Source Free Graphics From PowerPoint For Your Presentation

Microsoft PowerPoint can be a powerful tool to convey your message or tell your story. However, when it comes to sourcing images for your presentation the Internet can be a minefield of copyright laws and stock image hazards.

Fortunately PowerPoint already has a multitude of ways in which you can find and use free graphics to help illustrate your point. We take a look at some of the ways you can insert memorable and compelling images at the click of a mouse, without ever having to leave PowerPoint.

Themes and Templates

The existing themes and templates within PowerPoint are a great start when looking to give your presentation a professional feel. These themes and templates not only have built in colour schemes and backgrounds but some also include ready-to-use images as well.

ClipArt

Microsoft’s ClipArt has come a long way in recent years. It now includes some excellent stock photography as well as various modern images. All of these graphics are easily searchable under a range of different categories.

SmartArt

SmartArt graphics are a way to give visual representation to your information. Illustrations help people to understand and recall information better than plain text. SmartArt is a quick and easy way to design quality graphics for your content.

Shapes

Don’t discount the simple shape. Putting squares, circles and triangles together is a great way to create unique images relevant to your presentation. Think outside of the box in order to give visual clues that are both effective and memorable.

Symbols

The symbols section within PowerPoint is not just for the Greek alphabet. Again, think about how you might use these symbols in a special way. It might be using a dollar sign in place of a ‘s’ or using a tick box in place of bullet points.

Webdings and Wingdings

Make your own icons using the different fonts of Webdings. Enlarge these graphics, string multiple ones together and play with colours. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, try this handy cheat sheet:

http://speakingppt.com/2011/10/31/finally-a-printable-character-map-of-the-wingdings-fonts/

Remember to consider your colour scheme and layout when using PowerPoint images and graphics. You want your presentation to look sharp and not too busy or distracting.

It’s important to make your presentation pop but it needn’t be difficult. These tools are designed to help you make the most of this software. Use them to your advantage and get creative.

What is your favourite tool when sourcing images and graphics within PowerPoint?

How to Write Effective Presentations

Presentation writing can be a whole other beast. However, it really needs to be written properly and that’s what you need to focus your attention to. You may be good at regular writing, but if you take the same approach with your presentations, you’re just inviting disaster. Here are a few tips to make sure the presentations you write put you on top:

1. Learn to write super short and succinct for your slides. No need for full sentences if short phrases are clear enough. Elaborations are often best spoken, instead of forced to fit in your presentation materials.

2. Write consistently throughout your slides. If you write in short sentences, write that way throughout the rest of the presentation materials. It helps the audience when they know what to expect in the coming slides.

3. Write humor down before using. Improvising humor during presentations often turns up bad results.

4. Any part of the presentation you recite should complement information on the slides. Avoid surprising people with new, vital facts.

5. Don’t think in terms of word count. Think, instead, in terms of length. Since this is harder to get precisely, make sure you practice your speech and time it.

6. Give people time to think, just as you give them space to pause in written work.

7. Use a comprehensive writing software for your presentation materials. Sure, a large part of your grade will hinge on how you perform in front of the audience. Badly proofread materials, however, can cost you some points off. Make sure that doesn’t happen.

The One Minute Negotiator: Simple Steps to Reach Better Agreements

There are tons of negotiation books, and that’s just on my shelves. However, there is always room for another, especially if it is an easy read with some practical suggestions, and that is just what “The One Minute Negotiator: Simple Steps to Reach Better Agreements” by Don Hutson and George Lucas provides. It has a Foreword by Ken Blanchard, author of “The One Minute Manager,” and like that classic text, this book is written as a parable with the negotiation lessons coming out as the main character of the story learns them. It’s not earth shattering, especially to someone who teaches mediation and negotiation skills. But it is a good, simple book, that will help those who suffer from what the authors call negotiaphobia.

The story is about Jay Baxter, who works for XL Information Solutions, and who embarks on a company cruise. It just so happens, that a speaker on the cruise will be presenting a seminar called “Treating Your Negotiaphobia.” Jay is reluctant to attend, and even puts his foot in his mouth while talking to the negotiation instructor the night before the seminar, as he does not know who he is talking to. (Yes, it is predictable, and you the reader know right away the mistake he is making.)

Jay decides to be committed to the course and see what he can learn. To his surprise, the concepts the instructor teaches make sense and he embraces the information and enjoys the seminar. Obviously, he uses the newly learned strategies and concepts after leaving the cruise to succeed in his position.

So, yes, it is a simple story and predictable. But you are not really reading it to be entertained and kept in suspense. The key to the book is the formula the instructor teaches during his on board seminar. It is a simple process that entails recognizing you are in a negotiation and reviewing the viable strategies, evaluating your tendency to use each of the negotiation strategies, as well as the tendencies of the other side(s), and selecting the proper strategy for the particular negotiation.

The authors do a good job of explaining the concepts and why they are important. At the end of each chapter there is a summary of the chapter’s insights. At the beginning of this review, I commented on how many negotiation books are out there. Many of them teach specific negotiation strategies and tactics. This book is different in that it teaches a framework to look at negotiations and I would encourage people to look at the techniques and tactics learned elsewhere through this framework.

One thing about the book is that it is very easy to read. It’s not long at all, and if it provides a framework for you to look at negotiations differently, especially if you suffer from negotiaphobia, it will be worth your time. We negotiate all of the time, and any time you can learn to increase your effectiveness in this valuable skill, it will pay off. This was a good addition to my conflict and negotiation resources, and I’m sure I’ll review it now and then as I continue to teach others, learn, and negotiate myself.