1

Think about the common, albeit under-followed, presentation tips for speakers who want to deliver content more effectively:

  • Use more and bigger images to engage the audience visually
  • Don’t include everything you’re going to say on the slides
  • Use high-contrast foreground and background colors to improve readability
  • Make ample use of builds to keep the audience from getting ahead of what you are saying

I preach and try to follow these presentation tips whenever I speak.

Do Traditional Presentation Tips Still Apply?

Yet, at three recent seminars I covered (including ones from Walmart and IKEA), these traditional presentation tips were blatantly ignored by three high-profile presenters.

eKaterina-SlideTheir slides were loaded with text and more detail than I had seen on slides in “good” presentations in ages. Usually when a speaker uses that much text on slides, I figure the presenter threw the slides together at the last minute and simply typed up whatever he or she was planning to say.

That was not what was going on in any of these presentations, though.

Instead, my own interaction with the content indicated a potential change in thinking on presentation slides.

Rather than simply typing live tweets of the speaker’s remarks, I was taking photos of the slides – some of which I was tweeting while capturing othrs for later reference (including writing a blog post from photos of Chad Mitchell’s slides). This phenomenon, coupled with how people are increasingly taking picture of more detailed slides at my own presentations suggests we are entering the era of creating photogenic slides for presentations.

If this is a trend, traditional presentation tips for constructing slides as visual support begin to shift.

In these three instances, the slides provided the most detailed content each speaker offered since none provided hard copy documentation. If you wanted the details, your best option was to start taking photos, diverting your attention from the speaker’s live content.

Presentation Tips for Creating Photogenic Slides

If we are in the age of creating photogenic slides, what are the new success factors for strong presentations?

IKEA-stageFrom these early examples and my own experience, here are five critical success factors to consider when creating photogenic slides:

  1. Use high-density text – If the slides are intended for later consumption, it suddenly makes sense to include as much detail as possible to address detail and questions the audience will want to review afterward.
  2. Incorporate online references – Rather than simply embedding a video, featuring a graphic, or telling a story, it becomes more valuable for later viewing to have a link on the slide for an audience member to reach the underlying content afterward.
  3. Detailed, over-complicated infographics – Process diagrams and slides with incredible detail become feasible, even desirable – as long as the detail is not so small it is lost when the audience later zooms in to review specific items.
  4. Less radical light/dark shifts between the room and the slides – At the session depicted in this photo, the room and stage were dark (except for focused lighting on the speakers) and the slides were light, creating a jarring contrast for photos. If you are aiming for photogenic slides, inquire ahead about the staging and adjust the color and contrast of your slides accordingly.
  5. More screen time for slides with mega-content – While builds work to keep the audience with the speaker, they are maddening when taking photos of slides. The answer either is fewer build slides or, if you are using builds, allowing time for a photo once all the content is displayed instead of moving briskly to the next slide.

Are you taking more photos of slides during presentations? And when you are presenting, are you thinking about creating photogeneic slides? In either case, what critical success factors would you add to this list? Mike Brown

 

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Alfred-E-BloggingHaving lunch with a senior executive, the conversation turned, as it often does, to blogging and whether the world needs another blog.

Creating a Personal Social Media Strategy

My lunch mate, as a mid-career professional, has extensive and valuable experience in various marketing dimensions across multiple industries. As he looks ahead to his next career move in several years, he had been thinking about creating a blog. One roadblock to getting started is knowing there is SO MUCH content already available. Why would whatever content he planned to share matter one way or the other?

I repeated advice shared here before: no one is in a better position to tell the unique story of your experience and knowledge than you. If your new blog would simply be regurgitating what Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, or some other social media celebrity is saying, then I agree: don’t start a blog. The world – especially the part of the world where social media lives – doesn’t need more regurgitated social media celebrity maxims.

If your intent is to blog about YOUR knowledge and experience to benefit others, however, go ahead and blog.

Should I Start a Blog?

