Getting new PowerPoint presentations checked

Anyone who has just converted presentations to the new TÜV NORD slide master can now have their slides checked. “With our team of media designers we will gladly look at three presentations and give out tips,” says Dunja Kollien from the TÜV NORD Akademie. “We’re happy to offer our expertise to help people out.”

All presentations need to be converted to the new TÜV NORD slide master by 30 June 2017. After this date you will no longer be permitted to use old presentations with the grey background. This was the decision made by the Group Executive Committee back in the winter.

So how can you submit a presentation converted to the new slide master for assessment? Please send one presentation in PowerPoint format to But hurry: The deadline for submissions is 24 May 23:59 hrs. CEST). If over three presentations are submitted, the Corporate Communications Division and TÜV NORD Akademie will select three of them to serve as examples; feedback on these will be sent directly via Lync.

Do you have specific questions or are you confronted with a particular obstacle? We would like to hear about this as well. We will compile a list of answers to these questions together with tips and useful information from the detailed assessments.

You will find more information about converting presentations below as well as downloads for the masters from here and the 13 tips for impressive presentations.  



The new TÜV NORD slide master.



13 tipps for a great presentation

 Many members of staff have already downloaded the new TÜV NORD slide master, and presentations in the new design are already being turned out. "The initial feedback on our freshly redesigned slide master has been unanimously positive, which we’re delighted about,” says Sven Ulbrich, Director of Corporate Communications at the TÜV NORD GROUP. “The design is modern, the use of the master gives us a uniform appearance. And in this way we’ll strengthen our TÜV NORD brand.”

But it isn’t just new presentations that will now be using the versatile slide master: old presentations also need to be converted during the transition period. This ends on 30 June 2017.

The Corporate Communications department has compiled 13 valuable tips to help you get the most out of your slides. Anyone who takes them on board will end up with an impressive and successful presentation. The same applies here as it does to good pieces of writing: If the person giving the presentation takes pains to get things right, the many people in their audience will at the end of the day have an easy ride and thank them for it. If the presenter takes the easy way out, the many people in their audience will find it hard to follow them!


Tip 1: This is as good as it gets!

The creative minds at an agency have been grappling with our brand-new slide master for a long time. And the result is the attractive template that is now available to you. There’s no point in questioning it, or to grumbling about this or that detail. As presenter you don’t need to reinvent the wheel: what you have is as good as it gets. The slide master is as it is: open, modern, business-like, yet with an emotional impact. It offers you flexibility for your own creativity, even though it is of course restricted by a template: The logo is always at bottom right, and the font is preset, as are the possible colours. The company wants to present itself uniformly. Just like other companies do. Or do you think that Volkswagen or Vattenfall, Samsung or Siemens, Nestlé or Nissan have less strict rules? And, by the way, tip 5 applies.


Tip 2: What do I actually want?

What is the actual aim of the presentation? Do I want to convince people about something, or do I want to show some alternatives, enhance our reputation or instruct them? How can I establish a connection with the people sitting in front of me? What level of prior knowledge can I assume? And, what’s more: Exactly who are these people in front of me anyway? As a presenter, I have to consider how to grab the attention of my audience right from the start and keep them interested. With a relevant fact that will astound your audience (the longest pipeline in the world is 1,800 kilometres long), with question that you open up to the audience (can you guess how long the world’s longest undersea pipeline is?)? The audience will be eagerly waiting for your first words. Are you confident enough to surprise your audience with your first sentence? Then do it! Otherwise, stick with the classic “Welcome”! There’s more about this in tip 11.

It’s also important for you not to get bogged down in details and lose your train of thought. Structure what you have to say. How you go about doing this depends of course on the topic: Do I want to persuade, demonstrate alternatives, communicate how some research is going, or train someone? The longer a presentation is, the easier it is for the audience if they have an idea of how it is going to unfold from the outset. And if you do too! Provide a table of contents or an agenda. It’ll be easier for your audience to follow you.

