Organize your slides and presentations like the pros. 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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Olly Olly Oxen Free: When Your Slides Want to Play Hide and Seek (Part 2)

In part one, we talked about how being able to find the right slide, right when you need it can be pretty important.

If it’s a really great slide, the perfect slide, one worth keeping and recycling into multiple presentations, you and your team most likely invested a significant amount of time, energy, and other resources into creating it. And if you can’t figure out which presentation file, in which folder, on which laptop, the slide is hiding in, it’s worth absolutely nothing.

Given all this (and keeping in mind that a majority of us start new presentations from slides that already exist), HideAndSeek76Percent-02-440pxyou might be surprised to find out that not being able to find the required presentation is more common than you would think.

76% of the responders in a recent study conducted by Research Presentation Strategies (RPS) report having had trouble locating a presentation file they need. 15% say they have trouble locating presentations they need often or very often. This increases to 18% for frequent PPT users (those who edit or create 3 or more presentations a month).

Why is this number so high, why can it often be so hard for us to know exactly where the slides we need to do our work are located? You might assume that some of this is the fault of a particular individual’s organizational skills, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, it is also very possible that the tools and systems we use to create, share and store our presentation are at least partly to blame.

In part three of this series, we will look at how the work routines of PPT users can play a role in the stress-filled game of slide hide and seek.

Olly Olly Oxen Free: When Your Slides Want to Play Hide and Seek (Part 1)

You and your team worked long and hard on creating the elusive perfect slide. It makes the key point of your argument elegantly and convincingly. Audiences respond to it. Your boss loves it. Every single stakeholder has approved.

Where is it?

There are a handful of less perfect versions of the slide that lead up to the ultimate, perfect version. These lesser versions are scattered, along with the version you need, among several presentation files that reside on at least four different laptops, one of which is now in in a bag under a seat on a plane flying in the vicinity of Kalamazoo.

That’s a lot of hiding places.

You checked your email but there were so many versions of the presentation emailed to so many people, it’s not entirely clear which contains the final, perfect, blessed-by-upper-management version of the slide. At this point, you are basically beating the bushes.

Hours of discussion, thought and PowerPoint expertise have been invested in this slide and, until you can track it down, it is worth exactly nothing.

Admittedly, this is an extreme scenario, but, if you have spent any part of your career creating or delivering presentations, you have most likely had to deal with not being able to locate or access a slide you need.

In a recent study conducted by Research Presentation Strategies (RPS), it was found that 60% of the responders that use PowerPoint in their work start from existing slides when creating not-from-scratcha new presentation. This response jumps to 72% for the subgroup of frequent PowerPoint users (those who edit or create 3 or more presentations a month).

Being able to find the right slide, right when you need it, can be pretty important.

In part two of “Olly Olly Oxen Free,” we will take a closer look at some of the results of the RPS study to get a clearer picture of how many of us have found ourselves playing a not-so-fun game of hide and seek with our missing slides. Now in Beta – Your Slides and Presentations Always at Your Fingertips

SlideSource LogoToday, we are excited to announce the public beta of, the cloud-based PowerPoint slide/presentation management system that makes collaborative presentation creation fast and efficient.

SlideSource was developed by Research Presentations Strategies, a company that routinely works with large, geographically dispersed client teams to create presentations and large complex backup slide libraries on which millions, sometimes billions, of dollars are at stake. In other words, RPS created the ideal tool for their own use because they knew through long, hard won experience what the ideal tool needed to do. Now this tool is available to every presenter.

We invite you to join in the public beta by going to and registering with this beta code: Slides21. We hope you enjoy putting SlideSource through its paces and we look forward to your feedback. Please feel free to share this announcement with anyone you know who may be interested.

During your testing, you will experience the features that make SlideSource so incredibly useful:

SlideSource provides a single, secure location for all your slides and presentations

  • Upload and organize your slides as PowerPoint slides and presentations
  • Find the exact slide you are looking for quickly and easily with global search
  • Have anytime, anywhere access to all of your slides

SlideSource makes it easy to collaborate with clients, collaborators, and coworkers

  • Invite others to join your slide library (SlideSource has a robust permissions structure)
  • Rapid presentation creation and editing from your library slides
  • When a slide in the library is changed, all presentations containing that slide are automatically updated
  • Track working copies and multiple finished versions of your presentations

SlideSource lets you work online or offline

  • You can edit your slides in PowerPoint online directly from your library
  • Or you can download and edit your slides offline in PowerPoint and then re-upload the edited file to SlideSource which automatically updates the slides in your library with your changes

SlideSource means you can relax

  • There’s version control every step of the way
  • All previous versions of slides and presentations are retained

Bob’s #PreSum14 Presentation: What comes first: Something to say or the need to say it?

Yesterday in San Diego, Bob Befus, one of the founders of, presented at Rick Altman’s annual Presentation Summit. His talk examined the collaborative aspects of the presentation creation process and explored how the development of strategic knowledge is often a byproduct of this process. Bob outlined how companies come to understand what they think while working out what they are going to say and how they are going to say it.

Through the lens of his experience with FDA Advisory Committee meetings, Bob illustrated how this development of strategic knowledge takes place during the highly iterative process of creating a 90 minute presentation that summarizes thousands of hours of research, along with the thousands of slides prepared for use during an exhaustive Q&A period, all with millions, or even billions, of dollars at stake.

No matter the industry or the product, PowerPoint is obviously the primary tool used to create these significant, high-stakes, strategy-making presentations. As a collaborative environment, PowerPoint has benefits as well as pitfalls which Bob outlined. He closed his talk by sharing how the search for ways to overcome the obstacles PowerPoint creates in the collaborative process led to the development of


Key slides from the presentation can be downloaded here.

Is PowerPoint a team sport? Bob Befus Presents at the Presentation Summit

summit2014bBob and Drew Befus will be attending Rick Altman’s Presentation Summit in San Diego next week. Bob and Drew are the creators of, a new online slide and presentation management service that is going into Beta testing on Monday, October 13th. Bob will be presenting a session on Wednesday morning called “Collaborate!”

PowerPoint as a communication genre has morphed over the years to the point where, in some settings, developing presentations is a highly collaborative, highly iterative process where the end product may be as much about developing strategy as it is about presenting it. Some of the topics to be covered in Bob’s session include:

  • Predominance of PowerPoint as a legitimate corporate communication genre
  • Overview of PowerPoint use in corporate strategic knowledge development
  • The role of presentation design in strategic messaging discussions
  • PowerPoint strengths and weaknesses in team presentation development
  • Tools that enhance collaboration around slide and presentation creation