Lasting Impressions

Raise Your Profile & Your Profits!

My family sold our house recently and moved away from some dear friends. Last night we stopped by our old neighbors house to say goodbye. Deb Murphy is a dear friend and saying goodbye was very difficult. Deb is someone hard to leave and much too hard to forget. I spend a great deal of time in my business helping professionals stand out, raise their visibility and make a lasting impression.

2006 40

Why buy a PowerPoint background template when you can create your own?

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

The most searched for term in the area of PowerPoint are phrases around background templates. This is the basic look of your slides. There is an entire industry devoted to cranking out new templates for you to buy. They aren't going to like what I am about to say. Save your money! Why buy one when you can create a background template that is much more effective than most out there and will be completely unique to your presentations?

2006 40

If the audience changes, so should your presentation

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I met recently with a new client who wants my help in creating a presentation for an upcoming meeting with their company executives. They have an existing presentation on the topic, so why do they need my help? Because the audience has changed. The existing presentation is for detail oriented staff who need to know all the numbers and facts in this division. But executives don't. If you use a presentation geared for specialists to present to executives, you will lose them within two minutes.

2006 40

Projector thoughts from PC Magazine

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Today PC Magazine published an article reviewing some projectors and started with a review of what factors they consider important for selecting a projector. The author, M. David Stone, suggests that many people don't realize that some of what they consider important criteria are actually not (read the article here [link] ). I have to disagree with him on three of his assertions. First, he says that for most business presentations an SVGA (800 x 600) resolution projector is just fine.

2006 40

Office 2007 Ribbon Observations

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Last week Microsoft officially introduced the new version of Office, Office 2007, which includes a new version of PowerPoint. One of the major differences in the new version is the user interface. The familiar menus and selections have been replaced by a new ribbon interface which makes more options visible in a graphical ribbon across the top of the screen. I showed it to a buddy of mine and he made an observation that was very interesting.

2006 40

Prepare your business for Office 2007

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Today is the official launch of Office 2007, including new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. If you are a small or medium sized business that doesn't have an army of IT professionals around to tell you how this might impact your business, you will want to check out my latest article. I have identified two potentially significant impacts to any business and steps you can take to prevent any problems. You can read the full text by clicking here: [link

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Detailed Handouts without Packed Slides

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

One reason presenters pack slides with too much text and information is that they claim that since they will be printing the slides as their handout, they will need the audience to have the detail for future reference. But what happens is that the barrage of information on the slide overwhelms the audience and the presentation is a failure. There is a better way.

2006 40

Teaching Templates to Professors

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

At the end of October I was in San Antonio speaking at a conference of business communication professors. The topic we were talking about was how to teach students to create an attractive template for their slides. The professors agreed that too many students (and in my experience presenters of all ages) spend too much time formatting every slide individually instead of using the slide master to set the common look.

2006 40

Making slides more visual

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Today I wrap up a survey I have been doing for the past month on what resources people need to improve their PowerPoint presentations. One idea that had been suggested to me before I started the survey and has been backed up by a strong showing in the survey what the topic of transforming text heavy slide sinto more visual slides. It seems that many people want to have more visual slides but aren't sure how to go about doing it.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Downside of Dashboards

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

One of the recent trends in executive presentations is to create what is know as dashboard slides. A dashboard slide is a way for executives to get a quick view on projects, initiatives, financial or other measurements of interest. It is usually designed to have a red, yellow or green light beside each item indicating the measure of that item against a standard. In some organization they have even created these displays on internal web sites so the displays are updated in real time.

2006 40

Wall Street Journal article on PowerPoint

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Today's Cubicle Culture column in the Wall Street Journal contains an article talking about the problems with PowerPoint usage in corporations today. You can read the article today by clicking here or it should be posted at the Cubicle Culture archives here later this week. In the article they quote my suggestion that poor presentations cost organizations over $252 million dollars per day. To see the full article on this calculation, click here.

2006 40

How not to use a presentation remote

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I am a strong advocate of using a presentation remote to advance your PowerPoint slides. It is a professional way to present and gets you away from the computer and closer to the audience. But I recently saw an example of how not to use a remote. The presenter had one of the nice small remotes that fit in your hand, but for some reason kept it in his jacket pocket. And kept his one hand in the pocket to work the remote.

2006 40

If your audience can't see your graph, they can't understand it

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Why should you use a graph on a PowerPoint slide? To illustrate data that would have more impact when shown visually that any other way. So if you are trying to have greater impact, why would you choose colors for a line graph that the audience would not be able to see? A recent slide was a perfect illustration of this problem. The background is a dull medium-dark blue. Five lines on the graph: bright red, which is OK, then burgundy, dark blue, light blue and dark green - Huh?

