Slidegenius, Inc.

Helpful Infographics for Your Online Marketing Plan

Anytime you browse through different social media channels, you probably always come across graphics that detail facts you probably never knew before. These images usually have cute and eye-catching drawings or designs. As we mentioned in the past, infographics are a growing trend. They offer an element of fun while conveying key facts and data. A good infographic can condense useful stats and information without overwhelming viewers.

To illustrate how effective they really are, we looked around the Internet to find some infographics that can help your online marketing strategy. Here are 5 that we think are particularly well-designed and informative:

How to Sell Without Selling

This infographic by Stride shares details and statistics you’ll need to improve your online marketing strategy. As its title suggests, it offers useful information on how to connect with consumers that are looking to be engaged, rather than to hear sales talk.

by Stride via Daily Infographic
20 Captivating Marketing Statistics

Here’s another set of enlightening data for entrepreneurs. These statistics were gathered by WebDAM.

WebDAM via BufferApp
A Well-Balanced Blog 

In this infographic, LinkedIn breaks down the different components you need for a successful blog.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions via HubSpot
Email Cheatsheet

Email marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your target audience. As Marketo points out in this infographic, a majority of consumers prefer receiving marketing communications through their inbox. Don’t waste a good opportunity by keeping in mind some useful tips they offer.

Marketo via BufferApp
It’s All About the Images 

We all know how powerful visuals can be. In fact, an image can make a huge difference in how your content is perceived and received by consumers. In this infographic, MDG Advertising offers great advice on how you can get the most mileage from your image-based content.

MDG Advertising via JeffBullas.com
The Ridiculously Exhaustive Social Media Design Blueprint 

And since images are important to online marketing, Tent Social created a cheat sheet to tell you the perfect dimensions to use when sharing pictures in different social media platform:

Tent Social via BufferApp

The Art of Graphs and Charts

When presenting information in a meeting, a picture does paint a thousand words. You can talk about numbers and percentages until you are blue in the face yet not everyone will get what you’re saying. It’s as if you were speaking an alien language. However, once you start putting up a chart or graph, suddenly all your ramblings make sense. It’s like manna from heaven.

Apart from letting your audience understand what you’re trying to communicate, graphs can make it easier for you to explain what you have to say. Keep in mind, though, that you are only as good as your tools. So here are some ways you can use graph and charts effectively:

Choose the right type of graph/chart to use

First off, you have to understand that there are different types of graphs and charts. You can use any of them according to the information that you are presenting. The circle graph (or pie chart), for one, is commonly used to divide data into separate sections.

The bar graph (or bar chart), on the other hand, displays either horizontal or vertical rectangular bars that have lengths corresponding to the values they represent. Another type is the area or line chart, which shows a number of data points interconnected by a line.

Different chart types are suited for different purposes. Line charts, for example, are great for plotting relationships while pie charts are the best types for communicating proportion.  Selecting the right graph can make a difference in getting your message across.

Mind the design details

After selecting the right type of graph, think about the design and how it can enhance your presentation. Every design detail must support your points and not detract from the information. Your chart should be focused on the data with your axes being labeled properly. Keep in mind that your goal is to have your audience pick up the data you are trying to share with as little effort as possible.

graphs and charts

 

Be creative

You are free to modify your graph or chart any way you want, as long as it won’t look messy, distracting, and incoherent. If you don’t feel like using labels, why not use custom icons instead? Another interesting way of creating charts is by using a photo of real objects in place of illustrated ones. For instance, imagine using the picture of an actual pie for your pie chart.

If you are a little conservative about the design, there are still some ways to make your graphs stand out. For example, you may think about using different textures in place of solid colors. Wood, for example, would look great for bar graphs. You can also make your chart look three-dimensional by giving it some depth.

For maximum impact, create your graphs using high-end design software such as Adobe Illustrator. Apart from making your presentation look great and comprehensible, it also offers flexibility and excellent usability. With Illustrator, you can create that 3D effect and manipulate the chart pieces with ease.

