by Kai Xin Koh | Aug 13, 2020 | Design, Resources |
If you’re searching for a fast and easy way to step up your presentation infographic game, give Venngage a shot. Venngage is a one-stop platform for all things infographics. With their extensive library of infographic templates and editing tools, you are bound to find a template that suits your needs.
Let’s face it, numbers, timelines and processes can be as difficult to present as they are to explain to an audience, so make it easier for them- use infographics. They help your audience break down lengthy and complicated topics you are presenting.
As we at HighSpark, regularly work with clients to develop and improve their presentations, we understand the importance of concise yet impactful visuals. Hence, we rely on infographics to break down large chunks of information into bite-sized, audience-friendly pieces. They also save space and time during a presentation.
Overall Thoughts On Venngage
Customised to meet your needs
To start you off on the right track, Venngage first asks you a few questions to streamline their search results to best fit what you might be looking for. They ask for some basic information: your field/industry, department and let you choose a minimum of 3 sample templates from a selection. After which, you can browse through their wide collection of sample templates and pick one you would like to work on.
Pressed for time and need something specific? Their templates are also sorted into categories by tabs located on the left of your window. This filters your search results- a time-saving tip! For example, if I wanted to quickly search for specifically business-related templates, all I would have to do is:
- Locate the search bar at the centre of the webpage
- Type in the keyword associated with the template style I’m looking for
- Press Return/Enter key or the magnifying glass icon to start search result generation
Once you’ve chosen a template to work on, Venngage guides you on a step-by-step explanation on how to use their editing suite. This takes no longer than 3 minutes and would be a huge help for beginners. They’ll show you:
- Where your basic tools are & how to use them
- How you can arrange, align & scale sections on your infographic
- What options you can use once you’ve completed designing (export, download, share, etc.)
However, if all else fails and you find yourself stuck, they also have an onboarding guide which includes a series of video tutorials instructing you on how best to use the functions/tools available you could watch.
If you’re a business-person, I highly recommend you upgrade to their Business Plan. You’ll have access to a wider selection of templates and layouts targeted towards business-related topics. I also discovered a unique feature Venngage has, interactive options. With this feature, your infographic can do more than the basics(inform, entertain, educate or persuade). You can add YouTube videos, survey polls and forms, which doubles up your infographic as a data collecting source. I could see this being useful for audience analysis or email marketing.
However, I highly suggest exercising some caution when it comes to data collection through a third party as I can’t say for certain how confidential all data collected is kept with Venngage.
Easy to find and use, Venngage’s tools in editing mode are organized into different categories. On page left, the available tools help you to insert and edit the content on your chosen template. Virtually everything on your template can be edited to how you like it- colour scheme, icons, fonts, etc. If you would like to be precise, Venngage has a function on its editing suite, that allows you to enable a smart guide, apply grids and margins for you to work with ease.
Want to insert photos? Click on the “Image Uploads” tab on your tools column, where you can drag and drop the image you would like to insert. The image should then appear on your template where you are free to scale it to size. If you’re worried about copyright, Venngage also has a library of stock photos you can use in your templates.
A neat feature they included allows you to replace an image you inserted but wish to change by double-clicking it. You can then decide whether you would like to change it to an icon, stock photo or one from the library of photos you’ve previously uploaded.
To insert graphics- icons, charts and maps or interactive elements, simply scroll through the column of categories on the left of your webpage. Once you select a category, a dropdown menu would appear, showing you various options you get to choose from. Based on my recent experience, Venngage’s wide array of icons is what sets them apart from others. They offered nearly every type of icon you could think of, in multiple colours, that were of good quality too. To add on, Venngage has helped us all by including a mini search bar in the icons category which helps us to quickly find the icons we might urgently need!
Using Venngage For Work
Easy to navigate and use, Venngage’s tools help to create detailed, put together infographics efficiently. Another tip I can share is that if you are looking for a way to speed up your editing process for branding purposes, you can explore the option “My Brand Guide”. It allows you to pre-set your brand logo and colour scheme which you can apply to any template you choose to work on within Venngage.
Pros vs Cons
- Wide variety of infographic templates so you will never have to create from scratch
- Straightforward editing tools
- Can be customised to your specific liking
- Extensive Help Guides available, easy-to-learn
- Difficult to edit on split-screen mode (Mac users)
- “Invite Team” option is great for group projects, but is limited by your account type: basic, free option allows others who join to view and comment only (subsequent team members added to the group need to upgrade their accounts to the same plan as the owner to edit designs created by other members and create designs to share with your team.)
Venngage has multiple membership plans: free, premium and business. Premium plans are charged by a quote and Business plans are SGD$49/month. Both premium and business plans have the option for monthly, quarterly or yearly payment (cost varies). For its price, their Business plan is great for those who are looking to invest in a one-stop platform for their infographic design as the editing tools and export options available are plenty sufficient for them to churn out brand-centered infographics regularly.
For those who are looking for a quick resource to spruce up one or two infographics, the free plan is your best bet- it’s basic gets the job done and allows you to share your work publicly. Given these points, I would use Venngage in the future for its ease-of-use and variety of templates. However, I feel that out of the 3 offered subscription plans, premium and business were the most worth it for their price.
If you’re deciding between the two, I would also strongly suggest you try out the premium subscription plan before upgrading to the business plan as their features are quite similar, except for the “branding” tool and “My Brand Guide”. Another plus point Venngage has is that it is conducive for group work, simply invite team members to the current template your working on. This facilitates real-time simultaneous edits while saving you and your team time compared to other sites that allow only a single editor at a time.
by Eugene Cheng | Jul 31, 2020 | Tutorial, Pitch Decks, Public Speaking, Resources |
Imagine this – it’s late at night and you’re finishing up your last few slides for your big presentation tomorrow. You’ve done your final check and your pitch deck is all ready to be sent out. You are finally satisfied with how it looks and click the send button.
