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Presentation Guild Survey: Conversation with Sandra Johnson

Thursday, May 05, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Sandra JohnsonSandra Johnson has owned her presentation design business since 2001. As a certified Woman-owned Business Enterprise, she works with individuals and corporations across the globe to ensure that they PowerPoint. Responsibly. Sandra first earned the Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Award in 2008 and is currently among around 40 people around the globe with that distinction. Sandra is a founding member and Vice President of The Presentation Guild.

In this conversation, Sandra talks about the ongoing Presentation Guild Survey.

Geetesh: Tell us more about the Presentation Guild, and what do you expect to achieve from this survey?

Sandra: This is just the first in many surveys we hope to conduct with potential Guild members. We are in the early stages of forming a trade association whose mission is to promote the presentation design and production industry as a profession, recognize the skills and expertise of presentation creation specialists, and provide opportunities for members to expand their knowledge and abilities. To that end, it is important to us that we learn more about what presentation professionals face when it comes to presentations so we can create an organization that meets their needs.

So, whether respondents work in an administrative role, create presentations for presenting at work, design presentations for others for a living, work backstage in an AV environment, or rely on others to create presentations for them to deliver, we’re asking presentationists to take 5 minutes to tell us a little about that role.

Presentation Guild Survey

Geetesh: How will you use the responses in the survey to make the Presentation Guild more representative and relevant to its members?

Sandra: We will listen to every suggestion to make the Presentation Guild relevant to today's presentationists. From presentation designers to the profession's leading practitioners, we hope to draw members from all backgrounds, all fields, and all levels of experience—from all around the world. That's why the results of this survey are so important – it will allow presentationists everywhere to influence an organization built just for them.

Disclosure: Geetesh Bajaj of Indezine is a founding member of The Presentation Guild.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Most presentations contain pictures. A picture in PowerPoint can be used in many ways -- as a picture you insert, as a picture you place within a shape, or even as something that covers the entire slide as a background. In this tutorial, we will look at the last option -- that lets you use a picture as a slide background. Before you begin, you need to put in plenty of thought into whether the picture you are using will work as a slide background or not? So how do you determine if a picture will work as a background or not?



Learn how to use Pictures as fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2016.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Richard MichaelsRichard Michaels is an expert at applying critical thinking to address large-scale business challenges and has been responsible for the implementation of training initiatives for organizations including Bristol-Myers Squibb, IBM, Novartis, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Schering-Plough, Sanofi-Aventis, FDA, U.S. Army Training Command, and the Singapore Institute of Management. In addition to expertise in instructional design, writing and education, Richard is also an expert software developer and a Microsoft Office for the Mac MVP.

In this conversation, Richard discusses Zapps Pro, his add-in for Microsoft Word that also integrates with PowerPoint.

Geetesh: Richard, tell us more about your Zapps Pro add-in for Microsoft Word, and also how PowerPoint users can benefit from this add-in?

Richard: Zapps Pro is targeted to Word users who want to build media-rich documents, and to writers and copy editors who work with manuscripts that need editing and some level of media manipulation within the confines of Word. Earlier this year a client who specializes in teaching people how to run and build materials for webinars asked about a better way to script PowerPoint notes from Word. He also wanted to script separate notes for the Presenter and the Producer. After brainstorming with him I came up with Script PPT, a new function and added it to our Zapps Pro product.

Zapps Pro

For people who are more PowerPoint-centric, we have our George product. George started out just as a product for producing Handouts and Presenter Notes, but has evolved into a more robust product that includes other features such as the ability to add batches of images, control their insertion method (linked, embedded, or linked and embedded), an accessibility feature for making sure all images and shapes on the PowerPoint slides contain Alternative Text so that screen readers can accessing them for the visually impaired users, and finally, we totally revised the handout creation routine so that users can pick their handouts orientation and then choose from 18 different layouts to put their handout into.

The really cool thing though is they can mix the layout among the slides… they are not locked into only one layout. As part of this effort, we also built in the ability to look at the slide deck and determine if Zapps Pro was used to create the notes. If it was then we can use the data Zapps Pro added and decide if the notes are targeted to the Presenter or the Participant and build the handout or speaker notes document using the correct set of notes.

Zapps Pro and George are two separate programs, targeted to audiences with different interests for application use. The products do however complement each other and for some users, having both products is essential.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Patterns in PowerPoint are two-color designs comprising lines, dots, dashes, checks, etc. PowerPoint includes 48 such patterns with names like Plaid, Weaves, Shingle, and Zigzag. This tutorial builds upon what you have already learned in the Format Slide Background tutorial and shows how you can use a Pattern fill for your slide background.



Learn how to apply Pattern fills as Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2016.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 10:30 AM IST



We start with an exclusive interview with Mark Schwartz of Articulate, and he talks about the amazing Articulate Studio '13 product that lets you use PowerPoint as a platform to create e-Learning content. Renowned author and presenter Jim Endicott then speaks about Standing Out in a Sea of Voices, his ebook that's being given away gratis. Microsoft Office MVP, Heather Ackmann has also authored a new ebook called Conversational Office 2016. Find out more about her book, and get a free copy. Heather explains everything in this exclusive interview. Has another attendee monopolised your time at an event? How do you move on? Fred Miller shares his amazing tips in this guest column. Do you also use Photoshop or do some image editing? Then you will want to read our review on AKVIS ArtWork 9.