 

References

4 Rules for Boosting Your Creativity.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 12, 2013. Accessed April 21, 2014.
Graphs and Charts.” Skills You Need. Accessed April 21, 2014.

Using Statistics and Metaphors Effectively in Your PowerPoints

Did you know that every person recorded in history that has been able to lick their elbow has had an IQ characterized as that of a genius?  While the previous statement is a complete fabrication of my imagination, it doesn’t negate the fact that you just thought of licking your elbow to see if you were a genius.

Statistics, metaphors, pictures, videos they all make us think in very specific and useful ways. Knowing how to manage these presentational aids can be what makes your next presentation sound like if you have been taking private classes with Tony Robins.

Presentations bogged down by statistics, overwhelming data, and technical topics can send your audience dozing off in minutes, but never fear, there are a few techniques that can help you convey the true significance of what you’re presenting.

When it comes to data, simplify and get creative.

If you’re presenting your data with a table, you might as well be force feeding sleeping pills to your audience. Instead of cramming all your data on to one page, give each statistic its own page, accompany each with a visual, and present them as individual, easy-to-digest morsels. If you have a slide crammed full with numbers, chances are nobody is going to take anything away from it.

Why should we care?

Statistics can captivate when presented effectively, they just need to be framed in such a way that makes your audience understand their significance. Paint a picture that depicts their relevancy. An excellent example of this was done during the 2012 presidential race when there was much to-do over the net worth of President Obama and of Governor Romney.

Adjusting for inflation, George Washington was the United States' richest president of all time.Obama

While it was revealed that Obama was among the poorest presidents ever elected and Romney was among the most wealthy, their combined wealth didn’t even come close to that of George Washington’s, when adjusting for inflation. Framing statistics in this way helps to give life to numbers that can often be monotonous and sedating, because practical application and historical context can make them much more relatable.

Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors.

If you’ve got a tough sell or a hard point to make, a metaphor can often help paint a picture for your audience to wrap their heads around. Metaphors can evoke an emotional response, which is very desirable when presenting potentially dry information, such as an investment opportunity.

Even better, Visual metaphors

When we listen to something, only 3 percent of our brain neurons are engaged, but when we see an image, that number jumps up to 30 percent. As far as engaging an audience on a chemical level, and ensuring that they retain the information you wish to convey, a visual representation of the conclusion your presentation seeks to reach will be, literally, 10 times more effective.

What you talk about is meaningless unless you know how to express it. It all comes down to two factors: how you say it and how you show it. Whether the topic is stem cell research or peanut butter protein bars, the audience will only care based off of how you present what you are presenting.

Harness the power of these presentational aids, and you will rule the world. Not really, but you will definitely have captivated your audience.

SOURCES:

http://www.slideshare.net/CarlKwan/how-to-present-data-and-statistics-visually

http://www.forbes.com/2010/07/14/george-washington-hoover-jfk-obama-personal-finance-10-richest-presidents_slide_5.html

http://soappresentations.com/the-value-of-metaphor-in-business-presentations/

What is good PowerPoint design?

Occasionally, I’m asked by colleagues or clients to send samples of “great slides” or “good PowerPoint.” I usually hesitate to send examples of slides since my answer to the question, “what does a great PowerPoint slide look like?” is “…it depends.” In a world which often thinks in terms of absolutes — “this is good, that is bad” — “it depends” is not the most popular answer.

Context matters
However, as far as design is concerned, it is useful not to think (judge) in terms of “right or wrong,” but rather in terms of what is “appropriate or inappropriate.” That is, is it appropriate or inappropriate for a particular context? “Good” and “bad” are indeed terms we use when talking about design — including  PowerPoint slides — but I’m personally cautious of this dualistic thinking, especially when judging a design without its full context available. So much depends on how the visual is placed within the context of the presentation, and the content and objectives of that particular presentation are of paramount concern. Without a good knowledge of the place and circumstance, and the content and context of a presentation, it is impossible to say this is “appropriate” and that is “inappropriate.”

