by Adam Noar
How’d you like to see the secrets to creating a successful presentation?
Well, consider yourself very lucky…
…because today I’ve got a killer infographic that will show you exactly what presentation heroes (those that rock at PowerPoint and get all the rewards from it) do, compared to presentation zeros (those that fail at PowerPoint and often hear loud yawns from audience members).
I’m bringing the noise.
Here’s my take on the PowerPoint tips from the above infographic:
#1.) Presentation heroes go above and beyond. Presentation zeros do the bare minimum
A lot of what you can do on the front end is time management. If you think it’s going to take you two days to do, don’t start it two days before! Give yourself plenty of time to work on it, get inspiration, make edits, and have some wiggle room if things don’t go as planned.
Heroes create presentation checklists to make sure everything is done correctly and manage their time wisely!
Heroes also make the time to make sure that everything looks perfect – they don’t just slap it all together and hope it works out. They look at the flow, the theme, and the content to make sure it all works.
If you need to learn PowerPoint, give yourself time to do that. Check out all the resources we have on our blog here at Presentation Panda, read Slides Made Simple, watch some YouTube videos, and spend time playing around with PowerPoint until you’re comfortable. Once you’re familiar with PowerPoint, you can follow our next tip! … Creating slides quickly with shortcuts!
#2.) Presentation heroes use time-saving shortcuts. Presentation zeros do everything the long way
Smart time management means knowing how to do things efficiently!
In the case of PowerPoint, one of the best things you can do to cut your work time in half is to know your ppt keyboard shortcuts. Don’t select all your images one by one – press Ctrl+A! Don’t waste your time hunting around the File menu when you need to duplicate an object, just click Ctrl+D! There are so many shortcuts that will save you time and streamline your workflow that you won’t know how you survived before you knew them.
Here’s a few examples:
- Don’t select all your images one by one – press Ctrl+A!
- Don’t waste your time hunting around the File menu when you need to duplicate an object, just click Ctrl+D! There are so many shortcuts that will save you time and streamline your workflow that you won’t know how you survived before you knew them.
- Don’t move your mouse to hit the undo button each time – press Ctrl+Z
There are so many keyboard shortcuts that will save you time and streamline your workflow that you won’t know how you survived before you knew them. An easy to learn them is using a tool called Keyrocket. This was recommended to us by our friend Lea Pica (a real life presentation hero you should follow).
#3.) Presentation heroes keep slides nice and tidy. Presentation zeros ignore slide cleanliness
Nothing is worse than a messy, unorganized slide. Only presentation zeros make slides like that. But you’re a hero and you know better!
Heroes pay attention to alignment and distribution of the objects on the slide. They don’t make embarrassing PowerPoint design mistakes like lengthy line spillovers, random misplaced images, formatting inconsistency, and other slide sloppy moves. Be detail-oriented and make sure all your images are exactly where you want them to be! Make sure that your text is aligned so it’s easy and simple for your audience to read. Pay attention to the overall look and feel of your presentation, and make sure you’re telling a consistent story.
Zeros, obviously, don’t care about any of that. Like throwing junk at a wall to see what sticks, they just drop in text and images at random and hope for the best. Don’t be that guy.
Organization and consistency are one of those details that fade to the background if you do it well, but stand out as glaring errors when you neglect them. Be a hero and place everything on your slides precisely and meticulously.
#4.) Presentation heroes present info with creative layouts and visuals. Presentation zeros use boring bullet points
Bullet points. You can do better! Heroes know that, and they think outside the box. They ignore the common (and terrible) advice that slides have to have bullet points.
There are so many ways to make data look exciting in presentations. Putting a ton of work into making your theme and color scheme look awesome just to toss some bullet points up there is a sad day. Especially if they’re long and winded and there’s just page after page of them. You don’t want to sit through that kind of presentation as an audience member, so don’t do it as a creator. Heroes hate lengthy, text-heavy slides. Get creative with your layouts and your data!
Heroes hate lengthy, text-heavy slides. Get creative with your layouts and your data!
There are so many alternatives to bullet points:
Have a nice brainstorming session about what your data really is – what are you really trying to communicate? There are probably visuals you can use instead of words to spice up the slide. Try and find some images that fit with your points to break up the text block. What about those fancy moving pictures the kids are using these days (gifs). Can you put a fun, short gif in to make your point in a clever way? Do it! Anything but the bullet point.
Anything but the bullet point.
#5.) Presentation heroes use a consistent theme of stunning visuals. Presentation zeros use random, inconsistent, cheesy visuals
We all know that little guy that appears on all our least favorite presentations. He’s this weird, amorphous but vaguely human character that does stuff like stand under exclamation points and lightbulbs. He can be tempting to use in your presentation – he’s recognizable and easy. It can also be tempting to use the first clipart that pops up when you Google “idea” or “sales”, without any thought to the overall look. But don’t do it! That’s such a presentation zero move.
We want to panda stomp that guy (and all the other terrible presentation default go to images) … In a cute way of course!
Sure, these images can be tempting to use in your presentation – they’re recognizable and easy. But don’t do it! That’s such a presentation zero move.
Instead, develop a consistent presentation theme. Pick a color palette that is simple and clean, with complementary colors that are also easy to distinguish from one another. Use a few nice, readable fonts that play off each other well. Find visuals that are engaging (like the ones on Unsplash) and consistent with your ideas, and use a layout that is consistent throughout the presentation.
