I was seated next to a graphics designer and watch him work on a power point presentation. Watching him weave magic I realized that one of the greatest tricks to create slides which stand out, was to break out of Microsoft's set layouts.
Select blank layout and start working on it. All of a sudden you would realize that you are the master of your destiny and the whole space is under your control. You would start visualizing Zen like slide sets. I tried to put together two slides on Sayy's 365 within a few minutes. You might not agree that its nice, but you cannot deny that its different!