PowerPoint’s Hidden Gems Part 1 – not a lot of people know this

October 8, 2013

in Creating your visual aids, PowerPoint

Use Slide MastersThe point – Don’t waste time creating brilliant, ‘one off’ slides in PowerPoint. Understand and use the brilliant slide master and layout tool for all formatting, layout and animation effects for your type of presentations – then create the content of your presentation inside these formatting elements. That will mean that you can use the content you create in one presentation again and again in different templates.

The biggest marketing triumph of the last 30 years isn’t Apple’s rise, or Nespresso’s ascent to global coffee domination.  No, it’s a more general triumph than those.  It’s the software industry’s convincing of the world to believe that software increases productivity. It so patently doesn’t. Unless you know how to use it.

In the last 20+ years I have worked with hundreds of PowerPoint Presentations, some of them beautiful, some ugly, and mostly a monumental waste of time.

I’ve seen the genius of unknown people on almost every slide, and admired the tens of hours they’ve wasted creating a complex table, flowchart or diagram.  I can see what they’ve done, and it sucks. Every element created separately on the slide, then painstakingly aligned, animated and toggled to make sure that it looks OK. And it seldom does. Why?

Because the people doing the hard work are not designers, they’re engineers, underwriters, saleswomen, leaders – all trying to make something work while their real job drifts away from them and their inbox fills up. Why is this a problem? Only because they’re sentencing themselves to hundreds of hours of tweaking in future if they want to use that slide again in a different presentation.

And it’s not just amateurs. `Professional’ designers  ignore PowerPoint’s inbuilt structure too.  Why?  Often because they think that PowerPoint design is beneath them, and so they’ve never learned how to use it properly. And the story is the same.

You pay a designer to create something that looks fabulous for you. Then you try to use it again in a new presentation and everything looks different and doesn’t work.

Here’s a great post from Microsoft on slide masters, how to create your own, reusable, perfectly branded, coloured and laid out slides every time.

Good luck with it and if you want to help your team work more effectively, we offer PowerPoint masterclasses that we run all over the world, for JP Morgan, Mercer, Ford and may other fabulous businesses.

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey

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