PowerPoint on an Android phone

powerpoint-tips-android-phone-app-1Microsoft recently made PowerPoint (and Word and Excel) available as an Android phone app. It’s my understanding that the same app works on Android tablets as well. Your experience with the menus and options will adapt with the size of your screen. You can go to the Google Play Store to download the app. There’s a little slide show on the top that you can watch.

PowerPoint on an Android phone–is that crazy or great?

The app is free. When you install it, you’ll be asked to log in. You don’t HAVE to log in, but if you do, it will remember things like recent presentations. You can also connect to “Places,” which are online storage locations such as OneDrive.

Everything is small!

Obviously, everything is small and to make it work, menus are collapsed until you expand them. At the upper left, you’ll see 3 lines (the menu icon) which opens the File menu as you see here. You can use your phone’s back button to escape out of this. Read more! →

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Video tutorial: Create a theme in PowerPoint from scratch

In my clients’ presentations that we make over (usually together), I see a lot of themes and slide masters that aren’t well prepared — sometimes not prepared at all. Setting up the theme and slide master, while it might seem time consuming, is actually a time saver because you avoid having to fiddle with each slide. And your slides will look better as well.

Here’s a video of a session from Power Pointers Quarter Hour that shows the process of how to create a theme in PowerPoint — similar to one that I often use. By watching it, you’ll learn the process and can then customize it for your own needs.

PowerPoint crashed during the session, but I was able to successfully complete the tutorial.

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Switch rows and columns in a chart

Have you ever created a chart in PowerPoint from data in Excel and discovered that it was configured all wrong? For example, here’s some data in Excel and you want to highlight the change of each income stream from year to year.


If you just select and copy that data, start a chart in PowerPoint, choose the default column chart (perhaps not the best idea–I’ll explain in a minute), and paste, you get the following chart.


powerpoint--tips-switch-row-column-chart-3That is SO wrong. PowerPoint has chosen to group the data by category instead of by year. The way to fix this is to switch the rows and the columns. The problem is that the Switch Row/Column button on the Chart Tools Design tab is grayed out.

Apparently, you have to edit and select the data to switch the rows and columns. So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Click the Edit Data button.
  2. Click the Select Data button.
  3. Now, you can click the Switch Row/Column button.

When you do that, here’s what the chart looks like.


It makes more sense, right?

But it’s still difficult to see the trend over time for each type of income stream. When you want to show change over time, a line chart often makes more sense.

After changing the chart to a line chart and increasing the font size, here’s what it looks like.


Now you can see clearly how the various income streams have changed.

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Add pop-up text to explain a slide

powerpoint--tips-add-pop-up-text-to-explain-slide-1Sometimes you need to explain a specific area of a chart or diagram. This is hard to do either by just talking about it or adding text, because neither points to the specific area you are referencing. One choice many presenters make is to use a laser pointer. The laser pointer has a couple of disadvantages:

  • You have to face the slide to point it to the right location, with your back to the audience, during the entire explanation
  • It’s almost impossible to keep the pointer still, so it bobs around, distracting the audience

A better option is to add an arrow or circle around the area and animate it it to appear when you click anywhere on the slide. The problem with this solution is that you may not always want to discuss the chart or diagram in the exact same way. So if you have 3  arrows, sometimes you want arrow 3 to appear first but other times you want arrow 1 to appear first. With simple animation, the animation always occurs in the same order.

Another issue is that you might want the shape (such as the arrow or circle) to contain text and those shapes make it hard to fit much text.

So how do you add pop-up text that can appear in any order you choose?

The power of triggers

Triggers let you specify that an animation happens when you click an object on the slide. So you can control in which order an object appears.

I think that a great use for triggers is to add explanations to a chart. There’s one problem though–the chart isn’t made up of separate objects and I don’t usually recommend pulling it apart — in case your data changes or you need to change the layout. So instead, you can put invisible or almost invisible objects nearby and click on them.

Ready?