In fact, here’s a test to decide whether your personal social media strategy should include starting a blog. Answer these Yes or No questions to decide whether you should start a blog:

  1. Have you ever benefited someone you mentored?
  2. Do you read / consume an eclectic mix of content that shapes your perspective?
  3. Do you ever learn while you teach someone something?
  4. Do people seek you out for your perspective?
  5. Do you ever speak to groups and receive positive comments?
  6. Does even a small group of people in your life care about what you think?
  7. Would you like to create a more meaningful professional legacy?
  8. Do you love your profession including the art and science of it?

If you have real experience and answered “yes” to even one of these questions, that’s a big first step toward being a beneficial new blogger for the world, no matter how much content is already out there.

If, however, you are the type of expert I learned about on a recent webinar who became an expert by completing a 49-day challenge program (i.e., 7 social media tasks weekly across 7 weeks), keep your blogging to yourself.

We have enough faux experts already out there blogging to go around! - Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

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Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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It’s pretty common to receive some of the most intriguing comments on our content via email from our growing group of email subscribers (you can click here to join the group, by the way). Jim from Massachusetts weighed in following John Q. Harrington’s post on digital marketing with a request for John to back up one of his claims in the post. As a result, John addressed Jim’s request with his Top 20 list of digital marketing tools. Here’s John:

 

20 Great Digital Marketing Tools Once You Have a Strategy by John Harrington

Digital-Marketing-TabsIn a post about what digital marketers could learn from the Wizard of Oz , I got on my soapbox and urged marketers not to be dazzled by the dizzying array of digital marketing tools available and lose sight of the fact they are just tools – not a replacement for a big idea or a strategy.

In my post, I said there were 100+ digital marketing tools with more being added every day.  A sharp-eyed-reader from Massachusetts, named Jim, was more than a little dubious about my ‘100+ digital marketing tools’ claim.  In fact, he said he’d be happy if I could come up with a list of 20 with a brief explanation of why they’re good.

Well Jim… you got me!

I have to admit; I didn’t count the number of digital marketing tools before I made that statement.  There sure seems like there are an awful lot of them, but maybe I was a little fast and loose with my numbers.

So I went to my #1 Digital Marketing Tool “GOOGLE” and did a search.  I got 161 million results, so I’m relatively confident the truth lies somewhere north of 100 digital marketing tools.

Jim, I don’t claim to be a digital marketing guru, but I do use many of those tools frequently. Here are 20 of my favorites along with my own biased reasons for liking them.

#1 Google Search

Because they rule the universe and we’ll all be working for them eventually.  Points off for making me learn what an algorithm is and how to spell it.

#2 Facebook

Because they are the number one source of cute cat photos in the world and a pretty good way to reach half the planet. Bonus points for having a geeky founder who’s like a smart ass version of Bill Gates.

#3 LinkedIn

Great for targeting B2B groups and individuals.  Plus they have the highest income level of any major social media group so maybe they won’t miss it if I trick them out of some of their money.

#4 YouTube

They took all the great cat photos from Facebook and made them move!  Plus, they are owned by Lord Google so they put your search results on crack.

#5 Twitter

This is the fastest, most efficient way for me to learn what all my friends had for lunch.  Plus its trending topics and search results let me know instantly if an angry mob is buying torches and heading for my front door.

#6 Vimeo

The younger, prettier, sexier version of YouTube without all the evil backing and power of Lord Google.  Selling epic beauty? Use Vimeo.  Selling hand sanitizer? Use YouTube.

#7 Bing

Probably the coolest thing Microsoft has ever done.  Truly a better search engine than Google, but hey, I’m not going to mess with Lord Google, are you?

#8 Pinterest

A visual explosion of gorgeous arts, crafts, and meals that none of us are talented enough to duplicate, but we can still dream.

#9 Vine

A true tribute to the shortening of attention spans. 6 seconds of pure entertainment because those hideous, old 30 second commercials are sooooooooo tedious.

#10 Google Plus

Probably the social networking site I like the least.  Circles of friends are a little too Kum Bah Yah for me. But, hey, you know how I feel about messing with Lord Google.

