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You’re Doing It Wrong: PowerPoint Rules You Should Be Following

For years now, people have been relying on PowerPoint to communicate ideas, sell products, facilitate meetings, and conferences. Many presenters, however, still fall short and end up with lousy, poorly designed slides that do nothing but torture their audience. Thankfully, there are experts in the field who have set the rules or standards for others to follow.

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After a quick search, we found two sets of the most popular PowerPoint rules that many people subscribe to. Both may not be all-encompassing but they are excellent guidelines, nonetheless.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

Guy Kawasaki is a venture capitalist, among other things. If we’re going to talk about quality and importance of simplicity in presentation design, he’s the go-to, well, Guy. He practically listens to hundreds of pitches all the time, making him knowledgeable of what works and doesn’t. For him, a PowerPoint presentation should:

  • Feature 10 slides or less
  • Last no more than 20 minutes
  • Contain font not smaller than 30pt

This rule is applicable to pitches and office meetings. And because most people cannot absorb more than 10 concepts in a single meeting, it is best that you limit your presentation to 10 slides. The 20-minute duration should give you enough time to host a Q and A discussion afterwards. A 30-point typeface will make information on a slide large enough to be readable without making it look too crowded.

Seth Godin’s Five Rules for Creating Amazing Presentations

Seth Godin is a man of many interests and as a public speaker, he’s no stranger to PowerPoint presentations. He even wrote an e-book about it.

If you want to create an amazing presentation, here are the points we have taken from the book:

  1. Use no more than six words on every slide (If you include too much text, the audience will simply read the slides ahead of you).
  2. Do not use cheesy images and look for professional stock photos instead.
  3. Avoid fancy transitions such as dissolves, spins, etc, as these can be distracting, making you seem less professional.
  4. Use sound effects, but not the built-in types. You may want to rip from CDs or use the “Proust effect.”
  5. Do not provide print collateral at the start of the meeting. You want your audience to focus on the presentation, not read ahead of you.

Great presentations can trigger the right emotions, inspire change, and move people. These two sets of rules can raise the level of your next presentation from boring to life-changing. You don’t need to choose between the two, though. Applying both of them is sure to produce excellent results. But whatever you do, here’s another rule for you to remember. This one’s from presentation expert Nancy Duarte:

Never deliver a presentation you would not want to sit through.

Now, if there’s One PowerPoint Rule to rule them all, that would be it.

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PowerPoint Design Lessons from Iconic Brand Logos

A logo is crucial for any brand. The most iconic ones are easily recognizable, encompassing the story of an entire brand. Consumers don’t need to take much time to discern it. A good logo can tell them a lot about a certain product or service with just a single look.

The same thing should be said about your PowerPoint design. Like McDonald’s famous golden arches and Nike’s Swoosh, an effective PowerPoint deck can speak volumes without being too complicated or overwrought.

Here are a few PowerPoint design lessons we can learn from the most iconic brand logos:

Be consistent with your message

In 2010, Gap launched a new logo on their official website, but it didn’t last long. Customers took to social media to complain about the change. Loyal fans threatened to stop shopping at Gap stores. They felt the new logo didn’t portray the classic American feel they’ve come to love about the clothes. A week later, after an attempt to crowdsource a better design, the company reverted back to its original logo.

 

powerpoint design lesson: gap new logo vs old
The current Gap logo was momentarily replaced until fans took to social media and complained.

Gap’s mistake was to move away from the message their consumers love most about their brand. The stories their clothes told was that of timelessness. The new logo certainly felt disjointed from their identity.

Similarly, your PowerPoint design should always be coherent with the core message you want to impart. Choose colors, images, and other design elements that are consistent with the theme of your presentation. For example, if you’re presenting in a more corporate setting, it would be inappropriate to use loud and bright colors.

Tell a good story

Did you know that Apple’s iconic logo was inspired by Isaac Newton’s discovery of gravity? Seems pretty fitting for a company who has pioneered several innovations in the past several years. Apple’s first logo showed a picture of Newton under an apple tree and incorporated a quote from Wordsworth that said, “Newton… a mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought…alone.” Steve Jobs later asked to have it replaced with a sleeker and simpler design that still represents the same narrative.

powerpoint design lesson: apple logo black
The Apple logo has changed through the years but it kept its iconic single icon.

