Jan 26, 2018

4 Things your audience dislikes the most in a Presentation

Dave Paradi conducts a global survey every two years. He asks what annoys them the most about PowerPoint Presentations. Respondents are asked to pick the top three from a list of twelve options.

As a presenter, this survey helps you figure out the top mistakes that you need to avoid, because they annoy your audiences the most. Here is the result from Survey 2017:

  • "The speaker read out the slides to us" (68%)
  • "Full sentences for text" (52%)
  • "Text too small to read" (49%)
  • "Visuals too complex" (34%)

What does this mean for you as a presenter?

  1. Never ever read out the text from your slide. Your audience can read it themselves. They don't need you to do it.
  2. When presenting a deck in-person, do not write full sentences. Write 2-3 words and explain the rest of your content orally.
  3. Use large and legible fonts. Never go below 20. If you are presenting in a very large venue, try to visit the venue beforehand to test your slides or go with a large font size of 30 or more.
  4. Do not create complex charts and graphs. Avoid more than 2 charts on a slide. Avoid sharing too many data points on a slide. If your chart is complex, you might to only share the analysis and not the chart. After all, the audience cares more about the message.
Read the complete article here: Results of the 2017 Annoying PowerPoint survey

Jan 19, 2018

Startup Investor Pitch Workshop in Kolkata, India

I am organising a day-long presentation workshop for startups in Kolkata on February 4, 2018. If you are interested, enter your mobile number by clicking hereIt is ideal for early-stage startups looking to raise their first/second round.

3 hours: Workshop by me
3 hours: LIVE Pitching by each startup + Feedback to each startup


1. How to pitch to angels and VCs?
2. What does the investor look for?
3. How to structure your pitch?
4. What to say to an investor? (complete template)
5. How to design good slides?
6. Common mistakes to avoid while pitching

Book now by clicking here

Jan 15, 2018

How good are my Slides? Evaluate using this Slide Design Checklist

You have prepared your slides. But you are unsure if your slides are really good. What if you had a checklist through which you could run your slides. Here is one checklist.

Your slides are good if your response is YES to all the items on this checklist.
  • I have not used bullet points
  • I have prepared a slide (with few words) and not a report (with lots of words)
  • My photos are not hazy (pixellated)
  • I have not used cliched images and WordArt
  • I have not distorted the image while enlarging it
  • My fonts are legible. I have not used fonts below size 18
  • My charts are simple and easy to understand
  • I have not used 3-D charts
  • I have not used boring fonts like Arial, Calibri or Garamond
  • I have used a sans-serif font. I have not used a serif font
  • I have not used fancy fonts
  • I have not used more than 3 colours in my presentation
  • I have not used watermarked images
If your answer is NO to any of the above points, it is time to fix that problem. Unsure about how to fix? Ask your question in the comments section below.

Want to read more on slide design? I recommend these articles:

Jan 10, 2018

9 Common slide design mistakes [with examples]

#1 Too much information on one slide

#2 Long list of bullet points

#3 Using cliched, overused images

#4 Using WordArt. That's so 90s

#5 Trying to impress with extra-stylish charts

#6 Illegible fonts

#7 Using 3-D charts

#8 Difficult-to-read chart legends

#9 Too many colours

All slides taken from public sources. For academic purpose only.

Dec 18, 2017

How to use STORIES to pitch your IDEAS better?

Making a sales pitch to a client? Or an investor pitch? Or pitching an idea to your CEO?  Here is a proven way to make it impactful and memorable so that you get the result you want.

Package all your messages into a STORY

Selling any product or service has a few common elements. Why not wrap all these elements into one single story?

  • Problem faced by your client
  • Existing solution
  • Your solution
  • Benefits
  • Price
If you are selling an idea to your CEO, you could be addressing a problem or challenging the status quo. You will talk about your idea and its need, benefits and impact. It would be great if you pick up one story (or anecdote) which helps you explain everything.

