The doors are closed, everyone’s sitting around the conference room table, notepads out, coffee in hand.
This is a moment you’ve been preparing for months now. The chance to raise capital for your business and start down the road to success …
But first you have to pitch the investors.
How do you get potential investors excited about your business idea and engage them in a conversation about funding?
If you’re raising money for your business, having an impressive investor pitch deck is perhaps the key component in your fundraising toolkit.
You wouldn’t play baseball without a bat, or paint a picture without a canvas, would you?
Having a winning investor presentation deck on hand is no different.
If there was ever a time to develop a beautiful presentation it would be for your investor pitch deck. If your pitch deck design sucks, what sort of message does that send about your idea?
People won’t trust you can deliver the goods.
To make sure that investors ask for more, not just show you to the door, you need a kickass startup pitch deck that makes the case for your business. Today we’re going to talk about 13 “must have” slides that are essential to any winning investor pitch.
Let’s get started!
Pitch Deck Slide #1 – Vision and Value Proposition – Your elevator pitch in a slide
Thanks to Twitter and memes, pretty much everyone these days is familiar with the art of writing out complex ideas in a short amount of words. Of course, not everyone is very good at this, but you’ve already made it this far!
A quick one sentence overview of your business that proposes the value that you provide to your customers is an essential start to any winning investor deck presentation.
Think about this slide like you approach scrawling out a 140 character tweet, and try to sum it up in a way that your parents (or anyone else who isn’t a technophile) would understand.
One common approach that tech companies make with the value proposition is by comparing their enterprise to another well-known company. For example, you see many pitches that start with things like:
“We’re the Uber for Coffee”
“We’re like Yelp but for Movies”
Drawing these comparisons can help, but just make sure that your comparison makes sense and you’re not just name dropping a big name company like “Uber” to signify growth potential. Your business model has to truly be similar to the company you drawing a comparison to.
The other issue to keep in mind when you make this sort of value proposition is that while a major brand can simplify things, people will automatically envision your app/company/idea working in exactly the same way. So it’s important to distinguish as you go through with your presentation how you follow Netflix or Uber’s model but also explain how things might be different.
Pitch Deck Slide #2 – Introduction – Tell people who you are and why you are here
Besides your name and what you’re doing in front of a group of investors, there’s not really much that needs to be said as far as introductions are concerned. If you’re proposing a new app to make travel bookings easier and you once spent a year backpacking around the world, that might be a relevant bit of information to include in your bio.
If it isn’t relevant, cut it out!
A great pitch deck doesn’t have more; it has less. Nowhere is that more true than your intro slide.
Pitch Deck Slide #3 – Target Market Opportunity – Here is the addressable market and the prospects who will buy your product
Once you’ve introduced yourself to your potential investors, it’s time to explain the most important part of your company and the reason why it exists in the first place: your customers!
Use this slide to expand on who your ideal customer is and how many of them there are. Do they live in urban areas on the coasts? How many of them hold college degrees? What is the total market size and how do you position your company within the market? If you can find the data, investors will want to know how much people or businesses currently spend in the market to get a sense of the total market size.
This is where you tell the story about the scope and scale of the problem you are solving.
If it makes sense for your business, you’ll want to divide your market into segments that you will address with different types of marketing and perhaps different types of product offerings.
Be careful with this slide, though. It’s tempting to try and define your market to be as large as possible. Instead, investors will want to see that you have a very specific and reachable market. The more specific you are, the more realistic your pitch will be.
When you’re looking for a brilliant investor pitch presentation, make sure that it includes easy-to-edit graphics which your audience can look at and instantly understand the data being shown.
Influencer Presentation Template gives your audience a few nifty graphics to include when you talk about your market share and how you’re targeting your customer base.
Pitch Deck Slide #4 – Problems and Solutions – Define the problems people have, and solutions you offer to relieve this pain
If there was no such thing as rain, there would be no need for umbrellas. No problem, no solution waiting to solve it.
If you aren’t solving some problem in the world, you are going to have a long uphill climb with your business. But you’ve no doubt identified a real problem on the market, and it just so happens that you’ve found a solution.
Use this slide to talk about the problem you are solving and who has the problem. This section of your investor pitch deck should tell your audience how it’s raining, and you’ve got one hell of an umbrella to keep them dry. You can talk about the current solutions in the market, but don’t spend too much time on the competitive landscape on this slide—you’ll have a chance to do that on a later slide.
Doing some market research (focus groups, 1v1 interviews, online surveys, etc.) is a great way to learn about the problems your target customers face. The more you can show you understand your customers issues the better.
When talking about your problem focus on a story that people can relate to.
The more you can make investors feel a personal connection to your problem (or somebody else’s problem), the more they will get your business and what you are trying to accomplish. A good slide for this section should explain the problem and solution in 3-5 different steps, and it might be a good idea to include icons adjacent to each talking point when you’re putting it together.
You may also want to include some customer testimonials talking about their initial frustrations and the happiness your product or service has brought to them.
Pitch Deck Slide #5 – Product – Briefly describe your product and benefits it provides to potential customers
Once you have outlined the problem and solution to your potential investors, it’s time to explain to them how your product will change everything.
Ideally, this slide should have a combination of relatable stock image, a mockup (especially if you’re selling an app), and a few major talking points that sum up how your product addresses the problem discussed in the previous slide.
You’ll be tempted to move this slide closer to the beginning of your pitch deck – don’t do that! This is classic story telling at its best; dramatically build up the problem and describe how bad it is for lots of people:
Then, Volia: Now your product or service is coming to the rescue!
Most startups pay a lot of attention on their product when instead they need to be focused on their customers and the problems those customers face. By keeping your investor pitch deck focused on your customers you will tell a more impactful story.
Pitch Deck Slide #6- Business/Revenue Model – How your business strategy is going to make your investors lots of money
Once you have provided lots of exciting info on your amazing product or service, you need to go into some detail on how this is going to bring in the cash!
After all, investors do like being paid back!
For example, will your customers pay a one-time payment to use your service or are there various monthly pricing models available?
It’s important to go into some details here.
The best way to lay all of these ideas out in one slide is to include some sort of sequential layout with icons and text, so that it’s easy for investors to see how you go from A to B and make money along the way.
Pitch Deck Slide #7 – Status and Milestones – Where you are in terms of product delivery, and specify the next key milestones
If you already have sales or early adopters using your product, talk about those accomplishments on this slide
Investors want know that your business model is sound and has already worked at some stage.
I’m sure you have seen this on any Shark Tank episode when the sharks light up with excitement that the product being introduced has already brought in a significant volume of sales.
Any proof you have that validates your solution is extremely powerful.
For example, if you’ve already had five thousand users download your beta version and thirty percent of them said they would sign up for an enterprise edition down the road, this would be a great time to bring that up!
You can also use this time to talk about your accomplishments:
What big milestones have you achieved so far and what are the major next steps you plan on taking?
A product or company roadmap that outlines key milestones is helpful here.
A great design pitch deck should have at least one of these slides, if not two – and they don’t need to be fancy. Notice how in the layout above, you can have an image with a couple bullet points to outline your status and milestones.
Pitch Deck Slide #8 – Marketing and Sales Strategy – How you reach your customers and get them to sign up
Marketing is one of the most important points in your investor pitch deck. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t sell it then you will fail – and no VC is going to give you a penny.
That’s why you should have a slide that explains how you reach your customers and get them to sign up. A slick infographic like the one you see above is a cool way to do explain the sometimes-complex levels of a sales and marketing funnel in one slide. Each step should have a corresponding icon with a short blurb of text that describes the marketing process for your company.
