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The Overwhelmed Creative Team: A Cautionary “Design Ops” Tale

Back in 2011, fresh out of college, I worked for an advertising agency in New York City as an account manager.

It was one of the most stressful jobs I’ve ever had.

One of my responsibilities was overseeing the creation of my clients’ pitch decks, which — unsurprisingly — weren’t considered “mission critical” deliverables for the creative team.

There was never time to be idle; we were always on the go, brainstorming, producing content, and running to client meetings. The job was stressful but we were fortunate to have the right people that were easy to work with, passionate, and fun.

Over the next year though, the team began to thin. Some members left for bigger opportunities, others were poached by competing agencies, and some even started their own businesses.

Eventually, most of our veterans in the creative department were gone and the empty seats were filled with junior art directors and copywriters. 

I remember being worried about how things would unfold without some of the key employees I had come to rely on. Everyone had to step up. 

And for a while, everything ran smoothly. But as the agency grew and workloads increased, our internal design processes began to break down.

The creative team — consisting mostly of junior employees — were overwhelmed with pitch deck projects. At one point, they were unable to handle one of the decks assigned to them.

I remember it like it was yesterday…

As the account manager, I had to keep things moving and decided to just make the deck myself. 

Never did I think creating the PowerPoint deck would stress me out. After all, I’d used the tool for years to present my school reports and projects. The pre-loaded animations were there for the choosing and I knew I could find some cool-looking pre-designed templates somewhere online and simply visit YouTube for “design hack” tutorials.

Boy was I wrong.

See, the problem is that we’ve all worked with PowerPoint for years (even decades) and we trick ourselves into thinking we know enough.

Think about that for a moment.

That’s basically saying because we’ve driven cars since we were 16 years old, we feel comfortable with how the machine works.

In reality, most of us only know how to get from Point A to Point B (in most cases), and keep ourselves comfortable along the way.

We don’t know how to make the car more fuel efficient, or give it more horsepower to make it faster, or how to adjust the shocks for more on-road comfort or off-road capability—things that would undoubtedly benefit us in our week-to-week (depending on one’s lifestyle of course).

Instead, we use the same vehicle in its original configuration until it’s time to move on—because that’s what we’re used to.

If you think about it, that’s basically the same as downloading a pre-designed template that appears suitable, uploading content, and then hitting the proverbial gas pedal.

I felt I knew enough about PowerPoint to make the pitch deck acceptable.

Let’s be clear: when the goal for any project is “acceptable,” it’s safe to assume—in this day and age—it probably won’t move any needles in the right direction.

To no-one’s surprise, I came up with an almost plain deck with cheesy animations. You know, your typical box-in, appear, dissolve-type effects—stuff that causes Death by PowerPoint and makes you look old.

Fortunately, my presentation skills were good enough to outshine my unoriginal slides and the materials my creative team came up with were downright beautiful. 

But just seeing how the deck came out was a humbling experience. It was definitely something I was not proud of. I used to be so giddy presenting with the spectacular decks that our creative team came up with, but for this presentation, my deck was as good as just writing on the board with a marker

Heck, a whiteboard session might have even been more engaging than what I came up with. What’s worse is I could’ve had more hours to sleep and focus on what I was going to say rather than spend so much time on the deck.

The lesson here is pretty clear: we aren’t necessarily experts when we’ve done something many times, and just knowing “enough” is never good enough in high stakes environments like sales presentations, boardroom meetings, and keynote speeches (among others).

Whether you’re guiding a prospect through a product demo, trying to garner buy-in in the boardroom, or announcing upcoming products at your company’s annual internal conference, your ability to achieve the goals you set out to accomplish with your presentation rests on four key factors: 

1) Your presentation skills (obviously)

2) The narrative of your presentation

3) The design quality of your visual aid (typically a PowerPoint deck), and

4) MOST IMPORTANTLY: your audience’s level of engagement

Thankfully, I had the first one—but imagine what my team could have accomplished if we had all four!

Survive Your Presentation Info Run with Teamwork!

Creating a compelling business PowerPoint requires more resources than you think.

To convince your investors, you need sales and market data from your accounting teams. Thoroughly pitching your products requires having to talk to your sales and marketing divisions. Meanwhile, you’ve got to coordinate with your creative teams to make your presentation more visually engaging. That’s not counting the coffee, snacks, and energy drinks to keep yourself awake long enough to put all of these together.

Indeed, making your PowerPoint impressive requires considerable effort, but with the right supplies, you’ll survive the worst and power through to the end. Let’s take a look at three tips to make stockpiling your resources easier.

1. Have a Dedicated Information Source

powerpoint information source

Resources are always a necessity for any business. The question is, how much of them do you need? (Michaelson & Michaelson 2010, 16).

The same applies to the information you’ll be using for your presentation. Luckily, there’ll always be someone in your company who can give it to you, be it the marketing team, sales department, or even the middle managers. The trick is to know who holds which information. That way, you’ll avoid asking people who can’t help you or, worse, people who only give blank zombie-like stares, saving you time when gathering information.

