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6 Steps on Building a Presentation Deck like a Microsoft MVP

6 Steps on Building a Presentation Deck like a Microsoft MVP

December 15, 2021 in Centriq News, Corporate IT Training, ITIL / by Andrea Pomatto

We live in a world where online presentations and meetings take up a huge chunk of our time. With so much information and content to retain, a lot of presentations just become part of the noise and are often forgotten. One of the skills (out of many) that our trainers learn and evolve as they manage training sessions is how to engage and captivate their class so that the content presented is absorbed. One of our trainers, Nate Chamberlain was gracious enough to show us all of his secret presentation tricks he’s learned along the way. In a recent webinar Nate demonstrated the following tips you can use in PowerPoint that will make your presentation stand out from the noise:

1. Plan out your presentation
2. Take advantage of the Insert menu
3. Don’t ignore the Designer tool
4. Maintain brand standards
5. Help narrate your story by using animations
6. Set aside time to prepare your delivery

1) Plan out your presentation

Going into a blank PowerPoint canvas without any plans can be a bit overwhelming, especially with all of PowerPoint’s available tools and features – it can be hard to figure out where to start. Having some sort of rough outline of your slide order will help cut down your design time significantly. Once you have your plan mapped out, you’re ready to start adding visuals to your presentations.

2) Take advantage of the Insert menu

You don’t need to be a graphic designer to make your content stand out. Utilizing the built-in tools provided will be more than enough when you’re creating your presentation.  Using the Insert menu alone, opens the door to so many different design opportunities without opening any additional apps. You can find it at the top portion of your toolbar.

If you don’t have a lot of time but are looking to elevate your presentation design, then familiarize yourself with the Pictures button of the Insert menu. If you select “Stock Images” you’ll find 6 different tabs across the top to choose from to help you re-design an entire document in under 30 minutes.

Images: These images are part of a huge stock photo library included with your M365 Office apps. They’re great for elevating title slides or big empty spaces. You get the same high-quality photos you might get from a paid stock image site without the extra cost or graphic design requirement.

Example of use: Concept presentations, Trend Reports 

Icons: Icons work great as an elevated bullet point or you can use them at a larger scale for a more minimalist and monochromatic design.

Example of use: Teaching Material, interactive buttons and links

Cutout People: Cutout People is a great resource when you’re trying to portray a specific feeling, with multiple people showcasing different emotions you can direct a scene right on the slide. Because the cutouts have transparent backgrounds, they work perfectly with whatever background you choose resulting in a seamless and professional look.

Example of use: HR presentations, Training

Stickers: Stickers are more illustrated and colorful than icons and feature character sets in various situations that allow you to use a familiar character (i.e. a cat, a bee, broccoli, etc.) throughout your entire presentation

Example of use: Conveying emotions, themed visuals

Videos: Just like the included stock photo library, you have access to a stock video library. This can add a little extra finesse to your slides by incorporating a subtle amount of movement to your slides or by helping to set a tone for a topic.

Example of use: Title slide backgrounds, storytelling

Illustrations: Illustrations are boutique-inspired illustrations of a more formal and simplistic quality than Stickers. Illustrations can be recolored at a granular level to give you ultimate branding control over the result.

Example of use: Corporate presentations, high visual customization needs

3) Don’t ignore the Designer Tool

Once there are images and/or text attached to your desired slide PowerPoint Designer’s Design Ideas panel may pop up on the left panel. Instead of taking the time to rearrange and align the images yourself (which can be a headache at times) the Designer will provide layout suggestions that you can automatically implement with one click! (If Designer does not pop up for you initially, you can go back to your Home ribbon and click on Design Ideas in the Designer section on the right).

4) Maintain brand standards

After you’ve added all the images, icons, and videos to your slide or entire presentation make sure you go back and re-color some assets. You can re-color an entire Icon to whatever color you need, or add a color overlay to a video or photo.

Recoloring an Image, GIF, and icon

1). Right click on the image or icon.
2) Choose Format Graphic.
3) A right panel should appear  (click on the paint bucket.)
4) Choose what kind of fill you would like as well as color.
5) If you have a particular hex code you would like to use, make sure to click More colors….
6) Once you select your desired color your icon or image will update.

5) Help narrate your story

by using animations

Your visuals can also help focus attention, or demonstrate movement and reorganization. Movements like this can help re-engage your audience and also aid in communicating changes or transitions without the need to write it out. Using the Morph transition is a great option when trying to animate images with little to no developer knowledge.

How to use the Morph tool

 1) Create a fresh slide and incorporate your desired images and icons.
 2) Duplicate the slide and make your desired changes (size, color, rotation, etc.) to the images/icons on the new slide.
 3) *still on the duplicate slide* Click on the Transitions tab and select Morph.

You should see a preview of how your first slide “morphing” into the second slide, or you can start your presentation to test it out.

6) Set aside time to prepare your delivery

Whether your presentation is taking place in person, virtually, or both; it’s important to position yourself in a way that does not hinder your digital content but maintains the spotlight on you and keeps the natural flow moving. If you have a live audience, wear comfortable yet professional clothing that allows you to move around the room and engage with everyone present. Also taking care of any technical needs (testing wired connections, links, audio, etc.) ahead of time will ensure no interruptions during your moment. If you have a virtual audience, you’ll still want to get through your basic preparation steps, but you also have so many other options you’ll need to choose from. If you are using Microsoft Teams your options are endless but can be broken down into 5 parts:

Presentation Type
     Webinar
     Live Event
     Traditional Meeting

Content Delivery
    Shared Screen (traditional)
    PowerPoint Live
    Whiteboard

Presenter Mode
   Content only
   Standout
   Side-by-side
   Reporter

Audience Participation Options
   Breakout rooms
   Chat
   Reactions
   Toggle Mute

Meeting Admin Tasks
   Recording Options
   Transcription Options
   Closed Captioning
   Meeting Notes
   Attendance tracking

All of these options listed out might be a little overwhelming, but good thing Nate covered all of those details in his webinar. If you are looking for a written guide, then look no further! Our next blog How to Present in Teams like an MVP will walk you through advanced presentation techniques that are all possible with one app!