[Webinar Recording] Cheating Death by PowerPoint: Slide Makeovers

Picture4From too much text to confusing graphics to garish colors, there’s a lot that can go wrong with slides. The trouble is, cheating death by PowerPont largemany people don’t know how to design clean, simple slides that communicate their messages. If you know what ugly slides look like but don’t know how to fix them, the Cheating Death by PowerPoint: Slide Makeovers webinar is for you.

Professional presentation designer and PowerPoint consultant Laura Foley of Laura M. Foley Design takes you step-by-step through a variety of slide makeovers. Using the principle of Analyze and Synthesize, she will teach you how to tackle those difficult slides and redesign them to make them more effective and better looking.

You’ll learn how to creatively edit your content and organize information to create better slides. By the end of the webinar, you’ll have the tools you need to transform slides from awful to awesome!

This webinar was sponsored by GoToWebinar. Try GoToWebinar free for 30 days, and save 20% on an annual subscription. Give it a try today.

Handout: CDbyPPT-From Awful to Awesome – PXpert – Foley

About Laura Foley:

Laura FoleyAs the Cheater of Death by PowerPoint, Laura Foley provides training and presentation design services to help people communicate their ideas and be better presenters. She has worked with Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, General Dynamics, Juniper Networks, Harvard Business School, DST, Eloqua, EMC, TE Connectivity, and VMware and has conducted training sessions at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College, the Central Mass Business Expo, and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. Her speaking engagements include HOW Design Live, the largest conference for creative professionals in the world. A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Laura has over two decades’ experience in presentation design, marketing, and copywriting. She lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Laura serves as Cubmaster and Den Leader for Hubbardston Cub Scouts Pack 12. It’s like herding cats, but more rewarding.

 

Ten Presentation Trends to Watch Out For in 2016

While some of them may exist only for the sake of aesthetics, others have been adopted to suit the needs and preferences of modern-day consumers. For example, the use of flat design, many experts say, is more than just the latest craze; it responds to the fact that realist elements are very hard to incorporate into responsive systems designed for screens of all sizes.

To keep you up to date with the latest design techniques, we’ve compiled a list of presentation design techniques that will help you create a presentation that looks fresh and contemporary–just like the content you will hopefully deliver to your audiences.

1. Immersive photography

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Stunning, oversized images will continue to dominate presentation design in 2016, especially in line with the trend of cutting down on text and using images instead to drive home a message.

These large, beautiful background images and video not only serve to captivate your audience’s attention, but they also set the tone for your presentation and provide an immersive setting that transports viewers to a completely different scene.

2. Scrolling presentations

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Remember when you used to create a printed version of your slide deck to hand out to your audience? Well, those days are gone. While this was good practice in the sense that it gave listeners some key takeaways that they could review at their own pace to refresh the information relayed, using this as the only method of delivery is a bit outdated.

Nowadays, it is easier to simply provide audience members access to your slides in the form of a scrolling presentation that looks very much like a web page, as seen in the example above.

Instead of sending emails with large attachments, you can simply send a link to your website. If done right, your website should have a responsive design that allows content to be viewed across a wide range of platforms. Whether on a tablet, a laptop, a PC or a mobile device, your slides can be easily viewed from anywhere.

Another advantage is that in comparison with static PDF files, scrolling presentations allow you to add more interactive and immersive elements, such as videos, surveys, quizzes or forms.

Although some users prefer clicking to scrolling, the consensus leans toward long scrolling as a popular usability option that is used by content-heavy sites, such as digital newspapers and blogs.

3. Stock Photo alternatives

Eco-nomics, The hidden costs of consumption from Josh Beatty

Overused stock photos are just as bad–if not worse–as bullet points and text-heavy slides. In their stead, other forms of visual representation are being used to communicate ideas in a fresh and appealing way.

Take a look at the presentation above, for example. Here, playful graphics in combination with a small amount of text are used to send a powerful message.

4. Creative illustrations

How Google Works from Eric Schmidt

Another effective alternative to the ubiquitous stock photo is hand-drawn elements and custom illustrations. If done correctly, these unique design elements can draw attention to your slide deck like nothing else can.

For example, Eric Schmidt, Google’s ex-CEO, used this approach in the slide deck above. As you can see, it gives the presentation a very playful, personable and creative touch.

5. Graphics and Storytelling

Fix Your Really Bad PowerPoint from HighSpark

As we’ve said many times before, storytelling is one of the most powerful tools a communicator can possess. It not only gets your message across more effectively during your presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable so that concepts stick for months, even years after your ideas were first relayed.

