The Superstar Scoop: How To Design Ted-Worthy Presentation Slides


Have you ever noticed how most TED and TEDx presentations have such beautiful, simple and compelling slideshows? 

Presentations slides are an awesome tool for speakers. I personally love them and use visuals in almost every presentation I give. 

But they can also be an opportunity to really screw up. 

Slides can be boring. They can be ugly. They can be superfluous, they can be distracting. In short, slides can often impede your message rather than support it.

In today’s video and article, I share 5 things you can do to have TED-worthy visuals for any presentation. 

After watching hundreds of Ted and TedX talks, I noticed certain slideshow best practices among the most compelling talks, and I want to share those with you. 

#1: One concept per slide. Don’t try to pack 5 different points into one slide. Stick to one – and while you’re at it, keep that one SIMPLE and ELEGANT. 

ted talks michelle villalobos
* David Epstein: Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger?

#2: Use images that evoke emotion in the audience. Don’t make your whole presentation only “from the neck up” – make sure to involve the heart, and you’ll have people leaning forward. Images are my favorite way to do that.

Notice how you feel right away when you see this: 

ted talks michelle villalobos

#3: Use data, and illustrate that data with graphics

For example, instead of listing your data points, turn them into a compelling picture: a pie chart, a bar graph, or something even more creative (see the example below) that illustrates your point without a whole bunch of numbers and text on the page.

ted talks michelle villalobos

* Russell Foster: Why do we sleep?

#4: Step AWAY from the bullet points! Most of my slides are simply an image – an image to represent a specific metaphor, analogy, story or emotion. 

Notice how TED speakers rarely have text on their slides. When they do, it's often just one or two words. And instead of using cropped images, they'll use one big full frame image. 

They use up all the slide real estate that they have – sometimes all with just one image.

ted talks michelle villalobos

What’s worked for me: find yourself a great stock images site (like, which has wonderful mix of conceptual and emotional images) and get yourself a subscription. Replace all that text with IMAGES. 

Remember: one slide per concept. 

Which leads me to #5: Design. Having beautiful design is so important and it's so easy. Less is MORE. Stay away from the PowerPoint templates. Just stick with plain, full sized images on a screen with one or two words. 

Keep simple: simple fonts, simple colors, simple layout. In other words, don't over-design. 

That means ONE basic font color (like white if your slides are black, or dark gray if your slides are white) plus (optional!) ONE accent color. And one normal font (like Helvetica) and perhaps ONE accent font (though many times these look messy). 

ted talks michelle villalobos

* Ian Firth: Bridges should be beautiful | TED Talk

All that said, keep in mind that some of the BEST Ted Talks ever had NO slides! 


If you're interested in being a more influential leader – and monetizing your experience and expertise with more grace, ease and flow, let’s connect! 

Book a Discovery Call with me, below, and our objective will be to identify at least one way you could add an additional 6-figure revenue stream to your existing business. 

Here’s the link to book:


Michelle Villalobos is the CEO of Superstar Activator. She is a speaker and mentor whose mission is to help influencers, thought leaders and other “superstars” find new business models and “Big Back End” income streams to monetize their magic. She’s the author of the upcoming book “Small Events Big Impact,” which will be THE definitive guide for designing, filling and profiting from retreats and seminars. Michelle holds an MBA, brand new CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) designation, and is a member since 2016 of the NSA Million Dollar Speakers Group. 

Visit and follow the thread where it leads you 🙂


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