How to Create an Awesome Slide Presentation (for Keynote or Powerpoint)

How to Create an Awesome Slide Presentation (for Keynote or Powerpoint)

Hey, what’s up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome
to episode 17 of SPI TV. This episode you’re going to learn how to create an awesome slidedeck. So the next time you’re up on stage or doing any sort of presentation, anything that requires a slidedeck, I’m going to help you make it look better, much better than what you see here. There’s a lot of things
you shouldn’t be doing, a lot of things that I do see out there and hopefully this will help guide you so that you create an awesome slidedeck and impress people who
you are presenting to, have a more memorable presentation, and you’re going to be able to stand out from all the other presenters out there who are going to be creating slidedecks the normal, boring way. So, check it out. Cue the intro. (upbeat music) Have you ever sat in on a presentation, whether at work or at a conference, where you literally
just want to fall asleep or maybe you have fallen asleep or maybe you get bored
or just lose interest and you check your phone for email or Twitter or Instagram or maybe you’re playing a game or something? It’s the worst, right? You just want to leave. You know you’re wasting your time. Well, if you’re a presenter, if you’re up on stage presenting, this is obviously not what you want the audience to look like. You want to hold their interest. You want to captivate them. You want to engage them. You want them sitting on
the edge of their seats, listening and hanging
on to every next word that you have to say. That’s what we want, and a lot of times we don’t do that. One of the big reasons is because of the slides that we have. Slides are an amazing tool. Unfortunately, we abuse the tool that allows us to create these slides, PowerPoint or KeyNote, we use them in a way that
bores people to death. That’s why there’s this thing called death by PowerPoint. I found this really funny cartoon where this guy’s being executed, but he’s not being executed by guillotine or hanging
or anything like that. He’s being executed by
being bored to death by a PowerPoint presentation. There’s a guy pointing at the presentation in the little mask and it’s just so funny
because it’s so real, this death by PowerPoint thing. I mean, this is a typical slide you’ll see at presentations,
at board meetings, at conferences and it’s just you’re killing people when
you do things like this. I mean, the bullet point situation. They’re called “bullet
points” for a reason. Why? Because bullets kill people, right? And because, when people start
reading this from the top, I mean, they see all these bullet points, they start reading ahead, and when they do that, they don’t listen to what you’re talking about. Plus, oftentimes you’re just reading off this bullet point list. It sounds totally boring and unprepared. And then you might think, “Well, you know, having
all the information there helps me cover all the
points I need to hit.” And, yeah, if you don’t practice. And that’s what most people do. When they don’t practice, they
rely on the bullet points, they rely on the PowerPoint, to help guide them through and it just sounds boring and it just shows that you
haven’t put in the practice. This is what happens if
you don’t know the content and if you don’t believe in yourself. But I’ll tell you what: If you know what you’re talking about and you do believe in yourself, you don’t need this and you can make your
presentation much more engaging and here’s the guiding principle. Slides are your trail guide. That’s it. They’re there to help trigger certain stories and case studies and things that you’re going to say, but you’re not reading off of them. They’re there to trigger something, to be a visual to the
story that you’re telling, to the point that you’re making. If you consider slides
to be your trail guide, it’s going to help you in so many ways. You have to trust yourself to know the content that
you’re talking about, but you can use the
slides as a trail guide, as that arrow that’s going to point you in the right direction. Now, you’ve probably sat in in presentations that are amazing, that have amazing-looking slides and then you try to do it yourself, you try to make it look great, but then you get frustrated and then you punch a hole in your computer because it’s too much work. Here’s a hint: It doesn’t have to be and I’m going to show you the following nine tips
that I’m going to give you. I’m going to give you nine specific tips to help you work your
way through the slides to give you some guiding principles so that you can totally crush it the next time you’re on stage and so you don’t have to
rely on your bullet points. So let’s get started. Okay, first up: Get
the correct slide size. Get the correct slide size, because different
conferences, different events require different slide sizes. You want to make sure you
know what the size is, or what the ratio is
of the slides you need before you start building your deck so that you don’t build
it on the wrong size and then the night before
have to switch over when really the night before
you should just be relaxing or maybe going over your
presentation a few more times. Typically, the slides come in
two different ratios or sizes: widescreen, which is 16 by 9, or standard, which is 4 by 3, but check. Some do different or custom sizes. Contact the conference director or owner or sometimes they’ll have a packet or a PDF file
for you to read over. Sometimes they also give you a template and you can use that template to guide you and have that be really the
size that you want to use. Now, I will say one
thing about the templates that these conferences give you: I never use that. And you may be required to, but I often try and fight that because they don’t really look very good. There’s a lot of stuff on there that doesn’t need to be on there. I want my slides to be exactly what they need to be, not anything more. I mean, a lot of those things have the name of the conference. We all know what conference it is. We don’t need to say it
on every single slide. Anyway, that’s just a pet peeve of mine. Try to be able to customize your slides for what you need to do based off of everything