PowerPoint 2016 for Windows users can learn more about resizing text boxes accurately. You will also learn about repositioning objects on a slide, and about Slide Background Styles, Formatting Slide Backgrounds, and Solid Fills. Finally, do not miss the new templates of this week!



Read Indezine's PowerPoint and Presenting News.

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posted by Geetesh on 9:15 AM IST



Whenever you insert a new shape into a PowerPoint slide, you can see that it is filled with a solid color and has an outline by default (this may differ depending on the Theme applied to your presentation). You can remove the fill of the shape as well as the outline. In this tutorial, we'll learn how to remove an outline from a shape so that it only includes a fill without any outline. Whatever you do, make sure that you either remove the fill or the outline because if you remove both, then your shape will no longer be visible.



Learn how you can eliminate an outline from a shape in PowerPoint 2016.

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Monday, May 02, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

Keep Your Audience Awake
Picture Courtesy: Pixabay
"I want to engage my audience," is what over half of the presenters I coach tell me. Here's what I tell them. First, many people in your audience are tired—probably at least a third of them just don't get enough sleep. They're sitting there hoping they won't embarrass themselves by nodding off. Part of your job is to help them stay awake, to actually pay attention and consider what you are saying. Next time you practice a presentation, note how many of the following strategies you actually use. Then add a couple more. You don’t want your audience to look like this.

  1. Start by telling your audience what they will take away from your talk. What are three things worth paying attention to and remembering? One of my talks starts with: "When you leave after the two-hour workshop, you will know how to (1) organize a talk and save hours of time; (2) use my professionally designed slides to categorize information on your slides and keep your audience engaged; and (3) feel more confident and excited about giving a presentation.
  2. Speak less than the time allotted. When you begin, say, "I know I have 30 minutes. I will only talk for 15, and then let's discuss what I've said." Your audience will think to themselves, "OK, I can listen for 15 minutes." Plus, they will be happy not to have to listen as long as they expected.
  3. Use silence effectively. When you are playing catch and you throw the ball to someone, you find yourself waiting—will the other player catch it, and how? You don’t throw ball after ball without looking to see if the person caught one of them. When you make a statement, it's like playing ball—you have to wait in silence to see how people receive it. Don't keep throwing more and more words without giving your audience the chance to catch each sentence.
  4. Pause periodically. Silence not only gives your audience a chance to digest your information—it also gives them permission to participate. When you pause, you non-verbally tell your audience that they can interrupt you. Your pause makes people feel comfortable—that you are encouraging them to jump in and speak. If you talk nonstop, you will never engage your audience.
  5. Emphasize key words. If you speak in the same voice tone throughout the entire presentation, no one knows what is really important. Make it obvious to your audience what they really need to pay attention to.
  6. Use numbers, and emphasize them. A person can pay attention better when you say, "There are three strategies to solve this situation. Number 1 is… Number 2 is… Number 3 is…" Every time you say a number, it re-engages your audience's attention and helps their brains to listen.
  7. Remind your audience of the benefits of what you just told them. I frequently say something like, "By using these professionally designed slides you will feel more confident when speaking, and you'll be able to make eye contact with your audience because you won't be reading the slides."
  8. Add some emotion or humor to your talk. People can only sit and listen to someone spouting facts at them for so long. You have to engage the "child" part of your audience by using emotional words. "I'm excited today to be here to tell you some good news." Or "The TEAM did some hard grueling work and came up with this amazing new way to visualize the product."
  9. Tell a story that interests your audience. We all love stories—especially ones that have some emotion connected to them. Tell a story within 5 to 8 minutes of starting your talk.
  10. Say these words: "You, Your". When starting say, "I am delighted to see all of you here." Later on say, "As you know, we have this situation. First, you will hear some ideas and then please give your opinions about how we can change this situation."
  11. Do something unexpected. One of my clients stopped talking in the middle of his presentation, blanked out the screen and said, "OK, you've heard enough of the possibilities of using this new program, let's discuss your views so far." The energy changed in the room. People started talking and came to some understandings before he went on. Another presenter passed out several products and asked people to talk about them.
  12. Give people "brain food". Literally, give them food, and I don't mean donuts. Here are some ideas: almonds, walnuts, cashews, small cups of bananas and blueberries, dark chocolate, small turkey sandwiches, yogurt (without the sugar), green tea. These foods will help them concentrate, which means they will be more engaged with you.
One last word: If you yourself aren't engaged, then you might as well forget it. Find some way to motivate yourself to be excited about your talk—you can't expect your audience to carry you or motivate you. You are the one in front of the group, so it's up to you to bring the interest and curiosity into the room. You don't have to be an over-the-top enthused presenter. By using these strategies, you can exude quiet engagement.

Which ones will you start with?

PS: You may think you do these things already, but until you record yourself and watch, or ask someone else to critique you, you may just be fooling yourself.

Claudyne WilderClaudyne Wilder coaches executives, managers, and salespeople on how to deliver presentations that get to the message. Her clients give compelling, passionate presentations. Her company has an ongoing contract to give her Get to the Message: Present with a Purpose workshop at a Fortune 100 Global Pharmaceutical Company. Claudyne brings a unique and invigorating perspective to her work from her years of studying the Argentine Tango.

Do visit Claudyne's site at Wilder Presentations to sign up for her blog, her tweets or to download some free presenting tools.

Try for free TorchMetrics, your customized speaking coach. TorchMetrics is an innovative online presentation coaching feedback system. Now you can find out what your audience is thinking.

See Also: Claudyne Wilder on Indezine

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