Thursday, May 21, 2009

Photo Clip Art Tips 2 of 3: Sources and Rights to Use

While great photos abound around the web, a few sources are set up specifically for presentations and similar uses. There are two main issues to be aware of:

1. Copyrights
2. Costs

Generally speaking, we should not simply copy images from company websites or the “image” areas of Google and Yahoo – these images are generally marked directly or indirectly with “Copyright xxx – All rights reserved”, meaning these images are not being offered for use. Using them, in fact, puts your organization at risk of copyright infringement. [The same is true for copying comic strips or “Dilbert”...]

Here are a few sources that I’d recommend, along with comments on copyright and cost (caveat: based on my understanding – you should check on your own to be sure!):

This is Microsoft’s clip art website, specifically created to support users of PowerPoint and other MS applications. A subset of these images is typically installed on computers with Office. The online listing is more “evergreen” and tends to include old and new images.

The great news about all of these images is that they are (1) able to be used freely (no copyright restrictions) and (2) can be used free of charge.

Searching is simple – in both meanings of the phrase. You may have to browse through piles of thumbnails to find images that work best for you. and

iStockphoto and fotalia each have a large range of images – some of which are really terrific – for sale. Searching is more effective than with the Microsoft website, in my opinion, and there are capabilities to rapidly expand each image to get a better view than in a thumbnail.

Pricing is based on buying “credits” which then are used to purchase images. Usage rights start at one-person-one-computer and can extend to larger, corporate-use arrangements. Images are typically prices in accord with resolution – higher resolution images require more credits. Images are also typically available in a range of sizes.

Cost for a typical image suitable for a PowerPoint presentation by projector (or the web) runs from ~$1-4. You generally have the right to use that image as many times as you like, without time or geographic restriction.

Other sources you’d recommend? Please let me know!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photo Clip Art Tips – 1 of 3

Using photos in presentations can be a much stronger method of communicating ideas than using bulleted text. (After all, if “one picture is worth a thousand words” then you’d need a pile of PowerPoint bullets to achieve the equivalent…!)

For Great Demo! Illustrations, photos showing frustration, piles of paperwork, stacks of files and related photos can be terrific “before” images.

A number of presentation skills books recommend the same idea including:

- Beyond Bullet Points – Cliff Atkinson – available on
- Presentation Zen – Garr Reynolds – available on

In a live presentation or demo, an evocative photo enables and supports the verbal message you are delivering. Contrariwise, a long list of bulleted sentences on a slide forces the audience to read – and ignore the presenter’s words.

Interestingly, “real” photos have proven to be much more effective than drawn clip art. Consider reviewing your “in-use” presentations and overhaul them:

- Remove old drawn clip art and replace, as appropriate, with real photos
- Explore where you can condense text – shorten sentences to phrases
- Seek to replace slides of text with one or two strong photo images

I’ll explore a few sources for good photos and guidelines for use (size, orientation) in the next few tips.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Great Demo! Webinars

[Warning – shameless self-promotion alert!] Our next webinar is scheduled for June 3rd at 11:00 AM Pacific Time, on Surprisingly Compelling Demos for Inside Sales – Making Your Numbers Over the Web. Citrix will be hosting this event – you can register here for the event.

Another Citrix webinar is scheduled for June 23rd for European audiences on a related topic, at 3:00 PM London time. Please contact me for registration information at

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Looking for new position? Looking to hire presales staff? appears to be a bulletin-board service to enable job-seekers and companies to connect. You need to register – I’m not sure whether a fee is involved either direction. Feedback solicited!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why Structure Your Demos Like News Articles?

Pick up this morning’s newspaper or scan today’s web news and consider two things:

1. How you select which articles to read
2. How the articles are written

News organizations have been presenting information for several hundreds of years, in print and now via the web, and they have learned some highly effective practices that we can employ in demonstrating software.

Consider organizing your demonstrations like a news article. Here’s why:

Imagine you’ve just picked up today’s newspaper. What section do you turn to first? In many cases, people immediately select the sports section, or finance, or entertainment. Readers explore that section is as much depth as desired, then turn to the next section of interest.