To your horror, the email bounces back.
Why? Large attachments are one of the most common causes for bounced emails that never reach their intended recipient. These huge files can cause difficulties in sending out emails or even online uploading in a tense, urgent situation. Especially in corporate organizations, email filters tend to block large attachments for security’s sake. More than 80% of the time, the cause of the file-bulk are the large images that you insert in PowerPoint or your export format of choice.
“But… if I don’t include images, my presentation is going to look boring and ugly”
You’re not wrong there. We encourage our clients and even presentation skills training learners to use more visuals and images in their presentations. If you still want to include some images to ensure your presentation design looks great, what do you do? Worse, in plenty of PowerPoint training courses in the market, few actually teach you different ways to compress your PowerPoint files before sending as an attachment via email or only cover it on Windows or OSX.
Fear not, here’s how you can reduce the size of your PowerPoint file and save space.
This also ensures that your presentation/PowerPoint files reach their intended recipient.
How to Compress PowerPoint (.PPT) Files On Apple OSX Machines
If you own a Mac but still need to use PowerPoint for work, you’re in luck. There are a few ways of compressing PowerPoint files to fit your file limit in organisations with email filters so you won’t need to use file-sharing services like DropBox or Wetransfer.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method One : Compressing All photos on PowerPoint
More often than not, PowerPoint balloons in size because of the high-resolution stock photography that you might include in your presentation. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to quickly compress these files across the whole file or singular files in PowerPoint.
How To Compress All Photos/Images On PowerPoint
Step 1: On the file menu, click “reduce compress pictures”
Step 2: Select your compression size according to the table”
Unless you’re intending to print the PowerPoint file, you shouldn’t have photos sized at 220ppi. We’ve found that the best setting in most cases is 150ppi – such that it preserves minimal quality for use. If you’re really in the need of smaller sizes, using 96ppi is your last resort.
Step 3: Select ‘Delete Cropped Area’
Step 4: Choose “all pictures in this file” and Click “Ok” ‘
You’ll have the option to either compress all images or only selected ones. If you have critical images that cannot be downsampled, choose the latter.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method Two : Using Picture Format
A more surgical selection of which pictures you’d like to resize in your PowerPoint Presentation. Do note that this is, in fact, the same method of compressing the images but gives you more control as to which photos you want to compress and leave the ones you don’t want to in higher resolution.
How To Compress PowerPoint using picture format
1. Select the “Picture Format” tab when selecting one or a few images
2. Click on the Adjust button
3. Select Compress Pictures
4. Select your compression size according to the table
5. Select “delete cropped area”
6. Choose “all pictures in this file”
7. Click “Ok”
Alternatively, if you wish to be selective about the photos being compressed, PowerPoint provides another option to compress only specific images. Under steps 4 and 6 respectively, you will be able to choose between the option of all pictures or just a selective few. However, if you wish to retain the size of the slides and still send it to people, you can consider zipping the file. Most of the time, people choose this option in order to keep the resolution at its highest without compromising it.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method Three : Compressing Images Before Inserting into PowerPoint To Preserve Small Size
A more surgical selection of which pictures you’d like to resize in your PowerPoint Presentation. Do note that this is, in fact, the same method of compressing the images but gives you more control as to which photos you want to compress and leave the ones you don’t want to in higher resolution.
Image Compression Method 1: Reduce the size of images losslessly using browser applications
Tools like Tinyjpeg, Tinypng and Smallpdf are great to reduce the size of your files without installing any additional applications on your machine.
Image Compression Method 2: Optimize the dimensions of your presentation images before inserting into PowerPoint
This step is most commonly overlooked by most executives simply because it’s pretty tedious. It involves ‘pre-cropping’ the images you plan to insert into your presentation even before you try any of the methods before this. a) The first step is to determine the max dimensions of your slide. You can do this by accessing the ‘slide size’ in the ‘design’ tab.
b) Enter ‘Page Setup’ when navigating into ‘Slide Size’ to identify the dimensions of each slide. If you’re using any of the typical slide dimensions like Standard (4:3) or Widescreen (16:9), typically the safe dimension is 1024px x 768px and 1280px 720px respectively. c) The very next step is to start cropping the images to fit within the slide dimensions. For example, if your image is 3000px x 2000px, cropping it down to size will save you a lot of space. Using sites like https://imageresize.org/, you can quickly resize images to fit your slide canvas. At the same time, if you’re using raster editing programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can easily reduce the dimensions of your images before saving. Otherwise, site-based tools work too.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON MAC OSX
Method Four : Zipping Up Files To Compress Size Of PowerPoint
This method is best performed at the end and works regardless of whether you actually compressed the images prior or not. It doesn’t do much other than reduce the size of the single file or a combination of files in a .zip package to send via email.
How To Compress PowerPoint by zipping the file
Step 1: Right-click on selected PowerPoint file and select ‘Compress’
Step 2: You should see a ‘.zip’ file created in the location
Just like that, your file archive is ready to be sent out! Not a Mac user? Fret not! While we do most of our work on MacBooks, we occasionally use other laptops under the Windows operating system as well. For Windows users, the way to reduce file size for Powerpoint presentations can be a little different but follow the steps below and you’re on your way.
How to Compress PowerPoint Files (.PPT) On Windows OS Machines
PowerPoint was developed originally mainly for Windows users – it’s no surprise that many Windows users are also looking to compress their presentations and may run into brick walls during the process.
HOW TO COMPRESS POWERPOINT ON WINDOWS OS
Method One : Compress Images In Picture Format
The approach here to compress your PowerPoint file is very similar to the way it’s done in Mac where you can compress all the images in PowerPoint files with just a few clicks.
How To Compress windows powerpoint using picture format
1. Select an image or picture in the slides
2. Click the Picture Tools tab on the top ribbon
3. Next, select the Format tab
4. Under the adjust segment, click on the Compress icon
5. Select your preferred compression size
6. Select “delete cropped area”
7. Choose “all pictures in this file”
8. Click “Ok”
That’s it! Notice the big difference in size? Now, you’ll be able to send out the emails without worrying about large attachments bogging you down. These handy ways to cut down on file size have been a lifesaver for us at work, and we surely hope they’ll be helpful for you as well. Let us know if you have discovered other methods in the comments section below!
by Kai Xin Koh | Jun 26, 2020 | Business, Resources |
Jumpstory is a site providing a source of inspiration and help when you need it to better the outlook of your piece. Not only do they produce outstanding visuals, but the collection they have is also vast. They tell a story of their own and inspire others.
These days it is difficult to find good visuals without flouting any rules. Or dealing with copyright issues. With Jumpstory, finding the best visuals are easy. With the click of a button, you can get access to an extensive library collection. With a Jumpstory membership, you gain access to millions of eye-catching visuals.
At Highspark, presentations are our forte. One thing for sure: an outstanding presentation is nothing without great visuals. Hence, we gave Jumpstory a try. It simplifies the entire process for you. Somehow, the right images appear for you when you need it. Moreover, the visuals eliminate low quality and poor standard work, when you use their many high-quality visuals.
With Jumpstory, you can work through any situation. Be it for recreation, or work, tailored for your needs. You are not alone.
Here’s how we did it.
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON JUMPSTORY
HUGE VARIETY OF HIGH-QUALITY VISUALS
Jumpstory generates more than 20,000 fresh images and content for its members daily. It has hundreds of different collections which allow you to choose the best photo. The one you were looking for. The Jumpstory library consists of over 30 million visuals. It is extensive, relatable, and does not compromise quality. They offer not only studio-approved images but also natural-looking, authentic ones. With this software, it saves you the need of finding a photographer.
ORGANISED, EASY TO USE
Jumpstory’s website layout is neat and organised. Their unique and useful tools are all tucked into easily accessible pockets. The best part: There is no learning curve needed.
Navigation is highly intuitive and it takes you three minutes to get used to the interface. Being a tech dummy myself, I found the site pretty clear and easy-to-use. I ended up appreciating this website because it is easy, fun, and dishes out great results.
Once you sign up as a member, that’s where the fun begins. You no longer need to strive to find the perfect image, instead, find the best photo with ease. With no more copyrighting woes, the limits and boundaries disappear as well. Jumpstory promises to give the best results to its users, with its many functions. Along with it come many tools and features for its users, which I would share with you now. There are many ways to get your visuals fast, and here are some helpful ways to make your journey smoother.
Like any old search engine, Jumpstory provides a primary search function. Type in keywords of what you wish to find, and get access to over 30 million visuals. Search ‘Street Fashion’, and all results related to street fashion would appear.
Using Jumpstory’s filter function, you can narrow your search to make your search simple. Filter results based on image colour, image orientation, to even location. Get what you want with just a click. Exactly what you need. Within seconds.
Begin making magic recreating it using Jumpstory’s special editing features. How often do you get a photo editor in an image library? You can create memes, crop and filter your photo, blend it, remove the background. All these functions are achievable on the spot with ease. With JumpStory, you don’t need Photoshop anymore.
Jumpstory’s editing tool has a gentle learning curve. All functions are straightforward and labelled. Looking for consistency in your content, perfection in your images? Jumpstory has your back. Jumpstory’s image editor is best for bloggers, marketers or small business owners. And of course, those who crave consistency and a good old aesthetic picture.
The thing about Jumpstory’s search help function is that things get done for you. The hassle of searching for visuals can be lifted by the Jumpstory help team. Very often we get preoccupied with our daily tasks and get lazy to perform the menial, tedious, mundane tasks. Jumpstory’s free, photo guarantee Search Help function saves the day. Sit back, relax, and have the work done for you. All within 24 hours.
Type in what you want in the white box given. Then send it to the Jumpstory team. A good list of potential images would be waiting in your inbox within 24 hours. I used this function a few times and have never been disappointed. Once I needed to look for photographs of presenters confidently presenting to a classroom,
The vast variety of image categories offered in Jumpstory makes things much easier. Click the right category, and your search will be narrowed.
Speed during work is important, and using this saves tons of time. Software or web developers, graphic artists, designers. Listen up. Anyone looking for a variety of photographs from similar categories for their work will find this a lifesaver.
For my scope of work, I scale through professional images that can fit into my clients’ slide decks. Often, I turn to the easy tool of ‘Categories’ on Jumpstory, to look for photos under the broad categories. I find myself often turning to the ‘Work’ and ‘Industry’, as well as ‘Media’ categories for photos that fit into the character and style of my clients’ slide decks. Sometimes I click into the occasional ‘Animal’ category or even ‘Crafts’ category. Different clients have different styles, hence the large variety helps. I just select the category that suits my needs, filter through using the Filter tool, and choose my image from there. The selection Jumpstory comes up with no lack in variety, and extra points for the natural-looking photographs offered.
