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 or StockExchange. 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. Enjoy!
Oh, how could you! It's not like you haven't been bombarded with commercials and ads for the past few weeks!
But just in case you forgot, you can make your own glorious PowerPoint Valentine. Why send a card, when you can stand and deliver a sweet, sweet presentation?
Just make sure you present yourself in the best light! Last winter, I was deeply chagrined when I saw an image of myself as I stood in front of the projector. Because my PowerPoint background was blue, I was blue, too!
So why not create a beautiful pink keylight for yourself in PowerPoint? Easy to do -- and just about everyone looks great in a soft pink keylight. Beats blue, anyday!
Next, Download Christmas PowerPoint Templates. All sorts of free Christmas PowerPoint Template madness abounds online. Here is the fave freebie countdown. (I wish we could sing it it the tune of "12 Days of Christmas". This is close, though:
Go background happy. Effectively using multiple backgrounds within one PowerPoint show can make your presentation visually exciting. If you are looking for beautiful photos to help tell your story, you can find free-to-reasonable photos at these four pop sites:
You don't need no stinkin' PowerPoint templates...
PowerPoint Templates? You don't need no stinkin' PowerPoint templates!
I often write about PowerPoint fashion trends. As far as hip new styles go, I can easily get behind the "Just Say No" movement with regard to PowerPoint templates. The overly fussy template with gradients and dizzying, swirling colors is a look that is so 1990's.
Template Backlash. Face it: we've all seen the same PowerPoint templates over and over again. Sheer visual repetition has burned us out. It's one reason why our eyes glaze over...
PowerPoint Themes. And sorry, the new PowerPoint 2007 Themes don't help, either. They simply promote the banal idea that so-so content can be made better by thoughtlessly slapping it on a "new & fresh looking" visual boilerplate.
(Quite frankly, the "PowerPoint 2007 Themes" look isn't that fresh. See above comment on "overly fussy".)
Long live the PowerPoint Story. Many of the most beloved (zinged!) PowerPoint presentations at Slideshare.net do not rely on PowerPoint templates at all. Instead, zinged presentations rely on great storytelling.
Good Stories are Timeless. And happily, terrific storytelling is not a fashion statement! Outstanding stories (and story tellers) never go out of style.
For Today's PowerPoint Chic... The content comes first. And today, content is supported by a lean and clean design that favors compelling photography over cliched clipart. Now, will this "Zen" design look become kitsch in a few years? Quite likely! But until then...
Lots of free PowerPoint 2007 templates are available for download at the Microsoft Community. Just in time for Memorial Day, you will see five recently-submitted PowerPoint templates at the MS website that extol a military, patriotic theme.
Quite a few people are online searching for "graduation speech templates" this month. Honestly, what sort of valedictorian or salutatorian would want to merely "fill-in-the-blanks" for a commencement speech that should be an honor to prepare and deliver?
Creativity and originality is important to the overachievers who give graduation speeches. I kind of doubt they are looking for a fill-in-the-blanks, boilerplate approach.
So, just who are the people who are looking for graduation speech templates online? Are you the same folks who use the old Microsoft PowerPoint AutoContent Wizard to develop presentations like "Communicating Bad News" or "Motivating a Team"?
Or are you just looking for a little fun -- a little humor to relieve the last stressful month of Senior-itis?
Well, here it is, for Seniors only: a free, 2-page pdf download created just for the Class of 2007, which I immodestly call "Best Graduation Speech Template Ever: 2007 Edition". Seniors, you can download it, print her out, fill in the blanks, and easily get that pesky writing assignment out of the way -- a month early!
Don't forget to horrify your parents and teachers by asking them to listen to your templated speech before you threaten to give it to a commencement audience!
Best wishes and congratulations to the Class of 2007!
Great Shamrocks and Shillelaghs! 'Tis almost Saint Patrick's Day again.
You know what that means - it is time to start seeing some green. (For those of us who are staring at mounds of snow outside our windows -- it is about time!)
You can download your new free Shamrock PowerPoint background here. (OK, technically, it is an abstraction of a four-leafed clover and not a shamrock, but it is all in good fun. Click on the image, then right click to save to your hard drive.)
Burning a logo on every cow in the herd is branding.
Slapping a logo on every slide in a PowerPoint deck is branding, too.
But which brand attributes can you associate with a firm that refuses to let salespeople use creativity and discretion when giving a presentation?
And what do you think about a company that insists that all presentation content must fit within the limiting confines of a corporate PowerPoint template?
Could it be that the company:
does not trust their salespeople to communicate persuasively or professionally?
hires obedient followers instead of thoughtful leaders?
is not be willing to be flexible or adjust communications to client needs?
The case AGAINST the corporate PowerPoint template. Most small businesses cannot afford to model inflexible, non-creative attributes! Rather, small businesses thrive on delivering customized, personalized, thoughtful approaches. That is why tailoring each sales presentation to the specific needs of the prospect is much more important than insisting that salespeople present within a rigid corporate PowerPoint template.
With a customized, tailored presentation, customers realize they are special.
The case FOR the corporate PowerPoint template. Now, many large businesses can effectively use the "jam a logo on every slide" approach to set customer expectations. Sign with a big corporation, and you will be expected to follow their rules, fit into their mode of doing business. And customers of large businesses have come to expect the same robotic, thoughtless customer service post-sale.
With a "logo on every slide" sales presentation, prospects can rightfully expect to be treated like another cow in the company's herd of customers.
How about a big pink PowerPoint Valentine template that you can download for free? Here you go...download away! This PowerPoint presentation features a big pink heart background that's so big, it falls off the screen. You can easily modify the contents to make your own pink PowerPoint Valentine. Add your own sweet sentiments, your own pictures, your own mush-filled audio or video files...and you've got a stand-up PowerPoint Valentine.
Why just send a paper card...when you can stand and deliver?
Boo! It's that time of year: the last day of October calls for scary Halloween clip art or photos to pepper throughout your PowerPoint presentations.
Ghosts, skeletons, skulls, bats, haunted houses, pumpkins, spiders, witches, and goblins... and all sorts of other creepy crawlies that go bump in the night! You can trick or treat yourself to some awesome Halloween graphics, available for free download at the following sites: