Thursday, July 10, 2014

Presentation Toolbox: Make AMAZING Slides Fast

As the saying goes, “Use the right tool(s) for the job.” It’s commonsense advice that is often ignored. Imagine building a house without the right tools. More money and time is spent trying to get it right using the wrong tools, and the outcome is inferior.

Your Presentation Toolbox should include the following shown in this graphic. (Your goals and challenges will determine the specific solutions you choose.)



Software
First and foremost, select the right presentation software. When in doubt, use ubiquitous software to ensure easy file sharing and easier problem solving. (During a recent webinar, I polled the audience about their presentation software, and 98% of the attendees said they use PowerPoint.)

PAL

Make a Presentation Asset Library (PAL). This library should include the following:
  1. Content that speeds development. I pull from the following:


  2. Ideas that stimulate creativity. I keep a folder filled with images of great graphics, slides, designs, layouts, and photographs for inspiration. 
  3. Graphics that can be tailored for each presentation. Typically, I create and save my graphics in the presentation software to make customization fast and easy. 
  4. Articles that explain, clarify, and educate. I save articles related to the topics I help present. At times, I need to pull content immediately, so it helps to have quick access to these pieces. I also keep how-to articles from past projects to save time if I forget the steps to create a unique graphic effect or animation, export slides into other software packages, or any other specialized task I don’t use often. 
Tips and Tricks 
I have frequently needed tips and tricks at my disposal. I organize them into the following three categories:
  1. Content tricks and tips. If a slide or presentation frequently changes, there is probably something wrong with the Content Ladder. We are either misunderstanding the audience, the message is unclear, or there is no story or flow.

  2. Design tips and tricks are tools and techniques that I use often to speed development. Rather than spend hours developing graphics, I go to Get My Graphic (http://www.getmygraphic.com) or similar websites to find PowerPoint graphics. These sites are fast, low-cost and I can reuse the graphics in future presentations. (Make a Graphic Asset Library from the graphics you download and those you create.) I also use a Graphic Cheat Sheet to help me pick the right graphics to communicate my ideas (http://www.billiondollargraphics.com/GraphicsCheatSheet_GMG.pdf). 
  3. Editing tips and tricks allow me work fast. Most of my content remains editable in my presentation software. I use the software’s procedural features to fly through inevitable changes. For example, double-clicking on the “Format” paintbrush in PowerPoint holds the formatting of a selected object until you release it (e.g., by selecting “esc” and clicking another object to capture its style). 
I suspect you have had some success integrating components of a Presentation Toolbox. My company and clients regularly see exponential improvements when building or buying new tools. Unfortunately, organizations may expect one solution to solve all challenges, which often results in inaction and no solution is implemented. Do not wait for the perfect solution. It does not exist. Instead, build or buy a solution that solves more than 50% of your challenges. Other processes, tools, or periodic updates can offset a solution’s deficiencies. Make or expand your Presentation Toolbox today and stop losing time (and money) doing things the hard way with the wrong tools.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Be Inpsired by These New Visual Metaphors

Every month, we add new graphics to Get My Graphic. For June, we created several graphics based on suggestions from our users. Here are a sampling of these images and how you can use them to communicate your ideas visually. Download them at Get My Graphic or be inspired by these ideas to create your own visual metaphors.


Bar Charts

BarChart_0133
BarChart_0141

What better way to depict the quickness of your service than with a rocket? A bar chart is used to compare amounts, and adding a rocket icon to a bar chart that depicts process or service speeds will communicate the value of each option or element. Use this graphic to compare internet, download and upload, data, or assembly speeds.

BarChart_0147
BarChart_0148
If your new process works faster than the older one, then visually show how much faster. Using a turtle to represent a slower option and a rocket for the faster version will instantly communicate the benefit for switching or upgrading to a new service or process. Consider animating the icons to make the graphic more memorable and keep your audience's attention.



Gauge Graphic
Gauge_0063
A gauge graphic is a perfect visual metaphor to compare elements and their importance. Animate the equalizers to show changes over time or as milestones occur.



Illustration

Illustration_0071
A rocket soaring into space is a visual metaphor for reaching goals, exploration, and pushing an organization's limits and boundaries (i.e., reaching for the stars).



Road Graphics

Road_0146
Road_0149

Road_0154
A highway or road can visually represent many types of processes or systems: the internet, data servers, intranets, web servers, corporate communications, call centers, computer networks, etc. Use the road graphics to compare system speeds, inputs, data processing, and downloading and uploading files to a network.