SlideRocket Blog

15 Visual Communication Blogs to Inspire Great Presentations

By May Allen on November 2, 2010

In August, Google CEO Eric Schmidt famously said that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. Visual communications, especially presentations, are an opportunity to distill complex information into digestible pieces. Here’s a collection of visual communication blogs to inspire your next great presentation.

Visual communicators use metaphor, symbols, and graphics to simplify complex information.

1. Vision Jar
Johanna Rehnvall shares new directions in presentation design in this excellent blog – rich with resources and thoughtful posts. She’s got a heck of a design eye and a knack for spotting innovative trends.

2. Duarte Blog
The best collection of storytelling and business communication tips out there. Nancy Duarte’s team covers everything from Great Moments in Presentation History to How to Spread Your Talk.

3. Note and Point
If you are a presentation designer, you’ve got to check this site every day. Note and Point posts the cream of the crop from the presentation world. Their mission? “Filling the gaping void of inspiration for those of us who use projectors.”

4. Presentation Zen
Garr Reynolds is the presentation sensei, the patriarch of Presentation Zen. Garr dishes out practical advice so that you can realize your presentation idea in its most beautiful form. Also check out his posterous. Ah, my work is done.

5. This is Indexed
When your standard graphs, venn diagrams, and metaphors just won’t do, this delightful and witty collection of infographics is sure to inspire.


How to Win a Million Dollars in less than 90 Seconds

By Nat Robinson on October 22, 2010

I find inspiration in the strangest places and last night I as I watched Grey’s Anatomy on ABC I was surprised to find myself thinking about presentations. Here’s the setup. The Chief of medicine Dr. Webber tells his heads of department that he has a spare $1M and invites them to pitch him on why their department should get the money. The jockeying and competitive head games ensue as each doctor tries to win the money and we get to watch a fantastic cross section of personalities giving presentations to the chief.

Statistics, Relevancy, Emotion, Passion and Delivery could win you $1M

(Spoiler Alert: Don’t read beyond this point if you don’t want to know how this episode turns out)

Now to take this post beyond the water cooler I’m going to ask you to visit ABC’s site and fast forward to 14m 40s to see the winning pitch by Dr. Hunt. By all means watch the whole episode but the 1m 14s of this pitch convinced me that THIS is the way to win $1M in less than 90 seconds and here’s why.

Statistics: Dr. Hunt uses statistics to highlight salient parts of his argument. He doesn’t overwhelm us with them but uses them in support of his main point, lives could have been saved.

Story: Dr. Hunt relates the specific case of a doctor who’s death could have been prevented. This makes his pitch more personal and makes us empathize with his plight. Again this story is relevant to his main argument. Doctors with disaster training could have prevented these deaths.

Relevancy: Dr. Hunt makes his story relevant to the people involved. Himself, his colleagues and the person he’s pitching too. Nothing can sway an audience more than, here’s what this means to you.

Emotion: If you’re talking about something that stirs up emotion for you then it’s ok to impart that to your audience if done in an appropriate way. We’re all human and this is the kind of thing that can make an audience go quiet and really listen to what you’re going to say next.

Passion: Although Dr. Hunt is not loud or vociferous. You can feel that this is something he’s passionate about. Honestly if you’re not passionate about what you’re presenting, you may want to ask yourself, why you’re doing it. Passion is key to creating an engaging presentation.

Delivery: This is a TV drama so the caveat is that this is a dramatic performance. Dr. Hunt pauses to make his point, sighs, reflects and then delivers the crushing question. Can you live with this? Don’t underestimate dramatic effect, it’s a powerful tool in your presentation arsenal. The challenge is not to overdo it, you need to remain authentic in your delivery.

Dr. Hunt won the $1M for delivering an impassioned and convincing pitch in 74 seconds. Why aren’t all presentations like this?

Marketing Cloud Reinvents Virtual Trade Shows

By John Rode on October 13, 2010

In my eyes, attending a virtual trade show from the comfort of your office chair (or local coffee roaster in my case) trumps the conference hall, airports, and booths of the exhibit hall.  After all, today’s trade show attendee is on a business mission—seeking real answers from real people who know their stuff.