Targeting and winning over customers can sometimes be the biggest challenge for a new company.
That’s why it’s important to demonstrate that you know how to reach your customers and what sales channels you plan on using.
If your marketing and sales process is different than your competitors, it’s important to highlight that here.
Pitch Deck Slide #9 – Team – Make investors believe in the people behind your company
Why are you and your team the right people to build and grow this company? What experience do you have that others don’t? Highlight the key team members, their successes at other companies, and the key expertise that they bring to the table.
Even if you don’t have a complete team yet, identify the key positions that you still need to fill and why those positions are critical to company growth. For example, if you plan on expanding into direct sales but don’t have a head of B2B sales, let investors know. Even if you don’t have a hire yet, it shows that you have a plan and the ambition to reach your lofty goals.
The best investor pitch deck always has a slide that explains why your management team – from your CTO to your Creative Director – is strong and more than capable of paying back the investment. You should include headshots of the key members of your team and a sentence or two (max) describing their roles and importance to your company.
Pitch Deck Slide #10 – Financials – Explain your company’s financial health
OK, don’t actually show your financials off here. In-depth spreadsheets are difficult to read and absolutely the worst idea to include in an investor pitch presentation. Limit yourself to charts that show sales, total customers, total expenses, and profits.
You should be prepared to discuss the underlying assumptions that you’ve made to arrive at your sales goals and what your key expense drivers are.
Remember to try and be realistic. Investors see “hockey stick” projections all the time and will mentally be cutting your projections in half. If you can explain your growth based on traction you already have or compared to similar company in a related industry, that is extremely useful.
The slide you use to explain your financial situation should ideally be an infographic and give a bird’s eye view of your financials. Save the actual docs for a more secure environment and keep them in a virtual data room if investors would like to see the nitty-gritty bottom line.
Pitch Deck Slide #11 – Competition – Show who you’re competing against and explain how you’re better
Lebron has Steph Curry. Rocky had everyone from Clubber Lang to Ivan Drago. Your business has its rivals too; sometimes one, sometimes more.
Even if you are opening up an entirely new market, your potential customers are using alternative solutions to solve their problems today. So you need to describe how you fit into the competitive landscape and how you’re different than the competitors and alternatives that are on the market today.
What key advantages do you have over the competition? What “secret sauce” do you have that others don’t?
The key here is explaining how you are different than the other players on the market and why customers will choose you instead of one of the other players on the market. A side-by-side comparison of you versus the Stephen Curry’s and Kevin Durant’s of your world is a good way to show investors how you stack up.
Pitch Deck Slide #12 – Investment – In this slide you should define what kind of investment you are looking for and how you are planning to deploy it to meet the specified milestones
Finally, it’s time to actually ask for dough!
That’s why you’re creating this awesome investor presentation, correct? At some point your potential investors will want to know how much money you want
That’s why you need to be able to explain why you need the amount of money you are asking for and how you plan on using the money. Investors will want to know how their money is being used and how it is going to help you achieve the goals you are setting out for your business.
If you already have some investors on board, now is when you should be talking about those other investors and why they chose to invest.
This investor pitch slide is a bit tricky, but this tree infographic is actually a really neat way to detail the various uses for investor capital you have in mind. Will you hire more developers? Rent a bigger office space? Order premium bean bag chairs for all your employees? Best to leave that last one out, but you should visualize your hopes for investment in this slide.
Pitch Deck Slide #13 – Contact – Don`t forget to leave your contact details for investors to reach you quickly
Well, this one is pretty obvious. By the time you finish your investor pitch presentation, hopefully you’ve really given them something serious to think about. Include a final slide with relevant contact information and then cross your fingers and hope for the best!
There are some pretty obvious things you should include in your investor pitch deck, so hopefully you know now what works and what doesn’t. We hope that you’ve liked the sample slides we’ve included here, so the next time you have an investor pitch you come equipped with a stellar looking deck that has all the right information and looks great too.
What pitch deck do you plan on using the next time you have a round of funding come up? We’d love to know! Don’t forget, Influencer makes a perfect investor presentation pitch deck – you can get it here on Graphic River.
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation tips? If so, email them the link to this post.
Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Contrary to popular belief, great presenters aren’t greedily sitting on one master secret that they refuse to share.
Besides practicing a lot, they’ve picked up smart PowerPoint hacks (i.e., clever tips and tricks) that work well and make their job easier.
But you don’t have to figure these out on your own. Instead of wondering how to make an engaging PowerPoint presentation, you can just read our list of expertly curated hacks and put them to use right away.
You heard that right panda fam! We’ve come up with a list of some super nifty tips to help you master PowerPoint and take your slideshow presentations to the next level.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #1. Use Poll Everywhere To Ask Your Audience Questions and Keep Them Engaged
Poll Everywhere is one of those PowerPoint presentation hacks that once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.
It is a great tool to make you feel more like you’re having a conversation with your audience, and less like a lecturing parent who is receiving an uninterested “yeah” and nod from their teenager without making any eye contact. You want your audience to come away feeling like they learned something, but a lot of times you want to learn from them too – even if it’s just feedback on how you’re doing.
By using this inexpensive and simple digital tool, you can ask your audience questions and receive the answers in real-time.
It’s productive and it keeps them engaged. Even better, their answers will be displayed instantly in your PowerPoint presentation, bringing you and your audience closer together (but just as friends).
Poll Everywhere is a huge improvement on other systems out there: it’s easier to use, simpler to set up, and very affordable. Instead of hardware, it relies on text messaging (SMS) and the web to collect the replies, and audiences respond with any web-enabled device they have with them.
There are some clear advantages to this off-the-shelf mobile and web technology:
1.) No clunky “clicker” devices to pass out, explain how to use, struggle with during the presentation, and then worry about collecting at the end. We all knew there had to be a better way.
2.) No limits to the types of responses you can collect – use multiple choice questions, full-text comments, or questions from the audience. The sky is the limit!
3.) Extremely low learning curve. The audience starts out using a device that’s already most familiar to them: their own phone or laptop.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #2. Use Control + B to Make The Presentation Screen Black and Draw Attention Back to You
You’re in the middle of your presentation, halfway through a slide. You’re about to make a great point – and your audience is looking as glazed as a Krispy Kreme donut. They’re probably zoning out and just staring at the screen, reading your title over and over again, or admiring the graphic you chose to complement your message. But that’s not what you want!
Instead of passive aggressively standing in front of the screen and waving your arms, use this nifty little presentation hack: hit “Control” + the “B” key on your keyboard, and suddenly, all your distracted audience will see is a black screen.
If the black seems a bit harsh, you can go with a peaceful white-out instead. Hit “Control” + “W” and your audience will be dazzled by a white screen. It’s an easier and gentler way to wake them up and shift their focus back to you (and that important point you’re about to wow them with).
And don’t worry – your screen isn’t blank forever. Whenever you need to move to the next slide, you can hit any key or move the mouse to get your slide back, and proceed as normal.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #3. Draw On Your Slides In Real Time During Your Presentation with Control + P
One of our favorite PowerPoint presentation hacks is the ability to draw right on the slide.
If you want to be able to circle part of your slide to emphasize it (or satisfy your craving to doodle, we don’t judge), you can easily turn your mouse pointer into a pen by hitting “Control” + “P”. Voila, you can scribble all over your slide to your heart’s content.
