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Lesson 1 - Where to start when creating a presentation. Effective presentations start with an outline that ensures the message is clear and compelling. I'll show you three steps to create an outline for your presentation.

Lesson 2 - How to reduce the single biggest complaint of audiences today: information overload. You will learn how to reduce the information in your presentation to only what the audience needs to hear.

Lesson 3 - Why you should plan your slides on paper before you create them in software. PowerPoint does not help you think about what each slide should look like. You will learn how to plan each slide before sitting down at the computer so you spend much less time in the software.

Lesson 4 - Designing slides so they are easy to see. How do you select colors and fonts that are easy for the audience to see? You will learn how to use tools I have created that give you objective answers based on research.

Lesson 5 - Best practices for graphs. When presenting numbers, a graph is usually much better than a table of numbers. I'll show you what to watch out for and how to clean up the default graphs in PowerPoint.

Lesson 6 - Using photos and images. One of the first visuals that presenters use is a photo. In this lesson you will learn where to find great photos that you can legally use and make them look good on your slides.

Lesson 7 - Delivery Tips. Once you have your slides prepared from your outline, you need to prepare to deliver your presentation. I'll give you insider tips that the pros use to deliver confidently and tell you about the best tool for presenting your PowerPoint presentation on an iPad.

Then, every two weeks, you and the other over 8,000 subscribers will receive another practical tip or technique you can use immediately to improve the effectiveness of your PowerPoint presentations.  To see the newsletter archives, scroll down this page for all previous issues

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Archives

Almost all of the articles in the newsletter issues from the last few years have also been organized by topic in the Articles section of the site. The archives by year are below. Click on the year to expand the list of newsletters published in that year.

 

2018 Newsletters
  • FinancialViz Makeover: Comparing to an average with long labels; Issue #426 October 30 2018 The latest FinancialViz makeover video I posted illustrates how to create an effective visual when dealing with two situations: first, values are compared to an industry average, and second, the company names are long. The original visual was published in the June 2018 issue of the Globe and Mail Report on ...
  • Change indicator characters; Issue #425 October 16 2018 The difference between two numbers is a common element of many presentations. It could be the difference between actual and budget, this year and last year, industry average and our performance, or any two numbers that measure an important metric. Visually showing whether that difference is positive, negative, or neutral ...
  • Accurate Design Ideas-like Timeline; Issue #424 October 2 2018 In a previous newsletter I showed an example of how PowerPoint’s Design Ideas feature (last week Microsoft changed the name from Designer to Design Ideas) can create a visual from a bullet list of dates for events. Here is the example it created. I like the idea of the events being ...
  • FinancialViz Makeover Change in sectors over time; Issue #423 September 18 2018 The latest FinancialViz makeover I posted illustrates a better way to show change in values over time. The original visual was published in the July 2018 issue of the Globe and Mail ROB magazine. Here is the original visual. I selected this visual because it illustrates two issues that lead to ...
  • Getting Designer ideas without Office 365 at work; Issue #422 September 4 2018 Software and services are always looking for ways to improve our work, and PowerPoint is no different. About two years ago PowerPoint introduced a feature called Designer. This feature interprets the content on your slide as you create it and suggests different layouts to improve the look of the slide. ...
  • Four places to find headlines in your slides; Issue #421 August 21 2018 In my customized workshops one of the key takeaways from the section on creating effective visuals slides is to start by writing a headline for each slide. A headline summarizes the key message you want the audience to understand. Think of the headline for your slide like the headline of ...
  • Graph using Excel Data Bars; Issue #420 August 7, 2018 Most business professionals are familiar with creating graphs in Excel using the powerful built-in graph features. Today I want to show another feature of Excel that can be used to create a bar graph quickly in Excel. It has limitations but can be particularly useful when you want to create ...
  • Redefining the KPI acronym; Issue #419 July 24, 2018 In a presentation I did earlier this year at a number of regional Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) conferences I suggested that we redefine the acronym KPI. As organizations have started to measure more activities, they are deciding on which metrics should be Key Performance Indicators, the traditional definition of ...
  • “But they want ALL the data!”; Issue #418 July 10, 2018 Earlier this year a new record was set for the largest number of cells I have seen copied from an Excel spreadsheet onto a PowerPoint slide: 3,128 cells! I couldn’t make that up even if I tried! This beat the previous records of 2,100 and 1,975. When I share this ...
  • FinancialViz Comparing common elements; Issue #417 June 26, 2018 I recently posted a new FinancialViz makeover that illustrates a better way to compare common elements using color and position. The original visual was published in the May 2018 issue of the Globe and Mail ROB magazine and looked like this.​​​​​​​ One reason I selected this visual is because it is ...
  • How to select information for a Gantt chart; Issue #416 June 12, 2018 No matter what area of an organization you work in, you are likely involved in projects. They may be called initiatives or some other term, but they have a clear goal, specific deliverables, and tasks that need to be done to complete the project. You will have to report on your ...
  • Process/sequence diagrams with many steps; Issue #415 May 29, 2018 Sometimes you may have to discuss a process or sequence that has many steps. It is a good idea to show a process using a sequence diagram such as a shapes and arrow diagram. The challenge when you have many steps is fitting them all on the slide. Here is ...
  • Launch of FinancialViz.com; Issue #414 May 15, 2018 Too often financial results or analysis are reported using spreadsheets or paragraphs of text. I have worked for a number of years helping professionals in finance, treasury, and other areas use visuals to effectively communicate important messages. Often the most impactful part of my customized workshops or conference sessions are ...
  • Capitalization of Headlines; Issue #413 May 1, 2018 After my customized workshops, one of the key take-aways people say they will implement is to write headlines for their slides instead of titles. A headline is a summary of the key message you want the audience to understand from this slide. It forces you to be clear on that ...
  • Using video in PowerPoint; Issue #412 April 17, 2018 A number of years ago I heard a lot about how every presentation in the future would include video. It was the hot topic of the day. Video is useful in some presentations like sales or recognition presentations. As I’ve moved to deal with more data heavy presentations, I have ...
  • Current view on paperless handouts; Issue #411 April 3, 2018 In the last 18 months I have seen a significant shift in how participants have used handouts in my customized training workshops. In the past, a copy was printed for each participant and they took notes on the handout during the workshop. Today I see more participants not using paper ...
  • Using your organization’s template; Issue #410 March 20, 2018 Almost every organization has a PowerPoint template that is used to ensure consistency with branding standards such as colors, fonts, etc. Presenters are expected to use this template for every presentation. Most presenters are not given any guidance on how to use this template so they end up using one ...
  • Visually presenting financial statements; Issue #409 March 6, 2018 In the next three months I will be speaking at five conferences for financial professionals (you can see the locations and details here). A common concern of accountants or finance professionals is how to present financial statements. These professionals struggle with the usual approach of copying the entire statement onto a ...
  • Using visuals in case studies; Issue #408 February 20, 2018 When you are trying to convince a decision maker that the solution you are proposing will solve their problem, using a case study can be an effective way to support your message. In this article I shared the four steps I think every case study should have: 1) Describe the ...
  • Chartmaker Directory; Issue #407 February 6, 2018 Last year data viz expert Andy Kirk created a useful resource called the Chartmaker Directory. It is a collection of resources on how to create charts in different tools. The tools vary from programming languages to big data analysis tools to common Office tools like Excel and PowerPoint. The resources have ...
  • Options for speaker notes; Issue #406 January 23, 2018 Some participants in my custom workshops tell me that they have heard presentation delivery advice stating that presenters should not use notes when they speak. This causes them concern because they feel they need some reminders of important messages they want to convey. If you have heard this type of ...
  • Building an image by breaking it apart; Issue #405 January 9, 2018 It is not uncommon for me to see sample slides sent by participants for my customized workshops that contain complex images. These images, which can be pictures or diagrams, usually come from a drawing program or other source. If you show the entire image on the screen and use a ...
2017 Newsletters
2016 Newsletters
2015 Newsletters
  • Organic highlighting using ink; Issue #353 December 22, 2015 At the recent Microsoft MVP Summit we were discussing inking in PowerPoint. It is relatively rare that inking is useful in business presentations, as callouts usually serve as a better way to direct the audience’s attention to a particular spot on a slide. But as I watched what they were ...
  • Clearer line graphs; Issue #352 December 7, 2015 In my book Select Effective Visuals, I discuss that a line graph is the best visual to use when your message is to show the trend in a series of data. I also wrote a newsletter earlier this year on why line graphs are better than column graphs to show ...
  • Change at a pace your audience can handle; Issue #351 November 24, 2015 Many business professionals have regular presentations they deliver. It could be a bi-weekly project update presentation in engineering, it could be the monthly financial summary to management, it could be weekly call center statistics, or it could be a monthly sales update. If you have been delivering this presentation for ...
  • Math errors; Issue #350 November 10, 2015 What does an audience think when they see a math error on a slide? Do they ignore it and trust the numbers the presenter is discussing? Or do they start to question all the numbers and wonder what other mistakes there might be? My experience is that they start to ...
  • Visual documents vs. Presentations; Issue #349 October 27, 2015 After I published the results from my latest Annoying PowerPoint survey, I got two emails regarding the SlideShare deck that I created to summarize the results. Both emails expressed the same concern that the SlideShare had violated almost every rule I teach about effective presentations. One of the emails asked ...
  • Dealing with quad charts; Issue #348 October 13, 2015 For those of you not familiar with the term “quad chart”, it is a slide divided into four quadrants, as this example from NASA illustrates. (in case you are wondering, yes, that is the Comic Sans font because the template they use says that it should be the default for text ...
  • Re-emergence of donut charts; Issue #347 September 29, 2015 Many data visualization experts like to rage against pie and donut charts. They make valid points about the mis-use of these charts by some presenters. But as I explained in my book Select Effective Visuals, pie and donut charts can be useful for showing how one segment compares to the ...
  • Axis or data labels; Issue #346 September 15, 2015 On a graph that uses a measurement axis, like column, bar, and line graphs, one question that comes up is how the graph should be labelled. The default is to have the axis only. In my workshops I often show how data labels can help the audience more than the ...
  • Avoiding “Are we there yet?”; Issue #345 September 1, 2015 In a recent workshop, the participants asked how to deal with something that often puts them on edge early in their presentation. In their presentations to senior management, they found that the executives interrupt them with questions after only a few minutes. This often disrupts the flow of what they ...
  • Data visualization in business; Issue #344 August 18, 2015 In the last 18-24 months I have been following the data visualization industry to learn more about creating visuals that communicate the key messages from analysis. I have learned a lot, and figured out how to use PowerPoint and Excel graphs to create some of the visuals. I created the ...
  • Ignore the advice to only use images; Issue #343 August 4, 2015 A couple of articles I read in the last two weeks have advocated removing data and text from slides in favor of pictures. The author says that research shows that pictures are more effective at communicating your message, so just use pictures. This advice is consistent with other articles I ...
  • Limiting the # of slides doesn’t work; Issue #342 July 21, 2015 In almost every workshop I deliver, we have to discuss the request from executives to limit the number of slides their staff uses to present. The executives commonly ask that no more than five slides be used when presenting to the management team. In this article I want to explore ...
  • Dealing with requests for spreadsheet slides; Issue #341 July 7, 2015         Often in the corporate presentations I analyze for my workshops, I encounter spreadsheets copied onto the slide. It usually results in far too many numbers being on the slide, and leads to the audience being overwhelmed by detail. It is not uncommon when I suggest alternative visuals, I get the ...
  • Making text look better; Issue #340 June 23, 2015 Three options for grouping text in shapes instead of bullets and sub-bullets
  • New book: Select Effective Visuals; Issue #339 June 9, 2015 In this issue I let my subscribers know about my latest book, Select Effective Visuals: The Business Professional’s Guide to Selecting & Creating Effective Presentation Visuals. Learn more about the book and get your copy here.