As we’ve mentioned previously, a presentation can benefit from a great story. But you can also apply the same philosophy to your PowerPoint design by following the example of Apple’s logo. Enhance your slides with images or illustrations that have their own story. Choose an icon that may have symbolic significance (like the apple), or a picture that is composed with its own narrative. Don’t go with easy choices like cheesy stock photos.

Keep it simple

The original Google logo was created in 1998 using GIMP, a free graphics program. It showed the word Google in the Baskerville typeface with each letter in a different color. The logo evolved over time, but it kept its simplicity. Today, the Google logo is among the most recognizable. Despite its minimal design, it tells a powerful story. Ruth Kedar said of her design: “We ended up with the primary colors, but instead of having the pattern go in order, we put a secondary color on the L, which brought back the idea that Google doesn’t follow the rules.”

powerpoint design lesson: Google logo 2013
The Google logo was updated to follow the ‘flat design’ trend in 2013.

Just like Google’s logo, your PowerPoint design should remain simple. It’s not just about keeping your design easy on the eyes. It’s also important to make sure that your audience can easily pick up your key points without getting distracted by too many elements.

 

References

Ellis, Blake. “New Gap Logo Ignites Firestorm.” CNNMoney. Accessed July 21, 2014.
Weiner, Juli. “New Gap Logo, Despised Symbol of Corporate Banality, Dead at One Week.” Vanity Fair. Accessed July 21, 2014.

 

Featured Image: Miguel Vaca via flickr.com
Logos from Wikimedia Commons 

Map Out Your Presentation With Mind Mapping

Designing an effective PowerPoint requires careful planning and preparation. You can start by writing an outline with a pen and paper.

If you’re more comfortable using a computer, then you may use a word processor such as Microsoft Word. If you want to take it up a notch, think about using a mind mapping tool instead.

Visual Representations

Mind mapping offers you a great way to brainstorm and give your ideas visual representations. It’s a process that combines imagery, color, and strategic arrangement of other visual elements.

Compared to manual note-taking, mind mapping has been proven to improve information recall mostly due to the use of images. With a large number of the population leaning towards visual learning, graphic representations of data is more easily processed than just walls of text.

In other words, it’s a perfect way not just to plan but also to deliver your PowerPoint presentation. It’s not just for your audience’s eyes, either. You yourself can benefit from this by looking at organized ideas that are easier to digest.

Powerful Program

Although you can create mind maps manually, there are different mind mapping tools available online that you can either purchase or download for free. Leverage your mind mapping skills with the use of powerful programs that help you organize your ideas more efficiently.

iMindMap, for example, is one of the most powerful mind mapping programs available today.

With this tool, you can create topic “branches” organically as if you are manually drawing a visual map. The program will draw and arrange the topics as you focus on typing the keywords of each topic.

mind mapping

One of the best features of iMindMap is its presentation mode. This feature animates your maps easily, allowing branches of topics to grow spontaneously. It also features a “presenter” view.

As you present, your own notes are made visible to you along with the menu bar that controls the presentation. What your audience can see, however, are just your mind maps.

iMindMap also offers the capability to make a recording of your voice, which you can then attach to a map branch.

Exportable Ideas

Another advantage of using mind mapping software is that your ideas become more exportable and accessible to collaborators.

ConceptDraw is an example of an efficient mind mapping tool that works by connecting mind maps and business processes such as sending tweets and making a presentation.

Using ConceptDraw’s presentation mode, you may zoom or pan around your mind map and collapse or expand the nodes in ways that would make sense to your audience.

conceptdraw

If you prefer to deliver your presentation using PowerPoint, you can simply export your mind map, either as a text outline or as a series of slides.

There’s a good reason why mind mapping is suitable for creating presentation. It can engage the audience’s attention faster, thanks to its visual structure. The process also allows you, the presenter, to explore ideas in a larger space.

 

Reference

Mind Maps®: A Powerful Approach to Note-Taking.” MindTools.com. Accessed June 13, 2014.

