Sunday, December 1, 2013

Great presentation book now online for free.

This blew me away. Nancy Duarte, the author of the seminal book Slide:ology, has released an enhanced, online version of her book Resonate for free. Go and read it. It is a multimedia experience based on HTML5, with links to the presentations and speeches she refers to in the book, notes, and much more. This is a precious gift to all presenters, scientific or not!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Keys to make faster presentations: Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts

If you are reading this is because you want not only want to make better presentations, but because you also want to make them faster.  So my question to you is, do you know your tools? Whether you use PowerPoint or Keynote, you should know how to use them…efficiently. Practice is not enough, you might have create hundreds of presentation stacks without improving your knowledge of the tools you use. You need to understand the User's Guide and learn the most important Keyboard Shortcuts.

Here is my post on 20+ very useful Keynote Shortcuts. PowerPoint Ninja has a post on Essential PowerPoint Shortcuts. If you want a challenge here you have all PowerPoint 2010 and Keynote'09 shortcuts. Go and practice.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The promise of value

There are many reasons to go in front of an audience and give a talk. The most important, though, is to add value to science and therefore enlighten the audience. Value your audience, provide them with something they don't know and that puts them to think. That's what scientific conferences are about, creation of scientific value.

Now, it is very easy to get confused, and get caught in the "me" and the technology, forgetting that planning, design, and rehearsal come before them. The latter will not help you to add value, careful consideration of the audience will.

I have seen people mixing up scientific talks with reports. Reports is about you, what you have done, and how you have spent your time and their money. Don't make this mistake. Instead, add value… and send them the report later, that is if you have to.

Nick Morgan is currently writing a series of articles on the basic building blocks of a great presentation. I strongly recommended.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Presentation Guru: Jean-luc Doumont

It's been a while since I posted a talk by Presentation Guru. Dr. Doumont talks about scientific presentations. You should watch this. He's also the author of Trees, maps, and theorems: Effective Communication for rational minds. I haven't read it, but I sure will.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Improve your talk by writing your own introduction

Best to write your own introduction and ask MCs [Master of ceremonies] to deliver it than rely on their impromptu speaking skills. 
– Dr. Carmen Taran, author of Better Beginnings

Case in point, my name is difficult to pronounce in German and that's maybe I get the "did I pronounced it right?" question often.  I have a coworker and friend that even after more than 2 years still can't pronounce it right. So it comes at no surprise that at conferences some session's moderators also get it wrong. But the real feat came from one professor who being part of the same research network, and whom I had met at least 3 times before,  couldn't introduced me properly,  by not only mispronouncing my last name, but also by asking during the introduction "did I pronounced it right?", not at all professional.

It is very hard to find good moderators at scientific conferences. These people are not beginners, and there is no excuse for their bad moderation. But to be honest, nobody taught them how to be good moderators. Some just repeat what their colleagues do. Bad moderation hurt scientific talks, and here is why. The introduction of a speaker is intent to set the speaker's credibility, which is even more critical for graduate students and young scientists. Mentioning a speaker name and the talk's name says nothing, the audience can read it from the first slide. Moderators and speakers should work together!
  • A speaker should prepare her/his own introduction and handle it to the moderator before the conference starts and the moderator should contact the session's speakers with feedback and questions, and yes including how to pronounce the speaker's name.
  • A moderator should read all abstracts of a session and have at least one question per talk in case the audience doesn't ask one. 
  • A moderator should indicate a speaker when s/he has 5 minutes left and 1 minute left to end the talk. The speaker should be aware for how this is signalized. One possibility would be that the moderator shows a green card where "5 min" written and a yellow one with "1 min". Below I'm providing 2 png files with of size DIN A4 at 300 dpi and transparent background with each case.

Low resolution example of how the above resources could look like on colored paper.
In every case a speaker should prepare her/his own introduction.  An introduction could look like this
  • The speaker's name the wants to use, e.g. do you want to be called by your middle name instead of your first name? 
  • The name of the people and place where you are working. I have heard speakers correcting a moderator on the institution they work at. If you are participating in a research network involving other institutions this is the place to name it. Maybe you want to mention who your adviser is to raise your credibility. 
  • The field research your are working on – to provide meaning– and if any and appropriate previous contributions. Keep that to a maximum of 3 sentences. Close it with the title of your talk.
Leaving your introduction to chance is a waste. A good introduction starts your talk on the right direction even you start to talk. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A word on visuals: Redrawing a diagram

Scientist and engineers need diagrams to express ideas, and so they make it into a presentation's visual stack. Some caution is necessary when inserting diagrams into a presentation's visual stack.  Some could come in the form of a scanned document, some could come from a cropped pdf, or a image file. Biology Professor Zen Faulkes  has also written about the topic of redrawing here.

