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March 19, 2024

Creating Quality Slide Decks for Your Masterclass or Webinar

Introduction

Quality visuals, particularly quality slide decks, are a key element of a masterclass or webinar. Certainly, we’ve all attended a virtual event where the slides were average. Or maybe the presenters didn’t even use a slide deck but at least in my experience, they almost always used some type of visual.

An average slide won’t hurt your overall masterclass or webinar, but it won’t help either. And in this day and age, a bad slide deck will turn folks (a.k.a. potential clients) away.

What Quality Slide Decks Do

The best slide decks guide your participants through the main points of your masterclass and webinar that highlight how they will either achieve an outcome or get rid of a struggle. At the core, they provide easily and quickly digestible information.

Highlight Key Points

During your masterclass or webinar, you will be providing a large amount of content. With a slide deck you can pull out the most important elements or “takeaways” you want participants to remember.

Focus the Audience’s Attention

Quality slide decks gives your participants just the right amount of information so they can keep their focus on you, your message, and the value you are providing.

Visual/Audio Reinforcement

A well placed image, diagram, video, or audio clip can reinforce your message in a way that just text cannot. It is well documented that most people have a higher retention rate of information when accompanied with or represented in visual format.

Types of Visuals for Quality Slide Decks

Because visuals are an important element of a quality slide deck, it’s important to make sure you are including elements that align with topic, main points, and overall message.

There nothing worse than looking at a slide deck and wondering something like ‘What does a dog running on the beach have to do with investing in the stock market?’ With the plethora of options available it’s easy to go overboard.

Photos and Illustrations

When selecting visuals always go for high quality particularly stock photos and illustrations. My favorite photo sites include Pexels, Unsplash, ad Pixabay. I also use the stock photos available in PowerPoint and Canva. If you have the budget consider buying photos from sites like Shutterstock. Check out ExpertPhotography’s list of great free and paid stock photography sites.

Data and Statistics

When presenting data consider visualizing it rather than just a table. Graphs and charts generated in Excel, Sheets, or Numbers is a good option. Slide templates from sites like Slidesgo and Slides Carnival often have several data illustration options included that have more visual interest than a pie chart.

Audio/Video

Audio or sound clips are a good option, just avoid the annoying whooshing or dinging noises that are standard in some presentation apps. When using video, make sure you are only using the clip that is related to your point. Don’t embed the entire video.

Animation

Animation can be an effective way to focus the audience’s attention. However, with animation, less is more. Too much can trigger nausea for some people. Check out my animation articles (with step by step videos) for different ways to incorporate animation into a slide deck.

Lists

Lists are always a good choice. Yes, the bulleted list (or numbered list). Just limit the number to five and keep the number of words per list item to 6 or less. The more words you use it becomes overwhelming for the audience. They will focus more on reading the slide and quit listening to you.

The Call to Action (CTA)

Regardless of the purpose of the masterclass or webinar, it is vital you have some type of call to action. With this content it is imperative that you keep it simple and straightforward. If you need to use more than one slide to effectively communicate the call to action than use multiple slides.

It isn’t worth it to try to jam everything onto one slide. However, it is a simple CTA like ‘Join the Facebook Group’ than only include that information on the slide and nothing else. Don’t confuse you participants with too much unnecessary information.

Use an Outline or Storyboard to Create Quality Slide Decks

One of the best ways to make sure you are creating a quality slide deck is to first outline or storyboard it.

The outline can be as detail or broad as you like. Just as long as it helps you focus in on what content you want to include on each slide. If you are a more visual person, storyboarding is a great tool to help you visualize what each slide might look like.

I like using a hybrid of the two so I can pair the main points with a relevant visual element like a photo or data visualization. It also saves me time in the long run because I do less editing and tweaking of the slide deck. I can sit down create it and be done.

A note about Slide Deck Apps/Software

In this article, I opted not to focus too much on specific apps or software. Everyone has their favorite; some more fervently than others.

Whenever someone asks me which app to use, my advice is always to choose what is easiest for you to use. The goal is to create a quality slide deck, so it doesn’t matter which software package you end up using.

If you’ve never used a slide deck/presentation app before, start with the software that comes free with your computer like PowerPoint in Windows or Keynote in MacOS. If you are a big Google Apps user, then Google Slides will be a good option for you.

Additionally, don’t shy away from using pre-built templates or app generated design suggestions. I am a fan of both of these options because they save time. Templates are often created by a trained designer and include many elements that naturally make a quality slide deck.

Conclusion

Quality slide decks are a great way to elevate your masterclass or webinar from good to great. By using visuals strategically, highlighting key takeaways, and keeping your audience in mind, it ensures your message resonates and leaves a lasting impression. Remember, quality trumps quantity. The slide deck should support for your message not be the star of the show. Always focus on clarity, simplicity, and a strong call to action. This will help you more easily convert viewers into paying clients or engaged followers.

Let me know in the comments, what you struggle with the most when creating quality slide decks.

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Jennifer


Jennifer Sharkey is known as the Virtual Presentation Specialist. Being passionate about seeing people shine and be heard, she leans into her 20+ years of public speaking experience and uses what she has learned from presenting, both in-person and virtually, to small groups all the way up to 5000 people. Jennifer draws from her experience as an associate professor, academic librarian, and coach to help holistic coaches master virtual presentations to grow their business. Her unique immersive program provides practical strategies and methods to build confidence, engage audiences, and generate authenticity and authority.

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