  • The cost of executives redoing presentations; Issue #338 May 26, 2015 In the last 12-18 months, I have been hearing a similar story from those who contact me inquiring about my customized workshops. Often the inquiry is driven by a request from an executive. Do they want fancier slides? No. They want to stop spending so much time redoing the slides ...
  • Visibility of slide elements; Issue #337 May 12, 2015 Fellow PowerPoint MVP Steve Rindsberg recently explained in a discussion how the visibility setting on slide elements is persistent after being set. That may sound technical, but it is actually very useful in a couple of situations. Let me start by explaining what the visibility setting is and how you ...
  • Alt Text on images; Issue #336 April 28, 2015 Too many presenters think that if they grab an image off a website, it is OK. They may be aware that it is violating the copyright of the image owner, but they figure that there is no way they will get caught. How will anyone ever find out? I recently ...
  • What to do with text on your slides; Issue #335 April 14, 2015 Recently, presentation designer Johanna Rehnvall wrote an article about ten ways you can avoid death by bullet points (full article here). She shows ten ways you can apply design to a bullet list of text to make it more visually appealing. I know and respect Johanna and the good work she ...
  • Lessons from TED talks; Issue #334 March 31, 2015 Recently the TED organization released new videos on their website at TED.com from the recent TED Conference. As a corporate presenter, why should you care? Because they set the bar for all presentations. In this article I want to discuss three areas you can improve based on what you see ...
  • Visuals that indicate performance; Issue #333 March 17, 2015 A few months ago I delivered a webinar on turning spreadsheets into visuals because far too often presenters just copy their analysis from a spreadsheet onto a slide and think that the audience will figure it out somehow. Today’s insight comes from that webinar. You can’t just copy dozens of numbers ...
  • The correct visual to show a trend; Issue #332 March 3, 2015 As I write my next book which is due out in late spring, I am forced to think deeply about the decisions business professionals should make when selecting visuals for their slides. One of those decisions is whether to select a column chart or a line graph when showing a ...
  • Graph labelling techniques; Issue #331 February 17, 2015 In this article I am going to share a couple of innovative ways to use the built-in graph data label feature of PowerPoint to make your graphs more effective. I’ve always taught that if the built-in data labelling feature does not work for your graph, just add text boxes with the ...
  • Testing how a slide looks to someone with color deficiency; Issue #330 February 3, 2015 For many years in my workshops I have been discussing the importance of considering how colors look to people who have color deficiency. The term many people commonly use is color blindness, but that is not accurate. Some people truly can’t see the colors red and green, but more commonly ...
  • Fixing the Excel Rounding Error; Issue #329 January 20, 2015 When an executive sees a calculation error on your slide, how does it affect their view of the information you are presenting? It makes them question all the other data and analysis you did. But you checked your analysis and it is correct, so why is there an error on ...
  • 5 steps to better presentations in 2015; Issue #328 January 6, 2015 At the start of the year we see many lists of predictions, trends, and resolutions for the upcoming year. In this article I want to share five steps you can take right away to improve your presentations this year. You don’t need to be a designer or an artist. Anyone ...
2014 Newsletters
  • The correct use of a pie chart; Issue #327 December 23, 2014 The correct use of a pie chart is to show one segment compared to the whole; Use bar charts for ranked values
  • Why SmartArt is often misused; Issue #326 December 9, 2014 At my workshops I suggest that people not use the SmartArt feature of PowerPoint. Example slides I reviewed at a recent workshop reinforced how this feature is often misused. The big issue is that most people pick SmartArt based on how nice it looks vs. whether it effectively communicates the ...
  • Finding and Using Vector icons in PowerPoint; Issue #325 November 25, 2014 Today’s article was inspired by a topic that fellow PowerPoint MVP Nolan Haims covered in one of his sessions at the recent Presentation Summit. When he was speaking about using icons, he stressed how vector icons are better than image icons. Today I want to explore this topic in some ...
  • A presenter’s most important resource; Issue #324 November 11, 2014 What is the most important resource for a presenter? Some may say it is time. Time to prepare and the time spent delivering the presentation. Some may say it is knowledge. The knowledge of the topic and knowing how to communicate that message. And others would have different answers. I ...
  • Best of the Presentation Summit 2014; Issue #323 October 28, 2014 Two weeks ago I attended and presented two sessions at the Presentation Summit, the annual presentation design conference hosted by Rick Altman. As I usually do the first newsletter after the conference, here are a few of the best ideas from the conference. My first session was on creating visuals for ...
  • Confusing the message with supporting information; Issue #322 October 14, 2014 A recent consulting assignment was a good demonstration of the problem presenters run into when they confuse their message with the supporting information. My client was presenting to executives to suggest what they should do about a situation in one of their divisions. The problem was that she had structured the ...
  • Have a backup story ready; Issue #321 September 30, 2014 While I was working with an executive earlier this year on an important presentation she was delivering at a conference, I realized how important it is to have a backup story ready. If you are relying on a story to illustrate a key point in your presentation, this may be ...
  • Discernment; Issue #320 September 16, 2014 Discernment is defined as making wise decisions or judging well. In order to make wise decisions as a presenter, you have to ask the right questions. Too often, presenters don’t ask key questions that help them determine the content and approach that will be most successful. Why don’t presenters ask the ...
  • Jargon and Acronyms; Issue #319 September 2, 2014 For a number of years I have been advising participants in my workshops to minimize the use of jargon or acronyms in their presentations to audiences that will likely not know what those terms mean. I didn’t fully realize how problematic these were until the results of my recent survey ...
  • Paperless handouts; Issue #318 August 9, 2014 The proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and hybrid laptop/tablet devices in organizations has given presenters opportunities to move towards paperless handouts. A recent client experience had me re-examine methods that can work today. The attendees at this particular workshop are all regularly travelling and this has necessitated them moving to an almost ...
  • Free Pre-Made Diagrams; Issue #317 August 5, 2014 Where do you turn when you want to use a diagram to show a sequence relationship or a relationship between entities (two of the six categories of messages I overview in this SlideShare deck)? Microsoft will tell you to use SmartArt. I suggest you don’t use SmartArt. It is inflexible, hard ...
  • Review of a Data Viz Checklist; Issue #316 July 22, 2014 In the last six to nine months I have been paying more attention to the world of data visualization. This is the practice of showing data in a visual way that clearly communicates the message. This is important to presenters of financial, operational, and technical information. I have found this industry ...
  • When you should use a dual-axis graph; Issue #315 July 8, 2014 It is not uncommon to see a graph with two axes. But it is rare that the graph makes information easier to understand for the audience. It usually confuses the audience and obscures any message the presenter was trying to deliver. In this article I want to explain why dual-axis ...
  • Don’t start by copying previous slides; Issue #314 June 24, 2014 Participants in my workshops confirm it every time I ask. The most common way professionals start preparing their presentation is to copy slides from previous files. The presenter picks all the slides they think might be useful in this presentation. This is a big mistake that causes many presentations to ...
  • Sources for Free Images; Issue #313 June 10, 2014 Photos are one of the types of visuals that many presenters include in their presentations. There are photos that are specific to our organization, like product photos, photos of our staff, screen captures of an internal system, and photos of our locations or facilities. We use these photos to illustrate ...
  • Universal Indicators; Issue #312 May 27, 2014 Next week I am presenting a workshop to accountants in Vancouver. One of the points I will be making is that when you show a number that indicates the difference between a measured figure and a standard, you need to use an indicator so the audience knows whether this is ...
  • What presenters can learn from how TV shows start; Issue #311 May 13, 2014 When you watch a TV show these days, whether it is a half-hour sitcom or a one hour drama, how does it start? Why is that relevant to presenters? That’s what this article is all about. The change in TV shows In the past, TV shows started with a listing of the ...
  • Diverging Stacked Bar Charts; Issue #310 April 29, 2014 When I first heard the name of this visual, diverging stacked bar chart, it seemed complex. As I learned more about it, I realized how valuable it is to know about this type of visual in business presentations. In this article I want to show you what this visual is ...
  • Creating slides that print well in B&W; Issue #309 April 15, 2014 One of the participants at last Thursday’s workshop asked how the colorful charts and visuals I was showing would work when printed in grayscale on a black and white laser printer. For those who usually present with printed slides instead of projecting them on a screen, this is a real ...
  • Waterfall Graphs; Issue #308 April 1, 2014 One of the examples you see in this video on what people will learn in my workshops on presenting financial and operational data to executives, is a waterfall graph being used to show the components of the change between a starting value and an ending value. After I showed an ...
  • Numbers only measure a story; Issue #307 March 18, 2014 Why do presenters use so many spreadsheets and tables of numbers in their presentations? The answer I get from participants in my workshops is that the numbers and analysis are important. The audience needs to see all the numbers. In this article I want to explain why I think that ...
  • Make Numbers Visual; Issue #306 March 4, 2014 Last fall at the Presentation Summit conference, I started to evolve my focus, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I have come to realize that how I help presenters the best is to show them how to make the numbers in their presentations visual. To take the ...
  • Are your slides Re-Tweetable?; Issue #305 February 18, 2014 What does Twitter have to do with effective slides in your PowerPoint presentation? A lot more than you think. This occurred to me last week as I was helping a client prepare a presentation for an upcoming investor conference. Twitter gives us an interesting way to measure how much of ...
  • 3 Tips for making column graphs even clearer; Issue #304 February 4, 2014 In my workshops, I always recommend creating graphs in PowerPoint rather than copying them from Excel, because they are easier to edit and it avoids some of the problems of the entire spreadsheet being embedded into the PowerPoint file. Unfortunately, when you create a graph in PowerPoint, the default graph ...
  • Using Amazon Storybuilder to outline a presentation; Issue #303 January 21, 2014 Late last year Amazon Studios introduced a tool that will be helpful for presenters. Amazon Studios is a movie studio that helps produce films for film makers. How would their tools relate to presentations? Like the stories that film makers tell, our presentations should tell a story. In this article ...
  • 3 Steps to Lead Presentation Change in 2014; Issue #302 January 7, 2014 When I am delivering my workshops, a common concern is raised by the participants. They think that the ideas I share are great, they really like the slide makeovers I show them, but they are concerned that the new visuals they create won’t meet with management approval. So they don’t ...
2013 Newsletters
  • Proportional Object Collection Calculator; Issue #301 December 10 2013 Earlier this year I created an online tool to calculate the sizes of two shapes based on values that you input. This allows you to create a diagram with two proportional shapes. I wrote about this calculator in the June 11 issue of the newsletter and gave examples of the ...
  • Celebrating 300 newsletter issues; November 26, 2013 Today I am celebrating the 300th issue of my newsletter. I have been writing this newsletter every two weeks for almost 11 years. I would not be able to keep writing if it was not for the support and encouragement that my loyal readers have shown. If you are not ...
  • Show steps in a process; October 29, 2013 When you need to explain a process, whether it is a manufacturing process, process for handling expense claims, or process for installing a new system, there are steps you want to walk the audience through. The default template in PowerPoint leads many presenters to use a numbered list of steps: ...
  • Ideas from the 2013 Presentation Summit; October 15, 2013 Every year when I speak at and attend the Presentation Summit conference I come back with great ideas from other presentation experts that I can adapt or use in my own presentations. Last month the conference was in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and in this article I want to share three ...
  • Results of the 2013 Annoying PowerPoint Survey; Issue #296 October 1, 2013 To see the results of the latest Annoying PowerPoint Survey, click here.
  • Donut Graphs; Issue #295 September 17, 2013 For the last year or two I have noticed newspapers and magazines using donut graphs more often to show proportional data results. Donut graphs may look like they are hard to create, but they are actually built into PowerPoint, so any presenter can use them. Here is an example that ...
  • Three uses for a black slide; Issue #294 September 3, 2013 In a workshop last week in the Boston area a participant noticed that I effectively used black slides during the workshop and wanted to know more about how and when to use them. It is a topic I cover in the workshop, and in this article I will share with ...