 And make it clear right at the beginning of your presentation whether you are encouraging the audience to ask questions during your presentation or just at the end. It’s good of course if the audience can ask questions right away so that any lack of clarity can be addressed as soon as it arises. Although this does increase the risk of distraction. In the end, you might run out of time. If you’re confident about your subject matter, you can go down this route; if you’re less well-versed, you can let the audience know that you would rather take questions at the end of the presentation: after all, some of the questions might be answered as you speak.


Tip 3: Structure is everything

When you are defining and structuring your subject matter, you should leave PowerPoint switched off. Create a mind map on paper or with the help of software and develop your topic in this way. Or work with pencil and paper or sticky notes. The latter can be stuck to big expanses of wall and moved around until everything is coherent and all the elements have been taken into account.

 Then you can set about drafting your presentation. You can of course use your computer for this – in fact, it’s a good idea. People who are well-versed in presentations can at this point turn to PowerPoint, others might prefer to work in Word.

 You are of course a professional in your field; but a great presentation or a rousing lecture won’t get written in the last five minutes before you go home for the evening. Allow plenty of time to structure, draft and design your slides, and to carefully read and correct them. Two weeks is a good length of time. You should in all cases avoid writing presentations during a night shift.


Tip 4: Don't neglect the effect

Many presenters use PowerPoint as a teleprompter: They read out their charts. Sometime they read from their laptop: their eyes are drawn inescapably to the screen, perhaps because they need to read out the notes they’ve written in PowerPoint. Others turn their back on the audience and read out complicated sentences that have been projected onto the wall; but it’s your presentation and not the audience that should always be behind you. Both of these practices – reading from the laptop screen or the wall – are unfortunate. If you have flashcards in your hand with the most important keywords and the corresponding slide number, you’ll be able to move about freely on the whole stage (even if it’s only the front of a lecture room) and maintain eye contact with the expectant audience more easily – all without losing sight of where you are in the presentation. And you can hold on to something so that your arms aren’t always getting in the way - but leaving them free to gesticulate.

 Viewers and listeners want to be impressed and inspired. By the style of your presentation, by knowledge that is administered in sensible doses (see also tip 6). It’s good to be an expert, especially if you have to deal with tricky questions, but it’s also important to put across your position convincingly and straightforwardly.


Tip 5: All of a piece but still diverse

Can a contradiction in terms be a tip? Yes. When we talk of uniform design we are of course referring to the use of the master – for all presentations and sites. A few people have expressed the view on the Internet that it would be enough just for the first and last slides to be in line with the corporate design. These might well be the “Welcome” and “Thank you for your attention” slides (tip 11). But we see it differently! The CD must be adhered to on every slide of every presentation. This is how we want to showcase our company. There's no creative latitude here. This is exactly why we have the slide master. See tip 1.

However, not all the slides in a presentation should look the same. They don’t all have to feature six lines of text prefaced with bullet points. Not every slide needs to have a picture on the right-hand side, the left isn’t out of bounds. Be smart in your use of the possibilities offered by the master. If you use different chart structures you will signal to the brains of your audience that you’re yet again offering something new; you won’t give them an opportunity to feel that they are looking at the same slide as before. Without losing sight of the fact that a recurrent theme must be recognisable in the presentation. See tip 2. Take a look at the sample presentation. You will see that the slides seem to be all of a piece but are nonetheless varied; each one has its own unique appearance.

Every element on a slide has to justify its inclusion; items that do not do so but are merely adornments have no business being on the slide. What about texts, images, or diagrams? Well, as long as they convey the message, there’s no problem with any of them. Anything that bothers or distracts the viewer has to go. Dispense with frills and details – and fill the extra space you gain with nothing! White space is not lost space: white space is precious and allows the viewer to rest their eyes and find their bearings. In this respect, less is more. As in tip 6. If you really want to offer your audience footnotes or cross references, you can do so in the hand-out (tip 12).