This is yet another interesting function unique to Jumpstory that drew my attention. Textmatch is an advanced AI software that can convert text into images. You can enter a text or a paragraph of words which you have prewritten, and Jumpstory will find the images for you pretty quickly.
It doesn’t get simpler than that. Looking for pictures of happy babies eating on high chairs for your baby care writeup, or struggling to find a perfect fit for your website or blog gets simple. Insert the text which you have generated, and the right images would appear through your search.
After using Text Match, Jumpstory swoops in again. Say hello to High Jumper, a little orange icon that could save you hours of your time. You get to save time searching with this new platform.
This icon only shows up on images Jumpstory’s AI recommends for you related to your search. High Jumper fulfils Jumpstory’s promise of delivering with impact. And of course, solves the problem of people not knowing which image to choose. The technology will pick up at the best visuals which it thinks would garner most online traction based on your text.
Of course, it is important what you type in Text Match is enticing. The images would be more applicable and helpful. With High Jumper, you can better pick images which give you more traffic to your site.
USING JUMPSTORY FOR WORK
Using Jumpstory has been a very smooth ride, It always is 100% hassle-free afterwards. Its stock image library consists of photos I could never find on the net. I tried subscriptions with Pexels, Unsplash and other image libraries. But Jumpstory’s versatility and additional functions truly jumped out to me. There are tons of new tools, with a choice of more natural-looking pictures that can reach out to the masses to a whole new level. Jumpstory offers more than other image libraries. Their background removal services, A picture is worth a thousand words, you cannot afford to pick the wrong one. With Jumpstory, after one sign up, the pictures find you, rather than you find them, it seems. Its smart software does wonders to your search.
I would recommend Jumpstory to content generators. Marketers, bloggers, and small business owners. Individuals who need outstanding visuals – fast. Their features are especially applicable to bloggers from small corporate organisations. Their many business-related visuals also fit well for entrepreneurs of small start-up firms. That said, it would be useful for many other uses due to its A to Z extensive collection.
That said, paying $25 USD a month, despite having a free one-month trial may not be within the budget for some. If you rarely engage in content generation, think twice before subscribing to it. Otherwise, it is safe to say that Jumpstory would be a great investment, and would make the 25 bucks worth it. Guarantee.
Their developing AI could be a cause for concern as well. Though developed, it is still learning every day and has yet to reach its peak. Their gallery would better cater to broader, more common subjects. Hence, business owners of very specialised fields may need to reconsider using Jumpstory. Otherwise, Jumpstory’s functionality and great content make it a great investment for businesses.
Here are some pros and cons when considering whether to get Jumpstory:
- No learning curve needed; easy to use
- Natural-looking, and professional images
- Free image consultancy service
- Able to edit your photos on the spot
- Delivers with impact using unique High Jumper tool
- Hundreds of categories and variety
- Professional AI setup for easy searches
- Unlimited downloads
- It’s a little pricey
- AI not extremely developed for complex topics
- Icons, vectors, video collections not extensive enough
- Sometimes buggy and loads slowly
- Results not 100% accurate sometimes
- It’s not a fully finished product
- Unable to edit images without adding to the archive
by Kai Xin Koh | May 6, 2020 | Business, Resources |
You zone out for the umpteenth time to the sound of your dead-pan colleagues reading off their to-do lists. You think “God… work hours are getting longer… but we’re not getting more things done.” We know how this feels – virtual meetings are a pain, for good reasons.
This is how a video conference usually goes for many of us:
- You set a time to discuss with your team members.
- Everyone goes online at different timings and wait for the host to start the call.
- Once everyone is on… then some of you will start to break the ice by making some small talk.
- Then the team leader would start leading the call. People will be reading off their to-do-lists. As everyone rambles off their tasks, you’re bored and zoned-out because… you don’t exactly need to be there.
- From time to time, the audio breaks up and you lose the flow of your discussion.
- When the call finally ends, you find yourself thinking what was the point of the whole call anyway… for you get no clarity out of it.
Worst of all… if you’re working in different teams you’d find yourself having to check-in to different video conferences out of formality. (even though you don’t need it).
As the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, countries are enforcing lockdown and businesses have to collaborate online. This affects internet bandwidth worldwide. This also disrupts our call quality which in turn affects our productivity.
Let’s face it: Video-Conferencing done wrong – is a major energy and time sucker. And this is why we want to address it. When done right, video conferences can help ensure smooth business continuation for companies. Hence, this is why we want to help you better facilitate video meetings.
Without video conferences, it might be tough to work together. Simply because it’s difficult to align you and your teammates on who-does-what. You’ll experience people are not sticking to deadlines, unclear of what to do next or worse- completely missing-in-action.
In this post, we’ll explain a few simple tips on how to conduct more effective video conferencing calls.
First of all, it might be a good idea to standardise on one video-conferencing platform. This ensures everyone has clarity on which app they should use. At HighSpark, we use Zoom or Workplace call because it’s tailored for remote teams. (it is intuitive and user-friendly).
Do an AudioVisual Check
Starting off, it would be useful to do an audiovisual check to ensure everyone can hear each other.
Once everyone is online, you can encourage your team members to say a short greeting so people can hear and see each other. In case of poor network connectivity issues, use a set of hand signals when you want to speak during the call so that you won’t be interrupting others.
For example, a closed fist represents you would like to speak soon and a “T” signal shows you would like to excuse yourself. Hand signals allow you to express yourself without disrupting others.
