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The First Slide: What It Needs to Be and What It Has to Do

If you want to maximize your slide presentation to establish better brand recall, start at the very beginning – the first slide. Naturally, it is the first thing that your audience will see even before you say a word. So design it in a way that stands out from the rest of your slides. It will help your logo and company name make an impression on your audience, and retain your brand in their memory long after your presentation ends.

It will help your logo and company name make an impression on your audience, and retain your brand in their memory long after your presentation ends.

What your First Slide Needs to BE

As you prepare you presentation, it’s important that you develop a first slide that will generate interest in support of everything you are about to say. It should have a visual element that features key aspects of your organization that is consistent with the key concept of your presentation.

It could be a photo or graphic image that stimulates people’s curiosity. As this is an excellent opportunity to draw attention to your business, make sure to make the most of it. When people come in the room and see your first slide, they should be compelled to want to be interested in you what you have to say.

However, it doesn’t always have to be flashy to pique the audience’s interests while informing them of your brand. According to business guru Guy Kawasaki, in his famous 10-20-30 rule, your first slide should often be the Title Slide, which contains your company name, address, your name and position in the company, your email, and work cell number.

Details like these may be straight to the point, but if you’re presenting to a crowd of busy VCs and investors, this is enough visual stimulus to let them in on your brand.

What your First Slide Needs to DO

With the right amount of texts and graphics, your first slide can communicate much more than what it appears to relate to the audience. Your audience should be able to digest the information you are sharing quickly and precisely. They should get an idea about your business even before you start to talk about what you have to offer.

It is important that each slide in your presentation be well-designed and engaging. The first slide, however, is crucial in igniting the spark that will make people want to hear what you have to say and get to know more about your business. Design it right and it can help you set the stage for an awesome and successful presentation.

The Final Word

Ultimately, while the first slide isn’t the entire presentation itself, it’s still an introduction to the rest of your pitch. In the same way that you need to make a good first impression through your physical appearance and speech, you’ll need a deck to match.

Start your pitch right with a winning opening slide. Impress people from the get-go. Don’t let any opportunity pass.



The Only 10 Slides You Need in Your Pitch.” Guy Kawasaki. 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.



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

Adding PowerPoint Table to Your Slide

In our previous posts, we have tackled the subject of adding texts to an image. A table is simply another type of image in which you can add text. One significant difference is that a table is designed to arrange data into boxes or cells. As you may already know, a table has vertical arrangements (columns) and horizontal arrangements (rows).

The columns usually indicate categories while the rows are often meant to specify records. In PowerPoint, tables are effective tools for presenting data. They allow you to show so much information in a limited space. If you need to add a table on one of your slides, you may do any of the following:

Insert Table

Select Insert in the main menu. Under this, the Tables option will appear. A small window will appear beside the option once you select it.

Next, drag the mouse to select the number of columns and rows your PowerPoint table needs. Shortly after this, your table will appear on the slide.


powerpoint table powerpoint table

Another option is to click the option Insert Table at the bottom of the small window right after clicking the Tables group. A dialog box will appear wherein you’ll enter the number of columns and rows in the spaces provided. table 3

Draw Table

If you need to add a more complicated type of table you may select the option Draw Table in the Tables group. Using a set of drawing tools, you can create tables that aren’t just intersecting rows and columns. What you can create is a rather complex collection of cells that extend beyond one row or column. Probably something like this:

table 4

To start, click the Tables Group and select Draw Table from the menu. The cursor will then change to a pencil icon. Drag the mouse on the slide to create a rectangle frame.

pencil 2

Releasing the mouse button will reveal a single cell table.


In the Design tab of the Table Tools, click the button Draw Table. The cursors will change back into a little pencil. It’s now time to create the cells. You will have to drag the pencil across the table to create lines. To split the table into two rows, for example, point the pencil near the left edge of the table. Click and then drag a line towards the right edge. Release the mouse button.

table 1pencil2

The Takeaway

Depending on your purpose, you may continue splitting the table into smaller cells. For each split, point the pencil at one edge and then click and drag to the other.

If you make mistakes, simply click the Eraser button (you can’t miss it as it looks like an eraser) in the Design tab and click on the line segment you want to erase. If you want to add life to your table, you may change the color or structure of your table using the options in the Design tab.

Creating a PowerPoint Timeline Using SmartArt

Last time, we created a basic timeline using shapes and tables. Today, we’re going to create another one but only this time, we’ll take advantage of the SmartArt feature in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.

SmartArt is useful for creating representations of a sequence of events in PowerPoint. This sequence of events can be a project milestone or an event timeline (which we’ll get back to in a bit).

The SmartArt Advantage

Basically, what SmartArt does is take the power and functionality of PowerPoint Shape on a different level.

It allows you to mix and match shapes and text in order to create diagrams and other custom graphics. Using it strategically lets you create slides that both communicate your message and capture your audience’s attention.

Getting Started

Now let’s create a basic timeline with the help of SmartArt. You can start by opening a blank PowerPoint slide. Point the cursor to the Insert tab and click on SmartArt. Then select Basic Timeline.

This is under the Process folder or the Circle Accent Timeline. As you hit OK, you will have to enter the necessary elements. (“Level 1 text appears next to larger circular shapes. Level 2 text appears next to smaller circular shapes.”)

PowerPoint timeline

Enhancing the Look

You may change the color of the graphic by clicking on the Design tag and picking the colors and effects that you want for your timeline.


The different shape effects that you may choose include shadow, cartoon, 3D effect and more.


Adding your content and doing a bit of tweaking completes the process. With some practice, you will soon be able to create a more complex PowerPoint timeline design.

SmartArt is an excellent functionality in PowerPoint that provides you with a wide range of visual options. Keep in mind, though, that it is still up to you to determine the appropriate graphic that matches your content. Because at the end of the day, SmartArt is simply a PowerPoint tool at your disposal that you can wield to your advantage.


Learn More about SmartArt Graphics.” Office Support. Accessed May 14, 2014.
“Basic PowerPoint Timeline Creation: Shapes and Tables.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 09, 2014. Accessed May 14, 2014.

About SlideGenius is your PPT presentation design guru for your business. Based in San Diego, California, SlideGenius has helped more than 500 international clients enhance their presentations, including those of J.P. Morgan, Harley-Davidson, Pfizer, Verizon, and Reebok. Call us at 1.858.217.5144 and let SlideGenius help you with your presentation today!