Take Your Kids To Work: Show and Tell!
Officially, the national date for "Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work®" is on the fourth Thursday in April. This year, you can take your children to work on Thursday, April 28, 2005.
But what, actually, to do? The official site recommends an exciting set of activities.
But whatever you do, make sure you get photo aproval from parents or guardians if you decide to use any pictures or videos you take in your corporate presentations, PR, or videos.
And here's a fun idea: have children draw pictures of what inspires them most about your special day together. They'll love it! And you not only get to post and enjoy the pictures when they go home, but you also just might actually be able to use their drawings in corporate presentations and videos!
I'm thinking about a PowerPoint presentation I created for a highly technical organization that sells a complicated product. I used some of the children's drawings as transition pieces to help the sales people "show and tell" a more simplistic story about the company's products and their organizational culture....without talking down to their C-Level executive audience.
So, even if your organization DOESN'T participate in the "Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work®" program, think about a child's point of view as you're preparing a highly technical presentation for C-level executives. You can emotionally connect with your audience when you "show and tell" your organization's commitment to family and community. And by making your product seem less complicated, you can warm up your audience to you...and your product line.
PowerPoint, Feng Shui, and Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning, feng shui, and PowerPoint....what do they have in common?
Feng Shui is the art of arranging your living space so that you can live in harmony and prosperity. And perhaps more importantly, reading a book on Feng Shui recently motivated me to advance my spring cleaning activities....I'm not just cleaning. I have a higher purpose, and it's even a trendy
higher purpose! It's Feng Shui! It's going to change my life, my health, my relationships, my career... for the better! Go Feng Shui! Wheee!
(I used to just call it Spring Cleaning. But now I know better. It's Feng Shui.)
Well, my PowerPoint may need some spring cleaning and Feng Shui, as well. It may be time to throw out old clip art, bullet points, sound effects and fancy-schmancy transitions in favor of some of the timeless Feng Shui classics: good storytelling, compelling pictures, and audience interactivity.
Listen to the latest podcast, Feng Shui PowerPoint
. It's a little over 7 minutes.
Earth Day Templates
Here are two free Earth Day PowerPoint themes for PowerPoint, available for download at the Microsoft site:Microsoft Office Templates: Young plant image slideMicrosoft Office Templates: Mushroom "growth" template
Happy Earth Day!
Labels: PowerPoint Templates
When is PowerPoint Like My Vacuum?
Yesterday, my vacuum burst into foot-long flames while I was using it. It may or may not suck anymore: but I wasn't willing to risk it. I threw it out and will be getting a new one this weekend. (Any tips on a good model?
Let me know...)
If you've heard the phrases "PowerPoint Sucks" or "Death by PowerPoint" or any other term that maligns this presentation tool, I want you to think about my vacuum for a second. When do you stop using a formerly useful tool?
Do you throw it out when someone pronounces that it now "sucks".... or when it bursts into flames....or when there's something much better available?
For me, PowerPoint still works as a tool. So do a lot of other low tech communication and presentation tools, which I use...and talk about in a 6+ minute podcast.
Why is it that some people pour more passion into their tools (i.e. -- the MAC vs. PC debates among techies) than into their actual work?
Passover Recipes and PowerPoint
Yummy Passover Recipes come to you in a 47+ page PowerPoint presentation
"Connections: Women of Shir Tikvah Present Passover Cooking". Recipes include Charosets, chopped liver, chicken soup, matzos, briskets, roast lamb, honey orange chicken, tzimmes, knishes, kugel, bubalach -- and more, including a wide range of deserts.
Definitely Worth a Download! Good stuff!
Sparks! by BlogMatrix - A Review, v2
There's always something new in the world of Podcasting and PowerPoint. Today, I review a product called Sparks! by Blogmatrix.
On the positive side: It was easy to download and install. And it started out being easy to use: I simply clicked the big red "Record Podcast" button and I was off and chatting. I liked the easy-to-use mixing features, and within minutes, I had mixed three tracks and had a decent-sounding mp3 file.
On the minus side: I hit the "Publish" button, and everything fell apart. My three minute podcast bloated up to a five minute podcast...three minutes of me chatting, and two minutes of silence. I got an email from Blogmatrix minutes later, asking me to confirm registration (a little late, but oh well!).
