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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 038

Issue 038 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Product/Version: PowerPoint


Giveaways and Winners
Indezine Interviews
How To Write Powerful Bullet Points
Quick News
New Content
Events & Seminars

Giveaway and Winners

Just by being subscribed to this ezine, you are eligible to win all these goodies! is offering all subscribers a free high quality stock video clip in both WMV (WindowsMedia) and MOV (QuickTime) format - for PowerPoint users on the Windows and Mac platforms respectively. The preview page contains a Flash sample of the sample movie that weighs around 1 mb - just wanted to warn users who are on dialup to be prepared to wait for a while! Here's an exclusive link to the free movie clips (link no longer exists).

Here's more. There are 3 (three) copies of Wildform's Wild FX product that makes it easy to create amazing Flash text effects that you can use within your PowerPoint presentations as well.

Here's still more. There are 3 (three) copies of Neuxpower's NXPowerLite product that compresses your PowerPoint presentation file sizes making it easier for you to email and share them. Here's a link to Indezine's NXPowerLite review.

There are even more goodies - they will be announced in the next issue!

Now for the winners - Steven Brier won a copy of TechSmith Camtasia 2 and SnagIt 7 went to Gail Johnson. Karen Herb won a copy of Dave Paradi's PowerPoint 2002 ebook. Copies of Shyam Pillai's Handout Wizard go to Michael Swift and Rich Garratt. Congratulations to all of you!


Indezine Interviews

Here are excerpts from four amazing interviews with industry stalwarts in PowerPoint repurposing, presentation hardware, template design and communication. The personalities interviewed in the last two weeks are Cliff Atkinson, Jim Burns, Julie Terberg and Paul Ludden (in alphabetical order). On this page, only one response (or part thereof) from each of them is excerpted. However, each full interview has many more questions - so do read them all!

Cliff Atkinson As an independent management consultant and president of Sociable Media, Cliff Atkinson advises the senior leadership of some of the world's largest companies on how they can engage the organizational phenomenon called PowerPoint.

You are involved with Toastmasters - how much can a presenter benefit from being a member of an organization like Toastmasters?

Cliff: PowerPoint desperately needs Toastmasters, and Toastmasters desperately needs PowerPoint, and I hope the two will come together at some point because the union would be quite productive. Toastmasters can provide PowerPoint with a context where you regularly meet with your peers and get constructive feedback on how you're doing as a communicator.

We all need to hear "your PowerPoint was boring" from other people who want to help you figure out how to improve it. And it's better to hear this from friendly colleagues than from your boss or your clients. Toastmasters also needs PowerPoint because the ethos of the organization remains in the 1970s, and incorporating effective use of PowerPoint into its central methodology could quickly advance it to the 21st century. Read more in the Cliff Atkinson interview.

Jim Burns Jim Burns is the CEO of Avitage! Communication Systems, a Wellesley, MA based entity that creates the Avitage! product. Avitage! (pronounced ah-vi-tazh, derived from the phrase audio-video montage) is a marketing and sales communication system.

What opportunities does Avitage create for PowerPoint professionals?

Jim: When we suggest that customers organize their PowerPoint using a schema that is relevant to the selling organization, in almost every case it points out how in-appropriate the existing content is for the sales organization. There are huge opportunities to add value and build better content.

When customers move beyond a "presentations" mentality, to looking at PowerPoint as "visual support for a customer conversation", it significantly enlarges the scope of the content they require. When customers see the potential of PowerPoint with Avitage! new vistas of development opportunity open up. Read more in the Jim Burns interview.

Julie Terberg As owner and principle designer at Terberg Design, Julie Terberg develops custom presentation solutions — unique for every client and purpose. She is a contributing editor to Presentations magazine, and has recently co-authored a book on crafting medical presentations.

Most of the design you do has a fresh, natural feel to it. What inspires you?

Julie: I have many sources of inspiration. Nature itself is a big one, so I'm glad you mentioned the "natural feel". I love shooting digital photos outdoors and working those shots into my designs. I look for new color palettes in nature. I belong to a group of independent designers, and find a lot of inspiration in these women and their design work. My young daughter is always coloring and creating, and inspiring me to be a bit more relaxed and free with my designs. Magazines, web sites, and TV are great for inspiration. It helps to say fresh by looking at graphic approaches in other media. You may find a shape, or a color scheme, or a texture that would translate well into a new presentation design. Read more in the Julie Terberg interview.

Paul Ludden Paul Ludden is the founder and sales director of Omnivox Systems, a company dedicated to the sales and marketing of specialist audio equipment utilising the FeONIC 'smart' material technology. From its base in the UK, Omnivox Systems is developing global distribution for its brand of desktop audio presentation products.

Tell us something about FeONIC technology

Paul: Omnivox is powered by FeONIC technology, this is based on a 'smart' material made from rare earth alloys. A 'smart' material is one that reacts in a pre-determined and reliable manner to an external force or change in environmental conditions. The FeONIC 'smart' material passes sound energy into solid surfaces, causing the surface to act as an audio speaker. Typically, tables and work-surfaces can be activated as giant loud speakers, the fantastic benefit is that FeONIC technology produces 'diffused' sound, rather than the sometimes harsh 'directional' sound produced by conventional speakers. As a result, Omnivox produces sound pleasantly and evenly to everybody around the boardroom table. Read more in the Paul Ludden interview.


