Nolan Haims has over 20 years of experience in the fields of visual communication, graphic and presentation design. He runs his own boutique consultancy that trains organizations to communicate more clearly and with fewer words. He speaks at national conferences, writes about visual storytelling at PresentYourStory.com, is a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP and is one of the hosts of The Presentation Podcast.
In this conversation, Nolan discusses his sessions at the upcoming Presentation Summit 2016 series.
Geetesh: You are leading the Entrepreneur’s Round Table on Sunday. Additionally, you are doing four quick sessions: No More Trouble with Tables, The One-Second Chart, All About Icons, and No More Bullet Points! And to complete the circle, you are doing the longer All About Imagery session on Wednesday. What do you believe attendees will take away from these sessions?
Nolan: My hope is that people will take away concrete, actionable solutions for making better presentations. All of my trainings—whether for non-designers in the corporate world or for presentation pros at the Summit—have a healthy balance of theory and practical techniques. My sessions this year will definitely lean more towards instant gratification. I’ll go over the exact workflows, websites, and tools people to need to source and start using iconography in PowerPoint; I’ll show exactly how I take a text box of bullets and in under a minute transform it into a visual slide; I’ll go over the formatting I always apply to ugly tables to make them clean, readable and professional-looking; and in the longer Imagery sessions, I’ll dive into dozens of tricks and hacks for working faster and better with images including sourcing and resolution.
With this year’s Entrepreneur’s Round Table, we won’t be talking PowerPoint shortcuts, but we will be sharing incredibly valuable information on getting into and running a presentation business—be it as an individual freelancer or running a 100 person firm. We’ll have freelancers and owners of presentation companies (including Nancy Duarte) sharing their years of experience. Everyone always says about sessions, “If you only take away one thing…”, but for certain attendees, picking up just one tip from this late night discussion could literally mean more money in your pocket and a better run business.
Geetesh: You love aesthetics in slides. So how do you feel when you see a slide that is poorly laid out? And what do you wish you could ask slide creators to do to create better slides?
Nolan: What aggravates me most is to see people—especially trained graphic designers—working differently in PowerPoint than they would in Adobe programs. In other words, a designer would pay attention to negative space, line spacing, hierarchy and balance when laying out a poster or newsletter in InDesign, but once in PowerPoint, all those design best practices often go out the window, “because it’s PowerPoint.” PowerPoint or Keynote or Prezi are just tools, and all usual design rules should still apply. Often I’ll tell graphic designers when working in presentations to just think of designing not slides, but a series of billboards.
And that last point is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I think too many people get overwhelmed by the number of slides in a presentation and dumb down the overall design so it can fit across the entire deck—leading to poor templated design. I would like to see people think more about designing each slide individually according to what’s best for the specific content. Of course, keep unity of font, color and style throughout a deck, but loosen the template strings up a bit and let each slide be an individual.
For many years now, Rick Altman has been hosting the Presentation Summit, a highly popular event that is geared towards users of PowerPoint and other presentation platforms.
Date: October 23 to 26, 2016
Location: Green Valley Ranch, Las Vegas, United States
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