Tip 6: Less is more

Presenters sometimes tend to bombard the audience with slides. What they are signalling is this: look how busy I’ve been, I know a lot and want to tell you all about it and thereby convince you of my point of view. But there’s a problem: this doesn’t work. The presenters would have been diligent if they had confined themselves to the essentials and stripped a lot of charts out of the presentation. They haven’t realised that charts are intended to help convey content better and faster and make it comprehensible. The purpose of slides is to facilitate understanding. They are there to support the speaker. Nothing more. And the more often new slides appear behind the speaker, the more the audience will be distracted; they will be looking at the slides and not listening to the speaker. Always remember: They are viewers and listeners and not readers. As one rule of thumb has it: A slide should remain visible for at least two minutes. If this time isn’t fully used, you needs to consider whether the slide is necessary in the first place. With the exception of the structure slide (tip 3). To avoid repeatedly being caught out by the clock during the presentation, you should practise to see how long you need to speak for each slide. See also tip 13. If you don’t know how long two minutes are, you should practise at home.


Tip 7: Save letters

The font size in the TÜV NORD slide master is set to 18 points. This is almost too small for a presentation in a large room. If you have grasped that a PowerPoint slide is not a manuscript, you can safely increase the font size to 30 points. The commonly recommended six lines with up to six words in each will then fit easily. No more than six lines. And certainly no long, complicated sentences. Keywords are sufficient. Which is no bad thing, because your audience is made up of viewers and listeners but not readers. See tip 6. The slides should summarise your presentation but never replace it. See tip 12. A crisp, concise title for each slide will help here in any case. Less is more. Tip 6.

Bullet points are commonly used in lines of text. But this is in most cases really necessary only for lists or arguments.

 The fewer the words there are on a slide, the less point there is in using distinguishing marks like italics, bold, coloured fonts or text markers. Such marks should be used very, very sparingly. Without caps, it’s easier to read a text. The company name in caps is OK, perhaps a product name as well if it is a registered trademark; but that should be enough.


Tip 8: Getting to the heart of the matter

Many presenters make the mistake of overloading their charts. Because they don’t want to show too many slides. This is of course laudable. And yet, the more overloaded a slide, the smaller of course the font (see tip 7) and the less visible a key message. So you should always ask yourself: Is what is written connected with the heading? Where is the key message on the slide? If it isn’t visible, reduce the content and explain this as speaker. Think of your listeners!


Tip 9: Pictures say a lot

If you are sparing with your text, you’ll have space for images. These are always good, they can be quickly located. And yet, they have to be of high quality! Don’t use pictures copied from the Internet if you are unclear whether you have the right to use them. Don’t use pictures on which watermarks are visible or which appear pixelated. Don’t include any distorted images, because the image format may not be compatible. The Corporate Communications department of the TÜV NORD GROUP keeps a central image database to which it is happy to grant access. If you need an image, please contact

And exactly how big should images be? The following short overview should help: A 4:3 presentation has the format 25.4 * 19.05 cm. A full format-image then has a resolution of 960 * 720 pixels at 96 ppi. A 16:9 presentation has the format 25.4 * 14.29 cm. For a full-format image with a resolution of 96 ppi therefore has the format 960 * 540 ppi. The resolution should not be any lower if the image is intended to cover the entire area. As a general rule, you should never scale up built-in images over their maximum size (which is the size set with the first integration of the image in PowerPoint)!

Pictures are intended to illustrate and support what is being said. Texts and images on one slide are ideal because both hemispheres of the brain will then be working, which heightens attention. But again, less is more: The charts should not be cluttered with images. Many speakers rely on charts. Regardless of whether they’re talking about defect rates or sales distribution: It’s delightfully easy to communicate both using diagrams. Most of the time. Diagrams are good if they reduce complexity and show only what you want them to show. See also tip 5. Charts must be concise, clear and immediately comprehensible, and without footnotes and further explanations. Two-dimensional graphics are best because three-dimensional ones distort easily and are therefore not easy to comprehend in all cases. It goes without saying that clipart from the PowerPoint pool or the boundless expanse of the Internet has no place in a business presentation. TÜV NORD presentations are generally not given to mark a child’s birthday. See also tip 10. 


