the room, then your text is a lot bigger so that people can see it from the way back seats. And in that situation, you might not want to go below 24 points. But when you have less text on the slide, then you can afford to make the typeface bigger so that people can read it from any distance that they may be.

Sharyn: Is there a favorite font for numbers, like in a chart?

Laura: Not really. It depends on what the PowerPoint template or theme is that you have. The themes and templates come equipped with the typeface that is supposed to be used. So for instance, if you’re working at company XYZ and they have a certain look to their marketing materials, then they will always use say Ariel and, I don’t know what, Ariel and Times, let me just go with the two very basic ones, so that every time you work on a presentation, you’re always using either Ariel or Times in your charts, in your captions, in your text, everything. The choice of typeface makes the PowerPoint presentation have a better connection with the organization’s brand identity so that all the marketing looks like it comes from the same place.

Sharyn: Well, I mean, it’s definitely consistency in brand, but sometimes you have to be really careful when you’re setting up your template not to have fonts that don’t do well when they’re on the web or on PowerPoint. They could be too thin or too light. They might be great for a corporate logo, but you’ve got to be able to consider all aspects.

Laura: Yes, absolutely. And that’s part of knowing where your show is going to be presented.

Sharyn: Good point, back to you.

Laura: Okay. Audience here, you’ve had a chance to look at this lovely map of the United States. This is an interesting slide because the title of it says eight regions, but in fact there are nine regions that are being called out. The map itself, I’m not sure if you can tell on your screens, but it is highly pixelated. The text that’s being used for the region names, starting at the left we’ve got West, Central, Midwest, et cetera, that is highly pixelated as are the names of the initials for the states, and the people’s names have been typeset and put in there in PowerPoint.

The colors that are chosen are a little strange. They don’t match with the template that it’s in. Ordinarily for red, we use red for things that are dangerous or something that is undesirable. Think of phrases like red tape, or you’re in the red, meaning red tape is excessive bureaucracy and rules, being in the red means you lack money, that you owe money to people. So it’s seen as a negative thing, just as in a traffic light where you have green is go, yellow is caution, red is stop. To have such a large swath of red on here is a little bit strange because it might imply that there’s a problem with this region, which indeed there is not. So this is just a color choice that was made that doesn’t fit in with the template or with the idea that everything is okay in that region.

To change the way that this map looks, I found a vector image of a United States map, and I will tell you that a wonderful place to get free vector graphics is called Vecteezy. It’s V as in Victor, E-C-T-E-E-Z-Y.com, Vecteezy. It is a place where you can download free EPS files that you can ungroup, you can regroup in PowerPoint. When you ungroup them in PowerPoint, you can change the colors around, and that’s what I did for this map, so it’s a nice clear map now. We have the colors of the regions are taken from the template. So now the colors look like they belong on that template.

Another thing I did was to typeset all of the names of the regions and the people in the regions, and the color of the region names now matches the actual region. So it’s a lot easier to see that the West with the orange type, it says West, matches the states that it’s over. So it’s pairing up the colors with the titles. I’m just typing Vecteezy.com in the chat room so that you can know where to get these great kinds of resources.

I’m going to give you a moment to take a look at this slide. It’s not very easy to figure out what’s going on because the title is in the left most column. The title of this slide is Dashboard Metrics Job Aid. Because it’s in the left, it doesn’t read as the title. The lines are heavy in some areas, light in other areas. There are very bright colors, and there’s a lot of visual information here and it’s all competing for your attention. Everything seems really important because nothing is really called out. But the real problem with this slide besides the fact that there’s a lot of information is that this is not information that really works for a table.

This slide is actually meant to be a guide for a dashboard that you would see on a computer screen. So when you’re looking at this slide, everything that’s in the middle column where it’s Club 700 Dashboard, with those yellow, red and green bars, that’s what’s on the screen, and the text that’s on the right is the description of each of these areas on the screen. As I said before, we’ve got that red, yellow, and green stoplight showing there where red means something needs attention, yellow is caution review, and green is meeting goals.

