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4 Questions to Ask Yourself About Audience Participation

Presenters spend a lot of time preparing what they have to say. They also take careful steps to ensure that they have a presentable and engaging PowerPoint deck. Despite all this, they often forget one crucial element. Most of the time, presenters tend to overlook the fact that their job is to be an effective communicator. And like all forms of communication, presentations are a two-way street.

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This doesn’t mean you have to converse with everyone in your audience. The important thing is to consider their viewpoints when preparing for your presentation. Audience participation can take your presentations to a whole new level. To get to that point, you need to make a connection and sustain it throughout your delivery. So, how do you do that?

These 4 questions are based on a portion of keynote speaker Nancy Duarte’s Slide:ologywhich aims to help presenters think of ways to increase audience participation. Use them as a guide in preparing your presentation.

Answer these questions to create an audience-centered presentation:

 

1. Who are they?

You don’t have to memorize their names, but you need to get to know your audience. Basic things like demographics can help you determine how you’ll frame your presentation. If you’re presenting to a younger set, you might want to add a bit more multimedia elements in your PowerPoint deck. Your audience will participate if your presentation can somehow match their personalities and interests.

2. Why are they coming?

If you have presentation goals to achieve, the people in your audience also have their reasons for coming in to hear you speak. Try to reflect on what they might get out of your presentation. Are they coming to hear a solution to a specific problem? If so, what could that problem be?

On the other hand, you might also find yourself addressing attendees that were required to hear your presentation. If so, try to think about what you can do to make them more interested. Why was their attendance mandatory? Are you delivering crucial updates about a project? Why is it important that they learn about it?

3. What action do you want them to take?

“So, what?” This is the question you never want to hear at the end of your presentation. You want to see your abstract statements turn into positive action. For that to happen, you need to give a clear call to action. Make sure you’re specific about what the main takeaway is. Most importantly, make sure your plans are feasible for the people you’re addressing.

4. Why might they resist your message?

You want everything to go smoothly during your presentation, but you can’t control every outcome. There are some things that might prevent you from reaching out to the people you want to address. If your audience resists your message, you won’t be able to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

To avoid this situation, think about the reasons why people might be indifferent to the topic you’re presenting. Is it a controversial new plan for your company? Whatever the reason, figure out a way to present it in a new light. Address their concerns. Show them that your solution is better for them by giving them anecdotes or testimonials to relate to.

Work on a presentation that will encourage audience participation. Centering your discussion around the people who came to listen will help you in numerous ways.

By being relatable and accessible, you can easily urge them to take action. Let these four questions guide you during a crucial presentation.

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6 Presentation Books to Read over Labor Day Weekend

It’s been a difficult work week, and you can’t wait for the three-day weekend. Whether you’re planning to soak up the sun or stay at home to relax, Labor Day weekend is the perfect opportunity to crack open a few presentation books.

These 6 titles are fun and refreshing, offering new perspectives to the oft-repeated tips. Sit back and give yourself an opportunity to be inspired by new ideas.

Six presentation books to read over Labor Day weekend:

Labor Day Reading List - Presentation Books

1.) The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand

Coming up with a new idea is only half the battle. The next part is explaining your work to an audience, and getting them to see your entire vision. In The Art of Explanation, Lee LeFever covers the different ways you can successfully communicate your big ideas. This book is the perfect read for entrepreneurs, educators, and anyone who wants to improve their presentation skills.

2.) Confessions of a Public Speaker

Anyone who has experienced stage fright or anxiety will find comfort in Confessions of a Public Speaker. Scott Berkun utilizes humor and quick wit to relay presentation secrets he learned from over 15 years as a professional public speaker. His lessons are told through anecdotes of his own thrilling performances and embarrassing mistakes. This is a book novice presenters can relate to and enjoy. Reading it won’t feel like work at all.

3.) Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change

Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon remind readers that action happens only after effective communication takes place. To get there, Moments of Impact imparts a simple process that can help collaborators solve issues and avoid misunderstandings. If you’ve ever left strategic meetings feeling more frustrated than enlightened, this is the perfect book to read and share with the rest of your team.

