Slide design: Lessons from TED

In presentations use the Lessons from TED

TED talks aim to persuade, influence and change the way we Think and Act.

We should be aiming to do the same thing in our business presentations. No more “Death by Power Point”, ever. Use these Lessons from TED to amp up your presentations:

1. Open with power!

“Um .. ladies and gentlemen” doesn’t engage, it bores. A powerful opening engages the audience and sets the pace for the presentation. Both a question, and a challenging statement, will do this. Jamie oliver opened his TED talk with the statement that sadly, over the 18 minutes of his TED talk 4 Americans would die from the food they eat. He could also easily started with a question asked to the audience “Did you know the food you eat could be killing you?” After a question or challenging statement pause to allow the audience to digest what you have said. This also makes it more of a dialogue (they answer in their heads) than a lecture.

2. Make your point, use one simple idea per slide

Many presenters try put too many ideas on each slide. This is often a “cheat”, instead of preparing properly, or using Presenter’s View to allow them to present ideas more elegantly. When putting a quote, or idea, on the screen, ensure it is simple. Don’t make it a document they need to read – or worse attempt to read it to them while they read along. Microsoft comes with Power Point, Excel and Word – they are meant to do different things. Word is for documents to read, PPT is to visually augment what you are saying. Top lessons from TED teach us to – Keep it simple. Be a speaker, not a “death by Power Point” reader.

Instead of this:

Lessons from TED








Keep it simple, like this:

Lessons from TED








3. Use High Quality images

Low resolution images pixilate and look unprofessional, blurry and make it seem like you don’t care. Use high resolution images that are a minimum of 800×800. License free images are available at sites like and These are royalty free stock photos for use in print, on websites and in presentations.

By using just these tips you will see a dramatic improvement in your presentations. Research shows that simple slides that augment your message (instead of being your message) help engage your audience.

Get help from a professional to design your slides

If you really want to get your presentations right, consider hiring a professional presentation consultant to help. A professional can help you get perspective about what’s important, help you protect your brand and deliver clear powerful visuals which augment your message. If you need help or more information on the Lessons from TED contact us today.


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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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