PowerPoint Revolution!

Ditch PowerPoint?
Ditch PowerPoint?

The patience of audiences around the world are thinning rapidly. The number of PPT (PowerPoint Terrorists) sympathisers in the world are declining drastically too.

No longer content to sit back and be the subject of abuse, audiences from all over the world are beginning to make their voices heard – some say PowerPoint are more a of barrier than aid to learning. Others are calling for it to be ditched completely.

But should it?

Well, I’m no fan of boring presentations (who is!?) – and I’m definitely not for PPTs (I’ll send them a virus – not anthrax – if I have to keep them from speaking). But as a Trainer and Presenter (yep, I’m one of the good guys!), I recognise the immense value and potential PowerPoint can really give. So it doesn’t really make sense to ditch it now.

But all’s not lost. Led by our “Spiritual Leader” and fellow blogger, Olivia Mitchell, a team of bloggers have banded together to come up with ideas on “What I’d like to see in PowerPoint slide design in 2009”. That’s right – we’re starting a PowerPoint Revolution for you – and we’ll be sharing our views real soon. In the meantime, here’s what I would like to see in PowerPoint Slide Design in 2009:

1. Down with Words!

Don’t we hate it when we see the speaker’s entire script on the screen? Sometimes, it makes us wonder if we signed up for a reading class or a full-forced recital. It usally takes us awhile to realise that we didn’t for either. But by then, we’d be overcome with grief (and boredom) to move.

My First Wish for 2009: Down with a Novel-on-a-slide-syndrom! Use phrases to introduce an idea!

2. More Pictures

Messages need not necessarily be conveyed merely through words. A powerful picture says more than a thousand words.

Power of a Picture

True isn’t it?

If you must fill up your slide with something, fill it up with a powerful picture.

3. Contrast with Colours

Your colour scheme is important! Drop the fanciful colours that you frequently used from your childhood and stick with 2 – maximum 3.

Ensure that your colours are as contrasting as possible for the best possible effect.

Here’s a good example of contrasting colours:

Above: An example of contrasting colours

4. Reduce “Argh-nimation”

If you think you can spice up your presentation with words flying in from all over the place and letters rotating at every darn click of the mouse…


Indiscrimate use of animation can be downright irritating and be an unwelcomed distraction to an audience already struggling to follow your presentation.

For the sake of simplicity and consistency, do minimize the amount of animation you use and stick to a couple of simple and less distracting animation types.

5. Simplicity Rules

Remember the purpose of your presentation is to convey a message to the audience. The MESSAGE is what you want to have stand out so everything you do should help to enhance the purpose and message and reduce distraction.

Simplicity in PowerPoint design helps to ensure that all distracting elements are minimized.

To show all these principles in motion, here’s an excellent example of a powerful slideshow presentation in motion.

Observe how the main elements of the presentation stood out against a minimalistic background.

It’s not mere coincidence that the elements and principles we discussed above are being used Steve Job’s Keynote Speech.

Technology is used to enhance our presentations. Not detract and distract our audience. Take note of that… and may the REVOLUTION BEGIN!

Related Posts: Are you a PowerPoint Terrorist


6 thoughts on “PowerPoint Revolution!”

  1. Awesome post Gary!! Really helpful and insightful. Will refer to it again next time I use powerpoint slides in a speech^__^.

    1. Hi Dave,

      thanks! It took me awhile to really come up with the main elements I’d like to improved in terms of PowerPoint design. I’ve read some of the other bloggers’ posts too and they’ve offered several great tips too.

      I’ll publish the findings once it’s out.

      In the meantime, continue to enjoy the posts on the blog!

      And do continue to Speak Up and Stand Out in the new school term!

  2. Great points. But you do know that Steve Jobs isn’t using PowerPoint — It’s KEYNOTE — an Apple product for his presentations.

  3. Just stumbles on this one, and I laughed the whole way. So true! How I too hate these “novels-on-a-slide”. They distract from the message because you don’t listen when you read. And I really loved point 2 above with the powerful picture. What a way to go.
    Thanks for a very humorous post about an annoying subject.

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