Virtuosity 11.11

Where words become worlds…

Live

Do things. Do simple things that make you feel grateful to be alive.

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Be fearless, or at least fake it ’till you make it

As long as it doesn’t hurt other people, don’t be afraid of being yourself. You were born uniquely you, but that’s a moving target.

Learn to face the fear, and be courageous. If it’s worth doing, than do it.

You can be afraid. Most of us are. However, don’t let that stop you from reaching your goals.nik_wallenda_trains_for_june_23_2013_grand_canyon_walk_at_nathan_benderson_park_sarasota_fla-_june_7_2013

Tomorrow never comes

You have today. Tomorrow is always just a dream. However, we do today to the best of our abilities, with the hope and dream of tomorrow.

Make today a present. Make today present. …Get my meaning?

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Breath, reflect, then get to work!

Don’t waste time worrying. Or at least, catch yourself doing it. Instead, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Put in the time, put in the commitment.

The things that are worth it in your life are worth it, because you put your worth into it!

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Cut it out

Cut the ties to all things not needed anymore.

They only weigh you down.

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The present

todayToday is a gift. What are you doing today that is getting you closer to your goals?

What do you plan on doing tomorrow?

 

Remember those resolutions?

Take some time today to revisit your yearly goals. Assess where you are, and where you want to be.

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Then adjust your sails and keep on moving!

Resources for free graphics

information-1015297_640It is highly advantageous to know how to use graphics in your presentations and reports. Sometimes, building a model is far better at illustrating what you want to say than simply words. To help, here’s some places you can go to get free graphics, and to edit graphics for free:

Picmonkey – Is a really fast, down and dirty graphics editor with clip art and templates, along with photo filters to help. The paid version unlocks more features.

Canva – Is a great way to create cards, brochures, and posters with professional-looking templates to get started quickly.

Blender – Is a free and very powerful open source graphics program that can help you draw graphics, diagrams, etc.

Pixabay – Offers royalty-free graphics that you can easily pop into your presentations. There’s a lot to choose from here, and you’ll notice some of my past blogs use many of the graphics offered from this site. One of my favorite artists is 3DMan, who has a series of figurines that can be fun and very useful.

Freepic – Has some really great looking graphics that you can use in your presentations. The only disadvantage is that many of these come as packages, and will require graphics software (such as Blender) to get them looking how you want them to look.

Also, as I mentioned before, Microsoft SmartArt is a great feature to the Office Suite, and Google Images (choose, under “Tools” –> “Usage Rights” –> Labeled for Reuse).

Happy Presenting!

Presentation Software

There are several different software packages to create your presentation. By far, the most common one is Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint is probably the most well known software, with many templates and options to choose from. A similar Mac version of PowerPoint is Keynote.

In terms of free software, you can use Google Slides, which has the added benefit of being able to share and co-write presentations with collaborators. Although Microsoft PowerPoint includes this feature also, I’ve found it to be far buggier than Slides, which is pretty easy, in my opinion.

Another free and collaborative software tool is Prezi. Unlike PowerPoint, Keynote, and Slides, which are linear (they go from point A to point B), Prezi allows you to present in a more nonlinear fashion. Imagine a bulletin board with all your information, and Prezi allows you to move to, magnify, and visit each part of this board.

Although each software package has many features that you leverage, stick to simple. For example, I’ve found that although you can put sounds and tons of animation features on your presentation, don’t. These features can distract from your message, and in the case of Prezi, you can actually give your viewers motion sickness!!!

Instead, stick to simplicity and your message. Use your software package in a way to focus and emphasize your message. For example, when I put bulletpoints on my slides, I have a very subtle animation, where the bullets phase into the slide as I talk about them. This keeps people focused on the slide right where I want them.

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Use color to make your presentations pop

To make your message stand out, focus on high contrast, use color to highlight what you want to say, and minimize the background for clarity. For example, in my proposal presentation, I chose a clean, white background, with black font. Because my committee wanted to see that I had changed a few things, based on their suggestions, I used red to illustrate where I had made changes:

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Although it does not show in the picture above, as I was doing my presentation, the bullets appeared in a subtle animation as I spoke about them, thus bringing my audience’s attention to the actual concepts that I wanted to talk about.

Now, the green you see, represents a “leaf” theme that I used throughout my presentation, which goes with this slide, below, to explain my use of constructivist grounded theory:

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As you can see, I use color and visual graphics to convey my argument.

When you are considering the construction of your presentation, some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Choose a color scheme that is consistent throughout your slides. As you can see in my example, my color theme makes my story uniform from slide to slide. I use contrast and white space to make the message simple and clear.
  • Avoid elaborate backgrounds, excessive words, or unnecessary animations, sounds, or graphics. Every slide should have a focus on the message you want it to convey. Use graphics to focus on that message.
  • Keep in mind that you may have color blind people in your audience. Things like red, green, and blue may be difficult to see, especially if they are the same shade (and may look grey to someone).

I’m not a fan of the black background in presentations. This is probably biased on my part, but to me, black is rather dark and ominous. Plus, for some people, colors are more difficult to see against the dark.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. The advantage to using a presentation program (I will talk about a few of them in tomorrow’s post) is that you can switch colors and themes rather easily to take advantage of the effect you want.

 

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