The use of gestures helps to reduce interruptions which create better team dynamics. This can improve the working environment for everyone and help communication flow better.
Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking
Another tip is to mute your microphone when you’re not speaking.
This helps to minimise any unwanted noise which allows the speaker to focus better. If you mute your mic, you can use the chat function to take notes since your typing will no longer be distracting.
Then, create a simple set of rules for all video calls with your team.
- No eating/drinking
- No loud background music
- Being 5 minutes early.
Simple rules can maintain a sense of work discipline (which can be difficult since everyone’s at home). This will also help to keep your team on the same page so that discussions can flow well. If you are the team leader, we recommend you to set an example by following the rules all the time. This keeps your call focused and efficient.
Keep it short
Now, the work discussion has started. A good tip to keeping your team focused is to keep everything short and simple.
You can achieve this by:
- Making an agenda for the meeting,
- Giving out tasks to your teammates or
- Inviting the key people involved in the call.
- Setting a fixed duration for the call to keep discussions short and focused. (Zoom offers a function where the host of the call can set a fixed call duration which forces the participants to speak succinctly.
Visual guides such as Powerpoint or Keynote are good tools to express ideas. They help make your presentations interactive which keeps your teammates more engaged.
One bonus tip is to lift the spirits of your team through little games and quizzes during the break! This not only makes the meetings more fun but also more memorable.
Give a summary
Remember the notes you took using your call’s chat function?
This is where they come in handy. Before ending your call, it is a good habit to round it off with a summary of the discussion and propose areas of improvement for future calls. Your summary should list only the key points covered.
This is extremely important for longer discussions. Lastly, you could start scheduling the next meeting so your team members will have ample time to plan their schedule.
That’s all for now, we hope you enjoyed and found this article useful!
Want to see more of our content? Join our exclusive email list below where we share tips on how to ace your next high-stakes presentation.
by Kai Xin Koh | Mar 27, 2020 | Branding, Business, Pitching, Presentation, Resources |
Think back on all the presentations you have ever sat through. Which presentation comes to mind immediately, and why was it so particularly impressionable? In which phase of your life did you encounter it, and was it effective in conveying its message?
In the digital age where technology practically enables our everyday lives, making a PowerPoint presentation is almost effortless — but an effective one? That takes practice and most importantly, a keen understanding of how to do it.
Making Your Best PowerPoint Presentation — The Ultimate Guide
In this guide, we will be breaking presentations down into the two key components to be considered: content and visuals. Most people get carried away with either, but for a PowerPoint to be sufficiently informative and impressionable, these two must complement each other in order to achieve the perfect balance.
Understand Your Audience
We sometimes ask our clients to think of a PowerPoint presentation as a gift you’re preparing for someone. When selecting a present, you have to keep in mind his / her general background, preferences and needs.
The same goes for creating a presentation; it is essential to familiarize yourself with the style of your audience.
Flashy slides and dramatic transitions may work well with children but not with adults. As such, before you begin working on anything, take a couple of minutes to think about the people you are reaching out to. It will help you determine how important it is to impress them, and how much consideration you’ll need to give to your presentation.
a. Set a purpose and objective
Spontaneous presentations are fun (try them out sometime!), but chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re creating a presentation for a specific task.
With that in mind, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish. Is it to deliver your content in 15 slides, or 20 minutes? Is it to achieve a certain conversion rate after the presentation? Knowing and keeping a clear idea of what your goal is can help you measure the success of the presentation, and gauge what is required to fulfil your objectives, which can be a huge time-saver.
To put it simply — if there is no purpose or objective, there is no reason to give the presentation.
b. Use Ethos, Pathos and Logos
Language is a powerful medium through which ideas are conveyed, and one good way to manipulate it is through the use of Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Ethos calls upon the ethics or values of the speaker, Pathos evokes emotions in the audience and Logos relies on logic by using evidence and facts to persuade.
While a delicate balance of all three is the ideal scenario, it is likely that there will be one aspect that warrants greater attention. For instance, if you’re giving a talk at a university, an appeal to ethics and boosting your credibility as an established figure is what will hook your audience’s attention and convince them that you are worth listening to.
On the other hand, if you’re a representative of a non-profit organization calling for donations, pathos would appear to be the most significant tool, as the most important thing would be to move the hearts of your audience, compelling them to take action.
Work on Your Content First
When you begin developing your presentation, it’s easy to get carried away with designing; who doesn’t like pretty images? While it is cool (we love our jobs!), try focusing on getting your content right first, as it will influence your layout to a certain extent. Generally, we recommend starting with understanding your objectives and the audience who will view your presentation.
Then arrange your presentation in a coherent and compelling manner; we usually do this through a storyboard, but you can do it in any way that works for you.
Once you’ve got a general outline down, work on selecting your main visuals and the overall look of the presentation such as the colour, fonts, and background. You can then put it all together in PowerPoint based on what you’ve planned.
Prepare Detailed Handouts or Publications for Your Audience
Regardless of the size of the audience you are addressing, PowerPoint presentations with too many visuals and too little text can be virtually meaningless without the speaker’s narration.
Most people are aware of the benefits of having more visuals than text, but what they don’t know is the importance of putting in the effort to create a detailed, written handout as a takeaway from the presentation for the audience to reflect on and refer to.
There is, unfortunately, little point in having your audience remember the stunning graphics you had but not the main points of your sharing.
Be sure to spare a few more minutes and include the key points of your presentation in the handout so that it does not become a fleeting work that will not survive beyond your vocalization of the points. This is especially important when your presentation is packed with essential information that you want the audience to retain.
