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How to Avoid Death-by-PowerPoint

by Clair Fabrizio on June 22nd, 2011

After attending Amber Naslund & Jay Bear’s NOW Revolution book tour event, I was struck by how strong their presentation was. Amber and Jay were great on stage, and their slides were amazing. At the end of the presentation they thanked Ethos3 for making their slides. You can imagine my excitement when the CEO of Ethos3, Scott Schwertly, announced a free webinar! Here were my takeaways.

Man doing presentation

Strong Content

  • When you sit down to start a presentation, get out of the habit of opening up a blank PowerPoint. Instead, get out a notepad and get started on the creative process.
  • Have a theme that will apply to both the content & the design. Your one-word theme could be something like “grow” or “empower.” Pull out a thesaurus to find related words to use in your presentation.
  • Create an outline like you did in grade school. Your presentation should have a thesis with three supporting points.

Simple Design

  • Less is more. The best slides I’ve seen have had less than 10 words per slide.
  • There is no excuse for using clip art, word art, or a generic PowerPoint template.
  • Stretch out your content. Scott had 315 slides for a 45 minute long webinar.
  • An image as the background of a slide with a few words written in interesting type is key to a visually pleasing, and simple, slide.

Lovable Delivery

  • Steve Jobs speaks at the level of a 5th grader during his presentations. This is no insult to his intelligence; he has a huge ability to connect as a presenter.
  • Love your audience. If you love them and want to connect, you will want to practice at least 7 or 8 times.
  • Speak slowly. Also, the more you practice, the less likely you are to speed through your presentation.

This is just a bit of the information that Scott has to share.

Watch it Yourself!

Be sure to catch Scott Schwertly’s next webinar on June 23rd, this Thursday, at 1pm (10 am Pacific). Check out his book, How to be a Presentation God.



From → Business Tips

  • Karl Sakas

    Great recap, Clair – thanks for sharing!

    Did Scott say how long it takes to create great presentations? Between developing the theme, writing text, researching photos to have unique images for the 315 slides, and practicing 7-8 times, it seems like it could easily take 100+ hours to create the amazing presentation.

  • Anonymous

    No problem! 

    Great question. He didn’t say how long this would take; I’ll ask him and see how long he spends on his! 
    I plan on taking pieces of his advice and applying them to college presentations and carrying the rest with me.

  • Chris Moody

    Steve Johnson of Pragmatic Marketing, said to spend 1 hour of prep time per slide you plan to deliver. He is a GREAT presenter too. That is *slightly* different than design time, but somewhat relevant.

    The quick five minute interview where he discusses that is here

  • Ethos3

    Thanks, Clair!

  • Clair Fabrizio

    No problem! It was a great webinar. Good luck on yours today.

  • Clair Fabrizio

    No problem! It was a great webinar. Hope yours went well last week!

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