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Get Free PowerPoint Templates to Jump Start Your Presentation Design

In the past, we wrote about several ways you can enhance your technology PowerPoint design. But if you’re still grappling to get started, you can try some of the free PowerPoint templates available at Microsoft.com.

There are experts who will tell you to avoid using free PowerPoint templates at all cost. They say most templates are cliched and overused. While it’s definitely great to have a unique design for your slides, beginners might feel overwhelmed starting out with just a blank slide. Starting with a PowerPoint template can help you visualize where you want to take your design. You have plenty of choices, especially if you take the time to find a template that suits the theme of your presentation.

Here’s a template you can use for technology PowerPoint presentations:

One of the free PowerPoint templates you can download from Microsoft.com
Business Digital Blue Template – Download HERE

Just like this one, all free PowerPoint templates from Microsoft are customizable. Use this template as a starting point, and from there, edit the slides as you wish. You can add your own images, fonts, or backgrounds. You can change color schemes. You can change animation styles and slide transitions.

Still need inspiration? Check out our technology PowerPoint portfolio. It’ll give you some great ideas on how you can enhance your free PowerPoint templates.

Featured Image: Paul Inkles via Flickr

Applying the Assertion-Evidence Framework to Presentation Design

It’s a bit of a mouthful. It also sounds like a complex scientific theory. But the Assertion-Evidence Framework isn’t as complicated as it sounds. You actually use it a lot when communicating in the workplace. It’s also an effective way to gauge if your PowerPoint presentation design is conveying the key messages you want your audience to receive.

What is the Assertion-Evidence Framework?

You might not realize it, but you use the assertion-evidence framework in plenty of everyday situations.

For example, you’re in a meeting and you say something like, “the marketing campaign we launched for the new product is effective.” You make an assertion. When you follow that with, “the proof are in these documents that detail our positive ROI” – you are backing up your statement with evidence.

Simply put, you’re using the assertion-evidence framework every time you make a statement supplemented by words or statements like “because”, “it can be proven by”, and “the reason is”.

How does the framework apply to PowerPoint presentation design?

This is how the assertion-evidence framework should guide your PowerPoint presentation design:

Effective presentation design moves the audience into action. This action is a result of a series of small decisions they make throughout your presentation. These small decisions are made from assertions throughout your speech, which you should visualize in your PowerPoint slides. And as we’ve learned, all assertions in the assertion-evidence framework must be back up by data.

Consider this PowerPoint slide from our portfolio:

The assertion-evidence framework as applied in a PowerPoint slide by SlideGenius

Assertion: “NextImage Direct is Everywhere You Are”
Evidence: A map of the U.S. with pins in every state

Like in this sample slide, assertions are usually made in the title of the slide. Evidence is laid out in the body through data, illustrations, or diagrams. While this is a rule you can bend, keep in mind to keep one assertion per slide. This way, all evidence in the slide answers to only one statement. It will also limit the amount of text, making room for visuals.

Another thing to remember is that all assertions you make should be stated in clear sentences. Ask yourself if the assertion makes sense by itself. This will allow you to trim unnecessary data from your evidence, including only what answers your assertions.

 

Featured Image: Paul Hudson via Flickr

Designing Your PowerPoint for Your Audience

When it comes to live presentations, connecting with your audience is everything. Apart from providing you with the right push to carry on, being able to engage your audience means you have somehow earned their trust. Whether you are pitching an idea, selling a product, or sharing a lesson, that connection will make it possible for your call to action to get the appropriate response. So how do you connect with your audience? Try tailoring your message to them.

Know Your Audience

It pays to learn some information about your audience in advance. If you have access to such info, take note of the following:

Do the members of the audience belong to the same age bracket? Are children going to be present?

Is your potential audience a formal or informal crowd?

What are their levels of education?

What are their common interests (business, recreational activities, political belief, etc.)?

Most importantly: Why are they attending the presentation? Did they volunteer or their bosses sent them?

Take into consideration the answers to these questions so you’ll be prepared to adjust to any scenario.

Use Visuals That Appeal to Them

Make use of images, diagrams, and chart designs are familiar to your audience. (This is where the info you have of them would be very useful). If majority of the audience members is composed of business executives, for example, then it is safe to say that you won’t be using images of Pokemon or Little Pony. The point is, select images that your audience will be able to relate to.

You may also want to use the colors that is most associated with your audience. If you’re pitching to a company, incorporate the colors of their logo. Or if you are presenting to a group of students, make use of their school colors.

Watch Your Language

Certain groups of people have their language or jargon. Techies have their own and so as business professionals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to speak like them. Just be mindful of your choice of words and make sure that they fit your audience.