2006 40

Why timed builds are not a good presentation practice

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I have seen timed builds used twice recently and both times it left me scratching my head wondering why the presenter created their PowerPoint slide that way. A timed build is when the bullet points or items on the slide automatically appear at a scheduled interval. For example, a set of four bullet points could be timed to have each bullet point appear 15 seconds after the previous point. Timed builds, in my opinion, are distracting for both the presenter and the audience.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Scary Slide Mistakes

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Today is Halloween for many and it brings to mind thoughts of scary things. I want to share with you today some of the scary mistakes I have seen presenters make so that you can avoid these mistakes. Is there text there? When I was working on a presentation for a client in the travel industry once I came across a slide for a ski resort that demonstrated what not to do when putting text on a picture.

2006 40

What presenters can learn from election signs

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

It is getting close to election time in many areas and the lawns and streets are rapidly becoming decorated with signs for candidates for various offices. One thing presenters should notice when they are driving by these signs is which ones are easiest to read. Why should you care about the readability of election signs? Because it is a great learning lesson for what is readable for a text slide. In both cases, the message needs to be understood quickly so it can be acted upon.

2006 40

What's common between singing and presenting

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

This weekend our son will be singing a solo in church. Yesterday the lady who is the best soloist at church gave him some advice in getting prepared for his upcoming solo. She told him to make sure he knows his music and the words so that he can concentrate on the performance and not worry about the words or the notes. Her advice is the same I give speakers. Know your message so well that your presentation then can be a conversation between you and the audience.

2006 40

Good example of Effective Use of Agenda

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I think that almost every presentation can benefit from using a clear agenda. It gives you as the presenter a structure to your message and helps the audience understand your message easier (according to research done by Prof. Richard Meyer). Most agenda are a text list of topics and each time you switch to a new topic you use a title formatted slide to introduce that topic area. And in many cases this is very effective.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Equipment Failure

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

If you are going to use PowerPoint to present, at some point in time you will have to deal with the equipment failing. You may not have had this happen to you yet, but you will. Even though the equipment is far more reliable than it was when I started presenting with computers and projectors over 10 years ago, it is not perfect. And I like to say that it is not a matter of "if" you will experience equipment failure, it is only a matter of "when".

2006 40

Review of the Floyd Landis PowerPoint presentation

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

The press has been widely reporting the release yesterday of the PowerPoint presentation created to support the claim by Floyd Landis that he did not take banned substances during the Tour de France bike race. I am not commenting on the substance of the claims or counter claims, but want to focus on a few comments on what was done well and what could be improved in the presentation from a PowerPoint perspective. If you want to view the presentation, use the directions at [link].

2006 40

To shadow or not to shadow

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Shadow fonts or shadows on shapes seems to be popular these days on PowerPoint slides. Why, I'm not sure. Most of the time I see a shadow used it is used for one of two reasons. First, the presenter added a shadow because they think it looks cool. For those of you have attended my seminars, you know that one of my key philosophies is that "Clear is more important than Cool". Research has shown that any distracting elements on a slide reduces the audience's understanding of your message.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Customizing tricks

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

The days of canned presentations are over. Oh, they've been over for a while now, just some presenters haven't realized it yet. So how can you quickly customize your presentation to exactly what the audience needs with little effort each time? Use these two simple tricks. First, many presenters have a large file of slides and select only the ones they want for each presentation. This is a smart idea. But instead of copying out the ones you want each time, here is another approach.

2006 40

When a Graph is better than a Table

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

In working on a presentation for a client this week I realized again the importance of using PowerPoint slides as a visual support for your message. In this case, the original slide that the executive had was a table of figures showing revenue growth over five years. It was factually accurate, but did little to convey the message strongly. I converted the data to a graph, just a simple bar graph, and the message of strong revenue growth leapt off the slide.

2006 40

The Power of a Great Visual

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

My wife just got back from a convention last night and when we talked about the sessions, one experience stood out for her. She described how the head of the organization started the conference by painting a gate on a fence on the stage. She went on to explain how leaders need to deal with problems and that involves getting messy. What she did next shocked everyone. She started painting her clothes and body with the red fence paint to illustrate how leaders need to get messy.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Equipment Connections

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

In my webinar this week on Setting Up for a Worry Free Presentation, one of the items I will be covering is how to connect the equipment you will need for your presentation. I'll go into more details onthe webinar, but want to outline some of the most important basics today. The two most important pieces of equipment you will likely be using are a projector and your computer. The most obvious connection is to connect the display port of the computer to the display input of the projector.

2006 40

Your Expertise is Boring!

Raise Your Profile & Your Profits!

I see your lips moving, but all I hear is Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I know its not what you want to hear, but quite simply, if you are a speaker, author, consultant or other "expert" I see being interviewed by the news media, your expertise just isnt very interesting. Information is a dime-a-dozen and yours is no different. So in this age of round-the-clock, on-demand, blue tooth, on line, high def.,

2006 40

Might See TV

Raise Your Profile & Your Profits!

