Tag Archives: presentation

Productivity on the iPad

You only have to wait a few more days, my impatient friends. Your iPad will soon arrive, and you’ll be able to play to your heart’s content. In order to help keep you occupied, I have found a few videos that showcase some of the features and apps built in to the device. Productivity is important, and many nay-sayers are adamant that the iPad won’t be usable for any type of work. How wrong they are.

Keynote is a very powerful presentation application, and was built from the ground up specifically for the iPad. You can create beautiful presentations from photos, charts and animations. You can use a template to create a new presentation, or bring in an existing document from your Mac or from PowerPoint. The large disply on the iPad will give you a good view of whatever you’re working on.

Pages is a word processor made for the mobile device. It can create newsletters, reports and other documents with a few flicks of a finger. When you rotate the iPad, your page fills the screen. Pages tracks what you type, so it can suggest words, correct your spelling, and insert punctuation automatically. It can even tell when you’re creating a list, and format it for you while you’re typing.

Numbers is the spreadsheet application from iWork that you’re already used to, and it’s powerful on the iPad. It’s easy to work with tables, charts and graphics on a canvas that you can use just by touching. You can again use one of the preset templates to get started, or import an Excel spreadsheet from Microsoft Office.

Who says you can’t be productive on an iPad? These built-in applications would suggest otherwise. While the iPad may not be suitable to be your “main” computer, I think it will do nicely when you’re on the go and need to get some work done.

What’s Better Than Microsoft PowerPoint?


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Did you ever know how most presentations suck? It’s bad enough that people doing them tend to suck, as well. It’s not their fault, though. Most of the presentation software is just not that good. A good presentation shows pictures, and don’t have much text. The worst ones to watch are where the speaker just reads every word from the slides! They drive me nuts! What do you use to create presentations? Tell me you aren’t using desktop software! Adobe has thrown their hat into the ring. They have a basic, online office suite and a new presentation software!

Acrobat Presentations is excellent. You have tons of options. Best of all, of course, is the ability using an online platform gives you to easily collaborate with others. When you create a presentation with desktop software, it’s very difficult to allow multiple people to work together on it. Using Presentations, it’s a simple process.

Presentations is a better way to create, edit, and share presentations with others online. Built on the Adobe Flash platform, Presentations looks and behaves like a desktop presentation application – but operates inside a web browser.

It’s free, and cross-platform. There’s no reason to not try it!

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How to Travel Back in Time


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When this application hits 88 miles per hour, you’re going to see some serious stuff! Visualize data in a completely different way. If you were naive to believe that there’s no software available for Mac OS X… think again. Here’s another breakthrough product that’s only available for the computer you claim is “too expensive.” Bee Docs allows people to create timeline charts. The cool thing is that once you create a chart, you can “fly” over it with a 3D perspective.

Your audience will think you spent days crafting your timeline, but it does not get any easier than this… Choose a “look” and enter your events. Got images to add? Drag them onto your events. That is it!

Present your 3D timeline in full motion. Browse your timelines with Quicklook. Search for events using Spotlight. Share you timeline using iChat Theater. Present your timelines in full screen interactive 3D or export your timelines as PDF to include in your documents, movies, or websites.

People can use this instead of using traditional presentation software. It’s built to be a part of a whole ecosystem of presentation. It works fantastically with Keynote. You can automatically chart out iCal calenders, as well as many other applications.

Once again – check with me for a coupon before buying any software!

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Community

In December, I’ll be traveling to New Orleans to speak at a conference about the future of Community. Then, in January, I’ll be heading back to San Francisco to lead the same discussion with a different set of people. I’m often invited to present my ideas and perspectives on the matter, and am usually more than willing to oblige organizations in their request – sometimes, I even speak remotely (via live Web camera, natch).

I happened to record two of my streamed sessions from Podcamp this month – although, I wish someone would have captured my impromptu ‘social tools for change’ micro-seminar (if only in audio). So many great conversations!

