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PowerPoint Storyboard: A Powerful Way to Share Your Ideas

Producing a corporate video – be it for sales, training, or any other business purposes – involves careful planning. To plan out your video effectively, one of the first things you need to do is to create a storyboard.

What’s a storyboard?

A storyboard is a shot-by-shot representation of how a video will unfold. It is typically composed of a series of frames with illustrations or images that represent each shot. Each frame also comes with short notes to explain what’s happening in the scene as well as script details (such as dialogues and directions).

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Advantages of creating a storyboard

Sharing your vision for your video is much easier using a storyboard. There are times when, no matter brilliant our idea is and how hard we try to explain it, people just couldn’t understand it.  With a storyboard, you can show your team how the video is going to unravel.  It will also make it easier for everyone to get behind your idea.

Storyboarding can also make production is relatively hassle-free. As you create a video storyboard, what you’re basically doing is setting up a production plan. You are laying out the shots needed as well as their sequence. And since you already have a guide, it also makes editing easier. In other words, the entire creation process can go smoothly.

Using PowerPoint to create your storyboard

PowerPoint has many features that can bring an ordinary storyboard to life. You can turn any idea into something graphic using shapes, text, animation, and all the other tools that PowerPoint provides.

You can use the Storyboard template in PowerPoint after installing Microsoft Visual Studio 2011. With Visual Studio, making storyboards is as easy as creating and working on new slides. To create a PowerPoint Storyboard, the first things that you should is write down everything that you want to show for every frame. You can use the program’s tools to illustrate your descriptions. Once you are done with a basic storyboard, you may want to add sound and transition effects to make it more interesting.

You can also use storyboards not just in creating videos but also in preparing presentation slides.

Storyboarding your presentation

To create a storyboard for your presentation, determine first the number of slides you will need. This would be dictated by the length of your entire presentation. Ideally, though, don’t use over five or six slides every 10 minutes. After that, simply follow the outline of your presentation script. Think about how to fit it into the sequential frames. Moreover, make sure that the slides show the key ideas clearly and logically.

By storyboarding your presentation, you will be able to express your ideas beyond the usual bullet points. Instead, the series of frames will help you translate information into something visual.

Staying Relevant: The Questions You Need to Ask before a Presentation

Why should I care? Everyone asks this question before making a decision.

Why should I get myself a new phone?”
Why should I care about this new car fuel?”
Why should I buy a $3 custom hand-crafted coffee instead of an instant mix?”

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According to author Jim Aitchison, these questions are all based on standards that people have built over the course of their lives.

If something they see meets these standards, it becomes relevant to them. This also applies to clients during business presentations: They need to know why they should care about your topic.

As presenters, it falls on you to make your pitch relevant. Relevance allows you to establish why the topic must matter to the people hearing it. If your topic offers no clear benefits or implications, you won’t establish a strong connection with your audience. Without that connection, it becomes harder for the audience to spend time listening to your pitch and buy your idea. Get an idea of your client’s standards to find out how you can

Get an idea of your client’s standards to find out how you can relate to them.

People Want Benefits

Your audience spends time and money to hear you out. Give them something interesting in return. Brand communication expert Carmine Gallo suggests explaining what your pitch means for them will immediately make your topic and presentation more relevant.

They Need To Connect the Dots

Now that you’ve presented what your topic is, tell the audience what they get out of it. Give a concise and exact description of what your idea does (Sullivan, 2008). Visual demonstrations can do more for you than verbal explanations can.

Will your new computer parts allow people to work faster? Will your new earning figures translate to tangible and enjoyable gains for the company? Answering these questions can tell interested parties why they should approve your proposal. Everything relies on your ability to connect the dots and establish how your topics affect the people you present it to.

They Want to Have Fun

When Steve Jobs presented the iPod Nano in 2005, he asked the audience what that smaller right-hand pocket inside your pants was for. Once that left the audience guessing, he pulled the device out of that pocket.

Jobs brought up a seemingly overlooked part of everyday fashion by making it useful and relevant. He presented a simple fun fact about his company’s new device instead of merely describing it verbally for a more memorable performance.

Your clients are ultimately the ones that will either approve or reject your pitch. Getting that approval and investment is the bread and butter of any salesperson.

Presenters must make an effort to make their topics relevant whenever possible. Find out which standards your clients use when making their decisions. Then, fine tune your business presentation’s content.

Convince your clients that their hard-earned money will be well invested and have tangible benefits for everyone involved.

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Adding Visuals to Your Technology PowerPoint.” SlideGenius, Inc. Accessed May 25, 2015.
Aitchison, J. (2004). Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print For Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore: Prentice Hall.
Gallo, C. (2010). The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. McGraw-Hill.
The Question to Answer for Effective Business Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 25, 2015. Accessed May 25, 2015.

