Free Golf PowerPoint Templates
Maybe you do not have the PowerPoint blues after all. Maybe you have the greens
It is golf season, after all. And that is why I have a page with some free green golf PowerPoint templates
available for you to download. Perfect for keeping score at the company golf outing.
What other use might you have for green PowerPoint backgrounds? Ask Al Gore.
There might be ecological implications...
The PowerPoint Blues - Two Free Downloads
You have the PowerPoint Blues.
Or maybe you do not.
Either way, blue IS the favorite PowerPoint background color. So maybe the blues are entirely warranted.
So here you are, two PowerPoint presentations that you can use as templates - you can download them by clicking on the thumbnail images. You do know how to use PowerPoint presentations as PowerPoint templates
How to Use PowerPoint Presentations as Templates
How do can you take a PowerPoint presentation and turn it into a PowerPoint template?
Here is how to do it in three steps:
- When you are in PowerPoint, click on Format>Apply Design Template...
- Under the Files of type drop down box, make sure you select Presentations and Shows
- Then, select any .ppt file you wish and click Apply.
The PowerPoint presentation you selected in Step 3 is now your PowerPoint design template!
PowerPoint and the Silhouette Effect
Fashionistas, take note: here is yet another 2006 PowerPoint design trend -- the silhouette.
I think we can safely blame Apple for this "now you see it everywhere" design. So many silhouettes in advertising, marketing, and PowerPoint presentations lately....
How long do you think it will take for this effect to become visually tiresome? Has this type of design already reached its peak, or will we continue to see even more silhouettes in 2006?
Animated Title Master - Free PowerPoint Download!
In my salute to the Indy 500, I give you an animated PowerPoint title master
. Three cars zoom across the title master only. (The slide master uses the same images, but stays motionless.)
This two-slide presentation uses Microsoft clip art that comes packaged with PowerPoint. I just ungrouped and edited these images: the cars, the crowd, and the road.
Of course, you can substitute any of the clip art images with your own (perhaps you'll use your own track team photos, images of your prize racehorses, clip art of comets...who knows?)
If you look at the slide master view, you can figure exactly how I made the cars race each other. But in case you need a hint...
Here's how I did it:
- I selected a car, then Slide Show > Custom Animation
- I selected Add Effect > Motion Paths > Draw Custom Motion Path > Scribble
- I scribbled my car's path by drawing across the screen.
- I repeated step 3 with the two other cars, being careful to place each car at different start intervals and different end intervals, to simulate a racing and passing effect.
- I set the speed as "Very Slow" with all three vehicles...
- I set the first car to "Start After Previous" animation...
- And I set the cars 2 and 3 to "Start With Previous", so that all the cars appear to be racing together.
That's all there is to it! You can create this effect with your own creative touches and personalized images...download the sample PowerPoint presentation
...then get started on creating your own!
That 70's Presentation
"I wonder how many joints went into that venture."
I heard this comment muttered immediately following a particularly long-winded, rambling, and utterly incoherent venture capital pitch last week. The ill-fated presenters took Seth Godin's recommendation to not use PowerPoint
, immediately opened up the floor to questions -
and well, it was crazy bad.
Disorganized. Disorderly. Disjointed.
But I had to smile at the mumbled comment by the annoyed audience member. I have not heard the snarky "joint venture" reference since 1999 -- before the tech bubble burst. The mid to late 1990’s were an incredible time, when just about 94% of VC presentations seemed to be fueled by some sort of drug abuse.
But as of last night, "That 70's Show" is over. And the 90’s are behind us as well.
The fact is, bad presentations -- and bad conversations -- have existed long before PowerPoint and other slideware. The presentation I heard last week wasn’t bad because the presenters failed to use PowerPoint – the presentation was bad because it lacked structure, a story, a lucid narrative voice, a strong call to action – well, I could go on and on.
Instead of giving “That 70’s Presentation”…take a tip from an excellent 21st century presenter – Guy Kawasaki – and put some structure and clarity into your pitch with his 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint
. Mr. Kawasaki’s blog post is a short, must-read post for anyone who even dreams of getting a business funded.
