From boring to beautiful: 3 ways to instantly improve your presentation slides

Tips for better slide design

I hate boredom. And even more so when it comes in the form of a boring presentation with visually poor slides. That’s just torture.

Pinned to my seat in a packed auditorium, I evaluate my potential escape route. The only thing that holds me back is the embarrassment and awkwardness of trying to slide past eight other people sitting in my row.

We need a superhero to save us. Or better yet, the speaker needs a superhero to save his dreadful presentation.

Enter “Kick Ass” – ordinary teenager turned super hero who’ll save us. No more awful presentations! He’ll lead us from boring to beautiful by being example 1 of 3 in our quest for visually stunning slides.

1. Where to find kick-ass visuals for your presentations

I recently put together a presentation for our sales reps that gave tips on how to follow up with their leads.

I wanted something dramatic for the title slide, and the term “kick-ass” was on my mind. I’m a fan of the 2010 Kick-Ass film, and I thought that featuring Kick-Ass in my presentation might just be the way to attract the sales reps’ attention.

The movie poster is of course copyrighted, and the lack of a fun image to use could easily have been the end of that idea. Luckily, I remembered deviantArt, a site where artists share their work. A quick search for “Kick-Ass” brought me to Mattias Fahlberg, a Swedish blogger and artist. I contacted Mattias, and he was happy for me to use his artwork for my slide deck. (Thanks, Mattias!).

Kick-ass images
So lesson learned: Asking nicely works wonders if you need something remarkable to set your presentation apart. If you come across an image you think would work well in your presentation, contact the owner and see if you can use it. You can reference them and provide a link to their social media profiles and website too if that helps to seal the deal.

Other alternatives are free stock photos. Check our this post for more sources: 15 image sources for your next presentation.

2. Injecting personality into your slide decks

One more way to make your slides stand out is to put a bit of personality into them. Quite a bit, actually, as I recommend using a life-sized image of yourself.

In the example below, I used two photos of myself at the beginning and end of a story arc. The first photo shows a goal out of reach. The second photo shows me having achieved the goal.

Daniel Waas slide design

Daniel Waas slide design ideas

 

These are pretty easy to do:

  • Think up a visual way of making your point
  • Pose accordingly in front of a white background (a door will do)
  • Snap a photo of yourself
  • Paste the photo into PowerPoint and add free icons or stock photos as needed

3. Gorgeous images make gorgeous slides

My last tip is actually the easiest of them all, and it was stolen directly from Guy Kawasaki. Pick a gorgeous image and add minimal text in large font. You really can’t go wrong with that.

In the example below, I illustrate the opening part of a presentation about a super-boring topic (the lifecycle of a sales lead: stage 1, a lead is created) with a sectional headline. It has zero to do with the topic, but it works great and looks far better than the transition slides you usually see.

Slide design ideas
Liked this post? Learn more about presenting in my previous blog post on how to overcome the fear of public speaking.

 

Do's and Don'ts of giving a killer presentation

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About the author

Daniel Waas is Director of Product Marketing for the Communications Cloud here at Citrix. He’s a geek at heart who loves LEGO, sci-fi and the occasional video game if time permits. Despite these severe dating handicaps, he was lucky enough to get married and even luckier to have a son. You can connect with Daniel on Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter. More blog posts by Daniel Waas ››
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  • ssdntech

    From these citrix Training instructions we are definitely benefited.

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