Reduce and Simplify Like a PowerPoint Professional

Simplify and convince your clients that your idea, product, or service is worth investing in like a PowerPoint professional. Similar to how companies market and advertise their goods to their customers, you need a strategy that is both creative and effective enough to profit.

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You Main Advantage as a Presenter

Unlike a regular 30-second TV ad, you have more time to present your topic in front of your audience. While TV viewers switch channels the second an ad comes in, your clients are in the boardroom because they want to hear what you have to say.

The Catch

Even with a willing audience and a longer presentation window, you must convince them that they invested their time well by listening to you. At most, you have fifteen minutes to impress everyone in the room. Within that time frame, you need to show, not tell them why they should care about you and why they need to buy your offering.

The secret is reduction, a crucial principle of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, one of the world’s top advertising agencies.

Reducing your slide content means more space to define your topic by eliminating self-serving buzzwords, technical jargon, and verbal clutter to get straight to the point.

Reducing and Simplifying

Describe your topic in one word

This gives a more accurate picture of what you intend to present.

What does it do? What does it offer? What is it?

If you can describe it in one word, you’ve already started to sell it. This is why great brands can be summed up in one word for easy recall. This can last long after their 30-second TV ads have stopped airing. A few examples given by ad veteran, Luke Sullivan, are Coke refreshes, BMWs are performers, Volvos are safe, etc.

Imagine what would happen if these brands did the exact opposite. If Coke described itself as a carbonated drink with a fizzy flavor, would it have the same effect? Probably not. This also allows your audience to easily recall your topic even after the presentation is over.

Avoid lengthy descriptions

A wall of text and a long list of bullet points will kill your PowerPoint.

In his book, Aitchison notes that most effective ads, such as the Castlemaine XXXX Beer ad, kept their copy short and focused on visuals. This ad emphasized how much Australians loved Castlemaine XXXX, showing that this beer was the go-to brand.

You can only hold attention for so long, even with ten or twenty minutes at your disposal. Make your topics short and concise to make them more understandable.

Know Your Role

Once you reduce your topic down to the essentials, you can then describe its features and benefits. Is it a money-saving fuel variant? Is it a more comprehensive health insurance package? Is it a sweeter juice drink?

What does it do? More importantly, why should your audience care about it?

Steve Jobs described the iPod Nano in 2005 as the new device that offered the convenience of a thousand songs in your pocket, but with additional features.

Before building your pitch, answer three primary questions.

  • How can I summarize my topic in one word or sentence?
  • What can it offer for the audience?
  • Is there a visually appealing way to present it?

Simplifying is often harder than expounding, but according to Aitchison, the end result is more beneficial.

In the same way that brands use it for effective advertising, presenters can also use it for pitching their topics through PowerPoint.

You need your client to invest in your proposal, the same way brands like Coke, Apple, and BMW need customers to buy their products.

To do that, make sure that your clients remember enough of what you say. Keep it simple, all the way from your words, your speech, and to your slides.

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4 Tips to Make Your Presentation Clear and Concise.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 22, 2015. Accessed May 25, 2015.
Aitchison, Jim. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print For Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore: Prentice Hall. 2004
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Make Your Point: 5 Tips for Editing Presentation Content.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 09, 2014. Accessed May 25, 2015.

4 Tips to Make Your Presentation Clear and Concise

If you’re confident by how your slides turned out and your audience still tunes it out, take a step back and analyze how you speak.

It’s your job as the speaker to stimulate engagement and effectively get your message across.

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Here are four simple ways to help you deliver a clear and concise presentation.

Use Precise Words

There are many ways to express one idea, but clarity shouldn’t be sacrificed for novelty.

Cut down your speech while giving life to your words by using precise language. Choose words that most accurately depict what you want to convey.

Note the difference in the following paired sentences:

Good: “Some audiences prefer eye contact to establish strong emotional connections.”
Better: “70% of audiences use eye contact to form emotional connections.”

The second example gave an actual statistic to help the audience visualize what it truly meant. In the same way, let your audience know what exactly you’re talking about by giving more precise examples.

Use Familiar and Easy-to-Understand Words

Public speaking demands that the speaker is understood easily and instantly. It’s not the best time to show off your extensive vocabulary.

Your audience won’t have time to check their dictionaries, so keep your word choices simple and straight to the point. For example:

For example:
“A ubiquitous technique among presenters is the projection of a precarious method in order to indemnify their audience’s attention.”

The previous sentence is not only difficult to understand, it also makes the speaker seem highfalutin. This may cost you your credibility, so instead of difficult jargon, say “common” instead of “ubiquitous,” “risky” instead of “precarious,” and “ensure” instead of “indemnify.”