The Oct 28th virtual trade show “The Art and Science of B2B Marketing and Sales”, hosted by the marketing cloud, is an ideal place to bring your toughest sales and marketing questions.  I’m a customer of several participating companies including Marketo, Jigsaw, and of course, SlideRocket.  And while I get plenty of interaction with all of them, it’s not often that I get to take a step back and hit their top thought leaders with strategic questions.  I won’t need an appointment, I don’t even need to find their booth on a map – I’ll just click straight into their online booth.

Check out the Marketing Cloud Virtual Trade Show

Virtual Presentations From the Cloud

An online event hosted by marketing cloud service providers puts you about as far away from actual software as you can be.  Yet, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another show that makes it this easy to access so many demos, assets, and experts.

Look at the breadth of topics covered at the virtual trade show. They tackle head-on the key questions that I grapple with every day:

  • Of all my demand generation programs, which ones should I consider killing?
  • After demos to senior executives, what’s the best way to keep the conversation going?
  • How can I cost-effectively attract more long-tail organic traffic?
  • What is, and how do I maximize, the “life-time value” of a purchased email list?
  • How can I measure the specific impact of our PR and Social media programs?

I’ve already picked out the virtual presentations where I’ll get these questions answered.   And with a full day of “booth” availability, you can imagine the number of questions I’ll be asking after my 3rd cup of coffee down the street at Ironside.

Recommended reading: Art & Science Unite in the Marketing Cloud

Welcome to the New SlideRocket with Interactive, On-Demand Capabilities

By May Allen on October 5, 2010

We are very excited to announce a new suite of interactive features, a powerful dashboard interface, and a fresh look and feel, allowing you to engage your audience in an intelligent and measurable way.
View the presentation.

Interactive Forms and Polls
It’s now possible to engage and interact on a whole new level with SlideRocket’s forms and polls. Survey your audience, connect directly with your viewers, and see the results in your presentation analytics – even when you can’t be there to present.
How to add forms and polls.

Real-Time Comments
Create an interactive conversation within your presentation in real-time. No more marked-up printouts or unnecessary emails clogging your inbox. Get viewer feedback and access the best ideas from your team while you work.
How to add comments.

Actionable Analytics
With SlideRocket’s new analytics, you’ll have more actionable feedback about your audience than ever before – including viewing duration, responses to forms and polls, comments, and viewer contact information. Now you can use presentations to generate leads, qualify prospects, assess audience understanding, gain greater insight, and follow up intelligently.
How to track your presentation with analytics.

Centralized Dashboard
SlideRocket’s new design highlights new views and is easy to scan and navigate. All your presentation controls are organized in the new dashboard, where you can manage settings, sharing, collaborating, history, export, and analytics from an easy to access control center.
Check out SlideRocket’s new dashboard.

SlideRocket has turned dull static presenentations into two-way conversations, allowing you to use presentations in ways never before possible. We are thrilled to round out our suite of interactive and dynamic features with forms, polls, comments, and enhanced analytics.

So, what do you say? Let’s go where no presentation has gone before.

Incredible Presentations – Presentation Methods

By Nat Robinson on August 24, 2010

Many presenters, particularly novices, struggle to find a presentation style that works best for them.  Luckily, throughout the years, after much trial and error, many successful techniques and methodologies for presentation creation and delivery have emerged, giving speakers a variety of existing approaches to “borrow” from.

From top left: Lawrence Lessig, Masayoshi Takahashi, Seth Godin, Mino Monta

Here, we’ll describe and evaluate some of the most famous – and popular – presentation methods.

1. The Takahashi Method
This extremely unique method calls for the use of very, very large text.  The goal is to use no more than a handful (preferably, less than three) of easy-to-understand words, or a single image or photo with no accompanying words, on each slide, to deliver a very clear, very high-impact message in a very short period of time.  Many believe that this approach forces the audience to listen to the speaker, since the slides alone do not demonstrate all the content to be delivered.