#11 Tumblr

A blogging platform that lets you share all different types of content.  Kind of like if YouTube, Pintrest and WordPress had a baby.  Points off for spelling their name without an “e.”

#12 Flickr

A great collection of photography some of which you can actually use LEGALLY!  What a concept!  Points off for dropping the “e” out of their name.  Hey, I warned you with Tumblr.

#13 Google Ads

I haven’t mentioned Lord Google in awhile and this is something near and dear to his heart.  It’s where he makes his gazillions of dollars each year.  Pay a flat rate or pay per click.  Lord Google doesn’t care as long as you pay to access his millions of minions.

#14 Tweetdeck

For all its search power and zillions of followers, Twitter is still pretty clunky to use.  Tweetdeck makes it much more user friendly to manage and semi-automate multiple Twitter accounts.  BUT Twitter bought Tweetdeck so who knows how long before they screw it up.

#15 Hootsuite

A different flavor of Tweetdeck.  Not sure it’s any better or any worse.  BUT it has the advantage of NOT being owned by Twitter so I may have to make a switch if Twitter keeps “helping” Tweetdeck.

#16 Bit.ly

A great little company that shortens those ridiculously long URLs into something useable and Tweetable. Also pretty good at analytics for all you number crunchers out there.

#17 Ow.ly

Pretty much the same thing as Bit.ly, but I think it’s a little easier to use.  Plus, if you’re posting on Hootsuite, you gotta go with Ow.ly, right?

#18 Foursquare

A fun geo-location social media tool that lets you post where you are, what you’re doing and leave tips about the place you visited.  Also let’s you know if any of your hottie friends are in the vicinity so you can be a more efficient stalker.

#19 Slideshare

For all of you who just can’t get enough PowerPoint presentations at work, this is for you.  Pretty easy to use and Lord Google seems to like it… this week.

#20 Email

Maybe you’ve heard of it!  I know it’s old school but this crap really works.  Especially nice if you team up with Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or ExactTarget.

What about the rest of the great digital marketing tools?

Jim, I know I haven’t hit 100+ tools yet, but go to Google Search and feel free to explore the 160,000,980 other tools I haven’t covered. All the best,  Q

 

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9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

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Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

 

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When your company is launching a content marketing  strategy to engage your current audience and attract new readers, it’s overwhelming to think that the blog posts you create will have short shelf lives. In other words, if your company can barely create enough quality content to publish multiple posts weekly, you certainly don’t want to lose the sharing and search value of content in just a few days because what your organization has published is almost immediately outdated.

Evergreen-vs-Not5 Keys to Creating Evergreen Content

If avoiding content that’s quickly outdated is your challenge, consider these five lessons to generate evergreen (i.e., longer shelf life) content. These content marketing strategy lessons will extend your content shelf life – whether your company is just launching a content marketing strategy or are well into implementation:

1. Be less newsy and more bookish

News generates reader attention, but don’t over-anchor your content in news stories. News-oriented content requires continually addressing new news all the time, especially since news has a short shelf-life in other social channels. Also create content that’s more like a book, whose content has value years after it is published. Use current news to INSPIRE your content, but write about the bigger themes that will be relevant later.

2. Stick with what sticks for longer

If your company is covering the latest technology, your content will be outdated shortly after you publish it. Even if you are writing a lot of content about a fast changing industry, balance it with content on business principles, fundamental concepts, smart productivity tips, and practical to-dos that remain truer, longer.

3. Reference specific dates – or leave them out entirely

Don’t reference “last week” or something coming up “next quarter.” Instead, use specific dates such as “early November 2013” or “third quarter 2016.” Better yet, ask if a date reference really matters to content clarity? If you can avoid including a date in the content, leave the date out.

4. Link to what will change

Make ample use of links to provide more background on time sensitive content. With content related to news and current events, links can provide more direct ties to date-specific content and activities. By using links instead of rehashing newsy content directly in your posts, your content will be more timeless on the surface even though it’s linked to older material.

5. Create a broader view

If your company’s content marketing strategy involves generalizing big truths, timeless trends, and broad developments, the content you create will be better positioned to create content of value for a longer period of time. Leave the detail to others and communicate about what has momentum and staying power relative to your topic.