Here is an example of a diagram that needs to be redrawn:
If I would have inserted this diagram as it is there would  have been several problems, including
  • Not all text would have been legible. 
  • The diagram would have included information the audience doesn't need.
  • The diagram might have looked pixelated.
In other words, I would have lost control over it. I can recover the control by redrawing the diagram. Nowadays it is fairly easy to do this. High quality SVG maps are released under public domain or Commons Creative licenses. Plus, open source for manipulating vector graphics are not only free-of-charge, but also multiplatform.  Here is end result of my remake.
Finished slide

The actual colors (see below) are the result of the different transparency value assigned to each country and the slide background. I added  the color legend and the result of the text on Keynote. In fact I animated the color legend to layer the information presented on the slide.

As I mentioned the finished map does not come directly from the vector graphics program. Here is the raw version. Note how the light green turns dark and viceversa in the finished result. This is a result of the dark blue background. That color is also playing the role of the ocean. The new diagram is not 100% the same as the original one. It zooms-in more than the original. In the latter the whole  black sea and the southern part of Italy are shown, but do I needed them? No. 
Slide's raw version right out of Inkscape
Are there other benefits in remaking a diagram? The new diagram is now consistent with the style of my overall visual stack. I could also reuse the diagram in a written document.

Should all diagrams be redrawn? No. Some diagrams might be just fine as they are. Also there is the practical issue of time. This takes time on preparing a talk. In case of doubt, use the time to rehearse, not to redraw. And if you think you might need the diagram as a building block of for research presentation, redraw it after the talk and use it on the next one. Remember that a raw version could be reuse in a written document.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How to improve the text on a slide

On this post I show to improve the text by using compress fonts and all caps text. I also show 2 variants to place white text over a white background.

I obviously like to doing slides. So after an in intense last weeks of doing non-photographic ones, I was in the mood today to experiment. Some context, I was watching the New York Times' dining section videos, which have a strong typography and after some minutes I fired up Keynote and started to play with serif fonts

It didn't take long to open Wiki-Media's Picture Of The Day (POTD) collection, where I found a picture of the 1986 Challenger disaster. The picture serves as an analogy of things that can go wrong. I cropped it to an aspect ratio of 4:3, scale it to 1024 × 768 so inserted it into a slide. That makes a full-bleed slide, but I also wanted to add some text: Causes of error. Here are 4 variants of the same image and same text:

I like the bottom right better.  Although all 4 use the same Trade Gothic typeface, the bottom ones use its Heavy Compress variant.

Compress fonts are great space savers. Both slides on the top use Regular Trade Gothic. The top left text has a size of 156pt, the top right 118pt, meanwhile the bottom slides use Heavy Compress Trade Gothic has a size 170pt (right) and 209 (left).

Another question is the all caps text.  For short title like this one, all caps is fine. Research shows* that the idea that all caps text is harder to read is a myth. A more important issue on readability is the white text over white background positioning. You don't necessarily have to change the text color to make your text readable. On the computer screen it might look fine to read the, but on the LCD projector it might not be readable. Here are 2 alternatives:
You can either give the text a shadow (middle) or you can place a semi-transparent black background underneath the text (right). Usually 30-40% opacity is a enough.

In conclusion
  • Use fonts that have (heavy) compress variants. Roboto and League Gothic are 2 good free options. Play with available type variant and choose something you like.
  • Don't shy away from using all caps in text.
  • It is possible to use white text over white background
* Weinschenk, S. 100 things every designer need to know about people. 2011 New Riders

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How to make your own Keynote template

You probably know I hate presentation templates. However in last couple of months I have found myself not only using them, but creating them, I have been blown away with what  I have been able to achieve. There is a caveat, my own templates have only one master slide, and it is a blank one. That is all you actually need from a template: one single blank master slide. There are 3 things that blank slide has.
  • A font family, like Roboto.
  • A background color.
  • A color palette.
Here is an example:

I like Roboto for 3 reasons: It is free, it is professional, and it has enough styles and glyphs. I have been starting to use Keynote's Color Palette just a few week and it has helped me speed out my work and keep my work consistent. 


