The Sweet Spot You Should Aim For When Designing Ppt Slides

Want to know how a Public Speaking Coach designs their PowerPoint Slides?

If yes, then keep reading.

Because I’m going to let you in on exactly that.

My slide evolution across the last 10 years. Plus where I’ve landed now.

So you can learn directly from my mistakes and follow my most current thinking. (Which is the exact same advice I share with my clients!) 🙌


Back in 2013, I was asked back to present to the RMIT Info Sec Masters students on Risk Management. Because I had graduated from that myself in 2007 and was in the field of IS Risk Management at the time.

When I pulled my slides together, I fell into one of the most common traps regarding slides, which is to stick to bullet points……

The main reason this isn’t a great approach is that it assumes the slides are there to simply prompt the speaker for what they’re going to say next.

Slides should be there to provide a visual representation of what you’re saying. To help people follow along, help them understand what you’re talking about and stick in their minds long after you’ve finished talking.


After I finished Toastmasters, I was of the opinion that I didn’t even need slides at all!

One of the first gigs I got was to share what I knew about Storytelling at REA Group. I remember that I didn’t have any slides at all whatsoever.

I simply talked for 30mins and used stories to bring my points to life.

However, what I realised not long after that is that:

People do need some visual representation to help them retain what it is that you’re talking about.

Especially if you’re sharing an approach. If you’re sharing an approach, people will retain it more if they have a visual representation along with the verbal one.


In the early stages of starting my business I remember engaging a presentation deck design company. I was curious at how they could help me create a beautifully designed pack that I could use.

I already had a talk fleshed out, with a pack, but I felt like it wasn’t that professional or slick.

So I engaged this company’s help and was eager to see what they’d produce.

However, they simply took my existing slides and replaced them with their own interpretation. The version they sent me was consistently branded throughout and looked aesthetically beautiful.

Yet it lacked soul and personality. In fact at times did less to support the audience’s understanding of what I was presenting!

 It was a important lesson that:

The primary purpose of a pack is not to look good. It’s to help an audience understand and remember what you’re telling them.

 Additionally it’s to invoke some emotion in your audience. 


Now I favour simple images, that will stick in people’s minds.

Yes, they’re not as ‘professional’, however in my role as a Public Speaking Coach, I know that slides are there for my audience, not for me.

Slides are meant to help an audience understand and retain what you’re talking about.

If the slide deck is created with the sole purpose of looking “slick”, it won’t help to achieve the objective of imparting a certain message across and influencing people to change their behaviour.

I try to keep my slides very clean these days.

I keep a white back-drop, but I want my images to pop and to be easily recognizable and memorable.


Next time you’re creating a slide deck, don’t simply add words to a page, or try to make it look ‘professional’.

Try to create slides that are clean and will be easily understood + retained.

If you do this, you’ll have a much greater chance of making a big impact and influencing change.

Q – Where are you at now on your slide journey?



Emily Edgeley is a Public Speaking & Storytelling Coach for the Tech industry. Since 2017 (after leaving a 10+ yr career in Cyber Sec & Tech), she’s run over 280 group coaching sessions, coached more than 250 people privately, and formally supported (first time and experienced) speakers at 10 Conferences, covering 1000+ people across the globe. 

She’s on a mission to help anyone in the Tech arena learn how to speak with clarity, impact, and confidence, whether that’s at work or at a Conference. So they can share their ideas, build their brand and get more of what they want.