Why It Matters to Have a Quality Healthcare PowerPoint

As the healthcare industry continues to grow, more and more medical professionals are relying on PowerPoint presentations for various purposes. Healthcare PowerPoint presentations are used to train residents and students, inform the market, or pitch to investors. The problem, however, is that many presentations lack the professional edge to inspire, motivate, or convince effectively.

If you’re satisfied with an underwhelming presentation, be warned that it can do more harm than good – especially to your professional image.

Boosts the Learning Process

As with any training materials, the design of your PowerPoint presentation must be appealing enough to motivate the participants to listen and learn. Moreover, your slides should make it easy for your audience to absorb information easily. Otherwise, they’d end up experiencing information overload.

When you create your presentation, it’s important that you consider those factors. If you’re having trouble converting your training topics into an engaging PowerPoint, you may want to ask the help of professional PowerPoint designers.

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The learning process is improved when you focus your audience’s attention on important parts of the presentation. With a professionally designed presentation, you’ll get slides that are free from unnecessary details, such as inappropriate background sounds, fancy animations, or slide transitions, etc.

Simplifies Information

Medical and healthcare professionals tend to use industry-related jargon and data when communicating with each other. This can be unfavorable, however, when presenting new products to the market. Presentations with too many technical terms can alienate the audience and thus, fail to achieve results. One effective work around that professionals do is to use minimal text and employ graphics.

healthcare powerpoint 2

Graphs and charts are useful as well.

healthcare powerpoint 4

The whole idea is to make all information simple enough to be understood by the client.

Grabs Attention

Whether you’re pitching to fellow medical professionals or people outside your industry, your healthcare PowerPoint presentation should be engaging enough without relying on too many bells and whistles. Colors, animations, and background sounds can be helpful, but they should be used with great care. Otherwise, they will distract your audience or worse, annoy them.

Colors, animations, and background sounds can be helpful, but they should be used with great care. Otherwise, they will distract your audience or worse, annoy them.

You should also remember that quality healthcare PowerPoint presentations generate a “wow” reaction as early as the first slide.

With a well-designed first slide, the audience members will just sit back, relax and say “Tell me more,” as you begin your introduction – instead of being compelled to impatiently blurt out, “Next slide, please.”

healthcare powerpoint

 

Conclusion

Designing PowerPoint presentation for any industry comes with challenges. The key is to know enough about your subject and plan your every step.

There are lots of resources available online to help you out should you hit a snag. Or better yet, get the assistance of professional PowerPoint designers. You can always count on them to create well-designed, high-quality PowerPoint healthcare presentations.

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References

Berman, Jillian. “Health Care Industry Will Create 5.6 Million More Jobs By 2020: Study.” The Huffington Post. June 21, 2012. Accessed May 28, 2014.

Designing a ‘How It Works’ Slide That Works

Do you find it difficult to explain to someone how a product, service, or process works? If your business involves selling new products or you’re constantly introducing new service features, then you’ll need an easy way to explain things. This is where the “How It Works” slides come in.

Explaining how certain things work is one of the most common uses of presentation slides. Done right, a “how it works” PowerPoint can be effective for product demos, process flow illustrations, or pitching a business idea. To help you get started out, here are some ways you can make this type of slide work:

Lay it out

PowerPoint has several types of slide layouts. The default type comes with two boxes: The text box at the top, which is for the title of the slide, and the middle box, which is a multipurpose placeholder for text, graphics, or any content types.

For this purpose, however, you may choose the blank layout type and then simply insert the content that you need. Or better yet, as with the above slide, choose the Title Only template before putting all the other elements. To enhance the effect of your slide, feel free to choose from the Shapes and SmartArt Graphics.

Be consistent with colors

This one is pretty basic although there are still those who take it for granted. Buffer‘s Leonhard Widrich writes about how color schemes can affect our perception of a brand. The more recognizable colors have effectively been associated with specific brands, while those that were more difficult to point out didn’t have such a good color combination.

Similarly, presentation slides should have similar color schemes as they can affect the overall impact of your message.

Using varying combinations for different slides can confuse your audience. So for best results, make the color scheme of your How It Works slide consistent with the rest of your deck. This also applies to the slide itself. Looking at the above sample, you’ll notice that the color of the iVoteLIVE logo is consistent with that of the template. Apart from that, most of the imagery (i.e., photos and graphics) have similar shades of colors. This makes the slide pleasant to look at.