On the HUGE plus side: The integrated features would make this a truly rockin' product....an all-in-one tool that not only records and mixes the podcast, but uploads it to a server, too! And not just any server...one that would save me bandwith and server space. Even if I only did one podcast per week, the size and the bandwidth a podcast can chew up is considerable. An integrated system that records, mixes, collects, uploads, adds technorati tags and IP3 files....and makes collecting and recording really easy....AND preserves precious bandwidth and server space....that can be a wicked powerful tool.
On the HUGE minus side: So I hit the "upload file" button...and my 4.5 minute file goes up to an eight minute file. You guessed it: 4.5 minutes of my podcast, plus 4 minutes of silence. I have no idea why, and the help file isn't shedding any light on the issue. You can listen to it, and judge the sound quality for yourself -- but after 4.5 minutes, don't expect anything else but the sound of silence.
That's a little bug that needs a fix...but for now, there's a 4 week free trial of the service....and the clock doesn't start tickin' until May 1. This means that if you download it today, you've got about 6 weeks to help them fix some bugs and make it a better product.
And while hosting your files on someone else's server can save you server space and bandwidth, there's also a downside to that too -- what if they don't stay in business? Then all you files are....lost? So you've got to keep that in mind, too.
But overall, this product has enormous potential. Easy to use, integrated features...give it a try. It'll only up your narration learning curve.
Find the Pope in the PowerPoint
I am watching the announcment of the Pope on TV with great excitement. They have just announced Ratzinger as Pope, a German Cardinal, who will take the name of Benedict the Sixteenth.
You can find his name in this PowerPoint Presentation
, which does a short credit roll of the Popes of the last few centuries.
PowerPoint in the Chicken Coop
Our little grey rooster absolutely mauled my Aunt Elsie. She was crying and covered with blood, scrapes, and scratches from head to toe.
Thankfully, my aunt survived this attack. But it all could have been avoided, if I had made better use of a very simple presentation technique.
How can you prevent communication disasters in your next presentation?
Listen to this podcast
to find out more. Under 5 minutes.
Starting Your Presentation with a Question?
Which of the following is the more compelling question?
- How do you get quality traffic to come to your site?
- How do you get ranked #1 at Yahoo for "insert-search-term-here"?
I ask this because I have two teleconferences scheduled this week, with two entirely different companies. Both companies told me that they want me to talk about SEO, or search engine optimization.
My problem: SEO is old news. It's passe. It's not particularly effective, and I don't think it's what either of these potential clients REALLY want.
They really WANT high quality traffic to come to their sites. Somewhere, somehow, someone told them that the Answer (with a Capital A) was SEO.
So, I can do as promised: I can talk about SEO. And I can talk about how it's an idea whose time has come...and gone. I think the "Ask About the Real, Underlying Question" approach can elevate the message and lead to a more fulfilling conclusion....while still meeting the basic premise upon which I was invited to talk!
What do you think? Feel free to hit the "Comment" button below and let me know...
PS - Here's the podcast
that explains my thinking. It's just under nine minutes long.
Find Great Free Photographs...
...and visuals for your PowerPoint presentations. Robin Good's Latest News gives you the online lowdown on where to go to find great free photos and visuals. The article is complete with links and reviews...a very comprehensive page, and well worth a visit AND a bookmark!
Some of my free photo favorites include :
You can get the skinny on the four sites above (and many more) by clicking on the link below.
Where To Find Great Free Photographs And Visuals For Your Own Online Articles - Robin Good's Latest News
A Worthwhile Cause...
Worthwhile Magazine wants ideas that will put them over "the tipping point." (The tipping point is a reference to the 2002 work, "The Tipping Point
: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell.)
From the "About Us" Page at Worthwhile Magazine:
"The editorial mission of WORTHWHILE is to put purpose and passion on the same plane as profit. WORTHWHILE offers a roadmap for business success that is more personally fulfilling and socially responsible. We live by the motto that it is impossible to have a meaningful life without meaningful work."
I like reading WORTHWHILE, and would love to see them succeed beyond their wildest passions! Please post your idea
for what will knock them over the tipping point...
AudioBlogger from Blogger.com
About Audioblogger: Well, it's easy. I'll give it that. I just picked up the phone and dialed a number, punched in my passcodes and started chatting. You can hear the results by hitting the "Play this audio post" button above.
