Last year, we collaborated with Spreadsheet1.com to create 24 PowerPoint-related questions, then put them together into an Advent calendar, in a downloadable Microsoft Excel file. With this unique little calendar, presenters, public speakers, presentation designers, and MS Office users can challenge themselves and their colleagues on their knowledge of original and most popular presentation software. It’s also a fun way to count down the days to Christmas!
To learn more about the PowerPoint Advent Calendar, visit this link. At the bottom of the web page, you’ll find instructions on how to download the Excel file. Enjoy!
Microsoft has officially launched two new PowerPoint 2016 design features that will raise your presentations to a new level of sophistication – in just a few seconds. These intelligent tools, called Designer and Morph, can go a long way toward making your slides more dynamic and engaging.
When organizing an important conference, one of your key responsibilities is often choosing the right keynote speaker. The keynote speech sets the tone for the event, so it’s critical that you pick someone who can truly deliver – that is, someone who will orient your attendees to the conference’s goals and motivate them to participate to the fullest.
Now, you might ask, “How do I know when I’ve found such a speaker?” Here are five factors that will serve you well in the selection process: Read more
When you feel down, lost, or disenchanted, an effective motivational speaker can help give you a brighter perspective and even set your life on a new course. This isn’t new news or a grand revelation. It’s what a motivational speaker is supposed to do. Now here’s a thought that may be new: have you ever considered being a motivational speaker yourself?
There’s no question that motivational speaking can be quite a fulfilling job. Just think of the people who discover how to capitalize on their skills, maximize their resources or even start a whole new chapter in their lives, simply through the power of your words! On a more materialistic level, there are some attractive perks, too – such as invitations to travel, and handsome professional fees. Interesting? Think it would be worth a try? Read more
The primary reason for embarrassingly failed PowerPoint presentations – the “death by PowerPoint phenomenon,” as it is very un-affectionately known – is not the software used. It is the user. Specifically, the user who mis-uses it, or fails to take effective advantage of its features.
Because we want you to be a brilliant presenter (or at least a confident, effective one), we’ve tracked down six tutorial videos we’re confident will help you master some advanced PowerPoint skills.
#1: Keeping track of changes
Many presenters today collaborate with colleagues on an important presentation. This can be a very effective method of enhancing and refining a slide deck. Unfortunately it can also get rather tricky and complicated. And if any contributor forgets to engage the “Track Changes” function, important information, ideas, design solutions and the like can be lost or forgotten. Fortunately, there is a way to recover such losses – as shown in the following video.
Often in the rush and stress of preparing for a presentation, we make assumptions about a vital element of the presenting process. Assumptions that can lead to real trouble. That element is the presentation venue. What sort of room is it? Where will you be standing, and what furnishings and equipment will be available? What about computer and projection equipment, and compatibility? If you don’t know the answers to these points and adjust your preparations accordingly, presentation day can be a stressed-out, embarrassing disaster. Even a little set-up stress can throw you off your stride and damage your composure, stage presence and delivery.
If you’re saying, “Well, I always present in the same room; I’m totally familiar with the whole set-up, so this doesn’t really apply to me.” You’re right to an extent – have a familiar venue is a big plus. But you still have some crucial homework to do. Before you get up there to begin, you’d better know everything is working that day. Electronics are finicky things. People “borrow” or rearrange things and don’t put them back where they belong. Any number of unforeseen mess-ups can occur. And the day you don’t do a good check-over before taking the stage will be the day one of those mess-ups rears up and bites you.
Just like any other basic human emotion, the feeling of fear has been programmed into your system from the time you were born. It’s an instinctive survival mechanism that cautions you to be careful and stay away from danger. Unfortunately there are times when fear takes the driver’s seat – inappropriately and seemingly out of your control – and causes you to shy away when you should go courageously ahead. So fear can be a healthy, helpful thing, but too much fear at the wrong time can end up being a major drawback, unhealthy indeed.
It’s no secret that “unhealthy” fear is a major reason many view public speaking, normally a completely safe activity, as a threat, to be avoided whenever possible. Thank goodness there are ways to overcome your public speaking anxiety. One effective way to start is by reading about some possible reasons behind your apprehensions.
#1: You assume you just weren’t born to be a public speaker
It’s true; some people have a gift for wowing a crowd without much effort at all. They speak eloquently, spontaneously and naturally. From the moment they walk on stage they engage their audience, convey their ideas fluently, and tell stories in an entertaining, effective way.
But here’s a message from Ralph Waldo Emerson: Every great speakers started out as a poor speaker. The orators we look up to have also experienced their panic-stricken moments on the stage. Not convinced? Here are just a few examples:
Warren Buffet admitted he had a deep-seated fear of public speaking when he was a student. To beat it, he enrolled in a Dale Carnegie course.
Nancy Duarte received a C-minus in a speech communication class, and a D in English classes in college. Her failures motivated her to write best-selling books about speech communication.
In the video below, you’ll see a young Steve Jobs with an obvious case of nerves before his first TV interview.
Video: Steve Jobs nervous during his first TV interview
It’s a hard fact of being a speaker or presenter: sometimes your train of thought gets derailed. It happens even to the most experienced, the most eloquent and the best prepared among us. And it’s no fun for any of us!
If you’re just talking with friends or family, this sort of blank-out is just a bit embarrassing, and easily forgivable. But what if you’re in front a group of important clients, professionals, investors or the like – people you’re most definitely there to impress? You can’t just hit “rewind” and have another try. And “hold on – what was I saying?” isn’t going to do much for your image – or your composure!
A “prop” is any object you use to improve the impact of your presentation. The word’s origin traces back to the early days of the theater industry. In those days, theatrical performers usually provided their own costumes – but special items such as stage furniture and weapons were considered “company property.” With time, the term was shortened down to just “prop.” Eventually it moved into use outside the world of the stage; today it is commonly used to refer to any object used in movies, TV, speeches, presentations and even in classroom lectures.
Strictly speaking, your presentation slides are props of a sort, but we don’t usually think of them that way. We’re generally talking about objects that illustrate what we’re talking about, or add dramatic or engaging impact.
Now, you’ve probably been subjected to a presentation or two where the speaker brought out a prop that just came off as gimmickry, irrelevant, overly “cutesie” or just plain distracting. So how do you decide whether a prop will be an asset to your presentation? To help answer that question (and at the risk of seeming gimmicky!) we’ve come up with a little memory aid: CURE.