Power-Up Newsletter 04

It’s Tuesday and time to discover how to make your presentations pop

Today we wrap up our mini-series on presentations from tech developer conferences. In the spotlight, today we analyse everyone’s favourite slide software maker… Microsoft 😉

Let’s go!

In this edition:

  • 🎓 Learn: 3 different ways to transform your image into a shape
  • 💻 Presentation Breakdown: Microsoft’s keynote from the Builder Conference
  • 💡 Idea: Where to find real magic

🎓 Learn: 3 different ways to transform your image into a shape

I know!?!

You don’t have to be stuck with the default rectangular version that you copied into your slide.

Here are 3 different ways to transform your picture into a shape.

Doughnuts need to be round

Find an image that you want to use and insert it into your slide. Now for the magic 🦄

Option 1: Picture Fill

  • Insert the shape that you want to convert your image into
  • Right-click and Copy the original image, then select the shape and open the Format Pane
  • Under the Fill & Line tab, select Picture or texture fill option and then Clipboard from Picture source
The image is now in the shape but needs to be altered slightly
  • If your image is a bit off-centre, you can tweak the settings to get it just right
Play around with the look and feel until you are happy with it 👌

Option 2: Crop to Shape

  • Select the image and navigate to the Picture Format tab
  • Select the Crop function dropdown and then Crop to shape
  • The shape may be a bit funny, especially if it’s a circle. You can fix this by returning to the Crop function dropdown and changing the Aspect Ratio. It also allows you to set the position and zoom of the crop
Adjust the shape alignment and zoom until it matches your vision for the crop

Option 3: Shape Merge

  • As in Option 1, insert your desired shape
  • Make sure to send the shape to the back by using the Arrange functions. Then position your image over the shape in roughly the place where you want the crop to take place (make sure your image covers the shape)
  • Select both images, navigate to the Shape Format tab and click the dropdown for Merge Shapes. Use the Intersect option
The Merge Shape function is very cool. Worth a deeper investigation if you have some time
  • You can customise the position by opening the Format Pane and tweaking the crop positioning
Tweak it, baby!

In most cases, I default to Option 1 (Picture Fill) with my next option being the Crop to shape option. However, every now and then the spicier option of Shape Merge makes sense to get that custom look and feel.

Now you can upgrade your images in your next presentation. Good luck 😁

Read the original post ​​here on the blog​​

💻 Presentation Breakdown: Microsoft’s keynote from Build Conference

They make the world’s most popular presentation software resulting in about ​30 million​ presentations being created daily. So so soooo many bullet points!

Not sure if that’s a good thing 😅 But, there is no doubt that PowerPoint has a major impact on how we work.

Today we unpack the keynote from Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella given at the ​2023 Microsoft Build conference​ held on May 24.

The Build event is Microsoft’s annual developer conference where they share their latest innovations in code and application development

What can we learn from the presentation?

Photo by Dan Delong

ℹ️ About:

Who: To an audience of Developers

What: Microsoft product updates and new launches

Where: From Seattle, Washington at the Microsoft Build conference (23-25 May)

How: In-person presentation by Satya Nadella with slides, video and product demo segments

A Zoom with a carousel effect. This is such a good set of slides 😍

🏗️ Structure:

The keynote was split into 4 distinct sections (plus timestamps):

  1. Introduction: by Satya Nadella CEO (from 00:00:00 to 00:04:59)
  2. How we Build: by Satya Nadella CEO (from 00:04:59 to 00:06:19)
  3. What we Build: by Satya Nadella CEO (from 00:06:19 to 00:25:19) with product demo of Copilots and Plugins by Yusuf Medhi CVP, Consumer CMO (from 00:11:45 to 00:17:44)
  4. Why we Build: by Satya Nadella CEO (from 00:25:19 to 00:31:12)
A visual representation of the different sections of the opening keynote at Microsoft Build 2023

