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Season of Giving: Making Your Audience Happier with Gifts

Ah, the Yuletide season. Nothing like the cold winter nights, all snuggled up in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate or eggnog—or any hot drink at all. Perhaps alone, if you so choose, or with loved ones. A cozy thought, especially for those looking to make the most out of this time of the year.

And by “make the most out of this time of the year,” let’s define it as “going out and spreading the message of the holidays.” Or, you know, “the season of giving.” This group of PowerPoint presentation professionals would like to think that, aside from the above statement, we consider that every day should be like Christmas—and in turn, every presentation should be just as giving as the last, if not more.

But what are you actually giving to your audience? Do you have to be a secret Santa to do that? Let’s take a step back and have a look from the observer’s perspective with this gifographic.

Making Your Audience Happier with Gifts

There’s no season like Christmas. For many, it’s a time of cheer and splendor, while for some, it’s a time of charity and selflessness.

For each and every one, it’s about merrymaking. Parties with officemates, friends, family, and relatives all make the holidays worthwhile. Get-togethers from distant beloveds and reunions with people you seldom see but often miss. Getting into the spirit of the season with decorations, fetes, and gift-giving truly make it a joyous part of the ending year.

And there’s no feeling better in the world than the merriment spent with those close to you.

It’s not as if your audience shouldn’t be treated as such. They’re an integral part of your task—as small as a group of company executives or as big as a jam-packed auditorium as it may be. Your audience is one of the reasons you’re onstage; they’re there to cheer you and to make sure you’re not doing this in vain.

Don’t take for granted that kind of support. You and your audience are playing your parts. Make the best out of it.



Dorfman, Jeffrey. “Twenty Quotes And Verses On Giving For Christmas.” Forbes. December 25, 2014.

Mack, Lloyd. “Christmas is the season for giving.” Kenora Daily Miner & News. December 1, 2016.

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How to Handle Questions in a Presentation Open Forum

Your pitch doesn’t end with your last slide.

After delivering a successful presentation, you’ll often face a question and answer portion. For many presenters, this is a source of anxiety. Key points can be memorized and outlined, but you can’t do the same to other people’s inquiries.

Q&As are spontaneous, as the University of Leicester’s presentation guide indicates, so it’s best to prepare for any question. Although outlining your points can help you identify possible questions your audience might ask, you still need to expect the unexpected and know your topic inside out.

That said, you need to maintain proper presentation etiquette when addressing your audience’s comments.

We’ve compiled three things to help you during an open forum:

1. Accommodate Questions

Since questions supplement your presentation, take those that are directly related to your points as an opportunity to expound on your pitch.

Instead of restraining audience questions, welcome them – especially if they’re valid. People ask questions when something is unclear to them, or when they’re interested to learn more. Answering the ones they bring up in your Q&A allows you to fuel their interest by providing the information they need.

Of course, unrelated or unnecessary questions can’t be helped. A member of the audience may misunderstand you, and give you a question that doesn’t directly match your core message, but is still somewhat related to what you were saying.

Taking that kind of question still lets you explain your points better.

2. Be Honest and Polite

Although most inquiries can strengthen your presentation, sometimes, you’ll come across some inappropriate questions. These may be about a different topic entirely, or an unnecessary comment.

When dealing with rude audience members, remember to maintain your composure. The negative image of losing your temper will reflect on you, not your listeners. Handle inappropriate questions with honesty and politeness. You can briefly inform the person that their question threw you off, and ask for other questions.

Being honest and polite will help you keep your integrity as a speaker in front of everyone. You’ll stay on your intended topic without hurting any feelings.

3. Say ‘I Don’t Know’ – Without Saying It

In line with being honest, it’s alright to admit that there’s a limit to what you can answer. On the other hand, directly saying ‘I don’t know’ can send the wrong message by making it seem like there wasn’t enough effort on your part.

In her Forbes article, women’s leadership speaker and Forbes contributor Selena Rezvani provides five alternatives for those times when you’re stumped for an answer. Thank the person for their question. This can serve as valuable input in improving your pitch for future reference.

