Revealed: How to make slide colours look great together [Video] ·

Glorious sunset reflected on water, watched by man with both arms outstretched in adorationIf you’re anything like me when you give a talk, most of the time you probably use slides rather than using a flipchart or white­board (or speaking without any visuals).

But how much thought do you put into the colours on your slides?

That’s really worth your time – according to Bruce Gabrielle, author of the book Speaking PowerPoint:

“One of the secrets to great-looking
PowerPoint slides is colour choice”
Bruce Gabrielle

And I agree with Bruce. As I wrote about a few years back:

Using colours well is one of the key ways to make
your presentation look modern and professional.

You might wonder how much choice you have in your use of colours though. After all, it’s likely you use a template or PowerPoint theme that comes with colours built in.

Even so, with well-matched colours of your own, you can:

  • Gently innovate by just changing some of the template’s less-used colours (while still matching with its main ones).
  • Overhaul the template’s colours to fit in with the colour scheme used by your client, or by the event you’re speaking at.

So in the 4-minute video below from Bruce Gabrielle, you’ll see a neat tip for choosing colours that look good together.

Note: The video’s sound quality is quite poor, so please bear with it.

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Want cool PowerPoint slides? Add a “roadmap” to them [Video]

Large white arrow pointing left on brick wallHave you seen Pat Flynn’s great video about making slides? Right now, it’s had almost 1½ million views, and it’s called:

How to Create an Awesome Slide Presentation
(for Keynote or PowerPoint)

In his video, Pat shares pro tips to make your slideshows more engaging. So I highly recommend you watch it. (You’ll find it at the bottom of this post.)


My how-to video

Meanwhile, in the 1st of the videos below, you’ll see the precise steps you can use to implement one of Pat’s tips. That is, to add what he calls a “roadmap” to your slides.

So, watch my 6-minute, hands-on video to see what’s meant by a roadmap, and learn exactly how you can add one in PowerPoint:

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Write your speech like Hemingway. Here’s how – and why.

Photograph of Ernest HemingwayWhat skills could you transfer to your public speaking, from other disciplines?

For instance, in my work as a learning designer, I’ve been heavily influenced by experts like Cathy Moore. While her advice is aimed at designers of e-learning, you might be surprised how much of it could also apply to your next talk or presentation.

Like to see an example? Try Cathy’s post called How to get everyone to write like Ernest Hemingway. (It’s under 800 words, so it’s only about a 3-minute read.)


What’s that for?

You could use that post to help with your speechwriting (or with writing slides or speaker notes). That’s because it shows how you can take these 2 steps:

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PowerPoint’s super-shortcuts – how many are you missing?

Here’s a quick quiz for you

Do you know how to do these tasks in PowerPoint with just a few keystrokes:

Well, read on to find out, and see how other neat PowerPoint shortcuts can help you.
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Dump text from your slides! Here’s how – without forgetting what to say (or skipping key details)

Shredded PaperHow many of your slides serve double duty? Let’s look at an example of what I mean

Suppose you have a slide with several contact numbers and email addresses on it, like the one shown below:
contact details slide

Slides like that serve double duty because they’re both:

  • Part of your slideshow during your talk
  • Used for reference afterwards, because people won’t remember all the details

If people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it?

My question is, if people won’t remember what a slide says, why show it during your presentation at all? That needlessly burdens your audience, who don’t know what you expect them to remember (or what details you might give them a copy of).

By all means, include details like that in a handout for people to refer to later. But don’t overwhelm your audience with details during your talk.

Many presenters give their audience a copy of their slides to look at afterwards – in effect using their deck as their handout. But unless you’re careful, using your slide deck as your handout has 2 big problems:
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Spotlight part of a picture with PowerPoint’s slide-background-fill [Video, part 2]

Do you want to highlight part of a photo or screenshot (or other picture) as though you’ve shone a spotlight on it? In this post, you’ll see just how to do that, with the 2nd in a short series of videos on using PowerPoint’s slide background fill option.

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Using PowerPoint’s slide-background-fill to “cloak” objects [Video, part 1]

Make your slides look like you used Flash

Want to make your humble slides look like you used Flash, Photoshop, or another fancy (and pricey!) Adobe tool – when you only used PowerPoint? Well here are some videos to help you do just that.

In 2013, the Duarte blog featured an animation of objects emerging from behind a line, as though rising over the horizon. And in a great 12-minute video tutorial, last month Nick Smith of showed how you can use that same effect on your own slides.

To extend Nick’s method, the 4-minute video below shows how you can reuse the effect on any slide, without having to customise it each time:

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PowerPoint for e-learning – more like Storyline than you’d think

Unhappy and happy counterpartsDo you use PowerPoint to train people? That’s very common of course, and there are many ways you can do it:

  • Face-to-face, in the same room;
  • Remotely, using something like Microsoft Live Meeting or Adobe Connect;
  • Asynchronously, perhaps using a tool like Brainshark or Articulate Storyline – both of which do a good job of importing PowerPoint slides.

Here we’ll look at that 3rd option, because recently I read a short but fascinating post that compares PowerPoint and Articulate Storyline as training tools. (If you’ve seen my about page, you’ll know I’m a training developer – hence my interest in the topic.)

Storyline’s the “new kid on the block”

Storyline’s the “new kid on the block” of major e-learning tools. When you open Storyline, it looks a lot like PowerPoint, and it has many similar features. But it’s designed to make e-learning, rather than just slides.

Anyway, the post I mentioned is by Brian Washburn, and it’s provocatively titled:
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Draw like a pro: Make perfect circles, squares and triangles in PowerPoint [Video to watch]

In this 6-minute video, you’ll see how to:

  • Draw perfect circles, squares and triangles in PowerPoint – in just 2 clicks.
  • Resize a shape without distorting it.
  • Draw a shape so it’s centred where you want, even before you finish drawing it.

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Highlight text in yellow in PowerPoint (like in Word), when making slides [Video]

Here’s a 3-minue video showing how you can highlight text in yellow in PowerPoint (while you’re designing your slides, rather than just when you present) – much like you can with text in Word.

This method has the advantage that if you move or copy the text you highlighted, the highlight stays with the text. (You might have seen people suggest workarounds like putting a yellow shape behind the text, but if you do that it doesn’t move with the text of course.)

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