Using SmartArt Effectively
SmartArt. It's a nice feature in PowerPoint: quick, easy, effective; but the designs are becoming very well known. Therefore, presentations are beginning to look "canned." So be careful here. Make sure you customize the look of the SmartArt to blend well with your template and your template's color scheme. Also, make sure you maintain the overall content design. For example, if you have a very open look to your presentations, some of the SmartArt appears much too heavy and doesn't blend well with the rest of your content unless you really tone it down. Maybe a semitransparent color without line color will work.
Sometimes it's important to "wrangle" the text so that you have a consistent font sizing (which promotes unity on the slide). Reduce the gutter space around the text so that it occupies more of the SmartArt segment(s). You'll be able to use the segments much more efficiently then.
Remember, if you want to achieve a certain look and style within your presentation and use SmartArt, you're going to have to make an effort to make the SmartArt "your own." If you want to promote your company or product as new, unique, and exciting, then using SmartArt may detract from that goal unless you spend time blending the SmartArt graphic with the rest of your presentation content.
It's not just getting your message across to your audience, it's doing so in a consistent, unified manner.