So you’ve decided to do your workmates a favour and rid the QR world of crappy powerpoint presentations? Easier said than done. Making slides both beautiful and relevant is a tricky business and not one to be sniffed at. To help you on the road to powerpoint recovery I’ve compiled a number of resources that you may or may not find useful, along with few tips.
Tip 1: If in doubt – steal…
There are a multitude of great slideshows out there just waiting for you to download and replace the text. It’s so much better than working hard, and looks great too.
Try slideshare.net first – but there are stacks of other resources, possibly even some on the QR internal network. Go on – they won’t mind. If you need some help please give me a shout – I’m good at stealing.
Tip 2: Use good quality images, and never ever stretch them…
It doesn’t look clever if you get caught using images that you don’t have permission to use, but there really is no need to just google image search when there are so many other resources full of copyright free images, and most are at a higher resolution than google images, so look much sharper.
Freeimages.co.uk – 5000 free original stock photos.
Stock.xchng – 393,000 images to choose from and very high res downloads.
Freepixels – 4000 photos in over 40 categories makes Freepixels a solid choice.
Gimp-savvy – Gimp-savvy is associated to the work people do with the open source image editor GIMP, but what this site does is allow you to search a whole bunch of public domain photos – 27,000 them to be precise. The best part is that it includes the entire NASA database.
Free Range – It’s not the best looking site, the search is relatively poor and, yawn, you do have to sign up to get the images. On the plus side, the shots are brilliant which is, at the end of the day, what counts.
FreeMediaGoo – No signing up, no crediting and no restrictions on how you can use them. Just go to FreeMediaGoo and download whatever you want. The only downside is that there isn’t much there.
Tip 3: Pick a nice colour scheme (palette) and stick to it….
The website www.colourlovers.com has loads of inspiration and ideas for what constitutes good design, but what it does most of all is list hundreds and hundreds of palettes. Just pick one and stick to it. It’ll even tell you how much of each colour to use on each slide.
Tip 4: What to do when you just have too much information to impart…
It’s all very well these designers telling us that we have to make our presentations more beautiful, but they’re designers, they don’t have reams of information to communicate. We’re in the engineering industry, which means we’re mostly working with lists of numbers and codes. How is it possible to make that more beautiful?
The answer is that it’s just not possible, but neither will you communicate that list via a powerpoint slide. Use a different medium and refer to it in your presentation, be it hard-copy or email distributed before the big show. Then you can use the slideshow to summarise what the “handout” says, and don’t forget to illustrate it with a nice picture (see tip 2).
Even better – do a second version of your slideshow including all the numbers and upload it to Slideshare and share it with your audience to look at after the event.
“It’s not about the numbers – it’s about what the numbers mean!!!”
Tip 5: Keep it simple – Less is more!
Don’t use more than 2 fonts on a page and no more than 140 characters of text (there’s a good reason that Twitter chose 140). Remember that space is a designer’s friend.
Tip 6: Practice your presentation.
It’s amazing how much you’ll change after just one run through. If you have the time to practice it twice you will change even more and it will become even better. A third time and you’ll start to get the timing and flow right. A fourth time and you won’t need to look down at your notes as much. A fifth time and people will wonder how you got so damned good at presentations. It’s a big ask, but it’s worth it.