If this weren’t enough, storytelling could be even more effective when combined with visuals. Take, for example, the presentation above. If you click through the entire slide deck, you’ll find an invisible thread that ties each of the different slides together, in such a way that you feel you’re being told a story. Every image perfectly complements–instead of repeats–each of the carefully chosen phrases and words.

6. Flat design

2015 Travel Trends from Creative Lodging Solutions

Whatever is trending in the graphic design world usually makes its way into the most modern-looking slide decks.

The presentation above, for example, incorporates flat design principles to create a clean and minimalist look.

7. Originality

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

Another way to attract attention is to create something original; something with your own personal touch.

A perfect example of this is Doug Kessler’s presentation on finding meaning in B2B marketing, seen above. Here, we see that the same background image is used throughout, giving viewers the sense that the presenter is sharing intimate thoughts from his personal journal.

This is also a perfect example of how a clear storyline is combined with attractive visuals in the form of colorful doodles and big, bold text. This not only attracts the reader as they read or hear the presentation, but it also makes it much more memorable since it mimics an informal conversation or a riveting story told by an expert narrator.

8. Creative Use of Typography

Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge. From Velocity Partners

Another way to showcase your creative side is to play with typography to get your message across. In the simple presentation above, for example, the author only uses typography, spacing and symbols to send a very clear message that makes a lasting impression.

9. Effective Use of Colors

What Would Steve Do? from HubSpot

Not only does typography send a message all on its own; colors do as well.

Take the above presentation. If you look at slides 16 to 31, you’ll find that the use of bright, bold accent colors contrasts perfectly with the darker, subdued background color–which works in unison with the animation effects to create a perfectly weaved storyline that drives a crystal clear message home.

10. Creating Content for the Context

You Suck At PowerPoint! from Jesse Desjardins

Another trend–which will simply be a continuation of the present–is the creation of presentations designed specifically for their context.

The above slide deck, for example, was designed to be published online rather than to be delivered as a live presentation.

About the Author

Nayomi Chibana

Nayomi Chibana is a journalist and writer for Visme’s Visual Learning Center. She has an M.A. in Journalism and Media from the University of Hamburg in Germany and was an editor of a leading Latin American political investigative magazine for several years. She has a passion for researching trends in interactive long form media.  She can be reached via email at nayomi@hindsiteinc.com or on Twitter at @nchibana.

Live from the 2015 Presentation Summit…One-on-One Interviews

graphic for videos on website

Live from The Presentation Summit…#PreSum15

Nolan Haims, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP – @Nolan Haims

Want to learn more from Nolan about imagery?  watch nowWatch the recording of his free webinar, How to Use Imagery Like a Pro!  

One-on-one with Graphics and Sales Presentation Guru, Mike Parkinson

 

Nigel  Holmes, author and keynote speaker @Nigelblue

Three part interview with Dr. Carmen Simon, Rexi Media

Dr. Carmen Simon – Rexi Media – Interview, Part 1

 

Dr. Carmen Simon – Rexi Media – Interview, Part 2

Dr. Carmen Simon – Rexi Media – Interview, Part 3

Day 2, The Presentation Summit #PreSum15

Shawn Villaron, Microsoft – Partner Group Program Manager, Analytics and Presentation PM- US

Three Part Interview with Taylor Croonquist, Nuts & Bolts Speed Training @Nuts_BoltPPT

Taylor Croonquist, Nuts & Bolts Speed Training, Part 1

Taylor Croonquist, Nuts & Bolts Speed Training, Part 2

Taylor Croonquist, Nuts & Bolts Speed Training, Part 3

Three Part Conversation with Microsoft MVP, Geetesh Bajaj – @Geetesh

Geetesh Bajaj discusses design trends – Part 1

Geetesh talks with #PresentationXpert editor, Dave Zielinski about number of slides vs length of presentation. – Pt 2

 

Microsoft MVP Geetesh Bajaj shares tips at #PreSum15 on managing expectations

PreSum 15 and Webinar Attendee,  John Rahmlow shares his thoughts on the PresentationXpert webinar program

 

Author and Keynote Speaker,  Keith Harmeyer

Rick Altman, Host – Presentation Summit

Microsoft PowerPoint MVPs, Julie Terberg and Echo Swinford with Sharyn Fitzpatrick, PresentationXpert

Add Power to Your Message with Better Slide Titles

When I work with clients I sometimes find that their slide titles are boring and even meaningless. Here are some ways to make your titles more powerful and descriptive.

Use verbs when writing titles

I recently worked with a client from a Fortune 100 company on a presentation about how to work with clients. This presentation also was part of a request for a promotion. I can’t show you the actual presentation, but I wanted to share with you something I discovered…using verbs in your slide titles makes your point much more clearly and powerfully.