2. The Lessig Method
Based on the style of Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig, this method is quite similar to Takahashi’s approach in its simplicity.  Presenters who use this technique incorporate only a brief quote, a short sentence, or a photo with a caption onto their slides, and spend only a few seconds on each.  But, while Takahashi-style presentations are often rather short – usually ten slides or less – Lessig presentations are often quite long, sometimes hundreds of slides that are passed through very quickly.  The idea behind this method is that the rapid-fire pace of delivery prevents the audience from growing bored or getting distracted.

3.  The Godin Method
Although not yet formally recognized by presentation pundits, this method, made popular by best-selling author and marketing guru Seth Godin, focuses mostly on the element of presentation slide design – particularly, how to select accompanying visuals to enhance messages appropriately.  Godin promotes the use of bold fonts, contrasting colors, striking images, and other clear, compelling visuals to better convey thoughts and ideas.

4. The Monta Method
Like the Takahashi approach, this technique originated in Japan.  Introduced by a knowledge worker in the tech field, it emulates the personality and charisma of a popular game show host.  Presenters are encouraged to use questions and answers on all their visuals.  When the question is posed to the audience, the answer is kept covered or hidden, only to be revealed once attendees have tried to “guess”.  The advantage of this approach is that it is highly effective at keeping the audience interested and engaged, and thus, their attention is less likely to wander.

This is the continuation in a series of Incredible resources for presentations. If you have an idea for incredible resources or want to add one of your own just add a comment below this post or see the whole incredible presentations series.

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

How Twitter Can Engage And Grow Your Presentation Audience

By John Rode on August 19, 2010

Twitter BirdTwitter is having a growing impact on presentations and you really have two opportunities to use it to greater effect. The first is to use Twitter to better engage your immediate audience, and the second to engage your larger audience beyond your webinar or conference.

In 140 characters or less: How Twitter gets you a larger, more engaged presentation audience

Twitter Tips To Engage Your Immediate Audience

  • Invite people to Tweet to their followers
  • Create a #hashtag
  • Dish out 140 character sound bites
  • Have a “friendly” monitor the Twitter back-channel
  • Take breaks for Twitter feedback – or put a Twitter feed right in your presentation
  • Invite people to Tweet their questions to you

The objective is to surprise your audience with innovative use of Twitter and juice engagement by enabling them to actually participate in and influence your presentation. In case you get any wisecracks or tomatoes, prepare yourself with a self-deprecating one-liner and a knockout comeback. Positive, negative or humorous, this interaction will only deepen audience engagement.

Put a Twitter feed directly in your slide presentation. Register for a SlideRocket Free Trial on the right to get started Arrow

How To Expand Your Audience With Twitter

We all know the effort involved in creating effective presentations, getting people to sign-up, and getting them to actually show up. And with 50% of people frequently tweeting about presentations (thanks to Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella for that stat) it behooves you to take advantage of this channel to get the greatest return on your marketing effort. Getting people to send the tweet is only the beginning. Put the right infrastructure in place ahead of your presentation and you’ll amplify the effectiveness of your Twitter efforts:

  • Create a landing page
  • Enable easy social media sharing
  • Post your presentation beforehand
  • Record a voice overlay

The landing page gives your Tweeters a place to point their followers, while enabling sharing for Twitter, Facebook, etc. on your landing page boosts the viral effect. Posting your presentation ahead of time to your blog or website ensures that you don’t have that inevitable delay between the presentation and making it available – Timeliness is critical! The voice overlay is essential to give your larger, non-attending audience a chance to hear the context behind your slides. This also frees you up to create clean slides with stunning imagery without having to fall back on bullets and dense text to get your message across – your voice will do it for you. Plus, it’s a great occasion to practice!

Find more great tips and resources at the Presentation Skills Launch Pad.

SXSW 2011 – Pick Your Panel

By May Allen on August 18, 2010

SXSW is the place for innovators to strut their stuff and set the course for emerging technology. As the official presentation provider for SXSW 2010, we saw a lot of impressive presentations during the Interactive conference and we’re looking forward to seeing more in 2011. Now is your chance to vote for the presentations you want to see at SXSW. your voting accounts for about 30% of the decision-making process for any given programming slot so take a moment to register, peruse and choose the ones you’d like to see.

This year, we submitted a couple of sessions of our own. If you’d like to hear more about building game changing companies we’d love to share so vote below.

In the spirit of startups and innovation, head over to our SXSW Accelerator 2010 presentation gallery where you can watch game-changing ideas take flight as they were pitched to a panel of expert judges.

We can’t wait to see you at SXSW 2011!

Incredible Presentations – Awesome Font Resources

By Nat Robinson on August 11, 2010

Tired of arial, times new roman, and other boring, over-used type styles? Looking to jazz up your slide deck by displaying your text using fonts that are cooler, sleeker, or more stylish?

There are a variety of Web sites and other resources devoted to the creation, sharing, distribution, and use of unique, visually appealing fonts.

Well, you’re in luck. There are a variety of Web sites and other resources devoted to the creation, sharing, distribution, and use of unique, visually appealing fonts that convey your personality and your presenting style.

Here are some of the best places to get new fonts for your presentation, or to learn how to make your own:

1. (
You’ll find it all here – gothic fonts, international-themed fonts, even fonts that celebrate popular holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, or Halloween. And, they’re all free. With more than 10 thousands fonts to choose from, plus over 2 thousand accents, there’s something for everyone, no matter what your need or preference.

2. 1001 Free Fonts (
Since it launched in 1998, this site has served as a primary source of new fonts for more than 150,000 visitors. Its font search engine provides access to one of the Web’s largest font database, containing more than 30,000 commercial fonts.

3. Fee-Based Font Sites
While many of the font sites on the Web are free, there are several sites that offer higher-quality, professionally-designed fonts, for a price. These include

  • Adobe Type Library, Providing stunning, elegant, and beautiful typography since 1985, Adobe Type offers more than 2,500 typefaces.
  • Bitstream, and – what many consider to be the best font site out there today – MyFonts. If you want to stay in the know on the latest fonts then the MyFonts newsletters are a great resource.
  • Ascender Corporation is a leading provider of advanced font products specializing in type design, font development and licensing. They also own the FontMarketplace which features the downloadable FontSelector a tool that makes it easy to pick fonts by Occasion, Personality and Type Style on Windows operating systems.

4. FontLab (
If you don’t find what you need on the Web, and you’ve got some above-average design skills, FontLab makes a great font software package. Create fonts from scratch, convert fonts from various formats and enhance them to meet your requirements, add logos, signatures, or images, and more.

5. Font Tutorials
Looking to create new fonts, without purchasing or learning a new software application? Learn how, using tools you’re already familiar with. For example, Chank can help you learn to make fonts using Fontographer. Divide by Zero has tutorials on designing fonts with Photoshop and Typophile is also an excellent resource.

6. Installation Instructions
Found the perfect font for your presentation, but not sure how to download and install it? If you’re a Windows user, you can access Microsoft’s instructions. If you’re on a Mac, you can learn how to set up and use new fonts on Apple’s support site.

This is the continuation in a series of Incredible resources for presentations. If you have an idea for incredible resources or want to add one of your own just add a comment below this post or see the whole incredible presentation resource series.

7 Unusual Uses for Presentations

By Nat Robinson on August 4, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I got involved in a debate with Nathan Cashion of Brain Slides about a really impressive presentation created by one of SlideRocket’s customers, Kashi Foods. You can watch Kashi’s presentation and read Nathan’s post and related comments here.

Nathan’s perspective is that presentations shouldn’t be encumbered with a lot of text or used as documents. I argued that our definitions of what constitutes a presentation are too narrow and we should applaud Kashi for innovating the presentation medium and exploring new ways to engage their audience.

You can draw you own conclusions but a great parallel for technology adapting is the printed page. Look at how that has evolved, from the first printing press to today’s electronic magazines and e-books. Why would we expect anything less than evolution from presentation technology?

This discussion led me to look for other ways in which presentation technology has been used and resulted in the following – 7 Unusual Uses for Presentations. I hope you enjoy it and please add your own opinion in the comments below. My conclusion: As unusual as these presentations may be, their goal is common, finding the best, most engaging way to tell a story.

