Slide Makeover: Before and After PowerPoint Slides

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My volunteer position with the Junior League of Greater Orlando involves revamping all of our old PowerPoint slides for our New Member Training program to look and feel less like 1993 and more like 2013.  I revamped a hideous deck of slides for the New Member Retreat and created a “virtual tour” video (learn more about that here).

For our September meeting, my goal was to revise a deck of slides explaining the Finance Council.  Here are some before and after shots along with some information about how and why I revised each slide.

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The “Before” slide describing the Finance Council gave a list of concepts that the audience could read in about 10 seconds.  Since the presenter spent time going over each of the concepts, by the time she reached the final bullet point, the audience was already bored because they’d read ahead.  In the “After” slide, images show the different sides of the Finance Council while the presenter explains the purpose and the goal of the Council.

So where does the information go?  Great question!

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When you “View” and “Show Presenter’s Notes” in Keynote, you’ll find a place to type speaking notes.  The audience sees the slide (above).

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The speaker gets a hard copy with the slide AND the notes below to hold during the presentation.  That way, the speaker can stay on track with the slides and use the notes to guide the presentation in a clear direction.

Now let’s look at a few remaining “before” and “after” slides.

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Before, the amount of text on each slide turned slides into documents. Also, take a look at the first “before.”  The sheer volume of tiny images and text boxes made the slide impossible to digest.  Overall, instead of paying attention to the presenter, audiences would read ahead OR squint and try to figure out the purpose of the slide.

Since people cannot read and listen at the same time, the presenter’s explanation was often ignored.  Additionally, the core message was often unclear because the “before” slide was trying to explain numerous concepts using only one slide.  Staying on track with one main idea per slide helps audiences digest concepts easily.

In each case, the “before” slide was divided into multiple slides for easier processing.  The “after” slide you see above was generally the first of many slides.

According to a survey, the greatest complaint from last year’s New Members were the presentations, and that evidence goes a long way in support of these slide makeovers.  However, not all of us have survey results to prove the 1993 way of designing slides is boring, terrible, and presenter-focused as opposed to audience-centered.  To convince any powers-that-be in your job or organization that it’s high time to create better slides, check out JesseDee’s “You Suck At PowerPoint!”

What is your approach to revising and redesigning slides?

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4 thoughts on “Slide Makeover: Before and After PowerPoint Slides

  1. mark campbell

    Dear Alex,

    Really impressed by this slide makeover. Can you please tell me where you get your pictures. Can you recommend a site where I don’t have to pay to use their pictures in my slide presentations?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Mark Campbell

    Subject: [New post] Slide Makeover: Before and After PowerPoint Slides

    Alex Rister posted: “My volunteer position with the Junior League of Greater Orlando involves revamping all of our old PowerPoint slides for our New Member Training program to look and feel less like 1993 and more like 2013. I revamped a hideous deck of slides for the New Me”

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