Simple but not simplistic
If there is one important precept worth following, it is the idea of simplicity. The best visuals are often ones designed with an eye toward simplicity. Yet, this says nothing about the specifics of a visual presentation. That will depend on the content and context. For example, even the best visuals used in support of a presentation for one audience on, say, quantum mechanics, may appear complicated and confusing to a different audience.

Simplicity is often used as a means to greater clarity. However, simplicity can also be viewed as a consequence. A consequence, that is, of our careful efforts to craft a story and create supporting visuals that focus on our audience’s needs in a clear and meaningful way. Ok, simplicity is great you say, but how simple? What is the formula for simplicity? If you can’t give me concrete examples, you might say, at least give me a formula for making powerful, simple visuals. But do static formulas for achieving simplicity exist?

In Living Zen, author Robert Linsen (in speaking on the simplification of needs in everyday life) says that a “simplification of existence” is a consequence of an “effective experience of Zen.” In other words, as one discovers their true nature, “needs” such as possessions or status are reduced or seen for what they are: superfluous. This begs the question then: “What are the minimum or maximum needs for an individual?” To this the author responds

“No one can define them or draw up a system around them. That is where we should exercise our judgment….Use depends for each one of us on the place and circumstances. If we were to codify the laws concerning it they might soon become a great bondage for us.”

Here the author is not necessarily speaking of design and presentation visuals, of course, but we can see how we can apply Zen principles to everyday life including design, even the design of slides and other visuals. Simplicity is an important design principle. But simplicity in design is as much art (small “a”) as science. It is, therefore, quite difficult to offer up prescriptions or “rules” for appropriate design. Without full knowledge of the context and circumstances, such rules could become “a great bondage,” so to speak, leading to inappropriate design choices or recommendations.

Visual makeover
Having said all of that, below are a few slides demonstrating different visual treatments in support of a single message. The context is a presentation on gender and labor issues in Japan. The purpose of the slide is to visually support the claim that “72% of the part-time workers in Japan are women.” This statistic is from the Japanese Ministry of Labor. The figure “72%” is something the presenter said she wanted the audience to remember as it is discussed again as the presentation progresses. So how to design a slide that is subtle, simple, memorable, and fits into a theme that is appealing and attractive?

BEFORE. Above (left) is the original slide. The problem with the slide on the left is that the clip-art used does not reinforce the statistic, nor does it even fit the theme of women in the Japanese labor market. The background is a tired, overused PowerPoint template. The text is difficult to read. And as one trainee commented: “it’s ugly.”

The slide on the right (above) was an effort to display the same information in a pie chart. Besides using an overused template, the visual displays the pie chart in a distorted and inelegant fashion. For the sake of clarity, it is usually best to avoid 3-D effects. Also, rather than giving the slide a title, a declarative sentence that states the point directly may be more appropriate.

AFTER: All the slides were redesigned to match the theme above. The slide on the left was the one used for the presentations. But the one on the right could also be used effectively. Notice that either slide (especially the slide without any text) would be virtually meaningless without the presenter’s narration. The handout that followed the presentation expanded on the relevance of the statistic and gave it context. The five-page handout proved to be a good reference for those who attended the presentation and for those who did not.

Using a pie chart is also a good way to represent this simple statistic. Here (left) the large text at the top can be easily seen. The text reads more like a headline — a declarative sentence — rather than just a title or category. The slide on the right is another possible way to support the message. In this case a completely different template was used.

Should you design your slides to look like this?
The design choices are many. The examples above are just a few attempts at improving the look & feel, impact, and effectiveness of the original slides. Should you design your slides to look like this? That’s your call and depends on your specific circumstance. Also, this particular example does not deal with a technical presentation. If your presentation is on a less technical topic such as leadership, HRM, marketing, etc. then simple slides like these may be very effective. If you are giving a very technical presentation to a technical audience hungry for data, then your slides may look quite different. But even for a very technical presentation, embracing simplicity of design and striving for the greatest clarity possible should still be the objective. How you do that will depend on a great many things.

Ten Secrets For Using PowerPoint Effectively

By Dave Paradi, MBA, author of “The Visual Slide Revolution” and
“102 Tips to Communicate More Effectively Using PowerPoint”

You can take many courses on how to use PowerPoint from a technical standpoint, but when it is used effectively, it can add tremendously to our presentations. Here are ten secrets based on years of experience in developing and using presentation slides that will help you move from being technically proficient to using PowerPoint effectively.

Start by creating an outline
The most important part of any presentation is the content, not the graphical appeal. That is why you should develop your presentation with the content first, before deciding on the look (colours, graphics, etc.) Create a good structure for your presentation by reflecting on the goal of the presentation, what your audience is thinking right now, and what points you need to make in order to move the audience from where they are to where you want them to be. Write an outline on paper or use sticky notes so you can move ideas around. By creating an outline first, you ensure that the content of your presentation is solid before you concern yourself with the visual elements.

Use Contrasting Colours
If you want your audience to be able to see what you have on the slide, there needs to be a lot of contrast between the text colour and the background colour. I suggest a dark background with light text – I usually use a medium to dark blue background and white or yellow letters. Some prefer a light background and dark letters, which will also work well – which you choose will depend on personal preference. Don’t think that just because the text looks fine on your computer screen that it will look fine when projected. Most projectors make colours duller than they appear on a screen, and you should check how your colours look when projected to make sure there is still enough contrast. To check that your colors have enough contrast, use the Color Contrast Calculator.

Use a big enough font
When deciding what font size to use in your presentation, make sure it is big enough so that the audience can read it. I usually find that any font size less than 24 point is too small to be reasonably read in most presentation situations. I would prefer to see most text at a 28 or 32 point size, with titles being 36 to 44 point size. The only reason I would use a font less than 24 point is when adding explanatory text to a graph or diagram, where you could use a 20 point font size. If you are given a small screen in a big room, your font will look smaller because the image will not be as big as it should be. In this case, see if you can get a larger screen, use a wall instead of a screen to project on, move the chairs closer to the screen or remove the last few rows of chairs. I’ve put together a chart that lists how far away the last row of your audience should be based on the size of screen, font size and visual acuity testing – use the Font Size chart here.

Get your copy of “102 Tips to Communicate More Effectively Using PowerPoint”

The review in The Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading national newspaper, concluded that, “If presentations are part of your life, this book is probably mandatory for you – it’s that rich.” It was the second most popular business book on Amazon Canada and spent over three weeks on their top 100 Business Books list. It has appeared twice in the Top 10 Bestselling Business Books weekly list in The Globe and Mail.

Conferences and organizations are buying the book in bulk to make sure everyone has a copy. Why? Because it is packed with practical tips that you can apply immediately to improve the effectiveness of your presentation. Don’t wait. Get your copy today at www.102PPtTips.com.

Stop the moving text
When text comes on the screen, we want the audience to read the text, then focus back on the presenter to hear the message. If the text moves onto the screen in any way – such as flying in, spiral or zooming – it makes it harder for the audience members to read since they have to wait until the text has stopped before they can read it. This makes the presenter wait longer between each point and makes the audience members focus more on the movement than on what is being said. I suggest the use of the “Appear” effect, which just makes the text appear and is the easiest for the audience to read.

