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Cox Cable explains great customer service…through PowerPoint

A new approach to Customer Service with a dynamic new PowerPoint presentation.

Design strategy focuses on maintaining company’s brand identity, plus graphical elements of technology and customer service.

Cox Communications LogoIn today’s world of instant gratification and online solutions, true person-to-person customer service is a hot commodity! To help executives at Cox Communications understand the value and competitive edge that a fresh approach to customer service would have on business, senior Vice President Kimberly Edmunds developed a 40-minute keynote and first-draft PowerPoint presentation. But Kim’s first draft PowerPoint was heavy on text/bullet points and weak on graphics…so that’s why she called on The Presentation Team!

Our mission: enhance her 30 page PowerPoint with a limited budget and short time-frame. Kim was speaking to over 250 company executives at the company’s Leadership Conference. The visual design needed to be bold, graphical, and easy-to-be-read from the back of the convention room.Our design strategy focused on creating a look-and-feel that reflected Kim’s professionalism and company’s brand and identity, while involving elements of technology and customer service. The 6 hour project involved…

  1. Development of a custom professional template (title and body masters), that reflects Kim’s professionalism and company brand, while integrating her existing content.
  2. Re-working the overall look-and-feel of the presentation (colors, fonts, layout) for a more polished look.
  3. Clean and professional imagery/graphics (portfolio, schematics, people, concept art, etc.).
  4. Clutter-reducing techniques and presentation strategies to create a “cleaner” look with greater effectiveness.
  5. Clean and conservative slide transition effects (fades and wipe effect).
  6. Professional fonts/typography to ensure consistent playback on different computer systems.
  7. Consulting and collaboration to help Kim to further develop and present new ideas.
PowerPoint-Before--After-Cox-1Before Presentation-Slides-Example-Cox-Communications-After1

The original design of the title page master featured a teal blue gradient blend with white space at the bottom 1/3 of the page for the logo and company slogan. White and ordinary, this slide design was great for printouts… but not for projection! Title and body text were bulleted text in Tahoma and Arial font…functional but ordinary.

Our makeover included development of a new high-tech blue template in 16×9 aspect ratio. This widescreen format has become increasingly popular on monitors and laptops and conference room projectors. The body master template integrated colorful and dynamic photos of Cox Cable employees and other customer-related graphics.
Presentation Example - Cox Communications - After 1 PowerPoint-Slide-Cox-Communications-2
The original slide featured three bullet points to the upper left of the page, leaving the bottom half of the slide blank. The existing stock featured a group of over 15 people from all walks of life…diverse, yet hard to see! The body text was set at 24-point Tahoma with a simple circle bullet point.
The revised slide featured a re-worked title in 36-point green serif Garamond Font, bringing a subtle level of class and sophistication. The body text was increased to 32-point Calibri font, and integrated the company’s mascot “Digi” as a bullet point. A simplified photo of just two people helped convey the importance of teamwork in a high-tech environment.
Presentation Example - Cox Communications - Before 3 Presentation Example - Cox Communications - After 3
The need to stop “Feeding the Fish” was a concept that Kim was speaking about.The initial slide featured a photo of a fishtank set inside the template. It was a photo of a photo!
We updated the slide with a full-screen version of the fishtank, to provide an “immersive” feeling…as if the slide was the fishtank. Easily accomplished by filling cropping the original photo, right-clicking and “Saving photo as…” and reimporting it to the new slide as a background image. This way the title and master slide elements remained in place.
Presentation Example - Cox Communications - Before 4 Presentation Example - Cox Communications - After 4
Kim was speaking about customer loyalty and featuring information, quotes and statistics from a book. Good stuff for a speaker! The original slide featured a photo of the book centered on the page.
Our revised slide featured a quote from the book about “The Holy Grail.” This quote was set against an image of a grail/trophy image…modified in Photoshop to a light blue color. Since the slide didn’t have a title, the dark grey title bar was removed and the text was centered on the screen, supporting the speaker’s key message. The text of “Customers Behaving Loyally” appeared in larger Calibri font, setting it apart from the other lines of text.

After just three days and three rounds of edits, the presentation was success! Kim presented to her conference audience to applause and praise, and customer service is better than ever at Cox…in part thanks to a smooth delivery from Kim and great graphics from The Presentation Team!

