Organize your slides and presentations like the pros. SlideSource.com was developed over many years working with teams in some of the largest companies in the world who need to manage a large amount of presentation content. Now these same tools are available to every presenter.

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The mustard must be last: Why details and habit matter

My first real job was at a fast food restaurant. I still remember being surprised about how picky they were about the way the hamburgers were put together. One part that stuck with me all these years was the importance of putting the mustard on last; on top of the ketchup and the pickle slices. This supposedly keeps the mustard from coming into contact with the meat which, we were told, burns it chemically and gives it a funny taste. Who knew?

They were equally as strict about the way burger flippers did every part of their job. There was a specific spot for both the spatula and the scraper. Ketchup and mustard squirters were always on the left with mustard on the outside. Pickles and onions always on the right. Frozen meat patties were always put down on the grill back to front, left to right in straight lines and there were marks etched metal to indicate where the greasy ranks were to be formed. There were charts to memorize, competency quizzes to pass.

This almost military precision might seem silly, but being forced to be highly regimented in something as simple as making a hamburger was actually very useful. It was great when you were suddenly in the middle of a huge Saturday afternoon rush and everything was exactly where it was supposed to be. It almost became unnecessary to think about what you had to do next. As things got busier, and the shift ground on and on, it was possible to enter a zone where the entire process flowed effortlessly out of a combination of muscle memory and mental habit. It also meant that anyone could step in for anyone else and anytime and know exactly what was happening and be able to keep things going without missing a beat.

What the heck does this have to do with presenting?

In the grand scheme of things, providing a good presentation experience is almost always more important than providing a good hamburger. So if someone is willing to put all that time, effort and thought into the process of serving up a fast food, shouldn’t you be willing to apply a little additional rigor to thinking about how you go about preparing to do what you need to do as a presenter (or as someone charged with supporting a presenter)?

Are there parts of your preparation process that you haven’t given any thought to at all?

There’s a crucial file on your laptop, the PowerPoint for Monday’s presentation. Do you know exactly where it is? Is it on your desktop? If it in a folder, which one? Can you instantly and easily distinguish it from any other file that might be in the same folder? Are you absolutely certain you have the most current version? If you’re not available, will anyone else be able to find it?

Do you have a documented (or at least habitual) setup routine that will help save your butt when everything else is going completely to hell in a hand basket? Like that time. You remember. The snowstorm? The delayed flight? Getting to the hotel two hours before call time? Stiff necked, sleep deprived and brain dead but the show still had to go on.

Have a plan. Know how to find exactly what you need exactly when you need to find it. Have a documented routine that leverages serious consideration about the most efficient, fool-proof way of doing things. Make sure everyone on your team understands the importance of adhering to these procedures.

Or be prepared to find yourself going from the frying pan into the deep fryer.

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Presentations as Listeners Like Them

At this year’s DIA 2019 Global Annual Meeting, SlideSource’s Bob Befus, along with Frank Carillo, CEO of ECG Healthcare, gave a session entitled “Presentations as Listeners Like Them: How to Tailor Messaging.”

The presentation reviewed Richard E. Mayer’s Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning and outlined, with useful examples, three techniques for reducing the audience’s cognitive load. These techniques, when applied to content during a presentation’s creation, can make it easier to process and more likely to stick in the audience’s memory. They are:

  • Designing to help your audience focus on a slide’s content
  • Not overloading the visual and auditory channels
  • Leveraging space and time contiguity (when words and corresponding pictures are near each other, the audience can better hold them in working memory at the same time, and when narration and images are presented at the same time the audience can make better connections between verbal and visual representations)

More details can be found in Mayer’s classic Multimedia Learning (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-521-78749-9).

vCheck: No More Stale Slides

The primary purpose of any slide library is to provide a single, central storage location so users always have access to the most current, up-to-date versions of their organization’s presentations.

But what happens when a user downloads a presentation? A week, a month, a year later that presentation could still be on their desktop. Is it still current? Have any of the slides in the library been updated since they were downloaded? How would the user know?

Well now, with SlideSource’s new vCheck feature, users can always present with confidence, knowing every slide in their offline presentations is up to date.

vCheck, short for “version check,” inserts an indicator just above or below every slide in every presentation downloaded from your library. A quick look at the vCheck indicator confirms if a slide is up to date or if it needs to be updated.

Users can also get access to a complete status summary for the entire presentation and can download the updated version of the presentation from SlideSource with a single click.

With vCheck, users will never wonder if their presentation is old and stale. vCheck keeps all of your downloaded presentations fresh and up to date. Click here for more details about how vCheck works and for complete instructions so you can begin using it right away.

SlideSource: New Year, New Features – Part 2

In part one of this series, we introduced readers to new features and improvements to SlideSource that help users find and organize their slides so that presentation creation and maintenance takes less time and requires fewer resources. In this post we will look at another set of recently deployed features and improvements that will help users stay informed about what’s happening with the slides and presentations in their libraries. These oversight tools can be very important when working in hectic collaborative environments. A screen capture gallery at the end of this article will provide additional details and give you a chance to see these innovative slide management capabilities in action.