Tip 10: Animations belong in the nursery

PowerPoint offers a lot of amusing effects: Elements fade in and out, writing blows over, text hovers onto the slide, images are cross-faded in a whole load of ways. And every single optical gimmick distracts from the subject. People in the audience may start to wonder what kind of tricks the presenter will come up with next. But they should hang on the presenter’s every word rather than indulging in absurd thoughts. By the way, what has just been said applies of course equally to sound effects. And what about the development of a train of thought: the appearance of a new line of text just as it is being said? There are differing views on this subject: It can make sense not to show the entire text on a slide all at once; so if you really feel you have to use this dynamic effect, be our guest. But use only this one. And if you take the core message tip (tip 8) to heart, you’ll manage perfectly well without this effect.


Tip 11: Two slides you can do without

How many presentations begin with a slide on which the word “Welcome” appears? Too many! Isn’t that something the presenter can simply say? He will probably be introduced by someone else, in which case he can do without the “Welcome”. It’s unlikely that the presenter is going to say: “Kick that guy out, I know him, he’ll only cause trouble!” Wish those present good morning / good afternoon; better yet, introduce your topic creatively (tip 2), take advantage of the moment of joyful expectation, ask a question to elicit a number (“Do you know how many kilometres of pipeline have been laid in Germany?”), conduct a thought experiment (“Imagine that you are a pipeline...”). Introduce your topic creatively – and carry on being creative until you sit down at the end. Don’t bother with the “Thank you for your attention” slide. You can say that. But don’t use bureaucratic words like “attention” - simply say “Thank you for listening”! Or you can encourage the audience once again to ask questions. Afterwards you can thank your audience for the lively exchange of views.  


Tip 12: Slides are not hand-outs

You will have recognised this already: Anyone who reduces slides to the essential points and thinks only in key words, writes only the key messages on their slides and dispenses with profound statements cannot seriously think in terms of using their slides as hand-outs. A presentation is not a collection of facts like a data sheet (see Tips 6 and 7). That would be a different document with numbers, data, facts, sources and explanations. OK, so the creation of two documents – a fascinating presentation and a fantastic hand-out – is a lot of work. But your viewers and listeners and, after the event, your readers, will thank you for it.


Tip 13: The presentation begins before the presentation

Nothing is worse than having prepared a richly diverse presentation that can’t ultimately be shown because the technology doesn’t work. So be prepared and bring your presentation in different formats on data carriers: PPT and PPTX. Safer still, also have it with you as a PDF. And even if the third-party computer recognises your PowerPoint presentation as such, it’s possible that the slides won’t be shown correctly because the fonts you use are not installed. You can embed these – you need to know how it works and then actually do it. An alternative worthy of consideration is this: Just bring your own laptop (don't forget the video cable and the power supply) – and check before the event whether your laptop will talk to the projector. Be more than punctual and you will have plenty of time to do this work. And before you switch on the projector and make your desktop visible for all to see, don’t forget to clean it up!

If you’re prepared in this way, nothing can really go wrong – unless, of course, you have neglected to practice your presentation. Click through the slides, say what you have to say, check all the links. Practise the presentation at home, film yourself. Practise in front of the mirror. In front of your family. Before you enjoy a relaxing evening. Measure the time with a stopwatch. Make little marks on your index cards to show where you need to pause and add notes later on to say how you can continue. If you do so you will clear the hurdle more easily during your presentation. If you prepare well, you will reduce stage fright to a healthy level and embark on your presentation full of serene confidence!

 And if suddenly you completely lose your thread and just have random thoughts running through your head, don’t panic! You’ve done loads of practice and know all about the subject. You’re in a good place so don’t worry! You have the index cards with your messages and the slide numbers in your hand. There are various ways of getting round the blockage: Repeat the key messages of this slide, the key statements you’ve made thus far. The audience will be grateful for a short summary. Repeat what you last said. The audience will assume that it is just very important. If that doesn't help, continue with the next point you’re sure about and speak more slowly: keep things general if you need to – and pause for thought. There’s nothing wrong with doing that. But why not just be disarmingly honest: Say that you’re a bit nervous and have lost the thread. No-one will think any the worse of you. Have a few words up your sleeve that you can use in such a rare eventuality. Here’s a good example: “A few minutes ago only God and I knew what I wanted to talk about. Now only God knows.”


Examples for a presentation with the new TÜV NORD slide master.