I got a call from a client the other day who was very excited that she had gotten herself booked for an interview on Channel 8. Channel 8? I asked. You mean the community access station? Indeed it was true. What may surprise my faithful readers is that I said, Great! I told her that many of the smaller public broadcasting or cable community access stations are what I like to call, Might See TV. Because you might see it go by as you flip channels looking for something to watch.

2006 40

Is Your Business On-Demand?

Raise Your Profile & Your Profits!

In his books and presentations, Generation Why expert Eric Chester speaks of how impatient this young, emerging workforce tends to be. As a father of three, I certainly know this to be true. But I think that most of us exhibit these tendencies as well as we too are a victim of the new abundance and conveniences that life provides in the 21st century, Its amazing how things have changes in just one generation.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Photo Entrance Loop

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Summer is over for most as the kids are back in school and we look forward to the last third of the calendar year. I hope many of you were able to take some time off in the last few months to recharge and rest up. Most people take photos while they are on vacation and with the popularity of digital cameras, the number of photos we take has exploded. We were away for 20 days last month and took almost 2,000 pictures!

2006 40

Don't end your presentation with a whimper

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I can't count the number of presentations that end with a slide that says "Thank You! Questions?" or some variation on that theme. What a wimpy way to end a presentation. And worst of all, many of these presentations are sales presentations. Where is the call to action? One of the most important parts of your presentation is how you end it.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip - Graduated Backgrounds

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

One of the most popular ideas I shared on my webinar last month about creating your own custom PowerPoint template was to use a graduated background instead of a solid color. I find graphics in the background, such as pictures or logos, too distracting - and so do audience members based on the surveys I have done. If the background is too busy, people focus on the interesting details in the background instead of on your content. So a clean background is better.

2006 40

How should Your Business Catch the Video Wave?

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

Videos are the hottest trend today on the Internet. From YouTube.com who reports that over 100 million videos are watched every month to Internet giants like Google and Yahoo who have been heavily investing in their video search applications, everyone wants to get on the video bandwagon. So how should your business catch this latest popular wave?

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip: Making Your Point Stand Out with a Photo

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

As I have written many times before, using pictures can illustrate your point much better than words in some cases. Just be sure that when you use a picture, the point is clear. A recent slide reminded me of this. The presenter was using a picture that covered almost all of the screen. It showed 3 objects, two incorrect examples and one correct example.

2006 40

Why is shadow text so popular on PowerPoint slides?

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

PowerPoint has a text feature that gives a shadow to text that is placed on a slide. I see it used regularly and it seems to me that the purpose in most cases is to make the text stand out more. But most times the shadow effect does not solve the problem because the presenter or slide designer doesn't understand what the real issue is. In most cases, the reason text is hard to see on a PowerPoint slide is that there is not enough contrast between the text color and the background.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip: The Challenge with White Backgrounds

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I am often asked what color background someone should use for their PowerPoint slides. Many organizations use a white background because it prints well. That's fine if you only print your presentations, but if you will be projecting your presentation, a white background can cause problems. Here are a few observations from a recent presentation that used a white background.

2006 40

Automatic hyperlinks on PowerPoint slides

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

If you are going to use a web site URL on a PowerPoint slide, be careful of the automatic link feature. What happens is that after you enter the web site name (ie. www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com ), PowerPoint recognizes that it is a web site and automatically turns the text into a hyperlink to that web site. The problem is that by turning it into a hyperlink, it also affects how that text is displayed. The default for hyperlinks is usually dark blue text underlined.

2006 40

PowerPoint Banned at Conference

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I am in Orlando at the start of the annual NSA Convention. In the same facility, a conference for education in an industry was just wrapping up. Knowing that this industry uses PowerPoint a lot, I stopped in to the show office to inquire about the conference and topics that would be relevant in the future. A couple of the organizers were in the office when I walked in.

2006 40

Where does your audience focus on your PowerPoint slide?

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

If you have a dark background for your PowerPoint slides, where does the audience focus? I suggest that they will focus on the brightest spot on the screen if there is one. This is why using a background graphic that contains a bright spot, like a star or sun spot on a black or dark blue background, can be distracting to your audience. I saw a recent set of slides where the template used was a blue graphic background of the globe and a green graphic background for the title.

2006 40

PowerPoint Tip: What to look for in a travelling projector

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

I have been asked twice recently about what specifications or features I would consider when purchasing a projector to take with you to present to small to mid sized groups (2-100 people). Since this is likely of interest to more than the two people who asked, I thought I would share my response in case you are considering a similar purchase.

2006 40

Five Ways to Transform Your Overloaded Text Slides

Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog

The most common complaint of audiences about PowerPoint presentations is that the slides are loaded with text and the presenter simply reads their slides to the audience. In the presentations I review, I see this all the time. I am not suggesting that you should never use text, because I think text is essential to many messages. What I am suggesting is that by adding more visual impact, your audience will better understand and remember your message.

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