Slidegenius, Inc.

Save Your Deck: Methods to Recover an Unsaved PowerPoint File

Sheer panic—that’s probably your first reaction when you realize that you couldn’t save the PowerPoint file you were working on. Maybe the power went out, or your computer unexpectedly crashed. Perhaps you were too preoccupied that you didn’t think to hit “Save.” Whatever the reason, you’ve suddenly lost hours of hard work and have no clue how to get it all back.
Luckily, there’s no reason to stress over losing an unsaved PowerPoint file. Using the latest versions of PowerPoint, you can easily retrieve and recover all your hard work. Follow these steps to recover a PowerPoint file you accidentally lost:

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Method One: Recover Unsaved Presentations

If you were interrupted before saving your PowerPoint file, you could simply look for it in the Microsoft Unsaved Files folder. Go to the File tab, make sure you’re on Recent, and click on Recover Unsaved Presentations. The icon is right below the list of folders under Recent Places.

Recover-Unsaved-Presentations

Everything in the Unsaved folder is a temporary file. Make sure you recover and save everything you need because you might lose it after a few days.

Method Two: AutoRecover

If you’ve been periodically saving your work but was interrupted before you could save specific changes, you can retrieve your PowerPoint file using the AutoRecover function. First, check if you have it enabled. Go to the File tab, click on Options and go to Save. Make sure your options are similar to those in this picture:
PowerPoint-Files-AutoRecover
If you don’t have AutoRecover enabled, there’s no other way to retrieve the changes you made to your PowerPoint file. You will have to redo your work from the last save. But if everything looks good, you can then follow these steps:
1.) Copy the file destination path in the same dialogue box.
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2.) Open Windows Explorer, paste the path on the address bar, and hit Enter.
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To avoid losing crucial information, ensure AutoRecover is enabled every time you create a PowerPoint deck.

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ConclusionSGBlog_SaveYourDeck_Supporting image_SG01_JE-01

Retrieving an unsaved PowerPoint file is a no-brainer as long as you know these basic recovery methods.
You can either open the “Recover Unsaved Presentations” found in the “Recent Places” or use the AutoRecover function to check where that unsaved document must be hiding.
Learn these tricks by heart so you don’t have to worry about getting your presentation back!

Twitter: Lessons from Social Media

If there is one social media platform that has changed the way we connect with the world around us, in only 140 characters or less, only one network comes to mind.

Twitter was founded all the way back in 2006, when social media started to take the tech world by storm. Like many young startups, Twitter’s popularity didn’t start growing until a few years later. It’s now one of the ten most visited sites on the Internet.

With over 500 million users and with over 400 million tweets sent daily, the platform has been noted as the “SMS” of the Internet. The application is simply designed to engage and connect users with hashtags and trending topics that spike during notable world events such as The Olympics
twitter follow me logo

Social media strategists now use Twitter to reinforce their client’s (or own brands) marketing efforts. They take advantage of the platform to boost their presence on the Internet. To successfully use Twitter there are a few rules and regulations one must follow. Some of these guidelines are also applicable in creating an effective PowerPoint presentation

If you pay attention, there are a few similarities between creating a well-rounded “tweet” and a successful presentation.

Step 1: Simplify Your Thoughts

A tweet can only be 140 characters or less. This means your information has to be condensed and minimized to fit this requirement. A great presentation is one that is simplified. It only has minimal bullets, text, images, and animation.

Overloading your audience with too much of these will distract them from understanding your content. Before you go ahead and add extreme fonts or a fancy template, think about how less is more and how this can positively affect your presentation.

Step 2: Get With What’s Trending

Twitter is known for staying on top of prominent world topics with phrases or words that are “trending” or being tweeted by many users. Try to apply this concept to your presentation ideas. Utilize culturally in tune twitter trendsgraphics, stories or videos within your presentation to better speak to your audience. Stay on top of the news and understand what’s going on in your audience’s culture. What do they know? What do they believe in? Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to connect with your audience at a higher level.

Step 3: Get Your Audience to Follow

Within the Twitter world, your “followers” are the equivalent to your friends on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn. You have to constantly engage and entertain your audience or followers if you want them to keep following. The same can be said for presentations.

You want to be constantly interacting with your audience the entire time. Ask them questions. Pause at the end of presentations to get feedback from them. You have to appeal to your audience over everything, if not you are basically speaking to an empty room.

 

References

“Keeping Your Audience in Mind : The 4 Essential Questions.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 11, 2013. Accessed January 23, 2014.
“Study Shows Simplicity Is Key When Creating a PowerPoint Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 24, 2013. Accessed January 23, 2014.
Twitter. Accessed January 23, 2014.

Oscar Speech Sounds A Lot Like…..

Cue the famed actresses in overly expensive ball gowns. Cue the undeniably sarcastic and quirky host. Cue the applauses. It’s awards season in Hollywood.

The most prestigious, of the film awards, is of course the much anticipated Oscars. Every year The Academy nominates a few fortunate actors and actresses who are praised for their works in major motion pictures. It is a special award that every actor dreams of receiving. Only a few, however, are lucky enough to actually walk on stage and accept the gold statue themselves. After the nerve-wracking tearing of the envelope the winners are then presented on stage to deliver a speech. This speech defines their Oscar moments even as it is only done in less than two minutes.

So what can we compare an Oscar speech to?

 

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An Elevator Pitch

Short. Simple. Sweet. And most of all, straight to the point. An elevator pitch presents a product or service in as less time as possible – usually under two minutes.

An Oscar speech follows the similar concept. It delivered quickly, with the winner wrapping up his speech of gratitude and thanks in a very small amount of time. There are a few similar adjectives that we can use to compare a successful elevator pitch (which is usually paired with a PowerPoint presentation and a well rounded Oscar speech:

1. Short

An elevator pitch, just like an Oscar speech, should be between 30 seconds to two minutes. You should impose a strict time limit to your pitches. Drawing out your pitch will make your audience become disinterested in your points and, worse, stop paying attention.

As much as possible, get your points across swiftly and avoid using fillers. Condense your content into the simplest form possible within your pitch. Your goal is to allow audience to understand and learn.

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2. Memorable

Like many elevator pitches that investors and or potential clients hear daily, there are dozens of Oscar speeches going on throughout the night of the Academy Awards. A good pitch is one that is unique and becomes memorable over the other various pitches, one that stands out.

If your idea gets lost in a blur with the rest, it wasn’t a very successful one. You always remember the most unique speech of the night when you watch The Academy Awards. The same can be said for the most unique and successful pitch.

 85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

3. Passionate

An effective acceptance speech is one that is delivered with passion and pride. It simply draws you in. You can apply the same principles to an elevator pitch.

While a well-rounded Oscar speech ends with a riveting and memorable closing line, your pitch should end with a passionate power statement. When delivering a pitch, you want to present yourself to your audience as being as credible as possible. You can earn your credibility by pitching with plenty of passion.

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References

Argetsinger, Amy. “Nine Oscar Speeches That Changed the World.” Washington Post. February 22, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2014.
Ums, Likes and You Knows: Avoiding Fillers in Your Presentation.” SlideGenius, Inc. August 21, 2013. Accessed January 20, 2014.

Olympians Can Teach Presenters a Thing or Two

Olympians are no ordinary athletes. They embody the qualities of an essential role model; an individual who represents their country and values in a positive and inspirational light. Not only are these characters unbelievably talented, but they are also a true description of a genuine champion.

With Sochi 2014 quickly approaching, Olympians from all corners of the globe will join together in Russia competing in various winter sports such as skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, and hockey. These athletes have devoted their months, and even years, to rigorous training and practice. Their hard work and dedication will soon pay off as the XXII Olympic Winter Games becomes their time to present.
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Embracing the qualities that are associated with hardworking, well-respected Olympians will allow you to become a more effective presenter in the long run. Whether you’re speaking in front of a board of investors or pitching a sale to potential clients, perseverance and dedication will set you apart from the rest and allow your presentation to become effective and memorable.

There are a few questions to ask yourself before you step out on the ice or snow and present. These are the vital traits and questions Olympians from all backgrounds share in order to become gold medalists. Prior to your next PowerPoint presentation give yourself a few minutes to ask yourself these winning questions.

Have you trained adequately?

Olympians dedicate their entire lives in preparation for the big games. Long hours of training, dieting and exercise become their daily routine. A question to always ask yourself prior to your presentation is: How well prepared are you? Here are a few other guiding questions:

  • Will my audience be able to understand my main points?
  • Is this presentation marketable?
  • Does my pitch flow accordingly with my slides?

Do you have a strong will to win?

Olympians must have a passionate desire to go for the gold and win; take this mentality and apply it to your presentations. Though you may not necessarily, “win”, a gold medal you should have an aspiration to be the best, and be

Though you may not necessarily, “win”, a gold medal you should have an aspiration to be the best, and be your best. Your competition may not be visible at the time, but the audience will surely be comparing your presentation to other’s they’ve witnessed in the past.

Are you willing to accept the challenge?

Just as Olympic medalists overcome challenges during training and during the actual games, be prepared to accept any faults that may arise during your presentation. You might have a difficult question from an audience member or just a hard subject to tackle, in general, but going into the presentation with the mindset that things could, and may, go wrong will allow you to be better prepared.

You might have a difficult question from an audience member or just a hard subject to tackle, in general. But going into the presentation with the mindset that things could, and may, go wrong will allow you to be better prepared.

Are you Inspirational?

We’ve all be inspired by Olympic medalists such as, Gabby Douglas or Apolo Ohno, who’ve fearlessly decorated themselves with gold medals over the past years.

Learn from athletes like these, how can you inspire your audience? What makes your message different? What can you teach your audience? These concepts can push you in the right direction to be memorable, a concept that is crucial in presentation giving.

 

References

Sochi 2014.” Olympic.org. Accessed January 15, 2014.
Why Your Presentation Needs to Be These 3 Words.SlideGenius, Inc. January 5, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2014.

Overcoming a Public Speaking Disaster: A Lesson from Michael Bay

If you have been paying attention to recent pop culture news feeds lately, you may have heard of the phenomenon known as, “The Michael Bay Meltdown.”

During a Samsung CES press event that introduced their new 150-inch model television, the famed director was supposed to describe the product in detail. He started out great. When the teleprompter failed, however, he decided to just give up and casually walk off stage. If you haven’t had a chance to see the viral video, you can check it out here.


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The fear of speaking in front of many people is a fear that most of us share. Whether it’s in front of an audience of one or a few hundred, public speaking can be intensely nerve-wracking. It causes any normal human being to experience moments of sheer panic. The best ways to learn from your presentation mistakes are to actually make them and adhere to these changes later down the road.

Though Michael Bay blamed the teleprompter failing for his public speaking woes, being the presentation specialists that we are, there are various lessons to take away from his blunder that could have, and will happen, to any presenter at any time.

1. Don’t Memorize a Script

Memorizing a script isn’t always good when it comes to public speaking. Talking points are far different than following an actual script or prompt, and focusing on memorizing your verbiage will allow for more opportunities to slip up and freeze. Though you should always be prepared with a script, don’t focus on remembering your content word for word.

Try to focus on describing and elaborating your information with your slides. If you slip up or get lost, your slides are there to highlight your talking points and act as an outline — which is crafted in your storyboard. Improvisation is always a great alternative if you slip up!

The mistake that Michael Bay made was that he was so focused on doing a word for word delivery. Unfortunately, it only caused him to freeze up. If he had just improvised his speech, this would’ve helped him get past the situation.

2. Being Honest Will Help You in The Long Run

Everyone is bound to slip up and make mistakes, especially with public speaking. Apologizing to your audience and throwing in some laughter will show how honest and sincere you are – and this is key to being a credible presenter.

If you can’t remember what to say, or mess up your words, just laugh it off to ease the situation then apologize and move forward. Chances are your audience wouldn’t have even noticed! If you get frustrated, just take a deep breath and continue to speak. Just giving up and walking off stage like Michael Bay did shows a lack of maturity and preparation.

3. Own Up to Your Mistakes

Michael Bay made a monumental mistake by announcing to his audience that the teleprompter failed. Never let your audience become aware of your faults. This not only takes away your credibility but shows them that you are not responsible enough to fix the errors yourself.

If technical difficulties occur with the PowerPoint presentation, a public speaking professional will step up and engage with the audience until the problem is solved.

Conclusion

All in all, there is no way you can prevent a presentation or a public speaking disaster from happening. Things will go wrong, you’ll get nervous and forget your words sometimes. But giving up entirely is never the proper, or professional, solution.

 

Reference

Watch: Director Michael Bay’s CES Fail.” Bloomberg.com. Accessed January 13, 2014.

The Similarities Between Presentations and Advertisments : Super Bowl Edition

With Super Bowl XLVIII in the near future, this brings the excitement millions of Americans will come to share on February 2, 2014, as two national football teams will go head to head in one of the most highly televised programs of the year.

Apart from the notoriety of the game itself, between the AFC and NFC champions battling it out for the esteemed title, the Super Bowl is also known for creative, humorous advertisements that air during game breaks. We can expect to see some of the most well-known brands putting their best foot forward in their most ingenious and creative commercial installments of the year.

These infamous advertisements share various similarities to what can be described as successful and effective PowerPoint presentations. Compiling a presentation that speaks to your audiences and engages them is a similar concept that should be applied to distinguishing an innovative commercial that markets and intrigues viewers. Below are a few shared examples that both successful Super Bowl commercials and presentations have in common.

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Emotion Plays a Part

A good presentation is one that is memorable, and a memorable presentation is one that evokes emotion. Audience members are always captivated by content that is presented with emotion, which can be done by sharing a story or moving visuals. The same concept is applicable to an effective commercial as the brand’s focus is to connect with the audience on an emotional level. After all, the purpose of an advertisement is to sell. Appealing to the consumer’s emotion can make them feel connected to your product or message and in turn, generate sales.

Convey a Message

Every presentation should have a definitive message and this should be clearly repeated throughout your PowerPoint presentation. Having too many themes or conflicting ideas will leave your audience confused: you should attempt to actually teach them something. It’s important to stay on the same page with your audience throughout the entire presentation. The same can be said for a successful commercial, a good Super Bowl advertisement conveys a great message that not only covers what product or service it’s selling but the story behind it.

Become Memorable

Everyone’s favorite Super Bowl commercials are the ones they remember. Your PowerPoint presentation is a compilation of several different components, including graphics, statistics, bullets and talking points. As the presenter, it’s your job to carefully select these in order to project the purposes and themes you want your audience to remember overall. The most memorable Super Bowl commercial of all time was the Apple 1984 Introduction of the Mac Computer. You can watch the commercial here

What’s your favorite Super Bowl commercial? Comment below and tell us why!

 

References

Apple 1984 Super Bowl Commercial Introducing Macintosh ComputerYouTube. Accessed January 10, 2014.
Met Life StadiumAccessed January 10, 2014.

Maintain Audience Attention With This One Technique

Catching someone’s attention is one thing. Keeping them interested is another.

So here’s your challenge: What can you do to maintain audience attention? It’s almost an unmanageable task due to different factors. For one, every audience member analyzes and processes information differently. This makes appealing to all types of thinkers quite a daunting task.

Another issue is that people have this aversion to sales talks, even if you are simply selling them a particular idea, not a product. So above everything, it’s imperative that your audience learns something interesting about your message instead. There is one rule of thumb that can help you make sure your presentation is above all, understandable….

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

 

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When drafting up a presentation ask yourself this very simple question throughout the preparation of your PowerPoint. Will my points and train of thought be able to hold audience attention and keep them interested? Is this information useful to them? Is there too much content on this slide? Will they comprehend my message?

But placing yourself in the role of your audience will help guide you to think outside the box. Putting everything in their perspective, when you are outlining and creating your presentation, will not only help you cut down excess (and useless) information but also allow you to design a better PowerPoint.

Selfishness Hinders Audience Connections

While most of us subconsciously create our work in the mindset of thinking about us – think about them instead. Take this theory and apply this to your next presentation, you can practice it by going over your finished presentation and jot down notes at places you may think could use some editing and re-designing.

See if you are wholly interested throughout your PowerPoint presentation, and if your mind seems to wander at moments where information isn’t digestible or understandable. Take that into account because it is likely that your audience’s mind would wander at those exact same moments.

Conclusion

To maintain audience attention for a designated period of time does seem almost impossible. With breakthrough statistics categorizing the average adult attention span at a mere 5-12 minutes long, it makes sense for any professional presenter to panic. Sure, there are a few steps that you can take to enhance  your professional PowerPoint presentations. However, they don’t offer a real guarantee that you will be able to capture audience attention or make them comprehend your ideas completely.

Being able to communicate effectively is the single most important factor in presentation science, regardless of your topic or message, your audience needs to be on the same page as you.

References:

4 Types of Audience Members You Need to Present For.SlideGenius, Inc. November 13, 2013.
Vidyarthi, Neil. “Attention Spans Have Dropped from 12 Minutes to 5 Minutes — How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds [Infographic].SocialTimes. December 14, 2011.

Why Your Presentation Needs to be These 3 Words

Regardless the topic of your presentation, regardless the audience in front of you, regardless time allotted to you, and regardless the goal you have in mind; every single one of your presentations should be about these three words: Understandable, Memorable & Emotional.

Shape your presentation to concurrently fit these three categories, and you will be able to make millions! Not really, but you will definitely have a very effective presentation, which will lead to more sales.

Here is a Forbes’ breakdown of these three categories and the significance of each one:

Understandable.

Without clear and understandable slides, your professional PowerPoint presentation is practically useless. Simplicity is key when it comes to design. In aims to make your content and CTA’s clear to your audience, aim to keep your deck to ten slides and at a very maximum of 4 points per slide.

Bullet points are probably the most widely used form of delivery, but they aren’t necessarily the best. “In 2001 the iPod was “1,000 songs in your pocket.” In 2008, the MacBook Air was “The world’s thinnest notebook.” Steve Jobs always described his products in one sentence.” Bullet points can be effective because they are simple and quick, which makes them easy to understand, but nothing beats delivering your point in a conversational, one-sentence structure. Saying your point as if you were telling it to your mom, friend, or a random stranger is a great way to think of your delivery during your presentation.

Another useful way of thinking of understandability is the “Twitter Test.” If you can express your point in 140 characters or less, you’ll make your point in its simplest form, which is always the best form.

Memorable.

Memory’s magic number is 3! “Neuroscientists generally agree that the human mind can only consume anywhere from three to seven points in short-term, or “working memory” (This is why the phone number is only seven digits. Long ago scientists discovered if you ask people to remember eight digits, they forget just about the entire sequence of numbers). Incorporate this concept of 3 in your presentations. This can be done in a handful of creative ways: describe concepts in three words, divide your whole presentation into three parts (and say that you’re doing that), give the “three next steps,” or use the idea however you see fit. Rule-3 packaging makes things easier to understand, which in turn is more memorable.

Emotional.

Not all people are logical, but I can assure you that everyone is emotional. An emotional story will be more likely to reel in sales than a scientific finding. Ethical, unethical, right or wrong, it seems hearts and guts prove to be better salesmen than brains! Emotion can be presented in a multitude of useful venues. These include, but are not limited to photographs, videos, songs, colors schemes, the way you dress, the way you talk, and even the lighting in the room you present in. Everything around us can sway the way we feel in some way; large and small.  Knowing your audience well enough to the point that you can identify what will make them cry, laugh, scream, or sing can be the single most useful tool at your disposal. Be emotional in the way you talk; if you want your audience to be excited, talk as if you were excited!

To sum up, when you’re designing your next corporate presentation, or investor pitch, or just any PowerPoint presentation, make sure you can describe the deck as understandable, memorable, and emotional, and you will find yourself accomplishing whatever the deck was created to accomplish.

 

Reference:

Gallo, Carmine. “The Three Basic Secrets of All Successful Presentations.” Forbes. February 22, 2013.

7 Apps Every Presenter Should Use


“With all the apps out there, it’s easy to get stuck with the same icons on your home screen — and never so much as click on the newer ones that would benefit your business most.” – Mashable

Each of these apps have the capability to make your presentations more effective, organize your time to complete those PowerPoint presentations more efficiently, or just make your life easier in general.

1.  Lift

Lift helps you achieve your goals, big or small. With your busy schedule, traveling, and running from conference to conference, it is important to stay organized, and keep the important goals you have in check. Lift will force you to keep consistently working on your important goals or tasks at whatever frequency you want.

2. CloudMagic

CloudMagic is a universal and indispensable search engine for all your data. CloudMagic lets you search across Gmail, Yahoo, Dropbox, Evernote, etc., through one simple search box. Very useful when putting together data for any investor pitch, corporate presentation, or sales pitch!

3. TripIt

Tripit is most useful for our “always traveling” presenters. TripIt gives you the ability to organize your travels just by forwarding your booking confirmations to an email address. This app will reduce your stress five times over and will allow you to relax and focus on your presentation instead of the flight.

4. Refresh

Refresh digs through social networks to provide users with a bio on anyone before meeting them; a great way to get some research on your audience prior to delivering your PowerPoint! Knowing the dirty “deets” on specific audiences will allow you to relate  to them, which will in turn keep them interested.

5. Audible

As a speaker, you should always be learning and reading books. It’s a great way to keep a steady stream of personal stories, quotes, or news that will come in handy to keep your data unique, interesting, and relevant. I’ve found Audible extremely helpful to listen to books while on the go.

6. LIA

With LIA you can access sales content in the field on a tablet and it works. When you only have 5 minutes with your prospect – trust LIA

7. Corkulous

Corkulous is an easy-to-use idea board only for iPads in which you can collect, organize, and share your ideas in a completely natural and organic way.

8. Sadun’s Whiteboard

This app lets you transform your IPad into a presentation screen and connect to any projection system using an Apple VGA connection or composite/component video-out cable and draw directly to an external screen using standard whiteboard markers and erasers. Really creative way to do live examples of anything you’re presenting on.

If you know any other useful apps for presenters or work related to presentations, feel free to comment them below to be added to this post!

 

References:

Gerber, Scott. “15 Underrated Apps Every Entrepreneur Should Use.” Mashable. October 26, 2013.

Tan, Kay. “30 Useful IPad Apps for Business & Presentation.Hongkiatcom.

A Lesson from A Christmas Story: How to Build Your Credibility

Effectively gaining your audience’s trust is imperative in any presentation setting.  Building that sense of reliability can be fairly tricky but there are a few lessons we can takeaway from one of the greatest holiday movies and a certain little boy named Ralphie.

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If you aren’t familiar with Jean Shepard’s, A Christmas Story, it’s the classic story of a boy who will do anything to get what he wants for Christmas. In Ralphie’s case, he fantasizes about the, “official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle with a compass in the stock “, the one and only thing he wants for Christmas. Throughout the entire film, Ralphie is set on a determined quest to convince his “Old Man”, mother, teacher and Santa himself that he absolutely needs this gift, even though he could potentially “shoot his eye out with that thing”.

So what can we learn about a hopeful little boy who desperately wants a gun for Christmas? It’s simple, Ralphie was able to build credibility with his parents because in the end he got what he wanted when they surprised him with his beloved BB gun. Though his parents were well aware of the possible danger of shooting his eye out, Ralphie constantly assured them that he “would be careful”-  enabling their trust.

Here are a few suggestions to help you establish that credibility and trust from your audience when giving a PowerPoint presentation:

Ensure Strong Verbal Delivery and Body Language

Speak loud and clear: the more understandable you are to your audience, the more they can trust what you’re saying. Use effective body language as well: stand tall and don’t fidget nervously to assure them that you’re cool, calm and confident.

Teach More, Sell Less

The purpose of your presentation is to teach your audience your content- selling them goes simultaneously with this. The more your audience learns, the more they remember.

Engage Constantly

Ask questions and listen to their ideas. Effective communication goes along way with trust building: your audience can believe your ideas when you believe in their concerns.

Share Beneficial Content

Skip the fluff, even if your content is simplified—another important PowerPoint tip. Only provide your audience with information that is useful and relatable. Don’t project a ton of text and statistics that they will soon forget, less is more!

Design, Write and Look Professional

This is a three step process. You want your PowerPoint to look neat, clean and presentable so skip the over abundance of animation and bordered backgrounds. Grammar and spell check multiple times before presenting, even ask for a second pair of eyes for extra edits. And most importantly, look presentable! It’s better to be overdressed than under dressed.

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These four tips will help you build trustworthiness with any audience  base. Whether you are presenting to a conference room full of people, or even just one person, you are building a reputation for yourself within that time period. From start to finish your audience is meticulously judging your words, content and overall appearance of your professional presentation. Capture their attention in a good way and establish that trust from beginning to end.

Though Ralphie may not be a great example in this case, because in the end his parents ended up being right when he almost shot his eye out, he successfully built his own credibility by convincing his parents that they could trust him.  In your next professional presentation consider these tips in order to effectively gain your audience’s trust, I double dog dare you.

How to Be the Best : Lessons from Brands that Changed the World

Netflix. GoPro. The iPod. 

What do all of them have in common? These are all original products and concepts that uniquely redefined their industries. They revolutionized the way we watch movies, listened to music and recorded the world around us.
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It was pure originality that allowed these ideas to become the most popular name brand names of the era. Simplistic and innovative ideas combining together to create a one of the kind solution to certain problems. 10,000 songs in your pocket, a portable video camera, and a virtual Blockbuster.

So what can we learn from these very different products? Their ingenuity enabled them to become the most successful products and concepts in their markets and it is originality that allows you to create the most impactful PowerPoint presentation. There are a few concepts to utilize in your next presentation to create an innovative and unique PowerPoint.
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Branded Templates: Market your way through every slide. Include customized branding and logos throughout your presentation, which gives each slide it’s own unique flair.

Simplicity: This concept goes hand in hand with originality. Minimalize your key points and make sure your content is easily understandable and memorable.

Creative Graphics, Visuals, and Animation: The most creatively designed PowerPoints are the most memorable presentations. Utilize impactful images, sensible animation, and visuals that will excite your audience.

In essence, creating an original PowerPoint doesn’t mean to go out of the standard boundaries of presentation etiquette. You should always have an organized outline with a beginning, middle and end that keeps your story flowing. Being unique is utilizing creativity as a supplementary component of something that is already structured.
An original presentation is not only an impressive one, but one that also shows your creative marketing strategy. Think of ways to use innovation and apply this to your content throughout your presentation. Tell a story, throw in some humor and ask questions throughout your presentations to engage your audience. Do what it takes to be different.

 

Reference:

Putting Your Presentation before Your PowerPoint.SlideGenius. December 9, 2013.

Lessons from Social Media: Instagram

Whether it be taking picture of plane wings, an appetizing dinner or an artsy photo of your latte, Instagram has become one of the most prominent forms of social media to date. The application became so popular that it  was acquired by Facebook this past year in a hefty billion dollar deal. It may be the pure simplicity of photo sharing that draws so many users to the app, but there are certain steps one must partake in to get the perfect “Insta”. We’ve created a comparison between the steps of taking the perfect picture and creating the perfect powerpoint presentation. 

Step 1 : Picking the Perfect Angle 

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The first step of taking any Instagram is getting a unique angle, just like picking a perfect (and direct) angle for your audience when creating a presentation idea. Your ideas and thoughts presented (simply) within your powerpoint should be original and one of a kind, the better the ideas the more these will resonate with your audience.

 

Step 2: Picking the Perfect Filter

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No Instagram is complete without a perfect filter to give it a spruce of color and the same is said for sparking up your presentation. You can add character to any powerpoint slides with eye-opening graphics, videos and images, the more colorful and put together- the better!

Step 3: Picking the Appropriate Hashtag

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After you’ve snapped your picture and added the perfect filer, tagging hashtags is necessary to make the Instagram complete.  The same step should be used in your final completion of your PowerPoints you should always review your finished slides to make sure all your ideas connect with each other and most importantly- make sense!

Avoiding a PowerPoint Penalty Flag

You can really use PowerPoint for just about anything…..

This past week’s story in the world of sports came from a man who submitted a PowerPoint presentation as his resume for an open coaching position for the University of North Dakota’s football team. Turns out he doesn’t quite have the standard credentials we were expecting to see. Christopher McComas, who currently works as an technician at Marshall University, made headlines this week as his application for the position went viral on the Internet. He listed out many his esteemed qualifications which included his many years of experience playing Madden and NCAA Football on his beloved Playstation.

The story of Christopher’s application became an Internet sensation. Between the lack of actual qualifications that are appropriate for a collegiate athletic position and his horribly put together powerpoint design, there are a few take aways we can learn from his errors.

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Here are a few mistakes we noticed in Christopher’s presentation:

  • Formatting : Avoid using Comic Sans and boring templates, this shows a lack of effort and preparation.

  • Grammar/Spelling:  With bullet points people tend to think run on sentences are acceptable, but try to avoid this and utilize appropriate and professional language

  • Lack of Content: There is no significant or persuasive content within his presentations that supports his claim.

  • Organization:  There is no real structure – a presentation should have all three components: a title, a body and a takeaway.

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Though we wish Christopher the best of luck in his attempts to coach football at the University of North Dakota, one thing we can guarantee is that this PowerPoint is less than impressive and maybe next time he should just stick to the normal resume format for his next  job application.

Full Story: http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2013/12/11/5202166/sb-nation-endorses-chris-mccomas-for-north-dakota-head-coach

The Top 5 Major PowerPoint Mistakes

Save yourself from a PowerPoint disaster with SlideGenius’s top five list of major PowerPoint presentation no’s of the year. Avoiding these common mistakes will have you going from PowerPoint amateur to professional in a matter of minutes – creating your most impressive presentation yet.

5. Paragraphs on Slides

Having giant paragraphs on your slide will guarantee you two things: a disinterested audience that won’t remember your content. We tell stories with words and images, having a ton of paragraphs up on your slides will distract your audience from listening to your points. Too much text  also provides you with more of an opportunity to read directly off of your slides, which of course is another major presentation no. You can avoid this by using bullet points as your primary text formatting- this allows you to broadcast important information without causing your audience to fall asleep.

4. Sound Effects per Animation

Sound effects cause too much chaos during any presentation and will divert your audience’s attention,  prevent this mistake by eliminating sound with your transitions. You can easily do this by making sure you’ve clicked “none” in the sound options in the animation box.

3 Using Elementary Fonts

While we all we’ll admit to using our longtime favorites Comic Sans or Garamond Script (yes they are pretty and cute) avoid using these types of fonts within a professional presentation. Stick with the most basic and easily legible fonts available so your audience can actually read your text without wondering if that letter is a g…or maybe a y?

2. Unusual Color Choices and Palettes

Skip choosing awkward color schemes that don’t match well and could possibly distract your audience by let’s say, blinding them. Avoid unusual color combinations such as red and green that are bright and disruptive. Keep your color scheme consistent throughout your entire presentation utilizing the same two or three colors. Also, avoid using those tempting patterned or textured powerpoint themes that will cause your font to be lost in the midst of an chaotic background.

1. Avoiding T.M.I.

T.M.I or Too Much Information is the ultimate general mistake when drafting up any PowerPoint presentation. Too much text, too many slides, and too much content will backfire on transcribing your ideas to your audience. Remember that the average adult thinking span is only five to seven minutes long, so keep all information simple and short -less is more! Tips to avoid this are having time limits and slide maximums (this should be around 15 slides) so you aren’t going overboard with your presentation.
Works Cited: http://presentationsoft.about.com/od/presentationmistakes/tp/080722_presentation_mistakes.htm

Keeping Your Audience in Mind : The 4 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself

“A good teacher, like a good entertainer who first must hold his audience’s attention, then he can teach his lesson” – John Henrik Clarke

If you ask any author what questions they ask themselves before drafting up their next bestseller, chances are they’ll tell you the first and most foremost step is targeting a specific audience. Presentations are all universally based around an audience because they are the reason why presenters, present. Before you start gathering content or building an outline for your next PowerPoint presentation, you should ask yourself these essential questions first.

Who Are They?

Your first step is knowing the basic knowledge and understanding of who your audience is. These include aspects such as their size, prior knowledge, and expectations. Are you presenting to a small or large group? What kind of production are they expecting? What kind of company culture do they share? Reaching out and personally connecting with them will make all the difference.

What Do They Know?

You don’t want to be going over concepts that the audience is already aware of. Understand what they have prior knowledge of and exclude sounding redundant in your presentation by not utilizing this information. This may require a substantial amount of research, but knowing this background information will put you a step ahead in the game.

What Interests Them?

Losing your audience’s interest is the ultimate presentation backfire, keep them entertained with personalized facts and ideas that are tailored to them exclusively. Do a substantial amount of research on their current projects and incorporate this knowledge within your powerpoint slides.

What Do You Want Them To Learn?

Your takeaway is the most essential feature of your entire presentation. The most vital question (before starting any presentation) is what do you want your audience to remember most? You are the teacher giving your audience a lesson- they should learn from you and your ideas. When crafting your presentation make sure to emphasize these themes or points regularly so your audience can remember the key points first.

 

Reference:

Sieber, Tina. “10 PowerPoint Tips for Preparing a Professional Presentation.Makeuseof.com. May 23, 2009.

Our Best PowerPoint Recommendations of 2013

The developing art of PowerPoint changes year by year; bringing forth new ideas that create all around better presentations. We’ve compiled our list of the most effective and beneficial tips from 2013.

Stay Consistent.

Consistency is key when it comes to your companies branding – the basic marketing should be universal throughout your entire presentation. This uniformity should include your companies logos, color, background, theme and graphic styling. The consistency will help reflect your company’s mission and philosophy by remaining constant on all platforms and this will create a recognizable brand to customers and audience members alike- which builds trust and loyalty.

Back to Basics.

You tell a story with your presentation slides,  so think of your PowerPoint as a high school essay that starts with an outline; organizing your introduction, your main points, counterpoints and conclusion. Your presentation should include all of these concepts and flow through accordingly.

Outline Smart.

Every substantial project starts somewhere and your powerpoint presentation should always start with a storyboard. This tool keeps your slides on point and helps you follow your persuasive argument throughout the entire presentation. A storyboard efficiently allows you to write all your points and ideas down prior to starting your powerpoint, which organizes your ideas effectively.

Images Speak Louder than Words.

A picture is worth a thousand words. The images that you place within your slides should be carefully chosen to fit your presentation. Another tip to consider is  to chose high quality images, look for HD or downloadable high-res images when searched on the Internet for your content, these will look much more polished on a large projector.

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Applying the Right Tools.

Utilizing effective outside tools can be used to enhance many components of your presentation slides. Touching back on a few we’ve covered in the past include beneficial support sites including, The PowerPoint FAQ that answers all your common day PowerPoint questions.

Putting Your Presentation Before Your PowerPoint

When drafting up any big presentation it’s easy to get caught up and forget about the vital questions that you should be asking yourself. With everything that is contributed to a PowerPoint presentation remember the key points you really want your audience to focus on.

A common misconception when giving any PowerPoint presentation is making your slides the focus, rather than your message- or actual verbiage. This is done by reading directly off your slides and reciting the text word for word. What most people don’t understand is that your PowerPoint is there as a supplementary piece that is used to solely enhance and elaborate your message.

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While most of us have the urge to initially focus on getting all of our main points physically written onto a presentation- keep in mind that the PowerPoint slides are suppose to highlight takeaways and provide the content which is used accompany your story. The worst mistake you can make as a presenter is reading your slides word by word, which results in your audience completely losing interest and attention. Remember that, “communication is a transfer of emotion” and this becomes vital in getting your audience to understand your points and ideas.

Before you become caught up in dedicating your time to sprucing up your PowerPoint with tons of facts and fancy themed templates, understand that your speech is equally as important. Your story and words are just as significant as any statistic or graphics you have on your slides, so don’t forget to adequately prepare for your verbal content.

Your presentation is your message. It is the sole reason you even stand up in front of an audience and give PowerPoint in the first place. Be careful not to lose sight of the most significant details in any presentation preparation and make sure your message is portrayed in the most clear and effective way possible.

Works Cited: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/01/really_bad_powe.html

Remapping the Self: A TEDx Talk with Erika Casriel

How does one define themselves? Why is it that we tend to think our judgements and ideas surpass those around us; and why do our emotions play a part in this? Psychology journalist Erika Casriel discusses new developments within the neuroscience field in a describing a new concept titled, “conciocenterism”, an idea she presented with TED, an organization that broadcasts “ideas worth sharing”.

