The Top 6 PowerPoint Fashion Trends for 2007
The Web 2.0 "look and feel" includes design elements that are crossing over into corporate PowerPoint presentations. What are the top Web 2.0 design elements that you will see (and see abused) in 2007?
I channeled my inner corporate psychic hippie to find out what will happen with PowerPoint design next year. Here is what I saw as the top six Web 2.0-Inspired PowerPoint fashion trends you will see in 2007.
Top Six PowerPoint Trends for 2007
1. Slim and simple layouts.
One, two, or three columns is about all you see in Web 2.0 design. You also see lots of refreshing white space and much less clutter. This slim and simple look will be mimicked in PowerPoint presentations. Easy on the eyes, easy to print. What's not to like about this Zen-like trend?
2. Everything is central.
Five years ago, just about everything you saw on the web was left-justified. Now take a gander. The Web 2.0 "look" is mostly centered on the page. PowerPoint fashion translation: you'll see less "left-justified" slide content as well. As far as trends go, this could be worse.
3. Bling is big.
Gaudy alert! Web 2.0 layouts may show restraint, but not graphics! Colors will be swimmingly "Laugh-In" bright. Gradients, reflections, and 3D effects will be everywhere and outrageous! It'll be unnecessary and nauseating, I promise! And now that PowerPoint is integrating these hippies-on-acid graphic features into PowerPoint 2007 (coming in January), expect to see tons of gradient, reflection, and bright-color abuse next year! New features means new users will show zero restraint for years to come! (For a preview of coming horrors, see the Web 2.0 logo
remake page.)4. Plump is pleasing.
Forget about heroin chic. The Web 2.0 look has few sharp edges. Just about everything is rounded. It wasn't just that PowerPoint slides with rounded corners
were all the Rubinesque rage in 2005/2006. Icons, fonts, images, and logos were noticeably plumper, as well. Why? Well, round things (the NY Times reported earlier this year
) are cute. And from baby pandas to baby Shiloh, cute is comforting and oh-so hip.5. Headlines are huge.
At last! A trend I treasure! The Web 2.0 look seems to favor larger text! Hurray! It's easier for an aging population to read than ever before! But be careful: not every word on PowerPoint slides will be monster-huge. No, the trend is for BIG HEADLINES
to accompany compelling graphics. The headline text (and perhaps a slightly smaller subhead) will contain the most important written
information on the slide.6. Bullet point backlash.
Bullet points will be less prominent than ever, thanks in part to the PowerPoint 2007 Smart Art feature. "Smart Art" can easily convert bullet points into "cute widdle wounded wectangles" of formerly sharply-bullet pointed content. (barf.) You know what that means....you can expect to see tons of Smart Art abuse in 2007! I'm predicting that one evil (bullet points) will be replaced by another (Smart Art). "Death by Bullet Point" blog pundits will quickly find PowerPoint SmartArt to be just as loathsome as the much-hated bullet point.
So what do you think? Which Web 2.0 inspired trends do you see leaking into corporate PowerPoint presentations next year?
Sock it to me...
ps -- and yes, you can download the free, rounded-corner Crystal Ball PowerPoint background that you see above, as well!
Happy New Year!
Your Favorite Presentation Icebreaker
What's your favorite icebreaker? You know, the activity that loosens up your audience, gets them interacting vocally or physically, shakes up the crowd, motivates the masses, or otherwise re-invigorates a tranquil meeting?
I posed this question to a bartender, and he quickly replied, "More cocktails!"
But for a business person or educator, the simple application of alcohol is (sometimes) not an effective presentation strategy! And in many cases, it's not even legal.
That's why presenters often turn to other forms of icebreakers -- aka motivators, games, warmups, or energizers -- to get an audience interacting and involved. And while many of us roll our eyes when presented with an overly complicated icebreaker scenario, I have witnessed many great icebreaker applications before and during presentations.
Compare/contrast these two situations:Situation 1:
A team of people who don't know each other will be working together on a project. They are attending their first company training session. The trainer introduces everyone to each other, and explains what their role will be during the project.Situation 2:
The same team, the same situation. The trainer asks each team member to introduce themselves to the group, describe their role in the project, and share one thing about themselves that not many people know.
I've been in both situations, and I have to say, I liked Situation 2 much better! The use of a classic introduction icebreaker instantly put more energy and involvement into the room.
The icebreaker technique doesn't have to be a cheap trick used by presenters....of course, many times they are. For example, I am not overly fond of passing an orange from neck to neck with a group of people I don't know very well.
But you know, that's just me. You might like being groped by sweaty strangers.
So let me ask you: what are your best and worst examples of icebreakers
PS - Download your free "icebreaker" PowerPoint background
. Pretty blue!
PSS - And here is an amazingly comprehensive list of popular meeting icebreakers
Labels: PowerPoint Background
Multiple monitor support: Free Upgrade
Yet another fabulous presentation freebie...just in time for the holidays!