  • The grammar of text on slides; Issue #293 August 20, 2013 Despite what some commentators say, I don’t believe that we should eliminate all text from every slide. In my workshops I explain that text on slides is necessary and helps the audience in many ways. In this article, I want to talk about the grammar of text on slides. I ...
  • Should you switch to 16:9 slides?; Issue #292 August 6, 2013 One of the big changes in the latest version of PowerPoint is that the default aspect ratio (ratio of width to height) for slides is 16:9. In all previous versions, the default aspect ratio was 4:3. Why the change? Because widescreen formats are becoming more popular for projectors and TVs ...
  • Updating the three “Tell Them” statements; Issue #291 July 23, 2013 There is a classic piece of advice that many presenters have heard when thinking about how to structure their presentation. The advice is to: “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them.” I think this advice is outdated and in ...
  • Don’t put yourself in a cage of text; Issue #290 July 9, 2013 When audience members tell me in my Annoying PowerPoint survey that the speaker reading the slides is the most annoying thing about bad PowerPoint slides, some of the blame must be put on the “wall of text” slides that presenters use. Today I want to talk about how all this ...
  • Eliminate 75% of the numbers; Issue #289 June 25, 2013 Information overload is the single biggest issue in presentations today according to audience members I have surveyed. In my book, Present It So They Get It, I devote a chapter to five strategies for laser focusing your information to avoid the overload problem. One of those strategies is to eliminate ...
  • Proportional Shape Comparison Diagrams; Issue #288 June 11, 2013 In February I launched a tool on my website that allows you to create diagrams like this: I refer to this type of diagram as a proportional shape comparison diagram because the size of the shapes allows the viewer to instantly compare the numbers each shape represents. These types of ...
  • Be prepared: VGA is going away; Issue #287 May 28, 2013 For many years presenters have walked into a room and connected their laptop to the projector using a VGA cable. All that will change in the next two years. The VGA port is being phased out by computer manufacturers. In this article I want to suggest what presenters can do ...
  • Context Before Conclusion; Issue #285 April 30, 2013 When you show a slide on the screen, the audience will naturally look at it and start to decipher it. When they believe they understand it, they turn back to the presenter to hear what they are saying. Notice the sequence. The audience comes to a conclusion about the meaning ...
  • Word clues to better organize information; Issue #284 April 16, 2013 With information overload being the number one issue for audiences today, how can presenters better organize their information so it is easier to understand? I see hundreds and hundreds of slides for each customized workshop I do as I create the slide makeovers for that group. I have come up ...
  • Reduce the words in each point; Issue #283 April 2, 2013 In my latest book, Present It So They Get It, I provide five strategies for reducing the information in your presentation down to just what the audience needs to know. Information overload is the single biggest issue in presentations today, and in my workshops, this section on reducing information overload ...
  • Raise the average two slides at a time; Issue #282 March 19, 2013 At the end of my workshops, I ask the participants if they have practical ideas that they can implement immediately to improve the effectiveness of their slides. Without exception, they all say that they have plenty of ideas they can use. In fact, the challenge is that they feel overwhelmed ...
  • Testing your slides; Issue #281 March 5, 2013 What does the audience think when they see a spelling error or other mistake on your slides? They start to wonder if you really took the time to look at your slides before you presented and they question how much you care about delivering a great presentation for them. A ...
  • Five tips for preparing financial slides; Issue #280 February 19, 2013 Financial information is a part of many presentations today. Whether you are presenting the budget for next year, current project spending status, or any other financial information, resist the temptation to just copy a spreadsheet and paste it on a slide. Copied spreadsheets overwhelm the audience and leave them confused. ...
  • Design visuals vs. Content visuals; Issue #279 February 5, 2013 Some presenters think that adding visuals, especially pictures, will instantly improve their slides. I agree that visuals can improve your slides, but only if those visuals help communicate your message more effectively. In this article I want to discuss the difference between design visuals and content visuals. Let me start by ...
  • Timeline Visuals; Issue #278 January 22, 2013 In a presentation where you have to share with the audience when some events happened or are planned to occur, don’t use a list of dates and descriptions. While accurate, a simple list does not help the audience to understand the time span involved and when the events occur within ...
  • Conference call presentations; Issue #277 January 8, 2013 Last year a client asked me for some ideas on how to effectively present when your audience is attending via conference call. You have sent your presentation to the audience members via e-mail, and now you go through it while the audience listens to your over the phone. As the ...
2012 Newsletters
  • Sharing your presentation online; Issue #276 December 11, 2012 Recently I offered some ways that you could turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video that could be sent to others or posted to the web (see article here). What if you want to just share the slides without the extra work to add an audio track? In this article, ...
  • Paperless Handouts; Issue #275 November 27, 2012 Is it possible to replace the paper handouts we use for our presentations with a more environmentally friendly electronic version that the audience downloads in advance or just before we start? The answer is changing, and right now it would be a “maybe.” Electronic handouts can save money on printing, save ...
  • Stand-alone presentations; Issue #274 November 13, 2012 This summer one of my clients asked me how to make stand-alone presentations effective. They often have to send their PowerPoint file to a prospective client without ever getting the opportunity to deliver the presentation in person or via web meeting. Since PowerPoint slides are supposed to be used to ...
  • Don’t start with an apology; Issue #273 October 30 2012 It happens at too many conferences every day. A speaker starts with an apology, and by doing so, sets the wrong tone for their presentation. Apologies destroy your credibility with the audience and put you in the wrong frame of mind, which leads you to not deliver the presentation you ...
  • Presenting legal/regulatory quotes; Issue #272 October 16, 2012 Yesterday I spoke to a conference of real estate and legal professionals about how to create more effective PowerPoint slides when giving training sessions. They commonly show quotes or regulations from legal documents in their training sessions. Often presenters end up just reading the text of a paragraph because there ...
  • Repurpose your presentation as a web video; Issue #271 October 2, 2012 Presentation Tip: Repurpose your presentation as a web video If you read the statistics about online video, you will see that online video is growing dramatically. And it is not just people watching funny cat videos. Executives and professionals are watching video online and making decisions based on the content and ...
  • Determining the goal of your presentation is hard; Issue #270 September 18, 2012 Presentation Tip: Determining the goal of your presentation is hard The foundation of every presentation should be a clear statement of the goal of the presentation. While I am sure you would agree with this, stating a clear goal is much harder than it seems. Don’t always assume that the first goal ...
  • Presenting software/website usage; Issue #269 September 4, 2012 Presentation Tip: Presenting software/website usage Have you seen a presenter attempt a live demonstration of software or a website? Too often the demo goes wrong, with the software locking up or the Internet connection not working. Even large companies like Microsoft and Apple have these problems happen to them. Instead of ...
  • Presenting a Recommendation; Issue #268 August 21, 2012 Presentation Tip: Presenting a recommendation In most cases, there is more than one possible solution for a problem. When you have been asked to investigate possible solutions and present your recommendation, you want the decision makers to act on that recommendation. In this article I will discuss how to make the ...
  • Make slides easy to see; Issue #267 August 7, 2012 Presentation Tip: Make slides easy to see There is no point using slides if the audience won’t be able to figure out what is on them. While this may sound obvious, I see too many presenters create slides that the audience won’t be able to figure out because of problems with ...
  • Prepare for questions or concerns; Issue #266 July 24, 2012 Presentation Tip: Prepare for questions or concerns It would be rare for a business presentation to be given and have no questions from the audience during or after the presentation. I am not talking about keynote style presentations from the big stage, I am talking about the regular presentations we deliver ...
  • How to use the “About Us” information; Issue #265 July 10, 2012 Presentation Tip: How to use “About Us” information In a past article I spoke about the way to structure a sales presentation and suggested that the information about your firm should come after you have demonstrated the solution to their problem. In this article I want to expand on what to ...
  • Create presentation visuals based on lessons from grade school; Issue #264 June 26, 2012 Presentation Tip: Create presentation visuals based on lessons from grade school This is the last week of school for our kids and many kids in North America are finishing or have just completed their school year. Some of the fundamental concepts we learn in grade school stay with us forever. As ...
  • Solving problems caused by embedding; Issue #263 June 12, 2012 Presentation Tip: Solving problems caused by embedding Many presenters don’t realize that PowerPoint embeds or links to other files or information in ways that can cause problems. They may have experienced a PowerPoint file that has grown too large to e-mail to someone else, or linked files or videos don’t work ...
  • Preparing for status update presentations; Issue #262 May 29, 2012 Presentation Tip: Preparing for status update presentations One of the most common types of presentations that professionals have to make is a status update type of presentation. You are working on an initiative or project and you need to bring a steering committee or management team up to date on what ...
  • Don’t use numbers just because you have them; Issue #261 May 15, 2012 Presentation Tip: Don’t use numbers just because you have them You are a presenter who deals with a lot of numbers. Maybe they are financial results, operational analysis, or market research. You live in Excel and love spreadsheets. So, naturally, when you have to present to others, you include almost every ...
  • Choose a boring font; Issue #260, May 1, 2012 Presentation Tip: Choose a boring font A lot of presentation designers have made comments in the last year or two about what font you should choose for your PowerPoint slides. Almost every designer suggests that you abandon the built-in fonts like Arial or Calibri. Why? They claim that by using a ...
  • Case study/Success story slides; Issue #259 April 17, 2012 Presentation Tip: Case study/Success story slides In any presentation where you are selling ideas, products or services, your audience will want to know that you can actually solve their problem. Just stating that you can solve the problem is not enough, you have to provide proof. One of the best ways ...
  • The one question a sales presentation must answer; Issue #258 April 3, 2012 Presentation Tip: The one question a sales presentation must answer Last week I was reviewing a sales presentation someone sent me. They are pitching their services to a major prospective client and they know that their competition will be strong. So how do they start their presentation? With slide after slide ...
  • Essential iPad apps for presenters; Issue #257 March 20, 2012 Presentation Tip: Essential iPad apps for presenters Apple’s latest iPad was released last week and many presenters either already have an iPad or are considering purchasing one. I have had one for about a year (the iPad 2) and have found it very valuable for my work. In this article, I ...
  • Use pre-made slides to cut prep time; Issue #256 March 6, 2012 Presentation Tip: Use pre-made slides to cut prep time In a consulting assignment I am working on with a client in New York, we are developing a set of slides that can be re-used in many different presentations. It is a good idea because it cuts preparation time dramatically. In addition ...
  • Ten years of this newsletter; Issue #255 February 21, 2012 Presentation Tip: Ten years of this newsletter Ten years ago, on February 26th 2002, I sent out my first newsletter. Today, I am sending you issue 255. What a journey it has been these last ten years. According to my records, over 13,500 people have been part of the newsletter list ...
  • Don’t start your presentation with credits; Issue #254, February 7, 2012 PowerPoint Tip: Don’t start your presentation with credits Last week in a coaching session a client asked, “What is the best way to start my presentation?” She said that she had tried different methods and didn’t feel that they were working as well as she wanted. This question reminded me of ...
  • Boring presentations are not the problem; Issue #253, January 24, 2012 PowerPoint Tip: Boring presentations are not the problem How many times have you heard that the problem with many PowerPoint presentations is that they are boring? This is a common refrain from the media and it used to justify why presentations should not use PowerPoint, or use some other hot presentation ...
  • Effective dashboard slides; Issue #252 January 10, 2012 PowerPoint Tip: Effective dashboard slides At the start of the year many organizations are looking back to see how they did last year. They will use many different measures, and they may decide that they want to start tracking certain statistics that will make a difference in improving performance going forward. ...
2011 Newsletters
  • Spreadsheets Don’t Belong on Slides; Issue #251 December 20, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Spreadsheets don’t belong on slides Frequently people tell me that financial presentations include a huge spreadsheet that has been copied on to a slide. The text and numbers are way too small and inevitably the presenter says, “I know you can’t read this, so I’ll read it to you.” ...
  • The audience wants the conclusion; Issue #250 December 6, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: The audience wants the conclusion In my survey this fall of what annoys audiences about bad PowerPoint presentations, the clear message you sent was that too many presentations suffer from information overload. Whether it is text, numbers, or a combination of both, the excessive information causes confusion and lack ...
  • Creating universal icons; Issue #249 November 22, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Creating universal icons When creating visuals, it can be helpful to sometimes use icons to represent items generically, such as people, cars, or objects. You could purchase vector icons from a site like istockphoto.com, but you can usually create your own custom icon using the drawing tools in PowerPoint. ...
  • Three lessons learned from Pecha Kucha; Issue #248 November 8, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Three lessons learned from Pecha Kucha At the recent Presentation Summit, Ric Bretschneider did a session on Pecha Kucha, a presentation format that has gained a lot of followers in recent years. As part of his session, he asked a few people to volunteer in advance to demonstrate this ...
  • Takeaways from the Presentation Summit; Issue #247 October 26, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Takeaways from the Presentation Summit Last month I had the privilege of speaking at the ninth Presentation Summit in Austin, Texas. It is the one time during the year that the presentation community gets together and shares ideas and best practices on creating and delivering effective presentations. In addition ...
  • Adding crosshatching fills to graphs in PowerPoint 2007; Issue #246 October 11, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Adding crosshatching fills to graphs in PowerPoint 2007 When I was presenting a course for accountants in July, a number of the participants mentioned that starting in PowerPoint 2007, they had lost the ability to fill graph segments with crosshatch patterns. This is important when printing graphs in black ...
  • Results of the 2011 Annoying PowerPoint survey; Issue #245 September 27, 2011 Note: The results of the latest survey are available here. PowerPoint Tip: Results of the Annoying PowerPoint survey As I analyzed the responses and comments in the survey of “What annoys you about bad PowerPoint presentations?”, a clear theme emerged. Audiences are fed up with presenters who fill their slides with too ...
  • Amazing pre-made animation effects; Issue #244 September 13, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Amazing pre-made animation effects At the end of this week I’ll be travelling to the Presentation Summit in Austin, Texas. It is the only gathering of presentation professionals and I look forward to seeing all of my colleagues and learning about the work they have been doing in the ...
  • How animating a graph makes it easier to understand; Issue #243 August 30, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: How animating a graph makes it easier to understand I spoke last week to a group of executives and one of the challenges that I saw in their presentations was the tendency to put spreadsheets on their slides when talking about financial topics. A graph is better than a ...
  • Saving money on technology purchases; Issue #242 August 16, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Saving money on technology purchases According to retail statistics, this time of year is now more popular for technology buying than Christmas. The back-to-school purchases for those heading to high school or college/university often include technology such as computers, software, tablets, and smartphones. Our kids have been using PowerPoint ...
  • Presenting from someone else’s computer; Issue #241 August 2, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Presenting from someone else’s computer In my workshops it is common that participants ask about what they need to take into account when they must take their PowerPoint presentation to another computer on a USB drive instead of using a laptop. It may be that the room they are ...
  • Breaking the habit of speaking to the screen; Issue #240 July 19, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Breaking the habit of speaking to the screen In the past, I have discussed the habit some presenters have of talking to the screen instead of the audience when using PowerPoint. In two previous newsletters (here and here), I suggest that the problem stems from presenters using the slides as speaker ...
  • You need permission to use YouTube videos; Issue #239 July 5, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: You need permission to use YouTube videos One of the most frequent topics on the PowerPoint newsgroups and forums is how to include YouTube videos in a presentation. People find a cool video on YouTube and think it would be great in their presentation. In this article I’m not ...
  • Using a tablet or e-reader for Speaker Notes; Issue #238 June 21, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Using a tablet or e-reader for Speaker Notes One of the sessions I’ll be presenting at the Presentation Summit conference this September in Austin, TX is on the topic of being more environmentally friendly with our presentations. While PowerPoint presentations are seemingly all digital, they tend to generate a ...
  • Editing old graphs in PowerPoint 2007/10; Issue #237 June 7, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Editing old graphs in PowerPoint 2007/10 One of the major changes between PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2007 is the way that graphs are created. In PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions, graphs were created by using a module called Microsoft Graph. Starting in PowerPoint 2007, you now use Excel to ...
  • Why You Shouldn’t Use Google Images to Find Photos; Issue #236 May 24, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Why You Shouldn’t Use Google Images to Find Photos In my workshops, whenever I speak about using photos in a presentation, someone always asks about Google Images. It is so easy to find pictures using the image search function of Google, why don’t I recommend it? Because in almost ...
  • Prepare for Problems so you Respond, not React; Issue #235 May 10, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Prepare for Problems so you Respond, not React At a conference in February I heard Bo Boshers share a story of two groups who faced the same situation and had very different reactions. One group saw a potential danger and reacted by running away. The other group had been ...
  • Formatting text in a table; Issue #234 April 26, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Formatting text in a table Two issues ago I wrote about how to format text on slides because text will always be a part of our slides. Today I want to take the topic further and discuss the formatting of text in a table. Tables can be a great ...
  • Using Exit animation to reveal a graphic; Issue #233 April 12, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Using Exit animation to reveal a graphic The last step in my five-step KWICK method from my book The Visual Slide Revolution is to Keep the Focus of the audience.  The best way to do this is to build your points or slide elements one by one on the slide.  This ...
  • Text formatting tips; Issue #232 March 29, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Text formatting tips Last Friday I did a web based training session for a consulting organization and one of the issues we discussed was formatting text on slides so that it was easy to understand.  Even though I try to help people use visuals instead of text, I know ...
  • Quickly adding iPhone or iPad videos to your presentation; Issue #231 March 15, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Quickly adding iPhone or iPad videos to your presentation Last week the new iPad2 joined the lineup of popular Apple devices that have video cameras.  The desire to use those videos in our presentation is a hot topic.  One of my consulting clients will be using his iPhone videos ...
  • Equipment to carry when presenting; Issue #230 March 1, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Equipment to carry when presenting I was speaking at the CSAE Trillium Chapter Winter Summit last Friday.  I brought a lot of cables and equipment because I was doing a live demonstration of how you can create a video for your web site using visuals you create in PowerPoint.  ...
  • Why presenters spend way longer working on presentations than they need to; Issue #229 February 16, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Why presenters spend way longer working on presentations than they need to One of the issues I am often asked about during my workshops is the length of time it takes to create a PowerPoint presentation.  Many presenters bemoan the hours and hours it takes.  When I inquire as ...
  • Can you solve presentation problems by switching tools?; Issue #228 February 1, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Can you solve presentation problems by switching tools? Many people acknowledge that far too many presentations are not designed or delivered nearly as well as they could be.  So how can we solve this problem?  The solution, say some, is to change the tools we are using.  Throw out ...
  • Structuring a presentation that sells effectively; Issue #227 January 18, 2011 PowerPoint Tip: Structuring a presentation that sells effectively In my consulting work, I recently worked with three different CEOs on presentations where the primary objective was to sell their ideas or services.  The reason an executive hires me to work with them on a presentation is not because I am a ...
2010 Newsletters
2009 Newsletters
  • Best slide ever; Issue #200 December 15, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Best slide ever While I was at the PowerPoint Live conference in October, I was interviewed by Ron Galloway, who is doing a documentary film on PowerPoint. Here’s how he describes the film: “Regarding Powerpoint” will attempt to put the program’s influence on business, education, and thinking into meaningful ...
  • Sequence of Information matters; Issue #199 December 1, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Sequence of Information matters Research by Michael Posner reported in John Medina’s book Brain Rules shows why the typical sequence of information is not helping our presentations be as effective as they could be. I’ve been sharing this with my workshop audiences this year and I’d like to share ...
  • Issue #198 November 17, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: More results from the Annoying PowerPoint Survey Note: the latest survey results can be found here. I’ve already reported on what audiences find most annoying based on the survey completed by 548 people. The text overload epidemic continues and the number one annoyance again is the presenter reading the slides ...
  • Issue #197 November 3, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Top Ideas from PowerPoint Live I’m back from PowerPoint Live and today’s tip is about the top ideas I learned while at the conference. First off, the conference is changing its name. It is now known as The Presentation Summit, reflecting the evolution of the content beyond just software ...
  • Issue #196 October 20, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Results of the Fourth Annoying PowerPoint Survey The message from my biennial survey of what annoys audiences about bad PowerPoint presentations is that audiences are fed up with the overload of text on slides and how that text causes presenters to read the slides to them. A total of ...
  • Government Photos you can use; Issue #195 October 6, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Government Photos In almost every workshop that I do, someone asks where you can get great photos to use in your presentation. I always mention Microsoft’s online library of images that is accessible through PowerPoint, stock photography sites such as istockphoto.com and pictures you take yourself. Today I’d like ...
  • Issue #194 September 22, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Upgrading from PowerPoint 2003 to 2007 I am planning to buy a new laptop next year after the new Core i7 chipset comes to laptops. One question I am struggling with is whether to load the 2007 or the 2003 version as my primary Office version. I still plan ...
  • Issue #193 September 8, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: What’s new this fall Summer is over for those of us who have kids. Our kids started back to school today and I know many others started back in the last few weeks. As children all over the world start discovering new ideas and embark on new learning adventures ...
  • Creating a customized Excel presentation; Issue #192 August 25, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Creating a customized Excel presentation Recently a presenter called who wanted to know if PowerPoint could accept inputs and do calculations while in Slide Show mode. While this is far beyond the capabilities of PowerPoint, I was able to help with an idea that I want to share with ...
  • Issue #191 August 11, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Confirming your colors have enough contrast Recently I commented on a blog post regarding colors that are used on slides. The writer had made some suggestions on colors to use or avoid based on the color wheel used by graphics professionals. While this is a good first level approach, ...
  • Issue #190 July 28, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Capturing screens and using on slides Last week I was presenting to a conference of educators in Washington, DC and the topic of screen captures came up. Some of the sample slides they sent for my workshop makeovers contained screen shots that could be improved, so today I’ll share ...
  • Three techniques to save time creating or editing PowerPoint slides; Issue #189 July 14, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Time savers when editing slides We all want to be as efficient as possible, so today’s tip shows you three ways I use to save time when creating and editing my workshop and conference PowerPoint slides. They might be new ways to use features that you already know or ...
  • Keyboard shortcuts when editing slides; Issue #188 June 30, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Keyboard shortcuts when editing slides In past issues on the newsletter, I’ve shared some tips on keyboard shortcuts you can use when in Slide Show mode. If you missed some of the past issues or want to remind yourself of those tips, click here. Today I’ll share a few ...
  • Three steps to reformat a presentation with a new slide design; Issue #187 June 16, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Reformatting a presentation Often in my workshops, someone shares how they struggle when trying to merge slides from different presenters into one presentation or when they have to reformat a presentation using a new slide design. What should be easy turns into a nightmare with content moving all over ...
  • Issue #186 June 2, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Equipment to carry when presenting When I travel to deliver customized workshops or speak at conferences, I carry the normal equipment for a presenter: my laptop, presentation remote and projector if required. In today’s tip, I want to share with you a few of the other pieces of equipment ...
  • Getting the audience excited before your presentation; Issue #185, May 19, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Getting the audience excited before your presentation This is the description for the session I will present at the Annual Conference of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) next month in New Orleans: “Too many HR presentations look like the text of a manual was copied onto the ...
  • Handout that is not a slide printout; Issue #184 May 5, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Handout that is not a slide printout Recently I delivered a one hour concurrent session at a conference. Obviously I can’t deliver the same amount of information in one hour that I can in my customized full-day workshops for organizations. When I do a shorter presentation, I also consider ...