Swipe: What worked

  • Lead with Storytelling: Three weeks of going deep into these developer conference presentations and Satya is the only one that led with a personal story. He compares the current conference to his first one and how this (like then) is a pivotal moment in technology. We all love stories and this is a masterful move to really hook the audience and set the entire presentation up. I highly recommend you ​rewatch the opening​ from 00:02:05 to 00:04:59
  • Accessibility focus: Just like last week’s ​Google presentation​, this was accessibility focused. Simple slides with high-contrast designs of a dark background, light-coloured text (aka presentation dark mode) and big text sizes that make it easy to read. Plus a sign-language interpreter and generated closed captions were a nice touch
  • One target audience: This presentation was clearly for developers. It was all about how the Microsoft ecosystem was being primed for AI and how developers can leverage that. Each demo had a developer focus and this added to the cohesive feel of the entire presentation
  • Here are a few more slides for inspiration:
Very clear visual hierarchy and repeating the word “Unified” was a nice touch
This stack slide was great. Definitely adding it to my personal swipe file 😂
Although there is a lot going on, the annotations were clear and show the hockey-stick effect of technology

🙅 Dodge: What to avoid

  • Sometimes more slides are better: The Azure AI studio section had a lot written beneath each icon. They split out the AI safety bullet into its own slide at 00:19:08. Avoid tiny text on the summary and rather split each into its own slide. I ended up trying to read along and straining at the small text instead of listening to Satya. It’s all about having the audience listen and not read the slide. I also wish they had shown images here of the responsible AI dashboard which was a missed opportunity to show instead of just tell us. They did play a video after, but it would’ve been great to show while telling and then wrap up with the video
I ended up trying to read this slide instead of listening.
  • The why felt forced: Satya tried to leave the presentation with a call to action for the developer community to have and make an impact. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great idea… theoretically…but the execution just came across as Corporate Virtue Signalling. If this is important to your organisation, speak to these themes sooner in the presentation. Use the words like impact, helping others etc. earlier to set up the section at the outset. ​Google did a fantastic job​ with this. Here, however, it just felt like a last-ditch attempt to add some soul into a corporate machine 😂
Corporate virtue signalling? Maybe I’m just cynical 😅. Photo by Dan Delong

The thing I loved the most about this keynote… it was only 30min.

Satya hinted that there were more than 50 announcements, but he focused on 5 key ones – and we appreciated it. I did end up watching a few more of the other presentations and it was because of the excitement created by the opening keynote.

There were a few more keynotes which you can ​check out here​.

I’ve been studying presentations by some of the largest companies and best speakers to find secrets that we can apply to our daily presentations at work.

Do you have a favourite speaker you’d like to see featured? Reply to this mail and I’ll add them to the list

💡 Idea: Where to find real magic

I love learning new things, improving my skills, or finding an unexplored angle. It’s not about competition or wanting to be the best.

Not at all.

It’s just who I am. I love the process.

If only we could upload skills straight into our brains 😅

I was reading Rick Altman’s book “Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck…and How You Can Make Them Better” and this line hit me hard:

“Everyone used pretty much the same ingredients but the results were dramatically different. The real magic is in the hands of the craftsperson, not their tools.”

Firstly, great book title👌

Secondly, it’s true.

We all have access to basically the same tools for creating presentations. I don’t have anything special or different installed and neither do most expert PowerPoint designers.

What they have is a willingness to learn and improve their craft day after day. It takes time and the desire to keep going.

You and I are doing the exact same thing.

We’re honing our craft. Learning from presentation masters and sprinkling that fairy dust into our presentations. Our messages are crisper for it and we’re helping audiences take action and make change.

FYI, here’s a full list of what ​​I’m currently reading​​.

This marks the one-month anniversary of the Power-Up Newsletter. I’ve learned a lot so far and can’t wait to share more with you!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a great week! Edition #04 done ⚡️

✌️ + ppt


Say hi on Twitter or LinkedIn

Did you enjoy this edition?

Join 200+ ambitious professionals reading my newsletter. Subscribe and get practical tips every Tuesday to level up how you share ideas at work💡





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *