Search Google for "best powerpoint templates" and you'll get a number of modern designs for sales pitch decks, portfolios, business plans, and CV/resume presentations (like these).
Not sure what a CV/resume presentation is? If you're asked to give a presentation as part of a job interview, you might start with some introduction slides. CV/resume presentations put your CV/resume into a presentation format.
Infographics have become popular in almost every field, but in more traditional areas, like science and academia, I believe there's a bit of a line to draw.
You may notice I have an infographic on my About page as well as on my LinkedIn. Personal websites and the media feature of LinkedIn are great spots for some well designed graphics. Just make sure they are informative, and look good when display-cropped on LinkedIn.
So if you can't use one of those fancy infographic templates for your next lab presentation or even your dissertation, what are you to do? Many academic institutions have ready-to-download institutional templates. By the end of this post, you'll know how to modify any PowerPoint template to suit your purposes. When looking for logos or identity colors, institution templates can be a helpful place to start.
I'm going to briefly explain
1) how to utilize Slide Master to design your own templates
2) how to match colors to your institution identity.
I've also provided a free PowerPoint template, ready for you to use! Just leave a comment if you download, and let me know how you think you'll use it. I love to hear from my readers.
how to use Slide Master
While you can choose a design and tweak it to make your PowerPoint design, or even start from scratch, when you do it in Slide Master, it applies to the Layout you insert, and populates to every slide.
Go to VIEW in the top menu, and Slide Master. The first slide is the Master Slide, and is where you want to make your overarching changes. The best way to learn is by doing, so open up PowerPoint and fiddle around.
You'll notice that between File and Home, you have the Slide Master tab. To edit as usual, just use the Home tab. To close Slide Master and create the content, Close Master View.
Then, you can tweak other slide layouts. I typically like to center align the title and subtitle on Title slide and Section Header. Also, with the two comparisons I like to improve on the title boxes, as well as make sure the bullet points are the size and color I want. In the master slide I usually increase font size for all bullets and add any background color stuff, too.
To save your PowerPoint as a template, Save As > .pot. It will save to your Microsoft destination folder in Custom Office Templates. Then to re-use, open, and Save as > .pptx and edit.
Go to COLORS and FONTS to automatically change your overall color scheme as well as the Serif-Sans, Sans-Sans, Sans-Serif combinations, etc.
Now, on to more colors!
how to match colors in PowerPoint
Institutions typically have information on their "identity" - use of logos, design, and colors.
To find yours, I suggest you Google search " [institution name] identity logo ". I'll use some of my previous institutions as examples.
- UNC Chapel Hill
- University of Virginia
- Cornell University
These are only meant as examples, though they do follow the linked guidelines above.
You don't have to guess at matching your presentation to that - use the eye dropper to grab colors from a logo or input the hex or RGB code to match.
These screenshots show how you can use the eyedropper to grab color from an existing item. I like this in particular when I make a spectrum gradient or colored histogram, and then I can just "drag and drop" the color to other elements. Does that make sense? If not, leave a comment.
You can also directly input the RGB code going to "More Fill Colors".
For logos, make sure you download high quality PNGs and have the background match your background. That is, use their black background logo for a black background poster or presentation, and white. If you use a transparent background PNG, make sure that it is OK for the color of the logo to be combined with your background. For example, if your school's colors are maroon, you probably shouldn't put it in a bright blue background. Choose instead their white or black logo.
UNC has very clear examples of what to do, so I'll use their awesome identity site and photos. Click to go through to the link.
That was a brief intro to colors. Questions? Drop me a comment or a note!
Today I'm sharing a clean cut template with all the edits made for you in Slide Master. It features serif titles and san serif body, with dark gray features and accent colors that can be changed from light gray (current) to your choosing via Slide Master. The file type is .ppt. To save as a template, Save As > choose template. It will be added to your Custom Office Templates.
This template is free! Just download from my Drive share (button below). I only ask that you leave a comment when you downloadd. I'd love to know how you plan to use this free powerpoint template!
'Graphite Serif Presentation'
While PowerPoint is still the go-to for slide presentations (sorry, Prezi, you tried but you just don't cut it in science), Powerpoint presentations have come far since 2003 clipart and animations.
There are what I'd say are the Golden Rules of PowerPoint. You'll find these repeated over and over again in articles.
