Slidegenius, Inc.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Slide Design

We here at SlideGenius have witnessed far too many glaring mistakes on homemade PowerPoint presentations that make us want to pull our hair out. Unfortunately, what seems like common sense to us concerning what and what not to do with slide design is often lost on amateur PowerPoint creators.

When giving a corporate presentation (or a presentation of any importance, for that matter), we highly recommend going to the pros and employing the expertise of a PowerPoint specialist, but when you decide to do it yourself, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to pay attention to on your slides.

In this slide designed by SlideGenius, the text is a compliment to the presenter. By phrasing the bullet points as questions, it keeps the emphasis on the speaker.


DO: Keep it simple and concise. Your audience should be listening, not reading.

DON’T: Avoid using your slides as your notes to read off of. Your slides are there for your audience, not you.


Poorly designed PowerPoint Slide
Choose your background and text color with extreme caution, because a mistake like this shows carelessness and a lack of attention to detail.

DO: Use color in the background of your slides to emphasize emotion. Be creative, but conservative. Check out our full post on color psychology for specifics.

DON’T: Be wary about making your background and text color too similar. There’s nothing more amateur than showing up with an illegible PowerPoint presentation.


DO: Simplify, break them up. Visually represent if possible. Avoid unless they’re a key part of your message.

DON’T: Tables, don’t use them to present information. Feather pillows are less conducive to sleep than a table full of figures to an audience.


DO: If you’ve had experience with graphic design, this can be utilized to make your presentation much more engaging. Presenting information in unique ways can keep your audience’s attention much more effectively.

Nonexistent guy shocked at PowerPoint animations
“Oh my God, how did they do those slide transitions? It’s terrifyingly wonderful and impressive!” -Said no one ever.

DON’T: You won’t impress anyone with your knowledge of how to make the words zoom across the page at the beginning of each slide. Don’t go overboard with animations, because they’re often more distracting than anything else.

While it’s fun to be creative and experiment with new design methods, it’s important to remember that a PowerPoint presentation is not a work of art, it’s a tool used to convey information. High-end designing is best left to the professionals.


Lessons from The Godfather: How to Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

“Italians have a little joke, that the world is so hard a man must have two fathers to look after him, and that’s why they have godfathers.”

-Tom Hagen, the Godfather’s consigliore

Well in our boundless affinity for Mario Puzo’s trilogy, we’ve found that the Don’s wisdom reaches all the way into the world of presentation consulting!

It seems as though sometimes, the best advice comes from where you least expect it. Though he may not be a presentation expert, here are 4 lessons Don Corleone can teach you about making an offer your audience can’t refuse, which can be applied immediately to any corporate presentation:

  1. Have a clear message and tangible vision. Michael Corleone makes it clear that he has a plan to evolve his illicit family dealings into a completely legal and officially recognized business.  In the beginning of the second film, Michael describes this dream to Kay, his wife, claiming how “in 5 years our [his] family business will be completely legitimate.” While he never achieves this goal, the Don pushes himself and those around him in its direction throughout the three films. It’s crucial to make clear to the people you work with, or want to work with, what your goals are (quantify everything), what you want for your company in the short and long term, and what your overarching focus is on. If your presentation can say all of this, and leave your audience on the same page as you are and earn the respect and approval you deserve.
  2. Know your competition. “Never let anyone outside the family know what you are thinking.” Michael Corleone, and practically every mobster shown in the trilogy seems to know that competition in any industry is tough, and one has to think and act a very specific way in order to come out on top (or alive). Vito Corleone educates us about competition in saying, “never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.” While presenting, it is actually a good tactic to use your competition to show how you’re different or better than they are. Don’t blatantly insult or undermine them, simply come up with rational and objective facts that support your reasoning.
  3. You’re always building your community. The Godfather is recognized for knowing not only how to do a favor, but how to ask for others to repay it. He shows us that community building and networking is a 24/7 job. Business can be made anywhere from a conference room to a birthday party, to even a flight to San Francisco. With that in mind, use your presentation to reel in new friends into your family. Know who you’re speaking in front of, what interests they might have, and most importantly, show them what unique qualities you can offer them. Also, don’t be afraid or too lazy to do a favor. After all, you might even get lucky enough to repeat Marlon Brando’s iconic statement:Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me.”
  4. Show decisiveness. The Godfather is both loved and feared for his decisive, and sometimes ruthless, character. Both Vito and Michael knew that protecting their family, and expanding their influence was necessary for survival and success. When circumstance called for it, both Vito and Michael were willing to kill or die for what they believed in. While you may not have to kill anyone to prove your point, it’s imperative to think logically and act quickly. Specifically to your presentation, if you’re asked a question, know the answer! Anticipate everything by practicing a lot and in front of varied audiences. Hesitation leads to regret. Additionally, don’t come off as ambiguous in any aspect of the content you present. Know your position.