Use Short and Simply Constructed Sentences

Even the most intent listeners can lose track of long and complicated sentences.

Express complex ideas by using easily understood sentences. Refer to the following statements:

Good: “We are at the threshold of a crisis situation which threatens to destabilize the status quo and usher in the dawn of a new era of change.”
Better: “We have a crisis at hand. This threatens to destabilize the status quo and usher in a new era.”

The first example is too long-winded and confusing. The second one, on the other hand, punctuates two independent clauses and lets your listeners pause and think about each statement.

Provide Verbal Guideposts

Use verbal guideposts to signal the importance of ideas or a shift to another idea. These can come in the form of repetitions or transition signals.

Repetition allows you to emphasize an important thought.

“Presentations conducted in person are still effective. Yes, they are still effective in terms of establishing personal connections with your clients.”

This example uses repetition to emphasize the problem and add more information to the primary idea.

On the other hand, transitions are words, phrases, or sentences that show relationships and suggest movement between ideas.

“I have discussed the nature of the problem. Let me now discuss the solutions.”
“I have come to the most important part of my presentation. Please listen well.”

In both cases, the second sentences of each statement signal the start of the speaker’s discussion. Similarly, use transitions to let the audience know you’re about to discuss something important.

People’s attention spans are short. The bad news is that they’re getting even shorter. Best engage your listeners through clear and concise language.

Keep these four tips in mind next time you take the stage. Good luck and happy presenting!

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3 Ways to Cut Back Your Text-Heavy PowerPoint Slides.” SlideGenius Inc. February 24, 2015. Accessed May 22, 2015.
Cues.” Accessed May 22, 2015.
Self-Evaluation Guide after a PowerPoint Presentation.” SlideGenius Inc. Accessed May 22, 2015.
Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed May 22, 2015.

Applying the Rule of Thirds to Your PowerPoint Presentation

The rule of thirds is one of the most essential photography techniques. By dividing images into three vertical and horizontal lines, you create a grid with four intersecting points. These are called “power points.”

This guideline isn’t just for professional photographers, graphic designers, or artists. When applied properly, this principle allows stronger visuals in your PowerPoint design.

Image Credits: Conca
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What makes a good presentation design?

The good thing about this rule is that anyone can do it. Since visual communication is just as important as verbal communication, applying this to your presentation design can make it more interesting and striking especially when you’re conveying your message visually.

Where did it come from?

As mentioned by Conca’s Nico Simpson, the first mention of the rule of thirds appeared in the book Remarks on Rural Scenery (1797) by author and painter, John Thomas Smith.

Smith mentions the rule of thirds as a guide for good nature paintings. This principle works by dividing visual elements into three vertical and horizontal lines.

How can you apply this rule to your slides?

Here are three ways to incorporate the rule of thirds in your deck images:

Look for images that follow the Rule of Thirds.

With a simple Google search, you can easily find free-for-use photographs that already obey the rule of thirds.

Crop and position images to follow the Rule of Thirds.

If you can’t find an existing image, you can crop your own photographs so they follow this rule. You can use any photo editing software, such as Photoshop and GIMP, to edit your images.

Combine images with texts so that one or both obey the Rule of Thirds.

Prioritize images that have large areas of uniform color. You can also select those with a solid color background. If you’re doing business presentations, white works best in contrasting against images and text.

The example below shows how the blue piece is placed in the upper left focal point to make the layout visually striking.

Image Credits: Six Minutes


Placing images or texts over one of the intersecting grid’s power points creates balance to your presentation slides.

Once you successfully achieve this, your audience will be more interested in looking and appreciating your visual presentation.

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Canons of Rhetoric: Applying Invention to Presentations

Every presenter aims to craft a powerful speech that leaves the audience with lasting impact.

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The ancient Greeks and Romans were at the forefront of developing such effective speeches. Today, we’ve picked one canon of classical rhetoric to discuss how it can become the backbone of your presentation.

The History of Rhetorical Knowledge

Although the Ancient Egyptians were renowned orators, the Greeks were the first civilization to codify public speaking into what is now known as Rhetoric. It was the great philosopher, Aristotle, who introduced the basics of rhetorical knowledge. Speakers from Rome further developed the idea with further studies, which gave rise for the Five Canons of Rhetoric.

These phases were: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery, these canons serve as principal outlines for designing a persuasive speech.

Let’s focus on the rhetoric of invention.

What about Invention?

Roman scholars Cicero and Quintilian described invention as the process of developing and refining your argument. In the twentieth century, researchers reinvented it, considering it the most crucial process since it sets your message’s direction.