* The Presentation Team has been creating great PowerPoint visuals for Cox Communications since 2007

Aviation company goes digital with new catalog

Autoplay CD-ROM sales video with PDF catalog distributed at tradeshow to business prospects

Perfect Presentation Averts Near-Disaster

Every year since 1986 Mohammed Mahmoud and his team of airline support professionals have traveled from New York City halfway around the world to attend the Africa Airlines Association’s annual convention. With their tradeshow booth stocked with novelties and colorful catalogs, Mahmoud’s company, Aero Industrial Sales (AIS), is a visible presence at these conventions, translating to new business relationships and solid revenue.

But for their 2011 conference, Mahmoud felt it was time to scrap their printed catalog of commercial airline parts and materials, opting to distribute the catalog electronically as a PDF file on a CD-ROM.

Driven by a desire to reduce costs, increase visibility and help fortify AIS’s brand image as a technology leader, AIS turned to The Presentation Team to integrate their catalog in PDF format, together with a dynamic video introduction.

Old Technology still Holds Value

When AIS first contacted The Presentation Team about the CD-ROM project, presentation designer Kevin Lerner was curiously confused.

“Why would they want an outdated technology like a CD-ROM?” he asked, encouraging them to consider a DVD or USB memory stick, confessing that “we haven’t developed a CD-ROM product since 2005.”

Mahmoud was strong-willed in his desire for a digital disc catalog. “It’s economical, easy to distribute, and tangible. Customers and prospects want something they can have and hold-on to. The disc makes sense.”

As the project was contracted and development began, it became evident that this “outdated” technology still maintained its marketing magic.

A Catalog with a Kickoff

The PDF catalog was much more than a file on a disc. Upon startup, viewers were treated to a dynamic video intro showcasing AIS’ services and products.

This intro video started showcased an AIS spokeswoman (initally developed for their website) keyed against a modern 3D earth motion video. Following the 30-second spokeswoman’s intro, a 90-second PowerPoint presentation (converted to video) featured the company’s services and solutions through a mix of text and graphics. The 2-minute production was set to contemporary rhythmic dance music. Rendered at a resolution of 800×600, the MP4 video integrated smoothly into Adobe Director. Until playback.

A Bump in the Road

To presentation designer Kevin Lerner the production “seemed simple and seamless.” Everything was on-track and within budget. But with the finish line in-sight and the client’s deadline fast approaching, the technical glitch was a harsh and unwelcome blow.

“We were having trouble getting the exe file to scale to the full size of the screen,” Lerner explained. The autoplay disc loaded the video in a fixed-size 800×600 window. “It seemed like such a simple request, but I couldn’t figure it out,” the stressed presentation expert confessed. Hours turned into days. Calls to colleagues were met with replies of “I haven’t used that antiquated application in over 10 years.”

Down with Director; Fixed in a Flash

With hours counting down til the disc duplication deadline, Lerner found his salvation with Legal Graphicworks. The Palm Beach-based company known for high-end litigation graphics, also has some multimedia mojo. Andrew McClary, Vice President of Interactive Multimedia, immediately saw that the issue was with Adobe Director. He effortlessly took the files and re-developed the interactive presentation in Adobe Flash, relying on a simple line of Action Script programming code.

“Director is a great tool…but Flash is more contemporary and is easier to achieve what the client wanted,” McClary explained.

With mere hours remaining, the final digital CD-ROMs catalogs- running at scalable full-screen resolution were duplicated and packed into a box on a flight to Africa.

Four days later, at the airline convention in Addis Abbaba, a small crowd gathered around the AIS booth, watching the video playing from the projector, and shaking hands with the Mohammed Mahmoud. The bulky catalogs of the past have been replaced with a slick digital CD-ROM catalog that that is helping propel AIS into the future.

PowerPoint for MonaVie

Alive and Affluent: Dynamic PowerPoint for MonaVie Showcases Health Beverage

The secrets to transforming a boring and basic PowerPoint for Mona Vie into a high-impact presentation…showcasing the power drink’s business potential.