While I don’t endorse crime or the mafia, it would be foolish to oversee the valuable lessons they share, applicable to all presentation designers. And finally, always remember, “Great men aren’t born great, they grow great.”  

Work Cited:

Stand-Up Comedians: Using Body Language to Convey a Message

Despite often appearing to be the least serious people on the planet, stand-up comedians have a lot to teach us about the visual aspect of presenting. Stand-up comedy blends performance art and public speaking, and these comedians must work tirelessly to perfect their presentation skills in order to not make a fool of themselves on stage.

These comedians incorporate drastic body language, visual aids and creative nonverbal communication to get their “message” across. Here are a few impressive examples that can teach anyone giving a professional presentation a lot about how to wow an audience.


Here is an excellent display of nonverbal communication by one of the most vibrant comedians around at the very start of his career. His entire joke, which lasts more than three minutes, consists of just a couple sentences wrapped up by a three-word punchline. If you take a look at our previous post discussing how to use body language to improve your presenting skills, you’ll see that the majority of how we communicate is nonverbal. Though it may seem ludicrous, Jim Carrey uses his body language as a powerful communication tool, and relies almost exclusively on it during his performance.


Creating a unique persona for yourself is a highly effective way to make a lasting impression on people you encounter. While in the business world, especially when giving a professional presentation, a positive, confident persona will most likely be the best strategy, comedian Zach Galifianakis has mastered the art of creating a whole persona–an easily recognizable character–in so subtle a way that he can seemingly stand there, say practically nothing, and have people rolling on the ground laughing.

Syncing your talking points with your presentation tool (your PowerPoint presentation) is vital in order to get your message across clearly and concisely. Dimitri Martin is a master of visual comedy, and here he is showing something very similar to a slide-by-slide presentation. Pay careful attention to Martin’s timing and momentum, especially the way he builds anticipation for the point he’s about to make.

When giving a professional presentation, we always recommend having a professionally designed PowerPoint in your arsenal. Simply showing up to the presentation with a PowerPoint presentation (no matter how good it is) will be quite enough. Knowing how to blend your talking points, body movements and your visual accompaniment is the key to a seamless presentation.

When crafting your presentation to compliment your PowerPoint–or the other way around–it’s important to practice and coordinate carefully. Think about timing, simplicity, and highlighting your key points so that they’ll make an impact on your audience.

MacPPT: How to Obtain Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 98

Retired KB Content Disclaimer

Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer 98 is a Macintosh-based viewer that you can use to display presentations. It supports files created in the versions of PowerPoint listed at the beginning of this article, earlier versions of Microsoft PowerPoint for the Macintosh, and Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows versions 3.0 and later.

PowerPoint Viewer 98 is not available on floppy disk. It is available as a self-extracting archive from the Microsoft Download Center.

To install the PowerPoint Viewer, download the following file from the Microsoft Download Center and then double-click the Ppt98vw.hqx file to start the Setup program.

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:


Download Ppt98vw.hqx now (size 6,545 kilobytes), release date: August 5, 1998

For additional information about how to download Microsoft Support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

119591  How to Obtain Microsoft Support Files from Online Services

Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help to prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.