Within seconds, I posted a brief audio blog via blogger.com's free service, Audioblogger.com. The sound quality leaves a lot to be desired....it's to be expected: after all, it's a telephone, not a recording studio.
Other than the ease-of-use factor, audioblogger gets props for doing all the programming. I didn't have to have access to my computer to post my audio blog. All it took was me and my phone, which means I can audio blog from anywhere. No fancy technology required.
It's fairly easy for me to go in after the audioblog and type in program notes, like I'm doing right now. For example, the original post didn't have these words, or a title, just the button. I'm doing this in "Edit" mode, after the audio is already live & posted...so the button just hangs there out of context of any description.
So bottom line: there are plusses and minuses on this review/test of audioblogger:
- Plusses: Cheap, easy, fast, available from anywhere, no programming required.
- Minuses: Crackly sound, audio button posted out of context -- no program notes or titles in the blog post.
Now, I wonder how it will pick up in an RSS feed? Will it post an automatic enclosure? I'll post now and find out!
Tax Time PowerPoint
The IRS has posted its series of instructional PowerPoint presentations at their site. It's a Small Business Tax Workshop...and it scares me.
Tax time....ewww. Tax time slide shows....double ewwww.
It's not my thing. I don't like "doing taxes" because it's so tedious and detail-oriented. But if you're an accountant, you just may love these slides. Lots of bullets and clipart.
A much better page at the IRS site is its list of Tax Quotes. Here's a sampling of three of my favorites from the page:
- “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” — Albert Einstein, physicist
- “Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.” — Gerald Barzan, humorist
- "The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale.'' — Arthur C. Clarke, author
Now, two of my favorite tax quotes didn't make the IRS pages. Here they are:
- "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." -- Benjamin Franklin
- "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." -- Leona Helmsley
Well, Leona: I'm one of those 'lil people that's going to pay my fair share this year. Sigh.
On the bright side, I get to stay out of prison!
Let Me Whisper 3 Secrets in Your Ear...
Shhhh! There are 3 podcasting secrets
that you should know if you're an internet entrepreneur. What are they?
You can find out by listening to my latest podcast
, where I whisper 3 exciting podcast secrets for almost 7 minutes! (OK, so I whisper kind of loud....but I'm pretty sure it's the first entirely whispered business-related podcast
on the internet!)
Listen and Learn!
Parents & Teachers: Listen to Podcasts
Your students or kids are listening to podcasts. But what are they listening to? What's a podcast
, and why has podcasting captured the mindshare of America's youth...and adults?
If you're a parent or teacher, you are duty-bound to find out more about podcasting, if only to understand what it is your kids are listening to! There is a wealth of dubious content out there....and you don't need an iPod to access it! All you need is a computer with a high-speed internet connection, a sound board, and speakers.
If you have these three items, here's your first step: listen to this podcast
that tells you what podcasting is and how to subscribe to podcast content. (When you click on the above link, you might have to click on a "play" button -- depending on your player -- to actually hear the content.) The presentation is only 7.5 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee and have a listen!PowerPoint and Podcasting:
Because I have a PowerPoint related site (www.maniactive.com
) -- I initially viewed podcasting as an excellent way to provide narration to online presentations. But podcasting offers much more value than a simple audio for an online PowerPoint presentation. And my content is always G-Rated!
Find out what podcasting is by listening to this podcast
It may have something to do with Tiger Woods winning his fourth Masters tournament
yesterday...but downloads of "golf PowerPoint templates" at my site have gone through the roof today! If you're looking for the golf templates, may I direct you to http://www.maniactive.com/powerpoi.htm
There are three free golf PowerPoint templates for the taking (Fore, Bunker, and Dreamhole. ) "Fore!" is the most popular...maybe because it's animated. "Fore" was originally created for a company golf outing to announce prizes and winners during the luncheon part of the day's program.
Use them however you wish...and enjoy your golf outing!
The "Call to Action" Podcast
I've been surprised lately to see so many sales presentation end with the "Buy Now" part of the presentation's call to action....but when I go to sign on the dotted line, many of the questions I have about product delivery go unanswered.
Simply saying "Buy Now" and offering a "Today Only" special isn't a strong enough close. Find out what else you need by listening to a brief (4 and half minute!) podcast about strengthening your call to action.
You can listen to the "Call to Action" podcast simply by clicking on the link below.Call To Action Podcast.
