Now Entering the Post-Template PowerPoint Design Era...
If you are still using PowerPoint templates as a presentation design aid, it's time to stop
Because we've officially entered the Post-Template PowerPoint Design Era.Why the Post-Template PowerPoint Design Era?
With so many options available for great images, you don't need to rely on a PowerPoint template anymore. As fellow presentation blogger Ellen Finkelstein
puts it in her excellent post at Slideshare, "White is definitely the new blue
in presentation backgrounds..."Why did PowerPoint background fashion change?
Back in the early 1990's, very few people had easy access to compelling digital photography to insert in their PowerPoint presentations. Today, just about everybody who gives presentations has a digital camera. Use it to capture unique and fresh images for your next PowerPoint presentation. Don't have the talent for taking a great photo? You might be surprised at just how good you are! Don't be intimidated -- if you have a digital camera, at least give it a shot! At the very least, it's sure to be an original.Can't get the shot you want?
Again, you have access to a plethora of great photography online -- something you probably didn't have 10 years ago. Consider Flickr
, the social photo sharing site. Many photos are available for use in your presentations through the Creative Commons
attribution. If you can't find a unique photo at Flickr, try Morguefile
. Both of these sites offer totally free photos. Just be sure to check the licensing requirements on each image before you use it in your next presentation.Pay a little.
If you still can't find the photograph you want, you may have to pay for a stock image -- but just a little. I like iStockphoto
-- the prices are usually a buck or three -- and the selection is decent and updates regularly. But be careful! With stock photography, you run the risk of picking a photo that many people have seen before -- so it's not unique. Many times, you risk boring your audience with stock photography. Fortunately, iStockphoto shows you which photos are the most frequently downloaded, so you can avoid photos that everyone has already seen. With a little diligence, you can find something newer, fresher, and hipper.The days of slapping clip art on a blue background are definitely over.
That's just so 1990's! And when the audience has seen a background or image before -- the presenter becomes part of a landscape of visual cliches
. The eyes of the audience glaze over. The presentation seem hackneyed. The presenter seems trite. The message gets hazy. Lost.Use unique imagery.
Use your creativity. Your audience with appreciate your effort!PS -- Need help learning to manipulate photos and other graphics?
Ellen Finkelstein also writes to remind me that her ebook, 7 Steps to Great Images,
is on sale at her site. The book is easy-to-read, and filled with practical instructions for manipulating images in PowerPoint. Perfect for the Post-Template PowerPoint design era! You can also sign up for Ellen's free tips newsletter
Labels: design, images, photography, PowerPoint Templates
The Summer of Social Media Love
Your summer of social media love. Enter the social media mainstream.
Yes, social media -- where people participate actively, publicly, and directly with online content and content providers -- are mainstream. When huge corporations start blogging, friending, following, fanning, tweeting, and digging -- you know that "the man" is infiltrating the social media scene.It's not a bad thing.
But it's smart to get hip to new ways of communicating and connecting. With social media, you can participate at your level of comfort.
June, July, August -- if you haven't done so already, give social media three solid months. Watch your brain start to make connections in new and exciting ways.First up on your summer social media to-do list:
find and subscribe to a few new blogs.Why subscribe to blogs?
Well, here are 3 very basic reasons:
Learn something new?
- To learn something new
- To make friends with people who share your passions and interests
- To participate in smart conversations.
On a blog? Really
? Sure. Many bloggers are experts who write about a niche topic. Find a topic that interests you, and peruse the top blogs in that field.Finding top blogs.
A fabulous way to find great new blogs with scintillating content is to pop by Alltop.com
. This new site helps you "explore your passions by collecting stories from 'all the top' sites on the web." Nice! Each collection is grouped into topic areas -- football, nonprofit, sales, education, what-have-you -- so that you can easily find the latest feeds from top blogs in the categories you love the most.
Alltop is just like standing in front of a magazine rack in your favorite bookstore. Only the headlines update instantly -- and most of the content is free.For example, let's say you're interested in speaking.
(I know you are, because you're reading this blog!) So, go to the speaking category for Alltop
, and you'll find approximately 100 feeds, which get updated about every ten minutes. You'll have instant access to the latest tips, tricks, news, and info -- all from some of the best bloggers on the planet. (I'm honored to report that this 'lil blog is currently included in the Alltop list for speaking blogs -- so if you're a subscriber, your wisdom and good taste is hereby officially validated!)Subscribe!
The first thing I did at Alltop was scan the headlines -- just like when I'm waiting in line at the supermarket.
I instantly found new blogs and posts that peaked my interest, so I subscribed immediately. I commented on some, bookmarked others -- all to enhance my own learning and further conversations with experts I admire.Make friends.
