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Get the Best out of PowerPoint and Presentations using Visualbee You must already know by now, how beneficial Visualbee can be when it comes to making high-impact presentations. Here is a short guide to tell you how you can make the best out of your presentation using Visualbee:

Make images fit the Slides:

Using good imagery in your presentation is one of the best moves you can make to get the best out of a presentation. In the case of using a portrait layout of a picture on a landscape oriented slide, the image looks rather out of place surrounded by the slide design theme. One simple trick that Visualbee uses is to change the colour of the slide background to black. When you make the slide background black, the picture seems to be floating on screen. Visualbee knows just how to enhance your slides with pictures.

Avoid using Moving Text on Your Slides:

Try not to use moving text on PowerPoint slides. Well, as much as you might like the ability for your important points to zoom in, or spiral onto the slide, not only is this distracting away from your message, but these "special features" eat into your time. Leave the fancy text manoeuvrings. Visualbee understands this very well and thus instead of messing with your text, it enhances your presentation using unique design templates and other graphics.

Use Slide Master:

Make global changes in slide master. If you are new to PowerPoint, or even a seasoned presenter, look into the use of the slide master to speed up the creation stage of making a presentation. The slide master contains all the features that are at work behind the scenes. By making a change once in the slide master, you don't have to do this same thing individually on each slide. Slide master helps change the font style, colour and size for all slides, add a company logo so that it appears on all slides, change the location of the text placeholders, etc. 

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Staring at the glow of your blank computer screen with no idea on how to open or start your presentation? We’ve all struggled with the best ways to open a presentation. But don’t worry, Visualbee is here to guide you through this problem. Here are 5 powerful ways to open a presentation:

Silence is Gold:

Most people won’t be able to pull this off very easily but during your next presentation, try to opt for silence. Speak a few words and then be quiet. Say a few more words then be quiet again. It is a very quick and easy way to own the room. But do remember to hold your composure.

Steer attention towards the Future or Past:

Use two simple statements:

-Prospective (looking to the future): “30 Years from now, your job won’t exist.”

-Retrospective (looking to the past): “In 1970, Japan owned 9% of the market. Today, they own 37%.”

The reality is that looking into the future or past always sparks engagement.

Quote a famous quote:

The easiest way to open a high impact presentation is simply to quote someone. Think about that last presenter you heard when they opened their presentation with a quote from Albert Einstein or Napoleon. A quote equals instant credibility.

Share Something Extraordinary:

Share an extraordinary story with the audience to generate interest. Engage your audience with a unique and interesting story.

Tell a Story

Here’s the amazing thing about presentations: If your presentation is based only on facts and statistics then your audience is going to react in one of two ways: 1) agree or 2) disagree. However, if you tell a story, your audience will interact with you. 

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Top 5 Tips To Plan Your Presentation

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#1 Pick Your Topic:

Selecting a topic is the most crucial step of presentation planning process. The list of topics you can choose from is never-ending. Remember that the topics should be age-appropriate and in good taste.  Choose a topic that fits your knowledge and skill level. If it’s your first time giving a presentation, it is best to pick a topic with which you are familiar. If you are an experienced presenter, then try challenging yourself. Explore a new kind of topic and try to grow and learn.

#2 Gather Information:

After deciding on a topic, do some research and gather information about your topic. Try to learn as much as possible about your topic. The more you know, the more confident you will be when you are giving the presentation and the easier it will be to answer questions.  You can acquire information from several different sources including books, newspapers, internet, etc. Information you gather should be recent and accurate. The most important thing is to gather complete information and to know the source of your information.

#3 Outline your presentation:

 There are many ways of preparing what you will include in your speech. Some people only use outlines, but write out their introduction and conclusion. You should experiment to determine what works best for you. Whichever method you use, start with forming an outline. List the important points you want to state and arrange them in a logical order. Under each main heading, list the details you need to cover.

#4 Play with Visual Aids:

 Visuals can be of various kinds: actual objects, posters, videos, charts, slides, etc. If you are presenting a demonstration, you must have at least one visual aid. Visual aids are used to enhance your presentation. They can add spark to your presentation and help keep the audience’s interest alive. They can help the audience learn faster, understand better, and remember longer. Make sure your visual aid has a purpose and that it is easy to use or show. Visual aids should not overpower your presentation. They should simply reinforce what you are saying.

#5 Practice:

 No matter how much time you spend on all the other steps in planning a presentation, nothing takes the place of practicing. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will be while giving your speech. When you practice, you need to talk out loud, not just in your head. Get in the habit of using complete sentences. Practice the whole presentation at once. This will allow you to see if everything goes smoothly together.

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Tools like Visualbee can go a long way in making your presentation look great, but there's only so much that looks can do. While getting the sensibility of your slides and associated imagery is important, you must also learnhow to plan and structure your presentation. Visualbee prescribes the below given points in order to organise your presentation for best results.

Step 1: Begin with your big message:

A big message is the main thing you want your audience to know about you and is the purpose of the presentation.  Commence with the big message to set you apart from other presenters and convince your audience you are there with them to share something important.

Step 2: Organize your content in 3 to 5 main topics:

If your PowerPoint presentation seems reasonable to the audience, they understand it better. So you need to organize your content in a coherent structure so it makes sense and organize into to 3 to 5 main topics for easier remembering and understanding. This way even if you talk really long and the audience forgets the details, they will still remember the main topics.

