Better PowerPoint with Universal Principles of Design


We all want our PowerPoint slides to be the best they can be, not detracting from an excellent presentation. And yet not all public speakers are trained in design.

Here is the answer.

It isn’t a public speaking book.

It isn’t a PowerPoint book.

It presents the principles of design.

There is little surprise then, that it is beautifully designed.

It pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the concepts applied in practice. The left side is dedicated to theory, the right to visual examples of how this theory can be used.

From the “80/20” rule to chunking, from baby-face bias to Occam’s razor, and from self-similarity to storytelling, every major design concept is defined and illustrated.

Every theory is pared down to these two concise pages.

And within the theory page are two more elements – some incredibly useful references to other resources for further exploration and reading and to other theories as well – research on motivators and perception, psychology and biology, and so many more.

As a reader, we are being encouraged to make connections – to other ideas about the principle and to other principles that intercept with it.

And making connections is certainly necessary – it is a great mindset by which to use the book, to apply the principles to one’s own discipline – in our case, public speaking and PowerPoint.

The connections are not made within the book, and several reviewers have complained about that, and the lack of full information about each principle. I like making connections, exploring further, and the discipline of making creative use of rules. It is a stimulation of creativity that is necessary among the rather linear thinking involved in creating a storyboard, and a logical development of ideas.

And the concise treatment of the material makes the book an easy reference to use, and book that can be picked and read in small chunks.

About the Author

William Lidwell writes, speaks, and consults on topics of design and engineering. He is the Director of Design at Stuff Creators Design in Houston, Texas. He is author of the best-selling design book, Universal Principles of Design, which has been translated into 12+ languages; Deconstructing Product Design, a social deconstruction of 100 classic products; and lecturer of two video series on design: “How Colors Affect You: What Science Reveals” available from The Great Courses, and “The Science of Logo Design” available from
He lives in Houston, TX.

You can buy the book from Amazon , The Book Depository ,

The KISS of life for your speeches

This is a guest post from Kwesi Millington.

Kwesi is a public speaking, storytelling & confidence coach, teaching you to speak, share, serve and live with greater confidence. Check out his website at and do watch his periscopes. He shares some very practical tips on speaking and story.

KISS it!

Try to learn one new word per week. Grow your vocabulary. Explore the richness of the English language…

Just leave the complex words out of your speeches.

Author John Maxwell says it this way…

“As leaders and communicators, our job is to bring clarity to a subject, not complexity. The measure of a great teacher isn’t what he or she knows, it’s what the students know.”

Speaking is not about YOU. That is the most important piece of information you can ever learn about this art.

It is about your listener. Think about their comprehension level. Many speakers try to impress the audience with what they know.

It’s NOT what you know, it is what you DID NOT know and have learned that will impress them. It is in your vulnerability that you will find your victory.

In writing, blogger James Altucher talks about the Flesch-Kincaid score (He wrote about it for Quora). This respected scoring system is applied to writing to determine what grade level you are writing for. For example, a Flesch-Kincaid (FK) score of 10 means that you are writing at a Grade 10 level.

Altucher provided studies of some recent top ranked articles, then he went back and got scores for the classic Hemingway book “The Old Man and the Sea” as well as “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad, and “Crime and Punishment” by Dostoevsky.

The F-K scores for ALL of these were between 4 and 8. Yes, that means that all of the above, including a Nobel Prize winning author’s work, were written at a Grade 4th to 8th level!!

When you speak, SPEAK the same way.

KISS it my friends (Keep It Simple when Speaking).

Martin Luther King said “I have a Dream”.
JFK said “It’s not what your country can do for you, it’s what you can do for your country.”

Grade schoolers can understand those quotes, and Adults have been moved by them.

Remember this…

Big words touch the Brain, Small words touch the Heart.