Newspapers (and news websites) organize information in a hierarchy of consumable components – components that can be accessed rapidly, explored as deeply as desired, and the exited at any point to move to the next component. The top level of the news hierarchy is the section – sports, finance, international, entertainment, comics…

Next, how do you choose which article you want to read? Typically, you scan for headlines that catch your interest. For many articles, you may only read the headline and move on rapidly – you’re not interested in the topic. Other articles engage your attention sufficiently to review the first few paragraphs, after which you stop and move on. Some articles you read all the way through, because they address a topic of real interest to you.

Each individual article is cleverly organized to enable readers to make rapid decisions about their depth of interest. The headline presents the topic – providing a binary opportunity for readers to pursue it or move on. The first one or two paragraphs of the article summarize the story, concisely. Many readers are completely satisfied with this level of information and read no further, returning to scan other headlines.

The subsequent paragraphs drill deeper and explore the story in more detail. Readers who are truly interested in the topic are the typical consumers of this level of information.

This organization and presentation of information is sometimes referred to as the “inverted pyramid” style of writing. It presents the most important information right at the beginning, in the first few paragraphs. Material in subsequent paragraphs is more and more detailed and of less importance.

In the bad old days of paper and ink, newspaper editors were able to cut articles to fit the space available – by cutting from the bottom of the article upwards. That way they knew they’d be removing the least important information.

News organizations have evolved this “inverted pyramid” method of presenting information over literally hundreds of years. Why not take advantage of this learning?

Consider organizing your demonstrations like a news article. Present a “headline” succinctly and rapidly. In Great Demo! methodology we call this an Illustration.

Assuming your audience is interested, present the key capabilities using a minimum of mouse clicks – like reading the first one or two paragraphs in a news article. The audience just wants a summary at this point – not all of the details! This corresponds to the Great Demo! “Do It” pathway.

Finally, for audiences that are really interested, you can dig deeper and explore the breadth and depth of the relevant capabilities – similar to those who wish to read more of the article. In Great Demo! we call this “Do It Again” or “Peel Back the Layers”.

Interestingly, also note that there are very few readers of the news who read everything in a newspaper or news website – similarly, you are not obligated to present everything that your software can do...!

News organizations present information in a hierarchy of consumable components – why not apply the same ideas to your demos?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Demo Builder – Tool for Preparing Recorded Demos

A Great Demo! Workshop participant noted another tool for creating recorded demos: Demo Builder, from Tanida Inc. Here is their contact information and more about the tool itself:
+1 (914) 410-6429
2313 Lakeshore Blvd. W #914
M8V 1A8, Canada

From their website:

“Demo Builder is the experts authoring tool of choice for creating professional and fully interactive application simulations, presentations and tutorials. The best part is that Demo Builder is so easy to use! Unlike some other tools, with Demo Builder there is no complex interface and no previous programming knowledge is required. You'll be up and running and creating superior presentations in no time. Your audience will love it and you'll get the results you deserve.

Demo Builder version 7 further extends and expands on the features available in previous versions to enable you to create audio-visual Flash movies that show how software, systems and processes work. It offers the ability to capture all actions taken in a running application, which can then be edited and annotated to produce interactive demonstrations and simulations.”

A free trial version is available for download.

Pricing is currently as follows:

Professional Version: $249 for 1 user; $559 for 3 users; $869 for 5 users.
Standard Version: $199 for 1 user; $449 for 3 users; $699 for 5 users.

Feedback solicited…!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dyyno - Video and Application Sharing Tool

I note the launch of a new web collaboration and sharing tool called Dyyno Personal Channel ( and related tools.

It looks like Dyyno is working to address one of the weaknesses of the “WebEx” flock of offerings: the inability by the current vendors’ tools to rapidly render graphics-intensive applications.

They do not yet support Macintosh, which may be important if your audience is not entirely PC-based. In any case, they are offering a 1-month free trial period, so you can explore for yourself…

Feedback welcomed…!