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Applying Color Psychology to Your PowerPoint Designs

Color plays an important role in PowerPoint design. By choosing the correct palette, you can pull individual slides together and create a coherent design. Color also allows you to add a bit more life and interest to your slides. More than that, it can also be a subtle way to convey emotions and strengthen  your message. Following the basic principles of color psychology, you can create PowerPoint designs that automatically connects with your audience.

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What is color psychology?

Color psychology works around the premise that color has the ability to affect our feelings, moods, and behaviors. It follows these six basic principles:

  • Colors can carry specific meaning
  • Color meaning is either based on meaning that’s learned or biologically innate
  • The perception of a color causes evaluation automatically by the person perceiving
  • The evaluation process forces color motivated behavior
  • Color usually exerts its influence automatically
  • Color meaning and effect has to do with context

Applying color psychology to PowerPoint design

When deciding on a color scheme for your PowerPoint slides, consider these colors and what they mean:

Red: The color red exudes intensity and energy. It’s also said to stimulate a faster heart rate. What else would you expect from a color associated with both passion and danger? Don’t use too much of it, or else you’ll risk overwhelming your audience with such a loud color. Try to temper it with more neutral shades like white or gray.

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Blue: Like the ocean, the color blue gives off a feeling of calm and relaxation.  Aside from its associations to tranquility, it also symbolizes loyalty. This is especially crucial for business presentations. If you want to build the trust of your audience, the color blue can help enhance your message.

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Green: Often associated with nature and the environment, the color green symbolizes abundance and life. These characteristics are important to convey during finance and investor presentations. The color green helps you convey a more positive outlook. It’s also said to be the color that’s “easiest” to the eyes. Some people also suggest that green can help jog their memory.

assertion evidence

Purple: Associated with royalty and luxury, this color portrays a feeling of dignity and exclusivity, which could be helpful for presentations in retail and real estate. It can also be appropriate for presentations in the creative industry.

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Black: Black is a powerful color, giving off a sense of sophistication. For presentations, make use of black when you want to deliver a more conservative and conventional message. As a background color, black can also serve as a great way to emphasize other colors in your slide. Because it’s neutral, you can pair it with other colors.

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Trade Show Tips: Things to Remember On the Exhibit Floor

Exhibiting at a trade show? Industry events can turn into a great business opportunity if you know how to do to it right. According to Chief Marketer‘s Ruth Stevens, the terrifying possibility of customer rejection can be tempered by some measures. Here’s our take on these trade show do’s and don’t’s.

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Apart from networking with potential clients, you’ll be able to show off your latest offers and learn more about the trends in your field. In order to get the best outcome from your endeavor, make sure to follow these trade show tips when you’re on the exhibit floor.

Trade Show Tip #1: Train your team to work together for a common goal

Trade shows can be tricky because you’ll be sharing the stage with other people. In order to make sure everyone is on the same page, you need to plan and prepare with your entire team. You want everyone in your booth to work together for a common goal.

You want everyone to be in sync, instead of competing with each other. Hold meetings where you and your team can discuss what you want to achieve during the trade show. Allow them to contribute to making plans. Most importantly, include periodic training sessions to make sure your staff is well-prepped for the big day.

Trade Show Tip #2: Watch the crowd for potential clients

I think part of being a good entrepreneur involves being a keen observer. As you explore the different booths on the exhibit floor, keep an eye out for potential clients.

If you find someone that could make a good prospect, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and make polite conversation. Train your team to do the same thing while they’re manning your booth.

Trade Show Tip #3: Learn to take no for an answer

Conversing with prospects is important. In fact, trade shows are a great venue for it. But if they turn down your pitch, be courteous and respect their decision. That person was probably looking for something else and your solution wasn’t it.

Again, learn to be sensitive to the people you’re networking with. If they’re not interested, don’t work to change their mind. Instead, work hard to engage the people who might be.

