Slides and theater sets. Showtunes optional.

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Broadway set designers have a difficult job. They need to design theater sets that cleverly balance two functions: 1) physically providing the details (entrances and props) the actors need to tell their story, while 2) also powerfully conveying the emotional atmosphere for each scene of the show.

Sound familiar? Metaphor alert: Your presentation slides have to balance the same functions.

A great way to break free from the doldrums of traditional PowerPoint is to think of your slides not as slides, but as theater sets to be your backdrop as you deliver your speech. They're there to make you look good and support you with the details you need to tell your story.

Fortunately you don't need a Master of Fine Arts degree to design great slides.