Get Polished in PowerPoint

Go beyond basics. Tell compelling stories.
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  • Lectures 18
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Expert Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 8/2014 English

Course Description

When you write PowerPoint presentations, do you

- Pretend it's a Word document in landscape? - Stick objects on a page until the white space is filled up? - Write a bunch of slides, then think about how they go together?

It's easy to get the basics in PowerPoint but hard to write compelling stories that your audience will find memorable and meaningful. Don't let insights you've discovered get lost in a maze of mediocre slides.

In this 90-minute primer you'll go from slide monkey to slide master. We'll take an accelerated 'learn-by-doing' approach: picking up where we left off in Use Excel Like a Pro. Fast., we'll design a PowerPoint template, write a storyboard and craft a polished presentation. Along the way, we'll unpack the principles of great slide writing and cover time-saving shortcuts. What makes this course different?

- It's practical. The instructor has worked in management consulting for eight years. That's a lot of real-world experience to share - It's fast; only 90 minutes. You'll have what you need in no time - It uses the case-method pedagogy. By teaching in the context of an example, retention is far higher than a traditional approach


Check out Kieran's blog for periodic coupon codes

What are the requirements?

  • PowerPoint installed on your PC or Mac
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office

What am I going to get from this course?

  • A critical eye for what makes a slide good or bad
  • A habit of planning presentations using a storyboard
  • The ability to write polished presentations, fast
  • Techniques to present well and to engage your audience
  • Pre-built, ready-to-use slide templates

Who is the target audience?

  • Students, professionals and entrepreneurs who regularly write PowerPoint presentations to communicate ideas, results or plans

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Setting the scene

Welcome to the course! In this chapter I'll provide an overview of the course and explain the challenge we will tackle together.

You can also download the keyboard shortcuts (for both PC and Mac) here.

Section 2: Getting ready to use PowerPoint

Before writing anything - whether a book, an essay or a presentation - it's important to plan out your story. In this chapter you'll learn how to write a storyboard for a PowerPoint presentation.

1 question

In this chapter, learn how to customize your PowerPoint template so that it looks great and saves you time. If you use a pre-set corporate template in your job, you can probably skip this chapter.

You can also download below the PowerPoint template we design during the chapter.


There are so many attributes of great powerpoint slides. Which ones should you focus on? We'll go through the key principles of slide writing and the common pitfalls to avoid.

1 question
Section 3: Slide titles

First impressions last. We all know that, right? So since they are the first thing our readers see, it's critical to make sure our titles are terrific. In this chapter we'll learn what makes a title great, and set up an exercise where you will critique some draft titles.

Download the draft titles exercise file below.


In this chapter, we'll go through the draft titles exercise together, critiquing drafts and crafting improved titles. In doing so, you'll learn to critically review titles and crystallize your understanding of what makes a title great.

Slide titles
1 question
Section 4: Saving time

Save time by learning how to move between objects and edit text without touching a mouse.

Section 5: Text slides

It's unfortunate but true: many text slides are ugly. Learn to make visually-appealing text slides that make it easy for audiences to get your point. We'll also learn how to customize hotkey shortcuts.

Text slides
1 question
Section 6: Tables and charts

In this chapter you'll learn to make easy-to-read tables, and learn when to use tables instead of charts.

Tables vs Charts
1 question

Charts are very versatile: they can be used to obscure data or to deliver insights. Here we'll learn to do the latter by covering what charts to use and how to make their conclusions clear. We'll begin with bar & column charts before covering more complex charts in the next chapter.
1 question

In this chapter we extend what we know about charts to make scatter plots (a.k.a. bubble charts) and line graphs. We'll also see that symmetry is beautiful not only in faces but in slides.
Section 7: Live polling

Voting underpins the very society we live in, so it's no surprise that people enjoy doing it! You can engage your audiences by incorporating live voting into your presentations, and in this chapter we'll learn how.

Section 8: Finalizing your presentation

I've never met one, but some people get their work perfect the first time. For the rest of us, it's critical to review our work before anyone else sees it. In this chapter we'll learn to review our slides, both individually and as a package.


Simple and elegant slide animations are a great tool to focus your audience and add to your storytelling. In this chapter we'll touch on the animations to use (and the ones to avoid) to help you make great presentations.

In the downloadable materials you'll find the presentation we created in this course.


Public speaking is hard, and learning how to do it well is a worthwhile life-long endeavor. In this chapter, we'll get started by learning what goes wrong most often when presenting slides. By being aware of these pitfalls and practicing to avoid them, you'll be well on your way.

Section 9: Conclusion

You're almost there! In this chapter we'll recap the most important things to take away from the course.


A brief overview of the slide bank and a heads-up on advanced charting software.

All course materials are also available here for download.

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Instructor Biography

Kieran Luke, GM, General Assembly

Kieran was a Principal at The Boston Consulting Group, where he served clients, led undergraduate hiring and trained new consultants on topics including spreadsheet modeling, slide writing and presenting. He currently leads Credentials at General Assembly.

Originally from Australia, Kieran lives in New York and enjoys tennis, travel and peaty scotch.

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