This hack can be especially helpful with webinars where the audience can not reference what part of the slide you are talking about.
If you’d like a demonstration, check out this video for a quick tutorial.
Drawing with your mouse sounds easier than it is, and it can be a bit tough to control for things with more detail. It’s great if you want to be able to quickly circle or point to something, but a bit tougher if you want to write something out.
If you need more control than a mouse can give you, you can always purchase a drawing pad to use when you make your drawings. Oh you fancy, huh?
When sketch time is over, it’s easy to go back to the pointer, too. All you need to do is hit “Control” + “A”, and you can go on to the next slide.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #4. Use Animations (In Moderation) To Introduce Key Points One-At-A-Time
An effective way to make your PowerPoint slides better is using animations.
If you miss the bright, 3D, rotating screen savers of the 1990’s and want to relive your glory days, this presentation hack is for you (sort of). We don’t recommend going as all-out as they did back then (please no shimmering text), but a touch of animation and movement will make your slides look a lot cooler.
It’s easy to do, too. PowerPoint offers just about every permutation of every movement you could ever want. You can use their animations to make interesting slide designs or just to jazz up your presentation.
To create them, click on the “Animations” tab in your presentation at the end of the Animations Gallery. Click the down arrow to get “More” animation options and you’ll arrive at the control center for the animation tool – everything you can dream, you can do. You can control everything from the pace of the animation to the degree it turns.
One of the best and most effective ways to use animations is when you have a list of points that you want to introduce one at time:
It will keep your audience engaged and focused on each element individually, instead of looking at the whole thing all at once. It will also give you a better chance to talk about each point before moving on to the next one, knowing your audience is right there with you.
We may have been a little misleading with the 1990’s reference at the beginning – the key word here is MODERATION. If your slide fades in, your title gets typed in letter by letter, and then each line does a backflip before landing, you’ve gone way too far. Just use them for a touch of interest and movement. Excessive and unnecessary animation just makes your slides look childish and annoying – don’t give your audience the idea that you’ve teleported in from the 90s.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #5. Use a Nice Template That Will Help You Stand Out From The Crowd and Look Like and Expert
Don’t be afraid to go against the grain a little to stand out – just like you don’t have to use the standard PowerPoint slide size, you don’t have to stick with stock templates for your presentation. Create something custom to wow your audience and be uniquely you.
Here’s how to make a custom template from scratch:
1.) Open the “Themes” tab
2.) Click “Edit Master” on the right of the tab
3.) Click “Slide Master”
4.) Edit the template to your perfectionist heart’s desire
5.) Click “Close Master” to apply the template to all the slides in the current presentation
Of course, not everyone has the time or desire to create a custom template.
If you don’t have the time, or you just don’t want to, you can purchase a pre-made professional template from several different vendors on the market. Of course, our favorite is Graphic River – it may be a little biased, but that’s the only place you can get our magical template, The Influencer, that our team of pandas launched a few months back.
What’s awesome about this template (and other templates on Graphic River) is that it gives you a great base to customize from directly in PowerPoint, if you still want a bit of creative control.
If you have a strong opinion on the teal vs. cerulean debate, change it! Same goes for the font and the images – if you want something different, all it takes is a few clicks of the mouse to swap it out for what you want.
If you have an important presentation to give, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel:
By using a professional made template you can focus more on your content (what you are trying to communicate to your audience).
Graphic River has a huge selection of PowerPoint templates you can use instead of making your own from scratch, which is one of the many reasons we love them. It’s also super easy to customize them by changing the color palette, font style, images, and much more.
Beyond our Influencer template (seen above) here are a list of some of the best ppt templates of 2016.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #6. Navigate Through Your Presentation Like a Pro Using Key Commands
Moving through your presentation shouldn’t feel like memorizing a launch code – it should be something done so effortlessly that you don’t even have to think about it (much). Skillfully moving through your presentation is one of those things that if it’s done well, the audience doesn’t notice at all.
What the audience will notice is fumbling, awkward pauses, and clear technical issues (and swearing because of said issues, so don’t do that). Instead, avoid all that by practicing a few simple key navigation commands:
- “F5” starts your presentation
- “N” or “The Arrow Key” advances to the next slide
- “P” moves back to the previous slide
- “Enter” + slide number jumps directly to that slide
Knowing these commands will help you feel more at ease with your presentation, avoid getting muddled when fielding questions, and keep your audience’s focus where it belongs: on you and your message.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #7. Use Hyperlinks to Give Your Presentation “Prezi-like” Functionality
If going through your slides in order seems passé, try a “choose your own adventure” style instead!
By getting creative with the hyperlinks, you can get a Prezi-like functionality of jumping around to different parts of your presentation.
An easy example of this is creating a table of contents that is interactive. You can use it to skip ahead to wherever you want in your presentation, and then go back to choose your next destination. If you’re looking for a quick tip on how to make an engaging PowerPoint presentation, this is it.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #8. Fire Up Your Audience by Inserting Engaging Video Clips
Long presentations are necessary sometimes, but they can also be tough to pull off.
Suddenly you can feel less like you’re talking to an audience of professional adults in suits, and more like you’re trying to keep the attention of a squirming kindergarten class that can’t wait to go to recess.
A presentation hack for any PowerPoint, but long ones in particular, is to insert a video. It’ll inject some much-needed variety between the slides, and re-ignite your audience’s interest. A video can also be great for a concept that is difficult to explain just through words or visual images, or something you know will resonate with your audience. Thankfully, inserting a video directly into PowerPoint has never been easier.
To embed a video, this is all you have to do:
1.) Click the “Video” button in the Media section (if you have your slide layout set up to add media, simply click on the film reel icon)
2.) Click “Video on My PC”
3.) Select the video you want in your documents
Of course, don’t insert Quentin Tarantino’s entire filmography into your presentation – think more like highlight reels!
Keep the clips short and sweet.
In general, aim for videos that are 30 seconds to a minute long. That length will work well for most purposes, although of course it will vary depending on your audience.
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #9. Turn Your Boring Bullets Into Visual Masterpieces Using Smart Art
Hopefully you’ve gotten the memo by now, but if you haven’t, let us fill you in: bullet points suck.
That isn’t just an arbitrary judgement – aside from looking outdated by a couple of decades (we all loved the 90’s but some things you just have to let go), it’s difficult to pace the information when it’s laid out in bullet points. A lot of times you can fall into the trap of giving away your punchline before you’ve even started talking.
The problem of giving away the ending can be solved by using our #4 presentation hack on this list: use the animation tools to dole out your bullets one at a time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the style problem. So what should you do?
We understand that sometimes you might not have the expertise to display your information in a super creative way, like an infographic. Sometimes, you just simply might not have the time. If that’s the case, enter our PowerPoint presentation hack: Smart Art.
A clever trick for turning a list of bullets into exciting visuals is the humble Smart Art tool. All you need to do is select your list of bullets and head over to the Convert to Smart Art tool. Clicking on this tool will instantly provide an array of options to give your boring list of bullet points into something more exciting.
As seen in the above image, by using the Convert to Smart Art tool I turned a boring list of bullets into something more visually appealing within seconds.
Once you’ve finished testing out the different styles and picked your favorite, you can hit “Control” + “Shift” + “G” to ungroup everything. From there, you can edit the text and colors to make it pop even more.
Here’s a video that shows how to do this step-by-step
PowerPoint Presentation Hack #10. Zoom In and Out of Your Slides to Focus on Specific Areas
There may be times when there is a part of a slide that needs more attention.
