24 Nov 2014

Run Part of a Presentation in Continuous Loop [Reader Question]

In an earlier post, I wrote about how to make a presentation run in continuous loop. Example: A 5 slide presentation starts at slide 1, then goes to 2, 3, 4, then 5 and comes back to slide 1 and again 2. It keeps running.

Yesterday a reader asked a question: "Is there a way to have a loop in one part of the slideshow then advance on click in the next part?"

Problem: You have a 7 slide presentation. You want to run slides 1 to 5 in a continuous loop. Slide 6 & 7 are not part of the loop. Then after a while, you wish to start presenting from slide 6. How can we set this up?

Solution: The solution is simple. Open PowerPoint normally. You have all slides on the left side. Hide slides 6 & 7. Right click on them and select Hide Slide.

Now create a loop with slides 1 to 5. You can read the earlier post to know how to create this loop.

Now when the presentation is run in slideshow mode (press F5) you will only see slides 1 to 5 running in a loop. Slides 6 and 7 will not be visible. Whenever you want to move to slide 6, just press '6' on your keyboard and press Enter. Voila! You can now move forward and start presenting normally from slide 6 onward.

I tried this in PowerPoint 2010. The same should work in other versions as well.

17 Nov 2014

Buy Dan Roam's Book on Presentations for FREE

Looks like a special promotion on Amazon. You can buy Dan Roam's book on Presentations 'Show and Tell' for free.

Click here for Amazon.com
Click here for Amazon.in

It is only the Kindle version which is free. Go ahead and download it before the offer is gone.

Update on November 23: The offer is now only available if you login from India. I can still see $0 for Kindle version.

13 Nov 2014

Pixabay: Free Photos for Your Presentation

Pixabay is an awesome website where you can get free images for your presentation. What's great about this website is its high quality high resolution images, most of which are free for commercial use and there is no need for attribution as well.

Just type your keyword. The first few images are from shutterstock. This is an ad and these images are not free :). Choose the image you like from the second row onward. You can choose the resolution you prefer. For PowerPoint, M or L is good enough. When in doubt, choose L size.

Do read the terms of usage every time you are about to download the image. As I said, most images are free for commercial use and you don't need to even give a hyper link to pixabay.

Other than photos, you also have vector graphics and illustrations. It's awesome and it's free. You have to try out this website and spread the word. Share this post with your friends.

11 Nov 2014

What story will your audience tell about your PPT?


"Tell me two or three very interesting things about your company.Things which my CEO will share with his friends over a game of Golf", said the Vice President.

Recently a friend of mine narrated this interesting incident to me. His company acquired another company in India. My friend and his VP had to make a small presentation about the newly acquired company to their CEO. While the CEO knew the financial stuff about the acquired company, what the VP wanted to present was 2 or 3 very cool stuff which gives the CEO something nice to talk about.

Imagine the CEO (the audience of the presentation) playing Golf with this friends. His friends (also CEOs) ask him, what's new? He replies to them saying he has just acquired another company for XYZ million dollars and then narrates few amazing things about the company. These are small nuggets of information which makes the CEO look cool as he shares it with his friends.

It is one thing to give a presentation and hope the audience picks up what they find interesting. Here the VP was talking of a totally different thing. Decide before hand the few things you know are cool about the company and plant them properly in your presentation. The CEO will surely pick it up and use it the next day when he meets his friends.

The lesson for the rest of us is: If your audience has to share something about your presentation to their friends, what will they talk about? Can you plant a few things which will register in their mind. Things which are interesting, easy to recall and will make the audience look cool in front of their friends.

8 Nov 2014

What your CEO really wants from your presentation?


You do not present to your CEO every other day. When you do get a chance to present to him/her, spend some extra time preparing. Do not try to impress. Deliver a good presentation by knowing that your CEO wants from you.

1. Super short presentation: Your CEO is always short of time and cannot take it too much information. Hence keep the presentation ultra short. Find out how much time has he allocated to your meeting. If your CEO has given you 20 minutes, finish your presentation in 15.

2. The big picture: Your CEO does not have the time and capacity for the micro and the small stuff. He/she needs to get the overall picture. Do not bog him/her down with the small stuff that might matter at your level. Find out why he asked you to present and give him exactly that and nothing else.

3. Accuracy of data: CEO's have a trust problem. That's part of their job. When you present a table on slide 1 and then a related table on slide 2 ensure that there is no data mismatch. The percentages always add up to 100%. If they don't, mention this when you present to the CEO. If you say the market is growing at 5%, what's the source of this information? Have it ready and share it when asked.

