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PowerPoint and Presenting Blog: October 2009

Thoughts and impressions of whatever is happening in the world of PowerPoint

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Reframe For Mac: The Indezine Review

Friday, October 30, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 12:16 PM IST



Let us imagine that you have some video that you want to show within a PowerPoint presentation -- and the format is not something PowerPoint can accept. Looking at another example, what do you do if you want to create some video for display on a web site or mobile applications. I won't go into technical terms like frame rates or aspect ratios that video geeks use all the time -- but I do agree that there's still the need to convert videos between formats and other definitions all the time. Luckily, Reframe from Miraizon is one application that keeps things simple for me.

Read the review here...

Categories: movies, sounds

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 4:26 PM IST



Let me imagine that you started your e Learning project with a PowerPoint presentation -- and then you imported that presentation into Adobe Captivate. Worth noting here that Captivate 4 includes this great PowerPoint roundtrip workflow that I discussed in an earlier blog post.

OK -- now that you have imported your PowerPoint presentation into Captivate, it's time to get working. First of all, let me tell you that at least two of the three views in Captivate look and work exactly like PowerPoint's own views although they are called different names.

  • Captivate's Storyboard view is similar to PowerPoint's Slide Sorter view
  • Captivate's Edit view is roughly the same as PowerPoint's Normal view, and I'll cover this in a future post.
  • Captivate does have a third view called Branching that I'll discuss some other time -- and of course PowerPoint also has another view called Slide Show that well, just plays all the slides full-screen.
Now about the Storyboard view in Captivate 4 -- you can see it in Figure 1 below.

Adobe Captivate's Storyboard View
Figure 1: Captivate's Storyboard View

In this view, you can drag and reorder slides just like you can within PowerPoint -- you can also right-click any of the slides to be presented with a menu that provides some familiar options (see Figure 2) such as Hide Slide, Cut, Copy, Paste, etc. In addition, there are some options here that PowerPoint does not provide (and I wish it did!) -- this includes the Lock Slides and Properties options.

Slide Right-Click Options
Figure 2: Slide Right-Click Options

Now let me choose the Properties option in the right-click menu. This brings up this cool Properties dialog box that seems to include everything except the kitchen sink! Look at Figure 3, and you'll see that there's an awful lot you can do with your slides in Captivate.

Slide Properties in Adobe Captivate
Figure 3: Slide Properties in Adobe Captivate

Here are some of the options available to you within the Properties dialog box:

  • Label: You can change the name of your slide.
  • Display Time: Set the slide display time.
  • Transition: Not half as many transitions as within PowerPoint -- but the simple ones are covered.
  • Quality: Set the image quality -- important here since Captivate outputs to Flash and you'll want to create files that have a smaller output size.
  • Hide Slide and Lock Slide: Mean just what they say!
I haven't covered all the options in the Properties dialog box -- but as you can see, these are quite extensive and powerful.

You can get a free trial copy of Adobe Captivate here...

Categories: captivate, powerpoint

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posted by Geetesh on 10:22 AM IST



Peggy DuncanPeggy Duncan is an international conference presenter, personal productivity expert, consultant, and author. She’s also the founder of The Digital Breakthroughs Institute, an Atlanta, Georgia (USA) training center whose mission is to improve technology and productivity skills of small business owners and professionals. Media appearances include CNN, Today, O-The Oprah Magazine, Smart Money, Fortune Small Business, Black Enterprise, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many more. Links to free articles and her award-winning technology blog are at www.PeggyDuncan.com.

In this discussion, Peggy discusses her Shameless Self Promotion concept, and how it has a PowerPoint angle.

Geetesh: Tell us more about what you mean by Shameless Self Promotion, and how it helps?

Peggy: At first glance, you might think I mean boasting to everyone who will listen about how wonderful you think you are. But I'm referring to promoting what you know, and doing it online, to boost your search engine rankings.

This whole notion started when I continued to get emails and calls from journalists wanting to interview me and public relations agencies wanting to hire me for their clients as a product spokesperson. They all mentioned finding me in Internet searches for my expertise (personal productivity expert, time management expert, email overload expert). Hmmm. I hadn’t realized that I was on the first page of major search engines.

When I started to investigate to see what was showing up, I realized that my how-to tips were getting indexed. I started writing and publishing more, using good keywords that people would actually type into the search engine.

I had no idea of what search engine optimization or SEO was, but I knew that whatever I was doing was working. I’m now sharing my do-it-yourself tactics in seminars, Webinars, and an ebook. I totally enjoy discussing how all this happened, and audiences love it that I offer ways to improve their SEO without spending one, red cent.