else that I mention in this particular episode of SPI TV. Don’t use templates if at all possible. Number two, and this is a hard one, probably the hardest one: Don’t use any bullet points. What? Yeah, try not to use any
bullet points whatsoever. This is a gun-free zone. Bullets kill people. Try not to use any bullet points. Now there may be a part
of your presentation where you will have to list a few things. There’s a lot of different
ways to list things. Maybe it’s images, like
I’m doing right now. I’m listing nine different things, by using a different image for each. Now, if that’s overboard, you might have to put some bullet points in your presentation, but, for the most part, try to avoid them as much as possible. You’re going to make your
presentations so much better if you try really hard not
to use the bullet points. It’s going to help guide
you in other creative ways to share that content with your audience. No bullet points. Number three, and this is
my general rule for slides. Most of my slides will look like this. You’ve probably already noticed in this particular presentation. Just a few words about the topic and then one supporting
image to support that topic. Again, this is used as
a visual trigger for me so I know stories to tell and what topic I should be focusing on and it’s a tool for the
audience to understand in a flash what we’re about to talk about so that they can then take
their eyes off of the slides and put them back on me. That’s what you want to happen. You want people to look
at you and focus on you and hear every word that you’re saying. And you get to control the
experience your audience has. When you get people reading a slide, it’s all over the place. Everybody’s at different points, but no. Here is the topic, an
image to go along with it. We’re all visual learners, and then they can focus on you and listen to the story
that you have to tell. The topic, one supporting image, boom. Number four: Choose a
style that works for you. Well, what do I mean by that? What I mean is pay attention
to other presentations. Pay attention to different slides. Go to sites like and view as many presentations as you can and try to find a style that you like and adopt that style for yourself. Now, I don’t mean copy. I absolutely don’t mean that. Don’t copy the fonts, don’t
copy the images that they use, but copy the style. That’s where I got this style of having the big blocky
letters right next to a cursive style font and it just works for me and whatever words they use
is going to be different, but, again, choose a
style that works for you. View other presentations
and see what you like and you can pull inspiration from those to make yours unique and
interesting for your audience. Number five. Now, you have to realize
that when you presenting, especially if it’s in a large room but even if it’s not, there’s going to be people
who won’t be able to see everything that’s
going on in the slide, especially if your text is on the bottom. You want to keep the text
up as high as possible for everybody in the room, never down here at the bottom. I’ve been in a number of presentations where people put a lot
of important information, URL’s for example, at
the bottom of the slides and you see people start to stand up and start to take pictures
because they can’t see. It just kind of ruins the
flow of the presentation. Keep your text up at the top, never down at the bottom, especially your most important text. And now you may realize that the fact that we’re doing just a few words with a visual image means that we can make
the fonts much bigger which means that, as a byproduct, our audience in the entire room should be able to see what’s going on and see what that slide’s about and then, again, focus on us because they don’t need to read anything. They see it up there. It’s a big font; it’s great. It’s near the top. Everybody in the room can see it. Everybody’s happy. Number six. Now, one thing I love to do is to let people know where I’m at and let people know where I’m going and also how far along we are. In other words, I like to show a roadmap and you can even see this roadmap that I’ve had since the beginning. We’re at number six right
now out of nine tips. And this is really helpful for you because you can see
how far along we’re at. It also helps you keep the
bullet points kind of organized in your notes, if you are taking notes. It also helps me, too. This is a little trick
to help yourself, too, because then I can see
which number we’re on. It’s another thing I can associate with either a story or a topic or a tip or something I can share. It becomes much easier to memorize when you have a roadmap,
not just for your audience, but for yourself as well. And they don’t just come
in numbers like this. There’s a lot of
different ways to do this. This is something I
shared at the beginning of one of my other presentations which was essentially the roadmap that I was going to take people on. This is the Affinity Pyramid and here in this presentation
I was talking about how to convert your
casual audience members into raving fans. So you start at the bottom
with your casual audience. You convert them into an active audience and there was a whole section in the presentation about that. Then I talked about how to convert your active audience into
a connected community and then into a raving fan and this is exactly how the
presentation was split up and I brought people back to
this pyramid every session where we added a new part to it. Here’s another slide from
a recent presentation where I had a roadmap built in. You can see it at the top here where I talked about the past,
the present, and the future about different topics and you’ll also see the same format that I was talking about earlier with the few words talking about the topic and then the one visual
to go along with it. This is really helpful for people and also for me to
understand where I was at in the presentation. Number seven: graphs and tables. A lot of us love to
include graphs and tables, and it’s great to introduce
data to support your points, but when your data looks like this. I mean, think about it. You’re sitting in a presentation and you see this slide; what do you make of it? You have no idea what’s going on. Even if the person who’s presenting is telling you what to look at, you’re going to be confused and your eyes are going