Since I don’t use presentation software, and I don’t have a set agenda for how any particular talk is going to go, both of the following videos cover the same territory in different ways. If you only have time to watch one, I think I did much better on the first day. The audience’s questions were just as good on the second day, however. The recording quality is sub-par due to bandwidth caps and other limitations – but at least the message should get through loud and clear.

I don’t have a transcription available, but I hope you’ll be able to follow along well enough. Each one of these videos are a little over an hour long, so go grab a snack, a notepad, and take ’em full screen (one at a time, of course):

Can You put a PowerPoint Presentation on an iPhone?


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During the course of the average weekday, we record videos here on the live stream. Sometimes, I run out of ideas of what to do. So when I threw it out to the chat room for suggestions, Fireworks came up with a good one. He wanted me to check out AuthorStream. On AuthorStream, you can upload, share and discover PowerPoint presentations. Let’s look at the features available to you with your free registration.

  • Send to YouTube If you had set up ‘Rehearsed Timings’ or have recorded audio ‘Narrations’ in your PowerPoint file, they would automatically be available in a video format (MP4 or M4V) which can be shared on YouTube via send to YouTube feature.
  • Share on iPod via iTunes Your presentations will also be available to be downloaded in iTunes. Your viewers can then sync their iPods and have your presentations available even when they are not online!
  • Download PowerPoint As a viewer, you can now download PowerPoint files if their respective authors have given their permission to do so. This is a great feature for those who like presentations and want to use a slide or two to enrich their own.
  • Featured Audio/Animation Presentations Cool presentations get featured and you can view them categorized as Featured Presentations, Featured Audio Presentations and Featured Animated Presentations.
  • RSS Feeds Subscribe to the RSS feeds for categorized groups of slideshows as well as customized feeds for users and tags.

So… instead of emailing a Presentation to someone you need to collaborate with, why not use AuthorStream? You could even use Google Docs or MindMeister. Heck, for that matter, why not check out something like Drop.io?

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Creating Presentations on the Web

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It’s a sad fact of life than many of us will have to suffer through tons of presentations in our lives. Many of those aren’t even well put-together. Instead of dwelling on this negative fact, let’s move over to the positive. I want to tell you about an amazing presentation builder… within a Web service. This thing is slicker than snot, I’m telling you.

Head on over to 280 Slides and you’ll be greeted with a gorgeous interface. You’ll think to yourself that this can’t possibly be a Website, it must be a program on your computer. What can it do? It can do anything that your regular presentation software can do. Instead of residing on your hard drive, it resides on the Web. It’s simple… so simple, in fact, you may wonder why you ever used anything else. It’s also completely free.

Here are the key features:

  1. Take it With You. We store your presentations securely on our server so you can take them anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection.
  2. Download to PowerPoint. With a single click you can download a copy of your presentation in the Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 format.
  3. Built-in Media Search. Add photos and movies to your presentation directly from popular web services like Flickr and YouTube.
  4. Publish to the Web. Put your presentation on SlideShare, e-mail it to a friend, or embed it directly on your own website, all with just a few clicks.
  5. Quality Themes. It’s easy to make a great looking presentation with our professional quality built-in themes.
  6. Run in your Web Browser. 280 Slides runs right in the browser, with no download and no installation, and it works just like the desktop applications you’re used to.

This isn’t going to help you make better presentations, but you’ll have more fun making them, and they’ll look more professional. There’s nothing to install, because it exists on the Web. What’s not to like? I love talking about these kinds of things, things that make our lives easier and is fun. This is the next step in personal computing: living on the Web.

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Get Documents and Spreadsheets on the Go with Google

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Invariably, when you’re on the road, you forget a document at home. It’s of course difficult to get to them, especially if no one is at home to send them to you. It’s also hard to get to them with your iPhone… unless you use Google Docs, of course!

If you have a mobile device that has an Internet connection… you can access your documents at any time, day or night. If you aren’t already using them, shame on you! You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more. And it’s free!! Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. So go ahead and upload your existing files.

