Posts tagged PowerPoint and Keynote
How to Easily Animate Text in Keynote
Animate Text horiz.png

Today I’m going to show you how to make words “drop in” point by point next to a photo in Keynote*.  This is a classic, basic animation that you’ll want to have in your toolbox of skills.  But don’t let the word “animation” scare you! It’s easier than you might imagine. In fact, if this is your first ever animation, you’re gonna be thrilled!  (*Keynote is essentially the Mac version of Powerpoint.)

Getting Ready


You’ll want to start by finding an image that fits whatever point(s) you are making, and download it onto your computer.  I got my photo from for free, and it doesn’t even require attribution. (And I’m not even getting a perk for promoting them, lol.)  My slide is about body language to avoid, so I chose a guy looking nervous and touching his face.

You’ll also want to have at the ready whatever text you’re going to use.  A word or short phrase for each point is  best. Remember, less is more here.

Adding the Photo


In Keynote,  open a blank slide in the template you’ll be using for your presentation.  In the menu bar, go to “insert” and then “choose” and then click on the image you saved earlier.   Position it on the left or right side of the slide, centering it vertically. If necessary, change its size by clicking on the image and then using the little white boxes on the perimeter to reduce or enlarge it.  Don’t worry too much at this point about getting the placement and size perfect - you can always adjust it later.

Adding Your Text


Click on the “T” in the menu.  This will give you a text box. Move it outside of your photo and paste in your first word or phrase.  Repeat with the next phrase, moving them along the photo but not worrying yet about exact placement. Repeat until you have all of your points in their own box.


If you’d like to adjust the size of the font, click on “format” in your menu bar.  Then, click on the text and in the dialogue box to the right, click on “text” and font options will appear.  To change the font of all the phrases all at one time, click on one, hold down the command key, and click on the rest.  Now whatever change you make in the dialogue box will apply to all of your text.


As you can see, I increased the size of my text until it felt both balanced and easy to read.   I also moved my text boxes around, taking advantage of the green lines that pop up, to place them evenly around the photo.   If you want, you can add a text box with a title, as I did. 

Animating Your Text


Now let’s consider how we want the text to appear.  I’d like to start with just the “Don’t” phrase. I’d probably say a few words about how even though these seem like really obvious things you don't want to do when you're standing in front of a crowd, they are common mistakes made by inexperienced speakers, mostly because they're done unconsciously.  Unfortunately, they can be distracting and reduce your credibility, so a little consciousness raising is a good idea here.  I'd also probably be playing with my hair the whole time,  just to get the laugh when the "play with your hair" line” drops in, 'cause, you know, that's kinda funny.

So here are all of my text boxes:       Title text: DON’T

  1. touch your face a lot

  2. pace nervously

  3. clench or clasp your hands together

  4. fiddle with jewelry or clothing

  5. play with your hair


We’re not going to animate "Don't",  because I want it to be there from the start, so I didn't number that one.  But after "Don't"  I want #1- #5 to drop in one by one when I click the mouse.


I start by clicking on “animate” in the menu bar.  Now I click on the text of #1. In the “build-in” option, I click on “add effect”.  Then I choose “appear.” Can I make it "swoosh"  in dramatically? Yes. Do I want to? NO. Remember, we're going for clean and simple here, not bling.  After I click on "Appear" the dialogue box changes, and I see the settings for "Appear."  The order is 1, which is correct - it’s the first item I want dropping in. And the delivery style is “all at once” which means the whole phrase is going to pop in, all at one time.


Now I click on my next text box, which is #2, choose  “add an effect” , choose “appear, and leave the order and delivery style as is.   I repeat with the rest of my text boxes. The default is for the text to drop in “on click”, which is what you want.

Watching Your Animation

Now for the fun part!  Click “play” in the menu bar.  You’ll see your photo and any text that you didn’t animate.  In my case, it's the word, “DON’T”. Press your space bar, or click on your mouse, and your first phrase will appear.  Click again, and your second text will appear, and so on. You did it!


With your animation complete, now it's time to practice!  Introduce your topic/the title of the slide, talk about it a little bit, and then click once and transition into your first point.  Say whatever you want to say about it, then click again and transition into your second point, and so on through the list.  This process works much better than simply presenting all the points all at one time because as soon as your audience has read the next point, their attention will be back on you, where you want it.  Another option if you're presenting to a smaller group or class is to have them guess what some of the "don'ts" are before you click on them.  This will keep them quite focused sine they'll be waiting to see if their guess shows up on the list.


So, you’ve just learned another way to avoid boring bullet points . If you found this post helpful, pin it, and help your friends out, too! 

And now, go forth, animate, speak, and change the world!  

Don't Make These PowerPoint Slide Mistakes!

I recently attended a human trafficking conference in the United States.    Besides being an excellent opportunity for me to learn how I, as a speech coach, might better serve the community working to end this phenomenon, this conference was a virtual smorgasbord of speakers and their successful and, well, sometimes not so successful presentations.  I’d like to point out a few of the most common mistakes I saw regarding the use of text on slides and give some suggestions as to how you can do better...because I know you can.  

Mistake #1   Too much text on the slide.

At one point during a break-out session, a woman looked up at the screen behind her, saw it full of text, sighed, and said, “Well, you can read that.”  The audience laughed, and I thought, “Exactly! Who wants to read a giant screen full of text!?”

