How I Accidentally Made My Best PowerPoint Ever

Last week I did the first of 5 presentations for Lawyers Mutual. They’re North Carolina’s largest attorney malpractice carrier. They offer free CLE programs across the state. I co-presented with Erik Mazzone and we did a 60 Tips in 60 Minutes program. It went well.

The program is fast paced and involved quick demonstrations of lots of websites.

We decided to prepare some visuals and used Keynote (I’m a Mac so I prefer Keynote to PowerPoint).

We prepared 60 slides – one for each of our 60 tips.

Many of the tips involved websites so we made little movies (screencasts) of each of the sites. The screencasts were simple demonstrations of the sites and didn’t require us to type any words on the slides. Most of the slides just played the movie – no text – no words on the screen added by us. We didn’t really think about the words when we were designing the slides. We were just doing what worked and words weren’t really necessary or important.

Most of the slides were demos of websites (like Elance, Google Analytics, etc). A few of the tips involved products (like the Verizon MiFi and a Lacie USB drive).

Even the slides that weren’t website demos were simply photos of the product. No words were involved.

Some of the screen captures and photos were funny. One involved a dating site promising to find millionaires, another featured Nick Nolte’s mug shot.

The audience paid attention to the slides. They absorbed our points by watching the visuals and listening to our discussion. They were engaged and attentive. They laughed at the funny stuff and asked questions about the complicated material. It was great.

The visuals weren’t redundant of our comments, they helped illustrate our points and they did it in a way that was entertaining and informative.

I’ve tried to to use PowerPoint without words in the past. I know that every expert says eliminate the words or keep them to only a few per slide. But, those words just seem to creep on the screen and next thing you know there are dozens of them.

But, wow, these slides worked. They did exactly what we hoped they would do and I’m confident that leaving out the words was a big part of our success.

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