  • Being prepared for computer failure; Issue #183 April 21, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Being prepared for computer failure Last month I had an experience that I wish you never have – my computer operating system got corrupted. Of course, this happened a few days before I flew to Los Angeles to do a post-conference workshop at an association conference. I caused the ...
  • Plan the follow-up to your presentation to increase the impact of your message; Issue #182 April 7, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Plan your follow-up Is your presentation done when you stop speaking and the audience has left the room? It shouldn’t be. Research published in the book “Brain Rules” by John Medina shows that people remember the information better if they are re-exposed to it after your presentation. This means ...
  • Issue #181 March 24, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Different uses for the tool PowerPoint is used as a tool to create many different outputs: projected slides, flipbook presentations, reports and even memos. Last week during a session in Los Angeles, I suggested that although there are different outputs from the same tool, there are a number of ...
  • Handling mistakes on slides; Issue #180 March 10, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Handling mistakes on slides Last week I made a mistake on a slide and someone noticed during the session. I had typed the 13th of the month instead of the 10th in a visual. How did they know I was wrong? Because the explanatory text on the slide and ...
  • Issue #179 February 24, 2009 PowerPoint Tip: Using FLV videos in PowerPoint There are two types of video files that do not work well in PowerPoint for Windows: MOV QuickTime files and FLV Flash video files. In a previous newsletter I dealt with how to play QuickTime videos in PowerPoint (if you missed that issue, click ...
  • Issue #178 February 10, 2009 Don’t misinterpret Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint: In a blog post at http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html, Guy Kawasaki says: “Before there is an epidemic of Ménière’s in the venture capital community, I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no ...
  • Using Motion Path Animation; Issue #177 January 27 2009 PowerPoint Tip – Using Motion Paths One of the features of PowerPoint that has the potential to annoy the most is the animation feature, where you can make elements of the slide move. It is annoying when the animation does not add to the message being delivered. Having every bullet fly ...
  • Issue #176 January 13 2008 PowerPoint Tip: What’s in your Deleted Scenes special feature? Recently I was watching a movie on DVD with my family. As with many DVDs today, it included a special feature with Deleted Scenes. As the director usually explains, these scenes were originally shot with the intention of being in the movie, ...
2008 Newsletters
  • Issue #175 December 23 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Where to get inspiration for slides We are about to celebrate Christmas at our house and many of you are celebrating this or other special occasions at your home during the holidays. One of the best loved parts of this time of year for our family is the light ...
  • Issue #174 December 9, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Take time to update your slides In the next few weeks as my travelling starts to slow down and I have more time in the office, I’ll be doing something that I suggest you do as well. I’ll be reviewing and updating the slides that I use in my ...
  • Issue #173 November 25, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Please don’t speak to the screen It happens far too often. It happened again last week – speaking to the screen instead of the audience. We are in the process of attending high school open house nights in order to figure out which high school will be best for ...
  • Issue #172 November 11, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Shortcut keys when presenting In the workshops where I cover the topic of presenting your persuasive visual slides, one of the areas that gets the most interest is the shortcut keys you can use while you are delivering the presentation. In today’s tip I want to alert you to ...
  • Where to get PowerPoint help; Issue #171 October 28, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Where to get PowerPoint help When I am giving workshops, participants will often ask me how to accomplish a specific task in PowerPoint. I’m not a technical expert in all the minute details of PowerPoint, but I can answer most of their questions. For those who haven’t been in ...
  • Issue #170 October 14, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Stop looking at the screen What is so darned interesting on the screen? That’s what I was asking myself at a recent conference as I saw speaker after speaker looking at the screen repeatedly during their presentation. It’s not like anything had changed on the screen – it wasn’t ...
  • Issue #169 September 30, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Using photos when telling stories Last week at the PowerPoint Live conference, more than one speaker emphasized how important it is that we tell stories when we are presenting instead of reading slides full of text or data. I agree with them and this issue I want to talk ...
  • Issue #168 September 16, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Going green when creating presentations Last newsletter we looked at ways to be more environmentally responsible when creating handouts for our presentations. This time we’ll look at some tips when developing our presentations. 1. Plan before you create The more time we spend at the computer, the more electricity ...
  • Issue #167 September 2, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Going green with your presentation handouts In this issue of the newsletter and the next issue, I’ll be sharing some ideas on how we can all be more environmentally responsible when it comes to preparing and delivering our presentations. Today I’ll cover what I consider to be the biggest ...
  • Issue #166 August 19, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: What to look for in a web presentation service Next month I am presenting at PowerPoint Live on how to design and deliver a web based presentation and the differences from a presentation where the audience is in the room. I was looking back at the webinar I did ...
  • Issue #165 August 5, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Using a Venn Diagram One of the types of visuals that I review in my workshops is the Venn diagram. These diagrams were created in 1881 by John Venn as a way to represent relationships in the branch of mathematics known as set theory. The basic Venn diagram used ...
  • Create professional looking diagrams by using techniques that line up things perfectly; Issue #164 July 22, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Align & Distribute for consistency On one of the makeover slides I created for a workshop I am giving tomorrow, I created a Gantt chart to show the implementation timeline for the service that was being sold. When you are creating a timeline by hand, it is important to ...
  • Issue #163 July 8, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Summer Reading List for Presenters With the early July holiday over for those of us in the U.S. and Canada, it is the official start to summer. Many of us will be taking some time off in the next two months and today I want to share with you ...
  • Issue #162 June 24, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Playing Quicktime videos in PowerPoint When you start incorporating video in to your PowerPoint presentations, you will likely hit one of the roadblocks that many presenters find frustrating. It has to do with video file formats. There are many video file formats. Some of the most popular ones you ...
  • Issue #161 June 10, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: When to give handouts Many times you will give a handout with your presentation. It is often a copy of your slides, but it can contain other documents as well. I recently posted an article on my web site that talks about some best practices for creating handouts. The ...
  • Issue #160 May 27, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Distributing your presentation in PDF format More and more presentations or handouts are being distributed in PDF format so that they can be viewed on any system and look the same. I always provide my clients with a PDF handout so that when they print it, I know it ...
  • Issue #159 May 13, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Learn From Great Presentations One of the best ways to get better at presenting is to watch other presenters who are better than yourself. It is a time-tested principle that is true in many endeavors, be it sports, music or business: watch the best and learn from them. Today ...
  • Issue #158 April 29, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Using PDF files during presentations In my latest article that has been posted to the web site, I talk about how we can increase interaction in our sales presentations. I talk about the difference between a lecture style of presentation (one-way communication only) and a more interactive presentation. ...
  • Issue #157 April 15, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Using Hyperlinking Last newsletter I pointed you to an article on designing presentations for delivery via a web conferencing system. Today I follow that up with an article on delivering that presentation via the web facility. The full article is on my web site at https://www.thinkoutsidetheslide.com/articles/deliverwebsalespresentation.htm (if the link ...
  • Designing and Delivering Non-Linear Presentations; Issue #156 April 1, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Designing Non-Linear Presentations Yesterday I posted a new article on the site that gives best practices for designing sales presentations to be delivered over the web. Web delivery of presentations is growing rapidly and these tips will help your next web presentation be a success. At http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/articles/designwebsalespresentation.htm you can ...
  • Issue #155 March 18, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Video Best Practices This past week I posted a new article on the web site about best practices when using video clips in sales presentations. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling an idea to your boss or selling a multi-million dollar package of products and services to a ...
  • Issue #154 March 4, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Photo Best Practices Last week the Presentation Xpert newsletter published one of my new articles on using product photos in sales presentations. If you want to read the full article, you can go to http://editor.ne16.com/htmleditor/viewOnline.asp?FileID=147429 Today I want to expand on a couple of the ideas in the article. ...
  • Issue #153 February 19, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Radio station WIMTT Have you been listening to radio station WIMTT lately? What? You aren’t familiar with that station? Worried that it doesn’t broadcast in your local area? Well it is available in every local radio market in the world and it is the single most important station for ...
  • How to determine if the font on your slides is big enough; Issue #152 February 5, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Is Your Font Big Enough? One of the questions that comes up often in my workshops is “How big of a font should I use?” The answer is … It depends. You certainly don’t want to do what I have seen twice in the past 18 months. These two presentations ...
  • How to make slides that are accessible for those with hearing or sight impairments; Issue #151 January 22, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Making Accessible Slides Last year I worked on a project for my publisher, Prentice Hall, that was interesting and highly informative. The topic was how to make PowerPoint presentations accessible to those who have hearing or sight impairments. It is a requirement on some college campuses and we would ...
  • Issue #150 January 8, 2008 PowerPoint Tip: Identifying Possible Visuals This is a milestone issue for the newsletter as it is the 150th issue. And I’ll take this occasion to announce that my next book is scheduled to be ready mid to late February and will be available in both e-book and printed formats. The topic ...
2007 Newsletters
  • Issue #149 December 11, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Animation Using Reveals Recently I needed to animate parts of a graph. I tried the animation tools in PowerPoint, but they would not allow me to reveal the parts of the graph the way I wanted to. If this happens to you when wanting to reveal parts of a ...
  • Issue #148 November 27, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Smaller imported PDF images Earlier this year I shared a technique for including PDF content on a PowerPoint slide. In issue 135 on May 29 I showed how the capture tool in Acrobat can be used to move content from a PDF file to a slide (see http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/archives.htm for ...
  • Issue #147 November 13, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Wide screen laptops Almost every laptop sold today is a wide screen model. The native display resolution is great and allows you to put applications side by side when working. The problem is that most projectors are not wide screen and are lower resolution. This can cause frustrating display ...
  • Issue #146 October 30, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Text Heavy Slides Annoy Audiences Survey Says In the third Annoying PowerPoint Survey that wrapped up a week ago, the major conclusion is that we are suffering through an epidemic of overloaded text slides – and we are not happy about it. The survey results point to the need ...
  • Issue #145 October 16, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Visual Slide Definition This past week I created a new definition of a visual slide that captures where my position is different from some others. Here is my definition: “A visual slide is not the absence of text; it is the presence of a visual that encourages a conversation ...
  • Starting with a standard set of slides speeds presentation creation; Issue #144 October 2, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Standard Set of Slides One of the ways to spend far less time creating PowerPoint presentations is to create a standard set of slides to draw on when creating your presentations.  Why is this such a good idea?  Let me share why I use this technique to drastically cut ...
  • Issue #143 September 18, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Throw out some slides Like most professionals, you are an expert in your field and you are asked to speak on the same or similar topics frequently. To save the time of recreating all your slides from scratch, you have a file that you usually use and it works ...
  • Issue #142 September 4, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Ideas from 5,000 years ago We can learn valuable lessons from how humans communicated 5,000 years ago. At that time, formal written language was not well established, so how did people communicate? They used pictures and stories. They drew a picture on a cave wall and told the story ...
  • Issue #141 August 21, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Create a custom image As we start to move towards using more visuals in our presentations, we have the desire to create better and better graphics. And this is good, as long as better does not mean more complex. We need to keep them simple and meaningful for the ...
  • Issue #140 August 7, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: The Value of Preparing Early When you travel, it is almost inevitable that you will see someone working on their presentation in the airport waiting area or on the airplane. Inevitably, they will get off the plane, jump into a rental car and drive to a meeting room where ...
  • Issue #139 July 24, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: How Many Features Do You Need To Know? Recently we had a family picture taken on my wife’s side of the family. We assembled at her parent’s house and a photographer we know, Larry, came to take the picture outside. Everything went exceedingly well – the weather was perfect ...
  • Use a map to show geographic relationships; Issue #138 July 10, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Why Not Use a Map? If you have geographic based data to present, it is important to organize it into a logical manner for the audience. Usually this means organizing it left to right in west to east order so that the data on the slide is the ...
  • Issue #137 June 26, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Research on Slide Titles In the newspaper recently I saw a short mention that a study was done recently that showed that a sentence as a title of a PowerPoint slide was found to be more effective. So I did the research and found the paper that this ...
