Friday, June 29, 2007

How many features do you need to know?

Last night we had a family picture taken on my wife's side of the family. We assembled at her parent's house and a photographer we know, Larry, came to take the picture outside. Everything went exceedingly well - the weather was perfect and smiles abounded. After we were done, we all went back into the house for refreshments. One of the reasons we have used Larry in the past is his ability to touch up a photo using Photoshop. He and I were talking about this in the house after the photo shoot and I had assumed that he was a Photoshop expert user. Turns out he only really knows the eight or so functions that he needs to make photos look amazing.

As I thought about it this morning, that makes perfect sense. I teach that you don't need to know every feature of PowerPoint, only the ones to be effective at presenting in your role. That's why most top presenters only use about 20-25% of the features at most. It's also why I'll never be Microsoft certified at PowerPoint. All their tests focus on knowing every esoteric feature, not what you really need to be an effective user. That's why next month I'll be introducing my PowerPoint Effectiveness Assessment. It is an online assessment that will allow you to measure yourself again best practices and the skills I have found that real business presenters need to know. Like Larry, you don't need to know every feature, just the ones that will help you do what you need to do in your job.


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