Aside from your marketing and sales departments, you could glean insights from your customers to make your presentation more convincing. This information could come from your in-house or partnered research group. It could even come from your customer care people if you have them.

Once you find out who has the info, get to these people… fast.

Other companies are on reconnaissance for bits of info. Like hungry scavengers, they want to find them before you do.

2. Delegate Your Tasks

delegate task

Everyone in the company will be skilled at something (Michaelson & Michaelson 2010, 23) in order to survive.

Simply tossing the entire presentation deck to your admin assistant won’t cut it. Because each of your teams will have their own specialties, it’s best to collaborate when you can.

Better yet, make a quick list of who edits what. This is vital for getting your facts and talking points straight. Your finance team could lay out the data in a more understandable format, your marketing team could simplify the technical words, and your creative team can make the designs more appealing.

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By splitting the work between your departments, you’ll end up finishing the deck faster. With different people and departments adding to the presentation, this will familiarize yourself with each person’s specialized knowledge.

Knowing more about your topic from different perspectives makes you more confident. In effect, you’ll avoid sounding like a droning, aimless zombie when presenting.

3. Communicate Regularly with Your Teams

communicate

Every business grows. Even your competitors.

This is why you have to safeguard your sources while improving your team’s collaboration.

Information isn’t meant to be holed up in a prison. It should be free to spread and grow stronger. There will always be new updates: higher sales figures and projections, new images and designs from your creatives, and new products from your marketing department. In order to keep offering the best for your clients, keep yourself well-stocked with these developments.

Stay ahead of the competition as much as possible. To do that, safeguard the backbone of your business (Michaelson & Michaelson 2010, 87). In this case, this means your information sources. You’ll never know when someone will eventually surround your base and steal your business right from under your nose.

Survival is The Key

survival is the key

In a fast-paced, dog-eat-dog environment, those who allocate and use their resources wisely reach the top of the pile. Your presentation bug-out bag should include all the necessary information to survive any speaking engagement.

Keep yourself updated with everything about the competition, and be on alert for new insights you can use to improve your company. This will keep you ahead of the game, long enough to establish a profitable relationship with your business partners.

To help give you the extra edge, you can even get in touch with a presentation partner. It’ll only take a few minutes for a FREE quote!

Check out and share our infographic with your teammates!

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References

Michaelson, Gerald A., and Steven Michaelson. Sun Tzu the Art of War for Managers, Second Edition: 50 Strategic Rules Updated for Today’s Business. 2nd ed. Avon, Mass.: Adams Media, 2010.

Crafting a Presentation that Ends with a Bang

It’s almost time for a new year, for a new beginning. Looking back, you see how well you did and where you need to improve. From an optimistic viewpoint, a great year-ender is appreciating deeds and being inspired to make the next one better.

A year well-ended can be a great drive to improve. It can be the cornerstone of a pleasant beginning. The charisma of great things has the power to move. Spectacular presentation endings—especially ones that strike a chord in the heart—can inspire people to do generous acts.

Crafting a Presentation: Marching band

Where to Begin Your Presentation

Although, yes, it’s the season for holiday gimmicks such as festive shows and productions, many presenters will tell you that one doesn’t simply chorus his way to winning an investment or donation.

Curation is necessary when crafting a pitch. Relevant and influential data are what you need when choosing the right content for your pitch.

Even crafting PowerPoint Presentations have dos and don’ts. Let the 4-by-5 rule guide you in using words sparingly and curating only the essentials for your pitch.

Visuals can also be charming additions to a presentation. Not only are they entertaining, but they are also powerful storytellers.

Your choice of presentation content must, at all times, not only be largely influenced by the interests and preferences of the audience; but also primarily benefits your cause or proposition.

A polished PowerPoint Presentation takes one far but presenting them confidently will get one further.

Your confidence level should always rule your audiences. They may not know how prepared you are with your presentation but they can easily pick up that you are poised enough to show them you are.

Take command of your pitch. Know where the good stuff should fall and make sure you strut them when there’s a chance.

Crafting a Presentation: Exit

How to Get There

The content that comes before a conclusion plays crucial roles in supporting a proposition.

Other parts of a pitch add depth to a presentation ending, and vice versa. How well you build your presentation to your audience has a great effect on whether the ending makes it or breaks it.

Interesting opening remarks and clear introductions help set a good first impression for audiences. Data that are laid out and presented in an organized manner will highlight your first objective: to be remembered.

Before you reach the end of your presentation, make sure that attention is developed and maintained from start to finish.

Lastly, create a strategy on how you project a smooth transition when it’s time for an epic ending. Make way for the remarkable close.

As Brian Tracy advices, pick up your tempo as you approach the end. Add some energy on your voice and fire up your expressions when referring to highlights and interesting details.