  • Four tips to make it easier when collaborating on the creation of a presentation; Issue #136 June 12, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Collaborating on Presentations In my consulting work, I get a chance to collaborate on developing presentations with people in many different geographic locations. Sometimes it is face-to-face and other times it is done virtually. Collaborating on presentations instead of doing it yourself is becoming more common. Today I ...
  • Capture part of a PDF document for use on your PowerPoint slide; Issue #135 May 29, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Use PDF Capture Tool I’ve worked with two clients recently who produce a lot of material in Adobe’s PDF format for marketing purposes. This is quite common today as more companies switch from printed materials to online versions that can be printed as needed, downloaded from a web ...
  • Issue #134 May 15, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Use Gantt chart for Timelines In a number of presentations that I have worked on for clients they want to show a timeline of events as a background for their comments. It may be developments in the industry, evolution of a competitive landscape or as simple as external ...
  • Issue #133 May 1, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Beyond Templates Many of you will be familiar with the idea of using a template to give your slides a common look. A Master Slide sets the background color, text colors and fonts and any branding on the slide. This way, every slide has a consistent look and ...
  • Issue #132 April 17, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Finish Strong, Not Long You have heard it said many times that the most important parts of your presentation are the start and the end. Presenters spend time thinking about how to introduce their topic and engage the audience. Certainly important to do. But too many times presenters ...
  • Issue #131 April 3, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Color Contrast Calculator One of the most common audience complaints about PowerPoint slides is that the presenter picked colors that don’t have enough contrast. This means that text, lines, shapes or graphs can’t be seen well on the slide and the message is negatively affected. If you don’t ...
  • Issue #130 March 20, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Ideas for More Visuals I have been talking recently to more and more clients about how to get away from text or number filled presentation slides and move towards using visuals to represent the ideas we are sharing. This ranges from sales staff to finance professionals to admin ...
  • Issue #129 March 6, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – What The Audience Really Needs Too many times presenters assume they know what their audience needs. And too many times they are wrong. I remember a presentation I did a couple of years ago where I made this mistake. I had a conversation with the person who had ...
  • Issue #128 February 20, 2007 PowerPoint Tip: Protecting Your Slides from Changes You have spent a long time getting your slides just right – everything is in place, colors work, animation builds to emphasize the key points and visuals speak louder than text. Now you have to send it to a colleague or distribute it to ...
  • Issue #127 February 6, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Taking Pictures for use in PowerPoint Photographs are becoming more and more common in presentations and for good reason. Photos can cut to the emotion of a point far better than text or clip art ever can. And with the popularity of digital cameras, it is now easier ...
  • Issue #126 January 23, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – Using Hyper-links One of the topics I discussed in a presentation on future trends in presentations last month was the use of hyper-links to create non- linear presentations and include other content in our presentations. The ability of PowerPoint to link to content within or outside the current ...
  • Issue #125 January 9, 2007 PowerPoint Tip – How Attitude Affects Your Presentation When you are presenting, certainly your message and key points are important. But perhaps as important is your attitude towards your audience and your material. Attitude is not something that most of us consciously consider on a daily basis – but perhaps we ...
2006 Newsletters
  • Issue #124 December 12, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – The most likely cause of video failure Last week when I was speaking at the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers Convention in Vancouver, one of the trends I talked about was the increasingly common expectation of audiences to see multimedia incorporated into presentations. On the Oprah Winfrey show ...
  • Issue #123 November 28, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Detailed Handouts without Packed Slides One reason presenters pack slides with too much text and information is that they claim that since they will be printing the slides as their handout, they will need the audience to have the detail for future reference. But what happens is that ...
  • Issue #122 November 14, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Downside of Dashboards One of the recent trends in executive presentations is to create what is know as dashboard slides. A dashboard slide is a way for executives to get a quick view on projects, initiatives, financial or other measurements of interest. It is usually designed to have ...
  • Issue #121 October 31, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Scary Slide Mistakes Today is Halloween for many and it brings to mind thoughts of scary things. I want to share with you today some of the scary mistakes I have seen presenters make so that you can avoid these mistakes. Is there text there? – When I ...
  • Issue #120 October 17, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Equipment Failure If you are going to use PowerPoint to present, at some point in time you will have to deal with the equipment failing. You may not have had this happen to you yet, but you will. Even though the equipment is far more reliable than it ...
  • Issue #119 October 3, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Customizing tricks The days of canned presentations are over. Oh, they’ve been over for a while now, just some presenters haven’t realized it yet. So how can you quickly customize your presentation to exactly what the audience needs with little effort each time? Use these two simple tricks. ...
  • Issue #118 September 19, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Equipment Connections In my webinar this week on Setting Up for a Worry Free Presentation, one of the items I will be covering is how to connect the equipment you will need for your presentation. I’ll go into more details on the webinar, but want to outline some ...
  • Issue #117 September 5, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Photo Entrance Loop Summer is over for most as the kids are back in school and we look forward to the last third of the calendar year. I hope many of you were able to take some time off in the last few months to recharge and rest ...
  • Issue #116 August 22, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Graduated Color Backgrounds One of the most popular ideas I shared on my webinar last month about creating your own custom PowerPoint template was to use a graduated background instead of a solid color. I find graphics in the background, such as pictures or logos, too distracting – ...
  • Issue #115 August 8, 2006 PowerPoint Tip: Making Your Point Stand Out with a Photo As I have written many times before, using pictures can illustrate your point much better than words in some cases. Just be sure that when you use a picture, the point is clear. A recent slide reminded me of this. The ...
  • Issue #114 July 25, 2006 PowerPoint Tip: The Challenge with White Backgrounds I am often asked what color background someone should use for their PowerPoint slides. Many organizations use a white background because it prints well. That’s fine if you only print your presentations, but if you will be projecting your presentation, a white background can ...
  • Issue #113 July 11, 2006 PowerPoint Tip: What to look for in a travelling projector I have been asked twice recently about what specifications or features I would consider when purchasing a projector to take with you to present to small to mid sized groups (2-100 people). Since this is likely of interest to more than ...
  • Issue #112 June 27, 2006 25 Time Saving Tips E-book As you know, all of the past newsletter are archived on my web site. But many of you don’t have time to search the over 100 issues for time saving tips. So I did it for you and have produced a 16 page summary of what ...
  • Issue #111 June 13, 2006 PowerPoint Tip: Transitioning between sections Not long ago I talked with a customer who got some feedback after a recent presentation that concerned her. The comment was that it was too jolting when she moved from one section to the next in her presentation. She wanted to find a way to ...
  • Issue #110 May 30, 2006 PowerPoint Tip: Aligning at a decimal Many presentations involve slides containing numbers, whether they are financial figures or measurements of other key indicators. If these figures include decimal places, the clearest way to show the numbers is by aligning them at the decimal point. This way, the audience can easily compare ...
  • Issue #109 May 16, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Using a picture to fill a graph Graphs are one of the most effective ways to show numerical data in a presentation. The visual can bring the data to life and really highlight the important point you are making. In all graphs, you should use emphasis to direct ...
  • Issue #108 May 2, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Breaking down complex diagrams In quite a number of presentations, especially ones involving steps or processes, slides full of text could be replaced with diagrams that visually show a flow or relationship. Some situations are commonly seen as diagrams, for example an organization chart has become the standard ...
  • Issue #107 April 18 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Adding Audio Clips to Your Presentation Last issue we talked about video in your presentation, this issue we will cover audio clips. First, when would you want to use an audio clip over a video clip? Well, sometimes you can’t get a video clip because of the circumstances ...
  • Issue #106 April 4, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Biggest issues with video on slides This past Saturday I attended a conference for parents that was hosted by our school board and was once again reminded of the challenges that many presenters face when trying to incorporate video into their presentation. In one of the sessions I ...
  • Issue #105 March 21, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Web Presentation Delivery Tips Last issue I shared some tips for doing presentations remotely. This time I want to focus on tips for a presentation delivery method that is gaining momentum quickly – the web presentation or sometimes called a webinar. I have held these and now have ...
  • Issue #104 March 7, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Remote Presentation Delivery tips I define a remote presentation as one where you send your slide file to your audience in advance of your presentation and they view and control your slides on their own computer as they listen to you on the telephone. This is different than ...
  • Issue #103 February 21, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Results of Presentation Delivery Survey Last month I conducted a survey on how presenters deliver their PowerPoint presentations. Thank you to the 250 people who participated. I have analyzed the numeric data and written comments and concluded the following. Both the numerical and written data reinforce trends that ...
  • Issue #102 February 7, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Research on Effective Presentations Late last year I was contacted by the membership chair of the Infocomm International Presentations Council because she had seen my work and thought I could contribute to their group. Infocomm International is the world-wide trade association for the A/V industry. Last month I ...
  • Issue #101 January 24, 2006 PowerPoint Tip – Vertical Text Sometimes on a diagram or graph you will need to make text go vertical instead of the default horizontal direction. Let’s look at how you can do that. There would be two scenarios that you might have. First, you want to have simple text go vertical ...
  • Issue #100 January 10, 2006 PPT – Search Templates for great images In two weeks I’ll be doing my web tutorial on Using Digital Photos and one of the topics I’ll be covering is where you can find photos on the web. Microsoft has a large number of photos on their Office Online web site, but ...
2005 Newsletters
  • Issue #99 December 13, 2005 PPT – Saving Slides as Pictures Sometimes we get a PowerPoint slide show from a friend or colleague and it contains a full slide sized photo that we would love to use on one of our slides or as a graphic for another purpose. If we get permission to use it ...
  • Issue #98 November 29, 2005 PPT – Picture File Format Photos are becoming a more important part of our presentations. In order to connect emotionally, photos are so much more effective than plain text. So if you are going to use photos, what file format should you use? There are many formats out there, including TIF ...
  • Issue #97 November 15, 2005 PPT – Inserting Pictures Is there a “correct” way to insert a picture on a PowerPoint(R) slide? Yes, there actually is. First, let me share the incorrect way – unfortunately this is the way that far too many people use. The wrong way to insert a picture on a slide is ...
  • Issue #96 November 1, 2005 1. PPT – Version Issues Many readers have told me that they create their presentations on one computer and present from another – either a colleague’s laptop or a PC connected to the projector in a conference room. When taking your carefully crafted presentation to a different computer, you can have ...
  • Issue #95 October 18, 2005 1. Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results Last week I gave you a preview of the results from the Annoying PowerPoint survey I did last month. I have now analyzed the 415 written comments and prepared a full article of the results. There were many areas covered by the comments, but three areas ...
  • Issue #94 October 4, 2005 1. Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results Preview Thanks to the almost 700 people who completed the survey on what annoys you about bad PowerPoint presentations. The full survey results will be coming in the next issue because I have over 400 written comments to pour through and analyze. But I wanted to ...
  • Issue #93 September 20, 2005 1. PPT – Remote Presentations With business travel declining due to costs and other factors, presentations that would traditionally be held in a conference room have been forced to change as well. More presentations are being delivered remotely, either through a webcasting technology or by teleconferencing with each person having a ...
  • Issue #92 September 6, 2005 1. PPT – Non-linear presentations One of the knocks that PowerPoint has taken is that it forces a presentation to be linear. What this means is that you as a presenter have to follow the slides in the order that they are in the file without deviation. Critics say that this ...
  • Issue #91 August 23, 2005 1. PPT – Animate multiple objects There are times when you want to animate multiple objects on a slide at the same time. For example, sometimes I will have a diagram where I want to emphasize three spots on the diagram using circles that show the important areas. If I animate ...
  • Issue #90 August 9, 2005 1. PPT – Save Remote Batteries When I first got my latest remote presentation device (the Interlink RemotePoint Navigator by the way, and it is still the best in my opinion) I was concerned about battery life. And in the first few months, I had to replace the batteries after what ...
