Nancy Duarte’s company has just launched www.Diagrammer.com, a source for buying individual PowerPoint slide designs. Kind of like istockphoto but for visual designs. The site offers five types of designs: flow, join, network, segment, and stack, with dozens of variations for each. The designs sell for 99c each. Check it out!
It’s been a few months since I handed over the gavel of the National Speakers Association. Oddly enough, most people expected me to go through PPD – post-presidential depression – a second cousin to post-partum depression. I keep waiting for the funk to set in, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I’m just so excited about reconnecting with clients and re-engaging into the business!
Upon reflection, I thought I would share a few of my “insights” while serving as NSA President for the past year.
- Never check email after dinner or 7pm, whichever comes first. Even the slightest nuance, idea, or member concern will rattle around in your head throughout the night.
- It’s the People. I am often asked, “What’s the best part of being president? Hands down, it’s the people I have met. Learning from and leaning on people who have been there before you, who are going through the same trials and tribulations, and helping those who are traveling the road you just traveled.
- Experience Matters. I was chatting with a speaker who said his area of expertise was on leadership. I innocently asked, “So what have you led?” and he told me it was none of my business. I then discovered he had never managed nor led any organization! Nothing beats experience when talking about your area of expertise. Some call it practice what you preach. I call it “eat your own dog food.” If you talk about it, you should not only practice those same principles on and off the platform, but it should be so ingrained in your MO, your DNA, or tattooed on your rear end like one of my clients who manages assets. You think I’m kidding, she actually got a tattoo on her ass…ets! And I went and got myself a heap of experience at NSA when it comes to strategic planning, facilitating our board meetings and building a team!
- We are living in the Era of Engagement. People want to contribute – to provide input, to comment on what’s happening in their world. As professional speakers, the more we can ask for the audience’s contributions and comments up front, the better we can create an event that really connects with our audiences – and that they will want to keep the conversation flowing long after the presentation through blogs, listservs and discussion groups. Social networking is all about starting and keeping communities connected and the conversation flowing. We haven’t even begun to tap into the possibilities to connect with our clients, prospects, and with the entire world.
- Keep It Small, Focused and F2F. So here’s the curious thing. When 9/11 hit in 2001 and then when the global economy crashed and burned in 2008, the prognosis for the meetings industry was well, not so great. Theoretically, all of the meetings were going to shift to the virtual world. But that has NOT the case. What has happened is a global trend toward fewer meetings, smaller meetings and with the content more tightly focused. The value on these face-to-face meetings has become much higher as people are investing their time specifically in order to meet face to face. Meetings are also becoming smaller in number of attendees physically present, with an extended reach beyond the four walls of the meeting. These hybrid meetings include streaming video and content discussions running at the same time as the actual event so people outside the room can participate in real time.
- The world is indeed flat. We are living in a global economy. NSA-US is the world’s largest and oldest association dedicated to the art and business of professional speaking. It was a pleasure to travel around the nation and the world representing the NSA-US – and seeing just how much we have in common..
- Leadership is not about immediate gratification. Especially with a volunteer association steeped in tradition, suffice it to say that you won’t see immediate results. It is the long term progress to our strategic plan that keeps us focused and motivated, providing even greater value to our members.
I am thrilled with the progress NSA continues to make on behalf of our members, and I will hold dear the memories, experiences, and relationships with my speaker buddies. And, I am equally excited to get back to “work”!
I thank you for the tremendous opportunity to serve you and represent you throughout the United States as and world. See you in Anaheim soon!
Many presenters cram their slides with detailed information – not so much for the presentation, but for the “what if” factor. “What if” the audience wants more information? “What if” a detailed question comes up? “What if” they need to access that information later?
For some bizarre reason, this detailed information worms its way into your slide presentation, becoming a “slideument” – a combination of slides with supporting documentation. (Note: Big thanks to Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame for coining this new word).