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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):

Field Reps Sales Transition Enhance, grow & refine field rep businesses
Barbara Doe — Proven Qualities of Responsibility, Relationship Building and Lasting Collaborations Barbara Doe — Connecting the needs of the sales reps with internal corporate partners
Authorized Sales Rep Status Upgrade authorized sales rep program
Regional Sales Rep Development Focus on regional sales rep strengths

State the point of the slide in the title

Think of your slide title as a newspaper headline. It makes a statement that entices you to read the article. Your audience doesn’t need to wait or scrutinize the slide to figure out your point. Instead, they get it instantly and then turn their attention to you for elaboration. Here are some before and after examples:

Evidence Based Research–Benefits The Transcendental Meditation program reduces blood pressure
Plasma Cortisol Plasma cortisol concentration reduced
Post-secondary compliance growth Our goal is 100% post-secondary compliance!
Outcome of low back pain in general practice Only 25% recovered from low back pain after 12 months

Write the way you speak

We often write differently than we speak. When we write, our language is more formal. When we speak, we’re more informal. A funny thing happens when people create slides for a presentation. They’re writing, so they use written language style. That ends up sounding stilted when we speak it. It’s also less direct, less clear.

That’s why I work 1-on-1 with my clients. I find that if they just hand over some slides with text on it, I don’t really understand what they are trying to say. But if they speak out a slide to me and we can have a discussion about it, then I can help them rewrite the text on the slide so that it’s more direct and therefore clearer.

It can be hard to write the way you speak, but that’s what you need to do when you’re preparing for a presentation. I recommend that you record yourself giving the presentation and listen to the recording. Then rewrite the text on the slide to be more like your speech and less like a newspaper article or report.

This rewrite should include:

  • Omitting unnecessary words
  • Using simple words (not overly complex words or jargon)
  • Being direct (not beating around the bush)
  • Stating the point clearly

Here’s an exercise for you. Go back over a past presentation and edit each slide title so that it actually makes a statement–the main point of your slide. I think you’ll find that the presentation is much clearer!

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How do you write slide titles? Leave a comment!

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Create an animated announcement

Do you announce new events, training programs, or products? Would you like a simple-to-use animated video that makes the announcement?

I recently created one for my monthly training program members. That program is called Power Pointers Quarter Hour. It was in response to a request from one of the members. Power Pointers Quarter Hour is a weekly program that offers:

  • 15-minute training sessions weekly–usually based on members’ requests
  • A question and answer period
  • Free slide makeovers

Recent topics have been:

  • How to create a theme background
  • Techniques for formatting shapes
  • 3 ways to bring a chart from Excel into PowerPoint

Here’s the video I created for the session on creating an animated announcement. Members also got the PowerPoint file so they could use it as a template to create animated announcements for their own events.

Won’t you join us? You can learn more here.

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Create a system for your message

powerpoint--tips-create-system-message-1A presentation doesn’t stand by itself.

Your presentation started out with a reason, a goal, need, or a situation that led to the presentation itself. Here are some examples:

  • Employees in your company are not getting the desired results, so they need training
  • You created a product and want to sell it
  • You have a big message that you’re trying to get out to the world and are speaking publicly about it

So you create a presentation that meets the need.

But then what?


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Make a collage of photos

powerpoint-tips-make-collage-photos-1I often need graphics for presentations, sales pages, and blog posts (like this one). One technique that works for me is to create a collage of several images. Here’s an example.

This collage is supposed to show emotions of doubt, frustration, and worry.

Not only can I get multiple facial expressions this way, but I can get a diversity of people, so I can appeal to a variety of readers.

A collage of photos is very simple to create. Here are the steps:

  1. Choose Insert, Picture or Insert, Online Pictures/Clip Art (will vary according to your version of PowerPoint) and insert several images.
  2. Tip: You want images that use a similar style. In this case, two of the three had a white background, so I removed the background of the third to match. The photo of the woman with the blond hair is a little light, but you don’t have to be too particular.
  3. Resize them so that they’re all similarly sized. You can eyeball this.
  4. Select them all and click the Format tab. From the Picture Styles gallery, choose a style for all of the photos. I chose “Drop Shadow Rectangle.” Another one I like is “Rotated White.” which looks like an old-fashioned snapshot.
  5. Move them together so that they overlap slightly.
  6. Use the Rotation handle to rotate them a little in different directions, to give a random quality.
  7. You will probably also need to adjust which is in front, so right-click and choose Send to Back, Send to Front, etc. to get the look you want.
  8. When you like the result, select them all. An easy way to select all of the images is to click above the top-left corner of the images and drag to the bottom-right. You’ll see a selection window as you drag.
  9. Right-click any of the images and choose Save as Picture.
  10. Save the collage and use it wherever you need it!