  • Issue #89 July 26, 2005 1. PPT – Power On Sequence With the advances in laptop design, I thought it did not matter any more what order you turned on your presentation equipment. But a recent experience proved me wrong. It used to be that you needed to turn on the projector before your laptop so ...
  • Issue #88 July 12, 2005 1. PPT – Turn Off Wireless For those of you who have a wireless connection built in to your laptop (which is anyone who has purchased a laptop in the last two years probably), beware of a problem I saw recently during a presentation. While the presenter was setting up, he ...
  • Issue #87 June 28, 2005 1. PPT – Feedback Forms If you do presentations that include a feedback form or other paper that you want returned after the presentation, don’t include it as the last page of your handout. In the past, I have had my feedback form copied as part of my handout. The form ...
  • Issue #86 June 14, 2005 1. PPT – Delivery Tips During the delivery of a PowerPoint presentation, there is a lot you can do with the keyboard that will enhance the audience experience. Here are some of the keystrokes that you can use while in Slide Show mode. Ctrl+H – this key combination will prevent the ...
  • Issue #85 May 31, 2005 1. PPT – Save Prep Time If there is one thing that I see more than anything else when reviewing PowerPoint presentations it is the failure to use the proper tools in setting up a master slide to make creating and editing the presentation easier. So many times I see each ...
  • Issue #84 May 17, 2005 1. PPT – Hyperlinking Sometimes in a PowerPoint presentation you will want to run a file from another application. This may be a video or a file from an application like Excel or Word. PowerPoint does allow you to create hyperlinks from text or other objects, but to activate them, you ...
  • Issue #83 May 3, 2005 1. PPT – Template Searching It amazes me how popular it is to search for a pre-made PowerPoint template. In fact, searching for a template or background is second only to searching for the term PowerPoint! There is a whole industry now dedicated to creating and selling PowerPoint templates. This obsession ...
  • Issue #82 April 19, 2005 1. PPT – Control Audio Playing When you insert an audio clip on a PowerPoint slide, it will ask you if you want the clip to play automatically or not. If you click YES, it will start playing the clip when the slide is first displayed. This may be exactly what ...
  • Issue #81 April 5, 2005 1. PPT – Easily Duplicate Object When you are drawing a diagram, do you spend a lot of time reformatting each object? I have found a way to save a bunch of time when creating similar objects. Let’s use a common example. I am drawing a process diagram that has 8 ...
  • Issue #80 March 22, 2005 1. PPT – Recolor Photos One of the tutorials on the Using Images video tutorial is on changing the coloring of a photo. I think that this is a largely unknown feature, so I thought I’d profile it today. It allows you to take any photo that you have inserted on ...
  • Issue #79 March 8, 2005 1. PPT – Excel screen shot If you have to show numeric data from Excel on PowerPoint slides, you will be interested in this tip. Many times we want to use a table of data from Excel on a slide. If you simply select the cells in Excel, copy the selection ...
  • Issue #78 February 22, 2005 1. Selecting hidden objects When drawing a diagram or using images, many times we layer items on top of each other for a number of reasons. You may have two photographs placed on top of each other, one of a young person and one of how they look today. The animation ...
  • Issue #77 February 8, 2005 1. PPT – Media file names I recently ran into a problem on a consulting assignment that I think serves as a good lesson for anyone using audio or video files in PowerPoint presentations. The client had a video clip that had been converted to the Windows Media video format (which ...
  • Issue #76 January 25, 2005 1. PPT – Play Audio over many slides A number of people have asked how they can get an audio segment to play over a number of slides. What they are usually trying to do is have background music play while they go through a series of slides. By default, when ...
  • Issue #75 January 11, 2005 1. PPT – Navigating with the keyboard Since the popularity of Windows grew so many years ago, the reliance on the mouse to navigate and complete tasks in a program has grown. New computer users may not even be aware that before the advent of Windows, everything was done using key ...
2004 Newsletters
  • Issue #74 December 21, 2004 1. PPS Files Got a question from a subscriber recently on what the difference is between a PPT (normal PowerPoint) file and a PPS (PowerPoint Show) file and if the PPS file was secure from any changes. You will likely encounter PPS files if you get a presentation via e- mail ...
  • Issue #73 December 7, 2004 1. Keeping PPT updated Recently, I have had a few questions from subscribers asking if PowerPoint has particular bugs that don’t allow certain graphics, audio, or video to play properly. These questions happen on a regular basis and my advice is always to first see if you have all the latest ...
  • Issue #72 November 23, 2004 1. How Many Slides? What would you think of a 35 minute presentation in which the presenter showed 115 slides? If you are like most people your reaction to that first sentence was something along the lines of “Oh my gosh! That must have been horrible!” Recently, I reviewed a videotape ...
  • Issue #71 November 9, 2004 1. Presentation Coaching By now most of you have figured out that I am an expert on PowerPoint and using it to effectively communicate a message to an audience (that’s why a number of you have asked me to consult or do workshops). But I know enough to know that I ...
  • Issue #70 October 26, 2004 1. Clip Art License In a presentation I was at earlier this year the presenter stated that you cannot use Microsoft’s clip art in your slides or documents if you are charging money for them. This surprised me, so went to the Microsoft clip art site and here is the relevant ...
  • Issue #69 October 12, 2004 1. Drawing Perfect Squares or Circles in PowerPoint In many cases, I want to draw a square or circle in PowerPoint and when I use the rectangle or oval drawing tool, I just can’t get it perfectly square or a perfect circle. I just can’t seem to get it just so. ...
  • Issues #68 September 28, 2004 1. Turning Photos into a PowerPoint show A subscriber recently asked me if there was a way to easily create a PowerPoint show of the digital pictures from his daughter’s wedding. PowerPoint is a great way to share photos from any special occasion. Even funeral homes are starting to see families ...
  • Issue #67 September 14, 2004 1. PowerPoint backgrounds It seems today that there are many companies and web sites selling PowerPoint backgrounds or templates. Many have been created with wonderful graphics or designs, but I find many of them too busy or the colors do not offer enough contrast with common text colors. If you want ...
  • Issue #66 August 31, 2004 1. High-resolution screen shots I have written before about ways to take snapshots of your screen and include them in PowerPoint presentations or documents (see the Aug 27, 2002 issue in the archives – archive link at the bottom of this newsletter). If you are using the screen shot for a ...
  • Issue #65 August 17, 2004 1. Don’t put text at the bottom of your slides When you are designing your PowerPoint slides, leave the bottom 10-15% of the slide blank or for footer graphics or logos. Many room setups have the bottom of the screen so low that anyone past the front row can’t see the ...
  • Issue #64 August 3, 2004 1. PowerPoint keys during Slide Show I had an e-mail and phone chat with a new subscriber recently discussing how to use some keys during the delivery of a PowerPoint presentation. You can get a full list by pressing the F1 key while in slide show mode, but here are a ...
  • Issue #63 July 20, 2004 1. Resizing Graphics in PowerPoint In previous issues of the newsletter I have discussed how you can resize and resample graphics (especially digital photographs) before you insert them on a slide. The advantage of using a graphics utility like IrfanView is that the file you insert on your slide is much ...
  • Issue #62 July 6, 2004 1. Uses for the Slide Sorter view in PowerPoint Most people use the default view in PowerPoint, known as the Slide view or Normal view, which allows you to easily edit your slides. And for most purposes, it is the best view to work in. But if you haven’t done so ...
  • Issue #61 June 22, 2004 1. Text formatting in PowerPoint The default formatting for the body of a slide in PowerPoint is to have bullet points for each idea. While this is usually a good idea, in this tip I want to share some ideas on how you can have a little more control over the ...
  • Issue #60 June 8, 2004 1. Resetting PowerPoint Slide Design I am sure many of you have had (or will have) this experience with PowerPoint. You get handed someone else’s file to “fix up and put into the company template”. You look at it and it is the dog’s breakfast – text boxes not properly positioned, ...
  • Issue #59 May 25, 2004 1. Fix to PowerPoint Custom Shows bug In previous issues of this newsletter you have read how I think that the Custom Shows feature of PowerPoint is one of the most useful features because it saves a lot of time when you present slightly different versions of a presentation. To recap, ...
  • Issue #58 May 11, 2004 1. Aligning objects in PowerPoint When I have more than one text or graphic object on a slide, I always find it hard to line them up perfectly. I just can’t seem to do it by hand, and I am never really sure whether they are perfectly aligned. I was just ...
  • Issue #57 April 27, 2004 1. Spicing up PowerPoint Charts An article I saw recently at PC Magazine talked about how to make Excel charts look more fun by adding graphics (such as a picture of a hamburger) as the fill color for bar charts. This allows you for example to show a stack of burgers ...
  • Issue #56 April 13, 2004 1. Making Smaller PowerPoint files Recently I have been working with a couple of clients to prepare better PowerPoint presentations and in both cases they were including graphics. What happens far too often is that including graphic files, such as digital photographs or scanned art, will increase the PowerPoint file size ...
  • Issue #55 March 30, 2004 1. Restoring PowerPoint Slide Layout Have you ever copied a slide from one PowerPoint presentation to another and then found it doesn’t look like the other slides you created? It is not aligned quite like the others and now you have to manually try to correct it. Last year I had ...
  • Issue #53 March 2, 2004 1. High-Speed Internet at Hotels – part 3 We have looked at the type of service you will get at hotels and how to connect, now let’s see what things we have to keep in mind when using the service. Depending on what service they use, you may or may not ...
  • Issue #52 February 17, 2004 1. High-Speed Internet at Hotels – part 2 Last issue we looked at how to tell what type of service you will get, this time we will look at how to connect when you get to your room. When you get to the room, they will likely have one of two ...
  • Issue #51 February 3, 2004 1. Removing Spyware If you have had your web browsing suddenly slow down or you have noticed that strange things happen when browsing, you may have run into a problem I had last fall – spyware. Spyware is a term referring to programs that are usually installed without us realizing it. ...
  • Issue #50 January 20, 2004 1. Insert Slides in PowerPoint Do you ever wish there was an easy way to combine slides from different PowerPoint presentations into one file? Many of us want to reuse a slide or many slides from one presentation in a new presentation and this tip will show you an easy way ...
  • Issue #49 January 6, 2004 1. Sounds Alike Find in Word I don’t know if this happens to you, but it does to me. I am working in Word and I want to find a name or word in the document but I can’t remember exactly how to spell it (happens to me with names a ...
2003 Newsletters
  • Issue #54 March 16, 2004 1. Split text across slides in PowerPoint One of the biggest problems identified in the “What Annoys People About Bad PowerPoint” survey was too much text on a slide. I suggest you observe the six by six guideline, which states that there should be no more than six words in each ...
  • Issue #48 December 23, 2003 1. Negative Cropping of Graphics I ran into a situation earlier this year where I was working with graphic files (diagrams of equipment) supplied by someone else. Whenever I inserted them into a document, the tops of the titles were cut off just a bit. It looked odd and it appeared ...
  • Issue #47 December 9 2003 1. Access to desktop from TaskBar Many times I will be working on something and need to access an application on my desktop to look something up. Then I have to minimize all my open windows to get to the desktop. I thought there must be an easier way, and it ...
  • Issue #46 November 25, 2003 1. Best Fit for columns If you need to resize a word table column or an Excel column, here is a quick tip on how to set the column width to fit the longest text in the column. Place your mouse on the right column border and the cursor will change ...
  • Issue #45 November 11, 2003 1. Using Images on Slides Last issue we talked about using the IrFanView tool to improve the quality of your images in PowerPoint slides or Word documents. Loyal subscriber Dick Larkin passes on a great tip to add on to what we discussed last week. In addition to getting the best ...
  • Issue #44 October 28, 2003 1. Better looking graphics One of the common complaints about graphics used in presentations or on web sites is the poor quality. Even if you scan in an image at high resolution, it seems that most graphics end up looking awful. It is usually because the size or resolution has not ...