Let’s see what this redesigned slide would look like. Because we are illustrating what’s on the screen, I put the screenshot on a picture of a monitor. This is a nice visual trick to show people that this is what they would see on a monitor. We’ve got the Dashboard Metrics Job Aid up at the top, so that is the title. All of the text that used to be in the right column is going to come in, one at a time, on a click. I’ve changed the shape of the text box, which you can do very easily in PowerPoint, to a call-out or a word balloon kind of text. Every time I click on the mouse, a new call-out appears, and that’s just a fade in animation and a fade out when I click off of it, and a green highlighted area appears. So if you look at 3372, you see that it’s highlighted there. When I go back, summary is highlighted, and so on. As I click through, the descriptive text comes up, that area is highlighted so that people can really see what each thing does.

Here’s a slide that was taken from a presentation that an elementary school teacher would present to students. A couple of things struck me about this slide, the first of which is that the style of the clip art looks fairly dated. It doesn’t look very interesting to me. But another thing that I saw when I was analyzing this slide is that the sentences are a little bit inaccurate, and I’ll show you what I mean. The first sentence I noticed was the constitution says how the government works. Well, realistically, a document doesn’t say anything. It’s just a sheet of parchment. Now, this mistake, it is a small and it is kind of a nagging mistake, but it isn’t entirely correct the way it’s presented. And if you are teaching something, you want to be sure that you are teaching it in the best way possible.

Here’s another statement that the constitution creates the president. It actually created the office of the president. Again, it is a small detail, but where you’re trying to be the teacher and the expert, then you do want to pay attention to the details because that is what gives you credibility. When I did my research and was analyzing the photograph of the clip art, I realized that there are lots of images of the United States constitution that I could draw from. So I took one of those and blew it up really big to use as the background.

We are going to create, or rather I made two slides so that we have a couple of main ideas. We have the constitution and what it did, and then in the second click, it created the three branches of our government. I think that this, having an actual photograph of a copy of the constitution, makes it seem like more of a real document. By synthesizing the text that was there into something that is a little more accurate gives a better representation to the students of what the United States constitution actually did.

All right. Here’s another slide that comes from a college level teaching presentation. Again, we’ve got this clip art and the clip art really doesn’t help this slide much because it is very distracting. It is something that looks a lot less like college level coursework and a lot more like a comic book. You should try to use photographs whenever possible so that it gives your students something real to look at so that they can relate what they’re seeing to something that might actually exist in their homes. Again, the one idea per slide idea, we’ve got two ideas here. Luckily there’s not a lot of text on the slide, so that means we’re not going to have to do a lot of work to synthesize some new texts for this.

To redesign this slide, I found a picture of some high quality herbs and spices in a spice market, and then the generic herbs and spices you might find at a convenience store or at a dollar store, really inexpensive cheap stuff. So you contrast one against the other thing. That’s a nice photographic or visual trick you can do, compare and contrast. Putting two different images next to each other so that people can really see what the differences are. And for the second part of the idea, the second idea of herbs and spices having a shelf life, we’ve got a picture of each type of herbs. I was able to find this picture in the public domain and by some amazing set of circumstances, this picture did have the whole herbs, the ground spices, and the whole seeds that was talked about on the first slide. That really helps to underscore the fact that you do need to label these in order to get the maximum fresh herbs.

This analyze and synthesize method works great for charts too because we’ve all seen charts to have a ton of information going on. And when the presenter is talking about them, these busy, busy slides might not be an accurate representation of the point the person’s trying to make. What I’d like to do now is to show you some examples of some confusing slides and tell you how they can be redesigned to make them less confusing. This is the original slide, and it’s talking about the kinds of media that the population of India would use in 2008. Interestingly, the text that’s on the bottom is a description of the graph that’s on the top. That is the first thing that I would get rid of because if you have a good graph, you don’t need to describe how to read it because the graph will be self-evident. People know how to read them.

Another thing going on with this chart is that pie charts are really best used if you are trying to represent percentages of a whole. Say 50% of people, in this case probably more like 75% of people use mobile phones, where 12.5% use internet and 12.5% use landlines. If you’re not showing the percentages or rather the portions of percentages that add up to 100, it makes it a little unclear. A better representation of numbers like this would be a column chart like this where you can really see that the 296 million towers over the 45 million and 39 million of landlines. You can also see that landlines and internet are about equal compared to mobile phones. If you wanted to make more of a point at this, you could make the mobile phones column brighter or different color. You could also add an arrow trend line showing that the number of mobile phones is way higher than the landline and internet numbers.

