Slide makeover: 5 steps to replace boring bullets with audience awe

During your professional life, you’ve no doubt seen more slides with bullet lists on them than any other type of slide. The problem is, so have your audiences, too.

You can’t inspire a disengaged audience…

Because audiences see wordy bullet lists a lot, they’re disengaged by them instantly. And, despite your best efforts, you can’t inspire a disengaged audience to act on what you say!

So how can you use fewer bullet lists? Let’s work through an example to see what you could do instead, using this bullet-filled slide as a starting point:

original bullet-point slide

This is what the slide will look like when you finish the makeover:

bullet-point slide makeover - labels

And here are the 5 steps you can use to complete that overhaul:
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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

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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Slide makeover: Take your introductory slide… [Part 2: Video]

In a recent post, I suggested changes you might make to this “before” slide, to make it look more professional:
weekly visitors6

That slide ended up looking like one of these “after” options:
weekly visitors8weekly visitorsA

But in that recent post, I didn’t show you how to make those changes. So that’s where this post comes in – the steps are in this 3-minute video:
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Slide makeover: Take your introductory slide from everyday to excellent [Part 1]

Do you use a slide that introduces you as a speaker? (That is, with your name, contact details such as your company logo or Twitter handle, and often your photo on it.)

There are certainly good reasons to use that sort of slide:

  • When you’re presenting online, if people can’t see you, having a slide with your photo on it helps people engage with you and your message.
  • Even in a big in-person venue (with no video feed showing your face), putting your photo on a slide not only helps people engage, it also helps them approach you after you’ve left the stage.

I’m betting that if you do use that sort of slide, it looks a bit like the typical example below. (If it looks quite different, I’d love to hear from you in the comment box below or via @RemotePoss on Twitter.)

weekly visitors6If your speaker slide does look like that, this post and a later one will help you make it look far better:

  • In this post, you’ll see the changes that could make your slide look much more professionally designed, so you leave the best impression on your audience.
  • In a later post, you’ll find video tips that step you through making those improvements in PowerPoint.

You might be thinking:

“What’s so awful about that slide?”

And if you are, you’re right – it’s not so bad. Yet it could be a lot better.

Let me show you what I mean, and then you be the judge. (Or, try out some of the tips in this post, and then let your audiences’ feedback be the judge!)

You’ll find the following topics covered in this post:

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