  • Issue #43 October 14, 2003 1. Advice on Upgrading to MS Office 2003 In just over a week or so, Microsoft will officially release the latest version of their Office suite of applications – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook being the most common programs. There will likely be a lot of hype about the new versions ...
  • Issue #42 September 30, 2003 1. Keeping Your Computer Safe – Hoaxes Almost every month (or more frequently) I get an urgent e- mail from someone saying that they are sorry that their computer seems to have a virus and it was probably transmitted to my computer. The e-mail they send tells me to look for ...
  • Issue #41 September 16, 2003 1. Keeping Your Computer Safe – High-Speed Connections Many of you, like I, have a high speed connection to the Internet at home, through a cable provider or through a DSL connection from a phone company. It makes using the Internet so much better to have a high speed connection, but ...
  • Issue #40 September 2, 2003 1. Keeping Your Computer Safe – Spam This time in the ongoing discussion on how to keep your computer safe, I want to talk about dealing with spam. Spam is the term used to describe the unsolicited e-mail that we all receive. Some reports suggest by the end of this year, ...
  • Issue #39 August 19, 2003 1. Problems Opening Attachments in OE If you have problems opening attachments using Outlook Express (OE) v6, my wife and others have had this problem as well and I want to share the solution with you. It has to do with a setting in the software. In OE v6, if you ...
  • Issue #38 August 5, 2003 1. Keeping Your Computer Safe – Backups This is the start of a series of tips I will share over the next few months all aimed at keeping your computer safe from the multitude of things that can happen to it. The first item I want to address is the issue ...
  • Issue #37 July 22, 2003 1. Searching for an E-mail Thanks to all who responded to the survey on your e-mail inbox. As of last night when I wrote this issue, 113 people had responded. When looking at how many e-mails are in your Inbox, 77 people said 100 or less and 17 more said 101 ...
  • Issue #36 July 8, 2003 1. Searching the Web If you get frustrated trying to find a specific e-mail, a file or text in a document, the next few issues of the newsletter will be particularly relevant for you. I will be sharing excerpts from my latest e-book titled “The 20% You REALLY Need to Know ...
  • Issue #35 June 24, 2003 1. Major changes in PowerPoint 2002 animation Many times one wonders what really changes between the different versions of Microsoft’s major applications. When it comes to PowerPoint, there were two major changes that happened when they moved from the 2000 version to the 2002/XP version (called 2002 here). The first is ...
  • Issue #34 June 10, 2003 1. Printing Black & White PowerPoint handouts One of the most common questions I get when doing PowerPoint presentations or workshops is how do you get your handouts to print so nicely in black and white. If you accept the default print options in PowerPoint, a dark background with light text ...
  • Issue #33 May 27, 2003 1. E-mail attachment limits In an effort to cut down on the huge volume of viruses and spam, many Internet Service Providers are putting limits on the attachments you can send or receive. Generally, the restrictions relate to size of the attached file and the type of the attached file. I ...
  • Issue #32 May 13 2003 1. Adding contacts in Outlook One of the things I don’t do as well as I should is add new contacts to my Contacts list in Outlook. One simple way to add a contact when they have sent you an e-mail is to use a right-click technique. When you are viewing ...
  • Issue #31 April 29, 2003 1. Hotel Phone Charges Tip When you are travelling, the cost of dialing in to get your e-mail can add up quickly as hotels now have charges for local calls. At $0.75 to $1.25 per call plus taxes, it is not hard to rack up charges very quickly. One strategy for ...
  • Issue #30 April 15, 2003 1. Followup on Remote Purchase Some subscribers have asked whether I have purchased the new remote control that I mentioned a few issues ago. Indeed I did purchase the RemotePoint Navigator and I am very pleased with it. In fact, I was at a conference just after I got it and ...
  • Issue #29 April 1, 2003 1. Outlook contact tracking If you use Outlook, one of the most powerful, but often overlooked features is the ability to use the Contacts list as a contact tracking database. This feature allows you to add notes about phone calls, meetings, etc. to a contact. Because Outlook also manages your e-mail, ...
  • Issue #28 March 18, 2003 1. PDF File Mistakes Many people are now creating Adobe Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format) format files for all sorts of documents – from proposals, brochures, reports and even invoices. It is easy to create an Acrobat PDF format file and the great benefit is that the file can be viewed ...
  • Issue #27 March 4, 2003 1. Tele/Video conference tips With travel for meetings reducing all around the world, organizations are making increasing use of tele-conference or video-conference meetings. These can be a great substitute for a face-to-face meeting if you follow some simple guidelines. Before the meeting, make sure you know how to use the equipment ...
  • Issue #26 February 18, 2003 1. Remote Interference Problems Last issue I talked about what to look for in a remote control for presenting. This time I want to share some potential problems with using remotes due to interference. With infra-red remotes, the receiver can have problems receiving the signal if there are certain types of ...
  • Issue #25 February 4, 2003 1. Buying a Slide Remote One of the things that sets polished presenters apart is the use of a remote control to advance slides. With the right remote control, it can seem like the slides are changing magically because the audience doesn’t see the remote. I have used one for years ...
  • Issue #24 January 21, 2003 1. Picking Slide Colors In the Oct 8, 2002 issue of this newsletter I gave some information on how to pick colors for your presentation slides. My suggested color scheme is a dark navy or purple background with yellow and white text. This color scheme has a high contrast between the ...
  • Issue #23 January 7, 2003 1. Rate Your Presentation Slides Audit One of the things many people have asked me is: “How do I know if my presentation slides are any good?” We have all seen the bad slides – and some are truly worthy of the Hall of Shame. How do you make sure that yours ...
2002 Newsletters
  • Issue #22 December 17, 2002 1. Best Tips of the Year Here are the tips that I got the most comments on during the year (if the links listed don’t work when you click on them, just paste them into your browser): * PowerPoint shortcut keys Issue 1, Feb 26, 2002 http://www.communicateusingtechnology.com/newsletter/newsletter_feb_26_2002.htm * Controlling line breaks in PowerPoint ...
  • Issue #21 December 3, 2002 1. Using Clip Art & Photos on Presentation Slides After text, the next most common element used on presentation slides are graphics – usually either clip art or photographs. When you use any graphic, make sure that you are using it because it adds to the point you are making, not ...
  • Issue #20 November 19, 2002 1. The Cost of Bad PowerPoint Recently I calculated the cost of the time that is wasted due to bad PowerPoint presentations and I was stunned to find out it was $252 million each day! How do I arrive at this figure? The New Yorker magazine reported a Microsoft estimate of ...
  • Issue #19 November 5, 2002 1. Selecting Fonts for Presentation Slides Your choice of fonts on your presentation slides can make a big difference in how easy it is to understand your message. I suggest you use a serif font (one that has the extra tails on each character, Times Roman is an example) for titles ...
  • Issue #18 October 22, 2002 1. Outlook vs. Outlook Express Many new PC’s come with Microsoft’s Outlook Express as the default e-mail program so many people start using it because it is there and it does the basic e-mail functions. But when you add Microsoft Office, as many do, for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, it asks ...
  • Issue #17 October 8, 2002 1. Advanced Usage of E-mail Signatures Recently while doing some consulting with one of the subscribers of this e-zine, I developed a new strategy for using signatures on e-mail. Usually we have one signature that we use on each e-mail (you are using a signature to build your profile, aren’t you? ...
  • Issue #16 September 24, 2002 1. Finding e-mails Most of you have get more e-mails than I do, and One of the frustration we all have is that when we have a large number of e-mails in a folder, it gets hard to find the one we are looking for. Fortunately, most e-mail programs have an ...
  • Issue #15 September 10, 2002 1. Keeping E-mails organized Have you ever tried to find all the e-mails on a particular project or from a key client. You search through your Inbox and it seems impossible. One way to make it easier to find e-mails on a certain topic is to organize your e-mails in folders. ...
  • Issue #14 August 27, 2002 1. Screen capture Many times when you are trying to demonstrate a computer technique to someone in a presentation or document, it would be helpful to include a picture of the screen. There are specific screen capture pieces of software that will do this. But there is a technique that is ...
  • Issue #13 August 13, 2002 1. Forcing a PC to shut down It is inevitable that at some point in time your PC will just hang – stop working in the middle of what you are doing, no error message, it just freezes. If you have had this happen to you it is frustrating because you ...
  • Issue #12 July 30 2002 1. The Power of Right-Clicking (Part 2) When using PowerPoint, right-clicking gives you access to many options quickly. In Slide development mode, right-clicking on the background allows you to set the slide layout, color scheme and background graphics. If you right-click on a text box, you can set the font, colors ...
  • Issue #11 July 16, 2002 1. The Power of Right-Clicking (Part 1) I am always looking for ways to be more efficient when using software applications, and clicking the right mouse button is one way to do this. In this issue, I will deal with some of the features in Word and Excel, and next issue ...
  • Issue #10 July 2, 2002 1. Keep Software Upgrade files Almost all software upgrade files, patches or service releases are now downloaded from the Internet. I always download the files to a common upgrade download directory on my hard drive so they are always in a common spot. Then, on a regular basis, I copy these ...
  • Issue #9 June 18 2002 1. Moving objects a small amount in a document In order to make drawing objects like lines and boxes line up in Word or PowerPoint, I usually set the Snap to Grid option on so that everything aligns. The only problem is that sometimes I want to move an object just ...
  • Issue #8 June 4, 2002 1. Tips for backing up files to CD’s Having a backup of your key files is an essential part of any business strategy. For many small to medium sized businesses, backing up to a CD has become a great way to take care of this necessary task. There are many programs ...
  • Issue #7 May 21, 2002 1. Paste vs. Paste Special for copying text When we copy and paste text from one place to another or from one application to another we usually just use the shortcut keys of Ctrl-C to copy and Ctrl-V to paste without even thinking much about it. Sometimes you may find it ...
  • Issue #6 May 7, 2002 1. Opening E-mail attachments Sometimes we receive e-mail attachments that we are expecting and we can’t open the document by double- clicking on it in the e-mail (you should always immediately delete any e-mail with an attachment that you did not ask for, it can be a virus). This happens when ...
  • Issue #5 April 23, 2002 1. Controlling Line Breaks in PowerPoint When you are entering text into a text box in PowerPoint, the text moves to the next line based on the right margin of the text box. Sometimes we want to move to the next line before the text reaches the right margin. Pressing the ...
  • Issue #4 April 9, 2002 1. One way to use a PDA to ease tax calculations Many of us have just finished filing our income taxes and one area that can be a real hassle is calculating the business use of our vehicle. The tax department wants to see what percentage of the distance we traveled ...
  • Issue #3 March 26 2002 1. Important Adobe Acrobat Update If you are using Adobe Acrobat 5.0 to create Adobe PDF format files, you may run into a serious incompatibility with Microsoft Office 2000 and XP programs. The original macros that Acrobat installs into Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint cause those programs to crash either when ...
  • Issue #2 March 12, 2002 1. Presenting Using Technology Tip If you are using a data projector, make sure you know how to properly turn it off and pack it away. Many data projectors require a cool down period where the bulb is not on but the fan continues to run. This is usually done by ...
  • Issue #2 March 12, 2002 1. Presenting Using Technology Tip If you are using a data projector, make sure you know how to properly turn it off and pack it away. Many data projectors require a cool down period where the bulb is not on but the fan continues to run. This is usually done by ...
  • Issue #1 February 26, 2002 1. Presenting Using Technology Tip There are many shortcut keys that you can use during a slide show in Microsoft’s PowerPoint program. You can access a full list of them by pressing the F1 key while in Slide Show mode, but here are some of the most useful. B – pressing ...
  • Issue #1 February 26, 2002 1. Presenting Using Technology Tip There are many shortcut keys that you can use during a slide show in Microsoft’s PowerPoint program. You can access a full list of them by pressing the F1 key while in Slide Show mode, but here are some of the most useful. B – pressing ...

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