Monday, October 29, 2012

What Will You Remember? Help Find the Cure for PowerPoint Amnesia.

Dr. Carmen Taran of Rexi Media wants YOU to take a part in her new study where she searches for the answer to this simple question:

How many slides do people remember from a PowerPoint presentation after 48 hours? 

What do you think: 3, 4 slides? Maybe more? This empirical study implies 5 minutes of your time to watch a 20-slide PowerPoint deck. Then in two days, Dr. Taran will ask what you remember via a 1-question online form. That’s it. She will post her findings on our Billion Dollar Graphics blog, which will translate into practical guidelines on how to create more memorable PowerPoint presentations. You will also be able to download the slides you view.

Click here to access the research site. 

Help the world create better PowerPoint presentations and cure slide amnesia. Five minutes is all it takes to make a difference—and learn the secrets to more memorable presentations.

Deadline is November 10th. 


Dr. Carmen Taran is a leader in the virtual presentation movement, a forward thinker, and a cognitive scientist. She has a passion for virtual presentations and a healthy addiction to understanding the human psyche which comes in handy in her role as an executive coach at Rexi Media. Carmen's presentations and workshops help business professionals use communication skills to increase revenue, train or motivate others, and above all, to stand out from too much sameness in the industry. A published author, Carmen is frequently invited as a keynote speaker at various events. She has kept audiences alert and entertained at conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Slide Approved by the Hoff

We had another successful week at the Presentation Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. A huge THANK YOU to Rick Altman and his amazing team for hosting another fun and informative conference with experts from all corners of the presentation industry including Dave Paradi, Carmen Taran, Julie Terberg, and Jim Endicott to name just a few.

Not only did we have a booth for Get My Graphic where attendees could test our product ...

 But I had the honor of presenting my Build-a-Slide workshop.
I taught the audience about determining the P.A.Q.S. before they design their slide graphics:
  • P -- What is the Primary Objective of the graphic?
  • A -- Who is your Audience?
  • Q -- What Questions does your audience want answered about your product/service?
  • S -- What are the answers to the audience's questions about the Subject matter?
After reviewing each of the P.A.Q.S and handing out copies of our Graphics Cheat Sheet, I split the class into teams. Based on the following criteria, I asked them to create a quality control process slide for a fictional hamburger business run by David Hasselhoff:
The class used the Graphics Cheat Sheet for ideas on how to show a QC process and applied the P.A.Q.S. steps to ensure they covered everything that the Hoff had requested. After they were finished, their team captains held up their sketches for the class. I was surprised and pleased to see that the teams had developed similar concepts.
Here is Andy Saks, owner of Spark Presentations, explaining his team's concept.
Even though every concept was well thought out and very creative, we could only choose one winner.
The winning team used a metaphor of a conveyor belt graphic with a burger (know your Audience, since it is a burger restaurant) being assembled at each step representing the QC process (answering the audience's Questions). Below each step in the process are bullet points explaining each step in detail (know the Subject matter). The primary object is stated in the title of the slide--More Burgers, Mo' Money!--with a happy, attractive woman enjoying the final product.

Thank you to everyone who took part in my class to make it a great workshop! If you have any questions about the P.A.Q.S. process please feel free to email me at or check out my book Do-It-Yourself Billion Dollar Graphics, which details the steps I taught during my class to turn your ideas into powerful graphics.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Royalty Free and Just Plain Free

In my last post, I addressed copyright law and Fair Use versus Public Domain in copying images and information from the Internet to use on your website and in business materials. With more and more people becoming tech and graphic savvy and businesses trying to cut costs, I learned of many colleagues illegally using graphics downloaded from the Internet without even knowing the consequences and the rules regarding downloaded images.

Now I want to review the difference between royalty-free and free graphics and how nothing is really free in life--as well as on the Internet.

Royalty Free
Back in the olden days of graphic design, you had to pay thousands of dollars for a photograph. You would interview and hire a photographer (if you didn't have one on staff), find models and have them sign release forms drafted by your lawyer, and scout locations. You'd spend at least a day shooting and then wait days if not weeks to receive your final photographs. Because, unlike today, not everything was digital and it took time to develop and print photographs. (How did we even manage it? Oh, the horror of waiting for something!) After you received your long-awaited images, your whole team would debate over which photograph had the best lighting, clearest image, and a model who didn't have something stuck in between her teeth. In the end, your boss might decide they really wanted a brunette and not a red head and the sight of the water in the background made him a bit seasick, so you should photograph her in the middle of a park instead.

So the process began again ...

Now websites like Getty Images, Fotolia, iStockphoto, and Dreamstime (several of the most popular sites) have millions of raster and vector images of models of every variety and in many unique locations available for immediate download starting at several dollars an image. Many of these sites also offer stock videos and music.

These stock image websites pay either an upfront fee to photographers/designers to sell their images on their site or pay the artists royalties based on the amount of downloads they sell. Photographers are required to submit model release forms for any photographs containing people. These websites have already paid the creators and are legally ensuring you are safe to use the image. For the price you pay for the image, it is a fantastic deal. You don't need to pay any royalties to the creator, hence the royalty-free label.

Most sites will have a standard usage agreement listed on their site. For example, Fotolia has several options for downloading and using their images and states on their site that their royalty-free license "allows you to use images in your projects without limitations on time, the number of copies printed, or geographical location of use." The price changes based on resolution, size, and usage. You will pay more if you are placing the image on a T-shirt being sold at your shop than if you were using the image on a sign advertising your T-shirt sale.

The one huge taboo with a royalty-free license is reselling the image as is.

Another license offered by Getty Images is a rights-managed license. You will pay a lot more for this option from several hundred to several thousand dollars. However, the images are magazine quality, and you are paying for exclusivity for either the duration of your campaign or product launch (up to five years). This solves the issue with using these royalty-free sites where any of your competitors could place the same image on their website or in their advertisements. Talk about a breach of brand identity!

Free Images
I am always cautious about downloading free images from the web. Often, the images are not high enough quality to be used as is and definitely not good enough to be used in print materials. If you're lucky, a professional photographer is offering free samples for self promotion. Though most likely, you're getting an image from someone who is far from professional and not using high-end equipment. Remember, you get what you pay for ... or don't pay for as is the case with free images. Plus, free images may come with stipulations that they are not to be used in printed materials or distributed widely. Be extra careful how you use the free images, if they don't have a rights of use listed on their website.

I have come across a few sites that offer free images and list their licensing agreement. This is not an endorsement of these sites but an example of where you can find free images. I suggest you carefully read their rights of usage before you download and use their photographs/graphics:
  • Freeimages -- They require attribution when you use one of their photos. Their rights of use are clearly listed here.
  • Stock.XCHNG --Managed by Getty Images, this site is devoted to building an online community of photographers and image users to share photographs. Account holders can upload photos for others to use or download photos for their projects. Rights of use are listed on the photo pages and many require attribution for use. 
  • U.S. Government Photos and Images -- This site contains links to images relating to government departments, military branches, political officials, etc. Some photographs are in the public domain and others require permission by the specified agency. The rights of use should be listed on the various sites.
  • The Noun Project -- You can find loads of icons that are fully editable and available in the public domain for free download. Their terms of use are listed here.