to go in every which way. You just see colors and numbers. You won’t know what to look at and just imagine what it’s like for the people in the back of the room. My gosh! You’ve all seen tables like this, too, where it’s a little bit more organized. This person is trying to do a better job of making the fonts a little bit bigger and helping you understand
exactly what’s going on. Again, I just randomly pulled
this image from Google but just to show you this still doesn’t work. And, for one, I don’t know why it starts with 2006 on the left-hand side and goes to 2002 on the right-hand side. Typically, it should be flipped around. But let’s say for example
this person put this up here to show that they finally have in 2006 a positive net earnings per share. Well, if that’s the point, then you don’t need any
of this other stuff. Here’s the trick: You only want to show what is
necessary to prove your point. That’s it. You only need to show what
is absolutely necessary to prove your point. So, net earnings per
share positive in 2006. This is how I would go about it. And, again, I’m not even
going to put fancy graphics and you shouldn’t even
try to make it so fancy. I’m just doing this to show you the impact of just how when you just focus on the information that’s important to this point that you’re talking about the kind of impact it can
have on your audience. So, net earnings per share. So, like, hey guys. We’ve had an interesting few years here. In 2002, our net earnings
per share was -$5.09. In 2003, it improved a little bit, still in the negative
at negative 87 cents. 2004, getting a little bit better: negative thirteen cents. 2005, negative two cents. In 2006, guess what, guys? We’re in the positive. Twelve cents net earnings per share. Woohoo! Yeah! You see how much more impactful that is? I mean, you don’t need the
picture of the kid there. I just put that there for dramatic effect, but that’s much much better than looking at this graph here like that. Right? It’s much more impactful, it gets the point across, and I’m only sharing little bits of data that are required to prove that point, not all this other stuff. People put too much on the screen. You don’t need to do that. Okay, let me fast forward here. Okay, next I have a
really cool trick for you. This is called the lightbox trick. Now, I already did a video for you a long time ago, actually, that shows you how to do this in KeyNote. Now, I expect that you can
also do this in PowerPoint, but it’s a really cool effect where you can highlight
one portion of your slide. For example, if there’s
a lot of text going on and you want people to focus on one thing. For example, if I want you
to just focus on this URL, which will redirect
you to the video, boom! You see how clear it is
what the call to action is just by the lightbox trick? So, go to and that will redirect
you to the YouTube video where I teach you how to do that. So, again, So you can grab the information you need to create that effect. Alright, and to finish off, number nine. One of my favorite tips, I think it’s very subtle but it can make a big difference in how your audience responds to you during your stories. Now the thing is we’ve been
talking this whole time about what to put on the slides and what to not put on the slides. This time, I want you to think about turning your slides off. Now that’s not turning your
PowerPoint presentation off or your KeyNote presentation off. It’s not shutting down your computer. It’s the fact that,
when you’re presenting, you know there’s a part
in your presentation that’s coming up where there’s a story
that you’re gonna tell where you really want people to focus on, this is what you do: You go dark. You essentially are
turning the slides off, taking people’s attention away
from any slide distraction and putting that focus directly on you so that you can tell your story on stage and really wow people. This is one of my favorite tricks to do and you’ll notice this. If you see me speak on stage, I do this quite often, because I try to control
where people’s attention is, and if it’s story time, I
want them to focus on me. You should focus on that in
your next presentation, too. I really feel like that’s going to be a big game changer for a lot of people. If you do that, it’s a small subtle thing, but it makes a huge difference and it allows you to really
get deep into your story and the stories are truly what
make presentations memorable. It is the stories you tell. It is the people in the
audience putting themselves in your shoes or in the shoes of those who you are telling the story about. And the next time you go
into a story, go dark. Obviously you’ll need to put that into your PowerPoint presentation. This is essentially a slide. It’s just a dark slide and to get into that fading effect, I just used the dissolve effect, so it dissolves from
one slide to the next. I’m not going to go into
exactly how to do that now. I’m sorry you’ve been looking
at a blank screen for awhile, but I’m going to switch to the next screen and just say, first of all, thank you for watching this. I hope you got a lot out of it. Let us know what you think. Leave a comment on YouTube or on the blog and also I have the slides for you. If you want to download the
slides for this presentation you can go to That will take you to the blog post. If you’re on the blog post now
watching this YouTube video, you can use the form there
to download the slides. Or you can actually,
you can test this out. This is brand new. You can text “SLIDETIPS” to 33444 and just respond with your email address and you’ll get it sent
right to you immediately. So, again SLIDETIPS to 33444. Hey, thanks so much, guys. I really appreciate your time and I hope you enjoyed
this episode of SPI TV. Make sure to subscribe because we’ve got a lot
of great stuff coming up. Got a little bit of a break during summer because I’ll be headed to Ghana. I’m also going to Hawaii
and also Australia, but then, on the other side of that, you’ll see actually some footage in Ghana with a couple of schools that I built and I get to meet the
kids and the teachers and to see what the schools are like. I am so excited for that upcoming trip. You’ll see it in a
future episode of SPI TV, so make sure to subscribe and I’ll see you in the next episode. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.


  1. wow. I like this.I also hand issues in making ppt until i landed on this site. You can also get a detailed procedure of writing a PowerPoint presentation here.

  2. Hey does anyone know how to create the roadmap bubbles in Powerpoint?
    So many comments, not sure if i missed it.

  3. You are right on the money if you’re the one giving the presentation but what if it’s for a stand alone CBT?

  4. I just wanted to know what was the "cursive" font called and where to download it for Microsoft PowerPoint.

  5. 1 correct slide size
    2 avoid bullet points
    3 Topic + at least 1 support image
    4 Choose a style that you like
    5 Keep the text on the top
    6 Show a "road map" (how far you've gone into the presentation)
    7 Use graphs and tables
    8 Higlight the most important portions of your slides
    9 Go dark during story time (take people's attention)

  6. You know “making good presentations” is not offered as a course in many institutions. Thanks for sharing your insight. Curious: do u have a preference for power point, google slides, prezi, etc?

  7. How to create an awesome side deck

    – Sidedecking is an art form. You should side counters to various meta and niche decks, but don't side too specific counter cards.

  8. You killed me in the very first slide with 9 bullets. Then I revived to see the rest of the presentation which was awesome.

  9. After 25 years of making presentations, finally, I found you to show me the right way to succeed. Thank you Pat!

  10. You mentioned the "roadmap" can you explain or anyone else here give me details on how to add at the circle with numbers at the top of my PowerPoint presentation?

  11. Man I could not thank you enough for this video! I had a job interview recently, but it wasn't structured like an interview, but rather, they wanted me to do a powerpoint presentation on myself (such as professional background, hobbies, ect). I'm so glad I came across this video, I followed the structure that you recommended. Otherwise, I probably would've done a bullet point style presentation. Anyway, I got the job! Thank you so much my friend!

  12. Great video – subbed! Ditched bullet points about 10 years ago and never looked back! Also subscribe to the same visual impacts as you (large graphic and only 3-6 words). Another tip is to either use the “B” key or the screen key on remotes to blacken the screen as opposed to a black slide…. either way a black screen is powerful!

  13. yo, keep it short bro, tf is this, I bet everybody fast forwarded. We get what you say at the first or second sentence but then you keep talking about the same shit again… and again…. and again and again and you just keep going like that over and over, non stop, STFU! Thx 4 a video, it was very helpful

  14. Hey great stuff! Appreciate this can i ask 2 questions? 1. what do you think about using creative short video clips and if you think good where would you get them or have them created? 2. Where do you get great photos that make your point is there a resource library? Thanks

  15. I like your voice and the way you talk. Greetings from an IB student in Japan. I am going to use these tips in my ToK presentations, thank you!

  16. Hey Pat! greate tips! I will defiantly use them in my presentation! I want to save this presentation but it's not possible anymore, can you please send a new link for download?
    Many thanks in advance!

  17. I also saw this article and i believe it could be helpful in this venture

  18. Hi may I ask how did you include your road map on your power point? is there a video available on your channel where i can view from? Thanks in advance.


  20. My powerpoints are good, but my voice just cracks up and i stress out and forget what i'm supposed to say. I really need to work on that!

  21. Really great lesson here Pat I gained so many ideas of what and what not to do. I agree with slides being overpowering and I've been in enough conferences and such to recognize aspects of quality slides. One especially great tip I liked the going dark for stories. Thanks Pat heading over to get the info on the Lightbox trick!

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