Not interested in getting a business funded? Read it anyway. You'll learn more about developing a clear, concise, and more persuasive style of presenting.
The Presentation Sidebar
What is a presentation sidebar? If you read the definition on the mock-PowerPoint slide above, you'll see that a presentation sidebar is
"...information placed close to the main slide content."
The "main slide content" in my graphic example carries the headline "Sidebar Definition". Theoretically
, that's the main content of the slide.
In contrast, the graphically distinct green sidebar supports the slide's "main content". You'll see charts, graphs, pictures, numbers, quotes, polls -- all kinds of supporting information in a presentation sidebar.
Now, you see sidebars quite a bit in online and offline publishing -- but do they have a place in a PowerPoint presentation?
Perhaps. But they're often a risky choice in a live presentation for one simple reason:In PowerPoint, the entire slide is supposed to be a sidebar! You're the main content!
So use presentation sidebars and CNN-style crawlers
with care! Notice how your eye is drawn more to the sidebar instead of what is supposed to be the "main content" of the slide. Same thing with other "supporting players" - animations, transitions, sounds, etc.
Under which conditions do you use "presentation sidebars" effectively??
Download a three slide sidebar PowerPoint presentation
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
PowerPoint and the CNN Crawler
I only read the CNN crawler when I am disinterested in their featured news report.
Remember the above sentence when you design a PowerPoint presentation with a CNN-style crawler or a ticker going across the botton of the screen. When you give your audience a crawler to read, you are openly acknowledging that the featured content may be less than riveting.
And in some instances, that may be perfectly acceptable. For example, CNN has a general audience. And while I am interested in fully absorbing some
of their headline stories, I could care less about many of the their other news items. But I know that a boring CNN report will be finished in a minute or two -- so I read their crawler during the boring parts.
Adding a crawler or ticker at the bottom of your PowerPoint slide is easy to do...just be careful that you use it appropriately. Here's how you can do it in five steps:
- Position your crawler text at the bottom of your presentation. If you want the text to remain on the slide after it crawls in, place your text on the slide. And if you want the text to disappear after the crawl, place it to the left of the slide.
- Select the crawler text, and then select Slide Show > Custom Animation.
- Click on the Add Effect button from within Custom Animation, then select Entrance > More Effects > Crawl In
- You might want to select Very Slow for in the Speed drop down menu...unless you are designing for a group of speed readers!
- And finally, you can adjust when and how the text crawls in by clicking on the Start drop down menu.
Of course, you'll want to make sure that your PowerPoint background supports a crawler. Just for fun, here is a free PowerPoint background for you to download -- it has the oh-so-popular rounded rectangle corners. It is also the most popular Power Point background color - blue - and includes a white space at the bottom for your crawler text -- or for your logo...
The Number One PowerPoint Cliche in 2006
Just Google the phrase “Death by PowerPoint” – and you will be presented with 55,000 online pages that mention this term.
This means that “Death by PowerPoint” is now an undeniable cliché.
Push back against the PowerPoint pushback!
If you’re a responsible journalist, please find a more original headline for your PowerPoint-bashing article.
And if you must write about death and violence…please use the active voice. Stand-up comedians often say that their acts “killed” when they feel they really connected with their audiences.
So perhaps you could say, “This PowerPoint killed!” instead the passive “Death was committed by PowerPoint.”
But of course, that would be idiotic.
Poorly presented PowerPoint doesn’t kill…and neither do poor presenters.
Neither have that much power.
The Corporate PowerPoint Template
“Can you make us a corporate PowerPoint Template with a little bitty white space in the lower right hand corner -- so as we can slap our company logo there? Because that is whut branding is all about. Slapping logos on stuff…”
Ummmmm…you do know that your corporate PowerPoint presentation is not a cow, right? You don’t just slap a logo on it and declare it branded.“And hey, here’s our 198-page brand guide, so as you can design us a blue PowerPoint template with the right amount of white space. And so as to pick a shade of blue that coordinates wit our logo and stuff.”
Hmm. And you do know your logo is not your brand, right? Just so we’re clear? And that blue might not actually match the tone of the content or the intended mood you want to elicit from the audience? Good. Just so you know.Can you make it just like you see on TV – like how the little network logo is always in the corner during the TV show?
Actually, you see that little logo when networks air TV shows that don’t meet any brand standard other than “cheap to produce”. After all, one cheaply produced network show looks just like another network’s cheaply produced show. But when networks provide programming consistent with a real brand standard, they don’t need a logo for their audience to identify which channel they are watching.Or how about making the little logo in the corner morph into an unexpected animation that hypes some of our other products, just like on some of them there basic cable stations. That would be cool.
Interesting. You want your limited screen real estate to be taken over by a message that has nothing to do with your content. Just so we’re clear? You want to interrupt your carefully crafted content, dissipate your message, and erode your brand?Well, that’s whut everyone else is doing.
So you don’t have a real brand standard or want to develop a real brand image. And you don’t want to stand out from your competitors. Cheap and generic: that’s what you’re going for.
As long as we’re clear. Here you go:
Now of course, the above conversation would never happen. It's 2006, and MarCom managers and ad agencies know better than to recommend or create a standard corporate PowerPoint template as part of their business system.
Or do they?
PowerPoint as an Asset
"Survey after survey reveals that managers typically use less than 15 percent of the functionality of PowerPoint..."
The above quote is from an article by Michael Schrage in last month's CIO Magazine "The Value Inside."
If I were to take that quote out of the context of the article, I might say, "Can you imagine how awful a presentation might be if managers used every single one of PowerPoint's features?"
But the article isn't talking about one presentation. Instead, Mr. Schrage hints at the idea of counting software functionality as enterprise assets.
And in many cases, organizations badly underutilize their software assets.
For example: I had lunch with the head of an application development firm, who told me that a large international client had asked them to create an application that would let employees give presentations to their various audiences. The company, of course, already has a significant investment in PowerPoint.
The company in question had the perception that PowerPoint might be OK for internal presentations, but too limited for the various kinds of presentations they want to give to their many public audiences. Management had a long list of requirements for their external communications that they felt PowerPoint couldn’t handle.
Key words: “they felt”. They didn’t really know.
My lunch companion is working with the company to show them how their current investment in PowerPoint can meet their stated business objectives. Instead of a development contract, he ended up with a software training and communication consulting contract.
However, my lunch buddy (who's not really a communication consultant or trainer -- he's just being paid to play one for a few months) isn't in a position to address three other eyebrow-raising issues:
Marketing. PowerPoint software has a huge perception problem within this organization…and many others, I’m sure. And that’s a big marketing issue for Microsoft. What is Microsoft doing to combat the growing perception that PowerPoint is a “weak” presentation product, unfit for external presentations? And where was Microsoft when management decided to outsource a custom presentation application?
Governance. If corporate management doesn’t have a strong grasp of their software assets… that’s a huge governance issue. Why didn’t management take an inventory of their current software assets before leaping to the conclusion that they needed a custom app? What can large companies like this one do to avoid wasting time and spending big bucks on redundant software development?
Intellectual Assets. What about the actual intellectual content contained within the company's presentations? Where is the content? What is it? What are the best examples? A huge, multinational, public corporation -- with no digital asset management for PowerPoint content and no presentation evaluation system? Isn't it 2006?
Sure, company employees can probably benefit from software training (and they'd probably be best served by getting their education from professionals that actually focus on training, too!) But there are much larger problems in this organization that mere software training isn't going to fix...
In all fairness, I only intuited these problems from a two-minute story told to me within the span of a one-hour, no-martini lunch...and all without the benefit of meeting anybody within the organization. It could be that everything's just dandy within this company.
But re-read the quote that I used to begin this post. You know, the one that begins "Survey after survey..."
Poor asset management is a documented, ongoing, expensive problem for large companies. And you might be a shareholder. How's that make you feel?