Designing your PowerPoint for your audience gives you the edge you need to establish rapport with them. It allows you to sort of condition their mind before you go in for the kill.

How to Illustrate Data in Financial PowerPoint Presentations

We previously covered tips for designing financial PowerPoint presentations. We mentioned then that you should take the time to curate the data you have on hand, and choose only the ones that will help move your story forward. At the same time, you can’t just present this data as it is. Majority of the population are inclined towards visual learning, and chances are, your audience members are, too.

Make use of visual tools to enhance your presentation. Present the data in your financial PowerPoint through charts, graphs, and other illustrations. Each type has its strengths and weaknesses suited for the type of data you’re presenting.

Choosing how you’ll present the information will depend on its complexity and what it represents. In this post, we’ve come up with a guide explaining the basic ways you can showcase data in your slides.

Here are a few tips on the types of visual data you can use to spice up your slides:

Graphs

For a financial PowerPoint, graphs are best used to show trends and patterns in your data. It’s a great way to illustrate how your market performance has improved throughout time or how the sales of products under your brand compare with each other. There are two common types of bar graphs:

Line Graph

  • Line graphs: Use this type of graph for illustrating changes in your data throughout time, like growth or decline in finances.

Vertical Bar Graph Horizontal Bar Graph

  • Bar graphs: Bar graphs are perfect for showing comparisons in the data. Make use of vertical bar graphs if you’re comparing less than 8 different sets of data. Otherwise, go with a horizontal bar graph. This helps compress the information without making it look confusing.

Pie Charts

Pie Chart

Make use of pie charts if you’d like to illustrate how different numbers correspond to a whole. For example, a pie chart can easily show how your finances are distributed. There are variations of the pie chart, like the donut, or wheel. While this also has a similar function to the pie chart, it’s a matter of preference what you feel would be more effective in conveying your points.

Flowcharts

Sample Flowchart
Image from Wikimedia Commons

You can use a flowchart to explain how your data was gathered, or any other important process that is pertinent to your financial PowerPoint presentation. A flowchart visualizes steps or procedures through a progression of shapes.

Other Illustrations

There are other types of diagrams you can make use of in visualizing your data. This abundance of types can be narrowed to two of the more common kinds:

Venn Diagram

  • Venn diagrams: Used to showcase the relationship between different sets of data.

Sample SlideGenius design with map

  • Maps: If you want to show data that corresponds to a specific location. This is great for illustrating statistics gathered from market surveys and the like.
Data is definitely an important element of financial PowerPoint presentations. When translating numbers into illustrations, take note of these pointers and consider the rules of presentation design.

 

Reference

Present your data in a doughnut chart.” Office Blogs. Accessed June 20, 2014.

How to Make a Trade Show Video Loop Using PowerPoint

Trade shows are a great opportunity for several things. Big industry events like it allow you to study the latest trends in your field and learn more about your competitors. Most importantly, it gives you the chance to showcase your company and demonstrate your latest products and services. For this reason, you’ll need to make a great impression on your target audience.

Your goal is to make others want to get to know your brand better. For starters, you’ll need to work on a booth that will attract plenty of visitors.

One way to do that is by projecting a trade show video loop. This way, passers-by can easily get the gist of what you want to say in just a short while.

You can make a trade show video loop by using PowerPoint. There’s a function that allows you to create self-running presentations. But your booth needs more than just a bunch of slides running again and again.

Here’s a presentation made in PowerPoint 2010 that can help you set up your own looping videos for trade shows.

How to make a PowerPoint loop for trade shows

powerpoint loop options

Step One: Go to the Slide Show tab and click on the Set Up Slide Show option.

powerpoint loop slide show

Step Two: Once the dialogue box appears, choose Browsed at a kiosk (full screen) under Show Type.

powerpoint 2013 loop rehearse timing

Step Three: You can begin setting up the timing of your presentation by selecting the Rehearse Timings option, still on the Slide Show tab. Keep in mind that once you click on Rehearse Timings, the program will begin timing your presentation immediately.

powerpoint loop 03

Step Four: A small toolbar will appear on the upper left side of your screen. You can customize the way you time your presentation in this section. In the image above, certain icons are numbered to guide you. Click on: #1 to move on to the next slide, #2 to pause, and #4 to repeat; while, #3 shows you the slide time, and #5 shows you the total time for the presentation.

powerpoint 2013 loop timer

Step Five: Press ESC on your keyboard if you’re satisfied with the timing. This will prompt the program to ask you if you’d like to keep the slide timing you recorded.

