Great PowerPoint Examples: Get Inspired!

I recently took a colleague completely off-guard.  The meeting was about to begin.  He was apologizing that a projector and screen weren’t set up.  And for some reason, I was very calm.  “I told the hotel staff that I didn’t need any of that stuff.  I don’t have any slides,” I told him.

He thought about my comment for several moments.  “You’re not going to use slides?!”

To my co-worker, it was unfathomable that in this day and age someone would not want to use PowerPoint to supplement his presentation.  PowerPoint (or Keynote for those Mac users) is a great tool that has just been overused, and often abused, in presentations.

In the event that PowerPoint is something you’re planning to use in an upcoming presentation, and in the event there’s nothing I can do to talk you out of using it, then at least click on a couple of the following links.  These great PowerPoint examples offer a glimpse of what can be possible when it comes to creating some amazing visual aids using PowerPoint…

Great PowerPoint Example #1: You Suck At PowerPoint

I like this presentation because, if we all take a good, hard, honest look in the mirror, this is the truth.  The designer of this presentation (who also designed a similar, more gently-named presentation called Steal This Presentation) offers a series of common mistakes we make in designing PowerPoint and how to address them.

Great PowerPoint Example 1

Great PowerPoint Example #2: Introduction to Slide Design

Alex Rister, who has a pretty amazing blog entitled Creating Communication, also designs some amazing presentations.  The Introduction to Slide Design presentation has a dual-purpose: 1) explaining how to put together great presentations and 2) showing you what great slides look like.

Great PowerPoint Example 2 - Slide Design

Not So Great Example #3: The Gettysburg Address

At the beginning of this post, I claimed PowerPoint is over-used, often abused.  I mean it.  PowerPoint isn’t always necessary.  And Peter Norvig does an amazing job illustrating this.  How historic would Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address have been had he chosen to use PowerPoint?

Not So Great PowerPoint Example 3 - Gettysburg Address

Looking for some additional tips on how to create your own great PowerPoint presentation?  You may find these other blog posts helpful:

Have your own great PowerPoint examples? Share them in the comments. We’d love to hear about what others are doing!

16 thoughts on “Great PowerPoint Examples: Get Inspired!

    • Thanks Tracy. That’s funny – thank yous for NOT using slides. And it speaks volumes to what participants/learners *want*. I wonder when PowerPoint became the default “must have” for a presentation. As much as I preach the virtues of going without PPT, even I find myself sliding back to default PPT mode from time to time… PPT really is a nasty habit to try to break!

  1. Yes I have been reading a lot about not using power point…somehow I have not been able to do that. It helps me put my thoughts together visually and also a way that I dont forget what i am going to do next

    • I don’t think the point is that people should NOT use PowerPoint… I think the point I’m getting at is that if you’re going to use it, then be sure to use it well.

      I think there are various ways that presenters like to put their thoughts together, and if PPT helps organize your thoughts, then definitely use it… for organizing your thoughts.

      The thing about presentations is that they’re not about the presenter, and so you may need to different documents – 1) your own plans for the presentation 2) engaging visual aids for the learners/audience.

      It’s point #2 above that I recommended people take a look at some of these examples in order to get some ideas on how to better visually engage your audience after you’ve put your own thoughts in order.

  2. The use of Power Point has changed alot. Power Point has added new features. Adobe Presenter and Office Mix. Using Power Point to present varies on the presenter. That’s why as educators using technology we should keep up to date with our knowledge with technology. Knowing our audience is a part of education. That’s just like as educators we have to learn our students in order to implement curriculum. Power Point presentations can get boring. the new Power Point with Office Mix and Adobe Presenter can make an old Power Point Presentation new again.

    • I agree completely with two things here – 1) PowerPoint features have changed a lot over the past several years (it really is a powerful tool) and 2) PowerPoint presentations can get boring. In my experience, the problem is that too many presenters fail to distinguish between visual experience and handout. Basically, too many presenters create handouts with tons of information, and flash it up on a projection screen in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.

      Personally, I’m less enamored with new features of PowerPoint (though they can be pretty cool if used in the right context) and I’m much more enamored with 1) good instructional design (when there’s good instructional design, it’s often possible to do a presentation without PPT at all!) and 2) good visual design (if you’re going to use PPT, at least do it the right way).

      Here are two studies that can help instructors better design PPT, even if they don’t have a knack for graphic design: http://www.writing.engr.psu.edu/research.html

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