Makeover (part 2) of a slide makeover – fewer photos please

Have you seen my previous post? Here’s just a few sentences as a really quick recap:

“Do you find slide makeovers helpful?
I love them!

…they’re a form of ‘working out loud’ that
I find really useful”

That post’s the 1st part of the makeover shown below, and it explains changes I made to slides 1-2 from a presentation by Diane Windingland.

In this post, you’ll find details of the changes I made to slides 3-5 (of 5) from Diane’s deck:

  1. Quote slide – Stir feelings
  2. List-and-photo slide – Make a statement
  3. Section slide – Make a break

Like to see all 5 slides next to each other? If so, check out my previous post.

 

3: Quote slide – Stir feelings

Photo – Touch hearts and mindsScroll to Contents ↑

Like on the title slide (which you can see in last month’s post), a quote slide’s another great place to use a photo. And that’s all the more so in this case, because the quote’s about storytelling, which is such an emotion-based format:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A photo lets you tap into their imaginations

As well as touching people’s feelings (their hearts), a photo lets you tap into their imaginations (their minds). What a powerful way to get your message across – and make it stick.

I would’ve preferred to use a full-colour shot, but the photo I chose happened to use a sepia effect. Because that didn’t fit with the look of the other slides, I recoloured it using the same blue/green as elsewhere in the presentation.

The photo needed cropping to fit into the 16:9 aspect ratio I used. But if anything, the cropping increased the shot’s power (by removing some of the background, which was a little distracting in the original photo).

 

Animation – Pause after the photoScroll to Contents ↑

The photo of the lion and the little girl’s just so powerful

As on the title slide (seen here), having several elements appear at once on the quote slide could slightly overload people, lessening the slide’s impact. That’d be a real pity here, because to me the photo of the lion and the little girl’s just so powerful.

To avoid loss of impact, I animated the text to stay hidden until the presenter clicks, at which point the text fades in quickly.

That way, just the photo appears at first, when the presenter might say something like:

“…And the sheer power of story is backed up by
cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner. He said…”

At that point, the speaker could click to reveal the quote, and read it aloud.

It made sense to put the quote on the right, leading the reader’s eyes…

Because the photo appears before the quote, it made sense to put the quote on the right, leading the reader’s eyes from left to right (which feels natural for Western viewers).

I also horizontally flipped the shot, so the eyelines face towards the content. Again, that helps draw people’s eyes to the quote.

Here’s how the original photo looked:

 

Text – Use contrast and aestheticsScroll to Contents ↑

Did you notice any similarity with the text on the title slide (seen here)? Again, compared to the rest of the slide, the core of the message (“22 times” in this case) uses text that’s:

  • Bigger
  • Bolder
  • Brighter (through use of colour)

I also shrank Jerome Bruner’s name and occupation, to make the quote itself stand out.

Make sure people can read the quote easily

Another type of contrast on the slide is the see-through black background behind the text. That boosts the contrast with the photo, to make sure people can read the quote easily.

Lastly, some aesthetics – the quotation marks are oversized and bold (like on Diane’s slide), for a professional look (as is often used with quotes in printed magazines).

 

Details – Check facts!Scroll to Contents ↑

I’m extremely wary about statements like the quote Diane used

I must say, I’m extremely wary about statements like the quote Diane used. That’s because it makes a precise claim about a sweeping generalisation. Let me explain

It’s precise in that it says the size of the stated effect is seemingly always 22×. Yet it’s sweeping in that the nature of the story (and of the fact wrapped in it) seem to be irrelevant.

For more on the “viral appeal” of claims containing numbers, see my posts on:

  • the Mehrabian myth, where people misapply a study to public speaking, wrongly claiming that body language accounts for 55% of the meaning of any speaker’s message, tone of voice supposedly accounts for 38%, and words just 7%
  • Seth Godin’s bizarre assertion that no presentation slide should ever contain more than 6 words – a rule he made up, and then broke!

With any quote, it’s worth checking the key details

So with any quote, it’s worth checking the key details, like:

  • Reliability of any facts mentioned in the quote
  • Whether the person you’re citing is the correct source
  • How to spell the person’s name

For more tips on using quotes (and checking their details), see Andrew Dlugan’s post on that subject.

 

4: List-and-photo slide – Make a statement

List – Bin the bulletsScroll to Contents ↑

On this next slide, Diane used a photo and a short bullet list. The 1st main change on this slide is that the new version uses shapes with captions, in place of the bullet list:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the shapes? It’s just that bullet lists are so common in presentations that audiences are sick of them.

Using a different list format shows people you’ve put in more effort

Using a different list format shows people you’ve put in more effort, which demonstrates respect for your audience. Also, people enjoy novelty, so avoiding bullets gives your audience a welcome break from the norm.

In hindsight, if I redid this slide again, I’d probably leave out the photo. That’s because it’s purely decorative, rather than actually being useful.

A photo should either be informative or emotive

To be useful in a presentation, to me a photo should either be informative or emotive. That is, it should either convey information well (like when you show a person’s photo to remind your audience who you’re talking about), or it should make people feel emotion.

The photo on this slide does neither, so it lowers the impact of the other photos in the presentation. And it even risks the audience becoming jaded by all the photos.

 

Photo – Anchor the edgesScroll to Contents ↑

A more aesthetically pleasing approach is to “anchor” the shot

The main thing that struck me about the original slide’s layout was that the photo “floated” in the middle. A more aesthetically pleasing approach is to “anchor” the shot by making it touch the slide’s edges.

I couldn’t find Diane’s original shot on sites like Pixabay, so instead replaced it with this similar photo.

 

Eyeline – Face the contentScroll to Contents ↑

There’s also one small point to note with the photo (on the new and old slides). In each case, notice the woman’s line of sight.

That helps subtly draw your audience’s attention to the content

On both slides, the woman’s facing towards the other content (as recommended by powerhouse blogger John Zimmer). That helps subtly draw your audience’s attention to the content, because subconsciously they wonder “What’s that person looking at?”

 

5: Section slide – Make a break

Colours – Mix things upScroll to Contents ↑

The audience is more likely to notice the change of topic!

For the start of a new section in the deck, I wanted to use quite a different look from the other slides (which were mostly black). So I stuck with Diane’s use of lots of blue/green on the section slide. That way, the audience is more likely to notice the change of topic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section number – Make it popScroll to Contents ↑

To provide visual interest, I wanted to boost the contrast

Like with the text on the quote slide, to provide visual interest, I wanted to boost the contrast between different parts of the section title. So I put the section number on a black disc and made its text white.

Combined with using the oversized icon (as discussed next), I think that gives the slide more of a “designer” look. What do you think?

 

Graphic – Reuse the iconScroll to Contents ↑

The section slide contains a large version of the icon that represented this topic on the agenda slide. That performs 2 functions:

  • It provides a visual reminder of how this section fits into the whole talk.
  • It makes the section slide more graphical, so it’s more interesting to look at.

 

Over to youScroll to Contents ↑

That completes the makeover. I hope you found it helpful, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. For instance, which of the 3 original and 3 amended slides do you prefer?

Here’s a reminder of the points I discussed in this post:

  1. Quote slide – Stir feelings
  2. List-and-photo slide – Make a statement
  3. Section slide – Make a break

 

See alsoScroll to Contents ↑

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