1. Getting down to only 1 master Slide

1.  Let's start from with a default template, say "White". 

2. Click on Show Master Slides.

3. I have added the Rule of Thirds to my white template for better placement of the object on the canvas, however this is not the standard behavior.  Now delete the default slide. A dialog will open asking to choose a one master slide to be the new default, choose the blank slide. The tick mark should now be on the blank master.
4. Delete all other masters.

 2. Setting the new font

The White template's default font is Gill Sans, but I want to change the template to use Roboto.
1. In the master slide add a new text object.

2. Change it to the font,  style, size, and color that you want

3. Click the Menu Format > Advanced > Define Text for All Masters

Done! The next time you add a new Text object it will have the font, style, size and color you have set.
Important! If you added the Text object in the master slide, remember to delete it.

3. Changing the background

1. In the master slide open the Inspector and go to Slide Inpector > Appearance and change the background.

Now you can save your new Theme. Go to Menu File > Save Theme.

4. Adding a new color palette

Color palettes do not belong to a Keynote's theme. You can added in any moment in any visual stack you are working on.

1. Open the color dialog.
2. Click on the color palette tab.
3. Click on the settings > New.
4. Click on the settings > Rename and give it a name you will remember. I'm using city names.

I'm going to choose the colors for the New York palette for a picture of the statue of liberty. I do this via the Image Palette tab, right next to the color palette.

5. Select each color and move it to the grid on the button.

6. Go back to the color palette. Either drag and drop each color and give it a name, or add them with the '+' button. And we are done. 

One last thing. You might want to share that color palette with other people. They are place into your Library/Colors directory:

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to improve slide titles

The titles (if any) of your slides, are most likely to be dead. They don't communicate. They aren't memorable. They don't stick. But don't despair, there is a better, scientifically proven way: Assertation-Evidence driven slide title—a concise, complete sentence headline (no longer than 2 lines). The following video shows an  example of this type of slide design

You can find more information of Assertation-Evidence slide design at PennState here.
The key word is headline. Getting an appropriate, memorable, sticky, and concise headline is not easy. Fortunately there is enough inspiration coming from the news.  Here is an example. Granted, these are not scientific, but they do show their basic language structure.

All in all, Assertation-Evidence slide design is thought to improve the quality of a presentation. Though is it hard work, the outcome is worth the effort and inspiration is also everywhere.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A scientific approach to scientific talks

 It is paradoxical that some scientists approach teaching in a anecdotal way, rather than in a scientific way. I'm paraphrasing Harvard Physics professor Eric Mazur. Garr Reynolds has written a couple of very interesting post about presentation and education in the 21st century, that include a talk from Mr. Mazur.
By a scientific approach to presentation I mean two things. First, the use and application of the theory of the psychology of a presentation: How people think and learn, how to grab and hold people's attention, ans how people listen and see.

5 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People from Weinschenk on Vimeo.

The second thing is to measure how efficient a presentation is. It seems natural that if the scientific method is based on measurements, the outcome of a scientific presentation would also be measured. I have never heard or attend a scientific conference where the audience evaluates talks, or give feedback. That was exactly this measurement that made Mr. Mazur aware that he wasn't a good teacher. The measurement issue brings me to reverse engineering: Start with the end in mind! 

 Have you ever asked yourself when starting to prepare a presentation,
  • What do I want from my audience and why are they coming to see me?
  • Who is my audience?  
For the second question Andrew Dlugan from the Six Minutes blog has written several posts about audience analysis.

Although the first question is more personal, your expectations about what people are understanding and taking home can be measured. That collected data would help you improve your presentation. If people are not "getting it", your message might not me clear enough or might just not resonate with the audience. Oh yeah, people filter information.

