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Archive for ‘PowerPoint Slides’

The Glow of the Season

by Tom Nixon

One of my favorite go-to tricks for making text stand out from a complex background is to apply a glow that will separate it from the layer below. It is a fairly straightforward procedure that goes like this:

For text against a busy background:

Select the text, place your cursor in the text as though you were going to edit and then pressControl + A to select all the text.
From the top menu select Format > Text Effects > Glow
The flyout menu shows a variety of standard glow …

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I Know You Can’t Read This But …

by Tom Nixon

The most profound words crammed into a screen with a few hundred others become lifeless and impotent. They frustrate and annoy our audiences. When read from the screen to our listeners they become the fuel for the universally recited, number one complaint: “I hate it when they turn and read the slides to us!”

No wonder PowerPoint is so reviled.

If you ever find yourself saying, “I know you can’t read this but…” that is an indication that you are committing the most grievous of errors: too …

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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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If You Show It, They Will (Try to) Read It

By Tom Nixon

Watching a presentation lately I was reminded of a principle that is fundamental to how audiences experience a presentation. The presenter projected an image of an historical plaque. The text on the plaque was only slightly relevant to the subject. I, and I assume most members of the audience, read the first line or two and then gave up. It was too much and it really didn’t add to any deeper understanding of the subject matter.

The principle: If you put text on the screen, any text, in …

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How to Create TED-Quality Visuals for Your Next Speech

Ron Finley delivered a brilliant TED speech by mixing sharp attitude, a passion for urban gardening and simple, powerful visuals.
By Tom Nixon

In February 2013, Ron Finley stepped to the center of the TED stage in Long Beach, California and delivered a masterful presentation describing his mission to bring gardening and healthy foods to South Central Los Angeles. Ron has a lot of rough edges to him — especially by the standards of a typical TED audience. His voice and gestures have the attitude and cadence of a hip-hop performer. His …

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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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Give Your Graph A Point of View

by Tom Nixon

Every part of your presentation should move your audience toward the goal that you set for the entire presentation. Simply dumping a data set into a graph in PowerPoint only gives your audience part of the story — just the raw information.

You are the expert. Ideally they want to know what you think, what you have discovered about the subject, and how you see things. Give your charts and graphs a point of view by emphasizing the specific data that is critical to …

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Information vs. Presentation Decks

 

by Bob Goodyear

Several years ago, I was asked to do a technical sales presentation for a Fortune 100 company that could lead to a very large software contract.  All of the technical decision makers for the company would be in the audience as well as the CIO.  This was a very important meeting for the sales team and I was being asked to come in as an expert to close the technical end of the sale.

As I prepared for the event, the lead sales executive …

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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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