Do you want to know a secret?
I suck at creating slides from scratch.
That blank slide with the cursor blinking ominously on the screen makes me break out into a nervous sweat 😭
I’m no artist. I studied finance and economics for crying out loud! These hands were made for Excel, not pretty pictures 🤬
Yet here I am hoping to save you from Death by PowerPoint.
It’s Tuesday and time to discover how to make your presentations pop✨
It all starts with two simple words: Swipe File
For those that haven’t heard of a swipe file, it’s a collection of marketing and copywriting examples that can be used for inspiration. Whenever marketers see a good advert or piece of writing they would tear it out of a magazine or take a photo of it and add it to their folder of ideas.
Copywriters, advertisers and other marketers “steal” (i.e. swipe) ideas from proven campaigns and use those as inspiration when they are stuck. It's not an exact copy and paste, rather they would put their own spin on it.
And that’s precisely what we’re going to do as well. We're going to create our own "Presentation Swipe File".
Follow these 5 simple steps to never have to start from a blank slide again 👇
Step 01: Create your Swipe File
A swipe file doesn’t have to be in physical form. It can be digital as well.
Mine is in a PowerPoint file where each slide holds a design or idea that inspires me. Whenever I need to create a slide, I just scroll through my curated set of awesome ideas and cherry-pick one as a starting point and BOOM! everyone at work thinks I’m a slide guru.
Your personal swipe file can live anywhere: In your notes app (OneNote, Notion or Apple Notes), in a Word document, or (like mine) in another PowerPoint file. Neville Medhora (Entrepreneur and Copywriter) created a whole website for his swipe file.
Just start yours and keep it somewhere close by or easy to access. Inspiration pops up all the time. The goal is to capture the idea immediately - so keep the friction low.
Step 02: Find cool ideas
I love the internet. With a couple of clicks, you can find almost anything!
Okay, this is a family-friendly newsletter. By “anything” I meant really cool slide designs.
From left to right:
I know, it’s a lot. But don’t be fooled, I’m not scrolling through all of these sites daily looking for slides.
What you need to do is create an environment for inspiration to come to you. This leads us to…
Step 03: Capture ideas in your swipe file
After you’ve set yourself up to be an inspiration magnet, now it’s time to capture those ideas.
Capture whatever resonates with you. If it looks cool or inspires you then it’s swipe-worthy.
Capture what speaks to you. The curating bit and keeping your swipe file up to date comes later only after you've built slides and tested the ideas with an audience.
When I am actively looking for ideas, I turn to Pinterest and YouTube.
Try this for yourself:
Now, try some other search terms like: “PowerPoint Infographic” or “presentation template”... jackpot!
If you’re inviting inspiration in, it will show up. Good ideas want to be found.
Step 04: Build the slide
When you take an idea from your swipe file, not only will you avoid starting from scratch, you will start to understand what makes a good slide “great”.
Try different colour combos or shapes and see what works for you. Combining two to three concepts from different slides has helped me a lot to get to know what works and what doesn’t.
Step 05: Share your creation
Feedback is good.
An excellent opportunity to see if your new design works is to share it with an audience.
You have officially created an inspiration system.
Good luck and have fun sharing your work!
Today is the start of a new series: Presentation Power-Up Basics. For the next month, I will share my presentation secrets in a weekly lesson that will help you take your slides from Boring to Brilliant.
Is there a particular area that you currently struggle with? Let me know with a reply and I will create a lesson just for you 🏆
Edition #09 done. Hope you have a fantastic week!
✌️ + ppt
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