SlideGenius developed her TEDx Presentation which you can watch here.

Some of Erika’s presentation ideas about this revolutionary notion of “conciocenterism” included concepts such as, instead of thinking of ourselves as the center of the universe we must challenge ourselves and see the more rational sides of our emotions and actions. Her theory challenges us to step outside ourselves and silence the illusion of the “little man inside our mind”. She provides a great analogy stating that instead of seeing ourselves as the lead actor in our life we should place ourselves within the audience position as well; therefore not letting irrational emotions and single minded judgments get the best of ourselves but to look at the bigger picture.

This idea of drifting away from egocentrism can also be tied back into giving a presentation, as you as the presenter must see both sides of the picture in order to connect with your audience by allowing them to see your inner thoughts as well.

References:

Casriel, Erika. “Remapping the Self: Neuroscience Gets Personal.” Lecture, Navesink, January 1, 2013

Why Your Presentation Needs to Be These 3 Words.SlideGenius. January 5, 2014.

What Breaking Bad Can Teach Us about Closing a Presentation *No Spoilers!*

Breaking Bad, AMC’s hit crime drama we’ve all come to know, love, and mournfully wave goodbye too, ended two weeks ago in a (without giving too much away) justified, epic climax after five seasons of watching Walter White (A.K.A. Heisenberg) turn from sheepish high school chemistry teacher to roaring meth kingpin.

For those of you who haven’t seen BrBa to its bitter-sweet end, I won’t go into details. What I will say of it is that I was thoroughly pleased with its conclusion, but not altogether satisfied, which is exactly what a great ending should be.

Ending our presentations requires the same careful planning. The show’s infamously meticulous Executive Producer Vince Gilligan put a great amount of thought and effort into the show’s final chapter, and that’s because he knows what his audience is going to remember.

There’s a famous saying in the sports world: “You’re only as good as your last game.” From this, we can take away that we’ll be remembered for our most recent victory and defeat. Our significance is who we are today. For a TV show–and for a presentation–the finale, or the closing, will be what is most remembered.

Even if the first 90 percent of your presentation is brilliant, but the last 10 percent is a total wash, guess what they’ll remember from the presentation? The horrific ending. Fair? maybe not, but definitely the reality.

So how to make sure your audience is left with the perfect ending? Here’s a few things Breaking Bad executed flawlessly that we can work into our presentations.

Leave Your Audience Wanting More

I previously stated that Breaking Bad’s ending was fantastic, yet not entirely satisfying. This is because, to me, the show ended at its peak, which I believe is precisely what Gillian planned. The series had a great story arc that resolved all issues, but we all still wanted the show to go on.

You don’t want your audience counting the minutes until you stop talking by the time you’re on the later half of your presentation. In fact, you should end the presentation saying everything you need to say, but your audience wants to keep listening. This will not only have them leaving with a favorable impression of you, but it will keep you and your presentation on their minds, ultimately leading to your information being better retained.

Don’t leave loose ends

There’s a big difference between a show ending at its peak and one that ends open-ended and often confusingly (I’m looking at you, Lost).

Just like this confusing promotional poster, Lost's conclusion left watchers scratching their heads.
Just like this confusing promotional poster, Lost’s conclusion left watchers scratching their heads.

Make sure everything in your presentation is adequately addressed and all questions answered. Many presentations leave their audience almost more confused that when the presentation started. A great way of ensuring your audience understood what you had to say is to leave time at the end for a Q&A session. At SlideGenius, we recommend to allot an equal amount of time for your Q&A session as for your presentation.

Hammer home your message

Just like Bogdan's eyebrows, our endings
Just like Bogdan’s eyebrows, our presentation’s message in our conclusion should be apparent and unavoidable.

Breaking Bad brought it all back out of the wood works for the finale. Characters we hadn’t seen in a couple seasons come back to life to be part of this modern-day western, and the episode even opens with Walter White back in his early meth-cooking days, where he still lies to his wife about having to work late at the car wash for its egotistical owner Bogdan. Don’t just end, recap. Remind them of your key points and overall message. Ending on your last point will likely reinforce the idea that the last point is the oly thing to take away, when it’s usually just one of many that you made.

What Professional Athletes Can Teach Us about Preparing for a Winning Presentation

There’s a saying in the sports world that 90 percent of performance is mental.

This isn’t to say that all the intense physical preparation, practice, and training for the big game won’t have a huge effect on an athlete’s performance, but none of that hard work will matter without being mentally prepared for the pressures of high-level competition.

Similarly, while it’s obviously vital to practice, obtain the best professional PowerPoint possible and plan all aspects of your presentation carefully, to avoid stress and pressure affecting you at the moment of your presentation. If you’re not mentally prepared then that presentation you worked so hard to perfect might never come to fruition. Look at some of today’s top athletes, like Peyton Manning and Lebron James, prepare themselves physically and mentally before any big game and have this down to an exact science.

Visualize Success

There was a study conducted by Dr. Judd Blaslotto at the University of Chicago in which the subjects were divided into three groups. At the beginning of the study, he tested each group on how many free throws they could make.

After this, he had the first group practice free throws every day for an hour, the second group just visualized making free throws successfully for an hour, and the third group didn’t do diddly squat.

After 30 days, the groups were retested. The third group didn’t improve. The first group improved by 24 percent and the second—the ones who did nothing but sit around all day thinking about shooting free throws—they improved by 23 percent.

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Success can look as easy as this. Simply imagining the success of your presentation can help ensure it.

Visualizing success is imperative to that success manifesting itself. If you are continually thinking about all the terrible things that could go wrong during a speech, this negative reinforcement may result in a poor performance. However, if you make it a point in your preparation to picture yourself giving a winning presentation, studies show that this will have a discernible positive impact.

Golfing and Grace Under Pressure

When pro female golfer Inbee Park won the U.S. Female Open earlier this summer, she credited her success to two things: her experience and her mental health coach.

This reiterates the two-part recipe for success in both sports and presenting to an audience. Preparation, practice, and experience are the foundation for success, but mental toughness is the final ingredient to a winning presentation.

Champion golfer Inbee Park employs a mental health coach to help keep her cool on the course.
Champion golfer Inbee Park employs a mental health coach to help keep her cool on the course.

Many golfers now use a mental coach to learn how to embrace anxiety before a tournament in order to use it to their advantage. The right amount of anxiety can heighten our awareness and sharpen our senses. The trick is to stay on top of your anxieties, controlling them rather than letting them control you.

While obviously this post can’t do what a mental coach can, some important lessons a mental coach often provides are:

Don’t carry mistakes from the previous hole through the rest of the round. When giving a presentation, don’t let past flubs haunt you. View each presentation as a unique opportunity to prove yourself.

Deep breaths can go a long way. It will lower your heart rate and allow you to think clearly and rationally about the situation.

Enjoy yourself. When you’re having fun, you won’t be weighed down by the pressure of the situation. Realize that people just want to enjoy your speech and have fun with it.

Maintain a Positive Outlook

Psychology today analyzed endurance sports such as marathon running and found that a key part of enduring these grueling races is mental outlook. While there isn’t as much crossover between presentation and endurance sports, there is a good lesson to learn about maintaining a positive attitude in the face of unexpected challenges, which is important when things don’t go as planned during our presentations.

“The key is how people respond to the stressful conditions,” writes psychologist Jim Taylor, Ph.D. “If you have two athletes of equal ability and one sees, for example, rain and wind as a threat that scares and intimidates them and the other as a challenge that they know they can overcome, the latter athlete will be more successful.”

This guy might be enjoying the rain a little too much, but he's certainly a good example of not letting misfortunes bog you down.
This guy might be enjoying the rain a little too much, but he’s certainly a good example of not letting misfortunes bog you down.

So if there’s a technology malfunction, an unruly crowd , or any of the unforeseeable flubs that tend to arise, remember to view them not as a death sentence to your presentation, but as another challenge to overcome and prove yourself with.

Check out our Webinar for ON24 :Teaching the Importance of Simplicity

 

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SlideGenius Founder and CEO Rick Enrico spoke last Thursday on the importance of simplicity in presentation design as a part of ON24’s very first installment of its Webinar Academy.

To view the webinar, titled, “Avoiding Information Overload: The Importance of Simplicity in Presentation Design,” do the quick, 1-minute registration here and view the entire webinar series created by ON24, a leading virtual communications company. Along with Rick’s, you’ll find several other Webinars that have a lot to teach about presenting in the digital age.

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While most presentations designed by SildeGenius are given in person, the attention ON24 is giving to Webinars is indicative of a growing trend toward Internet-based presenting and how this is expanding our scope of how we can reach an audience. By viewing our webinar, you’ll see that all the key elements of an effective PowerPoint presentation are still there, but coupled with it is the ability to reach millions of people at the click of a button by creating your presentation online.

How to Think Like $5.99 and Not Like $6.00

Imagine you own a clothing store. Now you decide to begin a sale for that store. Let’s say a particular type of shorts usually costs $20 per short, but for the purposes of the sale you’re going to mark them down to $15 a piece.