Geetesh: I remember you recommending the upload of PowerPoint presentations to sites such as SlideShare as a way to increase popularity on search engines -- can you tell us more about this concept?

Peggy: Popular Websites such as Slideshare.net show up well in search engines because of the number of incoming and outgoing links. When you post your content there, it gets indexed quickly by search engines because they like fresh, topical content. I recommend that people take articles they’re giving away and turn them into PowerPoint slides, tagging them with appropriate keywords. Before you know it, you’ll start to get rankings for that topic.

Plus, when visitors view your slideshow, they’ll see a link to your Website or blog for more information.

There are many do-it-yourself ways to boost your search engine rankings. For the same reasons as mentioned above, you should also have a blog, online press releases, and full and active social media profiles. (It’s not important anymore to publish your content to the thousands of article sites you’ve probably heard of.)

Categories: interviews, powerpoint, slideshare

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 1:11 PM IST



Rick Altman is a presentation consultant based out of Pleasanton, CA. Rick is well known as the host of the annual PowerPoint Live User Conference and has a strong sense of the needs of the presentation community. In this conversation, Rick discussed the recently-completed conference that was held in Atlanta, October 2009 and the big news he made for 2010.

Geetesh: Seven conferences in four cities -- how has the journey been, and tell us more about the just concluded PowerPoint Live conference in Atlanta.

Rick: The journey has been almost magical. I have been organizing user conferences similar to this one for 20 years, and I have never met a community of professionals so willing to meet, interact, and connect in such meaningful ways.

The 2009 conference was comprised of over 2/3 first-timers, but by the middle of Day Two, you would think you were attending a 20-year reunion. It was as if they had known each other for years. I'm proud to be the one who has created this opportunity, but I take credit for none of the magic that we saw in Atlanta. The patrons get all of the props for creating an extraordinary atmosphere and environment in which to learn, share, and bond.

Geetesh: The next year's conference moves back to San Diego with a new name -- what does this change of name mean for the attendees?

Rick: Our debut of the Presentation Summit in 2010 does not signal our intention to change our content; it reflects a metamorphosis that has already taken place. I think back to our first year in 2003 -- we were just all about PowerPoint. But since then, our offerings have been much more broad, and becoming moreso each year. Now our seminars focus on crafting strong messages, telling impactful stories that resonate with emotion, designing presentation content that focuses on the audience's needs, and designing slides that invite the audience in and help the presenter engage. We still have a track on software technique, and of course, there is the Help Center, which is the ultimate haven for PowerPoint junkies.

We recognize that 99% of our patrons use PowerPoint and that is likely to be the case for years to come. But that is not all they use and that is not all they need to know. Our rebranding is an acknowledgment of the growth that we have experienced over the past six years, not an indication that we are about to move in some radical direction. We're not -- it's not broken, and we don't need to overhaul it.

Geetesh: Any photos available from this year.

Rick: Hundreds. I think the best ones are part of our memories video that we played the morning of the final day: www.pptlive.com/video.htm.

Categories: interviews, powerpointlive

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Thursday, October 22, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 1:28 PM IST



As you can make out from the title of this post, this is just one possible formula to creating a successful presentation. There are literally tons of other formulas, and to be honest not all formulas work for one presenter. Situations change, the audiences may be different, or perhaps the concept of your presentation may require another approach. Having said that, let me share one of my successful presentation formulas with you:

  1. Start with a simple idea -- Your idea should be so simple that the audience should either wonder if this idea will ever work, or be amazed that this is such an amazing, yet simple concept -- and why they never thought about it before! Either way, you haven't promised them the sky, the moon, and the stars and have managed to hold their attenton. That is good!

  2. Be sincere and relate to the audience -- don't approach the audience as if they were a herd of goats. Establish eye contact with each person, and certainly ask each of them to introduce themselves if you are addressing a small group, and do have that sort of time. Tell something about yourself, and don't boast too much -- be humble and show willingness to understand the audience's problems. Also tell them that you will do your best to help them -- don't promise anything at this point of time!

  3. Explore problems with solutions -- as I explained earlier, make no big promises and then explore some huge or small problems that this audience has -- as long as you have solutions for them. Don't give them solution at this point of time -- that happens after a while. Some suspense is always good.

  4. Give a little more about yourself -- this is important so that the audience can associate you with credibility. Again, associate your credibility with the desire to help people rather than placing yourself on an ivory tower!

  5. Involve the audience further -- now that they trust you more, it's time for them to speak about their problems. Be a good listener!