Trade Show Tip #4: Always share your contact information

To nurture the relationships you’ve made during the event, don’t forget to hand out business cards or flyers with your contact information.

Similarly, you should compile all the business cards you were able to connect and reach out to prospects as soon as you can.

Trade Show Tip #5: Be friendly but professional

It’s important to keep a warm atmosphere during a trade show. The people who approach your booth should always feel welcome.

Always be friendly and approachable, but keep in mind that this is still a professional event.

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Reference:

Stevens, Ruth. “Trade Show Marketing Do’s & Don’ts: Ways to Annoy Your Prospects.Chiefmarketer. 2014. Accessed September 5, 2014.

 

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The 3 Characteristics of a Call to Action Slide

The Call to Action encapsulates the main purpose of your presentation. It’s your last opportunity to make your case and urge the audience to act on the ideas you shared. Done correctly, it will lead the audience to the outcome you’ve been aiming for.

A Call to Action slide is useful for different kinds of presentations, especially in the area of sales and marketing. It’s always important that you engage your audience with an objective they can act on.

But what exactly should a CTA contain? Here are the three characteristics of a Call to Action slide:

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1. Consistent

Your Call to Action slide should be consistent with the message delivered in the rest of your presentation. To check, think of your main goal and refer to the outline or storyboard you created. Your Call to Action slide will feel disjointed and out of place if you haven’t been clear about your goals for the rest of your slides. To make sure your entire deck is coherent, try to subtly highlight your goal throughout. Don’t just do it when you reach the end.

2. Urgent

Create a Call to Action statement by keeping it short and straight to the point. Use short, simple sentences that evoke urgency. Make use of action words that invoke a sense of command. Be direct with what you want your audience to do. If you want them to sign up for a demo, go ahead and say it.

3. Eye-catching

The visuals of your Call to Action slide should be as memorable as your statement. Draw attention by using large font sizes while being mindful of white space. Take it one step further by adding icons or illustrations. As always, you should use images that are consistent with your statement and the rest of your PowerPoint presentation. Stick with the color scheme you’ve been using in your previous slides.

Conclusion

Your last impression is just as important as your first. Leave your presentation on a good note with an effective Call to Action slide. Keep it consistent, urgent, and eye-catching to get your message across without boring the audience.

Engage people and effectively persuade them to invest in your brand with a winning presentation.

 

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Timed Presentations: Tips for When the Clock is Ticking

While an extra ten minutes might seem harmless, it could mean something else for the people in your audience. An extra ten minutes could mean that majority of your audience won’t be able to hear your conclusion. It can also make or break the outcome of your presentation, especially if you’re pitching to investors or trying to make a sale.

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So how can you be sure that your timed presentations end at the exact moment? Follow these three simple tips to help you finish presentations on time:

Plan accordingly

The secret to timed presentations is sufficient planning. The first thing you have to do is ask how long you have to speak. For business presentations, 30-45 minutes seem to be the standard. If you’re talking at a seminar, you might have an hour to present. Check with your contacts or the organizers to be sure.

Once you have the answer, you can begin planning how everything will play out. Aside from the main discussion, what else do you have in mind for your presentation? Do you want to involve your audience with some activities? Are you planning on giving a live demo?

Think about everything you want to do during your presentation and consider how much time each part could take up. Everything included in your presentation should contribute to your main takeaway. You should also allocate a few minutes for answering questions, and give yourself leeway in case your equipment malfunctions or you arrive late at the venue.

Rehearse and make necessary edits

After you’ve finished planning and preparing your presentation, take the extra step to rehearse everything you want to do on stage. With a timer going, practice your speech with the PowerPoint deck you’ve prepared. You should also rehearse your body language and how you plan to move on the stage. Make your rehearsals as close to your actual presentation as possible.

If you can, ask a friend or family member to help you out. Have them take note of how long you take during each part of your presentation. If it looks like you’re taking too long on the introduction, trim some of the parts out. Keep rehearsing and editing until you’re a little bit under your allotted time. If everything runs smoothly, you can use the extra time to address a few more questions.

