One of the things I liked best about the conference was how most attendees agreed with me!
Okay ... that sounds like I'm patting myself on the back a little too hard, but let me explain. There was a consensus among the speaker and the attendees that great visuals matter in presentations. Rick Altman and all the keynotes expounded it. There were many workshop speakers like Connie Malamed, who wrote Visual Language for Designers: Principles for Creating Graphics that People Understand and who has a blog devoted to understanding graphics. She applies cognitive science to explain how best to use visual design. In her presentation, she spoke about "primitive features"–those features like color, size orientation, movement, shape and depth—that the brain notices first. You can use these "primitive features" to emphasize key concepts and benefits. Knowing how the brain processes visuals is a great way to learn how to create visuals that will positively affect your audience and make your presentation a success.
Wayne Michael, Director of Education and Marketing Operations for Novogaradac & Company LLC, gave an informed workshop on keeping presentations simple by using less text and using simple graphics to depict complex technical concepts. Carmen Taran, co-founder of Rexi Media, gave an eye popping presentation with interesting visuals about how to create webinars that hold your audience's attention. One of the easiest ways is to interact and ask questions of your audience, give them mints to keep them from yawning, and another way—keep your audience's attention with a mix of visuals from a video to a website and then to a graphic. You will keep your audience guessing and wondering what you will be doing next. Check out Rexi Media for workshops and just peruse their slide redesigns to get some fantastic ideas. Dave Paradi, author of The Visual Slide Revolution and 102 Tips to Communicate More Effectively Using PowerPoint, gave a great workshop on giving your presentation impact when it's not delivered in person. If you have to email your presentation to a potential client, it can lose the essence of your message. However, through designing the presentation with hyperlinks, you can make it easier for the viewer to navigate and allow content like multimedia files to be displayed. Or better yet, create a movie of your slide and post it to a website or send as a video slide. Dave recommended a free software called Audacity to edit your audio. Also, PowerPoint 2010 has a wonderful new feature: you can export slides directly to video. Amazing! You can learn more about Dave's presentation knowledge and ideas at his website, Think Outside the Slide.
As you can see, I just touched the tip of iceberg that was the Presentation Summit. Below is an overview of some websites with great resources and product offerings that I found at the Presentation Summit. Check them out and bookmark them, and then you'll be well on your way to being a presentation and graphics expert!
- Presentation Summit: Official website of the conference and information on Rick Altman's consulting services and book.
- Rexi Media: Carman Taran's company that offers workshops, products, and consulting on creating better presentations.
- Dave Paradi's PowerPoint Blog: Ideas on creating better PowerPoint presentations and tips on using various PowerPoint features.
- Understanding Graphics: Connie Malamed's blog on understanding visual communication through knowledge of the human mind.
- Nigel Holmes: Learn from the best in explanation graphics. Wonderful examples from an amazing graphic artist.
- Nancy Duarte: Extraordinary insight and tips on what makes better presentations.
- Terberg Design: Julie Terberg is a Microsoft MVP and knows the package inside and out.
- Workforce Echoes: Consulting firm specializing in "People Ecosystems."
- Missing Link: South African design company that is pushing the "slide" with innovative design and doing a fantastic job.
- Indezine: Geetesh Bjaj is a Microsoft MVP who created a website built around his wealth of knowledge that is now the go-to-source of all things related to PowerPoint presentations—including graphics.
- NXPowerLite: Software that radically reduces the file size of Microsoft PowerPoint presentations with no discernible loss of quality.
- Slide Executive: Helps you to organize your slides and search and retrieve information from your library of slides to create new presentations, saving you time.
- Slidetown: Solutions for your presentations.
- SOAP: State of the Art Presentations works with Carmen Taran on her truly memorable visuals.
- VisualBee: A PowerPoint plugin that automatically designs presentations based on your text and brand. Great resource for a small business!
- Smart Draw: Start with one of their 70 graphic templates and you are on your way to creating graphics from scratch using their simple commands to add shapes to build your visuals.