A chart or image are good examples. You may just want to make sure one point is effectively shown.
Note: You should really only be making one point per slide. But like everything else, there are times when you can break the rules.
Here is how to zoom in and out of a slide during presentation mode:
1.) In the Presenter View there is a magnifying glass at the bottom left corner. (Note: You have to hover your mouse over the left hand corner for it to show up on the screen) (See step one in the image above)
2.) Once you click on that, drag to where you want to zoom in and click again. (See step two in the image above)
3.) Once you’re done, click the magnifying glass again to zoom back out.
Using the zoom tool allows you to have more control over your presentations and zoom in on specific details when needed!
The internet is full of presentation hacks, some better than others.
While a lot of people recommend picturing your audience in their underwear to relax, you may be too busy picturing them fast asleep in the middle of your presentation.
We put together this list of effective PowerPoint tips to help you stop imagining them snoring, and instead look forward to the thundering applause.
Have you used any of these PowerPoint hacks and achieved success, fame, and fortune? Do you have any clever presentation tips that we missed? Let us know!
Looking for more effective tips and tricks to improve your presentations?
Here’s a few suggested posts:
5 Presentation Design Tips for Amazing Looking Slides (Infographic)
10 Professional PowerPoint Templates That Will Cut Your Design Time in Half!
5 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out
Want to understand how to create a viral presentation?
If so, keep reading because this post is filled with actionable tips and tricks for doing just that.
You can find all sorts of resources on the web for creating viral blog posts, viral videos (we suspect that cute fuzzy animals are a crucial secret ingredient), GIFs, memes, and news articles.
But what about viral presentations like some of the top ones on SlideShare?
We didn’t get to where we are without crafting a few particularly memorable presentations, and that’s why we thought it was time to share some wisdom with you on how to design a viral presentation that SlideShare readers love.
With just 15 slide deck presentations uploaded to SlideShare, I’ve had almost 1M views of my content.
In fact, one of my presentations alone has had over 160k views:
Even if you don’t use SlideShare or have an interest in creating a viral presentation you should apply these essential design tips in order to make sure your next presentation truly stands out!
There are so many good examples of great presentations out there and this isn’t the only way to ensure that you create a viral presentation, but we find that these ten features usually stand out in the best SlideShare presentations we’ve seen.
Don’t forget, if you want to see these viral presentation tips in action, you should check out our SlideShare page to access all of the presentations we’ve done, not to mention lots of other top presentations too!
1. Start Off With a Bang! Your Cover Slide Must Be Awesome
Starting your presentation off with a bang can mean a lot of things.
What’s most important is that you have a memorable cover slide to your presentation, otherwise there is no way you will be able to make that presentation go viral.
Depending on your taste in design, getting people’s attention can take shape in a number of ways. What all of my viral presentation SlideShares have in common is that they have visually arresting compositions. For example, take a look at the first slide of the presentation “How to Design an Awesome Presentation Template.”
Over a simple green background you have the title. Notice that the word “Awesome” is capitalized and much larger than all the other display text. There’s nothing understated about grabbing people’s attention with an exciting word like that, especially when you make it stand out. And of course, because this presentation is all about presentation design, we include a cute flat design pencil graphic, which not only creates a bit of visual balance on the bottom of the slide, but also says in a nonverbal way that this is a great presentation for anyone looking to learn about design. If your first slide can grab people’s attention without necessarily saying a word, you’re well on your way to a viral presentation.
You really want all your slides to be awesome throughout your presentation, but the ones at the beginning are the most important. These are the images that will grab the reader’s attention. A inadequate or ill-advised image on your Title slide could hinder your presentation’s ability to be successful.
If your cover slide sucks many people will never bother to click.
For more examples of awesome presentation cover slides click here.
2. Your Presentation Headline Needs to be Extra Catchy
While having a really catchy design on the title slide of your presentation is a surefire way to draw people in to what you are saying, you can’t just rely on looks to do the legwork for you. It’s crucial you come up with a really good headline to drum up interest in what you have to say. Writing a top quality headline for your presentation can be a bit of a headache, though – it’s funny when you think about it, because even though a headline is between six and ten words it’s without a doubt the most important text in your presentation. Good content isn’t worth much if people are too bored to continue clicking through your slides on the first go.
One popular SlideShare we’ve created, “5 Presentation Design Mistakes to Avoid,” checks off many of the boxes a good headline should have. It tells you clearly what the presentation is about, is emotionally powerful (“avoid” is a great word to get people to click), and as it’s a list, promises the audience a nice, neat series of actionable tips that they can use when they are designing their own PowerPoint or SlideShare presentations.
While we come up with blog titles and presentation titles on our own, we almost always run them through CoSchedule’s free Headline Analyzer tool, which gives instant feedback about whether or not the title will help create a viral presentation.
Here’s one of our all-time favorite SlideShare’s that has gone viral:
Immediately, this cover slide grabs your attention for many reasons. First, notice the bold title:
“You Suck at PowerPoint!” which is the first thing you see on the slide.
The language here is simple enough for any audience to understand. Also, note how the title of the slide speaks to the viewer in the second person by using the word “you” and the use of the slang word “suck” which makes the presentation sound more authentic. Note: The occasional slang words can be effective, but only use them in extremely rare cases and with the least offensive words possible. “Suck” is one of those safe words that nobody should get offended about.
Also, notices the language of the subtitle, “5 shocking design mistakes you need to avoid,” pulls you in and makes you want to learn more. No wonder this presentation has over 2 million views on SlideShare!
3. Use High Quality Images and Graphics. My #1 Tip for Creating a Viral Presentation
Once your audience is hooked and scrolling through your presentation, you owe it to them to deliver a beautiful viewing experience.
The last thing you should do if you are trying to create a viral presentation is give people sterilized stock images or ridiculous looking vectors.
C’mon, it’s not 2006 anymore!
There are plenty of resources to check out if you want to make sure your presentation looks as professional and sleek as possible.
On our highly-rated Influencer Presentation Template, we used beautiful free stock photos from websites including Unsplash.
These days it’s inexcusable to come up with a presentation that doesn’t have aesthetically pleasing images which compliment your content. It’s not that hard to find great looking photos that don’t cost anything, so if you expect to create a viral presentation, put in a couple minutes browsing through a high end image database and select excellent looking photos to use for your presentation.
Here’s an example of one of our ShareShares that features tons of high quality images:
Don’t cheat yourself and your audience: use high quality images for presentations, and you will surely reap the benefit.
4. Keep Your Slides Simple. Most People Like To Scan
We have said it again and again in our presentations, but it’s worth repeating once more: keep your presentation slides simple.
Don’t get clever and add a border to a photo slide that doesn’t need anything else. Don’t go crazy with animation tools, no matter how tempted you are to channel your inner 11-year old. Do not switch compositions or color palettes or fonts from one slide to the next, lest you confuse your audience and they begin to think you’ve gone a bit crazy.
On the other hand, if you want to create a viral presentation, take a look at this SlideShare we created called “10 Better Ways to Add Text to Images.”
Reference Slide #5, “let’s find a place to get lost.”
Here is a great example of this principle of simplicity in action. You will notice that there is never too much of everything on a single slide. The text is more than noticeable thanks to the strong contrast between the white font and the dark road in the background. At the same time, however, the long rows of trees on either side provide a strong counterbalance in the way that they create vertical thrust and also add a powerful splash of color into the mix.
If you have tons of useful content for the audience to learn from, don’t be swayed by the temptation to cram everything in. Instead, tastefully curate your content across many slides. It’s not like there is a shortage or limit on how many slides you can have in a presentation, so if you are in doubt about how much visual or written content you are trying to fit onto one section, go ahead and split the slide into multiple ones and give your presentation (and your audience) some much-needed visual breathing space.
5. Utilize Creative Graphics
While using clever words and beautiful images are a good start to ensuring your presentation looks its best, it’s worth mixing things up a bit whenever you can. Our “10 Clever Color Combos That Will Make Your Audience Happy,” gives the audience some pretty nifty advice on color palettes for top quality presentations with the help of curated images and color swatches.
Creative doesn’t have to mean “complicated” – look at how swatches of complimentary colors displayed side by side against an image utilizing them can look really good and add serious style to this presentation. On the other hand, sometimes it pays to spice things up a bit and use something a bit more sophisticated.
In that case, an infographic is a great tool at your disposal. The combination of compelling data, actionable tips, interesting illustrations and bright colors offers a scintillating narrative to your audience, something different instead of the usual arrangement of images, videos, or text. SlideShare makes it easy to upload and share infographics that you have created, and because of its connection to LinkedIn it’s a superb place to pick up a lot of viewers and push your presentation into viral territory.
6. If You Have to Write Certain Things Out, Keep Your Text Short & Friendly
We’ve been over this a few times before in the Presentation Panda blog, but if you are going to create text-based slide presentations – nothing wrong with that – you need to keep the writing short, simple, and as clear as possible. The mortal enemy of engaging content is boredom, and a sure way to turn your audience off of a potentially viral presentation is if you cram your slides with words.
When you are going to write content out, a smart method for keeping your writing short and friendly to audiences is to create brief lists of three, check-box style, for people to easily follow what you are saying. You don’t necessarily have to write in complete sentences either; just a few words will do, especially if you pair the words with suitable icons.
Here’s an example (from the above SlideShare) on how to make text more digestible:
Another thing to remember is to not overdo the jargon. Obviously there are going to be situations where you need to explain what something complicated and related to your niche. If it’s unavoidable for you to use complicated language, a good strategy to keep your presentation friendly to everyone is to write a single word down on a slide and have a brief definition or study related to it on the following slide. If you can pair it with an icon or other visual to help add meaning or clarification to it, don’t hesitate to do it.
7. Teach Your Audience Something With “How To” Tips
It’s important that your presentation give people easy to follow guidance on how to follow through with all the actionable content you’re giving them. We’re big fans of showing, not telling.
Our SlideShare presentation “How to Overlay Text Onto Image” went viral in large part thanks to the straightforward steps we outlined for helping presenters add text to their slides.
If you want to create a viral presentation, you should consider doing the same thing, no matter what your topic. Guide your audience every step of the way; people like to have someone holding their hand and explaining everything in a straightforward fashion.
By showing your audience the way and giving them tons of great examples of how to do what it is you want them to do in the course of your presentation, you are helping them. When people feel that the content you create is helpful, it won’t be long before your presentation goes viral.
8. Give Out Free Resources
How many times have you given out your email address or shared your social media account details with someone just because they were offering you something amazing for free? Giving out free stuff is a proven method for winning loyal followers, who are the backbone of just about every viral piece of content.
Here’s a great example of one of our SlideShare’s that is filled with free resources:
At Presentation Panda, we do our very best to include quality resources in our blog posts that we think you will enjoy and learn from. We take our recommendations seriously and as a result of that, we’ve been able to grow quite a bit just from linking to other excellent sites out there.
One of our favorite free graphic design tools, Canva, actually featured one of our presentations in one of their blog posts, which has of course helped drive traffic back to our site.
Of course, you shouldn’t expect everyone to return the favor like that – it’s more of an unintentional (but hoped for) side effect of our blog – but you should at least build an expectation in your audience that when you unveil a new presentation, they can expect you to share something new and exciting with them. Whether that’s a new awesome tool like Canva or maybe a free ebook you’ve just published on an important topic, giving out free resources will bring you one step closer to making your presentation go viral.
9. Close Your Presentation With a Good Call to Action
It wouldn’t be good marketing without a strong call to action. On one of our first viral SlideShare presentations, “2015 Font Trends for Presentations,” we got a ton of shares by incorporating a really great CTA asking people to tweet or share the presentation on Facebook in order to download it.
Here’s an example of the of the call to action slide we used in the above SlideShare:
Obviously this wouldn’t have been very successful if no one felt we were offering much value, but in the end the presentation was viewed well over 150,000 times. You can’t underestimate the importance of a good call to action in turning a presentation viral. But in order to get there, it’s worth following these eight steps to really make a positive impact on people and give them something that they like so much they are more than happy to share your work with others. If you can do that, your presentation, no matter what it’s about, will succeed.
10. Pick A Killer Topic by Doing Your Research and Staying Relevant
In order for a presentation to go viral, the content needs to be great AND it needs to be shareable.
There are two components to a viral campaign. First people need to want to read it (we have already talked about several tips to help with this).
The second component is that people need to want to share it with their followers. Without both components, your content has no chance of going viral.
So the topic you choose has to be interesting, so that your audience will want to read it and feel the need to share it with their friends.
The best way to pick a killer topic is to do your research. Pay attention to current events and what people are searching for.
Google Trends is a great tool for exploring key trends that are going on in the world.
An important note on picking a topic for your presentation:
Be careful about picking a topic that is relevant to your business. Having a bunch of random presentations that are not related to a common theme will generally confuse people.
As HighSpark agency points out in their popular SlideShare How to Create SlideShares That Convert, it’s better to be known as the “expert” at one thing than the “jack of all trades” of random things.
The best way to come up with an exciting viral presentation is by getting inspiration from others. We hope that some of the SlideShare examples shown in this post have provided a bit of inspiration for you.
Now it’s your turn! Follow these steps and create your best presentation yet. Don’t forget to let us know how it goes!
Also, if you found this article on how to create viral presentations helpful please share with your friends using the share buttons to the left.
What do Tim Ferriss, Tony Robbins, Steve Jobs, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and other influential speakers have in common?
They all understand the keys to a good presentation!
The best presenters in the world are memorable, instructive and referenced for many years.
They inspire people to change their lives, encourage and educate their audiences to think differently about the world – whether it’s about . Most successful public speakers have refined their skills to deliver memorable presentations in front of a live audience.
So, why not take some presentation secrets straight out of the pros’ playbook?
Today we are going to be sharing 10 awesome presentation tips from some of the best presenters in the world. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these suggestions for better public speaking.
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10 Killer Presentation Tips From Highly Influential Speakers – An infographic by the team at <a href=”https://presentationpanda.com/blog/presentation-tips-from-influential-speakers/”>Presentation Panda</a>
Tim Ferriss – Be 100% Authentic
Chances are, if you haven’t read The 4 Hour Work Week, you’ve definitely heard of it:
It’s practically the Bible for startup junkies and passive income warriors all over the world.
Tim Ferriss wrote this iconic book about living the life everyone else has been afraid to live, and ever since then he’s been a regular on the motivational speaker circuit.
His suggestions for better public speaking are pretty simple:
Just be yourself.
“Don’t ape someone else’s style. Don’t try to be Barack Obama or Tom Peters or Margaret Thatcher. It’ll only underscore how far you are from being one of these outstanding speechifiers.” (his words, not ours)
“As trite as it may sound, just try to be you. If ‘you’ is someone who’s slightly uneasy, who says “uh” a few times on stage, no problem. As long as you’re authentic — and as long as you have something interesting and relevant to say –- you’ll be fine.”
