How To Use PowerPoint to Get A Job

The job search is never easy, especially in this economy. While our country is steadily improving in terms of new jobs increasing and unemployment decreasing, if you’re actually one of the people out there trying to find a job, it can be frustrating for you. An increase in the number of new jobs doesn’t mean that there’s actually more jobs in a given field, and if that applies to you, it can seem like your job hunt is going nowhere. Here are some ways that PowerPoint can help you land a job.Powerpoint-job

First, try putting a form of your resume together as a PowerPoint presentation. While that piece of paper is what’s going to get you in the front door, having a PowerPoint presentation is going to set you apart from the crowd. You can include photos of your prior job experience and accomplishments. This is a great bonus if you work in a field where there is visual proof of your completed projects.

However, if you’re working in an environment where success is measured on paper instead of with visual proof, then here is where you have to get a little creative. Photos of you leading meetings, or working with a team, show different job skills that will make you a great candidate. If you’ve earned material bonuses from a prior job, such as a watch or a plaque, photos of those will show that your prior employers believed that you have value.

You can present a PowerPoint slide showing different facets of prior responsibilities. A two column slide showing your responsibilities when you began with an employer, versus your responsibilities when you left, can give a very clear demonstration of how you received promotions and increases in job duties.

You could use a slide to create a timeline of events, such as the time you spent in school, with summer internships, or a project that you planned and implemented, from start to finish. A timeline is a great way to show potential employers that you’re focused, and understand the need for finishing items on a deadline.

Putting parts of your resume into a PowerPoint presentation serves another purpose: it shows a potential employer that you’re proficient in PowerPoint! It also shows creativity, and an ability to think outside the box. In today’s competitive job market, this is a pretty important distinction for you to make, and it could set you apart from other candidates. If you’re delivering your resume via email or CD, it’s simple to attach the PowerPoint presentation.

Additionally, if you are job hunting, having a good knowledge of PowerPoint could help you score a temporary job to help you pay the bills while you’re looking. There are several listings on freelance sites such as oDesk, looking for people who are proficient in PowerPoint. While these are mostly for one time projects that won’t lead to a permanent position, they are definitely jobs that you can add to your resume, and a little bit of extra money coming in while you’re looking for something permanent is always a good thing!

All in all, showing your proficiency in a multitude of skills is always going to improve your chances for landing the perfect job, and PowerPoint is no exception.

Deadly PowerPoint Presentation Mistakes People Make!

When you’re putting together a PowerPoint presentation, it’s easy to get so bogged down in creating the slides that you miss a few key elements and end up with some mistakes. Follow these tips to help you build quality presentations with few mistakes.  Over the years we have seen people make these mistakes and always had a comment to make after the presentation.

So here are some of the basics to make a great PowerPoint presentation.

Choose the Right PowerPoint Template – No matter how many times we have mentioned it in our previous blogs and our speaking sessions, we still see presenters using the really bad PowerPoint template.  It’s really not hard to pick the right PowerPoint template when you already have a huge array of templates to choose from.  If you don’t like any of the built in PowerPoint templates, then make your own using Podium for PowerPoint our flagship product that create amazing PowerPoint Backgrounds and templates in minutes.Powerpoint-podium-spotlight-Image

Choose the Right Font – The readability of your PowerPoint presentation is critical and the font that you choose for your slides can have a huge impact. You need to be aware of how large the projection area is, and you’ll want to choose a font that can be read from even the furthest points in the room, if at all possible. Don’t choose a font that’s too scripty or pretty. All of those curls and pretty angles may make it harder for someone to read.  Use a standard high impact font that has clear and sharp lines in the characters

Choose the Right Colors – Just as important as your font, your color choices can make or break your PowerPoint presentation! Your background color should provide a strong contrast to your font color, to make your font easier to read. Try to avoid doing a dark background with a light font. Just like on websites, that doesn’t work well in most PowerPoint presentations! If you’re unsure of your color choices, have someone peek at your slides.

