Transperia Group, Inc.
Transformational Experiences That Drive Business Results

Archive for the ‘Hot 5’ Category

Hot 5: Filling the Creative Tank

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

WaterdropAnyone in the “creative business” understands the importance of inspiration.

If you’re one of those people who is a prolific, never-ending wellspring of creative ideas, good for you. You’re rare.

For the rest of us who have to crank out creative ideas day after day, there are times when the well can begin to run dry. I’ve found that, for me, in order to keep the innovative and creative ideas flowing, I have to make a commitment to fill my creative tank on a regular basis. If I don’t, I inevitably find myself lacking in the flow of new ideas.

Here are five ways to help fill that creative tank. I’m sure there are many others (and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the “comments” section), but here is a handful to start with:

1. Absorb Stuff That You Simply Enjoy: When I buy a new book, go to a movie, see a play or buy a new album, I often limit myself to the types of things that I think I might be able to use in upcoming projects. I’m searching for elements I can pillage for another application.

I’m trying more and more to simply drink in the kinds of movies, music, theatre, etc. that I enjoy—that fill me up. I may not find a killer song to use in a video, or an inspirational clip to use in my next event, but it stimulates my general creativity—and that’s what drives innovation for me.

2. Create a Coffee Group: Find other Creatives in your area and get together on a regular basis to share ideas. I often meet with other musicians, artists & producers to talk about what is currently exciting us. The more diversity in the group’s creative disciplines, the better. It’s amazingly stimulating.

3. Exercise: I know this sounds simplistic, but the more I exercise, the sharper my mind works. I also tend to get great, new ideas when I’m working out. And try exercising without the iPod for a change. If you allow your mind to be uncluttered for a few minutes, you’ll be surprised what starts to happen.

4. Cross-Train: If you are a little stuck in your discipline of choice, try learning something new that is totally unrelated. Want to become a better musician, take up Tae Kwon Do. Hoping to increase your Photoshop skills, learn to play guitar. Then look for ways that the new skills or discipline might have a crossover application to your other area. It’s uncanny.

5. Do the Opposite: As George Costanza taught us, sometimes doing the opposite can be the best strategy. If you’ve always successfully done things one way, try approaching your next project by looking at it from the opposite perspective. It can be very enlightening.

There’s a starter. So, what do you do for inspiration? Please, please add your ideas, and let’s keep the conversation going.

Hot 5: Avoiding Power Point Overkill

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Unnecessary GraphicI have a love-hate relationship with Power Point.  To be honest, it’s more of a hate-hate relationship.

I love using visual images to enhance a message.  They can stimulate, illustrate, & highlight good content.  More and more, however, I’ve seen the medium used and misused beyond its intended purpose and effectiveness.  You may use Power Point, Keynote, Pro Presenter, whatever—the software may vary, but the issue is the same.

I recently was producing an event for business professionals.  As I connected with the Keynote Speaker before the session, he informed me that he had 282 slides in his presentation.

“That’s a lot of slides,” I observed, trying hard to be understated.

“It’s okay,” he responded, “It covers 3 hours of training.  Besides, they go by pretty fast.”

“Go by pretty fast?”  I’ll say.  During a 3-hour training session, that’s more than 1.5 slides per minute.  Think about it.  A new graphic every 40 seconds.  That’s assuming that every graphic is equally spaced out, with no hesitations in the presentation.  A new slide every 40 seconds for 3 hours.  My head is still spinning.

Honestly, I think we’ve become lazy.  We have a classic example of the tail wagging the dog. The medium has become the message.  We’ve taken the focus off of our need to tell a compelling story and replaced it with a graphic delivery system.

A lot of presenters I see these days simply use Power Point as a public Teleprompter.  Consider this: if all your content is on the screen, then you, as the presenter, become unnecessary.  As a participant, I really don’t want or need to read your crib notes.  As with many other aspects of good communication, less is more.

As you prepare your next presentation, I encourage you to ask yourself these “Hot 5” questions:

  1. Is this graphic really necessary? Would my presentation be substantively any different without it?  If not, eliminate it.
  2. Will it distract from my message? It may be cool, hip, edgy or beautiful, but if it becomes a distraction, it shouldn’t be there.
  3. Will it increase or hinder the credibility of my message?
    • Is the design and composition of high quality?
    • Is it easy to read?
    • Is it easy to digest?

    If not, why give your audience any unnecessary reason to discredit you or your message?

  4. If the projector lost power, would my message suffer? Sure, it may lose a little zip, but if it suffers, then you’re relying too heavily on the graphics.
  5. Will it take emphasis off of me? Don’t ever forget that, as the presenter:

You are the story.  YOU are the show.  You are the star.

The message is much more important than the medium.  If you’re not convinced that you can deliver the goods on your own merit, then no amount of graphics will make a difference.

Let’s give Power Point a little rest.  It’s overworked, tired and needs a break.