Crafting a Presentation: Wizard

Call to Action

From delivering up to 5,000 seminars to more than 5 million people in different countries, in his own video presentation, Brian Tracy shares four awe-inspiring ways to end pitches.

The renowned speaker said that “A call to action is the best way to wrap up your talk with strength and power.”

Not only does it vividly imply that there’s an option for the audience to take steps but it also signals that, based on your justification, there is a need for action.

There are many ways to end with a call to action when giving a pitch. Knowing which ones effectively influence audiences, instead of abruptly asking, is the way to go.

The call to action often comes in the first or the final part of a presentation.

In a challenging close, audiences were asked to recall the presentation and were also asked to apply what they have learned just to see if it works for them. Challenging the audience triggers curiosity on whether they can do something or not.

Feed that curiosity when you get the chance. It is one of the hardest things to resist.

Crafting a Presentation: Fireworks display

Quick Summary

Summarizing after pitching is a common way to signal an audience that a presentation will be over soon.

Again, why are you agreeable? Remind them of your key points. Summarized presentations make it easier to internalize the thoughts in a presentation.

With a bookend close, you refer back to the earlier parts of your presentation to show that you have arrived at the same final point where you began. A title close similarly does the same technique except that the title conveys the main message.

When there’s a pile of slides to remember, it’s hard to make an impact on an audience. These types of closes are ideal when points-to-remember require a list.

Crafting a Presentation: Once upon a time

Closing Story

“Tale as old as time, true as they can be.”

Not all stories are real, but the point is, those that have morals are true enough to guide people with the ups and downs of life.

One would prefer to spend five minutes hearing a short but meaningful story than another load of data. Stories serve as breathing room for audiences, especially when the presentation is quite technical.

Also, stories can be charismatic enough to improve the way an audience perceives. Relating with audiences gives you more power to convince and to convert.

Crafting a Presentation: Closing story

Inspirational Excerpt

Brian Tracy believes that hope is the great religion of mankind.

Sometimes, audiences, especially the anxious ones, are just an inspiration away. Some may see trusting you as a risk, but let inspiration pull them up and lead them to their first step of action.

A feel of familiarity takes out anxiety among audiences. Sharing thoughts or insights they can relate to eases out tension between them and the unfamiliar person onstage, you.

No matter what age, inspirational excerpts help when your audience need a little soothing. Quotations from books or songs are some of the most popularly used. They have a nostalgic characteristic that people can relate to apart from the timeless morals they share.

Or, you can use a third party close. Here, a quotation is used as a premise to frame the whole presentation and at the same time, to wrap it up.

Conclusion

Audiences base decisions on how a proposition is presented.

Do you manage content and take audience presence seriously? It’s necessary to know which data fits the puzzle, making sure that they count.

Presentation maneuvers have the power to kick start the pounding of your audience’s hearts. Preparing for the arrival of a great presentation ender has a great impact on the next steps that your audience will take after the presentation.

Lastly, be compelling when you say they need to act yet observe genuineness when you bid them well, especially on their new year. Let a pleasant final impression be the last thing they remember from you before the year ends.

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Resources:

Tracy, Brian. “4 Ways to End a Speech With a Bang.” YouTube. July 14, 2015. www.youtube.com/watch?v=EucZKuqaVEE&feature=youtu.be.

Jeff, Peter. “10 Ways to End Your Speech With a Bang.” Six Minutes. October 12, 2009. www.sixminutes.dlugan.com/10-ways-to-end-your-speech

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3 Ways to Play and Present Your Own PowerPoint on TV

There are multiple mediums to show your PowerPoint presentation in. The program’s accessibility allows you to display your deck from your laptop to the Web, on mobile, on a traditional projector and screen, and even on a TV.

The latter is especially recommended for informal settings where you want to present a slideshow of your photo album. It can also work for more formal occasions like classroom or boardroom presentations if necessary.

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Here’s how you can play your PowerPoint on TV:

1. Connect from Your PC

PowerPoint on TV: Connect from Your PCThis is one of the most common methods of showing your deck on a screen. Most television sets these days come with an HDMI port where you can connect your laptop via cable. Simply locate both your TV and PC’s HDMI ports and plug in the two ends of the cable. Make sure that you’ve pressed the AV button on your television remote control to select the correct HDMI output.

Once you’ve connected the two devices, your laptop screen should automatically show on your TV.

Control the flow of your presentation from your PC like a normal PowerPoint but project it on a bigger screen. This lets you engage your audience by putting your visuals on a wide screen while having full control of your deck.

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2. Save It as a Video

PowerPoint on TV: Save as a VideoIf you want to free your hands completely as you present, save your PowerPoint as a video instead, as suggested in Microsoft Office’s guides.

This is an option available on PowerPoint 2010 onward. On the File menu, click Save & Send, then select Create a Video.

You can still play your deck on a TV in this format by saving your video to a USB flash drive or burning it on a DVD. Most flat screen televisions have USB ports where you can attach your flash drive and open video files.