While it is easy enough to print the “handout” option on PowerPoint, I don’t recommend you print the slides out verbatim as your handout or takeaway. Keep the two objectives distinctly separate:
-Your handout or takeaway should contain all the detailed information enquiring minds want to know.
-Your slideshow, on the other hand, is the visual representation for your presentation.
They can come from the same file, but you will “hide” different pages depending on whether you are printing your handout or displaying your presentation.
Using a series of hyperlinks, he recommends putting all your intellectual property into a series of powerpoint slideshows, and then allowing specific navigation strategies to let you go where you need to go. Why is this important?
- Get a question from the audience, you can quickly locate the slide or slideshow that will support the answer to your question.
- Allows the audience to drive the program by seeing the “menu” of options (I talk about the use of a “splash page” in my book, Boring to Bravo, but Robert’s ideas is a splash page on steroids!).
- Enables you to give a presentation “on the fly” (not that we recommend you do this, but it does happen, from time to time!)
Most of all, it turns your slideshow from a linear train you can’t derail into a nimble story that can go anywhere!
I suggest you check out Robert’s free video series to see what I am talking about and let me know what you think!
Have a great weekend!
Met with one the exhibiters, Nancy Terrell at Cartoon Resource and thought I would pass along her list of do’s and don’ts when using cartoons:
Cartoons and humorous illustrations can be a great asset for speakers and authors. Below are some do’s to think about when commissioning cartoons:
- Do expect the cartoon company to take the time to understand your platform and objectives;
- Do expect the cartoon to explain content, thus allowing you to have less text on the page;
- Do consider color, not just black & white. Color grabs attention bringing more “zip” and “wow” to the discussion – it’s more contemporary;
- Do expect the cartoon company to do the search for you at no additional charge.
When it comes to using cartoons in your work:
- Do trust the cartoon to help you change the informational rhythm of your talk;
- Do make sure you have enough white space around the image to make it pop off the page;
- Do keep your text to a minimum on the cartoon page. Let the cartoon make the point for you;
- Do get a cartoon file big enough to use in both Powerpoint and printed materials; a 300 dpi file;
- Do make sure that the cartoon you are buying has the right to use it in all of your materials-such as presentation, handouts, books, website;
- Don’t assume your purchase of cartoon rights extends beyond one-time use;
- Don’t click through the cartoon page too fast. Let your audience fully absorb the tie-in between cartoon and salient point;
- Don’t be afraid to use color. It catches the audiences’ attention faster.
The primary ‘do’ is to expect rapid and on-target cartoons and reasonable pricing when you work with a cartoon/humorous illustration company. Expect the cartoons to be clever AND on-target.
Choose cartoons that could have been created by you if you could draw or if the cartoonist really knew your topic and your presentation inside out. The right cartoon is an underline for your presentation points. It hits the bullseye. You can see your message going in through the eyes of the audience as well as the ears. And if it’s really clever, you can take a few seconds to have a sip of water before the laughter subsides.
As we close the “Just Say No to Powerpoint Week”, did you succumb to the siren call of Powerpoint? And… if you just had to grab the remote, did you tell the story around the Powerpoint flashing on the screen? It’s all about the story – whether you are sharing a daring-do or a dry data dump. People can read your PowerPoint. What they can’t read is your story – your interpretation of the facts, events and images.
The Heath Brothers hit the proverbial nail on the head in this month’s issue of Fast Company . They said, “if you want change, close out of PowerPoint and start looking for the right feeling.” That’s right. They said “feeling.” In the article, the Brothers describe the story about Curt Lansbery, CEO of North American Tool who kept harping about how his employees should max out their 401(k) investments. Then, one year at the annual enrollment meeting, he brought in a zipped bag, unzipped it, and upended it over a table. Cash came pouring out of the bag – $9,832 to be precise – the amount of money his employees had failed to claim the year prior. He pointed at the money and said, “This is your money. It should be in your pocket. Next year, do you want it on the table or in your pocket?” There was a stunned silence….and then a rush to sign up.
