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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Imagine 22,000 people asking, “Now where did I leave that USB stick?”

If you regularly use USB sticks to backup or transport presentation files, I’m guessing you have asked yourself this question at least once in your career (perhaps with an increasing sense of panic as you run out of places you haven’t searched).  How many times have you found the stick in clothes already in the hamper? How many times have you never been able to find it at all?

A recent study found that over 22,000 USB sticks get left at the dry cleaners on an annual basis. And that’s just in the U.K. This number is even more sobering when you consider that the study also revealed almost half of these sticks never get returned to their owner.

This can be a major problem for several reasons. For instance, a PowerPoint file on that missing stick may be the only copy of the high-profile presentation you are scheduled to deliver tomorrow morning. It might contain highly sensitive or proprietary content. Given the risks, your best bet is to avoid relying on portable data storage altogether.

SlideSource.com keeps all your slides in a secure, centrally located, cloud-based content library that is easily accessible by all the members of your team, all the time. This means that your crucial files will never end up in a bin beneath your dry cleaner’s counter and you will always know exactly where the latest and greatest version of every slide and presentation can be found. SlideSource also supports tagging of individual slides and has a robust search function so slides are easy to find — even within the system.

Take a few minutes to visit SlideSource.com, sign up for a free, full-featured trial account, and see how easy it is to guarantee that your presentation doesn’t get taken to the cleaners.

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Death by PowerPoint may be common, meetings killed by office supplies, not so much

Death-by-PPt-final-artI now suspect that this story is actually apocryphal but the person who related it to me very early in my career swore he was there when it happened. Just remember, things were different back then.

Nobody gave much thought to the electrical outlet embedded in the stage floor near the lectern while the crew loaded in and set up. In fact, it went largely unnoticed until the afternoon the CEO was addressing a fairly large audience that included all of upper management and a number of his industry colleagues. High visibility. High pressure. Bad time for anything to go wrong.

He took a step back and started to come around to the front of the stage because he once heard that it’s considered good form to get out from behind the lectern. More direct, more personal. On that day it was a big mistake. There was loud snap and a fat blue spark just as all the lights went out. They were certain the CEO got a good couple of feet off the ground when he jumped. Not bad for a guy his age considering his apparently sedentary lifestyle.

Turns out a binder clip had been dropped at some point earlier in the day and it happened to end up right on top of that electrical outlet in the stage floor. The CEO stepped on the clip on his way to the front of the stage and pushed part of it down into the outlet, causing a short and seriously messing up the electrical system. He was fine, but it took a little more than resetting a circuit breaker to get things back to normal. The short also messed up the computer with the slides on it. The meeting was quickly moved from the auditorium to a much less comfortable, much more crowded conference room and the meeting continued without slides and without a sound system.

Needless to say, the presentation wasn’t nearly as good as it should have been and there were a lot of very unhappy people on the flight home that evening. Rumor had it that there was someone from building maintenance escorted to the parking lot the next morning who was even less pleased with the turn of events. If anyone took the time to notice that the cover for the outlet was missing, no one bothered to take the time to do anything about it.

I was meant to learn two things from that story. First, pay attention and try to be aware of things that aren’t the way they should be or that seem broken when setting up for a high-stakes presentation, especially when it involves the electrical system at a venue you aren’t very familiar with. Second, backups should really be a no brainer. I would be willing to bet that none of the people involved in that presentation ever temped fate again by going into a meeting with only one copy of the slide file on one computer. I don’t care how far up the food chain the presenter is, somebody has got to get a copy of the slides from them before the meeting starts.

But like I said, things were different back then. The only widely used portable data storage and transfer technology was 3.5″ floppies. Most networks were slow and none of them were wireless. Any mention of the cloud usually had more to do with trying to get in a quick round of golf after lunch. There are now many more ways to create, organize, share, and store slides and presentations than ever before. We’re convinced that the best of all of these options is SlideSource.com and we invite you to sign up for a free, full-feature account and experience it for yourself. You’ll be shocked at how much more efficient, productive, and mishap proof your presentation workflow can be.

5 People You Meet When You Make Presentations #5: Harry Hermit

The previous installments of this series described four archetypal co-workers that may be familiar to you — Vickie Versions, Sally Sharer, Sly D’Stroyer, and Louie Lostem. Each is a team member you might not pick if you were the one assembling a presentation team. Even though we’re pretty sure they are perfectly wonderful people most of the time, they can be anything but wonderful to work with when creating or organizing slides and presentations. We would now like you to meet the fifth and final person you will meet when you make presentations…

Harry Hermit

Harry HermitHarry often seems to find himself in the barren wilderness cut off from the all the benefits of contemporary civilization due to a lack of internet connection. Sometimes it’s because he’s always on a plane or stuck in the middle of nowhere visiting remote client sites. Sometimes Harry is just the kind of guy who insists that his dial-up AOL internet access works “just fine.”