Take it easy with texts

This is another common concern and when it comes to How It Works slides, we can’t stress enough its importance. The purpose of slides is to describe visually something you can’t explain verbally. Why spend 15 minutes explaining a new feature, when a couple of images will take you just a few seconds, right?

If you’re going to include some texts, make sure not to mix up the fonts and font sizes just for the heck of it. Otherwise, your slide will appear visually confusing. Take a look at the sample again. While the format of the texts describing the consumers is different from the texts indicating the features (iVoteLive computer interface, Live Program Broadcasts), they still work because each group has specific purpose.

In short, they are not randomly mixed up.

The Takeaway: Engage with imagery

In general, images can make it easier for people to understand and remember ideas. So use relevant imagery instead of text in parts where you think a visual element would work better. When using images, though, be sure that they are of appropriate quality.

For scanned images, the ideal resolution is between 150 dpi (when precise color reproduction is not required) and 300 dpi (if you need higher quality images).

As much as possible, do not take images from the Internet as they usually of a very low quality and might pixelate when projected on a screen.

 

Reference

Widrich, Leonhard. “Why Is Facebook Blue? The Science of Colors in Marketing.” The Huffington Post. January 16, 2014. Accessed May 20, 2014.

Why We Are Different: Highlighting Your Competitive Edge

Today, most mainstream markets are becoming more saturated and difficult to penetrate, especially for budding entrepreneurs. This leads to companies and brands simply imitating each other in terms of features and benefits. But for those in these precarious market situations, customers have heard it all, and they’re not that impressed.

Defining your competitive edge can help establish your unique position in the market. With clearly defined benefits and features, your customers will know what really makes you a cut above the competitors and what steps you need to take to maintain that position.

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Here’s how you can craft a slide stating your specific advantages:

Say it Fast

The “Why We Are Different” slide is a common fixture in corporate profile presentations.

Ironically, many organizations use the same strategy in describing the things that differentiate them from the crowd: They use bullet points. Enumerating your best qualities isn’t exactly the best way to present your competitive edge. If you can say it one sentence, the stronger your impact will be.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be leaving out important details from your slide. It only means compressing the important points in one non-highfalutin and simple-to-understand sentence. Since we’re talking about customers who are tired of hearing the same things over and over, a brief but enlightening slide is a breath of fresh air for their tired gaze. Try to be as concise as possible in your slide. Don’t go off on tangent unless necessary.

why we are different

Back it Up

Another effective way to describe your edge over the competition is this: Don’t make it about the competition.

Make it client-driven. You can do this by identifying your customer base and describing the solution to their problem.

For most of your customers, you are the ideal provider not because of flashy advertising or due to popular choice, but because you are able to address their needs and challenges. In an interview with LoyalBlocks’ Ido Gaver, Kevin Daum enumerates the ways you can back up your statements and show your sincerity.

Show people that their loyalty to you has perks—whether it’s in terms of addressing them personally, or giving them perks like promos and freebies. Build and maintain your competitive edge on that opportunity.

Say it Loud

Now that you have an idea of what your competitive edge really is, it’s time to declare it to the world using your slide. You don’t need to use big, highfalutin words.

Simple words would be enough, as long as they sound sincere, not condescending and inappropriate. Use images to support your text. Make sure they are relevant and do not detract from what you want to say. An effective slide that aims to set you apart from the competition will only succeed if you bring together strategic techniques to the table.

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Why We Are Different: Creating A Slide That Highlights Your Competitive Edge

Today, most mainstream markets are becoming more and more saturated and difficult to penetrate, especially for budding entrepreneurs. This leads to companies and brands simply imitating each other in terms of features and benefits. But for those in these precarious market situations, customers have heard it all, and they’re not that impressed.

Defining your competitive edge can help establish your unique position in the market. With clearly defined benefits and features, your customers will know what really makes you a cut above the competitors and what steps you need to take to maintain that position.

Here’s how you can craft a slide stating your specific advantages:

Say it Fast

The “Why We Are Different” slide is a common fixture in corporate profile presentations.