Step 3: Highlight your main ideas with visual illustrations:

We have mentioned again and again that pictures are always more memorable than words. When you need to use many words to explain one thing, it is better to use a picture to show what it is. If you are allowed to make the picture humorous, it will be even better. Visualbee highlights and supports your content with just the right pictures and designs.

Step 4:  Purge as much text as you can; your slides are a visual aid not a story book:

Good eye contact is the key of a successful PowerPoint presentation and one cannot maintain an eye contact with the audience if they are busy reading from the screen. Use only bullets and key words on your slides.

Step 5: Instead of printing the PowerPoint slides as handouts, create separate documents:

PowerPoint slides and documents have so many differences like backgrounds, fonts, etc. PowerPoint slides look good on screens but not on paper. It is better to create reader-friendly documents because people actually read them.

Step 6: Conclude your presentation by returning to your opening big message:

Once you are finished delivering content, repeat the big message you started with to remind your audience of the true purpose of the presentation. Also when you end where you began, your presentation has a flawless and satisfying quality of a good performance.

Step 7: Practice well before the presentation:

Practise can make your presentation look more professional. It is really difficult to do everything well at the first try. So practice some times and check you make good eye contact and speak conversationally. When you are practised, the presentation will seem more casual and easy going.

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While Visualbee can really help you add immense value to the design of your presentations, there are a number of other factors that go into making a high impact presentation. The below 6 points will help you focus on the right things. 

A big yet ideal idea:

Presenters usually spend too little time or no time at all thinking about what they want to say. Making a point or effectively conveying a message to your audience thinking and planning. To start your thinking process, research the topic you plan to present. This way you might find inspiring and solid statistics. After this try to consider your audience's needs and brainstorm ways to meet those needs.

Have a good presentation Structure:

After adjusting your presentation, build your presentation storyboard. Outline your presentation structure and think of the number of ways to present your information. Present your information as a story as this makes the whole process less daunting and stress-free.

Designing Slides:

For presentations, a very important rule is to present qualitative data with words and all quantitative data with numbers. Expressive charts make helpful visual guides for your presentations. Media like photos and videos are helpful visual elements in presentation. Try to avoid boring fonts like Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman in your presentation and instead use standout fonts such as Lobster Two and Alternate Gothic No. 2.

Put yourself in their shoes:

You may be a bit nervous while giving a presentation in front of a huge crowd. Use this simple trick: Picture yourself as holding the same role as your audience. Make note of the similarities you share with them instead of focusing on the differences. Talking to co-workers will increase your comfort level and make your presentation seem more natural and easy-going.

Control your voice

When people get nervous, their voice sounds high-pitched and uncertain. Avoid this by speaking from your chest instead. Nervous people also rush their words when speaking. But people with expert opinions speak more slowly so that the audience can process what they have to say. 

Avoid unnecessary out the filler:

Filler words such as “um,” “like,” and “ah” are the kiss of death for a good presentation. If you feel you may stumble, take a brief pause and decide what you’re going to say. The pause makes you look more thoughtful. It also gives you time to properly visualize and express what you need to say.

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Visualbee's Dont's For a Great Presentation

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6 Secrets of Bad Presentations (and How to Avoid Them)

Being nervous about a presentation is pretty normal.

None of us want to deliver a bad presentation and we have all sat through enough horrible ones to know that it is possible.  Our worst nightmare is looking out into the audience and seeing a sea of glossed over eyes, people checking their cell phones and the rest counting ceiling tiles.

This doesn’t happen by accident, so don’t let this happen to you! While there are no universal formulas to delivering a presentation, aside from the tremendous amount of advice and angles to deliver a spectacular one, avoid the following at all costs.

Self Confidence

This one, more than any other, is attributed to lack of confidence and nervousness, but these statements are credibility killers. Unless you’re using those as a specific lead-in to what you’re going to say, your audience will have already pegged you as a mediocre presenter (at best). To get you through this crucial moment, take a deep breath in and just start your presentation.

Eye Contact

This is a great way to let your audience feel disconnected from you. Look at the back wall, the ceiling, your shoes a gaping void in the universe, or just anywhere that isn’t your audience.

Connecting with your audience requires you to at least look at them. Make eye-contact with a person for a few brief moments and then pick somebody else until you’ve made your rounds around the room. For the nervous types who hate making eye-contact, look at their foreheads.

Equipment Checks

Nothing kills the mood more than waiting twenty minutes for a presenter to work through their technical issues.

Get to the presentation room at least an hour before people arrive and make sure any equipment you’ll be using is in good working order. Make sure to plan for the worst and always have a backup plan! Technology has come a long way, but it’s still not 100% reliable when you need it to be.

Know Your Content

Uttering the phrases “I’ll put it together on stage,” “I kind of got it,” and “I get the jist of it” are surefire predictors that you will stumble through your presentation. It will come across sloppy, disorganized and unprofessional.

Make sure that when you deliver your presentation, you know the content so well you can teach it to another person. Because in a way, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Also, be ready for questions afterward.

Do Not Alienate Your Audience

In high school, our communications teacher took us (a class  of 16) to a Microsoft conference, where they were unveiling Active Directory. During the keynote, in a room with over 200 people, the first thing out of the speaker’s mouth was, “I know there are students in here right now and that’s great, but this presentation isn’t for you.”