The creation of detailed handouts also serves another practical function, which is to cater to any interested parties who might have missed the presentation due to various reasons, or for audience members who attended your talk to spread the word. The space to absorb the information conveyed in your
Presentation through a written handout also caters to people who are more used to reading on their own — just like how some people prefer to sit in for lectures, whereas others prefer to do their self-studying in peace and quiet. Regardless, having these handouts ensures that no one is neglected.
Create User-Friendly Exports
With technology being ingrained into our everyday lives, you may find yourself in a situation where you are asked to send an online copy of your PowerPoint presentation to someone else. While that sounds easy, measures should be taken to ensure that the version the other party receives and looks through is how you want it to be seen.
Never assume that your deck will look the same on all platforms; if the other party does not have PowerPoint installed on their computer or is using a completely different version of it, it might very likely result in your slides appearing differently. This means that your alignment might be off, fonts are not displayed correctly, or worse, that your speaker’s notes are clearly seen in the presentation file.
Thankfully, there is one easy solution to prevent this — export your presentation as a PDF so that everything will remain as it is, and no changes can be made to it. This can be achieved through File > Export > Create PDF.
Remember: You may have the best PowerPoint presentation, but you still need to be prepared for all possible scenarios as much as possible!
Familiarize Yourself with the Functions in PowerPoint
If you’ve ever faced the problem of Googling repeatedly to locate several functions in PowerPoint, you may not be making full use of the convenience that this beautiful program offers.
There is a ribbon, or a toolbar, that runs along the top of the PowerPoint window which contains most of the commands that are used frequently. The ribbon is organized into tabs, and each tab contains a group of related sources. For instance, in the “Review” tab, you can find some of the most commonly used tools that may be useful, such as checking for spelling and grammatical errors or activating the thesaurus.
Before you start working on your presentation, take a few minutes to run through the functions available again. Afterward, you will find that your process becomes much more efficient, as you won’t have to waste time searching for a particular function. The same goes for keyboard shortcuts; using Ctrl / Command + c & v is much faster than using your mouse to search for the copy and paste functions. Moreover, learning about the different functions that exist may just get your creative juices flowing as inspiration can come from that knowledge.
In addition, PowerPoint also has a Quick Access Toolbar which can be placed in two possible locations, depending on your preference. It is a customizable toolbar containing a set of commands that are independent of the displayed ribbon. Buttons that represent commands can be added to the Quick Access Toolbar, and this toolbar will always remain visible, which means your creation process will become that much simpler and more efficient.
Create a Captivating Cover Title
Picture your presentation as an advertisement. Summarize your entire presentation in a phrase, 7 words or less, that you want your audience to take away. The key here is to make it a compelling one — for instance, benefit statements such as “Boosting Sales Through Technology” for a sales pitch will work well in helping your audience understand the most important message being conveyed in the presentation.
We recommend introducing the phrase right at the start so that the audience has ample time to familiarize themselves with the goal of your pitch.
Use Impactful Closing Techniques
Depending on the presentation that you are giving, a strong ending is pretty much the cherry on top, and it determines whether your audience walks away with a good impression of your presentation. There are multiple closing techniques and choosing one mostly depends on the sort of presentation that you are giving.
Here’s a general guide based on the three most prominent styles of presentation — persuasive, informative, and introductory:
For persuasive presentations, where your main aim is to convince your audience to believe in the argument that you are making, offer a new perspective or angle for your audience to contemplate over. While your ending slide should definitely reiterate your overall points, offering a new perspective or angle would give your audience an opportunity to reflect, as well as provide an impression that you have looked at the issue at hand from a myriad of perspectives.
For informative presentations, it would be ideal to end your session with a Q&A session. Give your audience members a chance to clarify any questions they might have on the spot and at the same time, present a reliable image of yourself by being familiar with the content of your slides. If you’re thrown a question that you can’t answer, don’t panic! Thank the audience for his/her question and say that you will look into the matter before getting back to him/her. Be sure to do so, else you’ll lose your credibility. While you should know the topic like the back of your hand, there will be times where we’re offered a perspective or question that we’ve never considered, and that’s alright- just remember to remain calm and collected.
For introductory presentations such as business pitches, end off by including a call to action. Offer them a good reason to take action and be clear with what you’re trying to accomplish by bringing it forward in your last slide. Practice delivering your conclusion and engage the audience with eye-contact and emotions as you wrap up for a strong finish.
Choose the Right Visuals
Less is not always more, but when it comes to a PowerPoint presentation, less is definitely more. In order to convey a clear and memorable message, it is essential to ensure that your presentation relies on a simple visual system. Focus on simplicity so that your audience will not be distracted by visuals.
Think of their attention span as limited — use only a few colours and fonts that are pleasant to read to keep them there with you. Ensure that your brand or message remains consistent throughout and one way to do that is through understanding colour psychology.
Studies have shown that our brains are generally more inclined to prefer recognizable brands, which makes colour incredibly important when creating a brand identity. Bolder suggestions that highlight the importance of new brands using the loco palette colours that ensure differentiation from entrenched competitors have been made as well. Aside from simply standing out, surveys conducted have also shown that different genders are actually more receptive to certain colours. As such, you might want to consider doing a little bit of research yourself and recognizing which gender you would like to place greater emphasis on before choosing a colour scheme.
The general guideline is that men seem to prefer bold colours while women prefer softer colours. Also, men were more likely to select shades of colours as their favourites (colours with black added), whereas women were more receptive to tints of colours (colours with white added).
