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3 How to Keep Tabs on the Greatest Presentations Made Everyday

People are presenting incredible information about your industry or topic of interest in conferences, workshops and trade shows everyday. Wouldn’t it be great if you could know what was being presented in those venues in near real time, without every leaving your office? Or, better yet, wouldn’t it be great if you could also have access to the slides from those presentations the day they were made available?

You’ve probably heard about a tool called Slideshare. If you haven’t, then you’ll love getting to know it, if you already know about and use Slideshare, I want to share a little tip today that will make it even more useful for you.

You can visit Slideshare and do a basic search to find PowerPoint slides that contain information you are looking for, but I find that the presentations that come up to the top are usually quite old (2-3 years) and sometimes not very useful. When I search on a subject I want the newest content.

The way you make Slideshare show you the latest is to search using the tag attribute. Instead of using the search box just type your search into the address bar. So if I want presentations on small business I would type http://slideshare.net/tag/small-business into that address bar in my browser and presto – I get the most recent presentation in chronological order. But, it gets even better, I can subscribe to this search using an RSS reader like Google Reader and then each day I get the most current presentation sent my way. I can scroll through that day’s list and see if I want to view any or just ignore them all.

There, can’t you feel yourself getting smarter already?

Here are the steps

  1. Go to Slideshare.net
  2. Put the tag and search term in the address bar – http://slideshare.net/tag/your-term-here (remember to hyphenate phrases)
  3. View and subscribe to the search

23 Using Powerpoint to Create Web Graphics in a Flash

Look, if you’re a graphic designer or even someone that knows their way around Photoshop, today’s post may appall, but that won’t stop me from sharing what I think is a pretty useful little tip.

Powerpoint is a software tool that is much maligned – mostly because of the scary ways we’ve either employed it or seen it employed in its primary use – making presentations.

Over the last few versions, however, Powerpoint has become a pretty powerful graphics generator and I use it all of the time to quickly create charts, buttons and headers for websites and blog posts.

In order to take full advantage of Powerpoint features like SmartArt tools, shapes creation, text formatting and image editing features in the creation of graphics, there are two little concepts that you need to understand.

1) You can create a Powerpoint slide in any size and orientation by clicking File > Page Setup – there’s even a banner choice that creates a 720 by 90 IAB ad unit from the drop down, but you have full custom size settings too.

2) You can save a Powerpoint slide as a JPG, GIF or PNG (all the standard web image formats) by clicking File > Save as pictures . . . and choosing the appropriate options. You can adjust the file size (dpi resolution) to make a web optimized file as the default is 300 dpi and 72-96 is more appropriate for web graphics.

With this two little bits of information you can start to appreciate the fact that you have about 200 shapes, including stars and rounded corner rectangles, and about 40 preset styles, including gradients, bevels and drop shadows to very quickly create things like blog headers, Facebook banners, display ads, and buy now buttons on the fly.

Note that depending upon your version of Powerpoint, ranging from 2003 on a PC to 2011 on a Mac, your graphics choices will vary widely.

Here are two graphics that I created just yesterday in Powerpoint. I’m not holding these up as graphic design wonders, but the total time from realizing I needed a graphic to seeing it on the page was about 90 seconds.(about how long it takes for Photoshop to load) In that regard, Powerpoint is much underappreciated as a small business graphics tool.

Now, if this post has really got you thinking about the design uses of Powerpoint make sure you read this little tutorial – Use Powerpoint to Create Vector Graphics.

5 Extending Your Presentations Through the Backchannel

The term “backchannel” was coined in the field of Linguistics in the 1970’s to describe listeners’ behaviors during verbal communication. It is commonly used these days to describe the behavior or conversation going on in social media while a speaker is making a presentation. In some conferences the majority of the people listening may be actively Tweeting throughout a speech.

Like it or not, managing the backchannel has become a part of presenting, in person or online. I’ve certainly seen conferences overuse backchannel twitter streams and the like to the point where they overwhelm and distract rather than aid. There needs to be a balance and I don’t think making a Twitter stream a competing channel makes sense for anyone. Having said that, I think it can be used wisely as it allows people who can’t attend to share and extends the reach of your presentation far beyond the confounds of the local hotel ballroom.

For at least a year or so many speakers have made liberal use of the Twitter hashtag as a way for attendees and non attendees alike to group, filter and sort all of the conversations happening at a conference or during a webinar. As the backchannel has evolved into the norm, a new set of tools is cropping up that allow presenters to participate in the backchannel conversation even while they are presenting.

For example,Keynote Tweet for Mac and PowerPoint Twitter Tools for the PC are presentation add-ons that allow speakers to embed tweets into their presentations and automatically have those tweets pushed live when the slide is revealed. The tweet content is actually in the presenter notes in the software so it won’t be seen by the audience and may simply contain a retweetable statement related to the slide or point. What this does is make it very easy for the content to be shared and retweeted by those in attendance and publishes the key points for those that are not.

PowerPoint Twitter Tools for the PC is actually a suite of eight free tools including tools that allow participants to do things like vote or take a poll and have the poll results pushed live to the slide on the screen.

Just getting up and presenting is task enough for many a speaker, but hey, this is the world we live in, so get used to managing the backchannel as well as the frontchannel.

9 Weekend Favs January Thirty

I’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it won’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week)



Good stuff I ran across this week:

Free PowerPoint Twitter Tools – Presenters know that the social media backchannel has become a very important tool to manage. This tool automates tweets while you present.

Quirky – This site bills itself as social product development. The idea here is users submit product ideas and then vote and influence the development and sale. Very interesting concept.

20 Tools for Tracking Social Media Marketing – Title says it all, a nice round-up of free and paid services for listening for social media mentions.

18 Microsoft Office 2007 has plenty that’s new

Customer Life-Cycle Office 2007 represents some very significant changes for Office users.

Most notably is the ribbon menu presentation. Using this new feature is pretty frustrating at first, not because it’s not better, because you have to unlearn the programs a bit. In the end, I like the changes, they put more power at your fingertips and offer a lot of new tools.

One of my favorite finds is in PowerPoint. PowerPoint has a new tool called SmartArt. SmartArt gives you the ability to create eye-catching graphics that present relationships, matrixs, cycles, pyramids, hierarchy and processes by simply typing your core words and selecting some simple formatting. The end product makes for some very nice graphics that aid in the telling of your story (The image above is the Duct Tape Marketing Customer Life-Cycle brought to life. – click the image to get the full impact). What I like about it most though is that you can take the created graphic and save it as one of a number of very web friendly formats. This feature allows you to very easily create smart images for web pages.

There are lots of ways to create graphics like these, but I like easy!

Care to share some of your marketing and productivity related finds in this massive upgrade?