Ironically, many organizations use the same strategy in describing the things that differentiate them from the crowd: They use bullet points. Enumerating your best qualities isn’t exactly the best way to present your competitive edge. If you can say it one sentence, the stronger your impact will be.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be leaving out important details from your slide. It only means compressing the important points in one non-highfaluting and simple-to-understand sentence. Since we’re talking about customers who are tired of hearing the same things over and over, a brief but enlightening slide is a breath of fresh air for their tired gaze. Try to be as concise as possible in your slide. Don’t go off on tangent unless necessary.

why we are different

Back it Up

Another effective way to describe your edge over the competition is this: Don’t make it about the competition.

Make it client-driven. You can do this by identifying your customer base and describing the solution to their problem.

For most of your customers, you are the ideal provider not because of flashy advertising or due to popular choice, but because you are able to address their needs and challenges. In an interview with LoyalBlocks’ Ido Gaver, Kevin Daum enumerates the ways you can back up your statements and show your sincerity.

Show people that their loyalty to you has perks — whether it’s in terms of addressing them personally, or giving them perks like promos and freebies. Build and maintain your competitive edge on that opportunity.

Say it Loud

Now that you have an idea of what your competitive edge really is, it’s time to declare it to the world using your slide. You don’t need to use big, highfalutin words.

Simple words would be enough, as long as they sound sincere, not condescending and inappropriate. Use images to support your text. Make sure they are relevant and do not detract from what you want to say. An effective slide that aims to set you apart from the competition will only succeed if you bring together strategic techniques to the table.

 

Reference

Daum, Kevin. “7 Great Ways to Build Customer Loyalty.” Inc.com. January 13, 2014. Accessed May 15, 2014.

Be Creative with Your Deck: Tips on Creating An Effective Team Slide

A pitch presentation is critical to clinching an important deal. Apart from polishing your pitch, though, it pays to prepare a slide deck about your team.

Potential partners are not only investing in your idea, they’re also putting their money on your team. They certainly would want to get to know the people who are going to make the endeavor a success.

 

GT Channel TeamA compelling story about your team can help establish your organization’s credibility and professionalism. So your team slide should leave a great impression.

To help you out, here are some tips on how to create a team slide that rocks.

Less is more

The primary purpose of creating the team slide is to highlight the group’s past accomplishments. This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to list every project everyone has ever worked on.

This will only overload the slide with too many details. As with any other type of slide, keep in mind that less is more.

One for all, all for one

The best way to present your team is to acknowledge their individual qualities before underscoring their overall aptitude as a group.

Start by highlighting each member’s qualifications for the project and showing how they are relevant. You may also give a short account of each one’s duties while emphasizing the expertise that they bring to the table individually.

After focusing on each of their strengths, emphasize their qualities as a team. Bring to the fore their capability to work together and how they complement each other as a productive group.

Short but sweet

Make your team introduction as short as possible. Ideally, the team slide should include three or four key players of your company. In about 30 seconds, you should be able to show everything about them that the investors would want to know.

Establishing the credibility and competence of your team is part of convincing potential investors with your pitch. With an impressive team slide, you have a better chance of making a compelling case for your team.

Helpful Tools for Designing Presentations

Have you ever been impressed by an exceptional presentation that it made you wonder how the presenter had done it? We’re going to let you in on a secret.

Behind every successful presentation are a bunch of design and productivity tools. To give you some ideas, here are some of the tools for designing presentations that experts commonly use:

For organizing ideas

Taking down notes is an essential part of the brainstorming process to come up with presentation ideas. Many of us, however, are not used to putting thoughts on paper anymore. In this case, a mind mapping software will come in handy. Mind mapping involves drawing bits of information in diagram form instead of writing them in complete sentences. And in place of pen and paper, you can use a software application to create the diagrams.

Xmind is the one of the most popular mind mapping software out there. It’s packed with so many features yet easy to use. Best of all, it’s free.This program lets you create a concept map from scratch or with the help of its templates. Apart from the templates, it also comes with a number of charts that you can choose from for different purposes. This makes Xmind not only one of the best tools for designing presentations but it is also great for improving your productivity in general.