  6. Surprise them with a quick and easy solution -- this is a very important part of this presentation formula -- and if you don't have a solution, it's best not to use this formula at all!

  7. Talk about success stories -- especially ones that use the solution you just explained. You need to be convincing, yet not appear to be desperate. The audience's benefit is paramount at this point of time.

  8. Provide a call to action -- this needs to be spelled out well, even if you think the audience already knows it! There may be some questions from the audience -- that's good, and go for it!

  9. End with some contact info -- how the audience can get in touch with you. If you charge for more involvement, make that clear at this point of time. Alternatively recommend some books and web resources, including any of your own. This assure that your session is a new beginning, not an end!
Categories: delivery, powerpoint

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 9:06 AM IST



It's always good to associate a face and a voice with an e-mail address! So it was great meeting Nachiket Khare of Harbinger Systems in Atlanta last week during the fabulous PowerPoint Live conference. Nachiket is involved with Harbinger's PowerPoint add-in products such as YawnBuster and Raptivity Presenter, and I have been in touch with him for a while now. I'll probably want to do a small conversation with Nachiket in a future blog post, but there's some great news that I can share with you right away!

Harbinger has tied up with Indezine to give away five completely free copies of their Raptivity Presenter product. Yes, there's nothing here to read between the lines, all you need to do is fill up this form and tell us what you think about Indezine, Raptivity Presenter, or even PowerPoint! And before you know, you might have won yourself a full copy of Raptivity Presenter. Do this quick, we have these five copies that we want to give away soon, and someone else might snap them up if you are not real quick!

I would also like to thank Amitabh Ramani of Harbinger for facilitating this giveaway.

Categories: giveaway, powerpoint, raptivity_presenter

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 4:09 PM IST



Nate Anderson is Senior Product Manager at balesio AG, a leading provider of file optimization and compression solutions. He is a software industry veteran and was part of the core development team of the company’s new FILEminimizer Pictures software.

In this discussion, Nate discusses the new FILEminimizer Pictures 2.0 product.

Geetesh: Tell us more about FILEminimizer Pictures 2.0, and how everyday computer users can benefit from the program.

Nate: FILEminimizer Pictures is one of the small utilities that makes your everyday computer life a lot easier. The software is able to compress your images, photos and pictures by up to 98 percent making them a lot smaller and ideal for the Internet. Whether you want to send some pictures to your friends or upload your latest photos on facebook, there have always been problems. You can send only one or two pictures via email because email size limitation and if you want to upload your photos to facebook, it takes hours until they are uploaded and processed. FILEminimizer Pictures is great because it saves you a lot of time and frustration. You can batch optimize your photos and images and share them easier via Email and Internet. While there are some freeware tools out there which resize your images and decrease image quality and size, what makes our tool stand out and special is our lossless compression which is greatly appreciated by our users.

Geetesh: What is lossless compression, and why is it an important feature in FILEminimizer Pictures 2.0?

Nate: FILEminimizer Pictures features a unique image optimization technique which works on the single image and optimizes this image based on the image characteristics. We achieve file size reductions of over 80 percent without resizing the image or affecting the quality. Lossless compression means that you have still the same beautiful image after the optimization, in the same size, with the same quality. It is just a lot smaller! I cannot tell you more technical secrets about our lossless compression technique but I want to encourage at this point all users to try it out for their own.

Categories: interviews, photos

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Monday, October 05, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 9:53 AM IST



Joe GustafsonJoe Gustafson, CEO of Brainshark, Inc., founded the company in 1999 to help knowledge experts accelerate the flow of information to their audiences in a highly effective format. He is an experienced leader in the technology-based training industry, and prior to Brainshark, was the founder and CEO of Relational Courseware, Inc. (acquired by Gartner). Under Joe's leadership, Brainshark has become a leader in on-demand business communications and a successful Software-as-a-Service company, with more than 1,000 world-class customers, including a third of the Fortune 100. In this interview, Joe talks about the new myBrainshark site.

Read the interview here...

Categories: brainshark, interviews, online_presentations, powerpoint

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Thursday, October 01, 2009
posted by Geetesh on 1:25 PM IST



As you work with SmartArt within PowerPoint, you'll find that you need to add some more components to your SmartArt graphics -- maybe there's a change required in an organization chart, or you need to add a new shape within your diagram to reflect some other change. Fortunately, SmartArt lets you maintain the changes happening in the world around with just a click or two! This is normally achieved by adding extra shapes to your existing SmartArt graphics.

Learn more here...

Categories: powerpoint_2007, smartart, tutorials

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