Make adjustments on stage

Now that you know how long each part of your presentation will take, use these markers to facilitate your delivery. Take note of the time as you give your presentation. Enable PowerPoint’s Presenter View to access a timer. If you originally allotted 5 minutes for your introduction and you’re running over time, adjust accordingly. Skip the joke you were planning to tell and move on to the next part of the presentation.

Flexibility is important in timed presentations. But keep in mind that being flexible doesn’t mean rushing through your slides and talking fast. Instead, try to condense the less important parts of your presentation by offering a general overview. In cases of unforeseen events, don’t ask for extra time unless you’re offered an extension.

Make sure your audience stays to hear the rest of your presentation by staying within your allotted schedule. Timed presentations might seem a bit restrictive, but they’re basically protocol in the business world.

Don’t miss out on great opportunities just because the clock is ticking behind you.

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Improve Your Presentation Skills with Deliberate Practice

deliberate practice for presentations
(Source)

Public speaking is a skill that needs to be developed. No one is born a great presenter. While some are more inclined to it than others, excellent presentation skills come from exerting constant effort. Just like musicians and athletes, there’s no shortcut to improving your presentation skills. You need to put in hard work. Luckily, Coursera co-founder and Stanford University professor Andrew Ng recently wrote about a method that could help you out. Ng calls the process Deliberate Practice.

Athletes improved their skills in this way. A gymnast, for example, would master an entire routine by focusing on individual parts first. As Ng had put it, “[it’s] hard work—you focus in every attempt, try to figure out what you’re doing wrong, and tweak your performance to make it better.”

Follow these three steps to improve your presentation skills with deliberate practice:

Step One: Select a 60-second portion from your presentation

Review a presentation you made recently and select a 60-second portion. Choose a portion where you might have stuttered or failed to expound your points perfectly.

Step Two: Record yourself

Record yourself echoing the 60-second portion you chose. You don’t have to set up a fancy camera to do it. You can just use a webcam or a phone camera set up in a way that helps you see and hear much of yourself.

Step Three: Watch your recording and take notes

Watch the recording of your 60-second presentation and take note of the parts you’d like to change. Note how you say certain words and move in certain parts. If it looks awkward in camera, think of how you can improve it.

Step Four: Adjust according to your observations

Once you’ve reviewed the notes you made, you can repeat the presentation with your own feedback in mind. Record the whole thing again.

Step Five: Repeat cycle until you’re satisfied

Keep recording and taking note of your 60-second presentation until you’re satisfied with your performance. Try adjusting your presentation for 8 to 10 times. The whole process might go faster if you have someone else with you who can also give you feedback.

Conclusion

Like a concert pianist or an Olympic gymnast, you should use deliberate practice to improve your presentation skills. Public speaking and presentations are crucial in the corporate world. It plays a significant role in sales, marketing, investment, and decision-making. In order to ensure that your presentations meet success, you have to make sure that you’re constantly doing better than the last time.

And while Ng’s method sounds like it would be a bit time consuming, it’s actually pretty convenient for those with 9 to 5 schedules. All it takes is thirty minutes.

 

Reference

Ng, Andrew. “Learn to Speak or Teach Better in 30 Minutes.” LinkedIn. March 20, 2014. Accessed August 18, 2014.

 

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Presentation Tips: Vocal Warm-ups to Get You Prepped

In presentations, your voice is your greatest tool. It’s important that you’re heard to the very back of the room. If you’re addressing a large group of people, you might be tempted to strain your voice to make it louder. However, this could damage your vocal chords over time.

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Even with a microphone, you still have to constantly enunciate your words. The best way to protect your best presentation tool is through vocal warm-ups.

Aside from the health benefits, vocal warm-ups can also help you from stuttering or stumbling over words.