Very Important

Know your audience! Speak their language, their tone and their energy level – communicate with them, not at them.

Dont Ignore Your Time

Go off on tangents, ignore your time and make sure to speak longer than for what you’ve been scheduled. This is one guaranteed way to disrespect the person/events following you and your audience who is waiting for you to finish. Unless, of course, everybody is on the edge of their seats hanging on to your every word. (*Hint – they will tell you to keep going if that’s the case)

The one way around this is to practice, practice, practice… out loud! It’s always perfect in your head, but reality comes a knocking when you practice out loud. Refine your presentation until it hits all your major points within your time limit. Your audience will love you for it.

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In fact, the guaranteed way to avoid many of these, is to practice at nausea. Practice walking on to the stage, saying your opening line and delivering the entire presentation. Get feedback from anybody who is willing to listen. Doing so will put you in a better class of presenters – one that people will want to sit through.

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Visualbee Compilation of Common Presentation Mistakes

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Presenters are beginning to realise that their presentations don’t have to be boring, and it is inspiring to see that people are moving away from bullet points to more engaging visuals. Audiences are now demanding more, and presenters are rising to meet this.

Thus presenters often design their slides to make sense on their own, expecting to just elaborate on them when in front of an audience. This idea has fuelled a whole range of presentation mishaps, which we’ve outlined below.

Mistake #1: Asking Your Audience to Read a Lot

Thankfully, this sort of slide is rare now. The worst visual aid is the one that’s not designed for a presentation, but as a document. The audience have come to listen to you – not to read. This sort of slide would be more useful when emailed as a document than projected onto a screen.

Enough complaints have been made about this practice now that there really is no excuse. The layout doesn’t matter – a lot of text is ineffective, whatever format it is in. And if you put text up but say something else – your audience will still read. And ignore you.

And aside from anything else – with that much text on screen, will they even be able to see it all properly?

Mistake #2: Bullet points

Do bullet points look exciting? Every presenter should know of the staleness of bullet points by now. There has been enough hype in the media, and enough books published, for the majority of people to understand that bullet points do not work. So why are audiences still subjected to this? Bullet points are not engaging.

The current craze is to remove the bullet points, placing each idea onto its own slide instead. While this is an improvement, it doesn’t matter where the bullets are – even if each point is on a separate slide, they are still bullet points.

Mistake #3: ClipArt

Thankfully, this has seen a dramatic downturn in popularity, but the fact that we managed to find even one example of this is reason enough to provide a reminder. ClipArt is tacky and awful, does not aid audience comprehension in any way, and will just leave them distinctly unimpressed.

Mistake #4: Tacky Stock Imagery

Does this really need an explanation? The picture looks unprofessional, and doesn’t aid the audience’s comprehension in any way. This isn’t the sort of picture you’d expect to see in the boardroom, or at a really good TED talk. In fact, this sort of image could really be considered as photograph ClipArt.

If you want to impress with your presentation, make sure that you use only the best visuals. Using humour is risky at the best of times, and this sort of silliness is unlikely to make a good impression.

Mistake #5: Complicated Diagrams

Aside from the awful colours and the bizarre text bubble in the background, there is far too much going on on this slide. Throw up something like this and your audience will give up before they’ve started. Complicated diagrams are difficult enough to digest when perusing them at one’s own leisure: when put up on a slide with a presenter talking over them, the audience has even less chance of comprehending. There’s just far too much information here to digest – is the presenter really asking the audience to acknowledge all of these data points?

Diagrams should be simple, and should build so that each point can be talked about as it appears on screen. Putting everything up at once just renders the audience unable to digest the information, and can leave them so overwhelmed that they disengage entirely

Mistake #6: Distracting Pictures

This type of slide demonstrates what some presenters refer to as ‘the visual metaphor’. A metaphor or comparison is selected, often a well-known cliché or conceit. This is then pictured in the form of an abstract visual, and an image is found that vaguely portrays this. The image is most often big. And beautiful. So beautiful in fact, that audiences would happily have it on their walls. So beautiful in fact, that they could stare at it for hours, happily drifting off into their own personal daydreams…

See the problem?

Unless your visual aids are strictly relevant to your message – don’t include them. Visuals can be more distracting than you think, and encouraging your audience to think about something else while they’re supposed to be listening to you is never a good idea.

Mistake #7: Explaining the Point

The presenter who uses this method has realised that visuals can be seriously distracting when used incorrectly. So in order to ensure that the audience focus on the message rather than on the pretty pictures, he outlines the point of the slide. Great. Can’t ignore that, can they?

Well, no. Which is the problem.

If you put text on a slide, the audience will read this instead of listening to you. No problem, the presenter replies. I’ve only put up one sentence. They can read it, and then come back to listening to me.

But why should they? As far as the audience is concerned, your slide completely explains the point. They don’t need to listen to you – they already ‘get it’. Unless your truly spectacular presenting skills can drag the audience’s attention back, they may disengage – because if the slide explains the point, the presenter’s role is defunct.

Conclusion

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So, when designing your next presentation, think about what will most help you to keep the audience engaged, whilst aiding their comprehension of your point. Think about each visual you choose: why are you using that particular slide? If it doesn’t help the audience grasp your point without distracting them – don’t use it.