4.) Thinking Fast and Slow

If you’ve been too bogged down at work to come up with fresh ideas, Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow might come in handy. The Nobel Prize winning author introduces readers to the world of the brain. He explains the two “systems” that drives the way people think. The first system is more intuitive and emotional, while the second one focuses on deliberation and logical thinking. This book is perfect for anyone who is willing to try a new approach to decision-making and brainstorming.

5.) The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of visuals in explaining difficult concepts and new ideas. This is why images are important to PowerPoint presentations. In The Sketchnote Handbook, Mike Rohde takes the same concept and applies it to note taking. Do you have a hard time recalling new information? That can change with visual note taking. And you need to be an artist to do it. All you need is a pen, a notebook, and some creativity.

6.) Show and Tell: How Everybody Can Make Extraordinary Presentations

Giving great presentations is easier said than done. I’m sure every presenter—even the ones that have bored you to death in the past—aim to engage their audience with an interesting discussion. If you want to make sure you’re giving all that you can, take note of the tips and tricks that Dan Roam covers in Show and Tell.

 

Which of these presentation books intrigue you? Grab your favorite title and learn something new over the weekend.

 

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11 Online Marketing Tools to Help Reinforce Your Strategy

With the technology available today, it’s not hard to reach out to potential clients and customers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran or a newbie. There are plenty of opportunities to engage and build meaningful relationships with your prospects online. If you couple hard work with the bevy of online marketing tools available, you’re sure to reach the top of your game.

Want to make sure your strategy is working for you? Try these online marketing tools to help optimize your efforts.

Connecting with prospects

HootSuite

online marketing tools - hootsuiteHootSuite allows you to access all of your profiles in one dashboard, saving you from the pain of having to log in and out of multiple sites all the time. You can also make cross posts and schedule them to go out during a specific date and time.

MailChimp

mc_googleSend content directly to your prospects’ inbox with an email subscription tool. MailChimp has over a dozen features to guide you from start to finish. You can use templates for your content, manage contacts, and deliver your newsletters at the most optimal time.

 

Creating and sharing content

Infogr.am

Infogram-0Internet users love visual content, so make sure your online marketing efforts are focused on that. Use Infogr.am to create your own infographics and charts. Start from scratch or use a template to illustrate your ideas.

Prezi

800px-Prezi_logo_transparent_2012.svgPrezi is a great PowerPoint alternative. You can easily add text and images to any template you choose. What sets it apart is the zooming animation for non-linear transitions. Best of all, it’s a cloud-based program. You can create and edit presentations as you have an Internet connection.

SlideShare

Slideshare-logoWe’ve talked a lot about SlideShare in the past. It’s one of the most famous presentation-sharing sites on the web. Aside from presentation decks, you can also upload infographics and documents on the site. This is perfect for sharing informative content and vital information.

YouTube

YouTube-avatar-generic (1)You might think that YouTube is just a place for fun and entertainment, but it’s actually a great place to share presentations and other video content. YouTube is especially strategic for content marketing efforts because it’s the source of 19% of web traffic.

 

Tracking information and doing research

Google Analytics

online tools - google analyticsIf you want to see if your online marketing efforts are working, Google Analytics is a great place to start. This tool monitors your website’s traffic and where it all comes from. The data collected is illustrated using a graph for easy interpretation.

Google Trends

Google_TrendsWhen communicating with prospects, it’s important to share information that’s relevant and up-to-date. Google Trends allows you to see which topics are trending. You can also use it to check the search volume for a certain keyword to improve your SEO efforts.

BuzzSumo

online tools - buzzsumoDo you want to know how many times your content has been shared on different social media platforms? You can use BuzzSumo to check your own domain, or search for top content under a specific topic. You can also find out who the most influential authors are.

 

Organizing ideas and managing projects

Evernote

icon_340Evernote is a great tool for keeping track of things you need to do. Use it to take down notes, make lists, and organize ideas for your marketing campaign. You can also use it to store and collect anything that inspires you—from articles you find online to an ad you see on the sidewalk.

