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Business Administration Certification – Get Started!

With new small businesses coming on to the scene daily, it can be intimidating for any entrepreneur to jump into the fray. There are many skills that you need to know in order to be successful in today’s tech-savvy marketplace, and it’s hard to know where to start. For most companies, from the design sector to the financial sector, there are several key software programs that must be mastered for maximum efficiency and workflow. Luckily, you can get all the training you need to launch your own business right from the comfort of your own couch!

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SmartArt a hidden gem for business publications

Business processes, hierarchies and goals can be difficult to effectively communicate. While many applications on the market can help you in the design process, the cost of entry for these can far outweigh the need. For example, you might have a medium to large business hierarchy diagram that is constantly changing. With employees constantly coming and going, you need an easy way be sure that the information in the graphic is kept up to date. If this is a need that your business has, Microsoft Word, the most popular word processing program, has many features that can help you get started. There is a graphic feature called SmartArt that can help you create simple, flexible diagrams. Going beyond Microsoft Word, SmartArt is also available in several of the other Microsoft Office programs including Excel, Visio and PowerPoint. SmartArt includes a graphic solution for lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships and more. After you decide the appropriate format, SmartArt includes two contextual tabs that allow you to control the design and format of the graphic. The items in the graphic are controlled through the Text Pane and work similar to a bullet list, where you can create top-level items and then sub-items as needed. The individual shapes of a SmartArt graphic can be designed independently, or you can control the overall design to maintain a consistent look. In addition, when you change a font size of one SmartArt object, all related items will change their size proportionally. One of the best ways I have implemented SmartArt at the Digital Workshop Center is to create a simple infographic to help explain our certification programs. An infographic is a graphical way to describe our services, combining text and graphic elements to convey the information in a unique way. SmartArt allows me to create a simple infographic within an existing Office document and avoid the time involved with using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop. SmartArt is one of the many tools that are underutilized in the Microsoft Office suite. One of the comments about SmartArt I regularly hear in our classes is “I had no idea that existed in Microsoft Office!” I encourage you to try inserting it into your next Office document and start creating a SmartArt diagram for...

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Creating an Effective PowerPoint Presentation

Whether it be in a high school classroom, college lecture hall, conference room, or large presentation, at some point in our lives we have all been subject to a brutally boring, painful-to-watch lecture accompanied by an awful PowerPoint. While public speaking and presentation design may not be everyone’s forte, we’re here to give a few helpful tips to help make your presentation a success. If the presenter is the driver of a presentation, the accompanying visual aids are almost certainly the vehicle. The presenter and the aids must compliment each other in order to ensure an effective presentation. The Presenter Unfortunately, the text-filled slide approach is the most common PowerPoint method. As anyone who has sat through one of these presentations would know, they are far from effective. An effective presentation contains content that is arranged in the most efficient manner without superfluous decoration. Essentially, presentations should be simple, balanced, and appealing to the eye.  Most importantly, presentations and their corresponding visual aids should focus on a “whole-brained” approach. Good presenters will make a conscious effort to focus on the audience’s left-brain and right-brain sensibilities. Effective presentations and slides should have the following qualities: Simplicity – Reduce ideas to their essential meaning. You want to answer, “What is the key point?” and “Why does it matter?” as concisely as possible. Remember, if everything is important, then nothing is important. Unexpectedness – Take people by surprise. A person’s curiosity can be a powerful tool when giving a presentation. Make your audience aware that there is a gap in their knowledge and spend your presentation taking them on an excursion to fill in those gaps. Concreteness – Being vague and ambiguous are not in the presenter’s best interests here. Use simple language that your audience will be able to comprehend. In the case of presenting, it is better to be clear and simple than to be abstract and profound. Credibility – This should be self-explanatory. Most of us will not be a renowned leader in our field so we have to use other things to establish our credibility. Use numbers, data, and statements from leaders to establish your own credibility. You want to come across as an expert on your topic. Emotion – Build an emotional connection with your audience. You need them to “feel” your topic. Use pictures to build a more emotional connection to the idea. Sure, you could spend lots of time discussing statistics and the effects of smoking on a human’s lungs, but truer connection can be easily established by showing your audience what you are speaking of. Stories – Tell stories. Plain and simple. It is human nature. It establishes a relationship with your audience as well as a since of credibility. Stories are entertaining and engaging. We teach and we learn more effectively through the stories that we share. Finally, stay away from the dreaded “deck of slides” approach. Don’t be afraid to deviate. Create an effective handout that has all of your important points on it. This allows you the flexibility to go with the flow of your presentation and not be constrained by the need to go over every bit of information that you have recorded. Remember, your presentation should be supplemental, not the main attraction. The Presented As I mentioned previously, if the presenter is the driver of a presentation, then the vehicle s the presentation itself. Using these tips, you will almost certainly transform that old, beat-up Datsun of a presentation into the Mercedes it deserves to be. 1. Be cognizant of your signal-to-noise ratio. Signal-to-noise refers to the ratio of...

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