And he’s right:
Try to get in the mindset that you’re going to be talking to your mom or best friend – someone who you would be comfortable telling even your darkest secrets to.
Otherwise, as Ferriss says, “[people’s] BS detectors go off big time when they see a super-polished presenter spewing vaporous nothings.”
But here’s the kicker …
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be polished and authoritative, but it does mean you should sound like yourself.
If five syllable words are not a normal part of your vocabulary, don’t use them!
Amy Cuddy – Boost Your Confidence Right Before Presenting with “Power Poses”
Who is Amy Cuddy?
First of all, she’s a Social Psychologist at Harvard.
Second of all, she knows the secret to successful public speaking, and it has nothing to do with opening your mouth.
There is a simple strategy that you can use to reduce anxiety, improve your ability to deal with stress, and boost your confidence right before you get up on stage to present.
The best part? …
It works immediately and only takes two minutes to do. Studies conducted by Dr. Cuddy have shown that testosterone and cortisol (a stress hormone triggered by low-power poses such as slouching and looking at the ground) are inversely triggered depending on your body pose.
Closing your eyes, breathing deeply, and holding a power pose (e.g. such as standing with your chest stuck out and your hands on your hips) for just two minutes will give you an instant boost of testosterone right before you step up to the podium.
Learn more about how it all works (and see Dr. Cuddy’s Ted Talk) by clicking here.
Gary Vaynerchuk – Be Real and Don’t Worry About Dropping an F-Bomb Here or There
You’ve probably read before about public speaking tips that encourage you to look as sharp as possible for your big presentation. Many presenters, for example, feel compelled to wear a suit for a major keynote.
Gary Vaynerchuk breaks the mold.
He’s a successful entrepreneur best known for his role as a social media guru with clients such as Pepsi and Anheuser-Busch. He’s also got his start by growing his family’ liquor store business into a multi-million dollar a year venture.
So when he talks, people listen.
Funny enough, his standard attire for one of his five-figure talks is usually a pair of jeans and either a T-shirt, hoodie or collared shirt (untucked and with the sleeves unbuttoned).
“For 90% of the talks I do, I fly in the day of and fly out the same day, so it’s kind of a necessity,” Vaynerchuk says. “It’s the outfit of the sport I’m playing, which is extreme traveling and speaking.” (man, that’s a sport we wish we played).
“I understand and respect why someone would say [other] things are really important. But for me, I like to let my words and my energy on the stage do the talking.” What Vaynerchuk does use, however, are four-letter words. And he uses them with the zeal and gusto of a sailor on leave.
Whether he’s speaking to a tech crowd, a real estate crowd or pretty much any other conference that’s clamoring to add his star power to their agenda, audience members usually hear at least a few dozen colorful word choices (e.g. shit, dickhead, rat’s ass, douchebag and, of course, many creative variations of the f-bomb) that would get most other presenters reprimanded by their bosses or severely scolded by conference organizers.
Not only is he able to pull it off, his presentations typically end with a standing ovation. Now I understand that many people do get turned off by unnecessary use of profanity, but the way Gary uses it to make a point SIMPLY WORKS:
His expletives are well-placed to emphasize his most important and audacious points. And they often make the audience laugh and feel more at ease.
So where does the penchant for colorful language in his talks come from? “I was very affected by Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor,” Vaynerchuk says. “…they have some pretty good mouths on them and I think that affected me.”
Does that mean you should start swearing like he does during his presentations?
Not necessarily. But as Mark Manson, another leading lifestyle personality, has said, profanity “shocks you into a new mentality and challenges you.”
We think Gary – and other top public speakers – would agree.
Seth Godin – Ditch the Bullet Points With Your PowerPoint Slides
Hard to believe, but Steve Jobs never used a single bullet point.
His presentations were always remarkable spare, relying on a few powerful images and carefully selected words or phrases.
Even during product demos where Jobs explains or demonstrates key benefits of a new product, his slides are refreshingly devoid of bullet points.
As Seth Godin explains in a 2007 eBook called Really Bad PowerPoint, “The minute you put bullet points on the screen, you are announcing ‘write this down, but don’t really pay attention to it now.’ People don’t take notes at the opera.”
While his gloriously bald head gets your attention at first, it’s Seth’s wisdom and long-run sensibility that have made him one of the most respected voices in marketing.
Anyways, back to the bullet points: Researchers have demonstrated time and time again that text and bullet points are the least effective way to deliver important information. Yet despite the evidence, the average PowerPoint slide has an extremely dense 40 words.
On average, our short-term memory can hold onto fewer than 7 items for no longer than 10-15 seconds.
So, imagine you’re introducing the world’s thinnest notebook. Replace the bulleted list of techie product features with a photograph of a large, manila office envelope.
Or perhaps you’re trying to inspire an audience to help your nonprofit end the water crisis? Skip the bulleted list of statistics in favor of a short, powerful video that shows rather than tells why everyone in the room should care.
Lewis Howes – Keep Your Cool When Criticized
Lewis Howes is a New York Times Bestselling author of the hit book, The School of Greatness. He is also a lifestyle entrepreneur, high performance business coach, and keynote speaker.
I remember watching a Creative Live presentation featuring Lewis a few years back and was really drawn to how cool calm and collected he appears on stage.
One recommendation that he gives for better public speaking is to keep your cool if you happen to get hit with criticism during your talk.
Nobody wants to be heckled during a presentation but its bound to happen if you present frequently.
As you prepare your speech, it can be easy to imagine someone interrupting you, shouting out what your mind is already telling itself: He lacks experience. He didn’t prepare enough. How did he get this job?
Lewis points out that it’s important not to disqualify the statement or get defensive. Instead, listen, reflect, and evaluate the comment, then try to move the conversation in the right direction.”
So what do you do when you get hit with some tough questions?
Step 1: Ask some clarifying questions.
Step 2: Listen to the answers.
From here the conversation should get specific enough to address the questions or criticism. If so, answer, and then move your speech back on track.
If not, remember that you can’t please everybody, the moment you focus on that, you’ll no longer have a business that stands out.
Nancy Duarte – Make Your Slides Look Like Billboards
It pains us to say it, but we are mere mortals compared to Nancy Duarte when it comes to mastering the art of presentations.
She’s the CEO of one of the most highly-respected presentation design companies in the USA, and one of her biggest presentation tips is that you have to minimize words and focus on images if you want to make an impact on your audience.
“An audience can’t listen to your presentation and read detailed, text-heavy slides at the same time (not without missing key parts of your message, anyway). So make sure your slides pass what I call the glance test:
People should be able to understand each of your slides in about three seconds or less.
Think of your slides as billboards:
When people drive, they only briefly take their eyes off their main focus — the road — to process billboard information. Similarly, your audience should focus intently on what you’re saying, looking only briefly at your slides when you display them.
The less extraneous material – such as words, graphics, animation, and sounds – the better people can concentrate.
Lots of extras actually take away meaning because they become a distraction. It’s not that your audience is a bunch of preschoolers – it’s just that even a group of adults can only take so much sensory bombardment before losing attention.
Use that knowledge to strip down your slides to the essentials. Does your logo really need to be on every slide? Does that blue swoosh add meaning? If not, leave it off.
The same goes for text:
Keep it short and easy to skim, and scale the type as large as possible so the people in the back of the room can see it.
Brian Tracy – Start Your Presentation With Your Audience
Brian Tracy has got a fire burning when it comes to delivering awesome presentations and he wants to share his tips with you.
