PowerPoint presentations often get a bad rap- and for good reason. We’ve all sat through a boring slideshow packed with loads of text, cheesy clip-art, and annoying animations. This completely undermines the point of visual presentations. However, if done well, a great PowerPoint presentation can be the tool that turns a boring sales pitch into something innovative and interesting. A well designed slide deck can be a great way to support a speech, help audiences visualize concepts, and make a lasting impression. Consider the following tips for designing a PowerPoint that will make your next presentation stand out!
Avoid the Stock Template
There are plenty of stock templates included in your software but this is a surefire way to lose your audience before you even begin. They are boring, dull, and way overused. Instead, create a custom template that is unique to you and your brand. You can start by using your brand’s color palette and even incorporate your brand logo. You can also design something that is completely custom, but visually appealing.
Use Text Sparingly
Too much text is the number one reason people succumb to “death by PowerPoint.” There is nothing more boring than reading loads of content crammed onto each slide. The point of a PowerPoint is to support what you are saying, so your slides do not need to be full of text. Instead, do not put more than 3-4 lines of text on each slide. Each slide should only address one point, and you want to stay away from complete sentences. Packing too much text onto a slide means the audience will be reading the slide instead of listening to you.
Ditch the Bullet Points
No one is going to remember 5 or 6 bullet points on every slide. However, they will remember 5 or 6 compelling slides. Use each slide to tell one important point to build your case and tell your story incrementally.
Don’t Be Afraid of Empty Space
Just like silence can be a powerful tool for engaging an audience, empty space can have that same effect on a PowerPoint slide. Too many people rush to fill up all of the space on a slide but sometimes, leaving a third of the slide empty (both with text or with a photograph), can result in that wow factor that makes things stand out.
Use High Quality Images
It’s time to ditch the cheesy clipart and animations. Everyone has seen those built-in clipart images a million times by now. Images can be a powerful tool for connecting with an audience. After all, research shows that people are more likely to remember pictures than words. That means you need to select high quality images that are relevant to your topic. When choosing a picture, ask yourself: “If I remove all text from this slide, can the picture alone carry my message?”
Choose Appropriate Fonts
This may seem obvious, but how many times have you been forced to sit through a presentation that uses scripted or childlike fonts? Not only are these font styles difficult to read, but they appear unprofessional. Text that makes it onto your slide should be an appropriate font and size. You want to be sure it can easily be read from the back of the room.
Replace Text with Graphs, Charts, or Pictures
Great slideshow design is about creating something that the audience will remember. People are far more likely to remember images than text, so try replacing text with pictures, graphs, or charts. For example, instead of having text bullet points explaining your sales data, try representing it with a bar graph or pie chart. Likewise, instead of including text about an important point, try illustrating it with a powerful photograph and explaining it with your talking points.