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Visualbee Presents Presentation Fundamentals

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Presentations are something that we’re all familiar with. Whether you are watching a presentation or giving a presentation, chances are you know what is good and what is not. While VIsualbee gives you a great platform to create your presentation, there are a few fundamentals that need to be kept in mind.

Don’t abuse your visuals – Usually your visuals are posters, charts, or even a PowerPoint presentation. Whatever your visuals may be, keep them simple and don’t put too many words on them. The audience isn’t there to read your slides, they are there to listen to you present.

Look at the audience – If you ever wondered where you should be looking when presenting, the answer is right in front of you. Don’t just single out one person, but instead try to make eye contact with numerous people throughout the room. If you don’t do this then you aren’t engaging the audience, you are just talking to yourself. This can result in an utter lack of attention from your audience.

Show your personality – It doesn’t matter if you are presenting to a corporate crowd or to senior citizens, you need to show some character when presenting. If you don’t do this you’ll probably sound like Agent Smith from the Matrix. Nobody wants to hear him present. (If you do, you are probably an agent yourself and we will find you)

Make them laugh – Although you want to educate your audience, you need to make them laugh as well. I learned this from Guy Kawasaki and if you ever hear any of his speeches you’ll understand why. In essence, it keeps the audience alert and they’ll learn more from you than someone who just educates.

Talk to your audience, not at them – People hate it when they get talked at, so don’t do it. You need to interact with your audience and create a conversation. An easy way to do this is to ask them questions as well as letting them ask you questions.

Be honest – A lot of people present to the audience what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. Make sure you tell the truth even if they don’t want to hear it because they will respect you for that and it will make you more human.

Don’t over prepare – If you rehearse your presentation too much it will sound like it (in a bad way). Granted, you need to be prepared enough to know what you are going to talk about but make sure your presentation flows naturally instead of sounding memorized. Usually if you ask experienced speakers what you shouldn’t do, they’ll tell you not to rehearse your presentation too much because then it won’t sound natural.

Show some movement – You probably know that you need to show some movement when speaking, but naturally you may forget to do so. Make sure you show some gestures or pace around a bit (not too much) on the stage when speaking. Remember, no one likes watching a stiff. People are more engaged with an animated speaker.

Watch what you say – You usually don’t notice when you say “uhm”, “ah”, or any other useless word frequently, but the audience does. It gets quite irritating; so much that some members of the audience will probably count how many times you say these useless words.

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Differentiate yourself – If you don’t do something unique compared to all the other presenters the audience has heard, they won’t remember you. You are branding yourself when you speak, so make sure you do something unique and memorable.

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Designing Your Presentation The VisualBee Way

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While Visualbee can help you to add imagery and structure to your slides to help give you a platform to getting started, there are still tips that go beyond te deign of slides per say. These tips can be listed below

1. Treat Your Audience as King

Your audience is a king. They come to a presentation because they need it.

Design your presentation to meet your audience needs, not just yours. Audiences want to know what is important to them. That’s why you should create a clear, simple and easy to understand presentation.

2. Spread Ideas and Move People

Audiences want to get inspiration from your presentation. They also want to benefit from your thinking. Remember, presentation is not another meeting that gets people bored. It should be able to convey meaning.

Use animation to inspire and help audience understand your message better. Encourage them to act.

3. Help Them See What You Are Saying

A picture is worth a thousand words.

When making a presentation design, ask yourself, what am I trying to communicate?

Brainstorm ideas and replace words with pictures, charts or diagrams. Design a presentation that has a consistent appearance so that every slide will be focused on one single idea. This will help your audience easier to understand what you are saying. Don’t let their attention distracted by puzzling slides.

4. Practice Design Not Decoration

Design is different from decoration.

You are making a good design if you arrange every element consciously for specific communication objectives. Make sure that there is no picture, diagram or text, placed randomly without any purpose.

A design is very different from decoration. Decoration is only an act of adding something to decorate your slides. Unfortunately, often times it makes a presentation slide become complicated and confusing.

90% of a creative process is destructive. This means you need to reduce in order to get the essence of your message.

If you want to display a strong message, focus your statement on specific sentence that represent the main point of your presentation.

And if you want to display a powerful image, enlarge it to show its strength.

5. Cultivate Healthy Relationships

As a presenter, you are interacting with your slides and your audience. Build a good relationship with your audience and reduce your dependency on slides. Remove unnecessary text and focus on main subject.

Your slide serves as a visual communication to your audience.

Extend this function with your style of delivering the presentation. Make eye contact and use a friendly body language. This will develop trust and healthy relationships between you and your audience.

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Practice a lot before you perform. Practice and repetition are very important. It will help you mastering your presentation better and cultivate healthy relationship.

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Succeed At Your Presentation: Visualbee Tips

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We have all noticed speakers with unconscious habits such as adjusting their clothes, playing with their ring, or playing with their fingers while speaking or giving a presentation. When you're giving a presentation or speaking in public, you should avoid doing anything that might be considered distracting, annoying, or offensive by your audience. Also, your PowerPoint presentation if gone wrong can turn out to be a big mistake of your career. So what exactly should you not do? Here is Visualbee to guide you through it:

DO NOT Read Your Slides To The Audience:

It is possible to listen and read at the same time, though it is not possible to talk about something else, while reading out loud at the same time. This signifies that your audience will have already read whatever is on your slide before you do. There is no need to make your audience re-hear what they have already read. Use your slides to emphasize or prove your point, not to deliver them. Put your notes and what to read aloud on the presenter view. You’ll seem more knowledgeable when you cite something that isn’t up on the slide.

