3 Tools To Instantly Improve Your Presentations
(no expensive programs necessary)
A hard but necessary lesson I’ve learned is you can have all the good ideas in the world but if you can’t present them well no one will listen.
Hundreds of slide decks and presentations later, I’ve found myself going back to these 3 tools time and time again. This set of tools has made that initial absolute dread of staring at a blank white square on your computer screen just a little more bearable.
In the following sections, I’ll share some tips and tricks I’ve learned to make a consistent, professional-looking, and easy to follow slide deck.
Graphics, Graphics, Graphics
Graphics can be a great way to break up and illustrate the ideas you’re presenting.
The key here is flexibility!
In order for a presentation to look clean, oftentimes you’ll need a consistent theme of colors, images, etc. To avoid unnecessary resizing and arranging of your images to fit your theme use a background eraser tool. This way you can place the image wherever you want on the screen without it interfering with your content.
Tool #1: Removebg.com
This tool uses AI to remove your background for you. All you have to do is upload the image. What it lacks in precision it makes up for in speed. Any additional “erasing” or restoring of the original background you may have to do can be done within the same window. Added bonus, you can change the background to a variety of colors or pre-selected images straight in the site’s editing window.
For this tool, you want to make sure the images are higher quality images as the quality will be affected slightly. I recommend using Unsplash.com for free, high-quality images.
To make your presentation more cohesive/professional, try placing a consistent border or image on each slide. For example:
Tip: Place a logo or symbol on the border of each slide of your presentation.
Pick a color, ANY color!
Stuck on what font colors or background colors to use? I recommend starting with just one picture, for example, the one you put on your title (first) slide. If you match the rest of your presentation to that intro slide, you’re already well on your way to creating a presentation theme that looks like it took hours to create.
Tool #2: Digital Color Meter
Find the exact colors you need to create a presentation theme. For Mac OS users, type “digital color meter” in your search bar, and the application will appear. Windows users may download a similar application named digital colorimeter. With this tool, you can use your mouse to scroll over ANY color on your desktop to find it’s exact RGB value. Type this value into the “custom” color option of your presentation editor, save it — Congrats! You’ve started your theme!
Let’s Try It!
If you’re presenting on a topic: for example, Patagonia. You may want to use their logo in your presentation or at least colors your audience easily identifies and associates with Patagonia. Here’s how you can find those:
Every color has a value or identifier associated with it. Depending on the application you are creating your presentation in, you may need a value other than RGB for your color. For example, Google Slides accepts HEX values only for colors. To find this value, all it takes is a simple google search to convert those RGV values to the HEX code shown below (#……).
Tip: Create a color theme for your presentations. Especially if you’re working with a group. Whether you work together or independently, creating a theme will ensure your presentation matches even if the slides are created by different people.
“Bookmark” Your Presentation
In your presentation, you may have an agenda slide of at least an idea of the topics you’re going to cover. Having a tracker, or list of the topics you’re covering, on each of your slides can be helpful for a number of reasons:
- Keeping your audience engaged
- Provide helpful breaks, to remind you where you are in the presentation and the audience where you are going
- Guide a group you’re presenting with through speaking transitions
- Make a presentation look more professional / well thought out
No application or googling necessary for this one. Summarize your presentation topics into 1–2 words. Then place them anywhere on the border of the slide. Choose a place that will work the best for the majority of your content.
In the example below, I took the agenda topics and put them into square boxes connected by lines to show the progression between topics.
If you need something simpler or smaller, arrows are a great option to add in between the topic titles. Or a simple underline for each section does the job equally as well (see below).
That’s a Wrap!
Again, this is just a system that has worked for me in visually kickstarting my creating process. Hopefully, these tools can help you to avoid the presentation scaries.