Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Easy PowerPoint Slide Navigation for More Effective Presentations

There are a lot of things that can make or break a PowerPoint presentation. To make sure that the technical side of things runs smoothly, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basic commands and keyboard shortcuts. If you feel confident and in control of your presentation, your audience will undoubtedly notice.

Here are some navigation tips to help you glide through your next PowerPoint presentation seamlessly:

· Use your own personal computer so that you’re not turning your back to the audience, to move through slides easily and to deal with unexpected technical glitches.

· Use the space bar to jump to the next slide. (Because it’s a big target, you can easily find it if nervous and flustered.) Likewise, use the backspace key to return to the previous slide.

· If you’re faced with a nonlinear presentation, jump to your slide of choice by first hitting the Alt key, followed by the number of your desired slide, and then press Enter. Undetectable to your audience AND looks much better than hitting the space bar a dozen times. With that said, it is important that you memorize the slide numbers. If you forget the number of the slide, simply right click on the mouse. Under the Go to Slide heading you’ll find a complete slide list including each slides title and respective number.

· If you’re running out of time but you want to skip to your last slide which sums up your presentation, simply hit the End key to jump to it. Hitting the Home key will instantly get you to the first slide of the sequence. This is helpful if you are referring to a summary or outline throughout the presentation.

· To prevent your laptop from shutting down or going to a screensaver in the middle of your performance, turn off or disable all power management features. To do this, click on Start to access your Control Panel. Then click on Power Options, then Power Schemes and be sure to select Always On.

· If your screen goes blank after hooking your laptop up to a projector it’s because your computer thinks you want to use another monitor. Notice that on the function keys there are markings other than F1, F2, etc. on them. One of these markings will be a little square or rectangle representing a monitor. By pressing the Fn key and this monitor key, you can turn the laptop screen and the projected image on and off. Repeatedly hit the keys to cycle through until both the laptop screen and the projected image are on.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Case Studies: An Effective Promotional Tool

Next to White Papers, case studies are the second most popular device used to endorse the benefits of your product or service. A case study demonstrates how a specific situation was initially identified, which solution was selected to resolve the issue, and a summary of the final results. Case studies usually take a “soft-sell” approach. With that in mind, graphics and other relevant pictures create impact.

The definition of the problem should be communicated in a way that the reader can relate to. Be sure to demonstrate how your product or service resolved a critical business issue in the past. The more specific the case study, the better the chance you will be taken seriously. Avoid making your case study too technical or overloading it with excessive jargon. The ultimate goal is to persuade the reader that they too can resolve their similar business issues using your product or service.

Don’t dilute the case study by addressing more the one issue – stick to one area and explain how you can solve the problem in measurable and quantifiable terms. For example:

- Support your case study with statistics, figures and tables.

- Use return on investment numbers to explain how the investment in your product/service pays for itself. Be sure to demonstrate how you can apply these results to future business; otherwise, your argument loses credibility.

- Mention how using your product or service will help contain costs. This area is very important as budgets are always a sensitive issue. If you can illustrate how a similar company saved a certain amount of money by adopting your product, you'll certainly capture the reader's attention.

The long term rewards of your case study efforts will be extensive. Well written, impressive case studies stand out and decision-makers will use them as a source of reference. These promotional tools also help establish your reputation as an organization performing successful business. Making these case studies available via your Web Site will increase visibility and demonstrate to prospective clients that you are credible, effective and successful.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On Search Engine Optimization

According to Peter T. Boyd, Esq. of PaperStreet Web Design, “Search engine optimization is not exactly rocket science. It simply takes hard work. A better title tag is a great start to optimization, but it should not be viewed as the end all method. The basics of optimization are:

- Research: It all starts with research. You need to know what people are searching for before starting an optimization campaign. Targeting the wrong keywords will just be a waste of time an effort. Finding keywords that are popular and not really targeted by competitors can be link finding gold.
- Title Tags: Specific title tags need to be created for each page of content. Title tags should include the keyword phrases you are targeting. Having your firm name is not necessary, but helps with identifying your firm when a search is done.
- Headlines & Content: Most importantly, you cannot simply stuff the title tags. Headlines & page content to match up with what you are targeting. Good content needs to contain the keyword phrases you are targeting.
- Keyword & Description Meta Tags: Although a very small part of today's search algorithm's these still can be used to help target your keywords and most important be used as your description in the search results. Having a better description that your competitors can draw more clicks to your link on the search results page.
- Proper internal linking structure: Your site should have main links from the home page and internal links from various pages of the web site. This will give better internal weight to various pages on your site.
- Proper site architecture: Your site should be coded so that it allows for a complete index of your site. While no one really uses frames anymore, certain menu systems can hinder indexing of the site, along with certain technologies such as sessions.
- Older Trusted Sites: Quite simply older sites generally do better in Google. MSN and Yahoo do not penalize new sites, but Google sometimes does not allow new domains/sites into its index for several months to over a year. Optimizing an old site can sometimes prove to be an easy, almost instant turn-around. Patience is the key for new sites, as almost always the domain is eventually released from the "sandbox." This is probably due to the age of the domain, age of the site and the fact that older sites typically have better link quality. Which brings us to the most important point...
- Link Popularity: Your site must have links to it from other sites. Period. No matter how good your title tags and content are, if your site does not have links from other sites, it will not rank high. Today's search algorithms place a priority on popularity, and popularity is based on who is linking to whom. In general the more links you have the better, but targeted links from related sites are even better. Targeted links from other sites that are related, and themselves highly ranked, are the best.
- Analyzing: Finally, you should pick a goal and use metrics to analyze whether your campaign is successful. Whether it is simply gaining the vanity of obtaining top rankings, increasing site traffic, or better yet increasing the number of inquiries. Whatever, the goal everything should be tracked to prove the effectiveness of the campaign.
There are of course other factors that can positively and negatively effect your rankings, at last count over a 100, but this is a brief overview.

Peter Boyd’s blog can be read at: http://paperstreet.com/blog/index.php/archives/293

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