For creating attractive graphs and charts

Data-driven presentations can be hard to pull off. Failure would mean exposing your audience to torturous, boredom-inducing barrage of information. The best workaround would be to use charts and graphs. Creating such visuals can be tiresome, though. Especially for those of us who are not that good with Microsoft Excel. Thankfully, there’s a tool that can serve as a guide in the process of creating charts.

Oomfo is a plugin for Microsoft PowerPoint that helps users create engaging charts in presentations. With its user-friendly interface, you can create a wide range of charts that range – from the basic bar types to the more complicated ones such as the interactive waterfall chart.

For taking screenshots

Incorporating some screenshots in your presentation can help illustrate the points you are trying to make. However, you can’t simply rely on the Print Screen key on your keyboard. Sure, it’s handy but it offers a very limited capability. For one, you will have to paste the captured screenshot into an image editor such as Microsoft Paint or Adobe Photoshop before you can save or manipulate it. For a more efficient solution, you may want to check out Skitch.

Skitch is a screen capture tool that doesn’t just take a screenshot but also allows you to annotate it if you need to clarify your point further. You may choose to instantly save the screenshot as a JPG, BMP, PNG, or TIFF file. Skitch also lets you perform modifications to your screen shots. You can resize, flip, crop, and rotate the resulting images and archive them for use at a later date.

Creating a presentation involves more than just putting together a bunch of PowerPoint slides. With the right tools, a professional presenter can make his presentations remarkable and effective in getting his message across.

Adobe Programs for Enhancing Presentation Designs

As we all know, PowerPoint presentations are highly useful for sharing information. We use it to educate, train, motivate, or even to sell. Not all pitch deck presentations are created equal, though. To be effective, your slide decks should be well organized and carry strong visuals. And when it comes to creating visual elements, practically no other tools are as powerful as the Adobe programs.

Below are some of the Adobe applications that can enhance your next presentation design:

Adobe Photoshop

Microsoft PowerPoint is considered the industry standard for presentation tools. Adobe Photoshop, on the other hand, continues to set the bar for image editing. When you combine the features of these programs, you have a great chance of creating an effective presentation.

Custom backgrounds are among the great things that presenters can create with Photoshop. While you can always use PowerPoint’s preloaded templates, your presentation will only end up looking bland and generic. A Photoshop-created background, on the other hand, will allow your presentation to stand out and look professional.

To create your own background, simply choose an image that you want to use. Open it in Photoshop and edit it accordingly. After saving your personalized background image, insert it into the PPT by right-clicking on the slide and then selecting “Format Background.”  One reminder, though. Make sure that the image you use is appropriate to the theme of your presentation design. Otherwise, it will distract your audience.

Adobe Illustrator

Illustrator can produce just about any type of images, making it perfect for web graphics, marketing collateral, and, of course, PowerPoint presentations. A vector-based tool, Illustrator is quite different from Photoshop (which is raster-based). This means it works using lines and curves unlike Photoshop, which does its job on a pixel level.

Using vectors created in Illustrator has some advantages over Photoshop-edited images. For one, vector objects are scalable. You can change their size without worrying about quality loss.

When you create an image in Illustrator, make sure to save it for PowerPoint. To do this, click File and then select “Save For Microsoft Office.” Choose a location for the file, then enter a filename before clicking Save. This command allows you create a PNG file that can be used not only in PPT but also in other Microsoft Office applications.

If you need to customize the PNG settings to improve resolution, transparency, or background color, you can just choose Export instead of the Save for Microsoft option.

Saving Files

Graphics imported into PowerPoint usually fall into two main categories: The Bitmap or Paint-Type and the Object-Oriented or Draw-Type.

It’s recommended that you choose widely used Bitmap types such as .JPG, .BMP, or .TIF files. Unusual files like QuickTime compressed, PICT, and EPS don’t often translate very well. So when you save or export images, determine the file type carefully to ensure a great looking final image.

References

Akhter, Aquil. “60 Beautiful Logo Design Tutorials And Resources.Smashing Magazine. April 30, 2009. Accessed April 28, 2014.
Bear, Jacci Howard. “What Is the EPS File Format?About.com. Accessed April 28, 2014.