PowerPoint-Before-and-After-SamplesEST-Logo-100wMonaVie is helping people to be healthy…and wealthy.  This refreshing beverage integrates the Brazilian açai berry and 18 other body-beneficial fruits from around the world to support a healthy lifestyle.  But it’s a much more than just a beverage in a bottle…it’s a money-making enterprise!  In April 2009, Michael Murano of Executive Success Team first turned to The Presentation team to transform their boring and basic PowerPoint inta high-impact presentation to showcase the Mona-Vie’s beverages and business.

The presentation’s objectives were twofold: both educational/informational, as well as sales/marketing. It was created to be delivered in person, or online via webinar or webcast. The deliverables included:

  • Consultation and collaborative development/editing of core presentation content (key messages, bullet points, diagrams, etc.)
  • Development of a custom professional template (title and body masters), to reflect the presentation’s content and/or MonaVie and EST’s brand.
  • Establishment of a “presentation palette” defining the colors, fonts, and layout…to make the presentation more memorable.
  • Clutter-reducing techniques and presentation strategies to create a clean look with maximum effectiveness.
  • Clean and professional slide transition effects (fades and wipes).
  • Professional fonts/typography to ensure consistent playback on different operating systems.

The presentation was designed with a clean and contemporary design style integrating positive/motivational imagery featuring diversity, while reflecting a professional positive image.  Graphics were created to integrate transparencies, motion, and shadows.  The Project was contracted as a 40-hour endeavor, with work divided into 4-phases:

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
  • Template Design
  • Graphic Look & Feel
  • Text Structure / Outline
  • Projector/Display Testing
  • Interviews and Research
  • Content Development / Writing
  • Photo Acquisition
  • Iterative edits
  • Transitions and Animations
  • Final Edits/Refinement
  • Coaching/Rehearsal
  • Testing and Sign-off 


Light, Bright Modern Widescreen Template sets the stage for a “fresh” presentation

The widescreen 16×9 template was designed to be clean, light and open, featuring a grey textured background to provide dimension and flow. The green fonts and graphical accents complemented EST’s brand and their website and helped create a consistent look and feel.

One of the early slides (for the live audience presentation version) showcased a friendly message to remind people to shut off their ringer…for a focused and un-interrupted seminar. The graphic featured a clipped PNG Graphic of a cell phone. In Photoshop, we added the “Silence” Message. We selected Optima LT as the primary font. It conveys a clean and professional look, while maintaining a unique and relaxed appearance.


Show it! Antioxidants explained through Food Pyramid Image

To help convey the fundamentals of antioxidants (and its eventual tie-in to MonaVie), The Presentation Team integrated a transparent PNG graphic of the “Food Pyramid” with a short message about the increased need for fruits and vegetables in our diets.



Ditch the template!  Full Screen sends a bold message.

To convey the concept of openness, freshness, and good clean living, we integrated a full-screen graphic of a happy healthy family.  Bullet points were minimized in text and offset to the left of the graphic.  To maintain consistency and unity throughout the presentation, we kept the bottom green arc and logo in place together with the Optima font.



The Need…and the Solution.

After creating the “burning platform” of the importance of antioxidants in our lives, the “right product” of MonaVie makes a grand and colorful appearance as a transparent PNG graphic off-set to the right of the text.  Key words appear in bold Optima font.


There’s still value to Vector Clip-Art

Many designers have opted to integrate the more realistic and dimensional “stock photograph” for the two-dimensional and illustrative “clip-art.”  But there is a value for clip art, especially when dealing with diversity.  An illustrated group of people can help convey diversity without divisiveness.  In this presentation slide for EST, the clip-art people add a generic human element to support the “Am I Ready” business message…without pigeonholing the viewer into connecting with a specific person on screen.  It’s generic yet inviting, creating an image that everyone can relate to.

After 2 weeks of collaborative development, a winning presentation finally emerged. Michael Murano of Executive Success Team now has a winning presentation…and his MonaVie associates/downline are helping America to live healthy…while making money!


10 Tips for Using Fonts in PowerPoint

Make your presentation Fontastic with these 10 Tips…


Next to graphics, type and fonts are the most effective way for communicating your message. Fonts add emotion and impact to your presentation. They also can create variety and help to keep the attention of your audience. Here are 10 tips for using fonts in your next presentation…


#1 Include/Embed Your Fonts.