First Person PowerPoint
As Dr. Phil
might say, "It ain't about YOU!" (or is that "yeeeew"?)Me, Me, Me.
Sales presenters seem to use the first person pronoun an awful lot. (I, me, my, we us, our).You, You, You.
Find out when it's effective to use the first person pronoun...and why it's more effective to lead your presentation with the second person pronoun (you, your, yours).
Listen to the audio short.
Duration: 2:16 (2 minutes, 16 seconds)
PS:Third Person Pronouns
- he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its, they, them, their, one, theirs.
Did I miss any?
Recording PowerPoint Narration
Even if you're not a professional voice actor or broadcaster, you can still sound like one when you record PowerPoint narration for sales presentations or training sessions. Here's how:
In today's podcast
, I use a free trial of SoniClear RecorderPro
to record a short audio review of the product. Hey -- I might as well use the actual medium (audio) -- to demonstrate the quality of the sound and the ease of use!The goods:
It took only about a half hour to get this podcast
up and running -- even counting the time I hit the download button, tested, and recorded my review (and looked at an insane duck outside my window). So yes, it was very easy to use. It's almost too simple:
there's no soundboard or mixing tools, so it's just my voice without a music lead-in or any other of the more fancy audio mix features. That might be a turn-off for some.
But for recording quality, judge for yourself by listening to my on-the-fly voice review. This product is only $99...and SoniClear offers a free two-week trial version.
You can test out the SoniClear RecorderPro today, just like I just did a half hour ago, by visiting www.soniclear.com
Duration: 3:31 minutes.
"Yes or No" PowerPoint Headlines...
Here's a brief podcast
about one of my pet peeves... "Yes or No" Headlines.
It's from one of my copy writing tutorials from 2001, but it still holds true today. Take a look at your own headline copy in your PowerPoint presentations....how can you reword them so that they aren't "Yes or No"?
Listen to this podcast
to find out why "Yes or No" headlines aren't particularly effective as a copy writing technique.
Duration: 33 seconds
Spring is in the wind! Time for PowerPoint paper airplanes
. Print, cut, fold -- fun!
Blue PowerPoint Backgrounds Win
Your favorite color for PowerPoint Backgrounds is (unofficially) blue. Here's how I know:
On April 4, 2004, I started an unofficial online poll
. Here are the results
(in graphical format).
Now, why blue? And why so overwhelmingly
blue? There's not even a close second! Why not green or purple? After all, they're close
to being blue.
And what's wrong with yellow for a background? Isn't yellow supposed to be a cheerful spring color? I wrote yesterday that I used a yellow PowerPoint background for my very first PowerPoint presentation
. It went over pretty well.
More musings on the color of PowerPoint backgrounds
What's Your "First PowerPoint" Story?
Who can remember the first presentation they ever gave in PowerPoint? I'd love to hear it: and you can share it with others by hitting the "Comments
" button below and posting it....My first PowerPoint...
was in the early 1990's. As a leader of a corporate IT user group, I was charged with giving the team's recommendations to the executive staff.
I had already created my objectives, story line, and budget. And I planned my presentation as a traditional whiteboard talk. However, the user group members insisted that I use PowerPoint to underscore the growing importance of technology to the company. So, I quickly learned PowerPoint, and developed my first presentation.
My first PowerPoint presentation had a yellow background. It had few words, was mostly pictures and headlines, with a "dissolve" transition between each slide. I gave it on a computer, as the executive staff circled around us, amazed by the potential to use this whiz-bang new technology to tell a convincing story.
I remember a lot of "oooooh's and aaaah's", followed up by "Neat. How'd you do that? Can we do that for sales? How about training?"
So of course the executive staff approved our proposal. And PowerPoint became the defacto presentation software standard all over the globe.
Now, where were you when you created your first PowerPoint?
The Art of Chitchat.
All too often, we presenters fall into the trap of trying to think of something clever or enlightening to say to our audiences. But what if we took the focus off our own brilliance and shifted it to learning more about our audience members?
A perfectly delightful article at Washington Post online gives us insight on how to do just that. The article is titled, "The Rich Resonance of Small Talk: A Primer on The Fine, and Undervalued, Art of Chitchat".
A short read, with valuable tips on how to communicate by listening
, rather than by incessantly talking, presenting, or speechifying.