Why is that?

When you add a verb (or even a gerund, a verb with “ing” at the end), you make the title more like a sentence. You go from a fairly meaningless combination of words to a phrase that actually conveys something. Audience members can read the title and understand immediately what you’re trying to say with your slide content.

Adding action to your slide titles makes them speak to your audience and they become more powerful.

Here are some before and after slide titles (modified for privacy):

Before:
Field Reps Sales Transition
After:
Enhance, grow and refine field rep businesses

Before:
Barbara Doe: Proven Qualities of Responsibility, Relationship Building and Lasting Collaborations
After:
Barbara Doe: Connecting the needs of sales reps with internal corporate partners

Before:
Regional Sales Rep Development
After:
Focus on regional sales rep strengths

Opt for specific over generic

Think of your slide title as a newspaper headline. It makes a statement that entices you to read the article. Your audience doesn’t need to wait or scrutinize the slide to figure out your point. Instead, they get it instantly and turn their attention to you for elaboration. Here are some before and after examples:

Before:
Evidence Based Research–Benefits
After:
The Transcendental Meditation program reduces blood pressure

Before:
Plasma Cortisol
After:
Plasma cortisol concentration reduced

Before:
Post-secondary compliance growth
After:
Our goal is 100% post-secondary compliance!

Before:
Outcome of low back pain in general practice
After:
Only 25% recovered from low back pain after 12 months

 Write the way you speak

We often write differently than we speak. When we write our language is more formal; when we speak we’re more informal. A funny thing happens when people create slides for a presentation. They’re writing so they use a more formal style. That ends up sounding stilted when we speak it. It’s also less direct, less clear.

That’s why I work 1-on-1 with my clients. I find that if they just hand over some slides with text on it I don’t really understand what they are trying to say. But if they speak out a slide to me and we can have a discussion about it, then I can help them rewrite the text on the slide so that it’s more direct and therefore clearer.

It can be hard to write the way you speak, but that’s what you need to do when you’re preparing for a presentation. I recommend that you record yourself giving the presentation and listen to the recording. Then rewrite the text on the slide to be more like your speech and less like a newspaper article or report.

This rewrite should include:

  • Omitting unnecessary words
  • Using simple words (not overly complex words or jargon)
  • Being direct (not beating around the bush)
  • Stating the point clearly

Here’s an exercise for you. Go back over a past presentation and edit each slide title so that it actually makes a statement–the main point of your slide. I think you’ll find that the presentation is much clearer!

About the Author:

Ellen Finkelstein is a PowerPoint MVP who can train you or the presenters in your organization to create high-impact, engaging, professional presentations for training, sales, business, or education. For more information visit her website, www.ellenfinkelstein.com

The Presenter’s Dilemma: How Many Slides Do I Need?

Do these quotes sound familiar?

“I only want to see three slides.”
“My boss says we get one slide per presenter.”
“We don’t want to go over 20 slides for this presentation.”

It’s very common to be restricted to a certain number of slides in a presentation. And it’s a very silly way to do things.

Comparing Apples to Oranges

Just as the stating the ability to do the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs (You’re welcome, nerds!) is a nonsensical description of speed, specifying the number of slides in a presentation in order to limit its duration is meaningless. The number of slides in your presentation actually can have very little to do with how long your presentation lasts.

I once saw a 45-minute presentation that consisted of just one slide. Conversely, I usually develop about 60–75 slides for a 45-minute presentation.

The right question isn’t “How many slides should my presentation have?” it’s “How long does this presentation need to be?” Then you match that time to your presentation style and use that as a guide for how many slides you’ll need to create.

How Can a Presentation Have Just One Slide?

The one-slide presenter worked the room like a master. He spoke to us like he was addressing a roomful of friends. He was animated and enthusiastic, moving back and forth to engage the whole audience. He wove in stories based on his own personal experience. The funny thing was that his subject matter—a specific type of industrial machine—could have been as boring as dirt, yet he made it seem like the coolest thing ever.

What was on his slide? His company’s name, his name, and his contact information.

Why Would a 45-Minute Presentation Need 60-75 Slides?

So if this guy can get away with one slide, why do I need so many for my own presentation that lasts the same amount of time? Well, since I teach people how to get the most out of PowerPoint, my presentations tend to contain a lot of animation, slides with very few words, and slides that illustrate only one idea apiece.

The effect for the audience is seamless: everything flows much like a film. But this style tends to require a lot more slides than a more static presentation style.

The next time somebody tells you to limit your presentation to a certain number of slides, push back diplomatically and ask for more information about how long you have to present.