Promise the audience that you’ll find an answer to their query instead, but state that at the moment you don’t have it yet. A simple statement like, “I haven’t encountered that yet. Thank you for your output, I will work on it.” can mean a lot to your listeners.

Doing this saves you from giving away incorrect information and losing credibility. People will appreciate this humility rather than a forced façade of expertise in something you’re unsure of.


Dealing with the audience’s questions can be a tricky task, but given the right answers, you can use these to your advantage.

Welcome any question that can help improve your pitch. These queries are a sign of interest, and you could be able to convert your leads just by answering them.

Be diplomatic with inappropriate questions, but be honest in telling your audience that you’d prefer not to answer it. Admit the limits of your current knowledge, but always promise an answer in the future.

Face up to the challenge of a good question. Take it as a chance to improve your presentation and generate sales.



“Responding to Questions Effectively.” University of Leicester. Accessed December 8, 2015.

Rezvani, Selena. “Five Alternatives to Saying ‘I Don’t Know’.” Forbes. August 8, 2014. Accessed December 8, 2015.

Featured Image: “Questions” by Derek Bridges on

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Finding the Perfect Topic for Your Business Presentation

To deliver a great business presentation, you need to go full blast from the get-go. Even when you’re still trying to come up with ideas for your talk, you should dedicate ample time and effort in your work. The perfect topic won’t come knocking on your door—you have to find it and work hard for it.

But isn’t that the question, exactly? How hard do you need to work to come up with the right topic for a presentation? How do ideas come to be in the first place? Where do they come from and how do you get hold of them?

The Birth of an Idea

Steven Johnson on his TED talk, “Where Good Ideas Come From,” described an idea to be “a network on the most elemental level,” and a new idea as “a new network of neurons firing in sync with each other inside your brain.” When you have a lightbulb moment, your brain is essentially forming new patterns that it has never formed before. This is what gives you a sense of enlightenment—an epiphany, so to speak.

With great ideas in your arsenal, you can deliver a business presentation that will keep your audience at the edge of their seats. But a list of ideas is not enough. You need to narrow it down to one topic that will give you and your audience utter satisfaction. Here’s an infographic to help you do just that.

Now, you have the recipe for the perfect topic. What’s left is to create a compelling business presentation that stays true to your subject matter. Remember, your job is far from over. Choosing a topic for your talk is just the beginning. Now that you have the foundation for your speech, it’s time to start building new ideas over it.


Johnson, Steven. “Where Good Ideas Come From.” TED. September 2010.

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How to Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Objects in PowerPoint 2013

Slide elements and text boxes can get buried under a heavy pile of objects without proper management. Now, you no longer have to sift through overlapping images, text boxes, and charts once you learn how to group slide objects.

The group function is very useful to learn so you can keep your slide workspace organized and save yourself from headaches. With this function, you no longer have to drag each slide object one by one. As the name implies, you can group all them at once and drag them around with ease.

Grouping shapes and images in PowerPoint lets you manage different objects at the same time. This is helpful for moving and rearranging different groups as a single object.

How to Group Objects in PowerPoint 2013

1. Open your PowerPoint file and decide which objects you want to combine or reorganize.

How to Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Objects in PowerPoint 2013

2. Click on the slide you choose to adjust. Press and hold Shift then left-click each object that you want to group.

Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Objects in PowerPoint 2013: Group

3. Selecting the images automatically brings up Picture Tools above the Format tab.

Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Objects in PowerPoint 2013: Picture tools  data-src=

  • You can also press Ctrl+G to group your selected slide objects.

How to Ungroup?

To disable the Group function, reselect the grouped object by holding the Shift key. Right click the selected object and choose Group and then Ungroup from the resulting dropdown option in the context menu.

Group, Ungroup, and Regroup in PowerPoint 2013: Ungroup

How to Regroup?

1. If you want to adjust an individual object without affecting others in the group, click on that object.

Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Objects in PowerPoint 2013: Regroup

2. Once you’re done, right click any of the objects that were formerly in a group then select Group and then Regroup in the context menu.

Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Objects in PowerPoint 2013: Regroup objects

You‘ll notice that PowerPoint remembers what you had previously grouped and ungrouped.

What if it doesn’t allow you to group?