Mavenlink

Mavenlink_logoA lot of online marketing efforts involve collaboration. Use a tool that will help you keep everyone on the right track. Mavenlink has plenty of features for that. You can assign tasks, share and receive files, and even keep track of deadlines. Most importantly, it has a detailed budget management system to keep track project expenses.

 

Increase your impact to engage prospects and gain more leads. Use these online marketing tools to make sure your strategy remain on point.

 

You can also read some of our previous blog entries about online marketing and presentations:

 

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3 Tips for a Concise Pharmaceutical PowerPoint Deck

The drug development process is often long and tedious. Before new drugs and medical devices are introduced to the public, there needs to be careful planning, research, and several clinical trials. Throughout these steps researchers, pharmaceutical companies, contractors, and government agents work together to ensure public safety. This is why presentations in the pharmaceutical industry are extremely crucial.

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Pharmaceutical presentations play a significant role in relaying information during the drug development process. In this case, using PowerPoint isn’t just an aesthetic decision. The use of visual aids is an effective way to present consequential data in a clear and concise manner.

These are three tips to keep in mind when working on a pharmaceutical PowerPoint:

pharma powerpoint 02pharma powerpoint 03

1. Design should be simple but interesting

The main purpose of a pharmaceutical PowerPoint is to relay information and data. That means it shouldn’t get buried under complicated imagery and slide animations. Instead of going over-the-top with customization, use color schemes cohesively throughout your presentation.

Going with a simple, engaging design will pique your audience’s interests enough without distracting them from your key points.

2. Make use of images meaningful to your data

If you completely ignore presentation design, you might end up with a bland pharmaceutical PowerPoint. Even if the people you’ll be presenting to are likely professionals in the field themselves, you still want your slides to be visually engaging. What you can do is make use of stock or CC images that will help illustrate the key points you’re making.

While they don’t have to be directly related to your presentation, make sure you can explain your visual metaphors when giving your pitch. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a superfluous slide that will make you look unprofessional.

3. Don’t put everything on the slides

Your pharmaceutical PowerPoint shouldn’t include every data you have available. Keep the hard-hitting numbers and information in your documents.

Your presentation should only serve to supplement your papers by giving a meaningful overview.

You can pick up more pharmaceutical PowerPoint ideas by viewing our vertical portfolio. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

With us, we can help you create slides that will perfectly communicate the hard work you’ve invested throughout the long drug development process.

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Images for PowerPoint: 5 Tips to Improve Your Design

Your presentation will stand out if you know which images work best for your PowerPoint design. It’s not enough to decorate your slides with things you find aesthetically pleasing. The images you use should also advance the message you’re delivering.

Today’s fast-paced world has morphed into a “multimedia environment.” Join the visual revolution with powerful and relevant images for PowerPoint designs. If you think this is easier said than done, we’ve compiled 5 practical tips to help you out.

Follow these 5 tips when choosing images for PowerPoint:

images for PowerPoint collage

Tip 1: Know where you can find good images

To find good images for PowerPoint, look for a great source. Thankfully, the Internet has plenty of sites to choose from.

Flickr is always the first thing that comes to mind. It has an easy-to-use search engine that allows you to narrow down your search by copyright license. You can also try Shutterstock or Depositphotos for royalty-free stock photos. Both websites organize images by category, so it won’t be hard to find something that suits the theme of your presentation.  We’ve covered other great sources in the past. You can review our top choices here.

Tip 2: Look for photos that are simple yet interesting

Images for PowerPoint should have impact. This doesn’t mean you have to select pictures with intricate details. Simplicity has the potential to be powerful, especially if it has something that can quickly attract attention.

Move past images that are too common or literal. From the photos that appear in the search results, look for the ones that tell a story or depict a strong emotion. Also remember the importance of white space. Choose an image that isn’t crowded with visual elements. Go with something that allows your audience to focus on one thing.

Regardless of what type of image you choose, make sure it’s high-resolution. This is crucial if you’re presenting your PowerPoint deck through a projector or any large screen.

Tip 3: Find pictures that echo your brand story

Your PowerPoint deck is an extension of your brand. Similarly, your own deck should reflect your brand story and personality. Think about the qualities that make your brand unique, and allow that to dictate the feel of your PowerPoint design.