How do these content marketing strategy lessons work?

Yes, these lessons do work. We’ve used these principles, the discipline of publishing regularly, and time to build a back catalog of content that generates more than 90 percent of our B2B website’s visits on any given day.

That means we have a tremendous amount of evergreen content still working hard to generate interest, value, and site visits with no incremental work each day. That’s when an evergreen content approach really pays off for your organization. If your organization would like the same type of results, let us know. We’d be happy to get you going on a strategy to do the same! - Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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John Q. Harrington is back today with a warning for digital marketers to not walk past the big idea in pursuit of big promises from applications devoid of creative thinking and big idea potential. Here’s Q!

Creative Thinking: What Digital Marketers Could Learn from the Wizard of Oz by @JohnQCreative

John-Q-HarringtonToday’s marketers have awoken and found themselves transplanted into a strange and marvelous world – a Digital Land of Oz.

Here the miraculous has become common and the common seems to have vanished.

Social media creates meaningful relationships with masses of individuals. Social analytics track the source of a trend or a problem to a single person. Big Data gives sales pitches to customers before they even realize they want something.

The wonders of the great and powerful Digital Oz keep growing and growing, but there is one voice of warning rising amid all the pyrotechnics:

“PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!”

Contrary to what many of the Wizards of Digital Oz say, they are NOT all knowing and all powerful. Digital Oz clearly has created some marketing marvels, but there is one thing it cannot create – a big idea.  And big ideas seem to have all but disappeared behind the glare of the flash and dazzle of the latest digital marketing tools.

Yes, I said it.  Digital is a tool, NOT an idea.

Too many marketers are so enamored with the amazing feats of Digital they think the need for a big idea or a great position has been eliminated.  If anything, the need is greater than ever!

A decade ago, marketers only had a dozen or so arrows in their quiver. Newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, basic web sites, email, direct mail and a handful of other tactics were all they really had to work with then.  With digital, today there are well over a hundred marketing tool options and more coming online daily.

Each of these tools has a different set of strengths, weaknesses, and people guiding them.  Firing all these weapons and hoping for the best does get results.

But think how much more powerful they would be if they all had a common focus and big idea driving them!

A big idea or a great position is a virtual brain that can help guide ALL your marketing tools and multiply their effectiveness.

So please, do not become so seduced by the amazing tools of Digital Oz that you think they ARE the same thing as a big idea. Remember this?

“I’d unravel every riddle, for any individual
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts I’d be thinking,
I could be another Lincoln
If I only had a brain.” -  The Scarecrow

See, even the least intelligent resident of Oz knew he was nothing without a brain. – Q

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Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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For those executives still developing next year’s strategies aimed at creating strategic impact in 2014, we’ve opened up the Brainzooming strategic thinking R&D lab to share fifteen newly developed, innovative strategic planning questions.

15 Innovative Strategic Planning Questions to Prepare for 2014

2014-QuestionsThis group of innovative strategic planning questions is heavy on identifying new market, product, and competitive opportunities to challenge your organization in dramatically expanding the benefits you deliver to your customers.

Fostering  Innovative, Disruptive Ideas

Identifying Innovative Strategic Opportunities

Creating Competitive Advantage

  • What markets can we rapidly move into where we have an underdog’s advantages?
  • How can we do something so big and challenging in a new market that current players will have to follow us, thereby bolstering our market development efforts?
  • How can we go around any parties standing between our clients and our brand in order to simplify buying for our consumers?
  • How can we realize scale economies in new ways through serving and supplying remote, low-density markets from a high-density location?

Prioritizing Market Strategy Opportunities

  • What will it take to dramatically improve the clarity of our marketing message by reducing the number of DIFFERENT messages we blast into the universe?
  • In what ways can we make it easier and more rewarding for our broad audience to share their opinions and take buying action on them?
  • Within our content marketing, what has to change to address five additional facets of both the human and business dimensions of our audience?
  • How do we craft a social media approach that still works hard for us if Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or some other high-profile social network went away next year?