One of our favorite things to do for this step, if we’re starting from scratch, is to create a mood board. What colors fit with our presentation example? Blue is a great choice for something more traditional, while orange has a ton of energy and is very modern. We like to put together colors and images to create a visual representation of what we want our presentation to look like.
Zeros are random and have no flow to their slides. It looks like their presentation was created by 50 random people! That’s what happens when you ignore the consistency of the overall presentation and don’t pay attention to those color, font, and layout details. Heroes, on the other hand, make their slides look like one person created it.
#6.) Presentation heroes customize powerpoint so frequently needed tools are easily accessible. Presentation zeros spend forever searching powerpoint to find the tools needed over and over
Figuring out how to customize your PowerPoint setup so that it works for you is such a hero move, and it will show you how to make a good presentation from the beginning. If you use PowerPoint frequently, you know what tools you use most often! They’re the ones you waste the most time hunting around for on the ribbon on the top of the screen. No more! Set it up so that those tools are easy and fast for you to find and you’ll save a ton of time.
If you’re not sure how to do that and you want to learn, along with learning a ton of other invaluable PowerPoint skills, you can consider taking a course. Not only will you learn how to set up PowerPoint correctly, you’ll learn how to strategically build layouts and other time-saving, effective presentation tips. Only zeroes waste a ton of time constantly searching for the same tools over and over again because they haven’t made their tools easily accessible. Pssh. Amateurs.
#7.) Presentation heroes search for slide inspiration before starting a project. Presentation zeros stare at a blank powerpoint canvas hoping ideas will come to mind
Heroes don’t stare hopelessly at a blank canvas – they take action! A blank canvas isn’t really idea inspiring – a lot of times it’s intimidating, overwhelming, and frustrating. Who wants to feel like that before they even get started?
Similar to the idea that “motion creates emotion”, heroes know that finding PowerPoint inspiration will get the creativity and design gears turning. There are a lot of ways to do it, but storyboarding your presentation can really help get you started – one piece of inspiration leads to another, and before you know it you have thought of an awesome theme and a successful presentation.
Don’t know where to look? Heroes find the best places to get inspired for creating PowerPoint slides. There are always places to go to get inspiration! If you want to check out some incredible graphic design, head over to Dribbble. For other slideshows, head to SlideShare. There is no shortage of places on the internet to get inspiration from. It can be as simple as an image, a quote, or a color theme that can get you started. So get started!
#8.) Presentation heroes use a complete arsenal of slide creation tools both within powerpoint and online. Presentation zeros use only a few basic tools in powerpoint
Heroes bring an extensive presentation toolbox with them when creating slides. They know what tools to use to do all sorts of things that make their presentation pop. Matching colors is a tool you’ll never know how you lived without – find an image that encapsulates everything you want for your presentation? Match colors from that image to create part of your color palette. There are so many amazing tools in a presentation hero’s toolbox – editing visuals, aligning objects, copying formatting, cropping images, and so much more!
Of course, no one is born with all that knowledge in their brain, and no one is expected to know it right off the bat! Heroes know what online resources to use when creating slides. Learning the skills you need to create a killer PowerPoint is such a hero move.
Another hero trick is how to use powerpoint templates to save time. We know, we harp on brainstorming and customizing, but we do know that sometimes you just don’t have time for that. We understand! That’s why we also recommend PowerPoint templates if you’re running behind but still want to wow your audience. You can still end up with a professional and successful presentation.
#9.) Presentation heroes practice giving a presentation many times. Presentation zeros wing their presentations
Can you imagine getting up in front of your board of directors, or potential investors, or any audience at all and just winging it? Yikes. Zeroes don’t practice much, or even at all – which is a terrible idea! There are so many ways it can go wrong: forgetting what slide comes next, mixing up points, and just looking like you didn’t prepare. That doesn’t reflect well on anyone.
Heroes, of course, practice their presentation many times before giving it. When you practice, you get comfortable with your message, hone what you want to keep (and get rid of), and get an understanding for how well your slides and content are placed. All vital things to a good presentation!
Heroes also get feedback from others when practicing, and make tweaks when needed. You’ve been staring at your presentation for so long, it can be hard to see mistakes anymore. Fresh eyes are the best thing for your presentation, as they can see when things don’t make sense where you might not be able to.
#10.) Presentation heroes take time to learn design. Presentation zeros have no clue about design
Like we said earlier, no one expects you to instantly know all this stuff. You aren’t born a presentation hero! The important thing is that you put in the work to get there – and that mostly means learning from the right resources.
Heroes read books on presentation design like Slides Made Simple, Talk Like Ted, and Slideology. They know that learning from others is the first step to becoming an expert.
So many people are passionate about great presentation and beautiful slides, we’re in great company. Heroes use all that knowledge to their advantage!
So what do you say, want to be a hero? What’s your favorite hero tip? We want to know!
Also, do you have a friend that is currently creating a new presentation and could benefit from learning about how to be a presentation hero? If so, send them a link to this blog post right now. I’m sure, they will return the favor to you one day!
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Hungry for information on how to create awesome PowerPoint slides? Here are a few suggested posts: