Tip #14 on my 20 Tips to Make Your PPT Preso Suck Less is to make things smaller. The default text, line spacing, bullets, titles, chart settings, basically everything for PPT and even Keynote are simply too big. As a result, it is very hard to make an engaging slide. Here is a quick example of a slide at the default template in PowerPoint.
If you are cringing right now, that is understandable. But these types of slides are VERY common. And it violates a whole slew of my tips, including 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14 and 17. Mostly, I really hate how big the text is and that awful blue background with color text title.
Keep reading to see how the slide changes.
Ok, so what if we just made it super generic with a Keynote template in white?
It is easier to understand why London sucks…but I have no long term memory of the reasons. There is no story (Tip #13). And there is a lot going on here that is wrong. The only tip we stopped breaking from the PPT template above was Tip #17, don’t use colored backgrounds. Let’s do just another 5 minutes of work on this with a little help from Google image search. Remember, we are working to reduce the text both in quantity and size from the original default.
So now we are just violating one of the rules, #7, don’t use slide titles. I violated the rule in this case, as I wanted to eliminate bullets completely from the slide (rule #11) and I needed a bit of the narrative, as I am not presenting this to you in person. But overall, there is a strong voice on this slide, in this case Cousin Avi’s. It is visually compelling and easy to remember/recall. The text gives you the main info…Cousin Avi hates London.
With this slide, I tried something different, really focusing on telling a story. I used Plastiq’s Comic Life (free with a Mac) to make this slide in about 10 minutes. I use this comic book approach with customer case studies in presentations successfully.
With this last version, bled the photo to the edges, and used the comic book inspired text call-out for my bullet points. This is hugely impacting…if you have a strong photo or screenshot.
Let’s take a look at the concentration of text in each slide. You will see that the original is less impactful and less interesting. Smaller text. Less text. More effective.
PS: I really recommend you watch Snatch. It is an excellent movie.
PSS: I don’t really hate London. I just wanted to see what a slide based on Ari’s character in Snatch might look like in bad PPT form. Now I know.