Now, here’s another kind of a problem with a chart. This is a table that I’m not going to ask you to read everything, but I will show you that this table runs across two slides. We have a continued on there. I think the presenter was hoping that we would read this table and understand that it’s all supposed to be one big table, that if she had it all in one slide, the text would be really tiny and not very good for us to read. But because we have all this stuff to read, people are trying to read it while the presenter is speaking. That can be a real problem because it’s distracting.

When I was analyzing this slide, I found out that the table was there just to show that the table exists, that such a document exists; that people are looking at quality of care, that there is such a thing as quality of care indicators, and that people need to refer to them. You might find that happens in a presentation of your own or one that you’re redesigning where people are including tables not to show you what the data are but to show you that the data exists. In this case, I redesigned it so we’ve got a nice friendly person in there and she’s going through that list of the quality control indicators. Now this slide describes what these indicators do and how they can be used.

Another thing I see a lot is texts that could better be portrayed as a chart. When I analyze this slide, I see that it is a list of the top 10 body language. The title is fine, but the fact that everything is written out makes it very difficult to make comparisons unless you read everything. I know that because we have number one is 65 and number 10 is seven, because number one is the first in the list, it’s bound to be more than seven, but it’s very hard to bounce among the different lines to see how one piece of data is different from another and to make comparisons. This is a case where a chart is needed.

When I put those numbers into the form of a chart, now we can see very clearly that the biggest mistake the interviewees make with their body language is they don’t make eye contact. That’s the very top. You can see that the bar extends further out beyond the other data, and it’s orange. It’s the same color as the lady’s shirt, and that’s not a mistake. If the lady were wearing a green shirt, then that bar would be green. And if she were wearing a brown shirt, that bar would be brown. Something to contrast it that makes it stand out as the biggest error that people make and also taking some of the color from the photograph itself. Because this is now a bar chart, you can very easily see how it cascades down so that we’ve got the top most things that people do wrong are a little bit bigger bars, and the things that people don’t do wrong very often are very small.

What we’ve been talking about here, the whole reason why we redesign slides is that we’re trying to put ourselves into the mindset of the audience. The audience comes to a presentation to learn. They want to learn. They want to learn from a person who is presenting to them. So we need to design slides that will answer questions that they might have and not put in so much information that it is something they can’t easily understand or put in so much technical information that they feel lost. The purpose of the presentation is to bring the audience along on a journey. You want to be as inviting with your slides as you can so that the audience is understanding what you’re talking about and is driven to the goals of your presentation, and to come to the conclusions that you’re hoping that they will come to as a result of your presentation.

The analyze and synthesize method of slide redesign helps you to put less stuff on your slides so that people aren’t concentrating on reading your slides while they’re trying to listen to you, or if you’re designing for someone else, that they’re trying to listen to your client. People are there to pay attention to the person who is on stage speaking. The less stuff that’s on the slides, the easier it is for them to pay attention to the presenter. We do need to use pictures in our slide shows because pictures help people to understand things very quickly. They also help people to remember things more and they help people to be able to relate information that they read or that they see to an experience they might already have. The familiarity of a picture can help you to communicate what you need to in your presentations.

All of those things, those three things of thinking like the audience, putting less stuff on your slide and using pictures is what you’re bringing together when you’re analyzing your slide shows to come up with a better idea of how to present it, and synthesizing, that is putting together your new ideas with your pictures, your new text together to make slides that really do communicate what you need them to. So we’re thinking like the audience, we’re putting less stuff on our slides, we’re using more pictures and we are using the analyze and synthesize method. When we do all this, our slides are much cleaner, clearer, and much easier to understand. Sharyn, I can hand it back to you right now.

Sharyn: Well, thank you. We have the questions are pouring in.

Laura: That’s good.

Sharyn: We want to remind people to just put their questions into the question dashboard, and we will be glad to share it. I have to share with you, there’s something funny. We had a couple of quite a conversation going back and forth about the shark picture and people were saying, you sure it’s not partying with the shark or pet with the shark. But they thought that was very, very fun. We have a question, where do you find your background and themes for your slides?