Does science come to mind when you see the word “invention?” This canon is a presentation science that you can use for smoother speeches.

Invention controls the whole idea of your main discussion. It lets you classify your key points so you can deliver the right spin required for each idea.

Doing research streamlines your thoughts automatically.

Applying Invention

When planning your persuasive piece, the invention phase is the start of your main idea. It’s like devising a new gadget where you need to collate facts and perform research collectively.

We’ve listed a few of Aristotle’s rhetorical topics to help you form your arguments:


Comparison comes after you’ve identified a specific issue to discuss. This is the stage where you can use playful language. Get the message across by using figures of speech like metaphors, similes, and even analogy.

Cause and Effect

The cause and effect relationship has been around for decades. Use this to establish a strong stand for your arguments, while also persuading your listeners to accept the whole idea.


The great thing about circumstance is that lets your audience determine what’s possible and impossible. Complement your argument with a realistic appeal by drawing facts and testimonies from reliable sources.

The rhetorical canon of invention offers a great framework for organizing your thoughts. If applied correctly, you’ll have fewer worries about delivering your speech with a more persuasive and effective lens.

Start your presentations right by mastering invention using the rhetorical way.

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Cicero’s Classical Canons of Rhetoric: Their Relevance and Importance to the Corporate Workplace.” April 23, 2008. Accessed April 29, 2015.
How to Organize Your Ideas with a Presentation Storyboard.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 1, 2014. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Improve Your Presentations with the Power of the Metaphor.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 17, 2014. Accessed April 29, 2015.
Newbold, Curtis. “How the 5 Rhetorical Canons (Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery) Will Make You More Persuasive.” The Visual Communication Guy. April 6, 2015. Accessed April 29, 2015.
McKay, Brett & Kate. “Classical Rhetoric 101: The Five Canons of Rhetoric – Invention.” The Art of Manliness. January 26, 2011. Accessed April 29, 2015.


Featured Image: “Hades and Persephone” from

How to Maximize Eye Contact for Presentations

A study from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that 70% of non-verbal communication is based on body language.

Among other forms of body language, eye contact plays a significant role in building a deeper connection with acquaintances, friends, and strangers. This proves that eye contact is an important part of interacting with other people.

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Eye Contact in Non-Verbal Communication

We often forget how much our eyes contribute to our daily interactions. In most cases, we’re unaware of how our gaze can make communication more powerful and effective.

The eyes are the most expressive parts of the human body. We can determine someone’s inner thoughts or feelings by just looking at their eyes.

Conveying positive emotions and confidence is essential for any effective presenter. This works the same way for your audience. Eckhard Hess, an American psychologist and ethnologist, discovered that the our pupils dilate when we are interested in a conversation. If the pupils contract, it shows disinterest. These, in a way, gauge how effectively you can establish rapport and persuade the audience.

Here are further reasons why eye contact is necessary:

It catches attention

People lose interest if they sense a lack of passion from the presenter. Once you’ve successfully established eye contact, show them that you’re confident to stand and talk in front of them. They’ll become more attentive and interested in your pitch.

It engages the audience

Speech coach Patricia Fripp writes about the positive effects of eye contact. According to Fripp, not only is it effective in convincing people, it also boosts self-esteem, another crucial factor in delivering a winning pitch.

If you conduct business presentations, establishing stable eye contact makes the audience feel that you’re interested in them, allowing you to build trust and rapport. Make them feel that they are involved in their presentation.

It makes a good impression

Great presenters avoid looking at their notes while speaking, letting their audience read and understand the message by making eye contact.

Your audience’s first impression of your performance can either increase or decrease your credibility. Doing well makes them understand that you are knowledgeable and confident.

How long should you maintain eye contact?

Leadership trainer Dan Rockwell advises presenters to keep eye contact for at least three to four seconds per person in each group.

If you’re discussing something that’s related to your subject, know when to pause so they can catch up to the ideas you’re highlighting.

It takes practice to master eye contact.

Learn and practice this technique to achieve your audience’s expectations.

Since the eyes convey your emotions, you need to give off a friendly yet confident impression for your audience during presentations.

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“Build Emotional Connection Through Good Eye Contact.” Patricia Fripp. 2009. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Hess, Eckhard H. “The Role of Pupil Size in Communication.” Sci Am Scientific American 233, no. 5 (1975): 110-19.
Power Your Presentations with These Body Language Tips.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2014. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Presentation Tips: 5 Easy Ways to Establish Your Credibility.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 04, 2014. Accessed May 21, 2015.
Rockwell, Dan. “Secrets to Great Presentations.” Leadership Freak. June 18, 2014. Accessed June 21, 2015.