Become a master cropper–PowerPoint cropping secrets

powerpoint-tips-cropping-1Recently a member of the Power Pointers Quarter Hour weekly training program asked me how to crop a headshot of a person to fit into a circle. I did a training session on the topic and thought I’d share the basics with you.

The reason this is difficult is that the headshot needs to be a perfect square; otherwise you’ll distort the image as you see here.

How to crop to a square

There are 2 little-known features of cropping that you can use to get some nice effects and also to create consistency among multiple photos on a slide.powerpoint-tips-cropping-2

When you select an image and click the Format tab, you’ll see the Crop button. But if you click the Crop button’s Down arrow, you’ll see some options you might not have investigated–Crop to Shape and Aspect Ratio. You might think that you want to crop to a circle, but remember that the shape is an oval and you’ll just get the headshot in an oval — a nice effect, but not what we want.

Cropping to a square doesn’t work either because it’s really a rectangle and the image is already a rectangle.

So instead, use the Aspect Ratio option to get a perfect square. Once you have that, you can get the circle look you want. From the Aspect Ratio drop-down list, choose the Square 1:1 option and you’ll see crop handles in the shape you want. Drag the headshot so that it fits properly within the square and click outside the handles to finish the crop.powerpoint-tips-cropping-3

Now you have a perfectly square headshot. You have 2 options now.

The simplest is to choose Format tab, Crop down arrow, Crop to Shape, and choose the Oval shape. You’ll get a perfect circle.

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But you can also fill a circle with the image. Follow these steps:

  1. Copy your square headshot to the clipboard.
  2. Insert a circle, holding down the Shift key as you drag (or just click on the slide to get the default size).
  3. Right-click the circle and choose Format Shape.
  4. In the taskbar that appears, click the Fill & Line icon and then expand the Fill category.
  5. Choose Picture or Texture fill. You’ll see the default texture in your circle.
  6. Click Clipboard under the Insert Picture From label.

I know, that’s a lot more steps!

powerpoint-tips-cropping-5Either way, you can add an outline and make it wider, add a shadow, add beveling, etc. to get the look you want. Here’s my final headshot in a circle. Do you like it?

You can use SmartArt picture layouts to put multiple images in a square or circle. See my blog post, “Quickly create a grid of tiled images.”

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How would you use this technique? How do you crop your images? Leave a comment or question and please share using the Share buttons below so others can learn this technique.

 

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A neat little psychology trick for quickly laying out messy slides

taylor-croonquistThis is a guest blog post by Taylor Croonquist. Taylor is the co-founder of Nuts & Bolts Speed Training, a website delivering actionable PowerPoint training and speed strategies, helping professionals cut their build time in half (at least). Prior to Nuts & Bolts, Taylor lived and worked in China for 10 years in finance and consulting. Learn more at www.nutsandboltsspeedtraining.com

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If you’ve ever had a lot of stuff you want to include in your slide but couldn’t figure out what to do with it all, then you will love this neat little psychology trick when applied to your slides.

This neat little psychology trick has 3 distinct advantages:

Advantage #1: As the slide builder, it makes your slides easier to lay out and design .

Advantage #2: As the presenter, it makes your slides easier to present.

Advantage #3: As the audience, it makes your slides easier to understand.

The answer is chunking.

Chunking is a psychology memory technique whereby large groups of information are broken down into meaningful chunks that are more easily memorized; and it works great for complicated slides.

As an example of chunking in the real world, just think of your own phone number. Instead of memorizing it as a single 10-digit number (XXXXXXXXXX), you probably have it memorized as three different chunks of numbers (XXX-XXX-XXXX), right? That’s chunking in action!

And when you start applying this neat little trick to your slides, you’ll find that almost EVERYTHING in PowerPoint is easier when it’s thought of in chunks of information.

Chunking with Shapes / Pictures

Let’s start with a difficult slide and see how quickly we can break it up into something meaningful with this neat little psychology trick of chunking.

Below is an example of a complicated sequence of events that someone might want to present.

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If this was your slide, using the chunking technique, you would want to ask yourself how this sequence of events could be grouped into relevant and/or meaningful sub-groups. For example: Read more! →

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9 tips to design presentations for webinars

powerpoint-tips-9-tips-design-presentations-webinars-1aI recently gave a presentation on this topic at the Presenters Network meeting in Manhattan and thought I’d share with you my points for designing presentations for webinars.

By the word “design,” I mean both the visual design of the slides and the design of the content.

Webinars have many advantages over live presentations:

  • No travel (time or cost)
  • Greater reach (all over the world)
  • Easier follow-up
  • Availability of a recording

They also have some disadvantages:

  • Difficulty of keeping people from multitasking
  • Lack of engagement between the presenter and the audience

The points below address these disadvantages.

1. Use and design for the webcam

Read more! →

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4 steps to create a video from PowerPoint slides

You can create great videos using PowerPoint! A common reason to create videos is to post them on YouTube but you can post them on a website or on social media as well.

You can make them as simple or as complicated as you want. Here are the basic steps to create a video from PowerPoint slides:

1. Create animated slides (including transitions)

Of course, you start with animated slides. The basic concept is to keep things moving like they would in a video. A video is a very different medium from a slide presentation, so you have to think differently.

For example, after you apply entrance animations, you can apply exit animations so that objects come in and go out. Use some of the more extreme animations that you would never use in a regular business presentation.

2. Add audio (narration and/or music)

Read more! →

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Anticipate the next slide with transitional statements

In writing, it’s good practice to create transitional statements between paragraphs or sections. For example:

“Next, I’ll cover how you can implement the ideas I’ve discussed.”
“On the other hand…”
“That was one example; now I’ll give you another example.”