Backgrounds and Themes for PowerPoint Slides

Laura: Well, two ways. I will either design it myself based on what an organization’s other marketing materials look like. I will incorporate the colors that they use on their websites or in their brochures or other printed marketing materials. I’ll use their logo and I’ll try to use as close to the typeface as I can, and still stay within what’s common for Windows machines. If I don’t have something to start with like that, then what I’ll do is I can open up one of the Microsoft templates that are already in PowerPoint and I’ll make some changes to it so that it more closely resembles the website of the organization I’m working with or a description of what they want the template to look like. I don’t generally use right off the shelf templates because when you do that, there’s bound to be someone else who’s using the exact same thing. I try to get something that unique to someone so that they’re not faced with someone else using the exact same look and feel as they are.

Sharyn: I think that’s a good point. I think sometimes too the topic or whatever the content is may also impact a little bit of your theme or at least the pictures that you choose. That’s why sometimes it’s really important to think about as well.

Laura: Yeah.

Ugly Presentations

Sharyn: Let’s talk about the fact that we have people who are really proud of their presentation. Sometimes they’re sensitive about their presentations. But as an expert, especially on Cheating Death by PowerPoint, you know they have a really ugly presentation. How do you let them know?

Laura: Well, here’s what we don’t say. “That is clearly the ugliest presentation I’ve ever seen”, because that is like insulting somebody’s child. They don’t want to hear that. What is a better way to do this is to ask someone about what their goals are for the presentation. For instance, let’s go to an example where an engineer might have developed some software that accomplishes a task, and he is trying to get funding to develop the software. If he goes to the VCs, the people who have the money, and explains how the software works, he’s going to lose the audience because they will not understand him a lot of the time.

His goal for the presentation is to get funding. What he needs to do is to be able to describe the benefits of what he’s designing so that the people with the money can say, “Oh yeah, if this technology takes off, it will solve problem X, problem Y, problem Z, and we can certainly make some money off of this invention or this software. Yes, we will fund you.”

If someone does have that deck that is unattractive, you can start the conversation with, are you seeing the goals? Are you realizing the goals that you had for this deck? Are you getting more funding? Are people signing up for your seminars? Are the people you’re teaching learning effectively? And if the answers to those questions are no, then you can explore different ways to show the information in the presentation so that you’re not hurting their feelings and turning the people off to you, but rather you’re acting more as a trusted associate who wants the same things as they do. You want them to succeed with their presentations.

Distracting Pictures

Sharyn: Good point. Going back to our friendly shark who everyone wants to pet before you put the no petting zone up there, how do you deal with sometimes pictures can be distracting as well as really important. For example, the picture of the dairy cattle may overly focus on the idea of the family farm, and there are really many types of family farms. I know it’s just to be an example, but how do you find that balance between what’s distracting and what works?

Laura: Well, it’s all part of the act really. If you want to disrupt people, bounce them out of their chairs, see if they’re awake, you can always throw in an extremely distracting or strange photograph and waiting for the reaction and say like, “Oh, I just was hoping you were awake and paying attention.” I try not to put in photographs that are super, super distracting if they are meant to illustrate a concept. An example of this might be, if I were trying to illustrate a concept of a meeting, a business meeting, and there’s a photograph of a business meeting, but one of the people in the meeting has piercings all over their face, they’ve got these tattoos and some wacky hair color, then that wouldn’t be a good picture to use to illustrate business meetings because everyone would be focusing on the appearance of that one person in the picture. So depending on what your goal is, do you want to illustrate the idea of a meeting or do you want people to talk about your weird picture?

Sharyn: That’s a great point. I think you face that in multiple things is you want to use the picture to get a reaction and that reaction you can control based on how you deliberate what the content is.

Laura: Yep, absolutely.

Using Company Names and Logos in the PowerPoint Footer

Sharyn: We have a question from Liz. Can you comment on using company logos and names in the footer?

Laura: Sure. I go both ways on it. Some of my clients that I work with insist on using their logos on their slides and that’s okay. They’ve made an investment in their logo and they want people to know who they are. The problem arises when the logo takes up a lot of real estate in the slide. When it takes up too much space on your footer, you’re losing perhaps a fifth of the slide that you can no longer put information on. What I try to get my clients to do is to put the logo on the very first slide that is up when people are entering the room and on the very last slide so that when people are asking questions of the presenter, the logo is visible to the people. Because my theory is that people are not going to forget who you are and where you’re from in the time that it takes you to give your presentation.