I'll summarize them here so we all start in the same place:
For a great read, check out "How to Give a Dynamic Scientific Presentation" from Elsevier.
I'm going to expand on these with a few tips that will take your PowerPoint presentation from good to great.
5 tips for giving a great presentation
1. Leave something for questions. We often try to fit everything into our presentation, then go back and pare down to leave some white space. We think "I'll say those out loud, because I don't want to be reading from the slide". And you move the text to the presenters notes.
A mentor of mine told me "while you want to be thorough in your presentation, when there are peripheral points you imagine your audience may be interested in, instead of adding to your presentation, add to your list of "possible questions"." You'll almost prompt them to ask questions (which provides an engaging discussion) and you'll know the answer!
Personally, questions are the part of presentations I dread the most, because what if I don't know? But questions are almost never cruel, and instead indicate your audience has been engaged. The awkward silence of no questions is a bit of a let down.
2. Organize your presentation well. Just like in a well written scientific paper, each of your research aims should have supporting rationale in the introduction, an explanation of methods, results, and a point in the discussion. So should your presentation!
Use the slide sorter to see a big picture view, and as you're working on your presentation, pause and tab through to see if things should be shifted around.
Make sure to update your 'Outline' slide to match the final order!
3. Graphics are good, but there are caveats. A figure is often the best way to convey a complicated design or paradigm. However, remember you have both visual and auditory persons in your audience, and an unfamiliar figure will be insufficient for the visual learners. All the time you spend explaining it will fall on deaf ears as they are trying to figure it out for themselves.
Use white space on the slide to feature text boxes with key points that orient the listener, that you can expand on.
4. Use multiple slides over animations. More and more often these days you present slides as a PDF, or you provide notes or printouts. If you're giving a lecture and post the slides as a PDF, animations won't show up well. Instead, use white boxes and box outlines to highlight portions of a figure or text that focuses the audience. Each 'transition' or 'animation' should have a key point, and thus is worth its own slide. Think about it like this - if a student was taking notes, there should be something they write on each slide that they wouldn'tve gotten if they weren't in class that day.
5. Find or develop a good template or two. They can be inspired or adapted from Microsoft templates - change the color to your school colors, or adjust the fonts; or create your own.
See my brief tutorial on using Slide Master and adjusting your colors, and download my simple graphite presentation template.
What challenges do you face when putting together your presentations?
Today I'm sharing an ELITE list of the best e-books I've come across in the past few years. I say elite because they are good. Not only do I download them, but I read them too!
As the blog title says these are all free.
I've written about how to prep for conferences (twice) and I've talked about it with many of you! But now I'm here at AHA Scientific Sessions 2017 - the biggest conference I've attended - and I have a whole new list of tips on tap for you. Before I do that (look for it in a few days), I want to talk about a topic that's come up gain and again in Early Career Programming events and in conversation with my colleagues.
That topic is: how do you establish independence early in your career?
Background photo from 'Icelandic Roads' by Vadim Sherbakov at Creative Market
Last week I read that you should never ask someone to be your mentor. Why? Because if you're downright asking, you haven't cultivated enough of a relationship to let it subtly slide into the "mentor zone".
Finding a mentor can be one of the more nebulous concepts in career development, and certainly the most frustrating. It's like dating...choosing a boss...a parent...? Nope, not quite any of those. Hence the nebulous.
I'm a firm believer that you need to figure out what you want, and take the steps to get there. With that said, I recognize that being direct and putting yourself out there is a difficult thing to do, no matter how confident or outgoing you are.
So what now?
In Finding Your Groove, I talked about reflecting on your working style, your schedule, etc. to knit your routine in such a way that it takes advantage of your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.
Just like there are some tasks I do better in a busy coffee shop than quiet at my desk, there are some tasks that need some background noise. Enter: Netflix (Hulu, AmazonPrime, HBO, Starz...you pick).
So here's a not so serious post where I list some of my go-to shows. Scan the list and hopefully you find one you haven't seen yet, or maybe one you forgot about!
What are your favorite shows or movies to watch while doing work?
1. Free coffee refills
2. Outlets accessible to all
3. Catered seminars (free lunch)
4. Elbow room, in class and while studying
5. Professors that stay on topic
6. Perfectly timed public transportation
7. $2 drinks at happy hour
8. Naptime after lunch
9. Emails over meetings
10. Adorable puppies