Conclusion. Let's stop thinking we are good presentation, and start proving it by applying the theory on presentations and measuring their outcomes.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Visual examples: Creating a visual representation

It feels odd to write this post. In fact it feels odd to write about pretty slides, when the power of a talk doesn't come from them. However, memorable visuals help the audience understand better and remember longer. That's why visual storytelling matters so much in presentations. Science tells us that stories is a great way to learn, then makes perfect sense that scientists use stories in their scientific presentations. In fact, as most people are visual learners it makes sense to know and apply visual storytelling to presentations.

So here is the story of today's post. Some months ago I worked on a stack of visuals, which involved representing that a certain oral test is a bridge between education and professional life. After having found an appropriate image (Puente de Alcántara, Toledo Spain) and the talk's rehearsal. I came with a decent slide, that got noticed by the audience. If some more time in my hands, I tinkered a bit more and came up with this:
This is emotional and energetic, which engages the audience. It makes the message of the bridge come alive. It is emotional because of the emblematic image, and its use as a postcard. It says I'm showing you a picture, I'm telling you a story of how important this bridge is. It is energetic because of its tilt and the tilt of the image behind and because it goes out of the page, which actives the white space.

It makes sense (after the tinkering) to show how I put this together.
On the top left is the original image, which is fine except for the lost of detail in the foreground and the pale sky.  The image of the top right has these two enhancements, which are relatively easy and cheap (in terms of time). Once I had the image ready, I went for the text (bottom left), which is obviously in perspective to rest on the bridge.  Putting it on the image, and creating the illusion of the the letter L going across the bridge yields the bottom right image, which would be fine as a full bleed slide, and in fact is the version used on the talk.

Image credits: Puente de Alcántara by Dantla under GFD License.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Presentation guru: Nick Morgan

Nicholas H. Morgan, Ph.D.
No, in fact Dr. Nicholas Morgan is not a presentation guru, he's a presentation Jedi Master. His book Give your speech, change the word is considered —among experts in public speaking— one of the best.  What I mostly treasure about his book is PART III. Rehearsing the presentation. Most presentations suck because of their lack of preparation and feedback. Not only his book, but also his blog is amazing. Dr. Morgan's stand in Slideware is that the best slideware, is not slideware at all. He views communication as leadership, which to I completely relate to, because I believe that scientists ought to be leaders.
By the way, wanna know what other books experts consider worth the time?

Image credits: Nicholas Morgan by nfrodom1 under CC BY 2.0 license.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Visual examples: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Obama's State of the Union speech 2013

It is February, time for the SOTU( State Of The Union) address and like in past years I have looked at the slides of the enhanced speech. The major why this matters to scientific presentations is because of the data visualization they provide to the public.  The National Public Radio did a piece on this and ask Steve Few author of Show me the numbers, and Nathan Yau of flowing data about the quality of charts. According to Mr. Few and Mr. Yau for the most part Obama's team did a good job. There were however some cases the criticized.  Here are 4 of them. Call it The Bad. You can click on them to see a larger version.

  • 12 Of The Hottest Years On Record  misplaces the x-axis by not setting it at 0. This creates an unnecessary dramatic effect. The y-axis has no units and the labels on the same axis should be "-0.4", "-0.2", … to emphasize these are rational and not integers numbers. 
  • Natural Gas Wells doesn't tell the whole story with the "zoom effect", in other words the y-axis should start at 0. 
  • Our Troops are Coming Back From Afghanistan misleads by presenting non-uniform time intervals as such.
  • Finally, Veteran Jobs  looks like a time series instead of a cumulative chart. On Yau's opinion is this not wrong by itself, but people might get the wrong idea.
You can read here the whole NPR piece about these and more charts, including a makeover of  Natural Gas Wells and Our Troops are Coming Back From Afghanistan by Steve Few.

Next, The Ugly.  The slide were finished the day before the speech. I guess these just came in right before the closing.

Finally, let's look now at The Good.

These are my four favorites slides of the more than 100 presented on the speech. I guess the colors made it very appealing to me. I'll get to the colors of the slides in just a moment, just for now, note how even 45,000 Wind Turbines is very slick its use. In fact, this slide is a paradox. There is a considerable amount of text and information, but still it doesn't overwhelm the viewer. There is hierarchy of 3 in it. The title, the image, and the additional information. There is even eye gazing from the foregrounded wind turbine to the supporting text.
Now Is The Time is emotionally powerful, as it should be. Its title might be a  reference to Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech (emphasis added):
Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
The slide also reminds me of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington D.C. No wonder Obama's team decided to finish the speech with this topic. Watch this for more context.
The color of the overall design haven't change that much in the past 2 years. There is sample of the color used.
You can compare this with the two previous years here. Just in case this is slide stack of this year.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wanna give a better presentation? Well, start editing!