Releasing tension and practicing good breathing

The trick to maximizing your voice for public speaking is relaxation and good breathing. Start your vocal warm-ups by relaxing your body. Stand in a place where there’s plenty of room for you to move. Release any tension in your body by doing some stretching.

Do the following exercises, repeating each for at least two to three times:

Neck

  • Slowly bend your head forward, bringing your chin close to your chest. Hold the position for around 10 seconds. Next, gently bend your head backward so you can see the ceiling. Again, hold for 10 seconds.
  • Turn your head to the right, hold the position for 10 seconds. Slowly turn back to your starting position and then turn to your left, again holding for 10 seconds. Make sure you’re looking over you shoulders when you do this exercise.
  • Bend your neck slowly, bringing your ear as close to your right shoulder as possible. When you start to feel a stretch, stop and hold the position for 10 seconds. Do the same thing on your left side.

Shoulders and back

  • Stand straight with your arms on your side. Bend to you side so that one of your shoulders lower and the other one rises. Hold the position for 10 seconds and do the same thing on the opposite side. Repeat the exercise two more times.
  • Lock your fingers together. With your palms out, stretch your arms over your head and hold for 10 seconds. After that, stretch your arms in front of you and hold for 10 seconds. Continue the exercise by bend forward slight, while still keep your back straight. Stretch your arms to your back in the same way as before and hold for 10 seconds.
  • Position your arms like you’re giving yourself a big hug. Try to make your hands meet as much as possible and hold the position for 10 seconds. After you release, bend one arm over you shoulder and then reach for your hand using the other arm coming from below your back. Try to grasp for your fingers if you can and hold for another 10 seconds.
  • .Lastly, stretch your triceps by bending an arm over your shoulder and press gently on your elbow. Hold for ten seconds and do the same thing in the opposite direction.

Arms and legs

  • Stretch your arms above your head and in front of you, holding each position for 10 seconds. Shake your arms for a while, as well. Do the same for your legs by shifting your weight to one and shaking off the other. After that, try to do some quick jumping jacks and jump in place, as well.

After you’ve released the tension in your body, you should also try to relax your facial muscles. Massage your cheeks and scrunch up your face. Open your mouth widely to release tension in your jaw. Once you feel completely relaxed, you can start practicing your breathing. Stand straight with your feet apart, making sure they’re aligned with your shoulders. Place a hand on your stomach.

As you inhale, you should be able to feel your diaphragm rising. When you exhale, notice how your diaphragm expands. Keep breathing in and out, making sure your diaphragm is doing what it’s supposed to. After a while, try letting out a loud noise (like a “HAH!”) as you exhale.

Vocal warm-ups

After you’ve successfully relaxed your body and practice your breathing, you can do vocal warm-ups. Similar to what you did when practicing your breathing, remember to unite your voice with your breathing to ensure that you’re using your diaphragm.

The first thing you can try is sounding out your vowels. Breathe in and sound out the different vowels as you exhale.Your next vocal warm-up is to sound out consonants. Try humming and letting the vibrations of the sound you make reverberate through your body. Let your body relax once more by shaking your limbs. Lastly, practice your articulation with some tongue twisters.

There you have it! Make sure you practice these vocal warm-ups to get you prepped for your next presentation.

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What Poetry and Presentation Content Have in Common

You might think poetry and presentations are in completely opposite planes. Both are just different ways of communicating and expressing new ideas. While poetry focuses on artful interpretation, presentation content requires you to be concise and straight to the point. You’ll be surprised that despite this obvious conflict, there are ways that poetry and presentation content overlap with each other.

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Here are ways presentation content can mirror poetry in other ways.

Strong images

Like poetry, great presentation content contains strong images. It’s not enough that you have images in your slides. You also need to integrate powerful imagery in your choice of words. Consider how the poet Ezra Pound perfectly set up a familiar scenario in just a few words:

 In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Similarly, your presentation content should be able to ignite the imagination of your audience with more descriptive and active words.Pair these words with powerful pictures in your slides and you’ll surely keep your audience engaged for a long time.