Addressing Professional Development

  • What are my personal and professional development dreams, and what roadblocks do I need to eliminate (or simply ignore) to bring them to reality next year?

 

Need more help with creating strategic impact – now and next year?

If you need an additional push for your organization in creating strategic impact in 2014, The Brainzooming Group is here to assist you, tapping into our experience designing and implementing hundreds of strategy sessions to deliver real results.  Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts. - Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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Layoffs were in the headlines this week, including layoff plans at Kellogg and Hallmark. While these announced layoff figures are not as significant as some during the heart of the recession, it demonstrates many large brands have dramatic strategic changes ahead to dial in the combination of markets, structure, and size to fight to stay viable.

Stephen-Lahey-LinkedIn-Power-ChecklistTransitioning from corporate strategy to personal career success strategies and personal branding strategies, one thing we can all do is to make sure we have solid online presences. Toward that end, check out my friend (and great small business advisor) Stephen Lahey’s recent Small Business Talent podcasts on improving your LinkedIn profile.

Additionally, if you subscribe to Stephen Lahey’s email updates, you can download a copy of his very valuable LinkedIn profile checklist to make sure at least that element of your personal online presence is as strong as possible.

The layoff news this week prompted me to share this post about career success strategies written by a former co-worker after he was laid off. To his credit, he landed another job (and started an entrepreneurial venture to boot), and, according to latest reports, is doing incredibly well. If you find yourself in a vulnerable career position, here are six actions to take courtesy of someone who never expected a lay off to happen to him:

 

Career Success Strategies – 6 Steps When You’re Laid Off by Anonymous

Pink-SlipAt some point in everyone’s life you will either know someone who is laid off or you yourself will be laid off.

Let me describe the feeling of the moment  you hear the words, “Your position has been eliminated.”

And to make matters worse, imagine it’s Christmas, Uncle Sam is calling, and your wife informs you she is pregnant with your second child. Numbness sets in, and you think to yourself, “What the heck am I going to do now?”

I don’t care how much you think you knew it was coming, the finality of it still has a sting to it.

For me, it’s a good thing the feeling only lasted a day, or as soon as I mustered up enough strength to tell my wife. Up until this point in my career, I had either gone from assignment to assignment or from job to job with no more than a few days off in between jobs. Heck, I had never taken more than five days off for a vacation. What am I going to do? I don’t have a job. The answer . . . anything I want.

This was the first time in my life I could completely chart my own path from scratch. I could move anywhere, explore anything and truly seek to understand my true passion in life. I tried to think big and without boundaries about titles, prestige, or perceptions. I started with a real honest look at myself. What was I good at? What wasn’t I good at? What did I enjoy, and what didn’t I enjoy?

Think about it.

If you are not ready to start your own company, there are hundreds of thousands of companies out there making all kinds of widgets and providing thousands of services. The opportunities are endless, so why limit myself?

Six Steps When You’re Laid Off

Here is my advice when it comes to career success strategies. These six steps are for anyone laid off by an employer:

  1. Be thankful to your previous employer. Trust me on this; they did you a favor. Either you brought no perceived value or the company is really struggling financially. Either way, it is not a good long term situation for you. This will also begin to prepare your mind to take control of your own destiny and not succumb to a victim mindset.
  2. Take an honest look at yourself – truly understand your strengths, weaknesses, and your passions.  There are many great resources in this area focused on personal branding strategies, and “What Color Is Your Parachute” can go a long way to getting you headed in the right direction.
  3. Be able to articulate areas of interest, but no more than three.  If there are more than three, you really don’t know what you want to do.
  4. Do the basics: update your resume and your LinkedIn profile, find a good headhunter, get involved, and continue to challenge yourself. Stay sharp.
  5. Let people know your situation. Connect with old friends. Share your areas of interest. You will be surprised how many people are willing to help.
  6. Take time to pursue your hobbies; if you don’t have one, now is the time to get one.

Good luck, but luck is not required. You are in control. – An Anonymous Guest Blogger

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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