There are two ways you could present that discount. The first would be as a percentage. Going from $20 to $15 would be 25% off. The second would be as an absolute number with $5 off. Which way is better?

Both discounts amount to the same final price. 25% off $20 and $5 off $20 both result in the customer paying $15 for the shorts. So both representations of the discount should have the same effect, right?

Wrong. Jonah Berger, author of Contagion, explains to us that the consumers find the 25% discount more attractive than the 5$ off. While the two discounts are the same economically, they don’t trigger the same psychological effect. One feels like a larger discount than the other.

Accordingly, the next time you’re reporting numerical information, pay attention to how you are presenting it. The way changes are represented can have a big impact on how they’re perceived.

Focus on the final number.

Like the story above, most people seemed to be more enticed by the offer when the discount number was larger. Rule of thumb would be whenever you are offering a discount under $100 display it as a percentage, and when the offer is greater than $100 display it as an absolute number. This will make sure you are always maximizing your psychological impact. Simpler is better. No one cares about a page of numbers and figures that look like the green screen display from the matrix. You need to simplify your results, and then simplify them again. Think of your raw data as a pile of freshly picked vegetables. People don’t want to eat them when they still have dirt and leave stems on them. People want a quick and painless way to stay healthy, so what do you do? You take those vegetables, clean them, cut them, put them in a blender and make a smoothie. Then you take that smoothie and turn it into a wheatgrass shot. Quick and to the point. So yes, your data should be reduced to the size of a wheatgrass shot! After all, the simpler your can represent your findings, the easier it will be for your audience to understand you, which will in turn make your call-to-action more successful.

Tell a story.

Everyone knows the best stories are the ones told with pictures, so use them. Portraying data graphically reveals patterns in the data that are hard to notice otherwise Visual depictions of data are almost universally understood without requiring knowledge of a language. It is also useful to alter your tone and speed as you approach the finding of any given graph. Much like when telling a story, the storyteller tends to get really excited toward the climax or “best part” of the story; it is not only useful but critical to draw attention to the most important features of the data.

I’ll leave you with Hans Rosling’s fascinating TED talk revolved around displaying data effectively, which you can watch here

 

References:

Berger, Jonah. “Fuzzy Math: What Makes Something Seem Like A Good Deal?linkedin. August 28, 2013.

Kakutani, Michiko. “Mapping Out the Path to Viral Fame.The New York Times. February 25, 2013.

Rosling, Hans. “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen.ted.com. February 2006.

Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement

When delivering presentations, nothing is more important than connecting with your audience.

It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to close in on a deal or proposing a new project to the higher-ups. You can’t say that your ideas have been well-received if the audience can’t engage with your pitch. It’s not enough to pique their interest with a few video clips or anecdotes.

Before focusing on the spectacle, you must ensure your presentation is perfectly executed. Your ability to present with clarity and certainty is essential to audience engagement.

Need a Presentation Designed?
Click Here To View Our Amazing Portfolio!

Here are quick presentation tips to make sure your audience has an engaging experience:

Learn your presentation inside and out

I’m sure you’ve sat through a presentation where the speaker constantly stammered through their speech, trying hard to remember what to say next. No matter how attractive their material was, the uncertainty in their delivery probably proved to be distracting. To avoid being in a similar situation, you must learn every detail of your presentation.

Audience engagement rests in your ability to command attention. You can’t do that if you’re reading from your slides or fidgeting with note cards. The audience needs to see that you know what you’re saying. Take the time to rehearse your presentation as much as you can. You can also try the memory palace technique to memorize your key points.

Condense your PowerPoint deck

By now, we’re all familiar with “death by PowerPoint.” There’s no easier way to disengage an audience than by presenting them with slides loaded with too much information. If your slides are complete with indecipherable charts and text, take a step back and focus on your visuals.

Instead of filling your PowerPoint deck with bullet points and text, try to illustrate your points. Use images and other multimedia elements to articulate your ideas.

When dealing with data, you must decide which ones are the most relevant to your core message. Several online tools can help you with data visualization.

Tailor your presentation to the audience

Very few presenters consider the perspective of their audience. Their presentations often sound like generic spiels because of this.

How do you connect with something you’ve heard a million times before?  To stand out, you need to remember that the audience isn’t a homogeneous group. The people sitting in your audience are individuals with unique perspectives and opinions. In other words, audience engagement relies on your ability to personalize your message.

To get inside their heads, you need to ponder four important questions. Answering these will give you the necessary context to create a presentation that will pull your audience in:

  • Who are they?
  • Why are they coming?
  • What action do you want them to take?
  •  Why might they resist your message?

Keep everyone interested by creating soft breaks.

Audience engagement would be much easier if it weren’t for our short attention spans. With so many tasks begging for attention these days, it’s no surprise the average adult’s attention span is only a few minutes short.

As hard as you try to simplify your message and learn more about the audience, it’s hard to contend with everyone’s shifting attention.

That’s why presentation expert Carmine Gallo emphasized the importance of the 10-minute rule. If you lose the attention of your audience, you can re-engage them by creating “soft breaks” after every 10 minutes or so. Give them a chance to pause and digest new information by incorporating videos, demonstrations, and other activities.

Try to create an interactive environment by posing questions they can answer through polls or a show of hands. If you want to, you can also call up other people from your team to share a new perspective with the audience.

Deliver your presentation with passion and enthusiasm

Finally, lead by example. If your presentation delivery falls flat, your audience will quickly pick up on that. You can’t expect them to feel enthusiastic about the ideas you’re sharing if you’re mumbling through your presentation.

You need to show how passionate you are about your subject matter. That’s the only way to deliver a message that will make others feel the same way.

It isn’t hard to deliver a presentation that engages and connects with an audience. In five easy steps, you can easily ensure that your message sticks and stays with everybody.

Need a Presentation Designed?
Click Here To View Our Amazing Portfolio!

Featured Image: Steven Lilley via Flickr

Designing Presentations for Accessibility

What defines “good” presentation design? From the style of the graphics to the cohesiveness of the content, every element should come together to help deliver a clear message. Whether you’re pitching a groundbreaking product to a room of investors, or simply providing your team with a weekly update, you want your audience to walk away with clear, actionable knowledge.  

However, something many creators neglect with presentation design is the element of accessibility. It’s simply natural for most people to create a presentation based on their own perceptions and point-of-view. But the reality is, that there’s a chance that someone in their audience has a disability that limits their ability to effectively understand the presentation. This reality of understanding and adapting to the disabilities of others is where Accessible Design comes into play. It’s what ensures that your presentation is understood and enjoyed by the widest possible audience. 

In this article, we will dive into the impact of Accessible Design and how it can give your entire audience the clarity and knowledge they need.  

What is Accessible Design?  

Accessible Design is centered on being sensitive to the disabilities of others and creating designs that can be understood by all. In 2018, the CDC stated that 1 in 4 US adults live with some form of disability. The following are among the most common disabilities: 

Color Blindness – According to Colour Blindness Awareness, roughly 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women live with color vision deficiency. This typically refers to having difficulty in distinguishing red and green colors effectively from one another. In more severe cases, a person’s vision is monochromatic. Globally, there are approximately 300 million people with some degree of color blindness.  

Dyslexia – Considered the most common learning disability, roughly 10% of the population has dyslexia. It affects one’s ability to effectively relate speech with letters and words, making it hard to learn through reading.  

ADHD – Roughly 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD grow into adulthood still with ADHD. Those with the disorder often have trouble focusing their attention and organizing their thoughts. People with ADHD often struggle to retain information when they are bombarded by too much content.  

Photosensitive epilepsy – 3.4 million people in America alone suffer from epilepsy, with sudden, sometimes unpredictable seizures. Many of these people are highly sensitive to flashing lights or colors, leading to dangerous falls or traumatic episodes.  

How it Works 

As a designer, it’s your job to make sure that, no matter who’s in your audience, your message is clear and delivered responsibly. But the key to Accessible Design is actually a good cornerstone of creative work in general: the simpler, the better.  

Like any art form, a truly beautiful presentation often benefits from an understanding of minimalism. “Less is more,” as the saying goes. By carefully curating your content, you allow your audience to focus on the information that matters. This is significant for those with ADHD because fewer elements mean fewer possible distractions. Remember: a presentation is a visual medium, not a novel or article. Often, the hardest question is: “what should I not include?” 

The minimalist philosophy also applies to designing presentations for those with color blindness. A presentation with a color palette limited to 2-3 simple colors can make for both a stylish and accessible design. This would rely on effectively utilizing white spaces to contrast the colors, making elements pop and easily distinguishable. 

Dyslexia, on the other hand, takes a bit more finesse to manage. Because people with dyslexia struggle with recognizing the distinct shapes of letters, consider your choice of fonts carefully. Using simple sans serif fonts like Arial or Verdana increases readability, without compromising design aesthetics. Additionally, keeping your font large makes it easier to read all the text on screen overall. 

Making design accessible for all.

Why Accessibility Matters  

The value of accessibility is similar to how many buildings are made to have wheelchair access. These facilities allow individuals who use wheelchairs to enter buildings with ease. Discussions are much more valuable when the whole room can share the same knowledge. Being able to generate a great and fruitful discussion is the mark of delivering a killer presentation.