There you have it! Use these looping slide shows to engage people on-the-go during trade shows. You might not be able to pitch to them as they pass by your booth, but an interesting enough presentation that speaks for itself just might pique people’s interests and stop them in their tracks.

If you’re looking to become really impressive, it needs a sleek design that matches your company’s core message. It’s more than worth it to ask for help.

 

Reference

Trade Show Booth Ideas That Attract Visitors.” Trade Show Ideas. Accessed June 19, 2014.

How to Create an Investment PowerPoint that Seals the Deal

Pitches are essential to raising capital for your company. A PowerPoint presentation showcasing your core message helps you create a favorable impression. Forgo bombarding potential investors with endless bullet points and tables of data. Your investment PowerPoint should be quick, unique, and engaging. Most importantly, it should reflect the story you’re trying to sell.
Consider these 4 tips when making an investment PowerPoint:

1. Make a positive impression with the first slide

The title slide of your investment PowerPoint should convey the key message of your brand and presentation

When potential investors see your PowerPoint flashed on the screen, the first slide should encourage them to say, “This looks interesting.”

The usual first slide contains only the following: company name, logo, and the presenter’s information. This isn’t enough to make a positive first impression. Aside from the given, the first slide should have visuals that reflect the main characteristics of  your brand. It should also include something that represents the main concept of your presentation.

2. Short and steady wins the race

The rest of your investment PowerPoint should be brief and concise. Business guru Guy Kawasaki suggests that you limit your entire presentation to only 10 slides. While you shouldn’t take this as a hard-and-fast rule, it’s a great guide to keep in mind.

By limiting yourself to roughly 10 slides, you’ll be mindful to only include the most essential parts of your business plan. According to Kawasaki, these are the ten topics you should cover in your investment PowerPoint:

  • Problem
  • Your solution
  • Business model
  • Underlying magic/technology
  • Marketing and sales
  • Competition
  • Team
  • Projections and milestones
  • Status and timeline
  • Summary and call to action

3. Show, don’t tell

Investment PowerPoint slides
Check out our portfolio to see these slides in action.

Utilize the technology available to you and incorporate multimedia elements to your investment PowerPoint.

Use pictures, videos, or animations to demonstrate the idea you’re pitching. Your audience will find it engaging. They’ll be able to grasp your concepts better, becoming more likely to put their money behind it.

4. Be passionate and driven about your story

Potential investors won’t believe in what you’re presenting if you’re half-hearted about it yourself. There should be a powerful story at the heart of your investment PowerPoint pitch deck.

And this story is something that you should truly care about. As best-selling author Carmine Gallo said, passion is among the top factors that ultimately influences investment decisions.

Conclusion

Following these steps, your investment PowerPoint pitch deck will definitely give you leverage. But if you still feel unsure, you can consider consulting with us.

Our team of professional PowerPoint experts will ensure that your slides are helping you put the best foot forward with a great PowerPoint design.

References

Gallo, Carmine. “5 Must-Have Presentation Tips For Pitching To Angel Investors.” Forbes. Accessed June 19, 2014.
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.” Guy Kawasaki. December 30, 2005. Accessed June 19, 2014.

Technology PowerPoint: Developing a Killer Presentation for Your Video Game Pitch

Just like a traditional sales proposal, a video game pitch includes a summary that highlights a game’s selling points to a prospective publisher.

It details how profitable the game would be if ever the publisher agrees to develop or fund it. For an independent game developer pitching a game idea to an established publisher, a technology PowerPoint can help communicate any concept more effectively.

Select the X Meets Y Formula

To grab your prospect’s attention, creating a very short version of your pitch would be a great idea. It gives you a way to set the stage for a longer concept pitch.

The best shortcut for this would be the formula:  X meets Y. For example, Warcraft is Dune II meets The Lord of the Rings. Got it? Another example: Max Payne, which is any John Woo film meets The Matrix. Mash-ups of well-known properties or genres may be a bit unimaginative, but it allows your audience to grasp your idea much faster.

If you can’t explain the concept quickly, your prospect might assume that your game isn’t ready yet for primetime and reject your proposal. A short pitch offers a great way for you to explain what your game is all about.

Level Up with Visuals

Technology PowerPoint presentations work best when they feature graphics and imagery.

When pitching to gaming companies, we can’t stress enough how important visual aids are. Compared to the way it handles textual data, our brain processes graphic information way faster.

Additionally, people in the industry are visual thinkers and communicators. When you use visual aids, you are speaking their language and thus, giving your idea a chance to be assessed in a better light.

It would be great if you can come up with a professionally produced pre-production art to accompany your technology PowerPoint slides. It creates the impression that you put so much thought into your proposal.

technology-powerpoint

 

Structure Your Proposal

While it is great to prepare a short pitch, it also pays to have a more detailed proposal handy. It should include all important details about your game.