I love this. I love just knowing something is there when I need it, where I need it. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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Do you have Tips for Presentation Style?

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Richard sent me the following email, which I feel is an excellent discussion point:

You do not come off as a shy person, as I am, but how do you manage to stay so calm and relaxed when you are presenting your live feed to the community? When I give presentations to my classmates, I have the bad habit of speaking too fast and not enunciating my words clearly. You, however, seem very relaxed, you pace yourself, you are easy to understand, and you speak very eloquently while using mature vocabulary. It also appears that you are able to speak very professionally off the top of your head, assuming that you do not write out what you say beforehand. I just really admire the ways you go about presenting information. I was just wondering if you had any tips at all about pacing yourself, focusing on what you are saying, and just staying relaxed. I think this would be a good thing to bring up with the community, unless you already have, because first impressions are very important.

I’ve pretty much been a ham all my life. I’m someone who always upstaged other people. I really enjoy doing the videos every day, for that very reason. Even though I’m energetic about it, I’ve refined my style over the years. I am a perfectionist when I record. I am known to literally do take after take, to get one I am really happy with. I want to always make sure I’m coming across the best way that I can. I’m always cognizant of the fact that most people who see my videos will see them after the fact, instead of live.

Practice, practice, practice… it really does make perfect. In High School, I tried out for what was called “Speech Squad”. Most of the comments I got were along the lines of “SLOW DOWN!”, because I always tended to speak too fast. Being on radio and tv has helped me to really think about what I do and how I do it. I’ve been able to refine my presentation style over the years.

Heck, no matter how much you practice you’re going to be nervous. That’s normal. Tap into that emotion and passion. Do your best to surface your thoughts in a way that is clear, cohesive and coherent. Connect with your intended audience. Even though I tend to throw in those $10.00 words at times, it’s really about what’s in my heart… not my head. For me, it’s about relaying useful information to the world. My approach has always been honest, genuine and transparent. It’s true… sometimes I am over the top. I get excited, and get increasingly louder as more and more thoughts jump into my head. I fall victim to saying “uh” and “Uhm” as much as anyone.

That’s my biggest tip. You don’t have to fill every second with noise. Take a breath. Take a pause. There’s no ‘undo’ button or delete key if you say the wrong word, but you can still correct yourself. You’re human, after all. Don’t try to be too perfect. People will connect with you more when you come across as human and imperfect. Show your passion, put your heart and soul into what you’re doing.

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Tips for Better PowerPoint Presentations

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It may be simple to begin using PowerPoint… but it’s not so easy to make professional looking presentations. These tips were sent in by a community member, and will help you in your endeavor to create a great presentation.

