A SWOT analysis is a popular business tool for examining how a company is performing and how it can be improved. “SWOT” stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
A business SWOT analysis is often used to share information with potential investors so that they can make an informed decision about the company’s chances of earning a profit. It’s also often used by executives and managers for briefings to boards or employees on where the company stands, where it is headed, and targets for improvement. Read more
It’s a common topic in business presentations: Henri Fayol’s theory of the five functions of management. This theory, devised nearly a hundred years ago, has played a monumental role in defining the modern concept of effective management.
Need a quick review of Fayol’s theory – or a themed slide bundle to make your presentation simple? Read on for details. Read more
A timeline tells a story. It may be the story of events that have already occurred – a sort of historical chart. It may also be the story of events that are yet to occur – or at least, events someone hopes will occur, or plans to bring about. The timeline format allows events to be shown in sequence. This makes it a great tool for learning (or teaching) the relationship of events to one another.
One of the most important steps in creating a PowerPoint presentation takes place before you even go near a computer. Good old paper and pen are all you need for this crucial procedure. Or rather, paper, pen and brain. What is this step? Outlining.
Now before you moan about outlining being for English class or some other painful experience out of your past, give me a chance here. I’ll explain what I’m talking about – and I think you’ll end up agreeing with me. Read more
Most people can put together a basic PowerPoint pretty easily. However, it’s not uncommon to find someone avoiding use of some PowerPoint tools because they’re uncertain how to go about it. Let’s take a look at one of the easier things you can do to enhance Microsoft PowerPoint templates and your own slide designs. Read on to find out how easy it is to insert images as objects or backgrounds. Read more
Obviously, any PowerPoint presentation should contain compelling content delivered in a logical order. But what about design?
A PowerPoint theme is a package of background colors, accent colors, header and text fonts, and other design elements that work together to create a visual impression. Each theme also offers a particular layout of slide elements—the placement of headers, images, and text boxes. With all of the PowerPoint 2010 themes available, how can you tell which one will provide the best visual framework for your presentation? Read more
Charts, process diagrams and tables are valuable tools for conveying a number of rather complex concepts and processes. Results of analyses, projections of financials, budgets and other such items can be laid out so they’re easy for your audience to grasp – far easier than if you were to simply try to explain them, with no visual aids. Read more
Presentations have always been a part of business meetings, but for quite a few years now, PowerPoint has been the most common presentation medium. Oh, the more traditional whiteboard and the venerable easel, pad and marker are still around, and probably will be for a long time to come. But PPT, for now, reigns supreme.
Creating a Custom Look
Microsoft Office, just as you buy it on a disk or download it, has a big library of slide show templates, suitable for most any type of report or presentation. These see a lot of use, though; since they’re already on an MS Office-equipped computer, there are many, many people who use them, and then pass them on to their associates, who use them and pass them on further… You get the idea. If you want a fresh, custom look – one that isn’t likely to get people thinking “been there; seen that” within the first few slides – downloading PowerPoint slide themes from a provider other than Microsoft is a smart move.
How to Find, Choose and Use PowerPoint Slide Themes
A simple online search for “PowerPoint slide themes,” “ppt background” or something similar will net you literally a million results or more. Just because they’re so simple to find, though, doesn’t meant that you can just click on a site at random and expect to find the perfect theme – the one that’s going to make your next presentation an out-of-the-park success. Here are a few fast tips on how to select and use ppt backgrounds and themes effectively:
▪ Use color sparingly, use white space well
Color is great and can be used very effectively to create or contribute to a mood, emphasize important points and so on. It can be badly over-used, though – making a slide or whole presentation look cheap, gaudy and unprofessional (if not just plain ridiculous).
Another aspect of color use is actually its reverse: white space use. A slide with plenty of white space looks “open.” It’s easy to look at. It makes the words and images on the screen stand out and helps focus attention where you want it focused.
Using contrasting colors (in graphic elements and text, for example) can be very effective. If you plan to print out your presentation as a handout, or for later quick reference, be careful about the colors you choose. Some colors look great and stand out well against each other on the screen, but turn to mud or worse when printed (especially when printed in black and white). And for printing purposes, dark-color backgrounds can be a real disaster to try to read, as well as very expensive in terms of ink/toner use!
▪ Keep background images to a minimum
Used wisely, background images can enrich a presentation and forward its message quite effectively. However, if they’re too “loud,” they can also be a major distraction – exactly what you don’t want. To avoid this, use a subtle background, such as one that is translucent or a “watermark.” It’s also usually best to choose a stationary background image instead of one that’s animated. Though animated backgrounds do have their uses, motion easily catches the eye and pulls attention, stealing focus from the message you’re working so hard to convey.
▪ Avoid file-heavy backgrounds
Although most PowerPoint slide themes are compacted for easy loading, an elaborate and “heavy” (large file size) template, when used in a slide that also contains large-file graphics, photos, video, animation or other hefty elements, could end up slowing your whole presentation as the computer struggles to load the big slides. Unless you enjoy the sensation of embarrassment, or have some great jokes to keep people entertained when your presentation freezes up, fat files should be avoided! And remember – even if your own hot new computer can handle the load, there’s always the chance that you’ll end up having to use someone else’s not-so-hot machine, come presentation day.
As you’re well aware by now, Microsoft PowerPoint is a versatile and powerful tool for creating compelling business presentations. The ability to create and deliver such presentations is more and more important in today’s business environment. They’re found everywhere, from the mail room to the boardroom, from sales presentations to conference calls. They’re used for training, general information, sales, marketing, planning, proposals and you name it. Read more