On the other hand, those without a flash drive can burn their video presentation into a CD or DVD. A self-presenting deck in this form aids your presentation while letting you focus on content and delivery.

3. View It on Apple TV

PowerPoint on TV: View on Apple TVApple TV takes the form of a micro-console that makes use of a Wi-Fi connection or local network to stream media to your television screen. It was developed by Apple to bring the innovation of apps to TV. To use Apple TV for your PowerPoint, you’ll still need to save it as a video file.

Make sure that the file format is compatible with Apple TV. If you’re not sure what to save your presentation as, the usual file format is .MP4. You can also upload your video presentation on iTunes, where you can sync it with Apple TV.

From there, you can watch and present your video hands-free as well. However, since this option needs the micro-console around the television, you may need to reserve it for intimate family gatherings or occasions where there’s no pressure to set up quickly.

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Bonus Tip: Two Different Screens

PowerPoint on TV: Different ScreensAlthough PowerPoint was initially meant to be projected from a computer screen to a bigger one, the two screens don’t have to show the same thing.

For example, if you have helpful comments attached to your slides, you’ll be able to view them by using the Presenter View feature without projecting your notes to the audience. Being able to see your original screen can give you more than just a guide to follow during your pitch.

Your notes act as prompts when you encounter mental blocks. You don’t have to read directly from them, but certain keywords may help trigger a thought you were planning to expound on. However, remember to move away from behind your laptop and engage the audience as well with your body language.

If there aren’t any helpful notes on your slides, you can either have someone click to the next slide for you, or you can use a remote control to move across slides according to your pace. Either way, the purpose of having two screens is to be able to interact with the audience without being glued to your PowerPoint.

Remember that your deck is only there to support your presence, not replace you completely. No matter where you decide to project your slides, you’re still obliged to connect with the audience emotionally and physically. This ensures that you leave a memorable impression on your listeners during and after your speech.

The Wider, the Better
PowerPoint on TV: Present on TV

You can play your PowerPoint anywhere—from the small screen of a mobile device to the wide screen of a TV. If you’re aiming for the latter, connect directly from your TV to your PC through an HDMI cable. Go through your presentation slide by slide by controlling your TV deck as you would on your computer.

You can also save your presentation as a video and copy it in a USB, burn it to a DVD, or stream it through Apple TV. This leaves your hands free enough to further engage your audience with hand gestures and appropriate body language. The last option can take some time setting up, so you might not be able to use it all the time.

Television has evolved to far more uses than viewing shows. Use it to showcase your deck to family and friends in the confines of your living room, or make use of it in a corporate setting.

If you’re having trouble with your presentation needs, our SlideGenius experts are here to lend an ear. Contact us today for a free quote!
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References

“Apple – Apple TV.” Apple. www.apple.com/tv/
“Turn Your Presentation into a Video.” Office Blogs. www.support.office.com/en-us/article/Turn-your-presentation-into-a-video-c140551f-cb37-4818-b5d4-3e30815c3e83

3 Ways a Blue Ocean Strategy Applies to a Sales Presentation

In a highly competitive environment, only the best businesses survive. You’ll have a harder time establishing your own brand in an already crowded market. But what if you create your own niche, a place that only you have total control over?

The blue ocean strategy, or the creation of an uncontested market, aims to do just that. This business strategy was derived from W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne’s book of the same name. However, the danger of innovation is in the high risk you’ll be taking. There’s a possibility that people may or may not take the bait, leaving you with a failed project. When you introduce your product or service to the market, it still needs to appeal to people.

Fortunately, we’ve listed down three steps to effectively drawing prospects into your blue ocean during a sales presentation:

Blue Ocean Strategy

1. Specify

The key to any successful sales presentation is to map out a concrete plan.

Although a blue ocean strategy aims to disrupt the industry with a new product, you can’t just jump in blindly without considering a few important things. These include your business objectives and your target market’s needs and wants. You can’t leave any loopholes or be vague about your offered features.

Have a clear vision of what you want to do. Doing this helps your audience better grasp your main point because you’re introducing something that these people haven’t heard of before.

If you’re still working on a general idea, Katherine Arline’s article on Business News Daily elaborates on Blue Ocean Strategy’s concepts. This includes the book’s four-action framework to help you flesh it out. There are four key objectives in this framework, namely:

  1. Raise the industry’s standard
  2. Eliminate outdated factors
  3. Reduce those factors
  4. Create a new space in the market

Answering each consideration, in turn, gives you a better view on the logistics and feasibility of your overall plan.

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2. Strategize

Now that you have your content in place, it’s time to strategize how you plan to sell it. Even the most revolutionary product will go to waste if you can’t convince anyone to invest in it.

One way to get people’s attention is to align your objectives with theirs. Researching your audience will go a long way towards determining prospects’ needs and wants. This may mean you’ll have to tweak your initial plan for better marketability.

Another possibility is to observe and follow current trends in the existing market. This makes your product target specific people with existing biases that make them ideal prospects. Knowing their interests is important for successfully convincing them of your product’s benefits.

As a guideline, you can follow the AIDA method. With this, your main goal is to attract the audience, interest them in your offer, convert that interest into desire, and eventually lead them into action.

3. Act

After strategizing, you’re ready to present your product. Similar to other styles, presenting a blue ocean is convincing people of its benefits compared to existing products. On the other hand, its advantage is that it can cater to something that has never been tackled before.

Apply your research in real life by crafting your speech around it. An audience will be drawn in by something that benefits them and piques their interest.

Make sure you have good visuals to back you up. A good slide deck is needed to complement your enthusiasm and creativity. A boring PowerPoint with too much text and unappealing graphics might turn off your prospects. Get inspiration from color psychology and other graphic design principles that can elevate your content’s appearance.

Considering these three measures can make your pitch engaging and keep people’s attention much longer.

Summing It Up

Reaching out to a specific target market can be difficult, but making one for yourself is even more challenging. Here’s a review of how to prepare a powerful sales presentation and make your own niche market:

  1. Make your product as specific as possible by having set goals and an outline on achieving it.
  2. Align your product with your prospects’ interests to strategize your plan of action.
  3. Prepare a speech backed up by extensive research and let your slide deck support your content.

If done well, pulling off a blue ocean is a gratifying experience for any business that can bring you a lot of profit.

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References:

Arline, Katherine. “Blue Ocean Strategy: Creating Your Own Market.” Business News Daily. April 1, 2015. www.businessnewsdaily.com/5647-blue-ocean-strategy.html
“What Is Blue Ocean Strategy?” The Wall Street Journal. n.d. guides.wsj.com/management/strategy/what-is-blue-ocean-strategy

 

Featured Image: “Blue Ocean” by Andrea on flickr.com

4 Ways to Boost Your Likeability in Business Presentations

A likeable image has nothing to do with physical beauty. Looking the part might give you a charismatic appeal, your characteristics as a speaker are what actually attract interest, and engage your listeners.

Make a winning impression and boost your business relationships by working on what keynote speaker Tim Sanders calls the likeability factor. Presentation trainer, Cath Daley presents a list of questions that can help you determine your scale of likability. This involves aspects of your personality such as friendliness, relevance, empathy, and realness.

Here’s how you can enhance your innate traits to become a more likeable individual and more effective speaker:

Show Genuine Friendliness

The simple acts of smiling and disclosing some personal information make you look approachable and interesting. While a neutral face may sometimes be more appropriate in formal occasions, showing some emotion where needed connects your audience further to you. Communicate appreciation with small courtesies such as saying “thank you.”

Maintaining a professional reaction towards negative feedback also adds a more congenial feel to your business presentations.

Make Yourself Relatable

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self. “ – Dean Jackson

The skills to listen and to engage are not only essential in achieving life success, but also in attaining business growth. Demonstrating responsiveness during your pitch creates room for audience participation.

Express your willingness to understand their comments and observations about your presentation.

Express Passion and Compassion

If there’s one thing that Steve Jobs taught us about doing great work, it’s to love what you do. Business deals are closed when potential clients feel that you can offer them benefits. This is why your passion to inform your audience makes you a more likeable presenter.

Signify your intent by acknowledging your audiences’ needs and providing information that is designed to help them without difficulty.

Embrace Authenticity

Combine humility and positive vulnerability with your expertise to create authenticity. Show your listeners that you’re a human being with a sincere message. Share a personal experience that’s directly related to your pitch to add a human touch to the hard data you may be presenting.

Being confident without being arrogant makes you closer to your audience.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Exposing your genuine self to the audience is the easiest way to build rapport for your presentation’s message.” user=”SlideGenius” hashtags=”pitch, sales, marketing” template=”light”]

Conclusion

Become a likeable presenter to attract and engage your audience effectively. Increase your likeability factor to create meaningful connections that boost your business success.

Looking for pitch perfect slide presentations? Give us a call at 1-858-217-5144 or request a free quote from Slide Genius today.

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References

“Are You a Likeable Presenter? Which of These 10 Key Characteristics Apply to You?” CathDaley. Accessed July 30, 2015.
Body Language: Signify Intent with Movement.SlideGenius, Inc. October 20, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2015.
The Likeability Factor.” Tim Sanders. Accessed July 30, 2015.
Three Powerful Ways to End Your PowerPoint Presentation.SlideGenius, Inc. May 18, 2015. Accessed July 30, 2015.

3 Ways to Live Stream Your PowerPoint Presentation

Distance shouldn’t be a barrier between you and your audience. Bring your pitch out of the boardroom and into the Web. Reach out to a wider audience with your deck without sacrificing your presence.

Live-stream your PowerPoint in three ways:

1. Share as a Link

In his article on digital video hub Field59, Michael Worringer gives his readers a run-through on how to broadcast your presentation from PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 by sharing it as a link.

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be using PowerPoint 2013.

Unlike its 2010 version, whose Broadcast Slide Show option is found in the Slide Show tab, PowerPoint 2013 lets you live-stream your presentation through the Share option in the File tab.

How to live stream your PowerPoint: Present OnlineA dialog box will appear with your presentation’s custom URL once you click Present Online. Copy the link or send it via email to your audience.

After they’ve received the link, click Start Presentation. Now you’ll be able to guide your viewers through each slide in real time at your own pace.

How to live stream your PowerPoint: Start Presentation

Below, you’ll find how Presenter View will appear on your screen. However, your audience will only see your slide show as you present it.

How to live stream your PowerPoint: Presenter View

Once you’re done, exit the slide show mode and select End Online Presentation in the Present Online tab.

How to live stream your PowerPoint: End Online Presentatin

The slight downside to this broadcast method is that while you’re free to share your PowerPoint, some of your original deck’s features may be compromised. All transitions will be set to ‘fade’ from the audience’s view, and a file size may be imposed on your upload, depending on your broadcast service.

A compact and concise deck is more advisable for this PowerPoint live-stream technique to minimize the lag in your loading times.

2. Use Office Mix

If you’re using PowerPoint 2013 and are subscribed to Office 365, live streaming becomes even easier with the downloadable free add-in Office Mix.

Unlike the previous method, Office Mix is more accommodating with your slide contents. You’re free to add audio, video, polls, and quizzes to your slides. This is especially helpful for educators who want to track their students’ progress outside the classroom and for presenters who want to maximize audience engagement using their deck.

These are all available in the Quizzes Video Apps found in the Mix tab that will appear once you’ve downloaded it.

How to live stream your PowerPoint: Quizzes Videos AppsSource: https://mix.office.com/watch/qn821zf10bni

There’s also live digital inking, a more hands-on approach to presentation that lets you guide students through your slides in real time using video, audio, and illustration.

How to live stream your PowerPoint: Live Digital InkingSource: https://mix.office.com/watch/1uoglxt8jp9mt

Office Mix has its own site dedicated to help users navigate through this handy feature. First-timers can benefit from its tutorials that show Mix at work.

Similar to the Broadcast Slide Show in PowerPoint 2010, Office Mix requires an Internet connection to share your presentation to a selected audience. However, another unique option of this add-in lets your audience review and play back your slides to their own pace even after you’ve exited your slide show.

True to its name, Mix crosses the boundaries between the Microsoft Office programs. Import viewers’ data and feedback on your deck for a more in-depth analysis.

3. Upload to Online Platforms

The third route to live-streaming your PowerPoint doesn’t let you interact with your audience as much, but it may be the easiest yet.

If you don’t have the last two PowerPoint features, you can upload and design your presentation using a private account to online platforms made for deck hosting, such as SlideShare.

Publishing your slides on online platforms is meant to improve reaching out to a wider audience. Although you can configure your uploaded deck’s settings to selected viewers, following default settings leaves your deck open for public viewing. You can add tags to make your PowerPoint easily searchable online, further reinforcing its inclination towards mass sharing.

At the same time, this technique can be considered a combination of the previous two PowerPoint live-streaming methods. It has a file size limitation like PowerPoint 2010, but it lets your audience enjoy your presentation at their pace, like Office Mix. Making use of online platforms requires compressing your slide contents into a file size that you can manually upload to the website.

Conclusion

Your deck is an important part of your presentation. Don’t let the distance between you and your audience deter you.

Broadcast your slide deck using three different methods, depending on the type of program available to you and on your intended audience. Share your PowerPoint with a link and broadcast it live with PowerPoint 2010 and 2013. Interact with your viewers in real time with Office Mix. However, if neither of these are available to you, you can always upload your presentation to an online platform like SlideShare.

There are a number of ways to make your presentation accessible. Just reach out to the one that works best for you.

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References

Worringer, Michael. “How to Broadcast a PowerPoint Presentation with a Live Stream.” Field59 Inc. April 21, 2015. www.field59.com/broadcast-powerpoint-presentation-live-stream
“What Is Office Mix.” Office Mix for Teachers. www.mixforteachers.com/what-is-office-mix.html

Featured Image: “Man Holding Laptop Computer Typing While Dog Watches” by Image Catalog on flickr.com

3 Steps to Developing an Efficient Marketing Strategy

Marketing is the lifeblood of any organization. However, making your brand stand out isn’t easy. Competition is tight, and people’s demands and interests rapidly change with the times. Developing a solid marketing strategy attracts prospective customers and clients. To effectively market yourself, you’ll have to follow a structured plan with a reasonable objective.

Setting the Goal, Paving the Way

All great things started out as someone’s rough sketch of their vision. Setting a clear goal is the first step to creating your marketing strategy. But it doesn’t end there. You have to know what you want. More importantly, know how to get there. With a clear objective, you can start drafting your approach in drawing in your target market.

One of the most effective methods to achieve this is the AIDA framework. AIDA stands for the Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action of your audience. It can come in the form of presenting statistics, emphasizing your product’s features and advantages, or letting people experience your services firsthand. Outlining specific actions to address each of these aspects guarantees a return of investment.

Analyzing Strengths and Weaknesses

While having a fixed vision is great, don’t forget to make it attainable. One way to check if you’re on the right track is by analyzing your strengths and weakness. This analysis is part of the SWOT method which, aside from AIDA, is a valuable marketing tool. SWOT represents you or your organization’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats/Challenges.

Assess where you stand in terms of your internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats/challenges that are in your way. Evaluate each in relation to your existing resources to know how to move forward. For example, your strengths can include your customer service or your uniqueness in comparison to other brands. On the other hand, a weakness could be a lack of financial backing. Opportunities could include an inferior product from your competition, while a threat could be a revolutionary new rival.

Having a SWOT outlook will help you reconcile aspects of your situation to help reach your aim.

Forming the Right Relationships

Quality products and services can be overshadowed by a competitor’s established reputation and expanded network. Whether you’re still starting out or are a veteran in the field, never let your alliances fall behind. This means more than just partnerships with other credible organizations. It also means banking on individual human resources—employees, existing customers, and other influencers in the playing field.

Ted Rubin, Keynote speaker and brand evangelist, advocates the Return on Relationship strategy, which looks at the importance of creating a following that recommends your brand to their network. As a takeaway from Rubin’s idea, form meaningful relationships with everyone involved in your product. Treat your employees right and have them participate in your marketing. Encourage them to advertise your product or service to their friends and family. Similarly, pamper old customers so that they can recommend you to other people.

You can easily gain a wider audience if you market through those close to you.

Conclusion

With the right marketing strategy, your brand can stand out even among the toughest crowds. Envision your future in a clear, realistic way by looking at your strengths and weaknesses. Tap into your people to help you draw new clients in. It also won’t hurt to set a timeline where you can track your progress. You can make it per month or per year, as long as you can check how your plans turned out with each specific milestone.

More importantly, make sure you’re planning with the present in mind. This helps you determine the tools necessary for achieving your future. Need help with your presentations? Contact our SlideGenius experts today and get a free quote!

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Resources:

Rubin, Ted. “Brands Need to Focus on ROR: Return on Relationship™.” TedRubin.com. October 31, 2010. www.tedrubin.com/brands-need-to-focus-on-ror-return-on-relationship

“Create Your Marketing Strategy.” Info Entrepreneurs. www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/guides/create-your-marketing-strategy

Featured Image: “White Knight” by John Morgan on Flickr.com

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The 6 Presentation Design Trends of 2017

Presentation design has come a long way since PowerPoint first launched in 1990. Clip art and bullet points are a thing of the past. For 2014, trends point toward eye-catching visuals, digestible content, and audience participation.

The following are the six presentation design trends we’ve observed during the first half of the year.

Trend #1: Simplifying content with one-liners and illustrations

There’s no denying it: attention spans have become shorter in the postmodern age. We’ve all gotten used to ‘instant gratification and quick fixes‘. Google can pull up the information you need in mere seconds. Your smartphone can quickly give you directions when you’re lost on the road. The same ease should be applied when you’re sharing information through slides.

Presentation Design Trend #1: This 'Who We Are' slide contains only a short sentence and a diagram

Simplify slides by using one-liners and illustrations that emphasize your key points. Also, limit yourself to discussing only one concept per slide. We’ve seen Steve Jobs do it, but some people still make the mistake of including too much information.

Audiences are easily distracted if they can read every word you say on your slides. They’ll skip right ahead of you and zone out while waiting for you to finish talking.

Trend #2: Using full images as backgrounds

Visuals are a great way to capture wandering attention. The Internet is a great source for pictures that can help enhance your presentation design. And because the technology for photography has improved, you can make use of full images as backgrounds.

If you know where to look, the Internet can provide you with pictures that are coherent with the core of your presentation.

Take these slides as an example, and observe how the background images are balanced by the text and color choices.

The other colors in the slide goes well with the background image

The white font contrasts with the dark background image

Trend #3: Filtering images through photo-editing programs

Stock photography is a great option for presenters looking to enhance their slides with professional-looking images. However, a lot of it looks distant, staged or cheesy. The same is true for most photos available for free use on the Internet.

According to The New York Times’ Jena Wortham, thanks to the popularity of Instagram, editing photos to create a more authentic and nostalgic feel has become the norm.

Run the images you want to use through filters so your slides can have a personal but polished touch.

There's a stark difference between the original and the filtered image
Original image from Flickr

If you’d like to try this trend, there are plenty of photo-editing programs available aside from Instagram.