If you don’t save your presentation with the fonts, the end computer may substitute a default font that could destroy the perfect presentation you’ve created.  As an added safety factor, distribute or copy/save the actual font files (.ttf/.otf) together witih your presentation (below).  

powerpoint-font-tip-1-embed-example-1 powerpoint-font-tip-1-embed-example-2 powerpoint-font-tip-1-embed-example-3

#2 Employ weight contrast for visual interest.


You can draw attention to key points on a slide by emphasizing key words in boldface, or in a larger typesize.  Just a subtle change in size can increase visual variety and interest in your presentation, while emphasizing the key takeaway messages.

powerpoint-font-tip-2-weight-contrast-2 powerpoint-font-tip-2-weight-contrast-example


#3 Check out 


This free site by Google is loaded with over 300 Open Type fonts (OTF) typefaces.  The fonts are organized by style, with examples. They’re easy to download, install and integrate into PowerPoint.  OTF fonts are cross-platform, so they’ll work well on Windows or Mac if you’re using Keynote.


 #4 Limit Serif Fonts to Headlines.


Fonts like Times Roman, Garamond often look busy on screen. The “Serifs” (frills) on the edges of the fonts help guide the eye along on paper.  But when projected, smaller serif fonts often blend together and look cluttered. Instead, use Sans Serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica. These are easier to read when projected.

powerpoint-font-tip-4-limit-serif-fonts-example-1 powerpoint-font-tip-4-limit-serif-fonts-example-2

An example of a presentation with a headline in Garamond (Serif) vs. Century Gothic (Sans Serif).

#5.  Avoid High Tech and Modern Typefaces


Modern fonts may look cool, but they’re difficult to read and detract from the message. They may be okay for the opening slide, but audiences will grow tired of them if they’re forced to read lots of text.  

Script-based fonts are hard to read are best used sparingly on one or two words, or to send an informal image.

#6: Investigate Slab Serif Typefaces


Often overlooked, these sturdy fonts- Lucida, Verdana, Tahoma, Calibri, and Segoe- reflect a no-nonsense feeling of strength and contemporary design. They hold up well when projected and help promote a feeling of fresh design to any presentation.

powerpoint-font-tip-6-investigate-slab-serif-example-1 powerpoint-font-tip-6-investigate-slab-serif-example-2

Two presentations using Slab Serif fonts.

#7: Define your fonts in your Theme or Master.  


Most people work with templates for efficient and pre-set layouts for text and images.  But a template can also have pre-defined fonts…for the title and body of a slide.  Collectively, preset fonts, colors and templates/layouts are called “Themes”.  By using preset fonts, it’s fast and easy to change the overall look and font of a presentation instantly!


Steps to take to define your fonts in your PowerPoint’s theme.

#8:  Maintain maximum foreground/ background contrast.


Be sure there is sufficient difference in tonal value between type and the background it appears against.  The majority of presentations these days use a lighter background, so having a darker font is helpful…especially if you’re going to print the presentation.

powerpoint-font-tip-8-maintain-contrast-example-1 powerpoint-font-tip-8-maintain-contrast-example-2

Examples of yellow type against a white background.  The revised option has the text converted to black and spanned across 3 pages for easy readability.



Capitalizing makes letters harder to read and takes up more space.  They maybe okay for titles, but it’s better to emphasize with Bold, Underline, or a larger font-size.   


The key words “deserve” and “negotiate” stand-out because of the bold and underline.  (Not to mention they’re not all capitalized!)

#10:  Save as a PowerPoint picture presentation.

PowerPoint Font Tip: save as a PowerPoint Picture

By saving your presentation as a series of jpg photos (File…Save As…JPG), you can be assured of a “What You See is What Your Get” presentation.  All the slides will convert to graphics- rendering them uneditable and will destroy any animations- but any concern of incompatibilities with typefaces will be gone.  This works great for systems like, where many typefaces are often downsized to a basic Arial or Times Roman font.  If you don’t have the time to test the presentation on the end computer (which will guarantee it looks the same as on your computer!) this is a great way to make sure it looks great.