  • Be sure to make your presentation appropriate for the audience in which you are going to present it to! That means, don’t put funny sounds or transitions on presentations that are going to be made to a group of executives, for purposes of professionalism. Of course, if you are going to make a presentation to a slightly less critical crowd, (like a classroom, or a presentation for some co-workers of yours) then such add-ons are more appropriate. Failing to tailor your presentation to the audience can cost you big time, as depending on who you are presenting it to, different reactions may take place. Sometimes, such reactions can put you and/or your reputation into jeopardy.
  • Be sure to make your presentations easy to read! Presentations are virtually useless if the audience cannot read what it says. Be sure to not make the text too big or too small. I recommend between 48pt. and 36pt. fonts for titles, and between 24pt. and 18pt. for text. If the text is too big, it may not all fit on one slide, and if the text is too small, then people will not be able to read it. Also, use clear fonts. I like fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Gill Sans MT, Calibri, Segoe UI, Lucida Grande, and Lucida Sans for presentation, as they are modern, smooth, and of course, easy to read. Of course, if you cannot avoid a less than perfect reading situation, I recommend passing out an outline of your presentation to the audience. An outline is a copy of all of the text included in your presentation, that can be passed out to the audience in order for them to be able to read the text, and so they don’t have to take notes, which relieves the stress level.
  • Make your presentations professional-looking! No matter your audience, nothing looks better than a good looking presentation. That means no more Windows 95 white! We are in the 21st century, and so your presentations can look way better now. A great way to have a professional looking presentation is to add graphics! That means insert some picture files and add cool effects to them, add 3D charts and graphs, use WordArt and 3D Art (SmartArt in Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac), etc. And if you have trouble with this, use themes! Most presentation maker software (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) have built-in themes that make everything look great with just one click. It is a quick and easy way to take a basic looking presentation look better. And ditch Times New Roman, as it is (in my opinion) the worst font on Earth. It is used too many times, and it doesn’t look as good as some of the other fonts out there. See my list in tip #2 for the fonts I like. Making your presentation look good can make you look good, as it shows you put in some effort.
  • Don’t just have text! I am reiterating this for a reason. Nothing is more boring than a text only presentation. This isn’t 1993! There is so much more you can do now with your presentation. Add objects (pictures, video clips, sounds, graphics) that have something to do with your presentation. This gets the concept across a lot easier, and it makes your presentation interesting. Oh, and be sure to use the cool editing effects that today’s presentation software titles have. Other things like transitions (subtle, of course), make a presentation stand out. Just be sure to make them appropriate for conditions (refer to #1).
  • Format the text information correctly! USE BULLET POINTS! (sorry for yelling) No one wants to read a large paragraph of text in a presentation. It becomes very difficult to extract the good information when the text is formatted that way. So bullet point the important, necessary information that will be of use to the audience. Your presentation will be of more use that way.
  • Add your own information and experience to the presentation! Don’t just read what the presentation says. Unleash your own experience and knowledge upon the audience. Even if you made the presentation, things seem to be a lot easier when the experience is explained by the person afterward. Add more information that you couldn’t include in the presentation for whatever reason. And finally, be sure to explain the contents of the presentation thoroughly and with eye contact to the audience. This makes the message you want to convey a lot clearer. After all, you need to please the audience, and a lack of understanding from the audience towards you and your presentation is a bad sign.

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Google Docs

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Most everyone has some type of office suite installed on your computer, likely Microsoft Office. Did you realize you can do everything that Office can do online… for free? Google has free office tools called Google Docs. You may ask… why would I do them online? Well, it’s simple. How many times have you had to send a document or spreadsheet back and forth to others to be checked over, edited and just shared? By using Google Docs, you can simply upload your existing files, choose who to share them with, and work away! Using Google Docs can increase your productivity by cutting down on the amount of time needed to send the files back and forth via email, wait for the other person, and so on.

Google Docs has applications to build spreadsheets, word documents, and presentations. You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more. Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, and more! There are toolbar buttons similar to what you are already familiar with for editing… such as bold, underline and italics.

So how do you get started? Visit docs.Google.com. If you don’t already have a Google account, such as for Gmail, then you’ll need to sign up for a free account. If you do have a Google name, simply log in with it. As soon as you’re logged in, you can click on the “New” button to choose to create a new document, spreadsheet or presentation. Or… click the “Upload” button to upload an existing file. One of the best features of Google Docs is the fact that it automatically saves your work pretty often. You don’t have to click a button, it just saves it for you.

So what about sharing your work with others? Click on the Share button to invite others (via email address) to share in the document with you. Anyone you’ve invited to either edit or view your document, spreadsheet or presentation can access it as soon as they sign in. Multiple people can view and make changes at the same time. There’s an on-screen chat window for spreadsheets, and document revisions show you exactly who changed what, and when. Viewing a presentation together is a breeze, as anyone joined in a presentation can automatically follow along with the presenter.

Working on and saving your files has never been easier. There’s nothing to download; you access your documents, spreadsheets and presentations from any computer with an Internet connection and a standard browser. You can create as many folders as you wish in order to organize your work in a way that is easy for you to manage.

With so many features that are easy to use… and all for FREE, I don’t see why you would want to use anything else! Give it a try, and let me know what you think! Leave me a follow-up comment to this video, or shoot me an email to [email protected]

E ya later!

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