No big news, no breaking news. This is a classic: Edit your presentation. When I see people preparing their talks for the next day, I wonder how do they edit? How do they get feedback? A presentation should be written down. No to be read aloud, or to make a Powerpoint transcript of it, but to be used as a script. I mean, after all comedians also write their stuff. It doesn't have to be a book or prose. It can be a list of bullet points following a logical sequence. Still, edit that script. Get rid of everything that the audience doesn't care about.  Don't open your favorite slideware before you have written and edited your script. There. Now you have a better presentation.

Image credit: Inauguration designed by Filippo Camedda from The Noun Project.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What the font?! – A great typography education resource

I know I blogged yesterday, but this is way too important, at least to me. Yesterday evening I found an awesome educational resource on typography: FontShop Education. The content is excellent. It includes a glossary on typography, how to choose a type, "typo tips" from the renown german typographer Erik Spiekermann, and Meet your type. A field guide to typography.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Visuals example: 3 ideas for the outline slide

Last week I bought Numbers in Graphic Design by Roger Fawcett-Tang and it inspired this post.  In my experience the easiest way to start using pictures in slides is by using them to signalize the beginning of a new section. If the right name is chosen, the right picture might follow easy.  This is a creative task, and it needs time, specially if it is the first time it is done.  So let's say you have the names and the images. Now to the outline slide.

First things first, do not put "Introduction" or "Motivation" on that outline, it conveys 0 (zero, null, cero) information. The same thing goes for "Conclusions".  Another thing specially for those LaTeX/Beamer users, subsubsection (aka nested bullet  points) in the outline, are you kidding me? You are killing your audience right at the start of your presentation. Who's going to remember that?

The first example is a straight enumeration, to give a clue of the images I masks the section images with the numbers. After I finished it, I didn't like it. The images don't pop-up, there is a nuance though, that I thought could create a sense of mystery. The color scheme is also a bit of a mess. It looked as if I couldn't make out my mind. But of a bit of patience and tinkering the appropriate color scheme can be found.
Here is an improved version. This is much clearer. The images are cropped to squares (and aligned) and the shades of grey convey a sense of motion. I really like this one. Note that all the text is in upper case.

Finally, what if I want to go for only squares and there are only 3 real sections? This slides is inspired (shall I say stolen) from the work of Emiland de Cubber. Maximize images, minimize words.
I hope these 3 examples can get you some inspiration.

Image credits (all images taken from Wiki Commons):
  • Bullseye photo by Christian Gidlöf licensed under GNU Free Documentation License
  • Volcano photo by Nasa licensed under CC 2.0 Attribution-Share Alike
  • NYC photo by Paulo Barcellos Jr. licensed under CC 2.0 Attribution-Share Alike
  • Woman photo by Luca Galuzzi licensed under CC 2.5 Attribution-Share Alike
Update 10/2/2013 Here is one more take of the outline. This one makes plays a bit with the typography, unifies the color, and uses extreme cropping.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to do math slides with LaTeX and Scribus – and not with Beamer

Yeah, I keep (really) hating  LaTeX/Beamer. Thankfully, there is a better way to make slides with LaTeX on a WYSIWYG software. It is Scribus running LaTeX as a external tool. Here is how to get started.

Yesterday I got a comment from wipeout on a remix of a math presentation I did in 2011. He asked if it could be done all in Beamer. I did research and ended writing this post. I have been using LaTeX for more than 10 years. It is a beautiful tool to typeset beautiful math. But LaTeX is neither a word processor, a desktop publishing tool, nor slideware. In words of its creator
Producing good slides requires visual formatting, which means LaTeX is not well suited for the task.
                                                                       – Leslie Lamport
LaTeX/Beamer doesn't create the visuals you need, but rather the ones it can. It limits your control of at least 3 things: Positing, Alignment, and Color. Oh and add Imagery to it. Speaking of design elements, I get the idea behind templates. They try to help bringing unity to the overall slide stack. The problem with Beamer's templates is that they are meant standardize, be unnoticeable, exactly the opposite of what a presentation should be…

There is a better cross-platform and free way to typeset math in LaTeX and stil make effective visual. Introducing Scribus, a professional layout and publishing software supporting EPS and SVG import/export, and PDF support.  The following example is an exaggeration, but it shows the potential of Scribus and LaTeX to build other type of visuals. 

