I’m at the Presentation Summit 2011 conference in Austin, TX and thought I’d share some quick takeaways from the speakers so far. I’m behind on posting, so you’ll see more content over the next couple of weeks.
First, Austin is a pretty city on the Colorado River. It has a great music scene and an interesting motto, perhaps unofficial. Here’s a tee-shirt that was for sale in a store in the Austin airport.
Wayne Michael on “Keeping your audience on the same page”
My first session was with Wayne Michael, a CPA who creates graphics for presentations to clients of the Accounting firm he works for. Without being an artist, he does a great job of visualizing complex tax-related topics.
He spoke on how to keep your audience on the same page as you are by providing visual cues that show relationships and avoid disorientation. Specifically, he showed us ways to avoid the look of one slide going to another, which creates a complete break in content.
Some of his techniques were:
- Keeping a menu along the side of the slide that highlights the current section
- Shrinking to a corner — Zooming an image out and moving it to the corner of the slide, then introducing new content, so that the previous content is still visible
- Faded layering — covering most of the content with a semi-transparent rectangle to focus the audience on one section of a complex process and then adding some explanatory text about that section
- Creating a tab — a rectangle that slides in from the edge of the slides, displays some text, and then disappears, allowing the image to cover the entire slide.
- Using transitions that create continuity — He especially recommended the Push and Pan transitions
Tip: In PowerPoint 2010, when you apply the Pan or Push transition in a direction, let’s say Push Right, and then you go to the previous slide, the transition reverses, becoming Push Left in this case. And the Pan transition keeps content on the slide master still, moving only the content on the individual slides. Try out these techniques!
Sandy Johnson on “Normal shapes, extraordinary icons”
Sandy Johnson, a top presentation designer, showed us some techniques for creating icons and buttons in PowerPoint. She used simple clip art and shapes to create professional-looking graphics. Some of her techniques were:
- Inserting a circle, and going to Format tab, Shape Effects, Bevel, 3-D Options and increasing the top Width and Height values to get a 3D look
- Using the Subtract Shapes tool to create cutouts (See my tip on this tool.)
- Creating highlights (See my tip on creating highlights.)