Finally, by focusing on minimalism and streamlining your content, there’s a good chance that you’ve improved your design overall!  

Design is evolving at a rate that makes it easy to get caught up in so many new trends and ideas. However, the purpose of practicing Accessible Design is to remind ourselves that there are people out there who live with disabilities. Whether or not a person in your audience has a disability, practicing accessibility is a sign of good faith that your presentation is inclusive of everyone.  

Presentations on the Move: The Power of Animation in PowerPoint

Humans are naturally visual beings. Going as far back as the era of cave paintings, humans have always used visuals to communicate. Luckily today, we have more tools at our disposal than just soot and stone. With a platform as powerful as PowerPoint, we can create highly visual stories to captivate potential clients, partners, or investors. While there are plenty of ways to design an engaging presentation, one method stands above the rest, and that’s the use of animations.

When someone is presented with static images, they tend to take one look and be done with it. On the other hand, animated graphics effectively dictate the flow of information to the audience. Even small hints of motion will grab a person’s attention, whether it’s text fading into the screen or icons moving in a hypnotic loop.

Let’s break down some ways to use animation and the impact it can have on your next PowerPoint presentation.

Keeping Audiences Engaged  

A key reason for utilizing animation is for engagement purposes. Seasoned presenters and boardroom newbies alike know the hardest part about presenting is maintaining the attention of your audience. It’s incredibly easy for people to lose focus during a presentation when there’s nothing visually exciting to keep them engaged. We’ve all sat through presentations that have lost our attention and seem to drag on for ages. Now that virtual meetings are the norm, people are more likely to have their attention slip from their screens. Keeping people engaged is now more challenging than ever. 

The power of animation within a presentation lies in how it helps control the eyes of your audience. This can lead to plenty of playful opportunities in your design, which in turn keeps them focused on the presentation and ultimately your story. 

For example, instead of simply showcasing bullet points, you can sequentially fade in your points bullet by bullet. While people’s attention may still sometimes drift, the animation will help them jump back into the topic at any time. 

Being Memorable 

Another key goal of every presentation is to leave a lasting impression on your audience. When an audience experiences a presentation with thought-out motion graphics, it instantly becomes a point of interest. Additionally, animation adds more impact and energy to your content because it’s an element of surprise. And we always remember surprises, don’t we?   

When animation is used effectively, audiences can retain up to 95% of the information presented. While on the other hand, audiences will only remember 10% of information when it’s presented as static images and text.  

Ultimately, animation helps make your content stick out in the memory of your audience. A visually engaging presentation will leave them more likely to retain the information you discussed.  

Levels of Animation  

The good thing about animation is that it doesn’t need to be aggressive to be effective. Even just small hints of movement are enough to keep your audience fixed on the screen. 

For example, by adding simple motions like fades and slides to staple elements like text boxes and icons, you instantly inject energy into the presentation.  

However, you can explore more complex levels of animation to elevate your presentation even further. Animating content such as explainers, infographics and data visualizations can significantly raise the visual impact of your presentation. Infographics are already very visually stimulating but imagine adding animation elements that enhance the design and push your presentation over the top.  

To sum up, animation is one of the most versatile tools you can use in PowerPoint. Whether you are pitching to your next big investor or simply communicating with internal teams, animation adds a layer of flair to any presentation. It will help make your presentation stand out and create a greater impact on your business.  

Making Big Statements with Minimalist Design

Minimalist graphic design is timeless. The phrase “less is more” best encapsulates the core philosophy of minimalism, which is to strip down a design to its most essential elements.  

Designs are simplified to avoid unnecessary fluff that may distract audiences from the message. However, there are nuances to understand to effectively utilize minimalist designs.

Now you must be asking, “what makes minimalist designs stand out?” In this article, we will analyze the subtlety of minimalist design and how it applies to PowerPoint presentations. 

Understanding the Essentials 

The key parts of every PowerPoint presentation include: 

  • Graphics – The geometric elements that structure the different sections of a slide. 
  • Content – The text featured throughout the presentation.  
  • Images – The use of photos, illustrations, icons, etc. 
  • Color – The overarching color scheme related to the brand or presentation topic.  
  • Font type – The “tone of voice” in which the text is speaking.  

It becomes a game of balance and moderation with these elements to keep the design as minimal as possible. The amount of text you feature on each slide. By keeping your text minimal, you’re naturally provided with more to work with for graphics. These graphics can then consist of clean and crisp lines to subtly guide the eyes across each slide. It’s crucial to understand how all these different elements interact and complement each other. Balance is the key difference between minimalist design and simply adding black text onto a white background. By doing away with unnecessary clutter, you help your audience sift through the information and grasp the message you are expressing. 

Embracing Negative Space  

One of the defining characteristics of minimalist design is the effective use of negative space. Sometimes called white space, this refers to the empty spaces between the various elements in a design. You can use these spaces to create breathing room for the different elements of your slide. As a result, your audience will naturally have an easier time visually deciphering what are the key points of each slide.

We’ve all seen our fair share of PowerPoint slides filled to the brim with text and images. The common logic in these cases is the fear of the audience missing out on important information. However, it’s actually the lack of negative space that makes it difficult for audiences to quickly decipher what’s important in the slide. An overly packed slide just leaves audiences struggling to filter through the mess.

To give yourself more negative space to work with, you will need to carefully condense your content. Start this process by zoning in on the key points of your presentation. Once you’ve decided on what’s truly essential to your message, single out each of these points into its own slide or section. By boiling down the information to its most essential points, you’re left with significantly less content featured on each slide. The greater negative space in your slides will help create a structure that naturally guides your audience’s attention as you go through the presentation. 

Keeping Things Simple  

Simple designs help audiences to stay focused on your message. That is because humans are very visual beings. Our brains are constantly processing vast amounts of visual data at any moment. When faced with too much content packed into a single slide, your audience will just be subjected to bad a case of information overload.

Simple, minimalist designs are a way of filtering out all unnecessary information and giving audiences all they need to know directly. As the presenter, it’s your mission to effectively deliver your message. Above all, minimalism allows you to focus on and emphasize the key points of your presentation. 

Consider how often people are bombarded by so much information. It’s refreshing to sit through a presentation with content that feels curated and carefully designed. You can maximize the message of each slide by simply focusing on your most essential pieces of information. It does not matter how much you are trying to say, it’s about the quality and intent of what’s being said.  

Are Presentation-Type Posts Getting More Popular on Instagram?

Instagram has become one of the biggest and most diverse platforms for brands to present digital visual content. Between Stories, IGTV, and IG Live, the platform has continuously given users new and exciting ways to express themselves.  

However, in recent years, presentation-type posts have grown in popularity. What started out as a simple, seamless way to upload more content within a single post has transformed into a format that strategically boosts engagement and helps spread relevant information.  

The Numbers Don’t Lie  

According to SocialInsider, carousel-type posts are among the most engaged throughout the entire platform. Below are some key insights from the study: 

  • ~19% of Instagram posts are carousels  
  • Carousels hold a ~1.92% average engagement rate  
  • Posts with both images and videos have the highest average engagement of 2.33%  

The increased potential for engagements is what makes these kinds of posts very valuable. As more users leave comments, brands develop a clearer scope of their audience and how they can further improve their content.

Content with a Purpose  

With greater narrative potential in these carousel posts, there has been a growing trend in utilizing them as a way to tell more relevant stories. 

Similar to the structure of a PowerPoint presentation, the opening image raises a compelling message that further builds upon each succeeding image. 

These PowerPoint-like posts are enabling creators and influencers in spreading highly informative content to wider audiences. 

While posting informative content is not necessarily new to the platform, 2020 saw a boom in these types of posts due to pressing topics like the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the US elections. 

Instagram became a space many people utilized to learn more about increasingly relevant topics. It became essential to post carousels to help spread valuable information for people looking for it. Brands saw this as an opportunity to be part of the conversation and to connect with their customers. 

The Rise of Instagram Reels 

Reels are among the newest features of the platform, and it bears many of the same strengths of carousel-type posts. The feature allows users to create 15- to 30-second video clips and style them up with music, filters, and other augmented reality effects. Much like carousels, Reels are highly engaging, diverse in their content, and most importantly, an ideal tool for relevant storytelling.

Building Brands  

Carousels and Reels have become major content focal points across Instagram. Brands and creators started using them in strategic ways to further improve their image and visibility. 

Carousels are unmatched in their ability to incorporate different styles of content within a single post. The flexibility of both carousels and Reels provides greater opportunities for interactive and engaging storytelling. 

From a series of interconnected images and videos to an informative Reel, these presentation-type posts are ideal for engaging people on more narrative-centric content and interactions.

Data Storytelling: Combining Relevant Data with Impactful Design

We live in a data-driven world. Whether you’re a budding social media influencer, startup entrepreneur, or big business expert, data is essential for developing meaningful insights that will positively impact your actions and decision-making.  

But because technology is advancing so quickly, it’s become increasingly difficult to navigate through the immense amounts of data that is available. Even beyond business settings, we are faced with copious amounts of data on the news and social media, but they are not always distilled in ways most people can understand.  

Making data more understandable is the primary goal of proper data visualization and storytelling.  

In a time when data is so abundant, experts must utilize design to transform raw numbers and information into visual narratives capable of deeply connecting with an audience. In this article, we will delve into what makes data storytelling meaningful and effective within today’s landscape.  

