Skip to content
O'Reilly home
Microsoft Powerpoint

60 minutes to designing a better PowerPoint slide

Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.

10 ways to engage and persuade your audience

June 9, 2021

3:30 a.m. - 4:30 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time

This event has ended.

What you’ll learn and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • How PowerPoint should be used to supplement and enhance content, not trying to be the content
  • How effective visual communication can improve engagement, recall, and even the actions of audiences
  • How appropriate and ethical use of images, icons, and graphics can enhance professionalism and maintain relevancy

And you’ll be able to:

  • Recognize common PowerPoint design mistakes
  • Design and format slides that maintain an organized, professional, and strategic visual structure
  • Integrate photographs, icons, and graphics that best enhance and relate to the content of a presentation

This live event is for you because…

  • You're a manager or executive who frequently gives presentations to motivate, inspire, or instruct employees.
  • You're a leader or facilitator who develops training courses and workshops to teach or guide colleagues or customers.
  • You represent a team, branch, or company where you frequently pitch products, services, and ideas to clients, investors, or top-level decision makers.
  • You've been asked to present at a conference, and you’re looking for new ways to bolster your professionalism and the impact you have on your audiences.


Recommended follow-up:


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing.

Roadmap (5 minutes)

  • Lecture: Explanation of course and purpose; course roadmap; why PowerPoint?; PowerPoint stigmas demystified; PowerPoint isn’t the problem—the presenter is; why PowerPoint should be three primary things—audience-focused, visually superior, and organized and consistent
  • Group discussion: What negative things have you heard (or said) about PowerPoint? What are its stigmas? What types of presentations do you give in your profession? How do you use PowerPoint in those presentations?

Why visuals matter (5 minutes)

  • Lecture: Engagement; recall; storytelling; the picture superiority effect; professionalism
  • Poll: Do you feel confident designing visually rich information?
  • Group discussion: What do you feel less confident in? What makes designing effective PowerPoint slides hard?

PowerPoint faux pas (10 minutes)

  • Group discussion: What are your greatest PowerPoint pet peeves?
  • Lecture: 40 ways to screw up a PowerPoint slide; other PowerPoint mishaps
  • Q&A

Design overview: Structure, relevancy, and CRAP (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The design trifecta—structure, relevancy, and CRAP; structure—beginning (title slide), middle (roadmap, sections, unique content, signposts), ending (the closing slide), footers and indicators; relevancy—audience needs, style (colors, typefaces, photography, cohesion), matching visuals to content (stories, numerical data, bullets), finding photos, finding icons; CRAP—contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity

Design specifics: Trips, tricks, and ideas (15 minutes)

  • Lecture: Bleeds and margins; cutting up photos; transparent overlays; creative cues (brackets, etc.); block quotes; highlighting data (emphasizing chart info); the rule of thirds

Wrap-up and Q&A (5 minutes)

Your Instructor

  • Curtis Newbold

    Curtis Newbold is an associate professor of communication at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, where he serves as the codirector of an online Master’s of Strategic Communication program; in this role, he’s led student groups on international strategic communication projects in Peru, South Africa, Cambodia, Morocco, Hungary, and Greece. He’s taught at the university level for 15-plus years. His portfolio of instruction includes over 30 different courses on topics such as integrated marketing communications, brand strategy, business and technical writing, public speaking, infographics in popular media, visual communication, web design and site development, publication design, and related topics. He’s also helped develop and deliver several workshops, webinars, and presentations for organizations around the world. Curtis is the owner and operator of the popular communications blog The Visual Communication Guy, and he frequently works as a consultant, graphic designer, and communications specialist for small businesses. Curtis holds a PhD in rhetorics, communication, and information design (RCID) from Clemson University.

Start your free 10-day trial

Get started

Want to learn more at events like these?

Get full access to O'Reilly online learning for 10 days—free.

  • checkmark50k+ videos, live online training, learning paths, books, and more.
  • checkmarkBuild playlists of content to share with friends and colleagues.
  • checkmarkLearn anywhere with our iOS and Android apps.
Start Free TrialNo credit card required.