The following are some of the information that you shouldn’t forget:

The High Concept – Pretty much like an elevator pitch, the high concept explains your idea as accurate as possible in a short sentence. Take note of the following gaming high concepts and learn:

  • Minecraft: Construct a 3D world with other players.
  • Unreal world: Survival game set in the Iron Age.
  • Super Mario: A platform game with a surreal world setting.
  • Sonic: A fast-paced platform game that features a fast hedgehog
  • Pacman: Navigate a maze while grabbing all the dots and avoiding bad guys.
  • Angry Birds: Slingshot birds at enemy pigs in this physics-based game.

Genre – The concept of genre in the gaming industry often has more to do with a game’s position in the shelves than its design or story. In general, a game’s genre is classified based on their type of gameplay.

Some of the most common video game genres are the following:

  • Adventure – Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider
  • Strategy – Warcraft, Age of Empires
  • Role Playing Game (RPG) – Diablo, Final Fantasy
  • Shooter – Doom, Half-Life
  • Platformer – Super Mario Bros. Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Fighting – Street Fighter, Tekken

Other elements that you should include in your game technology PowerPoint are the in-game story, setting, target audience, hardware platforms, marketing, and risk analysis. You should also tackle the gameplay description and features. If there’s still time, focus on the mechanics to show how players will interact with the game. You can start by describing the story to capture attention.

Then, shift your focus on what makes your gameplay different from other games of its kind.

Pitching a video game idea is not all fun and games. So be sure that you practice. A lot. For the win.

Enhance Your PowerPoint Presentation Design with Video Clips

We’ve discussed playing your slides on loop, but here’s another PowerPoint tutorial for you. Did you know that you can easily embed videos to your slide deck? Consider adding a short clip to your slides.

It’s an effective way to engage your audience, especially if you’re working with a younger crowd. Although the majority of the population leaning towards visual learning would be engaged enough with images, videos make your slides even more visual, adding another dimension to the usual presentation design.

Compared to an image – like a picture or a diagram – a video clip is a culmination of sensory engagement on a slide. As long as your video of choice is relevant to your pitch, then it may definitely help leverage your points.

Here’s a quick rundown of how you can add motion to your deck, and what you need to take note of as you embed this media file on your slides:

Consider video formats

There are several video formats, and it’s important you consider which one can work best for your PowerPoint presentation design. Some formats allow for larger, higher quality videos. Other formats compress videos into a smaller size. A smaller file size means that they’re easier to share.

These are the video file formats that PowerPoint supports:

  • Windows Media Video File (.wmv)
  • Windows Media File (.asf)
  • Audio Video Interleave (.avi)
  • Movie File (.mpg)
  • MP4 Video File (.mp4, .m4v, .mov)
  • Adobe Flash Media (.swf)

You can read more about the specifics of each of these file types here. Knowing what clip type would work best on the slide will save you the trouble of clips that can’t be embedded, or worse, won’t load once you start your slide show.

How to add videos to your slides

The newer versions of Microsoft PowerPoint (2010 onwards) allow you to add videos in just a few steps. In this tutorial, we’ll be using PowerPoint 2010.

You have two options.

Option 1: You can go to the Insert tab and choose the Video icon in the Media group.

embedding video ppt 02

Option 2: From the Placeholder in your slide, click on the Video icon that says ‘Insert Media Clip‘.

embedding video ppt 01

 

Both options will prompt a dialogue box allowing you to choose video files from your computer.

You can add videos you’ve made yourself, or clips you’ve downloaded online. If there are videos from YouTube or other video streaming sites that you’d like to use, you can download them using free tools available online like ClipConverter and KeepVid. A quick Google search will help you find one that works best for you.

Conclusion

Videos can definitely add a unique life to your slide. While images may engage the viewers’ gaze, the unique function of a multimedia slide can help pique their interests further.

Try out this new feature of PowerPoint to gain positive attraction. If you’re unsure of how to incorporate videos into an appropriately interesting deck, set up a consultation with a presentation guru today! All it takes is 15 minutes.

 

Reference

Gordon, Whitson. “What’s the Difference Between All These Video Formats, and Which One Should I Use?Lifehacker. Accessed June 19, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Daniel STL via flickr.com

Adding Visuals to Your Technology PowerPoint

Visuals are crucial to technology PowerPoint presentations. Whether you’re an engineer or a software developer, your content will have concepts most people are unfamiliar with. Despite its specific nature, which does cater to a specific type of audience, not everyone might appreciate long walls of text in your tech presentation.