If the Group button doesn’t work, the object or the picture itself might be in a placeholder. Try to combine an image with a placeholder or textbox, and you’ll notice that it won’t be grouped together.

To solve this, remove that object outside the placeholder and move it to another position in the slide.

Add This to Your PowerPoint Arsenal

The group function doesn’t just lessen your workload; it also reduces slide clutter. Having too many things on your slide can look and feel overwhelming to tackle.

Use the Group functions by moving, resizing, and rotating objects on each slide and manage your workspace more efficiently. You can also use Ungroup to isolate a slide object in case you want to remove it. Finally, you have the option to add another object into an existing group using Regroup.

To help you craft a hassle-free PowerPoint deck, SlideGenius experts can assist you and offer you a free quote!



“Group or Ungroup Shapes, Pictures, or Other Objects.” Office. n.d.

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Office Mix: Innovation in PowerPoint for Education

With all the arguments raised against it – the most notorious of which is Death by PowerPoint (or rather, by boredom through it) – PowerPoint has become notorious for boring and uninteresting presentations. In response to this, the presentation tool continues to innovate itself to improve both presenter and audience experience.

One of these innovations is MS PowerPoint’s Office Mix, a free add-in that lets people create interactive material they can share online. This feature especially caters to educators, who can now upload their lessons and teach their students anywhere, at any time.

But what exactly is Office Mix all about?

We break down each of its important aspects and give you their benefits.

1. Going Live Online

Office Mix is an easy-to-use tool for accessing and sharing content online. Anyone you choose to share your presentation with can view it from any device. You can share it with your peers in OneNote, or upload it on the web where students can access it.

It also lets you generate live web pages that your student can interact with on the spot.

Mix has revived the previously phased out web page option with the Quizzes Videos Apps button, which also lets you insert interactive quizzes.

Once you select the Web Page option in the Lab Apps, a dialog box requesting for the web page URL will appear. Once you’ve inserted the link, the web page will load and will be free for you to rearrange on your slide. To see how a live web page works on a deck, watch this tutorial on the Office Mix site.

Your PowerPoint definitely can’t replace your presence, but having this add-in helps students who need a quick review of your lessons. Walk them through every key point all over again at their own pace.

2. Digital Mix

Office Mix is literally a mix of mediums that make learning easier and more interactive.

It has improved PowerPoint for education by making use of digital media to connect with a tech-savvy generation. Take advantage of its audio and video narration to effectively guide students both visually and verbally.

Mix lets you take screen recordings of your actions when the need for a demo arises, and lets you digitally ink your slides in real time as you execute your lesson plan. Like broadcasting your PowerPoint, anyone who has a link to your presentation can view your slides as you go through this once you present your slide show online.

At the same time, Office Mix doesn’t take a PowerPoint pro to do the basics. It’s user-friendly enough to let you play around with the digital mediums without an in-depth knowledge of each.

3. PowerPoint Innovation

Office Mix has changed the concept of PowerPoint presentations in the classroom. It’s designed for interactivity, both on the part of the student, and the teacher.

The same Quizzes and Video Apps button in your Mix Add-in lets you insert quizzes and polls into your slides, and review your quiz questions before they go live. Students don’t just answer these quizzes. The results are returned to you so you’ll be able to gauge their comprehension of your lessons.

This data can be imported to Excel, where you can keep track of your students’ progress on a spreadsheet, making it easier for you to grade them.


The future of PowerPoint for education is here. Gone are the days when students would tune out in boring lectures.

Office Mix is inclusive for an optimal learning experience. Reach out to your students online, or discuss your lesson plan with colleagues. Mix makes use of different digital mediums to enhance interactivity.

It’s an innovation that keeps expanding the possibilities of PowerPoint beyond the slide and closer to the audience. Don’t miss out the opportunity to improve your educational presentations.

Let our SlideGenius experts help you with your presentation needs. Contact us today for a free quote!


“Office Mix Tutorial: Web Pages, Simulations & More.” Office Mix. Accessed November 26, 2015.
“What Is Office Mix.” Office Mix for Teachers. n.d. Accessed November 26, 2015.