Fonts are not just words!  They’re graphical elements that can convey meaning and emotion to your presentation, making it more memorable and meaningful.  By taking the time to build a library of typefaces and fonts, you can help build presentations of intrigue and impact.


Bland and Boring PowerPoint transformed with technology template

The quick and simple solution that an executive at a large software company took to transform his PowerPoint presentation from boring to brilliant.

OracleCommunicating job responsibilities to new employees is a little easier thanks to Microsoft PowerPoint.  But for David Brooks of software giant Oracle Corp., the simplistic and amateurish look and feel of his 15-minute “Regional Manager Plan” PowerPoint presentation detracted from his effectiveness in explaining the company’s new strategic role for regional managers.  Brooks called on The Presentation Team for a quick and affordable transformation of his eight-page presentation into a more legible, powerful slideshow that would maintain Oracle’s brand identity and stand up well to projection as well as printout. 

The project was contracted as a rapid fixed-price/fixed time offering from The Presentation Team that allocates 95 minutes for development. 

In most slideshows, a quality template can go a long way in fortifying the look of a graphically weak presentation, especially those of a technical nature that lack an obvious image treatment. 

We began our makeover by working in Adobe Photoshop to create a compelling 1024 x 768 replacement template.  The template was designed to be modern-looking and clean with an element of flow of motion.  A light background was offset by a lighter white titl block at the top of the screen, where the title text appeared in red.  A 1024 x 50 pixel black bar spanned with the full width of the page, to hold the Oracle logo, which we moved from the bottom. 

Appearing large on the title page, and repeated smaller on the bottom right of the master template, we used a graphic of three square stock images – a handshake, a clock, and a chess piece – to signify partnership, time, and strategy, respectively. 

Four of the eight slides featured basic lines of text set in 16-point Arial.  We pulked up the text by revising it on the master template to the non-nonsense Franklin Gothic Medium Condensed (28-point).  Similarly, we changed the title font to the heavier Franklin Gothic Heavy Italic (32-point, all caps).

Originally, several slides featured flowcharts and text groupings that were conveyed weakly with lightweight arrows and black-bordered rectangles.  To add impact, we increased the width of the arrows.  For improved readability, square edges were rounded and drop shadows were added.  in the text blocks, we reversed the subheads over the black bars.  Next came the basic animation effects and transitions.  Finally, we reviewed the entire slideshow for textual consistency.

Invest the time to create a captivating title slide




A flat white background with basic black text is all that would have greeted the audience as they assembled for this meeting.  Another thrilling corporate meeting.

The title slide typically remains on screen for longer than any other slide.  Investing the time to create a graphically exciting front-page helps set the stage for the talk to come.  This graphic – repeated smaller on the body pages – conveys a message of teamwork, timeliness, and strategy.

Increase contrast with bolder shapes and text

 Oracle Presentation - Before 2  Oracle Presentation - After

This basic flowchart lacks contrast, readability, and conceptual focus.

Creating a uniform size and shape of the text blocks helps to improve legibility.  The arrows have been converted to red with the line color removed.

Through thoughtful planning, file management and communication, this speedy overhaul helped to more effectively communicate company concepts while reinforcing the stability of Oracle’s brand.

Help Me Present!


  • ADB
  • ADP
  • ADT
  • Accenture
  • American-Express
  • Aramark
  • Carvel
  • Comcast
  • Costa
  • Cox
  • DAI
  • GE-Healthcare
  • GTE-Financial
  • Gtt
  • Johnson-and-Johnson
  • Markem-Imaje
  • Motorola
  • NASA
  • Office-Depot
  • Oracle
  • Polo
  • Republic-Services
  • Ryder
  • Siemens
  • Singlehop
  • Software-AG
  • TD-Waterhouse
  • UBS
  • VTiDirect
  • Venn-Strategies
  • Verizon
  • Whirlpool
  • “We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer.”

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG

  • “Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile.”

    Maria Cardoso

  • “Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service.”

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications

  • “Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level.”

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I’ve already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin’s services.”

    Era Prakash
    General Electric

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting.”

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center

  • “Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from “[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget”

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.

  • “I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!”

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising

  • “As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation…”

    Will Flower
    Republic Services

  • “Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition.”

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction

  • “Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team. He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won.

    Jeff Keller

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