I guess it’s true that there’s a first time for everything. After years of watching people doing presentations, I finally got to create my own.
I wanted my first time to be special, so I tried to find ways to make sure that mine was not going to be ‘just another boring presentation’. I noticed that most people paid too much attention to data and sacrificed the appearance. On the other hand, there are others who create a presentation that is too ‘flashy’ which distracts the audience from the real content.
The perfect combination would be to use related beautiful images to complement the content of the presentation. Then your audience can digest your content without getting bored.
Creating The Perfect Images
There are many ways to acquire perfect images that go along with the content of your presentation. You can create your own, or find and use somebody else’s.
If you are a good photographer with lots of stock photos, then the first option would not be a problem. But for those whose image capturing skills are below par, the easiest method to create your own image is to make the text itself as the image.
This is a trick often used by one of the greatest presenters out there: Steve Jobs.
The key is minimal use of text and extra time on tinkering with font properties and background. For example, I would like to present the statistic of blogs from Technorati. Some copy and paste routines would give me something like this:
To modify the data into text images, I cut out the fat and deleted most of the text. I also changed the written numbers with real numbers to add some drama.
Then I did a quick change of the font type, size and color using ‘Formatting Palette‘. I assigned white for the title and dark grey for the content.
You can also use the ‘Format – Font’ menu for more comprehensive options.
I added some shadow and reflection to spice things up a little bit.
Centered text is so static and boring, so I moved them around.
And the last step was changing the background using right click and ‘Format Background’
I chose a simple 90 degrees linear gradient color fill from dark to light to further emphasize the text.
I clicked ‘Apply’ and here’s what I came up with.
Be sure to add real life context to the presentation. Using the blog statistic example, I’d show my audience the stunning slides while saying something like this: ‘In 2009, Technorati said that there were more than 130,000,000 blogs out there. That’s as much as all Japanese people in the world.’
Adding Real Images
To take things a little bit further, you can also use real stock photo images. My favorite way to get free to use and free to modify photos is downloading them from Flickr. Just be sure to use the Creative Commons licensed ones.
To find photos within that category, you can use Flickr Advanced Search while ticking on the CC boxes.
Or you can use Quix and ‘fc’ command for faster results.
Use the downloaded image(s) for the background of your slide(s), and you can get something like this:
Using text images (and real images) is just one of the simple and easy tricks that will boost your presentation several levels above boring.