DO NOT Clutter up your slides:

With PowerPoint it is very easy to add graphics, videos, animations, fonts, WordArt, sounds, graphs, boxes, bullets, colours, backgrounds, transitions. With all of the great new features it is very easy to clutter up a slide with so much wiz and bang that your audience will never be able to absorb it all, let alone appreciate your point. Use the PowerPoint Slide Rule of 3+1+1. You can have up to 3 different elements on any one slide plus one “background” item plus one flash item.

DO NOT use Worthless Graphics, Images, Graphs, WordArt, SmartArt, etc.:

PowerPoint comes loaded with a lot of amazing ways to brighten up your presentation with Do not, under penalty of mockery, use unrelated visuals on your slides just to make them look less dull. Make your images count. A picture is worth a thousand words, take advantage. Always use graphical elements as “proof.” Visualbee helps you with such tasks by selecting the right images for your slides.

DO NOT Use Wrong Hand Gestures:

Arms folded across Your Chest, hands folded across your body, hands behind your back, hands on your hips, hands in your pockets are some hand gestures that give the impression that you are nervous and fidgeting. Folding your arms just doesn't look good. It suggests to people that you're closed off.

These were some of the most important DO NOTS one must remember while delivering presentations. Keep watching this space for more tips to improve your presentation skills.

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Visualbee's Guide Notes on Presentation Making

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Giving a presentation is a huge and scary responsibility. You are the only one who can avoid boredom by PowerPoint for your audience. Most of us often get stuck you’re your presentations because we are not sure how to go about it. Thankfully, several tips, tools, and other resources provided by Visualbee can help you take your slides up a notch and make them more professional and captivating. Visualbee presents to you a step by step guide you can go through every time you get stuck with your presentation 

Organise your presentation beforehand:

The best way to avoid getting stuck up is planning your presentation beforehand. Plan everything you want to include in your presentation. Work on your speech and slides beforehand to avoid last minute problems and panic.

The first slide:

The first slide should announce the title of your presentation, the event and date, and your name and position. Many speakers miss off some of this basic information and then weeks later the audience is not clear who made the presentation or when. You should try to make the title catchy, so that you immediately have the interest of your audience. A challenging question works well or you can use the play of words.

The second slide:

The second slide should capture the attention of your audience. It could be the main scheme of your presentation or some conventional idea that you wish to challenge or a relevant or witty quote from a leader in your field. If it is amusing or controversial or both, it will just add spice to your presentation.

The third slide:

The third slide should set out the structure of your presentation. The default structure should consist of all the themes that you intend to discuss.

• Each theme should be the subject of a small number of slides:

 A good working idea is that three slides for each theme are about right.

• Each slide should have a clear and relevant heading:

 A question is often a good way of winning attention - but, in that case, make sure you answer the question in the body of the slide.

• Each slide should contain around 25-35 words:

Unless it is a quote or contains an illustration, use limited text. Too many words and your audience will have problems reading the material. Too few words and you're likely to be flashing through the slides and spending too much time clicking the mouse.

• Make appropriate use of pictures:

It's a very clever idea to break up text with illustrations and we all very well know a picture is worth a thousand words.

• Make appropriate use of anecdotes:

A short story or case study will act as an effective illustration of a point. Add life to your presentation so people remember it.

The last slide:

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The last slide should display all the necessary contact details which must include e-mail address plus the web site, Facebook page and Twitter address of your organisation and any other personal website or blog if you own one.

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Less is More: Try to have only one point per slide. One or two strong graphic images or a succinct line of text will tell the story better than bullet points, or long paragraph of copy, complex graphics or charts. The audience needs to process what you're saying while at the same time absorbing your slide on the screen. So, rather than one complex slide, instead break it up into multiple slides, each with one main idea. This idea could be represented by a strong image, short phrases or data point.

 

Make sure you provide enough contrast between your content and the background. A simple background with solid color is best so it won't be distracting or overpowering and drown out your text or main image. The text should also be large enough to see from the back of the room.

Use strong visuals to support your message. Half of our brains are wired to process visual information. Like the old saying goes "a picture is worth a thousand words". So, instead of putting on the words on the slide, move them to the speaker note area or print handouts and instead find a strong image that captures the essence of your message and show that image instead. Otherwise, we tend to read ahead of the speaker and not fully pay attention to what he/she is saying. Use a photo to emotionally connect with the audience, engage them in a total immersive experience.

Always use high quality graphics either custom illustrations (think infographic type of imagery), or photos shot yourself or perhaps purchased professional stock photos (for example through either iStockphoto or ShutterStock). Don't just download an image from some website (beware of copyright issues) and then just stretch a small, low-resolution photo to make it fit your design causing the photo to show pixelation and lose its integrity. Our designers often use lifestyle images of people on the slides we designed for our clients, they tend to help connect with the audience on a more personal and emotional level.

Color evokes emotion...it helps persuade and motivate. Appropriate color usage can increase interest and improve comprehension and retention. Use your approved brand colors to help establish connection with your brand. Use cool colors (blue or green) in the background and warm colors (orange or red) in the foregrounds to make them pop. If you're presenting in a dark and large room, a dark background with light text (white or yellow) will work best. However, if you're presenting in a well lit room, then a light background with dark text should work better (dark background with light text tend to washout in a bright room).

Custom Designed Presentation: Design your own theme and templates, don't just use the standard templates included in PowerPoint. You want your presentation to represent your brand and professional image. Besides your audience expects a unique presentation, not cookie-cutter slides. Professional designed templates are available online or you can find well a qualified presentation company to help with your presentation. There're many great presentation companies out there so choose carefully and be sure to review samples of their past work. Remember, you only have one chance to make one great first impression.

Opening Intro or Animation: Use a short video or animation to engage your audience and get them excited about your presentation. It can be 20-60 seconds long and shouldn't be more than 2-3 minutes. Think of it as a movie teaser to pique the audience interest. You can create the animation in Flash and then insert it into to your PowerPoint presentation. Be sure to add appropriate scripts to help it auto-rewind and refresh the screen.

You can also add a Flash movie to your interior slides to help explain or convey a concept. See how we add interactive navigation menu on the right in our client's slide below to help bring up Google Earth video showing our client's plant location in various cities around the world.

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We hope these tips are helpful with your next presentation. If you ever need any help with your preparing a presentation for your next important meeting, our presentation design team will be glad to help. You can check out our presentation design and development services here.

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Visualbee's End to End Presentation Advice

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Structuring Your Talk:

Preparing a talk always takes far longer than you anticipate.  Start early!

Write a clear statement of the problem and its importance.

Research. Collect material which may relate to the topic.

Tell a story in a logical sequence.

Stick to the key concepts. Avoid description of specifics and unnecessary details.

If you are making a series of points, organize them from the most to the least important. The less important points can be skipped if you run short of time.

Keep your sentences short, about 10-20 words each is ideal. This is the way people usually talk.

Strive for clarity. Are these the best words for making your point? Are they unambiguous? Are you using unfamiliar jargon or acronyms?

Preparing Your Slides:

Presentation Design

Let the picture or graphics tell the story - minimize the use of text.

Don’t overload your slides with too much text or data.

FOCUS. In general, using a few powerful slides is the aim.

Type key words in the PowerPoint Notes area listing what to say when displaying the slide. The notes are printable.

Number your slides and give them a title.

Prepare an Agenda or Table of Contents slide. You can reuse the same slide at the end of the presentation by changing the title to Summary.

Prepare a company logo slide for your presentation.

You can add a logo and other graphics to every slide using the slide master feature or by adding them to the footer.

Proofread everything, including visuals and numbers.

Keep “like” topics together.

Strive for similar line lengths for text.

Visual elements

A font size of 28 to 34 with a bold font is recommended for subtitles. The title default size is 44. Use a san serif font for titles.

Use clear, simple visuals. Don’t confuse the audience.

Use contrast: light on dark or dark on light.

Graphics should make a key concept clearer.

Place your graphics in a similar location within each screen.

To temporarily clear the screen press W or B during the presentation. Press any key to resume the presentation.

Text

Font size must be large enough to be easily read. Size 28 to 34 with a bold font is recommended.

It is distracting if you use too wide a variety of fonts.

Overuse of text is a common mistake.

Too much text makes the slide unreadable. You may just as well show a blank slide. Stick to a few key words.

If your audience is reading the slides they are not paying attention to you. If possible, make your point with graphics instead of text.

You can use Word Art, or a clip art image of a sign, to convey text in a more interesting way.

Numbers

Numbers are usually confusing to the audience. Use as few as possible and allow extra time for the audience to do the math.

Numbers should never be ultra precise:

“Anticipated Revenues of $660,101.83” looks silly. Are your numbers that accurate? Just say $660 thousand.

“The Break Even Point is 1048.17 units. Are you selling fractions of a unit?

Don’t show pennies. Cost per unit is about the only time you would need to show pennies.

If you have more than 12-15 numbers on a slide, that’s probably too many.

Using only one number per sentence helps the audience absorb the data.

Statistics

Use the same scale for numbers on a slide. Don’t compare thousands to millions.

When using sales data, stick to a single market in the presentation. Worldwide sales, domestic sales, industry sales, company sales, divisional sales, or sales to a specific market segment are all different scales. They should not be mixed.

Cite your source on the same slide as the statistic, using a smaller size font.

Charts

Charts need to be clearly labeled. You can make more interesting charts by adding elements from the drawing toolbar.

Numbers in tables are both hard to see and to understand. There is usually a better way to present your numerical data than with columns and rows of numbers. Get creative!

PowerPoint deletes portions of charts and worksheets that are imported from Excel, keeping only the leftmost 5.5 inches. Plan ahead.

Backgrounds

Backgrounds should never distract from the presentation.

Using the default white background is hard on the viewer’s eyes. You can easily add a design style or a color to the background.

Backgrounds that are light colored with dark text, or vice versa, look good. A dark background with white font reduces glare.

Colors appear lighter when projected. Pale colors often appear as white.

Consistent backgrounds add to a professional appearance.

For a long presentation, you may want to change background designs when shifting to a new topic.

Excitement

Slides for business presentations should be dull! You don’t want to distract the audience.

Sounds and transition effects can be annoying. Use sparingly.

Animation effects can be interesting when used in moderation.

Too much animation is distracting.

Consider using animated clip art

Consider using custom animation

You can insert video and audio clips into PowerPoint.

You can also insert hyperlinks.

Hints for Efficient Practice:

Timing - Practicing Your Presentation,

Talk through your presentation to see how much time you use for each slide.

Set the automatic slide transition to the amount of time you want to spend discussing each slide.

Are you using the right amount of time per slide? Decide which slides or comments need alteration to make your presentation smoother.

Change the automatic slide transition settings for individual slides to fit the amount of time needed for that slide and practice again. Are you still within the time limit?

Decide if you want to remove the automatic slide transition feature before giving the presentation.

Content

Make a list of key words/concepts for each slide

Read through the list before you begin.

Don't attempt to memorize your text;

Your words will probably be different each time you practice.

Think about the ideas, and your words will follow naturally.

Delivering Your Talk:

Pre-Talk Preparation

Plan to get there a few minutes early to set up and test the equipment.

Dress appropriately for your audience.

Turn off your cell phone.

Handouts:

Edward Tufte, the leading expert on visual presentation techniques, advises speakers to always prepare a handout when giving a PowerPoint presentation.

Make about 10% more handouts than you expect to use.

Distribute handouts at the beginning of your talk.

Opening:

Jump right in and get to the point.

Give your rehearsed opening statement; don't improvise at the last moment.

Use the opening to catch the interest and attention of the audience.

Briefly state the problem or topic you will be discussing.

Briefly summarize your main theme for an idea or solution.

Speaking

Talk at a natural, moderate rate of speech

Project your voice.

Speak clearly and distinctly.

Repeat critical information.

Pause briefly to give your audience time to digest the information on each new slide.

Don’t read the slides aloud. Your audience can read them far faster than you can talk.

If you plan to write on the slides to emphasize key points during the presentation, practice ahead of time. To select the writing tool right-click during the presentation.

Body Language

Keep your eyes on the audience

Use natural gestures.

Don’t turn your back to the audience.

Don’t hide behind the lectern.

Avoid looking at your notes. Only use them as reference points to keep you on track. Talk, don’t read.

Questions

Always leave time for a few questions at the end of the talk.

If you allow questions during the talk, the presentation time will be about 25% more than the practice time.

You can jump directly to a slide by typing its number or by right-clicking during the presentation and choosing from the slide titles.

Relax. If you’ve done the research you can easily answer most questions.

Some questions are too specific or personal. Politely refuse to answer.

If you can’t answer a question, say so. Don’t apologize.  “I don’t have that information. I’ll try to find out for you.”

Length:

To end on time, you must PRACTICE!

When practicing, try to end early. You need to allow time for audience interruptions and questions.

 

Demeanor:

Show some enthusiasm. Nobody wants to listen to a dull presentation. On the other hand, don’t overdo it. Nobody talks and gestures like a maniac in real life. How would you explain your ideas to a friend?

Involve your audience. Ask questions, make eye contact, and use humor.

Don’t get distracted by audience noises or movements.

You’ll forget a minor point or two. Everybody does.

If you temporarily lose your train of thought you can gain time to recover by asking if the audience has any questions.

Conclusion:

Close the sale.

Concisely summarize your key concepts and the main ideas of your presentation.

Resist the temptation to add a few last impromptu words.

End your talk with the summary statement or question you have prepared. What do you want them to do? What do you want them to remember?

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Consider alternatives to “Questions?” for your closing slide. A summary of your key points, a cartoon, a team logo, or a company logo may be stronger.

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Presentations are mostly practiced by students and professionals, and they are a great way to convey ideas as well as educate and convince people. Giving a presentation is not an easy task; it requires substantial research, organization, public speaking skills, and self-confidence. A good presenter has the ability to engage his or her listeners from beginning to end and compel them to take action. Those who wish to learn presentation skills can get training from expert presenters through classes or courses, or they can follow presentation tips that are available on the Internet. Here are some great tips and tricks for effective presentations, as well as links to related websites.

Here are three of our blog posts for presenters.

Public Speaking

Presentation Exercises

Two Minutes

Organizing Your Presentation

Choose an appropriate presentation structure: topical, chronological, classification by categories, problem and solution, or cause and effect.

Divide the body of your presentation into three to five main points.

The conclusion should include a summary of the main points of the presentation and leave the audience with something that is worth remembering and pondering.

Include questions in your presentation, which should be asked once every 10 minutes to engage the audience.

The final slide should contain a message thanking the audience, your contact details, and information about the availability of speaker notes, materials, and feedback tools.

Public Speaking Tips

Avoid slang and jargon.

Use anecdotes and practical examples to make complicated concepts more comprehensible.

Speak in varying tones and pitches to give emphasis to certain words and ideas.

Deliver your speech slowly and clearly.

Make sure that the people sitting at the back of the hall can hear you clearly, but do not speak so loud that it appears as if you are shouting.

Maintain an upright but relaxed posture while you are speaking, and do not lean forward or backward.

Leave your arms on the podium or by your sides when you are not using them to make gestures.

When gesturing, make sure that it is natural and spontaneous.

Maintain eye contact with the audience.

Wear clothes with simple cuts and neutral tones, and make sure that they are comfortable.

Presentation Design

Do not overload slides with a lot of text.

Use the PowerPoint Notes to remind yourself what to say when a certain slide is being shown.

Prepare a Table of Contents slide with the “Summary Slide” feature.

Include a slide that shows your company logo.

Arrange slides according to topics.

Try to make the length of text lines similar throughout the slide.

Recommended font for slide title is San Serif, and font size should be 44.

Font size for subtitles should be 28 to 34, with bold font.

Use dark font over light background and light font over dark background to enhance clarity.

Use graphics only when appropriate.

You can press “W” or “B” to clear the screen temporarily during your presentation, and resume the presentation by pressing “Enter”.

Charts, Facts, and Statistics

Use as few numbers as possible during your presentation, preferably, no more than 12 numbers, because they can cause confusion.

Try not to use more than one number in a sentence.

Round numbers up to the nearest whole number.

If you are showing sales statistics, you should concentrate on one market throughout your presentation.

Use a smaller font to cite sources for statistics.

Label all your charts clearly.

Use elements from drawing toolbar to create more attractive charts.

Numbers in charts can be difficult to view and understand.

Try to find ways other than columns and rows to present your data.

Take note that PowerPoint automatically deletes portions of charts imported from Excel, leaving only about 5 inches on the left.

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Visualbee: A Usage Guide

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Visualbee is very simple to use and can be a boon to your Powerpoint woes. This guide will show you how to use Visualbee to enhance your presentations.

You start off with putting down your slide content (text) in bullet points. Preferably precise and organized to begin with. Once you are done with this, clicking the Enhance Presentation button brings up different styles, categorised by different industries and artistic themes. As you may have noticed, we do have a paid version of Visualbee, however the free version still allows you to choose from a limited (but still varied) selection of styles, with the full range being unlockable upon upgrading to the premium or enterprise versions.

Once you've chosen your style, Visualbee very quickly converts all of your slides and provides a preview of what each one will look like. You can modify each enhanced slide by cycling through a few different layouts and by cycling through a images to illustrate the slide.

If you're happy with your results we would seriously recommend switching to the premium version. Once you're happy with the makeover, you can save the new presentation and continue editing it in Powerpoint if you want.
In case you're not particularly happy with the presentation that visulbee gives you, you could try a few things to make it better

• Try changing around the words or phrases you have used in your slides to more closely match generic searches for the same
• You could also use the Visualbee modified presentation as a platform to do much more with your slides, so once you have it, you could spend a lot more time to customize it to better suit your interests.
• You could also search Visualbee's database of images to custom select images and replace the ones Visualbee has found for you

We sincerely hope that Visualbee helps you in making better high impact presentation faster. If you still have any issues, please leave us some comments and we will be happy to guide you on improving your experience.

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Visualbee's Guide To Presentation Design

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Most of the content on this site is targeted specifically towards professional designers and developers, or at the very least those interested in getting started in this field. This post however, is for everyone that has ever created a presentation. Whether you’re a student, the leader of a self-help group, or a corporate executive pulling in six figures, the second you open up Powerpoint or Keynote, you become a designer whether you like it or not.

You’ve chosen a visual tool to communicate and should therefore take the time to learn a thing or two about visual communications. One of the major reasons for this, especially for people in the professional business world, is that your colleagues will subconsciously make judgements about you based on the visual appeal of your presentation.

Follow the ten tips below and see if you don’t start getting comments about your awesome presentation design skills. Just watch out, if your co-workers notice you getting good at it they’re likely to start asking for to help with theirs!

To illustrate this idea I opened up Powerpoint, grabbed an actual default theme at random and threw some type on it. This workflow is nearly identical to that of countless presentation designers and the result is a typical presentation slide that I’ve seen countless times throughout college and my career.

Here’s a design secret, this slide sucks; as do many of the default themes you’ll find in Powerpoint. Granted, they’ve definitely improved the offering in recent years and Keynote (Apple’s presentation software) has some awesome templates, but you shouldn’t view these as the go-to method but rather a last resort if you need to create a presentation in record time.

The point here is that something custom makes a much stronger statement. Your colleagues know and use the templates in Powerpoint and they’ll recognize immediately that you didn’t put any work into the aesthetics of the slides.

I know for non-designers leaving behind templates may seem a bit radical, but you can do it! Just be sure to read the other tips below before striking out on your own. Otherwise you might end up with something much worse that even the Microsoft designers could come up with (and that’s saying something).

Photography is one of the single best ways to make your presentation look awesome. It’s also one of the single best ways to make it lame. The “business people on white background” look is nice, but it’s overdone and tends to look a bit stock art-ish or flat out cliche.

Further, just because a picture is on a white background doesn’t mean it’s a good photo. Stop using ugly or awkward photography just to have something to put on the slide. Remember that no photo is better than a bad photo.

You don’t always need a fancy photo or crazy custom background to make a presentation look professional. Using a strong palette of solid colors can make for an awesome presentation.

The slide above is a perfect example of using very plain design and little effort to create something that actually looks really nice. Whether you’re a designer or not, you could make this right?

The key here is to be very cautious about your color choice. Something too bright bright and fun will blow the audience’s eyes out. Also make sure to use plenty of contrast in your secondary color. A crash course in color theory will go a long way.

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If you need help building color palettes, check out the free tools below.

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