The same is true when you speak. Transitional statements help glue your points to each other and to your talk as a whole. They make clear the relationships between ideas. These relationships make the entire talk hold together for your audience.

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Gluing slides together

Unfortunately, when people use slides, they often think in discrete chunks because each slide is a separate element. This turns into an awkward pause as they switch to the next slide. This is especially true then they aren’t sure what’s coming next.

You should always know the content of the slide that is coming next! Read more! →

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Why you need a story for your presentations

powerpoint-tips-story-presentationHow do you persuade people to implement your training, buy from you, or approve your proposal?

Yes, you need a good “offer,” whether that offer is to help trainees perform better, improve client’s results, or get more done with less money. But a good offer isn’t enough.

Lots of research has shown that emotion is necessary for people to make a decision. They buy in because it feels good. They believe that whatever you’re offering will help them in some way. It’s a common saying that people buy on emotion and justify it afterward. This applies even when the transaction isn’t a purchase for money. They buy the premise of your proposal. They accept that your training will get them where they want to be in the company.

And perhaps the best way to convey emotion is through a story, especially when backed up with strong images. For more information on how to choose the right images for your presentations, see my post, “4 secrets to choose the best images for your slides.”

So you need a story for your presentations. You can use many types of stories:

  • Case studies
  • Examples
  • Your story (an experience you had)
  • Stories about employees or customers
  • A story in the news
  • A story from history

A good way to start telling stories is to find something from your own experience that illustrates your point. It’s obviously going to be original, it’s personal (adds emotion), and you already have the content. You’ll often find that you can use this story over and over–just make sure it’s relevant to your presentation and the audience!

This is sometimes called a “signature” story and public speakers use it a lot. If you haven’t written your signature story, use the guidelines here to get it done!

Evoke emotions with a story

Read more! →

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Watch my PechaKucha presentation!

powerpoint-tips-watch-pechakuchaDo you know what PechaKucha is? I describe it in an earlier blog post, “Stay focused with Pecha Kucha.” And I wrote about my experience giving my first PechaKucha here.

Briefly, a PechaKucha is a short, structured presentation, only 6 minutes, 40 seconds long.

I had practically forgotten about it, because it was more than 2 years ago.

My assistant was looking at the PechaKucha website and clicked the Most Viewed and Most Applauded tabs and found my PechaKucha! My presentation is #3 on the Most Viewed tab and #2 on the Most Applauded tab. We were both surprised, especially since I’ve never given anyone the online link.

You can watch it here. After all, it’s only 6 minutes, 40 seconds long! If you like it, please click the APPLAUD THIS button!

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And let me know what you think in the comments. And if you think the presentation is valuable, please share this post with the Share buttons because your friends might find it valuable too.

 

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4 secrets to choose the best images for your slides

powerpiont-tips-bare-4-secrets-choose-best-images-for-slidesYou use images in a presentation for 3 reasons:

  1. To help your audience understand what you are saying
  2. To help them remember what you are saying
  3. To persuade them to change their mind and take action

How do you choose the best images for your presentation?

A common question people ask me is how I choose the best images for my presentations. I’ve come up with a 4-part method, BARE: Read more! →

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Integrating Live Power BI Dashboards into PowerPoint

Introduction

german-picture-2At SlideModel.com we create professional PowerPoint Templates to help our subscribers save time creating professional presentation decks. An important segment of our customers is interested in presenting business data and require professional visualizations for this task. Dashboard templates include several charts, cards and visual representations of data in a way that is easy present. Our Dashboard templates are created with usability in mind, and they comply with design best practices. They are data driven, this means that the visualizations are created through Excel charts, allowing the user to use live data for those visualizations. Even more, if the user connects Microsoft Excel to external data sources (as a database or other files) the user can refresh the charts with you information dynamically. Having said that, create the report once and use it always.

Power BI

In the last months, SlideModel.com has been receiving requests from their dashboard users in order to integrate their templates with the new tool of Self Service Business Intelligence from Microsoft, called Power BI. This new tool and service from Microsoft provides end users the ability to create local data stores, analyze the data, create stunning visualizations, and publish them into the web for sharing. The Power BI service has a free version, and the analysis tool (Power BI desktop) is also free to download. The tool is gaining tremendous traction and several corporations are adopting it as their self service BI option.

The main benefits of using Power BI for your presentation dashboards is:

  • Power BI is connected to live data. Build your reports and dashboard once, refresh and be able to show updated data.
  • Power BI provides new visualizations not available in Office 365 and is powered by a growing developers community that posts new visualizations regularly.
  • Power BI is a self service BI tool, harnessing the power of Power Query and DAX and making available already summarized visualizations.

Read more! →

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Add power to your message with better slide titles

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Add action verbs to your slide titles

When I work with clients, I sometimes find that their slide titles are boring and even meaningless. We work together to make the slide titles more powerful

Use verbs when writing slide titles

I recently worked with a client from a Fortune 100 company on a presentation. She needed to make several proposals about how to work with clients. This presentation was also part of a request for a promotion. Of course, I can’t show you the actual presentation, but I wanted to share with you something I discovered — using verbs in your slide titles makes your point much more clear and powerful.

Why is that?

When you add a verb (or even a gerund, a verb with “ing” at the end), you make the title more like a sentence. You go from a fairly meaningless combination of words to a phrase that actually says something. Audience members can read the title and understand immediately what you are trying to say. Adding action to your slide titles makes them speak to your audience and they become more powerful.

Here are some before and after slide titles (modified for privacy): Read more! →

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