Slide Express World's most expressive presentations Tue, 06 Oct 2020 06:54:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 (some) tips on typography Mon, 05 Oct 2020 08:43:41 +0000 There’s no two ways about it. Typography can make or break a slide.

We’ve spoken before on this blog of the importance of getting the visuals right but don’t forget that visualizing text – i.e. thinking typographically, is just as crucial.

Here are a few tips that may prove to be useful reminders for your next presentation:

Say it big

With more and more presentations being made on small screens, you might assume font-size should also be smaller. Designers tell us the reverse. Keep it big, so that your audience does not have to enlarge on their side, and can simply take in the content.

Say it bold

And not only in terms of content and ideas! Bold typography is what you need for your headlines. Subheads can be bold too, but in a smaller font-size than the headlines. As for the final slide, we think it’s always a good idea to go bold with a crisp summation that you want your audience to take away.

Say it clear

Don’t cramp the supporting text! Leave enough white spaces between lines so it’s clear to read and comprehend.

Say it straightforward

Avoid the temptation to use those crazy-curly-cursive fonts! They are all very well for mugs and t-shirts but not for business presentations. This is one case where – if in doubt – you should go for the tried and tested, the classic fonts like Arial and Verdana.

Say it soothingly

By which we mean, think about the color-combinations! The words on the slides shouldn’t be jarring nor hard to read. Why not see our earlier blog post to understand why color counts and how to get it right.

Say it consistently

Don’t switch font sizes from page to page. If you’ve chosen 24 points for your headline in the opening slide, stay with that throughout.


And finally, say it with style and substance!






(some of) the superpowers of powerpoint Tue, 22 Sep 2020 05:17:40 +0000 There are times when one is so focused on just getting the basic PowerPoint slides in place that getting the presentation to fly becomes secondary.

Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in a day (or even minutes in an hour) to get the end-result you would ideally like (if you had time to breathe, or a battalion of assistants).

At such moments, it’s good to know, you’re not alone.

Over a billion users of PowerPoint are (often) in the same situation as you. And to help you out, there is a battalion of powerful add-ins that are available to all PPT users.

We thought we’d draw your attention to some power-packed freebies that give you a free hand at making the most of your PPT presentation:

Power-user: This has over a hundred features, charts, agenda-builders, 6000 vector icons and maps, 250 editable maps, and more than a million hi-res pictures …. In fact, it’s such a powerhouse, we suggest you stop reading this and download it right away to discover all the goodies that are available.

LiveWeb: This enables you to show webpages as part of your presentation without having to exit your slide show and open a new tab. Smooth and easy (not to mention – less distracting and time-wasting).

Web Video Player: This is an app – perfect if you want to add Youtube or Vimeo videos not just to your PPT slides – but even on Excel! Excellent is what we call it.

STAMP (Subtitle Text Add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint): No more stress about how to translate video conversations for a foreign audience. This helps you caption directly, or import the subtitles. You can make an impression with this one!

QR4Office: In today’s day and age, we can’t imagine anyone not wanting to use this. A plugin that creates a QR code that will open on a (pre-selected) url of your choice. Perfect for interactive presentations, for snap polls, or simply to lead your audience to a website in one shot.

Project Timeline: The name is self-explanatory –  a tool to help you include project timelines, team tasks, track progress – the works. (Only one glitch – works with PowerPoint versions 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 on Windows, but not on Mac).

Plotly D3.js: A complicated name for a simply super add-in that helps you analyze data from Excel and embed charts in PPT.

Oomfo: Everyone loves a colorful chart! But which one should you use? Oomfo helps you to find and use just the right one.

Read my document: If you’re exhausted and your eyes are wrecked, this is what you need. An add-in that will read you the material – all you have to do is Play, Listen, Pause, Repeat!

FlevyTools: Diagrams, anyone? This is your little genie in creating and inserting shaped diagrams that make information so much easier to process.

ToDo: This sounds a bit basic, but it’s really very useful – it shows up as a pane on the side and helps you keep track of what else is left to be done on an ongoing presentation. (This one works on a Mac as well!) No more more horror-moments of – “oh my god! we forgot that bit!”

Pro Word Cloud: A Windows-users delight, this is so useful to conceptualize and convey your concepts in a manner that is easy-to-read and understand (not to mention visually powerful).


There are, of course, other superpowerful tools you can get (at a price)! We’ll flag some of those later… But for now, here’s to the delightful feeling that sometimes the best things in life are, indeed, free!


going live is going strong Tue, 25 Aug 2020 07:59:15 +0000 Who would have imagined that going live on a social media platform could be such a powerful new tool for business presentations and brand communication!

While webinars come across as the more “formal and business-like” option for corporate communication and educational meetings, livestreaming on social media can sometimes be seen as “too informal to be used for professional purposes”.

The savviest brand builders would say: this is so not true.