For example, a long-running luxury brand like Chanel might use filtered images that evoke elegance and nostalgia. Review your other marketing materials to find inspiration. Read our previous post to learn more about integrating your brand in PowerPoint slides.

Tip 4: Choose images that work together

Images for PowerPoint designs should also work together to deliver your message. Aside from being related to the topic you’re presenting, all the images in your deck should be visually cohesive.

For example, make use of only black and white pictures throughout your presentation. You can also opt for cute illustrations instead of realistic images. Whatever you decide, make sure the images you choose create some sort of unity when placed together.

Tip 5: Utilize photo-editing tools

Photoshop is always a great option for those already familiar with the mechanics of photo enhancement. For beginners, there are plenty of alternative online tools to try out. In particular, PicMonkey has an interface that’s straightforward and easy to figure out.

If you want to save time, you can also do some basic editing right on PowerPoint. Make corrections, adjust color balance and add artistic effects. Review our tutorial to learn more.

Powerful visuals are important to the success of any presentation. Images for PowerPoint should contribute to driving home key points. Take note of these five tips for a design that will deliver your message clearly.

 

Featured Image: Incase/Will Calcutt via Flickr

Simple Methods for a Smaller PowerPoint File Size

You’ve created a PowerPoint with plenty of interesting visuals. You also made use of some animations and transitions. It looks great! But when you tried to share it online, you got stuck in the loading time. Or maybe when you were launching the file to start your presentation, your laptop started lagging. In all these scenarios, your problem is a PowerPoint file size that’s too large.

Here are four simple methods to fix your PowerPoint file size issue:

Compress pictures

Using high-quality images will bloat your PowerPoint file size. While you should use high-quality pictures for your slides, always be cautious that they’re not too large. A hefty resolution might be great to look at, but it can cause your PowerPoint file to lag. Don’t worry, because there’s an easy fix.

Select on any image in your PowerPoint deck and head to the Pictures Tools Format tab. Click on Compress Pictures in the Adjust group. This will prompt a dialogue box where you can choose different options for shrinking all the pictures in your deck.

powerpoint file size compress 01

Convert to PDF

Another option you can consider is to convert the PowerPoint file to PDF. Simply launch your PowerPoint deck, go to the File tab and choose Save As. When the dialogue box appears, choose PDF under Save as type.

powerpoint file size compress 03

But just a quick reminder: If you convert your PowerPoint file to a PDF, you will lose all animations and transitions. Do this only if you’re planning to print out your PowerPoint deck or share it through email.

Avoid embedding fonts

Unique fonts can make for great PowerPoint design. But they can be another factor as to why your PowerPoint file size is too large.

When building your PowerPoint deck, use unique fonts minimally so you don’t have to embed too much data in your file. Unique fonts are best for headers and section breaks. If you’re using typical font types such as Arial or Times New Roman, check if PowerPoint is embedding fonts and disable it.

Simply head to the File tab and click on Options. When the dialogue box appears, go to Save. Make sure there’s no check mark in the box for Embed fonts in file.

powerpoint file size compress 02

Don’t save in Compatibility Mode

Lastly, if you’re going to use your own device to present your PowerPoint deck, you don’t have to save it as a PowerPoint 97-2003 file. To make sure your file is saved in the latest version of PowerPoint, check that the file extension is .PPTX. Simply go to the folder where your PowerPoint file is saved, right click on it and choose Properties. You should see something like this:

powerpoint file size compress 04

 

Your presentation can suffer if your deck is not optimized to perform in the best way possible. Don’t forget to take some measures to ensure that your PowerPoint file size isn’t too large.

 

Read More: 4 Ways to Shrink Your PowerPoint File [All About Presentations]


Featured Image: Chris Isherwood via Flickr

Listing Presentations: 5 Steps to Real Estate Success

With listing presentations, it’s important to put your best foot forward. Competition is tight in the real estate market. In order to beat the competition, you need to show your prospects that you’re the best agent for the job.

