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

Woman's face covered in paint of various primary coloursHave 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:
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Makeover (part 1) of a slide makeover – fewer photos please

Woman's face covered in paint of various primary colours(Short of time? Skip ahead to the Contents)

Do you find slide makeovers helpful? I love them!

That’s because they show – in concrete terms – how you could improve specific slide layouts and formatting. And they even give you insight into the thought process of the designer who did the makeover. So they’re a form of “working out loud” that I find really useful.

Last month, presentation coach Diane Windingland published a slide makeover by a company called PunchSlide Design. The makeover included 7 slides from a presentation of
Diane’s, and she posted a before-and-after comparison of each one.

Of the 7 slides, 6 of them had photos added during the makeover. To me, that seemed a very high proportion, which led me to leave a comment on Diane’s blog:

“…using too many photos (or too many of any type of
slide) can be about as boring as over-using bullet points”

I felt strongly that I could do a better makeover!

Still, I found the makeover inspiring – partly because Diane’s slides were a great foundation to build on. And partly because, frankly, I felt strongly that I could do a better makeover!

So in today’s post, you’ll find my own makeover of 5 of Diane’s slides. Then, in this post and my next, I’ll share with you my thinking behind each slide’s redesign.

If you want to jump to a specific topic in this post, you can click any of these links:
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Why use diagrams on your slides, not bullets? [Video]

Person sketching charts and diagramsHow much do you (or your colleagues) use bullet points on your slides?

Want to change that?

If so, I’ve a great resource for you. It’s a fascinating video by a design agency called M62 Vincis, showing how you can use very simple diagrams in place of bullet points.

Below, check out the 8-minute video, presented by their CEO, Nicci Take (formerly known as Nicholas Oulton).

It shows an example of how to transform a typical bullet-based slide into a simple diagram. And as Nicci shows, diagrams are far more engaging, memorable and effective than bullet points:
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Make your slide explain “So what?” – Secret #13 of star presenters, by Jean-Luc Doumont [Video]

Check out this 1-minute video clip (from a 1-hour talk) by Jean-Luc Doumont. In the clip, the speaker critiques a shot of a sample slide (which is the white area on his own grey slide).

As you’ll see, the sample slide contains just its title and a simple chart:

Did you see how the sample slide’s title makes a classic (and very common) mistake? Namely, it simply “parrots” what’s on the slide, saying:

Evolution of the number of candidates 1989-2012

And sure enough, the chart on the slide offers no surprises: It’s a line graph labelled “Number of candidates” – with an x-axis from 1989 to 2012.

As the slide offers no surprises, and no insights, it’s of no interest to the audience. So, they’ll be turned off by it, and they’ll tune out.

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

Don’t make that mistake with your slides!

As Jean-Luc pointedly asks:

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3 quick tips for better slides, by @NancyDuarte [Video]

Pad of unused, vividly coloured sticky notesIf you’d like 3 quick tips for making better slide presentations, here’s a 2-minute video inspired by Nancy Duarte, and made by HBR (Harvard Business Review):

See the video

The 3 tips are:

  1. Outline your deck on sticky notes first [0:30].
  2. Use diagrams to replace bullets [1:22].
  3. Reduce animation [2:00].

And those tips give you these benefits:
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Don’t blame bullet points for bad presentations – too much of anything’s to blame

Close-up of angry man pointing at the viewer and shoutingAs I’m sure you know from bitter experience, poor presentations are very common. In fact, I’d say poor presentations are the norm, which means:

What a huge knock-on effect from presenters not getting their message across well!

Now, you’ve likely noticed that poor presentations almost always have lots of bullet points. So you might naturally assume that to be an effective presenter, you should ban all bullets from your slides.

But if you think that, I’m here to tell you: You’re wrong.

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Create your last slide first – Secret #9 of star presenters, by Jim Endicott [Video]

When you build a deck of presentation slides, how do you keep on track? If you’re like me, I’m sure you’ve sometimes felt pressure (from yourself or some-one else) to include more and more content.

You know, like:

  • Background on your topic, even though most of your audience doesn’t care (or already knows it)
  • Existing slides on your topic, but which were made for a different purpose

Here’s one great tip that’ll help you resist pressures like those, and it comes in just a
20-second video clip from experienced speaking-coach Jim Endicott:

As Jim suggests:
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3 secrets that make your slides look modern for 2017

35mm-slideWhat does the term “modern-looking presentation” mean to you? Before you read on, see if you can think of your top 2 or 3 criteria that (to you) make slides look modern compared to all the rest.

To me, there are 3 essential tips that make your slides look like they belong in 2017 – rather than back in the 20th century! In fact those 3 tips make your talk not just look modern but also feel that way to your audience.

In outline, those 3 top tips are:
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