Slides review #3. Text and lists.

The presentation that is analyzed here rather looks like a plain document, and its main idea and goals are safely hidden under a thick canvas of Roboto Sans text. This diagnostics aims at showing how to make any document into a professional presentation that will be well appreciated.


This time we will only analyze several slides: one with too much text, one with a scheme and one with bulleted lists. On others we will just give written recommendations without reviewing the slides themselves.


We won't just make good slides leaving you looking at them all alone without any explanations. We will tell you exactly how we have done that. Which means that later on you will be able to apply your new skills on the further presentations.


And now let's get started.


About the project
"Spare" insurance company specializes in various types of insurance, including medical, which is the focus of this presentation. The company started operations in 2016 in the field of cargo conditional insurance.
How is the presentation intended to be used?
This presentation was meant for email newsletters and giving speeches for potential and current clients. However, it is worth noting that these are two absolutely different purposes, which means that two different presentations are needed. But if the task is to make a multi-purpose presentation, the amount of information in it should be easily perceived both by the addressees and the audience, and at the same time it should not be difficult for the speaker to deliver.
Common mistakes and ways to avoid them
  1. Information-driven presentation. We do understand that this is what the topic and the purpose call for. But there is no conflict in this presentation. The questions like "Why is this kind of insurance better than the others?" or "Which of my problems can be solved by optional medical insurance?". We believe that a presentation with no conflict is doomed to go straight to the Bin. And even the most skilfull design is unable to help it.

  2. Too much text. And by this we mean an extreme amount of text. And the worst part is when it is being read by the presenter during the speech. In such case either you as a presenter, or the presentation itself are absolutely useless. If you aren't limited by the number of slides, dividing the information using the "one idea - one slide" rule would be the best practice, because otherwise you will lose your audience. Contaminating the slides intended for emailing is not a good idea. Your addressees must feel comfortable reading them.

  3. Aligning text to the width creates big spaces between words, making the text less readable. Aligning it to the left, right or centre would look much better.

  4. Bulleted lists on almost every slide. You'd want to be careful with them. Bullet points aren't as easy as they seem. But if your topic and material make you use them, at least handle them the right way.

  5. Images are of no use. They are way too small, so they just take up all the precious free space on your slide for no reason. Images are used to bring out emotions. But if you need them to accompany a list, it's much better to use icons. And when they serve as an element of style, it's worth making them look better and take care of their resolution.


At the very beginning of this review, we have changed the Roboto Sans font to Bitter for headings and Proxima Nova Lt for the main body.

These fonts contrast well with each other and look more attractive. Roboto Sans — is a good font, but in presentations it looks like there is too much of it.


We got Bitter from Google Fonts. This font works good both with cyrillic and latin texts. For Proxima Nova Lt, though, we had to pay. Buying this font is quite easy — search results suggest several popular resources, like MyFonts.


So our review focuses on slides 2, 4, 6, and 16.


Slide #2
Main issues:
  1. Too much text
  2. The first two sentences fully answer the question from the headline, which meams that the rest of the text answers some other questions.
  3. Poor image quality.
Solutions
  1. The only text we left is the definition of optional medical insurance. If it is necessary to tell about the other types of insurance, the information can be similarly put onto separate slides.
  2. We made 2 versions of this slide: on the corporate background and on a background with a themed image. We also used a semi-transparent shape that adds visibility to the text . As you can see, looks completely different.
  3. We removed the low-quality image, as it did not make any difference.

How we did that:

Except for the fonts, the only resource we used was Google search. With the request "health insurance" we ticked 'big size only' option in the Tools field, and found a good image. We also often use Flickr, Pixabay, Unsplash for this purpose.We found the text ornaments in Google as well.
Slide #4
Main issues:

  1. Long heading. It can be easily made shorter to improve perception.
  2. The first sentence needs simplifying as well.
  3. The scheme needs a NON-designer interference. It is quite simple, which looks good, but there is still something that can be simplified.
  4. The image. What is it doing there? Our best guess would be "taking away the free space". Think twice before using a scheme and an image on one slide.


Solutions:

  1. Shortened and simplified the heading.
  2. The first sentence became a lot shorter, although the number of words didn't change much.
  3. Restyled the scheme. This way it works well both for email newsletters and speaking performances. As you can see, the word combination "management team" can be easily substituted with corporate badges on the "employees'" clothes.
    How we did that:
    1. We used two straight lines through "insert a shape" option to highlight the main text.
    2. Then go the icons. We got them from Flaticon. There you can find anything. But "just in case" we have Iconfinder and Noun Project bookmarked.


    We do not recommend using faceless images in presentations. There is a simple solution - draw "faces" yourself, using simple shapes from the "Insert" tab. That's exactly what we did.
    Slide #6
    Main issues:

    1. The list is too dull.
    2. The image. Once again, it has no purpose.
    3. "The program provides". Omitting this phrase will not change the sense, and there will be more free space on the slide.


    Solutions:

    1. Simplified the text.
    2. Removed the useless image.
    3. Changed the list drastically. Now it is marked with icons, which we have found on Flaticon, as always.

    Slide #16
    Main issues:

    1. The list looks monotonous. There aren't any focal points, in this case - numbers.
    2. A slide with brief history, work results and strategy should be three separate slides. In this case it's one and the same.
    3. The company's logo is used twice in one slide


    Solutions:

    1. Made a more pleasant list by changing the layout and emphasizing the numbers.
    2. Left the only important thing - the data.
    3. Removed the logo.

    A bit more on the other slides
    Slide #13 (the one with a map)
    It's OK to email slides like this, but not to present it orally. In order to make a speech with this one, you should only leave the names of the regions where the company operates. Let the audience learn about the cities inside the regions on their own.
    Slide #14 (the one with clients)
    You either use their logos or their names. Never both at the same time.This one is easy: just get rid of the names, align the logos to fit all the clients in, and set up an animation to sequence their appearance.
    Slide #17 (the last one)
    We believe that "Thank you for your attention" slide is what makes your presentation a failure. It means that the only purpose of your presentation is to be paid attention to. A presentation should encourage the audience to get insurance, to take your business card, to call you, to ask you for advice after the presentation. It doesn't matter how exactly, but the audience must make an action. All the more so as the presentation contains your contact details.
    Let's sum up
    1. Avoid huge blocks of text. They turn your presentation into a document that nobody is going to read. If you aren't limited by the number of slides, divide the information you have by using separate slides for different ideas. If there is a limit, reduce the text as much as possible. Use simple words, as if you are trying to explain something to a child. Sure, your targeted audience only consists of adult people, but it is worth keeping the simplicity in the text. Add a couple of specialized terms, and there you have it, a text for serious adult people.
    2. Add some emotions to your bulleted lists. Replace standard bullet points that PowerPoint suggests with icons. We wrote a whole article on useful resources, among which there are sites with a large selection of icons.
    3. Make focal points. When it comes to slides with lists that have important numbers in them, numbers that illustrate your achievements, it's worth noting that these numbers are the key element of such slides. Here you can use the tried and trusted layout idea: highlight the number making it the biggest element, and place the additional text right under this number. Just like we did in this review. In this case you don't need any icons. The main thing is to carefully align the objects on the slide.
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