Using diagrams and content inspired images will definitely help an audience overwhelmed with technical talk. Aside from this, your pitch will benefit from catering to people’s responsiveness to visual stimulus. Short attention spans may be alleviated with visual representations of data that present your key points statistics neatly.

Here’s what you should know about creating visually-engaging technology PowerPoint presentations:

Use images that illustrate content

According to presentation expert Dave Paradi, visuals in PowerPoint presentations fall into two categories. The images you use are either ‘design’ visuals’ or ‘content visuals’. The first one serves a purely aesthetic purpose. The latter refers to pictures that illustrate key points.

Your technology PowerPoint should make use of content visuals. Choose images that perfectly illustrate the concepts you’re trying to impart.

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Don’t get us wrong—your PowerPoint shouldn’t be without design. The pictures you use serve a double purpose: 1) helping your audience understand a difficult concept; and 2) engaging their aesthetic sensibilities.

Here’s an example from our extensive technology PowerPoint portfolio:

Technology PowerPoint slide with content-driven images by SlideGenius

You’ll see how a complex concept has been cut down to the gist. With minimal text and expressive graphics, the objects on the slide portray its core message. This shows that you don’t need an entire excerpt from your reference and research. You can cut this down while still being substantial with images.

Where does the rest of the information go? Showing instead of telling on the slide actually leaves more room for you to verbally expound on your points. This helps you establish an emotional connection with your audience, and further engage them with your body language and tone of voice.

Simplify complicated concepts through diagrams

Some concepts are more complicated than others, requiring detailed explanations. In your technology PowerPoint, use diagrams to break down concepts into their most essential parts.

PowerPoint makes this easy with the SmartArt function. Just look for it in the Insert tab and you’ll find a gallery of diagram templates. All you have to do is choose the one that’s most appropriate for your content.

Use SmartArt to make diagrams in your technology PowerPoint

Although these options are available in PowerPoint, there are specific sites online that specialize in just diagram creation. If you’d like to design your own diagram, you can head to Gliffy.com. Gliffy is one such site that lets users experiment with diagrams until they find one that’s fit for their purposes.

technology powerpoint 04
*Note: You’ll need to register to save your creations
Get as creative as you’d like. Just remember to keep your diagram as simple as possible. Having too many arrows branching out to too many shapes might end up baffling your audience even more.

 

Reference

Design Visuals vs. Content Visuals.” Think Outside The Slide. February 05, 2013. Accessed June 18, 2015.

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Featured Image: Kate Ter Haar via Flickr

Four Elements of a Successful Presentation

What makes a successful presentation? When delivering a presentation, being a strong and confident speaker can help in engaging the audience.

The quality of your slides – the content and overall design – is another matter. You also have to consider other elements such as the venue and its effect on your delivery.

If it’s your first time to deliver a presentation, it’s okay to feel nervous. To help you overcome the jitters and ensure the success of your presentation, here are some tips that you may want to keep in mind:

Quality Content

Regardless of your topic, avoid making its scope too broad. Try to be specific by focusing on three or four important points. It would be great to tackle them in such a way that the first point flows logically to the next and so on.

Make sure that your information is clear and logical. Present what your audience is expecting to learn and stick to your agenda. In case they want to know more about your topic, they will ask for sure. Just be prepared for their questions, though.

Engaging Slide Design

Use appropriate colors when designing your slides. Avoid too many color combinations to maintain a clean and professional look.

The same goes for the text. Keep it to a minimum by aiming for one point for each slide. Be sure that the text is large enough to be read even by people at the back of the room.

To enhance readability, the slide’s background color and the text should have great contrast. Resist the urge to use fancy fonts. Plain and simple font types would do for better readability.

Don’t forget to use images. You can always use pictures or graphics to enhance your presentations, not to decorate the slides but to support your points. So make sure to use relevant and high-quality images.

Prepared Venue

When it comes to the venue, some variables can either enhance or reduce the impact of your presentation. If possible, visit the place in advance and check for the following:

Is the presentation going to be held indoors?
Will it be in a hall or a boardroom?
Will it be darkened?
Is the room carpeted? Or will the sound bounce off bare floors, instead?

To further get the feel of the place and be more confident on the big day, you may want to rehearse your presentation in the actual venue.

Impressive Delivery

Your delivery can make or break your presentation. Make sure you have practiced your speech and the timing of your slides.

If possible, practice in front of a colleague and ask them to give genuine feedback. Recording your presentation using the record function in PowerPoint is also a great idea.

It can help you hear how you actually sound. If you notice anything off with your pitch or enunciation, make the necessary adjustments.