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- Adding whitespace
- Applying transitions
- Using photographs, colors, and fonts
- Incorporating diagrams and SmartArt
- Customizing layouts and templates
- Animating bullets, photos, and other objects
- Inserting music and audio
- Utilizing speaker's notes and the Presenter view
- Creating handouts
- Planning the program
- Dealing with distractions
- Setting up and tearing down
Skill Level Intermediate
We are going to finish off the course with a recap Of The Good, The Bad, and the downright Ugly. Let's take a look at a series of slides and figure out what worked and what didn't, and provide a little constructive criticism along the way. Now at first glance, our initial slide doesn't look too bad. Sure it could use a photo and perhaps the text is a little bit too big, maybe too far apart, but can you see what's really wrong with it? Did you catch it? All right, how about now? That's right, there are more than just a few mistakes, spelling and grammar, on the slide.
It always amazes me how often a simple typo or misspelling goes unnoticed. Don't forget to spell check your slides when you're done and have someone else proofread. I think we can all see what the problem is here: way too much text. But how do you fix it? This is better in that we've reduced the text, but let's keep going a little further. Here we've taken the bullets and split them into two columns using the Comparison Layout, and here I have split the content into two distinct slides.
I have added the word continued to make it clear. Likewise, this slide only has five items, but we can agree that they are all way too long. I can turn them into just a few words per bullet, but let's take it one step further. By using the SmartArt feature I converted the bulleted list into a great-looking graphic that conveys the idea of a process even better than a numbered list. Now here is an advanced technique that takes a bit of work to pull off.
Use the same SmartArt graphic and animate it with a rectangle or some other shape that moves along the diagram as the speaker presents. No one wants to read a big clump of text like this. But what do you do when you need to include all that text? How can you make it less painful while increasing the odds that your audience will read it? Believe it or not, a larger font size doesn't always make the text easy to read. Check out the revised slide with the exact same text.
Our new slide actually has a smaller font size, but I've increased the line spacing to give us more whitespace. I dropped any bullets, added some animated quotation marks, centered the text a little bit, and I put the attribution on separate lines. It's now far easier to read. We can easily identify what's wrong with this slide, but let's take a moment to identify a bigger issue with color. The issue that we have to keep in mind is colorblindness. One out of 12 men and one out of 50 women will find it difficult to distinguish between certain shades of red and green.
Be very careful about the colors you choose for your backgrounds, charts, and diagrams, especially if identifying the different colors is key to understanding the content. This combination with the added glow around my pushpins should make it easy for anyone to see. Now, to see the problem with this slide, I will have to advance a few more. This is number one, here is number two, and here is number three. Let's go back. Number two, and number one.
Can you catch the difference? The slides are inconsistent with each other. Check out the color, font size, in fact, some are bold and others aren't. The positioning of the text is different too. Fixing this is as easy as the Reset button found in the Home tab of the ribbon, but neglecting to do that can subconsciously cause the audience to distrust us or get distracted. Either way, our message is lost. Remember that consistency is key. This slide has a photo on it, but with a few clicks we can make it look far better.
So now it has a border, definitely making it look better and we've made it a little larger to better connect with the audience. But let's keep working on it. Much better! It's now along the left, huge and cropped to a vertical column with our text pushed over to the right. If you have multiple photos like this, remember the animation techniques we've learned, and apply them to create a slideshow-like effect that introduces them one by one on the slide.
How much difference can a photo make? Well, here's a slide that offers some great features for the new R-9500. And here's the same slide with just a little bit of text and one great photo that connects with the audience. The speaker can still talk about all the features, but let them look at this happy customer enjoying the product while they listen to the speaker. My favorite public speaking mistake is when the presenter shows a table like this, with a quiet disclaimer that says, "I know you can't read this, but this is what it's saying." Well yeah, if you knew we couldn't read it, why did you put it into your slideshow to begin with? So here are two alternatives.
Limit the data, group the months by quarters or remove the items that are irrelevant to the conversation. Remember what I said way in the beginning of this course; everything you say needs to guide the audience down a path, and anything that doesn't needs to be tossed out of the presentation. That applies to your data too. Better yet, say it in a graphical way, and whenever you can, make the data meaningful. So there you have it, a recap of what to avoid and what to strive for in the design of your slides.