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Welcome to

The Standup Trainer Newsletter

January 2006

Brought to you by Ellen Dowling, PhD ("The Standup Trainer") and the fine folks of Dowling & Associates, Inc.



This newsletter is guaranteed certifiably useful as well as amusing. (If you are not completely satisfied, there are unsubscribe instructions at the end. But we're betting you'll change your mind by the time you get there.)

Welcome to all new and continuing subscribers! It has been a hectic holiday season and I am (as you will note) a bit late getting the newsletter to you this month, but officially it’s still January! (I’ll send next month’s newsletter to you from China!)

In this issue:

1. Presentation Horror Story of the Month

Where there’s a will (and a sheet and some safety pins), there’s a way!

2. Presentation Hall of Shame

How to avoid those pesky incompatibility problems.

3. Presentation Skills Book Review

4. Useful Online Resource of the Month

1. Presentation Horror Story of the Month

[Editor's Note: Have you a good story to tell about the time SOMETHING WENT WRONG at a presentation you were giving (or attending)? We are soliciting submissions for this segment of our newsletter. If your story is chosen, you will receive a FREE copy of either of Ellen's two books, The Standup Trainer or Presenting with Style (your choice). Simply send your story (just a couple of paragraphs will be fine) to edowling@standuptrainer.com.]

The winner of this month's contest is Marsha Carter, RN, a distributor for Juice Plus!.

I drove about three hours to the place where I was to speak and as I stepped out of my car about an hour before I was to start, I realized I had forgotten the screen for my PowerPoint! Uh-oh!

I went inside and discovered that the walls were brick with windows, interspersed with hanging plants. I could not use the wall to project the slides! I called the person who had invited me to speak (Judy) and asked if she had a screen or knew someone who did, and we both called everyone we knew in the area, but no luck.

So Judy went back to her house and got a sheet and some safety pins. We pulled the hanging plants down and used the safety pins to hang the sheet on the plant hooks in the ceiling.

The show went on beautifully!

2. Presentation Hall of Shame

Hall of Shame Avoided!

You will remember that last month’s “horror story” involved a presenter who brought his PowerPoint presentation in an “incompatible format” (i.e., Mac vs. Windows) and I asked if anyone had an idea for how to prevent this from happening.

My brother, Michael Dowling (co-author of Presenting with Style), contributed this solution: “I am not 100% positive, but I think that if the presenter had saved his slides in the “Pack and Go” format (or .pps extension file type) in PowerPoint, he could have shown them on the Mac anyway. I ALWAYS bring my own laptop and pen drive with me. Double redundancy!”

And then Mike adds, “However, as we know—stuff happens. NASA always required triple redundancy in its critical systems, but the space shuttle blew up twice anyway!”

Thanks for the comforting thought, Mike. And remember all of you—always be prepared to do your presentation WITHOUT PowerPoint, and you won’t need to worry about formats or missing projection screens.

3. Presentation Skills Book Review

4. Useful Online Resource of the Month

Appropos of the discussion above about compatibility issues with PowerPoint, I found this very useful site: http://www.rdpslides.com/pptfaq/FAQ00281.htm

The site is called “PPTools: Power Tools for PowerPoint Power Users,” and includes the following information about transferring your presentation from a PC to a Mac:

  • Save your files in PC 8.3 filename style, using PPT (for PowerPoint presentations) or PPS (for PowerPoint shows) as the extension ... the part after the period. Your filenames should look like XXXXXXXX.PPT or YYYYYYYY.PPS
  • Don't use punctuation characters or spaces in your filenames. Some punctuation marks are Mac-safe but may cause problems in email or web applications if files are converted.
  • Ungroup, then regroup imported graphics to convert them to PowerPoint shapes. Do the same to charts if you don't need them to be editable on the other platform.
  • Links to external graphics files will break. Embed all graphics.
  • Links to most media files will break UNLESS you copy the media file to the folder where the PowerPoint file is, and only then insert it. See Links break when I move presentation for more information.
  • Don't use WMV (Windows Media Player) files for movies or sounds. AVI or MPEG are better choices. WMP9 for Mac FAQ explains why and offers some workarounds. Several knowledgeable Mac users have suggested third party products such as Flip4Mac to enable Windows Media Player files on Mac.
  • Watch your fonts. Check Format, Replace Fonts to see what fonts are used in your presentation. You can safely count on Arial, Times New Roman, Courier and Symbol being present on most Macs. Tahoma and Verdana will probably be present on any PC with Office installed, but may not be present if the Mac has only the free PowerPoint Viewer. Mac versions of PowerPoint can't use embedded fonts.
  • Don't squeeze your text too tightly into placeholders. Font substitution and slight differences in text rendering on Mac vs PC can cause your text to get truncated or spill out of too-tight text boxes.

That's it for this month! If you enjoyed this newsletter please do pass it on to your friends. (Or send them to www.standuptrainer.com to get their own subscription. Why should YOU have to do everything for them?)

If you have a suggestion for something we could do to make this newsletter even MORE useful as well as amusing, please contact us:

Dowling & Associates, Inc.

Ellen Dowling, President


(505) 883-9070