Many oral communication assignments across the curriculum benefit from visual aids, often PowerPoint slides.
As you prepare for your next presentation, it might be useful to learn a little more about what moves successful slides make, and to see those moves in action.
We’ve created a compilation of annotated model slides – many from real Baruch students – to do just that. The annotations highlight specific slide design techniques the slides do especially well.
For each of the following categories, you’ll find a link to a short selection of model slides.
- Logical Visual Organization
Slides are clearly and strategically designed with purposeful visual cues that amplify and support audience understanding.
- For example, individual slides that contain multiple components use top-to-bottom, clockwise, left-to-right, color-coding, arrows, or other clearly communicated ordering principles to sequence the audience’s reading; slide decks establish and maintain visual movement cues. See these slides for annotated models.
- Hierarchies of Information
Slides are organized so that the elements or content purposefully reflect order of importance, chronology, or process.
- For example, a bulleted list naming a firm’s upper management begins with the CEO and continues in descending order of responsibility; a series of trends moves from most impactful to least; a main idea is visually emphasized above related details; an informational hierarchy established on a previous slide is maintained on future slides. See these slides for annotated models.
- Consistent Formatting
Slide decks maintain consistent formatting choices throughout.
- For example, any headers appear across all slides in the same font and font size; lists appear in the same bulleting style with consistent syntax and spacing; any changes in type treatment (such as enlarged titles or color shifts associated with distinct sections of the deck) are used strategically, and only to indicate logical organization or hierarchies of information. See these slides for annotated models.
- Purposeful Themes, Color, Typography, and Contrast
Slides demonstrate purposeful choices for themes, color, typography, and contrast that further their purpose, clearly communicate their content, and maintain stylistic integrity.
- For example, color schemes reflect the material under discussion; themes contain the graphical organizers the slides’ content demands; all headers appear in a single font while all body text appears in a second font; contrast of size or color emphasizes importance and directs the audience’s gaze. See these slides for annotated models.
- Purposeful Imagery
Slides make use of images that are necessary and relevant, and that provide or elaborate content in order to deepen understanding and increase visual appeal.
- For example, when images are sourced from an online database, they are aesthetically appealing, directly related to content, and go beyond clip art; when images are designed by students, they provide clear amplification of slide content by way of an informative visual. See these slides for annotated models.
- Effective Tables and Graphs
Slides make use of tables and graphs that clearly and legibly display information in order to highlight important takeaways from a dataset.
- For example, slides that communicate quantitative information use the most appropriate graph or chart type to visually represent increase, decrease, proportion, or trends; graphs and charts are annotated with arrows, color-coded, or demarcated to direct the audience’s gaze; when a slide contains multiple tables, graphs, or charts, they are purposefully laid out and annotated to communicate the comparative analysis being performed. See these slides for annotated models.
- Effective Text Use
Slides use concise, carefully chosen, syntactically consistent language. When slides that accompany a presentation are text-heavy, the audience is given time to read the slide or the speaker orally guides the audience through the text.
- For example, each item in a bulleted list of an experiment’s methodology begins with an action verb; full sentences are reduced to only the necessary language; captions for images, figures, tables, and graphs emphasize important takeaways; necessary citations are included and legible. See these slides for annotated models.