However, this differs from case to case and in different cultures as well. As such, the main takeaway is that colours play a greater role than you can ever imagine, so do not neglect its importance in the difference it can make in your presentation. Do a little more research on your own before you decide on your colour branding.
Organize Your Presentation
PowerPoint has multiple features that will allow you to reconsider the order of your slides and convey the essential information in the simplest way possible. Think of your presentation as an argument — it has to flow coherently so that your audience can follow through without feeling confused or overwhelmed.
The Slide Sorter View function is a great way for you to run through everything that you have on hand and decide the following things: whether there is any information you can afford to omit or have missed out, and how you can rearrange your information in a way that is smooth and easy to follow. Read through your slides again as if you were looking at them for the first time and read out the information as you would when presenting.
At the same time, pay attention to the details in your visuals and ensure that the alignment, colours, and fonts are consistent. The key is for the presentation to be informative but not overwhelming, and eye-catching but not to the point of it being distracting.
To take it one step further, there is an art to how you should organize your material as well. Masterful presenters deliberately arrange their presentation in a specific order that motivates the audience to take action. Just like in an essay, your presentation should always be ordered in this format: problem, solution, and call-to-action.
Start with the problem by pointing out what your audience is currently facing without your product in the case of a sales pitch, then go on to present your product information as the solution.
You should be targeting their pain points; giving them reasons why they should hear you out and show them that you can make their lives better with your solution. In the last section, motivate them to take action by providing details on how they can do so, such as including the price of your product and a contact number they can reach to obtain any clarifications.
Lastly, to boost your overall credibility, it would be ideal to include good reviews that can serve as reliable testimonials and lock in your audience’s desire to do whatever it is you are encouraging.
Bonus: The Importance of Good Work Ethics
Creating your best PowerPoint presentation takes time and effort, and good work ethics serve as a guide in helping you achieve it. If you want a TLDR (too long; didn’t read) version of this article, read this section, as it serves as the foundation for what we’ve shared throughout. Think of it as three P’s: preparation, productivity, and priorities.
We’ve seen clients attempt to rush out presentations last minute hoping to achieve miracles — some do, but many ultimately fall short of expectations. A compelling presentation doesn’t happen overnight; even we ourselves, after so many years of experience, cannot create one in such limited time.
This is why we emphasize the necessity of having good work ethics which helps to keep you grounded and focused on creating the best you can. Before you even begin developing your presentation, it is important to acknowledge that preparation is key to creating a compelling one.
Constantly remind yourself of this as you go along as if you try to ‘wing it’, you’ll find yourself producing lacklustre results that not only reflect badly on you but also on your organization.
Regardless of why you’re creating this presentation, you’ll likely have other tasks on your plate. Managing your time is incredibly important, as it is easy to lose track of time and find yourself rushing through slides last minute. If you rarely do presentations or this is your first time, plan carefully the steps you’ll need to take. Decide how much time you can and should spend on each step, then start working on your presentation. Diving in without any planning in advance will cause you to waste time not really doing anything.
Understanding what your priorities are for the presentation helps in increasing your productivity. For example, think of the standard your presentation must achieve before you can share it. Your utmost priority is to ensure that your presentation reaches that standard minimally. Even if things go wrong, having a presentation that is good enough is better than having none.
The making of a great PowerPoint presentation is not easy and we know that. We’ve worked on countless presentations over the years- yet from time to time, we still face difficulty in trying to present our clients’ materials in the best way possible. What helps us is a set of tried and tested methods that serve as our foundation, some of which we’ve shared with you today. The tips offered in this guide are not overly complicated and should be mastered so you can work towards creating your own set of compelling and effective slides. We believe that with practice, you too, can create your best PowerPoint presentation effortlessly. Good luck!
by Shavinyaa Vijay | Mar 4, 2019 | Pitching, Presentation, Public Speaking, Resources, Storytelling |
Keynote presentations can be terrifying for some of us. We fear messing up, looking bad on camera, forgetting our notes… The list of nightmares just doesn’t end.
While it’s not possible to have an entirely foolproof plan, we can minimize the number of ways where things can go wrong. So if you have an important keynote presentation coming up, here are some of our tips to help you out.
How to Ace Your Keynote Presentation
We’ll give you a concise guide on what you should be doing, from the time you start planning to the time you conclude your speech. Take these 15 quick tips and master them so you can deliver a stunning keynote presentation in no time!
1. Know Your Purpose
Before you start creating the layout of your slides or typing out the content of your speech, take some time to ask yourself — what is the purpose of your keynote presentation? What is the takeaway that you want the audience to have after your presentation? Essentially, you need to ask yourself, “What is my message?”. While it feels like time is ticking away, rushing into your slides will backfire in the long run. You need to ensure that the intention behind this presentation is clear and focused, as that would help you in creating a keynote presentation with clarity and confidence.
2. Be Confident
A genuine smile makes you look at ease and approachable
Ever heard of the phrase, ‘fake it till you make it’? Now’s a great time to take that advice! A significant factor in determining the success of your keynote presentation is your audience’s trust in you, and to gain their trust, you need to be confident in yourself first. Confidence in presentations comes from two sources: your posture, and your mastery of the content you are presenting. For posture, remember not to fidget and stand in a relaxed position. Stretch for a couple of minutes before presenting to loosen yourself up. As for your content, be sure to know the subject of your presentation like the back of your hand; read up as much as possible and do not start on it last minute.