Don't put your audience to sleep! Learn the most common (and fatal) mistakes of PowerPoint slides. Then, learn how to avoid them with step by step instructions. Your audience will love you! #speech #publicspeaking #presentation #speechcoach #powerpoint #keynote #slidedeck

I know that everyone understands that too much text is to be avoided at all costs. Think root canals and bad dates.  But for whatever reason -  creating better alternatives can be time consuming, it doesn’t look like too much material when you’re staring at it on your computer screen,  and/or “everyone else” puts up text dense slides - too much text continues to be a problem.

So how much is too much?  Here are some examples....

Don't put your audience to sleep! Learn the most common (and fatal) mistakes of PowerPoint slides. Then, learn how to avoid them with step by step instructions. Your audience will love you! #speech #publicspeaking #presentation #speechcoach #powerpoint #keynote #conference #motivation #inspiration #slidedeck

See this one above?  It's beautiful, right?  Nice template, good colors, no?  Yes..but no.  Even though it's pretty, there's WAY too much text.  Now,  go ahead - puff out your chest as you say "I would never do THAT!"  Not so fast - what if it was a law...or an important quote?  Still no?  Good.  And to the rest of you feeling guilty, no worries, hang tight and I'll show you how to fix it.  :)

This one above and to the right is slightly better because it has a fun graphic.  But there's still a LOT of small text that no one will want to read.  And they definitely don't want to listen to you reading it.  

So how can you avoid this common mistake?

Solution A  Display only words/short phrases, and speak exclusively from those, as in the edited version below.   This is by far the best solution.  It ensures that you’re talking to your audience, and not to the screen (see Mistake #4 below) and that you’re not reading your speech.  

Don't put your audience to sleep! Learn the most common (and fatal) mistakes of PowerPoint slides. Then, learn how to avoid them with step by step instructions. Your audience will love you! #speech #publicspeaking #presentation #speechcoach #powerpoint #keynote #conference #motivation #inspiration #slidedeck

Do you see how few details there are?  That’s a good thing.  Your audience will read the whole slide in 3 seconds, and then turn their attention back to you, waiting to hear what you have to say. That's a good thing, too!   

Solution B

What if you don't know your speech well enough to only use words or short phrases, or you're really worried about forgetting?  In that case, display just a few words/phrases per slide, talk off of those as much as possible, but refer to printed notes as necessary.  Obviously, the more prepared you are, the less you’ll have to refer to notes.  But there’s no shame in refreshing your memory now and then by taking a look.  You just don’t want to be reading those notes verbatim.  Remember, it’s a speech, not a reading.  

Mistake #2 Displaying a slide with a lot of text and not walking your audience through it.


There are times (keep them infrequent) when you feel that displaying a paragraph of text (large font, easy to read, not TOO much) is justifiable.  Perhaps it’s a magnificent quote, a law, or an explanation that you really don’t want to paraphrase because it’s so clear as is.  Displaying it will help people follow along (especially those like me who’d rather see it than hear it), and allows you to highlight certain parts. For example, this quote by Ira Glass of This American Life.

If you want to use a slide like this, you need to proceed with care.


Step 1:  Preview the slide before you display it.  Say something like, “I’d like to read you what Ira Glass says about a story,” or “I’d like to read you this quote from an interview with Robert McKee about brand storytelling,”  or “Here’s what Section 2 of the copywrite act, 1968, says on this topic.”

Step 2: Start reading as soon as you display the text, because you know what?  That’s what your audience is going to do, whether you’re ready or not.  Yep!  They’re going to start reading immediately.  The only way to make them stop and listen to you again is to take down the slide.And that would be rude.  

Reading aloud also allows you to place the emphasis where you want it.  But, if reading aloud freaks you out, no problem.  Just say “take a moment to read this and then I want to make a few comments.”  Then stop talking.  Seriously. Hush.

When you’ve finished reading aloud, or, in the second case, when most people are done reading on their own, go back and highlight and/or explain in more depth what’s most important to you about this particular passage.  Your audience will be listening again, because they’ve already read it.

Mistake #3  Talking to the slides.  

If you focus most of your attention toward the slides, so will the audience.  This creates a disconnect between you and them, and makes it harder for the audience to identify with you, empathize with you, be persuaded by you, or whatever it is that you’re trying to get them to do.  



Step 1 Display just a few words/phrases per slide.  (Is that starting to sound familiar? I am indeed beating the dead horse now.)  Yes, this is another good reason not to put too much text on your slide.  Fewer words creates less of a temptation to keep looking back at the slide.

Step 2 Help yourself make eye contact with your audience.

I know it’s hard to look people in the eye when you are standing in front of an audience.  Sometimes they’re frowning, sometimes they’re looking at their phone, and sometimes they look bored.  It can all be pretty disconcerting.    On top of that, maybe you feel self-conscious, nervous, or just plain terrified.

If you’re worried about being able to maintain eye-contact, I suggest that at the beginning of your talk, or even before, you find a few friendly faces and concentrate on them.  Or ask a friend (or two!)  to sit in the middle of the audience and smile encouragingly.  (I’ve done this many times and it works wonders.)  Often times the friendly faces give you just enough courage to look around the room more and incorporate eye contact with more people.

So that's it - the three most common mistakes surrounding the use of text in a presentation and how to solve them.   Remember, less is more.  Your audience will thank you.  

If you have a slide deck that you’d like to get some feedback on, go here and we’ll get right to work.