  I'll just show the LaTeX relevant steps.

  1. Open Scribus's Preferences and go to External Tools. Check that the pdflatex command is the right now. In my case it is located /usr/texbin.
  2. Insert a Render Frame  ("D" is the keyboard shortcut). Click and Drag to define define the position and size of the frame. If the pdflatex path is right, Scribus renders a LaTeX sample. Right-Click on the frame selected "Edit Source…". The Editor will  open.
  3.  Stretch the Editor's window and make the "Enter code" field bigger by moving the field's right border to further to the right. The screenshot shows the "Font/Header" tab. That's where the interesting configurations are.

    Basically you need two (three) additional packages, anyfontsize to make the LaTeX render slide-big (like in the example). The set the size by enter the command \fontsize{<size>}{<leading>}\selectfont.  Leading is the distance between two consecutive line's baseline. It should larger that the size.

    In addition to the size you need the color packages.  Check out the xcolor documentation here
That's it. Click on "Update" instead in "OK" to re-render without closing the Editor window.

Obviously there is fine print. When are done with your stack, save it as pdf. As for Scribus 1.4.2. (on Mac) a error message is displayed: "Object is a placed pdf background." Ignore it. But make sure to click on "Embed PDF & EPS files" on the "Save as PDF" window.

A neat feature is you can modify most of the LaTeX's Render Frame window options. There are written on a  XML file usually under the name latex.xml. On Mac OS X 10.8.2 and Scribus 1.4.2. it is located at /Applications/

Still interested? Take a look at these two links on Scribus as PDF Presentation tool and Render Frames.
Water drop image from Wikimedia Commons by Sven Hoppe  under GNU Free Documenation License.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wanna rock an audience? Be you!

It is easy to get lost and think that pretty slides take for a better talk. They don't. What makes a good scientific talk, at least to me anyway, is that sense of awe – "Wow, it is really possible?!" – that a carefully crafted and rehearsed message (stories, explanations, open questions, problems, meaning, …) awakes in the audience. To create that awe one has to be honest, open, naked, true to oneself, or however you want to call it. Case in point, Supermodel Cameron Russell's TED talk. Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Improve your slides now!

There is one thing you can do right now that will boost your slides: reduce the number of words per slide. It is that simple. By reducing the number of words you make your audience happier because first, you'll naturally increase the font size of the text, and second you will stop reading your slides even start looking at your audience.

The fastest way to reduce the number of words in a slide is by splitting its content into several slides. There is no country in the world with a slide tax, so don't worry if you end up with 3 or 4 times more slides. This might even be good, for it might help scoop the unnecessary detail.

Split the content until you have one idea per slide, in other words make your slides atomic. After you have done this, use 6 or less words but no bullet points! Remember that you don't need full sentences, but just enough text to communicate that atomic idea. 

Light Bulb designed by Shane David Kenna from The Noun Project

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Animate SVG with the help of Inkscape

 I feel guilty. I know, I shouldn't be writing about animations. But now again, knowing the available tools it is an integral part of making good presentations. After all, I know people who still draw their diagrams on PowerPoint. I'm going to pass that and assume you have opened Inkscape and know what SVG means. If you don't, google those two words "SVG" and "Inkscape". It will blow your mind, that is, if you're still using PowerPoint or alike to do your diagrams.

Do you wish you could animate the diagrams you have made using SVG? I have news for you. You can, but it is painstaking. The keyword is SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language), and with the help of Inkscape, some inspiration and patience you can get nifty results.

A couple comments. Some browsers, like Firefox, can display SVG. This is important because slideware will necessarily support this format. So you have at least two options. You can link an slide's object to the browser. Note the URL will start with "file://" instead of with "http://" This is cumbersome, and not that professional. The other way is make a screencast of the animation, and include the resulting video in your presentation stack.

Now, obviously this whole animation process is time consuming, and it will yield at the most one minute of the presentation time. But knowing that the tools are available and are free is worth knowing about.