It all depends on:

a) how well you craft your communication

b) how thoroughly you prepare BEFORE you go live

c) how formally and professionally you present

Three points which apply to any impactful, memorable, persuasive presentation.

For those embarking on this exciting new journey for the first time, there are resources online that you can access to get step-by-step guidance on how to go about it.

The thought we’d like to emphasize is this – when going live, don’t leave anything to chance!

Don’t imagine you can make it up on the spot. On the contrary, be sure to have a very clear idea of:

a) your objective

b) your material

c) your conclusion

In a room full of people, even if you are a bit uncertain (not advisable: see one of our earlier posts on this ) the ambience and surroundings have the beneficial effect of minimising the effect.

On livestreaming, especially on a small screen, the smallest mistakes can get magnified. And while no one minds a technical glitch or a human error, the feeling your audience gets should be one of confidence, competence and commitment.

They should leave your livestreamed presentation with a sense of:

a) having learnt something interesting and useful

b) having been given the full value of your expertise and knowledge

c) wanting to know more

If your presentation is anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (including interaction) – they should feel that their time with you was well spent!

What could be potentially scary about “Going Live!” is only the digital equivalent of the “butterflies-in-stomach” feeling we get just before entering a hall full of people.


And it’s the human touch that livestreaming brings to any communication.

That invaluable feeling of being connected, of putting a face to an idea, of being part of something that is unfolding in real time.

For you, the presenter, it a great opportunity to answer questions, take comments, and create a dialogue that simulates the real thing in a very easy and accessible way.

And best of all, you can save a recording – either for sharing on your website for a larger audience, or for in-house reference.

These recordings can become a way of learning from mistakes, as well as great training tools for newbies, especially when a live capsule turns out – on repeat viewing – to be excellent.

So go for it. Going live is going strong!





Q & A made Quick & Easy! Mon, 17 Aug 2020 08:03:43 +0000 For those who have the Monday morning blues, thinking about the week’s demands, we thought we’d share two resources that cut through the clutter and cut to the chase, in answer to 2 simple questions:

Q: Designing presentations for the web?

A: Here’s a how-to that can get you started!


Q: Wondering how to max the next e-meeting?

A: Watch this demo!



knowledge shared is knowledge multiplied Fri, 07 Aug 2020 10:16:31 +0000 As the lines between work and play get blurred, so do the lines between roles as individuals have to toggle between team leader, presenter, content-creator, editor, and – who would have thought – technician. It’s truly a brave new world!

In these DIY days, sometimes what appears like basic knowledge to the tech-savvy can seem a bit tougher to grasp for those who are just getting the hang of digital platforms.

This is when simple guidelines to using the new technologies at our disposal can be a huge help in negotiating complex demands.

In last week’s post we shared some handy hints on how to optimize screensharing.

As a neat and nifty follow-up, here’s a page put together by Indiana University, that lists how best we can leverage the Zoom screen experience, with examples of screen layout options and a helpful click to detailed instructions on how to make a recording.

The way we look at it, we can each make the most of this fluid and dynamic time by learning to enjoy every challenge and – most importantly – enjoy learning how to meet it!

optimizing screen-sharing in 4 easy steps Mon, 27 Jul 2020 09:04:54 +0000 Online meetings have made screen-sharing a must. And while most of us are just happy to press ‘Share Screen’ – here are a few things that any able professional should keep in mind.

One: the screen resolution should be set for optimal viewing.

This will ensure that the attendees will not have trouble deciphering text and also ensure that images are shared without distortion or pixelation. So before you begin, maximize the screen resolution for greater legibility and visibility.

Two: the cursor pointer should be enlarged.

This will help the others to follow your presentation better. If your cursor is too tiny, you run the risk of losing your audience (already a risk with online presentations). Mac users will find a handy tutorial here. Those using Windows 10 only need to open Settings, select Ease of Access, click on Mouse, and choose your new cursor size and color from the options given

Three: your laptop screen should be cleared.

Most of us have cluttered screens, with a millions folders, icons, screenshots and shortcuts. De-clutter it before your meeting! On Windows, you can do this by unchecking “Show desktop icons”. Mac users can download this free app to hide the distracting icons for you.

(Readers interested in how to de-clutter your PPT presentation might like to read this post shared last year – now even more relevant!)

Four: your notifications need to be turned off.

Nothing can be worse than having personal reminders pop up during a work meeting! On the Mac you need to ensure Do Not Disturb is on. And on Windows you can customize this by going to Notifications & Actions under All Settings.


Having done these 4 simple things, you can be sure that you are truly all set to make your presentation work for you. Happy sharing!



two videos on visual thinking Fri, 24 Jul 2020 09:26:20 +0000 Thinking visually, experts say, is ideal for this digital age. And yet, it’s an old and very powerful source of game-changing ideas, as this video shows us.

While, in earlier posts, we’ve enjoyed thinking about the important role of images and the importance of finding the right words to add to those images today we’ll consider the importance of thinking visually, by stepping back and asking two questions:

  1. “What is visual thinking?”
  2.  “What can visual thinking do for you?” 

Here’s a little video that we enjoyed watching and learning from, and hope you do too!





fitting big ideas on small screens Wed, 08 Jul 2020 08:07:14 +0000 With business presentations being made in virtual meeting rooms, a whole new design aspect needs to be considered: the size of the screen…

PowerPoint presentations would conventionally be projected on a large screen in a real conference room, with light and sound adjusted to optimize viewing.

In other words, everyone in the meeting would view the same presentation in the same way.

Now, with presentations being streamed into a multiplicity of WFH spaces, via a variety of gadgets, you have no way of knowing, leave alone controlling how the recipients will see your presentation.

Therefore, while continuing to “think big” in terms of ideas, you will have to starting “designing small” – i.e. keeping the small screen of the smartphone in mind when envisioning and executing those slides.

This doesn’t mean a sized-down version of a conventional design – it means:

a) looking at what some of the principles of small-screen design are


b) learning to apply and adapt them for small screen ppt presentations. 

To get you started in this direction, we’d like to share 2 very valuable points from a short and sharp piece on ‘mobile-first’ product design:

  1. Simplicity – which is a mantra for every effective slide presentation, as we’ve stressed often on our blog: see this post on cutting clutter
  2. Legibility – which relates to choices of font, another crucial element – see the pull-out below:

Try avoiding Designer and Script fonts, as they can often be illegible (even more on smaller screens). Instead, cling to Serif and Sans Serif.

Below are some of my personal favorites –

  • SF Pro Display (Sans Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Inter (Sans Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Playfair Display (Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Charter (Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Open Sans (Sans Serif) — Free (Download)
  • Gilroy (Sans Serif) — Paid (Buy)

Font size is also very critical, especially while tending towards smaller screens. We wouldn’t want users to pinch and zoom every second to plow through a page. Apple, in its Human Interface Guidelines, recommends a minimum ‘Body Text’ size of 17pt, while Google’s Material Design suggests it should be 16pt.

To help you get a whole new perspective on how design works on small screens, we’ll be back with more resources that walk you through this brand new brave new world where small needs to be – more than beautiful – powerful, in just the right way. Meanwhile, you can read the article we’ve quoted from, in entirety here


presentations with voice-over have an edge (over those without!) Fri, 03 Jul 2020 08:17:40 +0000 In our last post, we demonstrated how adding the right words to visuals makes every slide more impactful. And we left you with the thought that adding a recorded voice-over to accompany them will bring in another, much-appreciated dimension – the human touch that is missing in online presentations.

Earlier, creating a voice-over track could be a daunting (and expensive!) proposition, requiring studio bookings and sound engineers. Now, technology and the demands of our modern times have made it so much easier.

To get you started, we’re sharing 3 tips and 3 links that guide you on the essentials.

But first, before you plunge into the technical details, remember to script your narration. For this, keep in mind:

i) What information does the voice need to add that is not already there in the slide? You don’t want to over-state the obvious – or miss a crucial point.

ii) What is the tone of voice that will communicate best? Be sure your narration is not monotonous! Remember that the human voice can convey such a big range – from professional to personal, from persuasive to powerful… So match the tone of voice (and choice of words) to what you want to convey.

iii) Whose voice should you use? If you are unsure about doing it yourself, ask someone with a clear strong voice and good pronunciation to record the final voice-over. You can share a rough voice-over to give him/her a sense of the pacing so you are still in control, and have crafted the entire show in a way that suits your purpose and personality.

Now, over to the online resources that can help you add that edge:



how ad(d)ing the right words adds up Wed, 10 Jun 2020 08:32:30 +0000 Last week, we suggested thinking of each slide not as a mini-brochure jam-packed with text but rather as an ad – or even a billboard. This, we argued, would ease the burden of communication, which has been made so much more difficult by having to do most of it online.

In today’s post, we’ll take that forward by demonstrating how adding the right words to images can make each slide work like an impactful ad.

For our demo, we return to the images that demonstrated a single statement in our last post

For this, a simple ad-style headline such as: 


could work, accompanied by a pithy supporting line that completes the message:

you are better placed to judge the bigger picture  

The flow of communication could continue thus:


is essential and can be achieved


that measures, maps, and co-relates information


to the ideas that supply-side data can provide





through their micro-learning platforms



Once you get started on this word-visualisation process, it will only get easier to do. The stumbling block is usually a hesitation about how many slides one sentence deserves. Don’t worry about that. If you can guide your online audience through your slides as seamlessly as the slides flow, you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Of course, adding a recorded voice-over to accompany them will bring in another, much-appreciated dimension… but that deserves a post all to itself…