Known as her nickname “P-Spice,” Lia is a management consultant with a passion for teaching others how to make presentations more engaging and impactful. She regularly shares presentation tricks on her popular YouTube channel PowerPoint Spice and the Spicy Presentations blog. In her full-time consulting job, she works with global Fortune 500 clients on solving their strategic planning and leadership development challenges.
In this conversation, Lia talks about how she got started with her PowerPoint animation tutorials, as well as her recently released Spicy Slide Pack.
Geetesh: Lia, you have created some amazing PowerPoint animations and your YouTube channel is hugely popular. Can you tell us about what got you inspired and started?
Lia: It’s been a fun and interesting journey. I’ve always loved being creative and expressing myself since I was young. When I was in middle school, for example, I used to borrow my parents’ camcorder and make funny videos with my (large!) collection of toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals. I think video making is so much fun – I think if I weren’t a management consultant now, I might be a film director or actress for that reason.
Later, as I went through college and graduate school, making lots of presentations along the way, I started to see the potential of PowerPoint to make cool animation effects similar to those I made with my video work. Moreover, when I started my job and making presentations for clients, I discovered that animations weren’t just fun to use but when placed strategically, they could add significant impact to presentations.
Of course, a good presentation must always start with compelling content and a carefully crafted flow. Animations are then essentially icing on the cake – they take the impact to an even higher level – and can often make presenters stand out from the rest.
Yet, most people don’t know the full power of PowerPoint for creative animation and design techniques, as it’s not really taught in schools beyond the basics.
PowerPoint is so much more than a presentation tool. It is really a blank canvas where you can unleash your creativity and come up with endless possibilities. There are so many photo, video, and animation options that, when combined in new and unique ways, can make extremely cool and often professional looking effects.
This is exactly what I demonstrate through the tutorials on my YouTube channel and blog. I take simple techniques and combine them in creative ways to get stunning effects that some don’t even believe are done in PowerPoint. I often get messages from people saying their minds have been opened (or blown) by all they’ve learned.
It’s been really fun and rewarding to help people around the world spice up their presentations. Yet, while it seems logical for me to be on YouTube, given my interest in video making, getting there was actually not that easy. It came after many challenges, failures, and rejections from other places. To learn more, check out my animated timeline tutorial video, and stick around until 5:11 when I talk about my personal timeline.
Geetesh: Can you tell us more about your Spice Pack? How can it help someone who wants a quick start with PowerPoint animations?
Lia: My Spicy Slide Pack is a collection of all the intro animation sequences for my YouTube videos – and it’s growing larger and larger. Every time I show a new effect for a video, I always try to present it in a fun way through an animated introduction showing different ways to apply the effect. For example, for my Motion Text video tutorial, shown below, I demonstrate how to use the trick with video backgrounds, picture backgrounds, and even a shine effect. The entire minute-long intro animation is included in the Spicy Slide Pack so people can deconstruct and learn from it.
The Pack is a great supplement to my tutorials because it allows people to actually play with the finished animations and see how advanced versions are made. In many cases (depending on the effect), people can also copy/paste the animations right into their own projects for some instant spice – rather than having to recreate everything from scratch. Many viewers have emailed me saying they love digging through the slides and discovering hidden nuances of the effects – it’s been a learning accelerator for them.
For people who just want a quick time boost by getting the pictures I use in the tutorials or small sample versions of the effects, they can get free sample slides from links in the description of most of my videos as well. This will allow them to follow the tutorials more easily.
My goal with these resources is to encourage people to really try out the techniques and actually use them in their presentations. Even more importantly, however, I want to cultivate the desire to experiment further with PowerPoint and take presentations to a higher level. It’s like that saying – “If you teach a man to fish, you can feed him for a lifetime.”
My favorite comments are from people who say I’ve inspired them to look at presentations in a whole new light and always try to find ways to make more impact. I especially love it when teachers say their students now have more fun and learn more in class as a result of the spicy tricks they’ve learned from my tutorials.
It’s this ripple impact effect that makes it all worthwhile.