PPP#10 — Slide templates provided

Persistent Presentation Paradigm #10: “Our company provides us with slide templates, so we just have to fill them in. It doesn’t matter how they look as long as they follow the corporate design guidelines.”

Many companies provide guidelines that help designers as well as employees to design documents for print, web or screen. PowerPoint templates eliminate the need for creating our own master slides, searching for the right fonts and colors. All we have to do is follow the guidelines. But, that does not mean that we have found the panacea for knockout presentation slides.

Although a standardized look of printed documents and presentation slides can support and promote corporate communications, it does not eliminate the need for creating our visual aids according to our specific personal needs as a presenter — two persons might present the same topic in a completely different way. Working with a pool of slides that everybody uses should not be interpreted as an excuse for laziness. We should see it rather as an opportunity for permanent improvement. Just like open source programmers constantly improve software and give it back to the public for free, presenters in a company can improve their presentation slides, too.

And, there is one more thing: Every presenter should design her own slides. If she does not, then how will she be able to synchronize her talk with her slides and guarantee a smooth flow throughout her presentation? Much too often we see presentations where every second slide seems to have been taken or “borrowed” from a different source — Frankenstein’s monster comes to mind…

There is nothing wrong with borrowing material from someone else or even allowing someone to design one’s slides. But, when using material from other sources we have to customize it to our own needs. Someone else’s slides can never truly fit our subject matter and presentation style.

Paule Wendelberger