Commenting and corresponding with expert bloggers can ignite fresh ideas -- and help build relationships. Reading a blog gives you a sense of the writer's substance and style. If you like what they're saying and they seem approachable -- why not leave a comment -- or three? Many blogs give readers an easy platform for commenting -- so that you can reach out & connect with the writer. (Want to chime in on any post in this blog? Go for it! That's what the "comment" link at the bottom of each post is all about!)Anti-Social Media.
Over lunch last week with Twitter friend Ashima
, I voiced a concern that if I'm not careful, participating in social media may make me narrow-minded. After all, it's too easy to subscribe, listen, friend, follow, and fan only
the people I admire and respect. To be truly well-rounded, I must make sure to listen carefully to voices that do not share my values or opinions.
That's why I also subscribe to people who write views that differ greatly from my own. If social media keeps me informed, I can also use the social media platform to broaden my world view, too. Wouldn't Voltaire
approve?Your Summer of Social Media Love!
By all means, use sites like Alltop to find people you respect and admire -- but also stay tuned to people who offer different viewpoints. Subscribe and participate at a variety of blogs, and watch how your synapses will start sparking and firing in new and exciting directions!
PS -- If you haven't subscribed to this blog yet with RSS -- please do. Here's my RSS feed
. Put it in your favorite RSS Reader
, and voila
! Consider yourself subscribed!
Labels: social media
Try The Zero Slide PowerPoint Presentation
You need boundaries.
Boundaries can make you a happier, more creative person. Give yourself a boundary like a deadline, and you'll focus on your work. Create a boundary for your workplace -- like a desk -- and it will serve not only as a functional piece of furniture, but as a visual cue to get busy.Some boundaries are better than others.
When it comes to developing your next presentation or speech, try giving yourself a boundary. Deadlines and desks are great, but here ere are four more creative boundaries that can help sharpen your next presentation:
- Limit Your Words. The winners of the Webby Film and Video Awards are restricted to 5 word speeches. Refreshing! Creative! The best speeches from the Webby event demonstrate personality and restraint. By purposely whittling away the non-essential, each word becomes more meaningful.
- Limit Your Graphics. Last month, I gave myself a goal of designing a one-slide PowerPoint presentation. It went so well, I gave myself another goal: a zero slide PowerPoint presentation. Relying on gestures, expressions, and words let my audience imagine what I dared not to show. (Note: some people call zero-slide presentations "conversations" or "performances".)
- Limit Your Print Outs. When audiences ask for a print out of a PowerPoint presentation, I usually provide a web address for them to download it online. If they really want it, they can have it. But because my slides are not my presentation, they provide very little context for my audience. Generally, I'm not going to kill a tree with a print out.
- Limit Your Animations. I'm usually so facially animated, that putting animations in my PowerPoint slides is decidedly overkill. Ditto sound effects. Earlier this week, I threw my head and arms backwards and yowled. If I made PowerPoint perform my animations and sound effects for me, I don't suppose I would have made my point!
What other boundaries make presentations more powerful?
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation
Top 2 Reasons to Love Technical Difficulties
"There is something technically wrong..."
Here are two reasons to rejoice over technical difficulties:
Those of us who participate at Twitter
are frequently greeted with the above phrase for the past few weeks. The image accompanying the message is a flock of cheerful little birds trying to lift a whale. And while there have been some grumbles about the rampant outages...
...the frequent bouts of technical difficulties at Twitter actually give me some cheer!
- How can you be mad when you are presented with such a charming picture? A whale and several tweety birds, struggling together? This image represents that Twitter is experiencing stress -- thousands of individual peeps are taking down the system. And a dedicated team of Twitter folks are working to make the system strong again. My, it does my heart good! Power to the Peeps!
- Hey, we all experience technical difficulties from time to time. Growth can be painful. (Remember adolescence?) I don't know how Twitter is making any money at the moment, but they currently enjoy a fabulous and growing fan base. And they greet their audience with a sense of humor. I can be patient while they grow. I empathize.
There's something to learn from Twitter technical difficulties. The next time you're giving a presentation and something goes technically wrong -- do you have the emotional and/or intellectual equivalent of a whale and a dozen tweety birds in your back pocket?
(Over the next few months, I can pretty much guarantee I'll be experiencing technical difficulty here at the Maniactive blog! I'm shaking things up and switching stuff around -- but I hope you'll bear with me while I grow and change.)
If you need to get hold of me -- and I'm experiencing technical difficulties -- why not try a social media approach? Feel free to follow me at Twitter
-- or friend me at FaceBook
It's summer -- a fine time to get social!