Did Curt use PowerPoint to make the point? Not this time. He relied on a story. A pretty impressive “prop” to provide image and context – and to evoke the feeling that the audience should DO something.
What are you doing to evoke the feeling in your audience and inspire them to action?
The latest issue of Fast Company proclaimed that February 7th is the beginning of “Say No to PowerPoint Week.” What if all the PowerPointers in corporateland decided to embargo PowerPoint for an entire week? What would happen then?
I believe people would have to get more creative in their presentations. Try a little Prezi anyone?. Others would rely heavily on their handouts (which, in the spirit of the embargo would have to be in a different format?) You would actually have to prepare for your speech rather than read the slide. You would have to rely on the content rather than the snazzy slides.
Or is corporate America just too addicted to PowerPoint to be able to quit, cold turkey for a week?
Hmmm… there could be a fair number of benefits to put the remote control away for a week. What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?
Newsflash: You no longer have to stand in the dark. Any multimedia projector packing at least 2500 lumens has enough candlepower to project a visible image in a brightly lit room. You should know this by now, but oddly, many people still stand in the dark while the PowerPoint plays on.
If your eyes glazed over at the mention of lumens, then hold on to your seat because the Luddite in you isn’t going to like this: You should know the capabilities of every type of technology in the room. At the very least, you should know how to turn the projector on/off, sync up your computer, and advance your slides using a remote control.
For example, If 90% of your audience has cell phones (common enough these days), then let the audience know how they can use their cell phones to respond to a poll or feed questions to you. If you are brave, project the feed onto a screen behind you (this is called a “twitterfall”. Ain’t that cute?) so all can participate in the “back channel” discussion – the conversation going on in the room while you are speaking. [Note: I was just quoted in article about this at ragan.com - check it out here!]
Can’t make it to the meeting due to a volcanic dust cloud covering European airspace? Skype it in – but only if you are extremely comfortable using the technology. That means practice using the technology – not just once, but a few times. Oh, and have a backup plan for ANY technology that you intend to use as good ol’ Murphy might have different plans for you!
Brad MacMillian, president of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) says that “the number one thing an audience wants is to feel involved in the actual creation and development of the session. When they are involved, they are much more connected, they feel it is more personal to them, and they get more out of it.
Now let me give you an example. When Don Tapscott, author of the best-seller Wikinomics, was our keynote speaker at MPI, he did a great job in advance of reaching out to all our attendees. He blogged with them, invited questions before the event, and considered them; he built them right into his presentation. So, in essence, he built his presentation around the interests of his audience even before they got there. The audience felt like they were personally involved. They felt like they could see their fingerprints all over the content he delivered. And so they got more out of it to. And Don went the extra step and engaged with people after the fact, too. It really was an end-to-end experience. It was personal, and the people who were in the audience felt that they had collaborated and created something remarkable.”
And for those of us who use PowerPoint, I believe the Ipad is a game changer for presentations. Why? Because it makes it much easier for the presenter to go where the audience wants to go – right there on the stage in real time!
Most PowerPoint presentations are linear in fashion – unless you have figured out how to insert hyperlinks to help you “jump” from one slide to another or remember the slide number so you can “go to” a specific slide in your presentation. But, it requires a bit of finesse to go over to the computer and hit some keys or manual dexterity to move your mouse over the just the right spot.
The Ipad changes all that.
The “computer” is in your hand, and you can simply tap on the screen. Doesn’t require much finesse or dexterity.
So, you may ask, what’s the big deal? It allows the presenter to easily go where the audience wants to go!
You can set up a “splash page” which is a main menu of topics you think you should cover – and then let your audience decide where to start and where to go so their fingerprints are all over the presentation.
I received a call a few months ago from the folks at ChangeThis.com. Turns out they wanted me to write a “Change Manifesto” on making presentations more engaging and interactive. Now that’s a good fit!
So download it here – it’s free – and let me know what you think!