Whether he’s an intrepid explorer or a neo-luddite, Harry often needs to download shared presentation files to work on them offline and away from the team. What happens when Harry returns from his sojourns in the geographic or technological hinterlands? How can the work he did while he was away be integrated back into what the team has been doing?

Even though SlideSource is an innovative cloud-based solution to presentation management problems, it still works just fine for folks who find themselves disconnected from the cloud. Harry can easily download slides from SlideSource and work on them offline. Then when he returns from the wilderness, windblown and badly in need of a shave, he can easily upload the slides back into SlideSource.

The best part is, SlideSource will automatically recognize his slides and will return them to exactly the same place they came from, making Harry’s version the latest and greatest while retaining all the versions that came before. All tags and other information associated with the slide in SlideSource will remain, and if the updated slide is part of any presentation in SlideSource, it will be automatically updated. SlideSource will even know if anyone else has edited the slide while Harry was working  offline and will help him resolve the version conflicts.

Have any of the fine folks we have introduced you to over the last couple of months reminded you, even a little, of someone you know? It’s hard to imagine working in a collaborative environment for any length of time without having the pleasure of sharing a project with someone who at least resembles one of them. SlideSource.com can easily accommodate your co-worker’s (or boss’s) quirks. It can also lessen the negative impact that any other slide management challenges might have on your team’s performance. We invite you to take a few minutes to visit SlideSource.com, sign up for a free, full-featured trial account, and see for yourself.

5 People You Meet When You Make Presentations #4: Louie Lostem

The previous installments of this series introduced you to three archetypal team members you might not pick if you were the one picking the team — Vickie VersionsSally Sharer, and Sly D’Stroyer. Even though they are basically good people (they don’t kick puppies or steal candy from babies, as far as we know), they can be very painful to work with when a team is trying to make or organize slides and presentations. Today, we would like you to meet the forth member of this rogues gallery of challenging co-workers…

Louie Lostem

Louie LostemLosing hours of work due to PowerPoint ineptitude (thanks Sly) is one thing, losing them because Louie Lostem lost the slides is another. Right now, the file your team desperately needs to make a big deadline is on a thumb drive, in the left front pocket of his favorite skinny jeans, at his dry cleaners, 20 miles from the office. At least Louie’s pretty sure that’s exactly where it is.

It might also be lost in an electronic sort of way somewhere in a cryptically named folder on his laptop. Or maybe the company’s server. Or maybe it’s on Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, SpiderOak, or any of the other half dozen personal cloud storage accounts he uses on a strictly arbitrary basis.

SlideSource.com keeps all your slides in a centrally located, cloud-based content library that is easily accessible by all the members of your team, all the time. This means that your crucial files will never end up in the pocket of anyone’s jeans and you will always know exactly where the latest and greatest version of every slide and presentation can be found. SlideSource also supports tagging of individual slides and has a robust search function so slides are easy to find — even within the system.

It’s very possible you may be working with Louie Lostem right now. If that’s the case, please take a few minutes to visit SlideSource.com, sign up for a free, full-featured trial account, and see how it can help your team find its way to the project’s conclusion.

5 People You Meet When You Make Presentations #3: Sly D’Stroyer

In the previous installments of this series, we met Vickie Versions and her good friend Sally Sharer — two team members you might not pick if you were the one picking the team. We established that even though they are perfectly nice people, some of their work habits, especially those related to developing presentations in a collaborative environment, leave a little to be desired.  This week, we introduce you to another of their archetypal co-workers…

 Sly D’Stroyer

20150827---Sly-DStroyer-02Whether it’s his lack of PowerPoint skills, or his complete inability to grasp even the most basic of technological or aesthetic concepts, no slide or presentation file is safe once he starts to work on it.

A plaintive cry of “Sly! What happened to the slides!!??” can often be heard echoing from cubical to cubical as coworkers sob into their keyboards, faced with another hopelessly corrupted file or another slide that has metamorphosed from a clean, perfectly formatted gem into a jumbled mess of words, numbers, and graphic chaos that would send Tufte to an early grave.

Oh, and Sly also seems to have difficulty putting the right data in the right place when updating slides.

The crucial question then becomes, how hard is it to roll back to the previous version of the slide? Is it easy for your team to find and repair/replace the slide or slides that Sly wrecked? Is it a worst case scenario where he overwrote the only copy of the file while he was making his “minor improvements?” The answer to these questions determine just how much time and energy Sly has cost the project.

SlideSource.com can really help a team quickly get things back to where they should be once Sly has finished making his edits. With its slide-level change history, SlideSource.com preserves every version of every slide as well as all the information necessary to know who did exactly what to each slide as well as exactly when they did it. You can quickly and easily roll back to any previous version if necessary.

It’s very possible you may be working with Sly D’Stroyer right now. If that’s the case, please take a few minutes to visit SlideSource.com, sign up for a free, full-featured trial account, and see how it can keep your team’s destroyer from sinking your project.