Slide Makeovers: Transforming PowerPoint Bullets Into Visual Learning

March 30, 2015 the past few months, we’ve done slide makeovers with companies for Buffer and individuals like Bernard Marr. Now, we’re back with our good friends at DNN Software, a content management company that offered us an opportunity to help out with one of their decks.

As with most businesses, DNN was using long-standing conventions in PowerPoint: bullets, headers, lots of text, reliance on a template, a logo on the corner of every slide... all the major obstacles every presenter faces.

Enter the slide makeover.

The following three slides are excerpts from a much larger presentation -- 22 slides to be exact. You can view both the entire “Before Deck” and “After Deck” combined in the player at the bottom of this post for additional context. For now, let’s closely examine the handful of slides below.

Example 1 (Before)

The Problem: This is a classic title slide. It includes a title, the presenter’s name and title, and the company’s log. However it is not as memorable as it could be given the lack of visual appeal and multiple talking points.

Example 1 (After)

The Solution: We decided to simplify the message by solely focusing on the title and letting that be the core idea. It’s simple. It’s brief. It’s to the point, which increases the probability of information retention.

Example 2 (Before)

The Problem: The main problem here is the abundance of bullet points. It contains 11 points all in one place, making it very difficult to retain any of the content.

Example 2 (After)

The Solution: On this slide, we decided that if the bullets needed to stay, then why not cut down the text and complement the bullets with an image? The human brain processes visual information 60,000x faster than text-based information so anything that encourages this learning style will go a long way.

Example 3 (Before)

The Problem: There is too much going on here. We have a header, a big image callout, bullets, and a URL at the bottom.

Example 3 (After)

The Solution: The main goal here was to simplify. In fact, this slide ultimately became two separate slides. What you are seeing here is slide 1 of 2 where we focus everything on the header, “Be creative and unique,” and complement it with an image.

Curious about the rest?

You can see the entire makeover here:

Attempting a presentation facelift will require some creative and outside-the-box thinking on your part. I would encourage you to look for inspiration all around you. Explore the vast selection of decks right here on SlideShare. Examine the ad layouts in a magazine. Take inspiration from billboards. Creative ideas are everywhere.

READ MORE: Slide Makeovers: Presentation Design Lessons From Real Slides

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

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