Sharyn: Yeah. I hate it when sometimes people just want the logo on every single slide, because I think that’s not needed. It’s overkill. I think the way you handled it is perfect. Here’s a question from Rebecca. Why no periods at the end of statements on slides?

Laura: If they’re incomplete sentences, then they shouldn’t have a period.

Sharyn: I agree.

Laura: The last slide I put up there said your slides will be clearer and easier to understand, period, full stop. I put a period on there because it’s the correct punctuation. But where you’re offering phrases, then you don’t need to punctuate those as if they are sentences.

Sharyn: We have another question. PowerPoint’s awful, at least that’s what some people think.

Laura: It’s not a question. That’s a statement.

Sharyn: I know. Should I put a period or not? Real designers don’t use it, do they?

Laura: You know what, it’s funny that you should say that because a couple of years ago I was at a design conference. It was in 2009 that I decided I was going to focus primarily on PowerPoint. Every single designer I told had some variation of, “You’re an idiot. That’s the worst program in the whole wide world. That’s terrible. It’s no fun.” Everyone thought PowerPoint was terrible. But from a designer’s perspective, because all of my designer friends, in other words my competition, wasn’t using it, that was a great opportunity for me to use it for the benefit of the people I work for.

Another thing about PowerPoint being awful, or PowerPoint being stupid, or whatever kind of word you want to use for it, it’s just a tool. It’s like that hammer that I was talking about. You can use the tool poorly, or you can use the tool very well. It’s just a matter of learning the different things that you can do and cannot do with PowerPoint that makes it either great for design or not so good for design.

Sharyn: I use PowerPoint for everything. If I need to create a banner or… There are different things that you can use it for. I love PowerPoint, but then I guess that’s a good idea since I’m the editor of PresentationXpert. So I better like it.

Laura: Yeah. I use PowerPoint to make flyers and of course slides, but if I were sending something to print, I would absolutely not use PowerPoint because that’s what it’s not designed for and it’s terrible at designing for print. But if you’re designing things that are visual, certainly presentations, or things that might be produced in an office or copied from a PDF file, then PowerPoint can be a great tool.

PowerPoint Slides for Webinars vs In-Person Seminars

Sharyn: Yeah, I agree. We have an interesting question from Anette. Does the development of a slide differ if you’re giving a webinar using PowerPoint versus in-person in a very large room with 300+ people?

Laura: I’m not sure the slide is different. It’s certainly the presentation is different because the presenter lacks the ability to connect with her gestures or facial expressions to an audience that is online. Certainly having an online audience removes the opportunity to do things in person like offering something for people to look at or to hold or to smell or to touch. You can’t do that in a webinar. But the slides themselves, I find that I design them exactly the same for a webinar as I do for a live show, except for one thing. I would not tend to include video in a webinar because sometimes it can lag terribly and people don’t get the experience of seeing the video immediately as they would if it were live in a room.

Sharyn: Yeah. I think that’s a good point. And I also think one of the nice things too about using an integrating slide is the whole idea of interactivity within a webinar that enhances your slide. You can put the chat, you can do polls, you can do different things. I think that’s just redefines the experience for each audience.

Laura: Yeah.

Using Non-Standard Fonts in a Presentation

Sharyn: What are your thoughts on using custom non-standard fonts in a presentation?

Laura: Well, it’s interesting that you should ask because I’ve started doing that for my own presentations. In PowerPoint, you can save a file so that it also contains the typeface that you use and you can save it so it saves only the typeface that is used, or it can save the entire font. The difference is if you have a presentation that has the word cat, C-A-T, in all lower letters, if you save it one way, it will save the C, the A, and the T, and that’s it. Pretty small file size. If you save the entire typeface, then it will save CAT and all the letters and all the punctuation within the typeface.

Plus, the upside is that you can create a presentation that looks like something people don’t generally see using typefaces like the one that I used on the presentation today. That’s a non-standard typeface, and there are lots of free typefaces available on Google that you can download for free and can use in any way you like, and I embed these into this presentation so that my presentation looks like it comes from me.

