The way most people use PowerPoint is broken. Unfortunately, the PowerPoint interface guides people towards creating slides that contradict current research in cognitive science. To be effective communicators and teachers, we must change our slide design approach to align with proven principles that are compatible with how people learn.
If you’d like to upgrade your skills and knowledge, this post is a roundup of the best people, tools and resources you should know.
If you can wait and want to see everything right now, I’ve collected all of my very favorite PowerPoint-related resources for you here.
First Things First
If you do nothing else, make these your first three steps:
- Get the free BrightSlide add-in.
Go download BrightCarbon’s BrightSlide add-in. Seriously! Go over there and get it right now. You can thank me later. There is rarely, if ever, a time when I am working in PowerPoint and don’t appreciate having this amazing tool available to use.
- Round up all the design elements you’ll need.
Make sure you’re ready with everything you’ll need like icons, fonts, photos, etc. I’ve gathered my favorites in this free ebook: “Filling Your Design Toolkit: Premium Assets on a Shoestring Budget”.
- Connect and follow the pros.
You won’t know what’s possible until you see what top pros like Nolan Haims, Jole Simmons, John McWade and others can do with PowerPoint.
PowerPoint & Presentation Design Resources
Multimedia Learning Principles
It is important to know some of the science behind what works and what doesn’t. A great place to start is by learning about RIchard Mayer’s cognitive theory of multimedia learning grounded in a theory of how people learn from words and pictures.
Filling Your Design Toolkit
Once you’ve got a handle on how and why you should design slides a certain way, the next thing you’ll need is a toolkit with the design assets for creating them. Finding good, copyright-free design assets is like searching for a needle in a haystack—especially if you’re on a tight budget. This ebook points you toward the best free photos, icons, fonts and more.
TrainingMag PowerPoint Webinars
You can find dozens of free recorded webinars from top PowerPoint experts all in one place
There is a great collection of PowerPoint courses on LinkedIn Learning. If you only watch one, make it John McWade’s “Design a Compelling Presentation“
linkedin.com/learning/topics/powerpoint (Check with your local library for free access.)
How To Keep The Learning Going
With the speed of change in today’s world, what we’re learning today will inevitably become outdated or irrelevant at some point in the near future. Instead of relying on any single source, the most successful among us will have a personal process for keeping up with everything we need to know. These will give you a fantastic headstart for keeping up with all you need to know about creating presentations and working in PowerPoint.
BrightCarbon has compiled a great set of resources to help you master the art of presenting and up your PowerPoint game, And they’re all free!
While you’re there, you definitely want to grab BrightSlide, their PowerPoint add-in that will “help you create, polish, and edit presentations at speed.”
Check out Dave’s free email course and all his helpful resources — especially for presenting online.
Feedly is the best way to keep up with the topics you’re interested in. Create a free account and then import this .opml file to automatically get news & updates from the best PowerPoint sources. Be sure to add to them as you discover more!
- Create a free Feedly Account at feedly.com
- Download this .OPML file
- Go to https://feedly.com/i/cortex
- Upload the OPML file you downloaded above in step #2
- Schedule time to check in on the latest from these PowerPoint experts.
If you’d like these in a handout document form, you can grab a free copy here (just put in $0)