Why stories work?

We love stories. We have been hearing stories since we were children. We read fiction and watch movies. Stories are entertaining and they are memorable. Your prospect or your CEO will forget your logical arguments and numbers but they will remember your stories.

How to present your story?

Jeff Dachis is the CEO & Founder of One Drop. One Drop makes glucometers (measures glucose levels of diabeticsand a diabetes management app. In this video Jeff pitches his product idea in front of INVESTORS. He uses one story (of Joanna) and presents everything through that. The entire pitch is over in 6 minutes.

I have played this video in front of many people in my workshops and everyone loves it. They remember the message and find it impactful as it stirs their emotions and packages so much information in a single story.

Breakdown of Jeff's investor pitch and storytelling structure

Jeff starts with a story. Meet Joanna. She fell unconscious in an elevator. She could have died. She is diabetic.

Joanna feels alone in her fight against diabetes. But she is not alone. 30 million Americans have diabetes. 345 million people in the world have diabetes. It is the most expensive healthcare problem we have today.

We took an unloved product like the glucometer and redesigned it completely. Our glucometer is a lifestyle product which makes you feel awesome. We also deliver the supplies every month. It is that convenient.

Joanna logs in her glucose level and insulin. She leaves a professional tip on the app. She also logs in a food moment by simply tacking a picture. Joanna can compare her timeline (one day vs. other days). She gets insights and is able to change her behaviour.

One Drop is also a first of its kind diabetes management app which allows you to live with diabetes more easily. It will succeed because it is convenient, powerful and reminds diabetics like Joanna that they are not alone. People, patients, doctors and insurance companies (all stakeholders) will love One Drop.

One Drop is free if you have insurance. This product is sold in the US, EU and some other countries.

Jeff ends his pitch in an amazing manner. The Joanna he talks about all along is no one else but himself. He fell unconscious and almost died in the elevator. With just one story Jeff has told us everything he would tell his investors. He also stirs up our emotions (that's the power of a story). He even tells us (without telling directly) as to why he is in this business. He is a diabetic himself. He understand his customers like no one else.

Final lesson for us

  • Write down what you want to tell your CEO, prospect or the investor.
  • Find (or create) ONE story through which you can cover all the points.
  • Say the story with emotions and you will make a winning pitch.
What do you think about this approach? How would you try it out?

Dec 11, 2017

17 Impressive Slides from 'Google for India' Keynote 2017

Google for India Conference (GFI 2017) took place last week in New Delhi, India. There were various keynote speeches delivered at the event. The overall quality of presentations was excellent. Here are 17 slides I have handpicked for your inspiration. Read the takeaways below, after you have browsed through the slides.

Rajan Anandan, Vice President - Google 

Anuradha Aggarwal, CMO - Marico

Other Speakers



Write important numbers in big and bold. It will create impact and catch attention. If you are at a big venue with hundreds of people in the audience your slides will be visible to someone in the last row too. Look at this slide.


Every speaker had one colour theme. Rajan Anandan's slides had red, Anuradha's slides had pink and Ford India's slides were blue. The other colour was dark grey. The choice of main colour was in tune with their brand colours. But more importantly, the colours were used well. Look at these slides.

Since blue was chosen as the colour for Anurag Mehrotra's slides (MD - Ford India), notice how it is used in all 3 slides. The right side of slide 1, the icons and highlights in slide 2 and the background in slide 3. Read this great tip on how to use colour to design great slides: 5 Tips to use Colours in presentations [Design secret #1]


There are no wordy slides at all in this Google conference. That is why the slides are so good looking. The tip for us is - write very few words on the slide. They are just your cue. Rehearse well for your keynote speech and you will create a wow experience for your audience. Read this well-researched article too: How to use FONTS to design better presentations? [Design secret #2]


Lots of slides have full screen images and they look fascinating. In case they could not use a large image, they have used icons. Using images and icons makes your slides beautiful and helps your audience get the message quickly. Look at these two slides.