Open Office has announced a new version of its free office productivity suite
. OpenOffice.org is recommending the 2.1 upgrade for all users, as it "represents a significant improvement over all previous versions."
But even if you are not an OpenOffice user, you can still download 2.1 for free. One of the highly touted new features for those who give presentations is multiple monitor support for Open Office Impress.
Of course, I suspect that OO announced this "major upgrade" in anticipation of the Microsoft Office "major upgrade" expected in January 2007! Beat 'em to the punch?
The idea: get folks to download the free
Open Office Suite, so that when MS asks for hundreds of dollars in January, clients will say "what for?"
If you aren't aware of Open Office, here's the skinny:
Writer = Word Processing
Calc = Spreadsheet
Impress = Presentations
Each program in the OO Suite looks and feels much like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Except that Open Office is free. And each program can also save to .doc, .xls, or .ppt (and more.)
Another added bonus: with one click, you can save your OO files to a PDF document, as well.
In June of this year, I conducted an "Open Office" experiment
. I left my Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) off of my new laptop and attempted to go about my business. I found that I was just as productive with the free Open Office software as I was with the MS Suite...without the hefty price tag. I wrote documents in Writer, gave presentations in Impress, and calculated campaigns in the Calc spreadsheet.
And I found in my travels that many teachers, students, and small business folks have already started using the OO Suite.
What do you plan to do over the next few months? Stick with what you have, download OO, or upgrade to the new MS Suite?
RSS is Easy. Thanks, Microsoft!
Several of my clients' website statistics and web analytics are showing an impressive trend.
The browser share is growing like crazy for Microsoft IE7. People seem to like the tabbed browsing feature (I know I do.) And the built-in RSS feed subscription that you see in the new browser makes subscribing to feeds easier than ever.
With IE7, it is just as easy to subscribe to an RSS feed as it used to be to simply "Bookmark this Page!"
So how is this new browser trend going to impact the way people behave at websites? Will more people use IE7 to subscribe to their very first feeds in 2007?
And how will this easy-RSS feature change business and education websites? What will happen to websites that don't enable RSS in 2007?
Warning: Do Not Stare at this Speaker!
Audience members: no matter how great a speaker may be, do not stare at him or her! Staring makes most people feel uncomfortable.
But in some instances, staring can make a speaker feel, well, a little too
comfortable! Here's a story that illustrates my point:
As a sophomore in college, I was in one of those enormous "201" classes, where the prof lectured to a room of 300+ students three times per week. I found the lectures to be oddly fascinating. I could not take my eyes off of the professor as he spoke.
Because the class was so huge, I never met the prof personally. But I have the habit of thanking my teachers on the last day of class. So as I handed in my final exam, I walked up to this stranger, shook his hand, and thanked him for being such a compelling speaker and story teller.
Usually, teachers just smile and say something like "thank you". But not this time...
When I thanked this teacher, he grabbed my outstretched hand and would not let go as he continued to shake it. Before long, he grasped my trapped hand, then starting caressing it!
"I'm so glad you enjoyed my lectures!" he beamed. "I would seek you out in the audience every day, and give my lecture just for you! I would stare directly into your eyes, and imagine that it was just the two of us in the room together. You would look back at me, and I knew we had a connection that would go far beyond this class."
He went on in this vein for a few minutes, while I struggled to get my hand back. Clearly, some line had been crossed!
(I did manage to break free and skedaddle. And I certainly never took another one of this prof's classes or spoke to him again.)
As an audience member, I have since learned not to stare intently at the speaker, no matter how interesting or entertaining they may be! Instead, I will show my appreciation for their words by
1. taking notes
2. contemplating their words while staring into space
3. smiling demurely and looking away
So: as a speaker or teacher, how would you handle a sophomoric gawker like me?
Eye contact is interactive
What are you doing with your eyes?
Of all the forms of non-verbal communication between speaker and presenter, eye contact can be the most intense. The right amount of eye contact can help you build trust with your audience.
Poor eye contact (or no eye contact!) can totally creep your audience out.
So let me ask you: what do you do with your eyes when you give your presentation?
Whatcha looking at?
And what are the essentials of eye contact?
In a small audience, I like to take time to connect eyes for a few seconds with everyone in the room while I'm speaking. Makes us both feel more connected.
In a larger audience, however, this approach is impossible. So I perform three eye-contact approaches:
1. I slowly scan the entire audience
2. I'll focus on audience segments
3. And I will connect eyes with individual audience members for a few seconds
Now, that's what works for me. You might have a different approach.
But I know that eye contact during a live presentation is oh-so important for developing trust. Try giving your presentation into a video camera, and see for yourself what you are doing with your eyes.
Interact with your audience
Please. Interact with your audience.
I mean, how hard is it to start a presentation by asking, "So, how many of you here have....?"