The usual show-and-tell spiel won’t do. You can’t just waltz into a meeting with a portfolio and call it a day. You need to start a productive conversation where you can convey your expertise and learn more about the listing you’re planning to take on.

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To succeed in the real estate game, try this 5-step plan for preparing listing presentations:

Step One: Do your research

Try to gather additional information about your listing prospect. Before you meet in person, look for relevant details about the seller in their property. Check tax records and other crucial details. You can also learn more about your prospects by checking their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.

Step Two: Schedule your appointment wisely

When setting your appointment, don’t just talk about when and where you will meet. Use the time to ask your prospects about their property. Ask them about their motivations for selling, and how much they’re planning to make in the endeavor. Most importantly, find out if they will be speaking with other agents.

If they are, use the “last-in” strategy. Suggest that you’d like to be the last one to give your listing presentation. This way, you become the first agent on their minds when they start reviewing their choices.

Step Three: Prepare visual aids

Come to your appointment fully prepared with visuals. Prepare a PowerPoint deck that showcases your previous experience. Craft your numbers into a Competitive Market Analysis. You can also add pictures of properties you’ve sold in the past as well as testimonials from satisfied clients.

Save your PowerPoint deck on an iPad or Android tablet so your prospects can easily browse through it as you make your pitch. Having handled real estate presentations in the past, we can assure you that a portable, accessible deck will appeal to a clientele that’s always on the go.

Step Four: Have an honest and productive conversation

When giving your presentation, always remember that your main priority is to help prospects meet their objectives. Always be courteous and answer their questions as truthfully as you can. Give them an accurate description of the real estate market and offer constructive advice if you have to.

Step Five: Personalize your follow-up

Your listing presentation is only as strong as your follow-up. Two days after your meeting, call your prospects and ask them if they’re ready to make a decision. Aside from that, don’t forget to thank your prospects by sending them a personalized note. Send them a handwritten note expressing your gratitude. You can also offer to provide additional information through email or LinkedIn.

Listing presentations are crucial to the real estate business. Make sure you’re doing the best you can to secure potential sellers and clients by following each step of this plan.

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Reference:

Listing Presentation Manual Definition.” Marie Flanders. Accessed August 26, 2014.

 

 

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4 Simple Rules for Presenting Data

When presenting data, it’s crucial that your audience can fully understand what they mean and represent. You might think the highly complex graph on your slide is doing the trick. But it could actually make things more confusing for your audience. Make sure everyone is on the same page with these four simple rules for presenting data:

Include only the most important part 

Be mindful to include the information that’s most important to your core message. If you’re dealing with plenty of spreadsheets, review the data you have and figure out what they mean in relation to your presentation. This will help you pick out which data are the most significant to your key points.

Know when and which graphs or charts to use 

Figure out the correct way to present your data. Review the different types of charts and graphs to know what you should use for your presentation. You can also summarize your data in a few simple sentences if you don’t really need to go into detail.

Add some interest with related images and icon

Bar graphs and pie charts are great methods for presenting data. But if your presentation deck has one chart after another, your visuals can easily look dull and monotonous. You definitely want to have a bit more variety. As an alternative, you can try presenting data with images and icons that help drive home your point.

Lead by telling everyone what the numbers are about 

Before you go into a detailed discussion, begin by talking about what the numbers means. Provide the audience an overall look before zooming in to the finer points. Keep your audience engaged by helping them see the bigger picture. This is especially important if your presentation is crucial to sales or investment efforts.

Read More: 5 Commandments for Presenting Data in PowerPoint

 

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No ‘I’ in Team: 5 Tips for Successful Team Presentations

Team presentations can be quite challenging. With different individuals sharing the stage, there’s no telling how things will turn out. Even if you’re leading the team, you can’t expect to control everyone’s actions. All you can do is trust that each member contributes.

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All you can do is trust that each member contributes to driving home the core message. Essentially, you have to rely on coordination and team dynamics to ensure that your presentation ends well. But according to Toastmasters, team presentations don’t have to be difficult.