For presentations that I do for my clients, I always use a Windows standard font. That is because the presentations have to be usable across an organization. The organization might be in all different parts of the world, different parts of the country. They might have an older Windows system that they’re using. They might have cutting-edge state-of-the-art system that they’re using, but it all has to look alike. When you start messing the typefaces around, if someone is opening a presentation that has a typeface that is not loaded on their machine, then that can throw the spacing off and you have line breaks where there shouldn’t be or the text is too small to fill a space and it just doesn’t look good at all.

Tips for Welcome Slides

Sharyn: I know we’re running long, so we’re going to… We have a lot more questions, so just want to let people know that we’re going to just go through the next couple of questions and then we’ll end it, but I wanted to at least give you the option to listen to this, plus, we will capture the extra questions in the recording. We have a good question. Do you have any tips for a welcome slide that might be used during opening speeches but not actually reference directly?

Laura: You can use a looping slide show for that. If you have a room that is gradually filling up, you can use a slide show of maybe five to 10 slides that just continuously loop around. One of them might be your logo or the presenter’s logo to show where they are, and there might be some pictures or a little bit of a discussion about the kind of themes that you’re talking about. Not giving away the whole show, but if you’re at a tech conference, then maybe you’ve got some pictures of technology and talking about some of the technology you’re going to introduce in your presentation. But I always like to include a logo and contact information in this type of a slide show so that people can get in touch with you either before or preferably after your speech.

You can also put in a, you can just have one single slide up there that does have a nice neutral image in there, or the conference splash screen, whatever that might be, but always having your contact information on there. That helps the audience to understand that you want to be talked to. You’re not some person delivering the sermon from the ivory tower, you’re someone who’s approachable. If you even write that on your slides, please contact me with your questions, please live tweet this experience, whatever you want them to do, that gives them the instructions of how to get in touch with you.

PowerPoint Color Schemes

Sharyn: I think that’s good. We have so many questions, so I’m going to just limit it to one more. We have a lot of questions about color. How do you decide on the color scheme when you have a blank template?

Laura: That’s the toughest thing. Really that’s the thing that takes the longest to get going. But what I try to do is draw on colors that are meaningful to the person I’m designing the template for. It really helps if they have a website that’s already up and online, or if they have a logo that’s been designed so that I can take the colors from that website or logo, use those as the base colors for my presentation template, and then come up with other colors that work well with the main colors.

Sharyn: And if they don’t have colors, there’s some interesting color site where we actually were able to create a branding look and feel in colors by using both PMS colors as well as RGB colors as well. That really enabled us to create then a palette that we could use for each one of the PowerPoint, their website and everything. It worked really well.

Laura: Another thing you could do is you can take, or the client can present a photograph that they have that represents what they like. Maybe a spa might have a picture of a calm beach in the tropics. So you might choose cool blues and aquas and turquoise colors and some beige from the sand, and take the colors from the photograph and use that as your basis for your template.

Sharyn: Yeah, that’s a good idea. The clients that we did this for, they had pictures they wanted to use, but the pictures together didn’t work real well. So we were able to find a way to change the color of the picture a little bit to match a better tone for what would look like a good mix of their personality and the content. It worked pretty well.

Laura: Yeah, that’s another… It’s interesting you should mention that because one of the tricks I do is if I’ve got a presentation that has a lot of color photographs and I don’t want them to be color, in PowerPoint you can change the overall color of a picture to one of the colors that’s in the palette. That way the colors in the pictures aren’t distracting, they aren’t actually harmonized with the colors of the palette.

Sharyn: I do that all the time. I was working on a presentation yesterday that the picture I wanted was a really dark black or gray, but I was looking for something that was more a blue, gray color. I was able to change it and still make it look consistent within what we were trying to build.

Laura: Yep. It’s a great trick.

Sharyn: Yep, I love it. I want to thank everybody and thank you, Laura. I thought this was fabulous. I learn a lot every time and I’m so glad we finally got you on. I want to remind people to mark their calendars for our June webinar, Oops, Geeking out with Hyperlinks and Trigger Animations in PowerPoint. And of course, Rick Altman is always entertaining, so it’s always fun to do that. You can sign up. The webinar registration is open and we’ll be geeking out on Wednesday, June 22nd. Thank you so much. I want to thank you all and I will end the webinar at this time. Thank you.

Laura: Thanks. It’s been a lot of fun.

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