Remember that people’s faces elicit powerful emotions in your audience, much more so than pictures of objects or just words.

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Do you create collages? How do you use them? Leave a comment! And feel free to share this post by using the share buttons below.

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3 tips to make your slides more persuasive

It’s not only sales people who need to persuade. Perhaps you need to get approval for a proposal. Recently, a subscriber used principles I taught to get approval from a State Legislature committee for an important proposal that will help children in that state.

But trainers have told me that they need to persuade too — persuade their audience to listen and finally to implement the training.

Here are 3 simple tips to make your slides support the persuasive component of your presentation.

powerpoint-tips-3-tips-make-slides-more-persuasive-1Make images big

The Picture Superiority principle says that people remember concepts when portrayed as pictures as opposed to words. And when you make a picture big — taking up most of the slide — people will remember it even more.

A corollary is to make images bold. If they surprise, people will remember them. If they make people think, all the better.

Be careful not to use images as mere decoration. They should always help the audience understand and remember the point you’re making.

powerpoint-tips-3-tips-make-slides-more-persuasive-2Portray emotion

Emotion is necessary to persuade people to make a decision. That doesn’t mean you need to get sappy, but ignoring emotion won’t help your cause. First, you should express your passion for your subject. Then, let your slides follow suit.

For example, if you are making a proposal to try to get management to provide employees with tablets, show happy people using tablets rather than just the tablets themselves. Your point is that the employees will be happy if they have tablets — probably more productive as well. The audience knows what a tablet looks like, so a simple photo of a tablet isn’t as effective.

powerpoint-tips-3-tips-make-slides-more-persuasive-3Put 1 point on a slide

It’s counter-intuitive, but the more text you put on a slide, the less people remember. The reason is the limitation of short-term memory. So give people content in small chunks. You can put the same content on multiple slides and it won’t take longer to explain, but presenting the content in small chunks will help people digest it more effectively.

The Tell ‘n’ ShowSM method

I teach the Tell ‘n’ ShowSM method, which incorporates these 3 tips.

You use a heading that tells your point. Think of it like a newspaper headline — it should actually say something. Then you use a photo, chart, map, data — whatever is necessary to show your point. This concept is based on research done by Michael Alley at Penn State’s School of Engineering, but it just makes sense to me.


down-red-arrowsWhat slide design principles have worked for you when you needed to persuade? Leave a comment.

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Use PowerPoint like a flip chart–draw as you speak

A flip chart can be a great way to present. You write or draw as you talk. Yes, people have to wait until you finish writing or drawing, but the process is very engaging to the audience. If you’re old enough, you may remember teachers writing on the blackboard as they taught. It was a slower time!

But as you write or draw, your audience has time to think about what you’re saying.

This technique is especially helpful when you draw. For example, you might show a process or a configuration. Your picture helps people understand what you’re saying and they get the point with you as your drawing unfolds.

You can use PowerPoint in the same way, in Normal view. You might want to reduce or eliminate the side and bottom panes, but you don’t have to. Then just use PowerPoint’s drawing tools to create a diagram. You draw as you speak.powerpoint-tips-draw-as-you-speak-1

You don’t have to get it perfect. Just like a flip chart diagram can be a little messy, so can your slide. If you want to use it again, you can fix it up later. The point is just to bring your audience with you on your story, as you explain it. Don’t distract them by making lots of unnecessary adjustments. But you might want to practice first! Unless of course, you decide spontaneously to draw — then just let it happen!

You can do this live or on a webinar — it doesn’t matter.

Here’s a 1-minute video that shows me creating the diagram above.

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