I recently sat through a one-hour presentation. I was impatient for the first 10 minutes, waiting for the presenter to get to the topic at hand. Like most of the audience, I had deep knowledge of the subject matter. I thought the presenter might be grounding us all in the obvious for a few minutes, setting a comfort level.
However, the presenter continued giving his "beginner's basic guide" lecture.
After 20 minutes, I realized there was no chance for physical escape. And the speaker gave no ground for interruption.
I glanced at my fellow audience members. We all gave each other questioning looks as we fidgeted. However, our guest speaker did not pick up on our collective body language, and kept yammering away.
Only at the very end, did the speaker ask, "Now, how many of you have had experience with...."
And we all raised our hands. A few people started talking about their experiences, and we quickly came to realize that most of the people in the audience were far more educated about the subject matter than the speaker.
So by the time the guy made his pitch to us about hiring his firm because of their "in-depth" approach, many of us were already exchanging contact information, looking to network with each other.
As it turned out, this particular business audience did not need a consultant.
We needed each other.
Animated PowerPoint - Happy Flying Penguins!
Who else has "Happy Feet" fever?
And other than at the movies, where else can you see cartoon penguins dance this holiday season?
Why, penguins can always frolic in PowerPoint, of course! Teachers, parents, and other fun-loving souls can encourage penguins to ski to a jazzy soundtrack.
In this animated holiday PowerPoint presentation, you will see Microsoft clipart and PowerPoint animation effects used together to create a short holiday greeting. You will also hear the smooth jazz soundtrack.
And you will feel the excitement when happy penguins freely fly! Feel free to download the Penguin PowerPoint presentation, add your own magic touches, and make it completely your own before you show your masterpiece to friends and family.
(If you don't feel like downloading the presentation, you can always preview it online here. I used Impatica for PowerPoint to optimize the file for quick and easy online delivery. Don't forget to turn up your speakers to hear the jazz while the penguin takes flight!)
What other magical things can you do to enhance the lives of cartoon penguins in this PowerPoint presentation?
Christmas PowerPoint with Silent Night Lyrics
If you are in harmony with my 3 best practices for presenting Christmas carols in PowerPoint
, you are quite likely to enjoy the following two links:
1. Traditional Song Lyrics
- This page at the Nevada System of Higher Education provides you with a wealth of lyrics to traditional Christmas carols -- these wonderful oldies are lovely for inputting directly into your Christmas PowerPoint presentations.
2. Silent Night PowerPoint
- I took the lyrics from 4 stanzas of a popular Christmas Carol (Silent Night) and entered them into a very simple PowerPoint presentation. The background is mostly purple (for Advent) with large white letters (for easy Senior reading). The graphic is an abstract of the advent wreath: three purple candles, a rose candle, and a white Christ candle in the center.
Why abstract instead of literal? For purposes of meditation, I like looking at simple abstract images, because they allow me to enjoy a more thoughtful, contemplative, and present state of awareness. For example, if I see the above Advent candles as shaped like chalices or grails, I might reflect on the sacrificial aspects of the story of Christ.
Or if I shift my focus and see a representation of the Star of David, it might serve as a reminder to reflect on the life of Jesus as a liberal Jewish man. I might then see the candles not as 5 grails, but as 9 Hanukkah candles...
Imagery abounds in a holiday season. But without thoughtful reflection, many of our deeply symbolic religious images and icons have become clichéd.
What kinds of images do you prefer to see this December, and why? And which formerly beloved icons have lost their meaning for you as 2006 draws to a close?
Christmas Songs in PowerPoint
Now that the Advent season is here, Christian churches will see an increase in attendance -- for at least a few weeks, anyway! And many churches will use PowerPoint to present their audience with sing-along song lyrics, particularly Christmas carols.
Some churches use PowerPoint to guide their congregations in songs that promote peace, love, hope, joy, and harmony. The best 3 PowerPoint practices for presenting Christmas carol song lyrics in church include:
1. Easy to read.
Make sure that the font type is large enough to read from the back of the room. Use font colors that contrast well with the color of the background slide. Avoid complicated background images that take the focus off the lyrics.
2. Simple graphics.
In the secular world, Christmas can be a time of rampant visual excess. Churches should provide a respite from holiday hype by offering their patrons more contemplative and thoughtful imagery than the average TV commercial. A single graphic per song provides meditative focus as well as visual clarity.3. No bouncing balls.
Slick animations and automated timings may not match the tempo of a live choir. Make it personal: manually present each slide's lyrics to ensure that the slide timing is spot-on with the singers.Remember, a church is not a Karaoke bar.
A place of worship can be a haven from December's commercial madness and wild excess. Hopefully, a house of worship distinguishes itself from a shopping mall, Karaoke bar, or reality TV show!
PowerPoint in Church. A church provides a place for quiet contemplation and a focus on community and spirituality. Churches that use songs, colors, and images that reflect the simple beauty of the Advent message are ultimately more successful than churches that do little to distinguish themselves from the hustle and bustle of a secular world!