Types of Slides: Structured & Free-Form

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  • 0:02 Visual Aids
  • 0:53 Structured Slides
  • 2:24 Free-Form Slides
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Visual aids help an audience retain, understand and enjoy a business presentation. Two types of specific slides that can be selected to help communicate a message include structured and free-form.

Visual Aids

Designing a business presentation can be a daunting task. Many presentations fail miserably because the individual did not use visual aids properly. A visual aid is used to appeal to an individual's sense of sight and helps further illustrate a point through flip charts, posters, props, slides, charts, and videos. In this lesson, we are focusing on the types of slides and how best to use them for a business presentation.

The purpose of a visual aid is to help support the message, not simply replace it. Creating a presentation takes careful planning to orchestra a simple yet effective use of slides to help demonstrate your message. Once each slide contains the information that is pertinent to communicate during the presentation, then graphics, special effects, and embedded videos can be added. Let's take a closer look at the two types of slides.

Structured Slides

Most people are familiar with the first type of slide, called a structured slide. A structured slide is template-based, so every slide has the exact same look. Structured slides are the best choice for conservative, routine, straight-forward business presentations, such as product news, project updates, sales summaries, etc.

For example, a pet company called Fished is giving a presentation to their sales force. Each slide has a structured format with the name of the company (Fished) and the logo on the top right-hand side. Structured slides are usually created just for the specific presentation.

The biggest advantage to structured slides is that they are quick and easy to use. The individual just selects the pre-existing template and starts typing. The biggest disadvantage is that parts of this format are so commonly used, such as the monotonous bullet list slide, that it can lead to a disinterested audience. This can result in a loss of interest from the viewers.

Another issue regarding structured slides is that many presenters use a heavy hand and pack too much information into the slides. Even worse, the presenter can end up just reading off the slide word for word, causing audience members to slip into a deep coma of boredom. It is necessary for presenters to use their slides wisely. Keep the slides simple, clear, and minimal.

Free-Formed Slides

The second type of slides are free-formed slides. They usually do not have any specific structure and focus on visual orientation. The slides are visually impactful and help keep the audience interested in the presentation topic. Here is an example of the free-form slide created by Fished:

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