Interestingly, what motivates him, as a self-development guru, to keep on plugging away isn’t him – it’s the people in his audience, the ones who come to him seeking self-improvement.
No wonder then that the audience is at the core of his philosophy when it comes to getting better at public speaking:
Who are the people that you are going to be presenting to? What is their age, who are they, what is their income and occupation? These things will help you to craft a successful PowerPoint presentation.
Designing a presentation without an audience in mind is like writing a love letter and addressing it ‘to whom it may concern.
If you’re intimidated or nervous about facing your audience imagine them as a line of individuals waiting to have face-to-face conversations with you.
You want to make each person feel like you’re having a personal exchange with him or her; it will help you speak in a conversational tone, which will keep them interested. And if they’re still not interested, either you have a hopelessly boring personality or your presentation isn’t worth paying attention to (thankfully, you can change both of those things, but it might take some work).
Tony Robbins – Tap Into Your Audience’s Emotions
Like Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins is one of the people on this list who you probably don’t need an introduction to.
Pretty much everyone has seen one of his infomercials about living a better life or becoming a better you.
He’s done a pretty darn good job of motivating people, and it probably has a lot do with tapping into his audience’s emotions:
“We’ve all been put to sleep by somebody who’s told us all these wonderful facts that didn’t matter because information without emotion is not retained,” Robbins says. Without the power of emotion – be it body language, or the way you enunciate certain words, or look directly into the eyes of one of your audience members – even the best presentations will lack that je ne sais quoi that electrifies people.
If you are going to reach your audience, first you have to reach yourself.
In other words, get pumped about what it is you’re talking about!
“So if you’re just giving some frickin talk you’ve memorized over and over again, you’re going to have a flat affect,” Tony says. “If you’ve just got a bunch of visuals on the screen that are leading your talk, hang up your shoes and get the hell out of there.”
A good way to insert emotion into your talk is to practice in front of a mirror. Don’t memorize entire sentences verbatim, so that way when you give the talk it sounds a bit more natural – not to mention, the more salient points of the talk will really jump out at you as you go through your paces during your presentation. And that will make a positive emotional impact on your viewers.
Scott Harrison – Tell Engaging Stories
Scott Harrison has led a pretty interesting life thus far:
After living a fast life of partying and drugs as a party promoter in New York City for major brands such as MTV, VH1, and Bacardi, he had an epiphany that he was living a shallow, meaningless life.
“I realized I was the most selfish, sycophantic, and miserable human being. I was the worst person I knew,” he recalls in a New York Times interview from 2009.
That realization changed him. He went from promoting clubs for a living to bringing clean water to millions of people across the world through the organization he founded, charity: water.
Nearly 20,000 projects and 24 countries later, his charity has brought clean, safe drinking water to poor developing communities around the world.
The secret to his success lies in the fact that he has combat the general apathy people have towards issues like this by telling a great and engaging story. It’s not so often you hear about someone who used to ply the streets of Manhattan at night in his BMW with a bunch of supermodels sitting in the back, then trading it all away to help people in impoverished nations such as Liberia have the chance to drink and wash using clean water.
The stories that Harrison tells allow him to connect with his audience on an emotional level.
Steve Jobs – Speak in the Familiar
A list kickass public speaking presentation tips would be incomplete without presentation tips from Steve Jobs.
The late computer whiz kid, wearer of stylish black turtlenecks, and face of Apple, Jobs is a prime candidate for presentation case studies because when on stage, he was articulate, nimble, and steadfast.
One of his most overlooked skills was making technical jargon sound simple, dare we even say fun? That’s quite an accomplishment when you consider how boring (yet also confusing) computers can be for most people. When the iPod was launched in 2001, Jobs was at his peak performance. A brilliant example of his ability to speak in layman’s terms came when he presented the iPod as “1000 songs in your pocket.”
Whoa! Maybe an egghead like Bill Gates would’ve been a bit more technical (or maybe just less exciting – remember the Zune?) But Steve Jobs knew that is was important to make his devices not only function as simply as possible – anyone who has seen a toddler pick up an iPad and start playing with it recognizes the intuitive design central to the Apple brand – but to also describe them as simply as possible.
His brilliance as a speaker who knew how to tell the facts without confusing people is what set him apart, and it’s something that you should keep in mind when it’s your turn to speak.
How about you? What are your best presentation tips for public speaking? Are there other awesome public speakers we didn’t talk about here that you think we should know about? Sound off in the comments below!
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these public speaking tips? If so, email them the link to this post.
Thanks for sharing and be sure to post this article on Twitter of Facebook as well (by using the sharing buttons to the left).
Hungry for more presentation tips from influential speakers? Want to know more about how to deliver a kickass presentation? Check out some of these posts:
How Tim Ferriss Structures His PowerPoint Presentations (And Five Other Useful Public Speaking Tips)
Is It OK To Swear During Your Presentation?
20 Killer Presentation Accessories For Public Speaking
Benjy Feen – Tim Ferriss , Pop Tech – Amy Cuddy , Silicon Prairie News – Gary Vaynerchuk , Joi Ito – Seth Godin , ShashiBellamkonda – Lewis Howes , Front – Nancy Duarte , Daniel Wickburg – Brian Tracy , Randy Stewart – Tony Robbins , Official Leweb Photos – Scott Harrison , The Taxhaven – Steve Jobs
Here’s the brutal truth about PowerPoint presentations:
Most of them are terrible. Ya, I’m talking about the pull your hair out and stab your hand with a pen kinda terrible!
Let me ask you a question …
Are you getting tired of the same boring stock images, the same so-so fonts, the same unengaging text, the same plain vanilla graphics, the same tired vectors?
If the answer is YES, then we have some really awesome presentation design tips that will turn your slides from super lame to sleek and professional in the blink of an eye. We are going to share with you a bundle of really effective slide design techniques, focusing specifically on images, fonts, whitespace, and custom graphics.
Yes, today we are going to be talking about 5 presentation tips and tricks that will set your PowerPoint slides on fire!
So without further ado, let’s kick this one off with a helpful infographic (below), and then we’ll talk more details about each design tip in the descriptions below.
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<p>Please include attribution to <a href=’Presentation Panda’>Presentation Panda</a> with this graphic.<br /><br /><a href=’https://presentationpanda.com/blog/5-presentation-design-tips/’><img src=’https://presentationpanda.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Presentation-Design-Tips-PowerPoint-Tips-and-Tricks.png’ alt=’5 Presentation Design Tips for Amazing Looking Slides’ width=” border=’0′ /></a></p>
Presentation Design Tip #1: Find Amazing Images For Your Slides With Unsplash
Photography has always been an integral part of presentation design.
A good presentation image of something or someone helps people relate more to what you are talking about, and illustrates the practical rationale behind your presentation – whether you are discussing sea urchin biology or the hottest new nightlife apps for 2016.
Unfortunately, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing lame presentation stock images of people in suits jumping up in the air.
Not only are a lot of these stock photos tacky, but some of them cost mucho dinero!
Why waste your money?
Luckily, these days there are now tons of places to find high quality, commercial-free images for presentations, but our personal favorite is Unsplash:
Unsplash has nothing but AWESOME images — no bull$%&# ones. Their high-resolution image library is practically an art gallery in itself.
Their website is also super simple to navigate:
It’s clearly been done by a professional designer — and their search bar makes it quick and easy to find the type of image you’re looking for. For example, if you want to find presentation stock images of someone hiking, you can type in “nature” and you will see tons of beautiful nature images with and without people in the shot (we couldn’t resist linking to the page).