Featured Image: “Teacher’s Desk – Linn School” by Todd Petrie on

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Design that Speaks: Styling PowerPoint Background Designs that Work

Designs add depth to content. They are useful for PowerPoint presentations, especially when words alone aren’t explicit enough.

Ideally, PowerPoint pitches should consist of a limited amount of words. Therefore, being expressive is a challenge. Usually, they only contain keywords but because designs impose tone or suggest interpretation, they become more comprehensible.

Studies suggest that elements of art have several different connotations to them. However, they are seldom obvious. It’s common to people that yellow is a happy color or that red looks romantic. But for the average majority, that’s just about it.

Using Psychology in Design

Many know psychological interpretations of art elements such as color, but only a few use this knowledge to their advantage; or at least see them as advantageous.

The ability to understand psychology in design and creativity, and use them in presentations is powerful. “When design and behavior match, the design will be superior,” said Simon Norris in an article. The more psychological effects a slide possesses, the more value it has.

PowerPoint background designs, as much as content does, play a crucial role in persuading audiences. They can influence how others think about you and how they react to you.

One of the secrets in creating a successful business pitch is by connecting with your audience. By appealing to their emotions, you help them remember the idea of your message.

Create effective PowerPoint pitches by incorporating knowledge on useful art psychologies. Know how various elements of art can be used to attract audiences through this infographic.


“Visual Communication and The Psychology of Design.” SuperGraphics.

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How to Set the Playback Options in PowerPoint 2013

As discussed in the previous post, you can embed videos from YouTube to PowerPoint in a few, easy steps. Just go to the insert tab, paste the YouTube video’s embed code in the Insert window, and presto! You have a video on your slide.

Your presentation can now be even more dynamic with the addition of a video. However, you can take this further by setting how you want your video to play.

Set the playback options in PowerPoint 2013 to make specific adjustments and gain more control over your videos throughout your pitch.

In this post, we’ll focus on how to use the Playback option under the Video Tools group for a more professional way of presenting videos with the right timing.

Play a Video Clip Automatically or When Clicked

Before you play a video automatically, open the PowerPoint file first and embed a video in your deck.

1. Check if the deck is set in the Normal view, then click on the video slide object. Once you’re done, you’ll notice that Video Tools will appear in the ribbon, which includes the Format and Playback options.

Set the Playback Options in PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: Video Tools2. Select Playback, and then choose the Automatically option in the Start menu under the Video Options group. This will play the video automatically when you start viewing the slide containing the video itself.

Set the Playback Options in PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: PlaybackChoose the On Click option if you want to play the video upon clicking the mouse.

Set the Playback Options in PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: Start on ClickNote: Before setting this option, make sure to disable any animations you’ve applied to your video to avoid any interruptions. Follow the steps above if you haven’t put any animations to it.

Hide and Loop a Video

Aside from simply putting a video into your slide, you can also hide it before playing it. Here’s how:

1. Click the video frame, and under the Video Tools, select Playback.

Set the Playback Options in PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: Video tools  data-src=

To loop a video which allows you to repeat the video you’ve included in your slide, check the Loop until Stopped box under the Video Options.

Set the Playback Options in PowerPoint 2013 Tutorials: Loop until StoppedConclusion

With PowerPoint’s functions, not only can you embed videos, but you can also control them at your own discretion.

Doing this gives your deck the engaging and persuasive power with the addition of customizing video playback timing and appearance for a seamless presentation overall.

If you’re going for a dynamic and interesting pitch, take advantage of including video playback options in your deck.

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“Set the ‘Playback’ Options for a Video in Your Presentation.” Office Support. Accessed January 24, 2016.

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6 Presentation Techniques You Can Learn from 13-Year-Old Carter Cohen

Who said presentations are only for grown-ups? Kids can do them too, and they can do them just as well.

Meet thirteen-year-old Carter Cohen, a boy from Coronado, California, who convinced his parents to let him buy a hedgehog by preparing a slide presentation. Complete with the details about his dream pet’s name, home, and medical expenses, Carter’s presentation is something that even professionals and businessmen can learn from. Here are six takeaways from Carter’s simple presentation called, “Everything About Hedgehogs.”

1. Use a minimalistic design that sends a clear message

If your presentation purely consists of text, don’t attempt to dress it up with a myriad of colors. Unnecessary design elements are just that—unnecessary. Two font colors should suffice to make your slides more visually interesting.

Just look at how Carter employed the power of simple design on his Google Slide show. He used a striking orange for the headings and a subtle gray for the body of each slide. The result was a neat and comprehensible presentation.

2. Present the cons alongside the pros of your pitch

Your audience will naturally expect to hear good words from your pitch. The pros are, after all, the point of the presentation.

Still, you should state the cons to gain your audience’s trust. It doesn’t matter what angle you’re coming from. If you really want to hit a home run with the audience, don’t hide any vital information from them. If they need to know it, let them hear it.

Carter did the same on his presentation. He let his parents know exactly what they’d be getting themselves into once they agree to allow him to buy his own hedgehog. He gave an estimation of expenses to prepare his parents for the possible hassle that getting a pet may bring.

3. Lead your audience carefully to your point

Wise presenters don’t assume that their audience understand them from the get-go. If you want to get your message across, guide your audience throughout the presentation.

When giving away something that’s not common knowledge, make sure to couple it with explanations—but do so without sounding condescending. Be the right kind of informative and courteous—the same way Carter was. Carter explained everything that might concern his parents, and he did it with the natural grace of a child.

4. Use interesting titles and headings as kickstarters

There are a few easy ways to write compelling titles and headings for presentations. Carter used interrogative headings in some slides before proceeding to his rationales.

For most, starting with intriguing questions is the way to go when opening discussions.

Interrogative titles or headings stimulate the audience to answer the question. It encourages them to dig deeper into the content and read them in a linear manner.

Candid headings like “What is Fleece” and “Why I Can’t Wait” make you think of two things. First, Carter’s innocence and wit is adorable and second, that interrogative headings are simple yet thought-provoking.

If you’re having trouble typing in your thoughts, start a slide with any of the five W’s, then write your points constructively. Lastly, ask yourself, “Did I answer my question?” This strategy will ease your customers from strenuous thought-processing.

Carter Cohen and his hedgehog

5. Emphasize value over cost

Carter wanted to convince his parents to allow him to purchase a $350 pet. And indeed, there are no better ways to say the words than to write “Why I Want My Ollie” and “Why I Can’t Wait” as headings.

He had a ready answer to his own questions when he tried to persuade his parents to allow him to invest his own money into a new pet.

Carter had three reasons for getting a hedgehog: 1) it provides a sense of companionship, 2) it will make him more responsible, and 3) it meets his requirements.

Additionally, he informed his parents that having a hedgehog will make him a responsible pet owner since it will obligate him to provide his pet with clean shelter, food and company.

When convincing people, it’s always important to know the value of their efforts and the resources they will invest.

Just like Carter, show what else your audience can get besides owning what they expended on.

6. Express urgency if needed

One principle to follow when effectively influencing and persuading is using scarcity as an edge.

Under the subheading “Why I Can’t Wait,” Carter explained that he needed a hedgehog soon, even though his parents asked him to wait until November 5, which was 30 days after his birthday.

Scarcity, which is sixth in Dr. Robert Cialdini’s list of principles of persuasion, suggests that the lesser there is of something, the more people will want it.

The day Carter wanted to take home his “Ollie” was the time the hedgehogs wouldn’t sell out yet and would receive treatments for mites.

Always indicate if there’s a demand for your products. This will be your gauge when convincing an audience to act sooner.

Without a doubt, Carter’s parents were impressed by their son’s creative act. How could they say no to a presentation that ends with a “thank you” and an “I love you”? After all, those two statements are among the most powerful in the English language.

Did you find the aforementioned lessons helpful, too? Did Carter’s techniques convince you that kids can make compelling presentations just as well as adults? If there’s anything you can learn from this post, it should be this: Never underestimate the power of kids.

Carter Cohen, a boy from Coronado, California, who convinced his parents to let him buy a hedgehog by preparing a slide presentation



Porter, Jeremy. “Five Ws and One H: The Secret to Complete News Stories.” Journalistics. August 5, 2010.

Polanski, Tom. “Dr. Robert Cialdini and 6 Principles of Persuasion.” EBiZine.

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