4. Solid information and no decoration: All CEO's I have come across in my 11 years of career are men of data. They have no regard for beautiful slides. The CEO does not want decoration. Neat and clean slides which communicate the important stuff is all that matters. Do not waste time over choosing the right template. Choose any simple template and ensure every slide has few words and say what really matters.

2 Nov 2014

Presentation FAQ: Should I memorize what I have to say?

I came across a question on Quora today. What is better? Memorize your content and deliver your presentation OR read your notes.

My answer will be none.

You should not read out anything from your notes while delivering your presentation. At best, have a list of bullet points if you want not to forget anything and refer to this list once in a while.

You should not memorize your content as well. Memorizing is the worst thing one can do. Rehearse the presentation 5 to 10 times and you will naturally get into the flow. You will know what to speak when without memorizing anything. Hence the final presentation will come out natural.

19 Sep 2014

Send me 5 slides

My friend works in a consumer goods company and he reports to the CEO. Yesterday my friend called me. He was frustrated. He wanted to send an important proposal to his boss and he had worked on this project for more than a week. When he asked his boss for some time to discuss the matter he was asked "Send me 5 slides."

CEOs are busy and so is everyone. Whether you are sending a sponsorship proposal to a company or a CV (resume) to a prospective employer, everyone is busy. The recipient does not share the same love for your PPT as you do. Hence it becomes important to condense your hours of work into something easily digestible.

The challenge which my friend is facing is actually good for him. Try reducing every presentation you make to 5 slides. Not possible? Give it a shot. Even if you don't present just 5 slides, this process will bring amazing clarity to your mind. You will end up with the really meaty stuff (that matters) and you will be forced to eradicate the less important stuff.

Caveat: Your 5 slides cannot look like the one below. It has to have few words on it. The other rules of making a good presentation do not change because your boss wants 5 slides :)

18 Aug 2014

Emaze: A New Alternative to PowerPoint & Prezi

Emaze is a new online technology which allows you to create presentations. It is simple to use and it will surely enhance the looks of your presentation dramatically. This is how the site works:

Sign Up
Choose a template
Add a ready-made slide
Type your content, add images and videos
You're ready
Share it with the world

Before getting into details, let me share what I feel is the real benefit of using Emaze. It allows you to make visually good looking presentations quickly. You choose a template and then you add ready-made slides. You have a slide to add quote, one with a timeline, one with a chart, one with a SmartArt kind of image, one with a table and so on.

Some templates of Emaze are like MS PowerPoint and some are like Prezi. When you work on Emaze, your deck sits in the cloud. You can access it from anywhere and on any device.

Watch this short 2 minute video for a crux of what the site does:

There are 32 templates as of now. The site tries to address all kinds of presenters. From managers to school teachers. From students to professionals. Here are a few samples:

While some templates are simple, some have lots of transitions and some are too much 3D. It totally depends on your situation and need. That should drive your choice of templates. If you keep your mouse over a template, you can get to see a preview of the template.

Slide Layouts
Once you have chosen your template, you can now start adding slides. Again we have a huge choice here. To try this out, I chose the Market Analysis template, since this is more in line with my needs as a manager. There are 22 different types of slides layouts within this template. Here are a few samples:

Once you choose a slide layout, you can start typing out your content in place of the existing content. You can also add a new text box or image (just like you do in PowerPoint). We can also delete existing text/image from the slide layout. The layout can be totally customized.

The basic version is free, so you can try it out and see for yourself. The  PRO option is available for $4.90 per month. Click here to know more. Please note: If you sign up for free, your presentation will be public and anyone can see it. Most of the best features are generally reserved for the paid users :)

Caveat (a word of caution)
While Emaze will surely help you make visually good looking presentations faster, it is no substitute for proper presentation planning (hard work). A presentation is successful because of its content. Emaze or PowerPoint is just a tool. The tool will only make your life easier.

Another caveat is to not to get too carried away after looking at all these jazzy templates. Choose the one which meets your needs. The simpler the better. Do not try to impress your audience with your design. Try to get your message to your audience in the least possible time with the least possible noise.

Who is Emaze for?
Emaze is for busy people who need a deck fast. It is for people who do not have mastery over PowerPoint or similar such software. Sign up for free and check it out. It will save a lot of your time.

Watch some presentations created by others using Emaze.
Click here to visit the site.

Disclaimer: I do not get any commission when you sign up on Emaze. However, their ad is currently running on my blog.