Lesson 6 – Lessons from Slide Makeovers on creating more effective visuals

Every two weeks I take a slide that has been sent to me for a workshop or by a newsletter subscriber like yourself, and I do a “before” and “after” makeover on it.  In today’s lesson, I will share two makeovers and what we, as presenters, can learn from them.

Makeover #1 – The Never Ending List
This set of four slides was sent to me by a newsletter subscriber and is a great illustration of a list that will lose the audience quickly.  In the slides, the presenter is trying to outline all the services that this group offers.  The list is long, so long in fact, that it takes four slides to hold it all.  I guess one good thing is that they didn’t try to cram it all on one slide.  Any time you use the word “continued” or some short form of that word at the top of a slide, it is a clear red flag that you need to re-think that part of the presentation.  Audiences need to have context on each slide (step 3 in the KWICK method) and by splitting related information across multiple slides, it causes the audience to lose context because they can’t relate between slides when they can’t see them at the same time.  In the makeover, I organized the long list into six areas, which can be presented on one slide, and then we can create a slide for each of the areas.  This way, the audience sees the overall map and can follow down each path as we go that way.
Click here to watch the video.

Makeover #2 – Using a Diagram to Show Proportion
When showing proportion, I would usually suggest a pie chart, but in this slide sent in for one of my workshop makeovers, a diagram was more appropriate.  The original slide lists a number of statistics from a survey.  It is overloaded in both text and the number of messages being communicated.  I pulled out one of the key messages and created a simple diagram using universal symbols that showed only three out of ten people were approving of the statement in question.  By using universal symbols, the message is easily understood by any audience and it can make the proportion story more real.  It can also give a welcome break in a presentation that may be heavy on graphs due to the nature of the topic being presented.
Click here to watch the video.

One of the best ways to increase our own inventory of visuals is to seek out the work of visual designers or artists and see how they visually represent the world.  I draw inspiration from graphics, theatre and nature.  By looking for visual expression of ideas, we notice visuals that we never saw before, but were always there in front of us.  By observing the world around us, we become more informed as to how to visually represent topics in our presentations.

To learn more, I recommend these resources

If you enjoyed the makeovers above, you can view all of my slide makeovers by clicking here

By Dave Paradi

Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don't overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.