Wondering where to get such amazing images and icons. Read this comprehensive guide: 7 Secrets of designing beautiful PowerPoint Presentations

Preparing a keynote speech? Check this article on how to structure it.

Let me know your views on these slides. Is there a slide that you like? Share it with me. Email: vivek [at] jazz factory [dot] in.

Dec 6, 2017

Design secret #3 - Everything about Text Alignment in a presentation

If you are designing a PowerPoint slide it is important to know how to align text well. Let us start with an example. Here is an ad which appeared in a local newspaper recently.

The text to the right of the model is your main text. This main text is known as body copy in advertising. The text (both at the bottom and the top) is aligned to the LEFT.

But why is the text aligned to the left? Why not right, center or justify?

Here is the same ad. What have I done? I have aligned the body copy to the RIGHT. The ad now looks slightly different. Wait till you see the next version.
In this version, the body copy has been aligned CENTER. It does look quite odd, doesn't it?

Here is a quick refresher which shows you the four types of text alignment. By default, when you type body copy in PowerPoint your text gets aligned to the LEFT.

Let us now JUSTIFY the body copy and see how the ad looks.
This does not look very different from the LEFT alignment because of less text and separate paragraphs. If we have lots of text, the justified output will be different. Here is a better example of how lots of text looks when JUSTIFIED.
Take a look at all the four variants of the IndoStar ad again. Which one do you like better? Why did the designer choose to ALIGN LEFT? In my view, left align suits the ad. It is aligned to the upright model on the left.

How do you decide about text alignment?

English, and most other languages, is written from left to right. When you write your diary, you align text to the left margin. Left align is the most natural style of writing and that is also why the default alignment in PowerPoint for body copy is left. When in doubt, align LEFT.


Take a look at this ad. The body copy will only look good when the text is aligned to the LEFT. All the body copy is aligned to the left and together they form an invisible line which runs parallel to the model's hand (the model is Kalki Koechlin).
In the next ad, the text is aligned CENTER and it looks good. Why? Because the main image of the Google Pixel phone is also in the middle of the design.
In the next ad too, the text is aligned in relation to the image. The body copy has been aligned to the RIGHT, exactly in sync with the product. Together they form an invisible line which runs from top to bottom.
Usually CENTER align does not look good. But here is an ad where it makes sense. Again, as you will see, the text has been aligned in sync with the image. The image of Dr. Kurien is in the middle and hence the entire body copy is aligned matching the image.


As a thumb rule, if you place your text to the extreme left of your slide, align it to the left. As you can see in the next ad. The text is on the left and left align makes sense.
Look at the next ad. The entire text is placed in the center and it aligns itself to the logo (which is centrally aligned).

Which text alignment is most common?

I have analyzed 281 ads so far and the most common form of alignments are LEFT and CENTER. It is very rare to see RIGHT alignment and JUSTIFY.


When you align your text on a slide, think about two things:

  1. What else is there on the slide?
  2. Where are you placing the text on the slide?
Let us look at one ad from the real estate sector. In this ad the headline on the top has been aligned to the LEFT. The body copy (text at the bottom) has been aligned to the LEFT too.
The headline should have been aligned to the center. That would have synced well with the large image in the middle. The body copy at the bottom has been aligned well. It has been aligned in sync with the image next to it. The aligned text forms an invisible line parallel to the rectangular image next to it.

In the end, let us see two ads from the same brand. These ads are similar in a lot of ways. Can you spot the major difference? Focus on the headline in white font.

You must have noticed that the designer has gone for center alignment in one ad and right alignment in the other. Why? Which one do you like more?

There are no easy answers in design and many a times it is the overall feel of the design that matters. When you align the text, think about where are you placing the text, what else is there on the slide and how does the overall design look.

Read more:

5 Tips to use Colours in presentations [Design secret #1]
How to use FONTS to design better presentations? [Design secret #2]