Analogies and metaphors

Poets take abstract concepts and liken them to more concrete and relatable things.  For example, in William Shakespeare’s famous sonnet, he describes a beloved by comparing her to a “summer’s day.” While your presentation content doesn’t have to be as lengthy as a Shakespearean sonnet, you should also make sure that your ideas are as clear and digestible as possible.

You might as well talk of the abstract when you discuss complicated data without simplifying it. To help your audience fully grasp a complex topic, use common metaphors and analogies in your explanation. Use something you know they’ll be able to relate to, like a scene from a famous movie or rules of a popular sport.

Structure

Poems follow a specific structure that helps reader follow its internal rhythm. Even if a certain poem is written in free verse, it still has specific patterns that allow readers to see the natural flow of words.

The same thing should be present in your presentation content. Structuring your presentation content makes it easier for your audience to follow what you’re saying. Determine the logical flow of your ideas by starting with a storyboard.

Like presentations, poems can take on different forms. Sonnets typically tackle love and romance. Epics follow the adventure of a hero. Some poets prefer to write in free verse. Similarly, the type of presentation you’re going to prepare for will depend on the topic and context.

Your presentation can be a sales pitch, or it can be informative and educational. It can also be a report that’s driven heavily by data. In all these scenarios, your presentation won’t look and sound the same, just like a poem would.

Embrace your inner presentation poet with these tips and craft a winning pitch and deck to match!

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PowerPoint as Narrative Tool: Jennifer Egan’s ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’

powerpoint as narrative tool as featured in eganPresentations are all about sharing stories. It doesn’t matter what the content is about, or what the specific goals are. You could be pitching a business plan or leading a seminar. At the very core, they’re truly all the same. In all presentations, you share knowledge and information in a way that your audience can easily understand. In other words, you tell a story.

Since stories are in the nature of all presentations, the same should follow for your PowerPoint decks. It’s hard to think of PowerPoint as a narrative tool, especially in the corporate setting. Most of the time, we fill our slides with charts and numbers and all the important points in our presentations without much thought. But if you take the time to familiarize yourself with its functions, you’ll be surprised how PowerPoint can become a narrative tool. It can easily turn your information into a story that’s easy to follow.

As an example, let’s take a look at how a piece of fiction is told through PowerPoint slides. In Jennifer Egan’s Pulitzer Prize winning book ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad,’ there’s an entire chapter that’s written using PowerPoint. You’ll be surprised to see the PowerPoint charts and graphics we’ve discussed in the past used as a literary medium.

In “Great Rock and Roll Pauses”, you can see just how flexible the most iconic presentation software is. Observe how Jennifer Egan fashions PowerPoint as a narrative tool by viewing the full presentation here.Try to get inspiration from Egan’s work for the next time you have to make use of charts and graphs in your PowerPoint presentation.

powerpoint narrative tool jennifer egan

 

 

 

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Persuasive Presentations: 3 Tips for Success

A successful presentation is measured through its impact on the audience. If you can persuade others to consider new ideas, you’re doing your job right.

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Whether you’re selling a product or pitching to investors, the main goal is always to convince others that your viewpoint is valid. As the presenter, you need to move your audience into action. Positive outcomes are a result of ideas that sparked the interest of audience members. To get the best results, practice the art of persuasive presentations.

These are the three essential things you need to remember when delivering persuasive presentations:

1. Create an immediate impression

To deliver persuasive presentations, you need to capture the attention of your audience immediately. It’s often said that you have 60 seconds to make a good first impression. Whether or not you have longer than that, the only way to ensure your audience listens is to catch their interest as soon as you start presenting.

Let the audience see how they place in the overall picture you’re painting for them. In other words, show them why your presentation is relevant to them. A story is a great way to appeal to their emotions. Show that your presentation is more than just faceless numbers and research. If you’re trying to make a sale, you can vividly describe a story that highlights the problems your product can solve.