3. Give Your Credentials
When introducing yourself, simply sharing your organization and position is not enough; if your audience wants to know where you’re from, all they need is a quick search online. What they do want to know however, is why you are the best person to deliver this presentation, and what you have to offer them. By sharing this, your audience will know that you’re knowledgeable in the field you’re presenting on, and that you have the solution to their needs or problems. Doing this will not only make your audience lean a little closer, but will also give you a great segue to move them into the next part of your presentation.
4. Deliver Your Hook
Research shows that the audience will stop listening to a presentation within 10 minutes if they are not persuaded that there is something in it for them. It is therefore important that you “hook” your audience by convincing them that they can benefit from your keynote presentation. You can do this by showing your audience that the key idea behind your presentation has the ability to make them feel happy or successful.
5. Introduce Your Agenda
At the start of your speech, be sure to let your audience know what the takeaway of your message is. Dedicate a slide to show your audience the agenda, and when presenting, remember not to read from the slides! Instead, offer a brief and general summary of your presentation. Give your audience the direction of your presentation, as this will allow them to follow your content better.
6. Ensure Smooth Transitions
Transitions are like sign posts that guide your audience throughout your speech, so they must be easy to follow, the last thing you need is a confused audience! Unclear transitions can be a nightmare as it may potentially distort the content of your presentation. In the end, the audience grasps only bits and pieces of your message, or worse, gives up on following your presentation. This applies not just to the visual effects that PowerPoint has, but also to the words you use. When transitioning from point to point, use words such as ‘next’, ‘then’, and ‘after’, and number your points using words like ‘firstly’, ‘secondly’, and ‘thirdly’. This will help the audience understand when you’re moving on to another idea or part of your presentation.
7. Give a Credible Statement
If you wish to gain your audience’s trust and establish a professional relationship with them, you need to get them to buy into your presentation. One way would be through giving credible statements that support your message. This can come in the form of data, or in the form of professional advice from experts in the field of your presentation. For example, make use of graphs and statistics to show the importance of a certain situation, and share quotes from someone with authority in a similar (if not the same) industry to backup your statements.
8. Use Images for Maximum Impact
The beauty of well-selected images lies in their ability to communicate a message without throwing dozens of words at an audience, so use them to your advantage! Select photos that encapsulate the message of your keynote presentation, or to highlight a specific idea that you’re sharing. Images that look simple can deliver the most powerful messages, and do what words sometimes cannot achieve — stir emotions in an audience. However, while images are a great tool, moderation is key. Stay away from photos that have been used too often (icebergs, anyone?), and use them sparingly throughout the presentation, as too many may reduce their impact.
9. Present data simply
Data is important in any credible presentation, and like we mentioned earlier, can help to establish your audience’s trust. However, it is crucial that the data be presented in a simple and uncomplicated manner. Too many numbers or graphs can be distracting for the audience, and may obscure the real intention of presenting the data. If you have large chunks of statistics, ask yourself: What is the key idea of the message you’re sharing? Which figures will back your statements up? From there, choose the appropriate data and highlight them accordingly.
10. One slide – one theme
Like transitions, each slide can be used as markers of the various points you aim to cover. Not only does this make your presentation easy for the audience to follow, it also makes it easy for you to remember your points as they are neatly categorised in each slide. It may seem tempting to squeeze all your information into few slides, but remember, moderation is key!
11. Be minimalistic
For a keynote presentation, simplicity is important when designing and organising your deck. You do not want the pattern or design to distract your audience from the real content and message. Again, it is also important that you do not overload the slides with words, so keep the sentences and points in your slides short. Let your speech expand on the ideas that you want the audience to take with them. Your communication and connection with them is more impactful in sending your message across than words on the slides.
12. Be consistent
Consistency is essential, especially when it comes to your presentation. Avoid using different backgrounds in every slide, and ensure that the design is reasonably similar throughout, unless you wish to use differences to distinguish individual points in your message. This makes the transitions in your presentation smooth, and thus it makes the story that you are telling easy for the audience to follow.
13. Practice, Practice, Practice
Rome was not build in a day, and similarly, a perfect presentation will not happen instantaneously! Rehearse your presentation a couple of times before the actual one, as this will help you in two ways. Firstly, you will gain familiarity with the content, which will definitely increase your confidence in delivering the presentation. Secondly, going through the deck aloud will allow you to listen to your speech from the audience’s perspective. This will aid you in tweaking and adjusting the content and structure of your presentation, to best fit the needs of the audience.
14. Analyse your audience
On the day of your presentation, analyse the audience. Get a general feel of the crowd. Are they excited? Are they bored? Are they tired? By doing this, you will be able to tweak the content of your presentation to fit the needs of your audience. If they are bored, you may wish to start with an interesting story related to your message. If they are tired, you could give them some time to get refreshed, either through a 5 minutes break or a quick activity to keep them alert. This way, you can ensure that you have a receptive audience ready to listen to what you have to say.
15. Q&A session
It is absolutely important that you leave some time at the end of your keynote presentation for a short “question and answer” session. Since the presentation was done from your perspective, the audience may have missed some important links and connections in your ideas. Therefore, a Q&A session is great in resolving any potential confusion that the audience may have.
There you have it, 15 simple tips to ace your keynote presentation! Just remember:
- Know Your Purpose
- Be Confident
- Give Your Credentials
- Deliver Your Hook
- Introduce Your Agenda
- Ensure Smooth Transitions
- Give a Credible Statement
- Use Images for Maximum Impact
- Present data simply
- One slide – one theme
- Be minimalistic
- Be consistent
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Analyse your audience
- Q&A session
Now you’re good to go, all the best for your keynote presentation!