Avoid Having Too Much Stuff – Many people try to cram a bunch of stuff into their PowerPoint presentation. They’re thinking, correctly, that they are only going to have a limited time in front of their audience, so they should make the most of it. The thing is, people may turn off way before you’re done speaking. Remember that PowerPoint is an extension of public speaking, and a good public speaker knows that the key to successful communication is brevity! This should hold true during your presentation, too. To avoid adding too much stuff to your presentation, weigh the value of every slide that you’ve created. Must the information in this slide be conveyed during your presentation, or can you include it with follow up material for your attendees to read at a later time? Does that photo really make the point that you need it to, or can you do it a different way? Does that one topic really need 13 subheadings, with a slide for each one?

Keep it Simple – You don’t need to animate every slide, or include a picture to drive home every point. If you can get your point across without a lot of additional touches, then do so. While a photo here and there and an occasional animated slide are great to change things up, you don’t need to depend on them to carry your point.

You are the Star – PowerPoint is a tool. People have come to the presentation to see you, not your power point. You should use the PowerPoint part of your presentation to help you make your points or keep your audience focused, but you need to be the main attraction. Practice your presentation, but keep your mind ready to be flexible. If someone has a question, roll with it-even if it interferes with the flow of your PowerPoint. Work your audience. Walk around the stage or speaking area, make eye contact with your audience, and get feedback. These, much more than your PowerPoint, will make for a great overall impression!

Used properly, a great PowerPoint presentation can lend a lot to the overall image that you’re trying to convey. Remember that you should be using PowerPoint to help your audience, not overwhelm them, and you will do great!

How to Prepare for a Presentation & Fix It if it goes South!

If you’re going to be working with PowerPoint with any frequency, you’re going to have a bad presentation. It’s not that you’re a bad powerpointer, it’s that a bad presentation happens to everyone. The largest part of fixing a bad presentation is making sure that it doesn’t happen in the first place.  Here are some easily missed but critical things to take care of when before starting your presentation.

Presentation-CrisisFirst, always check your equipment. Even if it’s the same equipment that you’ve used before, turn it on, load your PowerPoint slide deck into it, and run through your slides. Make sure that it works smoothly and that your entire presentation is there. This single action will save you from more problems than anything else you could ever do.

While you’re checking to make sure that your equipment is functioning, walk through the room while a few of your slides are up. Can you read them from most of the room? If not, make note of that so that you can spend extra time with those to make sure the folks in the far reaches of the room can keep up with the presentation.

Next, check yourself. Pop into the bathroom, and check your appearance. Is your salad still hanging out, caught in between your teeth? Did you spill something on your shirt? These kinds of distractions will take people’s attention away from your presentation. Have a toothbrush, toothpaste, and spare shirt and tie in your office, just in case. Pull out the shirt and replace it with a fresh one every few months so it doesn’t get dusty.

If you give presentations on a regular basis, have a kit that includes extra lightbulbs,(YES! an extra lightbulb has saved important presentations for executives) dry erase markers so you can convert to a whiteboard presentation in the worst case scenario, breath mints, your favorite headache reliever and an anti-gas medication. This kit will save you from just about anything that can go wrong during a presentation.

Now that you’ve prepared for just about any failure that you can think of, you can absolutely guarantee that the type of presentation failure you experience will be something that cannot be corrected by anything that you’ve already prepared for. Because Murphy’s Law exists for a reason, and this is it.

Once something falls apart during a presentation, it’s up to you to get things back on target. If you have a repair that can’t be handled quickly by rebooting equipment, changing a lightbulb, and checking to make sure that someone didn’t trip over a power cord, call a break. Tell your participants to take five. It’s much easier to sort out a problem when people are out in the hall way, having a coffee and re-hashing last night’s football game, than it is when you can’t figure out the issue and you can feel 100 pairs of eyes boring into the back of your head.

Once you’ve cleared the room, breathe. See if you can fix the problem yourself. If you can’t, ask for help. Someone on staff may be able to help you out. If you’re doing your presentation somewhere that isn’t your office, ask whoever handled the booking or who set you up in that space when you first arrived.

If you absolutely can’t fix the problem, prepare to switch to a whiteboard. Most conference and presentation rooms have whiteboards ready to be used. Clearly, the reason you chose to do a powerpoint rather than present on the whiteboard in the first place was partially because of the pictures and animations, and those will be lost in translation. However, as long as you have your presentation memorized, you’ll still be able to get your important points across.

Mostly, preventing a bad presentation is all about preparing ahead of time. If you’re well prepared to handle almost anything that can go wrong, you’ll be set to have a fantastic presentation!