2. Offer a promise you can keep

Persuasive presentations are all about selling ideas to an audience. Think about your own experience as a consumer. Why do you choose to buy a certain product or service? Probably because it promises to offer something you need, want, or are interested in.

Apply the same thought in your presentations. In order to persuade your audience to action, you have to make a promise that will catch their attention. As an example, think back to when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007. He said it was going to be a revolutionary product that’s unlike any other smartphone in the market. About 1.4 million units were sold within the first 3 months of its release.

However, learn to practice caution. Make promises that you know you can keep. Offer your audience evidence that you can keep your word. Provide them with data from research. You can also share some testimonials, or offer a quick demonstration. Let them see that your claims are truthful and reliable.

3. Encourage concrete action

When you reach the end of your presentation, leave your audience with a specific Call-to-Action. After having shared your ideas, it’s time to give the audience an objective they can act on.

Be brief and straight to the point. Don’t beat around the bush with phrases like “maybe you can consider” or “if it interests you”. Show confidence in your presentation and it’s likely that your audience will feel confident in your ideas as well.

Persuading your audience shouldn’t be hard. Learning the right offers to make will draw them closer to you and your brand. Create a good first impression on your listeners by telling an engaging story everyone can relate to, but which is also relevant to your brand.

Be grand with your gestures, but make sure to promise only what you can deliver. Don’t give people false hope that will fall short of their expectation.

End with a solid CTA that will move people to action. Need a deck to go with your pitch? Contact our SlideGenius experts today for a free quote!

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The 3-Step Approach to Effective PowerPoint Slides

We’ve been providing you with plenty of ideas on how you can improve the design of your PowerPoint slides. There are so many ways to make unique and creative PowerPoint slides but the most important thing is to make sure your audience can easily understand the information you’re presenting.

And doing that boils down to making sure you hit these three essential things: concise content, powerful visuals, and a logical structure.

Take note of this three-step approach to ensure your PowerPoint slides effectively translates your core message:

1.) Write content that is concise and complete

Keep your text minimal in each slide. As we’ve covered before in our review of Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule, your PowerPoint deck shouldn’t serve as a teleprompter. If you add everything you want to say in your slides, you might be tempted to read from it. Even worse, your audience might just read ahead without listening to the rest of your lecture.

What you should do instead is to figure out the take-home points in each slide. Organize your points in a way that single concepts appear in only one slide at a time. Write these points in a manner that’s similar to writing a headline—in short but complete and discernible sentences.

2.) Add visuals that make a point

Visuals help make your PowerPoint slides attractive, but that’s not enough for an effective presentation. According to Penn State’s Michael Alley, when adding visual elements to your PowerPoint slides, you should also think about what purpose they can serve. Don’t just add a pretty picture because your slides look too bare.

Make sure that the images and illustrations  you include serve as evidence to the important points you want to make.

3.) Create a structure with a logical flow

While your PowerPoint slides might look great individually, they won’t make much sense together without any structure. Creating a logical flow to your PowerPoint slides is important.

Before you even start working on your slides, create a rough outline and a storyboard.

Look out how your main points play side by side and re-arrange slides if you have to. You’ll find that your PowerPoint presentation will make a narrative pattern that your audience can easily follow.

Conclusion

Your slides should act as a guide, not a complete rundown of your points and details. Give yourself some space to elaborate on each objective, and to interact with your audience outside the PowerPoint. As much as you’ll want visually engaging slides, keep your text down to a minimum.

Keep your content compact and simple, elaborate enough for the audience to understand, but short enough to let you speak. Instead of walls of text, go with visually interesting graphics, like diagrams or pictures. Connect all these points together with a logical flow that ties in all your points neatly.

 

References

Alley, Michael. “Rethinking Presentation Slides: The Assertion-Evidence Approach.” Scientific Presentations. Accessed August 1, 2014.
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. 2005. Accessed August 1, 2014.

 

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