How to Write Powerful Bullet Points

Here are some great thoughts from Dave Paradi of Communicate Using Technology. Thank you, Dave for allowing me to include these here.

When using bullet points on a presentation slide, there are some key ideas that you should keep in mind.

A Bullet Point is Not a Sentence

Too many times a presenter puts an entire sentence as a bullet point. This defeats the entire purpose of the bullet point, which is to convey the key point only. It also tends to lead to the presenter reading each bullet point. If you plan to just read each bullet point, save the audience the time by just e-mailing them your slides and they can read the points on their own.

Reveal the Key Idea Only

A bullet point is supposed to be a short summation of the key point that you want to make. It should not reveal all you know about the idea, or there is nothing left for you to say. For each idea you want to convey, consider what the key point is and put that as a bullet point. Then add to the bullet point by the words that you speak during the presentation.

Use a Consistent Style

When using bullet points, make sure that they have a consistent style. This means that:

  • each bullet point starts with either a verb or a noun – a verb is more action oriented and is usually preferred
  • if using verbs they are all in the same tense – the most common is the present tense with the past tense being the next most common
  • the use of capitalization is the same in each bullet point – usually the first letter of the first word is capitalized and the rest of the words are in lower case unless it is a proper name

Observe the 6 by 6 Guideline

In order to keep the amount of information in each bullet point concise and to keep the slide from looking cluttered, you should keep the six by six guideline in mind. It states that each slide should aim to have no more than six bullet points and each bullet point should aim to have no more than six words. I would not consider this to be a strict rule, but it is a good guideline that will keep your slides clean and concise.

By keeping these ideas in mind, the bullet points on your next presentation slides can add even more power to your presentation.


Quick News

Read the PowerPoint Blog here. The PowerPoint Blog now includes the Atom syndication service so that you can use Atom compatible newsreader to read all postings.

Microsoft profiles Steve Rindsberg - Guess who is MVP of the month? None other than Steve Rindsberg - read this profile on the Microsoft site (link no longer exists).

PowerPoint rules university's self-paced training - How effective is PowerPoint for creating self-paced training rather than instructor-led presentations? To find out, Dr Simon James, a lecturer at the university's faculty of science, engineering and technology, and colleague Anna McEldowney encouraged 31 staff at eight schools to create 35 CD-based multimedia resources across 32 units. These were distributed to 1200 students. Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald site. You can also read an article by Dr Simon James at Indezine.

Apreso adds pizazz to storytelling - The fine art of storytelling started with people scratching stick figures on cave walls. It has reached new levels with Microsoft Corp.'s PowerPoint software. A new PowerPoint add-on, Apreso, can take presentation slide shows to the next level. Read more with James Coates at the Chicago Tribune site (requires free registration) (link no longer exists).

An Avitage! Tutorial - If you have 10 minutes, do take a look at Avitage! in action through this tutorial. Avitage! is an amazing cataloging, organizing and delivering system for PowerPoint that also does rich media. See the demo (link no longer exists).

Group Audience Response Systems for PowerPoint - Satellite, a leading presentation company in the Middle East, based at Dubai Media City, has announced that it will offer Group Audience Response Systems (GARS) technology to education and training providers in the region. GARS utilizes small individual wireless keypads, similar to those used by the audience in the television show 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?'. The questions themselves are created with software that directly adds into Microsoft PowerPoint, thus making the system very easy to use by anyone already familiar with creating PowerPoint slides. More info.

Microsoft Office in Hindi - Microsoft India has launched the Hindi version of its popular Office software which includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Frontpage, PowerPoint and Outlook. Learn more at the Rediff site.


New Content

Using Cartoons in PowerPoint - Using cartoons within PowerPoint slides can be an amazing route to add a light moment or highlight attention towards a strong point - either way, it is a great concept that is going places as Dan Rosandich discovered much to his delight. Read more

Media Playlists in PowerPoint 2003 - If you use Windows Media Player or any other player to create playlists of your favorite songs, you'll love the new PowerPoint 2003 feature that allows PowerPoint to play your entire playlist. Actually, you can also design a cool presentation that makes your slideshow look like a jukebox - or if you are less adventurous or corporate, you could always use the playlist feature to play a series of musical clips in sequence. In this tutorial, we are using Windows Media Player playlists, but PowerPoint 2003 can also accept standard M3U playlists - most players can create and edit M3U playlists. Read more


Events & Seminars

Great Graphics and Perfect Presentations
March 23-24 (Dallas/Ft. Worth); March 29-30 (New York/New Jersey); April 1-2 (Chicago); April 20-21 (Phoenix); April 27-28 (Calgary AB Canada); May 5-6 (San Jose)
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live

Winning Presentations Seminar
April 15 and 16, June10 and 11, 2004, Boston, USA
Claudyne Wilder, Wilder Presentations

PowerPoint Live
October 10 to 13, 2004, San Diego, California, USA
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance, content or feedback from Andrew Welsh, Betsy Weber, Carolyn Dennis, Cliff Atkinson, Colby Devitt, Dan Rosandich, Dave Paradi, Dean LaCoe, Julie Terberg, Jim Burns, Paul Ludden, Shyam Pillai and Tommy Powell (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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