If you’ve observed or implemented a new way to use presentation technology please let me know and we’ll collaborate to add a slide to this deck. Let’s see how many unusual uses we can find.

To watch this presentation in full screen mode, Click the X icon in the bottom right of the toolbar.

Incredible Presentations – 5 Amazing Audio Resources

By Nat Robinson on July 28, 2010

Many experts agree that the best way to get your message across is to stimulate as many senses as possible during the course of your presentation. That’s why so many presenters rely on audio to enhance their visuals.

Beautifully crafted music adds to the emotional impact of our images.

“Beautifully crafted music adds to the emotional impact of our images. One only has to see the reaction of clients to understand why we use music whenever we can,” says Massachusetts-based photographer Edward Zemba about using audio to enhance his presentations to potential customers.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of terrific audio resources available to speakers and presenters, such as:

This intuitive application allows users to easily create their own music clips using more than 80,000 copyright-free samples. It offers a wide array of genres and instruments to choose from, and even provides a suite of voice recording and editing features. Once clips are created, they can be posted to the site and shared with others – providing a catalog of truly unique audio samples. Be sure to check out the Independence Day Remix application, for great 4th of July-themed music!

2. Royalty Free Audio

  • (
    As the world’s largest library of royalty-free music, this site offers clips for everything from music for callers waiting on hold, to backgrounds for advertisements. An intuitive search facility makes it easy to select from a wide array of styles, including jazz, children’s, acoustic, piano, R&B, and hip-hop music. There is also a compilation of clips for use specifically on the Web, or in presentations or Flash videos.
  • Presentations Magazine (Presentations Magazine)
    Presentations is the leading publication in the public speaking and presentation market. In addition to advice and guidance, they also offer a variety of resources, including audio clips for use in slide decks. Some of the available sounds include a dial tone, a cappuccino machine, champagne being poured, a ringing cell phone, and a ship’s bell.
  • Sounds of the Web (
    Part of the Group Media Network, this resource has been around since 1999 and has been praised by Audio Media Magazine, Digit Magazine, and others as a pioneer in the industry. It offers thousands of music loops and sound effects to meet almost any presentation or digital media need.
  • AudioMicro (
    With a huge collection of micro stock audio, AudioMicro is a revolutionary collection of user-generated royalty-free stock music, sound effects, production music, production elements and music cues.
  • Sound Ideas (
    Just $129 will buy you 5 CDs packed with audio clips that are the perfect enhancement to your slide deck. Over 1,400 files are included in each volume, with packages for business/office, pop culture, comedy, and other areas of interest. Files can be easily exported to the format of your choice. You can also create loops, edit, fade in/fade out, and more!

3. Make Your Own
If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, or you’re looking for something unique, there are countless audio editing software applications you can try. Check out Sony Sound Forge, Adobe Soundbooth, Dexster Audio Editor, FX Audio Editor, or Acoustica, which all run about $40 to $60 each. If you want real, recording-studio quality sound, try Adobe Audition or Sony Vegas Pro, which will cost you several hundred dollars. There are also a variety of free audio editors which you can download or use in your browser, such as Aviary’s Myna, Audacity or Wavosaur.

4. Advice and Guidance
Incorporating audio into your slide deck is more than just a matter of slapping in some background music and cute noises. There are right ways to do it, and wrong ways. Fortunately, there are many experts who have shared their best practices. From general tips and techniques, and advice on intellectual property and copyright law, to tutorials for recording presentation audio, advice can easily be found across the Web.

5. Voice Talent
If you have a script for your project but don’t want to record your own voice track there are now a good number of online services for finding just the right professional voice you need. These services generally keep a database of voice talent in a variety of languages and accents that allow you to browse and listen to each one. The more comprehensive services let you post your project to their site and help you manage it through the process sending you the finished product when it’s done. Some of the more popular voice talent databases include, Voice123,

This is the first post in a series of Incredible resources for presentations. If you have an idea for incredible resources or want to add one of your own just add a comment below this post.

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