Turn the pointer off
During a presentation, it is very annoying to have the pointer (the little arrow) come on the screen while the presenter is speaking. It causes movement on the screen and draws the audience attention from the presenter to the screen. The pointer comes on when the mouse is moved during the presentation. To prevent this from happening, after the Slide Show view has started, press the Ctrl-H key combination. This prevents mouse movement from showing the pointer. If you need to bring the pointer on screen after this, press the A key. If the pointer does appear during your presentation, resist the urge to press the Escape key – if you do, it will stop the presentation and drop you back into the program. Press the A key or Ctrl-H to make the pointer disappear.

Use visuals instead of text slides
Every two years I ask audiences what annoys them about bad PowerPoint presentations. The latest survey confirms that audiences are more fed up than ever with the overload of text on slides (see the latest survey results here). Instead of using slides that only contain text, use visuals such as graphs, diagrams, photos and media clips to engage the audience. I’ve developed a five-step method for creating persuasive visuals in my book The Visual Slide Revolution. Read the free chapter to see a summary of the process you can use to create your own persuasive visuals.

Have Slides at the End of Your Presentation
The last slide you speak to should not be the last slide in your presentation file. You should have three identical copies of your last speaking slide so that if you accidentally advance one too many times at the end of your presentation, your audience never knows because you don’t drop into the program, the slide looks like it has not changed. After these slides, you should include some slides that answer questions that you expect to be asked. These slides will be useful during Q&A sessions after the presentation. The final slide should be a blank slide so that if you go through all the other slides, you have a final backup from dropping into the program.

Focused one-hour webinars to make your PowerPoint presentations more effective

Would you like to add video clips to your presentations? How about finding and using photographs that make an impact? Or creating graphs that clearly communicate numerical information? These topics and more are covered in my one hour webinars. If you can’t attend the live sessions, you can purchase the recording and get all the same great information.

Check out all the topics and the live webinar schedule at www.EffectivePresentationWebinars.com

Be able to Jump to Any Slide
PowerPoint has a feature that allows you to be able to move quickly and seamlessly to any slide in your presentation. To do so, you need to know the slide numbers. The easiest way to print a list of the slide numbers and associated slide titles is to go to the Outline View and collapse the details for each slide (there is a button on the left side of the screen in this view that will do this). Then print the view. To jump to any slide, just enter the slide number on the keyboard and press the Enter key. This will move you directly to that slide. This technique is very useful for moving to a prepared Q&A slide or for skipping parts of your presentation if time becomes an issue.

Blank the screen
Sometimes we want the image on the screen to disappear so that the audience is focused solely on the presenter. There are two ways to do this. The first is if you want to blank the screen with a black image, similar to shutting the projector off (we used to do this all the time with overhead projectors by just shutting the projector off). Just press the B key on the keyboard and the image is replaced with a black image. Press the B key again and the image is restored. If you want to use a white image instead of a black image, press the W key each time.

Draw on the screen during a presentation
Sometimes it can be valuable to be able to draw on the screen during your presentation to illustrate a particular point or item. This can be done in the following way. Press the Ctrl-P key combination to display a pen on the screen. Then, using the left mouse button, draw on the slide as you wish. To erase what you have drawn, press the E key. To hide the pen, press the A key or the Ctrl-H key combination.
When you employ these secrets to use PowerPoint effectively, you will greatly enhance your audience’s understanding of your message and help to make your presentation the best it can be. If you want more tips on improving your PowerPoint presentation, check out my book “102 Tips to Communicate More Effectively Using PowerPoint”.

One of the most common requests from presenters looking to deliver more effective presentations is how to stop creating text heavy slides and use more visual slides. My book “The Visual Slide Revolution” shows you a five-step method for creating persuasive visuals. Learn more and get your copy of The Visual Slide Revolution.

Are you looking for a customized workshop where your staff can learn the exact techniques to communicate more effectively using persuasive PowerPoint presentations? Here’s what Vic Klassen, a Sales executive said about the sessions I’ve done for his team, “Dave helped give my sales team a new perspective on how to deliver effective business presentations. He is a true expert in the field and is a very strong communicator.” Click here to learn more about my workshops.