Crafting a Narrative Centered on Data  

Data storytelling gives meaning and context to the data you’re expressing. While using simple charts and tables to express data is not a new concept, building a narrative around these visuals adds greater depth and understanding to your message.  

Consider the basic elements of a story’s structure:  

  • Introduction – Establish the core message behind your data to set the narrative in motion.
  • Rising Action – Present the key data points that support the main message of the presentation. 
  • Climax – The culminating piece of information that ties everything together.  
  • Conclusion – The course of action you want your audience to take with information presented.  

Establishing a narrative makes it easier for audiences to naturally follow the points being raised without feeling too overwhelmed by everything that is presented.

Utilizing with the Right Visuals  

People turn to data when they want to learn more about the world and generate deeper insights. Choosing the appropriate visual approach to present key facts can significantly amplify the impact of the data presented. 

Some samples and their usage include: 

  • Line charts – For depicting progression of data over a set amount of time 
  • Pie charts – For expressing the value of various pieces that fit into a whole 
  • Bar charts – For showing clear comparisons between different data categories 
  • Heat maps – For representing data on a geographical scale 

Infographics, on the other hand, are an entirely different beast on their own. These take plenty of effort to create but are easily among the most visually engaging ways of expressing data. As an example, using infographics as social media content extends engagement to wider audiences.  

Embracing the Power of Data Storytelling  

We are visual learners. The importance of and access to data will only continue to grow. With that growth will come an even greater need for skillful data storytelling. Data has proven to be an essential resource for growing businesses and brands. It’s more critical than ever that we learn how to better analyze and express the bigger messages that lie behind the information. By further developing the skills in data storytelling, professionals can significantly expand their abilities to effectively communicate rich insights and start making more impactful actions.  

Are You Using the Full Power of PowerPoint to Tell Your Story?

When it comes down to creating a PowerPoint presentation, most people only scratch the surface of what the program is capable of.  

After all, that’s the beauty of it.  

PowerPoint is packed with features simple enough for anyone to use when preparing a presentation.  

When it comes to showcasing your business, however, using only the basic features can lead to bland slides. Going beyond the surface of PowerPoint will reveal an extensive suite of tools to help make your presentation more effective and visually pleasing.  

With the right skills and know-how, you can maximize the full resources of PowerPoint.  

Here are three great functions that will help make your next presentation stand out: 

Custom Vectors 

Templates are among the basic features built into PowerPoint. From the get-go, the program offers a wide range of templates suitable for different purposes. However, PowerPoint has been around long enough that almost anyone can easily recognize if someone is using one of the built-in templates. On paper, it’s great having the option to choose from these templates. But really, these lack the personal flair to make your presentation stand out. 

On the other hand, PowerPoint comes equipped with tools that allow you to create your own personal templates and designs. From the way you design text boxes to the graphic elements used throughout the presentation, these vectors will greatly influence how your presentation is internalized by audiences. By virtue of presenting designs that are “custom,” you are showing audiences something that’s visually unique to your brand, making it easier for them to remember your presentation. 

Stylized Charts and Tables 

A cardinal sin in presentation design that many people still commit is the act of pasting raw data sheets onto their slides. This is wrong for multiple reasons:  

  1. Raw data is difficult to interpret quickly. 
  1. It’s visually unappealing looking at a page of unfiltered text and numbers. 

What many people don’t realize is that PowerPoint has direct functionality with Excel. You can simply link an Excel sheet within PowerPoint to generate charts and tables using data from the file. You can edit and stylize these tables to your liking with ease. 

Additionally, if you have the time and skills to do so, we recommend designing charts and tables using your own custom vectors. This follows the logic discussed above. Showcasing data using custom vectors will help emphasize key pieces of information, which makes it easier for audiences to absorb and retain your core message.

Slide Animations  

It is often debated whether slide animations are necessary for making an impactful presentation. Many believe animations help make presentations be more visually engaging for audiences. While others consider animations to be distracting and overly complicated. However, the answer is not that black or white. Animation is all about balance and purpose.  

To the naysayers’ point, many presenters overuse and misuse animations. When used correctly, however, animations can emphasize key points of each slide.  

Naturally, movement draws people’s attention. Even the most subtle animations, like fades and lines, can dictate how audiences absorb information. In remote settings, animations can help re-engage the focus of your audience.

When you use its different capabilities cohesively, PowerPoint is among the most powerful tools for expressing messages and narratives. PowerPoint has everything you will ever need to showcase the best points about your business in unique and engaging ways.  

SlideGenius Makes Annual List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies — the Inc. 5000

For the 2nd Year In A Row, SlideGenius Inc. Appears on the Inc. 5000, Ranking No. 3357

Inc. magazine today revealed that SlideGenius is No. 3357 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Patagonia, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000. The list is a distinguished editorial award, a celebration of innovation, and a network of entrepreneurial leaders, of which SlideGenius is proud to be included on.  

We are honored to be recognized on the Inc. 5000 list for the second year in a row,” said SlideGenius CEO Rick Enrico.  “This achievement could only be achieved through the dedication and hard work of our talented employees who bring a positive, growth mindset to work each day. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished on our journey and we’re excited about our future.” 

2020 was a year of unprecedented change for all companies across the nation, but through it all SlideGenius has been happy to be able to continue growing, even increasing it’s workforce by 32% in the past year. And with a 106% 3-year growth rate, SlideGenius is primed for all the future holds. 

2020 was definitely a year that we won’t forget.  It was also a year that we decided to take some big steps to prepare for our future, giving us the opportunity to take the chances that land us on a prestigious list like this, two years in a row.”  – SlideGenius Vice President of Operations, Jeremy Sebastien 

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.  


About SlideGenius: Founded in 2012 by entrepreneur Rick Enrico, SlideGenius Inc. is among the world’s premier presentation design agencies. The company has focused on helping clients express the stories of their business through expert design. What started as a team of fewer than 10 people has grown into an international company with over 150 full-time employees. The ever-growing team has continuously improved and refined its skills in project management and presentation design to meet the unique needs of its clients. With offices in San Diego, New York City, London, and the Philippines, SlideGenius’ global team offers clients around-the-clock coverage for any of their presentation design needs. The company shows no signs of slowing down, as it has its sights set on establishing more international offices.  

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000 

Methodology 

Companies on the 2021 Inc. 5000 are ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2017 to 2020. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They must be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit, and independent–not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies–as of December 31, 2020. (Since then, some on the list may have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2020 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. 

About Inc. Media 

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, analyzes company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit www.inc.com

Dealing with Negative Space in Presentation Design 

An often overlooked aspect in presentation design is the use of negative/white space. Anyone can admit to sitting through a presentation with slides filled to the brim with text or images.  

Think back to the many slides you’ve seen that look more like pages of a book. No rhyme or reason behind the slide design. They are merely used as a repository of information that will be talked over during the presentation.  

Slides like that come off as extremely cluttered and unintelligible. But more importantly, they are prime examples of why the proper use of negative space is so important. 

What is Negative Space?  

Negative space refers to areas that are devoid of any sort of design element.  

While, by definition, the word “empty” may sound like it’s a bad thing, there’s purpose behind these spaces. Negative space is what literally defines and organizes the content featured on any given slide. Properly using negative space can greatly improve the visual impact of slides and further elevate the core message.  

Creating Balance in Design  

As mentioned earlier, a common mistake that many people make is to just fill slides to the brim with content. Just blocks of text or a mishmash of images thrown into a single slide.  

Not only do these kinds of slides look visually sloppy, but they can also make things harder for audiences to understand what is being presented. Information overload is a very real concern that presenters should always consider. When there is just too much going on within a single slide, people will be left confused and unsure of what information they should be focusing on.  

By applying the use of more negative space, it forces you to rethink and rebalance the content of your slides. When a slide looks too busy or loaded, consider trimming down the copy further or creating a new slide altogether to move information into.  

This “less is more” approach gives you more breathing room to balance the content of your slides with its overall design. It will come down to a matter of what you are saying, not how much you have to say.  

Guide the Eyes of Your Audience  

If you find yourself staring at a crowded slide, remember this: When everything is being spoken loudly, nothing will be heard.  

Negative space allows you to partition information and guide audiences to your desired message. There’s a greater sense of importance when content is singled out and given the space it needs to shine. When done right, negative space is a great tool for effectively developing a narrative within your presentation.  

Imagine flipping from slide to slide in a quick pace with no speech to guide the presentation. By structuring content using negative space, audiences can identify key information from any given slide.  

Negative space helps you establish a visual roadmap that guides audiences across your presentation. When audiences can keep track of what’s being talked about, it’s easier for presenters to effectively get their point across.  

Engaging Minimalism  

Despite being an “overused” term, minimalism remains a very effective design practice. From both design and copy standpoints, crafting a concise and minimalist presentation has greater potential to be memorable than one that seems to say too much.  

The use of negative space is synonymous with minimalism because it provides structure and emphasis to the featured content. As naturally visual beings, humans are more likely to appreciate imagery that’s elegant and pleasing to look at.  

While it is always tempting to pack slides with as much information as possible, taking a more measured approach is more effective in engaging people’s attention.