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Archive for ‘Graphics in Presentations’

Stories Connect. Big Time.

By Tom Nixon

Melissa was running through her upcoming slide presentation with me. She loaded up her PowerPoint deck with all the facts and figures she could find that would make her pitch irresistible. There was an almost endless march of slides with numbers, features and benefits.

I had to stop her and ask, “Why not tell your listeners a story? Or use a testimonial or a case-study?”

“Think of a success story that involves you and a client. Maybe you can get a quote from them or, better yet, a quote …

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Using a graph? What’s your point?

by Tom Nixon

Presenting data to an audience is a challenge. If we just dump a pile of numbers on the screen we can expect those “eyes glazed over” looks that PowerPoint is so famous for. To make numbers meaningful we often turn to a graph or chart to show numbers as visual relationships.

Unfortunately, PowerPoint is all too ready to help us make those many layered, three-dimensional, color coordinated graphs that are just as confusing as the raw data. As the “tour guides” of our presentation we need …

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A Quick Fade

by Tom Nixon

Animation in PowerPoint or Keynote is a very slippery slope. It seems that the average user cannot resist the urge to fly in text or spin transitions from one slide to the next. Additionally, they must feel that once is certainly not enough — the stunning effect has to be repeated dozens, if not hundreds of times.

The average audience member doesn’t quite see it that way. The zooming and flying quickly becomes amateurish and nauseating for your viewers. I generally coach anyone but an experienced …

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Don’t Squish Their Heads

by Tom Nixon

I don’t know if this bothers anyone else — maybe it is just me and my graphic design touchiness. But it makes me crazy when I see distorted images — photos of people and objects (like a basketball) that have been stretched or crushed to make them fit a space. It can be seen all the time in slide decks designed by folks who should know better.

The human eye and brain are very aware of even the slightest of these amateur short cuts and that is …

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Never Underestimate the Power of Cute!

by Tom Nixon

Cat videos, puppy pictures, kids selling lemonade — there is no greater power than when you use cute to grab some attention, even if it is a little off message. If you can show a picture of your kids and tell a relevant story about the time they learned a life lesson you will hit a home run. Emotions connect deeply.

 

 

 

Tom Nixon has over 3 decades of experience assisting clients with meaningful business communications. Contact Tom to see how he can work with your …

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Time Flies

by Tom Nixon

There are often dozens of ways to display the same words. Your choice of image can make for a dead serious or a comedic delivery. Or anywhere in between that might suit your message.

 

 
Tom Nixon has over 3 decades of experience assisting clients with meaningful business communications. Contact Tom to see how he can work with your business leaders and subject matter experts to create stunning visual presentations (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) and enhance their on-stage delivery.

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Making Data Meaningful

by Tom Nixon

An ongoing challenge that technical presenters have is how can large data sets in charts and graphs be presented without overwhelming the audience. Showing the full set of raw data is often necessary to establish a starting point or source. It may also be important to not appear to be “dumbing-down” the information. But a slide with dozens or even hundreds of data points simply cannot be assimilated from the screen.

The solution is to make the data meaningful by distilling down your numbers to just …

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Surround Your Words with Space

by Tom Nixon

Experienced speakers and designers know the power of space. Speakers use the auditory device of the pause; for the designer it can be the visual use of white space.

In either form it is the equivalent of a stunning image viewed by itself on an otherwise unadorned wall in a museum. We are setting apart something special from the rest of our noisy world. Space (or the pause) conveys the subliminal message that this is important – pay attention.

If you are designing a slide, use space to illustrate …

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Your message should be heard and seen

by Tom Nixon

There is a magical, left-brain/right-brain effect that using words plus images can have on your communication efforts. The words and logic appeal to our need to have the facts and to reason our decisions. At the same time images can build passion, emotion and feelings.

Effective salespeople know the value of appealing to emotions while at the same time helping their clients justify their decisions with logic. That is why you must sit in a new car in the showroom (and …

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Rock Star

by Tom Nixon

This slide could be a call-out to a valued employee at your next staff meeting — recognizing her hard work and bravery above and beyond.

In this case it is my wife, Shirley, the Rock Star, during our recent trip to Havasu Falls at the Grand Canyon. She is standing on a rock ledge overlooking a straight drop of at least a million feet (I was much too anxious to get that close).

A simple slide like this shown to your employees says so much more …

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