You can try web-based editors like PicMonkey, Fotor, or Pixlr. Photoshop is a classic, but it can be quite complicated for a first-timer. Whatever program you decide to use, just keep in mind that the photos in your slides should look unified. As much as possible, edit your images using the same filters and techniques.

Trend #4: ‘Flat Design’

The 'flat design' in the iOS7 interface

Apple’s release of iOS7 made “flat design” a mainstream concept. Before iOS7, the icons in your devices had a more texture and “real” look to them. Now, designers are opting for a more minimalist aesthetic that focuses on simple shapes and vibrant colors.

With the impending release of iOS8, you can expect this trend to continue in presentation design.

Trend #5: ‘Geometric Design’

We’ve seen geometric design dominate the fashion industry last year. Now, we’re seeing the same trend in presentation design. Because of its clean lines and sharp edges, geometric shapes and patterns allow for interesting accents that still look professional.

Presentation Design Trend #5: Geometric shapes add interest to a slide

Trend #6: Technology integration for audience interaction

Screenshot from presentain.com

Audiences these days are clamoring to be part of the presentation process. Audiences prefer to converse with the presenter, instead of being spoken at. Technology allows you to integrate audience participation in your presentation design. Apps like Presentain and SlideKlowd allows the audience to get involved with your presentation through their mobile devices.

With a swipe of a finger, they can ask questions, answer polls, and send follow-up requests.

 

References

GEOMETRIC FASHION 2013: Shape It Up!.” Runway Style Media. July 28, 2013. Accessed June 18, 2014.
Weatherhead, Rob. “Say It Quick, Say It Well – the Attention Span of a Modern Internet Consumer.” The Guardian. February 28, 2014. Accessed June 18, 2014.
Wortham, Jenna. “A Stream of Postcards, Shot by Phone.” The New York Times. June 03, 2011. Accessed June 18, 2014.

 

Featured Image by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr. Sample slides from the SlideGenius portfolio.

3 Ways to Improve Public Relations for Your Business

A good product stays just that – a good product – unless it gets a boost that enhances its marketability.

Don’t let the fruits of your labor slip into anonymity.

Access your target market through a strategic marketing plan and effective public relations effort.

Increased publicity will give your business the boost it needs.

Networking

One of the most instinctive ways to build your public relations is through networking.

Whether consciously or not, you form a network with individuals you encounter as you build up your business.

These can come in the form of long-time customers or corporate partners.

Even your employees and personal friends are part of your network.

If you’re still starting out, it’s time to prioritize these relationships.

Take care of your employees by giving benefits and convincing them your vision is worth believing.

Individuals whose beliefs are aligned with yours will be ready to support your enterprise.

Similarly, customers who follow your work and favor your product can recommend you to their own friends and family.

Aside from these person-to-person cases, you can also expand your network the old-fashioned way.

Forge partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations relevant to your field.

You’ll be able to help each other out when it comes to resources and promotion.

Build Your Reputation

To impress people enough to convince them to invest requires plenty of self-exposure.

Showcase your product – and make it appealing.

Strategize your marketing plan and assess your product’s strengths and weaknesses.

Develop your product’s strong points and emphasize your advantages over the competition.

You can start small by relying on your personal network to endorse you.

But once you’re ready, you can present yourself to prospective clients.

This may come in the form of press releases or public presentations.

If you’re pitching to a journalist, make sure you craft the right message.

You can tease them with a preliminary pitch that will get them interested enough to ask for more details.

For public presentations, make sure to strike a balance between content and delivery.

Prepare an outline of all your main ideas with a professionally-made PowerPoint to boot.

This keeps your audience’s attention while getting all the important points across.

Social Media

The Internet plays an undeniably huge role in our lives.

Use it to promote your business by tapping into social media.

Make a site where you can advertise your product or service.

You can see how well you’ve drawn your target market in by monitoring site traffic.

The more people follow your page, share your tweets, or visit your website, the more likely that you’ve caught their attention.

It also makes your profile available to interested investors.

Keep an eye out for influencers online who can help promote you to virtual audiences.

These influencers will also require pitches that are relevant to their own interests.

This is best for making sure you contact the right individual or organization.

As much as social media can give you a leverage, always keep yourself grounded in your original objectives.

Don’t overstep personal boundaries to get undue exposure.

You need to maintain your credibility to keep your clients.

Conclusion

Building your public relations is important for promoting your product.

This can be achieved in a number of ways.

Reach out to your personal network, or expose yourself to a wider audience through presentations and social media.

A combination of the two is even better.

This ensures more feedback from a greater number of people.

 

References

Honeysett, Alex. “4 Steps to Pitching a Guest Post (and Getting a “Yes!”).” How to Pitch a Guest Blog. Accessed October 21, 2015.
Measuring and Improving Your PR”. Queensland Government Business and Industry Portal. October 9, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2015.
Raposo, Kevin “How to Pitch: Outreach Tips from Journalists.” BuzzStream. May 13, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “PR” by Niuton may on flickr.com