And there are so many different types of images to choose from for your presentations. You can find photos of high rise cityscapes, foggy forests, laughing children, or neatly-organized hipster worktables in all their high-resolution glory.
If you know you want to utilize beautiful looking images but don’t want to deal with the burden of choice (how Nietzschean of you) you will probably really like the curated collections on offer. The themes are as varied and plentiful as the oeuvre of Unsplash itself, with different Unsplash users showing off their curatorial talents to come up with the best possible grab bag of designs they can think of.
Keep in mind that these collections aren’t always completely related – for example, you might see a shot of a cute and cuddly walrus in the same collection as a super sleek black and white shot looking up at gleaming steel skyscrapers. But there’s plenty of design inspiration to be gleaned from the Unsplash collections – check out their website if you haven’t already!
Presentation Design Tip #2: Spice Up Your PowerPoint Deck With Cool Fonts From Font Squirrel
Every computer comes with a set of fonts pre-installed as standard. This includes fonts like Arial and Times New Roman (we write these blog posts in Arial. Ugh).
Many people don’t realize that there are other options out there – there are loads of beautiful, simple fonts for presentation slides to choose from.
Today there are tons of custom fonts that you can download for free from places like Font Squirrel.
They have categorized their entire font collection into dozens of different easily searchable categories, making it easy for you to find the ideal font for your type of presentation.
Some personal font favorites that can be downloaded from Font Squirrel include:
Bebas Neue – just like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce you can put that $*&% on everything. We like this font so much that we decided to included in our award winning PowerPoint template Influencer
Pacifico – a presentation font that is not for the faint of heart, this is a great style to use for headers and your title page. Especially great if you want to give off more of a laidback vibe – it’s all in the California-cool name, after all.
Mathlete – like all good presentation fonts, Mathlete is the perfect choice for you if you want to impress your audience with big multi-syllable words in your headers. It only comes in CAPS, which gives off a go-big-or-go-home element to your presentation. But you’ll go big, we’re sure.
Chunk Five – this bold (literally) font is like Arial with a much louder personality. Don’t use this font if you want your audience to be captivated by your every word.
Lobster – not to be confused with Lobster 2, this versatile font makes a great choice for headers or subheader fonts – you can go anywhere on the spectrum of formal to informal with this one.
For an additional list of awesome fonts that can be downloaded from Font Squirrel click here
You can even click on the “most popular” tab and Font Squirrel will pull a list of the most popular fonts people are downloading.
Since Font Squirrel’s fonts are all free to download, there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t want to browse through their highly extensive collection (they have literally hundreds of them available) and see if there’s one that is particularly eye-catching.
Presentation Design Tip #3: Create Whitespace For Your Presentation Images Using Focused Blurs From PicMonkey
As we have talked about in the past, there are ways to create more whitespace when using “busy images” (images that have a lot going on and make it difficult for any text you may add stand out – not get drowned out by the noise of the image). Blurring is one way to add whitespace and make room for your text to shine.
PowerPoint has its own blur tool under the Artistic Effects Tab ( you can access this tab when you double click an image on the slide)
However, sometimes you may not want to blur the entire image because you want a particular part of your image to remain unblurred. That way you can keep the more aesthetically pleasing parts in the focused section of your photo while you fade the unwanted sections of it into the background. So, how do you go about doing this?
Enter PicMonkey, a free online photo editor that makes it super easy to create all-important whitespace without having to waste a lot of time doing it.
By using my “Focused Blur” technique using Pic Monkey you will be able to create … wait for it … a focused blur on a specific part of your image.
Does it seem a bit too intimidating for you to appropriately blur out a photo yourself?
It’s actually quite simple to pull this off.
Here are the steps:
- Find an image you like
- Upload it to Pic Monkey
- Click Edit Image
- Select the “Focal Zoom Feature”
- Select the area that you don’t want to blur and the tool will blur everything else other than that area
Of course if you have PhotoShop you can easily create a focused blur using that as well but I assume many people do not have a copy of PhotoShop – and when you have free photo editing tools for presentations like PicMonkey, you don’t really need to have PhotoShop anyways (that’s a lie, but you know what we mean).
There are lots of super neat tools that PicMonkey has on offer. The Focal Zoom Feature is just one of many of our favorites. There are tons of other great editing possibilities including canvas cropping, image sharpening, and color saturation – go ahead and check out what they have to offer. Once you start using PicMonkey to edit your photos and create lots of beautiful white space for your display text, you won’t ever want to go back!
Presentation Design Tip #4: Use Shape Union Make Your Own Custom PowerPoint Graphics By Combining Shapes
Okay, so what if you go to Unsplash or onto Graphic River looking for a good image or template to use for your presentation, but still come up empty?
Sometimes, the quickest way to get your hands on the perfect image is to create one yourself.
You’ll be surprised how the careful combination of shapes and lines can help you to create an awesome looking image, template, or layout for your slides. And, the nice thing is that this can all be done straight from PowerPoint or Keynote – so you don’t have to go onto some unfamiliar website or download a new software program.
Without trying to sound too general, we should point out that the standard drawing toolbars in PowerPoint or Keynote are SOMETIMES no match for the stunning professional stock imagery that professional graphic designers can put together using advanced image creation tools.
Regardless of your skill level you should definitely be able to adapt your slides to accommodate some really nice graphics. Creating your own custom PowerPoint graphics using shapes isn’t difficult.
Here are the three simple steps:
- Arrange some shapes however you want
- Select all of your shapes you want to combine
- Click on the Shape Union tool
Voila! Now you have a quick and dirty custom-made graphic for your presentation, and you did it without having to consult with an expensive professional designer.
Presentation Design Tip #5: Save Time Creating Custom Graphics For Your PowerPoint Slides with FreePik
If you have ever come across a stunning presentation there is a good chance that it was filled with nice looking vector graphics.
What are vector graphics?
Vector images are not like bitmap images that are based on pixels. Vector images use a mathematical formula to draw the images onscreen. That’s why they always look nice and crisp when scaled to fit anywhere from a wall-sized projection screen to your laptop.
Generally speaking, vector images are made up of a bunch of shapes that when combined represent the image. Because of this, they can be ungrouped and the individual shapes can be edited. That might sound pretty intimidating if you have never tried playing around with image editing software before, but we promise it’s really not that hard to figure out.
With Freepik you can download the images for free and use them commercially IF you provide attribution (give credit). If you don’t want to provide attribution you can pay a monthly fee of $10. We highly recommend putting up the $10 (just charge it to your company credit card) so that you don’t have lame copyright attribution blurbs making you look like a complete amateur.
The design of your presentation isn’t something to be underestimated or overlooked. If you have a simple, elegant PowerPoint presentation it makes a positive and strong impact on your viewers.
Hopefully the presentation tips and tricks we have shared with you here will help you master the important details that make a good presentation great.
So are you already using any one of these presentation hacks that we’ve discussed? What are some design deficiencies you have battled before that maybe you can fix by utilizing one of these principles? Let me know what you think and please try to be as specific as possible. Sound off in the comments below!
Lastly, do you have a friend that could benefit from learning about these presentation design tips? If so, email them this post.
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Hungry for more presentation design tips just like these? Check these out:
5 Presentation Tools That Will Make Your Slides Stand Out
Impress Your Audience by Following These 5 Presentation Design Trends
5 Presentation Font Trends Worth Seeing