About the Author:

Laura Foley helps people become more fluent in PowerPoint through workshops, consulting, and presentation design services. She has developed presentations and provided training for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Fidelis Cybersecurity Solutions/General Dynamics, Juniper Networks and the Harvard Business School. Her Cheating Death by PowerPoint training has been featured at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Simmons College and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.  For more information, visit her website at www.lauramfoley.com

The “20 Minute Template” – The Non-Designer’s Guide to Branded PowerPoint Design

In the age of life-like video games and multimillion-dollar advertising budgets, subpar design has never been so PXP_WatchNowIconobvious. Did you know that there is a growing trend to assign design-related tasks such as resizing picture or creating PowerPoints to non-designers? Does your heart beat faster when you first open up that new blank presentation? How can you communicate our expertise, knowledge and professionalism, not graphic artist at work2 - 123rfonly explicitly, but implicitly in your design?

Even if paying for the full design treatment is out of your reach, an attractive, branded slide deck is not. In this webinar, Slide Rabbit’s Bethany Auck will share her fast tips for creating a professional look for any presentation. You will learn how to incorporate branding simply so that every slide looks clean and custom designed. See below for  a Quick-start guide outlining everything you learned and a cheat sheet of for improving your slide content.

bethany headshot with caption 2About Our Speaker

Bethany has been working in the presentation design industry for nine years. She cut her teeth at small litigation consultancy where she consulted on major trials helping her clients build persuasive narratives and poignant demonstratives. Bethany founded SlideRabbit in 2012 to bring high-quality design to all industries at low cost levels.

PXpert= Auck 22515 handout cover    Download the webinar handout

PXpert – Auck – Webinar Handout – 22515

 

 

4 Presentation Design Trends: Fads or Here to Stay?

Change is inevitable. Over the last decade, the presentations we produce, the tools and processes we use and the industry as a whole has evolved. Specifically, presentation graphics and methods for making them are changing.

As with all change, some will stay with us (e.g. the Internet) and others are merely a fad (e.g. the pet rock). The following are today’s top four presentation design trends:

1. Infographics

2. Flat Design

3. Photographs

4. Visual Metaphors

Let’s determine if they are here to stay.

1. Infographics

The ubiquity of infographics has spilled into the presentation industry. It is important to note that the strictest definition of an infographic is any graphic that clarifies or explains.
Recently, the term infographic has become synonymous with a specific style of graphic (and not a definition), rendered as an aesthetically simple and flat image using quantitative data to educate and persuade.

Displaying PowerPoint_Infographic_web.jpg

Graphic courtesy of Get My Graphic (www.GetMyGraphic.com)

A successful infographic requires its content and messages to be clear and concise so the final graphic is simple and easy to follow. Unfortunately, many presentation infographics I have seen are cluttered and confusing. The message is unclear and text has been replaced with a smattering of ambiguous icons and symbols.

Verdict:

Use infographics sparingly in your presentations. Do them well or don’t do them at all.  Start with a simple message. All content must support that simple message. Use simple
icons your audience will recognize. Images should complement and highlight your content and not distract or muddle your message. Infographics work best when quantitative evidence tells a clear, compelling story.

The push to get to the point and provide (quantitative and qualitative) proof is here to stay. However, the current infographic aesthetic is a trend. As with all aesthetic trends, it will evolve over time.

2. Flat Design

Flat design is seen as the modern graphic style due to the popularity of small electronic devices. To improve content legibility on hand-held devices, aesthetic embellishments such as highlights, depth, and shadows were eliminated.

The opposite of flat design is realism (skeuomorphism).

Displaying Flat-vs.-Realistic_web.jpg

Graphic courtesy of Get My Graphic (www.GetMyGraphic.com)

Both styles have pros and cons. For example, flat graphics are associated with newer design; therefore, applying this style subconsciously conveys the message that your company and solution are modern and innovative. Because of its plainness, flat design is often less expensive and time-consuming to produce. On the other hand, flat design can oversimplify or under explain critical pieces of information. Flat graphics limit aesthetic choices, making it difficult to highlight important or subtle concepts.

Skeuomorphism can communicate the realness of your solution. Because realistic visuals are often considered more labor intensive and superior than simple designs, using a more realistic style can improve the perceived quality of your company and solution as well as demonstrate your commitment to the project.

Verdict:

There is a time and a place for both flat and realistic graphics. With a skilled designer, you can mix both into one template to reap the benefits of each style. For example, you could use flat icons with realistic graphics within your slide deck. Be sure that your decision to choose flat and/or realistic graphics is driven by objective goals (e.g., legibility, customer perception/preference, messaging, brand standards).

3. Photographs

It is common to see a slide with a single photograph and minimal—if any—text. Using a single image to reinforce or replace content places more emphasis on emotional factors. Less textual content (e.g., bullets, sentences, paragraphs) also forces audiences to turn their attention to the presenter.

Displaying pict_web.jpg

Slide courtesy of Fotolia (Fotolia.com)

Verdict:

Dominant photographs are here to stay for three reasons:

1. The focus is on the presenter to give the narrative.

2. Pictures tell stories. Stories are one of the most powerful presentation techniques because stories are felt not heard.

3. It is a relatively inexpensive, easy approach to slide design.

The style of the photographs, placement, and cropping will evolve with stylistic trends of the time. (Because this aesthetic approach does not work well for technical information, expect related slides to be text and graphic-based.)

4. Visual Metaphors

Using a visual metaphor, simile or analogy helps the audience understand complex information. For example, explaining a transition plan to an audience unfamiliar with the concept is challenging at best. Using a visual metaphor, such as a bridge, improves understanding by using a familiar concept that shares characteristics with that which is being compared. A deeper understanding improves retention, adoption and persuasion.

Displaying slide2_web.jpg

Graphic courtesy of Get My Graphic (www.GetMyGraphic.com)

Verdict:

Popular books like Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational help presenters use behavioral psychology and learning theory to evolve best practices in our industry. We will see more sophisticated visual metaphors, similes and analogies as presentation design matures.

Because they are stylistic trends, expect the popularity of infographics and flat design to wane over time but remain far into the future. The lessons presentation designers learn from these stylistic trends will be folded into future trends.

Using more sophisticated photographs, images, icons, and graphics will increase. Sites like Get My Graphic (http://www.getmygraphic.com), Fotolia (http://fotolia.com) and iStockPhoto (http://www.istockphoto.com) make it easier to add professional clear, compelling graphics and photographs to slides. The more these approaches are proven effective, the more we will see of them.

About the Author:

Mike Parkinson is an internationally-recognized visual communications guru and presentation expert, professional trainer, and award-winning author. He is a partner at 24 Hour Company, which specializes in proposals and presentations. His Billion Dollar Graphics website and Get My Graphic website share best practices and helpful tools.

Surviving Handout Hell with Rick Altman

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Have you ever fallen prey to the conventional wisdom of printing slides to create a handout. Then this lively and interactive webinar with presentation specialist and author, Rick Altman is for you!

If the most annoying trait of all PowerPoint users is placing too much text on a slide (and it is), the leading cause of this offense is the printout. If you harbor the belief that you can create a slide that will be effective as your live visual and as your printed handout, this session attempts to disabuse you of that misguided notion. Responsible presentation designers must separate the tasks of creating visuals for their live presentation and creating printed handouts. In so doing, they distinguish themselves from 99% of everyone creating slides today.

Highlights include:

  •  How to move away from the Print button
  • Did you know that PowerPoint has a Handout master?
  • Too bad it’s useless for this purpose Learn how to create two documents within one PowerPoint file

 

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ABOUT RICK ALTMAN: 

He is one of the most prominent commentators in the presentation community today. Rick is the author of 15 books. He is the host of the Presentation Summit, the internationally-acclaimed learning event for presentation professionals.  An avid sportsman, he was not a good enough tennis player to make it onto the professional tour. All the rest of this has been his Plan B.

In the Trenches: Real World Solutions to Corporate Presentation Challenges

We know best practices for presentations (“Use less text!” “Create separate handouts!” “Avoid bullets points!”), but the realities of corporate America often get in the way when we sit down in front of the computer. In this webinar, presentation strategist Nolan Haims shares numerous techniques and strategies, developed out of pure necessity, for achieving best practices while still meeting tight deadlines and contending with difficult clients.

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  • Multiple tactics for encouraging less text and fewer bullet points, including the disappearing content trick and the ridiculously simple “chunking” technique
  • Leveraging PowerPoint’s Notes view in unique ways to effortlessly create well-designed and distinctly different handouts
  • Creating “reskinnable” templates that can be turned into custom presentations in minutes
  • Keeping presentations highly editable through vector graphics and PowerPoint image-editing techniques
  • Breaking out of PowerPoint-think with “walking” and portrait print decks

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About Nolan Haims:

nolan teaching
After careers in theater and the circus, Nolan Haims moved into the world of presentation, creating presentations for Fortune 500 CEOs, leading financial institutions, and all the major television networks. Most recently, Nolan was a Vice President at Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, where he oversaw presentation and visual communications. He blogs at PresentYourStory.com.

 

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