Library Activity Reporting

This feature lets you and your team see the big picture whenever you need to. Clicking a link on the Library Management page creates an up-to-the-minute report that details:

  • The most recently edited slides and presentations along with the editor and the date the edits were made
  • The users who have accessed the library
  • How often each presentation has been downloaded
  • How many slides have been downloaded by each user

There is also an overview report providing a breakdown by week of the:

  • Number of slides uploaded
  • Number of slides edited
  • Number of users who have logged in
  • Number of users who have downloaded slides

This information is provided in a standard Excel workbook, so it can be easily shared and integrated into other documents and reports.

Slide Collection Change Alerts

The action subscription feature sends alerts detailing changes made to any slide in a slide collection. Users can subscribe to a daily summary of all changes. Users can also subscribe to immediate alerts that will be sent when changes they specified are made. These include:

  • Slides are edited
  • Slides are added to the library
  • Slide versions are approved or rejected
  • Slide properties are edited
  • Slides are pending approval
  • Items in folders are reorganized
  • Items are deleted
  • Deleted items are restored
  • Actions are undone or redone
  • Comments are posted

The user can subscribe to alerts for just one, or any number of these immediate alerts.

Slide and Presentation Change Alerts

Slide and presentations action subscriptions offer the same sort of alerts except they are focused on individual slides and presentations rather than on entire slide collections. This feature is useful when there is a slide or presentation that requires a more intense level of monitoring. And as with the slide collection alerts, users can receive a daily digest of all changes as well as instant alerts for the types of changes that they specify.

If you aren’t already a SlideSource user, now is a great time to sign up for a free account and give it a test drive. The free subscription has all of the features and capabilities of the paid subscription levels so you will be able to see exactly what makes SlideSource the most innovative and useful presentation management system available.

Click on image to enlarge.

SlideSource: New Year, New Features – Part 1

In January, SlideSource celebrated its third birthday and added two thousand new users to our rapidly expanding community. Our continued growth as the industry’s best slide management system is largely due to the fact that we listen carefully to our users and continually innovate based on what they tell us.

As part of this innovation process, we are currently deploying several new features, functions, and improvements that make it even easier to take control of your slides and presentations. In part one of this two-part series, we will be looking at features that help you find and organize your slides (be sure to check out the screen capture gallery at the end of this article for additional details).

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Using SlideSource to manage your presentation content means that all of your slides and presentations are finally located in one place.  You no longer have to guess which PowerPoint file, in which folder on what USB drive, computer, or cloud server has the slide you are looking for. Equally important, each slide now has useful metadata attached to it. This metadata includes information like who edited a slide most recently and when those changes were made, as well as things like user generated comments and tags. Combining this with the built-in search function makes finding, managing, and actually using all of your organization’s slides much more efficient.

Enhanced Search Options

From the beginning, the SlideSource search function has been powerful – letting users search specifically in the slide title, text, or notes content as well as in the editor and tags metadata fields.  With the enhancements recently released, users can now search all metadata fields including any custom fields created by the user.

Unlimited Custom Metadata Fields

Users can now add as many custom fields as they want to the metadata attached to each of their slides. Available metadata field types include one line text, multi-line rich text, date/time, and drop down list.

This is a very powerful feature that can be used in many ways. For example, you may want to have a field tracking the source of the information on the slide, or the type of content on the slide, or the date when the information presented becomes invalid, or even the slide’s intended audience. A slide in a PowerPoint file is just a slide, but a slide with your custom metadata attached becomes a valuable asset to your organization.

Improved Search Tag Management

The SlideSource search tag is a special kind of metadata specially designed to be added to slides very quickly. Our recent update makes it even easier to find all the slides and presentations in a library that have been assigned a particular search tag and the tag management interface has been improved to make it easy to rename tags across all of the slides in the library.

For instance, you want to be able to easily track down a number of slides that you feel are important and give them the search tag “IMPORTANT.” However, a co-worker feels the slides are actually crucial and insists that the tag be changed. Renaming the “IMPORTANT” tag to “CRUCIAL” on the tag management page will then update all of the slides with the new tag without having to go to each slide and making the change manually.

Custom Stamps

One of Slide Source’s most unique and features has been the ability to “stamp” slides with a watermark indicating the slide’s owner within the organization as well as its current status in the approval process. Our recent update has expanded this capability so that users can now create custom stamps that appear either on their slides or off to the side of the slide. These stamps are added to the slides when they are downloaded. Users can pick the font, font size, color and location of the stamp. The stamps can be used to display things like approved use information, quality control review status, unique ID numbers or even global confidentiality messages without having to open and edit every single slide.

In the next post, we will review new features that will help you to keep track of what’s going on with your slides and presentations which is very important when you are working in a hectic, collaborative environment.

If you aren’t already a SlideSource.com user, now is a great time to sign up for a free account and give it a try. The free subscription has all of the features and capabilities of the paid subscription levels so you will be able to see exactly what makes SlideSource.com the most innovative and useful presentation management system available.

Click on image to enlarge.