Note: You can use PowerPoint Add-Ins to create beautiful and professional presentations.

How to Engage a Visually Impaired Audience with PowerPoint

Engaging a visually impaired audience can be difficult. For one, not everyone has the same level of visual impairment. Some of your audience members may have conditions that are corrected with eye glasses or contact lenses. Others may have had surgery to correct some or all of their vision issues. You may have some audience members who have no level of vision correction, but still have varying levels of vision. Some may be able to see larger images or fonts, while some may be completely unable to see anything.

To help connect with your visually impaired audience, you’ll want to use these tricks that work with any audience

Add action to your presentation – If some of your audience can see, tracking your movement will keep them more engaged than if you just stand still.
Include moments to make them laugh – This doesn’t have to be jokes. Maybe you have a personal story to tell that fits in with your presentation, where you end up laughing at yourself. If your audience perceives that you have a sense of humor, they are more at ease.
Try to evoke emotion – Most of the time, the best way to keep an audience engaged it to talk about something in a way that makes them feel something-joy, empathy, anticipation. If you can get your audience feeling something, they’re going to want to hear the rest of what you say!

Using props becomes much more difficult with a visually impaired audience, but if some of your audience has at least partial site, you’re going to want to make use of visual pieces to keep their attention focused on you. Using a PowerPoint presentation is a great way to help drive home important parts of your presentation and illustrations often help bring emotion to presentations.

With PowerPoint and a large projector screen, you can create presentations that will be able to be seen by the part of your audience that does have some vision capabilities. For example, you can use a larger font on the text areas of your PowerPoint presentation. This helps to insure that everyone who can see, can see what you’re trying to present.

PowerPoint also allows you to create visual images that you can use to connect with your audience, to help keep them engaged. You can focus in on a specific part of an image to make it appear larger on screen, with a single deck dedicated to just a few pixels of the image, if necessary. You need great software and a fantastic image to do this, but it can be done.

In short, there are ways to engage a visually impaired audience. It takes a bit of work, but with some

How to Engage an Hearing Impaired Audience with PowerPoint

Connecting with a hearing impaired audience can be difficult. If you’re not signing, your audience is focused on the interpreter instead of on you, and it can be hard to judge whether or not your audience is following along, or bored. If you’re not feeling connected to them, they are definitely going to notice-and then they aren’t going to be feeling connected to you!

When you’re trying to connect with a hearing impaired audience, it’s important to think outside of the box. Even if it goes against their nature, hearing impaired audience members must be visual learners. It doesn’t matter to them how many times you’ve practiced your speech to get the subtle nuances in your presentation just right, because they will never hear them. If their eyes are on you at all, they’re going to be focusing on your body language to give them cues about the nuances of the points that you’re making. However, because there’s usually a delay in the time that you say something and the time that the interpreter signs it, your body language doesn’t always match up to what they’re seeing from the interpreter.

A good way to help you connect with the hearing impaired, while still keeping everything on track, is to use a PowerPoint presentation. With a PowerPoint presentation and a good overhead projector screen, you can keep your audience’s attention on you, because you’re providing more of the visual stimulation that they need. Of course, you’ll still need an interpreter, but if you put your PowerPoint presentation together just right, you’ll be able to rely more on it, than on the interpreter, to get your points across.

To use PowerPoint for a hearing impaired audience, it’s important to make sure that the projector screen is going to meet your needs. The larger your audience, the larger the screen will need to be. If you’re presenting to a group of 300, a display the size of the television in your bedroom just won’t cut it!

You’ll need to make sure that the decks you put together for your presentation have a good mix of images and text. Make your font large, so that even those in the back of the room can see them without difficulty. Use or create images that reflect your subject matter and create emotion. Make sure that they tie in to what you’re going to be saying at the time, and the text that’s on the screen.

Finally, you’ll need to rehearse. You’ll want your timing to be spot on, because the interpreter is going to be slightly delayed. What you’re saying needs to match the images and text in your PowerPoint deck, and you need to plan to pause once in awhile to let the interpreter catch up. There’s nothing that will lose your audience’s attention faster than long presentations where the interpreter is minutes behind the presenter. Remember that your audience is having to juggle between you and the interpreter, so give them a few seconds to react.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to put together an engaging presentation that keeps your hearing impaired audience engaged.