Never let your team fall out of sync. Make sure everyone is on the same page by following these five tips:

1. Figure out your goals together

Team presentations require thorough planning. Before you begin with anything else, sit down with your team and discuss the goals of your presentation. Brainstorm and organize your ideas to make the most of each member’s potential.

Figure out what you want to achieve, and identify the key points you want to share. This stage is collaborative, so make sure everyone gets to share their input. Once everyone is in agreement, you can move on to preparing your main content.

2. Delegate roles according to skill

Team presentations also rely on effective delegation. Take the time to assess each member of your team. Figure out their strengths and make assignments based on their skills. Let them play a role where they can thrive.

For example, some members may be better at research than public speaking, while others are more convincing speakers than deck organizers. Don’t force your teammates into roles they can’t live up to. At the same time, recognize that different people have different

3. Set up a strategy for answering difficult questions

You might be able to plan each part of your presentation, but you can’t prepare for how your audience will react. Make sure your team has a strategy for addressing questions before taking the stage. Consult with your group and try to figure out what works best for you.

Would you rather address questions together at the end of your presentation? Or is everyone more comfortable with answering questions as they go along?

4. Keeps slides visually cohesive

Since you’re allocating tasks, you might end up with a presentation deck that looks visually disjointed. The best solution is to come up with a PowerPoint style guide that clearly defines which colors and font types to use.

You can also assign members of your team (about 1 or 2) to build the entire deck. If you have the resources, you can also choose to work with a professional PowerPoint designer.

5. Rehearse as a group

You can’t tell how your presentation will look unless everyone makes time to rehearse as a group. Practice your delivery and figure out how your presentation will transition from one speaker to the next. You should also plan how the entire team will be standing and moving across the stage. You can take note of how actors share a scene by learning the basics of stage blocking.

Like all collaborations, team presentations thrive on open communication. Everyone should willingly contribute their skills and expertise to ensure a successful outcome.

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Reference

Team Presentations.” Westside Toastmasters. Accessed August 25, 2014.
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PowerPoint Hyperlinks: Creating an Interactive Deck

If you’re exhibiting at a trade show or convention, you need to set up a booth that can catch everyone’s attention. We talked about how to make video loops in the past. This will give people passing by your display a brief introduction to your brand. When that catches their interest, provide more information with an interactive presentation deck. You can easily create on through the use of PowerPoint hyperlinks.

PowerPoint hyperlinks allow you to jump to specific slides quickly. It can also serve as a command to switch to a second presentation or open a different document. Here’s a quick tutorial to go about it:

Step One

Start by creating your presentation as you normally would. Add an initial slide you’re planning to use at a trade show should start with a slide that will serve as a “homepage”. This is where you’re going to put all the hyperlinks that will lead to specific parts of your presentation. Forgo the usual title slide for a homepage slide instead.

Step Two

When you’ve finished building your deck, go back to the first slide. You can use any object as a PowerPoint hyperlink. It can be a picture, shape, or text. Whatever you decide to use, arrange them in any way you like. Just keep in mind that you should have an object to correspond for each part of the presentation you want to link to.

Here’s an example so you can visualize it:

powerpoint hyperlinks 01

Step Three

Now that you have your objects arranged, you can start making PowerPoint hyperlinks. All you have to do is to select the object you want to use, right-click, and choose Hyperlink.

powerpoint hyperlinks 03

 

If you want to link to a particular slide in your presentation, choose Place in This Document and select a slide from the list. If you want to open a different file or a web page, click on Existing File or Web Page. You can also link to your email address so visitors can easily send in their details.

powerpoint hyperlinks 02

Important note: If you’re using a different computer for the trade show, make sure you transfer your presentation and the files you want to link to. Keep everything in one place to make this step easier for you.

Step Four

When you’ve finished making each hyperlink, don’t forget to give it a test run. You don’t want broken links when people start viewing your presentation deck.

That’s it! It doesn’t take a lot to create an interesting experience for your prospects. All you have to do is think outside the box. Consider making an interactive presentation for your trade show booth. Practice using PowerPoint hyperlinks. Soon, you’ll be building even more complex and professional-looking slides.

 

Featured Image: Elco van Staveren via Flickr